Monday, March 30, 2015

This, That, And The Other Thing

Too sleepy to write much more than a quick update tonight.  Larry has the insulation up, so the front hall doesn't look haunted anymore. Did my taxes and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Went out without a coat today. I hear Easter and Passover are coming, but I haven't done a darn thing about either of them yet.

Our handyman went missing this morning, and I wondered if he had maybe dropped dead (he's a smoker, so I was thinking some sort of coronary event) and how would we ever find out? More importantly, who would put up our drywall? He showed up sometime in the afternoon, however, and promised to come tomorrow. So, no one's dead and I still get my walls put up.  That's a win/win, if you ask me.

Also, know that if you are ever supposed to visit or otherwise get in touch with me and then don't, it takes me only an hour or two to start imagining your unfortunate demise.  Anyone else jump to the worst-case scenario like that?

David just informed me that certain food supplies are getting low.  I don't see how that is possible when I practically LIVE in Harris Teeter and Costco. I think these kids are just messing with me.

Th-th-th-that's all, folks....stay tuned, though, for yet another episode of Larry and I trying to pick out a paint color. Pray for us.

Friday, March 27, 2015

More Photographic Evidence Of Spousal Insanity

Pictures of Larry's latest insulation project, wherein he tore out my kitchen wall, my front hallway wall, AND my pantry:

Doesn't that look lovely? And now the whole neighborhood can look in on us until the project is completed, because the plantation shutters that normally cover those windows are stacked in my living room.

Above is our front hall.  Welcoming vibe, isn't it?  I mean, in an Addams Family sort of way... it totally looks haunted.  Coming down the stairs at night is a very creepy experience.

And there is/was my pantry. We tore out the pantry because we hadn't had a door on it for at least 5 years and we finally decided that, hey, maybe we should buy a door.  We're nothing if not problem solvers. Then the handyman came up with the idea of widening the pantry a bit before we ordered a door, so that we could actually fit the broom in it (because, up to now, we just shoved the broom in the corner between the pantry and the hutch, whence it would invariably topple and hit someone on the head as he/she walked by).

But now I'm wondering, why even have a pantry when you can just leave everything on the kitchen counters and knock stuff over a zillion times a day?

Here they are - the counters, I mean.  You might have trouble seeing them under all that pantry clutter.  Note the attractive plastic dropcloth hanging in the background.  Who needs drapes?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sing It, Joni

Hello! I'm still here! Recovering from Mulch Weekend and all that, you know.  In fact, I woke up Monday morning and lay in bed a few extra moments (oh, all right, an extra half hour), luxuriating in the thought that I had a peaceful week ahead, with time to focus on the children's schoolwork, maybe clean up the house, etc.  Oh, lovely thought!

And then I went downstairs, where I found Larry and the handyman discussing when exactly to tear out the front wall of our kitchen.  Yes, folks, my spouse is at it again.

So I was up late Monday night (well, into the wee hours of Tuesday morning, actually), preparing for Larry's next fit of destruction by emptying our kitchen hutch of 14 years worth of leftover craft materials, photo albums, CD's, and cookbooks.  Then I had to relocate what wasn't thrown away PLUS the myriad other piles of kitchen crap that kept jumping out at me every time I turned around.  Oh, and did I mention I also had to empty the pantry? It was a daunting task, made easier only by my discovery of an unopened bag of mini Reese's peanut butter cups left over from our New Year's party.

Finally, at 2 AM, I faced an empty hutch.  In case you didn't know, 2 AM is an excellent time at which to get maudlin. EXCELLENT. So, yeah, there I was, eating peanut butter cups and feeling all weepy about the passage of time, reminiscing about the day Larry and I dragged 4 kids under the age of 10, including one baby, to IKEA, where we managed - in an unwonted episode of spousal harmony - to agree on a table and chairs and a matching kitchen cabinet. Considering that all our furniture prior to this purchase had either been bought used or found next to the apartment dumpsters on Moving Day, this was really a big moment for us.

