Well, I did it. It took me 2 days, but I was finally able to give my 2 weeks' notice to my boss at 4:52pm today. Way to wait till the last minute, huh? I didn't really do it on purpose-my boss was just all over the place today, and the office was not one of those places until the end of the day.
And this is how it went, in a nutshell:
Me: I hate to do this, but I need to turn in my 2 weeks' notice.
Boss: Really? Wow-that sucks! Now I have to find someone to do your work!
Boss: Can you get A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K done before you leave?
Me: Um...I'll do my best.
Boss: Okay. Well, thanks for the imposition.
No, really, it was painless, and also a bit of an eye-opener. It was obvious that she didn't much care that it is me that is leaving. It's more of the fact that there will be a vacancy that she has to fill, and that just doesn't fit into her busy schedule. I got the feeling she wasn't all that disappointed, just annoyed that my leaving is adding something to her to-do list.
So, hit the road Jack, and don't ya come back, no more, no more, no more, no more.....
Well, I did it. It took me 2 days, but I was finally able to give my 2 weeks' notice to my boss at 4:52pm today. Way to wait till the last minute, huh? I didn't really do it on purpose-my boss was just all over the place today, and the office was not one of those places until the end of the day.
Things have been nuts lately. For one thing, I'm having chest pains, which is not really a good thing at all. It's just slight, and I'm pretty sure it's due to stress. But considering I have had some heart problems for 18 years, and I had heart surgery 5 years ago in July, I can't take this stuff lightly.
I have been stressing about my husband's health, stressing about a few of my clients, stressing about my mother, sister, and father, & big time-stressing about my brother. I actually felt all tight and stuff in my throat while on the phone with him the other day, and that hasn't happened since I was pregnant with Grace, and my father kicked my brother out of his house. This crap is serious!
So anyway, I don't want to get into too much detail, but let's just put it this way: my brother has bad luck. B.A.D. L.U.C.K. Not just a tiny bit 'Oh, I got a flat on my way to work', but BIG TIME 'I got pulled over by the cops, he gave me a ticket for speeding, expired registration, then decided to do a sobriety test, made me walk the line, searched my truck, found nothing, impounded my car, and left me on the side of the highway at 11:30 at night'.
As my sister put it: 'If he needed to swim in the ocean, the waves would go flat'.
It's just unreal. It just keeps going and going and going, and I know there is only so much I can physically do, and it is TORTURE! I think I know how parents feel about their teen, to an extent. It's just nuts.
On a different note, but still stressful for me:
My husband really needs help at his office. He owns his own business, and his secretary is leaving. He works a ton of hours each week, and there is no possible way he could do her job as well. And there is no way that I can do my job and be his secretary, because my current boss is a bit uptight, shall we say, about money, budgeting, billing, and just how many minutes of your time you give her each week. She is a bit of a time nazi. I don't mean this harshly (not really), but she would not be willing to let me work from my husband's office 2 days a week, work for him, and also do all documentation for that job as well. It just ain't happenin'.
So......I've been thinking about it since last week, and I have made my decision, although it is a hard decision in some ways. I love my clients. They have kind hearts, and I feel such positive energy when I am around them. I don't want to be away from them. At the same time....
Here's the rundown of my current job:
~only 7 miles from home
~the work itself is so very easy & un-stressful
~positive experiences with clients
~I took a more than $10,000/year paycut
~I was promised health insurance when I accepted the job, and then a month later was told they weren't getting insurance. All you have to do is read about my daughter's ankle to know that I MUST HAVE INSURANCE. And have you ever looked at individual policies!? Highway robbery (that's the old woman coming out in me)! $346/month for the 3 of us, and it's a PPO, but it's an ADDITIONAL $373/MONTH if I want maternity coverage. Did you get that? Go back and read it again, slowly. I'll wait for you to catch up.
~There is office drama that is so very annoying. Such as: guardians pushing some of us around, an employee that I strongly suspect is an alcoholic, and she works directly with the clients (let me remind you that I work with clients who have special needs, like cerebral palsy, autism, down's, etc.)
~I feel like people don't give my experience, expertise, or opinions any credit, because I am younger than all the other employees there. I say things, and they look at me like I have 2 heads, which I really don't.
