Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This Was Part of Mary's Official Tour of NYC

If you'd like to salivate, just click here. I don't know what I would have done when people came to visit me in Connecticut and spend the weekend in NYC if they hadn't all been good eaters. I was all "Doughnut Plant! Francesco! Zabar's! Jacques Torres!" I pretty much had to roll everyone onto the airport shuttle.

I mention this only because I was just asked if there was anything I wanted from NYC, and all I could think of was food. Too bad pizza doesn't travel well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Complete with Bunny Slippers

In order to help you understand why I have been so frazzled lately, I feel I should offer the following insights into my personality:

1. I do best when life follows a routine.
2. I am not a morning person.
3. I am a classic introvert, meaning that I feel more energized when I have had a good bit of time alone.

Now I will offer glimpses into my life as of late:

1. I work for three different families, and while much of the time my schedule is regular, during the holidays I've worked odd hours for two of the three families.
2. Five days a week I have to be to work by 7am, and on the sixth it's 7:30.
3. All the parties and gatherings over the holidays coupled with my odd work hours meant that I was rarely by myself for an extended period of time.

I've been a little grumpy and overwhelmed. Which is why today I do not feel at all guilty that I have spent the entire day in my pajamas, surfing the internet.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All Aglow

Merry Christmas, everyone.

december 24

Advent Calendar, December 24

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Dark and Lonely Among So Many Little Lights

Hard to believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve...

december 23

Advent Calendar, December 23

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just Two More

december 22

Advent Calendar, December 22

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tired Twenty

I've had a little too much Christmas, and it's not even Christmas yet. Next year we'll vacation somewhere warm and send everyone post cards as presents.

december 20

Advent Calendar, December 20

Friday, December 19, 2008

It Won't Be Long Now

december 19

Advent Calendar, December 19

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beginning the Last Row

Time flies.

december 18

Advent Calendar, December 18

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

december 16

Advent Calendar, December 16

Monday, December 15, 2008

3x5

december 15

Advent Calendar, December 15

Only $1000 Later, and Our Car is the Cleanest It's Been Since 2003

If you wreck your car the weekend before Thanksgiving week, please note that it will take more than four weeks to get it back. Try to plan your auto accidents for a more convenient time of year. Also, call your insurance agent and make sure your deductible for collision is the same as for comprehensive, and not double the amount. The $500 that will stay in your pocket will thank me for this later.

So we have our car back, which is wonderful. It's also been cleaned, which makes it even more wonderful. Not so wonderful is the fact that I work with two kids who rarely remember to pay attention to where their limbs go or whether or not they are dirty, so it won't be that way for long. Which is why I am taking the borrowed Kia to pick them up one last time today. Call me selfish, but...well...you'd be right. I love both kids dearly, but boy can they ever make a mess without even trying. If I were to enumerate the number of times we've had the "If the towel is dirty after you dry your hands on it, you didn't get them clean enough when you were washing them" conversation, you might pass out thinking of all that wasted breath. I have this fantasy that when Jarod and I have kids, they will use the towels properly, but I'll probably just end up getting and Xlerator installed in the house and make the kids use that. I'm thinking the chrome model looks nice...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fourteen for Rejoicing

december 14

Advent Calendar, December 14

A Baker's Dozen, Lucky Thirteen

december 13

Advent Calendar, December 13

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brighter by the Dozen

december 12

Advent Calendar, December 12

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

X

december 10

Advent Calendar, December 10

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Nine to Light a Snowy Night

december 9

Advent Calendar, December 9

Settle In and Get Cozy

About forty-five minutes ago I set out to run an errand eventually end up at yoga. I made it all the way to 89th and Summit before I realized that there were cars getting stuck halfway up hills all over town, and it wasn't going to get any easier. I'm not much on muscling through and driving even when conditions are questionable, so I headed home, and here I'll stay for the balance of the evening. You should stay in, too. Get some hot chocolate or tea or whatever and cozy up.

Since I'm housebound, and possibly you are, too, I suppose it's the most opportune time to inflict my opinions on you. Stop reading if you're sensitive about the opinions of others, which may not match your own. Unless you agree with me, you'll probably be hopping mad by the time you're done reading, and then you might do something untoward. Save us all the trouble; just navigate to another page. You were forewarned about the topic, but in case you have forgotten, I'm about to be dreadfully honest about how I feel about IVF versus adoption. Make your escape now if you must.

It's pretty simple, really, how I feel about the whole thing. I am not in favor of in vitro fertilization, or of any fertility treatment that is similarly extensive and costly. While I would love to have the experience of being pregnant once, I am at a loss to understand the deep, desperate longing of women to carry a baby to term in their own bodies, or even to have someone else carry a baby to term for them. Are we so attached to our own genes that we must go to such lengths? There are children out there who have no family, and yet we would spend an equal amount trying to create a brand new life instead. That just boggles my mind. Furthermore, the risks associated with hormone treatments required to complete IVF are many and some are potentially life threatening. I don't know about you, but carrying my own biological child to term is not worth the risk of OHSS or ovarian cancer. And did I mention the children who already exist?

I am very pro-adoption. In fact, regardless of whether we have a biological child, we will adopt, and lately I'm leaning more toward only adopting. I believe quite passionately that every child deserves a family. It is not the fault of a child that he or she was born to parents who were unwilling to parent responsibly or in a situation that made it impossible for the birth family to raise the child. These are precious babies! And yet many of us would close our minds to the possibility that adoption can make a beautiful family. We are used to our preferences being honored and our whims being satisfied, and so we fail to look beyond the one method we thought we'd use to build the family that we want. How unfortunate for all of us.

I know that this is an emotionally charged topic. I know that there are many families who have chosen to build their families through fertility treatments; I am not saying that your children are not precious or that they should not exist, any more than someone who has a surprise pregnancy would ever say that their child should not exist. I am simply saying that maybe we should look beyond that for the future. Maybe we should look hope and love full in the face and make a better choice.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Seven Candles to Begin the Week of Peace*

december 7

Advent Calendar, December 7

*In Church tradition, each week of Advent has its own theme. Last week was waiting; this week is peace.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Half a Dozen Tiny Lights

december 6

Advent Calendar, December 6

I Ate Too Many Peanut M&M's Today

I really need to stop buying M&M's of any sort. I end up eating them instead of real food. For example, today I ate mint M&M's, peanut M&M's, a couple slices of turkey from the fridge at work, and a ham sandwich. I also drank a coffee. I thought about that as I was heading out on my run and figured that while the calorie intake was probably sufficient, nutrient intake was definitely lacking. At least the bread was homemade and the ham was all natural uncured something or other.