Looks empty, but it's actually full of memories.

That hutch? It became our catch-all for all the craft supplies my children have used over the years.  I can't tell you how many times a day we have rummaged around in there for construction paper, glitter glue, paints, playdough, beads, craft sticks, magic markers, etc. And now, all those days, all those hours spent creating at the kitchen table, gone!  Nothing left of them but an old wooden cabinet with its doors falling off its hinges and a getting-old woman in not much better shape, alone with her memories and her Reese's.

I did mention maudlin, didn't I?

The next morning (after a refreshing 5 hours of sleep), I watched the handyman break that cabinet up into pieces and haul it off to the dump.  I managed not to cry, but "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" played non-stop in my head for hours. Because, dammit, it's true.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Enslaved By Boy Scouts

It's Mulch Delivery Day.  I was forced to get up at 6 AM, which is almost physically painful for me, because it is still dark at that hour.  Lest you look down on me for my weakness, please consider that I spent 18 years or so being woken up every single night by one child or another, often more than once, while still rising out of bed bright-eyed and optimistic by 7,  at the latest.

In other words, I am DONE.

You've got mulch!
So, Mulch Day.  We were up and out by 7, setting up the food tent, feeding breakfast to some very cold Scouts, generally getting things organized.  Then I sped off to yoga, where I hurried up and relaxed for an hour and a half, before picking up my 2 neglected girls at home so we could head off to help at Mulch again, where Larry (the Mulch Czar, remember?) assigned me to play traffic cop.

My job involved preventing people from parking in the parking lot we had rented, no small feat considering there was a huge Tae Kwon Do exhibition going on at the high school and approximately gazillion games and scrimmages taking place on the playing fields. I spent a lot of time explaining to distraught parents that their precious soccer players would be just fine if they dropped them off at this end of the parking lot and allowed them to walk ALL THE WAY across the tarmac to reach their teammates.

I was relieved of my duties because I was starting to get sarcastic.  Who knew?

So I brought the girls home to play for a couple of hours, but we are due back down there soon to take our shift handing out grilled cheese sandwiches and replenishing granola bars and grapes at the snack station.  What can I say? It's a glamorous life, this existence of mine. And tomorrow, I might just get to sleep in until 7.

What more could a middle-aged gal with sleep-deprivation PTSD ever want?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lesson Learned

A few months ago, I was feeling nostalgic for my younger days, when my friends and I would sit around the barracks and play cribbage to while away the time.  Remember, this was in the dark ages, before anyone even knew what the Internet was and hardly anyone had a screen of his/her own.  I think we sang along to The Traveling Wilbury's as we played.  So, yeah, a LONG time ago...

Anyway, I located a cheap cribbage board and, having managed to decipher the instructions, convinced Susie (who likes to play games, unlike most of her siblings, who unfortunately take after Larry in this regard) to play with me.  Susie took to the game like a fish to water, displaying a surprising facility for counting hands and computing odds.  I played with her any chance I got, And maths.

My Christmas present
We upgraded at Christmas to an honest-to-goodness professional board, complete with unbreakable metal pegs and a sliding top that hid a storage compartment for the cards and such.  A beauty, really. During the Great Homewrecking of Winter 2015, our handyman noticed this cribbage board and said, "Oh, hey! Do you play? I love that game - used to play for a nickel a point."

Hmmm, I thought.  Here's a good chance to show Susie that gambling doesn't really pay. "Hey, Susie," I said, to my unsuspecting youngest. "Do you want to play for money?" She agreed, happily, and I proceeded on my mission to show her that probability and luck tend to even out for two players of similar abilities.  Because, hey, I am at least as smart as a 9-year-old.

Except...not.  Turns out, Susie is REALLY GOOD at cribbage.  Long story short, over the past month? Susie has netted 15 dollars.


