Monday, June 26, 2017

Fresh Air

Oh, my, what a beautiful day! After spending all of Friday and Saturday literally whining about the humidity (I swear, it was nauseating - I couldn't even get Susie out to the pool), Mother Nature has blessed us with a few days of quintessentially June weather - warm sun, cool air - that makes you glad to be alive.

But during those 2 days of punishing humidity, I still played my "let's see how long we can go without air conditioning" game. You see, our house has an east-west orientation (with no side windows, as it's a rowhouse); so, by judiciously opening and shutting windows on the correct side of the house at the correct points in the day, I can usually maintain an indoor temp that is lower than the temperature outdoors. This has become an obsession of mine: I spring out of bed to make sure the proper windows are open and cooling the house before the sun gets high; I text the kids to close the deck doors by 9:30, when the morning sun starts slanting in there; I hurry home around noon to make sure the kitchen and front door windows are shut before the afternoon onslaught of solar energy against the front of the house.

Low-tech climate control
In short, I'm nuts. But this tends to work well, so long as the humidity outside isn't too high.  Or so long as I'm not actually home, since I have a rule that we aren't turning on the AC for just one kid sitting home alone in a 5-bedroom house (hey, the basement stays cool, they can sit down there, okay?).

Larry, of course, is not on board with this game. So, even if it does start getting a little too warm in the house, I won't touch the AC if his arrival is imminent, just to mess with him. He'll walk in, look at the thermostat (which might be reading 83 degrees at that point), shake his head, and say, "Don't you think it's hot in here?"

"Oh, no," I'll say. "Look! The humidity level is only 52%!" (I love our new thermostat.)

Or, on days that truly are bad, "Nah, as long as you don't move around too much. I ordered pizza for supper."

And then he shakes his head again, flips on the AC, and goes upstairs to do a head count and make sure everyone is still alive.

But last Friday - well, none of this was going to work. By the time I was prepping dinner, the humidity was unbearable, even in the house. I was on the verge of turning on the AC (because, hey, I"m not a monster) when Rachel - who was already annoyed that I was making her help in the kitchen - said, "You have to turn on the air conditioning right now! It's hot in here!"

Now, we have long called this child The Empress for a reason. When she's annoyed/irritated (which, granted, is quite often, and gee, I wonder who she gets that from?), her tone of voice ranges from cutting to imperious. There is no, "Gosh, it's hot! Can we have some AC?" uttered in a cheerful tone emanating from her mouth. Not ever. No, her delivery can best be described as landed royalty talking to a common serf.

I don't respond well to this tone, even at the best of times. Not from a child. So I said, "Actually, I think it feels fine in here," and I went on with my work, immersed now in both unbearable humidity AND a veritable miasma of indignation emanating from my royal teen. I also texted Larry a warning: "It's HOT here. But I swear we will die before I touch that AC."

He worked late.

I was tempted to stay here.

There is a saying in Yiddish: "Cut off your nose to spite your face." And that is the thought that ran through my head for the next 2 hours, in my definitely too-hot house, as I repeatedly reminded my first-world offspring that people in Africa have it much worse than they do, household-temperature-wise. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to take Brian to his place of work (he usually walks), just so I could sit in the air-conditioned car. Susie came with us. I drove slowly. "You sure are stubborn," Brian commented, as he left the car for the climate-controlled paradise where he works.

You bet, honey. And I remained stubborn until 6:45, which is when a friend picked up both girls to take them to a movie night at someone's (presumably air-conditioned) house. I swear, they practically ran to her car. And they weren't out of the parking lot before I was slamming down windows and turning on the air myself.


And then I called Larry to let him know it was safe to come home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Let There Be Cake

My birthday started out on the perfect note: my fit friend came by in the morning to take a walk with me (because my FitBit takes no vacations, apparently) and handed me a gift. "Excuse the bag," she said. "I would have run late if I tried to find one that was appropriate for the occasion."

No wonder we get along...
I like my friends.

Larry and the kids gave me a new IPad, which I totally wasn't expecting, even though the one I inherited from my Dad (from 2012) takes forever to open up now, to the point where we had sort of given up on using it much. This one is also lighter and therefore easier on my wrists, but it still feels very extravagant. In fact, this particular purchase makes me wonder whether Larry has any household renovation plans up his sleeve.

