Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black and White

Hi!  Hi!  Hi!  Hi!  My name is Coal and I am 3 months old.  Mommy took me outside this morning and there was this fuzzy stuff all over the yard.  Did someone unstuff my monkey out here?  I have to go check this out....hey, this stuff is cold on my wittle paws.  What is this?  Hmm, it doesn't smell like a boney or my food but I wonder what it tastes like?  Hey, it is sticking to my nose!  Wait a minute, if I push it, it is a ball! Oops, I popped that ball, better make a new one...darn, that one popped too!  I'll make a bigger one, oops, that one popped too.  These white fluffy balls must be defective.  Mommy, you need to talk to somebody about these new balls, they really don't last.  

I need to sit down and relax a minute...oh, hey, what is that on my behind?  Ichywowwow, this stuff is cold!!  Maybe it was just in that one spot.  Nope, that spot is cold too!  What about here?  Nope cold too!  I think I want to go inside now and sleep on Mommy's chair when she isn't looking!

Friday, November 28, 2008

No Way, No How

MEF Nicole is a trooper.  On 3 hours of sleep, she went out shopping.  On Black Friday.  With the mother.  Did I ever tell you that I think she is insane?  I love her to death, but the girl is crazy!

There is no way I'm going shopping today.  I hate crowds.  I hate rude people.  I have very little patience for the hustle and bustle.  I want to go buy a bed for Coal and I don't want to even bother with the traffic surrounding the local pet store.  I know that some people get a charge out of the hunt, it is the thing that puts them in the mood.  Not me.

I am the ultimate procrastinator.  I wait until the last stinkin' minute to do my shopping.  Generally every year I get a call from my credit card company questioning my rampant purchases one after another.  No scam, no fraud, just the great procrastinator doing her thing.  This is the way that I get in the mood.  I think about it all for awhile, process a plan in my mind, then run out at the last minute and buy it all in a couple of hours.  I guess I work better under pressure.

But this year I am going to try to be better.  I'm not shopping for anything today but I will definitely try to start before Christmas eve!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


If you watch the news or read the papers, you would think that no one has anything to be thankful for.  I beg your pardon, but I think I have a lot to be thankful for.

  • I'm thankful that Mr. Monkeygirl just told me about a discount I can get on online shoes. 
  • I'm thankful that Skaterboy just tried to skate to his cousin's with Coal, and the dog stole his skateboard.
  • I'm thankful that Friday I get to sleep late while Mr. M has to get up at the crack of dawn.
  • I'm thankful that we - ok, Mr. M - has to make mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes for dinner tonight.
  • I'm thankful that we have to decide who gets what car today for all of the places we need to be.
These may seem like silly things to be thankful for but they have a much deeper meaning.  We have a home to live in.  We still have a career in these difficult times.  We can afford to own a car or two and even afford to put gas in them.  We have a child who is safe and happy at home instead of being out god knows where.  We have family to share a meal with and to love no matter what.  We can afford to feed a teenager and a growing puppy, as well as ourselves.  We have lots of friends who we want to share time with, laugh with, and comfort in times of need.

Today is the day to count your blessings.  Everything may not be perfect in your world, but you all still have a lot to be thankful for.  So to all of my family and friends, thank you for being a part of my life and for making it much richer and fuller than I could have ever imagined!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tail Tale

Tonight I asked the M&M's if they were ready for a surprise. I got an enthusiastic response from the back seat on the way home tonight. Aunt "Bonkeygirl" asked "What do you think the surprise is?" I got all kinds of answers from hotwheels to princess dolls but nothing close to the real surprise.

So I switched tactics..."Your surprise has a tail. What has a tail?" I asked.

Boy M: "Dinosaurs has a tails"  True.  But Aunt Bonkeygirl has no idea where to get a real dino.
Girl M: "Bunny wabbits has tails" Yep, you are right but it is not a bunny either.
Boy M: "Is it a snake?" Uhm, can you classify a snake as having a tail?  I mean it is kind of just one big tail with eyes and teeth, right?  

