Weekend Update

Oh. My. Goodness. Where did the weekend go?

(I know, I know. It's not like I do anything different on weekdays than on weekends, but they still manage to fly by in some sort of super warp speed. Go figure).

Regardless. Totally rocking weekend, even if it did fly by really really fast. My bestest buddy since like, the sixth grade came to visit, and we had a total blast if I do say so myself. (See potential local friends? I am a fun fun person to be around!)

But back to the story. Nicole and Eli (who is blowing me away with his awesome two-year-old self) popped in for a little overnight, and I think it went well. I was a little worried at first when he refused to come in the front door (what am I, the wicked witch of the west?), but the good thing about two-year-olds is that they're still small enough to be physically manhandled into places they don't want to be, and easily distracted enough to forget why it was they didn't want to be there in the first place. (I definitely believe this was specially planned by God to keep mothers everywhere sane. Otherwise, I think Nicole and I would still be standing on the front porch going, "C'mon Eli!").

I've mentioned before in my Eli chronicles that he's my lone example of the "small child" genre. I take my cues from him, and just assume that all two-year-olds have similar likes and dislikes.

For example,
On the "like" list:
  • Fish (in the aquarium...he was impressed enough that I think Nicole may be forced into fish ownership herself pretty soon)
  • Chocolate Milk - (not that I had any. I was very proud of myself for unearthing a bottle of chocolate syrup, only to discover that it had expired back in 2007. And for some bizarre reason, Nicole wouldn't let me feed her kid expired food).
  • playgrounds
  • sticks
  • yellow leaves
  • carrots
  • A lovely little cartoon called Handy Manny (I won't lie- I like Handy Manny too now).

  • Dirt
  • mulch in his shoes (who wouldn't?)
  • cats (uh-oh, big problem here, since we have them running around like here Grand Central Station. Mason was briefly moved into the like column long enough for Eli to pet him, but then was demoted back to dislike after seeing him again in the kitchen).
Nicole's list of likes and dislikes were easier, since I've known her for so long. The thing I like about her is that no matter how long we're apart, we can always pick right back up where we left off. And that she'll stay up all night with me, eating ice cream and having girl talk. And watching movies. And laughing at Wipeout. But still refusing to eat my expired food. (This time, I tried to feed her expired salad dressing and expired ham. Mental note to clean out the fridge before she comes back...she probably thinks we're a plague of food poisoning waiting to happen).

But the good news is that I got to catch up with a great friend, even if it was just for 24 hours. And it's always a laugh riot, with an after school special BFF vibe, and a dash of Hallmark's gooey friendship line.

And I can never seem to get enough.

Did I Say Friend? False Alarm

So ya'll remember me telling you about my super new friend that I totally went out on a limb and made even though talking to strangers falls somewhere between having a root canal and getting hit by a car on my fun things to do list?

Yeah, she just told me that oh by the way, she's moving to Boston in a month.

It seems that her husband is going to seminary school, and they decided, "Hey! Why not far far away?" So Boston it is.

In a month.

I'm very bummed.

And yes, it has not escaped me that just weeks after I tentatively got used to the idea of actually having a local friend, she suddenly announced that she's fleeing the state. Can I drive them away or what? It's like I'm the Russian Mafia...everyone I know keeps changing their names and moving away to undisclosed locations.

And rationally I know that her husband being led to go to seminary has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with me, but I am a vain and self-centered person and in fact the world does revolve around me, so I keep thinking things like, "Was I too needy? Did I not laugh at enough of her jokes? Am I a social leper? Do I smell bad and not realize it?"

And I know you're all out there going, "There's this great new invention called the Interweb, so you can still email her and be friends online and all", but she doesn't strike me as a long-distance kind of friend. She's not really much of a computer person at all. Plus I have the feeling this is going to be one of those times where you shake someone's hand and be all, "Nice meeting you- Have a nice life". And that's that.


Back to just me again local-wise. Of course, I still have all of you (who rock, by the way), and several long-time friends that are not based in Knoxville (who also rock, even if they do it far away), so I'm not a total pathetic loser. But if any of you decide to relocate to K-town sometime in the future, just be aware that the position of local friend is open, and I'll be scheduling auditions soon.

