Saturday, October 30, 2010

Look what I made!

My fingers are super-sore, but after three and a half hours (give or take), I finally finished my jack-o-lantern masterpiece:

Normally, I would not be so excited about a Yoda pumpkin, but it turned out super-good, if I do say so myself!  Also, the hubby, the kid, and I are all dressing up as Star Wars characters tomorrow, so we've got a theme going on this holiday. 

I'll be sure to upload pictures tomorrow night or Monday.  Happy Halloween, everyone! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'd Rather Be Cold Than Poor

My central heater went out in my house yesterday, and it got down to 30 degrees last night.  It's freakin' cold in here!

Hello from the Arctic circle that is my living room!

I am not a handy person.  If you couldn't figure that out after the whole caulk debacle of 2010, then I am making it clear now:  home repairs are not my strong suit.  The hubby, though he is learning more every year, is also not the handiest guy to have around.  In fact, once I wrote a song called, "I Left My Hubby for the Handyman", as a tribute to his inability to fix things around the house. 

So, due to the fact that neither of us knows our way around a furnace, I called a local repairman this morning to come and take a look at it, hoping that he would just have to light something and charge me $50 or so (which, if I may add, is entirely too much money to pay for someone to do a ten-minute job).  I was confident that we'd be cozy and warm by this evening, walking around barefoot in our comfortable 72 degree home. 

Enter, repairman.  A.K.A. Dream Ruiner. 

The guy got here right after I got the kid in bed for a nap and went straight down to my terrifying cellar/basement to look at my furnace.  He came back up five minutes later and the conversation went something like this like this:

Dream Ruiner:  Your gas valve's gone bad.

Me:  Oh!  Ok!  I'm so glad you figured it out so fast.  Is that cheap to fix?

Dream Ruiner:  It shouldn't be too bad.  Let me see if I even have one.  I think it's $150-$200, but I'll check for ya.

Me:  ...

(Dream Ruiner goes to his truck to look for the part, I walk inside to check my bank balance online)

(I go back outside to find him waiting for me, small box in hand)

Dream Ruiner:  So, the part is $250, the service call is $99, and labor is $95/hr, and it will probably only be an hour to repair, so you're running about...$450 total.

Me:  (staring at him blankly)  I can't afford that right now.

Dream Ruiner:  (looking surprised)  Oh.  Ok.  Well...

Me:  I'm so sorry, but I just can't afford it.  I guess I'll just have to pay you the service fee.  My husband is bringing home some space heaters tonight, so we'll just have to use those until we figure out what to do.

Dream Ruiner:  Ok, I understand.  Let me write you up an invoice with the total cost, in case you change your mind.  If you have us come back out within thirty days, you don't have to pay the service call fee again.

Me:  Alright, wonderful!  Let me go get my credit card.

(I go inside to get my credit card and come back out to him writing the invoice)

Me:  So, do you think that, you know, since our house is so small and all, that it would be cheaper for us to run space heaters this winter instead of using our central air?

Him:  (realizing he's dealing with a cheapskate)  Well, I'm not sure.  I guess it would depend on the price of electric versus the price of gas.  You'd probably have a lot of cold spots in your house too.  I guess you could try it for a month and then find out when you get your bill?

Me:  Hm.  Yeah, maybe we'll do that.

I paid his $99 service call fee and sent him on his merry way.  I mean, can something in such a small box cost so much?  I came straight inside to my trusty laptop and Googled "buy a gas valve for furnace" and, you know what?  I was RIGHT!  I mean, I think I was.  I actually have no idea what kind of furnace we have, so I don't know what valve it would require, but the average price for buying one of them is $130.  So long as we can install it ourselves without blowing up our home, we'll be all set, and $220 richer than we would have had I paid Dream Ruiner to do it.  Woohoo!

Of course, the weakness of my brilliant plan lies in the fact that neither I nor my husband have the first clue in how to change a gas valve on a furnace, but that's what the internet is for.  And handy friends and neighbors. 

Developing...stay tuned in the coming weeks for updates on (probably) cold fingers, (possibly) a house explosion, and (hopefully) a warm home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My super-social network.

So, I have decided to continue blogging anonymously.  The recommendations were mixed, but ultimately it was Sey's last blog entry that sealed the deal for me.  There are a considerable amount of loonies on the internet, and even though I have made a LOT of friends online, at least I can pick and choose to whom I, um, reveal myself.

