Category Archives: everyday life

gird

Hi everyone! Long time. Please join me at the soapbox.

Gird up your pocketbooks, people. If you’re not debt-free, get that way, and get an emergency fund in place.

Everything’s about to get really expensive when the taxes go up drastically in January and all the ObamaCare regulations roll in on the businesses you work for and buy from (some already have, and companies have already stopped hiring full-time workers so they don’t have to pay the massive ObamaCare tax of being required by the government to buy health insurance for their employees), and the less debt you have, the better you’ll be able to deal with it!

We’ve been working through Dave Ramsey‘s baby steps since May 2011, and you should too. We’re almost done with our emergency fund, and then the real fun starts. We haven’t had any non-mortgage debt since March — no car payments, student loans, credit cards. We only have the mortgage. How much money could you save every month if you bought cars only with cash, paid off your student loans and credit cards, and quit buying things on credit? We have a significant amount per month more now that we’re out of debt, and we’re putting almost all of it into savings. After the emergency fund is in place, we will start chucking a ton at retirement and college funds, and the rest will go toward paying off our house. Can you imagine not having a mortgage? Can you imagine having that extra thousand, 2K, 3K a month? I can (for us it’s $1200). That’s when the real fun starts. That’s when you get to take big vacations and buy stupid things (only with cash, though!), and give a lot more to charity (real charity, not prison-enforced “charity” that you pay to the IRS), as long as it’s in the budget.

Eat beans & rice and cut out the luxuries (including eating out, alcohol — really, look at your alcohol expenditures and see how much money you’d save if you cut that out, tobacco, expensive clothes), and GET ON A BUDGET. Frank and I each still have an allowance. We each get a small amount every month that we can spend on anything we want. And that’s all. We don’t say, “Oh, I really want this, though, and it’s only $30, and we have $30, so I’ll just buy it.” If I don’t have enough in my allowance right now, I wait until I have enough saved up (we carry balances forward month-to-month, and I just make sure I mark in the budget that the full allowance amount was spent). It’s frustrating when I want something *right now* but it’s necessary. I live in a 1st-world country, so it’s all luxury. I’m not suffering if I have to wait until next month to buy the next Harry Potter book for my Kindle or wait two months to buy my Big Shot. We started with the allowance system back in 2007 when we realized that we weren’t making any headway with our finances, and that’s when everything started turning around. We also take 10% from any extra money (bonuses, royalty checks, etc.) that happens our way, and we put that in our “fun money” fund. We use that for eating out and non-fancy vacations, and if we don’t have money in our fun money fund, we don’t eat out, I don’t make sushi, and we don’t go anywhere that isn’t free. We have a small amount budgeted for vacation savings each month — yes, this is a luxury, but we need to visit family every couple of years, so we budget that. We also budget a small amount for Christmas savings each month so we don’t get hit with the whole thing in December — and it is a small budget. We don’t buy a lot of gifts for each other or for other people right now. It’s not in the budget. We occasionally splurge (for Buttercup’s birthday, we bought her a doll house), but only after both approving the splurge and putting it in the budget. Yes, we get each other’s permission to spend money that isn’t budgeted, because we’re married.

Set a limit for yourselves on money you get to blow, and you have a lot more money for the more important things, like life insurance, gas, saving for your next car (we’re about to save for a minivan so that when the new baby comes, we’ll have a nice used van for me to haul the kids around in), and groceries — which are about to get even more expensive. I’ve seen my grocery prices at least double in the last 4 years, and I expect them to skyrocket when we hit the fiscal cliff, which is coming, and it’s not racism telling you that, it’s math. January should be fun and/or horrific for everyone, especially people dealing with debt payments they can’t afford.

And teach your kids about living on a budget so perhaps the next gen of politicians can understand the importance of not spending more than you make and of saving money. And that people will vote for fiscally sane politicians in the future.

around the house

Random stuff:

Buttercup has this creepy serial killer look that she gives people. She also loves snacking on cereal. So one day she gave me the look.
ME: Hey, stop with your serial killer look.
HER: May I have cereal please?
***

Whenever she wants to be held, she says, “Mommy, I wanna pick you up?” When she wants one of us to rock her, she says, “I want Daddy to rock you.” And when she’s trying to avoid her bed, she says, “Rock you a little more one more song.” She may have us trained.
***

When she wakes up from her nap, or first thing in the morning, she says, “Mooooommmmmmmmyyyyyy! Cup-Cup all done in the bed!” Only bed sounds like “bay-ud”. Pretty sure she’s getting my Texas accent. Anyway, it’s cute when she does it, except one night when she was awake from about 1 until 5, and at around 3:30, I heard, “Mommy! I turn on da light. Cup-Cup all done in da bay-ud.” That wasn’t so cute.
***

For two weeks every two years, I watch every minute of the Olympics I can. I weep for most of it. Frank mostly says, “Huh?” and pauses his video game every time I say, “Did you SEE that??” I’m a good patriot but a bad wife, so I make him watch things like McKayla Maroney’s perfect vault (near-perfect my pinkytoe) and perfectly synchronized dives.
***

This morning, BC asked for more “do do do”, which is what she calls Brahm’s Lullaby. So I told her it’s called Brahm’s Lullaby, and she started saying, “May I have mo’ luddaby, pease?” She kills me at least once a day. She picks up everything so fast. She’s a little regurgitating sponge.
***

We’re doing gymnastics classes now (her, not me). She, of course, wants to do the scariest things, like walk all the way down the high balance beam with mom hovering and spotting and having panic attacks. But she’s pretty good at walking in a straight line, so I’m getting used to it. She hasn’t yet done a successful somersault and can’t yet jump, but it’s hilarious and adorable watching her try.
***

I’m learning to sew. Last week, I made a t-shirt. I’ve also made a skirt and pajama pants. It’s nice being able to wear clothes that fit. Next I’m making myself a dress, and I’m so excited about the prospect of wearing a dress that fits on top and bottom. And t-shirts and tank tops that are long enough.