The Bathroom

Just in case all one of you out there wanted to see the bathroom that I've been feverishly working on for the past 150 years, here it is:

These decorative bugs hit me every once in a while. Personally, I blame Home and Garden. They put ideas in my head, man. And then, seduced by the glossy photos of spa-like bathrooms big enough to play football in and chandeliers hanging above the tub, I conveniently forget about the work involved and get caught up imagining that I too can host a formal dinner party for 20 in my bathroom.

And so it began.

Tony came home to find that I had gleefully removed absolutely everything from the bathroom and thrown it on the bed. He also found me hip deep in Kilz, wailing along to the radio and smearing primer on everything in sight.

He sighed, moved the toilet paper into the floor, and curled up on the bed to sleep between the shower curtain and a large pile of mostly expired cold medicine.

The second day, he came home to find me hip deep in the base coat color, still singing to the radio, still in relatively high spirits.

He opened the windows to ventilate the paint fumes, and long-jumped his way over the 900 boxes* of tampons that were scattered in front of the closet.

The third day he came home to find me faux finishing the top half of the bathroom walls with a whisk broom and the top coat glaze, not singing.

"How goes it?", he asked.
"I just remembered something really important", I said.
"What's that?"
"I really hate to paint"
"I could have told you that", he said.

The fourth day he came home to find me painting all of the cabinets. The radio was off. The house was silent. And I was morosely smearing paint on like I had finally accepted the fact that I would be doing this forever.

"Still painting?", he asked.
"It's like a death march," I told him. "A death march sponsored by Sherwin Williams".

The fifth day he came home to find me collapsed in the floor, beaten by the paint. Every now and then, I would work up enough energy to feebly raise my paint brush and randomly slap it up against the wainscoting on the bottom half of the wall.

"You're in the home stretch now", he said. "Although I've kinda gotten used to having the toilet plunger on the night stand. It's an easy way to turn off the alarm clock in the morning".

On the sixth day, I sealed all the edges around the tub and counter top. It was a nice break from the painting, but more difficult because my hand had permanently fused to the paint brush and I couldn't get my fingers to open up and let it go.
On the seventh day, I carried all of our toiletries back into the bathroom.** Tony was thrilled to get the floor space back from in front of his dresser, but a bit sad to see the convenient bedside toilet paper holder go. "Now I'll have to get up again when I need to blow my nose at night", he complained.

Finally, I called him in to look at the finished result.
"Ta-da!" I waved my arms around like Vanna White.
"Are we going to have to have dinner parties in here now?" he asked warily.
"After all this work? Absolutely! And play touch football too."
"You do realize that our bathroom is much smaller than those giant ones featured in the magazine, right?"
"I don't care", I said. "I've been painting every day for a week. People are going to appreciate it if we have to cram in here like performers in a clown car"***.
He rolled his eyes and went downstairs to watch tv.

I sighed. The boy has no appreciation for style. At least our dinner guests/football team will be impressed. Well, as soon as I can get my brush-shaped claw hand to send out invitations anyway.

*Apparently, I impulse buy.
**Even the expired cold medicine. Which in hindsight, probably should have just been thrown away, but I was on reduced mental capacity from a week of paint fumes, so I just brought them back in and put them away again.
***Sad but true. Our house was built before monster-sized bathrooms were popular, so even the master bath is the size of a broom closet. Sigh.


Ohhhh, check out my delicious looking Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeeeeee cupcakes!
(And just as a note of reference, you have to say it like that when you read it: Meeeeeeee! Really draw it out, because hello, my birthday here!)

I know that now that I'm the ripe old age of 29, I'm supposed to be all freaked out and dreading the whole getting-older-birthday thing, but you know what? I'm not. Don't get me wrong, I was totally prepared to wake up and be all wrinkly and arthritic and have overwhelming desires to talk to strangers about my various medical conditions, but it just didn't happen. Instead, I woke up all excited because it's my birthday! And even at 29, birthdays are still fun. (And why shouldn't they be? Everyone knows that you aren't officially old until 30, so I figure I have another year to blow it out before tottering off to the old folks home).