...

The kids had their school Christmas program last night, and it was pretty adorable. Mary Liz's group wore sheep masks for their first number, and Jack's first song featured Elvis's Christmas-themed cousin, Elfis, complete with white jumpsuit and wicked sideburns. We had a terrible time getting the kids ready to go, what with Jack unable to find anything he was supposed to be wearing and Mary Liz insisting that her crocs were dressy enough, then throwing an enormous fit when I told her that she had to wear her real dress shoes. We've been working very hard lately on learning to calm down and accept when things are not exactly as she likes them to be. It's pretty rough. We do a lot of deep breathing exercises with my favored accompaniment of "Okaaaaaaaay. (deep breath together) Okaaaaaaaaaaay. (deep breath again) Okaaaaaaaaaaaay." I love her to death, and I'd really hate for her first five boyfriends to have to endure this kind of torture, so I keep at it even when I'd like to just put her in her room and tell her she can have no more fun, ever, not even a little bit.

...

I'm nearly done with my Christmas shopping and wrapping. If our kitchen gets finished this weekend and I can put the tools back in the basement, it will free up space for our Christmas tree, so we'll have something to put all these wrapped gifts under. Because heaven forbid that I should buy gifts and not wrap them immediately. The sky would probably fall and then I'd be left with a pile of crushed gifts. As it is, I have a pile of wrapped gifts sitting randomly in the living room.

...

I've had a lot of controversial things on my mind lately, but I'm always afraid to say them here for fear that suddenly the internet trolls will rain down their fire and brimstone upon me and my hideous intolerance. But I've got a little post brewing about adoption versus IVF, so hold on to your bonnets if you're highly in favor of science aiding in human reproduction.

...

For now it's off to bed, where I should have been an hour ago, had I not run late and subsequently been WIDE! AWAKE! thanks to running's upper effect.

Goodnight, all.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Five for Friday

december 5

Advent Calendar, December 5

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Small Still, But Stronger

december 4

Advent Calendar, December 4

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So Dark, So Bright

december 3

Advent Calendar, December 3

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Little By Little, The Light Will Grow

december 2

Advent Calendar, December 2

Accomplished, Sorta

Things I Have Done Today:
1. Took a nap with the cats.
2. Read.
3. Drank coffee.
4. Replied to/wrote emails.
5. Made dental appointments.
6. Attempted to make eye appointments.
7. Gift shopped.
8. Ate potato chips (bought while gift shopping) in the car.
9. Picked up things I forgot yesterday at Target.
10. Wrapped gifts.
11. Ate peanut M&M's.
12. Copied Jarod's December schedule into my Moleskine planner.
13. Ran the dishwasher.
14. Unloaded the dishwasher.

Later I might roast some squash. I'd feel a sense of accomplishment, but I did not set out to do any of the listed activities. The things I was supposed to do all remain undone.

Oops.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 30

It seems impossible that December begins tomorrow, but I looked at my calendar, and it is so. I did all my Christmas decorating aside from the actual tree today. Tomorrow I will begin lighting candles in my own version of an advent calendar. We've got a tea light in each of twenty-four cans, set out on a little table that the cats think is theirs to hide under, and we will light one each night (tea lights, not cats--we don't have enough cats for that). It will be a little light that grows each evening until it is Christmas Eve, and then all will be merry and bright.

We've already got plenty of Christmas plans, not to mention the special holiday activities we've still got to schedule, such as vet appointments for the cats and dental visits for us. The eye doctor sent us a reminder card, so we'll probably show up there, too. We do like to keep it festive around here. But don't worry--we'll save a little something for the new year. Perhaps we can wait until 2009 to get our cholesterol checked.

I am looking forward to the season and to the new year. My hope is that 2009 will find us finishing our myriad house projects and embarking on something brand new. In the meantime, I plan to do my best to enjoy the journey.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Three Books You Should Read If You Haven't Already

1. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
2. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler
3. Mornings Like This, by Annie Dillard

The last one is poetry and is best read aloud to someone who will listen and pretend to care.

Tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I haven't been able to write as much as I might have liked, but it's been a good exercise--and a good month--nevertheless. One more day, then onward to December.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I've gotten so many good gifts for my birthday that I thought I'd give one to you. It's a picture of my cat; I know how much you like those.

birthdays are for relaxing

Happy My Birthday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Attempt at Aging Gracefully

Tomorrow I am turning 33. This seems old to me, in a way that turning 32 did not. In fact, for some reason, turning 33 seems older than turning 34. If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is ridiculous. I've heard that's what happens when you reach your mid-thirties: you simply become ridiculous, and that's that.

To celebrate the day, I am taking care of my Saturday baby and hanging out in my pajamas. I requested that her parents bring her here instead of me going there partly because it's an earlier morning than my usual Saturday shift, and partly because I really do want to spend an extended period of time in my pajamas tomorrow. I was thinking earlier in the week of what the best birthday gift would be, and I came up with two things:

1. To be able to use my 15% off coupon to get something pretty at Anthropologie.
2. To not have to paint the house myself.

The first one is a done deal, as I received some money for my birthday, which I feel I can fritter away on frivolities instead of feeling like it must be budgeted in to pay for something for the house. The second one may be a bit of a stretch, but Jarod has promised to work on it, and I am pretending it will take him no time at all to finish the job. A girl can dream, can't she?

I did think of a third thing that I wanted late last night, after the preliminary two-item list had already been cemented in my mind, which is to see a movie in the theatre instead of just saying that we want to see it, intending to see it, and then missing it because we are too busy. We'll be seeing Australia tomorrow; I'm very excited. I plan on sneaking in a coffee and some snacks from home. It'll be just like old times, when we actually left our house to do fun things instead of planning parties that revolve around home improvement chores. It is likely that in this case, a good time will be had by all. Hooray!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today's Nanny Tip

We've reached that WHaaaaaaT? portion of the day, in which both children are saying my name with a question mark at the end so often that I respond with exasperation. What now? This is also the portion of the day where my chosen method of sibling rivalry diffusion is hard at work. I don't get in the middle of arguments unless someone has gotten physically or seriously emotionally hurt, instead choosing to remind them that they need to figure out how to get along. When one tattles on the other, I merely remind the offended party that they are not always nice to their sibling, then make a mental note of the offense for use later. That way, when the opposite sibling comes to me with a complaint, I can simply say, "Well, you did (fill in blank with previous offense) to her earlier, so I guess you're even. It's too bad you two are having a hard time figuring out how to get along today." I know there are plenty of parents and caregivers that would get in the middle of every single argument and play judge and jury, but I don't think that's wise. Not only will you get worn out and never get the real story anyway, but the kids will not learn how to resolve conflict. Obviously if it's something serious, you should get involved, but for normal sibling (or friend) rivalry? Let 'em figure it out. That's my tip to you.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's 11pm--Let's Make Cookies!

