Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things we see on our evening walks around our property.

Ed picked one up, put it in his mouth, and said "Mmmm, ants yummy mommy!" He's so gross.
Ed calls these seed pods donuts. They belong to a Joshua Tree, and when you break one open on the carpet, there is a huge mess of fuzziness and black seeds the size of a pencil eraser, except flat.
He's taking time out of his busy schedule of laying under the trailer and escorting us on our walk to stop and smell the flowers.
My family.
Most of them, anyway. Kacy and Will are so close- I wonder if they will miss each other when Kacy starts school. I bet Will will miss her more, because she'll be too busy to think about it.
A gourd plant.
The hugest naturally occurring gourd plant I've ever seen.

Stubby has left the building!

At 5:05 AM, Stubby, our univited kangaroo rat, flew home. I emptied out my kitchen drawers, but different types of traps in each one, and finally caught him in another glue trap. I grabbed my tongs, picked him up, looked at his tail just for fun (it was about an inch long, with a little scab), and then prompty flung him out the door. He sailed over the fence and into the bushes. It was a decent flight. It felt good to have the critter out of my trailer, and I hope never to see him again. Or any of his kind. I looked in the area where I flung him later this morning, and he was no where to be found.
I am hoping for a really boring rest of the week. It is going to be filled with dishes and a huge amount of laundry. I am registering for an online class with the local Jr. college so I can get a supplemental authorization to be able to teach English/Language Arts in Jr. High or 9th grade. It should be fun, and since I like to read, and I tolerate writing, it shouldn't be too much of a burden. I tried taking an Educator course in grading writing/using rubrics from the University of San Diego, and no offense to teachers or anything, but it was awful. Lame. Something that a person should already know. And I didn't try very hard and still got an A. To me, that's sad. I've thought about getting a Master's degree in Education because they are easy to get (compared to say Chemistry, Math, English...or another "real" subject) but I don't know if I can jump through any more hoops. That, and I don't want to spend the money or time right now. Money to buy house stuff, time for the family.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life in a small town

We have power! It came on at 7pm. The kids and I left at 5pm to go to our favorite restaurant- El Portal. I used some gift certificates from my friend Dany. We stopped at the site where a logging truck hit the power pole, and talked to our friend Kenny, who is in charge of a lot of the power company stuff up here. He gave me the heads up on why it happened and when the power would be back on. Then we went to the restaurant. We get out of the car and talk to the propane lady and her dad. I had just talked to her earlier in the day. I need to learn her name. She loves labs and quilts. We sit in the booth next to the manager/owner of our local little grocery store, Neil and his wife Amie, and their kids. While we are eating, the receptionist from the local dentist up here (Terri) and the Sgt. and his wife Wendy stop to say hi and chat. Then, two "fuzzes" come in, and we talk to them and say hi. I felt so popular... LOL. That's what happens when you go to the best little Mexican restaurant in a small town. I'm just grateful for the power to be back on. No AC is No Fun.

A rat, no power, and potty talk.

Here is what we are currently dealing with. We have a rat in our trailer. A kangaroo rat, I think. Normally, I would tell you that kangaroo rats are cute, they hop all over the place... but when they are in my silverware drawer, touching my spoons and eating my rubber spatula, my germ-o-phobe comes out and I hate them. About twice a year we'll get a mouse. There is only one place they can get in, and they are trapped in the bottom cabinetry of our little kitchen. We have lots of traps. I heard the rat last night rattling my eating utensils all over the place. I opened the drawer really fast and all I saw was the tail. I was hoping for a mouse. I got a rat instead. I set a mouse trap with PB on it, and I heard it go off so I go investigate. I pull out the drawer, and there is the rat, with it's paw in the trap and it is upside down. I think it got knocked out. I grabbed my tongs (it's like 3 in the morning, what else am I gonna touch it with? NOT my hands.) I barely touch it with the tongs and it pops up and sprints into the darkness of the cabinets. I set out some glue traps in the drawer, because it is WAY too big for my little mouse traps. Later, I hear it stuck on the trap (it sounds like they are trying to hop off of them). I grab my tongs, open the drawer and the rat is trying to get away. It falls to the floor, and I follow it with my tongs. I make a grab for it- and all I get is the glue trap. WITH IT'S TAIL STUCK ON IT! That crazy thing straight ate it's tail off to escape. My friend Amy says I should name it Stubby. Stubby is gonna get it tonight. I spent three hours chasing that thing last night. I just hope it didn't bleed to death from it's tail injury because then we'll have that "dead-rotten-bloated-animal" smell in the trailer. That, and the poopy diaper smell will make life tough.
We also have no power. It's a bit warm. The power went out at 1pm. I packed the kids in the car in hopes of leaving, but about a mile and a half from our driveway there was a power pole and wires all over the road. I keep calling the electricity company to see if they know when the power will be back on. I may try and pack the kids up again and use a gift certificate to eat dinner tonight, if I can get out. I miss my air conditioner.
I am also attempting to potty train Ed this week. I don't really want to even talk about it. All I know is that I am going to make a good effort on my part, and if I'm exhausted or really frustrated, then I'll quit. I don't have a lot of hope. Just a little.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My finshed fence and Ryan's trip

