Thursday, February 26, 2015

What It Takes To Make Me Wash Floors

Okay, done pouting here.  All grown up.  No problem.

Here, my friends, is the latest puzzle:

Yes, I'm showing you poop. Sorry.

We came home mid-afternoon on Monday, one of the REALLY COLD days, to find the front steps and porch covered with the poop you see above. COVERED.  I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page to see if any locals knew what animals had been trying to invade my home, but no one could figure it out.  People suggested everything from bats (which I ruled out because it was midday and ohmygodjustno), geese (nope, wrong shape), squirrels (nope, wrong shape again).  What struck me was the fact that I actually knew what all this different animal poop looks like.  As if I were some sort of animal life expert who cares about this sort of thing.

But I'm not.  The ability to identify different rodent scat at 20 paces has never been on my bucket list of skills to acquire before I die.

Anyway, I had to use a snow shovel to remove all the poop.  It would have been more efficient to use the hose, only temps were below freezing and were expected to stay there for several days.  So flooding the porch and steps with water would have been, in Larry's words, "incredibly stupid." Luckily, the remains (and there were plenty, because a plastic snow shovel is NOT the most efficient feces-removal method, I can tell you that right now, and that right there is something ELSE I never really needed to know) were soon frozen solid; that means people are no longer tracking fecal matter from an unknown animal into my front hall and living room. Hooray!

Silver lining: The whole scenario was so disgusting that I washed the floors for the first time in a long time. Usually I just sweep and swiffer and pretend that that is good enough.  I would have done a Ma Ingalls and scrubbed the floors with lye, if I had known where to find some. But I didn't, so I just used Windex instead.  Which is probably the wrong thing, but I never claimed to be an expert on housecleaning here, all right?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Comparison Test

Well, I've been putting this off - to the extent that I spent my free time this afternoon collating all my posts about marriage under that tab up there at the top, instead of writing a new post.  But now it is time to announce that I have once again not been chosen for the cast of our local Listen To Your Mother.  I did merit my very own rejection letter this year (a REALLY NICE one), instead of the group email.  That's progress, right?

So I spent Saturday resigning myself to my rejectee status, reminding myself that it's not a big deal and that going on stage isn't really a good idea for me, anyway.  I was successful to the point of being able to look at the LTYM cast member announcement (you know, the one without my name in it) on Sunday.  "I'm mature," I told myself.  "I can handle it." And I was doing pretty well, until I realized that I knew, personally, one of the Chosen.  Oh, not very well, but we have a lot of mutual friends/acquaintances in the local homeschooling community and once, years ago, I manned a Girl Scout cookie booth with her husband.  That sort of thing.

I have no idea why my knowing her should have made any difference, but my maturity immediately exited the room, leaving me to scroll through her blog and fume, "I'm funny.  But she's meaningful.  I KNEW they wanted meaningful.  I KNEW IT."

So, yeah, not my finest moment(s).  I'm over it and back to being my somewhat mature self, but tell me - does anyone ever really grow up?  I mean, like, completely?  Because I'm thinking that I still have quite a ways to go.

[Poison Envy image: Cliche Busters]

Monday, February 23, 2015

There's No Business Like Show Business

I went to my friend's annual Oscar party and came home a winner! That's right, folks - out of 24 award categories, I guessed 15 correctly.

15! I've come a long way from my days of know-nothingness, as far as current movies are concerned. Although, come to think of it, I had only seen one of the Best Picture nominees. I guess I am thoroughly in tune with the cultural zeitgeist, as it were; or maybe I am just on the Internet too much?

No matter! I came home with a tiara and a statuette and a bag full of candy. Did Julianne Moore get candy?  I think not.

Sorry, Julianne, I'm the real winner here.  That bag? FULL of Almond Joys.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Back In The Saddle

For any newbies out there, let me explain: back in 2008, I started cleaning out my refrigerator and posting the contents on this blog for the sole purpose of making everyone else in the world feel better about their own housekeeping abilities.  I consider it to be a sort of community service.  I am, if you will, the Melinda Gates of refrigerator philanthropy.

Well, I've been slacking off for a while, but today I did it - I cleaned out my fridge.  And I have the photos to prove it:

Above are the primary culprits.  From the left!

1. Broccoli - These forgotten veggies are the innocent victims of my February vow to eat something green every day. They bear silent witness to the futility of all human aspirations.