Okay, babe

Oh, my husband. We’ve been together for seven and a half years, and we’ve called each other a number of things. There are the unisex nicknames that we call each other: Sweetie, Monkeyface, Bad Sweetie, etc. Then there are his names for me: Sweet-Sweet, Huggy Boodle (my least favorite), Sweetie Peetie, Princess, Huggy Snuggy, etc. I mostly call him Bad Sweetie, so I don’t have as many names for him.

So yesterday he was about to leave to go back to work after lunch, and I told him I’d see him later.

“Okay, Babe.”

That got my attention. My gut reaction was to immediately make fun of him. “Babe?” I smiled a little incredulously.

“Yeah. Babe.” He could barely keep from smiling himself, but he tried to play it cool and serious, like, “Hey, Babe, I’m the man. I am masculine and aloof, and I now call you ‘Babe’.”

Not that he’s ever had any problems with low testosterone levels or anything like that — he’s definitely the man of the house. All kinds of masculine up in here. But still. He was over-aloofing things, and it was soooo cute. Possibly sexy. Definitely sexy.

“Okay… If you say so.”

Tonight I was laughing about it atwith him, and he told me where this Babe phenomenon came from.

It turns out that Devon on Chuck calls Ellie “Babe”, and that’s why I have gained a new nickname.

I have a feeling he thinks I’m going to start calling him Captain Awesome.

And then what happens?

ME: I’m just not sure these birthday party invitations are kidsy enough.
HE: And then what happens?
ME: [laughing] Good point.
HE: People show up in tuxedos and top hats expecting a dinner party?

He keeps me in check.

neighborly

Today I was pulling out of the driveway, and the neighbor across the street (the one with the teenage son who has both a motorcycle and a monster truck and interrupts many of Buttercups naps because of his anti-muffler stance) waved at me for the first time ever. I waved back and thought, “Oh, how nice. My neighbor waved at me.”

As I was driving off, my brain processed the scene a little better, and I realized he was carrying a shotgun to his car. This didn’t seem the slightest bit out of place to me, but he was probably waving to appear less intimidating.

seasons

I lived in Fort Worth until I was just about to turn 27, and my opinion on seasons was this: Fall rules them all, winter is great, too, as long as I can stay inside, spring is okay but muggy and buggy, and summer is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone anywhere.

I moved to Amarillo and found that I wasn’t really opposed to any of the seasons; even summer was tolerable, because it’s a dry heat.

Then I moved to Florida, where it is summer from March until December and fall-ish from January to February and unbearably humid all year round. In Florida, I hated pretty much everything except February. Well, I could deal with November through March, really, but after March, I just wanted to die rather than have to go outside for anything. And I did love the summer thunderstorms, as long as I was comfortably inside with the air conditioning blasting and the golf course window blinds open so I could watch the beautiful show.

And then I moved to Boise. This morning at my workout, the instructor asked our favorite season. Fall is still my hands-down favorite season, but I was thinking about it, and here in the high desert, they’re all pretty sweet. The fall temperatures are wonderful, and when it’s too cold, we get to bust out the sweatshirts and flannel PJs and warm up with hot soup and cocoa around the fire pit. Plus football and hockey start, so I really can’t think of anything wrong with that brilliant season. Winter here is also great. I grew up without snow–I can seriously remember snow actually sticking to the ground ONE time when I was growing up. The snow was gone and the snowmen were sad sacks by midday. In Boise, we get a pretty decent amount of snow and have an actual good shot at a white Christmas. But we don’t get so much snow that we’re sick of it before January ever arrives. Sure, by the time March rolls around, I’m ready for some warmer temps, but I can deal. Also, no ice storms, at least not like the Metroplex ice storms. It’s pretty grand. Spring in Boise is amazing. My whole life, I kind of nothinged spring, but here, the temperatures are perfect, everything gets so lush and green, and the flowering trees are gorgeous. And while it is a little buggier, it’s not generally muggy (this year excluded). Even summer is tolerable. This summer has been more humid than the last couple, but I know this is the outlier in the bunch, so I’m okay. In Texas, it’s hot in the shade, and in Florida, it’s hot if you’re even inside the house and near a window, but here the shade is actually… well, shady.

I never knew I could actually love all four seasons. While summer is still my least favorite, I no longer dread it or hate it. And man, fall here is everything fall should be.

We picked a great place to live.

different

I work out on weekday mornings with a group of moms, together with our kids. At the beginning of every class, during warmup, we go around the circle of strollers and introduce ourselves. Name, child’s name, child’s age. And the instructor will ask a kind of getting-to-know-you question, so we each answer it when we introduce ourselves.

It turns out I’m kind of an oddball. I mean, we knew this. You’re all vigorously nodding your agreement. Two examples:

One morning, the question was something like, “Give me one word that describes motherhood.” This was the Mother’s Day class, and there were probably 30 or so moms there. The answers were things like “blessed”, “beautiful”, “joy”, “love”, “amazing”, etc. You get the picture. My answer was “sleep deprivation”, which, yes, is a phrase, but I followed it up with one word: “teething”.

