Friday, May 06, 2022


Whoops, looks as though I missed April there! For good reason, though - you see, after that last post in mid-March, I was sucked into the hell that is household renovations. Oh, nothing major, really - just repaint the powder room, replace the pedestal sink with a small vanity, and repaint Rachel's old bedroom and put a sleeper couch in there. I had visions of a serene and cozy den and a freshened-up half-bath, and really, how hard is it to paint two rooms, pick out a sink, and get a sleeper couch from IKEA?


Before I could pick out the color for the serene and cozy den, I had to pick out the couch, and it turns out that "supply chain problems" happen to be a real thing. Essentially, we ended up with the couch color that happened to be available (bright blue), so my plans changed from "serene and cozy" to "whimsically cheerful," and I actually managed to pick out a vibrant yellow paint to go with it. ON THE FIRST TRY. 

See? Whimsical. Also, Ukraine-themed, I guess

Awesome, I thought, I'm on a roll. The old me - you know, the person who would end up buying a zillion paint samples and painting a zillion stripes on a wall and still have to ask her handyman which color to use? - was obviously gone, replaced by a new, savvier person who could march into a paint store, say "I want that one," and walk out victorious.


The powder room, it turns out, has a  tile floor whose color was apparently created in the bowels of hell. Try a bluish paint? The floor looked too green. Try a greenish paint? The floor looked too blue. NOTHING WORKED. 

Blue? Green? WHO KNOWS?

Larry tried to help by pointing out that no matter what we chose, it was better than the rag-daubed paint scenario we had been living with for the past 15 years, but I was beyond rational thought at that time. Also, the kids were upset because they didn't want the old paint job covered up - turns out, finding "pictures" in the crazy pattern on the walls was an important part of their childhood. This also explains why they always took so long in that bathroom, I guess?

You don't see the pictures? Good, neither do I

I cried a lot and finally settled on a greenish paint that didn't clash with the floor too much but was still probably all wrong. And when the handyman started applying that paint, it immediately looked blue, so much so that I was checking the labels on the paint cans and the samples to make sure we hadn't mixed things up. 

But then it looked green. 

No, blue. 

No, green. 

Reader, I NAILED IT. That paint had the same chameleon-like quality as the floor and I still can't tell you what color it is, but it works.

That was over a month ago, and I would love to show you a photo of the finished powder room, I really would, but the vanity never showed up (because, I guess, supply chain problems are a real thing). And the handyman wouldn't hang the mirror before putting in the vanity, so really, can I even call it a powder room, if there's nothing to look into as one powders their nose? 

So we call it the outhouse instead. This was maybe not so amusing to the houseguests we hosted for a week mid-April, but hey - the Hilton we're not. At least they got toilet paper and not a Sears Roebucks catalog...

We DID have a working dishwasher, though, there's that. Home Depot refunded me my money, as promised, and - by getting a cheaper version at Best Buy - I managed to lose only $200 on the whole deal. I love my dishwasher, because I was able to have it installed before the houseguests arrived and it washed all the dishes that entire crazy week and it hasn't even broken yet.

This pic makes me feel weepy with joy, it does

It was Auntie Kate and her husband who came to visit (which is what spurred the whole renovation thing in the first place), and David decided to fly in from Washington that week, as he hadn't seen either of them in 8 years. And then Theo changed his travel plans to be back in the area in time to see them, too, and then Brian started feeling a bit left out and came home from school for the weekend. Meaning, we ended up with all 6 kids here for Easter, which is why we really needed that sleeper couch in the new (whimsically cheerful) den. 

It's an awesome couch, by the way. Sometimes I just go in there and sit on it and bask in the peacefulness of an (as yet) uncluttered room.

I can sleep on it, too! Whimsically, of course...

So all that is why most of March and April are a blur. After the houseguests left, Larry and I took the van for a 2-day trip - we went bicycling in a town 3 hours south of here and managed to eat at two different breweries during our travels (hey, beats slaving over a camp stove). I was also dragged on an unpleasant hike to a very nice view, which made me realize that Acadia National Park has spoiled me. Most hikes elsewhere (including this one) are just a slog through the buggy, muddy woods until you get to the top, where you finally get to look around, often perched precariously on some slanty, uncomfortable rocks. 

Not really worth it, IMO

In Acadia, on the other hand, you get views all the way up, there are amazing rock formations and tiny trees and interesting plants to look at as you walk, and then the top is usually a nice wide summit with lots of flat rocks to picnic on. Also? Just unbelievable vistas.

Now THAT's more like it

At our first campground, the campsite - you know, the one that looked so close to the bathrooms on the (apparently inaccurate) campground map - was perched on a hill overlooking a ravine, beyond which were the flush toilets, so that was fun. At the second campground we again had a long walk to the toilets, which only made it more clear that Larry is angling for any insurance money he has riding on my imminent demise, because BOTH NIGHTS, when I had to venture out at about 3 AM to use the bathroom, he woke up, essentially said, "Good luck with that," and rolled back over to sleep. 

