Showing posts from May, 2015


We FINALLY had our sink drain fixed - you know, the one that Larry was trying to fix himself right before we had to go to a cocktail party, oh, 5 months ago?  That one.  We also had the tub drain in the main bathroom unclogged.

Picture it - for the last few months, we have all been showering in the master bathroom and then going into the main bathroom to do things like shave or brush our teeth. Why? Because I refused to call the plumber until I could make the master bedroom look presentable.  And that never happened because Larry insists on tearing apart different sections of our home, an activity that results in tons of misplaced items that all seem to wind up in my bedroom.

Case in point: I just pulled several pieces of 6-foot-long quarter-round out from behind my bed. If you don't know what quarter-round is, consider yourself blessed.  I didn't know either, until I had the misfortune to set up housekeeping with a DIY-er.

What finally broke our plumbing impasse was my reali…

Silver Lining

Remember this? I wrote it over 7 years ago, when Larry had to clean out our laundry room in order for some plumbing work to be done. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you can probably guess that the laundry room didn't stay cleaned out.  Au contraire, I had resigned myself over the intervening years to treading an ever narrower path to the washer and dryer, while most of the room was taken over by what both Larry and I euphemistically called "The Pile" - literally, a pile of stuff that found its home in the middle of the laundry room floor and kept growing.

Sure, we should have done something about it; but what with Larry being a natural pack rat and my being busy with raising kids, keeping house, homeschooling, and becoming addicted to Words With Friends, I just couldn't keep up with all the junk that ended up down there.  Occasionally I would challenge myself to remove 3 items a day, but I could never keep up with it.  And there was the time a few …

There Had Better Be S'Mores

Rachel and Susie are heading out on a one-night Girl Scout camping trip today.  I handed them their packing lists last night before heading off to Knit Night. I spent the rest of the evening blissfully serene in the knowledge that, upon my return, I would see their neatly packed pink duffle bags sitting in the front hall.

Oh, sometimes I just slay me.

So here we are this morning, packing.  I found the difficult stuff: the bug spray (go, me!), the sleeping bags, the mess kits; so I have no idea what the girls are doing up there.  I mean, how hard is it to locate a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a shirt, some pajama pants, and socks?

Rachel claims she has no socks.  Seriously.  They all just "disappeared."  I suppose she thinks that there is a natural attrition rate for these things.

Actually, in our house? She's probably right.

Living Underwater, Sort Of

Look, I don't even know what happened to Monday.  There was a good nap in there, though.  And a bunch of driving.  And now? Now we brace ourselves for 90 degrees, a bucketload of humidity, and STILL NO AIR CONDITIONING. We've been lucky in that the temps and humidity have been dropping each night, so we start out in the morning at, oh, 76 degrees in the house, with breathable air.  But it goes downhill from there, as the humidity rises and it becomes ever harder to move or think at a reasonable pace

You know, there is a reason Southerners speak more slowly than people in the northern half of the US.  They just can't make the words travel any more quickly through that moisture-laden Southern air. In fact, there is no real Southern accent - it's just sound distortion due to atmospheric interference.

And...that's our science lesson for today.  I'm sure y'all are feeling vastly reassured about my teaching abilities, vis-a-vis my 6 homeschooled children.

Let us …


A little poem/treat for Mother's Day, from the inimitable Billy Collins:

And Larry did give me chocolates and flowers today, despite the deal I struck with him yesterday. He explained, "Of course I was going to take those things back to IKEA for you. I didn't want you to go - who knows what else you would have come home with!"  So there you have it, folks - he was acting out of self-interest, or so he claims.

I hope you all had a pleasant day, and do listen to that poem - you'll never be able to look at a child-crafted lanyard again without smiling.

A Mess Of Pottage

A month ago I went to IKEA with 2 friends and bought new red slipcovers for our Ektorp couch and armchairs, because Larry and I are never, ever going to be able to agree on a new couch.  Desperate to replace our 7-year-old faded orange-red corduroy slipcovers, I got some red twill ones that promised not to embarrass me when I had the neighborhood ladies over for Bunko.

But, once I came home and put them on the furniture, they didn't look right. I'm justbeing picky, I thought. It's fine. And then Brian walked into the room and said, "Those are too red." Later, a friend popped in and, upon being asked for her honest opinion, said, "Too red.  Cherry red. Doesn't look right with the Lenox Tan walls."

