Monday, June 27, 2016

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

Larry went ahead with his nefarious plan to empty a good third of the contents of our laundry room into our family room, so the delivery guys could move our brand new, stackable washer/dryer into place and remove the old ones. And I did my best to ignore the chaos created, even though Larry took away my freestanding pantry shelves because he wanted to turn the refrigerator around so the door handle wouldn't block the delivery guys' way. The family room was filled with stuff, I couldn't find my food, the laundry room was newly chaotic (because he moved other stuff around in there); yet through it all I said nothing, because, hey, we were getting our dryer today and that meant I could stop begging all my neighbors to let me use theirs.

Made of money, that's what we are...
And then I learned, half an hour before the delivery, that the dryer (a gas one) would not actually be installed today.  Even though the previous dryer was also gas, and even though we already had the gas line sitting in the right place. I also learned that having it installed would cost me an extra $140.

One hundred and forty dollars. Tell me, am I really saving any money by having a gas dryer if I spend an extra $140 each time I replace it? On top of the extra $100 it costs in the first place? Probably not. I could have just bought an electric one and it would be plugged in and running RIGHT NOW.

So, after 3 phone calls, I learned the dryer will be installed Friday. I told Larry this (he came home to deal with the delivery, in case there were problems), and he said, "Gee - so long as we have to wait, maybe I should insulate the outside wall of the laundry room this week; then we could install the dryer there instead, and we wouldn't have to pay to move it later!"

Isn't it obvious that this man hates me?

"Look," I said. "This is incredibly complicated. You can't do it by Friday."

"I'd have to do the floor by then, also," he said, more to himself than to me, because really, when it comes to his insulation fetish, has he EVER listened to me? "I need that subflooring to stop the condensation..." Before I knew it, he's talking on the phone with our handyman, trying to figure out if he can pull it off.

No. No, he can't. Our handyman convinced him of that. So I get my dryer connected on Friday, in its original spot, but Larry is still gung-ho on insulating the laundry room NOW, since he moved so much stuff out of there already. "I'll just get everything else out of there this weekend," he said. "Andy said he could help me next weekend - that'll be perfect!"

WHOSE laundry room looks like this? Not mine.
Perfect. Yeah, that must have been the word I was looking for. People, there is SO MUCH STUFF in that laundry room. Larry went down to survey the situation again, while I sat upstairs and breathed into a paper bag and wondered how much divorces cost. He came back up and said, "I guess if we had a bigger house, we would just fill it up with more stuff?"

It was his jovial, aren't-we-just-packrats-together tone that got to me.

"No, WE wouldn't fill it up," I told him. "YOU would fill it up." And I left the house for a very long walk.

All of this to say, there's a reason I have over 23,000 steps on my Fitbit today. And, believe me, those weren't nearly enough.

[Dollars image: Clipart Panda]

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Marital Hijinks

I woke up this morning very annoyed at Larry. I found him downstairs, sipping his coffee and reading the news, completely unaware of what he had done.

"Thanks!" I said. "Thanks a lot!"


"I just dreamed you went and married our neighbor Cassie."

I could tell from Larry's confused look that he really wanted to defend himself, but he wasn't sure why.

"And I was supposed to pretend that that was all right. Like, perfectly all right. Even though WE were still married."

"Um, this was just a dream, you know."

"I don't care. Then one of the OTHER neighbors suggested that I should get even by marrying Cassie's husband Tom."

"Did you?" asked Larry.

"Of course not! That would be weird! People would think we were all middle-aged swingers or something."

"Good thinking," said Larry, trying to return to his coffee.

"So, halfway through the dream, I finally realized that I didn't have to support you in this weird lifestyle choice of marrying someone else. Look what being married a quarter century has done to me - I feel obligated to back you up on EVERYTHING."

"Speaking of which," said Larry, "I'm moving everything from the laundry room this morning to make space for the washer/dryer delivery tomorrow. I'll just stick it all in the family room for now."

You know, maybe it WOULD be simpler if he just married someone else...

Friday, June 24, 2016

All Wet

Et tu, LG?
Our dryer broke tonight.

In case that sounds familiar, yes, it is. Very. Repeatedly familiar, in fact.

Larry's tired. He doesn't know what's wrong, as he has already - over the past 9 months - replaced the moisture sensor, the thermostat thingie, and something else. He is SO DONE with this particular appliance. Particularly because he knows that, even if he does manage to fix the dryer by dint of spending his entire weekend on it, the washer will probably kick out on us next week, just to get even.

