Saturday, March 29, 2008

I passed!

I recently decided that I want to go back into real estate. BK (before kids), I worked for a builder, and had been licensed for several years. I loved doing it. Once I had a couple kids, and dh started traveling a lot for work, it really wasn't easy for me to work. I put my license on "inactive" status, and started raising my babies.

A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to go back into it, part time. However, when I went to reactivate my license, I realized I'd forgotten a key aspect of the inactive license. A fee is required yearly to keep said license alive. I didn't pay the fee, so I had to go back to school and pass the state test all over again if I wanted to get back into it. All 90+ hours of education. Ugh.

So, I registered with Stringham Real Estate School because they are highly regarded and most of their classes are online (they are now ALL online). I managed to get through the classes in six weeks, which I think is a bit impressive, given I was holding at least one kid for most of the class time. Their online courses were still a bit buggy, which was irritating.

Today I had the state exam. I got my preferred location (Salt Lake), but not my preferred time (12:30pm). Instead, I had to be there at 8am. In hindsight, that actually worked out better, but it sure sucked to wake up at 5:30 this morning. I know, wah wah wah. DH took the kids to his parents' house before he caught a plane. As it turned out, he left just as I was leaving the test, so my ILs only had to babysit the kids for about 15 minutes. I then had them all afternoon and was able to do my regular Saturday lunch with my mom, grandma (who is recovering from surgery nicely, btw), and my sisters. We then dyed easter eggs because we're celebrating easter a week late.

Things have definitely changed with the exam. Last time I took it (in 1996), it was with a #2 pencil and coloring in the dots. I brought a calculator with me, but in some weird accident, the batteries started leaking battery acid on me. Never happened before, and will hopefully never happen again. They are very strict about what you can and can't do, and you weren't supposed to get out of your seat unless the administrator came over and gave you permission. Supposedly, you weren't really supposed to get out of your seat at all. Luckily she believed me and took pity on me, and let me go wash up, and even lent me a calculator.

I will admit I examined my calculator pretty carefully this morning, and hoped that buying a dollar tree calculator wouldn't hurt me.

This time around, they took your picture beforehand. Then, the test was on a computer. The monitors were in the desk, so it made it impossible (I would think) to peek at other people's papers. There was 8 or so other people testing that fine morning. I was the last to arrive.

The school test was much more difficult and tricky than the state test. The school test asked many ambiguous questions and made a lot of assumptions, which I hate. Lucky for me, the state test was much more straight forward.

I tend to test pretty quickly, so I went through it fast. I will admit that it made me a bit nervous that I pulled out the fake HUD statements well before anyone else. The questions that were asked regarding the HUD statements were the last few of the tests. I kept my ears open for other people to mess with them, but never heard anyone do it. I then went through the test a second time, which about killed me, but I wanted to be sure. It costs $59 each time you take the test, and I REALLY didn't want to fail.

After going through the test a second time, I decided that for better or worse, I was done. And the first one done. I took my scratch paper out and let the nice ladies know. It took a few minutes for the computer to grade my test. They announced I passed (yay me!) and then they went over some paperwork, and fingerprinted me (a new thing since 96). The fingerprinting machine was really cool, it was like a scanner for your hands. Kind of like the movies. I was really interested to see my fingerprints blown up really big on the screen.

This week I will have to decide which real estate brokerage I want to affiliate with, and then start raking in the big bucks.

So, if you know anyone wanting to buy or sell a house in the northern Utah area, I'm your girl!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Birthday Cake

When I made that last fondant cake, I brought it to a baby blessing. My niece is allergic to eggs and nuts, but I was under the impression she wasn't going to be to the food part of the blessing, so I made the cake with eggs. At the last minute, her family decided to stay. Her siblings and her weren't able to eat the cake due to the eggs, much to their disappointment.

Today we were going to celebrate the birthday of a different niece and my father in law. I promised that I would make a "fancy cake" that would be "Abbi-Safe". To further complicate it, the birthday girl's favorite cake is chocolate, and her favorite color is red. I used THIS eggless chocolate cake recipe. I had to stay up fairly late last night to bake it.

This morning, I was feeling very sleepy. The littles were cranky and recovering from colds. DH had taken M ATVing, so I was on my own with the 3 remaining kids. K and I also had to do a girl scout cookie booth. I'll admit I was really regretting agreeing to bake the fancy cake. But, I promised, so I sighed and got to work.

The bow did not turn out at all like I'd originally hoped, so I was pretty disappointed with that. I also feel like I didn't do as good of a job with the fondant as I have in the past. The camera is pretty forgiving though.

