Thursday, July 31, 2008

The $10,000 Question

So last night Jay and I were laying in bed. He was watching Keith Olbermann and I was deeply into the last few pages of 'The Other Boleyn Girl.' The last chapter is exciting and filled with drama and I was right to the point when poor Anne was about to get her head chopped off when Jay interrupted me and asked, "Would you eat someones used band-aid for $10,000?"

Obviously, my immediate response was, "No way." But then Jay pointed out that we could certainly use $10,000. Then he went on to add that he'd probably do it for $5,000.

I thought about it a moment and said, "Well, what about diseases? Can I choose whose band aid I eat? I guess I could stomach one of the kid's or yours."

He quickly asked, "What if it was Keith Olbermann's band aid?"

Okay, admittedly I loves me some Keith Olbermann but the relationship he and I have only lasts for one hour a day and I don't know what he does in his spare time. So my answer is no.

Jay was quiet for a bit and then he leaned over and said, "Well, I'd eat your band aid for a hundred bucks."

I am strangely honored.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moments such as this totally justify my coffee addiction

At 6:45 this morning, when my daughter forced me out of bed, I was surprised to see the boy up already. I was also shocked when he said he didn't sleep at all last night. At first, I didn't really believe him. Not that my son is a liar, I just thought maybe he was confused. Perhaps he fell asleep for a bit and didn't realize it. A few hours later though, I figured he was telling the truth when I noticed he was sacked out on the couch.

(Let me stop right here to mention that I hate to see people sleeping on the couch. It is a huge pet peeve of mine. Bedrooms are for sleeping. If I see someone napping on the couch, I am likely to start vacuuming the couch cushions three inches from their face.)

So, I went over and patted him on the shoulder and told him if he wanted to sleep all day then he needed to take it to his room because I was about to vacuum. He stared at me, wide eyed and delirious, then got up and walked to the glass door, as if he was going outside. Described below is the bizarre conversation that followed:

Me: What are you doing?

Crazy Sleepwalking Boy: Getting my flip-flops.

Me: Um, why? I thought you were going back to bed. Why do you need flip-flops?

Crazy Sleepwalking Boy: (yelling) YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! WE HAVEN'T STARTED YET!

Me: I don't know what you're talking about. Are you ok?

Crazy Sleepwalking Boy: (still yelling) BUT THE BELTS! THE BELTS! WHAT ABOUT THE BELTS?!

Me: Now I really have no idea what you're talking about but I think you definitely need to go to bed.

At this point I took him by the hand and led him back to his bed, being sure to avoid all the "belts." (?) Sleep tight Crazy Sleepwalking Boy.
*Note: Image not my actual kid. Just a picture of some random jammie-clad boy that I found hilarious.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekly Update

Even though I spent a good portion of the week crying, throwing things, and yelling about how my family disgusts me, I did manage to compile enough crap to throw together a Weekly Update. Not interesting crap, mind you, but I think it's on par with the usual housewifery crap I feel the need to spew at you every week. (Spellcheck has just informed me that 'housewifery' isn't a word. I think that if 'midwifery' can be a word, so can 'housewifery'. Screw you spellcheck, I refuse to be bound by your rigid rules.)

Jay installed some lovely new laminate flooring in my mama's room. It's the same flooring that is in the girl's room and it looks wonderful. Jay is getting quite good at floor installation. I was going to post some pictures of my mom's room but I didn't want to invade her privacy. And she needs to paint her room. (ahem ahem) So, I think I'll wait until she paints her walls and then I will invade her privacy.

It seems that being a life-long sugar addict is finally catching up with me. I've noticed that the last few times I've eaten copious amounts of sugary foods, I just haven't felt all that good the next day, almost as if I was hung over. So I've decided to cut back significantly on my sugar intake. For now I'm focusing on the obvious culprits: cake, cookies, ice cream, and candy. The candy part has been the most trying for me. My most enjoyable candy time is when I'm in the car. (It should say something about me that I even have a most enjoyable candy time.) I love to drive around eating Nerds or Sweet Tarts and Jay is always kind enough to keep the car stocked with goodies for me. The first thing I do when getting in the car is to dig around to see what kind of candy is available to me. And if Jay hasn't bought any then I start searching the floor to see if I dropped saved something the last time I was in the car. Shameful I know. Anyways, I've been mostly sugar free for about four days now. I did pop a few jelly beans when no one was looking but considering I used to eat a bag of jellybeans in one sitting, I don't think my body was even aware I had eaten anything sugary.

