Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It All Begins With The Ziti

Just to be clear, the ziti I'm referring to is not of the baked variety. It is as in, one zit, two ziti.

Josie has ziti.

She's nine, and she has Mt. Pimpmore on her face. It's not even at the popping phase; it's just big and red and... zitish.

Even more disturbingly, she has what I will lovingly (and somewhat crassly) call Tiny Titties. I'm at a loss as to what to call them, really. I can't in good conscience call them breasts, because they're just not that adult, really, and 'boobs' seems to me to be more what I have, the rounded variety. She and I call them her 'boobies', when we discuss them, but really, they look like TT to me. I suppose have to get her some real bras, not just the kind she has for wearing under her soccer shirt with the too-low-cut armholes.

Wait - BRAS?!?! On my BABY?!? And they're NOT for dress-up?!

What is next, I ask you?!?!?!

OK, OK, I KNOW what's next. And I'm dreading it. I'm telling you right now, if more than one person in this house has PMS at a time, I don't know what will happen! The hysteria! The whining! And that's just me! Oh, lordy, lordy, lordy. The tampons. The deodorant. The shaving. Oh, no. The girl doesn't even like to shower, for heaven's sake! She thinks boys are completely Uninteresting. She CAN'T be going to sprout Body Hair. Her skin is too smooth, too sweet - it simply can't be done.

And yet... there is ziti on her face.

So, here we go. Well, there DH goes, anyway, to hide in the basement, the Low-Estrogen Zone. I will go and help my poor baby deal with her first Facial Albatross. If it's anything like mine, it's the first of many. At least there's that Proactiv stuff, for when things inevitably get out of control (and if she continues to be like me, the ziti will try to stage a coup at some point). Sigh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Me Suckee Long Time... You No Notice?!!?

Today, I vacuumed the entire house. It took me over an hour, because I had to pick up a ton of crap, and I had to vacuum inside the couch cushions because the house was starting to have that 'dog central' smell. After vacuuming, I sprayed the whole place with Febreeze and leave-in carpet foam. Since we have four entire finished stories, it's a pretty tiring and backbreaking job. I only do it once a week, really, and I usually wash the floors on the main level at the same time, because they get really dirty with the kids and dogs constantly trooping in and out, and if I don't do it at the same time I vacuum, I'll just be making wet gobs of greasy grimy doggy fur. Yum!

I did a lot of other things today, but those were my two crowning achievements.

Did anyone notice that the house smelled more fresh and less foul? I ask you, did anyone comment?!

Take a wild guess.

In fact, at the dinner table, where I finally pointed this out, DH said, 'yeah, that's not the kind of thing you notice, really, except to walk into a room and think it looks nice.' First, thanks a LOT, and second, um, isn't the very fact that you think the room looks nice, and not like an F5 hit it, by definition, Noticing?

My friend Megan and I were talking about women's brains today, and how she had asked her husband what he thought about when he mowed the lawn, expecting a list of things, since she (and every other woman I know) would be thinking about fifteen other things at the same time. What did he say? 'I think about mowing the grass.' So, maybe it's just that men aren't capable of having more than one thought. For instance, DH can't get past Point A, thinking that the room looks nice, to reach Point B, which is that I spent my entire effing day cleaning it?

That having been said, it does look very nice, thank you. I have staved off the tumblepups for yet another week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dear Perfume Lady,

I wanted to write a quick note of thanks to you for permanently fusing my nasal hairs together with your amazing application of scent (if I may be so bold as to stretchingly call it that). Because of you, I will no longer have to do that annoying breathing-through-my-nose thing. This will save me lot of money in Kleenex, what with the upcoming cold and flu season and all.

However, I also wanted to let you know that since your nose must be cemented shut as well from all the olefactory design you have going on over there, that your perfume is slightly strong, as the birds falling from the sky when I went behind you to the parking lot seemed to indicate. Perhaps a gallon of your fabulous Jeanne Nate, or Anais Anais, or whatever it was, is a smidge too much?

In addition, I must confess, I find your choice of perfume-venue to be questionable. Is it really necessary to apply perfume for a trip to the grocery store? Really, at such a place, you only run into a few people, over and over again, rather than the many thousands at the world's fair that your sizeable application would suggest you were headed for? Just a thought. Are you trying to attract? Kill bugs? Send messages into space?

Perhaps it's not your fault. Perhaps, like me, you were assaulted by a fellow shopper's odiferousness, and your nose was irrevocably harmed. Perhaps you have such atrocious BO that you have given up washing and instead pour perfume over your head from a jug?

Anyway, I would like you to know that if we should ever run into each other again, do not be surprised if I don't speak. I will be holding my breath to avoid tasting your perfume for the next hour.

Newly Nearly Noseless

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Aw, Shucks... It's Really, Really Not Hard

(Hmm, that sounds like I'm having a viagra-related problem. Have you ever noticed that the viagra commercials are going to be for this generation what the life alert commercials were for us? And that they're BOTH about old people not being able to get up?! although in different ways, I suppose.)

ANYWAY, thank you, thank you very much.... as I was starting to say before I was so rudely interrupted by my own perverse mind...the couponing thing is really, really easy. Seriously. I don't work *that* hard at it. All I do is get two Sunday papers - my local one and the Washington Post - because even though they're both technically 'area' papers here, the coupons are different for some reason (except special coupon sections, like P&G brand inserts, which are the same everywhere, I assume). I actually like that, though, because sometimes having identical coupons is a good thing, like if your coupon is $1 off of one box of detergent, and then the store has it on sale as well, you get basically double off. This is my favorite thing. Since I've been cutting for awhile, too, I'm getting to the point where I basically have coupons for most things I need, all the time, and I don't know if it's accidentally or on purpose, but our local store tends to have things on sale that are also having coupons in the paper. I read somewhere that almost all sales are season-based, so that would kind of make sense.

Some people will say to only cut coupons for what you know you will use, but frankly I cut everything unless I know I *won't* use it. I mean, if I have a coupon, and it's on sale, I'm willing to give anything a try at least once. Plus, there are a lot of times where I like several brands, like dog treats, shampoo, lotions, etc., so I'm bound to have a coupon for *something* in those areas whenever I go because I just cut them all out, and then I wait until I get to the store to see which one is on sale and get that one, so I can double-dip on savings. Add to this having my coupons doubled by the store, and it's really a triple-savings!

An important fact about coupons is that online coupons are generally better than the ones that come in the paper. Coupons.com is my favorite site, and their coupons are reliably at least $.10 better than the other kind. I just select the ones I want to print, and out they come. The store doesn't bat an eye when I use them, either.

One trick at our store is that they only give gas points for certain dollar amounts spent, like I have to spend $50 to get $.20 off per gallon, $100 to get $.40, etc. Unfortunatly, that promotion is going to end soon, so the gas rewards will be half of what they are now. There's another store in town that lets you accumulate gas points for every dollar you spend, but that means you can only get up to $.10 per $100 spent. That system works better if you are a 'drib-drab' shopper, but since I do big loads every other week with one or maybe two smaller trips midway through for milk and produce, having to spend the larger amount works for me. If I find that I'm close to the $50 mark, like above $40, I'll throw in something else, like another box of cereal or pack of tp or whatever, to make up the difference. These days, though, it's not exactly hard to get to the $50 mark, so it's not usually a problem.

