Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Confessions of a mad housewife

(Not mad as in angry. Mad as in crazy. Like the mad hatter, but without all the hair.)

Prepare yourselves. I'm about to revel a deep dark secret.

Are you ready?

I don't sort my laundry before I wash it.

Gasp! How can I live with myself?!

The truth is that I used to sort my laundry into whites, lights and darks. Depending on the season each pile would be a different size. In winter the darks pile was always really big and needed to be separated into two loads. In the summer the whites and lights piles were bigger. That usually left me with at least one, if not two, small loads of laundry. It also left me with way more piles of laundry than I wanted to tackle.

I don't even remember when I decided that sorting was for the birds, but one day I just did it. I threw things in the machine, willy nilly, until it was full. And I haven't looked back.

The result? The clothes are just as clean, and now I only wash two or three loads of laundry each week, compared to the four to six (depending on the season) I was doing. That isn't including linens, but hello time saver!

And detergent, water and energy saver! That crap's expensive!

I can hear you all saying, "But what about fading? How do you keep your white socks white and not pink?"

Well, these days most things are pre-rinsed when you buy them. It isn't usually an issue to throw that new red dress in with those crisp white undershirts. But just in case, I wash everything in cold water. It works just as well as warm and is easier on clothes.

Did you know that when a garment shrinks in the wash the shrinkage is mostly caused by washing in water that is too warm? Not in the dryer. The heat of the dryer will cause a little more shrinkage, but most of the damage is done in the wash. True story.

So there you have it. I'm totally living on the cutting edge of housekeeping.

Try it next time laundry day rolls around. We might just start a revolution.

Monday, June 28, 2010

On how I married Opie

Andy and I own seasons one through five of The Office. We don't own season six, because it isn't out yet.

Yeah, we love it.

One day we were talking about it with Roommate and he confessed that he'd never really watched the show and didn't know much about it. Right then and there I decided he needed to know and we've been subjecting him to marathons of The Office for a few weeks now. Good thing he likes it.

Anyway, in one of the episodes Pam is looking through one of Jim's old high school year books and she, of course, comes across his picture. The picture in question is bad and awkward, like all yearbook pictures and Pam makes fun of him a little bit for it.

While I was watching this scene I was reminded of a page out of  my own courtship with Andy.

Andy and I met when we were 17 and still in high school, but we went to different schools.

Julie's mom was a teacher at Andy's school and a favorite pastime for Julie and I was to look through the rival school's year book.

In 1998, a little less than two years before I met Andy, we did just that. We spent a lot of time pouring over the pictures of that "other" yearbook. We knew everyone in ours and it wasn't nearly as much fun to look through.

Julie and I would look through all the class pictures to see if we knew anyone or to make fun of the bad photos.

We were looking through the freshmen class pictures when we came across this one guy. It wasn't a bad picture, but he kind of had a funny little smirk on his face and even though the picture was in black and white the boy in question was obviously a red head. There was just something about the picture. I laughed and said, "Look Julie! This guy kind of looks like Opie!" We had a good laugh and moved on.

Eventually the yearbook lost it's appeal and we forgot all about it and moved on to bigger and better shenanigans.

Fast forward two years.

Andy and I had been dating for a couple of months. We had gone to each other's proms and were moving along nicely in our little romance.

Then one day I was over at Julie's and we were bored and she said, "Hey! We should look at Mom's old yearbooks and find Andy's pictures." I was game, so she took the books off the shelf and we started riffling through them. We looked up Andy's name in the index and found all the pages he was listed. After all the club and sports photos we came to the individual class pictures.

Julie flipped open the page and it only took a second to find him. It all came flooding back to my memory as if it had just happened. I saw the picture and I knew. "Oh my God! I'm dating Opie!"

It took a second, but everything clicked for Julie too. I was dating the guy in the picture that we'd laughed at two years before.

We laughed at it again. It really is funny and I still can't look through that book without laughing. As soon as I saw Andy after my recovery I told him all about it. He didn't think it was very funny. He still doesn't.