I waited for Larry, hoping he would deem them passable.  But no, he agreed with everyone else, so I took off the new slipcovers, crammed them (badly) back into their flat-pack boxes, and sadly put the bedraggled but properly hued ones back on.  …


We interrupt the whining about the heat and the broken AC to bring you this late-breaking news: The New York Times, that former bastion of intelligent journalism, is apparently not quite clear on the concept of the holiday we all will be celebrating, in one form or another, this coming Sunday. I know this to be true because they just tweeted this: Cook With the Kids This Mother's Day.

Yeah, all you moms out there, read it twice. Because I did.  And, in case you still don't understand what they are saying, it links to some fun recipes that you can have your children "help" you with, on your day off.

Let's see, I wonder what else the Gray Lady is planning to tweet today.  How about Clean All Your Bathrooms on Mother's Day? Or maybe, Go to Target With a Nap-Deprived Toddler and a Fussy Baby on Mother's Day?

Gosh, this game is fun.  Go ahead, give it a try in the comments.  What do YOU think The New York Times wants us moms to do on our special day?

Strength Through Suffering

You know what I would like?  I would like it if I could just get a break from doing grown-up stuff.  Oh, I don't mind the bathroom cleaning or the bed-making or doing the laundry - I mean, even my kids do that (after a lot of nagging, but still...). No, I mean the real grown-up stuff, like signing contracts that involve spending lots of other people's money or spending a lot of my own money on boring things like HVAC systems instead of trips to Hawaii or even that thing where I have to make myself go to the dentist, because there is no one around to tell me to do it.

I hate all that.

Oh, and if y'all need a good way to get in shape, just get your pre-teen daughter a decent bicycle and then try to keep up with her on a bike ride.  I've done it twice in the past two days, and both times I came home and passed out on the couch.  I'm telling you, it's not pretty being over 50.

And that's all I've got, folks.  Bedtime's a'calling, because apparently…

Loud Lady On A Train, Plus Other Stories

Yesterday? Was busy.  BUSY. First, in the morning, there was my fit friend, who is still trying to kill me by dragging me on long bike rides.  We biked 12 miles (well, that's long to me, darn it); and she insisted on talking about signing up for a century this year.  A century - 100 miles - which, last time I checked, is WAY longer than 12.

Then, it was time to hop a train into the city for Listen To Your Mother DC.  Normally, I enjoy long train rides.  They give me time to knit and people-watch, 2 of my favorite activities.  Unfortunately, during this particular ride, I was sharing a car with The LOUD Family.  Everything the mom said seemed to be uttered for the benefit of not only her children but also everyone else seated in the car. We all had to listen to her take a vote from the kids on which museum to see.  Then we were all privy to an extended discussion concerning what was in each museum, a discussion conducted in those irritatingly didactic tones used by adults when they…

Pay Dirt

Our local farmers' market has a new feature this year - it's collecting any compost-worthy items (fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, etc) to keep them from ending up in the landfill.  Happy to do our part, the girls and I purchased a little compost bin for the kitchen, the better to store our eggshells in.  Now, this particular bin is simply ADORABLE - seriously, it puts the cute into composting.  I told the saleswoman at The Container Store as much and she said, "Can I use that? I like it - the 'puts the cute into composting' thing."

I'm thinking I need an agent.

Anyhow, we also bought biodegradable little not-plastic bags (made out of potato starch, like latkes, I guess) to use in the bin, so we can take the compost out of the bin each day and store it in the freezer (just like the pioneers!) - that way the kitchen won't stink to high heaven by Friday.  Also, it won't attract bugs that way.

What did the pioneers do about the bugs, anyway?  Y…


Today the AC guy arrived for our annual check and maintenance thing (there is a slow freon leak, so he usually has to add some), but he ended up informing me that our unit is kaput and we need a new one.

So, yeah, Happy Spring!  Have I mentioned it will be in the 80's next week?

Anywhoo, the sales guy came by and quoted me about $6200 dollars for a new central AC unit (includes outside compressor and inside coil).  I'm used to being ripped off, but - even by my sucker standards - that sounds a tad high, doesn't it?  Add in the fact that our furnace is truly on its last legs, so we should replace both at once, and we are looking at, oh, $11,400 for climate control around here.  That's WITH the discount for having the work done all at one time.

So! Please tell me how much you've paid to replace AC and furnace units for your house and how long ago it was.  Granted, I live in an expensive area of the country, but your numbers still might give me an idea of just how fa…