Friday, July 29, 2016

I Am NOT A Pet Person

Balloons AND a living wage? Deal me in!
You know, watching political conventions takes up a LOT of time. Throw in complaining about the humidity and my days are just about full lately. Oh, and I even cooked dinner last night. I know, Hillary Clinton probably wonders how I do it all.

Larry and I postponed our 3-day camping trip to the beach to next Sunday, because we figured sitting on the open sand in 100-degree weather this past week might not be a smart thing to do. Never mind living without air we've been hanging out here, chatting with my bug boyfriend about rats, visiting cat adoption places (because I am looking for an outdoor cat to scare vermin away), and doing other equally not-exciting things.

Dear Lord, I cannot believe I am cat shopping. You see, I noticed that Jennifer Jo has two cats that live outside only, and she convinced me that I don't need to be a cat lover to own a cat; so I am forging ahead with my feline-centric rodent-eradication plan. The kids are thrilled, even though I keep repeating, "This cat will NEVER be allowed in the house" over and over. AND OVER.

I swear, the smell of litter boxes makes me ill.

For now, however, it is time to get ready for our beach trip on Sunday. Meaning, I need to do the requisite 15 loads of laundry that always need to be done before any vacation and figure out how to keep 2 vegetarians and 2 carnivores fed for 3 days. I CANNOT WAIT to leave town and all my rodent problems behind me. I don't even enjoy walking around our neighborhood anymore - every time I see a squirrel (and we have a LOT of squirrels), I jump about 10 feet in the air.

No wonder the neighbors look at me funny.

In other news, David visits us next week (remember David, the child who abandoned us last August?) - we haven't seen him since Christmas, so yeah, none of my adult kids seem to have any trouble leaving home. I try not to take it personally.

And I hope I didn't just jinx myself with that statement.

Our xylophone collection
Rachel babysat two of the cutest little girls at our house this afternoon. Larry came home this evening to a den strewn with Duplos and Sarah Boynton board books and toy xylophones (yes, plural).

"Feeling musical today?" he asked me.

"Just nostalgic," I told him. I swear, I cannot believe my house was once filled with little people like the ones we watched today. Those days seemed to have lasted forever, yet now they feel as if they never happened. Weird.

Friday, July 22, 2016

I Am Music

Yesterday morning, my bug boyfriend showed up to do his monthly anti-insect thing, and after he sprayed all around the outside perimeter of the house, I invited him in to do the inside of the outside wall of the laundry room (if that makes any sense), because, as I oh so cheerily told him, "You can actually reach it now, because my husband had to empty out the entire room due to a water leak!" Always a silver lining, eh?

Only, NOT. I followed him downstairs to revel in the sight of the accessible exterior wall and realized that Larry had already managed to throw a bunch of stuff back in there and half the wall was blocked. My bug boyfriend tried to pretend that was perfectly normal and all, but EMBARRASSING.

Things are better today, though, because I took my kids to the bowling alley, which had 70's music playing (because it is ALWAYS the 1970's in bowling alleys, and WHY?), and I heard both "Delta Dawn" and "I Write the Songs"; so my life is just about perfect right now.

"Could it be a painted rose from days gone byyyy?" I still remember Helen Reddy singing that song on the Carol Burnett show. And I used to have the Barry Manilow piano book, so I played "Weekend in New England" and "I Write the Songs" over and over during my oh-so-exciting teenage years. And the one concert I went to was a Barry Manilow concert, when I was 17.

As you can tell, I didn't give my parents a speck of trouble.

In other news, my neighborhood has rats. I was trying to pretend that the rats would stick to one or two yards in the neighborhood (because rodents are really conscientious about property boundaries like that), but yesterday my neighbor informed me that his dog had recently attacked and killed a rat that had emerged from a hedge right next to my house.

So now I'm packing. Anyone want a spacious, well-insulated townhouse in a neighborhood formerly known as desirable?

For your listening pleasure, and no, I don't know why women were dressing like that in 1973...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


VERY useful item
Praise the Lord, Larry found someone to help him! Of course, it's costing money, but not $10,000 worth of money, so that's good. The helper guy came by today with his wetvac and sucked all the water out of the trench (because it rained hard yesterday) and then he determined that water was being channeled under our stoop and spilling out by the basement wall, so there's another thing Larry has to figure out how to seal up.

