Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heather = Little Miss Muffet?!

I totally am Little Miss Muffet! Well, except that she was sitting on a tuffet, and I was standing two rungs up on a stepladder, and she was eating a lovely bowl of curds and whey, whereas I was holding a container of primer in one hand and a paint brush in the other, and she just ran off (presumably) when the spider sat alongside her and frightened her away, while I shrieked like Ned Flanders upon seeing the velvet drapes in the Murder House episode and then flung myself backwards off the stepladder and onto the floor. Ass first, so at least there was ample padding.

So, yeah, totally Miss Muffet. Except for those few, small details.

Suicidal spiders (dime sized, black and hairy - FREAKY) plunging into primer aside, I made excellent progress in the family room, which is no small feat. Actually it is many feet - 23 by 15 square feet's worth. After I took Kiddo to school, I busied myself doing trim work that I couldn't do with the roller last night - the baseboards, mantel, doorways and crown molding, which is what I was working on when that dang spider dropped in and scared the bejeebus out of me. Then tonight, while Hubby got Kiddo bathed and to bed, I rolled out the ceiling. It was wicked hot and humid in the family room, even after I was able to open the windows (we had a bit of a torrential downpour earlier on this evening) and thus, I was "glistening" heavily (since we women don't actually sweat now, do we?) by the time I was done.

But I am done. DONE with the primer, DONE with the prepping, and tomorrow there will be GARDEN MOSS green going up on the walls. (Technically, it's on the walls a bit already as Hubby just started cutting in the edges in the office so I can roll it out tomorrow).

Herewith, a photo recap. I pondered the idea of reenacting Heather's Great Fall, but decided against it. I already am thinking I'll have a bruise the size of Antarctica on my rear by the morning - no need to add another continent to the mix!

With apologies to Lionel Richie:
Oh, what a feeling! Rolling paint across the ceiling!
Oh, and now I'm reeling - my arms and neck have lost all feeling!

Am I really *that* happy to be painting the ceiling, or am I just high on paint fumes? You be the judge! (Also - I managed to not get a single drip of paint on/in my face, so keep your comments about standing directly underneath the roller with my mouth open to yourself. Heh.)

Ta-da!!! All ready for Garden Moss! Yes, I *know* I look fantabulous. You're jealous, I'm sorry. We can't all look so flippin' hot - and I *was* hot! - while slaving away at the home renovations. I'm just special. Right? Right. Special.

Now for some carrot cake (and yes, it was from Cheesy Eddie's!) and then back to work. Tomorrow the electrician comes to install ceiling fans in our room and Kiddo's room, and I need to tackle the mountain of boxes and tubs holding all my clothes. They're towering about the room and I just keep rooting through them instead of, you know, unpacking them into the dresser and closet. It is getting a bit tiring running down to the garage in search of the necessary undergarments - have to remember to bring that tub upstairs with me when I go! Also must remember to take a few handfuls of Advil, so I have a fighting chance at raising my arms above my head tomorrow morning.

Wordless Wednesday: Make a wish...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Now she is six

When I was One,

I had just begun.

When I was Two,

I was nearly new.

When I was Three

I was hardly me.

When I was Four,

I was not much more.

When I was Five, I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,

So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

~ A. A. Milne

Mommy holding Kiddo at the hospital the night before she went home, June 2003

Mommy and Kiddo at the Lilac Festival parade, May 2009

Happy sixth birthday, Kiddo! You are and will always be my bug of love!!!

(For the story of Kiddo's birth, you can click here...)

Monday, May 25, 2009

As much as I enjoy the Talking Heads,

I do not particularly want to live the words of their songs.

Specifically, this song.

And yet, this was a very real possibility, as we discovered last night. Hubby and I had been merrily priming away in the lower level of the house, and were listening to the radio via Kiddo's boom box, which we'd plugged in to an outlet in the downstairs bathroom and set up in the hall so we could hear it without tripping over it as we were already frequently tripping over and/or jabbing each other with roller poles in the office as it was. Later on in the evening, I stopped painting after finishing up the rolling work, threw Kiddo into her bathtub and started attacking the mountain of laundry that was threatening to avalanche and bury the floor of our bedroom. All of a sudden, Kiddo yelled "HEY MOM, WHY'D YOU TURN OUT THE LIGHTS ON ME??" I was a little bit "huh?" as I hadn't, in fact, turned out the lights, but I glanced up the stairs and sure enough, the hallway and bathroom lights were out and Kiddo was bathing in the dark. Further investigation showed that the lights were out in the master bedroom and bath as well. I called down to Hubby to see whether he had just turned off a circuit, as he was busy doing things in the basement and it seemed plausible. He had not.

This was the point at which we both became mildly concerned. Hubby had been pulling wires in the basement, but only the old phone lines that were no longer being used. We went over all the lines he had pulled and thought that maybe, just maybe, he'd jostled something loose, but it didn't seem to be the case.

We got Kiddo out of her bath and into bed, with her boom box restored to her room (she sleeps to a white noise CD) and then investigated further. Hubby had also removed the lighting fixture temporarily in the office while getting ready to paint the ceiling in there, but none of the wires seemed loose/shorted out in the fixture. The rooms that were missing power were not any one circuit. It was part of two different circuits, which was odd. We couldn't trace the mystery power outage to any one thing we had done. We were perplexed, and I was wondering aloud whether our electrician would make emergency house calls on a holiday weekend and how much that would cost, and Hubby was responding that we could surely live without power in half the upstairs "for a few days" (ummm, NO) and then he found the cause of the problem.

