life @ hockett house


I’ve seen these all over the blogosphere, and decided I needed one of my own.  It took almost 2 packages of those mini plastic eggs, and LOTS of painting time, but I love it.  It’s not an easter wreath; well, it could be, I reckon; but I made it because I’m in love with birds and nests and such (just following the current trends, I suppose).

I spend more time on facebook than I do here on this blog, and it shows.

this past wednesday, my son kris and his girlfriend ashley moved in with us.  she’s 3 months pregnant, and they need a place to stay.  so, soon we’ll begin a few renovations upstairs.  the advantage of rich being unemployed, is that he’s got lots of time to do the things around the house that need to be done.  the disadvantage, obviously, is fundage.

this last friday, tony was suspended from school for 3 days for fighting with his arch nemesis.  they were best friends from kindergarten thru 4th grade.  alex has always been a bully, and tony has always been a pushover.  then one summer day, I was standing in alex’s yard, talking to his mama, when tony comes running around the house, all kinds of upset.  he and alex had a dispute of some adolescent boy type, and alex punched him in the eye and sat on his chest.

that was the end of the friendship.  alex tried real hard to get tony to be his friend again.  he apologized over and over.  his mother even called and said that her husband just couldn’t understand what the problem was.  when he was a young’un, he and his friends were always beating each other up.  I explained to her that rich and I never  had friends who hurt us.  if they did, they weren’t our friends, and we’ve always raised our children with the same beliefs.  friends protect, not inflict.

now, with puberty rearing it’s ugly head, alex’s anger issues bubble a little closer to the surface.  when they encounter each other, he talks junk to tony.  on friday, playing dodge ball, it quickly escalated to physical warfare, and tony finally stood up to him and punched him back.  our school has a zero tolerance policy, so even defending yourself gets you 3 days.  so, after spring break is over, tony still has a few extra days at home.  Le sigh….

life is nothing but interesting at casa de hockett!

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So, obviously, having no job means not much income.  Unemployment equals right about half what Rich was making before.  Well, before the economy tanked.  Over the last few months of his employment, the company cut management’s salaries by 15%, then they quit paying into the 401K.  Then they stopped the accrual of  PTO, so goodbye to the 5 weeks vacation he had built up.

Thankfully, they did give him 6 weeks of severance, which totally saved Christmas.  For that, I am grateful.  Having no job, however, also means no insurance.  This worries me almost as much as the whole no money thing.  The year before we got married, I had was temping, with no coverage for either of the kids or myself.  I lived in fear that something dreadful would happen.  God was watching over us, though, because my Kristopher, the child of mine who has had more broken bones and stitches than anyone I know, went that entire year without one accident.  That is the only time in his life that he passed 12 months with no injuries.  I kid you not.

But this time, there are only Rich, Tony and myself to worry about.  I go to the dr maybe once a year, sometimes not that much.  I don’t take any rx meds, though I should.  Rich, on the other hand, takes 4 different pills every day.  Tony doesn’t often get sick, but he has spent time in the hospital twice in his life, when he was 3 his asthma gave him a roundtrip over night stay.  And when he was 4, a tick bit him and he spent a week with an IV curing his Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

So, naturally I was a bit concerned that Tony would suffer some other freak accident or something crazy like that.  My only option at this point is Health Choice for him, which is a form of Medicaid.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much this bothers me.  Having grown up dirt poor, I really didn’t want to ever depend on a government hand out again.  Ha, shows what happens when I get too big for my britches.  I filled out the paperwork and mailed it on the first Wednesday of December.

Saturday was my annual cookie party.  Rich and Tony grouse and grumble about being forced to leave the house and find something to do, but they love coming home to all the party food and many MANY dozens of cookies.  Not this year, though.  Tony woke up with a stomach ache, and though he was hurting, they still left.  Fast forward 3 hours, I’ve got a houseful of girlfriends, chatting and eating like only girlfriends can do.  Rich called from the ER, where they were running tests on Tony, but they were pretty sure that he had appendicitis.

Now, remember that just three days ago, I had mailed the paperwork.  Why I didn’t do it earlier, I don’t know.  I’m a slacker.  I was crossing my fingers pretty tightly that the application would be approved, and back dated.  We were at the hospital in town for about 5 hours, before they transferred him, via ambulance to the ER of the Children’s hospital an hour away.

By the time he was released Monday evening, we had racked up $18,000 worth of bills.  My stomach was in knots.  Near the end of the next week, I received the approval letter, and he was covered from the 1st of December, the date I filled it out.  Finally I could breathe…

But there was still the question of Rich’s medicines.  I made him an appointment at the Health Department.  Again, this was difficult, as my britches were apparently still too big.  The doctor there gave him prescriptions that Walmart has on their $4 and $10 plan.  Here’s the interesting bit:  his 4 meds cost $45 without insurance.  When we had insurance, and used the mail in pharmacy, they cost $100.  For the same drugs.  How much sense does that make?

I’ve always been of the mind that everyone deserves medical insurance.  I think Europe and Canada have the right idea.  I know there are bugs in every system that need tweaking, but surely something can be done for people here in America.  Now, of course, I’m one of those very people.

