The Shannon Chronicles

January 12, 2009

My Best Friend

Filed under: Dogs,Family — by shannonchronicles @ 7:05 pm

Dakota at Eight Weeks Old

Dakota at Eight Weeks Old

On January 2, 2006 we welcomed a new baby into our home. He was a six week old fur ball with big feet and an even bigger personality.

I had always wanted a German Shepherd Dog. When I was nine or ten, I’d watched a movie about a German Shepherd. I don’t remember much about the movie other than the ending was so sad, I cried for a while after. My poor mother wanted to run away I’m sure, but my love affair with the German Shepherd Dog had begun.

We’d lost our small dog the October before. She’d been with us for eleven years. With husband gone so much due to the Army, she’d been my constant companion through three PCS moves, two pregnancies, numerous field problems and two deployments. When she passed away, it broke my heart. I had dogs growing up, but I’d never had one who wanted to be with me constantly like she did. I thought I’d never be that close to another dog, but I was wrong. I just hadn’t met Dakota yet…

Husband found an ad in a neighboring town’s online paper for German Shepherd puppies. He called and set up a time for us to visit. The problem was, she only had three pups left and they were all males. I’ve always preferred female dogs. Husband said we should go look anyway, so we did. When we arrived, Mom and Dad were in a pen outside. The Dad was HUGE and made it known it was his yard.

The lady selling the pups met us outside and talked to us about the parents and then went and brought out the puppies. I bent down to pet one of the puppies when I felt a tug on my boot. I looked and there was this chubby puppy with these huge feet biting the laces on my boot. He looked up at me with the most beautiful brown eyes, shoe lace still in his mouth and just sat down. I put out my hand and he dropped the shoe lace to smell my hand and then proceeded to lick me. I picked him up and he licked my face – all the while grumbling like most German Shepherds are known to do. I knew he was the one the minute he looked up at me. I know there are things you’re suppose to do in order to find a pup with a good temperament, but I admit I did none of them. Once I had this special little guy in my arms, there was no way in hell I was ever going to let him go.

The three years Dakota has been with us have been hard years. Having him with me sure made some of the hard times easier though. He was so much company those fifteen months husband was deployed. Like Chelsea Dog, Dakota wants to be where I am. If I’m in the kitchen cooking, he’s either laying on a rug or sitting close to me in hopes I’ll drop him a bite of whatever I’m making. When I go up to get my shower or put on my makeup, he has to come along. If I’m sitting on the front porch watching the babies ride their bikes, Dakota sits keeping a watch on everything through the glass storm door. When I’m surfing the internet on my laptop, he’ll sleep in front of my chair with his head on my fuzzy slippers. And when we go to bed, he sleeps on the floor next to my side of the bed. If husband is snoring and I end up on the couch, he follows me down and sleeps on the floor next to the couch. Even when I go to the bathroom, he has to follow. He’ll stand at the door and wait for me and then follows me back to lay by my chair. Yep, he’s my constant companion.

Protesting his picture being taken

Protesting his picture being taken

I’d sent this picture to my Dad and he emailed back asking why Rin Tin Tin was showing his teeth. Dad always calls him Rin Tin Tin. I let him know he wasn’t really showing his teeth. He either hates having his picture taken or the sound the camera makes – but either way, any time I get the camera out and try to get a picture of him, he has to do his howl/bark. This time, I caught the very beginning of the howl lol. He wasn’t showing his teeth at anyone or any thing and I’ve never seen him show his teeth come to think of it.

He is very protective though. Son started wrestling this winter. Sometimes husband and son will be on the living room floor so husband can show him this or that to go over what son learned at practice. This makes Dakota nervous apparently. He barks and sticks his nose in between them lol. Son will sometimes aggravate his sister and try to do a wrestling move on her. Big sister will then hold down little brother and commence to tickle him until he screams in between laughing. Again, my pup gets nervous, grumbles and sticks himself into the situation licking faces until they both give up and resort to, “Ughh, Dakota! Dog breath!!!! On!! My!!! FACE!!!” heh heh.

Tolerating the new kitten

Tolerating the new kitten

And, he even tolerates our kitties. At the beginning of October, one of daughter’s friends found a kitten near her home. The baby couldn’t have been three weeks old since he still had blue eyes. The friend called daughter and told her about the kitten and said her parents weren’t going to let her keep it. Daughter found out her friend was trying to feed it wet bread and immediately came to her Dad and I begging for us to take her over to her friend’s house so she could save it. We already have two inside cats, but husband is a sucker and told daughter not to worry. We’d take her over so she could get the kitten and that’s the reason we now have THREE inside cats.

Frank, the kitten, is growing like a weed. He’s not scared of anything – including a German Shepherd. Dakota is pretty patient with the little guy…allowing him to play with his favorite bone, sniff his food and share his water bowl. When the cats get to running in the house, Dakota has to really try hard to fight his urge to chase them though.

