Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Becoming a Senior

I just a few weeks I will be turning 55 years of age!

YUP, I will become the speed limit (at least that's what it is here in my state) and officially a Senior Citizen!! CRAP!

It didn't bother me to turn 30, 40 or even 50 but for some unknown reason, I hate turning 55!

Maybe it has something to do with all the mail I have been getting lately and the ads on TV.

It seems that AARP suddenly wants to become my best friend. They send me letters asking me to join their club. Telling my what wonderful benefits I would enjoy now that I am OLD! I can get discounts on hotel rooms and if I am stranded on the side of the road, AAA could help me out because my membership would cost me less. Not to mention I get to eat off the Senior Menu now! YIPPEE!!!

There is the reminder from Social Security that if I retire now I will only receive this much a moth but if I continue to work until I am 72 I can receive so much more!! As if I want to work until I am 72 years old!! WTF!!

Then of course there are all the ads about insurance plans on TV- Chose this one and you won't have to have a physical exam. We will insure you no matter what. They don't tell you that your premium is so high you can't afford it.
The next says it pays for all your medical bills and your prescriptions without having to have a supplemental plan. ( you just have to use the doctors and clinics it tells you to).

Then there are the commercials for the Assisted Living Facilities- Nothing like planning ahead, right? Might as well pick one out while I still can (at least this way I get one I like and not one my kids just dump me in) because according to TV, Alzheimer's will be setting in any day now.

I have been watching the trailers about the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons" and I have to ask my friend Debbie at Suburb Sanity (she's the Sage one and has all the answers) if he can grow younger why can't we all?

I know my fear of 55 is irrational and it's just a number but for some reason I am really terrified of this birthday. I guess maybe it has something to do with being labelled a Senior Citizen. I don't feel like one. Hell ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I've never acted my age! Can I skip this for now and just stay a Junior (so to speak)??

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chrouser Christmas Chaos

The Stockings are hung by the chimney with care
Wait Tim, St Nicholas has already been there!

Mark looks like he's lost something!!!!

Oh Wait...........He found it!!

Santa's Elves all seemed to be relaxing and having a good time after working so hard all year long.

They deserve a little fun time because soon they will be busy once again making toys for next year!

Next came the Three Wise People
They are only considered Wise because there is a
woman among them
They came to spread glad tidings and
Lots of cheer(see what's in their

Next came the passing of the cup.
This is tradition among the Chrouser Christmas dinner. Nah, John just wanted coffee so Dick was passing him a cup. Had you going for a minute didn't I???

Finally the next generation of Chrouser Males.
I don't know whether this is a GOOD thing or a SCARY thing.
I will let the picture speak for itself and you can make your own decision.

Everyone had a great time and there are more pictures so I can blackmail some family members later.
I am lucky I get to do this all over again in January with my family from Iowa and Nebraska.
Hope every one had a Merry Christmas and is looking forward to a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008






Sunday, December 21, 2008

6 inches!

OK get your minds out of the gutter! I'm not talking about my Hubby or any other man for that matter! That would just be fantasy wouldn't it???

I'm talking that lovely white stuff called SNOW!
Last night while we slept, those nasty little snow fairies decided to make an appearance. They didn't just want to say HI, they wanted to wanted to make a real impression and they did.

Actually the snow started yesterday morning about 11:00 am. Hubby and I had to play Santa's little elves and finish our shopping and it was no picnic driving into town. There were a couple of moments where the car started sliding and I closed my eyes and started praying.

It went something like this: "Jesus Christ Honey just get there in one piece and I promise I won't kill you."

2 1/2 hours and 3 stores later and we started back home. By this time we can only travel about 40 miles an hour and everyone keeps hitting the brakes because the person in front of them does. This is due to the very first person in the lead being afraid that the road might be slippery in certain spots so they slow down periodically. Don't they know this causes more accidents than if they just would drive at one speed?? A trip that normally takes about 12 minutes to make now takes us almost 25 minutes! Unbelievable!!!

This morning after breakfast, Hubby went to get the plow to clear the driveway. He was just going to shovel until he got out there and saw how much snow there was and how heavy it was.
Guess it would be good snowman snow but I just can't see me getting all bundled up and going out there and making a snowman. Nope, not gonna happen.