So we both turned to Brian. "How much is that employee discount at Best Buy?" we asked.

"Why?" he asked, startled.

"Because we need a new dryer, and you still want to go to college," I told him.

"They said I could only use the discount for myself and a spouse," said our markedly unattached 16-year-old.

Larry took a step closer to him. "Then tell them," he said, through gritted teeth, "you're married."

Like I said, the man's tired.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's My Party

It's my birthday week (because why settle for just one day?), and it's been busy. Some neighbors were moving away on Tuesday, so we had a going-away party on Monday that I somehow became in charge of, which involved an awful lot of running around. By the time my actual birthday rolled in the next day, I was looking forward to just sitting still, eating chocolate, knitting, things like that.

I got up bright and early on my birthday to take some Excedrin (because tapering off steroids apparently gives me 4 AM migraines) and then stayed up to enjoy my day. Susie insisted I open her present in the morning, 2 lovely little bars of British Cadbury Fruit and Nut. That girl has excellent taste. I spent the day knitting on my shawl, determined to finish it by evening so I could beg a friend to block it for my birthday. Susie, newly deprived of her neighborhood friend (whose family had gotten on a plane headed for their new home that morning), went for a walk with me and convinced me to take her to Finding Dory ($6 Tuesdays!) that afternoon.

And we both fell asleep in the afternoon and missed the movie. It was an excellent birthday nap, however.

Larry came home and offered to take me out for dinner. "Don't bother," I said, feeling magnanimous in a birthday sort of way. "We have tons of party leftovers you can throw together instead - grilled chicken, hamburgers, etc." Whereupon he proceeded to sit down with a beer in the living room while I bustled about the kitchen, washing lettuce and making Brian and Susie peel cucumbers, set table, etc.

No, I do NOT know what he was thinking. Several times I heard him talking and I said, "What? Are you trying to talk to me from the living room while I'm in the kitchen getting dinner on MY BIRTHDAY?" Eventually he got the message and wandered in. Maybe he thought that the gifts he got me were so awesome, no more effort was required. Maybe he thought that when I said I didn't want to go out to eat, I meant, "I would love to prep dinner in the kitchen, just like I do every single other day of the year." Who knows? But it still couldn't dent my birthday high.

Aren't you jealous?
After dinner, I opened my presents. Larry gave me a Bagel Guillotine.


"Well," I said, mentally calculating how much money I now deserved to spend at my local yarn store. "That's, uh, interesting."

"Now you won't hurt yourself cutting bagels!" Larry said.

"I NEVER hurt myself cutting bagels," I said. "I've known you 26 years, and that has never happened."

"Yes, but someday you could. And buying that thing sure beats spending the money on an ER copay!"

The man was just busting his buttons with pride over his excellent gift-selecting capabilities. Seriously, it reminded me of the windshield-scraper Christmas. I didn't even know what to say. But Susie did.

"Daddy! THAT's not a birthday present!"

Larry looked affronted. "She NEEDS it, " he insisted.

For the laundry enthusiast
"Why don't I open this box?" I said, anxious to move on. I opened the box and found...soap nuts? Patience Crabstick had recently blogged about them and so I stuck them on my wish list to consider for later.

"Larry, do you know what these are?" I asked. "They're laundry detergent. Natural laundry detergent."

"Daddy! That's not a birthday present, either!" said Susie, of the lovely Fruit-and-Nut Cadbury bars. Even Brian, male though he is, was shaking his head by this time.

"They were ON your wish list," Larry said, looking as befuddled as only he can look. "I thought you WANTED them."

So, yeah, the gift list concept needs some work. At least now I get to spend the rest of the week walking into local yarn shops and announcing, "I am here because my husband gave me a bagel guillotine for my birthday," just to hear all the women literally gasp in sympathy as they rush to help me select some birthday yarn. Because solidarity is what it's all about, ladies - solidarity and natural fibers forever.

[Balloons image: Birthday Clip Art]

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stupid, But Still Alive

Oh, where to start? I was feeling better, popping my pills and all, and then Tuesday evening I got itchy. By Wednesday, I decided to message the doctor and tell her maybe I was getting allergic to the antibiotic. Or perhaps it was a side effect of steroids? Who knows? The nurse called me back.