Enjoying the Spring

Enjoying the Spring

German Shepherd Dogs are wonderful companions. Like any large dog though, (actually, any dog in my opinion) educating yourself about the breed prior to welcoming one into your home is a must. Each breed has positives and negatives and in order to be a responsible pet owner, you should educate yourself prior to even considering going to look at puppies. Too many dogs end up in shelters due to the fault of the moron who purchased the dog, not because of the dog.

German Shepherd Dogs shed…they shed all year long. If you don’t want to have to vacuum every day, this dog is probably not for you. They are also extremely vocal. If you’ve ever seen the movie K-9 with Jim Belushi, you have an idea of how vocal most GSDs are. Our Dakota is no different. Although I think a GSD would do fine in an apartment as long as regular exercise was part of the dog’s life, their vocal nature might make apartment life difficult with your neighbors. If I had to move into an apartment, I don’t know what I’d do about my baby. He barks for five straight minutes if we all leave the house. Yep, I’m sure it’s separation anxiety and I’m sure I need the Dog Whisperer to come Whisper us lol. The point though, is know the breed, know your living conditions and take some time to really compare your life and living conditions to the breed you’re interested in prior to bringing home any puppy or dog.

Dakota is a loving, loyal, smart and energetic friend and we’re extremely lucky to have him in our lives. Last Thursday morning, I was catching the news before taking our babies to school when the story of Lizzie, a Memphis TN German Shepherd Dog came on. She apparently foiled a burglary at her home while her human person was at work heh heh. The criminal seems to have left a significant amount of blood behind and the police will try to match the blood to the burglar. The link above also has a link to video and I couldn’t get over how much Lizzie and Dakota look so much alike. To me, Lizzie looks to be around two years old… She’s pretty narrow through the chest and Dakota was long and lanky looking until he was closer to three. This past fall, he started adding more weight to his 90 lb body. He’s really filling out and is now easily over 100 pounds. He’ll go in July for his yearly checkup and vaccinations and I’ll find out then how much weight he’s put on in the last year.

Well, this turned out much longer than I had planned. Guess that’s what happens when it takes three days to write an entry because of all the interruptions and distractions. Ughh. So, even if you didn’t make it through the entire blog-book entry, hope you at least enjoyed the pictures.


December 6, 2008

Light bulb Moments

Filed under: Guns & Ammo,Life Lessons — by shannonchronicles @ 2:48 pm

I’m not quite sure how I ran across The Breda Fallacy last week, but I’m glad I did. I followed the link over to her podcast, Gun Nuts: The Next Generation and enjoyed the show she co-hosts with Caleb, from the blog Call me Ahab.

Their November 25th podcast included a discussion about “lightbulb” moments. In the reminder on her blog of that evening’s show, she said:

Caleb and I will be talking about those “ah-ha” or “lightbulb” moments you get as you learn how to shoot or when you finally decide to carry. I like to call them gunny epiphanies – that single point in time will forever exist in your memory. You will refer to it again and again throughout your life and remember the sensation of when everything perfectly aligned in your brain – it will be your moment of before and after.

I thought it was an interesting question and gave it some thought. My light bulb moment wasn’t about learning to shoot or deciding to carry. It was a moment that opened my eyes to reality, not only in regards to the Second Amendment but also concerning the news media.

It’s no secret that I’m a southerner. As is the norm for the majority of southerners, I was raised around guns, taught gun safety and how to shoot at a young age. Guns in our home and being legally carried was the norm. When I turned 21, I applied for and received my concealed weapons permit. I had never considered that in some parts of the country, my family would be the exception in this regard. In my early twenties, I had never even entertained the idea that not only would we be the exception, in many cities across America, we wouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun. And, with that bit of personal history, it brings me to how my light bulb moment came about.

On December 7, 1993, the Long Island Rail Road train left Penn Station around 5:15 pm taking commuters home. As it entered Nassau County Colin Ferguson stood up, produced a 9mm handgun and shot every passenger he came across as he slowly walked down the train’s aisle. As he paused to reload, three passengers tackled him and put an end to his murderous spree. Unfortunately, Ferguson was able to murder six innocent people and injure nineteen others.

In 1993, I was in my early 20s and as I mentioned, I hadn’t given much thought beyond my own reality to gun laws across the country. I had yet to realize that some folks believe that no citizen should own a gun, much less be able to legally carry one. Looking back, I’m not quite sure what I thought exactly. I guess I just assumed that since the Constitution gave us all the right to keep and bare arms, all states were similar to Alabama in that if you were a law-abiding citizen you could not only buy a handgun, but get a permit to carry it.