Ah, the holidays--when everything is supposed to be merry and bright, but really I'm just running around like a chicken with its head cut off. There are bright spots, sure, but honestly? I'm one of those annoying people that loses weight during the holidays due to the stress. If I had my way, I'd spend the holidays in Tahiti and just phone it in. As it is, I have lots of places to go and plenty of extra work. That's just the way it is in my profession; when everyone else has time off, I have more work. Add to that the gift shopping and the extra cooking (which, for Thanksgiving, is mostly non-existent this time--thanks, Mom) and the extra places to be and you get me mixing up cookie dough at 11pm.

I am really looking forward to January 2nd.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Food for Thought

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair

Or, alternatively, I might say when the lifestyle he is accustomed to living depends on him not understanding it.

There are a great many changes that I've made in my life in recent years after coming to understand the way things are bought and sold and raised and made. I find that now that I know certain things, I can't go back to the way I lived before. I can't go back to blithely drinking soda when I understand where high fructose corn syrup comes from and what effects it has on the body, not to mention what effects growing and subsidizing so much corn has on our environment and our economy. I can't purchase grocery store meat anymore for many of the same reasons. But at the same time, there are things I have chosen not to investigate. I'm sure the chocolate trade has its share of dirty little secrets. I'm quite certain that many of my bargains from TJ Maxx and Target have less than noble beginnings. It is hard to give up that which we are accustomed to having, and particularly in difficult economic times it is hard to prioritize spending more on things that are better for everyone, and not just for our pocketbooks. I'd like to say that I'll make a conscious effort to do better, but I think for now all I can say is that I am beginning to be ready to do better in some areas that I was previously willing to ignore. I'm tackling one thing at a time. And honestly? Chocolate won't be first.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just a Good Quote for a Late Sunday Night

"I don't underestimate knowledge. But we get into trouble when we confuse it with truth...Truth is eternal. Knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them."

-Bishop Colubra in An Acceptable Time, by Madeleine L'Engle

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Marshmallow Fluff

That's what my brain's like on the five hours of sleep I got last night. It's also what my house looks like with primer on it, but no base coat yet. Today we had a ton of friends come by to help, and they got all but one side of the house primed. Tomorrow our dads magical housepainting elves will be by. We will leave for work with our house white as the driven snow, but return to it when it is dark grey. Magic!

Everyone who came to help today was so gracious, especially considering that I couldn't do much of the painting myself due to Saturday baby duties. I like to think that the homemade foodstuffs I offered were enough, but in truth I know that everyone worked harder than I did today. Good job, guys. And thanks. I'm lucky to call you friends.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Job Security

Eponine refuses to chop the vegetables--something about lacking opposable thumbs--so I have to do it. Where I got these ungrateful cats, I don't know. Lucy takes her job seriously, though. Her job is to be cute. As the most recent cat hire around here, she's got no seniority, so she really has to work hard. The begging for belly rubs is good, but the sleeping with front legs straight up in the air is genius. She's also done her best to make even our most tacky household items look good. I guess we won't lay her off yet, even in these tough economic times.


reclining in the evening

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Three Things, Because I Don't Have Time for More

1. One of my favorite parts of the day is when I walk in and see Lucy's ears pop up from behind the coffee table like little antennae.

2. Once a girl in my high school speech class who was an amateur palm reader told me that it looked like I would help a lot of children. I don't generally go in for that sort of thing, what with there being faith-related issues and whatnot, but I have never forgotten that, and have instead endeavored to make it true. Some days I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it. Other days I think I could do a lot better.

3. I wish that the Holiday Mint M&M's were still the same size as plain M&M's. I disapprove of their largeness. I will have to switch to mint Hershey's Kisses as my holiday mint chocolate treat this year. What a letdown.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Avoidance

I feel uneasy when my house is disorganized, which it is most of the time lately. With all the hubbub this week it's gotten particularly bad, and all I really want to do today is organize what has gotten out of place this week, plus a few more things, as is my custom. Eventually this whole house will be organized, and then I am thoroughly convinced it will probably be time to move. Still, I try.

Especially I try today because not only do I feel like doing it, but I am also trying to avoid power washing the house. I hate power washing. I'd rather go to the dentist than power wash. Actually, I'd even rather go to the gynecologist than power wash the house, and I think the ladies out there know that this statement alone conveys how utterly awful I consider power washing the house to be. However, people are coming on Saturday to help us paint, and it must be done before then. Also, I sent my husband an e-mail asking if I could get out of it until Friday, and he has not responded. I'd love to assume that this means he is unable to respond at this time, so I can go on avoiding the power washing and embracing my organizational tendencies, but it also might mean that I just need to power wash already. I should have started three hours ago, actually. Okay, maybe four. So out I go to do some of it. I will put my phone in my pocket in case someone calls and needs my help immediately.

Please, someone, anyone, call me away for a really good reason.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Suck at NaBloPoMo This Year

Oh, well. At least you get to see some cute French animals. Tonight's special: Kitty Cat

kitty through the slats

I promise I'll give you something more substantial by the end of the month. No, really, I won't be this busy forever. Probably on, say, the 29th or so, I'll finally get my act together and say something truly thoughtful.

Monday, November 17, 2008

There Went Monday

I meant to get ahead on a couple of things today, or at least catch up.

That didn't really happen.

So...uh...here's a picture of a French rabbit. Please to enjoy.

rabbits enjoy baguette

Sunday, November 16, 2008

From Underneath the Rubble

It's Sunday night, 9pm, and there is a heap of rubble in my living room which appears to have given birth to smaller piles of rubble that are strewn throughout the entire house. The laundry room also seems to have belched out some clean clothes, and there are three baskets waiting for folding in the bedroom. Tools from the kitchen remodel are trying to take over the dining room again. It's pretty much a disaster, but it's fairly hard to tackle since the kitchen remodel process has put various things out of place. I love the way the kitchen is coming together, and I am grateful for everything that got done this weekend, but all this disorder is totally harshing my mellow. Add that to the mellow-harshing effects of wrecking our car while a baby was in the backseat, and you might say that I'm having a hard time maintaining my inner calm.

It will all be better soon, right?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It Hasn't Been a Banner Day, But Then Again...

Right now Jarod and his dad are installing the tile on our kitchen backsplash. The cabinets all have doors. We are getting terribly close to finishing our beautiful, new kitchen. So that's good--very, very good. If it hadn't been for the rest of the day's events, I would probably be jumping for joy. As it is, I really just want to take a very long, hot shower and curl up in my jammies.

