Just for Kicks...

You know those millions of quizzes on Facebook and Blogthings and whatnot that claim to tell you about your personality based on 5 random questions, only to come up with such a vague yet flattering result that of course you agree 100% with the diagnosis and thus send it to all of your friends?

Yeah, I love them too.

And in honor of those quizzes, I present this one:

What kind of book are you?

Normally, I wouldn't bother to post the results, but the words "quirky and eccentric" caught my eye, and I was like, "You know what? I AM quirky and eccentric!" And if 5 measly questions about my reading style could divine that about me, then obviously this is a very talented quiz. Here's me, in book style:

You Are Fantasy / Sci Fi

You have an amazing imagination, and in your mind, all things are possible.

You are open minded, and you find the future exciting. You crave novelty and progress.

Compared to most people, you are quirky and even a bit eccentric. You have some wacky ideas.

And while you may be a bit off the wall, there's no denying how insightful and creative you are.

Love in a Lemon Fresh Scent

Tony announced about a week or so ago that he had decided that it was our turn to host his boy's night poker tournament, and that he had invited all of his buddies over for this Saturday night. And since I heartily encourage Tony to socialize, I was fine with that.

"But", I told him, "You'll have to be in charge of getting ready for it since I have that reunion that I'm going to and therefore AM GOING TO BE OUT OF TOWN THAT WEEKEND."

And he said, "No problem."

And so I went about my own business. Except that I couldn't help but notice that all the little things that I would have been doing to prepare for this little poker/cookout shindig were not being done. So I said again,

"Remember that you are in charge of all the cleaning and the food buying and the making sure that the lawn looks nice and that the porch is swept and the chair cushions cleaned and the whole screened-in porch is covered with pollen so that probably all needs to be wiped down with a wet sponge and I AM NOT GOING TO BE AROUND TO DO IT".

And he said, "No problem".

Now, Tony is not a stupid guy. Nor is he lazy. He is a modern man, and is always happy to do his part with keeping the house looking nice. He's in charge of bathrooms and the kitchen (well, except for the glass table because the boy can not master the streak-free shine to save. his. life.), litter box patrol, taking out the garbage, and mowing and the spin trimming of the lawn. And he does all that stuff really really well. But I am usually (except for in cases when I WILL NOT BE IN TOWN) doing the sweeping and the dusting and the glass table and the weeding and flower upkeep and food shopping and all the special miscellaneous things like wiping the pollen off the porch and making sure that the patio chair cushions get washed and picking up the extra card table so that the 10 people (and one dog- don't ask) will have someplace to sit and eat and play poker when they arrive this Saturday.

And because I know that Tony relies on me to do that stuff, and I WILL NOT BE AROUND TO DO IT, I asked him when he was going to tackle what is normally my half of the list. And he said...


And I said, "Eh? What is this eh? You are planning to do the sweeping and the dusting and the de-pollening and the cushion washing and the food buying, aren't you?"

And he said "Eh".

And that's about the time that I realized that he was not planning to do that stuff at all! All that cleaning that I do? He considers that optional. Because in Tony's world, it does not matter if the fan blades are dusty or the patio cushions are dirty or the glass table has kitty prints across it. He doesn't care about that stuff, so why would anyone else?

Ohhhhh but I care. And I know that other people care (maybe not poker guys specifically, but you never know who's going to show up and be secretly disgusted that we let the fan blades get that gross, you know?) And while I don't require a surgical level of clean (my personal level of housekeeping is one step above "if the health department showed up, would they shut us down for this?"), I do like to keep things looking nice for when company comes over.

(I know it isn't PC anymore, but you know there are still people out there who think that housekeeping is the wife's job, and even if she gets hubby to help out, the final supervisory position falls to her. And if someone walks in and goes, "Ewwww! Fan blades!" I don't want them blaming me for the oversight even THOUGH I AM NOT THERE!)

So I had a choice. I could either run around frantically cleaning in advance, or I could just trust that Tony is a big boy and wouldn't embarrass us by inviting people over without cleaning the toilet first. So I left. (Okay, I did clean the pollen off of the porch and sweep it. Just to help him out, you know? But the rest I left to him). And you know what? When I got back into town later, it really was "No problem". He did a beautiful job cleaning. (Even dusting, which he hates with a passion). The house looked fabulous.

