Wednesday, April 27, 2011

For Pete's Sake...Make a Comment!

Now that I have this cool ap on my blog called "feedjit" I can see that people are actually reading it, I didn't know before hand if I had any readers or not.  Now that I know people are reading I get a little paranoid about what they may think of me.  My friends who read know me and they know how to take me but since I only get location of readers I don't know who they are.  I often  wonder who, in Port Allen, LA, is reading my blog so regularly...and, where is Kuttawa, KY? 

I put that cool badge that says "show some love, leave a comment" but I think people are missing it!  I'm honored that people are actually clicking on my blog, but the curiosity is killing me!  Who are my readers?  What do you think?  For Pete's sake, make a comment!

ISTEP Testing so NO Homework ALL WEEK!

I have tons of issues with public school.  I adore Hadley's teacher and think she's been a blessing, thank God for her because, as Keith says, I'm just looking for an excuse to home school.  We love Hadley's teacher so much, I can't imagine Hadley not having her in her life.  In fact, her entire school is pretty well ran.  Despite my feelings on their attendance policy and the nonsense of them calling me out on not getting her to school on time I do like the school and respect the people who keep it going.  (some of the rules are ridiculous, but they have good intentions and purpose.)

This week is the ISTEP testing for third grade and up.  Click the link for an actual definition, but the general feeling of parents is it's a test for Indiana students to be measured against each other through standardized tests.  It's a politically correct way of judging our children and their teachers.  I, personally, think it's unfair to both.  No matter how good a teacher teaches some kids don't test well.  Grr!  I don't know a better way, but I HATE standardized tests!  I hated them when I was in school and I hate seeing how stressed these young kids feel about this.

Hadley has homework nearly every single night, in first grade!  When I was in first grade, I'm pretty sure we were still cutting and pasting and they are definitely doing more than that now!  She's reading, doing geometry, social studies, etc, etc..  It's really quite impressive.  The homework, even only 10-15 minutes a night, often interferes with our family life and plans.  It's a real pain in the rear to me and I complain profusely!  (I never complain in front of Hadley though, I don't want to jade her opinions)  Tonight we were doing family stuff and I stopped it and said "Hadley do you have homework we need to get done?"  Of course she did, and Keith mumbled to me "wow! they've broken your spirit, you're just giving in and doing the homework!"  It's so true!

So, we've determined that I hate both standardized testing and homework.  I'm really a hippy anarchist when it comes to education.  Of course, I want my kids to be smart but I want them to do it in a fun interesting way.  I hate seeing third graders have to miss school because they're having anxiety attacks (true story) about tests and reports.  I hate making Hadley come in 15 minutes early, on a sunny day, so she can do homework when she knows the material.  If it's something she has trouble with I'm all for practicing until we get it, though, I just don't like busy work!

Because this week is ISTEP the testers don't have homework.  I'm a little disgusted by the self interest here.  Our family time be darned-homework is a must but when it's test time and it's self serving, to the rule makers, suddenly homework takes a back seat and a lot less important.  Education is important to me, I want my kids to be well educated, productive members of society.  Education may not be my first priority but it is definitely in the top ten (five, maybe). 

I'm hoping to parent well rounded kids who put God first, are compassionate, and intelligent.  I don't think homework or ISTEP will contribute to those things but we are along for the ride and praying for the best!

I am SO Glad I Have Girls!

I'm so glad I have (insert gender here)!

How many times have you heard that or even said it?  Each mom wants to validate how amazing it is to be the parents of boys or girls (depending on which gender they have).  I really am SO glad to have girls, but because it's God's perfect plan, not because it's self fulfilling.  I don't think having boys is some type of affliction, they are an equal blessing.  I definitely see perks of being a mom to girls, I won't lie.  I thank God for my daughters, I can't imagine it any other way.  However, I can definitely see some problems that I'll have that moms of boys won't have to deal with and vice versa! 

I don't know why we think it's okay to say that to each other, it's really not nice! 

I had a mom tell me, that when you have boys you only have to worry about one penis, but when you have girls you have to worry about every penis out there!  Grrr!  I don't even want to THINK about that!

Another mom said in reference to boys versus girls, "you either pay now or pay later!" 