One Sunday evening I was at my Mother’s house. After dinner, there was news coverage of the shooting rampage by this animal Ferguson on the TV. Of course, one of the interviews included someone making the demand for tighter gun laws. Clearly ignorant of the facts other than what had just been insinuated in the news cast, I said something about maybe New York needed to tighten up their gun carry laws. Really brilliant, wasn’t I lol? My step-father quickly and as is his nature, gently explained the many errors in that opinion. In doing so, he pulled back the curtain and for the first time in my young life, I realized that the press is not always showing the entire picture and they, too, can and often do have an agenda. By choosing which voices will be heard, they can steer the uneducated on the topic they are covering the way they want them to go. I also realized that not all states are equal when it comes to the Second Amendment.

Step-father opened my eyes with his first few facts. He told me that New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and that most law-abiding citizens cannot get a carry permit. He said, “If people on that train had been able to legally carry a concealed weapon, it’s unlikely this guy would have had free reign to kill and injure so many people. Instead of being sitting ducks until he was forced to pause to reload, just one law-abiding citizen legally carrying a gun could have ended his killing spree immediately and saved countless lives.”

I hadn’t known by the news coverage that New York has such strict gun laws that the average citizen couldn’t get a permit to carry. He also pointed out something the news coverage hadn’t: that animal Ferguson was not legally carrying a gun. The law abiding people on the train were unarmed and only the criminal who intended to murder as many as he could was carrying a gun. With the strict gun laws New York already had on the books, more gun laws wouldn’t prevent criminals from carrying guns. The laws only prevent the law-abiding people from carrying a gun and being able to protect themselves.

This one conversation turned on the light bulb for sure. For starters, I viewed the media differently and realized that regardless of what they reported, it was my responsibility to always look into what they covered further before making a judgment or having an opinion – especially when politics are concerned. I never took for granted the Second Amendment or my home state of Alabama’s view of it again. I was immediately thankful that my state realized that unarming their citizens just made them unable to defend themselves against those who don’t obey laws to begin with. More gun laws only restrict the law-abiding citizens and embolden the criminals who know the average citizen will be unarmed thanks to the legislature. It was a light bulb moment for sure…

December 4, 2008


Filed under: Army Life,Family,Living Alone — by shannonchronicles @ 11:33 am

This year, our Thanksgiving was a very special occasion. About a week prior to the big day, Husband and I were talking and we realized this would be the first Thanksgiving we’ve spent together in two years. It just hadn’t dawned on us for some reason. The last Thanksgiving we were together was in 2005.

In September of 2006, he deployed to Iraq for his second year-long tour. We looked forward to being able to spend Thanksgiving together the next year, since he should have returned in late August or early September of 2007. Unfortunately, all Army deployments were extended from twelve to fifteen months right as husband neared the half-way point of the deployment. And with that, he spent two Thanksgivings in Iraq. Thankfully, he deployed in September, not October. If he’d deployed in October, he would have missed two Christmases too. Although I really enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas was always the hardest holiday to get through when he was deployed.

The extension was an unexpected emotional blow, but I know it would have been so much worse had we also missed spending the Christmas holiday with him two years in a row. My heart broke for those families who weren’t as fortunate. Twelve months apart is hard, but for some reason, adding on those three extra months made it so much harder. So, this Thanksgiving, we all were most thankful for being able to spend the day together.

Daughter spent the morning helping me in the kitchen. We had such a good time talking and cooking together. She’s eleven, but looks like she’s a teenager. She’s almost as tall as me, can wear my shoes and clothes and she’s so mature. Sometimes I forget that she’s only eleven. Husband and son enjoyed some football and helped us get the table ready. After we ate, the men-folk did most of the cleanup saying it was the least they could do since daughter and I did all of the cooking.

After our bellies were full and the kitchen was cleaned up, daughter and I went and rented some movies. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching Christmas movies and enjoying hot chocolate and the pie daughter made.

It was a great Thanksgiving and we’re looking forward to spending many more together now that he’s retired. I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

October 10, 2008

Get Ready….

Filed under: Politics — by shannonchronicles @ 8:37 am

Ok, so the liberals are going to “rescue” our freedoms when the Messiah takes over the White House?

Yeah, ok.

No, disagree with him and you’ll be shouted down as a racist. There are so many examples of this there’s no point in linking them all.

His history shows he associates with far far left radicals, organizations who use threats to get banks to loan money to unqualified borrowers and uses the courts to “go after” those who disagree with him. See here for more info on that last one.

Now, if a campaign worker calls and asks you to vote for Obama and you less than politely tell them where to go and how to get there, expect a visit from the Secret Service when said campaign worker claims you made death threats.

It’s pretty damn simple folks. You can tell more about the character of a man (or woman) by what they DO than by what they SAY….

And one last scary thing…Obama tries to talk Iraq leaders into delaying any agreement with the U.S. until “the new administration” is in place. Utterly disgusting. Here’s your link.