This morning on the way to the City Market, I mistook a green light for my actual light, which was red, and pulled out in front of another car. Both cars had to be towed. I had my Saturday baby in the car. It pretty much sucked, and does suck. The baby's parents have been more than gracious and kind about it, but I still feel terrible. I love that baby so very much, and the first thought I had when it happened was, "Oh NO OH NO OH NO THE BABY!" She is fine, as neither car was going very fast. The paramedics called it a minor accident, checked everyone out, and had it declared a non-injury accident. Still. I. Feel. Awful. It has always been my greatest fear that I would have a car accident with children in the car. I suppose that I could count myself fortunate that in all the years I have worked and all the miles I have driven with kids in the car, this is the first time it happened. I was just hoping it never would. That's the worst part of it all, that and the fact that I have caused the other driver a ton of inconvenience. The second worst part is paying the insurance deductible. It's...well...a lot, for us, anyway. We have a savings account for these sorts of situations, but it will need to be replenished as soon as possible, and that's just hard. Sorry in advance about the tiny Christmas gifts, everyone.

To add insult to injury, today we received notice in the mail that we are in violation of a city code due to our very slow exterior power washing and painting progress. We've got thirty days to get it finished or we'll face consequences. The consequences listed were a fine and possible jail time. Yes, jail time. For not having our house painted fast enough. I realize it's a bit of an eyesore at the moment, but seriously...jail time? So guess what we're doing next Saturday? We are having a painting party. I sent out an e-mail asking for help, and I hope our party has lots of guests. If you weren't on that e-mail list and are in the Kansas City area, you are also invited. We'll have snacks! Please come!

Despite the suckage of today, I am grateful for a good many things, so I will list some of those things to add balance to the day. I am grateful:
1. That the baby was not hurt.
2. That everyone was so kind at the accident site. I don't know how many people said "These things happen; I've done it, too," but I am grateful to every single person who said that to me.
3. That my brother and sister-in-law are kindly loaning me their extra vehicle so we do not have to rent a car.
4. That I was not injured in the accident.
5. That our backyard is being cleaned up by someone who is not me, who can trim trees without injuring himself.
6. That we have such good friends.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Wild Friday Night at the McBride Kitty Cat Preserve

I'm no good anymore at making exciting plans for the weekend. So many of my evenings have been taken up by work that on the free ones I really don't want to make an effort to do much of anything besides catch up on the life-as-usual activities I've been missing. For me that's running, so tonight, while everyone else was out painting the town whatever color they desired, I was out panting through the town, putting in seven miles. It was nice, and to be honest, I have been relieved that no one has asked us to do anything in the evening this weekend. I guess I just get lamer and lamer; that will probably never change.

...

Jack turns nine tomorrow. Niiiiiiine. We went to the doctor for his check-up today, and he is now just over five feet tall. Unbelievable. Also: I feel old.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nanny Babble

So it turns out that if you nanny two children full time for four years, leave for fourteen months, then come back again part time, they will forget many of the things you worked so hard to teach them. For example, when I say "You may not play with that," it doesn't mean that when I leave the room, you should start playing with it. It means YOU MAY NOT PLAY WITH THAT. And when I say, "The screeching noise is an outdoor noise, please stop making it indoors," it doesn't mean that you should do it the tiniest bit quieter as if I won't hear you anyway. It means THE SCREECHING NOISE IS AN OUTDOOR NOISE, SO KNOCK IT OFF INDOORS. Tonight I encountered both of those situations, and both children were shocked to receive a consequence for their disobedience. (And yes, I just called it disobedience, even though that seems to be somewhat of a dirty word these days in child-rearing.)

We also have an issue that I consistently forget about, which is the IT'S MIIIIIIINE GIVE IT BAAAAAAACK issue. Around middle elementary age, many children decide that logic dictates that if something belongs to them, it cannot be taken away as a result of poor behavior. Jack just started this, and I firmly believe that the best way to deal with it is to sit down when he's NOT in trouble and explain that regardless of who an object belongs to, it can be taken away, usually temporarily (permanently if the behavior is really awful). It really doesn't work too well to take an object away and try to speak reasonably while the child in question is panicking and trying to take it back. Tonight I had to raise my voice so he could even hear me say that A) it was me who let him have that old flashlight in the first place and that B) if he misbehaves, I get to choose the consequence. I usually choose the traditional "let the punishment fit the crime" method, but if there's no punishment to fit the particular crime, I use an alternate consequence. Taking temporary possession of The Toy of the Moment is effective with Jack, so that's what I do.

I've also had to give early bedtimes tonight. Both kids are headed to bed fifteen minutes early, and I'm hoping that they can behave well from here on out so that that's all it will take. I really hate being The Mean Nanny, but I also firmly believe in being consistent and showing that I mean what I say.

To their credit, I will say that both of them behaved well for much of the afternoon. I offered to let someone vacuum my house, and Jack took me up on it (I am fully taking advantage of this stage, the Pre-I-Hate-Any-Chore Phase). Both kids busied themselves in my basement while I moved things around in preparation for making a kid area down there for them to play in when they come over. Of course it helped that the goal is something that benefits them, and also that there are all sorts of "treasures" that I no longer want lurking in various boxes and corners. Jack got the aforementioned old, crusty flashlight, and Mary Liz ended up with an old Christmas ornament. I'm sure their mom will be so excited that I let them bring more junk home, but trust me when I say it could have been much worse. I did, after all, make them throw away the dirty post-its and broken Father Time knick knack.

The kids have all day off tomorrow, and I'm hoping that it goes as smoothly as the first part of our afternoon. We can always have By Myself In My Own Room Time, but honestly, I prefer it when we all get to have a good time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When You've Nothing to Say, Just Post Photos

I got through most of the wedding photos from the weekend, and of course I have favorites. This wedding was wonderful, and I don't just say that because they stuffed me full of delicious food. It's not every day you get to see two of the kindest people you know marry each other.















