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Carine’s Blog

  • Dear Dylan

    Posted on Friday, January 25, 2008

    Today is our first grandchild's very first birthday.  He is NOT a big brother, yet.  That will happen any minute (literally) now.  For now though he is the one and only apple of our eyes.


    Dear Dylan,
    How can it already be a full year since you made you big debut?  You were 18" long and 4 pounds, 14 ounces.  When we were able to see you for the first time you were hooked up to what looked like every possible machine that the nursery's ICU owned.  Even with all that equipment, we saw only you and you melted our hearts.

    You hit every landmark first on time or early.  Sitting at six months, crawling by seven.  At ten months those of us who know you best could decipher bits of vocabulary:  thank you (manners are of the utmost importance), mamma, dada, nanny (your dog Brianna and our Sunshine), nana for your grandmas and sort of Uncle Adam.  I am quite proud to say I taught you to fake sneeze (seems I'm quite hilarious when I say it) and to follow it with a cute "bless you".  

    Since baby food is no longer, you've learned to open wide and stick out your tongue to let us know that it's safe to give you more edibles to chew on. Those 3 teeth sure do their job well.

    When you laugh it's one that has gives us all complete joy.  It's contagious to say the least.  The sense of humor you have is adorable.

    You've changed your parents from being a couple to a family.  They may not be sure (who is?) of life, but they are very confident and secure in their love and devotion to you.

    They're not the only ones you've changed!  Your Uncle Adam dotes on you.  You've got a great-aunt and cousins who would love to see you more.  Great-grandparents who are brimming with pride.

    Then, while I cannot speak on behalf of all your immediate grandparents-I can definitely say you've changed the three of us.  You've changed your maternal grandparents into doters who have photo albums ready to show to complete strangers at a moments notice.  Obviously, "Nana" Carine writes many more sentimental articles that she ever thought she was capable of putting on paper (or the internet).  Your grandpa made it his mission starting with your first breath to capture as much as possible on his cameras to make a video of your first year.  And he's already purchased another card to do so for your second year and begin one for your about to be baby brother-Aidan James.

    So here you are dear Dylan, one year old-22 pounds and 27 ½ "tall.  The joy and love you've added to our lives is monumental.  What in the world did we ever do without you?

    Love, Grandma and Grandpa

    4 Replies

    Posted on Friday, January 18, 2008


    I needed that.  Except louder and deeper.  I'm writing this after coming home from my daughter's baby shower.  It was a very nice shower.  That's not what I'm screaming on paper about at all.

    This is January of a whole new year.  I had such hopes for 2008.  Still do.  I feel that every day can and should be a new beginning.  Right now, I'm warning "it" that so far I'm unimpressed with the demeanor it has shown so far.

    Hopefully, by the time you read this our grandson still is able to turn one without becoming a big brother.  But with our family's history of early births you never know.  Sarah was opening gifts between contractions, the baby had "dropped" and she hadn't sleep in several nights.  Not due to the baby moving (although "Aidan" is probably going to be a soccer player), but she's rightfully worried about what's going on in her life.  

    My son-in-law came home a few days ago with news no adult wants to give, or have happen, EVER-he was laid off from his underwriting job.  

    What a way to start a new year:  Sarah has been considered "high risk" during this pregnancy.   She was laid off from her underwriting job one month after she found out she was pregnant the first time. She hasn't had the health (or time, with another high risk pregnancy) to find another job.  Her husband hasn't been able to find a stable position since that same faithful date.  

    Not his fault whatsoever-it's the real estate industry.

    As I sit here, the mother of two adults, I realize I'll never stop worrying about either's welfare and happiness.  It's in the genes.  My mother still worries about my sister and I.  And, let's face it, even though my dear sister is 6 years younger, we're not exactly little kids anymore.

    Stress is running high in not only Sarah's home but ours as well.  We're worried about my daughter's health, the baby's health, my son-in-law, their finances (actually the lack there of) and their future in general.  They even swallowed their pride and went to the welfare office to sign up for subsidies.  