So, get ready. The democrats and left-wing nutjobs have been working toward this moment since the 1960s and we’ve finally allowed them to come within inches of making our republic into a socialist nation. The end of the Republic is near and that should frighten every American…

October 3, 2008

Ugh! I’m Sick AGAIN….

Filed under: Family,This and That — by shannonchronicles @ 9:20 am

Good grief it seems as though I can’t catch a break.

I never did feel back to 100% after I finished the antibiotic. My cough got better though and that scary feeling of not being able to get enough air eased up a lot. I still had a little bit of wheezing sound when taking a deep breath, but the crackle was gone.

Late Friday night, the feeling of not being able to breathe was back. I used the inhaler my doc had given me and went on to bed. At 1 a.m. I woke up freezing. I thought it was strange considering I NEVER get cold at night, but after getting a drink of water I went back to bed. At 5, I woke up again freezing, my skin hurt along with my joints and I felt absolutely lousy. I knew then I had a fever, so I came downstairs and took my temperature. Yep, 102.9 – I was officially sick again and husband and I were planning on painting the damn living room Saturday and Sunday. Ughh.

Saturday I kept my fever down to around 99 to 100 with Tylenol. Without it, the fever would shoot back up. I made it to son’s football game that morning, but I only made it through the first half. I had to come home after that. I ended up sleeping pretty much the rest of the day.

Sunday, husband and I worked on painting the trim and getting all the small stuff out of there. The carpet comes on Friday, so sick or not, the painting had to be done.

Monday, my fever was still hanging on and I felt awful. I painted not quite half the room though. By 2 p.m. I felt even worse and broke down and called my doc’s office. I knew he was out of town, but thought maybe another doc in the office could call me in another antibiotic. Thankfully, they did. Husband picked it up for me after work and I’m hoping this one (Cipro) will knock out whatever this crud is.

Tuesday, I planned on painting of course. Unfortunately, I felt like I’d been run over by a Mac truck lol. When husband called to check on me after I’d taken the babies to school, he talked me into getting on the couch. I truly wasn’t worth killing.

Having totally wasted the entire day Tuesday sleeping on the couch, it left me only Wednesday and Thursday to finish up painting before the carpet is installed Friday. Wednesday morning, I was feeling better and got started not too long after taking the babies to school. Not too long after that, I was no longer feeling better lol, so I took quite a few breaks. I kept going though and was able to put the last bit of paint on the walls around 4 pm.

My plan for Thursday was to get up, clean the radiators, paint them and then paint the trim of the window the air conditioner is in and the side door. Having painted all day Wednesday, Wednesday night I was ready for bed at 11 pm. I knew the minute I got in bed I’d be asleep because not only was I tired, I was still feeling lousy and had a fever.

Of course, sleep was not to be. I swear it was like something out of the movie My Cousin Vinnie…only there were no trains, whistles or screech owls. No, what I had was a Siamese kitten in heat. Anyone who has ever heard a Siamese knows they have a tendency to sound like a baby crying. Apparently when they are in heat, they sound like a baby being tortured.

Long story short: No SLEEP. Yesterday was a bust. Not only am I sick and tired (and tired of being sick), I’m exhausted lol. I ended up sleeping since the kitten, having been up all night screaming, was tuckered out too. That left me with last night to at least get the radiators cleaned and painted. No way did I want to try to get them painted with the new carpet installed….so, I finished up the radiators while listening to the VP debate. I started around six painting and finally put the finishing touches on just as the debate was wrapping up.

Here’s a funny though. I get a call around 4 pm yesterday from the company that is contracted through Lowes to install the carpet. The nice lady says she has spoken with her installers and they have me scheduled for installation tomorrow, the 3rd. However, she has on her calendar the 13th. She says that she left me a message two weeks ago saying she had me down for the 13th and since I didn’t call back, she assumed her calendar was correct.

I thought I might come through the phone heh heh. I explained that our answering machine seems to be on the fritz and not saving every message, so I didn’t know she’d called. I told her that I hoped they were still planning on installing the carpet tomorrow because I’ve about killed my stupid self trying to get this room done before they arrived when I could have spent the past week in bed. She said the installers had the correct date down, so they would be able to be here in the morning.

Whew. Talk about wanting to come unglued lol. If they had canceled on me, when the installers and I had the SAME date and the office lady seemed to be the only one who couldn’t distinguish between a 3 and 13 on a calendar, I just might have had to use the little bit of energy I have left to smack her through the phone lol.

From what the installers had said when they came out to measure, they will move the furniture out of the living room – except for the entertainment stand. They don’t move those, which I can completely understand. Before bed last night, husband and I moved ours into the foyer. We’d planned to have the rest of the furniture out of there, but realized if we moved it all into the foyer, they wouldn’t be able to get in the front door lol.