The truth is that Andy really doesn't look anything like Ron Howard, past or present. The only time I've ever thought he did was in that picture.

But that doesn't mean I don't tease him about it whenever the opportunity arises.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Project 365, week 25

Week in pictures June 19-25

We're men! We're manly men!

Firecracker cupcakes

Taking advantage of the A/C

Because it's too dang hot to cook

The Hulk is broken

The Hulk is fixed


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Because they will never understand

Warning: It appears that I have no shame and really will write about anything on the internet. Meaning, that the following is about my menstrual cycle, which I don't go into truly gory detail about however, if you have any objections to that subject matter I recommend you walk away from this post now. Otherwise, you may proceed.

So this week I started my period. I usually have one really bad day at the beginning and then I manage to cope pretty well.

Usually during my one bad day I'm a complete bitch and I manage to whine more in 24 hours than I did in six months of being poked, prodded, stuck, pulled and all together tortured in the hospital and various doctor's offices. So Andy and I have come to an agreement.

I'll let him know when The Day is coming and when it arrives he speaks to me as little as possible until I've taken some sort of pain relief medication and eaten at least half a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. He's alright with this arrangement because he doesn't get his head bitten off and I usually give him the other half dozen. Okay, I give him at least one.

But this time has been worse. The Day came early Tuesday morning right in the middle of a lovely sinus issue/infection. Since having my right sinus cavity torn from my face a year ago it really hasn't given me any problems until this go-round with sinus drainage. It's been quite a doozy and my face hurts. Along with my throat and stomach thanks to all the lovely drainage.

Add all that to The Day and I was past whiny right into being certain I was going to die.

All day Tuesday whenever I spoke to Andy I told him I was dying.

Sometimes I even sent him random text messages that said things like: I'm dying. That is all.

At one point I told him he was going to come home and find me dead and I'd miss him when I was gone.

What? I'm allowed a little melodrama now and then.

Later in the day he called and said he and Roommate were going to town and wanted to know if I'd like to go or if I needed anything. Of course I didn't want to go. I wanted to lay on the sofa and wallow in self pity. I told him just that, but asked would he please pick up a few things for me. I needed some more sinus medication and some feminine products. Then I had to send him a text message with a detailed description of exactly what I wanted. I even went a step farther and took a picture of my empty package and sent him that too. I didn't do it to be nice, I did it because we both knew if he got the wrong thing he would be making a second trip to the store that night.

He came home a hero with all the right products. I asked him if Roommate made fun of him for buying me feminine products. He said no, but Roommate did share with Andy his theory that all women have a never ending back stock of feminine products and they just pretend like they run out to see if their husbands/boyfriends would go buy more.

To which I replied that that was the stupidest thing I had ever heard, and why on earth would I risk Andy getting the wrong thing if I could go myself or if I had some already? Men!

Anyway, my misery lasted a bit longer this time than usual so I've been kind of pitiful all week.

The point of all that was to tell you that today I was feeling better so I took a trip with Andy to get some things he needed for work so I could get out and about. While we were driving around he looked over at me and said, "Are you feeling less dead today?"

I just kind of looked at him for a second, but decided it wasn't worth it and said, "Yes honey. Thanks for asking."

But y'all...

This whole time, I don't think he's been taking me seriously.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wherein I complain about the heat

I like to rub it in that I live in a mild summer climate. It gives me great pleasure, most of the time, to call my friends and family in hotter places and tell them about our cool mountain breezes and warm (not hot) sunny days.

However, this is North Carolina and occasionally the heat does find it's way up the mountain and into our town.

Usually this doesn't happen until later in the summer, usually August.

But today is June 23, which is far from August.

And the temperature is currently 95.

I just heard a collective, "Boo-freakin-hoo" come from the eastern part of the state where people are experiencing temps in the hundreds.

To which I reply, "Suck it!"