And now she thinks gambling is an awesome way to earn money.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Feeling Green

Still alive, just too busy to write. And believe me, THAT'S busy. I'm telling you, this being-an-adult gig is for the birds. I am just keeping my eyes fixed on this coming Monday, when I can go back to my customary lackadaisical approach to life.

Well, except for that taxes thing - I'll still have to take care of that.

Anywhoo, St. Patrick's Day has passed unmarked here this year. Due to the unfortunate corned-beef-and-cabbage barfing incident of 2014, no one seems to want to ingest our traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner ever again.

Oh, wow, I went to link to a post about that night a year ago when I stayed up to watch Brian repeatedly deposit regurgitated corn beef into our barf bucket, and I realized that I have never regaled you with that particular tale. I know you're disappointed.

Oh, well, never mind. Be sure to enjoy those St. Patrick's Day leftovers tomorrow, though! Yum.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Peter Pan May Have Had The Right Idea

These look cute, but they're killers.
Life is getting the better of  me the last two days and sapping my blogging energy, as it were.  Oh, nothing dramatic, no fear - just a zillion and one smaller things.  I am being pecked to death by ducks, essentially.  But I needed to pop in to let you know that Larry has finally caught the mouse (or, at least, a mouse).  The trap that disappeared a few nights ago is still missing, however, so the mystery continues.  Larry theorizes that there is still a dead mouse lying somewhere under our kitchen cabinets.  I'm sure the smell will start during Mulch Weekend, when we have zero time to do anything about it.

But hey, at least we'll have hot water this year - there's that.

Yes, one of the zillion and one things coming up is the Boy Scout troop's Mulch Delivery Weekend, which situation is just as bad as last year - Larry in charge of mulch, myself in charge of food, neither of us talking to the other in the interest of preserving our marriage past the next 10 days. It's like one of those survival reality shows, only less fun and more real.

And then there is our HOA annual meeting coming up, which promises to be replete with scintillating experiences, such as explaining to my neighbors why we exceeded the budget line item for legal advice and listening to normally rational people almost come to blows over how exactly to plow the snow in our parking lot. I also, in preparation, got to spend an hour today talking to a landscape guy about mulch and lawn fertilizer; that is, when I wasn't on the phone discussing the details of a contract for neighborhood trash pick-up with a very nice woman who no doubt wondered why I was being allowed to handle such things.

Remember when you wanted to be all grown up?  Turns out, it's not all it was cracked up to be.  Not even close.

[Duck image: The Telegraph]

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bargaining Points

Still haven't found that darn mouse, in case you are wondering. Larry theorizes that it went under the kitchen cabinets to die. I might just demand a whole new kitchen at this point.

In the meantime, that horrid event known as Daylight Saving Time happened. I've been getting up an hour late ever since because why not? It's not as if I'm ruining my illustrious career as a stay-at-home mom and unpaid blogger to do so.

So the problem, actually, is my crappy cheap phone. I noticed midday Sunday that it hadn't automatically reset. So I figured out (okay, someone helped me, but I was the one who pushed all  the buttons) how to move the clock on my phone ahead one hour, and then I forgot all about it. Until a couple of hours later, when this message popped up on my phone screen: Time change detected. Reset your phone? with a Yes and a No option.

Well, that would have been helpful, several hours ago, I thought, and pressed No.

A few hours later it happened again.  And then again. And again. In fact, it's still doing it.

So, what now? Do I move my clock back one hour and wait for the offer to reappear? Will that make it stop? But what if I move the clock back and then the offer doesn't show up again? What if it has already given up? How will I know whether or not it is going to reappear? How long do I wait?

This is the sort of thoughts that plague me, as I go about my uneventful, humdrum days. And I wonder, what do busy people do? How do they have time to figure out their phones, and Daylight Saving, and the intersection thereof? Does Hillary Clinton have an assistant for this sort of thing? Does that Lean In chick hire someone to take care of her clocks so she has more time to, you know, lean in?

Or maybe successful women pay more than, say, $40 for their cellphones. Yeah, that might be it. I wonder, is a dead mouse under the kitchen cabinets a good spousal negotiating point for a cellphone upgrade? Because I doubt I am going to get that new kitchen...