2. A completely empty pickle jar - this is in keeping with what is apparently my children's motto: Why recycle something when you can just shove it back into the refrigerator instead? Or their other motto: Mom will do it.  Leave it for her.

3. A jar of Kirkland-brand salsa old enough to have white fuzzy stuff growing on it - I swore off this salsa the first time we tried it, ages ago.  So I have no idea what it is doing in there. DON'T BUY IT - it's awful.

4. Worcestershire sauce with an expiration date of 2013 on the label - and I wonder why no one accepts my dinner invitations...

5. A jar of tahini that ALSO expired in 2013.  You know, I had high hopes for this particular food item - I distinctly remember planning to make all my own hummus because I had an ever ready supply of tahini in my fridge.  This scenario never came to pass. Where DOES a dream go when it dies? Into my refrigerator, apparently.

6. Far right, bottom, is unidentified - it might be some sort of salad dressing.  Or someone's science experiment. Or both. Atop that is horseradish with NO expiration date, so I am not going to risk it. Safety first!

7. Front and center, a container of excellent deli mustard imported all the way from NJ, after my father's unveiling.  That's right, that would have been last October. And, as those of you aware of my condiment problems already know, there are several other jars of mustard still in the fridge.

8. On top of the mustard is what seems to be some moldy hot peppers, provenance unknown.  Gross.

So, I removed all of the above, and the refrigerator was STILL overcrowded.  I investigated further and found the following:

Really, kids?

See? This is what my family does.  It puts teeny tiny bits of leftovers (pancakes, top, and meatloaf, bottom) in the largest containers possible, out of sheer laziness or maybe just to mess with my mind. I rectified the situation thusly:

Now, was that so hard?

Sometimes it takes an expert, you know?

So now my fridge looks a little more manageable, but I didn't even attempt to clean out the 2 drawers at the bottom (a quick glance revealed a few apples, bought in early December, and some grapefruit I bought from the high school band member next door back in November) or the dreaded cheese/deli meat drawer.  There is only so much humiliation I can take in one post.

Feel better now? You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Like A Flu Shot, Only More Superstitious

There's been a 2-liter bottle of 7-UP sitting on my counter for almost 2 months now. Someone opened it at our New Year's party and drank a little, so it is rather flat by this time and not really appealing.  Every time I clean off the counters (oh, about bazillion times a day), I think how nice it would be to just pour the contents of the bottle down the sink and recycle the container.  But I won't.

Why?  Well, thus far this winter, our family has been fairly illness-free.  Oh, there's been a sore throat here or there, or one day of some generic fever, but that is it. And as our healthy weeks have stretched into months, I have become convinced that the minute I discard this flat, good-for-ailing-tummies soda, the kids (or, worse, Larry and I) will come down with the dreadful stomach flu that seems (if my Facebook feed is to be believed) to have been hitting everyone else this winter.

Oh, ye powerful Flat Soda, deliver us from evil!

So there you have it - the family talisman. I'm not touching it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I was busy working on my LTYM audition piece last week, so I wasn't around here much. I listened to the people who thought I should use the Playing With Scissors post, and I spent a bunch of time crafting a meaningful ending to it, because it seemed (from last year's show) that the LTYM people liked the posts to have some sort of meaning to them, rather than their just being funny.  At least, I assumed that that was why they weren't interested in my perfectly NOT meaningful but at least somewhat amusing essay about my grown son leaving the toilet seat up.

Anyway, so I fleshed out Playing With Scissors and then tacked what I thought to be a few paragraphs of meaning onto the end of it, and off I went.  I wasn't even nervous this year.  Maybe because I knew I was walking in there with a post full of meaning.  I don't know.

So I read my piece pretty well and they said, "We really like it, except for that last part."   I must have had a look on my face that said "WTH?" because one of them hastened to add, "Oh, it's beautifully written, but you don't need it." And I probably still had the look on my face because then she said, "I know it's hard to cut a section out of your own writing" and I interrupted with "NO! It's not a problem!" because heck, I had just put that in there because I thought it was, well, required.

So apparently it's okay to just be funny.  They won't be announcing the selectees until Sunday, and I am spending my week kicking myself for not sticking to my instincts by being my own funny but meaningless self in the first place.

