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? 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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

In My Free Time I Pretend I'm Going to Fold the Laundry

And by "free time," I mean "when I should be sleeping." There's really nothing like lying awake, thinking of all the chores I meant to get done but never managed. There's also nothing like dousing an open wound in lemon juice. I'd say that I don't know where the time has gone, but in fact I do know where it went. I'd just rather not go over it again because it pulls my poor, addled brain in too many directions.

What I can tell you is that we have begun our kitchen remodel in earnest. I had big plans to throw a Sayonara, Kitchen! party so that everyone could gaze with horror upon our faux marble countertops and peeling linoleum before they were no more. We were going to have a finger food potluck! I was going to make cupcakes! It was going to be fabulous! But then I broke the knob off the hot water side of our faucet and it was all downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on how you look at it. Whatever the case, this morning between work and, uh, work, I removed everything from the upper kitchen cabinets, and now Jarod is taking them out. We will have to host a Welcome, Kitchen! party instead. We can still have a finger food potluck, and I'll still make cupcakes. It will be just as fun, but with less tacky and more completely awesome.

I hope you'll come.

And that you'll bring some of those mini quiches. I really like those.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For Her Birthday, Lucy Would Like Opposable Thumbs

Lucy turned one today, meaning she is no longer a kitten. To celebrate, the humans had ice cream and the cats had chicken treats. Later, Lucy tried her best to get the treat bag open, but she couldn't manage it. Thus the birthday wish for opposable thumbs.

Or a belly rub. She'll take either one, preferably both.

lucy wants a belly rub

Happy Birthday, Lucy.

None of These Things Are Related

Mary Liz has swimmer's ear but insists she can swim anyway; I said, "Not until we see the pediatrician."

Lucy started sleeping in our napkin basket, so I moved it to the bookshelf in the front window, where she often knocks things off when she stretches out to bask in the sun. This has been an excellent solution, as she curls right up in "her" basket instead of stretching across books and knocking over picture frames, but now we don't have a napkin basket anymore.

While running tonight I decided that giving myself permission to stay up as late as I want tonight would be an excellent way to eliminate the feeling of being rushed. So far, so good. I've nowhere to be until noon tomorrow, so this is a treat.

We have a new hot water heater. We also have an old hot water heater, which leaks quite a lot. Do you want it? Come and get it.

The other night I woke up to Lucy sleeping so soundly next to me that when I lifted her paw to rearrange her so I could turn over, it was like a limp noodle. I immediately started to freak out, thinking she was dead. I was ready to start clutching her lifeless body to my chest and weeping inconsolably, but then she stretched and opened her eyes groggily. Tragedy averted! But still now I think about her dying and I can't imagine how we'd ever find such a funny cat again. Who would come check on me in the shower to make sure I'm not drowning? Who would play fetch with all the hair elastics I got on clearance? Who would roll over so I could press my whole face into soft, white belly fur? Lucy is never allowed to die. Or get lost. Or stolen. Don't even think about it, cat thieves. I will CUT YOU.

I have fallen behind on some of my big household projects but have been making steady progress on others. I decided that instead of feeling defeat at not getting something big done, I would just keep doing small things. I did about four days' worth of going and going and going, one small project after another, until tonight I contracted Lazyass Syndrome and couldn't even be bothered to make dinner. God bless the Earl of Sandwich is all I'm saying.

I have a vision for organizing our basement so that each activity has its own spot. I began implementing it by putting the magnetic poetry set (Unrequited Love Edition, purchased for 50 cents in 2001) on the freezer so the kids can play with it. I also talked Jarod into going through much of his pile o' stuff in the corner with the sump pump; he found a lot of his old toys and such, so now the kids can play with magnetic poetry AND legos.

I have a habit of overpacking, so I have made a list of things to take to Europe. We aren't leaving for another five and a half weeks. I am prepared.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Should Be in Bed Already, But...Meh

I had this whole post written up in my mind about why running is important to me and why, in particular, running at night is so freeing, but then tonight I set out later than planned, had heartburn, and ended up hitting the wall two miles in. I had to walk three of the five miles I completed, and my original goal was seven. So much for the magic of running, right? At least I worked out. I've been a little lazy about it lately, and when things have gotten in the way, I've just let them. But my favorite pants from Boden are still a little too close to muffin top territory for my personal comfort, so I need to step it up a notch. I've spent years pretending that I will alter my eating habits and have a fantastic physique, but more and more I don't think that's a possibility for me. I will alter them for other reasons, like health and trying to be more responsible to the earth and all its inhabitants, but I have a hard time sticking to any eating plan that resembles dieting. Physical exertion, though, I can get behind, nearly as easily as I can get behind the cake batter bowl with a big spoon.


My mom's good friend Andrea was diagnosed with breast cancer some time ago and has had a lumpectomy. She'll go through radiation soon. I know that sometimes she worries about it, but much of the time she just makes jokes about her boobs, which she has named Mildred and Precious. Her husband doesn't always approve of the joking, but he's a party pooper, which is why we are not inviting him to the boob party we are planning for her birthday. I ordered boob pasta and am making a boob cake, and the people that I ordered the boob pasta from also threw in a boob sucker. It's going to be tacky, but hilarious. The cake will say, "Happy Birthday Andrea, Mildred, and Precious!" In pink, of course.


