Friday, March 25, 2011

Gimme gimme!

Since buying our house, I've obviously been thinking a lot about how to decorate and such. Not to mention, my 30th birthday is in 3 months and 3 days, so I've been on the prowl for ideas for Dan. Some of the things that I've found and love are things worth sharing with you all, so that you may enjoy the prettiness, too.

First off, I'm in need of some furniture. The way our living room space is set up lends itself perfectly to add a couple of cute and comfy chairs near the bay window. I found this that I love at Target.

Super cute, right? Well, I was reading the reviews, and 2 people said that the brown on the upholstery is so dark that it looks black. Black just doesn't work with the tones in our living room, so I went back to looking and found this beauty:

Love it! Two of these puppies would fill the bay window area perfectly, and make a nice seating area that melds nicely into the area with the couch as well as providing a cozy spot by the fireplace. I instantly emailed the link to Dan and pretty much haven't shut up about them since. I'll break him one way or another. I might just have to send him another email from the chairs themselves. Subject line: "hey, don't forget about us!"

Next, I went Etsy shopping for some cool art. I want to eventually do a gallery wall in our hallway, and currently the only things we really have in frames are pictures from our wedding. We'll soon have pics from our recent photo session, but I like the look of mixing in some non-personal items as well, to make it feel like less of a shrine. So I bought these from Etsy seller Letter Chef.

Now, I have to be honest. My intent was to find stuff for the gallery wall, but I got a tad sidetracked. You see, I love monograms. I think I may have been born in the wrong part of the country, because there are some "southern" things that I just die for, like monograms and giant bows on baby noggins. Dan, on the other hand, doesn't hate monograms, but they're not his favorite either. If I had my way, we'd have BKD and K's everywhere (though you have to be careful about putting too many K's too close together). No so much for Dan. So since it's apparently been decided that the master bath is mine, I get to decorate how I want, and a giant monogram it is. They'll be framed separately in white (I think) frames and go on my bathroom wall opposite the giant mirror. Best part, they're pretty much out of sight, out of mind for Dan. These babies are mine, all mine.

Lastly, I was looking at Facebook, and one of my fellow Knotties has been posting pictures of her handmade cards. Now, if I tried to make handmade cards, things would be messy. But Jennifer's cards are gorgeous, and I just love her sixth sense for detail and choice of materials. They make card giving really feel special. Check out her blog posts about them. I just love the bicycle and bunting card. Too cute. Jennifer doesn't currently have an Etsy shop, but if you're lusting after these as much as I am, you can contact her at

So, those are the things I'm loving so much lately.: cute square slipper chairs, alphabet photography monograms, and some super sweet cards. What are you wanting all for yourself?

Monday, March 21, 2011

My new kitchen!

This was one of the fastest and busiest weekends in a long time. Right away when Dan got home, he got to work cutting the last of the tile pieces for the counter top. Saturday morning, we were up early to do the grout and install the appliances. Dan worked on it until about 4pm when my in-law's and his aunts arrived for dinner (along with my mom, yay!). And just as soon as the dishwasher was up and running, the ladies swooped in to put away all the stuff that had been waiting to for the kitchen to be finished to find its home. In all honesty, I wanted to be the one to put my kitchen away. I'm generally not a fan of people cleaning or arranging for me, but they didn't leave me much choice. It mostly got put away, and in record time.

So, as a refresher, here was the kitchen before:

And here is the kitchen now:

We intend to put in a back splash of small glass tiles all the way to the cabinets, so I didn't bother to paint the rest of it red, though I probably should have. Hindsight is always 20/20, ya know. I'll need to at least paint around the window. Maybe that will be my project this weekend. Of course now, I'm terrified of getting paint on the granite.

We spent Saturday evening with family, grilling (on Dan's grill for the first time in 2 years!) and hanging out on the patio. Yesterday, we cashed in our Groupon deal that I bought back in July for a 1 hour photo session. We met with the photographer in downtown Phoenix and had a lot of fun taking photos in the industrial areas and on the train tracks. I can't wait to see our proofs in about two weeks.