My favorite recent question was, “What magazines do you read?” Hahaha. I stopped taking People and Entertainment Weekly years ago, and, well, we don’t read a lot of magazines. The answers were things like National Geographic, Organic Gardening, People, Conde Nast Traveler… you get the picture. And then it was my turn. “We only get Gun Tests Magazine.” Well, we do.

marital bargaining

I am the World’s Worst Dental Patient. I wish I could blame a dentist for that, but I held the title long before my 4-hour root canal a year and a half ago. I don’t really know how I got to be that way–probably my orthodontist. He had the most awful breath, and he was kinda blind, so he got up close and personal when he was hurting you. I also didn’t grow up having my teeth cleaned regularly; my first time was right before I had my braces put on in 8th grade, and my second time was right after I got my braces off five years later. So in my twenties when I decided I should be more proactive about my dental health, I quickly decided that was a bad idea, because I realized my teeth are just too sensitive for dental hygienists. Even for my friend Patti, who was my first semi-regular hygienist and was wonderful. By the time I was in my late twenties, I dreaded going to the dentist. To illustrate how infrequently I go, I have to get x-rays (which they take every two years) every single time I go in for a cleaning.

And then a year and a half ago, my fear of the dentist cranked up to eleven. My dental insurance was going to end the last day of July, so around the 25th or 26th, I went in. Now, I didn’t go in voluntarily–Frank had the dentist’s office call me to make an appointment. It had been three or four years since I’d been (some people avoid the doctor, I avoid the dentist). And since it’d been so long, I had five cavities and needed a root canal. That day, I had two cavities filled. Two days later, I had another two cavities filled, got Rickrolled in the dentist’s chair, and had the root canal, which, I will repeat, is so much worse than childbirth. Childbirth is like getting a massage compared to a root canal. The fifth cavity has never been filled.

Now. Frank has this thing about drinking water. It’s boring, and he hates it. He drinks black coffee, and he drinks anything sweet–soda, juice, whatever. As long as it has a non-water flavor. I’ve been on him about drinking water for years. He also doesn’t exercise much. He did for a while, but as soon as the baby came and our schedule got all wacky, he stopped, understandably.

So a couple of weeks ago, Frank went to the dentist. While he was checking out, the subject of me came up. He once again asked the office lady to call me. He told me that night that he had done that, but since she hadn’t called that afternoon, I hoped she had forgotten. Then Monday morning he went and got one of his cavities filled. I was sitting in bed in the morning, feeding Buttercup, and my phone rang. It was the dentist’s office. When the woman told me she had forgotten to call last week, but that Frank had just left and she told him again that she would call me, I just responded, “He is in so much trouble.”

Now I have an appointment for next week. She assured me that there will be numbing and nitrous and that they’ll be gentle with me. She also noted that the hygienist who worked on me before “was very good, but she moved to Texas, but we have some other hygienists here who are also very good.” I said, “Oh good. The hygienist who worked on me last time tried to tell me I didn’t feel pain when I did.”

Anyway, Frank came home at lunch that day. I told him I had an appointment with the dentist. He was soooo happy. “Yeah, sorry I have to make you go, but you have to take care of yourself… for your family.”

Oh. He’s gonna regret he said that. Because I looked at him with my angry face and said, “Fine. Then YOU have to take care of YOURself for your family. You have to start drinking water. And exercising.” I think he was surprised that I was as upset about it as I was. He agreed to do it. And I’ve been on him ever since.

This evening he was playing with Buttercup and asked if I’d go fill his water bottle for him. I looked at him. “What???”
“Well, if I don’t drink it, you’ll have an excuse to not go to the dentist.”
“That’s right. 64 ounces a day, dude. And after this appointment, you have to keep drinking your water if you want me to go back in six months.”

Because I’ll be watching. And if he misses one day of drinking his water… well, I’ll happily miss one day at the dentist.

Sunday’s dining adventure

Frank and I really don’t eat out very often. The main reason is money. We’re on a strict budget so I can stay home (that’s really important to both of us) and we can pay off the debt from our previous house, and any dining out has to come out of our grocery money. Since we’re gluten-free, our grocery budget is already huge, and I haven’t been inclined to make it any bigger, and I don’t want to eat beans and rice every day of every week.

This year, we’re going to be able to eat out a little more. I’ve added a few extra dollars to the grocery budget, and we’ve decided to stop just *saying* we’re going to try new restaurants and actually get out there and do it. We know we can get good gluten-free dining experiences at Chang’s and Outback and Epi’s and Cottonwood and a number of other pricey restaurants. We’re going to try some of those when money allows. But we also want to try decently-priced restaurants and see how their gluten-free experience is.

We tried to start that Sunday after worship. We drove to an Indian restaurant on State Street that we haven’t eaten at. It smelled wonderful when we walked in. But alas, it was lunch buffet time, and the place is tiny, so it was completely full, and we decided to try again later. Then we drove to a Santa Fe Mex kind of place I’ve seen a few times. Closed on Sundays. Argh. We went downtown, because we were already close, and decided to try the Indian restaurant down there. Also closed on Sundays. Across from it was a sushi place that is–can you guess? Closed on Sundays.