Specifically, this:

That'd be the outlet from the downstairs bathroom. The same outlet that our house inspector had noted (he tested every, single outlet in the house) had a reversed polarity and had suggested we correct, you know, eventually. Turns out it was more than just reversed polarity (which, for those of you who are like me and for whom even the vaguest of "technical" talk makes you say "whaaaa?" means that wires were not connected to the right thingies in the outlet, you know, like white to white and black to black). The outlet's ground wire was also not connected at all. Again, I'm not some sort of home repair and/or electrician-type wizard, but I'm pretty sure that whenever one is discussing "ground" connections in relation to electricity, that the whole "grounding" concept is pretty important. That the "ground" bit is what keeps lines from shorting out or starting fires or what have you. You know, stuff like that.

Hubby promptly killed the power and removed the outlet. (That's how we got the picture he took above...) We had already picked up a new outlet to replace the old one with anyhow, so he installed it, and then this morning he picked up a new switch and installed that too. Hubby reported that before he removed that outlet, he stuck the little outlet tester thingy (that I didn't even realize we owned) into both openings of that outlet and that the lower openings sparked when he did that. Yipes.

So, our final conclusion was that plugging the boom box into and then removing the boom box from that outlet triggered the problem that triggered the short that caused the power to fail in part of the house (whatever was "upstream" of that outlet). The problem would likely have been discovered eventually, probably by the house catching fire and burning down.

Whew. Close one.

Hubby is confident now that none of the other outlets will cause this same problem and that we have corrected the one thing that could cause the house to burn down.

I'm buying some more smoke detectors today and putting like three in every room. Just in case.

The joys of buying an older home........

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Well, the first week in the new house has passed now. Here's a recap of some of the firsts we've had during the first week in our new home!

Kiddo's first chore in the new house: picking up sticks in the front and back yards so I could mow the jungle that was our lawn. She did a surprisingly great job!

The first time the living room and dining room (pictured below) hardwood floors saw daylight in 44 years, following the removal of that heinous, mauve carpet you can still see on the stairs...

First Sunday Night Nachos (a Mr. & Mrs. Smith weekly tradition) in the new house. The first actual meal I cooked on the stove was macaroni and cheese for Kiddo, not counting reheating pizza and other meals sent over by lovely friends. Haaaate the new stove/oven, and the range hood fan is horrendous - though I did almost convince Kiddo the "fan" is actually a hive of bees sucking air up through straws because the noise is that loud and buzzy - but they work well enough so we're living with them for now - we'll see what we do about appliances when we get to the Great Kitchen Renovation this fall.

First exploration of the new neighborhood! Kiddo had a half day on Monday, so she and I went scootering and walking around the nabe, meeting several lovely neighbors (though alas, none were the Jackman family like the dream I had a few weeks ago) in the process.

(To get back to our house, in case we were at all uncertain where home was, we just had to find the pile o' ugly carpeting and padding that was awaiting collection by the garbage man. The morning they picked it up and carted it off was a great joy to us, but caused great dismay to the chipmunks who were merrily setting up a home inside some of the rolls...


The first time Kiddo wore this new outfit, because we had a few days of crazy hot temperatures, like midsummer in mid-spring! Kiddo is doing her big, jazz hands finish here to a song she was singing ("No One Loves You Any Better Than Your M-O-double M-Y" as recorded by John Lithgow). Now, I had asked her to stop on our way out the door that morning to drive to school and give me a smile so I could capture her cuteness. Being my daughter, she can't content herself with a quick smile for the camera, and instead must launch into a full-on song-n-dance routine.

The first grilled dinner, done for the first time on the new grill (our old one, which was little more than rust molecules held together by a thin residue of Delicious Meals Past, died when Hubby tried cooking on it last weekend). This was followed by the first eating on the back patio, which was lovely despite a few bothersome moments due to bite-y gnats and no-see-'ums. Once the boxes have moved off the lanai and the lanai furniture arrives (we're getting my late grandparents' set that my parents have in storage at the farm), we will be able to dine alfresco but not be bugged by bugs, which will be delightful. For now, the lanai is primarily enjoyed by the boxes and Crazy Cat goes crazy watching all the wildlife in the back yard.

(No, this picture wasn't at all staged, really. Why would you even think that? ;) )

From earlier today, the first ice cream of the season! Okay, actually this isn't ice cream, but rather Abbott's Frozen Custard, which Hubby has always sworn is better than any ice cream in the world. Kiddo didn't disagree, exactly, either....

The first feeding of the ducks on the Erie Canal of the season, which also occurred earlier this afternoon:

So, we have gotten a lot accomplished already (and by "we" I mean "mostly Hubby because he is absolutely amazing at the amount of stuff he can accomplish in a short time and I'm seriously in awe") and we have a lot left to do. There have been a few surprises along the way, like discovering the return air ducts that should draw air out of our bedroom and Kiddo's bedroom instead don't connect to anything and are drawing air out of the space between the floor and the ceiling. That'll be a several hundred dollar professional repair job next week, which has pushed the carpet installation out by a week, which pushes the "getting the office and family room stuff moved out of temporary spaces and set up properly" project out by a week as well... but we're persevering, enjoying the neighborhood (it is SO much quieter than the old neighborhood, which we never even thought was that noisy!) and getting settled in, removing the Eau d'Oldster and replacing it with Eau d'Fresh Paint (Soft Linen and Garden Moss are the first two colors going up, we've yet to settle on a shade of pink for Kiddo's room and haven't even given any thought to the bathrooms yet) instead.