~My boss is a time and money nazi. I understand owning your own company is stressful, and you need to really count your cents, but SERIOUSLY??? MUST you ask me 'Is that billable?' every time I do something, anything, including spin around in my chair or pick my nose???? Come on!!!
~There is constant chaos. And I do chaos rather well, but it is shit that doesn't need to be chaos, and my boss will get in a tizzy about something that really isn't serious, and then look at me like I have 2 heads again when I don't go all nutso about it like her. Everything DOES NOT have to be drama. We really could run this more smoothly if we didn't get all up-in-arms about someone using half a jar of jelly on their p&j sandwich.
~Did I mention the chaos???
~Did I mention the paycut?
Oh yeah, I did.
I have decided to quit. Not because I am a quitter. But really:
My husband's job/company is our livelihood. He is very successful, and all in all, his income pays the damn bills. Mine pays stuff, but not like his. And he needs help. I have to be supportive. I must. I would not be proud of myself if I didn't help him.
I will make the same amount working for him that I am making now. Plus, I'll only work 3 days a week. And here is the BIG ONE!! (drumroll, please):
I can go to grad school in the fall and not worry about juggling a social work job while doing social work courses!!! I will do a construction job (well, all the paperwork/money stuff that has to do with it, anyway) and not be stressed out beyond my limit by the time I hit the classroom each evening.
Is that not the greatest!? I am so very excited about that part!!!
But I am dreading tell my boss. I am dreading telling my clients.
Wish me luck.
A beautiful Saturday, with lots of promise!
Let's start with the things I didn't do:
~take a shower (I know, I know)
~go clothes shopping
Now, the things I did do, and am still doing, at the early time of 12:41 at night:
~11:04-showed up late to a little easter egg hunt with my daughter, at my mom's property. It started at 11am, and in 4 minutes' time, all the damn eggs were gone. Seriously. I know-I'm a bad mom.
~12:00-Bought dog food ($30!), dog bones, and glucosomine tablets for my crotchety, gimpy dogs.
~12:30-Fed the above to my crotchety, gimpy dogs; brushed them, played with them, and got slimed by the yellow one
~1:30-Went to the park with my mother and daughter, with the intent to feed the ducks and geese popcorn and bread. Apparently, being that it was about 70 degrees out and absolutely gorgeous, lots of people had the same idea. The ducks weren't hungry. At. All. So my daughter ate the bread, my mom and I ate the popcorn, and we sat on a bench watching the ducks fight.
~4:00-My mother and daughter fall asleep. I start watching The Real Wives of New York City, or some shit like that, and discover that I only have 8 eggs to dye.
~9:30pm-I remind my daughter that tonight the easter bunny is coming, and he is going to take her final binky and give it to a new baby. In place of this binky, she will get a basket with candy and eggs. She says 'No', after about 3 1/2 weeks of being excited about it. S.H.I.T.
~9:45pm-Go shopping for my easter dinner. Also pick up random things like another stuffed bunny for my daughter, and a bunny balloon. And wine. And a chocolate cake. But I forget the eggs.
~11:30pm-Boil eggs, unload groceries, wait for eggs to cool off, hide plastic eggs, hide basket, and do laundry.
~Currently, at 12:48, I am dying eggs, my fingers are various colors and smell like vinagar, and I am sleepy. And I still need to go in my daughter's room and sneak her binky out of her mouth. Ha.
You notice I didn't say anything about reading, writing, gardening, or any of my other favorite hobbies.
I think I'll take the day off tomorrow, let my husband cook for our families, let my daughter eat every piece of candy in sight in place of her meals, let the laundry wrinkle in the dryer, and let everyone else worry zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
How does that saying go?-It is better to have a few great friends than a lot of not-so-great friends? It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Hell, I don't know! Something like that. You get my drift.
I am finding friends in unlikely places. For instance, I think of 2 someone's as friends that view my blog on a regular basis. One, I have known since I was a wee-bit younger (16 years younger!!!) and although we were never really close, I read his blog regularly, and I find myself going 'Hey-he is a cool guy!' I view him as a friend, even though we don't hang out.
This other someone who reads my blog-we went to high school together, but I don't think we ever hung out or anything. What is interesting is that her boyfriend and I were good friends all through middle & high school. But I read her blogs, we comment back and forth to each other on occasion, and I feel like I have found a fellow-writer with a great sense of humor, that I would love to hang out with some time! I view her as a friend too.