This morning, I moved all the small stuff out of there, so all they’ll have to move is a couch, love seat, recliner and over sized chair. I’m hoping it won’t take them too long to get that old carpet (that is older than me) out and the new in. All I want to do is get my living room put back together, get comfortable in my chair and call it a week. I’m completely exhausted.

I did take some pictures this morning though. When they get the new carpet in, I’ll take some more. Sometime this weekend, once I get rested, I’ll post some before and after pictures.

September 18, 2008

Dang I’ve been sick….

Filed under: Family — by shannonchronicles @ 6:23 pm

Of course our babies were in school not even a week before one of them came home sick. All summer we stay healthy, but the minute they start school, they bring home some of the nastiest cold, flu stuff.

This time, it was son who came home sick. He had this terrible cough and mentioned he felt as though liquid was running deep in his ear every once in a while. Since he had tubes put in his ears last March, him feeling anything down in his ears had me worried. So, instead of waiting, I just went ahead and made him an appointment. Usually, I try to get them healthy at home since doctors these days aren’t too keen on giving antibiotics unless you’ve been sick seven to ten days, but the ear thing had me worried. Doc agreed that with his history, we shouldn’t wait on giving him an antibiotic. That was on the 4th.

I’d been feeling lousy a day or so when I took son in, but figured I’d get some good rest over the weekend and feel better by Monday. Yeah, right. By Tuesday, I was so congested, I felt like I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs between all the crackling and wheezing. If I tried to get on the couch or in bed, laying down made me feel like I was suffocating. Talk about feeling panicked when it feels like you aren’t getting enough air…just an awful feeling.

Thursday I broke down and called my doc and they worked me in on Friday afternoon. He put me on that Z-pak antibiotic which is a five day course. This past Tuesday I finished it and was still sick. It said that it’d keep working even after you finished taking it, so even though husband kept telling me I needed to call the doc back I figured I’d wait a few more days and see if I started feeling any better.

Yesterday was a bad day. I took the babies to school, got home, put the dogs out and fixed my coffee. Thought I’d get online and check my email and read a few blogs, so once I got the dogs in, I sat down with my laptop in my lap. Somewhere between taking a sip of coffee and having a coughing fit – well, I’ll spare the gory details and just say that when all was said and done, my laptop, my chair (and my clothes) was covered in coffee from me and the cup.

GREAT start to the day. Just great start.

My laptop was soaked and dead. All my pictures from our trip – plus all the pictures I’d taken over the last two years were of course only saved on my laptop and thus – gone…. I’ve mentioned that I get teary easily when I’m sick – multiply that by 4 heh heh. Sick for over a week, unable to sleep anywhere but in my chair or I felt like I was suffocating, then getting sick and ruining my computer added up to SobFest 2008. That did wonders for my congestion as you can imagine heh heh.

Thankfully, after fooling with the computer off and on yesterday, I was able to get it restarted last night. The keys were sticking here and there when I first started typing this, but they seem to have loosened up now. I took all my pictures last night and burned them onto a CD though, in case I couldn’t get the computer restarted again. So thankfully, all my pictures are safe and sound now.


This morning wasn’t much better, but the fact that I got sick in the bathroom instead of the living room was a plus. I don’t know what it is about this cough, but somehow it flips my stomach and the puking is on. There’s no getting to the bathroom or anything when it happens unless I’m right there to begin with. This morning I was just lucky due to the fact of just having let the dogs out the back door and the bathroom is right there next to it…

So, there you go. I’ve not done anything in almost two weeks except sleep in my chair when I could. We have new carpet coming on October 3rd. Husband decided he didn’t want hardwood floors in the living room with area rugs, he’d rather have wall to wall carpeting since this is the room we spend most of our time in. I’ve got to get this living room painted before the 3rd…and with me being sick, the project hasn’t even been started. I’m hoping this weekend I’ll be feeling a lot better and can get a lot done. No way I want to paint this room after they put in the new carpet…I’m too messy of a painter for that to even be an option lol.

Hope everyone is having a great September!!

August 4, 2008

One Busy Summer

Filed under: Family — by shannonchronicles @ 2:23 pm

I’m sorry for not posting since APRIL. Jeez, I hadn’t realized it’d been that long until I stopped by my blog the other night. I thought for sure I’d posted in May or June.

Updates – lets see. First off, my brother and his wife came to visit us back in May. I cannot express in words how absolutely WONDERFUL it was to have them here. When it was time for them to head back home, of course I sobbed like a fool. I just hate having to say goodbye to family. Both my babies are truly my offspring since they cried too lol. They arrived on a Saturday morning and stayed until Thursday evening. I enjoyed them being here so much and can’t wait until we can either take a trip to see them in Tennessee or they can come back to Dorothy’s neck of the woods ;).