Know why? Because I'm going to bet that all of you have air conditioning and if you don't you likely have a call in to your local air conditioning repair man and your cool air will be back up and running as soon as he makes his way to your home.

Guess what our air conditioning is? A box fan propped in our sliding glass door.


We can't even get a window unit because our apartment has vertical crank windows. They don't make air conditioners for vertical crank windows.

Let me repeat myself. All you people with air conditioning? Can SUCK IT!

It looks like the people who have predicted a sweltering summer in answer to this year's harsh winter are going to be right. I'd like to punch all of them in the face.

Also, it's really bad for bunnies to get over heated. I usually don't worry too much, because our sweltering days are few, but it looks like there are going to be a lot more of them this year. So I'm trying to talk Andy into helping me shave the bunnies. It won't be pretty, but they'll probably thank me for it later.

I'm done whining for now. All of you can go back to enjoying your air conditioning (suck it!) and I'm going to go buy some freeze pops.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Long overdue birthday post

So I talked a lot about my outfit for Andy's grandmother's birthday party and then I kind of left you hanging after the fact.

This post isn't about my outfit.

Well... not entirely.

The party was a success! I made two cakes, seen here:

Grandmama was pleased to have all her family in one place. I think it's been quite some time since that happened. Andy's sister wasn't able to make it and someone's spouse had a work commitment, but otherwise I think everyone was there.

As expected it was hot and muggy and Andy and I were whiny. Thankfully there was air conditioning, but when we got there Andy came around to help me get out of the truck and when he opened my door he said, "You're not going to want to get out of there. Let's just start the truck and drive back to the mountains." This was a comment on the humidity level and the imminent failure of his deodorant.

Once inside the building though everything was lovely. It was so nice to see all of Andy's family and he had a really nice time.

Of course we took some pictures:

With the birthday girl
Andy's immediate family (minus his sister of course)

All together

Ok, now, about my outfit.

No one pointed out to me that the stripes on my shirt made my boobs look gigantic. Seriously. My head looks out of proportion to the rest of my body in the picture with Grandmama.

Also, see my pants? My lovely, white, brand new 60% off pants?

Well. Andy over ate at the party and didn't have dessert. Along with the two cakes and cookies (provided by Andy's mom) there was a gigantic cherry pie/cobbler type thing made with cherries from Grandmama's tree. It was delicious and Andy wasn't leaving there without some. So he filled up a plate and then wrapped it up with tin foil.

We also had a plate of other leftovers and as I wasn't driving I was in charge of the food. Which meant it was sitting in my lap on the way  home.

About half way home I shifted the plates a little and felt something wet and sticky on my hand. Andy hadn't done such a great job of sealing up the cherry concoction.

Guess where most of it went?

Directly onto my new WHITE pants!

Immediately I placed a phone call to my grandmother and then to her sister (who should open up a "get stains out of clothing" business, they'd be millionaires) and I got instructions on how to treat the cherry stain.

Thankfully the pants were pretty and white again by bedtime that night.

Cherry juice on my pants was the only stain on an otherwise wonderful day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Project 365, week 24

Week in pictures June 12-18

Birthday cake(s)
Birthday party

Power outage

Thunderstorms day 2

Almost there!!

Biker bunnies

Beans! Beans! Good for your heart! The more you eat 'em, the more you...

Sty on my eye. This is after the swelling went down

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It'll be like we're married or something

The Roommate is going to the beach.

He's leaving either tonight or early tomorrow morning and he isn't coming back until sometime Saturday.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy about it.

I'm freakin' ecstatic.

Nearly three whole days. My apartment and my husband all to myself.

Like the good ole days.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Project 365, week 23

Week in pictures June 5-11

Suffering. Almost at the top

Five months ago this was covered in snow. And I hiked up it.

Double fisting

From a friend's garden


Sweet little cuddlers

Cake, cake, and more cake

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I did it!

Last month I wrote an update on my fitness and weigh loss. I set a goal at the end of that post to fit into a specific pair of pants for an upcoming family function. Lo, the party is upon us (Saturday) and I had to face the mirror, pants on.