I am also finding that I have some very true friends, even if we don't hang out as much as we would like! This afternoon I skipped out of work early to go to a movie with one of my dearest friends, Amanda. Then we shared some nachos and margaritas on a restaurant patio for a couple of hours. We were pretty inseparable our freshman and sophomore year of high school, but we lost touch for a handful of years afterwards. I was pretty sad about it for awhile, and tried to reach out to her a few years ago, through a mutual not-such-a-great-friend. When I didn't get any response, I thought I needed to just write off our years of friendship. But, well over a year ago, Amanda sought me out, and I think she was worried about the response she would get from me.
I was ecstatic! We emailed back and forth for days, and finally met for a day of shopping and lunch. And all we did was talk. And talk.
Every time we get together, we talk the whole time, just like we used to do in her bedroom in high school. Our lives are busy, filled with children, husbands, jobs, and lots of miles between the two of us. We don't get to talk every day, or even see each other on a regular basis, but we don't miss a beat when we do get together.
I am so very thankful for her friendship. She is kind, generous, laid back, loyal, and smart. She makes me laugh. Most importantly, Amanda, you make me feel comfortable in my own skin. Thank you for that. Not many people outside of my family have had that effect on me, and I truly appreciate it. You are a wonderful friend, and I am so glad we are friends again. :)
I've tried to post something both witty and sentimental a couple of times tonight, but I just don't got it tonight! So, in light of my lack of writing talent this evening, I leave you with this video. Please enjoy, and feel free to comment back and tell me what a shitty writer I am.
I have one of those snazzy iRobot Roomba's (like http://store.irobot.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2898148&cp=2501652&parentPage=family this) (FYI-why the hell can't I seem to make links look neat and tidy???). It's awesome. It was an awesome Christmas present (despite my off-hand comment that you don't give your wife a household appliance for any holiday-sorry, hon) and I adore it! So, if you aren't familiar, the Roomba basically vaccuums for you, and you can schedule it to do it's thing while you are gone. It's greatness. It sucks like the little sucker it is.
Today I worked the last part of my day at home, and I figured, 'What the heck? I'll go ahead and have my Roomba do his thing.' So I pushed it's little clean button, and proceeded to sit in my chair and get some work done. The entire time, all I heard was the constant buzzing/sucking/spinning of Mr. Roomba. I figured it wouldn't take that long, but boy was I wrong. I watched that sucker go around my couch like 3 times. And try to eat my curtains, at the same window, about 12 times. So, smart girl I am, I started to talk to it.
"Get your ass over here."
"Dust bunnies in this direction, smart guy."
"Dude, are you seriously going to clean under the couch again???"
"Oh for the love of Pete!!! Get your ass in the kitchen!"
Do you think Mr. Roomba was listening to me? No. He kept going about his way, as he should, but seriously, I totally wanted him to vacate the premises of the living room and suck up the dried pasta under my daughter's chair. I picked him up and put him under her chair.
He came back into the living room. Frick.
I ended up picking him up 3 times, and strategically putting him directly on top of the dirt in the kitchen. I finally got sick of the whole thing, (and of bossing around an inanimate object), that I pressed the 'Dock' button on him, which means he is supposed to comply and march his ass straight to his charger in the dining room. Did he comply?
He kept sucking/spinning/buzzing, and always back into the living room.
This went on for well over an hour.
I ended up picking Mr. Roomba up, and told him he was going to time out. I placed him on his charger, and do you know what he did?
He back-talked me, just like my dang toddler.
'Beep Beep' with blinking lights.
Interpretation: 'Screw you lady-vaccuum your own damn floors if you don't like how I'm doing it!!!'
I find this extemely intriguing, and at the same time, I almost feel guilty, like I'm reading something I totally shouldn't be! Check it out:
I totally want to do this!