Here is the finished product- almost. I got lazy today and didn't do much of anything. I need to push some gravel around to make the ground more level. Ed can crawl under some of the high spots. I finished it Saturday afternoon. I need one more latch, because rope is holding one of the gates closed. It works, but it's a pain to tie and untie all the time. I look forward to making it kid friendly. And cleaner. I left most of my scraps in our landscaping wagon, ready to go to the dumpster, which means the kids took them all out and now they are scattered.
Ryan returned from his scouting trip late Friday night. He went to the mountains... he could tell you exactly, but something about Lone Pine, and Sky Blue, New Army Pass, Soldier something or other... near Crabtree Meadow... he listed so many places I'm not really sure. He did say he'd love to go packing with the family someday. Not BACK packing, but horse-mule packing. He thinks Jessie needs to be at least 10 years old. I'll need a truck by then because just for our family of six, we'd need six horses and six mules. Plus all our gear. But, it sounds like fun. He left this morning for girls camp to cook. He'll be home again Saturday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Almost finished

Ryan called me and is on his way home. He'll be here in 20 minutes, instead of 24 hours. There goes that idea of having it all done... Here are the "helpers". I had to take many breaks to chase Ed. And to get my tools back. He is one busy little boy. I decided I don't care for picket fences at all. The style is not my style. I am going to play with a picture in photoshop and see what it would look like if I cut of the picket part of the fence. I like split rail style, or a fence with more horizontal lines. Barbed wire would've looked a little scary, but I'm sure it would have worked...I have the section by the gator to finish, and then I have to make the gates. That seems to me to be the hard part. And the bat in my car? It turned out to be a four inch long moth with a 6-7 inch wing span. That was the hugest moth I have ever seen, and I'm so happy it wasn't a bat.
Here is the best helper of them all. She sits in her stroller and smiles and sucks on her big toe while I work. She got extra lucky tonight because Kacy and Will took her four wheelin' in the stroller. She had fun. She is almost five months old.

Fence Project, Day three

This is what I did this morning. I set all the rails, except for down by the gator, which is in the way. That section will just have to wait until Ryan gets home so he can move it for me. Other than that, I have the ends done, and the side against the trailer. I had to fence that side too because of the space under the trailer. I got it done a lot faster than I thought (this part...) and looking down one section I thought "Holy smokes! That's crooked!" But I don't care. I don't think anyone else will notice. And if they do, I'll just say, "Hey, I'm spatially challenged, okay?" or I'll blame the kids. I'm going to trim a piece that was too long (stupid mistake...) and then clean up the area and myself. Then I'm off to Bakersfield for a quick trip to pick up the pickets. I need to go search for the bat, too. Stupid bat.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fence Project, day two, and Pioneer day

