Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful for... a flushing toilet.

Happy Thanksgiving! I know, you want to know why I am writing about toilets this morning, instead of the meal I am helping make, and the family who will be gathering here soon. My first time to hostess Thanksgiving, and the one toilet in the house is being repaired as I type...

It all started a week ago. The old toilet had a flapper-valve go, and then something else, so we were flushing with a bucket. Not fun. The plumber was due to show up for several projects, so we waited... Yesterday, I pleaded and got BoPop and Dad to install the new toilet. Yay! flushing potty is soooo good.

Last night, as the kids got home from church, and I got them ready for bed, I went to check on Johann and discovered the sounds of rushing water. "Dad! the toilet's leaking." Here come Dad, and Mica, who had come over for a cuppa and a chat... I think he qualifies as family now, since he helped repair the toilet! They get the water out of the tank... there's a hole in the bottom of the tank, about the diameter of a pencil. Dry it up a bit, and we have no epoxy where we know where it is, so let's try the silicone. It has to set for at least 12 hours. OK, now we are back to flushing with a bucket, but at least it will be ready for family tomorrow. Oh, wait, where did the hole come from? Well, it turns out Johann had taken the lid off the toilet tank to see what was inside, and when he tried to put it back on, the lid fell into the tank, and the corner of it impacted the porcelain and broke a conical hole in it. The adults in the living room didn't hear it, because of the water in the tank.

Cue this morning... I walk into the bathroom to find Johann with the bucket, and a glass of water, with the tank lid off, trying to refill the tank. Oh, boy. Send him to his room... "Dad!"
And here we go again. He'd knocked the silicone plug out. So Dad runs out to walmart for epoxy, and finds some that dries to touch in five minutes, and will finish set underwater. Whew. Heat gun into the tank for a while to dry it out nicely, and plug of epoxy, and Johann under strict orders not to go into the bathroom without a potty buddy.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all... a good flush.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something different, Now that I am renewed and lifted up on wings of eagles...

Poor sad soul
Thou unfortunate fool,
Lost your way
In life's cold school.

Now there's no
Going home in sunshine
Only the gray to
Hide your soft whine.

Fog your mind
And chill what's left
Of your bloody,
Battered life weft.

May there come
A day you may see
Woven there
The whole you can be.

Until then
March on, head bowed.
Soul tatter'd
Bare, shamed, and cowed.

(written 9/28/08 - a year and a lifetime ago.)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Kitten on my lap is keeping me from moving! Halp!

I’m tired, and more or less biding my time. I can feel a story being born in my brain, but it is too young to have any shape yet. I wrote one this morning, all 4500 words of it, from beginning to end. It’s the first time in two years I have finished a tale, and I’m pretty pleased about it. I’ll let it cool for a couple of days before I edit. In the meantime... I have a sleepy kitty on my lap, buzzing his heart out. The kids are quietly playing in the living room. Dad is trying to shovel out his room - I’ve helped where I can, including hoiking a 12 foot stainless-steel counter into the garage with him. For some reason it triggered my cough to lift that, so now I’m sitting waiting for the inhaler to kick in. I really hope i’m not developing asthma.


So I have broken an 18 month case of writer’s block. I’ve had company over for a meal... my friends Ed and Wendy are working on rebuilding a house after it burned down last winter, and Dad helped with hauling today. I had everyone over for lunch after, so Wen wouldn’t have to cook. Turkey and Rice soup from scratch - very warm and yummy. Jake (I can’t believe he’s almost 18! He was 4 yesterday!) came with them, and took a walk with the kids, then they showed off the Wii to him - he’s a good kid to play with my young’ns. I reconnected with some old friends on Facebook - some of my earliest writing mentors, hence the boost in my embryonic story. It has been a good day - and it’s not over yet!


