Thursday, September 25, 2014

Orange You Glad?

The girls' room is looking a teeny bit better (i.e., less glowing) with a second coat of paint.  So today our long-suffering handyman painted the bathroom.  You know, the one I had made several trips to Home Depot to pick out the color for, the one where Larry and I had painted umpteen stripes of different paints so that we could select just the right shade.  I was aiming for a sort of burnt orange - the kind that goes well with browns and sage greens and dusky purples.  Something, you know, grown up.

It turned out bright orange.  Jack-o-Lantern bright.  Blindingly bright.

"Don't worry," said the handyman. "Let's see how the second coat looks; if you don't like it, you can go back and get a different color."

At which point my head sort of exploded, because it should be fairly obvious by now that I am incapable of selecting the proper paint.  I mean, he saw all those little containers of paint samples we had tried on the walls already.  I would have done better if I had closed my eyes and just picked one of those sample cards out of the display and handed it to the paint mixer guy. What the heck is wrong with me?

What with the girl's room and Brian's room (a bright deep blue) and the bathroom, we've got an exploded-Easter-egg-dye-factory motif going on upstairs.  And the kids love it.  The bathroom, according to them, looks "cool."

Which wasn't quite the word that Larry used when he came home this evening and checked out the paint job...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I miss you all when I don't write.  It's just so damn busy around here - not exciting busy, though. More like hamster wheel busy.  Whack -a- Mole busy.  You know what I mean?

Larry's ongoing project to totally gut our house is proceeding apace.  He actually waved the white flag and allowed me to pay the handyman to paint the girls' new walls, a job that Larry up until now had always insisted on doing himself.  We made our usual mistake and chose a color that is so blindingly bright that I doubt anyone will be able to sleep in there.  Glidden's Thai Teal, for those of you who want to know.  It looks so darn innocent on that paint card.  I'm telling you, it GLOWS, as though it were a radioactive substance.

Is it bright in here, or is it me?
Larry's also allowing the handyman to paint our main bathroom, mostly because all the paint was peeling off the back of the door and mold was starting to grow on the shower ceiling.  Initially, the girls and I chose Egyptian Sun, which I thought would be a bright yet muted shade of orange.  The reality was closer to neon orange. The girls, of course, loved it.  Larry and I decided that there was no way we could handle that color early in the morning and switched it out for Ripe Peach.  I had had high hopes for Apricot, but that had a pink tinge to it.  I was also partial to Juicy Cantaloupe, but it was too pale.  I wish I was making these paint color names up, but I am not.  I also wish I had not wasted 10 hours of whatever time remains to me on this earth running back and forth to Home Depot for paint testers.

Like I said, hamster-wheel busy.  Let's not even talk about the 3 trips I made to Home Depot looking for closet organizers.  I'm not proud of it, you know.  Not proud at all.

These? Are very complicated.
In the meantime, I am still struggling to open my kitchen cabinets, because I had Brian remove all the handles from them 3 months ago, back when I assumed we would spend part of our summer painting them with a fresh coat of semi-gloss white (a color, incidentally, that is much easier to choose than is a burnt orange, say, or a cheerful teal).  Somehow, that never came to pass; and every time I can't open a cabinet, Brian cracks up.  Not to mention that the white wood looks dingier than ever, as we have been putting our fingerprints all over them because they DON'T HAVE HANDLES.

In the middle of all this, the seasons are turning, which means children keep coming at me from all directions claiming that their clothes don't fit.  I had both girls try on ALL their jeans today and we conducted lengthy discussions over fit, style, and color.  This took a very long time.  Then we went to Target and had Rachel try on ALL THE SIZES of jeans to determine what size we need to look for at the thrift store (where there are no dressing rooms).  We did buy one pair to tide her over, so I don't feel guilty about that.

Before I did that, though, I had to run to the post office to mail back a very late standardized test before I was thrown into jail. AND I had to drive David to community college, because Larry had a work thing going on. AND I went to Home Depot AGAIN to pick something up for our handyman.

Whack-a-Mole busy, people.  It's my life.

[Thai Teal image: InPublishers]
[Storage cubes image: DealMoon]

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Because Ticks and Mosquitoes Aren't Enough

Here's the latest insect plague to come to my attention. Chiggers, anyone?  They sound delightful.  And this article was particularly descriptive:

During a chigger bite, the chigger’s mouth parts inject saliva into the skin that contains a digestive enzyme which causes skin cells to rupture and turn to liquid.  The skin is partially digested even before it enters the chigger’s body.  The chigger then drinks the dissolved, digested skin tissue.

Dissolved, digested skin tissue?  Nice.  Oh, and I love the advice for avoiding this creature:

Wear tall boots, three pairs of socks, and long pants.  Tuck the bottom of the pants under the top layer of socks and spray the pants, socks, and boots with Deet

You know, I do try to maintain some sort of fashion sense, even as I am heading into my 50's and beyond.  And somehow, I don't think the above sartorial recommendations fill the bill.  Not to mention that wearing 3 pairs of socks and long pants in 80-something-degree weather is likely to land you in the ER with heatstroke...

