The second part of the Neil's Great Interview Experiment took place with Mary Pat who interviewed me. (Poor thing!) I didn't give much thought to the process initially but when the introductions began with the pending questions looming, I began to wonder what in the world she could possibly manage to pull out of my blog that might be interview worthy.
Drum roll please!!!
Q - Blog questions! Why did you start blogging? Do you have any real life friends that blog? Do your friends and family read your blog? What does your husband think? When do you take time to blog?
A - My cousin Karen and her husband moved to Japan a little over a year and a half ago. In order to stay in touch with family and friends back here in the US, she started a blog (www.kimonokaren.blogspot.com). I started reading and then began exploring other sites and became addicted immediately. So I figured - why not give this a shot on my own in order to stay in touch with my out of state relatives. So many times I was left telling stories about the kids over and over again or intending to update the family on something happening in our lives and for one reason or another not get around to sharing it. Blogging just took care of that for me.
Although my friends and family read the blog, I get the impression that they aren't quite up to speed on the "etiquette" if you will, as the comments left behind on it are few and far between. It's obvious who understand the whole blogging thing and who doesn't.
In all honesty, I think my hubby thought that starting the blog was a little absurd (although he never said so). But now that I've been at it for a while, I know that he enjoys it and is constantly checking for updates. I've offered him the password to help out with posts but I still can't get him to take me up on that offer. Maybe if I give him free reign to post about the Red Sox or Notre Dame... Anyhow, although I have a long way to go before I'm anywhere near as good at blogging as some of my favorite reads are, I have definitely evolved over the past year. Now if I could just find more time...
Q - How did Uncle Kevin AKA Uncle Fat Kid get his name? What does he think about this nick name?
A - Ah, poor Kevin. (He's gonna strangle me for this one. He'll get over it.) Kevin has put on quite a bit of weight over the years. I'm told and from pictures that I've seen, he used to be an average sized 5'9" guy. Lot's of good food and numerous Bud Lights later...well let's just say he's not as svelte as he used to be! But he definitely has maintained his sense of humor about it all as he dubbed himself "Uncle Fat Kid" and continues to roll with it to this day.
Q - What in the heck happened with your house? It was built on a barite mine? How did you find this out? Is the barite worth anything? Does this effect the entire neighborhood?
A - Wow! I had forgotten that I had ever written about this issue. I could go on and on for quite a while on this one but I'll spare you the smaller details and will try to keep it to the point.
When my husband and bought our first house together back in 2001, although we wanted a niece sized piece of land, we really couldn't afford it. So we settled on a fantastic neighborhood, beautiful home - on a lot the size of a postage stamp.
Four years later, the housing market went through the roof and prices were almost double what they were before. We could finally afford that larger piece of land and so we went looking for our ideal home to raise the kids in. What we found was a little of 3/4 of an acre in the next town over. The house was ok, but definitely required some updating which I was looking forward to doing - starting with the kitchen and baths.
A month and half after we moved in, the Northeast was hit by some pretty severe rain storms that lasted for about a week and caused some major flood damage. We were lucky enough to have avoided any flooded but on the last day of the rain, we woke up to find a large gaping hole in our backyard that turned out to be a shaft to the barite mines. It was 10' off the back of my house, 15' in diameter and 35' deep!!!! I almost threw up the first time I approached the edge and looked down inside.
After much research we discovered that the town had mined for barite (a mineral that was used in white paint...unfortunately not worth anything today) back in the 1800's, shut down in the late 1800's but never closed the mines properly. They then proceeded to allow neighborhoods to be developed on this land.
We calculate that over 200 homes are affected by this along with some commercial property but the town of course denies having any part of it. We've tried so many different paths to get this resolved and continue to come up empty handed. So now we are caught up in a lovely little lawsuit with the town and the previous owners (who knew but still sold - no disclosure) that might not see the inside of a court room for another 2 years.
In the mean time, we've sunk $15,000 into closing the hole and are told that in order to fill the tunnels that run under our home and throughout our property, we're looking at around $500,000!!! (I don't know about anyone else's funds but that $15k blew out any thoughts of beginning renovations there and we certainly don't have access to $500k to fix the remaining issue.) And the ironic part of it all...we bought this place because of the LAND!!
Q - If you had it all over to do again would you go through the whole ear piercing thing with your daughter again? When did you get your ears pierced? How old were you? Who took you?
A - Oddly enough, although Megan gave us quite a ride that day, I would do it again in heart beat. The drama that she piles on to the every day thing can be very over the top. (Proven by the way that she cut off the dramatics less than a minute after walking out of the store after we completed ear #2.)
I on the other hand was not allowed to get my ears pierced until I was almost 16 years old. Just a silly old rule that was put into effect for my older sisters that still remained when it was my turn. I remember the year that I was finally permitted to get them pierced...one of my sisters was getting married that October (1990 to be exact!) and I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me get them pierced so I could wear real earrings for the wedding and not the crazy clip ons. They of course refused. However, just two months later, my Mom surprised me on a trip to the mall by telling me I was getting an early Christmas present and had them done then. What difference the extra two months made is beyond me.