Me, I plan on grabbing a good book or maybe a movie and sitting in front of the fire all day. Who knows, I might even stay in my jammies all day. Just that kind of day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Office Christmas Party

Today is our company's annual Christmas party. We always have it at the shop so no one has to go home and clean up and come back out. They just finish up their work and come in and enjoy. Their spouses and children are welcome to come too.

My sister in law Karen has always been in charge of the food and she always does a hell of a spread! If you can't find something to eat then you aren't looking. She spends a lot of time and effort to make this a really great party for everyone.
This year she couldn't do it because of other obligations so Sally (another sister in law) and I are doing it. We knew right off the bat we had some pretty big shoes to fill so we asked the guys what they wanted for the party.
Here's what they said:
Wildcat: for those of you who aren't familiar with this- it is raw ground round with onions and salt and pepper and they eat it on rye bread.
Hot Wings and Meatballs
Smoked or Deep Fried Turkey with buns for sandwiches
Cheese/Sausage with crackers
Salsa/chips- this is my homemade stuff that is awesome
Veggies and dip
Veggie Pizza
Couple Pasta Salads
Shrimp and sauce
Simple desserts

So this is exactly what they are getting. Nothing fancy and nothing catered. Sally and I made it all ourselves. Slaving over a hot stove/oven to make these people happy.
Of course, I have to work today so I can not help Sally set up, Hubby will have to do this. So I had to leave a detailed list for him and I do mean a detailed list!

It went something like this:
The basket is to put the crackers in. Put the napkin in the basket first, then the crackers.
The Veggie pizza is already cut but be sure you put it on a serving plate before you put it out- do not serve it on the baking sheet!
The spoons for the salad and the salsa are in the sack.
Make sure you take the salad, the shrimp,the veggies tray, cheese tray and the veggie pizza from the fridge and the cookies and the wings from the garage.
I have to spell it out for him because if I don't he would just slap everything down as is and call it good.

Hubby is in charge of the booze and there's always plenty of that. Beer, booze, wine , Tom and Jerrys and once in a while someone will bring champagne.
It has been known to happen that an employee will end up sleeping in the break room due to too much partying. Better that than send them home in that condition.

There is not any copy machine stuff going on (at least I've never seen any) and I've never caught anyone naked and naughty at these parties but they do have a good time.

So grab your party hat and come on over, drinks are on me!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Letters to Santa

If you follow my blog at all(and you damn well better cause it's awesome) then you know that on Wednesdays I participate in a writer's workshop sponsored by my blogger friend Mamakat. Today's assignment that I chose was to write a letter to Santa. so here goes......

Dear Santa,

Can we talk? I know you're terribly busy this time of year but something has been bothering me for a long time and I just need to get it off my chest.

45 years ago when I was 9 I wrote you a letter asking for a Barbie Dream house for Christmas. This is all I wanted so that Barbie could marry Ken, the love of her life, have kids and live happily ever after.

Santa, I'm still waiting for that Dream house......

Barbie never married Ken. They lived in sin instead and she could never figure out what she wanted to do with her life.
She flitted from Flight Attendant, to Dentist, to Teacher, to Doctor, to Astronaut, to CEO of a company and the list goes on and on and on. All because I never got my Dream house.

Santa you were probably the cause of the feminist movement all because you didn't bring me my Barbie Dream house. Millions of young women followed Barbies lead. She became their role model. They demanded equal pay for equal work and equal time in the bedroom as well as the boardroom. If Barbie could do all these things then they could too!

Santa if you had just brought me my Barbie Dream house, Barbie would have married Ken, lived happily ever after and none of this other shit would have happened. But nooooo. You had to forget me that year. See what you started? Hope you're happy.

By the way, I had to buy my daughters every one of those Barbies as she changed careers cause they wanted to be just like her.

I won't be putting out any cookies this year Santa, looks like you've gained a little weight. (you might want to call Jenny Craig, I hear she works wonders).

Merry Christmas
Still Waiting in Wisconsin

Now head over to Mamakats and read other letters to Santa and see what everyone else is wishing for.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Never Ending Story

This seems to be the theme for this little story. You write a paragraph, then tag a blog buddy to write the next one and so on until the story is finished ...... or not. My very naughty daughter Carrin tagged me to add on after she wrote her paragrah. So sit back, read and hopefully enjoy the story.

