Thursday, February 26, 2009
This chair is older than I am.
I can remember when it was covered in a chocolate milk-colored prickly loop fabric. If you were alive in the 60's, middle-class America, I think you know the stuff. It must have a name. Other than itchy, leg-rash fabric.
I remember that my dad used to sit in this chair and read the paper and smoke his Pell Mells with me in his lap. Yes, I'm sure that I do make a pretty good poster child for the deranged hazards of second-hand smoke, but my dad quit the sticks when I was about 4 years old.
Over the years, the chair got moved from top billing in the living room to the basement and then to the lake cabin, where it was recovered with something that was palatable in the 80's. Then, in spite of its new look, it was kicked to the cabin family room and eventually, to the 3rd class quarters (where they put me when I visit) - the 'bunk house'. Between the life jackets and plastic table cloths.
That was about all I could take. I don't mind sleeping in a shed but to find my beloved chair there was more than I could tolerate. If you can't tell by the picture, it is a platform rocker with cool little featherish metal toes. It even has a brake on the side if you are not in the mood to rock.
Well, after I expressed my displeasure to my mother, she challenged me to take it home with me. I'm pretty sure it was a couple of beers talking and she had no idea that it would fit in the back of my trusty Subaru wagon, but as luck would have it, this was a time when I was dropping off my children in the 'Otas for their annual month-long visit with the rellies. That meant I was deadheading back to You-tah and therefore had lots of room for childhood treasures. Yay me!
And then I got home and unloaded my prize. Homer took one look at my awesome heritage and coined it 'The Frat Chair'. He didn't even want it in the house. I stubbornly placed it IN THE LIVING ROOM and started thinking about recovering it. For like 5 years, I thought. I even took some of the fabric off to have a better look at what was underneath. Dangling raw edges don't do much to dispel a moniker like Frat Chair.
Finally two years ago all the planets aligned and I was able to find extra time, money, fabric and mental fortitude simultaneously. Okay, it was not cheap or easy because the springs were broken and had to be replaced and retied and the padding and webbing were toast, but let me tell you, this chair has one sweet, SOLID hardwood frame that I'm sure will survive until the day I (hopefully) hear 'Good grief, Grandma, can I tear off the putrid fabric and recover this groovy chair'. Because groovy will be the cool word again. And she'll probably do it up in some itchy brown fabric. And I will be SO dang proud!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
First of all, HDTV might be overkill when you have hearing issues and sit 2 feet in front of a 42" screen. I had no idea that capital hill was so rife with age spots and quite many other unidentifiable poxy type facial things. Hey, don't judge. I've been watching analog, broadcast tv all these years and thought politicians were better with makeup. Like Michelle Obama who incidentally, looked FLAWLESS.
Then Nancy Pelosi, who was seated behind the Prez, had an incessant lip worrying thing going. And if she thinks that burp went unnoticed she is SO wrong. Or her multiple, abandoned attempts to follow along in her speech copy.
Didn't the people in the background used to be out of focus?
The official tie of the 2009 US Congress appears to be the tiny print tie in pastel colors. With the white shirt and very dark suit, of course. For the men, that is. I wonder if they call each other and coordinate. Or maybe an email goes out: 'Guys, we're going with the tiny, non-descript print this year. Please avoid all appearance of stripe, design, cartoon characters or subliminal pleas for campaign funds.' Barack set himself apart by wearing a red and white striped tie which looked quite snappy.
The women were dressed more diversely. Hilary's suit looked very Stately (and she was having one of the best hair nights ever). I saw one woman with cool spikey, multi-colored hair and I think, a brightly colored suit. Two thumbs up on her outfit.
Nancy.... well, I think the best thing I can say about her outfit is that it made her boobs look huge but that's probably not the look she was going for. But Michelle Obama was wearing the MOST AWESOME purple dress. Forget the economy, Barack, we want you to spill the beans on your wife's upper body workout. I would personally give my left kidney for arms like hers.
And Joe Biden? I think he might take the award for hottest guy over 55. Doesn't he just look like he'd be lots of fun at a party?
Don't get me wrong, I know it was an important speech and I did listen and grasp most of it because it came from a man that I can understand, but I imagine there will be enough serious discussion of the issues elsewhere today.