When we got to the party, the kids who rarely get a traditional birthday cake at parties due to the allergies were so excited they almost couldn't see straight. I think they were actually more excited than the birthday girl over the cake. I know their mother has a really great cake recipe, so I don't know why they were so excited. Maybe because she usually does cupcakes instead of a cake? I dunno. It's probably related to the fact that I can serve my kids a 4 course meal, take them to a friend's house, and they're immediately famished, like they haven't eaten in weeks.

Either way, I have to admit I loved their excitement. It made the hard work worthwhile.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Case of the Missing Furnace. and tub.

I can't tell this story without exposing how ghetto the outside of our house looks, but oh well!

Back story: Some friends of ours desperately needed a furnace, but couldn't afford a new one. My dad owns an HVAC company, so they'd asked him to keep an eye out for a more affordable option. A couple months ago, he pulled a furnace out of a house that still had some life in it. He told our friends he'd install it for a very reasonable price. They acted interested, so my dad dropped it off at our house. Being a really bulky item, we just put it on our RV pad, figuring it'd be installed within a few days. Well, these friends ended up having even tighter than expected finances, told my dad never mind on the furnace. Great. So now we have a furnace in our yard.

Then, a couple months ago, we renovated the bathroom, and tore out the old bathtub. J broke it in half with a sledgehammer so he could get it out of the house more easily. He put it by the furnace to keep it company. We were waiting for good weather to haul those items off to the dump, or possibly to be recycled. In the meantime, our curb appeal was waaaaaaaaaay up. Not.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. As I was leaving to take the kids to school and go to the gym, a truck/trailer parks in front of the neighbor's house. It had a couple of old washer/dryers in the back. Interesting, but not really.

I came home an hour or two later, and guess what? The furnace and HALF of the tub is gone. Struck my as really weird things to steal. I'm trying to muster outrage that we were burglarized in broad daylight, but the truth is, I'm really pleased they took it, and hope they come back for a couple of other junked things that J needs to take to the dump.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My grandma

As I type this, my grandmother is in surgery to have a radical hysterectomy.

It all started about two weeks ago, when she suddenly started bleeding heavily. Being in her seventies, she hasn't heard from her uterus in quite a long time. So, to suddenly start bleeding was a bit alarming.

She went to the doctor, who was concerned. He immediately ordered a biopsy and an ultrasound to see what was going on.

On Thursday, he called left a message for her to call back. He wasn't available when she did, so she left him a message. She never heard back. Friday, she called again, and got voicemail. Turns out the good doctor isn't in on fridays, and the answering service had no way of contacting him.

One agonizing weekend later.

She got a phone call Monday morning that she has Endometrial Cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer in women (behind breast, lung, and colorectal cancers ). She took the news fairly well. In fact, she told me she figured she was due for something, her run of excellent health is pretty unusual. She feels very optimistic about the whole thing because they believe they caught it really early.

She called the gynecologist oncologist Monday to set up an appointment. They had an opening for next week. She asked the receptionist if she knew what my grandma had. The receptionist correctly recited back her diagnosis. My grandma replied, "Well, yeah, I have that too. But more importantly, I have a 3 weeks cruise to the Panama Canal in April, and I want to be recovered from any surgeries or treatments by then. Is there any way I can get in sooner?" The receptionist said she'd watch for a cancellation, and amazingly enough, there was one for the very next day.

So yesterday, she went to the doctor yesterday, and miraculously enough, he had a cancellation in his schedule so he was able to squeeze her in to do the hysterectomy today. They will do it laprascopically, so the recovery will be much easier than it would've been in the past.

We won't know for sure what stage of cancer she has til they send her uterus and surrounding lymph nodes to the lab.

If you are the praying sort, prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oh crap!

Look what I found when I turned on my aquarium light this morning!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Snails

Since my last post, my snails have left two more egg clutches.

I may have to rethink my position on snail abortion. This is getting out of control.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My aquarium!

I am so excited!! One of my fish had babies. I initially counted 3 this afternoon, but when I was taking pictures to share, the number has jumped to 8 or 9!! I think I counted 5 fish in this picture. Can you see them all?

I have have four "golden mystery snails". Spring must be in the air, because one of them laid a bunch of eggs.

And here's one of the possible parents of the baby snails.

Joining a gym

I decided recently that my sloth days are at an end. I have decided to join a gym and reclaim what's left of my body.