Husband took a job on post. I think the first few weeks were hard for him…but he’s liking it more now. OR he’s telling me he’s liking it more lol. I’m sure it will take him a while to get used to civilian life, but we’re on our way. He’s technically not “out” yet, but he will be shortly. Gotta love terminal leave I guess.

My health problems are still going strong. I could write a book, but I won’t bore you. All I will say is I feel truly blessed to have a civilian doctor now. And, one Tricare will pay for. We started out paying for me to see him out of pocket since we didn’t live outside the radius where they’d ok me to go off post. Once we had a huge influx of new soldiers to this post, I guess the system got overwhelmed and they ok’d me to go off post and have them pay for it. So now, I see THE SAME DOCTOR every single month, use the same small town pharmacy…and it has truly relieved some of the stress that goes along with having a chronic health problem.

The babies played sports this summer. Son played baseball and had a great time. He was a home run king in almost every game lol. He also just finished a football camp. Daughter played softball. She wasn’t too crazy about her coach this year, so I’ll be surprised if she wants to play again next year. I hope she will though, but it’s her decision.

The babies and I headed out to Georgia at the end of June. We met up with my Dad outside of Atlanta and spent a few days at my Aunt’s house. Then, we all RV’d down to Lake Wells Florida for 4th of July weekend. Dad took his air boat and son and I followed him down in my car. Riding in a truck does me no favors. Daughter stayed back with my Aunt. Her granddaughter is about daughter’s age – they are second cousins, so the girls rode down in their big RV. We all had such a great time – and it was wonderful spending time with family.

The Mustang – well, it didn’t do so well. I’d taken it in for an oil change right before we left and had Ford check it over. On the way down, we had water dripping into the driver and passenger floor. Guess the air conditioner drain was clogged. On the way home, we went through the WORST rain storm just south of Mobile. Twice we were hit where you could only go 25 mph on I 10. You had to have your flashers on just to see the car in front of you. We stopped just across the Alabama line at a rest stop so we could use the bathroom and get a picture of the Welcome to Alabama sign. When we get back in the car, the cruise control is out and the AC adapters won’t work to charge my GPS OR my cell phone. So, we’re on this back road in Mississippi and it’s 10 pm on a Sunday night and I know water has gotten into the electrical system somehow to crap out the cruise and the AC adapters and NOW we notice a quarter inch of water in the glove box….UGHH.

I get the freaking thing home and get it back into Ford. I have them print out the service record for the car and in less than two years it’d been in the shop 17 times. I went round and round with the local Ford dealer. We are GREAT customers – it was our fourth car we’d bought from them and they got ALL of our service work…and I felt I shouldn’t be the only one taking it up the ass on this car. Well, they wanted to act like I was wanting a brand new mustang for nothing. They broke the windshield when trying to fix the apparent leak and when we got it back it was half-ass put back in. Then they had the gooey black sealant stuck on the hood…. So, we went down to a bigger town and got a GREAT deal on an 08 GT that is a California Special. The only thing I didn’t like was it didn’t have a rear spoiler so they tossed in a FREE Roush spoiler. So, our local Ford can kiss our ass. I’ll drive the 35 minutes every three months and they’ll get my business on oil changes and anything else we end up doing to this car. This one’s interior is a lot prettier too – it has the dark charcoal gray with light gray – and it’s a five speed in the floor. Hopefully this one won’t give us any headaches….my fingers are crossed :).

Whelp, guess that’s most of the updates. Just been a really busy summer. Husband finished our kitchen project of painting the cabinets. I’ll try to get some pictures posted in the next few weeks. Now we’re going to try to do the living room. Husband and I cleaned out the huge desk we had in the back of the living room Saturday and then yesterday, he ripped out this ugly shelf thing that enclosed the radiator in the back of the room and had some book shelves over it. All that gone and this room is HUGE…now I just have to clean the wall back there…fifty years of dust behind those shelves and the wall looks filthy, so I’ll need to wash all the walls before I paint them. I’ll get some pictures and update the blog as we go…

Hope everyone is having a good summer….I’m so ready for FALL and some cooler weather!!!

April 29, 2008

I Have a Good Reason…

Filed under: Family — by shannonchronicles @ 12:15 pm

for not posting.


It’s a long story on how exactly we came to add a Siamese kitten to our family. The short version is husband has a weakness. That weakness is our children. Daughter saw the baby. Daughter fell in love with the baby. Husband heard, “Oh Daddy, isn’t she beautiful?!” And, that’s all it took. We have a new little baby.

Here’s a picture I took a few weeks ago when we first welcomed the baby home:

Those blue eyes…gosh she really is beautiful. And what a character! She has a great personality and is so loving.

At night, she climbs up the comforter, finds her way under the covers and curls up under my neck. Purring, she and I fall alseep like that every night. Of course, when she is grown and weighs ten pounds, we’re going to have to find her somewhere else to sleep :).