I hunched down to see what it was, but as I did, the bus violently veered to left. I was thrown up against a heavyset Asian woman with blond hair. I pardoned myself, but she faced forward with no reply. Just then, a man wearing a jumpsuit of silver and gold stood up at the front of the bus. He was holding a megaphone and a box of graham crackers. He held the megaphone up to his face and began to speak... (Some Guy)"Ladies and Gentlemen...please do not be afraid! I am here to help you" he said in a mighty booming voice. As he began to step towards me I felt a hand creep its way around my throat and all of a sudden I was pressed against the mighty bosom of the Asian woman as she she hauled me to my feet. She began to back away from the costumed crusader all the while holding me, feet dangling in the air. I panicked and my eyes searched the bus, hoping to connect with someone, anyone who would be able to help me. My eyes met those of the hero in gold and just as I began to gasp for air he yelled...(~E)„Put her down and no one gets hurt“, he yelled at the Asian woman. All the passengers turned to see what was going on and, as they did, I noticed they were more panicked than I was. A small bespectacled man closest to us hissed at my captor and said in a low voice „Take me, just don't hurt her.“ My fear gave way to curiosity. Who were all these people, and why were they so concerned for my well being?The Asian blonde's back was now pressed against the back of the bus, and she increased her grip on me as the megaphone man crept slowly towards us. As he passed through the bus people started getting up, and now they formed a small army behind him. He raised the box of graham crackers above his head and put his lips to the megaphone... (That Damn Expat)"Since you refuse to cooperate, I will have to use my secret weapon!" Suddenly a laser like light shot out of the box of graham crackers and everything went black. I don't know how much time passed, but I awoke in a mysterious room with a terrible headache. Immediately I assumed that I had been captured and began wondering why me? Why not the Asian lady who seemed to be the source of trouble? Just then, a woman walked into the room wearing a gold lame' dress, she said...(Laura)"Oh, you are awake? I am glad you're okay...", and she gave me a glass of water. Apparently I fainted at her boutique while picking out some clothing. I am so relieved that it was just a dream. Being captive is not my cup of tea. Besides, who was that big Asian woman? And what's up with that horrible blond hair she had? Asian people would never look pretty with blond. She was freaky. I thanked the boutique owner and decided to walk outside. It is really nice day out. Oh wait.. I am hungry. I should get something to eat. "What should I eat?", I was talking to myself when.... (Maki)All of a sudden a run away hot dog cart was headed my way! The owner of the cart was running frantically behind it all the while yelling "Some one please catch my dogs!" Two thoughts went through my head. One "get the heck out of the way" and two "what would the gold hero dude do?" I decided to do my best to help the hot dog vendor. I watch the cart coming straight for me and try to calculate when to lunge after it. As it's gathering speed towards me, I lunge, grab the handle and throw myself on top of the cart. But the cart does not stop! I am flying down the hill on top of the cart all the while the vendor is yelling at me not to smash the buns. I laugh out loud and think "Why do these happen to me?" and then I remember back to last night...(Carrin)
When I was attending a black tie event at Rockefeller Center to raise money for charity. This would be my last chance for fun for then next 12 weeks. My book was due out next week and it would be non stop publicity tours from then on. I had spent hours getting my hair and makeup done and chosing just the right dress for tonight because I was meeting "him". Finally after all this time, we would be seeing each other for the first time. I was so excited, my heart was racing and my pulse was pounding. What would he look like? Would he be as handsome as he sounded in his emails? I stood just inside the door watching the people as they entered wondering if each of the men might be him. I moved to the top of the staircase, placed my hand on the railing and was just about to descend, when suddenly someone grabbed me, stuck a needle in my neck, and as they pushed the plunger in slowly they said...(Sheri)

Now I am tagging two of my blogger friends that have wonderful story telling abilities that I think would do a great job of carrying on with this story
For the instructions on how to play the story game go here

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Deck the Halls (and anyone else that gets in my way)

Man I hate going out to the stores this time of year! Even the grocery stores are nasty right now! Case in point- Hubby and I went to do our grocery shopping at 6:00 pm Friday night (this is not our usual time to do this but we were literally out of everything and had no choice) thinking we could get in, get what we needed and get out.

First of all everyone and their dog were in the damn store at this time of night! This is supper time for cripes sake, what the hell are people doing buying groceries now??? Then it seems the store thinks this is the optimal time of day to restock their shelves and the produce. There are boxes all over the aisles and stock people standing around talking and laughing. That's right, I said standing around. Not restocking as they were supposed to be doing but in groups of 2 and 3 having a good time and taking up more space so you couldn't get through with your cart. Where is your Customer Service people?????