The good news? I can wear them! Horrah! They are a touch snug, but not uncomfortable and I'm super proud of myself.

The bad news? I forgot that they are heavy and lined and HOT. When I tried them on today as soon as they were snapped I started sweating and the party isn't in the mountains. It's in the foothills. Read: A lot hotter than I'm used to.

Andy and I are both spoiled by the mild climate we live in. We openly and freely admit that we are complete wimps when it comes to hot weather. It's June 9th and we've only had a handful of 80 degree days so far this year. So, I'm not wearing the pants. I choose comfort over style. I'll have to celebrate my little weight loss victory another day. Oh well.

So what am I going to wear? Funny you should ask.

After I tried on my pants and decided not to wear them I looked into my closet and decided there wasn't anything else I wanted to wear except that one outfit. My heart was set on it. (I've been dying to wear the shoes for several months now.) So I high tailed it to the local outlet mall with a budget and a specific item in mind: a lighter weight pair of pants, in white.

You know how when you need something specific & you can never find it, no matter how many places you look? Like it doesn't seem to exist except in your head, or they don't have your size or it costs as much as your monthly grocery budget.

Somehow, the skies opened and the heavens smiled on me today. I found exactly what I wanted in the first store I looked, within thirty seconds of walking through the door. And! They were 60!!! percent off. I came in $3 under my budget!

I'd consider that two victories in one post, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dear God, I get the point

Ever since I was little I have been good with kids and spent a lot of time babysitting. Most of my younger cousins didn't come along until I was six and for many years I was the designated baby wrangler in the family. Then in eight grade I graduated to watching children that weren't related to me and kept on doing that as a source of income all the way through college and a little bit afterward.

Along the way there were some really great kids, and also some real tyrants of both genders. But I developed a soft spot for boys. Have you ever spent a lot of time around little boys? They are so stinkin' sweet. Girls are cute and all with their frilly bows and twirly dresses, but they start to exert their sassy independence as soon as they can talk. Boys, while rambunctious, can steal your heart in five seconds flat.

Also, girls kind of terrify me. Not little girls. They are fun when they're little, but then they turn twelve and all hell breaks lose.

My own mother will tell you that I was relatively easy as a teen. I've wracked my brain to figure out what my parents did to make me that way so that in the event I have a girl someday I can repeat the process. I asked my mom recently and she said that I just came out that way.

Crap. What if I have a girl and she doesn't come out that way? What if she is a holy hellian? Not to mention that adolescence is hell on girls. I have yet to meet a grown woman who says she would relive her teen years. Men? I've met several.

So for many years now I've always said that when I have children, I want boys. I mean, I'll take what I can get, but if God wants to give me a choice, I choose boys.

And then we got a roommate. A single man who has never been married.

It was good for a while. Everyone was super conscious of the other people living here. The apartment was tidy. I did all my regular cleaning, but I didn't feel any extra strain. Then he had been here a while and he and Andy started to get a little more comfortable. Things started to slip. And then one morning I woke up and it appeared I was living in the middle of a bachelor pad.

I reached the limit this weekend when we had another male under our roof. Andy was in a bike race with a friend who lives out of town and he came to stay with us.

After we got home from the race and he left I looked around my home and said, "I changed my mind. I want girls."


The dishes.

The inexplicable piles of dirt. Everywhere.

The wet towel hung on my grandmothers bed every morning. (I asked him to stop and he did. Thankfully)

The random personal items on my table, counter, sofa, LAUNDRY PILE.

The unidentifiable "man dust" all over my lovely, leather sofa. What the heck is it?

And the shoes! Oh my God the shoes! Work boots, sneakers, flip flops. They're everywhere.

Add to that two MALE! bunnies and you have a very desperate housekeeper. (And if you think the bunnies being male doesn't make a difference then you come clean up after them for a week and then we'll talk.)