After trying to explain why I don't like snakes and how snakes move and what happens if you step on one and would it hurt the snake to be squished and why do snakes bite and why it was okay for the kids to be walking in the street when they can't (they were crossing at the crosswalk and they were also at least 13 years old) we tried to focus on the original question again.

Boy M: "A lizard?" Yes, lizards have a tail.  I guess I need to provide another hint or we are never going to get anywhere.

Aunt B: "What has a tail and is furry?"
Girl M: "A kitty-kat!"
Boy M: "A raccoon!" 
Girl M: "A doggie!" Finally, I never thought we would get here!

Yes, Aunt Bonkeygirl got her own puppy and I wanted to prepare them for the chaos of a 3 month old puppy.  I spent the rest of the drive home trying to explain why I had a dog and that it wasn't their dog and why it was ok that they had two dogs and that I wanted my own...oh never mind, it is too hard too explain to a 3 & 4 year old.  It was really cute though to hear Boy M describe their new dog....

"We already had a girl dog so we got a boy dog this time, so I wouldn't be the only boy in the house.  His name was Jason but we gave him a new life so we gave him a new name.  He gets to start over with his new name and I got to pick out his name....."

All in all, it was uneventful.  Coal was hyper but so were the M&M's but they really got along well and Coal only tried a couple of times to chew on their toys or eat their dinner.  The M&M's only tried to play with dog toys a couple of times.  Coal must have had fun because he is now crashed out in the middle of the floor snoring his head off!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monkey Monday - with a twist

Today we have a twist.  We do have a new monkey in our house but this time, the monkey doesn't belong to me. The new monkey belongs to Coal.  Who is the heck is Coal, you ask?  Coal is our new puppy!

We have been talking about getting a dog for months.  I was reluctant at first.  But Mr. Monkeygirl was relentless.  He pleaded his case repeatedly - he had hundreds of dogs in the past, it would give him something to do when I traveled, wouldn't it be nice to have a dog curled up at your feet?

Mr. Monkeygirl kept finding the cutest dogs through a local animal rescue group and would show me the pictures.  I finally caved in and gave him my blessing to fill out the adoption papers.  For some reason, he didn't fill out the papers and the puppies kept getting adopted.  He would show people the picture of the dog "he almost had".  

Last week, my sister found a stray dog roaming her neighborhood.  They took the dog to the local animal shelter but let us know that we should go check him out. Mr. Monkeygirl went up after I left town and found out that the owners had already come to claim him.  So much for that one, but Mr. M. did find a little black lab puppy.  We tried to go up to adopt him on Friday but they told us that the owners were coming up to get him.  Undeterred, Mr. M decided to visit the shelter every day after work until the owners picked him up or they let us adopt him.

So we have a new puppy in the house.  I guess I need to stop leaving my shoes on the floor and I need to get him a new collar with bells on it since he likes to sneak up in between your legs when you aren't paying attention.  Skaterboy and Coal are playing tug-o-war right now and I'm not really sure who is winning!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just Following Doctor's Orders

I went to the doctor today and I had to break the bad news to Mr. Monkeygirl.  I am no longer allowed to kiss him.  Honestly, I'm just following doctor's orders.  Dr. B's exact words were "Do not kiss anyone!  Well, unless you really hate them, then kiss away."

Apparently I do not have strep.  I was convinced that is what I had but then again my background isn't in medicine so what do I know!  I have a virus.  And generally, nothing is given for viruses.  However, Dr. B decided that he liked me and didn't want to kill me so he gave me a prescription.  It seems that most people he has seen with this virus who were told to let it run its course, have ended up in the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia.  Wouldn't that be a pleasant way to spend the holidays? Not!

So I left with a script for antibiotics and allergy medication.  Apparently my efforts to self-prescribe a cure were not too far off.  The allergy medication is supposed to reduce the inflammation in my ears and throat and the antibiotics will kill the bad stuff.  I hope it works soon, I really would like to be able to kiss again!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There is no place like home

Whew!  This has been a week.  Traveling always wipes me out.  Being "on" day and night is mentally exhausting and then keeping up with the stuff at the office in your down time can make one woozy.  But on this trip, I had a little added drama to make me glad to be home.