Hope everyone else is enjoying a paint-fume and wallpaper-removal free weekend, especially those of you celebrating a long, holiday weekend. If you want to see photos of the renovation, Hubby has started a blog to document our progress and I would be happy to point you that way; just send me an email and I'll give you the link! Alternatively, I've been posting pictures on Facebook, so if you aren't one of my Facebook friends and want to be, you can see all the photos your heart desires of the house project there as well - just friend me, baby!

More to come, with Kiddo's birthday, kindergarten class field trip to the zoo and birthday party all in the coming week!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

On the seventh day...

He may have rested on Sunday, but not us. Then again, it isn't actually our seventh day in the new house, but only the third full day. Let me give you the rundown of what we've done so far:

- Ripped out dark pink (some call it mauve, I've also heard it called rose) carpeting and underlying padding from the living room, dining room and upstairs hall, leaving it in place only on the stairs until the carpet dudes come to install runners and W2W on the lower level.

- Decided between "Pearly Fleck" and "Natural Fleck" carpet samples I'd driven around in the van for a week for the lower level and staircase runners. (Natural Fleck won, and yes they WERE TOO different colors. Really. The differences were subtle but real, dagnabit!)

- Removed the tack strips, complete with ninety million nails and eleventy million staples, from just about everywhere there had been carpeting, with actual Smith Family Feet stepping on the aforementioned nails and staples only four times in the process (and three of those were mine - yee-OUCH) (Oh, and for the record, Hubby and Kiddo did all the tack-strip removal, I pulled nary a staple or nail myself.)

- Removed large, padded area rugs from all three bedrooms.

- Removed the matching Pink/Mauve/Rose swag valances from all the downstairs windows, which were installed by means of hammering in seven thousand brass upholstery nails (the fancy kind that one sees on leather, wingback chairs in Rich Old Man Studies) along the top of the window frames.

- Unloaded the truck, minivan and car, thereby ensuring we have Boxes Everywhere.

- Cleaned 44 years' worth of Oldster Grime Remnants from various surfaces, with many more surfaces to go.

- Mowed the front and sides of the yard, bringing the grass level down from Holy Heck, Did We Buy a Plot of Jungle? to Well, it Isn't Perfect But You Can Tell it is Just a Lawn, Whew.

- Hauled all the carpeting and padding out to the curb, where it really didn't look any nicer in the sunlight.

- Made one very expensive trip to Walmart, slightly less expensive trips to Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target and one trip to our new "home" grocery store, following which I vowed I will never, ever shop there on a Saturday afternoon again, ever. (Holy tourists and slack-jawed yokels, Batman!)

- Consumed our respective body weights in pizza, subs, soda and Dunkin Donuts, with one lovely respite meal delivered via one of the college boys hired to help us move, made by his mom - pulled pork BBQ, baked beans and a ridiculously delicious apple pie.

- Officially signed the death certificate for our grill, which I was surprised Hubby even wanted to try moving, as it was barely more than a mass of rust molecules held together only by a thin layer of Residue of Meals Past. Also subsequently finished cooking sausages and hot dogs in the Ancient and Tiny Oven instead of grilling our first Saturday night dinner in the new house.

- Asked "Have you seen the........." eighty-five thousand, six hundred and twelve times.

- Answered "It was in a box........." eighty-five thousand, six hundred and twelve times.

- Snarked "WHICH box? Where?" eighty-five thousand, six hundred and twelve times.

- Snapped "I don't know - just go LOOK for it, all the boxes are labeled!" eighty-five thousand, six hundred and twelve times.

- Ate another donut because of stress of all the damn boxes.

- Instituted Rule in which if one opens a box looking for something, one must then unpack that entire box.

- Threatened to Ignore That Rule and then counter-threatened to Divorce Immediately if the rule was ignored.

- Ignored the Rule anyway (but so has he, so ha ha hardy ha ha).

- Scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed at the Weird, I Don't Want to Think About the Origin or I'll Totally Freak Out discolorations and stains on various bathroom surfaces.

- Realized I didn't really miss having Tiles with Ancient Grout in bathrooms over these past 9.5 years of having New, Non-Tile bathroom fixtures (grew up in a house full of Tiles with Ancient Grout).

- Went to eat another donut because of the stress of Weird Discolorations and Stains but discovered the donut box was empty. Because that was the one box in the house that had to be empty, right?

- Worried about the health of Kiddo's goldfish, temporarily housed in a dirty tank with nonworking filter on the hearth of the fireplace in the family room, but decided to wait it out until Hubby cleans it all out and fixes it up.

- Met two of the neighbors (one from across the street, one from next door) who came over to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood, and waved at the other next-door neighbor as we headed out to the Ridiculous Grocery Store.

- Had our first official visitor who wasn't a service person (Yay Kristin!) who kindly didn't comment on the state of disaster in which we currently are dwelling.

- Had a locksmith come over to re-key the locks so that the number of keys we needed to carry to enter our home was something less than a million (seriously - two locks per door, five doors into the house, and a different key for each lock. All the keys had Oldster Code on them in the form of various combinations of dots in various shades of Pink/Rose/Mauve and red nail polish. Not being 86 years old, we were unable - okay, unwilling - to crack the code).

- Verified that there are in fact four eggs in the robins' nest above the light on our back patio, thereby saving the nest from being knocked down by Hubby because it might damage the exterior.

- Freecycled the first of our eleventy billion boxes as we finally, finally got some unpacked.