Tomorrow may be harder - who knows? But for now I feel rested and relaxed. Music on the computer (Judy Pancoast, I mean you!) and the happy talk of kids in the other room - no fighting at the moment. Kitten is asleep now. It’s been a good day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Looking for work online

I'm finding this to be a very different process than I remember. I've been thinking through my jobs before Mr. Phil & Co., and coming to the conclusion that in a decade, our world has changed. My last job Before Children(BC) was Ames, a department store that no longer even exists, working at the customer service desk and troubleshooting all over the store, as I had learned so much about every department in the years I worked there that I could find any item in the store. Before that, I worked a series of temporary jobs in Nashua, anything from dispatching to Wedding photography assistant. And going back before my marriage, I worked as a cashier at a convenience store, and a Daycare worker. In highschool, I had started working at Ames, and before that, when I was too young even to be "paid" I worked with a landscaping company. My work career has been a little different, hasn't it?

But here, running the business, I have had to learn so many things to keep our business going. Organization, time management... vital just to make a home office work with four kids running through it. Marketing, sales, advertising; I had to learn them well, or we would starve. Funny how depending on this for the family's sole income adds incentive! I like learning - in fact, I really need to get cracking on my HTML. But I also like a little stability. Working for someone else will be nice in that regard.

I'm having trouble quantifying my skill sets. I can type, use the computer - if it's a Mac I can make it do anything! - have good phone skills, and e-mail, and face-to-face... I cook, I clean :P

I was asked a question this week... what is my long term career goal? and I couldn't immediately answer it. It isn't that I drew a blank, more that I suddenly had so many ideas I felt like a kid again. What do I want to do with my life? If I could further my education (and I think I will have that chance) where would I go with it? I don't know yet. But I know I am looking forward to figuring this out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a wild and wonderful day.

After the girls left for school, Dad and Johann and I started our odyssey. First we loaded up the Queen size bed and took it into Laconia, to trade for a twin bed. The lady with the twin wasn't home, so we dropped the bed and went on to Too Good to be Threw - my new favorite consignment shop! if you are near Laconia you have to stop in and see what Melanie and Paige have! - to pick up the furniture Nana and BoPop bought for me yesterday. As I was waiting, I realized that Paige was one of the organizers of the Holy Trinity's Craft Fair - so I asked her if they would like a facepainter. Turns out she was one of Mr. Phil's helpers - er, victim - at the back-to-school party there in September. Long story short, I will be doing my very first pay-per-face gig at the craft fair!!!

Dad and I loaded on the Entertainment Center, went home, dropped it off, turned around and went back to Laconia to load the Jelly Cupboard. We also picked up the twin bed and met a sweet Akita named Mary Jane. Stopped for lunch on the way home, then dropped off the twin bed and cupboard. While I was quickly fielding voicemails and e-mails, Dad measured the cupboard for me. 79" high, and the beams are 81" from the floor in the room I want it in. Whew!

Hop back in the truck and head for Manchester to pick up the two twin beds I want for the kids. Fortunately the house we are going to is not far off the highway, so we load those on. Oh, and I call the school to have the girls go to afterschool, just in case we don't make it home in time. So back up the highway, stop in Tilton to go to the market. I haven't been to the market in over a week - I just need a few things! LOL.

Home again. Unload the groceries (more than a few!) and the beds. Deal with a cranky Johann. Send Dad to pick up the kids. Pant a bit. Put the groceries away, feed the kids dinner, and Dad says, "it's going to rain." All that stuff is out in the driveway! So out we go, into the wild blue yonder...

Finally, as we are cleaning up the last bits, I get a call from the people who are taking the king-size bed, they will be here in twenty minutes. So we get the bed cleared off of 18 months worth of garage clutter, and it is dark wen they pull in and we help load the bed.

Come into the house, sit down to catch up on voice-mails, e-mails (yes, Phil, a gig did come in today) and take a peek at job listings. This is something I have to do every day to qualify for the financial assistance. So I see a super opportunity and suddenly for the first time in 12 years I am applying for a job. Yikes. What do I do for references? I call a few people, and get permission, and write a draft. E-mail it to BoPop, the best man for English checking I can have. He sends back a little correction, I format it, and press the send button. For the first time in over a decade I have taken this step. My last job was Customer Service Specialist at Ames, which doesn't even exist anymore, and that I didn't have to interview for - they knew me from highschool when I worked there. The job before that... I can't even remember what it was. This is going to be an interesting experience, whatever happens.