I found a great deal at a local ladies' gym. I have to sign a 3 year contract to get the best deal, but the monthly fee is so cheap that it seems worth it. I'm paying about a third of what I'd pay elsewhere. They also have an onsite daycare, and if I volunteer in the daycare once a week, my kids in daycare are free!

So, I've attended two classes this week, and had a blast. I wasn't nearly as sore this morning as I thought I'd be. The class I took yesterday was a "Turbo Kick" class, which involves wrap gloves and a bit boxing bag. You are punching and kicking at it, and generally having a blast.

This morning I took a "Rep Reebok" class, which is a strength training class. I had a lot of fun, but I suspect I'll hate the instructor in the morning.

I am amazed at how much better I feel, even after just two classes. My energy is a lot higher, and the endorphins are running. I have very high hopes that I will quickly tone up and be a lot happier with my body.

So far, the kids like the daycare. I don't think the big kids would like it very much, so hopefully I'll keep my gym trips to when they're at school.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

More fun with Marshmallow Fondant

I decided to bake and decorate another cake and play with marshmallow fondant. The food network cake geniuses need not fear their jobs. Not for a while anyway. I had a lot of fun doing this, but it did look very amateurish.

I used my Betty Crocker Bake and Fill pan to have the different kinds of cake inside. It is mainly chocolate cake, with vanilla cake that I attempted to dye blue. It ended up looking kind of green to me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

My daughter

My daughter, K, is 9.5. She is beautiful, funny, smart, and an absolute hoot to be around. She is not the typical girlie girl, and never has been. She never liked barbies, ponies, etc. The latest trend with girls her age is Hannah Montana and High School Musical. She is not even remotely interested. I recently drove a girl scout carpool, and the girls wanted to listen to Radio Disney. As soon as the girls were out of the car, K asked if we could listen to my station again.

A few months ago, she decided that she wanted to have a slumber party. I told her that she needs to get together with the girls she wants to invite a few times to make sure they get along outside of school, and so that the other parents would allow it to happen. She bought a book on how to have a successful slumber party, and has tried to culture relationships with a couple girls outside of school. She has gotten together with a couple of these girls, but they have never reciprocated. If she calls them, they'll sometimes play, but they've never called her. It breaks my heart.

Anyway, she decided she would invite L and B to a slumber party. Her very best friend, M, is not allowed to have slumber parties. So she talked to L recently about the slumber party, and asked her about a particular weekend. L said she couldn't come then because she was supposed to spend that weekend with her dad.

Today, she approached L again, and it came out that since then, L was invited to a slumber party that same day, thrown by a girl in their class. K was not invited. L is planning to attend.

I just hurt for K. I wish she either didn't want to be friends with these girls, or that they would accept her. I know she's not a typical little girl, but she is still a lot of fun and a great kid. Why can't these girls see that?

Last comment on the remote control

It has a HELP button. And I need said help button at least once a day!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Since I have a gag order against teasing dh

The remote came with a disk. A remote control came with an installation CDR for the computer.

And a charging dock.

Seriously, this is going to be more than I can endure!!!

Deal with the Devil

My husband is dying for a super fancy remote control. Since he got his surround sound working, and said surround ignored our DISH network remote, he's been going mad have to deal with two remotes.

He found a couple of remotes that would work. One is over $500. Can you imagine spending that much on a remote control? Seriously! He found one the one pictured above at a more "reasonable" price. I still think it's insane. I am pretty sure the thing is capable of mind control. It should be, at the price he paid.

He called, begging to buy it yesterday. We have a policy that any purchase over about $40 needs the spouse's approval. I finally gave in and said he could buy it, and I wouldn't tease him at all if I could buy the new Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii.

I regret tacking on the part about not teasing him. I desperately want to tease him for his techno-geekiness. But, alas, I am a woman of my word.

Monday, March 3, 2008

More art by M

M's class at school is compiling a book about their mothers. We can each buy a hardbound version for $20. Being the sucker I am, I have signed up for it.

They sent home a practice version of the page M made for the book. Here it is:

Now, anyone who knows me at all is going to see the humor here. I am not known for my superior housekeeping skills. But hey. Whatever. I also don't have red hair. When I asked M why he colored me with red hair, he said it was because he'd already colored my skin yellow, and didn't want my hair and skin to be the same color.

Today I visited a friend who has a son in the same class. His art was "My mom is as wild as a rock star". The funny thing about that is she legitimately has some OCD cleaning issues. But SHE gets to be the wild rock star while I'm the maid. Grrrrrreat. And because I bought the book, it'll be recorded for all posterity.