No pictures, because I didn't get much done. Ryan's dad called and said he has pickets! That's great. So tomorrow I am going to wake up early and set as many rails as I can using this very unscientific method of my eyeballs and a level. I figure as long as each section is level, no one will notice if the fence is off by one or two inches. Hey, I'm no professional, and it's my first fence. I did set one section of rail before I quit tonight. I got really discouraged with all the bugs that kept dive bombing me. The bugs I could almost handle, but I quit at my second bat. In fact, I have a bat in my car. I was using my car to gather the air compressor, hose, and nail gun. While loading the air compressor in my car (it sat in Ed's car seat...) a bat flew into my car! What to do? My plan for tonight is to leave one window down and hope it flies out. I'll check it better in the morning when it's daylight and they are supposed to be sleeping. I chose one window because I didn't want to let anymore IN. But I'm not sure if that makes sense or not.
Today is Pioneer Day. Pioneer Day is the day that the pioneers from back east first came to the Salt Lake Valley. It meant a long trek in covered wagons (if you could afford it) or handcarts (pulled by hand, obviously). In our church's history this was a big deal. The members of the church kept being thrown out of towns and states because they were so "weird". Did you know it was legal to kill a Mormon in Missouri until just a few years ago? Seriously. Being a Mormon is more than just belonging to a church, it's a way of life and it is it's own culture. I think that's why it stings so badly when I have people make fun of it, or think that my religion is totally nuts, because that's who I am. (I can be a little nuts sometimes...) If you know me and like me at all, you HAVE to think that Mormon's are that freaky. But I got that a lot growing up. A lot of asking questions like "How many dad's do you have?" (okay, so lame, because even if we did practice polygamy, it would be how many MOMS, alright?") and "Why do you worship Joseph Smith?" (We do???) and my favorite "You're not a Christian, you are going to burn in hell." (Great friend Amy once had a run in with this herself, concerning me. She stuck up for me, which meant a lot to me.) Crimany people, if you are going to insult me, at least do it properly. That's just how it's been for me, up until I stayed home to raise the kids. That's when I left the workforce, and that's when the comments stopped. Ryan said he's never gotten comments like these. I must be an easy target. (Read between the lines: I'm a wimp!) On my mom's side of the family I have some ancestor's who crossed the plains, and I don't care who you are, that's impressive. I think of all the pioneers who made a trek on the Mormon trail, the Oregon trail, all the way to California (for gold!) and am impressed with their fortitude. I think that's why living in a trailer isn't too bad. It could be worse. I could be in a covered wagon. Or a tent. Or my house could be a dugout with a thatched roof. But no, I have running water, electricity, a toilet and shower, and propane to cook with. And the microwave (one of my favorite inventions ever!).
To celebrate pioneer day we had a primary activity today at the park. Marcie and I dressed up (a bit reluctantly...) in pioneer clothes. We played the "pull the stick" game, had a pie eating contest, a three legged race, tug of war, and ate hot dogs. The main attractions were the horse and carriage, compliments of a couple in our ward. It was very cool. AND the candy rocket. Okay, so the pioneers did NOT have air compressors, but the kids LOVED it, and so did I. Marcie's husband had this rocket thing that used PVC, a two liter bottle, water, and air, and it launched the bottle up into the air. The bottle had a dish taped to it, and the dish was full of candy- it was raining candy!
The bugs are still creeping me out and I have the heebie-jeebies because it feels like they are crawling on me. My hair is much like the loop part of hook and loop tape (Velcro) and bugs stick in it easily. Totally freaks me out. And that bat... that is in my car...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fence Project, day one

I woke up this morning and decided to build a fence. Really. So I drew up some plans on graph paper, measured and measured the area, and then measured and measured my car. I made a trip to the Home Depot in Ridgecrest and loaded up four 4x4x16 posts, had the guy there cut them into four foot lengths (to fit in my car... the whole fence project has to be able to fit in my car). Here are the posts in back of the drivers seat. I am using regular douglas fir because this is a temporary fence for just a couple of years, so I'm not worried about rotting.
Here are the posts set into the ground. This is our "yard" right now, and it's totally trashy and I'm tired of it. I am going to put those pipe somewhere else, and our Gator that has a perpetual flat tire and needs wiring work looks awful. I want mt little trailer yard to look nicer, but the main reason for the fence is to keep kids IN and the dog OUT. My container garden is in here, and I'm going to build a sandbox with sand that won't get my kids dirty. I may order some outdoor toys or a swing set, I'm not sure yet. I used a post hole digger to set the posts 16 inches into the dirt, with an inch of gravel in the bottom. One post is about an inch higher than all the rest, and my first row is much more crooked than my second row. I got better as I went along. I dry set the posts by filling in with the dirt and tamping it with a stick of rebar. That took forever, but those posts are solid! I set them about four feet apart (again, four feet fits in my car neatly...) and on both ends I'm going to build a gate. When I came home I looked at Ryan's stacks of wood and found more than enough 2x4x16 which I plan on using for the top rail and side rail. I am going to go to the hardware store up here and see if they have any pickets. My fence is going to be between three and four feet high when it's done.Altogether it is 63 linear feet of fence. It's not perfect, but it's going to serve it's purpose. I nearly lost Ed again today and I am DONE with him wandering. I cannot take it mentally. I seriously get really panicked feel like I'm going to pass out. It could've been the heat...
I am thinking that I will be able to kick the kids outside and clean the house! And they'll be contained! And safe! And I'll be able to see them and hear them...I am beginning to relax already. Tomorrow I get to use more power tools and I'm excited. I'd really like to use Ryan's welder and finish a project, but I'd like to live. Besides, it needs new wiring put in it, it weighs like 600 pounds, and I know very little about welding. But I think I have a great teacher in mind, and when our house is finished, he can teach me how to properly build a fence and weld it for our horse pens and pole barn.