Alas, there still are many, many, many, mannnnnnnnnny boxes left to unpack, miles of wallpaper to strip (haven't stripped a single inch yet) and many surfaces left to de-Oldsterfy. When we came through the house on our final walk-through the other night, we were sure that the Oldsters had hired a cleaning crew to come through, because on first glance, everything looked all clean. We had spent hours - literally, HOURS - cleaning our house before we left, down to thoroughly mopping the floors and wiping down all the counters, cabinet shelves and drawers. And the fridge and freezer and the washer and dryer, too. I even washed off the damn lint screen in the dryer. Once we moved in, though, we realized that not only had they not hired professionals to clean, they really hadn't cleaned anything themselves, either. I mean, it isn't filthy, but there is a definite layer of 44 years of accumulated residue on everything from the rails of the wrought-iron railings on the stairs to the doors and walls and shelves... The terms of the contract state that things will be "broom clean" upon occupancy, and I guess they were, it just wasn't the same level of broom clean that we did at our old house. Sigh.

So, we plow onward through towers of boxes and gallons of cleaning products. Things are starting to find homes where they belong, like the linens and pantry items, and my goal for the end of today is to have the kitchen unpacked and put together so that we're no longer hunting through towers of boxes in the garage or on the lanai for a spatula or pot holder or what have you. Hubby is going to take out the orange shag carpeting in the office and continue working on the wiring of the house (cable and phone lines need to be run basically to every room, as it was only on the lower level and in the kitchen, and he didn't want to pay the Time Warner dude to do it when he could do it himself). Kiddo is going to continue to alternately offer to help us with things and write plaintive notes saying "Der Mom, I just want to do sumthing fun. Love, Kiddo" or "Der Mom, I wish there was sumthing fun that I culd do insted of work. Love, Kiddo" though she did act like a kid at Christmas when I opened up one of the boxes for her room and tossed a variety of princesses, dinosaurs and My Little Ponies on the floor for her to play with yesterday. Crazy Cat is no longer cowering behind the dryer, and is now prowling about the house as if she owns the place. She even has barfed up hairballs in the middle of the night for the past two nights - clearly she is feeling much more comfortable and at home. We haven't yet unpacked my computer (I'm using Hubby's laptop right now) or found the camera cords, so I can't share any pictures of the progress so far, but I will as soon as I am able.

And now Hubby has finished showering in the newly scrubbed, newly shower-curtained, newly installed showerheaded Pepto Bismol shower, which is my signal to get off the computer and back to life in the land of Moving. Yee-ha!

Hope everyone is having a delightful weekend that doesn't require the opening or unpacking of any boxes or any Oldster Residue Removal!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Reflections in the dawn's early light

Ice packs that one can strap on to one's body are one of the best things, ever.

Sometimes, there is not enough Advil in the house. Even when one has an economy sized bottle.

The new house has a certain, clinging scent of Eau d' Oldster. It is improving with the removal of all the carpets and area rugs, and with opening the windows (something the previous owners apparently NEVER did), but it may take wallpaper removal and paint to banish it for good.

Good thing we're planning on removing wallpaper and paint.

We need a new showerhead and shower curtain in the master bath. (Hubby discovered this at around 5:45; I haven't attempted a shower in the new house yet myself.) Apparently, there was Major Badness when he attempted to use the Pepto Bismol Shower. Yikes.

We have traded the X-rated waterfowl of the old house for the Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Social Club. And a nearby fire house with a siren. And a near-enough-to-hear-the-horn train tracks.

As I grew up in houses that were near fire houses and train tracks, neither of those sounds bothered me much. Kiddo seems to have slept through them as well.

They made some *ugly* wallpaper patterns in the late 60s.

One can survive on pizza, soda and donuts for a surprisingly long time.

I really need to go to the grocery store.

I really, really hate boxes.

TGIF y'all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We're in...

Hey gang! Quick update to let you know we're in the new (old!) house! Both closings went smoothly, all systems are go - the Time Warner dude was supposed to arrive between 4 and 7 and walked up the driveway at 4:15, a miracle! - so we have power, cable, phone and internet (albeit Hubby's laptop on a shelf in the kitchen - not too conducive to blogsurfing as of yet).

The bad news is I took a spectacular, flying leap off the top of the stairs and landed with a resounding thud. Okay, fine, I fell backwards from the top step (thank heavens we're in a split level so the top step is only five steps up!) when we were carrying out the area rug from the one bedroom, but still, I *did* land with a resounding thud, right on my left knee, shoulder and elbow. Yee-OUCH. I haven't looked at the damage yet but I can tell it is swollen. Hubby hurt his one wrist yesterday while moving stuff around and as he did way more lifting and carrying than I did (along with the assistance of the two college boys from our old church we lined up to help with the move) so I am guessing we are going to be moving verrrrrry slowly come the morning. The price one pays for saving money and not hiring professionals to do all this stuff, eh?

Kiddo is mucho excited about the new house, her new room (soon to be painted a shade of pink she has selected) and the new yard, but mostly the new next-door neighbor's dog (which looks to be a giant schnauzer from the glimpses we've had through the hedgerow). Crazy Cat is decidedly NOT happy about the move thus far. She had only ever lived in our old house for her entire life, so she is a little WTH?!?! about the entire venture. (Our old cat moved 8 times in 13 years, so for her it was old hat.) We let her out of the carrier right next to her new litter box location in the laundry room and she promptly ensconced herself behind the dryer in the corner, under the vent pipe/tube thingy. She has only ventured out twice, briefly, and Hubby reported that he picked her up and brought her to the top of the stairs while I was out collecting Kiddo from her grandparents (she is sick so was out of school today) (I think it is just a minor cold; she has no fever and is going back tomorrow, but I'd be lying if I said "swine flu" didn't cross my mind when she first became symptomatic yesterday) (not that we've been anywhere where she could've gotten swine flu, other than school, of course) (not that I wouldn't mind having been on a Mexican beach instead of hauling nasty, 44 year old carpet rolls that are trying to kill me out to the curb), and he said she was being all super freaked out about stepping on the tile floor of the bathroom at the top of the stairs and then raced back down to her spot behind the dryer. I figure she'll come out eventually, perhaps in the morning when she discovers the robins' nest above the light over the patio in back... The fish has thus far survived as well, even with living in a 5 gallon paint bucket for the past 48 hours.