So true!  Parenting is hard, it's rewarding, but it's hard!  One cliche about boys are they break everything, one cliche about girls is they are super needy!  I'd say both are true, for both genders!  Of course, I'm speaking as a mom of girls only.  Cliches exist for a reason, they aren't 100% but more often than not there's a reason for them!

All I know is that I wouldn't have it any other way, but there is no easy way out of parenting, so it doesn't matter if you have boys or girls-"you either pay now or pay later!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Words Hurt, Lisa

I had a friend say that to me one day when I was giving him heck about something.  I don't remember what it was but I remember the simplicity of that comment and even though he said it out of sarcasm, he was right. 

The other problem with words is that tone means everything!  You can say one thing and convey a completely different message.  With my blog, I'm now realizing that although I say (most) everything with a little sarcasm and laughter in my writing the reader may not read it that way.  So, now I'm worried...I don't want to come off as some crazy, conspiracy theorist, bitter republican.  I'm not!

I'm usually pretty level headed (except when it comes to my lawn!) and when I blog something it's in jest.  My purpose of blogging is to highlight things that I find interesting in a way that makes me, and others (hopefully), smile.  I'm trying to catalog things in my life so that someday when I'm older and my kids are grown, we can look back and see what I was thinking and what I thought was prudent in this period of our lives. 

I'm not trying to change minds or indoctrinate people with my views.   I use terms like "liberal" and "conservative" as loosely as I use terms like "blond" or "brunette."  Some of my oldest friends and some people I have great respect for would fall into the category of "liberals" and that's okay with me.  I make comments like they're crazy but I know they're not.  I also have friends who are "conservatives" and friends who don't give a flip for politics at all!  I have friends who are die hard Christians, friends who are agnostics and every step in between. 

So, to clear up a few things...
I don't dislike the Carmel PD, in fact, I have a great respect for them.
I'm not mad at the officer who gave either Keith or myself our traffic tickets.
I don't think cartoons are trying to sway my kids politically.
I LOVE Hadley's first grade teacher.  I also do not think she has a political agenda in her assignments.
I'm fine with Illinois as a state, however I DO believe their tolls are insane!
My Sunday school class is not modeled after Pavolov's dogs. (but vanilla wafers will take you far with 2 year olds!
I do find it absolutely hilarious to see grown men fall on the ice, as long as no one's hurt!
I think bullies are mean and we have an obligation to teach our kids to stand up for themselves and each other.
I don't believe people deserve to choke on hot dogs.
I sometimes get embarrassed by how much I talk.
I find roundabouts frustrating.
I think hospitality is becoming a forgotten art and it's crucial!
I pray for my children constantly!

I'm not actually on a soap box over here.  I prefer to think of it as a stage for stand up comedians!  Sometimes I'm funny, sometimes I'm not,  but I don't ever want to be mean.  I know the people who read my blog that have known me for years (Greg, Shawn, Dane, Jaime, etc) know that everything I say is usually peppered with sarcasm.  I don't usually use my blog as a place to vent...I call Jaime or Shawn, etc for that!  Like I said, I use it as a place to catalog my thoughts and hopefully make people smile.  As I've gotten more traffic lately, though, I'm starting to worry that people who don't know me may just think I'm bitter.

I try not to pepper my blogs with too much cursing and I try to keep people who aren't my closest friends anonymous.  I won't post pictures of the police officers actual face because I think that's disrespectful.  I won't use Hadley's teacher's actual name because she may not want to be blogged about.  I will give Shawn a terribly hard time when she says something dumb enough to blog about.  I will make blooper reels of my super patient husband when I can't stop laughing at his fall.  I will post videos of Angela swinging my husband around the dance floor.  Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong.

All in all, I'd say that sometimes I don't know when to be quiet, I am too sarcastic, and I think I'm funny when I'm not.  But I love fiercely, I am loyal to a fault, I can admit when I'm wrong, and I'm really not a jerk!

I hope this clears things up for anyone who doesn't know me well that may be getting the wrong impression and I hope it makes my blog a little less intense!  The world is too serious, LAUGH!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Please Excuse Her, She Didn't Realize We Are Republicans!

Tonight Keith was looking through Hadley's homework and he came into the other room, where I was, and said "I think we're doing something wrong."

I skimmed it and said "oh yea, I saw this at school on Monday."

Keith replies "you DID?" which prompted me to look a little closer and realized it was another kid's paper I had read.  I volunteer on Monday's and not being a "kid person" at the end of the day, they all look alike to me.  (apparently even mine!)