So did you watch the speech?
Any non-political observations to share?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Why Homer and Omega couldn't find them on Saturday when a coach let them into the office to peruse the lost and found is anyone's guess, but I suspect it has something to do with kid vision. Yes, some cases are known to linger into the 50's. Have I ever mentioned that I'm married to a visual savant? That man can spot a freshly hatched baby antelope 2 miles off the Wyoming freeway, but cannot see a bright red water jug sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter. I'm not sure how this will play out in his senior years but I'm thinking I should start shopping for a camouflage patterned toilet.
But I digress. Today is Fat Tuesday in case you missed the memo. Mardi Gras! Here is where I would put the picture of the totally adequate King's Cake I was up baking until way past my bedtime:
And, look here at the BestDogintheWorld wearing her beads (It's only natural that she have beads since she runs around flashing her boobies 24/7):
Shucky-darn, forgot my camera. You will just have to take my word on those.
Anyway, Fat Tuesday, like all good things, comes at a price. Tomorrow starts Lent, and for some, 40 days of self-denial among other things. Being the good little Luth-olic that I am, each year I try to find an appropriate sacrifice to go along with the rest of the family - which is Catholic - except for the dog, because of that continuously topless thing.
Lent is a yearly battle for me because I SUCK at willpower. I am usually torn between giving up something quite painful, knowing that I will probably fail miserably or picking something lightweight that I know I can do but won't leave much of a mark. Well, at least I have the Catholic guilt thing down.
So this year I am going to give up soda.
That would be pop to you Northerners.
Coke for my friends down South.
Gah! I said it. Soda is right, smack, top of my painful list. You have no idea how much I love my diet bubbly! This is going to hurt. And not just me, unfortunately.
So if you come to visit some day and find just feathers floating, you will know why.
I wonder if I should get a medic alert bracelet or something.... 'In case of loss of consciousness or atomic bitchiness, douse with Mountain Dew!'.
I understand that true Catholic style says that you aren't supposed to discuss your sacrifice, let alone probably, post it all over the internet but I have friends of all religions who do this. The Mormons are the best I tell you - I think they OWN self denial.
And, since I'm nosy like that, tell me, are you all giving up anything?
I may not get around to visiting you all today since there's a dead spot in the wi-fi down by the pop machine. You do understand the concept of Fat Tuesday, right? Indulge 'til it hurts.
If I were anything but a Norwegian American with a smattering of Spanish skills, I would put some sexy French Mardi Gras phrase right here:
It would probably start with Bon, no?
Monday, February 23, 2009
That's another way of saying that Project Mancave did not come fabulously far. I did lay down some actual paint, though. Yay! And then I ADD'd my way to cleaning the pantry and then out to clean the driveway and ramps and gutters. We live on a hill so all kinds of detritus jams up in front of our house and since we are between snows, I took advantage. It looks SO nice!
Much of my weekend energy was spent hurling mental daggers at Omega who lost the last set of keys to my car. And at Homer who was supposed to have extras made weeks ago. And at myself for trusting anyone else, even though they may have MUCH more free time, to get it done.
Turns out you can get a key made based on your vin number, but since the car has an immobilizer, the key won't actually START the car so you can drive it home. My poor Trix sat in the high school parking lot all weekend. The first night Omega's cheer gear was locked inside and, omg! her Seven jeans and her iPod! I am not terribly proud that I took a bit of satisfaction knowing that she was sleeping uneasy that first night.
Homer decided to wait and see if anyone turned in the keys at school today since it's going to cost about $200 otherwise. I wonder who gets to pay for that.
Saturday, I grabbed the bottom of our vehicle food chain- a 14-year-old Pathfinder with almost 200k on it - and headed off to run some errands. The lights don't work on the radio, the driver door requires a different key to open it (don't ask), the front speakers are toast, there's a big crack in the windshield and it has no drink holder. But Patti runs like a dream.... even without a gas cap. Tell me, when you refuel your car are you ever tempted to put the gas cap on top of the pump instead of hooking it into the neat little BRIGHT ORANGE bracket inside the fuel door? Apparently some men are. Not naming names.