So we gave up and decided to just go to On The Border. We know the salsa doesn’t suck, and they have allergen-free menus available, so it’s easy to eat there, especially since I also have to be egg- and dairy-free right now (oh, and it’s going to get worse, because I’m going to cut way down on corn). On the way there from downtown, we passed by another “Mexican” restaurant we’ve never tried (see, we have tried very few restaurants), Cinco de Mayo, and decided to give it a shot. When we walked in and only white people were eating there, we should have turned around and walked out. We have yet to find good Mexican (or Tex Mex or Santa Fe Mex) here.

One trend we’ve noticed in Idaho is that the restaurants serve you bean dip as well as salsa while you’re waiting for your meal. That’s good, because the bean dip is usually good, while the salsa is horrific. Two of the Mexican restaurants I’ve eaten at here put basil in their salsa. Basil. I feel like Rachel Lucas, unable to find good Mexican food in my new home. It would make sense if Idaho didn’t have a Mexican population, but we do. The table guac was good, so I have to give them that. The mole wasn’t bad. But if you’re a Mexican restaurant and don’t have good salsa, it’s just not going to work out for us. It’s not me, it’s you.

Anyway, we’ve decided that Sunday is just the wrong day for our new eating adventures, so we’ll probably move it to Thursday evenings. You know, during Buttercup’s crankiest time of day. :)

Related: Susan has a great post on mainstream restaurants that cater to the gluten-free crowd. We don’t have a lot of those restaurants, but if you’re in the Metroplex, you do. Actually, most big cities have most of them. Go check it out.

Random

*Princess Buttercup has still not arrived (that’d be kinda sorry if she had and I didn’t let you know, huh?). Contractions started 22 days ago, and I’ve decided she’s a big ol’ drama queen. I have no idea where she gets it. Occasionally, there will be something different about the contractions or the way I feel, and I’ll think, “Oh! This could be it!” So far, it’s not it. But whatevs, she’ll be here soon soon soon! I’m due Friday, and my doctor said the max he’ll let me go past my due date is a week and a half, so she’ll be here by the 18th or 19th no matter what! He’s also offered to induce me at any time. I don’t want to be induced until it becomes medically necessary. Friday I’m going to ask his thoughts on castor oil. Have I mentioned how much I don’t want Pitocin? Yeah, I don’t.

*I have one more hospital story to write, because we went three times in one week way back when. There’s an actual good chance it’ll be written, since I want it for my pregnancy scrapbook and/or the Drama Queen section of the baby book.

*I’m really enjoying making the baby book. I have 1 finished page and a few other started / mostly done pages. Ok, mostly I’m enjoying collecting scrapbooking supplies with my allowance every month and learning how to use all the stuff I’m collecting.

*There’s a consignment sale for used crafting supplies in Boise Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So I’m torn about whether Buttercup should come before then.

*I don’t get the whole Tim Holtz thing with scrapbooking. I just don’t get it. It’s dark and messy, and while I can see the artsiness of it (some of it incredibly well done), I just don’t think it’s pretty. And everyone seems to be into it except me. I think it’s just the whole messiness of it. Looks like you just dumped out several bins of supplies and then glued them on a page and covered them in dark ink.

*The last month of pregnancy is murder on the pelvis. And the bladder. And the sleep. I now sleep sitting up in the glider.

*I’m up to 14 pounds now. After being at 7 pounds like a month ago. I seem to gain 2 a week now. Come on, Buttercup, get here so I can stay within my goal of 15!

*I’ve had every sign of impending labor except water breakage. You know, the one that counts.

*Rachel Lucas is back!!!! I both heart AND love her.

*Community is still the funniest show on TV. Also, the new Running Wilde (with Keri Russell and Will Arnett) is hilarious and has lots of references to Arrested Development. WATCH IT SO IT DOESN’T GET CANCELLED. Oh, who am I kidding? I love it, so it’s doomed.

*I’ve had this pain above my left ear (just above) for a few months now. Comes and goes. Mainly comes if I blow my nose or sniff or whatever. It started with nose blowing, because I’ve done that excessively since getting pregnant. So I dunno if it’s an ear thing or a jaw thing. I may have to consider seeing my general doc. Maybe I’ll ask her about it when she visits the baby in the hospital.

*My belly itches. No matter what time you’re reading this, my belly itches.

*Frank has become a master of the foot rub and the back rub. It’s my new favorite thing about him, and I’m hoping he’ll keep it up after the baby comes.

truth

HE: Sweetie, you’re definitely looking thinner from behind.
ME: Thanks! You’re so sweet!
HE: But not from the front.

Such a charmer.

Frank is definitely hetero

Ryan Seacrest posted a list of 15 signs your husband may be gay, and I was LOLing throughout most of the list. Not at the list itself, necessarily, but at the explanations for each point. So I decided to go through the list with y’all, using Frank as my guinea pig.

First, let me point out what Seacrest points out–that the list was put together by ChristWire. I’ve never been to that site, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s a humor site about Christians or something.

Ok, here we go.

1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers

Um, no. Frank doesn’t like the phone any more than I do, and he is very open about his late night use of computers.

Porn addiction is closely associated with homosexuality and a secretive nature implies he’s trying to hide something from you. Be on the lookout for a man who doesn’t want to web surf or answer phone calls in your presence.

Now, replace “porn addiction” with “Plants vs. Zombies addiction” and you might be onto something. And it’s safe to say that Frank definitely DOES want to web surf in my presence.

