Friday, February 27, 2009

Phriday Photo Phun - The object of my obsession

No, by "obsession" I don't mean George Clooney or Hugh Jackman or Alan Rickman, either. I mean the house. The site of Paintathon '09. The obsession with getting ready to list. Hopefully by this time next week, the For Sale sign will be up and maybe the house even will've been shown once or thrice...

Here's what we've been doing with practically every waking hour for the past three weeks. I don't really have before pictures, but here are some almost-completely-done afters for you:

This is our front entryway. I took this sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, looking pretty much straight up. Yes, it is that high. Hubby used a 17 foot tall ladder to get up there to take down the blind we'd had on that window and to paint (which still required an extension pole for the roller) as I spotted him, heart in my throat and praying the whole time that he wouldn't fall. Even Kiddo begged him to get down - little does she know he has to go back up there this weekend to install some kind of window treatment to that window (if anyone has brilliant ideas on that subject that could utilize a tension rod - Hubby doesn't want to install any hardware up there but wants something other than a bare window and I'm without any good ideas) and to clean the light and change the lightbulbs. Good times.

These are the freshly professionally steam-cleaned stairs to the second floor. I took this picture *before* the cat decided to start barfing up hairballs this morning all over the vast acreage of newly-cleaned carpeting. Yes, the cat is still alive, but only because I'm a pacifist at heart, as well as an animal lover.

The upstairs bathroom. This is the one color I wasn't thrilled with. It is "Hydrangea Frost" and looked more like a really, really lightly green tinted off-white in the can/on the chip, but came out much more yellowy green on the walls. I'm used to it now though (that's a new shower curtain and bathmat, and I have matching towels to hang up just for showing purposes as well).

The downstairs bathroom. Now this color - Tear Drop - I love. It too came out much bluer than a blue-tinted off-white, but it works, I think. Love it. Also painted the laundry room (right next door to the bathroom) Tear Drop.

The back hallway. That door to the right there is the door leading out to the garage. Up until two weeks ago, a little, wooden keyrack thingamabob was hung right above the alarm keypad. The furthest left peg is where I would always, always, always hang my keys upon entering the house and from where I would grab them upon exiting. Every time I came in the house for the past nine years, I'd shut off the alarm and hang up my keys in one, continuous motion. I cannot even tell you how many times in the past two weeks I've gone to hang my keys up on a bare wall (fortunately I haven't scratched the new paint at all by doing this), only to have them clatter to the floor as I round the corner into the kitchen. Apparently habits? Hard to break! (Cue Chicago here.....)

This is about where I'm standing as I realize that keyrack thingamabob isn't there and my keys are now on the floor.... Please notice the lack of cereal boxes and chip bags piled atop the fridge and the extraneous kitchen items stashed above the cabinets. Please do not notice the fuzz on the bottom of the fridge grill as I haven't cleaned the fridge yet (though I did de-art-gallery-ify it). Also, please note the pristine, gorgeous toaster oven. That came into my life just 24 hours ago, after Hubby finally admitted that we'd never, ever find a toaster like our 12 year old, been on its last legs for years now model and I should just go get a new one. It was beyond bad - it had unpredictable hot spots and cold spots and the occasional burst of flame. So, so glad to see that nice, new one in its place.

The great room, aka the living room. You have no idea how much furniture is gone - bookcases, Kiddo's art tepee and cubbies... also, many, many, many pictures and even more books have been packed up (another two bookcases' worth, plus 75% of the books that were crammed into the remaining bookcase) in the name of "decluttering" and making the space neutral. These were the walls I was rolling out during the Oscars on Sunday. To reach the peak of the cathedral-ceilinged wall, I had to jump as high as I could while extending the pole up as far as possible. Then Hubby had to come through with the stepladder and go over the top 2-3 feet. What can I say, Hugh was quite distracting...

The front door, newly painted "Garnet" which replaced a slightly purpler Mulberry that the builders painted it back in the day. We chose the color of our siding and then there were assigned shutter/door colors to match; in our case, navy shutters and the mulberry door. I wanted to paint the door a more definitive red this time around, but Hubby wanted to stick close to the original color, for ease of covering it without priming etc. Since the gallon of paint we bought for the door was our 19th gallon by my reckoning and primer for such a dark color would've had to have been tinted and therefore meant a 20th gallon, I acquiesced.