I seriously have issues with Daylight savings time. I mean, I like it in theory, but not in practice. I am sooooo t.i.r.e.d. I am a night person, really not a morning person, and now I am one hour off. I can't seem to make my body understand that it is now 11:40pm, not 10:40pm, and that I will now be getting up an hour earlier, essentially, and it will still be dark out, which is okay, since it is light so much longer, and I love the fact that it stays light out until like 9pm in the summer, but then i stay up later, which makes me even more sleepy and prone to throwing my damn alarm clock across the room the next morning, making me late to work again, making me look like a lazy ass idiot who can't be responsible and get to work on time, which makes me feel dumb, and crabby, and i'm behind all day at work, so i work later to make up for that f-ing hour i overslept this morning, and then I get home later, and i feel guilty that my kid was with me one less hour today, so i let her stay up later, hence, i'm up later, and........
ack! it is just a f-ing mess!
and then i start run-on sentence typing. What a mess. What a hot mess, as my co-worker would say.
So really, why the hell do we do it? What really is the overall benefit of this shit? Someone help me out here, because I am sleeeeeepy but all jacked up. I feel like the VCR, flashing the wrong damn time.
I have not really introduced you to my mother yet. She is a gem. She is wonderful, and not just because she is my mom. I'll give you a brief rundown, just so you understand what I am going to tell you in a second. Here goes:
she is funny, great sense of humor, very positive for the most part, a smart ass, one of those fun women you can go get hammered with, she is sympathetic just when you need it, she will kick you in your ass when you really need it, she tells you both what you want to and need to hear, all at the same time, she is loving, she is giving, and...
she is a bit brain-damaged.
She has suffered from a handful of strokes since I was about 12. So, she is a bit different or unique. But I love it.
So, she bought her first house this summer. Well, her first house since the first 'first house' she bought with my father back when they were married a long, long time ago. And it has been so exciting for her! We painted her living room, dining room, kitchen, and my sister's room, all within the first week of her moving in. My brother recently started some work on her flowerbeds, and she got a big dangerous trampoline put in her backyard. Yeah to home ownership!
So this winter, when all the leaves fell out of her big tree in the front yard, they seemed to pile up, all on their own, in the very center of her yard. Grace and I kicked leaves everywhere a number of times. Yet, every time I would go back over to her house, the leaves would be in a huge pile, centrally located, shall we say. I didn't really think anything of it.
But then, about a month ago, as my mother and I were trying to drag my daughter and sister into the house, my mom looked at me and said 'Where the f--- are all my leaves?'
Uh, I promise I didn't take them. You can go check my yard-My trees have like 3 leaves put together, and my magnolia lost and re-grew leaves all on the same day in the Fall, so it totally wasn't me. Sheesh.
But then I look in her yard and realize she is right: there is not one single leaf in her front yard. Not one! No little strays lying on the steps, caught up in the bushes, in the flowerpots. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zero.
So we look on the sides of her house-nothing.
We look at the neighbors' yards on either side of her-nothing.
Now, I promise I'll give you a story a month about my mother's sense of humor, so you get an idea of just how exciting it is to have her in my life, but for now, I just have to say that my mother and brother pull stunts on each other all the time. So she says 'Do you think Matt came and got rid of the leaves to see if I would notice?'
My brother lives in San Marcos, like 3 hours south of here. No, I don't think he did that. I wouldn't put it past him, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't waste the gas on your f-ing leaves, mom.
Next question: 'Do you think your dad came and raked my leaves as a favor?'
I'm not even going to explain why this could possibly be an option. It's just too complicated, but no, it wasn't my dad either.
Next: 'Do you think the neighbors did it?'
Uh, no. They suck.
So, next: 'Did you take my leaves???'
Ackkkk! Please see my response above. I hardly have time to shower more than twice a week, let alone clean my entire house all in the same week. What makes you think I would have the spare f-ing time to wast on raking every damn leaf in your yard??? For fun??? For a laugh??
There are absolutely no leaves in her yard, and I am empty-handed, and out of explanations.
So, my mother tells me: 'I have a leaf fairy! How nice! I wonder who it is?'
I am utterly confused. Could someone please bring the leaves back? It is just too much of a mystery for my tired ass to figure out!!!!
Let me start this blog off by saying that I am a guilty Catholic. I am a recovering Catholic. I grew up in the Catholic church, and I love God. I pray. But I also became disheartened or bored or something, around the age of 20 or so, by the Catholic Church. I was not getting anything out of going to Mass, other than sore knees. I did not feel I was learning, I did not feel closer to God, and it wasn't always very welcoming. Overall, I just don't think that it should feel like that. So....I am a guilty Catholic-I don't go to Mass, I believe in birth control, I am on the fence about abortion, and now....I believe in stem cell research! Ack! Watch out-lightning bolts are coming for me right this very instant!