A word about Kacy

Kacy is teaching herself to read. Last night we were planting seeds in our garden (I'll post about that later...) and I hear "L-eh-sss, less. Mom, what does less mean? Oh ya, like Henry on Oswald. He likes three marshmallows, no more, no less." I look up at her and see that she is looking at the cover of my book. She then proceeds with "wa-o-er-k. Mom, what does waerk mean?" I tell her it says "work". She then picks up my seed packet and sounds out "herb". Holy smokes, I told myself I wasn't going to teach her how to read before Kindergarten so that she wouldn't be bored in school and/or pester the teacher. She is very capable of learning to read (seriously, she recognized and could identify all 26 letters of the alphabet when she was 17 months old... not my fault, I promise.) ---oh well, I guess I will ponder over what to do with her while I go attempt to build a fence. Yup, Ryan is out of town and now is my time to use his tools and surprise him with a fence around my gravel area to keep the kids IN. I need a safe place for my kids so I don't have to worry about them, and they'll stay out of construction stuff, grease, motorcycle parts, and those infamous bushes. I'll put up a picture when it's done. I hope to have it done by Saturday at noon. With the kids "helping" me, we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A sunset, a car, and a cake

The sunset on Sunday evening in Bakersfield. I thought the clouds looked neat-o.
My old car and my new car. Jocelyn and Oscar bought my van last month when we decided to get a more economic car. It was a hard decision to make, but our wallet will thank us. It gets more than twice the MPG than our van, and when you drive about 2000 miles a month, it really adds up.
Speaking of adding up, we've had the car for five weeks and it has 3678 miles on it. And wouldn't you know that we had road closures due to flash floods, and that our road is now passable, but very muddy and watery still? The van could've handled the water easily with it's lift and all. But my wallet couldn't have taken the almost 3700 miles in a little over a month gas bill. I love my new car- it is so sporty in the canyon. And I can keep it cleaner on the inside because I can reach all of it. It's a Mazda 5. It seats 6 people and I average 26-28 mpg. I haven't had any problems loading it up with groceries either. A trip to Lowe's or Home Depot for lumber is out...
And finally, a really cute cake made by Cherie, the self proclaimed "I don't decorate cakes well" cake decorator. She does a great job, they taste great, and the kids LOVE them. Ed got into the cake and ate an entire donut wheel when no one was looking. He ate FAST! Ah Ed. He is such a sweet boy, really. He has a strong, independent, two year old personality. If I don't have to call search and rescue by the time he's ten, I won't worry about him ever after that.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My kids' room

How I fit four kids into a space that is 5 feet by 8 feet (40 square feet...). It's not perfect and causes me much grief when the toys aren't picked up or they throw the blankets and pillows all over the small, small floor space. That is a pet peeve of mine anyway- blankets and pillows on the ground. Especially pillows. The thought of feet on the same surface you put your face on at night grosses me out. One of my neurosis, I guess. The black thing in the corner is our TV.

Stair-step storage from Ikea. I had this when we lived in a real house. It works really well for keeping toys off the floor- easy to throw stuff in when you are in a hurry (or mad at your kids for dumping everything out and throwing toys everywhere). Jessie sleeps in the white metal crib- it's a mini crib. We got it when Will was born. They make lots cuter ones now. Will and Ed both used it and they were big babies. I would recommend a mini crib to just about everyone- they take up less space. Mine folds in half, and I plan on keeping this crib for my grand kids if they come to visit because of the easy storage feature. I don't know what that is under the crib, except that I was cleaning (throwing stuff away) and didn't get to that part yet.
The other side of the "room" looks like this. The boys share the bottom bunk, and they do a good job at it! Kacy gets the top. The bunk bed is also from Ikea (cheap! real wood!). The black three drawer thing holds diapers and extra sheets. The basket on top holds extra stuff like blankets when it's hot, or pants that are off for nap time. The maroon colored curtain on the right side is the fourth "wall". We close it at nap times to help make it darker. There is a two foot space on the bottom of it. They make toy hauler trailers with a "garage" area- where there is a real wall and a door to separate the trailer. We now wish we got that style instead. It might be nice to have your kids play in an area where you can't see them or hear them once in awhile... And if we want to watch TV at night, it's really not nice for the kids because the TV is RIGHT THERE. (More of a problem when Ryan is home. When he works I put the kids to bed and then go to my room and read. Or fold laundry. And curse under my breath at all the stuff I keep tripping over, even though I just cleaned...)
This little area had gone through lots of transitions. I'm always looking for ways to make it better, and right now I'm at a standstill. Will and Kacy keep their clothes under the bed in a rolling storage box. THAT works great.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Winner, and things I don't want to forget about my kids