I love you all, and will be here more tomorrow, as Nana and her friend Connie and BoPop and Michael are all coming to help me. This life of mine is sweet and wonderful, and very exciting times for now.

Good Night!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I have been on Facebook too much

To keep up here, too, but I wanted to say more today, so I'm back to this. Funny how that works. I have a lot to say, but normally I don;t have the time to sit down and write it out. Heck, even today I don't really have time, I'm just in a chatty mood. The kids are having breakfast, cinnamon toast and malted milk, and Phil is still asleep. He's such a night owl sometimes, and I feel badly about going up to bed without him in the evening, but I can't stay up that late.
We've had a busy week. Last Saturday and Sunday both we had gigs, Saturday was Bradford Family Fun day, always a favorite of ours, and Jordan's Walk for Wishes, a Make-A-Wish event. Sunday was an oddity, a solo gig for me. I facepainted for three hours for a Kidney Foundation Walk-A-Thon at Fishercat Stadium. Lovely day, and I was set up overlooking the field, so it was a very nice setting.
We're in the middle of switching Mr. Phil to a new look. We plan to keep the weskit, but go to colored oxford-style shirts under it, and a hand-tied bow tie. Yesterday I found some lovely shirts for him - on sale, even, and we ordered his bow ties. I need to call the seamstress today and set up a new weskit or two to be sewn. I normally cut, and she puts them together. I just don't have time.
The kids are in full school mode. Glady is in the band this year, and has chosen the trumpet as her instrument, much to her father's delight. She is practicing upstairs, away from the rest of us, but it still sounds like a dying moose has taken up residence at our house. She has potential, though.
Dad is gone most of the time since Aunt Pam is in town and his brother will be arriving in a few days. They took the kids on Sunday, and went to visit the Miniature horse farm Pippa had gone to earlier this summer. It has been different, putting the kids with a real babysitter for a change. Also makes us appreciate how much money Dad saves us when he sits for us!
I feel like the house is actually clean for a change, and we got a new (well, to us, anyway) couch last week, so the living room looks nice. Amazing how having a clean house makes me feel so good. Now all I have to do is finish the upstairs!
The kids are about ready to go out for the school bus. I'm going to put pictures up on facebook, so look there for them!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not that I'm not here, but...

I'm more often on Facebook these days, as is Phil. We even set up a fan page for Mr. Phil!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer has officially started

Mr. Phil and His stagehands at Nashua Public Library for the kickoff of Summer Reading. The girls actually have minor parts in the show for the first time.Glady cuddles a sleeping Figaro. He still lives in the Bathroom part time. He's good about his box - but we prefer not to test his little body! So he's allowed out to play and snooze on us, but then he goes back in there for a while.
As you can see by Phil's finger in this picture, Figgy is a micro-cat! He's small even for a baby kitten.
After all this rain, we were rewarded with a double rainbow yesterday.
Figaro and Leroy the bunny say hello. Figgy kept pouncing on Leroy, but the rabbit ignored the kitten. Leroy is a 12-week old mini rex, who debuted in a birthday show yesterday and did beautifully. He is so placid.

Phil dressed up as the Big Hobo - as opposed to Chaplin, who was the Little Tramp! - and went off to ride the train today. It is pouring rain out there, so I don't know how busy he'll be, but they did build him a little theater at the end of the station to perform magic on, so that will be fresh and fun to try out!

We did the first Summer Reading Porgram show of the season on Wednesday, and a full weekend of performances. so the rush of summer is upon us. An eyeblink and it will be Labor Day! The kids are all a little stir crazy with the rain, but Glady pulled out her EZ Bake oven and has promised brownies to her sisters and brother.