The best news so far is that we have discovered the hardwood floors under the nasty, nasty pink carpeting in the living room and dining room are GORGEOUS. Totally worth the pain and effort of getting rid of the pink plush!!!

So, that's the story from here. Hubby and I watched the season finales of ANTM and Lost last night (flipping over to check on Idol) while sitting on the floor of our living room, as there was no furniture left in the house besides our mattresses upstairs. It was definitely a memorable way to spend the last night, if not the most comfortable. Now we're gonna take a break and watch the season finales of The Office and 30 Rock on the floor of our new family room tonight, then head to bed. Plenty of work to be done yet, but an hour or two off to ice our weary, battered bones won't kill us!

More tomorrow, including pictures if I can get them uploaded (have to find cords and/or figure out where we can temporarily set up my computer until the office is done) but for now, thanks for the good vibes, thoughts and prayers and I'll be back soon! *mwah*

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Dark Side of the Moon

Let me start out by saying that so far, this has not been a great week. The fun is only going to get better from here on out, too, as we'll be picking up the ginormous U-Haul tomorrow night and loading it up Wednesday morning, bright and early, with the assistance of some stronger, younger backs and arms in the form of some college kids from our old church who are home for the summer and willing to work for cash and pizza. Then it is the Big Closing Day on Thursday, when, if all goes as it should, we will officially cease to own our current house and will instead take possession of the new house on the other side of town. Friday morning the U-Haul will be unloaded (hopefully with the continued assistance of the college boys, assuming we haven't scared them off on Wednesday), and then Operation Renovation will begin in earnest.

Of course, in the midst of all this, I will be without ready internet access for up to several days. *twitch twitch* As my ever lovely blogging buddy Ronnica put it to me this morning, it feels like I'm Tom Hanks going around the moon. (Hence, the title of my post. It is not really a Pink Floyd reference. I never got into Pink Floyd despite having friends in high school who were ardent, ardent fans.) It's probably for the best, I mean, it isn't like I don't have ridiculous amounts of stuff to do, and on top of that I haven't been sleeping well (hello stress) or eating well (hello, dregs of the dregs of the pantry, fridge and freezer), my allergies are kicking up bigtime and we had some not-so-good news at Kiddo's eye doctor appointment today. (I can't go into it without crying right now, so I shall just say that eye surgery is now much more of a possibility than we'd thought prior to the appointment this afternoon, and leave it at that. Side note: if you are quietly weeping to yourself as you get in line at the grocery store, people will totally give you cutsies. Just saying, in case you're ever really in a rush, consider it. Who knew?)

So, I'm basically a half inch away from an utter meltdown right now, which doesn't make me a very good blogger or blogosphere buddy anyway, so you're probably all well rid of me for a few days.

I was going to do some posts in advance to post while I'm back in the dark ages of No Internet, but I just haven't had a chance. (Heck, I've got computer-related things to do going back to March - Carma, I swear to George Clooney that I haven't forgotten your video. It will happen, really.) So, I'm going to point you to a few of my favorite blogs, in no particular order, who always make me laugh, sometimes to the point of a spit-take and/or side cramp. I'm fairly sure I've mentioned them to you before, because I *big red puffy heart* them all. If you don't read these ladies already, you should definitely go over and get to know them. They're all wittier and funnier writers than I ever could hope to be, even when I'm not stressed beyond belief and worrying about my kid and which box exactly had my last wits in it and did I label that one "fragile" or not......

So, check out these fantabulous women's blogs and please forgive me for a lack of commenting/blogsurfing for the next ????????????? I swear I'll be back (and that's not a threat, it's a promise, as my mother used to say)!
I'll see you once we've come back around from the dark side of the moon............

Andy at The Creative Junkie
Margaret at Nanny Goats in Panties
Anna at Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder
Kiki at Flibbertigibbet

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I don't have my scanner, so I can't scan this in to share the illustrations, but Kiddo came home with a book she made in school for Mother's Day. (They also painted flower pots for Mother's Day, but I knew about that because Kiddo is the World's Worst Secret Keeper and spilled the beans ages ago, even without any prompting from me.) Each page has a "fill in the blank" format and each page is wonderfully illustrated.

My Mother

by Kiddo

May, 2009

This is my mom. She is 41 feet tall and weighs 37 pounds. She is 37 years old. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

My mom works very hard. She is a home clenr.

My mom likes to let me scrach her bak.

My mom does not like to get swety.

My mom likes to eat chesbrgrs.

My mom is funny when she ticls me hy hy hy hy.

My mom is special because I have fun brthdas.

Translations and commentary...

37 pounds? I wish!

For the "home cleaner" picture, I am gleefully sweeping the kitchen floor, which is covered in grass and dirt. I don't think that I have ever had a look of glee on my face while sweeping the floor...

The "let me scratch her back" picture has us in matching outfits, me at my computer and Kiddo scratching my back. This one is totally true; I try to get Kiddo to scratch my back all the time.