My first stop was, of course, the auto parts store for the gas cap. And then I went to the home fabric store and scored a killer deal on fabric to reupholster the Mancouch. It can't be described as edgy, fun or fashion forward but it will be appropriate for the theme we're going for.... which is early Anasazi, I think.
Okay, I'm probably crazy to even think about reupholstering the couch but I set myself up for it a few years ago. We bought new leather furniture for the living room with the intent of putting the old stuff down in the family room. Only the old couch, no way no how, would NOT fit down either stairway. It was just about 6 inches too long. Unbelievable. Well, Jane was not about to let details stand in her way, so she took the couch apart. And glued it back together.
Shut up! I was all high on the smell of leather.
The couch came through fine but it won't be going anywhere soon. I suppose we could chop it up and buy a new one but that seems wasteful right now and upholstering is something I really do like to do. It may take me a year or three to get around to it, but....
And then I got a glimpse of Sunday as it flew by and now I know it is Monday because I spilled smoothie on my suede boots first thing this morning, I left home without my cell phone, and sorry to have to overshare but when I went to use 'my' stall in the restroom at here work, someone had already left fresh skid marks in the bowl. BEFORE 9am!!! I not a public pooper myself, so I'm bothered. Probably just because I have no one to yell at about it. Maybe I should bring Homer to work with me.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Not that blogaddiction is a bad thing, necessarily, but I have my fingers in too many things right now to let any one get my compulsive attention, because God forbid, if I were to devote too much time to any ONE thing, that thing might get FINISHED.
And there would go the one constant in my life - Half assedness: If it's more than half-finished, it's probably only half-right or half as good as it could be. THAT is what it says in the dictionary under Jane! right now. Hopefully, I can turn things around before they plant me under half a headstone.
I'm mostly a victim of my own short attention span, poor time management and a greater love of taking on a project than seeing it through. I try to please too many people. I also struggle when things don't go right. My husband likes to point out that I don't like to deal with things that are difficult. Really. You mean it is not normal to prefer cheesecake over cow crap?
Why am I even telling you this? No idea, except maybe to explain why I will probably be knocking The Nest down to perhaps quarter-assedness for a while because I have other things that I need to bring up to my half-standards. Harder things. Mostly cow crap.
I'm also telling you because when I had my 3000 mile checkup at the therapist today, she mostly gave me the silent treatment. She did ask me if I was doing my hair different, said she liked it, and then kept staring in the vicinity of my right ear for the rest of the session. I guess I could ask for a do over, but you, my dear internet, are cheaper than another copay.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Something in the Fiery Furnace at Arches NP.
Is anyone not singing 'Feed the Birds' from Mary Poppins right now?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
But last Sunday, in an unexpected burst of angry energy, I tackled the crap pile that had taken over the laundry room, (aka: the backside of the TV wall) where coincidentally, the antenna wire happens to fall from the ceiling.
There were NO surprises at all.
Homer – who had told me just hours before that he had been keeping an eye out for them every day: Still hasn’t noticed 3 days later. I wonder what he is (still?) looking for.
Omega – who thinks she may have heard that they were missing one of the 14 or 43 times I mentioned it: Claims she didn’t know which glasses were missing…. out of two distinctly different pairs - one of which I’ve been wearing every day for 6 weeks.
Alpha – Within 2 nanoseconds of arriving home: Points out excitedly that I found my glasses!
So there was a snack-filled happy ending, but tell me: Do you ever feel like you could walk around with like half a parakeet stuffed up your nose and as long as you kept filling the pantry and processing the laundry, some people would never even notice?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
*Oldest as in long-term. She is, in fact, much younger than me and has better hair. But she loves things like scrapbookin' as much as I do - which is not at all - so I loves her.
I went to the grocery store yesterday, as I do at least once every day because I lack enough planning skills to make it through a single day without a trip to the grocery store. I don't know if it is because I am inherently cheap and I think that $40 spent daily is much less than $280 spent once a week OR if it is because deep down I still think of the grocery store as an escape hatch. When the girls were little I could get out of the house alone without too much trouble if I said I was going to the grocery store. God knows, Homer is not about to stand in the way of getting the pantry filled. Homer loves food more than he minded single parenting for an hour or two.