The biggest thing of the week is Figaro, an 8-week old marmalade kitten who has come to our house. He is adorable and playful and loves to cuddle, especially on Phil.

Monday, June 01, 2009

kitchen progress


Lots of progress and a little setback. We got the drywall up, and it already looks so nice. However, after much muttering and cutting to fit the base over the plumbing, Phil popped out of the office to help with the counter, and asked, isn't the hole supposed to be over the base?

OOPS. So - the good news is, we don't have to cut the corner of the counter to fit around the beam, and I get a nice 6" shelf at the back of my counter, the bad news is, the plumbing is going to be... interesting. But that's today's story, and is not yet written!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend


It seems that this weekend has come unmoored from it's usual date on the calendar, so instead of the last weekend in May we celebrate a week early. The kids are home for a long weekend. Phil is off to Chili Challenge in Waterville Valley to make magic and balloons happen. Dad has gone up to his parents to cut and trim some trees down to size. Glady finally found Bebe after losing him for 24 hours - tragedy! Johann, Juliet, and Pippa have all his playdough and toys spread out and are having a blast. I will start lunch soon - and that's all the news!

Oh, except that I cut the top 1/4 inch off my thumb, so I can't type well. Ow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

mr and mrs Bluebird... Johann likes lilac smell. We took a walk this morning and here are a few of the pictures I took.






we finished up with planting the trunk. I put sedum, both native and Dragon's Blood, and Saponaria in there. I also put in my pot of hens and chicks and the dianthus Glady gave me for Mother's day.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Lego Warrior

The entire lego group - Glady is in the center. Glady's team. I gather they won in that the battles were a draw, but their robot didn't fall over.
The lego robots own the gym!

Glady has been taking part in an after-school enrichment program for the last few weeks. She and her classmates built lego robots and then battled with them. I let her take in a camera the last day, and here are her pictures.

Friday, May 01, 2009

End of a long week

The kids found a garter snake under the stoop - I cought it and they each got to hold it before we released it back into the garden.
The kids pose with Nana and BoPop's car as we were taking it to drop off at the bus terminal that afternoon.

Papa Pushes Broom. The kids picked trash up, and I raked out garden beds.

It has been an eventful one! Nana and BoPop are home from Wales, the kids had a good vacation week, we worked out in the garden almost every day, they watched My Fair Lady for the first time...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pippa's Birthday!



I can hardly believe our little girl is 7 already. We spent this morning before Phil had to leave for his show getting the food ready for tonight's party. Unlike Glady, who asked for steak for her tenth birthday dinner, Pippy requested Lunchables! Oy, our little goofball strikes again. And then she wanted pizza, so we decided to surprise her with both... we made our own lunchables up, and created a pair of pizza pies like no other. Phil had the idea to cut the ham and salami into shapes - ham bears and salami hearts! The pizzas are sugar cookie crusts with virulent pink frosting and gummy fruit toppings, and a scattering of "Cheese" made from white chocolate. Right up our creative little girl's alley.

We have a couple of gifts, but she will get to pick out her own ukelele later. Glady loved her visit to the Vintage Fret Shop so much we decided to repeat it with Pippa. So we will have three little strummers. Now we have to teach them more than "Row, row, row your boat"!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Morning Musings

Juliet - who loves to have her face painted! She chose the fire butterfly and then posed for her shots.
The girls down at the brook - throwing sticks in the waterfall to see them go over


False Hellebore shoots - the leaves are perfectly accordion-pleated as they appear.
One of Dad's girls on an alder catkin. They collect pollen from them, and other wind-pollinated plants at this season when there aren't many flowers out.

I am taking a couple of minutes to update with more than just a few pictures. Life is busy here, as always. I don't know what we would do if there was nothing to do! LOL... that sounds funny. Johann is running through the kitchen calling for me to be his potty buddy so the crabs won't get him... He calls spiders crabs. While he was on the potty he chattered away, telling me that if I found a crab on my bed I should call him so he could kill it with his foot.