I felt horrible all week.  It started over the weekend with a scratchy throat.  I didn't think much of it since it was 30 degrees and snowy.  I figured I would try to get in to the doctor on Monday morning if I didn't feel better.  Monday morning came and I felt much better so I decide that I didn't need to try to squeeze in a doctor's appointment between work, packing and making a mid afternoon flight. Apparently that was a big mistake.  

All week I alternated between an earache, a headache, or a sore throat.  At 2:20 this morning I woke up to all 3 and realized that my glands in my neck are also visibly swollen.  While I knew my doctor wouldn't make a house call in Arizona, I decided I would try to get a jump on all of the other sick people in the midwest.  I placed a call to the office early this morning and was told that I could NOT make an appointment and that the doctor was only seeing "emergency" patients on Friday.  What exactly is defined as an emergency I asked?  "Oh, you know if you are sick or have a cut or something" was the chirpy response.  

So I guess I qualify as an emergency but I have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for one of the lottery slots for the emergency sick people.  Wish me luck!

Out of Vodka- again!

Wouldn't you know it, after a long couple of days I just wanted to relax with a drink. A refreshing cocktail in the clear, crisp desert air might just be the thing to end the day on a high note. At the very least, after a couple of cocktails, we might not care what note the day ends on! Oh wait, this gets better - there is a free happy hour on the deck at the resort! Sweet!

New Boss and I skipped out on the evening's planned activities and decided to grab a drink and some dinner. Apparently, we were not alone and saw a lot of other familiar faces enjoying the beautiful November weather. The bartender was pouring drinks while dancing to the music playing and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Until this litting phrase was sung out..... uh, oh, I t'ink we out of Vodka!

Seriously? Again? What were we going to do? Being the efficient, fast thinking problem solving team that we are, we quickly surveyed the scene and saved the day. While, yes, we were technically out of the plain vodka, there was plenty of mandarin orange vodka to go around. Crisis averted and everyone was happy!

The funniest part of this is that just the day before we were chatting and the whole subject of running out of vodka came up along with blogging. I shared my blog with a few new people so when the waiter sang out his little tune - New Boss (I got to come up with a better name!) and I just looked at each other and started laughing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Photoshop is an amazing tool

I wish this was a blog about how I fixed some flaw in a photo and saved some priceless moment from being ruined by an errant blip, thumb or trashcan. But no, it isn't that special.

You may or may not know that I am out of town this week on business. So far, it has been an interesting trip. It started with the gate agent boarding the entire plane in one fell swoop yesterday. Not a big deal if you are flying a tiny puddle jumper, but this wasn't that small of a plane and considering that is was in the 30's yesterday, the wait on the Jetway was brutal!

The next hurdle came when I attempted to find the hotel from the airport. It seemed really easy according to my GPS directions on my phone. One problem, they weren't exactly accurate and I kept driving in circles around the Phoenix Airport. I got new directions and headed off on what I thought was the right path and then my phone froze up. Completely locked up. Now I am driving a car I'm not used to, in a city where I've never been, in the dark, in rush hour. Oh yeah, and I'm completely lost. Phoenix "looks" easy to navigate from the air, it all seems to be laid out in a grid. But from the ground, I was confused. Of course, I have two fatal flaws working against me, I have a horrible sense of direction and I'm stubborn. After 180 minutes of driving around in circles, I finally found the hotel. I honestly think I was within blocks of the place 5 or 6 times and gave up and turned around.

The hotel's website made this place look chichi. I was kind of excited about seeing it person. Turns out, not so exciting in person. I opened my door and my attention was immediately drawn to a squiggle on the wall. I thought to myself "Oops, looks like the maintenance guy left a little caulk on the wall". Reality, the squiggles of caulk are architectural "accents" to make the place look more "authentic". Thankfully, there won't be much time to watch TV because the reception is horrible and using the remote is a game of chance. Sometimes you move one channel at a time and other times it is 2 or 3.