Now, don't get me wrong. I could have it much worse. I've been living with Andy for almost four years now, so I'm used to all of his stuff lying around. And as far as the roommate is concerned? He tries. He really does. But there are just some things, I've come to learn, that men can't help. It's part of the Y chromosome.

For instance, the toilet seat. He always leaves it up. I know he isn't doing it as a personal slight against me and I haven't fallen in yet, but when it happens and I get toilet water on my bottom, watch out...

I said something to Andy about it. I told him you could tell roommate had never been married because he always leaves up the toilet seat. Then Andy confessed to me that he doesn't leave the toilet seat up because he never actually raises the toilet seat so he won't forget to put it down and I won't bitch at him about it. And if he sprinkles when he tinkles he's always neat and wipes the seat.

And I don't know if that revelation should make me look a little harder at how much I nag him because he actually does that to avoid a fight, but all I can really think about is how grateful I am that he even thought that far ahead. AND he wipes the freakin' seat! Add that to the "list of reasons why I love my husband."

So I've come to the conclusion that God or the universe is trying to teach me a lesson about my disdain for girls and show me that there are merits to having children of each gender. Because while little boys are sweet they grow up and become men and do gross man things. (They also emit an unpleasant odor. I have some special candles and cleaning products for when we get our guest room back.)

I've learned my lesson, and when the time comes for Andy and I to have children I'll be pleased with whatever we get.

I'll be happy to have a boy and I'll do my best to raise him not to be dirty and messy, all the while knowing I'm losing the battle. And on his wedding day I'll look my daughter-in-law in the eye and say, "I'm sorry. I did my best."

A daughter will also be welcome and I'll do what I can to keep her in frilly bows and twirly dresses until she's thirty and when she hits her teens I'll suffer right along with her. And on her wedding day I'll look her in the eye and say, "Don't blame his mother."

Monday, June 7, 2010

At least we know our limitations

Yesterday the National Geographic channel launched a new series called Expedition Great White. I have an unhealthy obsession with shark shows, so I was planning on watching it. Sharks freak Andy out and he spent all day in dread of the 9 o'clock hour.

Despite my shark obsession I don't like the ocean. I love the beach and the sand and even wading in the water, but getting in past my ankles is something I don't do. Andy doesn't either. Because he's afraid of something eating him. He's also afraid of jelly fish.

Pretty much, the ocean creeps us both out.

Last night, while we were cleaning up from dinner and I was counting down the minutes until Expedition Great White, Andy and I had a little conversation about our fear of the ocean and what it meant for our future children. Because for reasons unknown to either of us, children (or the children we know) have no fear of the ocean and just plunge right in.

Andy: When we have kids and take them to the beach we're going to have to hire someone to go into the ocean with them because neither of us like the ocean.

Me: What? No. In my family the dads go into the ocean with the kids while the moms watch from a safe distance on the sand. So you're going to have to suck it up.

Andy: But what if something eats me?

Me: Maybe our fear of the ocean is genetic and we'll pass it on to our kids, otherwise you have to go in with them. But you are NOT allowed to scare them away from the ocean by telling them that something is going to eat them.

Andy: Why not? Then we won't have to worry about it. I'll only go in with them as long as we go somewhere that I can see through the water to the bottom.

Me: ::rolling my eyes:: You don't have to go in very deep. Just wade in up to your knees and you'll be fine.

Andy: Something could still eat me in the shallow water.

Me: Not if you're just in up to your ankles. You can at least do that with our kids.

Andy: Jellyfish could still sting me and our kid. And you know what happens then don't you?

Me: You have to pee on it.

Andy Yes! And you know what I hate more than sharks and jellyfish and the ocean?

Me: Feces? Human waste?

Andy: POOP and PEE!!!!

Now on our list of "must haves" when kids come: Ocean Swimmer and Diaper Changer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Project 365, week 22

Week in pictures May 29-June 4



An iris grows in the weeds

This makes me want to go camping. I don't like camping

Gone to the grocery

Crank it

Handy Andy

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

To be free

Hello Interwebs. I haven't fallen off a cliff. I've just been neglecting you. Because the sun is shining and the temperatures are delightful and I'd rather be outside. The truth hurts.