On closer inspection, I said "I feel like I need to write the teacher a note and explain that she Hadley clearly didn't realize we are republicans!


The part you cant see, on the side, teacher's comment "WOW!" 

I couldn't have said it better myself-wow!

In case you have trouble reading it, I'll clear it up for you;

If I were president I would get money and give it to the poor people.
I would increase taxes to $.15

Of course I'm proud of anything my daughter does and like many liberals, her heart is in the right place, she just has absolutely no idea what she's talking about!  I love the charitable heart and I'm proud that she wants to help mankind. 

However, shortly after reading that I called her to the living room and explained charity and government to her. 

I said "honey, we don't need the president to tell us to give money.  Do you realize that we can help poor people without him?"

She said "we can?"

Grrr!  "Yes honey, when we give money at church, that's helping others.  When we donate to the salvation army and goodwill, that's helping poor people."  Then I said "Do you remember when we bought all those groceries and gave them to the homeless man?"

"Yes, mommy.  Why did you buy him juice boxes?"  was her reply.

"I bought him Gatorade because it has things your body needs..." I told her.

She interrupted "since he was homeless he didn't have cups so the little bottles were easier?"

Okay, so clearly she remembers this act of charity!  "yes honey, but that was helping a poor person WITHOUT government interference!  We can use our money more judiciously than the government or the president."

deep breaths momma!

"We don't NEED the government to tell us that we should help the less fortunate, as good Christians and good people we know this and live it."

I can't believe I had to explain this to her!  I really thought she would learn by our actions but apparently you can't assume anything!  We are a pretty charitable family, and we give to several different charities.  We've made food for food banks, obviously we've bought groceries and hand delivered them to homeless, we've rang the bell for the salvation army, and we talk about charity in church a lot too.  I know she's seeing charity, those are all things we've done WITH her!  I'm sure we could do more, but that isn't too shabby.

Why in the world does she believe the government and taxes are the only way to help poor people.  As far as I'm concerned, the government and taxes have more to do with creating poor people than helping them!  How do we right this wrong and quickly, before she writes something they post in the hall ways?!?

In the meantime,
Dear Mrs. M#$%*&l
Please excuse Hadley, she didn't realize we are republicans! 
Respectfully!
Hadley's Mom & Dad
(aka conservative, christian, republicans)

In all seriousness though, Hadley is a great little girl with a generous heart and this shows that beautifully.  She's blessed with an amazing first grade teacher and we have repeatedly prayed that next year be this awesome!  I don't think the schools are trying to indoctrinate my child with liberal agenda and I think that if we can continue down this path with her we will be very lucky!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Indianapolis Bloggers

So, I'm trying to get the word out there that I'm blogging and at some point, I'm going to run out of material on the Carmel PD and Angela is going to quit promoting me.  Not to mention, if I don't quit taking jabs at the Carmel PD I'm going to get arrested!  Really, three posts in two months might be toeing the line!  (Or we're going to grow broke on tickets! ha!)  And, in case you're wondering, those three links are the three posts!  I do love my local PD though!  They really are great guys who work very hard, God Bless them!

With that said, there is a blog called Indianapolis Bloggers that promotes bloggers who either live in or around Indy or blog exclusively about Indy.  Since I'm in the "live around Indy" group, I'm in!  They will begin promoting me as soon as I show them some love!  So, click the link and show the love!

 http://indianapolisblogs.blogspot.com/

How We Ended Up in Wisconsin for Spring Break!

When we first started planning our spring break trip we were determined to take a beach vacation.  I spent hours researching the best family beach spots and never could find what fit my requirements and budget. 

That's when I decided we'd go to Branson, MO for spring break.  Again, I spent hours researching all of the "to do's" only this time in Branson.  Let me be the first to say, there are a ton of things to do in Branson!  But, they all cost a ton of money!  I just couldn't bare to spend that much money on a mid western vacation...I'm sorry, but I need sand and sun for that price!

Then I decided we'd take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinatti, OH.  It's only two hours away and let's be honest...Undercover Boss made it look AWESOME!  I checked it out online, loved what I saw and began the booking process.  That's when I realized, for spring break, it was nearly $350 a NIGHT!  Umm...No.  So, on a whim I looked at the next closest lodge, in Sandusky OH.  Score!  $149/night!  I made my reservations and was stoked.  I began reading as much as I could, because I'm crazy and I do that, when I read that Sandusky was substantially smaller than the others.  Uh oh.