Or maybe it was just to make up for the fact that Larry also gave me the As Seen On TV Veggetti.

Hey, it's not a bagel slicer

Granted, this item did happen to be on my Amazon list, but only because I thought I might pick it up as a fun thing for the girls to use in the kitchen some time. As we all know, however, Larry has never seen a goofy kitchen item that he doesn't think would make a great birthday gift for his wife. So I own this thing now and I guess I have no one to blame but myself.

I then made the questionable decision to go to the mall to search for my Holy Grail, aka shirts that fit. I confess, I started feeling a little agitated as I approached the tiny petites section in J.C. Penney to which we height-challenged women are confined. Considering that half the petites section was devoted to the fashion abominations that are Worthington and Alfred Dunner clothing, my selection was pretty limited. And taking into account that, due to an outsize bust and a generously sized post-menopausal belly, I am difficult to fit, my choices were even more constrained.

Meaning that, after half an hour of searching through the clothing racks for something decent to wear, I was simultaneously weepy and irritated. I'm not sure, but I think I was muttering things like, "Sure, I'll just go NAKED" and "F... you, Alfred Dunner and your elastic-waist pants" loudly enough for other shoppers to hear. I started imagining the next day's headlines: Midget Woman, Laughing Maniacally, Sets Store Ablaze.

So I left, before my birthday could be completely ruined. I headed over to Macy's which, if possible,had an even smaller selection of clothing for short, over-endowed gals like myself. But, miracle of miracles, I managed to find a few shirts that fit AND were reasonably priced. Purchases in hand, I put aside my thoughts of arson and headed home, where the girls had spent the afternoon working on my birthday cake.

I defy you to find a more beautiful cake. Because there is none. This is the king (queen?) of all birthday cakes. End of story.

But my family's obvious love and devotion (as evidenced by the cake pictured above and Larry's Vegetti purchase) were not enough to deter me from attending Knit Night on my birthday. There I was feted with Fritos and new stitch markers by a whole bunch of women who wanted to know if Larry had bought me another bagel slicer, and really, what more could any girl want?

It was a perfect birthday. I mean, except for that Alfred Dunner thing...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Birthday Prep

Tomorrow? I turn 54 (which someone pointed out to me is a deck of cards and 2 jokers, and I'm not really sure what that implies, but let's pretend it's somehow meaningful); so I've been busy (this being my birthday week) making sure that tomorrow is a day of unalloyed joy. And by unalloyed joy, I mean that maybe I will get to go to the mall by myself and try on shirts and maybe even find some that fit properly over my matronly bust and waistless middle.

I don't ask for much, people. I really don't.

Meanwhile, Larry can't seem to understand that when he orders gifts from Amazon, the email announcing the purchase AND the email announcing their shipment both go directly to me. So, for the record, it's looking as though he didn't learn much from the bagel slicer incident last year. It's sort of cute, actually, in a clueless sort of way.

You really have to read about the bagel slicer, if you haven't already. It's classic Larry.

So, yeah, busy - I cooked all morning today so I won't have to touch anything in the kitchen tomorrow. Tonight I will scrub the bathrooms, so I don't have to hate myself when I use them tomorrow. In fact, I've been so busy pretending I don't have to do any housework for my birthday, I forgot - until a few minutes ago - to check how my front hall closet was doing.

As you can see there to the right (or left, I can't tell), not too bad. Oh, yeah, there were 3 pairs of sandals thrown on the floor (because, again, those shoe holders are SO DIFFICULT to use); and the outdoor toys on the bottom are all askew. But it took me only 30 seconds to put everything to rights.

It absolutely kills me I didn't figure out this system until now. I mean, it seems pretty darn obvious in retrospect, doesn't it? Who knew that hanging shoe holders (which I had sitting up in my bedroom doing nothing since our bedroom closet remodel) and a bit of vigilance were all that was needed to make my front closet actually useful again?