Phil is sleeping - he has a migraine. He had the tummy bug that has been going through the house yesterday, poor guy. Glady started the parade a week ago, and it has been working it's way through us all. So I'll let him get some rest - it's a quiet day, no shows, so he can take a little time to recover.

Dad's off training to become a census mapper. He went straight to Laconia from Concord, where he was drawing blood at the nursing home. He lost a full time job, but would up with 4 part-time ones! He actually likes it, though, because he has more time at home during the day to work on the garden and his bees and the like. He and the kids were able to tap our maples and make syrup this spring - the first time in the almost 20 years we've been here that we have bothered to do this! We ended up with a couple of gallons. The kids loved it, too.

The girls have gone off to school. Glady is excited because the Lego Robot enrichment program is afterschool today. She is in the gifted programs, so a few times a year she gets to be part of special programs like this one. Juliet is in occupational therapy. She has a form of kinestethia that means she doesn't balance well, or write easily (we were afraid it was dyslexia, but testing ruled that out.), and feels like she has to move all the time to keep track of her place in the world. That's why she is such a wiggle worm. Pippa started her very first chapter book last week - a Pony-crazed Princess book her Aunt Pam had given her. She told me she wasn't going to read chapter books until she was in third grade and I said no daughter of mine was going to wait that long - and once I showed her the book she realized that she could do it! Her teacher sent home a note a couple of days later saying that Pippa is now "an excited little reader".

I took them down to the brook on Tuesday looking for frog eggs. We didn't find any, so we'll try again next week. We did catch a bunch of tiny dragonfly larvae and caddis fly larvae and some snails to put in the little aquarium. I had moved all the fish to Dad's big aquarium, so we can keep pond critters in there without them all being eaten.

It's 8am and I need to finish up my morning routine. I've been really blessed recently by being able to download podcasts of Marla the FlyLady and Dave Ramsey to my iPod. It certainly helps the dishes become less of a chore when I have something to listen to! They have inspired me to try a little harder to keep my house and get even better than I had been. In almost twelve years of marriage and ten of kids you would think that I would be further along than I am. I have a shiny sink 6 nights out of 7 - and Phil helps a lot, there. My bed is made every day - but the laundry lives on the couch more than I would like (Phil calls it Mount Washing-done). I rarely can look around and not see something that needs to be done. Somedays it overwhelms me, and I think I just can't do it all. I hate that I get sick all the time, and have to take naps almost every day. I don't know if I really was stronger before, or if that's just what I remember, but I certainly feel like my body can't take what it used to. I get so tired.

Johann has decided to make a finger puppet by himself, so I am off to rescue the carpet from glue!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dad asked for - and got! a homemade Red Velvet Cake.The Crocus have been blooming their little hearts out for a couple of weeks now.

The very first Daff is ready to pop! I've been waiting - I though it would happen by Easter.

We celebrated Dad's Birthday today - a couple of days late, but with his schedule we didn't have an evening with him home until tonight. We found out yesterday that little Carter was born on his birthday. Yay! Congratulations Paul and Nikki!

I think Spring is finally here - I sat on the stoop for a few minutes tonight listening to the Peepers sing their little hearts out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Grampa Bob


His name was Robert Earl Fales and I am guessing that this picture was taken when he was 18. I came across it while cleaning out the box of pictures I have been accumulating for years - and I am not sure why I ended up with it. You can see his wicked sense of humor in his eyes, can't you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Different kind of morning


Pippa and Glady are home today for the morning -they both have dentist appointments a little later. Johann is delighted to have sisters here to pal around with. He doesn't like being alone, and will often ask them in the mornings to please stay home today. I can hear them out at the kitchen table playing with legos. I gave them my regular size legos that I had bought myself in college a week or two back. They have a huge supply of duplos, the toddler size version of legos, but there is just something cooler about the regular ones! They think it is funny to be playing with toys Mama bought for herself when she was s grown-up. Phil and I got them little packs with men in them, pirates and cops, wince they didn't have many guys. Dad was pointing out that when he had legos as a boy, there weren't guys, or much of anything besides the blocks. Today there are a lot of cool gizmos for them to add to their collection.