Before I announce the winner of my little drawing, I'd like to thank you all for the ideas for songs. My favorite suggestion ended up being "I Never Go to Work" by They Might Be Giants. I am now going to purchase that DVD or CD for my kids. They love it, and I like it a lot, so it's great. And the winner is also the girl (lady, woman, lass, whatever!) who suggested it- Powersfam. Send me an email at karrie@hughes.net with your address. And a funny thing about powersfam, is that my mom used to babysit the hubby after school when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade.
This contest was very "bloggy" of me- usually I just blog about what goes on in my life that I want to remember in years to come when I'm reading my blog book (published by lulu.com). It felt a little weird, actually. So here I return to things of interest to me, and maybe anyone else.
I was talking to Will last week about his birthday coming up, and I asked him if he wanted to do anything special. He said he wanted an accordion. And to go to Aunt Gaye's house. He also wants to be a helicopter pilot or a jet pilot. Last Sunday Will asked me where we were going after church and I said "China" (because he knows we always go to Grandma Bunting's on Sundays... bad mommy to use sarcasm on a three year old). After church we turned the corner to take Ryan home and Will started crying "This isn't the way to China!" After our visit at the Bunting's, I was putting his shoes and socks on and he started crying again when I told him it was time to go home. "What about China? I want to go to China!" Tears and sobbing- all the adults present were laughing. It was funny. I was mean for lying to my kid. Sorry Will, but maybe you can go to China some other time.
Monday of this week we were all outside working on my garden (only two little tomatoe plants) because the dog and kids destroyed my first attempt. Ryan is welding on my square foot grid for me, and I am going to hook up and electric shock box to it to keep the pests out (dog and kids). We were all outside together, when Ed disappears (again!!!) I called and called for him, and of course he didn't show up. So Ryan climbs on top of our trailer and spots him in the bushes. HIDING. He called his name and Ed hunkered down further. That boy gives me fits. You would think I'd be in super shape chasing after him all the time. But I like food. A lot.
Today I got a haircut and it look funky. She did a terrible job. Cutting curly hair is a specialty I think. I came home and fixed it some. I think it'll be okay for a while. If I still hate it next week, maybe I can get someone else to fix it. I wanted layers so my hair wasn't so heavy and weighed down on top and bushy at the ends. She did the layers too choppy, and it was abrupt looking and nasty. It still fits in a ponytail though, so my usual hair do will still work. I think I have bangs. Kind of. This brings back my fear of hair people. I have had so many bad experiences with haircuts it's unreal.
Two days ago our pressure tank exploded. This is the second one in two years. A pressure tank is a tank you hook up to your well. It fills up and then pressurizes to give you a steady flow into your house or yard. This stops the well from drawing directly, which runs the well pump off and on too much. It is much easier and cheaper to replace a pressure tank than a well pump. Can I tell you the inconvenience this is? We still have running water, but as a precaution, we don't let it run for long periods. That means shallow baths. No laundry done. I have a HEAP of clothes to work on tomorrow.
Ryan is getting ready to leave for a week on a big backpacking trip with the scouts. I'm being selfish, but I'm not looking forward to it. He'll come home on Saturday and then leave Monday for Girls' Camp for a week. Almost two straight weeks of me and the kids...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Flash floods, day 2 (and 3)