But back to my cupcakes.

As soon as I woke up, I was like, "Dude! It's just not a birthday without cupcakes!" So I scampered down to the local Food City and grabbed a box of my all-time favorite cake mix. (For you inquiring minds out there, that happens to be Pillsbury Funfetti cake with matching Funfetti icing). Love it! Love it! Luvvvvvv it! Now, for some bizarre unexplainable reason, no one else I know ever does the Funfetti for their birthday, so if I want it, that usually means I have to make it myself.

And of course today was no exception.
But before you get all sad because I'm here all alone, eating birthday cupcakes that I made for myself, just think for a minute about who got to lick the bowl all by herself? And the mixer beaters. And do "quality control taste tests" on all the cupcakes that looked like they didn't quite pass muster? Exactly.

Now, all of you long time readers also know that I happen to share my fabulous birthday day with Tony, so technically he's 29 today too. (A fact that I woke him up to share at exactly 12:01 this morning. His response was, "mrffh mrff", which I'm interpreting as, "And a wonderful Happy Birthday to you also, love of my life! Rest assured that in my eyes, your youth and beauty will never fade, even as we share dozens more of these birthdays together" least, that's what I'm assuming he said. It was hard to tell with his face smashed into his pillow).

And so here we are. 29 rotations around the sun and still kicking. Not exactly where I thought I'd be right now, granted, but not so bad all in all. I have a nice home and a loving family and my health. I have friends and interests and sunny days begging to be enjoyed. I have safety and freedom and the best husband in the whole world.

And I have 18 Funfetti cupcakes, all lined up and ready to be eaten. You can't get much better than that.

Dude, Where's My Car?

I'll tell you where it's at the repair shop.

Last week I had a teeny little mishap. It turns out that if you and your car challenge a mailbox to a game of chicken, the mailbox almost always wins.

(No exception here either, although I'm 99% sure that the mailbox somehow cheated).

See, I was just driving along, minding my own business, when I happened to glance down and see that my new stereo wasn't scrolling the name of the song that was playing like it was supposed to. And since I've only had this stereo for a week, I knew that it was obviously testing its boundaries to see exactly how far it could push me and get away with it, and NOT immediately taking it to task by punching a bunch of random buttons would undermine its respect for me. (I know, I know, it was a totally stupid reason to take my eyes off the road and fiddle with the radio, but I've fiddled with it a bazillion times before without incident).

(Plus, I totally wasn't aware that a mailbox was gunning for me at the time).

(And believe me, had I known it was going to happen, I would have come up with a better reason, like I was swerving to avoid a family of baby ducks or something. At least that way busting up the front of my car would have been a noble sacrifice instead of just a boneheaded lapse in focus).

Anyway, while I was taking my eyes off the road for just .00001 milliseconds, the evil conniving mailbox saw its chance and positively LEAPED (LEAPED I tell you!) into the street and positioned itself directly into my path. Of course, as soon as I glanced back up and saw it there, my lighting-quick reflexes swerved to avoid it, but alas, it was not enough, and I gently clipped, nay, barely caressed the mailbox with just the slightest whisper of contact.

Which isn't to say that the mailbox didn't throw itself down in a blatant display of overacting, rolling around on the ground and holding its leg.*

And sadly, my car totally bought the act, because it immediately crumpled the front fender, headlight, and side quarter panel in a show of contrition.** The good news, I guess, is that no one else (meaning me or the mailbox, the rotten faker) was hurt. Only the car suffered any damage. Nevertheless, I left a note on the mailbox owner's door explaining what happened and to call me if the mailbox discovered any lingering injury that wasn't immediately apparent at the time of the accident. So far, no one has called, and a subtle canvas of the area shows that the mailbox is back to its vertical position with nary a scratch.

Meanwhile, I have $2000.00 worth of damage to my car***, an insurance agent who thinks that I'm a complete and total moron, and no transportation for the week while it gets repaired. (Our policy covers rental cars, but Tony didn't think we needed one, seeing how I just sit at home all day, blogging about the stupid things I do on the computer. Plus I think it's his way of punishing me for being, you know, a complete and total moron).