Nice. I would have resigned myself to this lack of chivalry just fine, except BOTH NIGHTS, as I left the toilet and headed back into the dark, I was startled by the flashlight of another camper heading to the bathroom, and IT WAS LARRY.

I guess he figured I'd satiate any wild beasts out there and then he could go safely, I don't know.

Larry sitting by the campfire, thinking about how to spend the insurance money

Please do take a moment to note how Larry and I were able to just take off on a little trip like a couple of young, crazy kids, will you? That was possible because (drum roll, please) SUSIE GOT HER DRIVER'S LICENSE. That's right folks, for the first time in over 30 years, I am not tied to a child's schedule. 

This freedom feels incredible, even though - to be honest - it's not even a freedom I need right now. You see, the theory was that by this point in time I would have a full-time job and Susie would need to be independent, transportation-wise.


No one wants to hire me. NO ONE. Not even with my new, younger resume. I have tried jobs in my field, customer service jobs a little lower down the totem pole, and - in a fit of pique - retail.

I am still not employed.  I might just go insane with boredom. It's not as if I don't have hobbies and things to do, of course. But hobbies are only fun when you are really busy otherwise and have to fit them in. They're not fun as your entire life. At least, not for me. Something new, with new people to meet and new things to learn, is really what I need.

Also, spring azaleas. Everyone needs spring azaleas.

Oh, and I almost forgot the biggest news: Theo and his girlfriend have announced their engagement. Be aware, they've been dating (off and on again) since 2018. They currently live in the same apartment complex and see each other daily. A frequent topic of conversation among family members is when in the world will they decide to get married or at least move in together (hey, we've been bored, what with COVID and all that). But still, when Theo announced on the family group chat that they had become engaged, both Susie and myself - from opposite corners of the house - screamed OMG, as if we never would have thunk it.

Emotions are weird, I guess is my point. Weirder even than paint colors.


  1. Congratulations on the engagement! And the sofa! And the two-day getaway! (And why the heck aren't there any jobs? With the labor shortage, you'd think they couldn't hire you fast enough.)

  2. I love the look of the Ukraine room. The floor looks beautiful! Great to have a new dishwasher too. Congratulations on the engagement. That photo of camping, though. It seems like, with that gas can so close to the campfire, SOMETHING momentous is being contemplated, but I'm not sure what.

    1. You can stop worrying, that is a water container!

    2. ha I was thinking that too

    3. Karen (formerly kcinnova)May 16, 2022

      I had the same concern!

  3. Congratulations to your son and his fiance. Exciting times.
    Nice couch and the yellow is great. You will need to post photos of the outhouse when complete. Inquiring minds need to see this green, no blue, no green color. 😀

  4. You have been busy. I am shocked that no one wants to hire you. SHOCKED. What's this labor shortage we hear about on the regular? Such exciting times: new uses for old rooms, licenses, working dishwasher, interesting paint colors, visitors, a getaway, and an engagement. Wow. I've gotten up to use the facilities in the middle of the night in a national park, and that is a scary thing - to walk in the dark and hope not to come across wildlife. To come across Larry, well - I would've jumped out of my skin even if though he seems tame enough. Always great to hear an update.

  5. AnonymousMay 06, 2022

    Is it odd that I look forward to your dishwasher tales?

  6. Congrats all around! The engagement! The working dishwasher! Not being tied to a child's schedule!

  7. AnonymousMay 06, 2022

    OMG!! Weddings are so much fun. Assuming you have two healthy families coming together. Invite me over to see your powder room. Did you paint it black?

  8. Did you buy the extended warranty on the dish washer? I've found that buying those usually makes them last a month after the warranty expires.

  9. My usual reason for hiking up a hill is to hike up the hill - to get the exercise related to dragging all the extra weight around my middle up a thousand feet of elevation. I look at views briefly and often with trepidation. My favorite view on a hike is usually my car when I have reached the "back" of my "out and back."
    So having staked out the moral high ground of hiking for the sake of exercise, I have to undercut myself by admitting that this weekend, I drove up the 1300 foot mountain and hiked in the vicinity of the parking area with an elevation gain for the hike of about 80 feet.

    Le lave-vaisselle est mort. Vive le lave-vaisselle.

  10. AnonymousMay 16, 2022

    I think I recognize the view from your camping trip; it looks like a hiking trip that SuperDad took the kids on about 12 years ago. (Gosh, we've been gone for a long time!)
    I have a solution for your middle of the night treks: Luggable Loo, next to the van. (No one is looking at 3am.) Just make sure that Larry is the one who has to empty it and clean it in the morning!
    And most importantly, CONGRATULATIONS to your eldest and best wishes to the happy couple!