This is one of three outdoor light fixtures we replaced. We paid for this one, but for the other two (a pair of motion-sensitive security lights on either side of the garage), we had an amazing thing happen. See, we bought those two lights at Lowe's about eight years ago. Over time, the little plastic bits that covered the sensor area cracked and broke. They still worked, they just didn't look as pretty. Since the lights still worked, we didn't really want to replace them (to the tune of $45 a pop) so Hubby inquired at Lowe's about the possibility of buying just some replacement plastic thingies. Turns out they don't sell them, though the manager of the lighting department made many calls to try to find out if he could obtain some for us. Mind you, this is eight years later and it isn't like we had the original boxes or receipt or anything. Plus, this is pretty much due to ordinary wear and tear, I mean those lights have been up for the entire time. Anyhow, the manager apologized for not being able to get us just those two parts and said we could bring the lights back in for an exchange. !!! So, Hubby took them down, brought them in and voila, Lowe's exchanged them for us for two brand-spanking-new replacements at no cost to us. How's that for good customer service? Yay Lowe's!!

And thus concludes the photo tour of the object of my obsession of the moment. Now I'm heading back down to the kitchen to clean the fridge and the rest of the cabinets, then finish cleaning the hutch and entertainment center in the living room. Tomorrow it is all about the windows. I'm glad I saved that project for after the cold front came through, since it is now down in the 20s and supposed to start snowing. Though, it was raining pretty hard all day today, so I couldn't really have the windows open today either...

Happy weekend, everyone! Oh, and if anyone has a good, cheap idea about window treatments for the Above the Front Door Window to Nowhere, I'd appreciate hearing them. Hubby's thinking just a valance, which I think will look odd. I bought a sheer panel for it but it is too long so I have to take that back tomorrow. I am voting for leaving it bare but Hubby doesn't like that. Le sigh. Oh - I should also point out that if you are out on the street and you look up at the Window to Nowhere, you can see (from the right angle) directly into the upstairs bathroom. So, for folks who like to walk around the upstairs in a state of undress and/or shower with the front bathroom door open, this becomes an inadvertent peep show opportunity. That was the reason we put a blind up in that window in the first place. I still say let's just be careful with our bathroom-door-closing and not worry about it. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hand me my trophy, please...

I am so ready for my trophy today. Mmm-hmm. Hand it over, will ya?

Why today, you ask? By which, of course, you mean today specifically, more than any other day, since I *always* deserve such accolades? I'll tell you:

Because today, the 101st day of full-day, eating-lunch-at-school school for Kiddo, I forgot to make her a lunch.

For the 100 days prior to this morning, I have gotten up, gotten Kiddo up, fixed her breakfast and then, while she sits at the table eating/picking at/staring at/utterly ignoring her meal (depends on the day), I fix her lunch and get her backpack packed with everything she needs (sneakers, notebook, folder, homework, snowpants, library book etc). Then, when that's done, I head upstairs to squirt some toothpaste on her Lion King musical toothbrush and get her clothes laid out and *then* I sit down at the computer for a few minutes and go through my morning internet routine (email, news headlines, People and E! headlines, blog reader list).

This morning? I got up, got Kiddo up, fixed her breakfast and............... got totally distracted by how I was constantly tripping over things that should have been in the laundry room but instead were everywhere in my kitchen. The counters, the floor, the stovetop, the table. Hubby finished painting the laundry room trim late last night and reassembled all the shelving in there, so instead of fixing her lunch, I decided that first, I'd put everything back into the laundry room. So I did, marveling at how nice and tidy it looks, with its fresh coat of Tear Drop Blue paint (we didn't have enough Soft Ecru, so we wound up killing off the leftover bit of the gallon we used for the downstairs bathroom, which is right next to the laundry room anyhow). I got a wee bit carried away by the beauty and wonder, and thus, when I finally emerged from the laundry room, I looked at the clock on the stove (which I could actually see again, now that it had been cleared of laundry room things) and thought to myself "Crap! Must get toothpaste on the toothbrush, stat!" and off I went upstairs. Kiddo came up a few moments later and we went about the rest of our routine ("I didn't hear Hakuna Matata play TWICE, Kiddo... Brush again!" "Moooo-oooom, I *did* brush two times already!" "No, you didn't, brush again NOW please!" ... "Why aren't you dressed yet?" "Mooo-oooom, I'm thinking!" "Well, could you please multitask and think while dressing?" ... "Stand still so I can comb your hair, please." "Mooo-oooom, I don't like it when you comb my hair." "You know, Bindi always stands still when her mom combs her hair, that's why it looks so nice on TV...") and it wasn't until 8:02, after the locating and proper placement of boots on feet, mittens on hands, coat on bod and hat on head that I reached down for Kiddo's backpack and realized that I hadn't made her a lunch.


