22 January 2017

Going Through My Filing Cabinet.

Oh dear.  What a mess.  So far I've shredded about 10 years' worth of electric bills and several credit card statements from 2006.  I have saved ev-er-y-thing since moving to the Kansas City area in... 1997.  It's ridiculous. 

I'm in the process of paring down and I've gotten three bags full (yes, sir... yes, sir... three bags full) of shredded paper ready to go out for trash day in the morning.  And I estimate myself to be about halfway done.  When I'm finished, D says, there is the matter of "that box" in his closet.  Because yeah.  We had so many papers at one point we stashed them all in a giant box and just didn't look at them for the last 10 years.

I will be shredding until 2018, at which point (my luck) I'll get audited or something.  I think I'm saving enough of the important papers.  My dad was kind enough to send me this link on what to keep.  It's always good to know that if I lie on my tax returns or file fraudulently that I should keep my records indefinitely.  (Really??!  Who wrote that?  Because if you're filing fraudulently, wouldn't you want to keep... fraudulent records?  Like fake something? Ok, ok, shutting up.)

18 January 2017

New Hairdo

This sourpuss face is about the best I could get out of the goofy kid for photo purposes.
Woodjie just got his hair done at Mean Gene's Barbershop in Liberty.  Doesn't he look cute?  He's had some real problems pulling his hair due to his trichotillomania, so I usually keep his hair short with the home buzz-cut.  This looks much better, although I will probably not be able to spend what it takes to keep his hair looking like this always.  It's so short that no doubt the freshly-shaven look won't last long.

I asked the kiddo if he wanted fancy stars or designs on his head today and he said nah... oh well.  He's pretty spiffy without it anyway.

17 January 2017

Here. Borrow My Gun.

So if I want to loan you my car, and I've checked that you have a valid driver's license and insurance, and I want to take a chance on you?  It's my right.

Personally?  I would never do that unless... I dunno... I lost a leg and needed a ride to the ER or something.  It would have to be something amazingly awful or unusual.  I never loan out big things like that that I can't afford to lose or be responsible for what you do with them.  So I might loan you $10 or a jacket or something like that, but not my car.

And certainly not a firearm!  Really?  NO.  Don't ask.

But hey!  Not everyone is stingy like me.  Missouri State Representative Nick Marshall will loan you a gun while you're visiting the state capitol out of the generosity of his heart.

Does it surprise you to hear this guy's a Republican?  Yeah, I'm a pretty conservative Republican myself but this seems a little too far for my taste honestly.  It seems to me that both parties are getting more extreme and not listening to each other... it's getting much worse.

I absolutely defend Marshall's right to go loan his own weapons but I also absolutely agree with the Democrats who are raising a stink about it as well.  It is a valid point that we don't do the same sort of background checks on general members of the public that we do on our officers and other security protecting the building.

It is true, however, that they will check your ID and one must have a concealed carry permit to borrow a gun.  As well, he'll loan only to a "constituent."  So basically?  Ya gotta be from Parkville.  Hardly an armed Armageddon.  No one has even bothered to ask for a spare weapon yet.

It's probably all showmanship.  Remember how our governor put out a campaign ad featuring him blowing stuff up with machine guns?  Yep.

Of more concern to me is the fact that people in my state can run around with firearms concealed on their person with no training whatsoever!  A "concealed carry" paper really just means you've registered with the state and you're not a convicted felon.  NOT that you know how to use a weapon at all!  And now?   They can be running around the state capitol.

I'm a very pro-second amendment but not pro-"run around with a loaded weapon and not know what the crap you are doing" sort of person.

15 January 2017

Honesty Time.

We are saying goodbye to things we no longer want.
Woodjie has been outgrowing his clothes and most especially he's been outgrowing his shoes.  He was a men's size 8 (ladies' 10 equivalent) at the beginning of the winter.  Now he's about a men's 10.5 or 11 depending on the brand!  Yeah, we discovered that during our weekly roller skating time.  Sometimes what fit him the week before was difficult to impossible to put on and remove!  That suddenly!

Rose enjoys a book Woodjie was done with.
So it was time to go through all the boxes and bags of clothes I have left over from the four older boys.  I have new and new-ish shoes up through about size 12 depending on the width and style you want.  Sadly, I am going to have to give away three sizes of men's sandals, some of them only worn once. Woodjie just grew out of those sizes over the winter and will never wear them. They are too big/ clonky to ever be worn by me or Rose.  And the bigger boys are just too big for 'em.  Oh, well.  If I had NOT saved them, you betya Woodjie would've needed just those particular sizes.  Yep.

The goofball hiding from the camera in his closet.
I've sorted through a ton of clothing in Woodjie and Rose's room.  I did a LOT of work in Woodjie's room, but Rose really hasn't grown or changed.  Tidying her room was pretty much all about putting the least-worn clothes on the top of her drawers so that we'll see them.

Then, it was "Honesty Time." 