So that's about it for the weekend. It was a lot of work, with no rest for the the weary. I can't believe it's Monday again already. The only really awesome thing is that we should see the result of our awesome prank when my coworker tries to clip his nails sometime in the next couple of days. Unfortunately, Mrs. ESPN is leaving for a work trip today and I might have to witness it all alone. I just hope I can keep a straight face.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This party is a circus, literally

Step right up! Step right up, folks!! Witness this incredibly freak of nature, the amazing spoiled 6-year-old with a circus party! Oh, and her brother. There's a brother. This week's episode of Outrageous Kid Parties features the joint birthday party of almost-7 year-old Jasmine and her brother, Carson, who will be 9. Jasmine says "I'm spoiled" quite a bit, so this is sure to be good. Mom looks familiar though. I can't tell if it's because I saw the preview or if I've actually seen her somewhere. And then, they show Mom at work. She's a dentist... ::cue dream sequence:: a dentist. Teeth. Flippers. Toddlers and Tiaras!! This lady was on T&T, (one of) my other guilty pleasure(s). She's the crazy lady who cried a lot and kept yelling "Go, Jazzzzyyyy!" while her untalented child - really, because I'm an expert at judging reality show pageants by now - danced around on the stage doing the head bob fish face. My inner reality TV nerd is doing the Kip Dynamite "yesssss!" Okay, so maybe my outer nerd did it too, because Dan left the room house.

Anyway, now that my mind is officially blown at the very thought the best possible breeding of reality television shows I could have ever asked the Easter Bunny for, let's hear about the kids. Jasmine likes - shocking - pageants, dancing, and animals. Carson is a shy kid. This sounds familiar. But Mom thinks the party will be good for Carson. I'm having deja vu. Jasmine wants a princess party. Carson doesn't give a rat's behind what kind of party he has so long as there are monkeys. He looks slightly evil when he says this, like I'm not quite sure what exactly he wants from his monkeys. Somehow they decide on a circus party, because Mom always loved the circus. Methinks someone is throwing herself a party "for" her kids.

Ah, the budget talk. Mom wants to spend $30,000 (OMG) and explains that $30K in a small town is like $100K in a big city like New York. Okay, I'll go with you on that one, but the only party that should ever cost $30K in a small town is a huge wedding. We're talking about a party for elementary school kids here. Remember when I had my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese? Or the skating rink? Man, what a sucker I was. Anyway, the concern with the huge budget is that it's freaking January and there's like 8 feet of snow on the ground. Or it might be 6 inches. I don't know because I live in Arizona and snow is snow to me. A huge budget and bad weather sound like a recipe for disaster. Deliciously entertaining disaster.

Mom and the kids meet up with the party planner, who has an odd name I can't remember. This lady looks completely unamused at the thought of planning a circus in the snow. Ooooh, Cirque de Snow-le. Jasmine wants animals. She wants a camel that spits in people's faces. Evil, I like it. She also wants cows, lizards, kitty cats, and dogs. Clearly, someone hasn't been educated on circus animals. Pshaw. She wants "every animal in the world except some," that "some" being snakes. Next up, costumes. What is it with these parties and costumes? What happened to just showing up and having fun? Now everyone has to look like they're part of a Broadway production to watch some rug rat blow out candles? Mom decides everyone will dress as a circus animal. Sounds great. Costumes: $4K. Reasonable.

Mom is stressed out about the fact that the party is in like a week and nothing is booked. Hello? How do you have a party "planned" in a week and don't even have anything picked or booked? Well, we can't bother with that now. Cake has to be chosen. The ginormous big top tent cake that Mom wants is going to cost $4K. Holy crap. Jasmine says she'll pay. Get a job sweetie. Yesterday. Shockingly, the party planner has now quit on Cirque de Snow-le. Mom cries while Jasmine sits at the table going "this party is mine mine mine mine mine." Mom bursts into tears and doesn't know how she'll ever do a party planner's job. Maybe she should just quit her job.