"Moooo-oooom, we don't say that word - it isn't nice or appropriate!"

Whoops, I thought I just thought it. Thank goodness "crap" was the only word I thought. I actually did swear aloud in Kiddo's presence the other day, but fortunately it was only the S word and it was under my breath after dripping paint on the stairs, and she was so enthralled by Happy Feet that she didn't hear me anyhow. I made it five and three quarter years before actually swearing in front of her - not too bad. But that was Sunday's award-winning moment, so I'm digressing.

Anyhow, I looked at the stovetop clock - 8:03. We need to be at the corner in three minutes. I briefly ponder how quickly I can throw some stuff into her lunch bag and as I'm standing there, empty lunch bag in hand, thinking "crap, crap, crappity crap" on the inside only this time, Kiddo figures out the situation and her face lights up.

"Mommmmmmmmm? It's okay, I am not sad that you didn't make me a lunch. We all make mistakes, don't worry. Accidents happen.


I can just be a buyer today, okay?"

One pair of very hopeful, big brown eyes looking up at me, breath held.

A-ha! (No, not aha, though I do love me some aha. Especially Magne. Sigh........ Whoops, digressing again.) A-ha! I can totally spin this, can't I?

"Hmmm, well, I don't know, Kiddo. It is a pretty big treat to buy your lunch........."

"Oh pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohprettyprettyplease, Mom? I'll do SUCH a good job today and I'll listen and cooperate and I'll clean my room and I won't bother the cat and I'll scratch your back for 130 minutes after school oh please Mom can I buy my lunch?"


I pretend to think about it for a few seconds.

"Okay. I guess that just for today, you can be a buyer."

And thus, I threw some white cheddar Cheez-Its into a baggie for her snack, tossed them into her Disney Princesses backpack and we exited the house for the bus stop, Kiddo loudly proclaiming Huzzah! and Hooray! and doing everything but throwing confetti. I texted her teacher to give her the scoop as Kiddo pondered aloud what she would buy for lunch. Toasted cheese? The entree of the day (which I don't even know, as I tossed the menu at the beginning of the month since, you know, Kiddo doesn't buy her lunch)? Ice cream? (I wouldn't be surprised if that's all Kiddo eats today....)

So, I am Mom the Hero for allowing Kiddo the rare treat of buying her lunch instead of bringing it (and buying milk, which thus far has been the only thing Kiddo has ever bought in the cafeteria) and I've got promises of good behavior and endless back scratching as well! So, gimme my trophy, please - Kiddo at least thinks I deserve it!

I'd like to say this will never happen again, that I've learned my lesson and that henceforth, I shall never neglect to pack a healthy, nutritious, cost-saving lunch for Kiddo from day 102 until the end of her school career.

I'd also like to say that George Clooney and Hugh Jackman are having a serenade-off outside my window right now, each proclaiming their undying affection and admiration through song.

I do have a great spot for that trophy, though - right on the stove top. It's all cleaned off and ready.

I'll leave you now, to get back to my cleaning and packing (the carpet cleaning dudes arrive tomorrow, so they have to actually be able to get to the carpet...) with a little of Kiddo's current toothbrush tune and a little Hugh and George, though sadly, I can't get any video of their serenade duel uploaded just now. I packed the cord for the video camera already, you see. Yeah, that's the ticket........

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just one quick thing...

Hallelujah! SCHOOL has started again!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What's a sick mom gotta do to get some sympathy?

So, I've been sick. I think it may be the flu. It's miserable, whatever it is - a fever topping out in the 102 range, killer headache, body aches and nausea. Oh, the vomiting. So very, very NOT fun. Yesterday, I was a total disaster and collapsed in bed as soon as Hubby walked through the door at 5:30, leaving him to finish all the Kiddo nightly routine - bath, dinner and bedtime - and then to tackle our joint to-do list all on his own. Have I mentioned Hubby is totally my hero? But I digress......