I realize it's been a while since I updated you on my book reading goal. As of this moment I've read thirty-five books this year. That means I have to read three books a month to reach my goal by January first. I am at that point where it's becoming more of a challenge. But I continue to read. I just finished 'Full-Frontal Feminism' by Jessica Valenti, who you may or may not know is the founder of This is an awesome book and I plowed through it in less than 48 hours. It dispelled so many of those awful myths about feminists. Feminists aren't all hairy, scary lesbians. And if they are, so what? Basically a feminist is a gal that wants to be treated like a human. Wow, I think most of the ladies I know are feminists, we've just been scared to be associated with the term. Really, it's not a bad thing, but if you don't believe me then read the book and decide for yourself. It's a perfect introduction to feminism.

Another book I'm reading at the moment is 'The Other Boleyn Girl.' Despite the fact that it has six hundred some odd pages, it's pretty simple and easy to read as well. I will admit though, that I got about one fourth of the way through when I set it aside to read about feminism and now I'm having a hard time picking it back up. I'm sort of in a feminist state of mind at the moment and not at all in the mood to read more about the awful way Henry VIII treated women. He had to be the king of all assholes.

I suppose that's about it for this update. It's been a slow couple of weeks. I think I heard my mom say something about taking the kids to the museum tomorrow, so maybe I'll take the hubby out for coffee. That is, if I can tear him away from the house project he has planned. I think I'll be able to.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mini Breakdown

Is there such a thing as a mini breakdown? Or does any mental collapse, despite it's size, qualify as a breakdown? Does a mini breakdown occur when no one gets hurt? Because I pretty much lost it yesterday and no one was wounded. Well, no one except the spray bottle still half filled with cleanser that I threw against the wall. Whatever the semantics, I'm choosing to classify my breakdown as "mini." This makes me feel significantly less crazy.

I'm not going to get into what the final straw was, because looking back, it's silly and not that interesting. And the whole mini breakdown really isn't about the final straw. It was brought on basically by the physical and mental exhaustion that has been the result of working on this house (and budgeting the work on the house) for the last year and a half. As my close friends know, and the rest of you are about to find out, we bought this house because my dad said he would assist with the renovations, both in person and financially. He has helped to a point, but not nearly as much as he said he would. I no longer blame him for this, he knows his financial situation better than I do. I just wish things were different. I try to no longer dwell on what could have/should have been. I just try to deal.

When I look back on everything we've done, I'm honestly amazed. We've done a lot. But when I think about it from a day-to-day viewpoint, I get completely overwhelmed. Here is just a bit of what we've done to the house:

*replaced all the siding
*repainted entire outside of house
*totally rebuilt boys room and replaced windows
*replaced fridge
*replaced stove
*replaced washing machine
*repaired all four toilets
*reran all the cable lines to all the rooms
*painted front room/entryway/dining room/laundry room/boys room/girls room/half bath/master bath
*re-floored mom's room
*re-floored girl's room
*re-floored master bath and bedroom
*fixed plumbing issues and rebuilt doorways and replaced doors in master bath
*installed french doors and pass thru-shutters
*completed duct work in attic
*complete landscaping overhaul: all new sod, replaced portion of fence, new plants, etc...

This is just a snippet of what we've done. It's the big stuff. It doesn't include the dozens and dozens of little things we do every week. (new light fixtures, electrical outlets, and so on.) And the blurbs above only give you a glimpse into the enormity of the project. For instance when I say "replaced all the siding," you have no way of knowing that this was at least a four month project from start to finish. All of this, combined with the everyday upkeep and cleaning that a house requires, and raising a family, and trying to maintain some sort of relationship with my husband that doesn't involve dates to Home Depot, has just sucked the life out of me and made me borderline crazy.

Part of this I know is my fault. I've always been a perfectionist and I like to see things get done. The problem in this situation is that there is so much to be completed that not everything can get done in the time frame I would like. And I can't do it all.