As for the not getting sweaty, I'm not sure where Kiddo came up with this one. I mean, it's true enough - I am not particularly fond of being really sweaty, but still, I certainly wouldn't have said that for my top thing I don't like. The picture, however, is hilarious - I'm standing outside in the sun (who is wearing sunglasses, naturally) and there's a line of perfect, blue droplets dripping off the top of my head. I can only guess she was thinking back to when we were in WDW last summer and all it took to start sweating was stepping outside our hotel room and breathing...

The cheeseburger choice is another head scratcher for me. I mean, yes, I do enjoy a good cheeseburger - and the drawing she did certainly looks like a fantastic burger with a nice, fluffy bun covered in sesame seeds, but I can think of at least ten things I would say I "like to eat" way before I'd ever come up with cheeseburger myself. Perhaps this is because I like to sing along to the VeggieTales "His Cheeseburger" song.

I do love that song, that's for sure!

My mom is funny when she tickles me. That's "hee hee hee hee" and not "hi hi hi hi" by the way. This picture is hilarious, too. I once again have a look of utter glee on my face as I'm tickling Kiddo's feet. She is laughing in the picture, too.

And in closing, a little hint as to what kind of birthday cake Kiddo wants this year - the illustration for the "I have fun birthdays" page is a giant cake with Simba and Nala from The Lion King on it.

I told Kiddo that as soon as we get to our new house, I will plant the seeds (a packet of pansy seeds was included with the gorgeously painted flowerpot) - I bet they'll be quite happy out on the lanai...

So, along with Kiddo's stuff, Hubby gave me a Dunkin' Donuts gift card (I do love my DD hot chocolate) which was perfect timing as I just used up the last of the gift card he put in my Christmas stocking on Friday. Well, there's $.62 left on that one, but really, I don't even think that'd get you a Munchkin. Hubby also made omelets for breakfast, which was tasty *and* helped use up some of the eggs left in the fridge.

And that is about it for the Mother's Day festivities around our house. The rest of the day is going to be spent packing and packing and then cleaning and then packing some more. Our goal is to essentially have everything packed besides a suitcase and toiletries and be down to "mattresses on the floor" state by tonight. Then all we'll have to do is load up the moving truck Wednesday morning. I'm not sure if the everything will include my computer (and obviously, I'm hoping my computer is not in Hubby's intended list of electronics dismantling) but if my internet appearances get sporadic in the coming week, I apologize in advance. (You know if it is up to me, the computer will be the last thing to be unplugged as we're pulling out of the driveway for the last time Thursday morning.........) I was a little bummed when I woke up, because I'd been dreaming about packing and I had been so productive and then I woke up and realized that none of the stuff I packed was real. BUMMER. So, as I haven't yet apparently mastered the art of Dream Packing, I should get to it. Though I'd willingly stop packing for some Cheesy Eddie's carrot cake... hint hint hint, anyone who might be reading this (*cough*Hubby or Kiddo*cough*)....

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day, or alternatively, a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, May 8, 2009

In which I utterly blow any last remnants of my ladylike reputation clear to Heck

I've been debating whether or not I should relate the following anecdote. I mean, I do have a reputation to uphold, that of a dainty, delicate, utterly ladylike and genteel chick, of course...

At first, I was going to keep this to myself. Then, my dear friend Givinya de Elba posted something on her blog which spurred me into replying, via comment, about what had transpired despite my decision to keep this one in the vault and uphold my rep and all.

Furthermore, I was not, not, not going to share this with Hubby. I was firm on that one. I mean, it is true that over the past 16 and a half years we've been together, the bloom has somewhat come off the rose. The air of mystery surrounding All Things Feminine has long since whooshed out the window opened in the House Where Chicks Outnumber Dude. But, despite my resolve to not tell him, of course I did. Last night. Well, mostly - I was having a hard time getting to the crux of the matter given that I was giggling like a fool with tears streaming down my face. But he got the gist of my tale and then provided me with the perfect ending line, so now I am feeling compelled to blog it after all.

Here goes.... and if, by some slim chance, you're still subscribing to my Cheerful Delusion that I am a Dainty-n-Delicate Gal, you might want to stop reading now and go about your business.

So, I'm nearsighted. Really, really, reaaaaaally nearsighted. This is an accurate representation of Heather Without Her Corrective Lenses:

Seriously, I'm Squinty McWhatisthat without my specs. As one who has required glasses for more than one score and ten years (NB to Creative Junkie - I double checked and a score is twenty years. Apparently the brain cells aren't all pudding!) I have grown used to having to guesstimate what it is in front of my face at certain crucial times over the course of my day. The clock with extra-large, illuminated numbers that is over on Hubby's side of the bed (as he is the one who requires Control of the Alarm)? Perfectly used to squinting as hard as I can to determine if the number before the colon is one or two digits, and completely comfortable with the fact that unless it is 11:11, I'm not going to be able to tell what any of the numbers are beyond a glowing, green fuzz.

The tasks associated with showering are another set of things with which I am generally comfortable doing without being able to see them. (Goodness knows, the amorphous, jiggly, white mass that exists below my eyeballs is better left viewed in Extremely Soft Focus, anyhow.) Scrubbing, rinsing and that trickiest of all shower-related jobs: shaving, all are second nature to Magoo Me. Now, in order to shave my lower legs (and my big toes, if I am telling the complete truth, but what woman is going to admit to shaving her big toes? Let's just say it was a horrible mistake I first made back in my foolhardy teenage years that now requires regular maintenance, lest Sasquatch think I've robbed him of some digits in a weird, inter-species transplant situation) I have long since perfected a maneuver in which I prop my leg up against the side of the shower wall, kind of like this:

only slightly less dressed and graceful and also always solo. Oh, and I don't shave my armpits and legs simultaneously, so without the arm extension, too. Yes, for a big girl, I'm surprisingly flexible, and am able to effect the above position for better squinting proximity to shave.