I called the 800 number and asked them when they told me that Sandusky is 30,000 square feet and the one in the Wisconsin Dells is 80,000 square feet.  Okay, noticeable.

The AWESOME customer service line was more than willing to change my locations and the price was the same so it didn't even cost me any extra!  Yay! 

I then read all about the attractions in Wisconsin Dells and was getting geared up for our trip.  I even "splurged" for the Kid Cabin suite at the lodge!  Well.  Worth. The. Money!

Everyone who we spoke to told us that the Dells is an eight hour drive from our town.  We had to drive from one end of Illinois to the other, NOT a fan!  Actually, that trip is when I came of the opinion that Illinois shouldn't even be allowed to be a state!  Anyway, we drove there in just over six hours, including a fill up of gas and a pit stop for the girls (and mom!).

Check in at Great Wolf is 4pm but because it didn't take nearly as long as we expected, we got there early and our room was ready!  Yay!  The lobby is so warm and inviting and it just reeks of good times!

(this pic was actually taken at story time, but I forgot to get one of just the lobby)

I was a little disheartened when I saw the notice that said "Due to unforeseen circumstances Fort Mackenzie will be closed until further notice, we apologize for the inconvenience."  UGH!  That's like a fourth of the water park!  I was kind of irritated that no one offered a verbal apology or any type of compensation and I was worried that it would set the tone for the entire trip.  I was determined to shake it off and enjoy our trip in spite of the first impression.

When we got to our room, I was very happy and impressed!  I had tried and tried to find pics of the rooms online and never found just what I was looking for.






The room was surprisingly NOT crowded!  At all!  I had worried with all the things they list it having that we'd be on top of each other but that wasn't the case.  There was plenty of room for us to spread out and move around.  My only complaint on the size was the dresser, it was tiny.  We ended up leaving our clothes in our suitcases because there wasn't enough drawer space to unpack everything.
Seriously, the room "sleeps 8" and that's the drawer space they give you!  So we just left our clothes in the suitcases and used that for our food and dirty laundry.  It worked out fine.

After check in we went to the water park and it was AWESOME!!!  OMG!  It was quickly apparent that we wouldn't be doing any of the other stuff in the Dells that was on my list!  As soon as I saw this picture, I knew we were going to be spending all of our time at the water park!



One thing I forgot, was how tiring water is!




The next morning we went to MagiQuest to see what all the hype was about.  Again, Worth.  EVERY. Penny!  The kids (and dad!) loved it!  We spend several hours on our MagiQuest.
In our pajamas!  Any vacation where I can spend the majority of the day in either pajamas or a bathing suit makes me VERY happy!

The breakfast buffet is a great buffet with really well prepared food and an omelet station and a waffle station.  They even make chocolate chip waffles and the waffles have a wolf in the center of them.  If you add on the breakfast package to the room it's a good deal because it includes tax and gratuity and a drink.  However, they don't refill juice or milk which was a little bit of a bummer!  The waitresses and cooks are all friendly and helpful. The dinner restaurant is also really good and decent prices, it's about like Apple Bees.

We were up north and I firmly believe they'd be even more helpful down south!  I bet Texas will knock you over with their kindness!

The morning after our first night, Fort Mackenzie opened up and I was so glad!  Especially after actually getting to try it out!  It was so fun!

Ironically enough, I think Lydia and I spent the most time at the wave pool and I didn't take a single picture of it.

Hadley and Keith spent the bulk of their time on the Howlin' Tornado.  The kid was ADDICTED!


The life guards at Great Wolf are phenomal.  I have never seen such intense life guarding at a pool in my entire life!  You would have to put serious planning into having an accident there!  They stalk the pools, cannot be distracted, and are always ready to dive in!  Trust me, you are safe at Great Wolf!  Even an over protective parent, like me, feels safe there!

On our last night there, we stayed in the water park until 9pm, when they close, and scurried out just in time for story time.  All the kids were so cute in their pajamas and my two rug rats sat there in bathing suits and towels!

Story time is very cute!  The clock tower has animated animals and the totem poles move around and they tell a cutes story.  Then a staff member comes out and reads a bedtime story. 