This could turn out to be a really long week.

*What is this, the World Cup?
**Because obviously my car is made out of wet tissue paper. I mean, c'mon! You look at it funny and the thing crumples! What happened to the good old days where they made cars like steel tanks? I hate you Chrysler.
*** Seriously? Two grand for wet tissue? I'm so in the wrong business.

Just Something Neat: Kid Beyond

One of the songs on my playlist is Kid Beyond's Mothership, (totally fun and awesome and energetic) which I need sometimes (especially when working on this stupid never-ending bathroom remodel-grrrr!) But what I didn't realize until just now when I was trying to find the lyrics on youtube is that Kid Beyond is-himself- the entire band...instruments included. He does live looping beatbox, which is where he records a sound that he makes with his mouth, and then he loops that as he records more and more sounds and layers them on until he has the most incredible music.

Even if you aren't a Kid Beyond fan, even if you've never heard of live looping before, watch the video. He's amazing.

Everyone's A Critic

I was singing along with some music while painting the bathroom today (still...sigh) and I noticed that whenever I really belt it out, Mason comes flying into the room looking all worried and upset. It just occurred to me that he might think I'm in pain.

Doesn't really say much for my singing, does it?

Moon Art

So I'm remodeling the master bathroom right now, (it's winning, but that's a story for another day) and I found that I had this big blank space on my wall.
The kind of big blank space that needed a picture or some other kind of similar focal point.

So I made one. (Well, two actually).

This is another in my series of "too cheap to buy real art so just make your own" that I occasionally do, and I thought I'd share them with you.

Keep in mind that they're not "real" art...I just painted a scrap of bed sheet that was stretched over 1x2 wood planks, but I think they came out okay. I'm calling them my moon series, because now that they're finished, the big one looks like it has an eclipse going on, and the little one has a surface-of-the-moon like texture in the white box in the center. Plus the big purple circle seems a little moon-ish.

Anyway, no big deal. Just thought I'd share what I'd been up to with a couple of old bed sheets and the left over spray paint that resides out in the garage.

Plus now you get to know what's hanging in my master bathroom.

6/9/09 The Friend

Guess what! Guess what! (Drum roll please)

I have made a new friend.

Annnnnd, this time she's not even imaginary!

I suspect that you social butterflies are out there reading this and going, "That's it? That's the big news?" because we all know that you make a new friend approximately every 3.2 seconds, but for me, a social midget who gets hives at the thought of talking to (gasp!) a stranger, this is a MAJOR accomplishment for me.

Of course, to be honest, she is the one who approached me, right there in the middle of our free weights class, when she leaned over to ask me if the woman on my other side had ever tried to correct my form while lifting. (She hadn't, for the record, but I'm assuming this is because I have beautiful form and she could only stand in complete awe of my bicep curl prowess). But the ice was broken, and words had actually been exchanged, and for my part I did remember to smile and make eye-contact and even remember her name the next time she came to class.

And so it goes.

Now, this in and of itself probably isn't that impressive, but after months and months of casually exchanging small talk and complaints about how sore our abs were, I finally got up the nerve to suggest that maybe, you know, if she wanted, we could, I don't know, possibly, totally up to her, sometime maybe do lunch or something after class? (And then I held my breath and developed a brand new appreciation for guys, because ya'll, I have never ever before realized exactly how hard it is to put yourself out there and ask someone on a date, even if it is just a friend date). But she was like, "Oh! I'm so glad you asked! Because I was going to ask you on Monday but then I was like, 'what if she just thinks of me only as a gym buddy?'" and I laughed because I had had the EXACT same thought not two seconds before.