So, you heard that the Vatican decided to add 7 more deadly sins? First off, what has made the Church decide to finally, after 7000 or so years, enter this damn century? I'm a bit blown away by that, all on it's own.
Here they are: polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.
That's pretty amazing, isn't it? So now we are going to hell if we don't repent for being a litter bug? What about the 'obscenely rich' who give so much to help others? Drug dealing? Sigh. I get the sentiment. I really do. But I am feeling like the Church is just going to push more people away by this, rather than draw in more believers.
I already believe in birth control. I use it. I have for years. It's just being smart, pro-active, and safe. To me, it's not a sin. I also believe that there are situations where an abortion needs to happen. NO-I do not agree with an abortion in the 2nd or 3rd trimester, when it is a child, with body parts, emotions, and feelings. But I do think that if an 11 year old is raped (and YES PEOPLE, it does happen, a lot more than you want to know), she should not have to be pushed into adulthood by going through 9 months of pregnancy and then become a mother, when she should be playing with her friends and her I-pod.
And I do believe in stem cell research. I think that we are on to something BIG, that could save millions of people with tons of different incurable diseases. I believe that God is pointing us down this path, NOT Satan.
So, I am a guilty Catholic who will worry about her soul until she passes away, because she has turned from the Catholic church. And littered.
Another interesting story today: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,336286,00.html
If you know me, you know that I have said this before: I think we need to pump some anti-depressants into the drinking water. I don't mean this lightly. I really am serious. I think depression is a lot more widespread than we realize, and I also think that a lot of people don't take it very seriously. Some people don't know enough about it, and feel like someone can 'just snap out of it'. Others don't care to know anything about it, and ignore it-in their loved ones, and also in themselves.
I think I have probably suffered from depression since I was younger, but didn't really latch onto the thought, or recognize it in myself until the very end of 2006. And I gotta tell you, it is serious shit. And anti-depressants? They are awesome at taking up that damn serotonin. It's amazing how much better you feel, even in every day life where you didn't realize you were affected.
So, I honestly feel that putting anti-depressants in our water would make lots of awful stuff go down: crime rates, stress levels, road rage, self-hatred......But, I didn't ever really think about the fact that we really are dumping this stuff into the drinking water, along with anti-convulsants, heart medication, cholesterol meds, hormones.....it's all there for the taking, whether we want it (or need it) or not. Which really, is a bit scary. I mean, wow! What is this stuff doing to those of us who don't need it? What about the environment? Wildlife? I don't see an easy (or cheap)solution to this.
A co-worker passed away sometime between last night and this morning. She didn't show for work, and didn't answer her phone, which is totally not like her. My boss went to her apartment complex to check on her, because she is an older woman who lives by herself. Almost all of her family live far away.
When the apartment employee broke into her apartment, they found her deceased on her couch, with her bible lying next to her. Like she had just fallen asleep reading.
I didn't know her well, and that sorta saddens me, because I feel like I should have tried harder to get to know her. She was sweet, and a bit all over the place, but she appeared happy. I just didn't really have the time to get to know her very well.
But really, what got to me all day, and is still getting me as I sit here on my couch, is this:
Last Thursday, she was calming down our clients when the snow came earlier than expected. On Friday, she was taking a client to the dentist. I don't know what she did all weekend, but really.....if she knew she was going to pass away, would she have been doing all those things her last few days on this Earth? I can't stop thinking about how we can just be snuffed out in a single moment, and it really is not our choice, and everyone else is left to deal with the consequences of our actions (or inactions) after we are gone.
I wouldn't want to be working if I knew I was going to pass away in a week. I wouldn't be complaining about my backyard being a damn mud hole, or how my husband leaves his damn shoes right where I can trip on them every day. I just wouldn't want to waste the time.
Yet I do. Every day. I don't talk to everyone I love every day. I don't say how much others mean to me when I should. I don't spend every waking moment with my daughter. I get impatient with her. I yell. I grit my teeth.
I don't spend enough quality time with my husband. Or my father. Or my sister.