Q - Have you noticed anything regarding Robert only having one kidney? Is he just as crazy as the other kids?
A - We found out that Robert had only one kidney during a routine ultrasound at my OBGYN office. We then began monthly visits to Yale so that they could monitor the development and begin testing for any other potential issues. Apparently having one kidney can be completely normal and even hereditary. Or it can be just one of numerous indications that there is something much more complex happening to the developing child. Although we don't know for sure if it's hereditary (I have both of my kidneys but my hubby hasn't been tested) it was determined that there were no underlying issues and the remaining kidney is fully functioning. And on the day that he was born, within two minutes, he had urinated twice - one time drenching the nurse.
Although we had been told prior to his birth that everything was fine, after seeing firsthand that everything was in working order, I think I finally released the breath that I had been unaware I was holding for the last few months.
There are no outward signs of the issue and in all actuality, he's an enormous child. Off the charts in fact. So it's not like it has affected his growth or eating in any way. His personality is not quite as nutty as the older kids and so far he seems very laid back and calm. He's still young though and I'm sure he'll be picking up some good stuff from Matt as he gets older and they begin playing together more often. So anything could change!!
Q - You have an entire week without family responsibilities. What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you take with you? (husband not allowed)
A - Hhhhmmm...no family, no husband...no worries, right? I would take my Mom and 3 sisters someplace warm. Someplace where we could just sit our rear ends on the beach, drink some fruity cocktails and let the sun soak into our bodies. And I'm not particular - it can be any beach. But it must be warm! (Can you tell that I'm tired of winter already?)
Q - You have won the lottery. It's an obscene amount of money. You have paid off all your debt, your families debt and secured trusts for your children and grandchildren. You still have a boatload of money left over? What do you do with it to indulge yourself?
A - The first thing I would do is get the F*%K out of the mine pit that we call home today. We've talked about moving south so we'd probably head to the Carolina's somewhere. I'd then take the entire family, mine and my husbands, on a vacation. Nothing over the top. In fact maybe we'd start out with Disney, for the kids who have never been, then head off to a mutually agreed upon spot that we would all enjoy. We'd probably head back to reality for a few months but then I'd make sure that my husband and I were able to take our dream vacation to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Morea and what the heck - we'd head to Fiji too. I'd also make sure that we were able to pick a vacation spot every year that would be traveled to with our kids and another every year for just he and I.
Beyond my grand vacation and home buying plans, as long as everything else was taken care of financially, I would just want to live a casual, laid back life where we could come and go however and whenever we wanted.
Q - I'm going to assume you have an iPod. If you don't then just play with me here. What is on your playlist? What are the top Lisa songs that mean something to you. Name as many as you like. Highlight one that is kind of a Lisa theme song.
A - My playlist depends on my mood. I can listen to any kind of music - except rap. I'm currently stuck on Michael Buble, some random jazz music and the soundtrack to A Lot Like Love. But that could change next month when I get into a country music kick. (Although that never lasts too long - just enough to get a fix.)
Anything can trigger the change; the mood I'm in, the weather that day, an upcoming concert that I'm anticipating going to (went through that phase with Billy Joel and Rod Stewart). I have a habit of playing my favorites over and over to the point where I still love them but can't stand listening to them anymore and have to take a much needed break.
Theme song? I've never really thought about that before. And the more I think of it now, I keep going back to the little ditty that Jack Black creates in the movie The Holiday for the Arthur Abbott character. Now I can't think of anything else except the piano music and the old man scaling the stairs at the end of the movie.
A - Do you read other people's blogs? If so what is your favorite blog?
Q - Like I said above, I've become addicted to blogs. My first real addiction was Amalah, which lead to MamaPop. From those spots I've expanded to: Silly Little Girl, All & Sundry, Not That You Asked, Whoorl, The Shape of a Mother and most recently, Autismville (over on Parents.com). I peruse others sporadically but I try to not get into them too much or my day would be spent reading blogs instead of working!
Q - What question were you hoping that I would ask that I didn't? Ask and answer please!
A - I can't say that I was anticipating anything in particular and in fact was wondering how anyone would be able to pull anything interesting out of my blog to ask about. However, you've asked some great questions and I've had a lot of fun answering them!
But if I have to add on here, how about blogging pet peeves? My two biggest pet peeves would be cyber trolls. It irritates me to no end how someone feels that they have to post negative comments and/or attack a blogger. It eats me up even further when it then turns into an attack on fellow commenters who defend the blogger or when it just continually gets hashed out over and over. Let's all stop feeding the troller egos and simply delete their inappropriate comments!
The second pet peeve would be lurkers. If you're kind enough to read the blog - leave an occasional comment. It gets a little lonely out here without knowing if anyone else is living on (or should I say visiting) the same island!!
So there you go. Perhaps this information won't spawn an entirely new group of people to begin cyber stalking me (as Bill likes to say) but for those of you who read me...I hope it was worth the few minutes out of your day!