Tonight we all ventured out for dinner on the town and made a stop at a local Walgreen's. Why the drug store trip? The dry air is wreaking havoc on our skin, hair and sinuses. On the way back, we all started talking about the hotel and it seems like I got the best room of the bunch. Doors don't close, showers don't drain, toilets won't flush, closets and built into weird angled corners making it impossible to hang up your clothes....the list goes on and on. So for all of you who are "jealous" because I'm at some fancy resort in the desert, just remember, you can make anything look good with a little time, creativity,talent and Photoshop!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monkey Monday - 11.17.08

Yes, I know it isn't Monday yet.  But since I have to fly out of town tomorrow for a business trip, I didn't want to disappoint SoccerMonkey by not posting a monkey.

This crazy safari monkey is named Dan-o.  Please forgive the blurred out slogan on his shirt, but we have to protect the innocent!  Dan-o was actually a give away at one of our conferences.  I didn't attend but I understand that if you attended, you got to dress the part with the safari hat and vest.  I'm so sorry I missed that one! Dan-o came home with one of my coworkers but I had to do some fancy talkin' to get him to give him up.  (Okay, I didn't have to beg much, he parted with it of his own free will).

So wish me luck on my upcoming trip.  I feel horrible and flying with an earache should be so much fun!  Hopefully, the drugs Mr.Monkeygirl got for me will start kicking in soon.  See ya'll later this week - I'm off to the warm desert instead of the freezing cold midwest!

New Math?

I do not have nature math talents like some people do but even I realized immediately that there is something wrong with this sign I saw at a gas station last night.

Mr. Monkeygirl gave me that "uh oh, now what?" look when he came out of the station and I was standing in front of my car pointing my phone at the propane display.  But a quick explanation let him know that I'm not crazy (well, not completely crazy)!  I hope this is just a "sticker" mistake and not a sign of the state of our education system.  

So have you seen any signs that make you scratch your head in wonder?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Procrastination Pays

I am the ultimate procrastinator.  If I can put something off until the last minute, then I will do it in a heartbeat.  But in certain areas, I try to behave myself and do things before the last minute.  One of those is when I travel for work.  I really try hard to book my airfare and hotel rooms as soon as I know I have to travel.  But I have been slipping lately.

I knew months ago that I was attending a conference next week.  My new boss had booked her room and airfare months ago.  I have had friends that had to book overflow hotels and it wasn't pretty.  All in all, I know better than to wait.  Yet, I kept putting off making my reservations.  I finally got around to making the reservations around Halloween.  I got a good deal on airfare but when I went to book the convention hotel, they were completely sold out.  Normally, this wouldn't phase me because 99.9% of the time, there is a hotel across the street.  Not this time.

This time, the closest hotel I could find was about 3 miles away.  Every other hotel I could find was within walking distance of each other, but the convention hotel was completely isolated.  I finally picked a hotel a few miles away (and within a straight shot down one road) from the convention location.  I sent out a frantic message hoping that someone else was a procrastinator and needed an alternate hotel (at least I wouldn't be alone).  But no such luck, everyone else got in and I was on my own.  Until the other day.  Luckily for me and unfortunately for one of my coworkers, they had a change in plans and won't be able to attend.  Being the nice guy that he is, he offered me his room at the convention hotel.  Sweet!  I don't have to trek back and forth every morning and night!  I am not a morning person so the thought of having to get up early enough to not only get dressed and ready but drive down the street to make the first session was stressing me out.

We played phone tag all week long trying to work this out.  Today he finally sent me a message letting me know that he called the hotel and switched the room to my name but kept the reservation on his card.  So I finally had a room for Tuesday and Wednesday night.  Great....only one problem, I'm flying in on Monday.  I know Arizona is going to be much warmer than it is here, but after Ann's description of what roams around in her back yard, I don't think I want to sleep outside in the desert.  Luckily, I was able to book a single night at the same hotel for Monday night.  I might have to change rooms, but at least I don't have to schlep back and forth or sleep with the fire ants outside!