Anyhow, earlier on, as I seemed to be recovering, Kiddo wrote me the following sweet and heartwarming note:

(Translation: Mom, I hope your cold feels better soon. I love you so much. I don't want you to get sick again please.) Awwwwww.

Alas, however, this level of sympathy did not last long. After days of ingesting nothing more than ginger ale and the occasional Tylenol (with varying levels of "remaining in the system long enough to work"), I went a little crazy today and ate a handful of saltines around noon. I quickly paid the price for such folly, spending the rest of the afternoon alternating between painting the primer coat on the walls of various closets, cleaning windows and racing to the upstairs bathroom to throw up. What was the next note I was handed?

(Translation: DO NOT throw up again PLEASE!)

Like I'm throwing up because I enjoy it so much. Sheesh. To make matters worse, as I'm in the bathroom retching, Kiddo is alternately trying to peer into the bowl over my shoulder and see what there is to see (which: Ew.) and then loudly proclaiming "THAT'S DISGUSTING! EW Mommy's BARFING and it is SO DISGUSTING!!" to me and the world at large.

Not fair. Let me tell you, I have wiped off/up and/or removed seriously nasty secretions from my beloved child, and never, in the throes of her moment of need, did I either proclaim DISGUSTING! or write her a chastising note. (Okay, maybe I said something to Hubby or my mom or sisters on the phone later, or even took to my blog to decry the foulness, but NEVER have I said anything remotely of that level of truth in the moment, while Kiddo was sick.)

No sympathy at all. Humph.

In other news, we're presently on schedule to have Paintathon '09 finished up (with the exception of a bit of trim work) by Monday night, despite my present condition and lack of stamina to wield a paint roller for any significant duration. This, again, is mainly due to Hubby the hero and his crazy late nights/early mornings of house-related work around his regular, full-time job, which is in a tough industry that makes his days a far cry from a picnic on the beach of late. We've got carpet dudes coming in this week so all our wall-to-wall will be spiffy and sparkly and fluffy, and we're meeting with the realtor again at the end of the week with a target date of March 2nd for listing the house. To which I say HOORAY! I may even celebrate by attempting to drink some chicken broth, now that I haven't barfed in almost six hours..........................

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am pretty much barking mad, so why not get $250 to spend at Target?

We all know I'm pretty much crazy, and this whole "getting the house ready to list on the market" thing has essentially helped push me that teensy bit left to go over The Edge. I seriously have lost those few remaining marbles I once had. (I'm guessing they're off in the 10x10 storage unit we've rented and jam-packed full of things I am not sure I can really live without. Either that or I accidentally Freecycled them. Don't think they were in any of the lots I sold on Craigslist, but if someone did give me any money for my wits, the joke's on them. Ha!)

Annnnyhow, I hopped on the computer this afternoon whilst the miniblinds from the guest room were soaking in a lukewarm, Top Job bath per helpful instruction guide Hubby found and emailed me on "How to Clean Miniblinds in Fifty Not-Terribly-Easy Steps Guaranteed to Drive You Crazy, Unless You're Already There" and as my fingers were cramping from Step Thirty-Six: Individual Slat Wipedown, I thought I'd stretch them out over my keyboard for a few moments. Kiddo is presently buried in the packing paper we received from a fellow Freecycler and I think that Crazy Cat may be down there in the paper too. (See my previous post for more on that. Well, more in the "pictures are worth a thousand words" sort of way.)

As I was doing a quick blogsurf in a vain attempt to catch up on all the posts logjamming my blog reader (the number is getting daunting and I've barely left a comment in days - sorry everyone!), I came across a contest over at Auds' blog, Barking Mad. It is a lovely, All About Me kind of a contest. All one has to do is grab her badge (woot, blog bling!), give links to five to ten of one's favorite posts - posts on one's very own blog! - and then link up and voila, you're in and could possibly win a $250 gift card to Target! (Cue choir o' angels!)

I want that gift card, y'all. I'm sick TO DEATH of Walmart, where I've been eleventy billion times in the past two weeks, and where I need to go in just a few more minutes to return the curtain rods I bought in the wrong size and the guest towels I bought in the wrong color yesterday. See, that's where the Target gift card would come in handy - new guest towels for the brand-spanking new, Tear Drop blue painted (it's a REALLY pretty color and I wish we'd slapped it up about nine years ago so I could've enjoyed it more) downstairs powder room. Also, some new throw rugs for the kitchen, new welcome mats for the front and back door and all manner of other little "staging" type things.