Well, there I am cruising the aisles when something catches my eye. A new product: Gold'n Plump Bake It Easy chicken in a bag. The easy part is what jumped out. 'Convenient bake-in-bag!' 'Sweet bbq flavor'. Hmm. This sounds like my kind of meal. No fuss, no mess.
Against my better judgement that says you don't pick up Sunday's meal on Saturday, I bought it. This worked out well since I came down with a severe case of the lazies today. After the weekly trip to Target, I was beat. Probably because I coughed up $160 dollars for.... Target stuff. The cheapskate thing again.
Okay, it is now Sunday afternoon and the oven has not succeeded in sucking the chicken out of the fridge and baking it on its own so I drag my lazy arse off the couch to jumpstart the "bake it easy" experience. I check the directions. I should have read all THREE steps of the instructions before proceeding but 3 things seemed like a lot to remember so I went with the one step at a time method.
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 350. Remove outer bag. Leave chicken in oven bag. Place chicken breast side up. Hmm, the oven bag is fairly opaque. How do I know which side is the breast side? I grope the chicken extensively and make a call.
Cut six 1/2" slits on top of bag for steam to escape. Place pan in oven......yada yada. Wow, they didn't lie. How easy was that? Except... I should set the timer.
Step 2 says it will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the pop-up timer pops. Pop up timer? Where's that? I didn't come across it when I felt up that chicken. I grope around some more. Aha! There it is on the 'bottom' of the chicken. Well apparently I can't tell a chicken's breast from its ass cuz that's where the pop up seems to be. I can't really fault the chicken because if I, myself, were in a cloudy plastic bag anyone groping ME would mistake my butt for my breast if they were thinking the breast would be the plumper part.
At this point I can't simply turn the chicken over because I cut all those holes in the 'top'. The seasoning will all run out. My chicken won't be plump. I try to rotate the chicken in the bag. It's just too tight and all I accomplish is squirting myself with raw chicken juice which will probably give me a mad case of tuleremia. So I can't turn the chicken because of the holes and the timer won't pop out if it's pointed down. Hmm.
I am forced to think and suddenly this is not easy chicken after all! I rifle through the drawer-of-odd-things. I find one of those ring thingys that go on the top of canning jars (why don't they call it jarring?) and I place it under the chicken butt/breast like a little donut pillow. That should give the popper room to pop. I place the cockeyed chicken in the oven.
I check the chicken after about an hour. The chicken bottom is starting to look nicely browned but the breast is looking like boiled chicken. Ugh! Since the breast is the only part I eat, I make a radical decision. I break open the bag, free the chicken and place it breast side up on the pan. Only.... as I place it back in the oven I notice.....there is no pop-up timer ANYWHERE on the whole damn bird. I swear it WAS there and I swear it is now NOT there. I am swearing a lot.
I'm also exhausted and I have no idea how it will all turn out but I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't screwed with my one day at a time shopping policy.
Note: For those of you who won't sleep tonight wondering where the heck the popup timer went, it was was under the skin, which is why I could feel it but not see it. Let me tell you that was one messed up chicken.
You all have a wonderful weekend! I hope to catch up with everyone on Saturday.... or Sunday?
Peace, love, time-management!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
In our living room we have an end table with a drawer. The drawer is useful for storing those odd little living room things like coasters and pens and batteries and paperclips and postcards that are too pretty to throw and, of course, maps of every national park in the western U.S. because you never know when you may get the urge to plan a camping trip to torture the teenagers.
It’s a pretty full drawer but it wasn’t always that way. In simpler times, when we owned barely one child, it was mostly empty.
When Alpha was a bit shy of age 2 (I’m guessing here because I am, after all, the non-documenting parent) she had a relationship with that drawer that will stick with me long after dementia has erased the memory of breakfast.
Alpha used to put things in that drawer and close it and then open it to see if the item was still there and when she saw that it was she would be SO surprised and take the item out, look at it and put it back in. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over. I vaguely remember some child development axiom that says this is an important step in learning that things which are out of sight, do not actually disappear for good. Whatever, Dr. Spock. I don’t know nothing about no child development but I do recognize something that will keep a kid entertained for hours.