I cannot believe that 2009 is almost over.  the last quarter has been most eventful.  rich lost his job at the end of october.  this made a tight financial situation even more difficult.  for the first time in 30 years, he is without a job, and it really kills him.  the state of the economy is not helping with the job hunt, and I keep hearing that it’s getting better but I haven’t seen it first hand yet.

on the up side, he’s home for dinner every night, and tony gets to see him every day instead of only weekends.

november came and went without much fanfare…thanksgiving with the fam, as typical.  I’m ready for someone else to take over the prep, or maybe we could work out a trade of family members with another family?  I really like doing thanksgiving, having it here in my home, doing it up nice.  what I don’t like is how, after all day of cooking, the fam descends, complains that I made ‘fancy’ stuff (who knew that a caramel sauce and chopped pecans sprinkled over diced sweet potatoes was fancy?  or pumpkin cheesecake was fancy?) wonders why I have to use a tablecloth and pretty glasses, stays for 30 minutes (long enough to eat, and stand outside on the porch to smoke) then leaves.  I’ve got the cleanup left.  and not even an enjoyable family meal to reminisce over.

it’s hard sometimes to believe that this is the family from which I’m spawned.  I’ve always liked to have dinner parties and go all out on the menu for any dinner.  my family, on the other hand, feel like I’m putting on airs.  ah, well…it’s only once a year.

december started off with excitement.  the first saturday was my annual cookie exchange.  rich and tony always have to leave the house.  this year, tony woke up with a stomach ache.  they ran a couple of errands and went to lunch.  tony’s pain grew progressively worse, so rich felt the need to take him to the ER.  meanwhile, I’m having a great afternoon with the girls, oblivious.

rich called me a couple of times, just to let me know what was going on, and I finally sent everyone home so I could go be with my guys.  the hospital is about 15 minutes from the house, in town.  by the time I arrived there, tony was out of the room, having tests done. 

the doc informed us that he was in the beginning stages of appendicitis, and that he’d have to have surgery.  and, being a saturday, there was no one in town to do it, so we’d have to go to wake forest university baptist hospital, which also happens to house Brenner’s children’s hospital.  so, we followed the ambulance a little over an hour, and waited at the new hospital a little more.

the surgery went fine, and he was able to come home on monday.  no longer being insured was a big concern for me, but thankfully, the application for health choice that I had completed on his behalf was approved.  and it was retroactive to december 1st.  I can’t even tell you how relieved I was when I read the letter, especially when I tallied all the bills, and it was a little over $18,000.

then there was the big snowstorm.  it hit on friday, the last day of school before the christmas break.  school was scheduled to release at 12:45, but with the bad weather coming, they let them out at 10:00.  when it arrived, it came in like gangbusters.  it started a little after noon, and didn’t stop until saturday night.  I cannot remember when we’ve had a storm like that here in NC.  everything was covered.  EVERYTHING.  tony woke up saturday morning saying, “I’ve waited my whole life for a snow like this!”  he and maddy played all weekend, sledding, building snowmen, having snowball fights.  it was great.  but thank God it’s over.  I don’t care to ever see that much snow again.  there are a few reasons I moved south, and the snow is one of them.

this year, I suggested to rich that we get the pretty white christmas tree from walmart.  and then we got some really cool midsized LED lights, and it looked awesome!!  everybody called it our disco tree.  for the longest time we didn’t put any ornaments on, because it looked so gorgeous without them.  however, chowder and mojo conspired to destroy the tree. 

chowder would climb it, and in the process would shake the ornaments loose.  mojo would then bat them around, banging them into the furniture, and break them.  after 4 or 5 broken ornaments, this old girl finally got the hint that no amount of yelling or squirting them was gonna stop them.  so, the ornaments came back off.  and chowder continues to climb the tree.  I’m hoping that next year, he’ll be more settled.  Le sigh…

so, tonight is new year’s eve and we’ll be snuggling in the living room, eating fresh popped corn (we’ve rediscovered the old school popper-so much better than microwave!) and watching one of rich’s christmas presents: castle season 1.

if anyone still reads this, have a very happy and safe new year, and I hope that 2010 is so much better than 2009!!

sometimes, I just wish you could look into my life…other times, not so much, because then I’d feel bad about my house being a mess, or about still being in my gown when you came over.   when chowder came to live with us a couple of months ago, he was tiny and lonely.  Jesska had rescued him from the  parking lot of the motel behind ruby tuesday, and didn’t know what to do with him.  she knew that we already had enough cats, what with the (1-5) starshine, ringo starr, waffle, chain chomp and cuppycake  in the house; (6) buttons on the porch, and (7) pretty kitty, who lives somewhere on the farm and eats buttons’ food.

but she couldn’t leave him mewing in the parking lot.  the night she brought him home, she called me from the driveway, ‘mama, come outside!’  there, wrapped up in her ruby’s apron, was this little teeny tiny ball of orange fur.  I couldn’t believe he was even weaned from his mama, he was so tiny.  she said she looked all around the motel parking lot, and never saw his mama or any other kittens.