And I know you're probably wondering what the point of this story is, right? I mean, I'm talking about dusting here. And not even me dusting. Tony dusting. But I guess that is the point. Because sometimes it's just the little things. I really do have the most wonderful husband in the world. Not because he cleans (although yay!), or because he's a responsible guy (and he is), but mostly because even through he claims that absolutely NO ONE EVER looks at fan blades, he knew it would be important to me, so he did it anyway. WHEN I WASN'T EVEN THERE!

And no, it isn't grand gestures of devotion, or flowers and chocolates and poetry. But I think it's better. Because flowers die and chocolates get eaten and have you ever heard any of Tony's attempts at poetry? (I'll give you a all starts with Roses are red, violets are blue.) But a clean fan blade? A pointless clean fan blade? Cleaned for someone who wouldn't be there until later? How's that for letting someone know you love them?

Lady Issues

Warning: Today we're whining about sharing details of a most personal and slightly unpleasant nature. Male readers and those uncomfortable with the idea of "Aunt Flo" may want to look away now.

Oh Interpeeps. It is not the best of days for me. I am in the midst of a full blown attack of what Tony refers to as my "lady issues". And not the chocolate-craving, mood-swinging, crying-over-Hallmark-commercials (darn you mother's day commercial where the mom keeps all of the cards her daughter has ever given her!), but the more messy and less fun laying-on-the-floor-in-the-fetal-position-while-being-stabbed-in-the-abdomen-with-a-knife-from-the-insides issues.

Yes, it is true. My uterus hates me.

You know those women on the Kotex commercials who are smiling and laughing and going out with friends and playing tennis because they're not going to let their periods interfere with their lives? I loathe them. With every fiber of my being, I loathe them. Because I will not ever be one of those women. Instead, I am one of those lucky women who are cursed with an even more cursed version of the curse. Curse to the nth power. Those women have maybe three light days with no cramping or bloating or back pain and have been known to say things like, "Sometimes I forget that I'm even having my period!" (Oh it makes me want to smack them. Just climb up from my fetal position in the floor with my heating pad and my prescription pain pills and my ultra-heavy nighttime flow 360 degree super-absorbency protection and backup airplane wing coverage and beat that smug reproductive superiority out of them).

Oh sweet mercy! It's time for more Extra-strength Midol. Hang on.

I tell you Interpeeps, it's enough to make you wish you were a man. Or post-menopausal. Or both. And while my lady doctor assures me that there is physically wrong with me other than the fact that I'm on the "heavy end of normal", mother nature continues to donkey kick me in the ovaries for the first 5 days of each 28 day rotation. (Or 26 days, or 34 days, or even 42 days, because in addition to repeatedly taking a 2x4 to the gut, mother nature also likes to surprise me...makes the ambush more fun when you can't anticipate it).

When I die, God and I are having a sit-down about this, because it is a major design flaw. Really, I'm not sure what He could possibly have been thinking. (Unless of course it is just me, and the rest of you really are all Kotex commercial women with the laughing and the clubbing and the tennis playing and not a care in the world. In which case I will feel thoroughly cheesed off, because that is incredibly not fair). My misery? It craves your company, so even if you are one of those perky carefree women (please know that I hate you), I would like you to lie and tell me that of course you understand, you are right here suffering along with me in that you're bloated like a three day old raccoon at the side of the highway and that yes, your cramps could drop an elephant also.

And then somebody get me some chocolate.

Poor Dead Brother Larry

So the last time I was up visiting the Seester in Chicago, she invited a bunch of her co-workers out for cocktails and to meet me. Invariably during these kinds of things, someone always notices that I don't drink alcohol. Of any kind. Ever. (Or coffee, or carbonated beverages for that matter, but mostly it's the alcohol). It's not that I have any kind of moral or health reasons for abstaining...I just flat-out don't enjoy the taste. If you try to explain this to people, however, it always kicks off a game of "Have you ever tried..." (This is a game where people name off their favorite drinks and are just sure that you would loooooove it if you just tried, I'll order really!...You'll love it!...Okay, now take a sip of that and tell me you don't love it...really?...not at all?...huh...well, okay then. Then everyone is bummed and a little weirded out because what kind of person hates their white bloody Russian mai tai sunrise margarita tonic with lime?)