And, by the way, the audition truly was fun.  I loved hearing feedback on something I had written (I mean, there was feedback other than what I discussed above) and seeing that someone really GOT what I was trying to say.  So I encourage anyone who might be interested in LTYM to try out next year in her city of choice.  Just don't be fake-meaningful. There are those of us who CANNOT pull that off.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Cry For Help

Okay, I need a little advice here. No, it's not about home decorating or purses this time.  I swear, I keep asking for help from you all - I should change the name of this blog to Do The Thinking For Me.

So! When I auditioned for LTYM last year, I read a version of this post for my try out.  This year's audition is coming up on Sunday, and I can't decide which post to use as a basis for the audition. The problem is, I really just want to read the toilet seat piece from last year again, but I don't think that is a good idea, seeing as how they didn't like it enough the first time.

Here's where you, my faithful reader or two, come in - do you have any favorites that you think would be fun to hear from the stage? Keep in mind that it has to be something that can benefit from being read aloud.  So, uh, fridge posts? Will not work.  And, it has to have something to do with parenting - so I guess the menopause posts are out, also.

Well! That knocks off about half of them, right?

Boy, I'm going to feel stupid if no one comments now.  But it is still worth a shot, as I am feeling almost paralyzed by indecision at this point.

And if it is easier for you to leave the comment on this blog's Facebook page (where I've linked to this post), feel free!  That's even easier.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Bag Lady

There's something I have been hiding from you folks, but now is the time to come clean.  You see, I've developed an almost unhealthy obsession with a certain Merona hobo bag available at Target.  It started innocently enough last spring, when I decided it was time to get rid of the brown pleather bag that I had bought for 10 dollars at the thrift store.  It was starting to crack and look distinctly non-leathery, so I headed for Target to check out the hobo bags available there.

Incidentally, I've been attached to the hobo style for years.  It's the only kind of purse that is not only large enough to hold everything I need to tote around but also allows me to rummage through it without having to take the bag off my shoulder. And the handle isn't so long that it doesn't hang too low on my short self.

Form AND function!  Also, pretty color...
So! The girls accompanied me on this purse-finding mission to Target.  We found a lovely, soft-green hobo bag there, a perfect bag to announce the coming of spring.  Upon taking it home, I realized that its form was rivaled only by its functionality.  Its central zippered compartment - roomy enough to hold wallet, glasses case, several hundred receipts and expired Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons, and a dozen or so old Ricola cough drops - had a smaller zippered compartment inside for meds and medical cards and other important stuff.  And then - be still my heart - there were two roomy outer compartments (one on either side), perfect for carrying current knitting projects and all the little tools that accompany them. It was a knitting bag/hobo purse, all in one.

I know! Sometimes a gal gets lucky.

Perfect for fall...but February?  Not so much
By last fall, the color green no longer seemed right, and we noticed that THE SAME BAG was available in an entirely new line of fall colors.  So Susie assisted me in picking out a dusky purple, with all the same functionality as my previous bag.  Oh, we loved that purple! People stopped me and asked where I got it, it was so pretty and so perfect for fall.

But now?  Now, it is February.  I've found myself looking at the purple and wondering, "What did I see in this?"  And then, walking by the handbag aisle in Target the other day, the girls and I spotted a HOT PINK Merona hobo bag.

Readers, I bought it.  What is it about February that makes me crave bright colors?  Each time I look at that bag, I just feel happy.

Think spring!

In short, I've gone from a gal who picked up a cheap purse maybe once every two years to someone who has bought 3 (count them, 3!) new purses in the space of 10 months. Is this an unhealthy shopping addiction?  Or maybe just a cheap version of a midlife crisis?  I can't decide.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Coming Events

I have so many things to talk about: my new purse, how awesome red couches look against a Lenox Tan wall, the difficulties inherent in choosing new patio doors - but they all require pictures, and I am not allowed to recharge my IPad until tonight.

I was also surveying my refrigerator tonight and thinking that a fridge post is in order.  It's just crazy in there.  And I need to tell you about my most recent fave buy from Costco (again, I need pictures). AND I have dedicated this weekend to cleaning up my bedroom enough to allow me to call a plumber to fix the master bath sink.