I texted rich and told him about our dilemma, and he said (only because jess is his baby) that we’d just keep him, since he obviously needed a home, and we’re apparently expert cat caregivers. he was so loving and ready to be part of our family, he just fit right in.  however, the big cats were very unhappy.  they spit and hissed at him.  he cowered.  for a few days, then he started laying down on his side any time one of them would come near him.  I assumed that was to show them his submission, and I wondered if he was looking for a mama.  he definitely wanted to play with them, but they were having none of it.

then, along comes mojo.  he’s been here for a week now.  the little foster kitty.  he’s stolen our hearts, including chowder’s.  they romp and wrestle and snuggle like they’ve known each other forever.  the first day worried me a bit.  chowder, in his eagerness to have a playmate, ambushed mojo at every opportunity.  mojo wanted to get to know the layout, and wasn’t happy about being pounced on constantly.  after he asserted his independence a few times, chowder backed off.  now they are thicker than thieves.  rarely do we see one without the other.

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they are bffs, but they are very different.  chowder is loving when he’s ready to rest, then his motor runs at top speed; mojo will let y0u hold him, even when he’d rather be running after chowder.  mojo is lean, with the body of an alley cat; chowder looks more like a cat that’s been cared for and well fed.  chowder mews, mojo squaws.  but they both carry my heart in their little paws.

mojo will most likely make the transition from foster kitty to adopted kitty right here at casa de hockett.  I can’t imagine letting someone else have this sweet little boy.  and chowder would be lost without his best playmate.  it’s so funny to watch one walk around looking for the other…it’s like they complete each other.

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chowder and mojo, new bffs

my darling daughter tells me that I need to post something new on here.  she’s tired of seeing the same post every time she signs onto my computer.  I just haven’t felt like posting lately.  no reason, other than boredom, I reckon.  I’ve been spending lots of time (too much) over on facebook and farmtown, I’ve been reading right much, and riding the roads every day.  and, I’ve been a foster mama to a bunch of shelter cats for a little over a week.

last monday, I brought home a litter of 6 kittens, who’d been surrendered by their owner.  the shelter lady called me and asked me if I would please, please, PLEASE come and take atleast some of them home.  surrendered animals don’t get the 72 hour grace period that pick-ups do, it seems.  when tony and I got there, it was immediately apparent that we could not pick which ones would live to see adoption and just let the rest be put to sleep.  so, we brought all 6 home.

then monday of this week, the shelter lady asked me to bring the 2 long haired babies back.  they were headed to a no-kill shelter that only accepts long hairs.  while I was there, she asked me if I would consider taking just one more.  he was due to be put to sleep on tuesday (today), and she just hated to see that happen; he’s so loving and sweet, she told me.  of course, I had to take him home, how could  I leave him there?

I cannot begin to describe this kitten.  he’s probably 12 weeks old, or so, and scrappy looking.  but he’s the most docile cat I’ve ever met.  he’ll sit in your lap and just purr, acting content to sit there forever.  the kids have named him ‘mojo’ and he’s the perfect size for chowder (the stray ginger kitten that jessica brought home from the crack motel behind the ruby tuesday where she works).  they’re getting to know each other slowly (read: roughhousing and biting and hissing) .  but they are adorable together.

in some ways it’ll be hard to say goodbye to all these sweet babies when they’re adopted, but maybe it won’t be so bad.  actually, maybe this is the way to do it, kinda like a library for cats…

hi, my name is heidi* and I like bubbles.  I’ve had a problem with bubbles for many years, I’d say 30 or more.  I really don’t think it’s much of a problem, but my mother does, that’s why I’m here.  I could quit the bubbles anytime I want to…I really could!  I just don’t want to right now.100_5172

so, I really do love bubbles, that’s true.  but my love escalated a couple of years ago when I found a little bubble machine in the toy section at walmart.  Oh, man!  now I could have bubbles on demand, not just when I felt like blowing them myself (a tiring job) or when I could con someone into blowing them for me (that never happened).

we would have bubbles with our morning coffee and chat, with our evening wine, our friends also enjoyed my bubbles, they became conversation starters.  the kids and I enjoyed them in the afternoons; they would try to catch them, or hit them with tennis racquets, even recruiting the little boy next door.100_5171

so, my bubble machine and I had a fantastic relationship for 2 summers, it entertained countless children while doing my bidding~I suppose you could equate it to the court jester.  but this summer, it didn’t blow very well.  it was just tired, I reckon.

I went to walmart to find a replacement.  I picked out one just like the old one; the price was right and the old one had been good.  when I got it all unwrapped and batteried up, it wouldn’t work.  like an idiot, I listened to tony when he said, ‘maybe it needs some bubble solution to work’.  it didn’t…I returned it and decided to wait to find a replacement.

soon after, I found one in the bridal aisle.  I got that baby home and filled it up and man, oh man, the bubbles really fly now!  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that being made for weddings means it’s gonna hold up awhile.  but for now, I’m havin some fun.

and just for the record: bubbles do not interfere with my family relations, they have not replaced people in my life, and they do not cause my family to avoid me.

I just wanted to lay that on the table there.

*name changed to remain anonymous

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