The only real complaint I have about the entire experience was the arcade.  Half of the games were out of order and the other half either took your money or didn't give you tickets.  The staff was very accommodating and would replace your tokens and comp you tickets but it was more trouble than it was worth and unless that gets better, I wouldn't recommend wasting your time there.

Another valuable lesson I learned is that the Paw Pass is probably worth it's money.  I didn't buy one because I didn't have any intention in using all the things they tag onto the paw pass, which I didn't, but I ended up spending about the same amount of money as I would have if I'd gotten the paw pass and I didn't leave with nearly the same amount of trinkets! 

 By the last day of our trip, no one wanted to leave but we were all too tired to protest!  It was a great spring break and it was a lot of fun!

I feel like I'm leaving out important details but there just isn't time to write about it all.  I would highly recommend a Great Wolf Lodge vacation to anyone with kids or without kids!  It was really THAT MUCH FUN! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Angela!

Friday was my favorite realtor's birthday and last night we went out to celebrate! 

Angela and I met 3 years ago (almost to date) when Keith and I were house shopping.  We came into Indy one weekend to buy a house!  That was when we were still naive enough to believe that our house in WV would sale and all the pieces would fall into place and enable us to buy a house instead of moving into an apartment.  At the time, we didn't know what complete jerks lived in our neighborhood in WV and didn't realize they would sale their souls (if they had them!) to stop the sale of our house!  (That's a topic for another blog!  ugh!) That reality was quite a shock but everything works out for a reason!  We spent the weekend looking at all the houses we thought we would love, we didn't love any of them. 

Two months later we moved to Indy, in an apartment, and continued the house hunt...for another YEAR AND A HALF!  Yes, we started looking at houses in April 2008 and didn't buy a house until October 2009!  I've seen nearly every house that's ever been on the market in Hamilton county!  Honestly, it probably didn't matter if it was in my price range or not!  I looked at everything for sale just to get a better idea of what I wanted.

I found a tiny little, over priced, house that I was convinced I wanted to buy.  I went to an open house, had a showing for Keith, then another showing for my mother in law and finally Angela said "let me show you one in that other subdivision to get a comparison"  She showed us, we fell in love, and here we are!  It's the wonderful house we live in now and LOVE! 

In the course of that year and a half Angela and I became great friends!  Her daughter is now our babysitter, her son is an occasional playdate, and her husband is an all around good guy! 

With all that said, last night was Angela's birthday outing.  We went to Britton Tavern and saw this great band Lemon Wheel.  In true Angela fashion, she invited nearly every person in Hamilton County, also known as her facebook friends!  Ha!  Angela has a dancing background and loves to dance, her husband made the comment, as he and I nursed our drinks from the table, "she'll be out there all night."  (I left at midnight, and she was still going strong!) 

At one point, I may or may have not, mentioned to Jeff that Keith and I met when he was teaching dance.  Jeff RAN with that info!  Within about a minute flat Angela and Jeff were both grinning from ear to ear.  They approached Keith and before I knew it Keith and Angela were busting a move on the dance floor!..
video

Based on that video, the future will see more of Jeff and I nursing drinks and more of Keith and Angela breaking it down!

The night went on and everyone was having a good time, it really was a lot of fun!  But the highlight of my night was when I got to meet the police officer who gave Keith his ticket!  Ha!  Turns out, he and Angela & Jeff are friends!  When I realized who he was, I had to meet him!  I quickly introduced myself and explained how I "knew" him.  .

He then told me "As much of an asshole as you think I am, I could have made it a lot worse on your husband I even took it easy on him, his shit was a mess." 

 I quickly said "no, no, no...you misunderstood what I meant!  Actually, you are kind of my hero!  You really leveled the playing field at my house!" 

We all laughed a little and chatted some about my blog and I said "I have to point out (again) that in the blog, we didn't actually bash you and we took full responsibility for our tickets...they sucked, but we earned them!"  He agreed then made some sort of super flattering comment about what a fabulous writer I am (just remember...it's MY blog, I'll write the story how I want it!) and how super awesome my blog is!  I wandered away and talked to some other folks and so did he.

As we were getting ready to leave, I felt compelled to "officially" introduce Keith and this officer.  Everyone was cordial and although I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this interaction FAR MORE than anyone else, it was epic!  I managed to talk them both into smiling for a picture!  I said "I won't put this on facebook..." I heard the officer say something about my blog but it was so loud, I couldn't make it out.  (maybe something about not blogging it...I don't know!)  Of course, me being me, insisted that I was going to put the picture on the blog...and I am!