Speaking of collections, Glady went with us to the Vintage Fret shop earlier this week to pick out her ukelele. She was overawed by all the different instruments. She fell in love with a folk harp that was almost as tall as she is, and with the Double Bass, an instrument almost taller than her Papa! She picked out a pink uke that looks like a mini version of Pinky, Phil's first uke, and named it Lollipop. Johann got a kazoo, and played it in the car all the way home.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Twenty Questions

Mr. Phil is going to be profiled in a local newspaper, and they sent us some questions to answer beforehand. I though you might like to see them. So what would your answers be?
Here are the questions:

1. Full Name...
Philip Spitz
People know you as...
Mr. Phil


2. Date and place of birth:
March 25, 1964in Hollywood, CA

3. Occupation:
Family Entertainer, specializing in Magic, Balloonology, and Comedy. 

4. How long have you lived in the area?
I moved to NH in 1996 to be near my future wife. Thirteen years here, twelve married to her!

5. Who was your most influential role model?
Bruce "Charlie" Johnson, a clown, writer, and circus historian based in Olympia, WA. 

6. Where is your favorite place to go or your favorite trip or your favorite
hike?
Disneyland. I grew up near it, and I still feel that it is one of the few places of pure illusion. For that brief time you are there, you step out of your world and into theirs. 

7. Favorite local business?
Laconia Public LIbrary - that's where it all started. 

8. Favorite food?
Mexican! I grew up in San Diego surrounded by it, and I still love it.

9 Favorite book?
Barry Mitchell's "Creativity In Magic"

10: Favorite movie?
Do I have to pick just one? The Princess Bride - I can't think of anything to put above it on the list. 

11. What do you spend too much money on?
Magic, of course. And books. 

12. What is the dumbest thing you ever did?
Dressed up as the Easter Bunny. There used to be a picture, but not anymore! Muahh- Hah-Ha-Ha!

13. What is your fondest memory?
Holding my first-born daughter the night she was born - just minutes after she was born, actually. She was so tiny, and so amazing. 

14. What item is no longer available that you would like to see return?
Jolt Cola with real sugar.

15. What do you think makes the Lakes Region a good place in which to live?
Its hometown feel. It isn't a city, it's a town. 

16.  If you could change one thing about the Lakes Region, what would it be?
The traffic on Rte 3!


17. If you could change one thing about the state, nation or world, what
would it be?
I'd bring back good manners and courtesy. 

18. If you were to try a different profession for a day, what would it be?
A First-grade teacher. 

19. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
I'd help my friends and family, of course, but I'd really like to find some people to help anonymously. Pay for a month's rent, a tank of oil... something like that. And would it be great if that caught on and spread so everyone did things like that?

20. What would you like to be remembered for?
That I made people laugh. That I took them away from their mundane lives for a while into a place of joy and laughter. 

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Fun Night

We started out with the kids all playing outside until they were ready to come in and have hot cocoa. Then for dinner... 
Make your own pizza! Johann had the cutest, of course. 

Papa supervises Glady's bacon application. 
We had games, and drawing. We all love Gobblet because it is simple enough for Pippa on up to play, but challenging enough for Phil and I to play one another at a whole 'nother level. 
Pippa's working on her valentines already. Johann said he was, too. "I'm makin' love."
And yes, Juliet did beat her father one game out of three. Yay Julie!

Snuggly Guys

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

FaceArt




I was painting the girls (and boy!) last night, and talking to Mom on the phone, and she wanted to see what I had done, so here are the pics! I did two rainbow faces because I am thinking about competing at a conference I am going to in a bout a week. Very nervous about all that, it will be my first such thing. But the kids are great, Glady is TEN today! I can hardly believe we've had her for a decade!