Texting is another favorite trick used by adulterers. For the sake of trust, a married couple should share everything, including phone logs, email accounts, chat friends and website histories.

Haha. I’ve seen him send a text. Texting, “Thanks!” takes about 5 minutes, so he would not be likely to use this trick. And if you’re wondering, we do know each other’s passwords for everything, and no, we don’t spy on each other.

2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way

I don’t think he looks at other men, unless they’re speaking directly to him.

When you’re out in public, does he spend too much time looking at other men?

I’ll let you know if we ever go out in public.

Is he fond of winking at people?

I think he winked at me once. Sarcastically. Also, is winking a sign of having teh ghey? I would never have known this.

Does he get visibly upset when someone does not return a compliment about his physical appearance?

Um, no. He’s only half-listening most of the time anyway, so it’s not like he’d hear a compliment.

3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups

No one would ever accuse Frank of even pretending to pay attention in church.

Have you noticed a lack of interest in spiritual issues?

Definitely not. He’s even listening to the whole Bible on CD right now. But that’s probably just a cover-up!

Does it ever seem as if he’s just using church as an excuse to spend time around young men?

Yeah, Frank doesn’t use any excuse to spend time around any people other than me. We’re recluses, for the most part. No, really.

Does he volunteer to mentor in all-male groups?

GASP! They have a men’s Bible study on Saturday mornings, and… and… and… HE LED THE STUDY A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO! I’m unclear as to whether he volunteered, though.

4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home

If by “overly fastidious” you mean “occasionally asks whether his pants match his shirt and requests a new $10 belt when his old one is nearly in two pieces from long use”, then yes, he’s overly fastidious about his appearance. Re: the home, I wish! Then at least one of us would be.

Natural men have a certain amount of grit about them.

This made me LOL, because I’m reading a book about natural childbirth, so I automatically thought you meant “men without fear and with the intention of not using drugs”. But anyway, Frank must be gritty, because I don’t think he’s made with artificial ingredients.

They sweat and they smell.

They don’t take showers? How do they get women to marry them?

Homosexuals often abhor this sort of thing

whereas “natural” men are always rolling in the trash to see how smelly they can get. True men roll in trash!

and will also be incredibly particular about the cleanliness of the home.

There’s your final answer right there. Frank is definitely hetero, because he wouldn’t have married me if he were incredibly particular about home cleanliness. And he certainly wouldn’t have knocked me up.

Does your man tweeze his eyebrows, trim his pubic hairs or use face moisturizers?

Um, ew. He might shave to make 2 eyebrows instead of 1 (I wouldn’t know, because I don’t ask), but tweezing would take way too much time away from his iPad. And I can barely get him to wear sunscreen, so I’m thinking no on the moisturizers.

Is he picky about brand name shampoos?

Now, that you mention it, YES! He hates it if the brand name shampoos I buy smell too girly.

Does he spend more time getting ready for a night out than you do?

Well, yes, but 95% of that is time spent drinking coffee in preparation for the horrendous task of leaving the house.

5) Gym membership but no interest in sports

No gym membership, but the dude does exercise for at least 15 minutes 3 days a week. I should worry, right?

Gay men use the gym as a place to socialize and to have secret liaisons in the bathrooms.

I had no idea that gyms were a giant gay conspiracy! And judging from their bodies, I’d say gay men might *possibly* also use the gym as a place to work out. Maybe.

They like to work out their bodies without the competition of sports play.

What?! People who work out with the only benefit being a good / healthy body?! That’s so gay!

Afterward, they use the showers and steam rooms to engage in sexual activity beyond the prying eyes of women.

Well, at least this habit will help them with their overly fastidious appearances.

If your man returns from the gym too exhausted to talk or have sex, that is a worrisome sign.

Um… Shouldn’t I also worry if my man returns from the gym full of energy? I mean, if he’s spending our money on ridiculous gym fees, I’d hope he’s actually, you know, working out to the point of exhaustion… Also, how do I tell if my husband is too exhausted to talk when he’s not that verbose to begin with? Maybe if he’s too exhausted to play Plants vs. Zombies would be a better metric. And my husband has never ever been too tired to have sex, so this does not apply.

7) Strange sexual demands

Fetishism is a sign that a man is seeking a harder thrill beyond the normal intimacy of heterosexual relations.

Presented without comment.

The woman may not appeal to the deep desires that are coming to the surface as the marriage drags on.

It sounds to me like this sentence is assuming that a healthy marriage drags on. Maybe that problem should be addressed first.

If there is a sudden interest in sodomy, sadomasochism, lubricants, role-play, sex toys or other non-traditional intercourse methods, this is clearly an indication of deep emotional abnormalities.

Okay, wait. Use of lubricants is fetishism and is in no way related to… lubrication? Poor women over 30, engaging in fetishism without their knowledge! You’re all deeply emotionally abnormal! Shame on your hoo-hahs.

8) More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films

Pornography is a dangerous element in any marriage but there are many Christians who feel watching it does add something to their sexual lives. If you have gone down this road and find that your man perks up at the sight of the men in these sorts of videos, you should be concerned.

Dude, we get queasy and embarrassed just watching True Blood together, and neither of us can look at the screen half the time. So no, we don’t do the whole porn thing.

If he selects films because of specific male actors, this is an obvious sign that he is suffering from a crisis of ego and desire.

You know, we do watch a lot of dumb action flicks, which tend to star the same old dumb action heroes… DANGER!