Today, I did a big thing for myself. Until now, I've been using a regular coupon holder, one of those accordian things with 12 pockets. However, I've been reading on some other people's blogs, like commonsensewithmoney and moneysavingmom (I highly recommend that you subscribe to their blogs, as they post several times a day with freebies from many-varied companies that are great, like free food, makeup, etc), that people are doing all kinds of interesting things to contain their coupons. I knew I didn't really want to carry around a recipe box, and the accordian holder really wasn't cutting it because I need somewhere to put store coupons, like Target, where they can be in a place by themselves rather than integrated with regular coupons where I forget about them when I go to the certain store, so today I bought a pretty 3-ring binder, three packs of photo-holder inserts that have two 4x6 pockets on each page, and a package of colorful self-adhering plastic labels. It came out like this:

Now, I can have as many pockets as I want, replace ones that get worn out, AND see what and where they are right away! I'm a total dork, but I'm thrilled with this! I made all the usual pockets, but used the extra space to make individual pockets for yogurt coupons (there are always at least two every week, so they pile up), and I split out cleaning supplies into household and detergents, as well as toiletries into hair products, face products, lotions, and medications. Also, there will be no more trying to squeeze random things into other things' pockets; where to put toilet paper? Was that a cleaning product or a toiletry? Where to put instant veggies, and boxed meals? Were they veggies, meats, or frozen foods? I never could decide, and thus put them in a different pocket every time I cut them out, which was a mess. Problem solved! Frozen foods are in one place, meal 'helpers', such as Wanchai Ferry mixes, in another, and paper products are in a place all their own! HA!

I am hoping that this organization will cut down somewhat on the amount of time I spend at the store. At the moment, it takes me a solid two hours to shop. However, I could cut that time down by getting out the flier, organizing before I go, etc, but usually I don't like to do that. I just paw through what I've got, pull out what I *know* I'll need (I put them in a clip, and tucked them into the front of my accordian, but now I'll just put them in the binder's front pocket) and head off. A good amount of time has been spent in the past pawing through the accordian for coupons for something I've found at the store that I forgot I wanted, or didn't originally want but is now on sale and will keep so I should use the coupon, too but where is it?! That problem should be gone, at least.

So, I will look like a dork at the store with my pretty binder, but I don't care. Not to mention, now that I have a larger binder, I don't have to worry about it getting buried under things or falling through the the leg holes. Besides, when the store manager, who has to come over whenever you shop because you need so many overrides for coupons, tells you that you've done a great job, it's worth it! Crazy? I think not! Bwa haa haa haaaaaa!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Grocery Roundup

It's that time you've all been waiting for; The MS's Bi-Weekly Grocery Roundup!

This was close to my best week ever, savings-wise.

This week I:

- used a whopping thirty-six coupons, three of which were for buy-one-get-one-free things (two were for Febreeze at $4.65 each, so I got four bottles of the stuff for the price of two, plus it was on sale, and one was for St. Ives Elements, which was $6.99, so I got a warming face scrub, which is my favorite product by FAR because it makes my skin look amazingly fresh and less wrinkly, I swear, and a new one I haven't tried yet, microderm abrasian scrub, for free)

- bought 113 things

- saved $54.94 in manufacturer's coupons

- saved $3.80 in bonus coupons (these are the store-printed coupons)

- saved $122.25 using the club card/buying things on sale

- redeemed my 20%-off-entire-purchase coupon that I earned with the Purchase Points Bonus program

- earned another 10% off another trip

- earned another $1.40 off each gallon of gas next time I go to their pump (I just had to fill up the other day before going on Josie's field trip, so I had to use my other $1.80 I earned, but I still only paid $27 to fill up the minivan, not too shabby)

The end result of all this was that I saved $180.99, which was FORTY SEVEN PERCENT of my bill!!!! My final bill was $204.91, meaning that on average, I paid less than two dollars for every individual thing in my cart. Woohoo!!!

Since my last trip was so meat-heavy because they were having that fill-a-brown-bag sale, I still have lots of it left over, meaning this trip focused on snacks, dry goods, dog treats, and household cleaners. Since I had several about-to-expire coupons, I bought more dog stuff in particular than I needed, but all of it was also on sale, and it keeps forever. I like to alternate trips that way, buying meats one time and dry goods another, so I never have to get two expensive categories at once, but sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn't.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Da Bears

This has been a week of volunteering in the school. On Monday, I spent the morning in Patrick's classroom, hangin' with his peeps. After doing some copying, etc, I got to sit in the back of the room and take children individually to play a rhyming game where I presented the kids with 24 puzzle pieces that had pictures on them; the pieces could be arranged into six little circles based on their rhyming sound. It was fun to meet all his little friends and to see the Wild Boy in his Natural Environment. I got to play the game with Patrick, of course, and several of his friends. It was great.

One of the tasks his teacher had put on the list that I *didn't* get to was coloring in a huge stack of papers and cutting the pictures on them out. It was a stack that I had copied earlier in the day: 45 copies of a 2-page set of numbered bears, six bears to a page. So, like a happy parent drunk on being in the classroom, I said that I would be happy to bring them home and do them there. Thank heavens they don't need to be brought back until mid-October, because when you do the math, six bears on a page, times two pages in a set, times forty-five sets, equals FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY BEARS to be colored and cut out. That's a freakin' lot of bears, people!!! Josie, who loves this kind of thing, has been sitting with me in the evenings, coloring away, making tie-dyed bears, bears with clothing, bears with swirls, etc. I'm assuming that this is a math project for the entire K, since there are three classes with 15 kids apiece. Phew. I figure as long as we do about four sets a day, we'll be done in plenty of time.

Then, yesterday, I went with Josie's fouth grade (there are only two classes in each grade other than K) on a field trip to the C&O Canal. Thankfully, there were three separate things to do there: there's a great seven-station setup in the museum there of hands-on bridge building, dress-up and pulley-systems, among other things, a trek down the trail one way to see the Lock system and the old Lockmaster's house (we actually got to open and close an old-fashioned lock!), and then, after lunch, a trip across the top of a ruined aquaduct. Also thankfully, the two classes were split up, with each going to a different station, because 25 kids is MORE than enough to keep track of near water! Holy cow, are fourth graders hyper!!!!! I think when Patrick reaches that age, I will have to carry a pouch filled with tranquelizer darts and one of those pole things to blow it through, so I won't have to get too close and risk bodily harm. Many children in the class were so hyper and excited and, let's face it, a little bored by some of the information, that they talked too much and tended to run, etc, so much so that when they got back to the school for the final hour of the day the teacher REAMED them out and made them all write letters of apology to the National Park Service guide (who, I have to say, was a very, very tolerant and nice man who obviously had lots of experience with field trips). Josie, I am proud to say, was not at all hyper, and seemed thrilled to have me along. She actually held my hand several times, which was sweet and I know will probably be fading soon.