Oh, snap! Mom shuts down her dental practice for the week to plan her kids' party. How very responsible of her. "No, I'm sorry, Mr. Davis. Dr. Crazypants has shut down for the week and you'll have to live in pain from that broken tooth because no one ordered the clowns." Not to mention, her employees must be thrilled at the loss of income for the week. They'd better at least get invited to the party. I spoke too soon, again. Mom is full of solutions. She hired her dental assistant (who has some of the ugliest teeth I've ever seen) to be her assistant party planner. Faaaantastic.

So we've got the party planner set. Time to work on the circus. Mom gets ahold of some guy at the Cincinnati circus who will bring her an entire show for the great price of only $15K. Note to self: save for circus. She neglects to mention that there's 4 metres (I'm going for international appeal now) of snow on the ground. Now we need some animals. Mom takes the kids to meet Yvonne and Yvette, who appear to be twins. When I say "appear to be" I have to admit it took me a moment to realize that they were matching. I thought they were just your run of the mill look-alike lesbians for a minute. But no. Y&Y have matching faces and hair, and are wearing completely matching outfits: hot pink tops and black fuzzy vests. I wonder if they dress like this all the time, or they got gussied up for the cameras. Neither would surprise me, considering these ladies live in a house with 9 monkeys. This reminds me: "My Monkey Baby" was a great show. It shouldn't have been cancelled.

Lastly, the kids need to arrive at the party in style. What makes more sense than a fire truck? Carson actually looks pretty stoked, until Jazzy reminds him that this fire truck is "mine mine mine mine." She's like the seagulls from Finding Nemo. Only one major problem. Fire trucks aren't exactly equipped for snow, and the truck won't be able to get up their driveway. But Mom pulls through with a solution once again and decides to have the party at the armory. It pretty much looks like a high school gym. It's got good bones, but I see dollar signs if this place is going to look like a circus. Mom, of course, can't quite see the vision and starts crying again about how she'll need help with so much. Best quote of the year comes from Dad: "no one wants to see their wife get upset about things that are - I don't want to say they're not important - they are to her, I guess." This man is a saint.

Finally, party day has arrived. Mom calls all her friends to come help turn the armory gym into a circus tent. Dad has been running errands since 5am and didn't sleep all night. All I see is a room with a bunch of creepy balloon clowns. Jasmine refuses to help. Suddenly, the party that is "mine mine mine mine" is none of her responsibility. I spot a baton twirler and recognize her as Yvette or Yvonne. Seems like Mom's multi-tasking with the hired help. This is going against O.K.P. rules of frivolous money spending. I mentally issue a warning. In comes the camel and Mom dressed as a clown. I'm pretty sure she said earlier that there was no way she was coming dressed like that. And right behind her are 350 guests. 350?! I don't have that many friends on Facebook. All the guests - who aren't dressed up, so where'd the costumes go? - are waiting for Carson and Jasmine to arrive in the "mine mine mine" fire truck and they're late. So basically, Mom put her kids on a ginormous truck with a bunch of strangers on icy blizzardy roads for the sake of arriving in style. Awesome parenting.

Oh good, they're here. Now we can start the party. Carson and Jasmine ride in on a camel and Carson refuses to smile or wave. Jasmine reminds him that this party is "mine and sort of yours so you have to smile." I'm surprised she doesn't pay the camel to spit on people's faces. The show starts... yada yada blah blah blah. Clowns, tight rope walkers, whatever. You would think the looks on the guests' faces would be all "oooooh aaahhhh" but they're more like "what the ......" Carson only cares that there are nachos at this party. His mom could have thrown him a party at a nacho cart (do they have those?) and he would have been happy.

Oooooh, present time! My favorite. Seriously, I love trying to guess what it'll be. I have no ideas on this one. Holy shiz balls, it's a mini horse! And it's wearing a tiny mini horse jacket. I haven't seen a mini horse since Rob & Big. Carson looks pissed. Clearly, this gift is for Jasmine, Lover of All Animals Except Some. He looks like he's about to burn the place down.

Lastly, they gather around the cake. It's actually really cool. It's huge, and it has a train and little circus people and everything. Jasmine literally holds Carson back (this cake is "mine mine mine") from blowing out the candles. Jasmine gets the first piece, and Carson gets the sec.... Nope. Carson literally sits there all sad panda wondering if he is even going to get a piece of Jasmine's cake. It's like what you'd see if you could look back 40 years in the life of Milton Waddams. Now all his"I'm going to burn this circus down" vibes make sense.