Yesterday was Sunday, so of course we went to church. After church we dropped Ryan off at home and then went to his parent's house for Sunday dinner. All of Cherie's sisters were there, as well as lots of yummy food. (You have not had peach cobbler until you have eaten my mother-in-laws. They grow their own peaches...delicious! And I got to bring home lots of peaches and tomatoes- heavenly!) After dinner, Ryan's dad tells me he just talked to Ryan on the phone and that Ryan said the rain was worse than on Saturday. We look at the CHP website and county roads have closed a bunch of roads up here, and they specifically mention that my road might be next, within the hour. I gather up the kids and think that I can race home to beat the flood. About ten minutes into my trip Ryan calls me and tells me to stay in town because our road has at least three feet of water and mud running across it. For 200 yards. I turn around and go back to his parents and stay the night. Jocelyn provided us all with pj's. Ed woke up once and was calling for me in the kitchen. Will slept like a dead man. Kacy slept with me in my bed, and woke up early. When we finally got up, Ed was found on the living room rug. We came home early this morning, and everyone took a long nap. The kids are still sleeping. Ryan got called out early to work because it is once again raining and flooding. It looks like it might come this way in the next 1/2 hour or so. Nevermind. It's here. The wind is picking up, it's getting darker, and the temperature is falling.
Oh, and when Ryan came home on Saturday night, it took the guy less than 10 minutes to fix our electricity problem. The other day when he was working on his motorcycle, Kacy said "You sure know how to fix a bunch of stuff Dad." I said "Yup, what we do if Dad didn't know all this stuff?" Ryan replied "You would probably be living in a house.... nevermind. Let's not think about that."
True. Very true.
It's almost Wednesday- if you want to enter in my giveaway, do it now!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Days like this...

I hate it when you can't get a hold of your husband when it's a semi-emergency and when he finally calls you back he says in a very rushed, very stressed out voice "I can't talk right now I just got out of a helicopter." Me- "Oh, okay then, bye."

Here's the story: You know that fire we've been watching for the past two weeks? Well, it has finally left our area for good. Yea! Today we got a thunderstorm though. You know what a 35,000 acre high desert/mountain forest fire does when you get monsoonal rain pour in 45 minutes? Flash floods. Mudslides. During this 45 monsoonal downpour (I'm completely serious about the amount of water- unbelievable) Ryan is at work. Our power goes out. I think it's because of the weather. It is, kind of, but it's a personal problem because it's only the power to our trailer. I find this out AFTER the rain stops and I decide to go into town to get bread for church tomorrow. I usually make it in the bread machine. I go to lock up our red box and notice we have power there. That's a bad feeling. I go and look at the mess of wires that hook our trailer up to civilization and there is a heap of black, melted plug. Charred beyond recognition. Dental record burnt. It got so hot that it burnt some wood that was around it. The rain did it. And the rain put it out. So I take a picture of it on my camera and figure I'll see if I can meet up with Ryan so he knows what he's up against at home. No AC, no fans. I call and call on my call phone. I figure if I get pulled over, it would be by him, so it would work out perfectly. He doesn't return my calls. I go to Vons for bread, milk, and ice cream. I over hear some guy on his cell saying "You'll have to take the long way home, there was a 10 foot wall of..." and I didn't catch the rest. I check out and Ryan calls me as I am paying the lady. We have the conversation about the helicopter, if you can call it a conversation. I get a little sick to my stomach from stress, thinking that he's having a bad day and that he was probably holding some guys brain in his head while air lifting him to the hospital. (It's happened before, but in an ambulance not a chopper). I call my mom (the Internet Junkie) because I know she has the CHP website as one of her favorites. She doesn't answer, so I call the best source, my Brother-in-law Michael who is also a CHP. He calls dispatch and tells me what happened. Then Ryan calls me back later at home and tells me what happened. He got called out to an area because they kept getting 911 calls about flooding and it sounded really bad and no one believed them. Ryan went out to see if it was as bad as the callers said, and when he got there, it got worse! He said he was lucky to have been parked where he was and no where else because water was coming from everywhere. He said 20 foot spans of flood water were rushing everywhere. He was stranded, rivers of water on all sides of him, and radioed for help. A helicopter came and dropped a line 150 feet to pull him up. Then it took him to the high school and dropped him off.
I tell you what- that boy has all the cool stories.
I'll tell you what else, days like this make me long for a more normal life.
We still don't have power in our trailer. I am using my laptop and our dial-up connection to document the occaision. I have battery, but the battery system only turns on lights. No fans. And we do have a generator. And fuel. But guess what? We found out the last time we lost power that with our storage trailer parked right next to us, the exhaust from the generator comes into the trailer and sets off the carbon monoxide alarm. And tries to silently kill us. And the dog ate the wiring that turns of the generator from the inside. It's so quiet, I can hear the silence. And Ryan isn't coming home tonight. He has to go retreive his patrol car ("It's still stuck up there, it has all my stuff and my guns..." good thing I took out out NICE camera two days ago and forgot to put it back!) Seriously- it's a good thing Ryan is so manly and tough, because I would've cried.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