So, without further ado, here's my list of my top five posts. Yeah, they look suspiciously like posts I've got listed over yonder in the sidebar. Think of them as Heather's Greatest Hits, if you haven't read them already.......................

Hey Karma, I think we're even now!
A Public Restroom Nightmare
Hair-raising Matters
If you're reading this in the buff, I don't want to know...

100 things about me

Here's the kewl blog bling that goes with the giveaway.....

And now, back to the miniblinds and then Walmart. My life, it is SO exciting. At least tonight is American Idol (go Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai, Alexis Grace and Ann Marie Boskovich!) and Lost (go back to the Island, wherever and whenever it is RIGHT NOW Oceanic Six!)..........

Wordless Wednesday: What's that rustling sound coming from downstairs?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm still here...

Hey y'all... it seems a couple of you out there missed me, what with the not blogging for almost a week. Sorry! I didn't mean to utterly disappear like that. We've been so busy with painting, you have NO idea. Part of the painting required disconnecting the computers and internet so we could move things from one room to another. Yes, I even went for an entire day without access to the internet. *shudder* Yesterday, for example, we painted our bedroom. The bedroom with the vaulted ceiling and 15 foot high walls. This morning? I cannot raise my arms above my shoulders. Yee-OUCH. The good news is that with the exception of some trim areas and the inside of Kiddo's closet, the upstairs is ALL DONE. (And there was much rejoicing.) Also, Hubby busted out the paint downstairs over the weekend so the back hallway and downstairs bathroom are finished as well. All that remains ("all" - ha HA) is the stairway, front foyer, great room, kitchen and laundry room, then we're through with Paintathon '09 - Do it in the Winter When You Can't Properly Ventilate!.

In other news, Friday was Kiddo's Valentine's Day class party, followed by the big Valentine's Day dance that night. Despite it not starting until Kiddo's normal bedtime, and despite the price we knew we'd pay for letting Kiddo get off her schedule (have I mentioned that kids with SPD really don't do terribly well when they're off their routine? 'Cause they don't!!!), we let her go to the dance. She lasted for one fiercely-energy burning hour, during which she barely stopped moving as she whipped through her second, third and fourth winds, before she came over and actually asked us if she could go home and go to sleep. Also on Friday, we learned that we are the lucky family chosen to keep Mr. Bear for the winter break. You see, Mr. Bear is this teddy bear that visits with one child from Kiddo's kindergarten class each weekend. That child brings Mr. Bear with him/her for everything the family does and then documents all the excitement in Mr. Bear's journal, complete with photos, which then gets shared in school the following Monday. Mr. Bear comes with his own luggage, toothbrush, pillow and blanket and stuffed animal, along with a large wardrobe. We first had Mr. Bear over a weekend in November. To have Mr. Bear for a whole week (actually, NINE days) is a big deal for Kiddo. Mommy, however, was less than excited. That's a lot of adventures and documenting and such........ Kiddo has another cold right now, (Hubby has it too but so far I've avoided it *knock freshly painted wood*) so Mr. Bear's adventures have mainly been of the "sitting on the couch and watching March of the Penguins or playing quietly in Kiddo's room" variety. Hopefully we'll get to do something fun that doesn't involve paint rollers before the week is out.
We didn't "do" Valentine's Day this year, swimming as we were in five gallon buckets of Soft Ecru, but such is life. Kiddo did bring us each home a chocolate heart from her day with her grandparents, who so very graciously and kindly picked her up yesterday at a little after nine and kept her until late afternoon. Oh, and here's something: the people right across the street from us just put their house on the market yesterday. Their house is smaller than ours by about 100 square feet, has no basement (it's a split level - oooh, sorry, a "contemporary raised ranch" according to their real estate agent) and has only a one car garage, and their lot, while the same size as ours, backs up to another street of houses whereas ours backs up to a pond and woods, yet they've listed it at the same price we were planning to list ours for once we're all done with the freshening up. Hmmm. Not sure if our real estate agent will want to raise the price on ours by a bit (we've got the two car garage, the extra 100 square feet, the full basement, better positioned lot and have a colonial instead of a split level) or if he'll want to list at our originally intended price, thereby making our house the better option of the two on the street...

So, that's me. Woozy from paint fumes, fairly sick of soft ecru, and wishing the Paint Fairy would turn up and wave her magic wand so that we didn't have to paint the two-story foyer or 16-foot high great room walls. (Suddenly, I'm much less enamored of our cathedral ceilings....)