I'm not gonna lie:  I have a ton of online friends.  It all started about five years back, in the days of Myspace.  Truth be told, I've never really been all that great at making friends.  In high school, I was kind of quiet and a little nerdy.  When I first moved to California, I had a hard time making friends because we moved once a year, so I didn't have a lot of time to form lasting relationships with people.  Also, a lot of the jobs I've had have been ones in which I didn't have co-workers to interact with, and work seems to be the place where most adults find friends.

So, Myspace was a great place for someone like me to not only re-connect with old friends, but also to make new ones.  That's how I met The Hotness, actually.  We met on Myspace and immediately liked one another, despite all our glaring differences.  We still have never met in person, though I do talk with her almost daily and consider her a real friend.

As we settled in to Myspace groups, the hubby and I began to socialize on a daily basis with the same group of 20+ people, mainly through message boards and chat rooms.  The group eventually moved over to Stickam, which is a site for webcam chat, and that weeded out the people who weren't actually who they said they were.  Surprisingly, there were only two of them, but one of them we *thought* we knew really well.  For those of you who get the reference, it was like the movie Catfish.  It was kind of heartbreaking, but that experience taught me that you have to be very wary of people you meet online, because some of them will go to great lengths to make you believe they are someone else.

(Just in case all my vigilance talk has you doubting that I am really me)

My first experience of meeting up in person with someone I'd met online was a great experience.  The hubby and I befriended a local girl through Myspace and joined her and her boyfriend at the Ren Faire.  She was really sweet and normal, but much shorter than I'd imagined--which seems to be a recurring thing when you meet people in person who you know online.  They're never as tall as you'd think.  I know this, because since that first experience, I have met 15+ people in real life who I'd previously only known through online interaction, including my fellow blogger Hulabuns (hi!). 

The hubby, the kid, and I with some short people we met online.

This brings the question:  how well do we ever know people online?  When you "friend" a person on Facebook or Myspace, you really only know what they want you to know.  I suppose that's true in real life also, but social networking takes it to a whole new level.  Most people only talk about the happy stuff online, hoping to make their lives look as shiny and perfect as possible.  The other day, one of my Facebook friends commented that I always look good in pictures, and the conversation went like this:

Please excuse my messy editing

It's totally true, too.  I am a photoshop addict.  Rarely does a picture make it to my Facebook or to my blog without at least a *little* tweaking.  Except for that one the other day of me covered in caulk.  Had that been an altered photo, I would just give up right now.

All I'm saying is that, as much as it pains me to admit, we never know anyone online as much as we think we do.  And even though I have a lot of friends I keep in touch with through the internet, I guess it's better not to open myself up to crazy people stalking my family just yet.  So, anonymous it is.  At least for the time being.   I'm pretty indecisive, so I may change my mind again.

Also, if anyone (who doesn't actually know me) can figure out my identity, email me and I'll let you know if you're right.  I'm curious about how difficult it would be to stalk me if one was so inclined.  But please don't actually stalk me.  Seriously.  That stuff is creepy.


*If you're wondering what happened with the first girl I'd met in person, it's really sad.  She died.  Right around the time that the kid was born, she was hit by a drunk driver.  Since we only really kept in touch through Myspace, it took me a while to realize that she wasn't on anymore, and when I went to her page I saw what had happened through the posts by her friends and family.  I'm glad that I got the chance to meet her, even if I didn't get a chance to know her better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Opinions needed!

I am thinking about lifting the cloak of anonymity and revealing my name. 

I would still use "the hubby" and "the kid" when talking about them, because I don't want Google to lead those searches to my blog, but the fact of the matter is that I don't know why I'm blogging anonymously anyway.  I promote my blog on my personal facebook page now, so my friends and family already read what I write.  The truth is that stalkers could find (and possibly have found) me if they did only a little digging.  I've removed my listing from, so finding my home address is incredibly difficult, if not impossible via the internet. 

What do you guys think? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life through the eyes of a 3-year old

In my last post, I included a photo that I had The Kid take of me with caulk all over my arms.  My friend A commented on the quality of his photography skills, which got me to thinking:  why not dedicate an entire post to his art?  

What's that?  It's not art, you say?  Well, considering that this passes for art these days, I would definitely say that my kid's camera skills should certainly qualify.  So, without further ado, an tour of life through the eyes of a three-year old (or at least, my three-year old).