Final party cost $29,873. Hey! That's under budget! Disqualified. And disappointing. That's only like $98,564 in New York City dollars.

"Mine mine mine mine"

Monday, March 14, 2011

The first weekend

This was the first weekend in our new house. It started early Friday morning when Dan left the apartment at 6am to drop The Girls off at my in-law's house and pick up the U-Haul and his friend who would be helping with the move. I, the lucky one, got to go to work all day and leave the heavy lifting to the boys. I also went in early so I could be done early. My new commute involves a lot of rush hour traffic, so Friday was the first day of my new 6:30-ish - 3pm schedule. I arrived at the house before Dan and the truck. It took him nearly 7 hours to load the truck and drive to the house. But the unloading went quickly. The guys hadn't eaten, so I left to get some pizza. By the time I got back, all the furniture was in the house. It only took 2 hours to unload. When my mother-in-law got home from work, I picked her and The Girls up and brought them over. Clover instantly got to digging. I got to work unloading what boxes I could without getting in the way. By 10pm, we'd started hanging pictures and hung out just enjoying being along in our first home. We sipped some wine and sat on the couch and discussed our redecoration plans.

Saturday was even busier. I had to go get a haircut in the old 'hood in the morning, then stopped at the apartment to pick up the few things Dan had left behind and ran a few errands. My dad came up in the afternoon to help with some projects. We all ran to Lowe's and picked up some new light fixtures. The previous owners were apparently obsessed with polished brass lighting. Not our style, at all. So we replaced the entry way and porch lights with silver fixtures that are more our taste. We also picked our paint colors and got to work. We spent Saturday night and all day Sunday painting. We painted until we couldn't see straight. Then we painted more.

Our kitchen went from boring white to red:

It's the same red we used in the apartment, just on a bigger scale.

The master bathroom went from this awful green and gold...

... to this warm "milk chocolate." Isn't it gorgeous?

The guest bathroom, also known as Dan's bathroom, is the same beautiful color. He chose it, and he won't let me forget it. "Isn't my color awesome?" Yes, honey, yes it is. I cannot emphasize enough how awful that green was. And it was everywhere. They painted everything green: the ceiling, the toilet paper holder, even the baseboards. Let me tell you what a pain it is to paint baseboards when they're already installed and touching your brand new carpet. We also replaced the light fixtures in both bathrooms. They used to have light bars with 5 plain ball bulbs that reminded me of hotel or something. So we switched them out for something prettier (I'll update with pics from the real camera later), and it really made as much difference as the paint.

Last night, we headed to Lowe's to "just look" at the appliances, although we'd already done that. They were having a sale that ended that night, and the range model that we'd liked but had been out of our budget was $200 off and now firmly in budget. Not to mention, the matching dishwasher was $100 off. We also had a 10% off coupon for being new home-buyers, which basically made the whole deal too good to pass up. So I currently have a stainless steel Frigidaire Gallery range sitting in my living room waiting for its home in the kitchen to be finished some time this week. The dishwasher should be here Wednesday. Renovation on the tile counter tops starts this evening, and we're hoping to be done Thursday. And then we'll be done with projects for a while.

It dawned on me that we'll have so many stories to tell our kids about our first weekend in the house. About how Dan taught me to mow the lawn with the lawnmower Dan's parents gave us that's missing a wheel. About how friends popped in here and there to see the place and congratulate us. About how I dripped red paint from the garage to the dining room and fast-acting Dan and the Spot Bot (seriously, love that thing) saved the day. About how my dad spent the whole weekend with us, doing almost nothing but painting and enjoying every minute with us. About how Paisley spent as much time in the yard as she could, literally soaking up the sun.