That's right, folks - that sink still doesn't drain.  And due to Larry's passive-aggressive pre-party ministrations in that area, we've been living with the vanity emptied and tools scattered around the bathroom floor, testament to the futility of DIY around here.  In other words, we are still approaching our plumbing problems in the most stupid and inefficient manner possible.  It's a talent of ours.

So, the bedroom.  Larry told me to call the plumber back in December, but I keep putting it off until I can make our bedroom look normal again.  What with tearing apart the girls' room last fall and storing half their junk in my room and then tearing apart the living room, I just haven't gotten around to dealing with all the flotsam and jetsam (stuffed animals, bunkbed guard rails, an extra mirror, etc) that have taken up residence in what used to be my haven from chaos.

You see, I just don't need to feel any more public humiliation over my housekeeping abilities at this point.  Yesterday we had a woman here to measure for patio doors (the living room project, remember?). But while she was here, she also wanted to check on a couple of window latches that had stopped working (her company had installed our windows 7 years ago).  One window was in the guest bedroom downstairs - you know, the room where we have temporarily stored 2 dining room tables, 5 chairs, and assorted table leaves that used to live behind the dining room hutch.

That was fun.

Then she had to check out the other window, which happens to be in my 17-year-old son's bedroom. That is, it belongs to David, whose pack rat tendencies have already been well-documented on this blog.  Understand that I am simply waiting until August at this point, when he leaves for college, to address what has happened in that part of my house. And picture how it felt to let a stranger into that room.

So, yeah - the plumber will have to wait until I get a handle on the situation in my master bedroom. Which should be this weekend, if all goes according to plan...

Pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Decorating Help Needed

Our handyman just left, but only after telling me to sand the stair railings in preparation for painting them.  Tell me, do I look like I know how to do that?

Our home looks marvelous (or, rather, it will look marvelous once we put the furniture back in the dining room and Larry lets me buy the IKEA leather sectional I've been eyeing).  If we were smart, we would sell this house NOW, before we manage to destroy it again.  But we won't do that, because selling our home would mean having to clean out our mess of a utility room, a task far beyond any human being's capabilities at this point.

And considering that buying new slipcovers for our Ektorp sofa and armchairs would cost all of about $160, I'm betting that Larry isn't going to agree to splurge on a new sectional sofa that costs $1500.  I can't think of ANYTHING we've spent that much money on in this house.

No, not even my yarn collection...

The trouble is, IKEA discontinued the Tullinge Lilac  Ektorp slipcover, the color I have essentially been lusting after for the past 2 years. Of course, these discontinued covers are being sold all over eBay and other sites, for exorbitant amounts of money; but even I, Ektorp-lover that I am, am unwilling to pay those sort of prices.

The one that got away...

So all that IKEA sells now are ugly colors - that is, aside from its Idemo Red, which will not go that well with Lenox Tan walls.  Or maybe it will?

Tell me, what do you think?  Does this...

Lenox Tan, Benjamin Moore

....go with this?
Idemo Red - a sad substitute for Tullinge Lilac, but life isn't fair.

Does that look right together, or am I just feeling desperate?  Buying new slipcovers would be a good temporary solution, while Larry and I scratch our heads over paying $1500 for a piece of furniture.  Is that a normal price to pay for a leather corner sofa?  I have no idea, over here in Ektorp land...

[Tullinge Lilac Slipcover image: PicClick]

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


Day 3 of the Eat Green Things challenge, and I am still going strong.  Look!

Artistically posed just off center, in a plastic IKEA bowl

There it is - a bowl full of healthy kale and cabbage bits.  Drowned in lots of dressing for improved palatability, of course.  It takes a LOT of chewing, though.  I imagine this is how cows feel.

You could have seen this same picture even sooner, if you had just LIKED this blog's Facebook page.  Meredith of Whynot Pottery saw it before any of you, and she also left a very witty comment there.  Go! Read it! LIKE the page, while you're at it!

Shameless huckstering - it's what's for dinner.

In other news, the main floor received its second coat of paint today.  The color looks marvelous.  Do you know why it looks marvelous?  It looks marvelous because I copied it from a neighbor's house.

You see, I have learned my lesson from our recent bathroom paint fiasco.  I will never, ever attempt to select paint from a paint chip again.  Instead, I will only choose a paint color that I have already seen on someone else's wall.  It's worked before (remember the Miracle of Christmas 2012?), and now, my friends, it has worked yet again. Gazing at my freshly painted walls, I feel ridiculously triumphant.