Maybe I should just stop reading stuff.  That could help.  Literacy is vastly over-rated, anyway.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Alone Again, Naturally...

Our school year schedule is in full swing now, but we are still busy adjusting to the rigors of making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time.  This was the first week of CCD, which - as it occurs on Monday nights - has almost pushed our mad logistical abilities over the edge.  Let's see...the girls to the church at 6:45, Brian to Boy Scouts (different church) at 7:30, girls picked up from CCD at 8:00, Boy Scouts done at 9, and oh yes, there is still David to be picked up from our local community college at 9:20.  Lord help us when it happens to be a Bunko night, too.

Still, where there is a will, there's a way, which meant that Larry and I found ourselves, at 7:15 this evening, ALL ALONE IN OUR OWN HOUSE (Brian had walked to Boy Scouts).  I said to him, "When is the last time this happened?"  And he, after a moment's thought, said, "Never."

Never. Never, in almost 24 years.

We both let that sink in for a moment. We could do that, because there was no one around to interrupt us.  Finally, I said, "This feels weird. Are you sure no one else is here?"

I watched as Larry thought again.  "No, no one."

"So!" I said. "This is what it will feel like when we're old, I guess."

Another pause, as we let that sink in, too.

"It's sort of peaceful," Larry said. ""

You know, he was right.  But it still felt weird.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Avoiding Destiny

Theo stopped by for a day on his way back from 2 weeks of leave, weeks that he chose to spend touring the more popular spots in Jordan and Israel - you know, Petra, Wadi Rum, Eilat, the Dead Sea, Masada, Jerusalem.

Excuse me for a minute while I kvell over my eldest's excellent taste in vacation options.  I mean, really - he's 23.  Shouldn't he be lolling on a beach or getting drunk in a pub somewhere?

So he had a one-day layover here and he brought everyone souvenirs from the Middle East.  Those are in addition to the ones he had already brought back from his 2 trips to Morocco and the one trip to Tunisia (yes, Theo IS well-traveled and I AM jealous).  What with all this globe-trotting of his, I now have a fine collection of miniature camels, in leather and metal and wood. Camels standing, camels kneeling, camels that double as earring holders.

More camels
And there, my friends, is the rub.  I have observed over the past few decades that people who are drawn to collecting a certain animal (or representations thereof) tend to, well, resemble that animal. A lot.  Think about it - it's a simple corollary of the "dogs look like their owners" theorem, really.  And now that we have Facebook, with people posting pictures of their favorite animals ALL THE TIME? I have amassed mounting evidence to support my theory.

So! Camels.  I love my son and I adore that he thinks to bring me presents, but - quite frankly - I am starting to worry.  Is it only a matter of time until I start to resemble these creatures that are taking over my home?  I mean, have I ever mentioned that I have a slight overbite?  And fairly long eyelashes?

EVERYBODY gets a camel!

Is it fate?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Playing At Being An Extrovert

I stepped out of my comfort zone AGAIN yesterday evening by going to a book signing/meet the author event at a bookstore not too ridiculously far away from my home.  It involved driving in rush hour to an unfamiliar place; and finding parking in a parking garage (I hates parking garages); and then sitting next to lots of people I don't know and trying to look as though I DO have friends, just none of them could make it out this evening.

I explained to Larry that I wanted to go because the featured author was a local blogger I follow, and he asked, "What does she sign?"

And I said, "What?" because, seriously, we've been married 24 years and I swear we do not ever speak the same language.  Misunderstandings R Us.

And he said, "What does she sign? An IPad?"

And I said, "What?" again, because - apparently - that's how we roll.

And Larry said, "You said it was a Meet-the-Author thing and she is a blogger. So WHAT does she sign?"

And finally a light bulb went on over my head and I said, "Oh, no, she wrote an actual BOOK."

No wonder the kids hate listening to us.  And it's only going to get worse as we get older.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, so I went to hear Anna from An Inch of Gray talk about her book Rare Bird -and, uh, no, I haven't read it yet, because the publisher insisted on issuing it in hardcover and I really hate reading hardcover books - anyone else find them not comfy enough?  Kindle just won't cut it either, because I know I'll want to share it with you all, so I am waiting for the paperback version.

Anyway, when Anna asked if anyone had read the book yet, the only 4-year-old in the audience piped up with "I read it!" which of course brought down the house.  I figured, hey, a 4-year-old can come to book signings and speak up, why can't I?  So, later, I stepped even further out of my comfort zone by asking a question during the Q&A.

I know! It's as if I were turning into an extrovert or something.