Despite my being totally exhausted from the kids and the temperature, which was surprisingly high yesterday, I was so glad I went. This was the first time I was able to go on a trip with Josie, because Patrick was always too little and couldn't be taken along, and also I was able to assuage my fears about her new behaviors. She does indeed have several friends in her class, and not only does she like them, but they seek her out, as well. It was such a relief! I also asked her teacher how well she seemed to be transitioning, and while we could only talk for a minute, she said that she seems to be very happy, and is doing well, and that Josie's old teacher at her previous school had talked to her about Josie's being in pull-out enrichment classes, which is why she's being pulled out already (apparently there's been some kind of computer glitch and the testing data for the kids in her class was wiped out, so they'll have to retest everyone else). Hooray! So, now I can stop worrying about that. Also, Josie finally mentioned the other day that she'd like to have one of her friends over, so the preference for being alone seems to have almost run its course.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Dog: A Photo Essay, by Baci

Hi, I'm Baci.

I don't like being left alone. I especially hate it when Mommy takes the Hairless Puppies to their yard to play baseball without me. I can hear them, and sometimes see them, but I can't get to them because Mommy put a collar on me that goes BEEPZzzzzzz when I jump over the fence of my doggy yard. So, I bark at them and cry so the whole neighborhood knows that I have been Abandoned. I wait to be rescued. When that doesn't happen, I look for Things To Do.

Yesterday, there weren't any crumbs under here, so I went searching for Real Food. After all, if I'm Abandoned, I will have to feed myself. I found This in Patrick's backpack:

It was good!

I got all the Good Stuff out! When I finished, I heard Mommy coming.

I went and got my new lunchbox to show her how much I ate!

She said Bad Dog.

Darn it, I knew I should have just eaten the whole thing.
The End.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Soccer Follies

The past few days have been fun (and funny!).

Yesterday was DH's birthday. I gave him his presents the night before, since we were going to be really busy; he got some Family Guy stuff, a new inexpensive watch, and an 8G iPod Touch. Yes, I rule, etc, etc, I know. I thought DH was going to fall off the couch when he pulled THAT one out of the bag! He's been trying to save up for one, but I figured I'd just go ahead and get it. That way, he can use his gc's for all the various paraphanalia that goes along with, plus I'll know what kind of things to get him for Xmas. Besides, he got me a Ring for our 10th anniversary awhile back, and I got him... an archaeology book. Ahem. So, now I feel more evened up.

His actual birthday was spend shuttling to church in the morning, and then to two soccer games, and THEN to dinner with his parents. I have to say, I totally lucked out in the IL department. I may have nothing in common with them, really, but they're so nice, and they honestly love us all. You can't ask for much more than that. I feel especially lucky now that I've been reading about some of the horror shows that some of you out there are dealing with!!

My favorite part, by far, though, was Patrick's soccer game. Josie had one, too, and while I enjoyed it for its fast-paced action, his are just SOOOOO much more amusing!!! There's nothing like watching ten little kids glob around the field trying to kick the same ball. One boy, on the opposing team, didn't seem to grasp the idea that he had a particular goal, so he very aggressively kicked it towards whatever goal he happened to be near. He scored on himself at least once (although they don't count it when that happens, which is good). Three kids got hit in the head during side throw-ins. Patrick got kicked in the finger when he was playing goalie (all the kids were fine). Several kids lost their shoes on-field. One boy trotted off to go pat a dog while he was playing goalie. Patrick decided to leave the field for a drink when he was supposed to be playing center forward. One little sibling kept breaking onto the field to try and play, too. Extra balls from other games rolled in a few times. Meanwhile, all the kids on the field globbed up around the ball like they were velcroed to it, and all I could think of was when you see a catfight in a cartoon, where all you can see is a cloud of dust and flailing hands and feet! It was SO FUNNY! I love watching his games! Also, thankfully, both kids are finally on good teams this year, and while Josie's lost, it was only by one point, and Patrick's team is undefeated so far (he's had two games, she's had one). It will be a relief if we don't have to console anyone after a double-digit loss for awhile.

Unfortunately, poor DH has to work late for the next few days, so the kids and I are basically on our own until Wednesday evening. This will probably be unpopular, particularly since Patrick announced yesterday that he 'basically prefers Daddy'. Punk.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good News On All Fronts

Today has been a day of good news!!!

First of all, I was able to trade in my MIL's fancypants embroidery machine for $400, which bought me a brand-new machine that does about eighteen different stitches!!!! Yahoo!!! The machine I've been using for the past five years is ANCIENT, and I got it for $25 from an ad in the Pennysaver magazine. It's been adequate for learning on, but I've been ready for a long time now to do more advanced things, and now I can!!! (I got the embroidery machine from MIL about two years ago, and have only used it for one thing - to put kids' names on scarves we made for Josie and Patrick to hand out as Xmas gifts to friends. It was a really, really expensive machine when she bought it, and then she went and upgraded to a SERIOUSLY expensive one, like five-months'-mortgage-payments expensive.) I'm happy. It's another Singer, which is what I had before. I still have my old one, plus a serger the MIL gave me as well, which I haven't had the balls to use yet.

Second, DH's contract looks secure. Apparently, part of the fighting was over who was going to get to control the group he's in, because the higher-ups have identified what they're doing as The Wave Of The Future (Future...future....future..echo). This is good news. Also, the guy who currently is their contracting officer on the client side may be staying after all, depending on whether a sweet deal he was offered goes through. All in all, PHEW.

Third, both kids are in advanced placement, enrichment, whatever you want to call it. Josie has been pulled out for more challenging math and reading work in the past, at her previous school, but we hadn't heard anything about this school yet, so I was wondering what was going to happen. Today, she said that she was, in fact, pulled out this afternoon for advanced reading. She's the only one in her class, and then there are seven other children from the other fourth grade class. I told her that maybe she's in the wrong class at school! Patrick's teacher spoke with me yesterday about having him maybe go into a first grade class for reading, since he is completely fluent, and probably reads words at about a second-grade level, although his attention span/maturity isn't enough for him to go into that kind of an environment. Today she told me that he and one other child in his grade will be pulled out by the enrichment teacher as well for extra instruction. So, both of them will be receiving more challenging work twice a week. His teacher also told me, under the rug, that the enrichment teacher doesn't always follow through on what she's supposed to, so to be prepared to need to go into the school and complain if it doesn't happen with Patrick pretty quickly. I was glad that she thought enough of me to tell me, since of course she's not supposed to say things like that, but it's always good to know things like that. So, my babies are smart! I mean, I knew they were smart, but it's always nice to hear it from other people.

In still other good kid news, I'm going to be able to do things with both kids' classes next week. My volunteer date with Patrick's class is on Monday morning, and I'm excited to go in there and see the K class. On Wednesday, I'm going on a field trip with Josie's class to a local river museum and trail. I haven't been able to work in the elementary schools because I always had Patrick at home, so I'm glad that now he's in school and I can do things with both of them (although I'm apprehensive about going on a river trail with a group of fourth graders, at least I'll get to drive myself there).