While sifting through the hundreds of photos The Kid has taken in the past six months, most of the photographs fit neatly into one of the following categories:

1.  Pictures of the TV, playing various childrens shows/movies:

 Tellingly, there was not one picture in the bunch of an adult-oriented television show, so he's clearly hoping to capture a shot of Kung Fu Panda or Spongebob, and not the scratches that he dug into the screen with a file about a year ago.  Yeah, click the pictures to enlarge--it's not pretty.

 2.  Pictures of things he likes:

3.  Out of focus/abstract photos:

4.  Pictures I ask him to take:

 He was certainly handy when I went to visit my best friend and he new baby in the hospital!

5.  Pictures of his parents:


 Can you believe that last one??  I love it.  I did crop it a *little* bit, but not much at wasn't crooked or anything, I just cut out some utility polls.

 6.  Pictures of our dog, Vinnie:

 7.  Pictures of people he likes:

8.  Self-portraits

I think you will agree, now that you've witnessed his impeccable eye for composition, focus, and subject matter, that my child is gifted as heck.  I am now taking orders for prints of these and other original works, for the low, low price of $10,000 a piece.  Can you say BARGAIN?

Seriously though, I'm just happy that he likes taking pictures of things I wouldn't think to turn the camera on.  And he's only broken one camera so far!  It was a small price to pay for his artistic enlightenment.  :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Caulk can suck it.

So, it turns out that I am something of a home improvement genius putz.  In the past week, I have put up new blinds (and subsequent blind covers), halfway taken apart my dishwasher (so the hubby could finish the job and repair the control panel), and caulked my bathroom shower. 

Today I attempted the caulking.  I am writing to you right now with caulk still all over my arms, because I am unable to stand the stench of Gojo hand cleaner any longer, which is the only thing in my home that get this crap off my skin.

Photography courtesy of The Kid, lack of makeup courtesy of my laziness.

I've done caulking before, and I don't remember it being easy, but for some reason I had it in my head that this was a 10 minute job, at best.  Oh, how wrong I was.  After spending an hour or so removing the old, disgusting caulking from all the nooks and crannies of my shower walls, I got the gun out and loaded, ready to go.  I squeezed and squeezed with all my might, until it started coming out all over my hands...from the bottom of the container.  What the heck?  Apparently I am an idiot, because in addition to cutting the tip off (which I did--I'm not that dumb), you have to unscrew that tip and cut off another dealy-bobber that's underneath it.  WHY the caulk-makers create their products this way, I will never know.  It's redundant.  And it's stupid.

Anyway, after I finally figured out this magical secret, I already had caulk all over my hands, but soldiered on anyway.  I had this nifty little tool that's supposed to help spread the bead evenly, but after using it, it just didn't look right to me, so I put on even MORE caulk and spread it with my finger instead.  It got abso-freakin-lutely everywhere.  THIS is what I ended up with:

Click to enlarge and laugh at my ineptitude.

So now, of course, I must wait for it to dry so that I can scrape off the superfluous caulk, which would appear to be the vast majority of what I've done here.  Yay.

Next time, I'm hiring a handyman. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Things I Think Are Super-Wonderful Right Now

Since I'm having issues creating a coherent blog post at this time, today's post is a list.  So, without further ado, I bring you:

Things I Think Are Super-Wonderful Right Now

Moroccan Oil.  It's making my very fuzzy hair super-shiny and manageable!  I used to use Biosilk, but this is way better.  You barely have to use a drop and--bam!--magical silky Victoria's Secret model hair.  You can get it at salons, and supposedly on Amazon as well, but one of the reviewers on Amazon said that the bottle she got from them was counterfeit and didn't work at all, so buyer beware!

2.   Quick Praline Bars.  Oh man.  Hula Buns gave me some of these one day and I was hooked.  She shared the recipe and I made them yesterday, and so far they are the only things I've eaten today--and it's 4:30 in the afternoon.  I can't stop!  If she says it's ok, I will pass the recipe on to you all in the comments, because they are not only super-delicious, but also super-duper easy to make.

3.   Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.  I've read this book before, and I just picked it up again--it's just superb.  I was a huge fan of the movie, and read the book after I'd already seen it, and I think it has to be one of the best film adaptations of a book I've ever seen.  Reading this really makes you feel like you know what it was like to live in 1950s New England.  Love it.

4.  Candles that smell like autumn.  Pumpkin spice?  Why yes, please!  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  fall is the best season.