Anyway, I was explaining this phenomenon to Seester before everyone arrived, and we agreed that instead of dissing their nasty drinks, what I really needed was a story.

Enter Larry.

Larry, we decided, was our poor deceased brother. (Need an extra sibling? Just invent one!) Unfortunately, brother Larry wasn't long for this made-up world, because almost immediately after popping into existence, he was ruthlessly run down by a beer truck. (A small microbrewery whose name we didn't catch so as to avoid defamation in future retelling). It was all very sad, and I swore after it happened that I'd never drink again. Moment of silence at the table for Larry. Poignant lesson learned, and no one ever follows it up with telling me, "Dead brother aside, have you ever tried..."

Note: We did not actually ever use this story on anyone, so don't be sending me hate mail about soaking up fake sympathy for a brother that never actually existed. It was more of a joke just between us.

Anyway, we'd reference poor dead brother Larry every now and then as an ongoing joke, but lately I'd decided that poor Larry had gotten a little stale (no pun intended) and I needed to spice things up. Therefore, I am including a copy of the text message transcript between Seester and myself about officially retiring poor Larry:

From: Me
To: Seester
11:39 PM

Please be advised: I have decided to retire poor dead brother Larry. Instead, I shall henceforth tell people that regretfully, I am a mean drunk, and even though the manslaughter charges were eventually dropped, I loathe to ever allow myself to lose such control again. In fact, I will be so tortured that I will refuse anyone to even speak of the dreadful circumstances surrounding the event in question.

I believe this gives me a persona of mystery and hard won self-control while still letting people know that I am one bad mo-fo.

Please make a note of it.

From: Seester
To: Me
7:06 AM

RIP Larry. Anything in particular bring about these revisions to our dear family tree? Or do you just prefer to be one bad mo-fo?

From: Me
To: Seester
2:26 PM

Well obviously mo-fo trumps unfortunate sibling any day. But no, It just came to me out of nowhere and I decided that this would be better motivation with a more permanent outcome on my behavior. Plus it allows you to imbibe without appearing to be the heartless evil sister who never cared a whit for dear Larry or the ill-fated lessons his death teaches.

You're welcome.

From: Seester
To: Me
3:35 PM

We all cope differently. Got it. Dead Larry out, badass mo-fo in.
By the way, patto says we are sick for ever inventing and then killing off Larry.

From: Me
To: Seester
4:21 PM

Oh sure, like Patto never created and then offed a phantom sibling. Certainly not his long-lost twin Guido (or as I refer to him in my blog, Grubby).

Besides, we didn't kill off Larry. The beer truck did.

So. There you have it. Larry's out, my criminal past is in, my brother-in-law thinks we're deranged. (Nothing new there).

(Also, just as clarification, Patto is Stubby on here. Seester's Hubby condenses to Stubby, get it? And no, he doesn't actually have, or ever claimed to have, a twin named Guido, but if he did, I'd so be calling him Grubby. Or at least Gubby, but I like Grubby better).

Another illuminating example of why I am, in fact, insane. (And how it apparently runs in the family, poor brother Larry excluded).

Because Really, What More Interesting on a Friday Than Talking About Me?

It's Friday. I'm lazy. And you people need to know more random information about me so that you can be prepared for the day when I'm a category on Jeopardy!

Are you currently in a serious relationship?
Let's see. 9 years together, 7 of them married. I consider that pretty serious.

What was your dream growing up?
I wanted to be Zorro. I mean, he rode a horse, he had a sword, he wore a mask and cape. Can you possibly get any cooler than that?

What talent do you wish you had?
I'd like to have an affinity for languages. You know, be one of those people who can speak 7 or 8 languages fluently. Sadly, it doesn't appear to be happening. Dora the Explorer knows more Spanish than I do, and I've been working on English for three decades with only moderate success.

If I bought you a drink what would it be?
Probably water. I drink A LOT of water. I like water. It's my go-to beverage. I did that how much water should you drink daily quiz, and my answer was 95 oz a day. And I was like, yep, that sounds about right. Color me hydrated.