200th post giveaway and Ed

This is assuming that people still read my blog besides myself. If no one does, that's cool, I'll use this card for myself! I have recently discovered iTunes, and iLove it. I don't have an iPod, and have yet to pay for anything off of iTunes. I am enjoying the podcasts of children's stories for my car rides. I know I'm about five years behind the rest of the world on this one. But I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway. I didn't do the Pay It Forward thing that was going on awhile back because I felt like if I won, I wasn't able to PIF because I was so busy. Now it's my turn. Leave me a comment and maybe tell me what your favorite song to run to it, and if you are a NONE runner, then just your favorite song. Or just say hi. You have a week- I will randomly draw a name or number or whatever next Wednesday morning and announce.
This morning Ed woke up with no diaper on. That's bad in my book. I was feeding Jessie, and I told Ed to go find his diaper. He goes and looks for it (kind of) and says "Diaper, where arrrrrreee yoooouuuu?" Last week he chased a coyote. I forget the exact day, probably due to my traumatic stress syndrome from dealing with my boys. Last week George (the dog) starts barking. The boys go outside to see what he is barking at while I make Ryan and I lunch (the kids had just finished eating...). I let them out, unsupervised. Kacy is standing by the window and says "Mom. The boys are following George." I say "Um hmm. That's nice." while making our lunch. She says "MOM. The boys are following George into the bushes!" I go out the door and yell at them to come back. Will comes back. Ryan can hear me yelling at Ed (He's pretty far away and NOT coming back, even though he stopped long enough to look at me and smile.) Ryan says "I'll go get him" and walks after him. This in itself makes me uneasy because I RUN after Ed, and Ryan WALKS. He's much more relaxed about it than me. I forgot to mention that we can hear a coyote yipping in broad daylight. I let Ryan go get him and the dog, and when he comes back 20 minutes later, Ed is red in the face and Ryan reports that Ed would stop and cock his head to listen, and then go in the direction of the coyote noise. George ended up following Ed (good dog, sort of- he he was really great he wouldn't brought Ed home somehow). My 25 month old thinks he's Daniel Boone or something- tracking wild animals. He is completely unafraid of animals. It's a little scary. I told Ryan that he's one of those kids who could be raised by wild animals and actually survive and thrive. You know, like Tarzan, Mowgli (TheJungle Book kid)- he's mean, he's tough, and he'll eat anything. Now, if only he would magically be potty trained...

Monday, July 7, 2008


We had a loud afternoon of bombers. There were two types- small ones and BIG ones. (I've never been into planes, but might start...) There were four big ones and two little ones circling the mountain and dropping stuff. Pretty neat when the plane is so big and so low that it casts huge shadows over you and shakes your house. Okay, so maybe if I had a real house, it wouldn't shake. But the trailer "hums" a little with the big bombers. The kids think the whole thing is "cool" and "awesome".
I just took out the trash and I can't even see the mountain in all the pictures I've been taking. The wind has shifted again, hopefully only temporarily. And did I mention it was 106 here today! Good times! And on a mental note, me being the mental one- seeing all those planes made me very grateful I wasn't in Europe during WWII. THAT would have been scary and very stressful.

Fire Update (Again)

This is what it looks like right now. There are bombers flying rotations alternating between water and fire retardant (that red stuff). Like Ryan said, fighting fire is like voodoo magic. A lot of speculation involving terrain and weather. He just called me a little while ago and said the fire is moving west (we are east of the fire) and that they are evacuating a different area. It's nice having him "in" on what's happening. We don't even have smoke over us- just one day last week. The air is still clear; it does smell a little like a campfire. We are lucky right now that the wind is coming from the SE instead of the NW like it usually does. The county website has a cool thing about the fire and says how many acres and how much it has cost. They update it twice a day. Cool maps and stuff, too. Oh ya- see that FINE yellow box in the picture? That is some truck bed that Ryan got as a "good deal" and I have no idea what he had/has in mind for it. It's ugly, please ignore it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hunter's Baptism and the FIRE