My magnum opus, apparently

You know, 30 years ago, when I was a youthful 20-something with my entire life in front of me? I would have assumed that I would have something more meaningful to write about than closet maintenance by the time I turned 54. Come to think of it, 30 years ago,  I probably assumed I'd be almost dead by now. Oh, not because I planned a profligate life or anything; no, it was because I thought people in their mid-50s were incredibly old.

Case in point: my parents' longtime neighbors (who were exactly 30 years older than myself) remodeled their kitchen when I was 24. I remember wondering at the time why the heck they were even bothering, since they obviously had one foot in the grave already.

They're both still enjoying that remodeled kitchen, of course. I always ask for a nice dish of crow whenever I visit.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Chew On This

I see all sorts of things advertised on my Facebook feed. In fact, that's how I usually find out that Larry is planning to buy something, because it sure as heck wasn't MY Google searches that prompted Facebook to show me ads for kayaks and all their many accoutrements. And, of course, I will take full responsibility for all the yarn ads that I see. But sometimes an ad shows up out of nowhere. Say, an ad for a product like this one.

You didn't click, did you? You never do. Fine, here's a picture:

You know, I have 4 grown or almost grown children, and nary a one has asked me, "Say, where did you put all my baby teeth, anyway?" In fact, Anna managed to swallow half of hers by mistake.

That's not just us, is it? I hope not.

Okay, I just realized there is also a space for the umbilical cord there. I don't even know what to say about that. I'm surprised there's no compartment for fingernail clippings, is all.

Seriously, people, don't buy this. Spend the $25 on some packages of diapers instead. And if your friends happen to think this is a great gift idea? Get new friends.

I was about to sign off here, but Rachel walked in and saw this picture and said, "I can show you something worse." And you know what? She did.

Mouth filled in with your kids' very own teeth!

I don't know how I missed this trend (apparently it is so last year), but I'm sure glad I did. Sweet dreams, kids! Don't let the tooth monster bite!

Sort of rocks that Addams Family vibe, doesn't it?

[Tooth monster image: BusinessInsider]

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cool As A Cucumber

My beloved
Now, I know I've written about my refrigerator (many times) before, all about the mess and the strange things I find there and the over-proliferation of condiment containers. But,seriously, ever since November, when the French door fridge with the bottom freezer (that I have been lusting after for years) entered my life, I've been making a real effort to keep this appliance and the situation therein under control.

So, with my trusty compost bucket handy, I've (mostly) been managing to get rid of rotting produce and moldering leftovers weekly. I've also been waging a (mostly unsuccessful) battle to keep the fridge organized, so that food items don't get shoved to the back and wasted.

It's my life's work, people. Respect it.

What with all this dedication and effort, imagine my surprise this morning to find the item pictured below in my refrigerator, in the plastic bin reserved for salsa and mustard jars (yes, they do have their own section, shut up):

That is, to my professional eye, neither salsa nor mustard; it is, in fact, a cucumber with its end broken off yet lovingly preserved. Now, can you think of a reason for this? I mean, it's not as if someone had started to open a cucumber and then decided they didn't want it but couldn't fit the lid back on, right?

Actually, maybe that was it. I don't know. So I turned to the possible culprits, some of whom happened to be standing in the kitchen at the time. "WHAT IS THIS?" I said, waving the two parts of the cucumber in the air in a threatening manner.

"It's a cucumber," Rachel said. Gosh, I always knew she was the bright one.

"Why is it like this? Who would DO this?" Hey, I wasn't letting this go.

"Um," Larry spoke up from where he was sitting at the table. "That was me."

I stared at him, trying to figure out why a grown man would try to open a cucumber this way.

"It broke," he said.

"So, why didn't you peel it and eat it rather than letting it go bad?" I demanded, because I'm shrewish in the mornings, apparently.

Now, let's give Larry some credit here. He didn't bother to point out that I have probably let more food go bad than has anyone else in the entire history of the world. He didn't pull up all the pictures on this blog featuring spoiled produce. He didn't even walk over to the compost bin and point out the brown, slimy celery I dumped in there yesterday.

No, he just shrugged. "I DID look for tape," he offered. "But I couldn't find any."

Can't argue with that...


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