It was a weekend of wonderful firsts. I'm exhausted and sore from painting baseboards and badly in need of more hours in the day. I'm actually so excited to get home today and unpack more boxes. I couldn't have asked for a better first weekend.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Problem solving is WINNING

I'm pretty sure I mentioned that I have a coworker (whom I call by the code name Bile Chimps) who's completely socially inept and chooses his cubicle as his preferred place to groom himself. In case you don't know, the office is not the appropriate place to trim your nails. I can understand a broken nail or a cuticle that needs to be clipped, but I'm talking full on grooming. This coworker clips his nails at least once a week - all 10 fingers, one disgusting clip at a time. And it's loud. Mrs. ESPN and I exchange giggles and disgusted IMs every time he does it (he sits between us). The nastierst part, for me, is that his nails are still long. Like snort coke or strum a guitar with them long. And men should not have long nails. It's just... icky.

So anyway, we contemplated how to get it to stop. We considered rational actions like leaving an anonymous note or just saying something face-to-face. And then, the evil got the better of us and while Mrs. ESPN was on a business trip last week, the idea of super gluing them shut was presented to her. So this morning, before Bile got here, we attempted it. Unfortunately, there wasn't a significant contact point on the nail clippers to glue them (and trust me, I was disgusted by the fact that I had to touch them). Thankfully, though, we have other cunning coworkers who are equally annoyed by the clipping and who also have great ideas and evil sides. The solution? We glued them to the tray inside Bile's desk drawer.

WINNING. The only thing missing, as Mrs. ESPN pointed out, was "We're not gonna take it!" playing in the background.

Unfortunately, Bile goes to Vegas next week (which is another thing that we've been getting kicks out of all week - I've made a drinking game of doing accruing shots every time he mentions "Vegas"), and he just clipped yesterday, so we won't get to see the reaction until the week after. I have no clue how I'll keep a straight face if he says something, but it's bound to be epic.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The next time I'm in jail...

As I was driving into work this morning, a particular sign caught my eye. I couldn't take a picture of it because I was too busy texting - just kiiiiding, calm down, Mom - but I'll give you the gist. It looked kinda like this

Calling Collect to Cell Phones
Save up to 70% With
Hmmmmm. I'm trying to figure out who the target market is here. Clearly, if you're in jail, you're not driving down 24th St. in Phoenix and looking at this sign. Secondly, even if this sign were posted in a jail, is saving the recipient of your collect call 70% really on the top of the priority list? Do they even give you a choice? I wonder if people actually write down this number to keep handy for their next time in slammer. I can just imagine that the next time I'm in jail, the first thing I'll be thinking is "awwww, shoooooot!! I forgot that number to save Dan 70% on this call! Stupid!" Hopefully he'd still bail me out, but it's pretty questionable considering how thoughtless not saving him money was.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Are you weady to wock?!

It's time for another fun-filled episode of my new favorite show, Outrageous Kid Parties, where moms lie to dads, budgets are blown, and ridiculous is captured in birthday party form for all the world to see. I actually watched last week's episode too, but Blogger ate my recap when I pushed the "Publish" button. As my husband would say, "son of a..."

So anyway, this week features the Rock Star Party of 8-year-old Aniston. Aniston is the youngest of 3 children (one of whom is 18 and not in the house) and the only girl. As such, she's one spoiled little monster. She has a brother who is about 10 who really thinks highly of her, calling her "the most annoying person on the planet" and "spoiled brat." Ah, brotherly love. The best part of Aniston, aside for her affinity for getting her way, is her speech impediment. Aniston loves to tell everyone she's having a "wock staw pawty!" See, adorable. Now before you get all up on me for making fun of a kid, relax. The people on TV aren't real, and if they were, they can't hear me. So we're good. Aniston's mom, Cindy, admits she spoils the every-loving piss out of her only daughter. Aniston's dad travels for work and spends all his quality time with his family via Skype, leaving his wallet in the treacherous hands of his wife and daughter.

First, Aniston and Mom meet with the party planner for my favorite part, the budget discussion. Aniston wants a roller coaster, a Hummer limo, a red carpet, spinning lights, paparazzi and a fake tattoo artist. Seriously, they're going to pay someone to put stickers on the party guests. Oy. The party planner gives Mom the estimate: $10,000. Hmmmm. Mom seems to know this is way out of the budget. Dad's sure to be unhappy. But Aniston wants a Wock Staw Pawty so what choice does she have? Brother tells the camera that his last party was "like, $100" and Aniston gets this huge bash. Poor Brother. I have a feeling we're going to see him on an episode of Maury someday. Or Intervention. And at his intervention, everyone's letter will read "your addiction has affected Aniston's life negatively in the following ways..."