Fifth, the chiropractor FIXED MY HIP!!!!!!! It's not totally back, since it's still a little sore from being messed up so badly, but I can get up and move around without having my first thought be, 'Oh, my hip!' like some kind of geriatric!!!! He did this funky thing where I laid on my back, and he put my leg up over his shoulder and then twisted it while also pulling a little. Tada! I felt it immediately that something had changed, and then I stood up and was almost normal!!!! You guys, you have no idea how much better I feel. Oh, well. I go back on Monday for more work, but hopefully what I'm feeling now will last through the weekend. This new guy is Awesome.

Finally, I got up the nerve to cancel my gym membership today. I haven't been going at all since we moved, because I've been able to walk the dogs every day, and sometimes twice. Plus, the kids like to walk home from school, so I've been walking over there with Baci to pick them up; it's about fifteen to twenty minutes each way, depending if I'm walking alone or with the kids. Also, we have a treadmill downstairs, which is finally in a good location for me to use it (before this it was in the living room or in the crowded office downstairs - the other day I moved it into a little alcove in the hallway, and it fits fine). I have a couple of weights, and can always get more with the money I'm going to save on the gym. I used to really like going to the gym a LOT before we moved to this part of the state, because I knew a lot of the people that went there, including my SIL, but since we moved here I don't know many people that go, and the facility here isn't as nice. Over the winter I may try a few yoga classes, since there's a studio here that allows you to drop in and pay by the class. We'll see. I used to do power yoga every week at my old gym, and I have a ton of dvds of it, although doing yoga at home is Boring. At least if I'm with other people, I'm shamed into continuing through the entire thing, since I refuse to let anyone else me more Yogic than me (AndreAnna, I'm looking at you, gym-competition girl! I'm still trying to think of a good name for you guys, BTW, 'cuz I Want that gc).

Anyway, I'm going to sign off so you can all read this and be super-jealous. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Doing The Ostrich

I just talked to DH, and it seems that there is yet another shake-up where he works. It shouldn't affect him, as he's a contractor, and his contract is fully funded through January, but still it's always scary when anything like this happens. Word is, their manager on the client side put in his resignation in disgust after whatever meeting was held this morning. Before this, there had been money promised to them for the new year, etc etc etc, but now, who knows. Luckily, there are other contracts he can be moved to if need be, but still.

I would say that there's a good 5% of me that is devoted solely to worrying about just this issue on a 24hr basis. Since I stay at home, we all depend on his salary and benefits, plus we took out a loan against his 401k last year to pay off a lot of our credit card debt; if he lost his job, not only would we lose income, but we would also be required to pay off the entire loan within a month. Like THAT could happen. Hello, you take out a loan because you don't have money in the FIRST PLACE. Sigh.

I know of several people who are in much more nerve-wracking situations than I am, too. One of our friends works for Verizon, which just announced that they're cutting 30% of their workforce across the board in the next three weeks. I'm torn as to how to feel about the company announcing that. I mean, on the one hand, it would be good to have time to look for another job, but on the other, that's three weeks of worry for the 70% of people that it will not affect. When I worked, our company did things like that, and on fact the round of layoffs that I eventually volunteered to be a part of took months longer than it was supposed to, meaning that we were told initially that we'd be out of work by June 1, but really it wasn't until mid-August that we were finally let go. Even then, they pretended to keep it all hush-hush, like some kind of game; you're gonna be laid off, but who knows when? Spin the wheel! It was horrible, waiting for the other shoe to drop, even though I knew I wasn't going to be working after The End.

I have to admit to not generally letting myself worry too much about the economy. We don't have stocks, except in DH's 401k, and we're not planning on moving anytime soon, so we don't really care what the house is worth. I understand that these things can be far-reaching, but I don't see how my worrying about them will help. I'll vote, and hopefully that will do some good. Other than that, 90% of the population is pretty helpless. However, the last few days have been somewhat unsettling, and I'm beginning to be concerned that the good folks over at NPR are going to blow a gasket if they have to report any more upheaval.

For now, I'm going to go back to doing my favorite new move - The Ostrich. It's basically comprised of sticking my head under my blanket with a book light and reading mindless crap until things blow over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bring on the Liver Spots

I will be 35 next month, and the warranty has officially started to run out. First the gb thing, and now... My HIP is KILLING me.

Yes, I appear to have Thrown Out my hip. I do not know how I could possibly have done this, but I think it's true. The only thing I can think of is that I was was sitting in our Air Chair (one of those sling chairs that hangs from a hook on the ceiling) that we inherited from the previous owner, and something to do with the posturing in it did this to me. Maybe that's why he left it, kind of a karmic gotcha because he was so pissed to have to sell this house, and at such a stellar price (for us, not for him). He KNEW it would exact revenge upon me. Hell, maybe it threw out his hip, too.

Anyway, this just goes right nicely with my back, which is a pretzel at the moment. I have scoliosis, and my right leg is longer than my left, so my hips and lower back take a beating anyway, but during the summer it's a lot worse because my little lift I wear in my left shoe doesn't work in sandals or when I'm barefoot (unless I stapled it to me like Max's antlers in Grinch, I suppose). Typically by fall I'm a mess, and end up at the chiropractor for a good three months getting straightened out.

Hence, there I was at a new chiro's office yesterday. I didn't like my old one that much; I think he was too young and inexperienced, or something, because he didn't do as much for me as others I have been to in the past. I like this new guy a lot more already, but unfortunately we had to do the 'new patient' thing, where you have to do all kinds of movements to see how much pain they will put you in. My favorite one is laying on my stomach and then having him lift my leg a little to the back. The electric jolt I got from that bad boy was probably enough to power our house for a week. OW. When all was said and done, he pronounced me pretzeled, and we moved on to the fun stuff - the roller bed.

I haven't had a chiro with a roller bed in awhile, and lemme tell you, usually it's a GREAT experience. The bed has rollers inside that go up and down your back, stretching muscles and gently pushing things into place, all while you just lay there. It's very relaxing and feels wonderful... after the first few times. The first time, it hurts, because you're a freakin' pretzel. It hurt even more this time because apparently I'm gonna need a !#$%ing hip replacement or something.

After the roller bed, we moved into the other room for my actual adjustment, which generally involves me laying on my side, positioning my hips just so, and having him put a lot of pressure on my top hip and lower back simultaneously to put things where they should be, or at least move them that way. Again, it's not usually bad, but the first time, OW. Seriously, I thought I was gonna rise right off the bed, between my back being so stiff and tight and my geriatric hip.

I go back on Friday. Yay? Also, I'm wondering if my hip might possibly have osteoperosis, in which case I should treat it with Moose Tracks? It goes straight to my hips, anyway...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Think I Just Threw Up In My Mouth, A Little

We are having a serious problem with bugs that look like this in the basement. It's a finished basement, so we have carpet and everything. I don't know where they're coming from, because we see them on the floor just wherever, so it's not obvious how the little f*ckers are breaking in. Every time I go downstairs I find at least one, though, and I go down multiple times a day. The only saving grace is that they're not fast, so it's easy to take a wad (ie, half the roll) of toilet paper and scoop them up for the Grand Flush. Yuck.

