Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The American Dream

For as long as I can remember, "The American Dream" has been synonymous with home ownership.  It represents far more than that, but at least when I was growing up, the most common chain of events included  getting your education, getting married, buying a house, and raising a family.  The majority of folks stayed fairly close by, though some of my peers ended up in faraway places.  Facebook has brought many of us closer together, but more often than not, most of us followed the most common chain of events, and ended up staying fairly close to home.

My daughter and her husband have taken a more interesting route in the chain of events - mixing things up a bit - with marriage, education, having a baby, working, more education, having another baby, more working, gaining full custody of Dustin's daughter, etc.  During their marriage, they've lived in a couple of rental places, before moving in with me in late 2007.  When I married in April of 2011, they stayed on in my home, while I moved in with Mr. Helms.  Earlier this year, I suggested that they go ahead and purchase my home, which was something we had discussed from time to time.  Whitney started doing some research, and discovered that with the housing market in such a shambles, they could purchase a much larger home, for less money than my current mortgage.  So, they began the exciting journey of purchasing their first home.  

It has been an agonizingly painful, gut-wrenching ride.  I have bought and sold five homes, two while married  to Whitney's dad, and three as a single mom.  Never did I experience even a fraction of the frustrating, wrist-slitting levels of stress involved in this pursuit of The American Dream.  Granted, none of the homes I purchased were in foreclosure, and I know this complicated the issue.  There were two government entities involved, two real-estate agents, a mortgage company, two closing attorneys, and the buyers.  Of course, with this many folks involved, things can be difficult to coordinate.  But I gotta tell ya... from what they experienced with the Freddie Mac folks... just one transaction in millions... I'm not surprised the housing market tanked.  I won't go into the gory details, but I think he will be a cold day in July before Whitney and Dustin are brave enough to attempt this again.  

All that said... the excruciatingly painful ordeal finally came to a close today.  (Pun intended.)  After one or two meltdowns, thousands of phone calls, and finally Dustin having to drive to the office of the attorney for the seller in Roswell, he arrived back in Winder at 5:00 today, and was able to hand-deliver the final packet of papers to the attorney representing them. The incomplete closing yesterday was completed with this transaction. It is finally official.  Whitney and Dustin are the proud owners of a 30-year mortgage, and a lovely home.  What an exciting day for them!!!!  I'm so proud of them for achieving The American Dream.  

Congratulations, Veal Family!!!  

Yes.  This is what the trees and the yard looked like when the process began.  

Monday, July 2, 2012


First I noticed that I had worn the print off many of the keys.  Then I noticed little ridges that seemed to coincide with where I would strike the keys.  Are my fingernails really that tough?  I keep them clipped quite short, because I do tend to pound the keyboard with a vengeance at times.  Then one evening I noticed a mark on the “s” key.  Looked like someone just drew a little line with a Sharpie.  Oh well, the grandkids sometimes come into the office, so I figured one of them got carried away with a marker.  On closer look, wearing my glasses, I see that what I thought was a mark, is actually a crack in the key. 

I have killed the “s” key.  It doesn’t really matter, as the key still functions properly.  I just really don’t like how it looks.  I’m okay with no print on the keys, as I can’t type while looking at the keys anyhow (Thank you, Ms. Pierce, my Typing 1 and 2 teacher at WBHS back in the olden days of manual typewriters).  The ridges bug me somewhat, though.  And now this crack in my “s” key.  You know when you were a kid, and lost a tooth?  You just couldn’t keep from sticking your tongue in that hole?  Yes.  The ring finger on my left hand wants to stick my fingernail in that little crack.  It’s messin’ with my rhythm. 

The amount of money I earn is determined by how fast I can hit the keys, and produce documents.  I don’t need anything messin’ with my rhythm.

Normally, I’d just run up to Wal Mart or Office Depot and pick up another keyboard.  However, I have become so spoiled to my heated keyboard, even with its non-ergonomic design, that I can’t do without it.  I had thought perhaps I wouldn’t need the heat during the summer, but after half an hour without it, I had to turn it back on again. 