After meeting with the party planner, Mom feels she needs to unwind. What better way to do that than with her friends and a glass of wine? She says she needs to just chill and have the support of her friends. When Mom tells her friends the cost of Aniston's Wock Staw Pawty and how many people are going to be invited, they practically shoot wine out their noses from laughing so hard. Thank goodness these ladies have some sense about them. Not that Mom is going to listen, but at least someone stopped blowing smoke up her ass.

Oh, by the way, everywhere Aniston goes the entire episode, she struts. Like on a catwalk. It's kinda weird.

Aniston and her mom strut their way to a local bakery to pick out a cake. And not just any cake. A ridiculous spinning monstrosity with a $2,500 price tag. Mom says she knows she shouldn't be spending that much but "Aniston wants it so I have to get it for her." Ugh. Mom talks about how all she wanted to be as a little girl is a rock star, and she's going to turn her kid into one. Apparently, she's not concerned about turning her kid into an entitled little witch, but hey. Priorities. After the cake tasting, Aniston goes to a studio for a lesson to really learn how to work the catwalk. It's ridiculous. Tyra would not be pleased. I see no smising, her rhythm is off, and what is she doing with those arms? She looks like a drunk T-Rex. Brother, ever the sensible one, exclaims that this is all ridiculous. So he gets up and does the best ever impersonation of his sister's catwalk. Hilarious. At this point, Dan walked in from cleaning my car (swoon, he luffs me) and smacked his forehead before proceeding to the kitchen for a beer. This show should come with free beer for all viewers. Note to TLC.

Houston, we have a problem. The homeowners association is not happy. They even called Dad on The Road and told him about potential fines. He Skypes Mom to ask what's going on and she plays dumb. Just then, Aniston and her brother come shrieking (literally, these kids are so loud) into the room. Brother screams into the Skype camera that his mom is spending a ton of money. Aniston is talking about her Hummer limo for the Wock Staw Pawty. Dad's all "well, maybe I should come home and see what's going on?" Ya think? Mom brushes it off and hurriedly hangs up. A little later, Mom is talking to the HOA lady about the party. The HOA is going to put the "cab-osh" on this party. Mom asks what would happen if they do it anyway. Answer: they could get evicted. Uh oh. So Mom runs to her best friend, who offers to throw the party at her house. Only issue, Mom doesn't exactly tell her everything she's got planned. Trouble be brewing.

It's Wock Staw Pawty Day!! Aniston has a rock star make over: makeup, hair, facial, fake tattoo, nails, the whole shebang, to the tune of.... $1,500. ::record scratch:: Fifteen hundred dollars? My whole bridal party got hair and makeup done for like a third of that. And also, she's 8! That's not even a Benjamin for every year of her life. Not to mention, I've never even had a facial. I'm sure it did wondres for her - she probably doesn't look a day over 7 and a half. Why not Botox? Yeeeesh. And all they did is put brightly colored doll hair in her ponytail (which Clover barked at). She looks like a giant Bratz doll, which is very fitting. Birthday Brat strutted her way to her limo, threatening that anyone who got in her way couldn't ride in it to the Wock Staw Pawty.

Aniston is greeted by screaming friends, a ferris wheel, blow up bounce houses, and a father who doesn't look too pleased about all this. Hey Dad, maybe it's time to retire from The Road and do the parenting thing from the house instead of via Skype? Aniston does a performance that made my ears bleed and the night ended with fireworks. I don't even remember what she got for her birthday because really, it's probably insane and I've frankly tuned out. Final Wock Staw Pawty pwice tag: $29,800.