I certainly don't want to diminish the fact that we have received some help throughout all this. My dad helped with the installation of the siding and has paid for a few things here and there. And my mom bought the french doors and my awesome super-energy efficient Fisher and Paykel washing machine.(Seriously, I LOVE this washing machine. You know how when you were a kid and you mentioned you love something and then some assbag standing by would say something like, "Well if you love it so much then why don't you marry it?" I would totally marry this washing machine. The spin cycle is so fast that the clothes come out practically dry!)

I'm trying to relax today. I'm drinking my Yogi tea and taking deep breaths. I'm carrying around a tube of Instant Aromatherapy (thank you Dawn!). I'm trying to not cry. I'm trying to not look around at all the stuff I should be doing. I don't want to have another mini break down. I can't afford to lose anymore spray bottles. Replacing spray bottles would mean another trip to Home Depot, and I have vowed not to return there for at least a month.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stuff to Love/Stuff to Hate

My daughter's new dresses. The owls and stars one above came from the Earth Groovz Etsy Shop. The woman who makes these tunic dresses has an unbelievable eye for detail, even taking the time to sew in a size tag. Plus, it's very earth friendly, being lined with unbleached muslin. At $26.99, its a bit more than I normally pay for clothes for the kiddies. (Most of their clothes are purchased off the Gap clearance rack.) But the quality of this dress is amazing and well worth it. Plus, $7.50 of the purchase price was donated to Farm Sanctuary, which is an organization that "works to end cruelty to farm animals and provides education on cruelty-free diets." A cute dress and a donation to a good cause---I really couldn't ask for more.

The pillowcase-style dress below was purchased at the Freshly Picked Etsy Shop. I've purchased a couple of dresses from this shop because I think they look so cool and comfy on my daughter. Plus, it can be layered with jeans, tee shirt, and a sweater come fall and winter. The Freshly Picked Gal also makes wallets, purses, and hair accessories, if you aren't in need of toddler clothes. Everything is very reasonably priced.

Another thing I'm loving right now (again) is R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People. Yesterday while driving in the car, I heard "Try not to Breathe" at two separate times, on two separate stations. I took this as a sign that I needed to go home and pull out this sixteen year old CD. I am so glad I did. I forgot how beautiful and totally listenable the whole thing is. Jay is also happy about this because it means he gets a break from the non-stop Teddy Thompson action that has been going on since mid-June.

This absolutely dreadful bra I bought at Victoria's Secret. Oh Victoria, why do I keep giving you more chances, when time after time you prove to be a disappointment? Your stuff is over-priced, poorly made, trashy, and never uniformly sized. I searched through about twenty bra bins to find this one that isn't padded to the point where it looks like I'm carrying around the chest of a porn star, and it gives me back fat. Great. I work hard to not have back fat. Why would I want my bra to provide it for me?!

Lastly, I really, truly hate folding socks. With four adults and two children in this house, I do a lot of laundry. After it's dried, I fold and deliver it to the various rooms. Except the socks. They get thrown into another basket, to be ignored until no one has any socks to wear and the basket looks something like this:

Notice how there is about three dozen socks on my bed, yet none of them appear to have mates? Yeah, I'm really good at that. Sometimes when the sock situation gets really bad, I just mate up socks that don't match, or I start delivering singles. The family loves this. Sometimes the family complains or I hear them grumble something like, "What the hell am I suppose to do with one sock?" My reply is always, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." Sometimes I shrug my shoulders and add, "It's not my fault." Since, indeed it is clearly my fault, this statement confuses them long enough for me to make a getaway.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekly Update

Wow. Is it weekly update time already? Every day of this summer seems to be becoming one redundant moment after another. Wake up. Drink coffee. Make a quick, crappy breakfast for the kids. Clean house. Go to Home Depot. Fix broken shit around house. Drink more coffee. Try not to yell at children. Go back to Home Depot because wrong thing was bought to fix broken shit around the house. Fix crappy lunch for kids. Investigate strange smell. Give up and yell at children. Fix crappy dinner. Drink a beer, or a vodka tonic, or a glass of wine and avoid looking at the bill for the Home Depot credit card. And so on and so forth. Strangely, the days seem to have sped by to the point where I have no idea what day it is. What does it matter? All of my days are the same anyway.