Harmless fun. Until……
The child decides to put her hand in the drawer. And close it. Well, if it works with the little Weeble toy, it oughta work with your hand, right? Um, no. This becomes evidenced by the primal screams that send the cat right up the drapes. So, open drawer, remove hand. Close drawer. Wait for pain to subside. Open drawer. Insert hand. Close drawer – not so hard this time because a little something was learned last time. Scream. Open drawer, remove hand. Look at hand. Put back in drawer. Close drawer. More gently this time because that may be the key. Cry in frustration. Stamp foot. Remove hand. Test again with the Weeble…..which works fine so….again.. with.. the.. other.. hand….
You probably wonder where I was in all this. Obviously nearby since I seem to know exactly what happened. Yes, indeed, I stood there watching the whole thing. Part disbelief and part intense curiosity – the very same things that make you unable to turn away from a bad car wreck!
I will admit our loud that very small people frighten me. I have no memory of being that age so I have nothing to draw on. Sure I could read books and stuff but who has time for that – unless you don’t have any kids and then what would be the point? I worked full-time and my children were victims of daycare. "OH NO," you say "surely they are headed for rot and ruin." Um, so far so good. I think it was the best thing for them. Not because of anything those studies tell you about daycare but because they had teachers that were SO much more competent than their mother in the child development area (we won't even go into their father who thought everything should be done like his parents did it - thith ith ne hoding ny tongue on thath).
But really, daycare is amazing. You hand over your whole monthly paycheck to these people and they tell you precisely what to worry about and what is normal. It's like a daily visit with the pediatrician. Jeez, they even potty train the kid for you and that would be worth all the rest of my money if I had any when I was done paying for daycare.
But I digress. So there I was watching the whole hand-slamming episode and part of me was thinking “I should take notes so Ms. Bonnie (who is a grandmother) can tell me if all this is normal” and the other part of me was thinking “this is like physics lab for toddlers”. Real hands-on learning, if you will.
Besides, she never once asked for my input and she does still own two fully functional hands leading me to think the lesson was eventually learned... without my help.
So you’re probably wondering "Jane, what does this have to do with anything in the here and now, 15 years later?" I was, too, for a minute but then I remembered where I was headed with this.
I have a drawer of my own. It’s called Wal*mart. As Omega and I left that store last night – without the photos that were ordered 9 days ago but weren’t available as promised, and without all the other things that we had picked out but, instead left at an empty checkout because there were precisely 2 checkouts open and no less than 10 people in each line, I thought about that drawer. I am certainly not condemning all Wal*marts and maybe not even the one in my neighborhood. Maybe I just have hideously bad luck. What I question is why I keep going back to a place that consistently gets me so riled! It really is ‘always something’ and still I GO BACK. I keep slamming my hand in the Wal*mart drawer.
I need to put a big sign on the dash of my car that says “Jane, you Stupid-head, stay away from Wal*mart!
Otherwise, I’m pretty sure my daughters are going to be taking notes so they can ask their Psychology teachers what to worry about and what is normal because there is no daycare for parents that are still employed and own the house you live in.
So, do you have a drawer of your own? Something you punish yourself with over and over even though you SHOULD know better? Tell me what it is. I’d love to hear anything that will make you look just as masochistic as me.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Yesterday at noon my mother calls me at work (as you may remember she and my father are visiting for a couple weeks). The phone rings. I check the caller ID.
Me: Hello (Trying to keep the ‘now what?’ out of my voice).
Usually she calls to ask me where I keep something. But it doesn’t come off like a simple inquiry. It sounds more like she's accusing me of not having said item and when I am able to direct her to it, I get the sense that if I kept it in the logical place (ie. where SHE keeps it) she would not be wasting our time with this call.
She: Hi. pause, sigh. You’re probably not going to want to hear this.
OH…FRICKIN...NO….. She has flooded the basement/killed my father/dumped out the liquor/invited missionaries in/what else? Think, OMG, what has she done? Wait…..she called on her cell phone. Maybe that’s because I have no house….. That’s it. She has put hot ashes in the garbage and burned down our house. Never mind that we haven't used the fireplace, this woman is resourceful.