What beautiful friends! What a beautiful day! Congratulations, dear ones.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Seasoning

I have always loved autumn. Having been born with an aversion to the heat, the end of summer can never come fast enough for me. But autumn is more than relief from my heat-related suffering: it is a new beginning. The leaves blaze their glorious colors, and there is promise in the brisk air. Thanksgiving is coming, and then Christmas. There's often a stew or chili on the stove, and it is no longer uncomfortable to bake. And then there's my favorite part of all: the napping. A summer nap is good, and a winter nap is cozy, but in autumn you can get comfy beneath covers (impossible in summer), yet still feel like getting out from under them eventually (unlike in winter, when I could very well stay ensconced in down and kitty cats for the duration of the season). I nap nearly every day if I can manage it, and these autumn naps have been particularly delicious. I hope winter doesn't come too soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Generosity

For my whole life I have wanted to be less selfish and more generous, to hold on less tightly to the things that are given to me. Turns out it just takes practice and time, plus opportunity. We are in a position to be able to give to a whole lot of people in a whole lot of different ways right now, and I must say that what it feels like is that this is what we were made to do. To open our hearts and our wallets and our time banks. There are limits, of course; we can only give what we have. But as we keep on giving, I find that our hearts and wallets and time banks are filled so that we can give even more. Life is good.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Preference, Peeves, Etc. (Flight Edition)

I have decided that 11am flights are just about perfect. You can sleep until a reasonable hour and, even if you have a layover, generally you'll make it into your city of choice in time to grab dinner and, if you're me, go running. This is just for domestic flights, of course--for the international variety I believe 6pm is the best time for takeoff.

There are a good many people bringing large carryons these days, thanks to most airlines charging for checking bags. We cannot do this, thanks to my acne care-related products all being just slightly too big, but in truth I'm kind of glad. Wedging a suitcase into the overhead bin does not look like a good time to me. I'll just tuck my backpack and tote bag neatly under my seat, thanks.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the lack of respect for personal space on the plane? On our first flight out, the woman next to me kept elbowing me inadvertently, then getting up several times and flinging her seat belt in my direction as opposed to just slipping it off. Flair for the dramatic, perhaps? On the second flight, the man next to me left his elbow in my seat space the entire flight. I realize the seats are small, but they are small for all of us, so guess what? If you don't have enough room and overflow into someone else's space, then you are making their already small space even smaller. I think that common courtesy should become part of the safety instructions at the beginning of the flight.

If you hadn't guessed yet, we are home. I have a ton of photos from the wedding, none of which are on this computer yet, so you'll have to be patient and just trust me when I say it was wonderful. I promise I'll have more to share soon.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Those of you keeping track at home may have noticed that yesterday's post did not actually appear yesterday. Since this is NaBloPoMo month, I feel the need to clarify that it was written yesterday, but the internet connection we had last night did not allow me to post it. However, I offer no complaint on this account, as we are staying with people who not only let us stay here for free, but also give me a delicious latte every morning. It's so good that I don't even need to add sweetener. It's pretty much been awesome, so I hardly care about occasionally not having My Best Friend Internet close at hand.

Too add to the stunning lack of coherent content on this site, I will simply offer now that we had an amazing time at Holly and Jeremy's wedding, that everyone here seems to be a cat person (AWESOME), that we ate enough to keep us full until next Tuesday, and that we are incredibly happy to be here for the festivities. We are also incredibly happy to see the pillows that are waiting for us at the head of the bed. I promise to give you more text and photos once we return to our Midwestern homeland.

Until tomorrow, internet...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dilemma

It's too bad that we have to get up in the morning because the TLC show lineup is pretty much awesome. So the question is: Should I get plenty of rest or watch multiple episodes of What Not to Wear?

I suppose for the sake of Holly and Jeremy's wedding, as well as the photos I'll be taking for them, I'll choose the rest option. I'm such a lame-o dedicated, loving friend.

(Back soon with more substantial posts when we're not too busy mooching food off others...)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Best Way to Start Your Day

a little pre-flight nappage

By napping, of course. You've got to save up energy for all that sitting you'll do on the plane.

We are in Northern California for my dear friend Holly's wedding this weekend. I have known Holly since high school, and I cannot express what a privilege it is to have known someone who is truly wonderful and kind for so long. Her husband-to-be is of extraordinarily high quality as well, and together they will conquer the world with intelligence and humor and goodheartedness. I am thrilled to be here for their special day.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After

It's the day after the election. When we're not weeping with joy and being all touched by the possibilities the future holds, whatever shall we do?

Oh! I know!

sorry, lucy.

Lucy really wishes there'd at least been a recount of some sort.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today

There is hope.

coffee, clipboard, name tag

And also free coffee and t-shirts. I suppose time may prove me wrong, but for this time in my life I have worked for something I believe in, that I believe is for the greater good. I have worked not just for a candidate, though I believe in his vision for our future, but I have worked for us. The intentions of my heart are for good for all of us. And I still tear up a little when I listen to this song:



No matter how we voted today or how much we have disagreed with each other, we can heal our divisions. We can be better people. We can swallow our pride and love one another better. We need each other. No matter what, let's be better. It isn't wrong to want change. It isn't wrong to want things to be better. It isn't wrong to put down our accusations and work together.

Happy Election Day, America.

Kitties for Obama

OBAMA FTW!!!!

OBAMA FTW!!!

OBAMA!!!!

I'm Lucy Snowe, and I approve this message.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One More Day, Thank Heaven

I have been simply aghast at how many people, some of whom I love and respect, have implied that those of us who are voting for Obama are not Christians. It is even more dismaying to read damning statements towards us, our nation, and our world. I have come up with a thousand arguments in my head, have gone through all the stages of grief (for to have someone relegate me to among the worst of the worst feels like both a betrayal and a loss), but in the end I have felt compelled to remain silent. To argue would only create more division.

As a Christian, I do hope that how I vote honors both God and others. I understand that I am an imperfect human, and that thus my choices are also imperfect. But there's this thing called grace that covers over a multitude of sins, that God extends to us and that we in turn are called to extend to one another. It is not hard to forgive those who speak ill of me; it is hard, however, to quiet my own pride and let time be the judge.

Whoever is elected tomorrow, I hope and pray for the best for all of us. Let us not forget that God is love, that he desires unity over division, and that he authors the triumph of grace over evil.

Amen.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Short, Sweet, and Without a Point

Sometimes I really hate working. It's not the job--I love what I do--it's just the time it steals from all the things I need to get done at home. Jarod and I have a system worked out wherein I work less outside the house and do more here, while he works full time and does less at home. This works out fairly well for us except when I end up working full time hours, as the laundry does not start to clean itself, nor do the groceries show up automatically, and the cats have long refused to clean the bathroom or do the dishes. Meals don't cook themselves either, and while I believe I have established here in the past that I could live on snacks alone, it doesn't cut it for Jarod.

Frozen pizza, however, does. So do waffles.

Thanks, freezer aisle.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Double Chins Run in the Family

First of all: DUUUUUUUDE, how did it get to be November? I feel like I skipped a month.