Okay, so I did a little editing to keep his anonymity but you get the idea!  Everyone was smiling and we all had a good time.  If you are a close friend,  all bets are off, I will exploit every angle of our friendship in the name of humor.  However, if you have a gun and the right to arrest me...you get a little leeway on my blog! 

It really was a good outing and it was nice to meet some new people and even nicer to meet the officer who leveled the playing field at my house!  Ha!  Happy Birthday Angela!



Friday, April 8, 2011

What I Think About Illinois

and there's a lot!  Our Great Wolf Lodge stay at the Wisconsin Dells was amazing!  The trip there and back left a little to be desired!  I'll share all of the great deets about GW once I get the pics loaded on the computer, but tonight...Illinois gets it!

First I have to start with a positive...I always try to start with a positive before I say something really negative!  A year or so ago, Keith and I were talking about visiting Chicago and I was excited because I've never been, so I googled "Chicago Tourism." 

I was saying "oh look, we can do this...we can do that...etc"  Then, I saw it, in big bold letters..."PROUD HOME OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA" eeeeeeerrrrrkkkk (squealing tires in my mind!) 

"We are NOT going to Chicago!  Screw it, if they are his proud home, he can have them!"  And, I haven't looked at their site again, until tonight, as I was doing "research" for this posting.  Good news!  (Shocking too!)  They are no longer the proud owners of the president!  They don't even know the guy now!  He's not mentioned anywhere on their site!  No mention of Rahm Emanual either!  Or  Rod Blagojevich!  That place is a hot bed of strong political leaders!  (oops!  I meant to refrain until at least the next paragraph!)

Since I already started on my negativity (with humor, of course!)  I'll dive right in!  We got lost in Gary, Indiana and maybe got off on the wrong foot with Chicago.  I actually took video and made several comments to the kids about their fabulous refinery vacation!

As we drove farther and longer, I made the comment that I've seen horror flicks start like this...the unassuming suburban family, driving through the industrial ghetto, in their minivan...

Sounds like a scary movie setting, right!  Well, apparently I drove it home because Hadley wrote in her journal about her trip to Chicago and she wrote "I didn't know Chicago was so ghetto."  I may have given the wrong impression!  By the time we got to the sears tower, Hadley was humming Tupac! 
There were no "Welcome to Illinois" signs anywhere, not that I blame them!  They were probably all at the shop getting the "home of Pres. Obama"removed from them!

If all of that wasn't frustrating enough, the toll booths nearly put me over the edge!  OMG!  I have NEVER seen so many toll booths in my life!  argh!  Every few miles we had to cut across six lanes of traffic to get in the far right lane, (while needing to be driving in the far left lane) so we could pay toll!  $1.60 are you kidding me?!? 
Just in case you don't understand the toll booths, they offer help! 
Unfortunately, they didn't offer any info on $4/gallon gas, an air strike on Lybia, or a complete government shutdown, but they can tell you how to give them your first born for the privilege of driving on their 50 year old roads!

As if they are trying to soothe the savage beast a little, they have signs up all over the place that say they are resurfacing a 50 year old road.  Seems to me, they should have started on that mess a long time ago!  Are they also implying that the toll booths are strictly for the contribution to the resurfacing project?  Wouldn't it have been quicker to forgo the toll booth building and get right on the resurfacing project?  Cheaper too, I'd say!  Yes, thank you Chicago, this sign makes me feel all better about your crappy roadways!  Now, explain Obama!


So, something like $30.00 later we finally made it through, south to north and back, Illinois and we were headed home!  This trip was very enlightening and some major life decisions were made, thanks to Illinois!  Keith and I have now both agreed that we MUST retire somewhere southern!  We talked about Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  Retirement, for us, will take place south of I10!  I know Indiana isn't technically southern, but it's a heck of a lot more southern than Illinois or Wisconsin!  And, they know how to welcome you! 
Hello Illinois and Wisconsin!  THIS is how you welcome people to your state!

One last snarky comment, and this one is for Greg!  As I was making every sarcastic remark I could possibly think of, I said "they don't have any signs up saying 'proud home of Obama in Chicago' wonder why?" and Keith says "they sent them all to Kenya!"  Holla!