Now the only thing that would make this trip even more perfect is if Ann will deliver something decedent to my hotel room for me!  Anything with chocolate works for me!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monkey Monday - 11.10.08

What a bargain!  Today you get two monkeys for the price of one!!  Meet Madison and Lexington.  They had a long, tough journey back to the Midwest but we finally made it home! (Sorry Ann, but I guess these monkeys are naked too!  But Maddie has a really cool tattoo!)

I met Maddie and Lexie on my first trip to the Big Apple.  We hit it off and while I wanted to bring them home, their - ahem - "adoption" papers were completed yet. (Okay, I saw them in the first 4 shops in Times Square so I thought everyone had them.  Wrong-o!  By the time I got back to the original stores, we were freezing to death and ready to head back to the hotel so we skipped out on Monkey shopping.)

I knew that the first thing I wanted to do when I headed back to NYC was to go to Times Square and finalize the "adoption".  Day 1 - mission accomplished.  I managed to trek from my hotel at Central Park to Times Square and back without getting completely lost.  For the record, I have a horrible sense of direction - even in New York, I get turned around easily.  I even picked up the most excellent souvenir for Skaterboy, an exclusive NYC skateboard - complete!

Now comes the fun part.  After being on the road for a week (Newark, Trenton, Manhattan, Brooklyn), I was ready to head home.  I like to travel but a week alone is a little much and I was trying to win/plan a wedding from my hotel room, so I was ready to go.  After my final day in the office, I headed for the airport. Not that I should be surprised, but our flight leaving LaGuardia was delayed.  Not as much as some other flights, but we were still delayed.  Maddie and Lexie are great travel companions so they didn't complain.  When we landed in DC, we were held away from the gate for awhile thus making sure we had absolutely no time to make our connecting flight home.  The 3 of us stood patiently in line waiting for the airline to get us on the next flight out.  

After standing in line for 3 hours, we found out that we would have to wait until morning to go home.  Good thing I decided to take advantage of the corporate travel agency to book myself a hotel room rather than be at the mercy of the airline and their vouchers.  While it might be a coincidence, I think that the nicer you are to the ticket agent, the better your alternate travel plans will be.  The woman next to me who screamed and yelled at the agent?  She had to catch a 5 am flight with 3 different connections only to arrive at the same destination as me - 4 hours after I got home!  My flight?  Leave at 10:30. One connection.

On the shuttle to the main terminal, I found out that we were held on the ground because a plane at the gate was struck by lighting 3 times. Okay, now Maddie, Lexie and I are stuck in DC for the night but we didn't get electrocuted, so all was good.  By the time I caught the hotel shuttle, it was getting close to Midnight and the monkeys and I hadn't eaten for about 12 hours.  I wasn't complaining but it had been a long day (and a really long week) so when the shuttle driver asked me about my day, he got the whole story.  Being a complete sweetheart, he took me to my hotel, waited for me to check in and then drove me to a restaurant near the hotel so I could get something to eat.  The monkeys and I were extremely grateful and he refused to take any tip money from us even though wwe begged and pleaded with him.  His comment "You deserve to have something good happen to you today!"  

After a bite to eat and a huge margarita, I headed back to what was the world's most comfortable bed.  Maybe I was just exhausted, but I loved this bed. I even wanted to redecorate my bedroom at home to match this hotel room - it was gorgeous!  Refreshed from a good meal and a good night's sleep, we headed back to the airport for what was hopefully our final legs of the trip.  I ran into a bunch of ladies from our long wait in line the night before and learned that they ended up having to share a room and the hotel was horrible.  They didn't have shuttle service so they had to take a cab and the room was disgusting and they didn't get their wake-up call.  Plus, even with the airline voucher, they paid about 50% more for their room than I did.  Man was I glad that I decided to book my own room!  I felt a little guilty describing my night but in some ways it was nice to see the look on the evil ladies faces!  Besides, I'm not sure how they would have felt about sharing a room with two monkeys!