But…..waitjustadarnminute…… Isn’t that the phrase I used to use when I called her at work to impart some bad news? As in: ‘Mom, you probably don’t want to hear this but your son is skateboarding down Broadway in your wedding dress.’ Could this be a joke? That’s it. She’s messing with me.
Me: Hear whaaat?
Come on, tell me you’re kidding.
She: I have CatTwo locked in your bedroom.
Me: WHY? ;-)
She: She has a rat in there.
Okay, she’s been drinking the liquor. On the other hand, CatTwo is pretty good about bringing home her share of the bacon. And our neighbors down the hill have a bad, nasty woodpile where I have seen some very ‘big mice’ on occasion.
Me: Can’t you pick it up with a shovel or something?
She: another pause It’s still alive.
Me: Alive. Not a question.
She: Yes, I don’t think it’s even wounded. It moves really fast.
Me: Any idea how she got it in there?
She: Well, I let her in the house. I guess she had it with her.
Me: (yeah, I know I shouldn’t have said it) And you didn’t notice a big ole RAT hanging from her mouth???????
She: I’m sorry! I was making the frosting for your bars. Of course, my fault, Alpha has a team potluck tonight and Mom volunteered to take the brownie baking off my hands.
Let me think, I’m only about 3 days behind at work. I have two reports due the next morning. One half-finished, one not started. Homer would be no help. Even if he could get away from work, I don’t think he could hop fast enough to catch a rat – being injured and all.
Me: sigh I’ll be home in half an hour.
I pack up my reports and other work, brief my boss and head out. I’m driving home, trying to plot a strategy. I take mental inventory of my bedroom: 67 pairs of shoes on my closet floor, multiple boxes of stuff jammed under the bed, the dressers have great rodent hidey holes underneath, the man-closet has backpacks, hiking gear and half his wardrobe on the floor. I start to feel defeated. This is going to be an all day project.
Arrive home. Status update: Cat and, presumably, Rat are still in bedroom. Mom has armed herself with a hammer, traded her Crocs for ankle boots and has tucked her pants into her socks. I deem the sock idea a good one. I grab the mop and a huge plastic container. I’m thinking if the cat would just catch the rat again, I’ll simply pick up the cat and put them both in the container, put on the lid and escort them outside. Turns out that was a bit optimistic.
My dad announces that he’s going to take a shower – DOWNSTAIRS. This is so totally NOT his problem. Thanks, Dad!
So Mom and I head to battle. A rat SWAT team of two. It takes about an hour of picking stuff off the floor and carefully poking things out from under the bed. We gradually get braver. At last the rat is exposed! Much excitement! Cat pounces, rat runs, Mom jumps, hammer flies, hits my knee! Before I blacked out from the pain, I see blur of gray run towards the bathroom door. From that point, it didn’t go so well for the rat. I will spare you the grisly details but let’s just say the rat is no longer a problem. CatTwo is rather confused and a bit slighted. Mom is going around and around blaming the woodpile owners (she’s going to call the health department), blaming the cat, and blaming herself for letting the cat in, although she swears if the rat had been in her mouth, she certainly would have noticed.
What! Did she have it in her pocket, Mom?
I get into work the next day and my boss has written me a poem (sometimes she's cool like that). I think she has hidden rapper tendencies.
The Rat Race
The cat brought the rat
to chase ‘round the place.
The rat ran and squeeked
while the family freaked.
CatTwo was the herder
And Jane did the murder;
Did the deed with a door.
So the rat will grace the woodpile no more.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
which gives out M&M's for FREE!
I admit I am somewhat streaky about keeping it filled.
Lazy, lazy Jane!
But shortly after Christmas, I was at the Tar-jay
and I noticed bags of Holiday M's going for way cheap.
My favorite price!
Knowing that it takes more than a few weeks for them to go bad,
I bought several bags of the red, white and green buggers...
and filled my dispenser.
It wasn't but the day after New Years that
the first ungrateful chocolate moocher made fun of my 'old' candy.
Well, since that whole gift horse thing is wasted on these vultures,
I did what any cheap, loving accountant would do...
I removed all the green M's.
Funny how much fresher they taste
now that they look like Valentine candies.
Oh... the green ones?
They'll be getting those in March...
when my St. Patrick's day shipment 'comes in'.