Saturday, March 07, 2015


I had just settled in on the couch last night for a cozy evening with Words With Friends (because we middle-aged folks are all about the exciting life here), when I spotted a mouse wander nonchalantly into my living room.  Seriously, he was all, "Hey, what's up, guys?" until my screams sent him scurrying back into the kitchen as fast as his little mouse feet could carry him.

Larry came running downstairs with an empty laundry basket ("I thought it was a bat," he explained, because apparently my spouse is nothing if not a one-man rodent SWAT team); so I left Larry looking for the creature and went to bed early.  He came upstairs a short time later.

"Did you find him?" I asked.

"No. But I set 4 mousetraps,' he said, with the resoluteness of an astronaut just back from a tricky spacewalk. "We'll get'm."

My hero.  I mean, that's downright sexy, isn't it?

I've got this, honey.

Naturally, I let Larry go downstairs first this morning, while I procrastinated as long as I could by showering, doing my hair, etc.  When I did come down, I found my beloved sitting in the living room armchair, sipping his coffee and gazing out at the birdfeeder, looking for all the world like a carefree homeowner whose life is not plagued by a perpetual parade of vermin through his personal castle.

"So, did the traps work?" I asked, full of a hope apparently bestowed on me by a good night's rest and the brightness of the morning sun.

"Well, I'm not sure," said Larry.

Picture me here, figuratively grabbing him by his non-existent lapels while shouting, "What? What do you mean, not sure?"

"Well," and here Larry paused for altogether too long a time, "there's one trap missing."

Missing. Missing.

March is a good time of year to sell a house, right?

Friday, March 06, 2015

In Which I Live Another Day

Okay, this cold is officially beating me.  Forget those March resolutions to take walks and do core exercises, I'm winded just from walking up the stairs.  To make it worse, I'll get these brief bursts of energy and think that I am capable, say, of shoveling the front walk, only to crawl back inside after 15 minutes and lie on the couch for an hour.  Fun.

And, yes, I AM aware that this is the third day in a row of complaining about my tiny little cold. That's because this is the third day in a row of its kicking my butt.  And, lest you are getting the impression that the only person I think about lately is my own self, I'll have you know I shared the remains of my homemade matzo ball soup with a neighbor who is getting over the flu.  I'm a gosh-darned saint, I tell you, feeding the sick with my own dying hands.

I bought these, too.  We're besties right now.
I drove to the grocery store today, because we had 6 ripe avocados and NO GARLIC, and - as I am sure you know - ripe avocados wait for no man.  The roads and parking lots were horrendous. Slush 6 inches deep, puddles even's a miracle I got back home to my starving children and their almost-guacamole.

I just found out that the time change is coming up this weekend. Lord help us, how are we supposed to spring forward when we are being deprived of an hour's sleep?  It's more like stagger forward, around here. The only thing good about moving the clocks is the fun Daylight Savings Time video I posted on this blog's Facebook page. Check it out. And, if it doesn't go against any Facebook principles you may hold dear, click to "Like" the page, so you don't miss anything.  I mean, because it is just so happenin' over there...

[Kleenex image: The Tissue Box Cover Store]

Thursday, March 05, 2015


It's snowing here, enough for the local schools to close down. There are 4 teens in my dining room, playing Texas Hold 'Em. There are 5 more kids in the kitchen, making hamantaschen, drinking hot cocoa, and eating popcorn. Last I checked, I only birthed 6 kids, and 2 of those don't even live here anymore.  So...where does that leave me?  5 extra kids?  I can't figure it out.

Me? I'm experiencing the miserable part of my cold, sitting on the couch, hugging my box of Kleenex, and sucking on Ricola throat drops.  Very attractive.  Larry is sitting opposite me, trying to pretend that I still look like the girl he married while he messes around with his new Internet radio.  He has tried to explain this device to me, but every time he starts throwing around words like "Bluetooth capability" and "wireless speakers," I feel like that dog in the Far Side cartoon - you know, the one whose owner is talking and all the dog hears is "Blah, blah, blah, Ginger. Blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, Ginger!"