We finally made it home only to discover that our luggage was nowhere to be found.  I made the trip to the airline's baggage service counter only to be told that they knew my bag was here and to go check one more time.  Dutifully, I went back and no luggage.  Of course, by the time I got back to the luggage service desk, their was a huge long line of people. Maddie and Lexie were ready to mutiny so I was ready to head home and come back later when I spied my suitcase sitting in the corner.  No way was I waiting patiently for 30 people to fill out claim forms so I snuck up to the door and grabbed my suitcase and headed home!

I got a lot of comments and weird looks on this trip home but it wasn't because of the monkeys.  It was because I was hauling Skaterboy's souvenir skateboard with me the entire day.  I do not recommend hauling one around for fun, but if you ever wanted to have an excellent ice breaker, then this is the ticket!  I guess if I was 18 it wouldn't have been so unusual to see but a 30+ woman in a business suit with a skateboard and a pair of monkeys must have been a sight to behold!


This past weekend seemed to be a collection of themes (or I think about blog titles too much!).  I was able to get a ton accomplished this weekend - not MEF Nicole worthy but I never claimed to be Superwoman!

On Saturday, my theme was T.  Or more specifically - tires, tile, and trivia.  I only have 20K miles on my car but my tires were shot.  And it made the unmistakable "out of alignment" noise when I drove on the highway.  I figured I had a couple of options - stop driving on the highway, turn up the radio really, really loud, or bite the bullet and buy new tires.  Since they were predicting "icy" weather this week, I decided to quit putting of the inevitable.  After a couple of hours and a huge dent in my wallet, I have a perfectly aligned car that no longer sports racing slicks.  Honestly, tires should cost 3 times your car payment!  Someone is making some money in this economy.  

Now we are on to the tile.  I wish the tile was for some project  at our house, but alas, it's not.  My work twin recently had an encounter with a leaky pipe that left not one but 5-6 holes in her kitchen floor.  On a mission of mercy, I volunteered to pick up the full size samples for her since the flooring store is on my way home. Ceramic tile is heavy!  I picked out my favorites and almost placed them in my kitchen to see which one I liked best!

Work Twin and her sib's invite us to fill out their table at a Trivia night for a local daycare center.  We attended one a few months ago and did pretty good.  This one was impossibly hard - the winning team scored 66 points and that was with 10 mulligans!  We had fun, even though we all left feeling a little dense.  One category was "texting" which we all do so we thought we would rock!  Wrong, we got one right!  Okay, so do you all know what "PIR" means?  What about "MTFBWY"? (that one we knew) Or my favorite "ROTFLUTS"? 

On Sunday I moved on to the L's.  Leaves, laundry and legos.  Mr. M and I tackled the huge leaf pile outside using the tag team approach.  First, the Mr. blew all of the leaves off the roof and out of the gutters and flower beds, then I raked them all into a pile.  Mr. M came back along with the vacuum and sucked them up and I made a final pass with the mower.  It seems like a little overkill but we have learned that leaves kill grass and we have been desperately trying to remove the dirt piles from our yard.  Although, my neighbor D seemed to like the dirt piles.  He only appeared from his house when I was running the mower over the dirt piles and he always teased me about being "PigPen"!

I only managed to do 5 loads of laundry as opposed to MEF's 12, but I guess laundry isn't really a competition sport!  I even managed to "lift" the dust and dirt (ok, cut me some slack, I'm trying to keep with the whole letter theme!) between loads.  When I finally got enough done that I was satisfied with my progress, I went back to my recent favorite pastime - Lego Batman.  You really need to try this as a stress reliever sometime - it really works!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I May Never Leave Home Again

Monkey Mamma has been on a roll lately.  A week or so ago, she delivered a screaming flying monkey to me through the M&M's.  We had fun flinging the monkey around the house much to Mr. Monkeygirl's dismay!