Second, my cat and I both wore something special for Halloween, and I'm not just talking about our double chins.

sporting our halloween attire and our double chins

I don't know if you can tell or not, but that Hello Kitty pumpkin head is coated in a thick layer of glitter, so thick that I am now finding it everywhere--in my hair, in my bed, on the bathroom sink, etc.

Third, this is the lamest first day of NaBloPoMo post ever. Check in every day throughout the month of November for more nonsense and probably more cat pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Protestant Work Ethic is Ready to Admit It Has a Problem

Last Saturday a guy who was working for our neighbor came up to ask if he could make a bid on hauling away the pile of kitchen tearout/basement cleanout crap that's been residing against the side of our house, making us look like rednecks. Anyone who wants to make a bid on our unsightly house projects can come over anytime, so I said sure, and he offered to do the job for $80, which sounded pretty good to me. I had him write down his name and number so I could clear it with Jarod and get the money together.

Fast forward to Sunday night at 10:30, when there was a knock at our door, which I thought was the wind, and then the bell rang. Oops! Not the wind! I couldn't see a thing out the peephole, so I took my chances, and there was the guy that had bid on our waste removal. His son had been in a household accident, and he was short money for the prescription he needed. Obviously he could have been lying, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt and coughed up the $24 he requested. He offered to come and get the trash the next day, just for loaning him the $24, but I figure that if he's having to go up to homes of strangers to try to pay for medicine, he probably needs the full amount. So today I gave him another $40 and he hauled it away, which leaves me owing $16, but he'll get it. I've also agreed to hire him to clean up our backyard, and I've got my eye on a few other projects as well.

Now I realize that these are jobs that we could do ourselves, and if we were to work at it steadily we could probably get the backyard done in a single day. But our free days are few and far between, and the list of projects we have that we could do ourselves is long enough that if we were to actually do them ourselves, it would take most of our free time for the better part of at least a year and leave me hating this house. I figure that if we can help someone else out and get some things done that need doing, it's a win-win situation.

This is something I have struggled with a lot in my life: finding balance between being hardworking and working too hard for anyone's good. Everyone needs to rest, and everyone needs good work to pay the bills. While part of me feels guilty for diverting this portion of our income to having someone else do something we could do (if only we worked hard enough!), the rest of me feels relieved, and a little less like a hamster on a wheel, waiting for the next project to appear. And I feel good about giving someone else work when they really need it. I have plenty--of work, of goods, of everything--and there is no reason not to share the wealth.

There's also no reason to not do cartwheels in our backyard when it is all cleaned up, which is what I fully intend to do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here I Go Again

Let me start by saying that in today's political climate, I could never be elected president, and not just due to my lack of experience or education. The problem begins with my admiration of other nations. I'd get into some interview and go, "Well, I really like the way [insert nation here] does [insert governmental program of previously mentioned other nation here], and I think we can learn from them and even follow their model," and it would be all over. I would be labeled as anti-American. A European socialist, maybe! To insinuate that another nation does something better than America does it is pretty much a political kiss of death. It's a good thing that I'm normally not really into politics. I am not pro-America enough. The thing is that while I feel very privileged to have been born here, and while I enjoy a great many things about the country of my birth, I don't think America is The Best Nation Ever WOOOOO!!!! I think we can be a good nation; I think we have the potential to be a great nation. But I don't think anyone should lay claim to being the best. It implies that other nations aren't good and can't be great, at least not at our level of goodness or greatness. And that's ridiculous. I've been to a lot of other nations, and I can attest to the fact that many of them are good, even great. They have issues just like we do. No nation is perfect. Some nations have more work to do to get to a level of even sustaining human decency.

In the past several years, we have crossed many lines that never should have been crossed, participated in activities that were unjust at best. We have been greedy (all of us, not just our government) and too proud and unwilling to be the kind of people that make both our nation and the world a better place. It's not just Americans who deserve to have good lives and clean air and water. It's not just our children who deserve a peaceful land and nutritious food to eat. This is why this election is so important to me. Whether we like it or not (and at present, I do not), the actions of our nation and our people affect the rest of the world in significant ways. But to this point, we have been brash, and we have been unwise, and people have died unnecessarily because of us. We have fought wars in places that would benefit us and ignored the oppressed in other nations. By doing this we have not done right by the citizens of the entire world, not to mention the citizens of America. We can do better. We can try harder. We can work together. This is why I am voting for Barack Obama for president. He doesn't say "I," he says "we," acknowledging (and encouraging) that it takes all of us to build something good. We can't just show up at the voting booth. We have to do our part elsewhere, too. His understanding of this was one of the first things that caught my attention.

Like I mentioned above, I'm normally not really into politics. But this year, I believe more hangs in the balance than just what happens to us here at home. We have an opportunity to make our votes count for something not just beyond our front door, as I mentioned in my last post, but even beyond our own borders. I was listening to an interview with Madeleine Albright yesterday, and she talked about how people in other nations have expressed to her how important our election is to them. They want news from the US; they want to know who will be making the decisions here because that person is not just our president. In a way, some of them said, he will be their president, too.

When I think of stepping into the voting booth, I think of all the people I have met all over the world, and I am humbled by how my choice on election day shapes what their world looks like. I am voting for an American president, but I am voting for the good of their nations, too.

We have thirteen days until the election. Do a good job, America. Do a good job for all of us.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't Read This, Mom; It's About Politics.

The neighborhood where I work contains a lot of McCain supporters; in fact, the house where I work has not one, but two McCain signs in the yard. I understand that the kids' dad holds a far different opinion than I do regarding who should be our president, and I abstain from discussing the race with him because I know that there's not a shadow of doubt in his mind regarding who he should vote for and why. It would be a waste of time for both of us. I do, however, discuss the election with the kids, who like to say things like, "But, Mary, Obama is going to raise taxes." I openly dispute mistruths ("Only for people who have a lot of money, not for most people. Most people will pay less."), and I am also clear with them that different people think that different things are important when it comes to electing a president. I believe that Senator Obama will serve our nation best, so I am voting for him. They still like to yell out "MCCAIN WOO HOO!!!" when they see a McCain yard sign, so I take the opportunity to yell "Obamaaaaaaaaa!!!!!" when I see one of Obama's. It's become more popular than the punch bug game, and I'm kind of wondering what we'll do for entertainment in the car after the election.

The other day we were participating in what can only be described as a neighborhood street crossing campaign, and I was eavesdropping on a couple of McCain supporters chatting about why they are voting for him. It came down to taxes. Both women are in the tax bracket that would be more heavily taxed under Obama's tax policy. One woman said to the other, "YES. And you keep that wealth you have made for yourself!" Ladies and gentlemen, that is the most selfish reason I have heard about why to vote for someone; congratulations, you win the Asshole of the Election prize. To say that you support someone because you agree with their policies regarding family or education is one thing, but to say that you support that person because they allow you to hoard your abundant dollars for yourself is downright awful, particularly if you were born into a situation in which you did not so much have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps to become wealthy, but simply accept the education that was paid for by your parents and slip into the upper class life that was laid out for generations in advance. It's sickening.