9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia

Ok, LOL. Any man who travels frequently to big cities or overpopulated countries is suspect! So all you wives who have traveling CPAs, lawyers, and salesmen for husbands, BEWARE! Highly populated areas are infected!

Some husbands will spend a great deal of money traveling far from home to hide their deplorable same-sex actions. Big cities offer indulgence of every kind.

Don’t I know it. The second we get to the big city of Fort Worth in November, I am indulging in some Braum’s ice cream and Chipotle, yo.

From gay bars and clubs to prostitutes and sex bathhouses, a man seeking encounters can find them easily if he’s so inclined.

Don’t forget the ice cream joints!

Is there ever really a good excuse for a husband to visit Thailand or San Francisco without his wife?

No! Only gayness happens in these places!

10) Too many friendly young male friends

What if all his young male friends are unfriendly? He’s safe?

Someone who makes an extra effort to surround themselves with younger men should raise concerns in any community.

Well, making an extra effort to surround themselves with younger women might raise concerns, too.

If this is the case with your husband, ask yourself if he prefers their company to that of women.

Let’s see, I asked myself, and no. He doesn’t prefer anyone’s company, only mine. See above where we’re recluses.

Do they touch each other or embrace in long hugs?

No, Frank keeps his arms firmly folded in front of him so that NO ONE will try to touch him or embrace him. He also carries a gun in case people don’t get the hint.

Do they exchange expensive, personal gifts like scarves or cologne?

LOL. I’m picturing Frank in a scarf. Again, I say LOL.

11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends

Oh, SNAP. Sarcasm and irony are homosexual traits?? Frank and I are apparently both gay.

A man who is secretly engaged in homosexual activity with others may exhibit feminine qualities when they get together in a group.

And sarcasm and irony are purely girlish traits. I knew his political satire was a sign of something being wrong with him!

In a sense, he has “let his hair down” and this will be seen in excessive back talk and speaking with one’s hands.

WHEW! Arms folded, so no hand talking. I was getting worried.

12) Love of pop culture

We’re conservatives, so we hate most of pop culture.

It’s quite common for young men to enjoy the science fiction end of popular culture

Oh, thank goodness!

but when your husband becomes overly obsessed with romantic and feminine shows, that is cause for alarm.

Uh-oh. Frank agrees about twice a year to watch a chick flick with me. We should seek counseling.

Gossip websites,

Does Hot Air count? I mean, it does have Hot in its name. Clearly gay propaganda!

Glee

!!! We watch this together!!!

and The Golden Girls

He thought Betty White was funny in that Snickers commercial!

are three well-documented icons of the gay movement that genuine heterosexual men avoid.

Great, thanks. Now he’s gonna stop watching Glee with me.

13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public

He’s very white, so no.

Does he go shirtless in the back yard or at picnics when other men are around?

That sounds like one of those leaving-the-house activities. Also, to be fair, shirtlessness can also be a sign that your husband is a werewolf.

Does he wear a speedo at the beach?

No, but there was one time when we were hiking in the mountains…

Does it seem like he’s purposely standing right in the middle of a crowd to show off his chest and arm muscles, peppering people with questions about how strong he looks?

Oh my goodness, do gay men do this? Because that’s hilarious.

He may be craving physical affirmation from other men and desperately looking for hints of shared desires in those around him.

Or he’s part of a comedy bit, because, again, that’s just funny.

14) Sudden heavy drinking

Alcoholism is a sign of homosexuality. Don’t tell the Irish, or they’ll start a fight with you. (Kidding, Irish. Don’t beat me up.)

Sometimes people dealing with an unbearable emotional issue like homosexuality will turn to alcohol to hide their distress.

Is this limited to homosexuality, or are there other emotional issues that will turn you drunk?

Does your man disappear on drinking binges for long hours without answering his cellphone?

All the time.

Is there a strange odor about him when he returns, some strange mix of cigarettes and gel?

Cigarettes + gel = signs of alcoholism.

Does he cry frequently?

He cried when we watched that movie Up. GAY!

15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay?

Oh, um. Actually, yes.

This is an important question to ask yourself when your marriage starts to have problems.

Considering that our problems usually consist of whether I have to sit through an episode of Farscape, I don’t know that I need to ask if he’s gay when this comes up.

Statistics have shown that women who have encountered gay men romantically in the past are the most likely to repeat this mistake in future relationships.

Whatever. I only had several boyfriends who turned out gay. Your statistics clearly aren’t true in my case.

If you answered yes, you should ask yourself whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion.

I hate shopping.

Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children?

Um, I’m a woman. Can’t they be equal?

Ultimately, it’s a question of getting your priorities straight!

Straight! Ha! ISWYDT.

I think we may be the class clowns of birthing class

Ah, but what did you expect from us? We never take anything seriously. I mean, I guess we’ll have to once the baby comes, but until then, we are 100% silly.

Side note: There were seven couples in our class, and only two of us (including me) have had no Braxton-Hicks contractions. I wonder if that means Buttercup will be late. (Not necessarily, I know.)

During the “here’s a very disgusting video about labor” video…

ME: They’re showing us porn.
HE: Then it’s negative porn, because I am so not turned on right now.
***

HE: I’m supposed to be supportive and tell you you’re doing a great job. I think I’ll say, “You’re doing an okay job, but would you be open to some constructive criticism?”
***

The video tells us to note the color, odor, amount, and time if the water breaks. Frank says to me very seriously, “So make sure to carry a measuring cup around with you.” I’m a perfect lady, so naturally I mime sticking a cup between my legs and raising it for a toast.