Honestly, this episode is both hilarious and sad. I feel really awful for the brother, who obviosly is on the wrong end up some pretty ridiculous favoritism from his mom. I know I joked about him being on Intervention, but honestly, I could see it. At the very least, I'm sure he'll need some therapy down the road. And Aniston? What a piece of work she's gonna be. You have to tell your kids "no" now and then. They'll live. No child ever literally died because they didn't get their way. Look, I can understand wanting a kid and wanting to give them everything, but at what cost? This mother is raising a holy terror who is unlikely to be able to handle the adversities in life without turning to destructive behaviors. Come to think of it, that's like a lot of rock stars, so maybe this really is a perfect fit. Gosh darn it, I got all thoughtful and stuff.

Wock on!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Paisley's reaction to moving

We have 4 days to go until the big move (yay!) and packing is coming along well. We've got most of our stuff in boxes, aside from clothes we'll wear this week and personal items. Dan tells me the spare bedroom, which is full of tools and cleaning supplies at this point, is packed. It doesn't look any different to me, but I don't have to move it, so I'll take his word for it. It's nice to be making progress, and I'm getting very excited. There is just one member of this family who's not so happy with the packing: Paisley.

This was Paisley on Friday evening. She's a wee bit puffy. Aren't those wrinkles the cutest? Someone is allergic to packing, perhaps. She swelled up, got hives, and spent the weekend tossing her cookies. Awesome. She either got bit by something or she's really freaking out about this whole moving thing. I'm thinking it's anxiety from having her home suddenly turn into a cardboard maze. Poor thing probably thinks we're leaving her. It started Friday with the hives and swollen face, then progressed to an upset tummy (puking only, thank goodness). She was out of sorts all day Saturday. On Sunday morning, I opened the crate to let The Girls out, and Paisley puked while Clover peed on the carpet. All within about 3 minutes of me even being awake. Benadryl and a diet of white rice had her pretty much back to her old self by yesterday afternoon, and I hope it stays that way.

She completely reminds me of this post from Hyperbole and a Half. Paisley is our Helper Dog, Clover is our Simple Dog. Ironically, a friend had sent me the link to the post on Friday, mere hours before I went home to find my own Helper Dog bumpy with hives. I'm just glad we're moving 24 miles away and not 2 states away. I think we'd have to sedate her if that was the case. The next time we move (I hope that's a loooooong tome from now), I'm going to need someone to warn Paisley. And that person will also need to volunteer to administer the 20 Benadryls it'll take her to get through the week. I just hope she appreciates it all when she has a yard of her very own come Friday. Poor Helper Dog.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Adventures on Craigslist

One of the things I've been excited about with the new house is being able to entertain friends and family in a non-cramped space. We're so lucky in Arizona that we can be outside for a big portion of the year, so I wanted a patio set that would seat 6 for dining outdoors from October to May (see, Arizona is awesome!). So I naively began my search for a patio set, and quickly realized that a 7-piece set can easily cost the same as a Geo Metro. Good lawd! People want some serious money for a table and chairs. So I turned my attention to Craigslist, where I hoped to find a gently used set to last us a couple years, possibly to be replaced with more of an "investment" piece later.

Craigslist kinda drives me nuts. There's all sorts of junk on there burying the gems and good deals. And the pictures people post? Really, folks, if you're going to try to sell a sofa, take the laundry off of it. I found an ad for one patio set that said in the description "does not come with cushions." And the picture showed why: they'd apparently been ripped off by a rapid boar and there were only remnants left. Not to mention, the table itself had what looked to be rotten leaves on it. Take some pride in what you're selling, and take the 5 minutes to hit it with some Windex. Proper staging is key.

So anyway, I responded to a couple of ads over the last couple days, and didn't hear back. Bummer, because they looked to be nice sets. I sent another email last night when I got home for a third ad. I asked for a description of the set as there were no photos. About an hour later, I got a reply from the owner describing the set. I couldn't tell you what it looked like, though, because I couldn't get past the email address.... &#^%$babes69 at (where &#^%$ are other letters to conceal the whole addy).