We also seem to have a Giant Cricket Chorus going down there. These aren't just any crickets, either; they seem to be large enough that if if too many more show up, they might just be able to stage a coup and gain control of the main level. Seriously, they're about two inches long, brown, and can jump HIGH. The only up side to this is that Baci thinks they're WONDERFUL. It hops, he hops and pounces. It hops, he hops. It's pretty funny, right up until he actually LANDS on said cricket, smooshing it into the carpet, and then refuses to have any more to do with it. I mean, he could at least EAT it at that point, right? Seriously, get with the program! I do like to watch him do it, though; when he looks down at them, all the loose skin on his forehead falls forward over his eyes and his ears flop forward, so he looks like a big pouncing wrinkle. It's pretty cute, and is his only saving grace when I try to get the *#@$%ing thing out of the rug later.

Lastly, we may also have a mouse. I am in denial about this, and am hoping that the poop I found is cricket poop. I did find it near where I had seen one of them a few times and pretended that I didn't so I could avoid Dealing With It. I remember in the Little House books that the grashopper infestation resulted in them having grasshopper poop everywhere, and these crickets are about the size of grasshoppers, so it could happen, right? RIGHT?!?! Sigh. I bought a have-a-heart trap just in case.

I don't really know what to do about any of this. I can't have poison in the house because of the kids/animals, and they don't really make traps for crickets and gross whatever-the-hell those crawly things are, anyway. Frankly, I'd rather have a mouse than creepy-crawlies any day. As it is, I'm afraid to go down there without shoes on and lights blazing. A few years back I stepped on a slug in my backyard one night, and that feeling has freaked me out enough that I will NEVER forget it. If I stepped on one of those grub things... it makes me throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it. At least mice have the common decency to stay wherever they hide until you're gone!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Misery Loves Company

Guys, I am miserable today.

First of all, remember that strange woman who told us that she wants us to keep the dogs inside until 11am? Well, guess who called animal control on us on Friday when I didn't do it? Yep. Mike the Animal Guy was here on Saturday, and talked to DH. He said that he was sorry to have to come back, and that he didn't know why the woman was complaining about us in particular, since even as he stood there there were dogs barking all over the neighborhood, but since she called he had to come out. He told DH that if she continues to complain, we'll have to go to mediation. DH told me he actually hopes she will call again, so we can see her face to face and deal with it in a more legal way, since she's being totally ridiculous, but frankly I want to crawl into a hole. I HATE living in this neighborhood. We have had nothing but problems since we moved here. Actually, we've had nothing but problems since we moved to this entire TOWN. Sigh. We're stuck here, too, because I refuse to move the kids again, and they're really happy at their school, which is a very nice place. Still, I hate feeling like there's someone out there in their house hating us and waiting with her finger on the phone. DH says it's because we're on the corner, so it's easy for people to see our house to know where this particular barking is coming from, versus someone who's backyard isn't nearer to the road, and also that this house was empty for a year, so it was literally silent here (although the people here before us had a lab, and it was out all the time roaming the neighborhood, from what I hear from two other neighbors that are actually nice to us) until now. Still, I feel like a cloud is hanging over us, and it makes me really, really sad. Growing up, living with my grandmother, was very much the same; she sat in her chair in front of the window with her binoculars watching the neighbors, waiting for a reason to complain to either the police or to holler out the window at them, or call them directly, to bitch about one thing or another. I hoped to never, ever have to deal with someone like that again. Guess what? Now I apparently live right on the same block as one. And I'm stuck here. Forever.

Also, and this is a larger problem, I'm having a real problem with Josie. It's not her; it's me. Well, maybe it's a little her, but mostly it's my own feelings towards her that I'm having trouble with. I'm just not enjoying having her around AT ALL. I feel crabby towards her, and annoyed by her, most of the time. She's all over me, and asks ridiculous questions (ie, when I was reading to her the other night, 'then Rex said...' she interrupted me to ask, 'What's Rexsaid?' like it was one word - argh, seriously, kid, that doesn't even make sense), and just generally is being a thorn in my side. However, she's a kid, and as such SHOULD be asking questions that make you want to tear your hair out, she should have the freedom to do that. Really, what scares me, is that maybe this is how my mother felt towards me, and so maybe I'm turning into her, or maybe I'm just like her. Since I think she's a terrible person, and was a horrible, abusive parent, this scares the daylights out of me and makes me want to jump off a bridge. If I hate her, and then feel like I may have internalized part of her, then by transitive property I also have to hate myself. Also, if I understand how she felt, even a little bit, a little voice in my head says, well, maybe she was justified in treating you the way she did, maybe you DID deserve it. Every time I hear myself being not as kind to Josie as I would like myself to be, I feel like I'm sinking further and further into the abyss.

Obviously, I would never lay a hand on her, there's no question about that. I know, too, that since I know (and worry) that she will absorb my parenting skills and views on her as they come out through my parenting, that of course I couldn't help but do the same with my own mother, and that those demons will always be with me just by the sheer fact that I lived with her. This is the reasonable side of me. However, since my feelings of worry, and annoyance at Josie, are *un*reasonable, the reasonable side of my brain isn't exactly doing a lot to assuage my fears. My biggest problem, really, is that I'm being all-around unreasonable; I can't expect her to be as adult as I was at her age, because I had to grow up way too young out of a sense of self-preservation. I wasn't allowed to ask a lot of questions, and had to keep to myself all the time. I wasn't allowed to watch children's TV, so I was pretty worldly-minded as a young child because all I saw was news, 60 Minutes, and soaps. I had to figure things out on my own, all the time. This is not her experience, and while I know this, it's hard for me to deal with her childishness at an age where I thought she would be more thinking for herself. I also need to say that I don't seem to have this problem with Patrick, although he's younger than she is, and behaves differently both because he's younger and because he's just got a different temperament. I have a sneaky feeling it's also because she's a girl, and somewhere I've got it programmed into my head that as a girl, I was worthless.

People, I thought I had gotten past this. Evidently, I have not, and maybe will always be fighting these concerns. That's really, really depressing, both that I may always have these unwanted feelings and that I may always have to be fighting myself. How tiring. I haven't had this kind of freak-out in a long time, and this one has hit me out of the blue. Existentially, I wonder if maybe this neighbor woman, plus my concern about my feelings towards Josie, aren't a cosmic force trying to make me deal with my childhood.

Finally, all the windows of our new house are painted shut. We borrowed a 12ft ladder from a friend over the weekend, but it won't reach the second story, and I don't think the 18ft one we got from HIS friend will, either. This means I'm going to have to call someone to get up there and do the easy job of slicing through the paint at the window edges and pay them a small fortune. Argh. This morning, though, I was able to climb up and get the windows on our back porch open (the back porch is enclosed, and is actually the second story in the back yard, since we have a walk-out basement below). It's nice, except I broke the glass in one of the windows when I took the hammer to smack the wood on the top of the sash to get the whole thing moving (these windows are original to the house, so there's no metal flashing - the entire window is painted, on all sides, so the whole thing was stuck and needed a little, um, encouragement). ARGH. I suppose one out of six isn't bad.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll get out of this funk soon, but while I'm being miserable, come on over and keep me company.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Coupon Madness Strikes Again!