One morning this week, I went out and got my haircut and Jay stayed with the kids. When I left, the boy was still asleep. He woke up a short while later and asked his dad where I was, to which Jay quickly replied, "She went on a job interview at Gymboree. She's going to start working again." Jay said the boy was visibly upset and then said, "Well, she can't go back to work. Who's going to take care of us?!" Jay reassured him that I wasn't going back to work anytime soon and if/when I did, we would see to it that one of us was always around. I got a kick out of this story for a couple of reasons. The first being that if I'm going to go back to work, it sure as hell is not going to be at Gymboree. If I want to be with bratty, obnoxious kids then I can just stay home. Secondly, I think it's humorous that the boy considers what I do around the house as "taking care" of him and his sister. Although I think I'm a decent enough mom, sometimes it gets crazy in this house and I feel like I'm totally phoning it in. I don't want to be this way of course, and I try not to be. But there are times when I'm playing a game with the boy or building Lego castles with the girl and all I can think about is how I'd much rather be in bed with a good book. I'm pleased that I've managed to hide my ennui from the children.

I still haven't made anything with the sewing machine. We got bobbins and we know the machine works, it's just that we haven't figured out how it works. The fact that nothing has been sewn can be blamed on my own ineptitude and not that of the machine. Jay learned how to use a sewing machine in middle school Home Ec. class in New Jersey. But that was a long time ago. I have never used a sewing machine in my life. I didn't do any sewing in Home Economics. My Home Ec. teacher didn't teach much of anything. I later heard that she had another career as a slum lord so this may be why I didn't retain a lot of the knowledge that she attempted to pass on. (As a side note to this but in no way related to my ex-Home Ec. teacher: If you are ever in need of sewing supplies, don't buy anything from a web-based business known as I originally ordered some bobbins from them. The bobbins never came and we tried to call but only got an answering machine. We did some research online and found out that a lot of people have been ripped off by this company and the guy that runs it. His name is Aaron Kocourek and apparently he just takes money. Fortunately my loss was only about $9 and I paid through paypal so I consider myself lucky. There were many people who spent much more at his "store." I do most of my shopping online and this is the first time I've ever been ripped off. I consider my loss as small but I definitely learned my lesson. If I want to order something from a small business I'm going to do some research first. That's what Google is for.)

Other than that, not much going on around here. Just the usual leaky pipes, screaming kids, and barking dogs. Hopefully next week's update will be more thrilling. Don't count on it though.

Friday, July 18, 2008

An Interesting Story

Well, this story may be interesting if you love tales of poop and pee. I must be fascinated by them since I am somehow able to devote at least one blog post a week to some horrific tale of poop, pee, or an awesome combo of both.

Do you remember last week when I mentioned how my old lady cat, Isabelle, had started doing her business in the bathtub? I also mentioned that it was an inconvenience but the clean up was easy. To be more specific, I would pick up the, um, solids, and then just rinse the tub and let everything else go down the drain. This is how the story gets interesting.

Ever since Isabelle has started doing this, I've noticed cat pee smell in the bathroom and closet. (Our closet is more or less in the same room as the bathroom.) I thought maybe I wasn't cleaning the tub well enough so I bought a whole new slew of cleansers and scrubbed the tub until my fingers bled. Then I washed and re-washed the shower curtain. I could still smell pee. So I thought maybe Isabelle had started peeing in the closet. So I vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpet. I could still smell cat pee. More specifically, it was as if the smell was coming from the wall.

In between our bathroom and closet is a wall with a door-like thing on it. Behind the door-like thing are all the pipes and plumbing from the bathtub. Here is a picture of door-like thing:

Yesterday I could handle the smell no longer. It was just unbearable. So I bravely removed door-like thing. I will not post a picture of the disgusting mess that was on the other side.

When the addition was built and the bathroom was added, whoever did the plumbing work never screwed in all the pipes properly. Basically pipes were just sitting on top of one another. As a result, a bit of whatever went down the tub drain collected on the foundation underneath my house. Nice. I can't even begin to imagine the mold issues that this did cause or would have caused had we not caught it and it continued to drip for eternity. In a strange way, it's actually a good thing that Isabelle started using the tub as her own personal bathroom, because the smell of her urine collecting under it alerted us to the fact that something was wrong. Thank you Isabelle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things I'm Into Right Now:

*My son's green hair:
Okay, technically I don't love the hair. But there are only a few times in your life that society allows you to do something stupid with your hair, and summertime when you're ten is one of those times.