Being a homeowner? TONS of fun.

Anyway, our savior is coming back tomorrow to do drainage-type stuff, and at some point he will have his men shovel all the dirt back into Larry's trench, and then Larry and I will live happily ever after, The End.

We are still planning to head to the beach with the girls and the camper on Sunday, for a few days of fun in the ocean. Only, I heard it is supposed to be about 100 degrees, which sounds a tad hot for fun, if you ask me. I mean, unless spontaneously combusting is your idea of a good time...

"At least we have the AC in our camper," I said to Larry, while we were discussing the weather forecast.

"I have no idea if it works," he said. "We haven't tried it since 2011."

Oh, hey, that's okay. I mean, the temps go all the way down to 80 degrees at night. NO PROBLEM.

Pray for us, all right?

[Hot weather image: ClipArtix]

Monday, July 18, 2016

In Too Deep

I don't even know what to say about this picture.
Larry and I spent the afternoon sorting through all the stuff he took out of the camper and reorganizing it and discussing what to get rid of. And, yet, we are STILL MARRIED. Go figure.

We also had to open up the camper and wet down the new canvas tent cover three times with a hose, so the canvas would shrink properly around the seams as it dried. I swear, we looked the picture of a happy outdoorsy couple, out there in the parking lot, hosing down our camper, repacking it with all our supplies. We looked like a couple who would never need a professional mediator while setting up camp, or who would never spend an entire camping trip worrying that the disgruntled teen might just jump ship, as it were, or who would never dream of having a stupid argument over who last saw the tube of hydrocortisone cream in the first aid kit...

In other words, we put on a really good act.

I think I need to put a new category up there for all the camping posts. That would be a fun thing to do - you know, instead of making my kids dinner. Or fixing the shawl I'm knitting that somehow I messed up. Or cleaning the bathroom. No, instead all my camping blog posts MUST be gathered and labeled and preserved for posterity.

See? I have goals.

It's bigger than this now.

We still have a 10-ft-deep trench in front of our home. In theory, some kind gentleman with a truck is supposed to come by this week and pick up all the displaced dirt and then come back with a bunch of stones to dump in the trench. IN THEORY. Unfortunately, he never showed up last week to give us an estimate, and I am not sure how much longer our neighbors are going to put up with this eyesore we have created. All I know is that we are supposed to go to the beach for a few days next week and everything is supposed to be done by then.  IN THEORY.

In reality? I think we're in trouble here. Deep trouble.

[Camping image: Daily Mail]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Facts Of Life

The girls have band camp this month, so this morning at 7:30 was a typical rush of lunches and instruments and music, mixed in with chores and hair and requests for pizza money. In the middle of all this, I heard Rachel call to me from the kitchen.

"Mommy! What's Pride Day?"

Time to hand this to Susie already
Oh, for heaven's sake - we have 5 minutes until they head out the door and Rachel brings this up NOW? How in the world do I explain this concept quickly? Does she or doesn't she already know what homosexuality is, I wonder? She's seen enough Daily Show to have some idea, though, right? She must know.

But Susie's in the kitchen with Rachel - have I even explained the birds and the bees to Susie yet? I swear, I can't remember. But I don't think so.

I know - Mother of the Year, right here.

All that was going through my head as I walked into the kitchen. Stalling, I asked Rachel, "What's the context? Where did you see it?"

"I don't know," said Rachel. "Everywhere I look, I'm seeing Amazon Prime Day. What is it?"

Oh. PRIME Day. Alrighty then. You know, sometimes -- just sometimes -- life gives you a break.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Catching Up

This was a heckuva lot of work.
Nothing is new here. There is still a 10-foot-deep trench across the front of our townhouse. Larry had a basement water-proofing guy come out last Tuesday to give us an estimate, once he realized that he had undertaken a humongous task, and the guy told us that it would cost $10,000 to have his company dig out and waterproof approximately 15 linear feet of foundation.

TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. Um, no, not happening...

But he gave Larry a lot of good advice, and Larry resumed digging on his own. In humid, 94-degree temps, all weekend. Last I noticed, he was painting some type of waterproof something-or-other on the foundation. It's all been very complicated, with Larry having to call in an electrician at one point, and now there's a huge pile of excavated clay dirt in our front yard and all the neighbors keep coming by to discuss the odds of Larry ever getting this mess cleaned up.

Naturally, I'm trying to ignore this whole thing.

In other news, a new couple moved into the neighborhood, with their 16-year-old and their college-age kid. We (meaning the neighborhood gossips) just found out that these kids are the 2 youngest of nine children.  NINE. You know what this means, don't you? It means that I am no longer the neighborhood freak, with my moderately sized 6-kid family. I happily bestow the title of Fertile Fanny on this new neighbor mom, whoever she is (I haven't met her yet).

I won at Bunko tonight. I haven't won any money in over a year. Too bad I have to spend it all on library fines...

I took Susie to the local water park today, where we met some friends. I generally avoid this place - too much sun, too many people, too exhausting, too expensive. But I got a deal on Certifikids for half-price entrance fees and couldn't resist. Apparently, I forgot that I am too old for this sort of thing. I am EXHAUSTED. Seriously, I don't know how grandparents do all the things they do, when I can barely do things like this for my youngest kid.

Also? This summer is flying by way too fast. I'm already getting emails about fall homeschool courses Brian is signed up for, Rachel is working on summer reading assignments for high school in September, and our planned camping trips loom on the horizon. Whatever happened to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, anyway?

Larry is especially missing the "lazy" part, I'll tell you that.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


Let's see, when last we spoke, I was paying $140 more for my dryer than anticipated, while Larry was busy emptying all his crap out of the laundry room into the basement family room (where it joined all the stuff he emptied out of the camper - oh, yes, he did - so that he could replace the canvas top last week). I had just become reconciled to both the chaos AND the extra expense (especially because we got $90 back on our dryer due to its being dented), when the installation company called to "remind" me that I needed an extra $70 to pay for the permit to install a gas appliance.

That's $210 extra for the gas dryer, PLUS the extra $100 the gas model costs in the first place. By my calculations, this dryer will have to last approximately bazillion years for the savings of gas versus electric to pay off. BAZILLION.

Oh, I'm irritated, yes, I am.

In the meantime, Larry continued to rip apart the laundry room, while I got quotes from plumbers on the cost of moving the washer and dryer to the outside wall (it involves pipes and things). These quotes were VERY HIGH. But Larry is determined, because currently the exhaust conduit that connects to the outside vent travels across the entire laundry room and gets clogged with lint every 3 months. And, I suppose, he needs an excuse to start yet another DIY project that involves insulation.

SO, Larry began ripping out some cabinets and shelving that we just paid to have installed a year or so ago (by our rapidly-getting-rich handyman) and discovered water seeping into the front corner of the room. "Okay, that settles it," said Larry, who seems to be getting more irrational by the moment. "I need to dig a trench across the front of the house and seal the foundation."

"Yes, dear," I said, focusing on my knitting. "Whatever you want." Because, really, at this point, what else could I say? Short of burning the house down, there is no other way out of this mess but through.

Yesterday Larry started digging, while I took a leisurely walk with Susie to our neighborhood farmers market. On the way back, Larry called. "So, listen, everything's okay, because Verizon said they can come tomorrow, so we'll only be without Internet for one day."

"No Internet?" I asked, trying to catch up.

"I hit a wire while I was digging," Larry said. "I guess it was the FIOS, because I can't connect to the Internet anymore."

"No Internet?" I said again. People, I had had such a lovely afternoon planned, one that involved yarn and needles and searching for patterns on Ravelry and maybe queueing up a few projects for our camping trip later this summer. It's the 21st century, you know, and knitting requires the Internet.

"Things are going great otherwise, though!" said my obviously manic spouse. "Really making progress here!"

Um, yeah, sure, if your definition of progress is living like it's 1991.  Yes, dear...

[Dollar signs image: Clipart Panda]