I shall leave you with a few pictures from the past few days, and a hearty recommendation as well.

Here are a few of Kiddo (and Mr. Bear, who was her date) from the dance on Friday night:

This is Mr. Bear hanging with Kiddo's Stuffed Animal Entourage. He's the one reclining against her pillow. (Yes, she has way, way, way too many stuffed animals. We know. Also, each and every one of those stuffed animals has a name, and I know them all. No wonder I can't remember simple things like the three items I went to the grocery store for - my brain is FULL!) Note that he is in his jammies. He doesn't actually sleep in bed with her, but rather on the floor next to her bed.

And this is the recommendation. If you ever have to move ANY piece of furniture, run down to Walmart or Target or wherever you can and buy yourself some of these:

They make moving furniture (like a queen-size bed and two completely full dressers) a total breeze. Like I moved our bed around the room by myself. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! (We didn't even buy this official "As Seen on TV" brand, but rather the knock-off brand available at Wally World. Still worked like a dream!)

And now, I'm off to eat my oatmeal and figure out what to paint next.....................

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An awesome bedtime story

A most awesome bedtime story reading occurred in Kiddo's room a little while ago. This was the book read:

It was one of my favorite books when I was a kid, but that's not why it made for such an awesome bedtime story. Neither was the fact that the book's subject was snow when, in fact, it was warm enough outside today to melt all but the most stubborn remnants of our snowpack, and even a good portion of the ice on the pond. Nope, the thing that made tonight's awesome bedtime story so dang awesome was the reader. It wasn't me, it wasn't Hubby, it was Kiddo.

Yep. Kiddo read me the book. (Well, technically, she was reading it to Ectobert and Cloudy, the two members of her SAE - that'd be the Stuffed Animal Entourage - who chose tonight's selection. I mean, she read it to "all the guys" and Mommy, too, but it was for Ectobert and Cloudy. Daddy heard it from the hall outside her room where he was busily painting, too.) She read all 60-something pages of it, with only two words hanging her up (one was know as she didn't know about the whole silent K thing, and the other was another - I totally thought appetite would trip her up but nope, she sounded that one right out). She really, truly read the book.

It was awesome. Best. Storytime. Ever!!

Wordless Wednesday: Crazy Cat's personal Mt. Everest

(...yes, I'm still packing...)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get to have lunch in person with two of my favorite bloggers, Kristin and Andy. (If you don't already have these women on your blogroll, go over there now and check them out. Coincidentally, they're both doing awesome giveaways right now, too! Just please come back...)

We dressed in our finest Chanel suits and pearls, ate at a fine dining establishment, sampling low-calorie, minusculey portioned salads off of bone china, and sipped green tea (with pinkies curled) as we discussed global warming, the economy and the latest NY Times Bestseller List nonfiction books that we'd been reading. (Things did get a bit spirited as we debated the better form of green energy: wind power or geothermal energy, but we kept things civil.) After that, conversation got a bit lighter, as we compared notes on our favorite gourmet recipes - just the ones we whip up most often for our dear husbands and darling children - and traded tips on which maid services in town we prefer. We ended our meal with a delightful selection of petit fours, feeling a bit daring as we were about the decadence of ingesting those teensy yet calorie-laden morsels. All in all, it was a perfectly delightful hour, spent with genteel and refined company, and we air-kissed at the entrance as we waited for the valet to bring our cars around, promising to do it again once we'd further researched renewable energy sources to avoid the slightly heated debate that had ensued today. Then we all drove off directly to our respective gyms, where we each planned to do an extra hour of tai-bo to work off those petit fours before going home to get started on the seven course, all organic, macrobiotic gourmet meals we were planning on fixing for dinner.


Okay, okay, maybe that's not *exactly* how it happened. It still was an extremely fun hour (or almost three) with good food and the most excellent company. The discussion was lively and I have to say, it was an honor and a delight to get to hang out with Kristin and Andy, especially without children, for the afternoon. I swear I'm not making this up, either, and as proof, here's a picture our waitress graciously snapped of us at the end of our meal.

Okay, fine, that's not us. Here we are:

Fine, fine, that isn't us, either. Obviously we couldn't be dining outdoors in our current weather...

(What? You see a milkshake glass in the picture? *whistling innocently* burp I don't know what you're talking about, I swear!)