5.   Oxiclean.  That Billy Mays may have been a coke head, but he sure did know his household cleaners!  This stuff is amazing.  Got a weird blood stain on the sleeve of a new shirt that you haven't worn yet and you're not sure where it came from, but are pretty sure that it's not yours but you really like the top and don't want to throw it away and can't bring it back because you took the tags off already?  Oxiclean saves the day!  Not that that's happened to me or anything.

6.  Toasted everything bagels with melted brie.  Oh yeah, baby.  I don't know if the guy who invented the everything bagel ever met up with the guy who invented brie--it's probably unlikely--but, if they did, I'll bet they would have been buddies.  Their products are DELICIOUS together!  Seriously, try it.  I challenge you not to love it!

7.  Makeup from Sephora.  Again,with the great concepts:  a store where you can buy all kinds of makeup counter makeup, only without the annoying makeup counter ladies?  Genius!  Sephora is definitely one of my top five favorite stores of all time.  The only bad thing about it is that I always spend a ton of money and everything always fits in a teeny tiny little shopping bag.  Oh well.  It's worth it.  These products I'm showing are three of my favorites:  TheBalm TimeBalm concealer, Laura Mercier Mineral Powder foundation, and LORAC Eyeshadow in Serenity.  Without these three products, I would be at least five times less attractive than I am now.

8.  This beautiful alpaca-blend scarf.  I had this on my Amazon Wishlist for my birthday, and one of my wonderful friends actually purchased it for me!  I love it so much.  It was hand made by a small business called Patricia Avenue, and after I wrote a glowing review on Amazon, they sent me the nicest hand-written thank you card telling me how much they appreciate it.  This was made with LOVE, people!  If you want to purchase any of their handmade products, go to

9.  The leaves changing and falling to the ground.  Who doesn't love fall leaves?  They're freakin' beautiful!

10.  Drinking tea.  I've mentioned this before, but I'm a tea-a-holic.  I just am.  I can't get enough tea.  My tea cabinet is currently overflowing, but still I can't help but think that I'm missing one or two varieties.  Do you like my teacup?  I made it a long time ago at Color Me Mine when we lived in Los Angeles--it's covered in ladybugs.  It only has one little chip in it, and I'm going to be sorely disappointed if it ever breaks, but at least that will give me a reason to go and make another one.  Because, really, drinking tea out of a coffee mug gets the job done, but it's just not quite as nice.

11.  The lovely breeze coming through my window.  Ahhh, fall.  I just can't get enough of it. 

That sort of turned into a "things I love about autumn" list at the end, but oh well.  At least I've blogged, and that's what's important.  Off to make some eggplant parmesan for dinner!

*This probably goes without saying since I'm neither wildly popular or successful in the blog world, but none of these products are paid endorsements.  I just really like them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dancin' with my baby

Today started out awful.  I was annoyed at everyone.  Why do all the people have to go out on Saturdays to the same places I need to go?  And why do so many of them try to get run over by my car?  Seriously, it's like they're trying.  Luckily, I didn't give any of those masochists the satisfaction--I missed every last one, though barely at times.

I tried my best to get a new window treatment for my living room today, but I've only made it about 1/3 of the way so far.  If it sounds like I know about things like window treatments, I apologize, for that is not the case.  For the last six years and up until today, I had an incredibly ugly white aluminum mini-blind hanging haphazardly over my big living room window.  We put it on when we moved in and since it kept the sun out, we figured that was good enough.  It wasn't until recently that it started falling off the wall and onto my head about every fifth time that I pulled the cord.  Then about a week ago, the thingy broke that closed the slats, so it was permanently aimed down, which the hubby has a weird problem with.  

So, I was determined to make my window look like it belongs in a grown-up's house, and I set out to do that by buying curtains and blinds.  I ended up getting this really cool-looking bamboo Roman shade, but it turns out that it doesn't actually block out the sun--or give us any privacy.  Dumb, right?  Although the picture on the box looks like this:

Source (in case you want to buy any useless but attractive blinds for your own windows)

these shades, in all actuality, are completely transparent.  I went back to get the blind liners (sold separately just in case you actually want your blinds to, you know, provide privacy or block the sun), and the lady at Home Depot told me that they stopped selling them because nobody bought them.  WTF?  I must be missing something, because by the looks of their bamboo shade inventory, they sell the heck out of them.  Anyway, I went home and ordered the liners online, and they ended up costing me almost as much as the shades themselves after tax and shipping.  BLAH.