    Guess what?  They cannot qualify for any of them because they make a slight bit more than the maximum in unemployment payments.  Then the woman who was helping them suggested this piece of advice: "You know if you weren't married you'd qualify for all the programs we have to offer".

    Both my daughter and son-in-law couldn't believe their ears-they were being penalized by being having a family while married!

    It seems when bad things happen no one and nothing is spared.  In life, things can change in a single breath, in a single moment-may the next one taken in by our daughter is a good deep one.  So deep that when she exhales-it's becomes even stronger. May it be so strong that she's able to blow away all this present sad luck and not only give birth to a healthy baby but to some better fortune.

    2 Replies
  • Baby Watch Time!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    It’s official-we are on call for the 2008 baby watch.  Our daughter Sarah was given the thumbs up to stop the medications she’s been taking to stop her way too early labor.

    We now will wait to see how long it takes for Aidan James to make his debut.

    Big question?  Will he be Dylan Brian’s present for his first birthday next Friday, or will he arrive after?

    3 Replies
  • I Know Why the Maytag Guy is Lonely

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2008

    I know why the Maytag repair man is lonely-and it has absolutely nothing to do with the reliability of the product.

    He's lonely because he has no manners and the complaints against him and the products are deserved.

    This comment has to do with our dishwasher.  Due to the fact that our first Maytag ruined our floors, the company paid our deductible and gave us a coupon to help offset the price of a new one (as if a 5 year old dishwasher is a symbol of antiquity).  So we bought a new one and paid for the extended warranty.  Good thing for us!  Within two months the handle broke.  Three months later the racks, both upper and lower, fell apart and they sent new ones.  After a year, the handle broke again followed by round two of the racks.

    Two weeks ago, the upper basket again fell apart, again.  We called-for the first time (on the racks, not the handle) Maytag said we had to have a technician come out and verify that the basket was indeed the part.  We made the appointment.

    My husband requested that the technician call me on my cell phone and I'd be able to meet him at our home within five minutes.  He asked if this was okay.  The guy said "no problem".  Evidently, he not only likes to be extremely rude, he also likes to lie-BIG TIME.

    No call came.  Got home there was a tag on the door.  Went in and the man left me a message screaming at me that I had some nerve not being at the house and if I had any intention of him coming back I'd better have $49.95 ready for him!

    I called and said you were supposed to call my cell phone.  He actually began to curse at me and repeat his threat of the service call fee.  I held my tongue, made another appointment-telling him I was not paying for his mistake.  He screamed more trash. What he didn't realize was that I taped it.

    Next morning, I called the Maytag Dependability Plus phone line.  I told the poor unfortunate soul named Christina what had happened.  She told me he called and left them a message saying we weren't there and he was going to charge the fee.  When I gave my side of the story I added, "If it was too much to call the right number, he should have said so.  Would you like to hear what he said?"

    I started the tape.  Afterwards, she said she'd find another person and cancel the scheduled appointment.  I also said I wanted to report him to a supervisor.  

    The next time you see a commercial for any Maytag product-you've been warned, the product is no better than what they'd like to pass off as customer service.

    Epilogue:  Another company came out.  It was actually the one who repaired the handles.  As of this date-the part is on order; if we're lucky we will see it in about 10 days.  Maytag Dependability Plus has never apologized for the guy and the supervisor never did call me back to let me know of the other company's appointment.  I called in the morning to find out the information myself-or no one would have been home again.  Oh, the supervisor also didn't call and cancel the first company's appointment.

    1 Replies
  • Do You Coupon?

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2008

    Do you coupon?  I do.  It's amazing how those little pieces of paper mount up and fill a shoe box.  Just as amazing is how much I've saved through the years and on what types of items.

    Before marriage, I did the shopping for my parents, my sister and myself.  I learned early on in life how to stretch a buck.  When I married my husband-I got custody of the shoe box.  