I went in armed with all my coupons to get their "deals" so of course when I went to get what was on special, they were all out. WTF? Where are the people who were supposed to be restocking the shelves? Couldn't they be putting more of these specials back on the shelves so I could buy them??? Sorry but there is a limited supply and once they are gone they don't restock. Of course, that explains why these people are just standing around. There is nothing to restock the shelves with.

As we continued through the store, people cut us off as we came out of the aisles, grabbed things off the shelf just as I reached for them and never once said, "sorry" and were just plain rude.

We finally got everything we needed by which time I am so angry,hungry and ready to get the hell out of there and go home that I could just scream. We are headed for the checkout lanes of which there are a whole 3 open when miracle of miracles, they decide to open one right as we get there!! Someone up there does like me. I am2 steps away from the lane when some lady bangs her cart into mine, pushes her way into the lane and starts unloading her groceries onto the counter. I feel my arm slowly moving forward to grab her and I know I am seconds from decking her when hubby (bless his wonderful heart) grabs me and says " it's OK honey, we're not in any hurry." Of course as I turn to glare at him with a look that could kill and inform him that even if he isn't I am cause it's after 7:00 pm and I'm hungry, another cart pushes their way in front of us!!! At this point I just want to cry but would settle for a good stiff drink, all the while wondering where the hell these people's Christmas spirit is?

I look at them, smile and say, Merry Christmas, all the while I am thinking " I hope you get run over by reindeer in the parking lot!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Cookies

One of the things I like about this time of year are the cookies and candies being spread around.

One of the things I hate about this time of year are the LBs being spread around my hips and ass because of the cookies and candies!

This weekend it is baking time for me. My kitchen is turned into a baking machine and usually ends up covered in flour from one end to the other!
I have always loved to make all different kinds of cookies for Christmas.
There are Snickerdoodles, Peanut Blossoms, Spritz, Chocolate Crinkles, Gingersnaps, Peanut butter Balls, Almond Cookies and of course what is Christmas with out the Cutouts!
I love decorating the cutout cookies the best. I do several different colors of frosting and I can't begin to tell you how many jars of different colored sparkle and accessories I have to make them look FABULOUS! The trees have to be trimmed just so and the snowmen have eyes,noses and buttons down their fronts. My husband gets frustrated because he just wants to slap the frosting on and be done with it, "after all we're just gonna eat the damn things!" but that's not the way it's done in my house. Don't tell my husband but he is right, we are just gonna eat the damn things but it's so much fun decorating them before you eat them.

Then there is the candy. I used to make a lot of this when I and my kids were both younger. I would make Divinity, Nougat, Fudge, Peanut Brittle, Caramel Corn, and Almond Bark Pretzels. Now adays I only make homemade peanut brittle and fudge and if my Hubby is really lucky, I might do a batch of the Almond Bark Pretzels which are his favorites.

I was never satisfied with one batch of these cookies and candies, oh no, I had to make double batches. I would put some out to be ate right away and put some in the freezer thinking we would still have some when Christmas came. Right? Wrong! Not in my house there wasn't! Even now with all the kids grown and gone and just me and the hubby. I do the same thing and think there will be some by Christmas time. Wrong! I think there are little elves living in my house that come in at night and eat these cookies while I am sleeping.

Of course the doctor did ask my hubby yesterday if he was putting on a couple LBs so maybe I should start calling him Santa's little helper?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Conversatin with a Mouse

It's Wednasday so that means it's Writer's Workshop time over at Mamakats. Here are todays prompts:1.) Allergies much?
2.) Worst dentist experience ever.
3.) Describe a "new road" you've taken in your life.
4.) What would you say to a mouse who could talk?
5.) Who is the best listener you know? What makes him or her such a good listener

I thought it would be fun to do #4. so the following is my conversation with a mouse. After reading mine, head over to Mamakats blog and check out all the other great stories that are posted there.

As I was cleaning my house the other day (and now we all know this is a fantasy because I don't clean my own house) I stumbled across atiny mouse in the corner of my closet. She was making herself a house there for the winter.

Me: Miss Mouse, what are you doing in my house?

Mouse: It's too cold to be outside so I thought I would live in your lovely house for the winter.

Me: OK, but there are some ground rules if this is gonna happen. Think you can handle that?

Mouse: What kind of rules?