For this entry, I need these two pictures:

This is my register receipt from today's trip:
... and these are the register coupons that printed out once I was done:

So, this week, our grocery store was having one of those sales where you buy a certain number of products from a certain brand and get a coupon at checkout for a set dollar amount. There were four deals, one with Purina, one with Clorox, one with Kraft and one with General Mills. There were two levels of savings for each, a $5 coupon that would print if you bought a lesser number of things, or a $10 if you bought 10 or eleven things from that brand. I managed to get ten things from General Mills and Clorox, but only a lesser number each from Kraft and Purina, so I got $5 each back from those. (Unfortunately, it wasn't everything from each brand that would qualify, only certain items, like certain cereals and certain sizes, so it was harder to collect the deals than it first seemed). I actually had to keep the circular with me at the store, which I never do, so I could have the list of products from each category that would count towards earning my register coupon. Fortunately, all the items that DID qualify were also on sale, AND I had coupons for many things as well, so that grew the savings even more. Also, some of the things generated their own register coupons. Plus, there was a brown-bag sale on meat, where you got to take a brown paper bag and fill it with whatever meat you wanted, and all of it was 20% off.

In the end, with the 25 coupons I brought with me and the sale stuff, it came to this:

Coupon savings: $19.80
Bonus (doubled) Coupons: $7.25
Club savings: $84.50
Total savings: $111.50 (23%)

PLUS Earnings:

$1.80 in gas savings (where I will save that much off of each gallon I pump, and I can accumulate them, at .$40 per hundred I spend, until Oct 1st - thanks to these bonuses I haven't spend more than $18 at a time to fill my gas tank in months, since I only fill up every second or third week - one time it only took $8 to fill my minivan!) That adds up to $32 off my next tank of gas.

a 20%-off my entire shopping trip coupon (they're running a deal where you accumulate points based on how much you spend, and when you earn over 800 points, you get this coupon), which will probably give me about $80 in savings, since I'll make it a big trip when I go to take advantage of it.

and a gift card for $33.75 that I earned doing my brand-name blitz.

That all adds up to $145.75 that I'm going to save in the future. When you add that to what I actually saved today, you get $257 I earned in two hours at the store (yes, it takes me that long, unfortunately). Not too shabby!

Not to mention, I'm now totally stocked up on everything from cereal to frozen foods to meats, since I made sure to buy larger portions of meat so I can divide it in half and make it into two meals. Each steak gets us two meals, as does every 2lb pack of ground meat. That's eight meals right there, since I bought two of each today, and taco . So, really, even though I paid a generally-typical amount for my groceries ($364 for a bi-weekly trip, which means $180 per week), I'm actually stocked up for probably closer to three weeks, and won't need meat for a month, when I will cash in my 20% off coupon and do it all over again. That gives me another month to stock up on coupons, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ms. Sassy McHormone

Josie is going through some kind of growth thing, both physically and emotionally. She is so different than she was last school year! While the changes may have started over the summer, I didn't really notice them until now.

First of all, we have returned to Drama Kingdom. Previously, we visited this terrible place about five years ago, and were stuck there for two years. Its rides included Spiral Coaster of Tears, Dizzying Teacups of Anti-Reason, and Bumper Car Bitchiness. We have returned to these, plus added a few more; Screechy-Go-Round, Hormonacoaster, It's a Sassy World, and for the show we have the It's Not Fair Follies.

Also, there is the added level of worry for me in that she has completely done a reverse in her Friends policy. She doesn't want to have anyone over. I have asked her about this repeatedly, and from what I can gather, she does have friends at school. She finally said that she didn't know what they would do if she had someone over. ?!?! Um, what?! Then she said that she would rather just play with the kids in the neighborhood, both of whom are younger than she is, at least the two girls she regularly sees. I worried about this, too, because when I was young and being mercilessly picked on by Everyone, I played a lot with younger kids who idolized me instead. I have no reason to believe that she's being picked on, and she says that everyone at her school is nice, but after what I went through, I'm nervous. She's pudgy, too, and a lot like I was, but minus the 'I Have A Crappy Homelife' aura, which probably makes a big difference, I guess. Anyway, today I learned from my friend Megan, who is the mom of one of the girls she plays with in the neighborhood, that when Josie has gone over there, a few times she's just played on her own over there, too. I wasn't sure what to make of this, but it actually made me feel a little better, since maybe this means that she'd rather just be on her own - not at home bored, but not having to be with other kids, either. I don't know.

Megan said that she thinks Josie's just at the beginning of a difficult age where she's in between being little and big. Since I didn't really have any friends until middle school, I guess I might have missed out on this kind of thing. She seems content, and is happy to see the kids at church when we go to choir, etc. It just seems strange to me that this girl who constantly has pestered me her entire life to have friends over suddenly wants to be Alone.

I could write a note to her teacher, just asking if things seem normal there, but I don't want to come off as a control freak parent. I've volunteered to go along on a field trip that is scheduled for the 24th, but don't know yet if I can go (usually if a lot of parents volunteer, names get picked out of a hat, but since this is a new school, I'll have to see what happens). If I can, that would let me see what's going on firsthand (as in: here we have The Girl in her natural environment - observe!). I know that things change with age, and I do think she's growing and having hormone surges (or at least she'd BETTER be, based on her current sassiness and crying-over-nothingness, because if this is The New Normal ALREADY I may be coming to live with one of you at some point soon!), but I don't know if this is normal. Do any of you remember going through something similar, or remember seeing your kids do it? I'm kind of weirded out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

shut up Shut Up SHUT UP!!!!

I swear to God, if my kids don't stop trying to one-up each other, I'm going to scream. Ever since school started, this problem has actually been worse than it was during the summer! For instance:

Girl: I have twenty pages of reading to do tonight!
Boy: Well, I have twenty BILLION things to read tonight!!!! I have to read a whole book!
Girl(disgusted): You don't even know what twenty billion is.
Boy: Yes I DO! AND I have more scratches.
Girl: No, look at mine!

and so on. All afternoon. Frequently, they have this conversation on top of one another, in increasing volume, all at the same time, while I first try to stem the tide, and then turn up the radio, and finally demand silence. Sheesh.

Actually, I have noticed that almost all of a child's life is a competition. Even with their friends, much of the conversation seems to center on who did what better, faster, or higher than the other person. It's like the ultimate in Being A Know-it-all.

Come to think of it, I believe that a lot of adults to it, too. I have several friends who are constantly either Poorer Than Thou, More Eco-concerned Than Thou, or, generally, Holier Than Thou. I love these people, and I'm not dogging them at all, because I'm probably Wordier-Than-Thou, or Smellier-Than-Thou, or something. It's just that I always know, if certain topics come up around certain people, that they will be whatever-it-is more than me. I think I do it about dogs, actually, probably, come to think of it.