"It's probably an allergy - stop the antibiotic. Any other symptoms? Difficulty breathing?"

"No, of course not," I said. Duh, I would have done something about that.

"Tongue feel funny? Lips swollen? Those are all signs that the reaction is getting dangerous."

"No, no, no. Just the itchiness. I've raised
These really WERE my BFF's this week.
an allergic child, so I know the symptoms to look for, don't worry - I'm an expert!" Yes, I did say that.

"Ma'am, I just have to go down this list. Throat swelling?"

For heaven's sake, does she think I'm an idiot? I thought. Does she think I'd just sit around going la-di-da if I felt my throat swelling?

"No," I said. And then, I remembered. I had just spent 15 minutes that afternoon complaining to the kids that I couldn't understand why I was getting my sore throat thing back - you know, the one where my THROAT FEELS SWOLLEN? That was right before I walked into the kitchen and took my daily steroid dose that, with its lovely anti-inflammatory properties, probably saved me from a medical emergency situation.

Yikes. I spent the rest of the evening contemplating my near brush with death and hanging onto my Benadryl for dear life. But, hey, I'm an expert! I'm sure that nurse was really impressed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hey, It's June!

Okay, things are looking up here: I'm no longer frightening the children by lying on the couch, crying in pain from the sinus infection that wouldn't die.  That's definitely an improvement over last week. And you know how I'm always saying that I don't have much to do around here now that the kids are older? Well, last week, while I was lying on that couch, I noticed there was a heck of a lot of stuff NOT GETTING DONE, which can only mean that actually, I do do a lot. I'm just so good at it after all these years that no one notices, including myself.

One of our neighbors is relocating across the country next week. They've lived here 4 years and our daughters hang out with each other almost every day. I'll tell you, these people have some nerve moving. Oh, sure, they've got 2 great job offers and their entire family lives out West and yada yada yada; but don't they care about us? It's not as if our family is going to jump in the car and pull our camper all the way to Idaho next summer. We can barely plan an East Coast vacation, as it is. And there's no way Brian would tolerate that many days in the car with his sisters, anyway. He's a great guy, but he IS 16. There are limits.

So, yeah, I'm mad at them. Selfish, that's what they are. Just plain selfish.

On the bright side, it IS June, thank goodness.  My favorite month, because there's my birthday and the days are so long and the mornings so beautiful. Also, no mosquitoes yet. They're coming for us, but not for another couple of weeks. That means that, for now, we all can continue to pretend that summer is beautiful and fun.

I still do not have a job. Still waiting to hear on a contract that is still pending, for an editing job that would really be ideal. It's been almost a year now. I submit a couple of resumes a week to other places and never, ever, hear back. So, I wait. Waiting doesn't pay well, I'll tell you that.

And that's all the news here, folks! Aside from my losing at Bunko tonight, of course - but that happens all the time. I'm used to it.

[Broken heart image:]
[Cartoon: LooseParts]

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Like HGTV, But Less Interesting

My BFF's this week
Well! Looks as though those science-y people aren't quite on their toes, since it turns out my antibiotics didn't work, and  I kept getting worse, so Wednesday I got to visit two more doctors and have a CAT scan and get more medicines and, hoo-boy, it's been a fun week. Why didn't any of you warn me about the part of a sinus infection where the swelling compresses nerves in your face and you wake up feeling as though someone is repeatedly stabbing you in the jaw? Had to let me find that out all by myself, did you? Thanks.

So here I am, a little better, taking steroids (ooh, fun, never had those before) and another antibiotic and popping Motrin, but luckily I haven't been so sick that I couldn't pursue Larry's and my new hobby, which is buying used kitchen tables off the Internet.

You see, until a month ago, we still had our 6-seater table that we bought back in 2001 (it matched the hutch I got rid of here). But we only have 5 people living here now, and at any one meal we tend to only have 4 or less, and I was tired of edging around the too-big table in the limited space of our eating area. Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if we had a cute round table with a self-storing leaf, so we could easily make it accommodate 6 people if we needed it?

And then the Internet gods smiled on me and I found one on our town's Online Yard Sale on Facebook - only 50 dollars! "Look," I told Larry, "it's just what we want, but the wrong color. Let's see if it feels right before we spend money on a new table. We can resell it later." And Larry, having been married  to me lo these many years, accepted that it would be so.