Last night when Ryan got home (2:45 AM- again, stupid people who drink and drive, and light fireworks (!!!!!) when they are illegal...) he told me that they were going to evacuate us the next day (today). I was barely awake, and I told him "Are you serious? Did you tell them we aren't leaving and that I'll wave a pitchfork at anyone who tries to make me?" I don't know what a pitchfork has to do with anything, except that I associate it with crazy people in protest. Anyway, when I left my property this morning at 11:30am to go to Bakersfield, the mountain looked a little smolder-y and that's it. The wind had died down around 3 or 4am. I went to Bakersfield where the kids played on the slip and slide and grandma and papa Bunting's house. Then we went to Hunter's baptism. Hunter is my step-nephew. Just so you know, taking you kids to play outside in the water and then to a church function is stupid- the kids had no naps and it showed with Ed. And Jessie was acting weird too. Kacy and Will were great. Everything is easier when your kids are at least three years old. Not easy, just easier. Anyway, on the way home Ryan called me and told me the winds had picked up again and that we were on notice to evacuate. This made me a little queasy. I thought about our dog, George, and how he is NOT getting in my new car, the hairy beast. And then I had other thoughts like, "Well, if we really, really have to go, Ryan better get home and hook up the trailer and take me to the lake for awhile because I can't hook the thing up." and then I started thinking, "What would I take if I couldn't take my trailer?" And then I thought "I will have a mental breakdown if the beginnings of my house burn to the ground and I have to live in the trailer that much longer." I just seriously might. But then I think "Whatever. If it's going to happen, it'll happen. We have a huge cleared area around our house, a small cleared area around our trailer, at least WE won't burn up." It's all just stuff, right? But it would be a PAIN to replace all of Ryan's tools and equipment, all of our furniture that we have stored up here... expensive! And we don't have homeowners insurance because technically we don't have a home. Should check on that... maybe there is some kind of fire insurance for campers with lots of stuff in storage. :) Anyway, I just checked the burning mountain and did the official wind test of licking my finger and holding it up in the wind, and I have no idea where the wind is coming from and how it might effect the fire. All I know is that I have lots of faith in the firefighters, nothing will happen that I have to worry about tonight, and that we should be okay as long as the wind stays mild. Ryan, on the other hand, has one heck of a night in front of him. The lake has a fireworks show tonight that is free, and there are people everywhere. Lots of RV's, tents, cars. Lots of BBQ's. Beer. Fights. Illegal fireworks. He's not going to get home until the wee hours of the morning.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jessie and the Fire

This is Ryan's version of the fire. The smarty pants knows all about photography ("magic" to me) and uses the manual functions on our big camera. This was about 11:15 last night. This morning when we got up there was nothing burning, but within an hour there was very distinct smoke. Apparently, we live in a rainshadow, which explains the oddity of living between two mountain ranges, one with pine trees, the other with Joushua trees.
Jessie was four months old on Wednesday. I took her to the doctor and she is 26 inches long, and weighed 14 pounds 11 ounces. She also had a heart murmur (very common in infants, nothing to worry about) and a crooked head. Her head is "slightly" flat on the right side, which is the side she has favored since birth. So, I have to be a little more conscientious about laying her so she has to put her head to the left. She already has stranger anxiety. She has started to eat some rice cereal. She likes to suck her thumb, and a few times I've seen her sucking the same two fingers as Kacy did. She is so good, and she sleeps like a champ (11 hours seems to be normal at night- wow. I got lucky! Just wait until she starts teething though- then I'll be up again at night. Since my kids all teeth really late, I've got awhile.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fire Update

As of ten minutes ago, this is what the fire was doing- cresting the ridge of the mountain that by my estimates is about three miles away from us. I had to get out our big camera to take this shot, and I should have used a tripod. Whatever. I am going to go outside and watch the flames eat the trees. It is closer to us than I would like it to be, but since Ryan is my resident expert, he having been a hot shot crew member, having taken fire classes and range management, he having the inside info because of his job, AND the fact that he has traversed the terrain many times on his motorcycle, I am relying on him for worry. And since he's not worried, I'm not worried. Now, I'm going to spend some time in a lawn chair watching the flames.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

House Update

What rough plumbing looks like... as opposed to just "plumbing", which consists of pipes (or PEX tubing) in the walls, fixtures, toilets... In a cement slab foundation this is all laid in the dirt and covered with the cement, with the tops of the pipes sticking up. In a crawl space foundation, it is hung from the I-beams. California code says that you have to have your pipes drop 1/4 inch per foot of run. Honestly, this part is taking forever, and I think once we start framing, it'll go FAST. Ryan is all excited about the framing. He hates still being in the dirt. A few more things to do before the next inspection, then he can put the subfloor on. We are doing an extra step by laying plywood between the I-beams and then putting in cellulose insulation because we are going to insulate wherever we can. Doing this extra step will create a better "envelope" as the term goes in the building industry. That, and sealing up all your holes around your windows.
Ryan has also covered up the septic system and is pushing the dirt in around the block wall. Sounds easy, and it is with our tractor, but it takes a lot more time to move tons of dirt than I thought.