But we went to lunch, and then the next week we had a follow-up outing to the zoo (she has a one year old and I always like the zoo, hence that decision), and I think it's safe to say that she has moved into the tentative realm of new friend. Of course, she's still new enough that we're just beginning to let our guards down, but I don't have that urge to flee! flee! that I do sometimes with other new acquaintances that try to be friends with me. (Plus, she totally cracks me up with the stuff that comes out of her mouth sometimes. If I don't say 99% of the stuff that I'm thinking, she says 110% of hers, and it never ceases to amaze me the kinds of things that she blurts out. Of course, I'm usually totally thinking what she's thinking anyway, but she just comes out and says it, which then means that we can talk about it).

And at the risk of sounding clingy (and maybe a little bit obsessed), I can't tell you how happy I am that I have found a friend. Because I am one of those people who only has a few "real" friends, and by some cruel twist of fate, none of them live locally anymore. Which turns out to be pretty lonely sometimes, especially during times when there's a new gallery open at the art museum, or a romantic comedy showing, and Tony just gives me this look like I must be out of my mind if I think that he's going to go willingly to that stuff. So the new local friend is important. And while we're not yet to the she'll help me bury the bodies kind of friendship, this one is at least close enough where I feel comfortable going, "Hey, you want to check out that new taco place?" and feel pretty confident that she'll go, "Sure!"

And that's nice. That's very very nice.

Oh There Ain't Nothing Wrong With The Radio!

Ohhhh, guess what I got installed today!?! It's my snazzy new car stereo/CD player/radio/Mp3 Bluetooth in-dash thingamajigger-bob! (Something tells me that that wasn't the same official description the Best Buy used, but close enough).

See, about a week ago (and almost exactly 6 months after the warranty ran out-grrrrr!), my factory-installed car stereo from Chrysler suddenly and inexplicably bit the dust. (With quality craftsmanship like that, who can explain why that company is going bankrupt?) And not only did did it go kaput, but it also did it while holding my favorite mix CD of the moment hostage. (I know this because I had just created said CD, and carefully labeled it "Favorite Mix CD of the Moment" with my little black Sharpie). And I begged, and I pleaded, and I cajoled, but the stereo was dead, and worse, it was determined to take my Favorite Mix CD with it in its dastardly murder-suicide.

Well humph.

So I hightailed it over to the local Extreme Car Audio Players That Are Guaranteed To Rupture Your Eardrums Or Your Money Back Warehouse, and I told them all about my evil stereo and its innocent CD hostage, and they pushed a button or two and declared the whole thing a loss. But for around $800, they could install a lovely new Eardrum Rupturing System, complete with woofers and tweeters and bubble-gum eaters, guaranteed to cause instant and total hearing loss if I should so choose. And I was like, "Let me think about it".

And then I ran away.

But the fact remained that it was still eerily quiet in my car, and for some weird reason my singing sounded worse without radio backup, so I popped over to to see what they had for me in the less than $800 and permanent hearing loss range. And lo and behold! There was a stereo (they call them car audio decks) on sale, and just waiting for me. And it has 4500 band something-or-others, and 95 hertz-a-thingies, and hands free bluetooth widgit-a-bobs, and best of all, the buttons have a pretty blue light behind them (which we all know is the real reason I bought it). So Happy Birthday to MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

And it showed up, and I ran it over to the nearest Best Buy, and the Geek Squad installed it for me, lickity-split. (Of course, they also charged me for a harness kit, and an antennae connector kit, and a deck-to-dash installation kit, but install was fast and since I hadn't figured out how to open the box, much less get the new stereo installed, I suppose the whole thing was worth it).

And now! Ohhhh it is soooo pretty! It plays the radio, and CDs (I had to play my Favorite Mix CD of two Moments Ago...sadly, Favorite Mix CD of the Moment was declared DOA), and it wirelessly finds my PDA and plays songs from my MP3 playlist, and it even calls people on the phone for me. (I suspect it also does my taxes and gives chair massages, but I haven't gotten that far into the instruction manual yet). And the blue glow! Did I mention the pretty blue glow behind the buttons? It's very StarTrek meets blue lava lamp. Intimidating yet soothing at the same time.

So if you pass me on the street, and I'm warbling along with the radio and making hands-free phone calls while bathed in a soft blue glow, you'll know what's going on. It's just me playing with my new in-dash thingamajigger-bob.