*My son's first trifle, tagged with his initial:Have you caught on yet that his favorite color is green?

*The art for the chicken-breast colored bathroom:

I bought them over at Berkley Illustration, and I gotta say, the stuff they sell is right up my alley. Now I know why I'm always so bored when I go to the art museum. If there are no dolphins in suits, then clearly I'm not interested.

*Taste of Saigon II is a Vietnamese restaurant here in Gainesville. The food is delicious. The fried rice is so good that I don't need to cover it with duck sauce. Plus the servers don't make you feel stupid if you ask questions.(Unfortunately they have no website, or I'd link you up.)

*Mary Had a Little Amp:

This is a great cd that I found in the children's section of the library. It has songs by R.E.M, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, Moby, and more. The music itself is sort of all over the place---it's not really dance music, not lullabies---but it's still very entertaining. My daughter loves it and so do I. My favorite tune on it is the Maroon 5 version of Pure Imagination. Weirdly pretty.

*My husband.Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. We will have been married eleven years.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Diva Cup

Last month I bought the Diva Cup. Well, technically the hubby, knowing I had wanted it for years, brought it home as a surprise. In case you don't know, the Diva Cup is a cup you insert into your vagina and it collects your menstrual junk. When the cup is full, you remove it, clean it, and reinsert. Believe me, it sounds a whole lot messier than it actually is.

In fact, my preconceived notions about the mess factor of the Cup was what kept me from buying it all these years. The initial cost of The Diva Cup is about three to four times that of a box of tampons, so if I ended up totally hating it, I would have been out a hunk of money. Plus, what if it just didn't work?

Well, after having tested it out during my last two periods, I can now say I'm officially a convert. Concerning how well it works, I would say at least as well as a tampon, if not better. There were certain times, like at night, when I could have used an extra layer of protection. But for the most part, I was leak free. (And in case you were wondering, removing the full cup is no messier than removing a tampon.)

The main perk of the Cup is that I no longer have to spend money on tampons month after month. I'm sure my hubby likes this as well, considering he no longer will be asked to make emergency late night tampon runs. (Although, he is awesome for having done so for the last eleven years!) Also, less tampons being bought = less tampons in landfills, so it's much better for the environment.

Another perk of the Cup, is that because it's silicone, I'm no longer forced to suffer through the vaginal dryness that comes as a result of having to shove cotton up my vag hole for the better part of a week. I certainly can't speak for every woman, but this was a huge irritation to me.

The only drawback of the cup is that it might not be ideal for a gal who has to use a lot of public restrooms where the toilet isn't right next to the sink. I'm thinking it would be awkward to remove the cup, exit the stall to clean it, then return to the stall for re-insertion. I suppose if you were really motivated you could find ways around this, like carrying an extra cup in your purse, or searching out handicap stalls, etc. This is a non-issue for me since I'm home a lot, but I can see how the hassle would be a deal breaker for someone in this position.

When I first got the Cup, I had absolutely no intention of writing about it. I don't really like the idea of my thoughts about the products I use for my lady times being available to all the world. (I'm kinda private that way.) I changed my mind though, when I thought about the fact that I had put off buying it for so many years because I wasn't certain it would work. Had I known of someone who had tried it and liked it, I may have bought it sooner and not wasted all that money on tampons.

I want to offer some tips before buying and using the Cup:

*If you do decide to buy it, the link from the website will take you to where the cup is $32.49 plus shipping. Shop around. Jay bought mine at Wards Supermarket (a local store here in Gainesville) for about $27.

*Note that it comes in two sizes. Size One is for gals younger than 30 or those who hadn't given birth, and Size Two is for gals over 30 or those who had given birth vaginally.

*Once purchased, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! This isn't the same as a tampon and you can't just go shoving it up there all willy nilly. Proper insertion is crucial to it working properly. Also, there are instructions about cleaning and storing it as well.

Happy menstruating!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Pretzel sticks are tasty when dipped in duck sauce. I'm also thinking it would be really good over grilled chicken.

In other news, Jay drove out to Jonesville the other day to pick up a sewing machine that was offered through Freecycle. I have been wanting to learn to sew for a while and I can think of no better machine to start on than one that cost jack squat. This particular model is very old and folds into the most adorable little desk. Here it is unopened:

And now opened and ready for use:

It came missing the bobbin, but I was able to purchase some online rather inexpensively. I have to admit that originally I had no idea what a bobbin was and honestly, I'm still not 100% sure. I just know it's necessary.