Then there were the relaxation techniques.

ME: Don’t forget to watch my chest and count my breaths.
HE: [Straight-up OGLING of the girls.]

The instructor nurse later had us try to relax by visualizing something super relaxing while breathing deeply. I was doing okay with this, but the ogling already had me giggly. I was visualizing myself finishing hiking the Grand Canyon, getting back to the trailhead, smelling the dirt and grass and seeing the aspen trees… it was lovely. She was trying to make me go to a meadow and walk up a little hill and leave my stress at the top of the hill and look at dandelions, but I was only half-listening and hanging out at the Grand Canyon. And then she said, “The billowy clouds…” and my eyes flew open. I almost said, “Really?” I felt like I was at a hippie poetry reading. Frank, still ogling per the instructions, saw my eyes and leaned over and said, “You be sweet.” At which point I lost it. And I couldn’t even do the quiet laughing fit. I was like the kid who’s trying so hard not to laugh that she laughs almost as loud as if she’d just let it go.

Teacher didn’t like that so much and started telling everyone (2 or 3 couples started laughing when I did) that it may seem silly, but it really helps to visualize. Her face got all stern and stuff.

Then later when Frank was doing all these relaxation techniques on me (raining, hailing, fluffing me like a pillow, smoothing me like bedsheets), he kept whispering to me that I need to think of it like a power-up during a video game. “You know how you have to hold the wand straight up for three seconds to get your spell to charge enough in Harry Potter so it makes your opponent stay down longer? Breathe like that.” “I’m not visualizing video games.” “I’m just saying. Take your power from the earth. Like in a video game.” “No.”

There were many more jokes he made that I can’t remember, and I didn’t write them down. I do remember one thing he said on the way home. “When it’s time for you to push, I’m gonna say, ‘Let’s make this INfant an OUTfant.’”

If he can keep me laughing through labor, I think I can deal.

Still not trained all that well

Last night, I was finally comfy in bed, and Frank pushed his arm under my giant maternity pillow.

ME: Uhnnnnnn. [my whiny grunt]
HE: What?
ME: You’re lifting me. I don’t know how you’re lifting me, since I’m a cow, but you’re lifting me.
HE: I’m super-strong.
ME: Not the appropriate response.
HE [laughing]: I can lift massive things!

He’s not even trying to pretend I’m not huge right now. Yesterday, I’m walking through the house…

ME: Ugh, I sound like an elephant stomping through the house.
HE: You have a big baby belly.

Hot date

Frank took me on a hot date Friday night (but first, he wrote this. I’ll pause while you awwwwww). I went dress shopping and came home with three options. This is the one I wore on the hot date:

Oh, and when I got home from dress shopping, Frank was home from work and had lilies waiting for me. Lilies are my favorites.

We had dinner reservations for Cottonwood Grille, a wonderful restaurant downtown next to the Boise River. Frank had specified when making the reservation that we would need to dine gluten-free. So when we got there, they handed us our 2-page gluten-free menu. We asked to sit outside. The patio is next to a big rock waterfall and pond–so pretty. The weather was nice and breezy, with just a little bit of a chill–if I hadn’t been pregnant, I would have been freezing.

We started looking at the menu, and I took forever to decide on what to eat. I’ve gotten used to having a maximum of ten choices at any given restaurant, so a full two-page menu was just options overload for me. Not to mention that they’d also given us a regular menu, and at least half of the items on that menu had gluten-free options available. Too many choices! :)

We shared a crab cocktail for our appetizer (I was starving when we got there), and then we both had the onion soup (without the crouton, of course). And when they brought us our soup, the waiter set down a basket of bread. “And here is some bread for you. It’s gluten-free.” !!! We never get to eat bread at a restaurant! So that was a very welcome surprise. I ate lots. And the onion soup was probably the best I’ve ever had.

It sprinkled on us a little while we finished our soup, and as soon as the family next to us moved inside due to the weather, it stopped sprinkling. There was only one other couple out there, and they were gone before our entrees arrived, so we had the whole patio to ourselves.

Frank had some scrumptious looking venison in a cabernet sauce, and if it had been a little more cooked, I would have tried it, but medium rare is just too raw for me. I had the stuffed prawns florentine with garlic mashed potatoes and some kind of squash. All was very good. The sun started setting while we ate our entrees, and it was gorgeous. We talked about lily pads and whether the ones on the pond were fake. We talked a lot about Buttercup, too, of course.

The waiter came and boxed up our leftovers and took our dessert orders. Frank had ordered a martini to go with his dinner and was only half finished with it when he got up to go to the bathroom. And as soon as he left the table, the wind picked up. I could hear it coming from across the river–the trees were LOUD–so I had a feeling. Sure enough, it was soon no longer breezy. More like mild hurricane-ish. The water started blowing off the waterfall and pond, Frank’s napkin went flying, I waddled over to get it and waited for him to get back so we could go inside.

The waiter brought our desserts before Frank was back, so I made an executive decision and just asked if we could finish up inside. So he took the dessert plates while I grabbed the boxed leftovers and Frank’s martini. I thought we’d just take one of the tables right inside the door, but I got to waddle all the way across the dining room, half-drunk martini in hand, six months pregnant. I avoided all eye contact with the other patrons.

Frank found me, and he wolfed down a yummy looking raspberry creme brulee while I had a yummy chocolate mousse, which he helped me finish off.