Where to begin? First, "babes69?" Really? That's how you want to present yourself to people? Call me crazy, but I'd feel like a douche when people asked for my email address and I responded "it's, uh, &#^%$ b-a-b-e-s-sixty-nine..." How old is this person? And how have they not been told to sign up for an appropriate email address? That was one of the first things we learned in college - get yourself an email address that lacks mention of any body parts, sexual acts, recreational substances, or implications of promiscuity. Just your name, maybe with a dot or an underscore at That's it. First impressions, in business, and in life, are everything, and "babes69" isn't a good one. I can't help but imagine some sleezy guy sitting in front of his computer eating Fritos chili pies in his sweatpants. When he's not eating, he's probably taking duck face self-portraits in his bathroom mirror and posting them on the singles section of Craigslist. Who knows what that poor furniture has seen or been through. Ew.

Secondly, AOL? I know it's still around because I know other people with AOL addresses, but it still amazes me to see one. I wonder if I could pay "babes69" in 1,500 free hour CDs. I'm sure I have some in an old box somewhere. Those CDs are as good as money, you know. Remember how we all got those CDs and we'd go sign up for AOL and search by keywords and go in chat rooms and enjoy the sound of "you've got mail" for 1,500 hours, and then when the account ran out, you'd have to wait for a new CD, get a new handle, and start all over? How many CDs has "babes69" gone through in 15 years? Maybe "babes69" used to be "babes1" so the answer to my question is actually 69 CDs.

Clearly, I don't think this is the set for me. Lord knows what "babes69" has been doing with it or where it's been. Thanks, but no thanks. I went to a large box store which will remain unnamed and ordered a new, untainted set for the same amount of money. "Babes69" will have to find someone else to buy his unfortunate patio set.


Also, I did a little guest blurb over at Amanda's blog that you should check out. Sheen Watch 2011: It's full of win.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Porous Hell

I checked out Amanda's blog today, and she had a fun post about pet peeves. It's part of a writing prompt from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Okay, I can handle that. I have pet peeves. A lot of them. Like clipping nails at the office, poor grammar, and people who won't just be flipping courteous and let me merge into their lane when I have nowhere else to go and it's just the nice thing to do (!!). Some of them bother other people, too, but this writing prompt is about pet peeves that bother you but shouldn't. Something that is totally normal but I somehow turn it into something completely assinine directed only at me for the sole purpose of making me want to claw my eyes out. I'm talking about sponges here. I don't know if a single object counts as a pet peeve, but it counts for me.

On Tuesday night, Dan and I headed over to Lowe's to check out counter top options for the new house. We'd been talking about granite tiles, and we went to look at the different styles. Until then, Dan had said nothing but good things about granite and then all of a sudden, he broke out with "it's porous so you have to be careful about food dyes and raw chicken and stuff." First, I'm not going to cut chicken directly on the granite. Second that's what sealants and antibacterial cleaners are for. Lastly, there are nastier and more porous things that touch the counter top than raw chicken. Like freaking SPONGES.

I've always hated sponges. In fact, I hate most non-disposable cleaning products. I'm in no way concerned about reducing my carbon footprint when it comes to stuff I clean with. Dust rags are the only exception to this. Those can stay. Sponges are just gross. I hate using them. They smell, and you can't tell me that tiny bits of stuff aren't hanging out in the porous material of your average kitchen sponge. Before I met Dan, I dated a guy who didn't understand my hatred and detest for sponges and thought I was wasting paper towels. Imagine his surprise when he took away my paper towels and handed me a sponge and then watched me freak out almost to the point of tears when I was told we'd be using sponges from now on. He was an a-hole, granted, but now you understand just how much I really hate them.

I've grown up and got past it somewhat in the last couple of years. I can say that I do use sponges for some things. Much to my chagrin, but it has to be done. I have good pots and pans that I don't put in the dishwasher and they have to get cleaned somehow. So I use those really nice Scotch Brite sponges with the green Brillo on one side. Somehow, buying the really good expensive ones makes it better. No generic Target dollar bin sponges for this girl (even though some of them are very cute). And it's preferred that the sponge itself is connected to something else (like a wand with dish soap inside) so I don't have to directly touch it. I wash the darn things in every other running of the dishwasher to keep them as clean as possible, and I don't keep them for more than about a month. For something that's not supposed to be really disposable, I make it so. It's the only way I can handle using the most disgusting thing I can think of.

And you'd better believe they never touch my counter tops.