Me: #1. If you're gonna live in my house you can't be pooping where ever the hell you want. Learn to use the toilet! I'm not cleaning up after you.
#2. No chewing holes in the bottom of the boxes of food when you're hungry. Open the damn things like the rest of us! If you have trouble ask.
#3. Don't be running around and scratching in the walls at all hours of the night! Some of us have to work in the morning. If you must do that, do it during the day.
#4. I'm not running a damn daycare here so if you insist on having so damn many babies, find some where else to take them.
Any questions or problems with these rules?

Mouse: I can live with all your rules. No problem. I just have a few requests of my own.
#1. Would you get a volumizing conditioner the next time you go to the store? My hair needs a little plumping and the stuff you use is crap.
#2. I would prefer the wheat crackers to the plain ones. They're better for my diet ( you know fiber- that poop thing). Oh and would you get the sharp cheddar cheese please?
#3. Would you leave the remote for one of your many TVs where I can reach it so I can watch my soaps during the day? It's pretty boring around here with nothing to do all day!
#4. Oh and talking about noise at night, could you and your husband keep it down too? Talk about loud!! Geez!

So me and Miss Mouse struck a deal, shook hands or paws or whatever and she stayed there for the winter. This is what I imagine a conversation with a mouse might be like if they could talk.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stop the Car I Want to Get Out!

So Saturday my husband and I decided to take a road trip to do some Christmas shopping.

I know, I know. You're all saying, : What the hell were you thinking?" Obviously I wasn't or I never would have agreed to get in the car with him.

But in my own defense we were going to Cabelas and I love this store. The closest one is about 3 hours away and we have been there before so I figured he remembered how to get there. Right?

WRONG!!! Men never remember these things.

We get up early (and I mean really early) and just as we are ready to walk out the door, my husband says, "You did print off directions on how to get there didn't you?"

This should have been my first clue that things were not going to go smoothly but I ignored my inner voice and answered, "No, you didn't ask me to. Do you really need them?"

Hubby: "Probably, I'm not sure I remember how to get there. Print them just in case. "

So good little wife that I am, I did and off we went.

All was well for the first 2 hours of the trip because he knew where he was going. It wasn't until we had to take the exit to go to toward Cabelas that we started to have trouble. I started to read the directions to him but he had seen a billboard that said Take exit 207. SO, as far as he was concerned, that's all we had to do. No need for any directions, just look for exit 207. Where ever the hell that might be.

I then tried to tell him we had to take 35E S for a short jaunt but he strongly argued that we never got off 694.

I said, "the directions say we have to....."

Hubby, " I don't care what the directions say, we stay on 694 all the way."

Me: "Why do you have me print these directions if you aren't going to follow them?"

Hubby: "In case I don't know where I'm going, but I know what I'm doing now."

Me: "OK then. I'll just sit here and not say a word, but if you get lost don't blame me." All the while I am thinking Never again am I reading directions to this man. He can map it out for himself before he leaves.

Of course I was right and we did have to take 35E S for a short period of time but he wouldn't admit a thing.

We finally get to Cabelas, do our shopping ( we did our part that day to stimulate the economy) and the last thing I did before we checked out???

I picked up a Garmin GPS system, tossed it in the cart and said, " Merry Christmas, Honey!"

Let someone else be his guide from now on. He can't argue with a machine or can he???

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reality Check

It's Writers Workshop Wednesday again over at MamaKat's and this week I have chosen the prompt:

3.) If you had to star in a reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

Now I don't watch all of the reality shows out there (there are way too many and way too many weird ones) but I do watch a few. I even have a couple that I am obsessed with but don't tell anyone OK?

First there is The Bachelorette- I would love to think I could star on this show- wear all the fabulous clothes. Live in the mansion, go to all the exotic locations and have the full attention of 25 gorgeous men! Alas, I am happily married so this eliminates this show. Damn!

Second there is Top Chef-I could chop, saute, puree, bake and cook with the best of them. I just couldn't stab you in the back at the same time to win the show. Pack up your knives and leave the show.

Third there is Americas Next Top Model- OK who am I trying to kid here right? I am only 4'11" and Old! Hello you have to be a skinny bitch for this one with a face that would stop trucks (that one I could probably do but not for the right reasons). I'm not in the running to become Americas next top model.