A driver that picked us up from the airport in London summed up the problem quite succinctly, before I even heard that terrible remark. He said that the problem, as he sees it, is that people are no longer willing to look beyond their own front door when it comes to deciding who to vote for. So many of us vote selfishly, and that is true of voters in both parties. If you are still undecided, I urge you to consider the world beyond your own front door. What can the candidates do not only for you, but for everyone? Who will best lead and serve?

Vote according to your conscience, not your pocketbook.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Now With Even More Time Suckage

The photos that were lost were found! Let us all rejoice! I also put all the photos in the set in their correct chronological order for the benefit of those of us who need things to be organized. There are now 156 photos in the set. Click here to waste some time watching the slideshow and here to go to the set.

I highly recommend cleaning the house before traveling. Last year when we went on our honeymoon, the whole house was pretty much a disaster, and it was hard landing back here with so much to do and absolutely no order to anything. We still have plenty to do, of course, what with the kitchen not being finished and the bathroom needing to be remodeled and the backyard being an urban prairie, but everything is pretty much in its place, and it was easy to put everything away and get the laundry started. The trip was fantastic, but I am happy to be home, ready to dive into my many projects, thrilled to have cats vying for my attention. All that's lacking here is the motivation to change out of my pajamas.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

If You've Got Time on Your Hands

Then I have 126 photos I'd like to show you. There were more, and may still be more, but I don't want to talk about it. Well, except to say: ALWAYS have your photos in more than one place. That way if someone accidentally deletes them from one location, you still have them.

Ahem.

Anyway.

Click here for the set or here to jump right into a slideshow. Because of the way I uploaded them, they ended up in reverse chronological order, but if I hadn't said anything, you probably wouldn't know the difference. So pretend I didn't say anything, okay?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Will the Battery Die Before I'm Done? Let's Find Out!

Ever since the 24-inch iMac came into our lives, I've been noticing all sorts of things about this computer that I hadn't noticed before, or that I'd at least ignored. Even now that Jarod has fixed the space bar so I don't have to pound it just so (and HARD) with my right thumb, it doesn't type as nicely as the iMac. The screen is miniscule. Nothing appears in very sharp focus. I've wanted to post photos for you, but I simply can't bring myself to do it without scrutinizing every single one I've taken on the twenty-four glorious inches of screen available to me at home. So you'll have to wait. And trust me when I tell you that you've likely never seen water this brilliantly blue.

We are having a fantastic time here, still, of course, who is surprised? We are more limited budget-wise this time than last, not being flush with wedding first-dance cash and unwilling to put some things on the credit card, using the excuse that we don't know if we'll be back anytime soon. We know we'll be back, and likely soon, within a year or two. This is our spot. We'd sooner gouge out our left eyes than go without seeing Nice again.

So for now we're just doing our favorite things. If we don't fit something in that sounds interesting, we know there will be more time for it later. This time we did a few new things, and next time we'll do a few more, and maybe someday we'll own a place here and will wake up one morning with our list exhausted. I sincerely hope this is the case.

Tomorrow is Jarod's birthday. We'll have crepes for breakfast and dinner at our favorite place, Chez Memere. Then we'll go back to our apartment and pack; on Monday morning we have to be out by 10:30am. How sad.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What Was That I Said About Posting in Nice?

Well, I said that before I found out that our iBook battery is pretty much toast and that the network here is slower than molasses on a chilly day. I've gone from 85% battery power to 78% in just three minutes, and it took me that long just to send one two-sentence email and get into blogger. So I'll sum up:

We love Nice!

We love the food in Nice!

We love the pace of life in Nice!

We hope Barack Obama becomes our president so the dollar can bounce back and next time we can have even more fun in Nice!

In the meantime, we are pretty good at going cheap. Our idea of fancy is to order the kebab avec frites et fromage. Also, the beach is free. I know! DELUXE! For those of you who think you cannot do Europe on a tight budget, I would like to mention the cost of dinner for both of us last night, including dessert: six euros. That's about nine dollars. If we hadn't stumbled into H&M, our total expenditures for the day would have been about thirty dollars. Come on over! It's not that bad!

(In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that tonight's dinner did not cost six euros, but it is the exception, not the rule.)

Oh, dear, 70% battery life! And I still need to twitter.

I'll be back when we hit London again on Monday; photos are forthcoming then as well. Au revoir!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Extended Forecast for Nice

We arrive there on Monday.

weather in nice

Oh, the SUFFERING we shall endure!

See ya later, suckers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still Alive, Just Tiiiiiired

So we leave for Europe on Friday. Which of course means that I had to plan the busiest week possible for myself up until then. This is why I have been absent and most likely will be absent from the blogosphere for the rest of the week. Well, that and because of that old adage, "If you want something done, ask a busy person." I suddenly have a rush of energy, an outpouring of motivation. I want to get things done, and honestly, it's kind of annoying. Just ask my husband.

Posting here will be light (as it has been as of late), but you can always keep up with me on twitter. I anticipate posting plenty once we arrive in Nice on the 29th (we're in London until then), as our favorite thing to do their is hang out in Place Rossetti, picking up some wifi and some ice cream.

Enjoy the rest of your week, internet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Facebook is Just a Portal to Somewhere Less Pleasant

Jarod and I are currently involved in what is one of my least favorite things, which is an argument about politics--not between the two of us, but between us and a friend of mine who disagrees with our political views. Our common sense has been called into question, and in the past via e-mail my spiritual state has been called into question, the latter of which I find to be completely ridiculous because, as much as the Israelites of his day wanted him to be (if he was indeed the messiah they'd been waiting for), Jesus wasn't about politics. Or war. They were all, "Overthrow the Romans! Start a revolution!" And Jesus was all, "Um, that's not really what I had in mind." And they were all, "Say what?" So when my faith is called into question because of something neither of us have heard the audible voice of God about (uh, at least I haven't), it gives me pause. It gives me further pause when the friend's facebook status reads that she is "fighting jihadists." Well, if I'm a jihadist, I must say, the other jihadists are going to be really disappointed in my stance that war is not the answer.

The problem is that I get into these things and can't back out gracefully. Someone insults my views and I'm all, "Oh no you DI'NT." I think that's called pride. According to the Bible, people end up in hell for this. So I guess if I don't end up there for failing to support war on behalf of our nation or for feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place on the abortion issue as it pertains to politics, then I'll be there anyway.