Favorite vegetable?
broccoli. I could eat broccoli for every meal. (Except I don't, because it never occurs to me to make it for myself. But if it just magically appeared on my plate every day? Yeah baby!)

What was the last book you read?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was really good. It's about a woman who takes a year off from her life to discover pleasure in Italy, find enlightenment in India, and balance the two in Indonesia. I don't agree with everything she says, but a lot of it will make you sit back and think. And laugh. And sigh.

What zodiac sign are you?
Gemini. Although Gemini horoscopes never fit me. Apparently, every other Gemini in existence is an outgoing, talkative party person. I'm like, "I love to party! By myself! With a good book! Maybe in the tub if I'm feeling really crazy! Woohoo!"

Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
Just the ear piercings. I wouldn't mind a tattoo except for that pesky fear of needles. (The piercings were made with an earring makes a difference). Instead I play with henna and temporary tattoos, which in addition to being pain free, also have the advantage of being able to change depending on my mood.

Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
I'm ambivilent about clowns. They don't really appeal or disturb me either way. Now, people in character costumes with giant heads? That's a different story. Those guys freak me out big time. Mascots, Disneyland characters, the Easter bunny in the mall- I'm giving them all a wide wide berth.

Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
Probably your conscience. I'm that person who absolutely cannot drop litter on the ground. Can't do it. Tried, and had to pick it back up again. Also shopping carts. I have to put them back in the shopping cart corral, no exceptions. I can't just leave them in the parking lot. So yeah. I'm probably not the one you want to take on your mad crime spree. (Although I think I'd be a really good partner in crime if it wasn't for my own morals. Like if I was allowed to commit crimes? I'd be all over that).

Ever been arrested?
Nope. See above answer about the shopping cart. I don't even jaywalk. I have Citizen Do-gooder tattooed across my forehead.

What's your favorite place to hang out at?
Either the air chair on the screened-in porch or the hammock in the back yard. Those are my thinking/reading/hanging/dozing/perfecting the art of stillness spots.

Do you swear a lot?
Actually no. When we were kids, whenever we were watching TV or a movie and someone said a bad word, my mother would turn to us and say, "Now we don't talk like that". I guess it stuck because I never developed the habit. I will say crap and sucks (if you consider them swear words), but that's about the extent of it.

Do you believe/appreciate romance?
I do believe in romance, although I also understand that real romance is not like one of those novels with Fabio on the front. I mean, that's great and all, but more often than not, romance is being the one to do the dishes, or clean up the cat barf, or to get out of bed and get me a glass of water when I'm thirsty. I guess my brand of romance is more a slow and steady burn than a raging inferno, and I'm okay with that.

I Can't Stay (or Sing, Apparently)

So I've really really been stuck on this Killers song lately. I play it on repeat over and over and over and sing at the top of my lungs. So much so that the cats come running in looking all alarmed to see what's wrong with me.

Is she hurt? Why is she wailing like that? Is she sick? Did someone step on her tail?

Which might be saying something about my musical talents.

But what do they know? They're cats.

Table Talk

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life had their Trash to Treasure garage sale this weekend, and because I'm a helpful sort, I volunteered to load up Tony's truck and be official treasure transporter over to the church where the sale was taking place. They had a great turnout and ended up raising about $4600.00, which exceeded their goal of $4000.00 from last year. Which is, you know, bad for cancer, but awesome for the rest of us.

What's also awesome is that even though I had every intention of only dropping off, I happened to spy with my little eye a most bee-uuuu-ti-ful glass and metal table with matching chairs over in the corner. (Okay, so it wasn't quite bee-uuuu-ti-ful yet, but it had potential. And there's nothing I love more than potential). And wouldn't you know that I had just very recently decided that we needed a new kitchen table set? Specifically a glass and metal one? One veeeery similar to that one over in the corner, waiting to go to a good home?

(I must admit that I do not usually shop at garage/yard/rummage sales because who has room for other people's junk with all my own junk sitting around? That and Tony tends to frown on all of my "potential objects with potential". But it doesn't count as junk if you were already planning to buy one anyway, right? Right?)

And wouldn't you know it? Just as soon as I finished unpacking my last truck load, that very same table and chair set jumped into the back of my truck and begged to go home with me. (Oh Interpeeps, I got it for a song. A song I tell ya. Truthfully, I probably could have gotten it for half a song, but it was for a good cause, and I figured that ripping off the American Cancer Society would be wicked bad karma, so I paid them a song's worth and then my table and I went tearing out of there before rival potential-spotters could catch on and start a bidding war).