Fourth we have Real Housewives of Orange County- Now this one I do have some qualifications for. I am a housewife (but on this show you really don't have to be cause not all of them are married) and I live in a county. I could spend money like it's going out of style, drink champagne on yachts and party with the best of them. I would have no problem spending 2.5 mil on a house or $2300 on a dress and $1000 on a pair of shoes and jewelry puh-lease. Bling is my favorite subject. The only disqualification I have for this show- I don't have the money it takes so guess not babe- Not gonna be the new girl this season.

Fifth and final one- Project Runway- I love this show because I love to sew. My mom used to make all of our clothes when I was little and then she taught me to sew and I made my children's clothes. I also made Barbie doll clothes, brides maid dresses, winter coats and wedding dresses. So I have a vested interest in this show. I pick apart their clothes and I criticize how they make them. I could do so much better and that is why I should star on it. I would be so FIERCE!
There would be no stopping me and I would totally rock the show to the very end! Just ask my children (they always loved my clothes) Of course they had no choice when they were little but as they got older they sometimes asked me to make them things so guess it wasn't too bad.
So One Day you're In and One Day you're Out. I'm IN!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Home Alone

I'm sitting at home
With nothing to DO!
Except sit at the computer
And blog for all you.

Due to Miss Staph and Miss Strep
These two little bugs,
My body at home,
Has been laid out by these thugs!

I'm not used to inactivity
It's driving me CRAZY!!!
This being at home all day
Is making me lazy!

I sleep until eight
Drink coffee, watch soaps
Sit home all day long,
Feel sorry and mope.

So please release me
Back to work SOON?
Before I become,
A total, complete, absolute LOON!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Mine, All Mine

Ever wanted something so bad you could taste it? I have and I usually always don't get it. This time though there is a big give away over at the SITS page and if you go here you can read all about it for yourself.

I am so excited because I could be named Friday Favorite and win a $200 Target Gift Card (Back off Carrin this is mine!) just by mentioning this Grand Prize and then commenting on their blog tomorrow. I never win anything and I mean anything but this is Mine All Mine. And I'm so excited I just can't hide it! Nothing ventured nothing gained and who couldn't use a little something something right now?

Good Luck to all of you. Even if you don't want to participate in the giveaway, check out the SITS blog.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

Wow the past five days have been intense with travel, family, food and fun!

Wednesday we packed up the vehicle in the early am and headed out of town for Iowa and Nebraska to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my children. We arrived at my daughters about 5:00 pm, quickly unpacked and called my other daughter to make plans for supper.
It was then off to the Spaghetti Works for supper with the grand kids and to catch up with all their news. When we got back to Tuta's her other house guests were there and we all settled in for the night.

Thursday morning after everyone was up and had breakfast, we started the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. This was my daughters first time hosting the holiday so she was a little excited and had some questions but over all she had most things under control. Carrin and the kids came over about 11:30 and we started putting things together. Once the food flowed everyone dug in and and ate til they couldn't move. Then the pies came out and we ate some more.

Friday,we met my sisters and niece for some after Thanksgiving shopping. We had to pick up stuff for the big Family Thanksgiving we were having on Saturday. Yup that's right, we were doing this all over again on Saturday. Later, we all went out to Mom and Dad's for supper and to hang out. The decibel level in the house is probably well over the legal level when we all get together but we have a great time. There were adults, kids and dogs running around all over the house. The only one not having a good time was Thomas, the cat who was banished to the basement during all this.

Saturday morning we got up and carted the stuff for our big meal to our church. We decided to have it here for two reasons, it was bigger, they had all the stuff we needed to prepare it and we were having a surprise open house for my dad's 80th birthday and this was a great place to have it. It is really fun to work together with family when we do something like this. Everyone is doing what needs to be done and having a good time dong it. It all came together like a well oiled machine. Everyone had way more than enough to eat and then we had lots of time until the open hose so we stalled a little doing dishes, then had pie, then stalled a little more and then finally people started coming. We had put together some pictures from over the years and everyone had a great time and many laughs looking at them and asking: "who is this?"

Sunday morning it was crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn and hit the road for the long trip back home. It takes about 7 1/2 hours not including the stops for gas and meals. We ran into a little snow through all three states (IA, MN, and WI) but the roads were pretty good so travel wasn't bad.

Once we got home we had to go to our grand daughter's birthday party, so it wasn't until after 7:00 pm last night before we finally got the chance to sit down and relax. Toady it's back to work and back to normal. Thank goodness for that. It's nice to visit but nicer to come home.