And that's all I've got tonight, folks!  Off to be healthy, wealthy, and wise by getting to bed at a reasonable hour...

Monday, February 02, 2015

Pajamas - More Useful Than You Think

Well, I finally got my act together and got those books back to the library.  It cost me 40 bucks, but my account is unblocked and I am a respectable citizen again.  Or I will be, once I return the 6th Harry Potter audiobook that is in my car.  Hey, we're still listening to it, all right?

It got cold here today.  You see, it couldn't be cold yesterday and give us snow instead of torrential rain.  It has to wait until the rain stops, see, and then it gets cold.  That's how winter works around here.

20 years I've been here, and I still can't accept it. I just can't.

In other news, Larry realized that the more we insulate the main floor, the colder our bedroom is going to become.  Because we have a three-story townhouse with exactly ONE thermostat.  A new thermostat, yes, but still - there's only one.  So now that the main floor will stay cozily warm. due to Larry's mad insulating skills, the furnace won't click on as often, because it has no way of knowing that upstairs, where there is no thermostat, the warm air is still flying out our not-insulated bedroom walls.

Just as good as insulation...and way cheaper
And here, people, is the crucial difference between me and my beloved.  My solution? Buy a few more down comforters and some nice warm pajamas. Maybe add a little space heater if that doesn't work.  Larry, however, believes the answer is to rip out our front bedroom wall AND the front wall in our overstuffed walk-in closet and insulate those, also.

"We should tackle that closet," he said, flexing his arms and looking around for his implements of destruction.

"Look," I said, desperate enough to bargain. "Why don't you do the wall fronting the foyer and the kitchen first?  You can get a new front door. You know you want a new door."

He stopped looking for his crowbar long enough to say, "A new front door, eh?"

"Yes!" I said. "Look - here's the brochure you were using for the patio doors.  Pick anything you want.  Anything."

"Well," he said, a tad reluctant to relinquish his dream, "I guess the bedroom can wait until fall."

Good.  Because it will take me at least that long to empty our closet.  Maybe I can get him to do the basement first?

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Be It Hereby Resolved - February Edition

I can't believe it is February.  My favorite month of the year is over, the month of fresh starts and snow (if we're lucky) and just generally hunkering down and not running around like crazy.  From here on out, the year just passes by faster and faster and faster.  In my mind, if it is February 1, 2015, then 2016 is just around the corner.  I could weep.

There is some business to be taken care of, however.  January Resolutions - remember those?  I announced I would be in bed (not asleep, but in bed with a book - no electronic devices) EVERY NIGHT by 11.  Let's just say that I made it most nights.  There were 4 or 5 where I cheated a bit, and one where I outright said the hell with it (I think that was a Saturday when I still had some charge left on my IPad, and I wasn't going to go to sleep until I used it up).  Still, that means that for 25 days or so, I went to bed at a reasonable hour, instead of at 1:30 AM.

Progress, folks, progress.  I am going to try to keep it up.

I actually own this.
In addition, I made another resolution that I didn't share - I decided that EVERY SINGLE MORNING (unless I had yoga class that day), I would endure my 10-minute Kathy Smith core-strengthening video.  And (drum roll, please) I ended up missing only one day - the day I risked my life on the ski slopes.  I am VERY pleased with myself.  Unfortunately, I do not have the abs of steel I had hoped to have by the end of the month, so I will continue that one, also.

So! February resolutions, anyone?  It's a short month, you know, and - as you can see by my report - you don't have to do it perfectly to feel successful.  I'm thinking that my February resolution will be to continue the January ones - is that cheating?  I probably should throw in something about healthy eating, but - truth to tell - I don't really want to.

I can't believe I like this.

Oh, okay - I'll eat something green every day, all right?  GREEN.  I just discovered this crunchy, pre-mixed salad at Costco - it's all chopped up brussels sprouts and cabbage and KALE, for heaven's sake, which sounds totally disgusting.  But it's actually not too bad, in a healthy-tasting sort of way.

Probably my body is so deficient in whatever vitamins are provided by the green stuff that I just think it tastes good.  Who knows?  But I figure if I pick up a few bags of that a week, I can keep my new resolution.  I mean, it's not as if the kids are fighting me for the stuff, you know?