I can't wait to get started playing around with it. I have no delusions that I'm going to be able to sit down at this thing and immediately create a ball gown. My knowledge of sewing is minimal. I can mend a ripped seam and replace a missing button. That's about it. I would love to be able to make cute, simple skirts for my daughter or handmade blankets.

I only hope that my sewing hobby doesn't end the way my knitting hobby did, with me frustratedly selling the supplies at a garage sale after they spent two years under my bed,unused. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Recent Purchase

Whenever we order Chinese Food, I always ask for extra packets of duck sauce. Many extra packets. Like twelve. Rare are the times that I get as many as I would like, and if on the off chance I am able to snag some extras, it's not without a frown from the good folks at the restaurant. I just know they're probably thinking, "Greedy American Pig." But I need at least three packets per egg roll and another six for my fried rice. Not to mention the sauce I will need when I eat the leftovers the next day. Or later that night. Whatever the case, I like the duck sauce.

Which means I was overjoyed today when we were at the grocery store and eagle-eyed Jay spotted this:

A 40 ounce jar of duck sauce! I had no idea that this was readily available to the general public. I thought you had to be in the restaurant business, or at least make a trip to a specialty grocer. But nope, it was right there in the 'ethnic' section of my local Publix.

Did you know the main ingredient in duck sauce is apricots? I learned this today when I was reading the label and thinking of things to dip in the jar other than egg rolls, a spoon, or my grubby fingers. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Random Thoughts

I'm having one of those moments when my mind is hazy and I can't seem to get it together. In my head I'm compiling a list of things I need to do and at the same time I'm mentally balancing the checkbook and listening to the children ask me question after question. Deep breaths. Now for Random Thoughts.

*We think Jay was finally able to fix the leak in the roof. (Did I originally mention the leaky roof? Hmmmm. I can't remember.) Either way, for the last few weeks we've had a combination of towels and saucepans on top of the entertainment center to collect the drippings. I suppose on the upside, my houseplants are now adequately watered. (Speaking of watering houseplants, I want these. Badly.)

*My old lady cat Isabelle has taken to doing her business in the bath tub. I suppose that this is better than my other cat, Polly, who does her business on me, but it's still a hassle.The disposal of it is easy enough, but the smell lingers in the towels and bathmat. Fortunately, my wonderful friend Sarah made me some Sweetgrass Linen Spray, which I now refer to as 'Sarah Spray.' As in, "Isabelle just pooped the tub, somebody bring me the Sarah Spray."

*Is it just me, or does it seem as if my home has been overrun with poop and pee lately? Seriously, it's just everywhere.

*As I mentioned the other day, my son wants green hair. The helpful young fellow at Hot Topic advised us to bleach out the boy's ash blonde hair first so that the green will be vivid and not washed out. Good enough. As I was spraying peroxide on the boy's head this morning I learned of two things that do not mix: peroxide and self tanner. My arms are spotted. I'm hoping this will remedy itself when I shower.

*TV just sucks lately. Really, there is nothing on. As my friend Dawn (aka Beauty Guru) said, "TV is slim pickin's." Slim pickin's indeed.

*Yesterday I introduced the boy to the world of crafting and he found that he not only enjoys, but is really good at sewing. Here he is hard at work making a kitty cat catnip pillow:
Now it's stuffed and almost done:

Here is the finished product being enjoyed by this asshole stray cat that has taken over my house like an uninvited squatter:

Now no one can have the pillow:

(By the way, if anyone wants a cat, I have just the one for you.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Weekly Update

The excitement around here has died down quite a bit and I'm pleased. The first part of the summer was hectic. It seemed as if we always had a project to do or the boy had plans or was going somewhere. Now that our schedule is open, there is more time for just hanging out and doing nothing. The children are learning to enjoy the downtime.The other day I caught the girl outside playing a game she invented where she would "catch" pine cones with an old dog leash. I have no idea how this could be any fun to anyone, but it has become her afternoon game. Go figure.In other girl news, she keeps finding new and exciting ways to get stuck in things. Here she is stuck in her hamper. This one (unlike the bed incident of a few weeks ago) was actually quite dangerous since the handle was pretty tight around her neck. This child cannot be left alone for two minutes.The boy is also learning to entertain himself. I did make the mistake of telling him he could dye his hair green for the summer, so he keeps nagging me to take him to Hot Topic. Once I give in, you can bet I'll be posting those pictures here on the interwebs. He has started reading more on his own(without me having to threaten him) and is almost enjoying our trips to the library so I guess I can reward him with a few weeks of green hair.