I also got some sheers to go over the blinds, but I haven't gotten around to getting a curtain rod yet.  I was too annoyed after the whole shade debacle to go traipsing around the city for an affordable curtain rod, and I am NOT paying $40 for a curtain rod at Home Depot.  This stuff is just not that important to me.

Weird.  Every time I hit return twice, it takes me to the beginning of the last paragraph I typed.  Hm.

Anyway, I was really annoyed today.  However, I was saved from my misery by attending a wedding this evening.  Although it was a Catholic wedding (long), and we had the kid with us (challenging), the whole thing was beautiful and incredibly enjoyable.  Good food, free beer, and dancing:  what more could I ask for?

As I may have mentioned before, the kid is an incredible dancer--he shakes that booty like nobody's business, and he does it with flair, which usually involves some break dance moves.  Here he is, dancing to "Stand By Me":

What?  You don't break dance to ballads?

The wedding was at a pretty late hour for a toddler, so we had to leave right when the dance floor started bumpin', but I did get in one good dance with my baby to a very suitable song:  "Let's Hear it for the Boy".

I think that one of the best things about having a kid is that I get to go home early, before I drink too much and wake up with a hangover the next day.  Call me an old fogie, but I can't think of anything better than being in bed and asleep by midnight nowadays.  Speaking of which, that's where I'm headed right now.  Goodnight, blog people!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The List, via Sassy

My guest post is up on Sassy's Blog!  A warning to family and friends:  it's sex-themed, but I'd give it a solid PG.  Proceed at your own risk if you are related to me.

Go here to read it, and follow Una if you don't already--she's a gem.  :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Get me away from this adorable kid!!

These things really get in the way sometimes.
I am in serious need of a date night with the hubby.  I just realized that we haven't been out without the kid since my birthday on August 18th.  It's no wonder I feel like I'm going nuts lately!

Don't get me wrong, I love my kid more than a baby loves boob food.  I look at him and I see sparkly, magical moonbeams shooting from his ears, he's so special to me.  That said, I also thoroughly enjoy my time away from him.  There is something to be said for getting dressed up and not having to worry that you'll end up with sticky hand prints all over your dress.  Also, I know I'm not supposed to say it, but he just wears down my last nerve sometimes:  catering to the every want and whim of a toddler is freakin' exhausting, people! 

I've been out a few times in the past couple of months, but not with the hubby.  He's gone to see movies with his friends, and I've gone to movies and dinner with mine, but we haven't actually gotten a sitter and gone to a movie and dinner together, which is key to a healthy marriage.  You know how, in the movie Date Night, they have a standing date every Friday night, and the babysitter just automatically comes over?  They try to make it look like it's an obligation, but I would give my right eye for a chance at that.  Well, maybe not my eye, because that would make it considerably more difficult to see a movie, which would kind of counteract the whole point of giving up my eye--but I'd definitely give up a pinkie toe (but not a finger, because then I'd have to learn how to type without it and that would be a lot of work).

Anyway, I want a standing date night with the hubby.  Part of my problem is that the kid is very picky about babysitters.  He loves his neighbor, and she's babysat a couple of times, after which he was very clear about the fact that he didn't want her to babysit him again.  The reason seems to be that he doesn't want his "friend" telling him what to do, and I get that, but it's incredibly inconvenient that he feels this way since she is a wonderful girl and lives right next door. 

The only other two people we really allow to babysit him are my sister and my cousin, both of whom live about 30 minutes away from us, and both of whom have children of their own.  These two are great babysitters on the occasion that they keep the kid overnight, and he has a lot of fun at their houses, but I don't want to ask them too often for fear of him wearing out his welcome.  Also, they can't come to our house to watch him, since they're both very busy with their lives, which is completely understandable. 

Anyway, I don't know what the point of this post was.  I guess I just needed to vent.  I don't consider myself a "mommy blogger", but sometimes this stuff comes up when you have kids, and you just need someone to listen to you complain.  Also, I've had too much coffee, so my fingers moved very quickly in the making of this post and created it without too much effort on my part.  So...score!

Oh!  Last week, the lovely and talented Una LaMarche asked me to create a guest post on her blog for while she is out of the country.  First, I was incredibly flattered, then terrified that I couldn't think of anything, then I got over myself and wrote the dang thing.  I'll link to it when she posts it, so look for that in the coming week!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...