So now I am the proud owner of an ugly table and chairs, albeit with potential, which is what I tried to tell Tony when I arrived home and he was all, "What the heck is this!?" Actually, it isn't really that bad. It just needs new paint and upholstery. So that's exactly what I did.

Well, tried to do anyway.

Sometimes when I see things, I know exactly what I want it to look like. Other times, the image is more fuzzy, and I have to just jump in and follow my gut. This was one of those gut times. So I started with a shiny aluminum (or as the British say it, awl-you-mini-uhm) spray paint because I have a dark blue wall as the backdrop of the kitchen, and I thought silver would really pop against it. And I painted, and I painted, and it did pop all right, but I didn't love it. Honestly, it looked more like one of those folding aluminum beach chairs (which, while I love the beach, wasn't really a look I was going for in the kitchen).

So then I started over with a lovely satin nickel paint to cut the shine somewhat. And I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed, but it still wasn't quite right. The sheen was right, but the color was wrong. Plus when I showed it to Tony, he said it looked like "old people". (Not sure what that means exactly, but as "old people" is not exactly the motif I was shooting for, it was back to the store for more spray paint).

This time I called my mom over to ponder the great mysteries of spray paint, and eventually we settled on a dark dark metallic-y black that I am calling graphite. And we sprayed and sprayed and sprayed, and FINALLY I was like, "This is what I'm talking about!"

Of course, as is the way with 80 bajillion different cans of spray paint, by the time everything was said and done, I had painted not only the table and chairs but the cardboard I had the furniture resting on, the floor of the garage, three fingers, half of my right foot, my jeans, the end of my hair (not so much spray painted as just drug through wet paint as I was leaning over the table), and the inside of my lungs...which just goes to prove that you really aren't supposed to breathe that stuff.

And then I repeated it all again three more times.

Speaking of my gilded lungs, they aren't kidding about using that stuff in a well ventilated place. I had the garage door open, but apparently it wasn't enough because when I first started spraying, I was thinking things like, the leaf detail on the table is really intricate. When I finished, I was thinking, "That design in the middle looks like sperm getting together for a meeting...I wonder what they're talking about?"

Oh braincells. How I miss you. And how I wish that every time I sit down to dinner now, I'm not going to be thinking about sperm pow-wows.

I also recovered the seat cushions. The cushion itself was still in really good shape, but the fabric covering had definitely seen better days. No problem. I just channeled my inner decorator and ended up with a neutral tan fabric that is popular in my house because it does an excellent job of hiding cat hair. (With our brood, cat hair is a given. Therefore all out furniture was specifically picked out to blend with cat hair...sad, but practical). A couple of hits with a staple gun, and viola! new chairs.The glass top was in pretty much perfect shape already, so all I had to do with it was just wipe it down with some glass cleaner.

And there you have it. A new kitchen table and chairs. And it came out really really well if I do say so myself. I'm just tickled graphite about it. I invite you all over to sit and brunch with me at my pretty new table.
Of course, with all the spray paint that I've inhaled over the past 4 days, I'm probably a shoo-in for lung cancer, so hopefully buying this set helps the Relay for Life find a cure soon.

Peeping Tom

So I'm downstairs in my workroom, playing with my oil paints, when I get the strangest feeling that I'm being watched. I glance over to the window and sure enough, there's a face staring back at me! Nose pressed to the window, gazing around the room all interested like he has every right to be there. (Meanwhile, I had jumped about ten feet in the air and yelled "hey!"). Talk about some nerve!

I've seen this guy around the neighborhood before, but we've never been properly introduced so I'm not 100% sure who he is. I think he lives in the house behind mine in the subdivision. Lucky for me, I happened to be appropriately dressed and there's nothing proprietary in my workroom to cause much of a stir, but I figured I'd snap a picture of the guy as evidence anyway. I mean, who knows how many houses he goes around peeping in?

So I'm turning the tables and posting his picture on the Internet so the world can peep at him instead. And that way if you see this fellow around, you've been warned that he's a voyeur: