Golden Fingers

October 23, 2009

When we were little, my grandmother made us beautiful smocked dresses.  Without a pattern.  And they always fit.  Granted the hems were waaaaaay too long, but she came from the “old country” and clothes were meant to last and last and last.  My poor sister often wore the same style dress for years as she got mine and my cousin’s hand-me-downs.

My grandmother could also knit and crochet.  We all have several “wave” afgans in various colours kicking around our respective houses and while they aren’t always pretty, they are always warm.  If the DH and I go through on our cottage purchase, you can bet a few of those afgans will be making the trip up there to keep us toasty during the winter months.

My aunt is a trained seamstress and also makes beautiful clothes.  She knits, crochets and quilts.  I have been the lucky recipient of a black cat lap quilt for a milestone birthday and a Steps to the Altar quilt as a wedding shower gift.  (Note: this isn’t my quilt which is blue, but another beautiful example of someone else’s talent.)

My mom also sews.  She made me and my sister countless outfits while we were growing up and even after we were grown up.  She’s made  toys, doll clothes, curtains and all manner of Hallowe’en costumes and formal dresses too.   I taught her to knit a few years back, but I don’t think it really “stuck” with her. 

I sew and knit too amongst other “crafty” hobbies like needlepoint, cross stitch and scrapbooking.  Knitting is my passion though and it takes up most of my free time and my stash takes up most of my available square footage in the Money Pit.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert knitter (or seamstress) but I get by.  My output isn’t all that great either and would probably increase considerably if I stuck with one project until it was done, but I suffer greatly from start-itis and have several knitting, sewing and other crafty projects of varying degrees of difficulty and in varying degrees of completion scattered around my house.

My aunt (the seamstress) says we have “golden fingers” but my grandmother says we can’t sit still.  I’m inclined to believe it’s a little of both.  I certainly can sit and do nothing while I watch tv or a movie, but I feel I’ve been more productive if I’ve worked on a blanket or a sweater or something while I’ve watched that trashy tv show or [not-so-great] movie.  I knit in movie theatres and while knitting has certainly increased it’s profile over the last few years, I still get a lot of odd looks and stage whisper comments that yes, I am knitting in public.

This morning I came across this article in the Globe and Mail and it really hit home, especially the last few paragraphs.  I don’t recall hiding my homemade clothes from my friends (I never really fit in at my swish private school anyway and it’s doubtful the right clothes would have helped).  But I do remember being very proud of wearing things my mom made.  Especially formal dresses.  I never had to worry about anyone else wearing the same outfit as me since mine were all custom.

I don’t sew that much anymore but a trip on Saturday to the Greenwood Quiltery  in Guelph led me to rethink that.  I bought a few metres of fabric that caught my eye and am now thinking maybe I would like to learn how to quilt.  There is also a room at the back of the store that is stocked with some delicious yarn and I managed to score a sale price ball of Kidsilk Haze in colour 642 Ghost (very appropriate for the season!) and a few other things that I didn’t really need but really wanted.

I don’t ever forsee knitting taking a backseat to the other crafts that I do but maybe, just maybe it will be moving into the passenger seat for the next while so I can give my golden fingers a break and use up some of that fabric stash I have accumulated.  While DH isn’t super-thrilled at the thought of another “crack” hobby I will take up, he can’t help but be pleased with that news that the piles of fabric in my “office” will get smaller, one quilt at a time.


Being good

October 23, 2009

Ok, first, I am not a little woman.  Second, I like to eat.  A lot.  Which not co-incidentally has led me to become less little than I used to be.  Third, I don’t get the whole “I’m being good” comment when women are confronted with food that is less than healthy for them.

I like to bake and find it relaxing.  DH isn’t much of a dessert eater and is away much of the week now so anything I bake usually makes its way to my office.  I’ve even been known to bring in a chocolate bar or 10.  Other pod dwellers bring in candy and fruit and vegetable platters.  It’s been remarked that it’s always good eating in my part of the office.  Things are left there because where I sit is a fairly heavily trafficked area.  And we have a big table.  Which is useful for setting out cake. 

We also don’t (often) advertise that there is food in our pod, it’s just there and people are welcome to eat it or not.  Unlike my MIL, I don’t force pe0ple to eat what I bring nor do I guilt them into eating it.  It’s there, eat it, don’t eat it.  I really don’t care.

And while I don’t mind answering questions about what the food is or who brought it or made it, what really burns my ass is are the ladies who look longingly at the pie/cookies/cake/candy EVERY FREAKING TIME THEY WALK PAST ALL DAY LONG and make  a point of saying “oh, I can’t, I’m being good”.  Or, when their willpower finally gives way, they take a tiny sliver or half of a half of a piece and say the same thing….”oh, I’m being good”. 

Well, yes, yes you are being good.  Good at annoying the crap out of me.  Please.  Either eat the food or don’t.  I personally have no willpower so I know all about the siren call of open potato chip bags, containers of whip cream and cakes and cookies of all sorts.  There’s a reason my Christmas swap cookies go immediately into the freezer upon entering into my house. 

But like I said, I don’t force people to eat.  I also don’t precut the food into giant pieces either.  You can take as much, or as little as you want.  And as far as I know none of my podmates have health problems (ie diabetes)  that would inhibit them eating treates.  If they did I’d be much more sensitive and either stop bringing food in or make it diabetic friendly.  Besides, if you don’t like chocolate cake or almond cookies or Christmas cake or whatever I have made I don’t expect you to eat it.  Really.  I get enough of that business at the MIL’s and don’t feel the need to pass on that kind behaviour.  I bake, because as I said earlier, I find it relaxing.  It’s not about ego, I just like to give things to others and make people happy.  Sometimes a piece of cake really does have the ability to make a bad day better.

So please ladies in my office.  Eat the food with gusto or pass it up entirely.  Stop taking tiny portions and please stop justifying it to everyone within earshot that you’re  ”being good” by only eating a teeny tiny piece.  All you’re being is annoying and if you keep it up I will cut you off  and there’ll be no more cake for you.  Ever.  Which will suck because I just bought several new cookbooks and I’m dying to try them all out.

It’s always something

October 23, 2009

So last weekend was DH and my anniversary.  Three years and we’re both still alive.  Some days that’s nothing short of a miracle.

Anyway, three years and one week ago we got married on what happened to be Thanksgiving weekend.  We chose it for several reasons….we had to have a long weekend as we were inviting pretty much everyone his mother had ever spoken to in her whole life.  No really.  We sent out over 600 invitations.  Honestly I think his mom invited the people who bag her groceries.

But I digress.

Another reason we had to get married on Thanksgiving was because the Orthodox Church “blacks out” days.  I don’t know the reason why (and to be honest I don’t much care) but think of it kind of like trying to fly on points and a lot of the good dates are no-fly times.  The one summer weekend that was left unbooked was during my parents’ European cruise.  They offered to cancel their trip but we said no (good thing since the weather that weekend was horrific…cold and torrential rains), Thanksgiving was fine.  And fine it was.  We had a lovely, warm, sunny day.  In my opinion, it was the best day of the whole year to wear a big puffy white dress with two crinolines.

A side benefit of getting married on a holiday (that I’m pretty sure the DH never thought of) is that that holiday is forever “yours” and if you choose to go away for your anniversary during that time, no one can ever complain.  I mean really, how can you bitch out your kid for wanting to spend time with his wife on the anniversary of the best day of your life so far MIL instead of coming to your house and eating turkey.  Win-win indeed.

And so we spent the next two Thanksgiving weekends away.  On our first anniversary we decided to take in some local theatre and went to Drayton and saw The Man of La Mancha.  Which was really, really good.  What was not really, really good was the weather.  It was hot, humid and sticky beyond belief.  And given that it was October the B&B where we were staying had taken out their window AC units and sleep (and all other indoor sports) were uncomfortable in the extreme.  It’s hard to be all romantic when you’re dripping with sweat and sticking to the sheets.  Not the B&B host’s fault for sure and she was thoughtful enough to leave a bottle of champagne in our room for when we got back.  Good play, nice B&B, bad weather.

The next year we took an extra long weekend and went to New York City.  I had been only briefly prior to that trip but DH went all the time as the SIL used to live there.  We weighed the options…drive or fly and knowing my penchant for buying yarn and, well, pretty much everything else, we elected to drive.  Good call.

The hotel was ok (cheap and cheerful but an awesome location in the Upper West Side super close to Central Park) but DH just about killed me with his “death marches”.  By now I should be used to the fact that he goes from walking 0 kms in everyday life to 10+ a day on vacation.  My feet had swollen so badly  I could wear only one of the four pairs of the shoes I brought and forget about even trying on new ones.  The yarn shopping eased the pain though.  We continued on with the anniversary tradition of seeing a musical, this time Hairspray.  Which was also surprisingly good.

And we also continued the tradition of avoiding a big turkey dinner at the outlaws house.  My family rarely cooks turkey, instead preferring to eat the lesser known homemade Thanksgiving pizza or Thanksgiving BBQ’d steak.

This year however, our luck ran out.  We had planned to spend the weekend at Stratford Festival enjoying yet another anniversary musical, this time A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  The MIL blindsided us by telling us we’d be coming over to her house that weekend for dinner.  DH didn’t exactly say no, buuuuut he didn’t exactly say yes either.  We told her we’d be away that weekend and we’d try to make it to her house the next day by 4pm.  She was less than impressed and I’m sure you’ll not be at all surprised when I tell you I didn’t care.

But the play was sold out.  And DH spends much of the week on-site and wasn’t interested in sleeping anywhere but his own bed.  So we decided to go to The Shaw Festival as I’d heard good things about Born Yesterday.   Since we weren’t staying overnight we could splurge on a nice dinner at Strewn (which came highly recommended) and be home by midnight.  Or earlier.  We’re an old married couple now you know.

And so began the comedy of errors.  I always buy tickets on the internet and select the option of picking them up  at the box office.  I have never had issues.  Ever.  Except last Saturday.  We got up later than we wanted to, left much later than we thought we would, didn’t stop at any wineries on the way, drove around Niagara-on-the-Lake aimlessly looking for free parking (DH is cheap that way) and, when it came time to pick up the tickets, the lady at the box office  couldn’t find them.  Because I had mistakenly bought them for the show THE WEEK EARLIER.  Yep.  $220 worth of tickets for the previous Saturday.  Which we had spent lying around the house all day.

To my credit there was no swearing, no yelling and no tears.  I calmly purchased two more tickets, albeit at a lesser price despite the fact that they were better seats, and the very nice ticket lady who felt really badly for me after I told her it was our anniversary, released my tickets and converted that $220 into a donation which I suspect is borderline illegal and definitely unethical but really nice.  Especially as I get a tax break.

The show, which I spent $360 on was sadly not that great.  It was amusing but not nearly as funny as I was lead to believe and even now the lead actress’ grating voice still echos in my ears.  It’s my own fault but I totally overpaid for that show.

We made our way to Strewn, which came highly recommended and left much to be desired.  The service was very slow, the food was meh and the actual restaurant itself was nothing to write home about.  DH paid for dinner and it cost nearly as much as the second set of tickets.  And took longer to get through than the play!

But best of all we had to go to dinner at the outlaws the next day.  DH wanted to see his relatives, which was fine with me, but I held firm to leaving our house late.  And we agreed to continue to let his mother believe we had spent the night away.  I was fully expecting dinner to be well underway by 2:30 when we got there but sadly, they had yet to start.

I was feverish and coughing up a lung and had very little sense of taste so the food was actually reasonably pleasant.  What little I ate of it that is.  And to give her her due, the MIL nearly always does a good job with the turkey.  The gravy not so much but her turkey is decent.  The FIL and I, by unspoken agreement, ignored each other, and I spent much of the dinner coughing in the MIL’s direction and talking to DH’s cousins.  I’ve spent worse afternoons at the outlaw’s that’s for sure.

Next year, I told DH on the way home, will be different, no Thanksgiving dinner anywhere but our house and no guests but him and I.  Unless we once again go away for the weekend, in which case this will all be moot and I can start figuring out what musical we’ll see next October and get on that work up training for the inevitable death marches we’ll go on.

All by myself

October 23, 2009

Cue the cheesy music.

So it’s official, DH is now on-site at his project three hours away.  He’s been holed up at a not-as-bad-as-the-name implied hotel and comes home tomorrow.  He’ll have been gone three nights and four days. Thus far, he’s been reading binders of procedures.  Woooo those engineers sure know how to have fun!  But really, binders of procedures?  Couldn’t he do that at home and spare the company several hundreds of dollars instead of staying in hotel, eating out and charging for mileage?  Apparently not.

I have two  more years of this to look forward to.  Being a work week widow that is.  The plan is that he’ll leave early Monday morning to be on-site at 8am.  He’ll work four 10 hour days and then drive home Thursday night, spend some (or all…this is the DH who am I kidding) of Friday in the local office and spend the weekend trying to fit seven days of stuff into two days.  At some point during the week we’ll meet up at a half-way point for dinner so that the both of us are beat for work the next day.  Good times.

Aside from the obvious cons, that I miss him , that nothing gets done around here and I am so very, very tempted to eat potato chips for dinner (so far I’ve resisted) there are several pros to this situation.  It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I’ll be a lot happier to see him on Friday than I normally am.  Also, the regular every-other-Monday-night dinners at the outlaws have been put on hiatus.  I am hoping they never return but I know the MIL’s power of “the guilt”.  They’ll be back in some shape or form but for now I’m just going to enjoy NOT EATING  CRAPTASTIC FOOD EVERY OTHER MONDAY.  Ahem.  I’m a little excited about that prospect.

Also, and I never would have expected this given the rotten time I had of it last time DH was away , I am loving sleeping by myself.  And the cat loves that she gets her side of the bed back.  I don’t think I’ve slept this well since I got married.

I also love not having to wrestle with the shower head every morning so that the spray doesn’t blind me as soon as I step into the shower.  I love leaving the dishes in the sink.  I love that the fridge is always full.  I especially love that I don’t need to cook fancy dinner unless I want to.  And I am TOTALLY loving all the knitting time.

But will I love all of this in a few weeks?  Probably some of it…the no outlaw dinners for sure.  But I know I’ll still miss the DH. It’s awfully quiet in the house without him.  It’s no fun talking to myself and the cat won’t answer back.  I don’t like having to kill the icky creepy crawly bugs that seem to come up the drain every year at this time.  Nor do I like emptying the stinky green bin.  I do not look forward to shoveling the driveway when it snows either.  And despite getting a great sleep it really is nice to have him next to me at night.  Thus far the monsters-under-the-stairs have remained firmly under the stairs but you never know…under-the-stair-monsters are unpredictable that way.  They never come out when he’s home.

Anyway, he comes home tomorrow and after that there are only 103 weeks of this left.  I can handle anything for 1o3 weeks.  I hope.

Change is good. Maybe.

October 23, 2009

The blog has been very quiet of late as I’ve spent a lot of time thinking.  I know, you can probably smell the smoke.  Anyway, some big changes are going to be coming to Cleverly Disguised land soon and  I’m trying to figure out how to deal with them.

For starters, it looks like DH will be posted to a site location that is a three hour drive from The Money Pit.  Each way.  This is bad.  As a result he will be living onsite for four days and three nights.  He has promised to leave very early on Monday mornings despite having to work much longer days and do the three hour commute a day earlier because he knows how scared I am of the monsters under the stairs.  He also has not mocked me for this.  Big props to DH.

He will however be making significantly more money while he is onsite.  This is good.  Obviously more money is nice.  We can pay off the Money Pit faster and do more fun things with more money.  When DH isn’t sleeping off his long days and ridiculous commute that is.

However, because this is a two year commitment, some of that “more money” will be going to buy a cottage since it’s pointless to spend half his per diem on rent when we can have a cottage for not a heck of a lot more per month.  And, once DH is done onsite we can either use it, rent it or sell it.  I suspect DH will remain on this project (but back at the home office) for several years.  We have often talked about buying a cottage but never put our money where our mouth was.  Life has a funny way of changing your plans when you’re not looking though.

Obviously there are some really awesome perks to DH being away.  What first springs to mind is way, way, WAY less contact with the outlaws beginning with the complete cessation of our twice a month dinners.  Oh, I know I’ll still have to see them but now it will be mostly at family functions and the occasional weekend dinner/lunch/drop in.  The MIL has no clue about the imminent move and while I feel a bit sorry for her, I feel not-at-all sorry for me for having to give up those craptastic dinners.  I have told DH I will call her on a weekly basis.  I’m giving like that.  Actually, she’s not so bad to talk to on the phone.  Mostly she just complains about the family and I make the occasional “uh huh”, “you don’t say” and “I know” at the appropriate time.

Another awesome perk is that my food bills will decrease significantly.  Of course I will have to have a lot of willpower to not eat potato chips for dinner four nights a week but I’m pretty sure that would get old quickly.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

And think about all my knitting/reading/baking/cooking/yoga time.  I am hoping to get a lot of that stuff done while DH is onsite too.  Afterall, since I don’t like to come home to a dark house when I’m alone and we’re heading into the shorter, darker days of fall, I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be staying away from the malls during the week.  I will have the computer all to myself too.  No more nagging to “stop messing around on the internet!”.  Any mess will be my mess.  Which should make life easier as I (usually) contain my mess to small areas of the house instead of leaving a trail of “stuff” behind me like DH does.  Also, I am thinking this will be an ideal time to purge all that crappy furniture he brought with him and frame and hang the pictures and masks (I collect them) where I think they’ll look best.

Of course I will be home alone for three nights.  They say that often the best way to overcome what you are scared of is to do it and I really have no choice in this instance, but I’m going to try very hard to disregard the zombies in the basement and the monsters under the stairs.  If it comes down to it, I’ll get a dog.  The cat will be less than amused and that will no doubt jack up my food bill again (I prefer big dogs) but it’d be a pretty effective monster/zombie buster.

And yes, I’ll miss DH.  But he’ll be home every weekend.  While we were dating we used to talk for hours on the phone.  I suspect that will resume and while it won’t be the same as seeing him every day, absence does make the hear grow fonder.  I’ll get back to you on that.

What’s been running through my mind this week

October 23, 2009

Vacation posts to come later.  For now, here, in no particular order, is what I’ve been thinking about this week.

  • Why is it that when I’m at work I’m exhausted but then at home, around 10pm, I suddenly have more energy than the Energizer Bunny?
  • How on earth am I going to function in any capacity once the DH starts spending four days a week on-site where the site is three hours away?  The Monsters-under-the-stairs will keep me up all night.
  • Two week vacation weight loss completely annihilated in three days.  One word….Doritos.
  • Looks like DH and I are going to have to go the medically assisted route for children.  I am so not happy about this.
  • Is it at all possible to only have Thanksgiving Dinner at my parents’ house and not the outlaws this year?
  • It really was pretty cool to be taken for a local in Iceland.
  • RIP Wray.
  • It’s not good when my fat pants are getting tight.  F’ing hormonal water retention.  And speaking of water retention why start now at the advanced age of 37?
  • Please, please, please, PLEASE co-worker’s wife get a full time job ASAP.  Your five+ calls a day to work are very annoying.
  • DH hasn’t even left for the on-site and I am already stressed out about it and miss him.
  • Are we really thinking about buying a cottage?  Really?
  • I hate all my summer clothes and shoes but it’s too early to take out my winter stuff.
  • Doritos for dinner is not a good thing.  Well, it is, but not from an optimal health perspective.
  • I really have to get my fat ass down to the pool.  The camera doesn’t lie.
  • Christmas will be here in just over three months.  I am not ready.
  • None of my yarn excites me.
  • I really need a house keeper.
  • Is it wrong that I am hoping for a strike so that I can have  time off to sleep in and organize The Money Pit?  Of course that would seriously impact my finances and I’m pretty sure VISA will take the cat.
  • Do I really want to stay at my job past April?  Do I really want to look for a new one?
  • I am addicted to Zuma?  I could play that game for hours.
  • I have not vacuumed my house in over a month.  I live in a pig stye.
  • I am considering tossing a bunch of DH’s crap while he is on-site.  I would kill him if he did it to me.  He probably won’t even notice it’s gone though.
  • I don’t “get” arty films.
  • I am pretty sure I was obnoxious as an undergrad but I couldn’t have been as obnoxious as the window lickers who live in my neighbourhood.  Back to university is NOT the most wonderful time of year.  However, if they keep up this ridiculous behaviour there will be a lot of Christmas grads and more importantly, empty houses.
  • My tomatoes have blight.

Fashion crimes around the world

October 23, 2009

So over the past few weeks I’ve spent some time in a few international airports and world class cities.  I’ve had a lot of time on my hands and what better way to keep occupied than to watch people?  Especially as my current knitting project don’t require much in the way of brain power.

Now, before I go on, I have to admit that I am not on the cutting (or bleeding) edge of fashion and never have been.  I’m a jeans and tshirt kind of girl and lately I’ve discovered that 2% spandex in my jeans is a good thing.  I am not at all qualified to be a fashion critic but I am critical and, well, in Cleverly Disguised land everyone is entitled to my opinion.  So here we go…..

  1. In Heathrow I saw a woman wearing a tshirt that said Stop and Think.  She obviously did not take her own advice as she paired said top with MC Hammer pants.  Yes they are back in style.  Women of North America, just say NO.
  2. Iceland is the place where ugly shoes come to die.  I thought it was Ecuador but I was mistaken.
  3. Ladies of Greece, please look into pants.  When your skirts are so short I can see your ass hanging out as you climb the stairs (or even walk at a slight elevation) in front of me, you really need to lower your hemlines.  Or wear pants.  Really.  Wives and girlfriends everywhere will thank you for not flashing their husbands and boyfriends.
  4. Ladies of Europe, the only suitable colour underwear to wear under white is nude.  Or white in a worst case scenario.  Pink, black, blue, red and ESPECIALLY leopard is not classy.
  5. Men of Europe, please wear deodorant.  That is all.
  6. Men of Greece, pointy toe shoes will give you corns and arthritis.  The toes that have turned up make you look like an elf.  This is probably not the look you were going for.  Also, your pants do not have to be so tight that I can tell your religion.  Really.  It’s not sexy.  Let’s leave a little to the imagination shall we?
  7. Knickers (not underwear to any British readers) and pants in general should not have elasticized cuffs around the knee, ankle or anywhere in between.  Really.  Sadly women of North America we’re going to be in trouble in 6 months to a year when that “fashion” hits our shores.
  8.  Ladies of Europe, while I understand dresses are comfortable in warm climates and also make for very easy decisions when dressing in the morning, you may want to consider not wearing sundresses, minis and low cut frocks on the plane.  There just aren’t enough blankets to go around and no one needs to see your underwear.  Especially the female flight attendants.  Trust me, they are not amused at the best of times and flashing them only makes it worse for the rest of us.
  9. Gladiator sandals.  No.
  10. Those sandals that look like they have ace bandages around the ankles.  Giant shoe fail.  I don’t care how comfortable they are , orthopedic is not sexy.
  11. Are sequins relly necessary for air travel?  I think not.  Unless you are flying to Dubai via private jet to hang with the Sheik.  When you are flying coach on Iceland Air you may want to rethink your travel wardrobe.


October 23, 2009

DH has been in Greece since Monday morning which means I am slightly more than halfway through my “alone” week.  He had more vacation than me and it was more meaningful for him to be in the village for a longer time so he left early.  I begin my epic journey on Saturday.  Which I am not looking forward to.  Five airports, a 9.5 hour layover and a two hour car ride will get me to my final destination.    And then three days later I’ll start repeating the process, albeit over 10 days, all over again.

I quite enjoy being alone in the house during the day.  I can eat when I want (dinner is promptly served at 10pm) and surprisingly I haven’t succumbed to chips or popcorn yet.  I’ve made balanced meals and planned ahead and have even had leftovers.  I’ve cleaned up after the insulation fiasco  ALL BY MYSELF (no bitterness here) and I can spend as much time on the computer as I please. 

What I don’t enjoy are the nights.  My home-alone-paranoia has really ramped up and let me tell you, it’s pretty hard to sleep in a creaky, dark, 73 year old Money Pit all by yourself.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I’ve been averaging 4 hours of sleep a night and it’s starting to show now.  I’ve caught myself leaving the house with no make up, no shoes and no coffee.  I’m beginning to look forward to the epic flights as I should be able to catch up on my sleep.  And forget about going to the basement.  It’s dark and creepy down there at night and I’m pretty sure something wakes up under the stairs as soon as the sun goes down.

Plus I miss DH too.  While we’ve spoken on the phone a few times, it’s not the same as talking face to face.  The cat hasn’t spent more than four conscious hours in the house since DH left so I’m left talking to myself.  Or the radio.  Which, as we still have no curtains on the main floor, must make me look like a crazy woman to anyone walking past and looking in.  Besides, after close to a week alone I’ve decided I’m a boring conversationalist.  And let’s not overlook DH’s ability to fight off the basement zombies, the maurading raccoons, assorted boogie men and the monster living in the closet.  Even though DH sleeps like the dead, it’s still comforting to have him beside me at night.  At the very least he’ll be the sacrificial victim and I can flee to safety.