That's all, folks.  It's a winter wonderland out there, and I hope it keeps up all day.  I also hope no one expects dinner, because I didn't plan any. Nada. Zilch.

Let them eat hamantaschen.

[Hamantaschen image: Temple Emanu-El]

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Overcome By The Vapors

Down for the count here - just a minor cold/sore throat thing, but the type that makes one want a fainting couch and a maidservant to put cool compresses on one's forehead.  Also? The type of ailment that makes one speak of oneself in the third person, apparently.

Must. Stop. Now.

Medicinal, if you're not too sick to make it
So! Still no stomach ailment, thanks to our family talisman, so I'm grateful for that.  I skipped my core exercises this morning (see above, re fainting couch), but I'm dressed and showered, so I don't have to rock that homeless woman vibe while driving David to the bus for school. I can't picture eating anything green, though.  I made myself some homemade chicken soup yesterday (don't be too impressed, it was from the carcass of a Costco rotisserie chicken), but now I'm too tired to strain the broth and make the matzo balls.  If I had been a pioneer, I would have starved to death the first hard winter.

I don't like chicken soup without matzo balls.  It's a Jewish thing.

Here's the part where I post a fun video for everyone to watch, but I can't think of anything.  Someone send me something funny, all right?

[Updated to tell you that someone came through for me with a Buzzfeed video about Jewish food, which I shared on this blog's Facebook page.  Check it out!]

[Matzo ball image: Jew It Up]

Monday, March 02, 2015

Be It Hereby Resolved - March

I CANNOT BELIEVE that the slowest part of the year is already over.  As far as I'm concerned, we're about 3 days away from Christmas, the way time flies around here.

Remember February?  You know, when I was a full month younger and more optimistic and rashly resolved to go to bed at 11 (ish), do my 10 minutes of Kathy Smith core exercises each day (except yoga class days), and eat something green (that, uh, HASN'T gone bad) each day, also?

We aim high around here, don't we?

My new BFF
People, I ended up dubbing February the Month of the Costco Kale Salad.  I ate a lot of that stuff, folks. A LOT.  With buttered broccoli thrown in here and there, for variety.  I feel very healthy.  RIDICULOUSLY healthy. So I will try to keep that up for March.  Even though my jaw hurts from chewing.

 I slipped quite a bit on the bedtime thing this month, but I still got more sleep than when I wasn't aiming for 11 at all (meaning, I was no longer pretending that, hey, it's already midnight, so it won't make any difference if I go to bed at 1 or 1:30 or 2), so I'll try to keep that one up, also. And I missed only 3 days of Kathy Smith, which is way better than last year - last year, I told myself I was doing the exercises every day, but I was actually missing at least 15 days each month.

You know, I am noticing here that I have an amazing capacity for self deception.

Should I even add anything for March? Seriously, I can't think of anything else healthy to do.  I mean, anything reasonable...there's no way I am going to vow to start lifting weights or cleaning my house or anything.  I'm so over the housekeeping thing.  In fact, I'm just waiting until enough kids move out so that Larry and I can downsize to an easy-to-maintain 2-bedroom condo.  Think about it - no laundry room piled with stuff that belongs in a garage, no closets filled with paper-towel-tube airplanes, no basement that acts as a handy repository for ALL THE JUNK Larry doesn't want to get rid of...just 2 bedrooms and a den, enough space for me and my yarn (okay, and Larry, too), plus any grandkids that might want to visit.

But that isn't happening in March 2015 - I accept that.

I have been slacking off on my walks, so maybe I'll do an almost-mile walk every day, around the golf course near my house; and if I were to maybe break into a labored trot for small bits of it? Well, that would be an extra feather in my cap, as it were.

Walking - I can do that.  I think.