I don't know why I am still awake except that I feel there is a lot left to do, and I want to grab on to more time to do it in. However, the alarm rings in less than six hours, so I will (grudgingly) get myself to bed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pretty Much Perfect

I never did tell you the circumstances that led to me ending up in Connecticut for the weekend, but I think I can just say that the stars all aligned and some people were very gracious, so I was able to make the trip out to look after F and A for the weekend. Their grandma was there as well, but needed a bit of extra help, so there I was. And I had the most fabulous weekend. Everyone was very well-behaved and agreeable, including me. The only scheduled activity of the weekend was the big swim meet F and A were in on Saturday morning, so we had lots of time to go fun places and do fun things. F and I went to Starbucks and did some window shopping (twice!), while A preferred Wii-related activities and a turn at the ping pong table out at the beach club they belong to. I really relished the short time I had to spend with each of them. They are both becoming such amazing individuals; I truly cannot wait to see where life takes them.

As an added bonus to the weekend, I did not have to be the Official Jonas Brothers Concert Chaperone, but was instead invited into the city to share in the pre-concert dinner and then left to my own devices for the rest of Sunday evening. I can think of only one instance that I had a more enjoyable time in the New York City than I did on Sunday night, and I have had some incredibly enjoyable times, so that's really saying something. I think what made it so good was that it was a surprise; I only expected to see Grand Central on the way to and from the airport, so to have an evening to wander about as I wished was a gift. I had absolutely no goals or expectations for the evening, the weather was perfect, and I'd made enough money on the weekend to do a little bit of shopping. It was fantastic.

Also fantastic was not having to rush off to a flight first thing Monday morning. I slept in a tiny bit, got a pedicure, and still had time to hang out with the kids for a bit before heading out. I left early enough to make a couple of stops in Grand Central, and if we were to leave things at the moment that I stepped onto the shuttle with my bags full of good things to take home and my stomach full of delicious treats, the weekend would have been perfect. In fact, I'm willing to ignore the flight delay and the heartburn I got from flying and just call the whole weekend a rousing success.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

I May Have Forgotten to Mention

This week has been such a jumble, I seem to have lost a day somewhere. Aren't I supposed to have one more day to tell you that I am leaving in the morning for a last minute trip to Connecticut and, even more importantly, another day to pack? No? Oh. Crap.

So, um, I'm going to Connecticut tomorrow, staying until Monday. I may or may not blog, but I'll definitely twitter. Expect to have news from a swim meet and possibly a Jonas Brothers concert (screaming t(w)eens! wooooo!).

Time to finish the laundry, shower, and pack. The alarm rings at 5:45am again tomorrow. Ouch.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

You Know, I'm Not Sure Why I Keep Smoking Crack Either

So today my mom and I drove up to Nebraska to have lunch with Aunt Marge, who is my mom's aunt, making her my great aunt, but it's really just too fussy to call her Great Aunt Marge. (Great) Aunt Marge once was in love with a Lutheran, but her mother hated Lutherans and forbade her to marry him, so later (Great) Aunt Marge went on to marry a shiftless alcoholic who worked sometimes, but not for the last fifteen years of his life. They never had any children. Her siblings have now all passed away. She has friends in town, but is still lonely. If you call her on the phone, she will want to talk for hours. If you visit, she will want you to stay longer, and she will ply you with gifts of the things that no longer fit into her apartment. If you stay long enough, you will hear about her friends' medical issues. We didn't stay that long today. I thought I had a meeting to get back to. Which, I did. And I intended to make it!

Except...I didn't. Have you ever driven to Nebraska and back between the hours of 7am and 5:30pm, having had five and a half(ish) hours of sleep overnight and three hours the night before? If you have, you know that the only thing you'll feel like doing after you carry in the bag of crap you accepted from (Great) Aunt Marge is a face plant into your sofa. Which I did. I'm feeling a tiny bit more rested, thanks. Just in time to, oh, I don't know...go out?

I never learn.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

And Tomorrow I Get to Drive to Nebraska! For Lunch!

Today started out well enough. I was doing some volunteer stuff at the polls, then planned to have a nap of unspecified duration, after which I would scrape some more wallpaper off the monstrosity that is our bedroom and perhaps make a little potato salad for dinner. Instead I ended up in the car, driving, then in my grannie's hospital room, trying to talk her into transferring to a hospital where her MRI could be read by a neurologist. I used the promise of homemade potato salad/furious batting of eyelashes combination, and what do you know? It worked! Soon I was in my car, driving (again), so I could meet her at the next location and listen to her complain about how she really could take care of herself, thankyouverymuch, but her family insisted, so here she was (cue melodramatic interlude). It was awesome, of course.

Almost as awesome, but not quite, was showing up to pick up some clothesline poles that I'd found on freecycle, only to discover that it wasn't just the poles we were getting, but also the concrete that had anchored the poles, still holding tight to the ends. After I made some feeble attempts at whacking it loose with a mallet, Jarod took over, as is his usual custom when I am attempting to do heavy labor. We got them cleaned up, loaded, and unloaded at home just in time for me to dish up some potato salad for Grannie and hit the elevator as the "Visiting hours are now over," announcement rang through the hospital halls. Not to be deterred by an announcement that I wouldn't have heard if I'd already been in the elevator, I pushed 4 and made my delivery. Success!

Now if I could just figure out how to condense twelve hours of catch-up sleep into the six I'll likely get before the alarm rings in the morning...