What Larry dragged home last month, only with a white laminate top 

So, we like it, except for the white laminate top (weird) and the fact that there appears to be an umbrella hole in the middle of the self-storing leaf (sort of a dealbreaker for Larry). We were even planning on going to IKEA and spending the big bucks on the newer version (well, I was, anyway). But late last night, on the Online Yard Sale, I saw another one - black, no hole, pedestal instead of legs, with 4 matching chairs.

"Larry!" I yelled. "Come here! Will black work?" We ended up consulting Brian - our design maven around here, what with his mad visual skills - and he approved. So this morning I fetched the chairs, and Larry - after spending 8 hours today helping Civil Air Patrol cadets run a food drive - will go get the table. Because, really, that's what he likes to do on his days off.

What Larry's dragging home today 

Or maybe he's just a good sport, right? A good sport who knows how to stay married?

Monday, June 06, 2016

Oy, How I Suffer

Nature's antibiotic
The cold that wouldn't end was pretty much gone last week, and I was looking forward to resuming a normal blogging life, sans complaints about aches and pains and all. But then Thursday it came roaring back to life as the most godawful sinus infection ever, all on one side of my face, making my teeth hurt and my eye hurt and forcing me back into the arms of sudafed and tylenol and aspirin, my BFFs, apparently.

I swear, it was like that scene in Fatal Attraction, where Glenn Close pops back out of the bathtub with that knife. I mean, WTH? I was feeling BETTER. I biked 20 miles last Monday. Sheesh.

As is my wont, I assumed that orange juice and OTC meds would cure all, and, honestly, I never took people who complained about sinus infections seriously anyway. Just a fancy name for a head cold, that's what I thought. So I soldiered on, through Thursday, when I acted like a person who isn't about to die from the worst sinus infection of all time and did a bunch of stuff I can't remember now, and through Friday, when I drove the girls an hour away to pick strawberries in an open field under hot sun, and did I mention that sinus infection?

There were MORE than this.
Of course, when we got home, I was able to relax. Ha, ha, ha, NO! Because we had $65 worth of strawberries sitting on the kitchen counter, all threatening to go bad at once if I didn't do anything with them. So I cooked and canned 2 batches of strawberry jam, which made barely a dent in our strawberry supply, and then I separated out some strawberries for dinner, and there were STILL 2 whole flats left, and then Larry came home and I started crying about the whole strawberry situation, so he made them disappear in the downstairs fridge for a bit.

I like that guy.

Saturday, still suffering, I worked at the yoga center, came home and hung out with neighbors at a grown-up birthday party, and then, FINALLY, lay down on the couch. At which point Brian said, "Best Buy wants me to start tomorrow and I need black pants and black sneakers and a white polo shirt." Larry, sensing that I was incapacitated (maybe it was my lying on the couch, moaning in pain, while dialing the Urgent Care hotline - he's very perceptive like that), volunteered to take Brian to Kohls, for which I am forever grateful.

Guys, sinus infections are REAL THINGS.

So I staggered into Urgent Care and waited over an hour, along with other people in similar states of distress. When I left, I was clutching my prescription of antibiotics and thanking God for people who actually want to do science-y things like cure diseases and make medicines.

I slept maybe 3 broken hours on Saturday night, because antibiotics don't cure things right away. (And why not, you science-y people out there? WHY NOT?) And here's the kicker: I was supposed to bike 56 miles on Sunday for the Tour de Cure.

Larry, saying HE would go to Kohls.
So, yeah, that didn't happen. What did happen is that, mid-morning, Rachel came up to me and said, "The local theater is showing Casablanca at 11:00." And can I mention right here how proud I am of raising a daughter who knows that that is an important thing? SO PROUD.

The girls and I went to see the movie, me clutching my tissues and Ricola cough drops, and it was as awesome as it always has been. Seriously, BEST MOVIE EVER. When I am dying (I mean, if that's not what is happening right now), I am going to make the hospice nurses show me that movie.

Do they show movies in hospice? Must check.

And when we came out of the theater, we saw all the Tour de Cure bicyclists milling around, just back from their rides, and I felt a teensy bit guilty I wasn't among them. Then I remembered that, if I had ridden, I still wouldn't have been among the finishers; no, I would have been lying dead somewhere along the route and causing the race organizers no end of headaches, what with the extra paperwork and dead body removal and all. And who needs that?