Shades of things to come

October 23, 2009

DH and I live in a 73 year old house we lovingly call The Money Pit.  We bought at the height of the boom (and overpaid to be honest but it was a bidding war) and we’ve probably put in another $40,000 or so in upgrades…new windows, new furnace, new air conditioner, new insulation, refinished the floors, repainted nearly every room and I don’t want to start talking about the outside and how much money I’ve spent on dirt, seeds and plants.  And there’s still a lot of work to be done.  Our basement needs more insulation, the driveway needs to be replaced and our gardens still look like they’ve been abandoned for several years and allowed to run riot.  Pretty much the only thing that we won’t have to deal with in the next few years is putting on  a new roof.  Of course now that I’ve said this I’ve totally jinxed it.

But work and money aside, I love our house.  It makes me happy and I love spending time in it.  I don’t particularly care about my job and once I leave the crazy behind, I very much enjoy coming home to Casa Cleverly and quite honestly I could probably entertain myself for many, many days within its walls.

This week though I have not enjoyed going home.  One of the final “big” projects we are doing this year is having insulation blown into our walls.  Our narrow cavity, double brick, lathe and plaster walls.   That were freshly painted 13 months ago. 

The insulation “guy” called us on Monday and told us he could “fit us in” on Tuesday.  Which meant that all furniture on an outside wall needed to be moved three feet away (preferably) and all pictures needed to be removed from those walls.  Also, the ENTIRE kitchen needed to be emptied (the cupboards hang on the outside walls) and we had to do all of this in about 12 hours.  It was a less than awesome experience.

I am a creature of habit and much like a cat, don’t like my routine changed up very much.  I proceeded to have hissy fits and meltdowns about the ever-decreasing number of hours we had to work with and how much work we’d have to do once it was all done.  Oh yeah, DH is flying to Europe at the end of this week too.  No stress.  Nope, none at all.  DH however, stepped up and was made of awesome.  He moved and unloaded and shifted and in general dealt with six of the seven rooms that needed to be cleared out. 

To be honest, it was like packing for a move.  Except there were no boxes and we weren’t going anywhere.  Once again I had no access to my clothes or shoes and had to go to work in yoga pants.  Good times.  Not really.  It was hot, my house was a mess, I couldn’t find anything, my cat was freaked out and I just wanted everything finished.  And the construction hadn’t even started.

Of course, given the nature of home renovations, there were problems.  There are always problems.  Wrong equipment was brought so everyone went home.  For the day.  My house is now covered entirely in plastic and I can’t get at ANYTHING which is a bit of a problem if I want to eat, cook, sit, go into any room other than my bedroom, watch tv or use the computer.  The next day we find out that due to our very narrow wall cavities (a very bad thing apparently), the job will take twice as long since they can’t blast the insulation in as quickly as they’d like as the increased pressure could very well blow out our walls.  Awesome! 

So the noisy truck  had to come back for the THIRD day, my cat is still stressed, we’re still eating dinner at  restaurants, I still have no access to anything, DH leaves for Europe in two days and I have mountains of laundry to do for that, there is dust ON TOP of the plastic, in the closets, on the fans, in the ducts, I have about 150 drilled in my walls which are leaking foam and cellulose dust and neither the air conditioning nor the ceiling fans can be turned on since there is dust everywhere which we can’t clean up until we are done filling and finishing the holes.  Of course it’s a million degrees outside.  And we sleep on the third floor. 

I’m seconds away from tears.  In fact, the whole thing has stressed me out to no end and really, now that it’s done, it’s only been two days of actual construction work.  A lot of prep work and a LOT of clean up but once again DH is stepping up and doing a lot of it.  I put the kitchen back together last night (and feel slightly more human as a result) but there is patching, sanding and painting of said 150 holes to do still.  And then the furniture has to be moved and the dust needs to be vaccuumed, swept, mopped and swiffered. 

I’m being a bit of a baby I know.  It’s for our own good that this was done.  Our house will be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter now and we’ve already noticed it’s a lot quieter due to the two inches of cellulose.  The dust is an inconvenience at most and I suspect that the holes that are hidden by large/tall pieces of furniture will not get painted.  And that’s ok.

What really kind of scares me is the thought of the major addition and kitchen renovation that we plan to do in five or so years.  By then it’s likely we’ll have a kid, probably another pet and way more crap to move.  The addition and new kitchen will be SERIOUS construction and I’m pretty sure will take more than three days,  involve lots of delays, problems and conflicts, not the least of which will be between DH and me.  If I am this bent out of shape with three days of minor work, I’m thinking I better somehow convince my doctor to put me on Xanax.  Either than or I’m going to have to leave the country for the duration of the reno.  So, who’s up for a nice long visit?

Just. Shut. Up

October 23, 2009

My trials with the MIL continue.  I know she means well.  I really do.  But sometimes I wish she’d think before she opened her big fat mouth.

Case in point.  We were there for dinner the other day and this gem, directed at the DH, came out her mouth.

MIL: Son, you drink too much pop.
DH: Yes mom, I probably do.
MIL: It makes you fat.  It’s all the sugar.
DH: (rolling his eyes since it’s diet pop) Ok mom.  You’re right.
MIL: You need to exercise more.  I know you’ve been busy at work but you’re too fat.  You shouldn’t drink pop.
DH: Yes mom I know.
MIL: But it’s ok to drink it at my house when you come over.

Clearly MIL subscribes to the theory that calories consumed in someone else’s house are empty.  I wish.  At least though, she didn’t accuse me (and my cooking) of making DH fat but then giving him half her dinner because he is a hungry man who likes his meat, like she did a few months ago at a wedding. 

Second  STFU moment occurred shortly after the you’re-too-fat-stop-drinking-pop-but-it’s-ok-at-my-house.  I told DH prior to us going there that if he left me alone at the dinner table with the MIL I would stab him with my fork.  Yes, MIL and I have been getting along better but I just can’t face more grilling re: babies and what’s happening (uuummm…nothing until at the very least  late October, unless we somehow win the conception lottery between now and then) and I am tired of hearing her bitch about FIL’s side of the family.  Yeah I don’t like them much either but I don’t care to hear the SAME DAMN STORIES EVERY OTHER WEEK!  Ahem.

So DH stuck it out and stayed with me, thus fending off any awkward questions about babies (she won’t ask infront of him because he’d be embarrassed…but apparently it’s ok to embarrass me) but getting insulted for his pains.  When out of nowhere MIL tells me that she’s arranged for her 80 year old aunt to meet me at the rinky dink airport in Greece (not Athens…that sadly is not my final destination) when I arrive.  At 7:10 am.  After two days of flying.  Because we are both blonde.  Me and MIL’s aunt that is.  WTF that has to do with anything  I don’t know but that’s how these people think.  I kid you not.

Now.  I don’t do well in the morning.  I am a creature of the darkness and would happily sleep until 2pm and stay up until sunrise if I had the option to do so.  Unfortunately, my employer requires my presence in the office from 9ish to 5ish and they really do frown upon me sleeping at any point during the work day.  So unfair I know.  However, they pay the bills and I have a lot of bills so I try to go to bed at a decent time Monday to Friday so I can haul my ass in for 9am.  Not to  mention that it’s difficult to get a good sleep on an airplane and five airports in two days means LOTS of shortish flights and NOT lots of sleep.

I also require coffee in the morning to function at a level that is close to human.  Now, I don’t need a  ton of coffee to feel human but I do need more than that ridiculous dixie cup amount airlines seem to think is sufficient to get people’s blood moving.  And yes Flight Attendant, it actually IS part of your job description to bring me more coffee/water/pop/juice if I ask for it once the drink cart has been up and down the aisle. 

Finally, I generally don’t like people.  Oh, I act civilly to strangers and all (you never do know when flight attendants will spit in your coffee if you are a pain-in-the-neck passenger) but let’s face it, most of DH’s family will never make my long  list of people I’d choose to spend a lot of time with. 

So to recap….flying for two days to spend part of my vacation with the crazies, arriving at an ungodly hour with messed up circadian rhythms, minimal amounts of  caffeine to make me human AND I’m scheduled to meet some other crazy relative (they are ALL crazy) who I have never met, at a strange airport for a “short” visit.  Oh and did I mention there’s still a two hour drive until I get to my final destination where the rest of the nutters will be waiting for me?  I’m sure you will be less than surprised to hear that this is not my idea of a good time.

When I get off that plane I want will want to hug the DH (he leaves a week before me), eat some real food, have a shower and sleep for 18 hours straight.  Not necessarily in that order.  Meeting some old lady who I never knew existed (DH had no idea either) does not even come close to being a viable option and I don’t care what colour her hair is.