"Honesty Time" is when we look at objects and ask ourselves if we really use them or even want them any more.  Rose gave up a few of her dollies that she doesn't use any more.  Woodjie was ready to give up a few books and toys.  Some of these Rose wanted.  But ohh... we have bags and bags of stuff to give away pretty soon.  Thankfully, I have a friend whose son is just a little smaller than Woodjie and I'm sure she can deal with some nearly-new sandals in the next three sizes.


Emperor outgrew the larger bowling shoes, so Woodjie will get those.  Woodjie outgrew the littler ones.  Now Rose has a "new" pair as well.

Days at Home

The schools let out early on Friday because a large ice storm was moving in.  We still haven't seen it, but we are hanging out at home.  Even local churches have cancelled their services; it's supposed to be that bad.  Like a solid sheet of ice.  So we're finding things to do at home.  As you can see, Elf is not that eager to have his photograph taken or to be blogged about now that he is an old man of 16 years of age.

09 January 2017

Proposed Law: Iowa Homeschoolers to Undergo Quarterly Inspections

Typical... just typical politics.  Some poor teen girl got murdered by her parents, and instead of being outraged that social services and/or police didn't take her from her parents despite several reports of abuse?  Lawmakers go after "homeschoolers" just generally.  

Matt McCoy doesn't want an inquest to determine why the hell nothing was done after a neighbour filed police reports (note plural noun).  He doesn't want a full review of social services and police protocol in these cases.  Nuh-uh.  That would actually help kids.  Real kids.

Yeah, why bother having an inquest as to what actually went wrong, why cries for help were ignored and why this innocent child died?  That might look bad for the state, or for the police, or for the child protection agency.  Better just to cast the blame on "homeschooling" and nevermind that there is no actual evidence that this child was diligently taught at home.  Shhh. 

So.

Under a proposed new law, school officials will pop on by to see every homeschooler in the state at least quarterly.  They have lots of time and money to do this in the Iowa state budget (apparently).  The people from the public school districts in Iowa are also way more trained than comparable staff from other states because they (also apparently) already know how to do a complete medical and psychological evaluation during a casual visit.  I'm not sure if they will take the time or effort to actually ask about the kids' education, though! 

Ahh... politics.  Are you amazed and surprised to read that McCoy is a Democrat?

"What McCoy suggests would be an unprecedented invasion of privacy for homeschooling parents," writes Shane Vander Hart. "Iowa law has never required school districts to monitor home schooling families – ever. It was not a requirement even under competent private instruction."

It seems to me that some liberal legislators just have it out for homeschooling, so they'll use the most horrific and unusual thing that could happen to force their way into our homes and our lives.  Annnnd of course homeschoolers are the bad guys if they don't want social workers snooping through their houses. They will be painted as the insensitive, nasty people who couldn't care less that a child was horrifically murdered.

And it IS horrific and horrible, what happened to Natalie Finn after her parents withdrew her from public school. And if the social services people were doing their jobs, they'd have followed up on numerous complaints and figured out that this really wasn't even a homeschool thing.  This was a crazy parent/ abuse thing, and the parent just took the kid out of school so that fewer people would be aware of what was going on.

Which means it can and will happen again.  Don't think that real abusers are going to follow the law, which in Iowa means record-keeping and bla bla bla depending on the option parents choose. Ok, don't bother clicking the link; you and I both know these parents were not homeschooling and it doesn't matter what the law says.   


04 January 2017

My 1964 Ranch House Makeover!



Here's my house before.  Not bad, but we were ready for an update.

The first thing to happen was the replacement of our large front window and all the upper windows.  They were original to the house and several no longer opened or could only be opened by largeish men.  This is the only window that won't open now, and that's by design as it's right by the front door anyway.  The mess you see is my painting the frame white to match the window.

Work begins on the outside of the house.  The new windows are in on the upper floor, but they have yet to be "wrapped" and the siding is yet to go up.

Everything is off the walls.  When they're working outside, there is a terrific banging.  You'll want your fragiles packed away.

The gutters come down and the siding starts to climb up the house...
Ta-da!  Our updated look!  I chose HardiePlank Lap Siding from James Hardie.  This colour is a Chestnut Brown and I painted the garage door in a coordinating colour from their palette called Countrylane Red.  I turned the sign around for the photo to show you we used All-Weather Window, Doors and Siding for this project.  They did a super job on one of our neighbours' houses and that really inspired us.  Theirs was a different sort of project, though. 
From the front door, a closer look at the siding.

I painted the porch pole in the matching Chestnut Brown and got a custom number plaque from Plow and Hearth.  I also spraypainted the front downspout with Rustoleum.  Just the plain old brown stuff you get at the hardware store.  Same for the old decorative ironwork bits that came with the house.  The workers just re-hung them up for me.  I have to touch up a bit on the gutter (hey, it gets scraped up when they're assembling it and so on) but I think it looks better than a contrasting white for my entryway.  It all (sorta) goes.  We're really happy with it and are already going, "hm... about those basement windows..."