I've gotten back into the habit of reading regularly as well.(I'm up to 31 books for the year!) I've veered a bit off track the past few weeks but thanks to my new reading nook, I'm almost done with Wacky Chicks and have started reading The Creative Family by Amanda Soule. The Creative Family is all about finding the time to incorporate little creative moments in everyday life. I feel like I used to be able to do this on my own--without the help of a book. But since buying the crap shack, there is always a list of a million things that need to get done. It can get overwhelming and the idea of setting aside a few moments to do something creative with the kids is far down on the list. Or not on the list at all. I'm trying to change that. (As a side note: Amanda Soule also writes a beautiful blog, SouleMama. There is a link to it on the right.)

Back in April my family vowed to keep every Monday a meatless day. No meat at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And for the most part we've stuck with it. When there isn't a lot of time for preparation we usually just have spaghetti or macaroni and cheese but Jay and I have tried to always do more than that. We've had meals such as homemade veggie lasagna or tacos made with Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumblers(Publix makes a less expensive version of these that work just as well.)Last night we had veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and sweet potato fries. Jay cooked the "meat" on the grill. Fake meat is much easier to eat with grill marks on it. My kids hardly notice the difference.

I've been eyeing some art on Etsy to replace my smoking kitties. I ordered it last night but don't want to unveil exactly what it is yet. Let's just say I didn't stray too far from the "animals in clothes" theme. I can't wait to get it. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for the grand unveiling.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vacation and Ongoing Home Projects: Part Three

Sunday, the last day of Jay's vacation days, was spent just hanging out. We've completed everything we set out to do and then some. We're actually pretty exhausted.

The biggest and most labor intensive project was the half bath. Once all the wallpaper was scraped off and the mirrors were removed, we painted. The color I chose is called "malted milk" and when I was in The Home Depot, it looked very pale tan with pinkish undertones. On my walls, it's the color of an uncooked chicken breast. I'm not pleased.The bathroom doesn't look horrible but I'm irritated that I invested so much time and energy and am not overjoyed with the outcome. At least the color is light enough to easily paint over later. See for yourself:
The best part of the bathroom is the mirror that Jay installed. It's small and it can be moved up and down so you can look just at your face or get a full length view. There was some discussion about removing the old mirrors that took up two whole walls. Some people in the house wanted to keep them. I thought they were incredibly tacky. This mirror is a good compromise because you can get a full view, without all the gaudiness of a room full of mirrors.

One of the things that won't be returning to the newly-painted bathroom is my wall art:

I use the word "art" very loosely, as most people wouldn't consider dressed up cats smoking in the bathroom as art. I've had this picture longer than I've had my oldest child and I have always hung it proudly in my bathroom. But I'm getting a little tired of it. I think it'd time to invest in some real art. So if any of you want my kitties, just let me know, otherwise they will be sold at the next garage sale.

The last project on the list was to spray paint two wicker chairs. My son rescued these from my neighbor's trash heap a few weeks ago. They were in good condition, just dirty and in need of some TLC. Jay pressure washed them and then he and the boy painted them a dark green and bought some cushions. The boy is keeping one for himself and the other one he gave to me to sit it when I read.

He and Jay even hung some shelves and set up a little reading space in the corner of the room:

I love the way the colors in the chair and cushion go with my green seventies bed spread. Isn't it great when things like that just happen?

It's been a long week but we somehow managed to do it all and even work in a bit of fun. I think Jay is ready to go back to work though so he can relax.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Vacation and Ongoing Home Projects: Part Two

Before I get into the home project part of this post I want to mention the house guest we had this weekend. My friend Sarah went away for a few days and we hung out with her chihuahua, Chloe. Chloe is awesome. Honestly, I think my family liked her better than our own chihuahua, Sadie. (Sadie has serious self esteem issues now, by the way.) We love Sadie of course, it's just that she is a spaz. Chloe is more subdued. In the photo below, the boy is holding Chloe.Here are the two of them on my bed:
We miss Chloe. We are all anxiously awaiting the next time Sarah goes out of town.