I’ve not been able to write due to our newest baby also enjoying the computer. As you can see in this next picture, she enjoys reading The LawDog Files too:

While she’ll occasionally find somewhere else to sleep, like on our other cat (who really needs to go on a diet):

Her favorite spot is in my lap. Laptop in the way? Ha! Not a problem for her. She makes herself right at home 🙂

As you can see, typing is a challenge :).

April 10, 2008

The Mortgage “Crisis”

Filed under: Old House Living,The Nanny State — by shannonchronicles @ 8:52 am

The political lead ball being kicked around by democrats and some republicans concerning the “mortgage crisis” is just another example of our once proud Republic turning into The Nanny State.

First of all, I remember quite a few socialists -um, I mean democrats and minority “leaders” in the mid to late 90’s going on and on about mortgage lenders discriminating against minorities. Pressure was applied to lenders to start lending to people who were (to put it politely) less than ideal candidates for a mortgage. Of course, lenders caved in to the pressure and started giving loans to people who not only lacked the credit history to qualify, many also lacked the income.

So, now that these lenders did exactly what the democrats and race hustlers wanted them to do, they are still the only folks at fault. Instead of being the racist lenders of the 1990’s who refused to lend to minorities, in 2007 and 2008 they are now predatory lenders who preyed on poor minorities with loans they knew these poor folks could never repay.


Ok, lets see if I have this right: Lenders who denied loans to people who didn’t qualify were racists when the people denied happen to be a minority. When they lower the bar and loan money to people who don’t qualify and those people default on the loan (because they didn’t qualify to begin with, thus meaning the likelihood of them being able to repay said loan was – well, unlikely) – now the lenders are predators. No word yet on what exactly these lenders would gain by loaning money that would never be repaid. According to democrats and race hustlers, all you really need to know is the lenders are evil and those who took out the loans are victims.

Another component of our “crisis” consists of folks who gambled in the housing market and lost. Housing prices were soaring and there were folks who wanted their piece of the pie. They waited too long to get in though. Instead of depositing the profit from the sale of their investment, the market slowed, housing prices dropped and their interest rates started rising. And, *shocker* not only can they not sell the house, since they chose a mortgage that didn’t have a fixed interest rate, they can’t afford to pay for the house either.

With tiny violins playing, we hear about those evil lenders in this component of our crisis too. Even though the gambling home owners clearly understood the terms of their mortgage, it’s not their fault they are facing foreclosure. Again, all you really need to know is the lenders are evil and those who took out the loans are victims.

When it comes to so called victims (well, victims according to democrats, which means folks who are certainly not victims of anything other than their own piss poor decision making skills) democrats are sure the only solution is government intervention. Somewhere in our Constitution, hidden away apparently in a place only socialists have access to, there is a secret clause that gives the government the authority to take money from people who have good decision making skills and give it to people who have poor decision making skills. The mortgage “crisis” is just the latest example of the democrats (and some republicans) wanting to take money from my family (and yours if you pay taxes) and give it to their “victims.” Never mind the fact that my family could use that money – politicians would rather give it to people who purchased homes they couldn’t afford instead of allowing my family to keep our money to use on the home we purchased that we could afford.

I have absolutely no sympathy for these so called victims whether they are idiots who gambled on buying a house to make a quick buck and lost – or bought a home they couldn’t afford. Both groups are adults. No one forced them at gun point to buy a home. They made a crappy decision and I hate to break it to them AND our politicians, but as adults, we should all be held responsible for our decisions. We’ve been responsible for our home buying decision…

In 2002 we moved from Alaska to our current state. At the time, husband had planned on retiring from the Army the next year and we wanted to purchase our first home. Six months prior to our move, we did what responsible adults do – we went over our budget carefully, decided on a price range we could comfortably afford and then set out to get pre-approved for a home loan.

Having worked hard over the last several years to pay off all of our debt, keep our credit rating perfect and save for a down payment, we felt confident that we’d easily get approved for a loan. It was no surprise when we were approved and were offered a good interest rate. The surprise was how much money we’d been pre-approved for. We knew our budget, we knew when we moved one of our children would start school and we’d need to become a two car family – and we knew if we bought a house for the amount we were pre-approved for, two cars would be out of the question. Mainly, we knew we wanted to own our own home, but we didn’t want to be house poor. We wanted to maintain our current lifestyle of being able to go out to eat or go on vacation without going into debt and if we were house poor all our extra money would go to mortgage payments.

From Alaska, I started shopping online for our dream house. I noticed that houses built after 1970 were a lot more money for a lot less house than those built around the turn of the century. I quickly fell in love with the idea of buying an old house with great character and bones that needed some TLC. We could get a 2,000 square foot house for tens of thousands of dollars less than a newer 1,000 square foot house.