On Tuesday, Monkey Mamma got to take advantage of time off for voting and we were able to finally get together for a nice leisurely lunch.  It was a beautiful fall day and we had a lovely lunch at a little local cafe amongst all of the fall leaves.  As a bonus surprise, Mamma bought me these slippers as a present.  I love presents.  I love presents for no particular reason even more!  And when they are this cute and comfy - triple bonus score!

Thanks Monkey Mamma!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Civics Lesson

Voting has always been something we try to do in our house but this year has placed a real importance on everyone getting out to cast the vote.

Earlier this year, my brother-in-law decided to throw his hat in the ring and run for city council.  He didn't have any political experience but he truly believed that our area in a good place to buy a home and raise a family.  The area we live in was the area we all grew up in (yes, we don't stray to far from home) and we want to make sure that this remains a nice, safe area for ourselves and our families.  I never knew how dirty the political game could be.  We supported his campaign and offered our support at formal and informal "meet the candidate" sessions.  It was amazing to see the "plants" that would be sent to these meetings to plant seeds of doubt and do recon on the opposition.  My BIL always took the higher ground during these sessions and on the very public attacks on his character and his family on the Internet.

We all gathered for the watch party the day of the election to see what the results would bring.  Voter turnout was low (always is for this type of election) but we felt confident that we had made a difference and that people were ready for a change. I was the first one to find the results out online and I had to break the news - he lost the election.  It wasn't a blow out either - he lost the election by 8 votes.  4+4=8.  You could count the difference on your own hands.  In some ways I think that was worse than losing by a mile.  You start thinking about who else you could have talked to, who else we could have called, what else could you have done to sway someone to vote for you or to just get out and vote?

So when the current election started to pick up speed, I knew that I had to make sure that we got out and voted.  I know that one or two votes one way or another CAN make a difference.  I started working on Skaterboy to persuade him to register to vote before the elections.  He didn't want to vote.  He refused to register.  I reminded him of his uncle's campaign and said "If you were old enough, you could have voted and made a difference for him".  I don't know what made him change his mind, but he finally registered to vote.  Thank god for Motor Voter registration!

So today was the big day.  We had a sample ballot hanging on the fridge.  I think it freaked him out because it was so long.  Before we left the house today, we went over the candidates and his choices.  I explained how the voting process works.  We filled out the sample ballot so he had a "cheat sheet" to go from.  Our ballot was 10 pages long.  I went with him at lunch to guide him through the process. 

We got lucky.  There was no one in line when we arrived and we managed to make it through the entire process in 15 minutes.  That was from door to door too! He even admitted that the whole thing wasn't bad and was pretty easy.  In reality, it really helped me out to walk him through the process.  We reviewed the candidates and their platforms.  We looked at the amendments, charters and issues and made decisions on what we thought was the best choice.  Bottom line, we went to the polls informed and ready to cast our ballots.  I don't think I have ever been that informed about the ballot and what I wanted to say before.  Thanks Skaterboy for educating me on the process, too!

I bet if you ask Skaterboy what he learned most from today he would tell you the least likely thing you would expect.  He would tell you that the free coffee at Starbucks and the free doughnut from Krispy Kreme was worth the effort.  So much so, that he visited several local Starbuck's today for his free coffee!!  Oh well, I guess I can't hold out too much hope for all of the Civics lessons to sink in on one day!


Today is a monumental day is our country.  It is a day where we get to exercise our right to choose.  We can choose who will lead our country, state or local government.  We can support education, clean air, public transportation or we can choose not to support these causes.  We have the ability to determine who the judges are that will hear our civil and criminal cases.  The most important thing way have - is the right to choose.

So whatever your political leanings, social conscience or moral compass tells you to do, follow it.  Don't be afraid of long lines - use that time to get to know your neighbors, catch up on your reading or just listen to some tunes.  Whatever you do today, just make sure that you get out and vote.  Who knows, you might qualify for free donuts, coffee, or who knows what else!