My house is clean!

We're selling our house.  The kids are gone, the place is too big and I've never enjoyed vacuuming stairs.  So today, our real estate agent was here taking photographs for the listing.  I've spent the last two days cleaning, polishing and hiding things so the place will look nice for the pictures.  Our house hasn't looked this good since before we moved in.

About six years ago I finished a Winnie the Pooh puzzle and was going to frame it because, well, I worked so hard on it and I love Pooh.  But two pieces had fallen out of the finished puzzle and I couldn't find them anywhere.  I decided to "make" some new puzzle pieces out of cardboard and colored markers.  They didn't look too bad as long as you didn't examine them too closely.  Guess what I found yesterday while cleaning out my closet?  Two puzzle pieces and a giant dust bunny.  Yuck to the dust bunny.  Its amazing how much dust and junk can accumulate behind things you keep, not because you'll ever use them again, but because someday they might be useful.

So I'm making some hard choices now as I de-junk my house.  We've amassed a lot of stuff over twenty eight years and six children.  I've decided I don't really need to keep the expired polysporin and the half-burned candles in my closet,  but I do need to keep all the Mother's Day cards the kids have made me over the years.  I do know what my priorities are.

My name is Anne

You have no idea how long it took me to feel comfortable being called Anne. I blame my parents. (Insert huge smiley face here). They named me Anne but called me Marcie. To be fair, my middle name is Marcel. After having gone by Marcie for years and then to be called Anne in seventh grade by my teachers was sooo frustrating.  Being an immature 12 year old, I bordered on antagonistic with them.  Rather than just say "here" I would glare at them. There was an issue of pride at stake. I'm not Anne, I'm Marcie.

The government knows me as Anne. So does the hospital and the LDS church. But up until last year my driver's license and all my credit cards said Marcie. Since my driver's license didn't match the county records, I couldn't vote at the primary election.  New security rules and all.  I jumped through a lot of hoops to change everything so I was "legal".  So guess what happened at the November election?  My driver's license finally said Anne, but the records there now said Marcie   ???   I put up a big stink and they let me vote anyway.

The point I'm making is that I have finally reached my happy place.  Its taken me almost 50 years but I'm happy that I'm an Anne.  I still go by Marcie, but if you call me Anne, I'll answer you with a smile.

Video games

Video games are fun to watch, but I don't really enjoy playing them.  I do remember playing Mortal Kombat on the NES many, many years ago, but my strategy back then was to randomly hit buttons and hope that I could hit something in the process.  I was able to knock out all of my children in Wii boxing though.  But I sure was sore the next day.

Gary, my husband, is an avid gamer.  He likes the sandbox games like Just Cause.  I call it Just 'Cuz.  That name seems to make more sense to me because that game is fun to watch, but it doesn't follow any of the laws of physics.  You can fire a grappling hook to the top of a jet airliner as its taxi-ing down a runway, climb on the back of it and surf the air while doing 600 mph.  Then jump off and free-fall without dying, because you can grapple the ground as you approach it and pull yourself to safety.

He also played Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts for the XBox.  It was all fun and games watching him until he asked me - ME - to beat a level.  COME ON!  I really did try.  But that stupid cart that Banjo was driving wouldn't go where I was trying to get it to go.  The frustration that built up was too much for me.  Ask me to pull weeds in Animal Crossing and I'm there for you.  But I do have a threshold.

I'm not coordinated enough to figure out all the buttons on the controller.  And the PC games using a keyboard are even worse.  A few years ago, our family was really into playing Left 4 Dead, while networking as many computers as possible.  This is a zombie apocalypse game where you can either choose to be one of four humans trying to survive, or one of the many zombies trying to kill the humans.  The kids convinced me to join in and play with them for a bit.  Mind you, they've been playing this for a while and are VERY good at it.  I'm an extreme n00b.  So I'm a human and most of them are zombies.  After five minutes of trying to get through a doorway (I forgot to look "down" and see the desk in front of me) while my children as zombies are mercilessly killing me, I end up in tears.  At least I can say I tried.

My idea of a relaxing game is Peggle or Angry Birds on my iPod Touch.  These feed my OCD so well.  I'm currently working on getting 3 stars on an entire Angry Birds level so I can get my golden egg.  And Peggle has added a red ribbon level.  If I can get 300,000 points on each level I get a trophy.  A trophy that isn't real. (But is...)

The family that plays together stays together.  Its been fun watching our family game-playing evolve over the years.  There were a few that I enjoyed playing with the family, like Mario Kart.

I used to drive the kids crazy because I would always pronounce it "Merrie-o".  "Mooooommmmm!  Its Mah-ree-oh"  Whatever.  There were a few times that I would win but I still suspect they were letting me win.

Game playing has invaded our culture to such an extent that it influences conversations.  For instance, I was checking in on Facebook last night to see what my kids are doing and came across this status from Alison and the following conversations from friends and family:

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