Kristin and Andy, thanks for a great time! You ladies rock!

Let's end this with a little of the inimitable Elaine Stritch, shall we?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

For my dear friend Givinya...

My dear bloggy friend Givinya De Elba and I were chatting online a little while ago, she from tomorrow and summer as it is Down Under right now, and me from this evening and the dead of winter as it is here in upstate New York. In her corner of the world, they are having an insane heat wave, whilst in my corner of the world, it is cold-n-snowy as usual. With the assistance of a handy C-to-F converter, we ooohed and aaaahed and exclaimed about the extreme differences in our weather. She shared with me a set of adorable pictures of a wild koala who was photographed attempting to cool off on some family's porch in a tub of water (thereby reinforcing, as I told her, my American impressions and stereotypes of what Australia must surely be like* - koalas dangling from every tree branch, kangaroos munching on the veggie garden and packs of dingoes stealing babies at every opportunity. Oh, and let's not forget the crocs and sharks and how certainly all Australians must dress like this:


Unless of course, they look more like this....


which would be absolutely acceptable.) Anyhow, I told Givinya that I would have to take some pictures of our current weather for her, so after I tore myself away from the computer long enough to fix dinner for the family and all that jazz, I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots. Sadly, there is nary a cute koala in any of them, actually there was nothing living to be seen on my street, excepting for a gentleman snowblowing his driveway up the block...

Anyhow, here now, for Givinya and anyone else who might care to view and imagine the frozen wasteland that is my property and neighborhood, is what it looked like outside the toasty walls of Chez Smith at approximately quarter past six this evening:

Above: The view out our front door. Note out by the street, how it is so much easier to collect our mail in the winter, as the snowbanks are high enough that should any mail drop from your mittened grasp as you leeeeean out your car window to collect it, the mail falls mere inches, so you don't even have to open your car door and reach all the way down to the street!

Above: The view out the window above my kitchen sink. Ahh, the joy of sitting on the deck, sipping a nice, cool drink.....only about six more months until such a thing will be a reality!

Above: The view out our back door. The rest of the deck, the back yard, and the pond behind our property. What's that? You can't quite make it out? Not even the birdbath by the back gate? All obliterated by a pile of white stuff in the pitch blackness that heralds 6pm here in the winter? *sigh* Exactly.

Yeah, brrrrrrrrr.

*Oh, and by the way, just to be clear, I'm totally kidding about Australia. I'm positively chartreuse with envy that Givinya and all the other citizens actually get to live there, and fervently hope and dream that someday, Down Under will be a destination the Smith family visits. And as far as Aussie couture is concerned, I also ought to mention that Kiddo is wholly obsessed with Bindi Irwin - aka "Bindi the Jungle Girl" -

and frequently requests that I style her hair just like Bindi's, please Mommy!, which I do by braiding it when it is wet, letting it dry, and then combing out. I refuse to ever buy a crimping iron, unless I'm suddenly guest starring on Lost and get flashed back to the 1980s when such purchases were acceptable.

And honestly, even if the majority of Australia was like this.........

That'd be a total hoot, so completely fine by me! I know, I know, only certain bits of the Outback are that exciting, I know... Still, Givinya does assure me that there are parts of her amazing country that do have the dangling koalas and hopping all over the place roos, so that's definitely cool enough by me!

(And I'm totally sure that Givinya is just dying to come 'round the globe to upstate NY now that she's seen what our lovely weather this time of year is like, right? Right?)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

.......drumroll please.......


Whaddya think? Chopped, highlighted and lowlighted. Woo! (I turned on all the lights in the room to try to get a good shot of the colors, but it still looks kind of dark. Trust me, it has variations in color. I tried to lighten the picture up with my lame, lame picture-wizardy skills, but alas, it was beyond the capabilities of me and my Paint Shop Pro software.)

So far, only Kiddo and her grandma have seen it. (Hubby will be home in about 15 minutes...) Grandma loved it, Kiddo's response: "Mommy, you have BOY HAIR!" Um, yeah, thanks, sweetie. Of course now she's in the tub yelling to me "Hey Mommy, my hair is TOO LONG and I want to get it CUT because, um, it's itching my back...." Not gonna happen, but at least she seems to've come around to liking the shorter 'do.

I have no regrets, except why the heck did I spend almost 16 months in Wolverine Fawcett-Van Beethoven/Carol Brady hair hell? I should've just stuck with short. Please remind me of that the next time I decide to grow out my hair..... if there is ever a next time!