Now, I must digress for a moment. It's actually relevant to the story, as you will see. I love prunes. Oh, I'm sorry, "dried plums" - thanks, Marketing Gurus! I love dried plums. Every once in a while, I'll be overcome while grocery shopping and buy a container of dried plums. (It does sound classier, I'll grant you that.) A few weeks ago, I was overcome in such a manner and thus, a large container of dried plums has recently been residing in our fridge. Dried plums that no one else in my family ever, ever eats, besides me. We've been frantically trying to eat down all the contents of our pantry, fridge, freezer and chest freezer with some decent amount of success, but it's taken effort. (We're down to about 1/3 of a case of frozen pizza dough balls, a Sam's Club sized box of Italian ices, and several bags of frozen veggies. Oh, and a large container of old-fashioned oatmeal. And Cheez-its, for Kiddo's lunches.) As I said, no one else in my family eats prunes dried plums, so it's been me giving a dedicated yet solo effort to finish off the container before Thursday, when we move. As I *big, red, puffy heart* them, this hasn't been a hardship. (And I should further note for the record that while I adore Jamie Lee Curtis - A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies were both performances of comedic perfection - I do not have a need for her in her new guise as the Activia Lady. Regularity has never been an issue for me, is what I'm saying.) I've been popping them down by the handful (as in four or five at a time) a few times a day, like when I'm making Kiddo's lunch for school or emptying the dishwasher or cooking dinner or walking by the fridge. They're so, so delicious. Mmmmm, prunetastic.

So, back to my original story. The other morning, I was in the shower and up to the deforestation portion of events. I was taking care of business in my usual Big Girl Ballet pose, and when I was through, I turned around to put the razor back up on the top shelf of the shower caddy that dangles from the showerhead. It was at this point that I noticed something on the floor of the tub.

That something, to be specific, was two somethings. Two small, dark brown, blobular somethings there behind me on the tub floor. Now, I suppose I must confess that while regularity isn't a problem for me in any event, my present Extra-Prunetastic diet has led to the occasional gaseous emission. And, while I was Leg Up on the Wall and shaving, I had a few such emissions. Whatever, I was home alone (well, besides the cat and frankly there is nothing I could bodily emit that could touch her post-bologna-consumption farts.) (NB to Crazy Sister - I amend my comment on your post earlier today. My cat's post-bologna-consumption gas might be the Worst Smell, Ever.) So, I froze at the sight of these two, small, dark brown, blobular somethings fuzzily peering up at me through the steam and myopia.

I will confess that I pondered for a moment or two if any of my recent gaseous emissions might've been a bit more... strenuous than I'd thought at the time. I mean, I was distracted by my Shaving By Braille method and the whole Trying Not to Slice My Legs or Feet Open business. But could I have been that distracted? Paraphrasing what Givinya said in her related blog post, getting up close and personal to such a potential biohazard in order to see it clearly is not something one wants to do. I bent over and squinted for all I was worth, but didn't dare actually get down onto the floor of the tub and poke my nose into it to see for sure. I hopped out of the shower and grabbed for my glasses and then turned back around to face the music.

This is what I found:


That's Don Diego and Brownie, aka two of Kiddo's Teeny Tiny Guys, Dog Pack Division. (She has a multitude of TTGs, from dogs and cats to farm and zoo animals to two Teeny Tiny T. Rexes. Hubby and I have stepped on every single one of them over the years, too.) She's taken to bringing the TTG Dog Pack into the tub with her, as the dinosaurs in there were apparently getting dull. (They are getting rather icky from dwelling permanently on the ledge of the tub and may stay behind when we move...) I guess I didn't hear the clatter of Don Diego and Brownie as they slipped from their ledgeside perch to the floor of the tub, singing heartily as I was as per usual while going about my Showery Business.


So, in conclusion, I told Hubby about this last night. He rolled his eyes at me, rolled over and began drifting off to sleep (a sleep that was full of dreams of loading U-Hauls and hoping that everything would fit, apparently). A few moments later, he rolled back over towards me, opened one eye and said "You know, the moral of that story is that you should never, ever eat anything without your glasses on."

He's probably right, too.

Don Diego and Brownie's actual size is less than one inch, each. They come from that vending machine in the row of nasty gumballs and You're Never Going to Be Allowed to Get That candy in the front of the supermarket. So, they are in fact quite small.

Phriday Photo Phun - Love is in the Air

So, we're moving. (And there was much rejoicing.) Thursday, to be specific. This means that today was the last spring Friday morning Hubby and I will be awakened by the sounds of, to put it delicately, extremely amorous waterfowl on the pond behind our property.

Now, over the past nine and a half years we have very much enjoyed the view out of the back of our house. It contains a small pond with a copse on the other side, so we have seen many different forms of wildlife throughout the years. Deer, rabbits, foxes, groundhogs, beavers, snakes, frogs, toads and all manner of birds from geese, ducks and gulls to more exotic looking herons. You name it and chances are if it is a native species or a migrating species that passes through western NY, it's been out back at some point. It's downright bucolic.

Except, that is, when it is spring and love is in the air. Love, that gets downright loud, especially in the wee, small hours of the early morning. Love that can easily awaken one from an already fitful sleep (due to, of course, the utter Freaking Out Levels of stress about the upcoming move). It is moments such as these when I can look forward to our upcoming new backyard view, that includes the back of someone else's property and nary a pond or woods full of breeding wildlife to be found.