Jay and I have been very busy the last two days working on our home projects. I feel that if I were to step into The Home Depot one more time they would probably offer me a job. I would have to decline though because orange is not my color.

I finished my chairs. I'm really proud of myself because I've never done anything like this before. I stained and reupholstered these chairs all on my own and I love the way they came out. Here are some pictures of the chairs(or as my daughter would say, "chers". It would probably be quite interesting if I showed you some pictures of Chers, but no, you get chairs.)

I love the stain color. I love the fabric. I don't think I'm going to let my family sit on them. And so help me if a cat scratches on them! Unfortunately I neglected to take a "before" picture so you are unable to fully appreciate the beauty of these chairs in comparison to the craptastic state they were in, but I was able to get the boy to hold a piece of the old upholstery for your viewing:
He looks really pleased to be participating in this doesn't he? He hates it when he has to participate.(As a side note: do you notice the bucket on top of the ac unit in the top left corner of the above picture? I use that to collect rainwater as it falls off the roof. I'm that much of a hippie environmentalist.)

I had planned on giving you a synopsis of the rest of our home projects in this post, but it's now 9:45 so I'll have to save that excitement for next time. Next up: the half bath and my reading nook.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Brief Intermission

We took some time away from our projects to drive to Tallahassee to go meet Jay's sister and Family at Wakulla Springs State Park. We were to meet at 11:30. We, being our always punctual selves, left the house around 9:00 AM. Half way there we remembered the time zone difference and when we arrived at the park we were exactly an hour early. So by the time the Family arrived, we had already been at the park for an hour and a half. Which was also right around the time the lifeguards called everyone out of the water because there was lightning in the area.
The time spent in the water was fun though. Albeit very, very cold. The sun didn't come out at all and it rained most of the time so the water temperature was practically frigid. The drive was kind of a drag but it was a nice break from all the projects we have going on here at the crap shack.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vacation and Ongoing Home Projects: Part One

Jay is taking some vacation days this week but we aren't going anywhere. It's more of a working vacation. I have a post-it here on the desk with a list of projects to be completed within the next few days and I hope to post updates as they are finished. For some unknown reason, we started all the projects today.

The first project was to lay the flooring in the girl's room. Jay ripped up the carpet and had the floor down before three o'clock. I am very impressed. Plus, he did a perfect job and I couldn't be more pleased. The girl likes it too. She thinks it makes her room look like a ballerina studio. Here she is on her new floor, oblivious to the fact that she needs snow for snow angels:

(I wanted to be sure to mention the bird skirt that she has on. I bought it here for only $15. It's handmade by a woman in Portland, Oregon and the quality is amazing. It doesn't look at all like typical handmade clothing. She makes them in adult sizes too and I am so tempted. I truly wish I could sew.)

I got off to a late start on my projects this morning because I woke up at three AM to my cat peeing all over me. I have to admit that I used to find it pretty funny when she would target Jay with her urine, but now that it's me, I'm not laughing. I have no explanation for why she does this, other than that she is slightly touched in the head. So anyways, I had quite a bit of laundry and cleaning to do. I read somewhere that vinegar works really well at not only removing pet urine odor, but it discourages the animal from returning to the same spot to do their business. So I added vinegar to the wash this morning and then sprayed a vinegar/water solution all over my mattress. Well, the cat pee smell is gone but depending on how you look at it, my room either smells like an under-seasoned vinaigrette or an under-perfumed douche. Neither are the best scents for relaxing sleep. I'm gonna have to light some candles or burn incense.

Another project on the list is the staining and reupholstering of the chairs in the front room. I've begun this but don't want to post any pictures until the project is complete.

I also have a half-bath to paint but first I must remove the very eighties wall paper border. I actually started this earlier in the week but gave up when I realized there was another border underneath the one I was removing. Removing wallpaper is a task I absolutely can't stand and I'm having a hard time seeing any end in sight. (As a side note, what is up with people putting wallpaper over wallpaper? People that do this are just plain evil.)

Well, my house is a mess and I have to put these vinegar sheets on my bed still. Stay tuned later in the week for Part Two in this riveting series. Don't fall off the edge of your seat in anticipation.