So, love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Hit me with your best shot, I'm a big girl (apparently a big girl with boy hair, mind you...)

Update: By request, here's a shot of the back and also the top! Sorry, took it myself, as Hubby is busily prepping the walls in the basement for painting (something we'd always meant to do but never got around to... it's funny, now we're finally doing all the things we'd always meant to, and leaving - kinda makes us wish that we'd either done them before so we could enjoy them, or weren't moving. Well, not so much on the not moving, as we definitely want to move. If only there were a Moving Fairy...) so I did the "use the mirror in the bathroom to reflect the back o' my head" technique. Clever, clever, eh? Hee!

Oh, I can tell you now that Hubby's seen it - he likes it a lot, too! So far, the verdict's been pretty much unanimous, with Kiddo the lone "BOY HAIR!" dissenter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Major Crisis of Epic Proportions

HELP! It's a major crisis of epic proportions:

I might cut all my hair off again!

I'm really, really feeling strongly like I should just give up on the whole "growing it out" thing and just go back to a short(er), Mom 'do.

I want something sassy.

Something chic.

Something hip.

Something cute.

Problem is, my hair just. Doesn't. DO THAT. Not without major fussing.

And that, my friends, is the major issue. I want short, sassy, chic, hip and cute hair without having to do anything to it to get it that way. Or, not to have to spend more than, say, 5-10 minutes maximum to get it that way. AND, once I do get it that way, I'd like for it to stay that way. Because remember this hair?

Yeah, here's the thing about this particular look. Within a few hours, and despite the generous application of gobs and sprays and spritzes of hair products designed to keep follicles from frizzing or flying away or even thinking of moving, my hair was back to Wolverine Fawcett Van Beethoven.


So here are some pictures of my hair at present. Let's call these the Before Pics, mmmkay?



(Please also note the wall of boxes in the background of the top picture; those are the 34 boxes I collected from the friendly and accommodating liquor store earlier today. They've become our own, personal Mt. Everest for both Kiddo and Crazy Cat. I'm amazed the wall is still standing at this point...)

So, you see what my hair does when left to its own devices? See how it wings this way and that, curling at just the bottom in weird, opposing directions? This is the end result of washing, conditioning, towel-drying, anti-frizz seruming and combing, then letting it dry naturally. Not. Pretty. At. All.


Tomorrow, my plan is to go and get my hair cut. At the very least, I need to get it trimmed, to de-split-endify and get my bangs back in their official neighborhood (that being just north of my eyebrows). I can't get rid of my bangs entirely - my hairline at the front is weird and not pretty and I hate my forehead. So, bangs in some form shall stay. (I learned this lesson the last time I grew my hair out, when I grew out my bangs for like 2 years and when they'd FINALLY reached a length that I no longer actually had any more bangs, I promptly marched into my hair salon and had her cut them back in, breathing huge sighs of relief as she did.) If I could achieve one of the cute-n-sassy, short cuts, that wouldn't require crazy upkeep and daily maintenance, I would do it, at this point, I think... But then, there's a whole year (actually, 15 months!) of suffering through the growing-out hell hair that I've done, all down the drain in one, fell cut. Would I regret giving up after perservering for so long? Maybe...

So, dear blogosphere friends (and random strangers who happen across this post), what do you think I should do? Please keep in mind that whatever hair I come up with has to flatter (as best it can - I realize it is just hair after all, and not a full-head plastic surgery substitute nor an opaque, paper bag) my head, cheeks and chins... I'd rather not look too matronly, but it also has to be age-appropriate.

Choices are:

A) Cut it!
B) Keep the faith and keep growing it out!
C) Seriously, Heather, there are way more important things to be carrying on about than your stupid hair! I mean, have you heard about the economy? The wars? Global warming?

If you vote A, any style suggestions (links to actual photos especially) would be greatly appreciated.

If you vote B, any style suggestions for the next interminable stretch of growing it out (links to actual photos especially) would be greatly appreciated.

And if you vote C, I know. I totally know.... And yet, I obsess. I moan, I stare at myself in the mirror, I try things, then I come here and I whinge on and on. It's my blog and I'll foist my follicle crisis upon the world via this post if I want to!

Stay tuned.... I will post After pictures tomorrow of whatever winds up happening atop my crazy noggin!