When we arrived in our new state, after showing us several homes that were not what we were looking for, our first realtor said, “You know what your problem is?” I said, “No. What?” She said, “You have champagne tastes on a beer budget.” I’d planned on canning her before this statement, but yeah, it pretty much sealed her fate heh heh. I replied, “That may be true, but you know what? I usually get what I want.”

The next day we drove a few towns away from post and found a new realtor. I also found my dream home and our nice new realtor made some money while the attitude realtor only got a door in the ass :).

Our house needed a new roof, the exterior painted, lots of overgrown vines and bushes removed, every room needed wallpaper and carpet removed and paint – but – the house was $30,000 below OUR budgeted amount (not the amount we were pre-approved for) and had great bones. We could move in and renovate a room at a time without acquiring any more debt than our mortgage. With husband retiring, we could survive (if we had to) on just his retirement check if he had trouble finding a job.

I won’t lie and say it’s been easy redoing the rooms I’ve completed. To be honest, since the last two surgeries I had and the continuing health problems I still have, it’s been extremely hard. Monday, I started working on redoing our kitchen cabinets (pictures on the way) – a project I did when we first moved in. However, after renovating our dining room and making it formal – the country blue kitchen cabinets are barf worthy next to the Tibetan Red on the dining room walls above the stained wood wainscoting and plate rail. I’ve put off painting the cabinets for two years and decided Monday that I’m going to feel like shit whether I sit here and feel sorry for myself or get in that kitchen and get those cabinets painted. It is taking me forever with lots of breaks, I’ve broken down and sobbed a few times – but I’m determined to get back to some sort of semblance of my old life.

Would I have wanted this house as badly had I known my body would turn out to be my own worst enemy? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe not. However, I can say with absolute certainty that had I known my health would change so drastically when we were in the market for a house, I still would have looked for something in or below our price range. We would have made sure the house we chose didn’t make us house poor. We may have settled for one with less character and less work, but we would have purchased something in our price range. If we couldn’t have found one we liked in our price range, we would have rented until we found what we were looking for.

I guarantee you we wouldn’t have bought something we could not afford and then cried foul when we didn’t make the payments and the bank started foreclosing. And we damn sure wouldn’t have expected the tax payers of this great nation to bail us out of a situation WE CREATED. Then again, we don’t have our hands out expecting our government to provide for us either. I have parents, thank you. They stopped supporting me when I moved out on my own at 18. And I certainly didn’t then, and do not now, expect the government to step in and nanny me with handouts every time I make a bad decision. As an adult, I understand that actions have consequences and that I am responsible for myself. As a citizen of this great nation, I don’t expect our government to provide for me – but I’d appreciate it if my government would quit deciding FOR ME to reward bad behavior and decisions made by my fellow citizens. They are no better than me…they too should have to be responsible for themselves. If they make a bad decision, allow them to fall AND get up on their own. Maybe THEN we’d stop the horrid government dependent lifestyle our socialist politicians have created and instead, encourage adults to act like adults and get off the government teat.

April 8, 2008

Teaching Manners Isn’t Always Easy

Filed under: Family,Parenting — by shannonchronicles @ 11:16 am

Sometimes, teaching manners is interrupted by laughter. Ask any parent – your child can say or do something that deserves your attention and explanation as to WHY they shouldn’t do a certain something due to it being in poor taste or bad manners. However, you’re too busy trying to stifle laughter (so as to not encourage a particular behavior) to say anything. Even the best attempts at stifling laughter are sometimes impossible and before you can even attempt correcting them, you’ve burst into hysterics. We had such a case just the other day…

I’ll precede this story with a small fact to put everything in perspective. Friday evening, we ate at our local Mexican restaurant. While I had rice with my steak and cheese burrito, the rest of my family had beans with their entrees.

Yeah. That small fact is important.

Saturday, several times I had to remind our son that passing gas is not something you do as an attention getter – or at the table. Instead, you leave the room or if you’re at the table, you say excuse me, leave the table, go to the bathroom (in a restaurant) or in another room at home – do what you have to do and then return to the table. Of course, after he put the “leaving the room when farting” manner into practice, I then had to explain when you DO leave the table to handle your business, you do not return to the table and give everyone a play by play. The entire purpose of leaving the table is to not only shield those at the table from having to experience the aroma and/or sound effects, but to also shield everyone from having to think about farts while they are trying to enjoy their meal.


Sunday night, son was sitting in his favorite spot (in the recliner on husband’s lap) while we all watched TV. Daughter and I were talking about something when we were interrupted by a small explosion from the little guy’s nether regions. Just as we’re looking over and I’m about to once again stress the importance of good manners, son, while fanning the air says, “Whew!! I’m smelling special!!”

Yep, the manners lecture was out of the question. Husband, daughter and I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to say much of anything. It’s going to be a while before I agree to another dinner at the local Mexican place though – unless we invest in some Beano first.

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