    My newly legal partner scoffed, "What could we possibly save?  A dime here, a quarter there?  What good will that do?"  Back then no supermarket doubled their coupons.

    So I made him come with me on the next week's trip.  I handed over my treasure trove to the cashier.  I could feel my husband cringing in embarrassment about the pride I took in the thickness of the stack.

    Our bill for the two of us totaled $65.  Then off came the coupons.  I had whittled down the amount to $57.  Not a fortune, but I pointed out that the $8 was better in our pocket than the market's!  My darling realized that if I averaged even $5 a week that it covered almost a month of groceries at the end of the year.

    We started to make a game of it.  On our calendar, I recorded my coupon savings.  I still do that today.  With quite a bit more success I assure you!  Our first year of marriage, I wound up with a savings of $350.  At the end of 2007-my total was $2,958.24.

    Not so bad for some scraps of paper and a few minutes of my time.  Very soon after that first trip, my once red-faced new groom now started coming home very proud of the coupons he found and brought home for me to use.  

    Then came the coupons to use in restaurants, haircuts, dry-cleaners, new lenses for our glasses, make up, food for the animals, discounts at the vets, freebies for our kids-the list kept growing on what we could use our clippings on and how much we could save.

    Thanks to diaper manufacturers, not only were our children's bottoms covered, but their bodies as well!  I received free tee shirts, shoes and caps.  We were sent coloring books and crayons, cameras (believe it or not-3 instant Polaroids with film and batteries and I didn't have to even pay postage and handling), picture frames, audio-story tapes with toys to go with them.  

    Nowadays, the freebies are far and few between, but the savings still total up! Especially during the last decade or so when most stores doubled the savings.  We have saved ourselves time as well.  When the kids were young and had birthday parties, I'd save the required UPC codes and the matching coupons and have a stash of books and toys ready to be wrapped and presented.  I can't remember what product it was, but we used a lot of it-their promotional item were free hot wheel cars.  We had so many that I never went to a toy store for a boy’s present until my son's friends turned 8.

    Remember this story the next time you throw out a lowly coupon-it may have let you retire a few years earlier.  At the very least, you missed a really luxurious vacation!

    3 Replies
  • Happy New Year Everyone!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2008

    Can it be? This is the last column for 2007! Have any of you made resolutions? Are you going out to celebrate the New Year?

    2008 proves to be interesting here in our neck of the woods. The year won't be more than a day old when my husband has another birthday. I will thankfully be ending the myriad of "50-year-old" doctor's appointments and then our grandson, Dylan-is turning ONE!  

    How fast did this year go by? That isn't all-we will be anticipating the birth of darling grandson #2. Given that Dylan came a month early, as did his mom and uncle-it will be interesting to see if this little one celebrates as an only child or as a big brother!  

    For me, my resolutions are pretty much the same as last year's. Not that I didn't succeed, I actually did do what I had hoped, just not as much as I would have liked.

    My resolutions last year were to earn more writing than I had in years past, work at writing more and trying to put my physical problems in a better "footing". (Groan at that pun, but after living with my hubby for almost 27 years, his puns were bound to rub off at some point)

    I accomplished both, in a manner of speaking. I earned almost $1,500! I also have more spots on the search engines than I did in 2006. My blogging has grown-besides here, I am a Lady's Home Journal Blogger, I guest every other Tuesday on AWomansPlace and my entries also are on

    As for the little nitpicky foot problem-well, I'm certainly not able to leap small buildings in a single bound, or walk for very long at any speed I'd brag about, but I am walking better.  

    So my 2008 resolutions are to continue to write and hopefully get paid more, continue my pursuit of rehab on the physical thing and then-here's a new one: I WANT TO HAVE A PLANNED DAY OFF WITH MY HUSBAND!

    Let me know what all of you are looking forward to or working on.

    May the coming year be filled with good health, good times with our loved ones and good fortune for all of us.

    Happy New Year!

    0 Replies