So, what does this mean? When does it stop? I'm in my mid-thirties, and apparently the need to be seen and heard as an expert on something is still very much alive and kicking. Maybe this will be the beauty of getting older; not caring what other people think, or what they think of me. Maybe when you get old, it comes down to everyone putting on their Depends one leg at a time, and once you're there, everything else kind of comes out in the wash, so to speak.

In the meantime, I want my kids to stop doing it NOW!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I made a decision on what to do about my SIL, Kathy's, shower. I'm not helping with it in any meaningful way. I just don't feel it in my heart, she'll never notice, or be grateful or ungrateful, either way. My mother-in-law and other SIL, Jen, seem to have the whole thing under control, and since they live 90min from me (but only about 15min from each other), it's hard for me to help, anyway. Plus, Kathy's grown daughter and their tenant (who rents a cottage on the property) want to help out with the decorating, etc, too, so that's four people. They don't need help, so I don't feel guilty about ditching them. My MIL had sent an email telling me they they already had figured out the invitations, and Jen has looked at websites for decorations, etc etc etc, and that she "assumed I'd want to help (?)". I took that opportunity to say that since they have it under control, and I'm so far away, that I didn't see what I could possibly add, but that if they need something specific done, like a list of things to pick up at the party store, to let me know, and that I'll be happy to go early to help set up.

I feel SO GOOD about this. I'm tired of feeling completely unappreciated (another example of this: for Kathy's surprise 40th birthday party five years ago, I spent two hours scrubbing their disgusting, slimy-mold-filled downstairs bathroom, complete with crusted toilet seat, so it would be useable by the guests, only to be told by her later that, oh, they only used the sunken tub in that bathroom for washing the dogs, anyway'), and of being annoyed by it. This way, I can help out if they need me to, but I'm not taking any of the responsibility for doing something for someone who doesn't show any interest in our family, so I won't feel annoyed OR guilty. The past year or so I've been really working on developing relationships with people who are healthy for me to be with, and lengthening the rope on people who aren't. Since Kathy and her husband are family, obviously I can't cut them off, but I'm not going to work anymore to pull them closer, either.

Thank you all so much for your input. It really helped to have other people give me unbiased opinions!!!! I'm so glad I've met you all!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Didn't Pee Myself, I Swear

This morning, I was awoken at 6:30 by a pretty good thunderstorm. That's unusual here; typically the storms are around 4:30 or so, when the day's heated up and all the moisture has been sucked out of the earth. Today, though, apparently, the earth had been sucked dry early.

Anyway, the booming stopped, and the rain abated enough that we didn't need umbrellas by the time we needed to get into the car for the trip to school. Unfortunately, I had left my minivan windows open last night. The entire front of the van was DRENCHED. Even the little elbow rest on the door had a pool of water in it. CRAP!

I ran into the house and grabbed a plastic trash bag to drape over the seat, so at least my butt would be dry. It felt really nice on the way to school, sitting on a plastic bag. Thank God I didn't get pulled over.

After I dropped off the kids, I went to Starbucks to sit for the first time, since I had a few minutes to kill before Target opened. When I got out, I realized that when I had gotten into the car, my butt had scooted the bag over so my left butt cheek was soaked. The girl behind the counter probably thought I was some caffeine-obsessed freak that hadn't noticed that half her ass was wet, and who obviously needed to put more liquid in her body like a hole in the head. You will all be relieved to know that I was cool with it, didn't worry, and actually did a good jobn at pretending that half my butt is wet ALL the time, no big whoop. I'm not sure what that says about my mental state, actually, since I totally looked like I had peed myself in some strange, colostomy-bag-explosion incident. Also, I forgot to take the bag off the seat so it could dry out a little while I was in there, so I still had to sit on it on the way to Target a half hour later, except this time it kept the moisture from drying on my shorts, as well. Nice.

Happy ending - When I got to Target, the sun had come partly out, and the radio guy was saying that the flood watches had been canceled. Phew, right? I could move the bag AND leave the windows open a little, in some small prayer that the car would not only dry, but not smell like wet-dog-mold for the next week. I went into Target to finish letting mt butt and seat dry. I actually stayed in there a little longer than I probably would have, just to get in that extra drying time.

Except, can you guess?

When I walked out the door, it was pouring cats and camels.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Family Quandries

Here is my quandry. My pregnant SIL, Kathy, is on my nerves, and I need some advice.

I am the kind of person who tries very hard to remember everyone's birthdays, anniversaries, and other major events. If I don't send a gift or card, I call or at least email. If there's an event, we always go, especially if the event is for children (the exception to this is when I was recently in the hospital, I missed my neice's 18th bday shindig). I feel that it's important to be there for people, and show them that I care. If someone is ill, or hurt, I want to know how they are. If there's a new baby, I go see it, giftie in hand for mom and baby. I like doing this. I like being part of a family, after not really growing up in one.

My problem is this: Kathy is not interested in any of this. We get no acknowledgement of events, birthdays, anniversaries, nothing, not even for the kids. I don't expect a gift, but a call or email would be nice. I can count on one hand the number of times she's shown up at a kid's birthday, and my BIL has never once gone. We hear from them so little, and see them so little, that Patrick actually forgets that they are out there; he told me awhile ago when we were talking about how who was related to who in our family that he has one aunt and uncle. When I reminded him that no, he has two, he was mystified. It's not like we live far from these people, either, since they are actually much closer physically to us than my other SIL, Jen, whom I adore and talk to / see often even though she's 90min away, and my MIL who lives near Jen. We would like to visit Kathy and her family, but when we mention that we'd like to stop over, we get told that they'll be doing yard work, or mucking out the pond, or something like that, and we can come over and help if we want. Jen did that, and ended up with raging poison ivy. There's no sitting and visiting - if you want to see them, you have to go and Do Something. Invitations for them to visit us, or other people, are generally declined. They do have friends, and they do hang out with said friends, however, at least on occasion.

So, now there's this pregnancy. And an expected baby shower, which is expected to be given by my SIL, MIL, and I. Initially, it was supposed to be by the end of September, because my IL's will be away in Oct, and Kathy didn't want to be bothered with it in November, because she's due in January and felt that she wouldn't want to deal with anything in her third trimester. Thankfully, that was changed to Nov 2, since there's no way anything like that could be pulled off in the four to six weeks we were initially given. She only wants to register at Walmart because she doesn't want to have to drive to the larger town twenty minutes away to return things. Oh, and it's going to need to be at the firehouse, so the wives of all the guys in the fire dept, plus family and friends can come. When my MIL told her that she needed to call Jen with a guest list, she replied that Jen would have to call her. When Jen did call, she didn't get a return call until today, two weeks later. But we need to get on that, mmm-kay? Never mind that she didn't help out with the shower for her sister's wedding or her baby shower; I did those on my own, and while I loved it, isn't that something a sister should want to do? But we need to get on hers.