But hey, don't I look nice in this handbasket? I picked one that would go well with my shoes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flotsam

I shouldn't really be up right now, but I kept hearing house noises, and even once I'd cleared my nose by breathing deeply through it (no, really, it works, try it!), I still couldn't quite drop off. I have theories about why this is (the not dropping off to sleep, not the nose clearing or house noises), but mostly I think it's because I like to be alone in a quiet house with nothing to do. At this hour it doesn't seem right to be banging around doing chores or even slipping in and out of rooms to put away laundry as I fold. Guilt free ass-sitting is what this is. It's not like I didn't sit down earlier in the evening, but then my Protestant work ethic was telling me I really shouldn't be, whereas right now my Protestant consideration for others keeps me from doing chores that might wake the neighbors.

I've been completely uninspired in the blogging department, mostly because I feel that what I have to say is either dull or divisive. I don't really enjoy arguing, so I tend to avoid the divisive (*ahem*SARAHPALIN*ahem*), and everything else is just...life. We work, we work on the house, we look forward to vacation. We leave for Europe in just ten days, so I'm busy putting together airport snack options (who wants to spend money in the airport when you can spend it in Europe, right?) and worrying about the exchange rate. I'll be happy to finally get on the plane and sad to come home once it's all over, I'm sure. Sort of like I'll be happy to get to sleep tonight, but troubled when the alarm rings in the morning.

Right.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yes, It's True

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to my husband and father-in-law, we now have running water in our kitchen sink.

RUNNING WATER!!!!!!!!!

Total bonus: the dishwasher works, too. And tonight? Rumor has it that the fridge will move from the living room back to the kitchen.

We are definitely moving right along. There's still plenty to do, but now I can at least begin organizing and getting things back to normal around this joint. First order of business: pasta for dinner! That didn't come from a carry-out source! Our lives are filled with excitement!

(Actually, first order of business is coffee for me, but I think by now that goes without saying, doesn't it?)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm About to Make Your Day

Cat in a stripey sweater!

the only halloween decoration we'll need

But wait! There's more!

god bless goodwill

Why, yes, that is a skull and crossbones with hearts for eyes and nose appliqued there on the back. Just try and tell me it's not awesome. You can't, can you?

I think that's the best $1.98 I've spent all week. Man, I love Goodwill.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Progress as Promised

Look! Cabinets!

eponine would like to introduce you to our new cabinets

I mean, they don't have doors or anything, but we are one step closer to putting in the lower ones, which brings us one step closer to installing a sink, which brings me one step closer to eating real food for lunch instead of going, "Oh, forget it, I'll just grab a coffee." Or just having baked kitty cat.

baked kitty:  it's what's for dinner

It really is quite delicious, though I found the fur to be a bit chewy. I may be eating it a lot, though, because now we have THIS to distract us from working on the kitchen:

what jarod is doing

Brand! New! iMac! I think America's Next Top Model is going to look really nice on that 24-inch screen, don't you?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kitchenless in Kansas City

Well, sort of. We do have most of a stunningly beautiful new floor, and I could probably start using the stove again since we don't need to scooch it around so much. (Hot stoves are not exactly scoochable.) But doing dishes in the bathtub? Chopping vegetables in the sink that is right next to the toilet? Hmmmmm....no. The unfortunate part of this whole situation is that there's not much that I can do about it personally. I can move stuff around as necessary and clean up when it's all done, I can choose fixtures and knobs and pulls, I can pick up items at Home Cheapo, but installation is not something that would be wise for me to take on. As much as I'd like to pretend that I can do absolutely anything, I've had to make my peace with the fact that I stink at putting things together. If you think I'm exaggerating, please visit the bookshelf in our office and remove the books from the shelf that's one up from the bottom. Does that look like the kind of work that is good for a semi-permanent structure such as a new kitchen? I don't think so either.

Which is why I'm buying exterior paint today. Well, sort of. It's also because it's on sale. But painting is something I can do while I am leaving the enormous job of kitchen installation to others, and our house sorely needs it. The previous owners didn't bother to prime before they painted, and now the paint is peeling itself off on windy days. Couple that with our cracked up, weedy driveway, add in the broken cabinets we've temporarily stowed next to the house, and all we need is a car on blocks in the front yard to paint a rural redneck tableau right here in the middle of the city. We've already got the urban native grassland going in the back; I think we'll pass on the redneck jamboree.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Now With More Beverages and Produce in the Living Room

So maybe you've just finished organizing the house, minus the basement, of course. Perhaps you're feeling a little smug about your organizational skills, remembering what it looked like when you started and admiring the glow of tidiness it now exudes. You even went through the stack of second string mail that's been waiting on the desk; you are just that thorough. So what do you do next? Do you sit back for weeks and enjoy the order? Perhaps you do. I, on the other hand, prefer to break an important fixture in the kitchen and decide that NOW is the TIME for our AWESOME KITCHEN REMODEL.

In Phase 1, you may feel like it's not so bad. So you had to move some stuff a few steps away into the dining room, big deal.

kitchen in the dining room

kitchen in the dining room

You can still make coffee, after all.

making coffee amidst the ruins

And besides, your husband has assured you that you will still have a sink and a stove to work with for most of the remodel. No sweat! Food and coffee preparation can go on undisturbed. Thank goodness you bought all that fresh produce!

it seems so much bigger without upper cabinets

See? Not so bad, right? Except...that the next day begins Phase 2, and your sink disappears. And then it's two days later and you're told that the next step is not magically getting a sink back, but removing everything from the kitchen. Oh, and since you need to move things out of the kitchen, the dining room table will need to be folded into its smallest dimensions and scooted off to the side. Still wearing your pajamas because you are too lazy to change, you'll dutifully put everything that was on the table in the office.

now available in the office:  toast and tea!

This thoroughly confuses the cat, who now can't find a place to sit. She can, however, knock over your extensive cereal collection and stick her paws in the toaster slots. Good thing I didn't plug in the toaster, right?

So now that you've moved everything from the dining table into the office new breakfast room, you can return to the kitchen and move out all the tools that are scattered about the floor, scoot the dishwasher into the dining room, and, finally, put your fridge in a more convenient location.

if you're reading comfortably and get thirsty, you needn't move an inch

Your kitchen now looks like this:

i can't move the stove by myself, so it's still in there

And you? Well, you look a little disheveled there in your pajamas. For the love of pete, go get dressed. You'll never get to reward yourself with an iced mocha looking like that.

Not shown in this post: the part of the kitchen that is in the basement.