On Sunday Andy and I went to a picnic with my family. We ate too much and got sunburned and I narrowly escaped being attacked by a tick. Ok, not really. I saw the tick on my blanket long before it was any threat to me. But I'm telling the truth about eating too much and getting sunburned.

It was a beautiful day and though the clouds looked threatening a few times they always blew in another direction so we didn't get rained out, and we all enjoyed our picnic and time spent together.

Of course I subjected everyone to a group photo. They always complain and you'd think they were used to it by now, but apparently not. They do get into formation more quickly these days, so that lets me know they have resigned themselves to the fact that they can't talk me out of it so they might as well get it over with.

So here it is:

Ha! Just kidding. That's the picture we took after I made sure we got this one:

We're missing a few people. One day I'll get one with everyone together. But it turned out well just the same.

See the man in the back? With the white hat that has the flag sticking out of it? That's my uncle Todd. He's married to my mom's sister, Pam. I was in their wedding.

He's a veteran of the first gulf war/conflict. Call it what you like, it was a scary time for my family.

I was thinking about it on Sunday at the picnic. He had on a patriotic t shirt and stuck that little flag in a tree so passersby could see. And I started to reminisce about that time so many years ago when he was gone.

I was just a little girl, but I remember everyone being very tense and worried. Most nights my grandfather slept on the sofa with the tv on, programed to the local news channel. Pam lived out of town with Ashley, my little cousin, but she spent a lot of time with us. Either we were there or she was with us. There were always so many unanswered questions. We spent a lot of time trying to make Ashley feel like everything was normal when it was obviously not. Her daddy, the center of her world, was gone.

I don't remember exactly how long Todd was gone, but I know it was at least a year.

Blessedly, they day finally came for him to return to his family. I remember that we all went down to welcome him. There were a LOT of people too. Our family plus Todd's family makes for a very big group.

It was a very long day of hoping and praying for a safe journey. I was eight or nine and I remember being very impatient. I had expected that we'd get out of the car and there he'd be and we'd all hug and kiss and celebrate. In reality we spent a lot more time waiting for the plane to appear in the sky. If I remember correctly it was delayed a couple of times until finally the announcement came that the soldiers' arrival would be soon.

There was a VIP section for the wives (and I'm sure husbands & parents). Most of our group stayed back in the bleachers that had been set up, but Pam took Ashley and me up to sit and wait with her. As soon as we settled in our seats I could feel the difference in the atmosphere there. I didn't realize what it was at the time, but I was surrounded by people that had spent innumerable days hoping for their loved one to return and now it was so close. The joy and relief in that group was palpable.

We spent some more time waiting. They played "God Bless the USA" over the loud speaker and we all stood up and sang with our hands over our hearts.

And then the plane landed. Pam had Ashely in her arms and me by the hand. She was squeezing so hard.

The soldiers all got off and lined up.

I didn't know what was going to happen next, but I guess someone gave a signal that the soldiers were free to find their families.

Suddenly Pam ran forward and was dragging me toward all the soldiers. I was so confused and she was running so fast I couldn't keep up. I thought she'd lost her mind.

But then she found him and they all hugged so tight. Pam still had my hand and at some point they pulled me into the hug. Everyone was crying and eventually we found the rest of our group. Todd was home!

I'll never forget that day and what it was like to be with my aunt as she welcomed her husband home.

Like I said, I was confused. There was so much that I didn't understand about love and war and families.

But now I have a husband of my own. And while I haven't had to send him away to war I understand better how she felt that day. Andy was gone to California back in October and I ran and jumped into his arms the night he came home. That was just two weeks.

Now I can appreciate why she squeezed my hand and drug me into the crowd to find her husband.

That knowledge allows me to empathize with what so many families are dealing with now. And it makes me appreciate so much more what it means to live in this country. And to be free.