On top of all this, I have heard not one word from her the entire time my whole gb situation was going on. Not when I was admitted to the hospital for three days, not before or after the surgery, nothing. That really hurt my feelings. DH went to the ER for a kidney stone. Nada.

So, now the babies will be coming, and I'm feeling like my MIL thinks we're going to go and help out after they're home. Ordinarily, I would be All Over That, because I love babies, but... I'm tired of feeling like I should keep giving and giving and getting nothing back. I honestly don't think they care much about anyone but themselves. I've been in this family for over ten years now, and it's always been this way. DH told me today that he would have stopped being in contact with them long ago if I hadn't been pushing it.

So, what do I do? Do I help out with this shower, buy gifts for said shower and births, help out with babysitting, etc after they're born while the kids are at school once a week or so? As a family, it's the right thing to do. It's what I would do for my friends. Or, do I admit that I'm tired of being one hand clapping, and give it a rest? Stay home? Maybe send a card? I doubt she'd notice. I'm really feeling done.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can You Feel the Hotness?

Well, I can, and it's swampy, and it's pissing me off!!!! The mercury is DEFINITELY going in the wrong direction, my friends. Seriously, it's over 90 again today. Suck.

So, I hid from the heat at various retail outlets. First, I went to Kincaid's and got these loverly metal accent items for the living room:

these three came together, and look great with the picture

and this matching shelf for our clock is on the opposing wall

Then, I took my bad self over to Joanne's Fabrics. I finally was able to spend as much time as I wanted browsing there, since I had literally no one to deal with and nowhere to be for the first time, so I was there WAAAYYY too long, like probably an hour and a half, but I came away with these beautiful fabrics:

The darker one is going to be the valance for our dining room, and the lighter will be the sheer. Our dining room has been difficult, because we have a persian rug in there that has a lot going on, and is an off color. In the past, I tried to match the blues, and wasn't getting anywhere, so this time it finally occurred to me to just work on pulling out one of the other colors from the pattern. Here's a photo of the fabrics where you can also see the rug, as well as the paint chips for the colors I'm going to use on the walls. I'm thinking about doing the whole bay-window area in the darker color, and then doing the top half lighter and the bottom half the darker color in the rest of the room. What do you think?

Then, because it was on clearance, I also got this. It's hard to tell in a picture, but the fabric is actually dark red, that kind of satiny stuff where at one angle it looks almost black and at another seems bright red. At a later point, I will get some black velvet fabric and make a dress using this as the skirt for Josie for winter. I think it's the cutest thing I've ever seen:

Anyhoo, that's enough for me. I have to think about dinner, because tonight starts soccer practice madness. Yes, poor Patrick has his first practice on a 90 degree day. And poor Mommy and Josie both have to go too, because DH is working a little late tonight. Yuck. Oh, fair Fall, where are you when I need you?!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kickin' A, No Names Required

I have been TOTALLY kicking a** all day long in this house!!!!! Oh, YEAH, I'm talkin' to YOU, kitchen! And you, mop! You have been officially made my be-och of the day. Hello!

Sometimes I just get on tears, and go house on the house. It's like I do one thing, which leads to another, and another, and pretty soon I'm passed out on the couch from exhaustion. The difference from that and a normal day is that the house is SPARKLING when I'm done. This particular house-housing was brought on by my being required to lay around for several days watching it get messier and messier on top of the already crusted-on base layer of leftover Summer Crud. So, since I was feeling better yesterday, I figured, hey, I'll rearrange the living room furniture so we can all actually sit together rather than the roomier-but-less-comfy arrangement we had before. Well, you know what happened THEN, especially if you have pets. You've got it - the epic battle with the UnderStuff Hair Puppies had begun. Isn't moving large things the grossest?! Couches, chairs, fridges, anything like that, eeeeeyyyooouuuuu. Seriously.

Once I was done, the living room looked WAY better, and everyone loved it when they got home. The problem was, of course, that then the living room looked great, making the rest of the house look like shiite. SO, I began to plot. All evening I stewed on what needed to be done. Then, this morning, I:

- vacuumed the two main levels and stairs
- mopped the floors TWICE on each level, plus the stairs, to make sure that my socks will NOT be brown on bottom again for at least a week
- cleaned the kitchen, removing ALL clutter, washing cabinets, removing stove coils, and scrubbing sink
- rearranged pictures around the house that had been hung wherever they were unpacked so they actually are where they belong now
- cleaned the bathroom upstairs, washed the floor, tub, etc
- moved two window treatments to new locations and reconfigured them so they would hang better (aka, cut little holes so I could make the bunch-up curtain parts hang shorter - they were way too long)
- also walked the dogs
- Febreezed the furniture to get rid of Summer Doggie smell created by a shut-up house with a/c

PHEW!!!!! There's still a lot left to do, but I feel SO much better. Pooped, but better. Sweaty, but better. I'm forcing myself to stop now so I don't end up really, totally exhausted, and also because the kids want chores to do (they only get money if they do chores, and I haven't had a list for a little while, so they've been doing when-I-remember-to-tell-them things, resulting in not much money for them). Today I will make up the chore list. It's harder to think up things that Patrick can do that will be helpful in a way that won't make me want to just redo them myself later to get them right.

I swear I'm not a clean freak normally, but now that I'm in the house all day on my own (!!!!!!), I want to be in a clean house while I do my other things, like making the dress I've been promising Josie for months now, or painting the various rooms that need to be done. It's no fun hanging around in a messy house, and it's really satisfying to clean when it actually STAYS that way for at least a few hours. Once I actually get the place clean, I'm going to try and concentrate on only doing one room/area a day. That will make it so I only spend a short amount of time cleaning each day, and everything will stay at the same base-level of mess/clean. I don't know if that will work or not, so I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Revlon Revelation

Yesterday morning the younger dog, Baci, was going bananas from lack of activity. Usually, both dogs get a long walk every morning and evening, but with my Situation and the heat over the last few days, that hadn't been happening as regularly as usual. This resulted in The Canine Freakout, otherwise known as tucking his tail in and tearing around the bedroom like his a** was on fire, round and round, on the bed, off the bed, chase the tail, on the bed, off the bed, woof woof woof. (Oh, to have the energy of a 18mo dog. Seriously.) I was laying on the bed, scrunched up next t0 the wall, giggling, with Old Man Tyler Dog next to me.

Enter DH, carrying a leash, which was apparently what had spurred on the display of Doggie Joy. Also enter Patrick, who was going to be tagging along on the walk.

Baci leaped on the bed and rolled around, flailing his head and tail, grunting and wagging. As sometimes happens when a Boy is too excited, his, urm.... Lipstick made an appearance. I have no idea why dogs are made that way, with their Thing all Revlon'd out, but GROSS.

Patrick, darling boy that he is, pointed and yelled, 'Hey!!! Look at THAT!!!! It's Really Big!!!!!'

They both headed for the stairs. Then, a second later I heard... wait for it.....

'Hey!!! It's even bigger than yours, Daddy!!!''

and the front door slammed shut!!!!!

It's a wonder they didn't have to take me back to the ER, because I was laughing so hard it's a wonder I didn't split open all my stitches!!!!!!!!