I think I’ll just hafta learn to live with the cracked “s” key, because I’m not giving up my heated keyboard until the heating element no longer works.  Perhaps my PC Specialist friend, Juliana, could help me.  I’ve seen her pop keys right off the keyboard and then replace them when she was finished with her task.  Maybe there’s an extra “s” key laying around somewhere that I could switch out for the broken one. 

But only if it’s the exact same color.  An off-colored key would never do.  I wouldn’t be able to type a lick. 

If only I could channel this perfectionism to other areas of my life…

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Squeaks And Lumps

It’s no secret that I’m really soft hearted, and it doesn’t take much to choke me up.  Chick Flicks pretty much do it all the time, sweet things my daughter or grandchildren say, and a deceased animal on the side of the road will do it every time.  Every version ever filmed of Little House On The Prairie, about half the episodes of Private Practice, and hundreds of books I’ve read. Publix commercials.  And those Proud Mom moments like awards ceremonies, outstanding band moments, graduations and a wedding.  Witnessing the birth of my grandchildren. Those are understandable.  Lots of other folks would admit to similar experiences.  Then there are those really dumb things like watching the Mickey Mouse parade come down the street at Disney World.  Fireworks over the lake on the 4th of July.

A few weeks ago I attended the final night of VBS, where the kids “perform” for the adults, receive their awards, eat hot dogs, and pick up their arts and crafts projects to carry home.  They go through the assembly service like every other night.  Part of the routine is saying The Pledges:  to the American Flag, the Christian Flag, and to the Bible.  As soon as I placed my hand over my heart, and said the words “I pledge allegiance”, the lump formed in the back of my throat, and my voice refused to work.  To my horror, my chin quivered a time or two, and I felt the telltale burning in my eyelids, which warned me that my eyes would soon be filling.  I quickly recomposed myself, and mouthed the remaining words.  Not much better with the pledge to the Christian flag.  I think I was finally able to squeak out the last few words to the Bible pledge.  I was really happy nobody was sitting near me. 

For years, at a ballgame or church service, (or wherever it might be played/sung)  The Star Spangled Banner has always brought a lump to my throat.  Depending on my surroundings, I can usually recover enough to sing about the last half of it.  Sometimes there is no recovery, and I either just fake it, try to squeak through it, or sometimes simply just listen and reflect. 

When I was a kid, we said the Pledge every day at school, and I was unmoved.  Was it that I was callous to it, or just recited it so much that it became meaningless?  

Today in church we did the pledge thing again.  Same story.  Here come the lumps.  The burning eyelids.  The squeaky voice (or none at all).  We sang the America The Beautiful, and Battle Hymn of the Republic. Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!  (and it wasn’t the Bulldog fight-song version!!).  Well, the more truthful statement would be that “everyone else sang”.  I just squeaked, or didn’t even try. The pastor’s wife and daughter sang a riveting tune of sacrifice, liberty, and freedom. 

With July 4th only a few days away, Liberty, Freedom, and Sacrifice are close in our thoughts, and paying homage to our flag and our country seemed the appropriate thing to do.  After church there was barbecue lunch, with all the sides and desserts you could imagine.  On the drive home, I was thinking that sometimes it’s really annoying to get so choked up during anything patriotic.  It can be downright embarrassing. 

I realized two things.  One thing is clearly evident – I/we don’t do it near enough. 

But the other thing is – if I did it more often, would I become like the school kid who just does it as a mundane part of my day?  A recitation of words that don’t mean anything?  May it never be.  Though I do wish I/we did it more often, I hope the time never comes when pledging allegiance to my country (even with all her faults), and to my God, would fail to bring a sting to my eyes and a lump to my throat.  I don’t think the founding fathers of our nation, or any subsequent American Soldier would mind at all.  And I’m fairly certain God doesn’t mind either.