Incidentally, the only other book signings I have been to have been for the Yarn Harlot, and half the people in the crowd are knitting as she talks.  So I didn't think twice about sitting in the second row and working on the pair of socks I had just cast on at home.  Not until I left did I wonder whether that was a faux pas.  Thoughts?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grossed Out

You know, I'm trying to figure out how many more years I have until I can eat a meal without one of my kids losing a tooth in the middle of it.  I am probably THE most squeamish person in the world, and there's nothing like a child waving around a tooth and bleeding from her gum to really put me off my feed.

Which could explain why I am not working in the field of dentistry, I guess...

So, yes, 12-year-old Rachel lost 2 (2!) teeth today, and how old are they before they stop doing this, anyway?  I should know, seeing as how I have 4 children older than her; but it's all a blur, really.  I don't remember the other kids losing any teeth after age 7 or 8 or so.  Or maybe I've just blocked it all out.

And, yes, the tooth fairy IS still paying them only a quarter.  Old habits die hard, you know.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Feel Free To Clap Along

This, my friends, is my latest Internet addiction.  I cannot stop watching it.

Well, except for Bunko - I stopped watching so I could go to Bunko this evening.  So do me a favor and tell me what is so appealing about it.  Is it the a capella singing?  The youthful sound of the song? The clapping rhythm?

Or maybe you hate it.  You can tell me that, too.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Cheap Tricks

Since Larry ripped out all the closet fixtures in the girls' room, I decided I had earned the right to visit the Container Store - you know, to see what it offers in the way of closet organizers. Yes, I have complained previously in these pages about the exorbitant prices charged by this store and how stupid it is to pay that sort of money just to organize a closet.  But, hey, I can let bygones be bygones, right?  And, having seen just how much stuff we were shoving in those closets, I figured I needed to get a handle on it once we put the room back together.

Also? I'm still mad at my perfectionistic spouse for insisting on insulating the closets in the first place.  Really, Larry?  Really?

Almost $900, people - hey, I'm not THAT mad at Larry

So I went.  I saw.  I gasped.  And then I left.  Turns out, I am constitutionally unable to spend that sort of money on wire shelves and baskets.  I KNOW I can do this cheaper. Somehow...

So tell me - any of you know of cheap closet organizing alternatives?  That actually work?

[Closet image: Container Store]

Friday, September 05, 2014

I Tried. I Really Tried.

I haven't posted because, now that it is September and back-to-school and all that, I have been trying to stay on top of things and focus on the things that are important (which - surprise, surprise - don't seem to include Facebook and blogging).  For a WHOLE WEEK I did that and (of course) was priding myself on accomplishing my goals, until I was repeatedly smacked in the face for the past 24 hours with things that I had apparently still dropped the ball on.

So I had to go beg forgiveness and grovel at the church office this morning to make sure Brian could go on the mandatory field trip for Confirmation candidates.  You see, when the office sent out the notice and the permission slip at the beginning of August, I promptly printed it out, filled it in, and placed it in my purse so that I could deliver it posthaste to the proper authorities.

My purse.  Which is where I found it yesterday, crumpled at the bottom.  Strike one.

And all those uniform items I ordered earlier this week for Rachel, so she could attend her next Civil Air Patrol meeting properly attired?  Turns out I didn't, actually.  Nope.  Strike two.

On Wednesday, our dryer started making a horrifying squeaking noise; and, being newly sworn to efficiency, I immediately sat down, looked up my Geek Squad customer protection service agreement number, and made the necessary phone call to schedule a repairman's visit for Friday.  Just like a real adult. Today I had the pleasure of informing the nice man who showed up that, actually, we didn't need him because the dryer stopped squeaking days ago but I had forgotten to cancel the visit.  Strike three.

By that point, I was ready to crawl under my bed and not come out until after Christmas, only I couldn't, because that particular space is filled with a set of dismantled bunkbeds.  Why? Because Larry decided last weekend was the perfect time to rip all the walls out of the girls' bedroom.  He does stuff like that.

Now, any bedroom shared by 2 girls has A LOT of stuff in it.  A LOT OF STUFF.  Most of which is now in my bedroom - you know, the room which I have spent months clearing out so that it could be a peaceful retreat from the rest of my life.  Currently, I can't even get to my bed without walking over mounds of stuffed animals and piles of laundry baskets filled with I don't know what-all.  On the other side  of my bed, a space I had lovingly carved out to hold my cute IKEA armchair and my yoga mat, reside BOTH mattresses from the girls' room.

Oh, and remember the bats?  You know, the ones living inside of the walls of the girls' bedroom? The ones we paid $550 to get rid of?  Well, Larry - when he ripped off the drywall - found a bat that had apparently been left behind.  It didn't move, so he supposed it was dead.  Being in a rush to attend a Labor Day picnic, he LEFT IT THERE.

When he returned, it was gone.  We assume it is in the attic.  But we don't know.  We do know that the weird brown stuff on the cinder block wall we uncovered is bat guano, though.  So now I am monitoring everyone for signs of Ebola.

AND Joan Rivers died.  I remember my mom laughing, listening to her. She meant so much to women of that generation.

How was YOUR first week of back-to-school?