I worry about minor things, I stress about stupid things that I really don't have much control over. And I put off things that I really want to do. Like go to grad school. Like write a novel. Like attempt to get some of my poetry published. Like have another child. Like plant a garden.
What if my time is up in a few weeks? What do I have to show for it? Or rather, what do my loved ones have to show for it?
I can't wrap my head around this. I am overwhelmed when I think about it.
So. I will attempt to be more thankful. I will attempt to show my love more. I will attempt to do more meaningful things with my life, while I have my life.
To my sweet husband, who doesn't think I ever use the word 'sweet' in a non-sarcastic manner in front of the word 'husband':
You turned 30 just a mere 6 days after I did this year, exactly a week and a day ago. And it is normal form for me to be late, isn't it? I know you wouldn't have it any other way from me, now would you?
I need you to know that I have loved a large majority of our last 10-odd years together. And the small minority of time that I didn't love?: Well, it was when you weren't here. But I still loved you, even then.
In the beginning, you made me giggle, made me feel pretty, and had this easy way of making me feel cared for without being overbearing. You let me cuddle in bed, let me put my freezing-ass feet on your legs under the covers, and I do remember sleeping pretty damn good on my old-ass bed with my head in the crook of your arm. I will not forget when the lady at that grocery store said she could see the love between us.
Now, you still make me laugh, whether you know it or not. You still make me feel cared for, even if you do tend to be a bit of a 'father bird' every once in awhile; I know you mean well. You don't seem to like to cuddle so much under the covers, but who can blame you when all I want to do is tickle you or put my cold-ass hands and feet on your warm body? And now, at the ripe old age of 30, it is not so comfortable to lie with my head in the crook of your arm, but I still like feeling your presence in our bed. (Plus, you are soooo my personal heater!)
I know you like to joke that you have always liked older women, and here I am, your wife who is 6 whole days older than you. But really, we were both pooping our pants every other hour and eating every other other hour at the same time. Yeah, I might have had 6 days' experience on you, but really, we were newbies together, honey.
I truly am glad to be with you, after all this time. I do think we are like oil and water, but sometimes, oil and water are the perfect combination. You are just what I need; I am just what you need. You ground me, whether you realize it or not. All I have to do is look at your face when I'm getting upset about something that isn't really that big of a deal; I don't want you to think I'm a nut, so that grounds me. (although I know you probably do think I'm a nut-you have seen what tree I fell from!) I hope that I ground you at times as well, and not in the bitchy-bossy-wife kinda way.
You still surprise me with things you say and do. You still put a smile on my face, just like my 17 year old Will did. And although you are sometimes crabbier than I imagined you would be ,I am so very glad you are my Wyoming King Crab, and no one else's.
You are a great daddy. It seems to come so easily for you. When I am strung out from our girl's bossiness, you seem to be so calm. She adores you. She must have gotten that from me.
I love you honey, and I can't wait to turn 40 & 50 & 80 with you.
So it snowed today. And snowed. And snowed. This isn't normal for March 6th in North Texas. I mean, we don't even really get snow, ever. We get ice, sleet, sludge, which brings out all the asshats who don't know how to drive. But today was real snow.
Today was also our first appointment with the orthopedic specialist since my girl got her cast. Another x-ray, another medical bill with no insurance, and....GOOD NEWS! My girl heals quickly, and after only 12 days, she has a large amount of new bone, and it looks like she will be getting her cast off at her next appt., on April 4th! Yipeeeee! I'm pretty excited about that, and the damn pink weight isn't even on my little bird leg.
After the appt., Grace and I laid on my bed, ate lots of snacks, and watched it snow all day. We even went outside and caught snowflakes on our tongues. She has this cute full-out laugh that is so spontaneous, and that made my day.
On the other hand, being stuck in the house with a 2 year old that tells me what to do, demands something every 4.2 seconds, and then literally tells me to stop yelling when I get frustrated that she is yelling for me across the house.....I'm not sure I can take too much more of that!! I might have to threaten to put a fork in my eye again.
And let me just end this by saying that I had taken some good pictures of all of the snow in my little backyard, and somehow I am technology-dumb this evening, because I deleted the pictures before uploading them. Don't ask. So, just imagine lots of snow weighing down a 7 foot Magnolia tree. It's beauteous, I swear.