In case you think I'm kidding, I submit the following photograph of one of the trees in our yard, snapped on my walk back up to the house (the last time I'll take Kiddo to the bus stop on a Friday morning in this neighborhood!) about 20 minutes ago................

Birds do it, bees do it, and apparently even sometimes snails do it...

Let's hope the new neighbors aren't exhibitionists... though that would certainly make for some good Phriday Photo Phun pics though, now wouldn't it? The kind that are more of the sort that certain Google searches seem to be seeking when they drop by my corner of the blogosphere, rather than a pair of smooching snails. Bow-chicka-wow-wow!!

Wanna check out more Photo Phun, or play along? Pop by Candid Carrie's weekly Phriday Photo Phiesta!

Also, please drop by my dear bloggy friend Em's Comments For Cans post sometime today, leave her some commenty love and force her to drive over to donate the cans of food she's promised to buy with the tail end of her SUV positively dragging on the pavement behind her!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Life's a Circus! No, really!

(The above pictures were taken from our trip to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus last weekend.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why if anything drips on us from the ceiling of the new house, I will FREAK

Hubby was terrible thoughtful enough to share the following news item with me. Before I give you the link, I must warn you it is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard, ever. And I grew up on a working farm with livestock and have been raising a small human for the past six years, so I know all about disgusting. This, though? Takes the cake. The really, really, really disgusting cake.

Okay, now that you're duly warned, click here if you dare... and if you're REALLY brave, click on the video clip in the story that was aired on the local news affiliate. It features some amazingly awful awesome sound effects. I was giggling throughout, which is kinda hard to do with a dropped jaw. Seriously, while this was a totally horrific thing for this poor woman to have gone through, it is one of those things that you laugh at even while you're getting utterly squicked out. (Or maybe that's just Hubby and me. We laughed as we got squicked out, anyhow.)

The good news is that Hubby shared this news item with our insurance agent before sharing it with me, so he was able to reassure me via the response he got from our agent that should we find ourselves in a similar situation when we move into our new home, with similar..... liquids dripping onto us or our belongings from the ceiling, we will be covered. Whew.

I'd still freak the heck out, though. I want to take a shower just from thinking about it!! *shudder*

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The times, they are a-changin'

A little over five years ago, my first nephew was born. Living six hours away from my siblings as we do, it was one of those "wait for the phone to ring in the middle of the night" kind of scenarios to hear the news that the baby was born and was a he.

A few hours ago, my latest nephew was born. This time around, instead of waiting for the phone call, I followed the progress of his birth from "they've gone to the hospital" through the "11pm and nothing yet" to "almost time to push" to "HE'S HERE!" via text message and my brother's Facebook account. My brother posted the first baby pictures (long gone are the days of waiting for a family member to upload the pictures and email them to the far-away relatives like us) on Facebook via his cell phone from the hospital, so we've been able to oooh and aaah over the baby already. At 9 pounds, 7 ounces (and with a head circumference of 15 inches!), he is over twice the size Kiddo was when she was born.

The times, they are a-changin' indeed.

Other signs that the times, they are a-changin'? Well, I've gone from dreaming of the likes of Hugh and George

to lusting over the likes of these fellows:

Yep, Norm, Tom and Ty are my new dream men. Of course, I only want them to come over to our new house and help with the renovation, mind you... Actually, I'm not picky. Any of the experts from the DIY channel or HGTV are welcome to turn up with their fancy tools and endless resources to help get the house redone!

Speaking of renovations and new houses, our closing is looming! (We should be hearing about our closing date sometime in the next two days..) So, another 8-10 days and we're out of here and into the House of Wallpaper and Wood Paneling. Hubby, being the ever efficient and extremely organized sort that he is, has worked out a schedule for the projects we have planned for the new house. They include:

- ripping out the remaining carpeting in the living room, dining room, office, staircases and hallway

- stripping all the wallpaper throughout the house

- painting all the walls and ceilings

- painting the wood paneling in the family room

- carpeting the lower level of the house (family room, office and hallway)

- gutting the kitchen and redoing it all, including removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, tiling the floor and installing new cabinets and counters

- repainting the exterior doors and shutters

- redoing all three bathrooms (tiling floors, installing new fixtures and replacing the sinks with vanities)

- replacing the wrought-iron banisters/railings with wooden ones

- running cable/electric/phone lines everywhere, including what is necessary to install ceiling fans/lights overhead in the bedrooms

Are you tired yet? 'Cause I'm exhausted just thinking about it, personally. Thankfully, Hubby has thought everything through very thoroughly, so we have a detailed game plan and we have prioritized everything. First up will be the carpet removal, the lower level painting and carpeting, and Kiddo's bedroom. Next will be the kitchen. After that, we'll tackle the rest of the projects as time and budget permits. The carpeting in the lower level will be done by professionals. The rest? Hubby and me (now you see why I'm a little swoony over Norm and Tom and Ty). We haven't actually done any renovation projects of this magnitude before, so this is going to be interesting, to say the least.

None of the above takes into account that we've discovered we can't afford movers (which cost less than half what we were quoted this time around the last time we moved, nine years ago - again, the times, they are a-changin') so we're going for Plan B, which is a U-Haul and a few college boys who are willing to work for cash and pizza. This means the actual move itself is going to require a lot more from Hubby and me than we'd initially thought.

When all is said and done, not just the times will be a-changin' but our address and the entire interior of the new house, too!

(And who am I kidding? Just the other night, I dreamed that we moved into our new house and our next door neighbors were Hugh Jackman and his family. They weren't celebrities, mind you, just the family that happened to live next door. They invited us over for a BBQ and were all excited that Kiddo was adopted, since their kids are adopted as well...)