Dinner was gooooood. We decided it was too late to go anywhere else, so we went home, did some hot date stuff (IYKWIM), and watched half of the RiffTrax for Return of the King. Yes, we’re old, and our favorite thing to do on a Friday night is watch a movie with RiffTrax.

It was a great date. I wonder what we’ll do for our hot date next July, when we have a nine-month-old in the house. We’ll see!

Pavlov

HE: Hey, those are *my* Doritos!
ME: You handed them to me!
HE: I did?
ME: Yes, I reached out for them, and you just handed them right to me.
HE: Wow, you must have me trained like Pavlov’s dog or something. I don’t even remember that.

snippets

ME: Will you still love me if I gain 60 pounds?
HE: No.
ME: What about 30?
HE: That’s pushing it.
***

FRIEND: I take fiber daily. Keeps the bowels moving.
ME: Yeah, I’ve heard that. Wouldn’t know, I’m pregnant. My bowels practically move backwards.

Who’s better at math?

This guy?

Or this guy?

A 3000% price decrease! That’s 2900 more percents than you got under George W. Bush! Obama is clearly a superior president.

Recent snippets

ME: Do you want spaghetti or goulash?
HE: Spaghetti. I don’t know what goulash is, and I don’t like the sound of it.
***

HE: Bless you, Rowdi.
ME: You don’t have a soul, Rowdi.
***

ME: He’s a priest. He said hell.
HE: Priests say hell all the time.
***

HE: BAD. SWEETIE.
ME: You shouldn’t call me Bad Sweetie when I have a gun in my hand.
HE: Threatening Sweetie.

All Hallows Eve Eve

This was my costume.

Let’s discuss. First, the face, SarahK. What is with the face?? I’ll tell you. I don’t know how to use my camera yet, because I’m an SLR n00b, and I haven’t read the manual. Sometimes, it just won’t take the picture. It focuses, then just sits there like it is bored with your face and is therefore not taking anymore pictures of it. So this was Frank’s 500th attempt to make the shutter snap, and I was so over it. No one needs to see me as Luna. They already know I’m odd.

Next, the outfit. This was actually reader MonicaK’s idea, so I handily stole it without apology. I had the witch’s hat from when I went as Hermione a few years back, so I found the stuffed lion and hot glued him on. By the way? Really hard to find a stuffed lion these days. By really hard, I mean that Walmart doesn’t carry them. It seems they only carry FurReals and stuffed animals like that. No generic stuffed animals bin or anything. So I found my lion at Fred Meyer, and that sucker was heavy. If I didn’t lean my head back slightly all evening, the thing kept sliding down and pressing on my rad SpectreSpecs, which kinda hurt my nose. So all evening I looked like I was very interested in the ceiling and couldn’t be bothered to make eye contact with anyone. But since I think of everyone as my inferior, this was nothing unusual. Kidding.

Then there’s the ears. Yeah, so I made the earrings out of real radishes and real hooks, pins, etc. And since I barely function as a person with normal intelligence, I used big radishes, which are heavier than you would think. They hurt, and I was taking the right earring out all night (the left ear apparently feels no pain). Next time I decide to make radish earrings (when I go as the always popular Garden Salad, for example), I’ll make clip-ons.

Clothes. Well, I don’t have any witchy clothes that currently fit, so I chose jeans, boots (so no one could steal my shoes), a black shirt (which I forgot is totally see-thru in good lighting, a bonus since the Halloween party we went to was all church people), and a blue scarf. I would have preferred blue and silver, but I couldn’t find one, since I basically shopped for this while grocery shopping and threw it all together in about a half hour. And I couldn’t find my black robe, so I went cazh.

My favorite touch: The SpectreSpecs, which I borrowed from Frank. Yes, I borrowed these from my straight husband, who made up a story about them being a gimmick that his company gave him during his first quarterly meeting with them to show him that he had a bright future. Riiiight. Oh! My favorite part of the evening was when I said hi to our preacher, and he looked me over, disregarded everything but the glasses, and asked if I was Elton John. Hahaha. No, that would have required a green sequined suit and even bigger radishes.

I also carried a cauldron, my Harry Potter schoolbooks, and a Quibbler that took me about two minutes to make. I forgot my magic wand (a paintbrush).

One final touch: The voice. I got several compliments for being spot on (sorry, Caleb, I’ve been saying this for years, ya poncy git) with Luna’s voice. I also told a few people that they were covered in wrackspurts.

My favorite point of the evening was when Frank got up to get a drink, and J (sitting on my other side) moved on to another part of the room, so I was sitting in the middle of the couch by myself, and I felt it was appropriate that I was Luna Lovegood, the one with no friends. (Ann saved me from the no-friends thing a few minutes later.) Later, while we were waiting for the tally in the costume contest (I didn’t win), Frank stole my cauldron and school books. He gave them back at the end of the night, though.

Bite me, hippies

That’s the last time I go for a jog without my Pop Pop.

Yesterday I went for a walk / jog with Rowdi. I like to change up my route every day, but there are parts of my route that I usually see. I was on my way home, had gone out as far as I was going to. I was jogging down the street, and about five houses in front of me, a car backed out of a driveway. No big, cars leave houses and go to other places all the time. But my shin splints happened to flare at that moment, so I stopped and started walking.

Now, it took this car forEVER to back out and straighten up so it could drive down the street (it would be driving away from me). Then when it got straight, it just sat there for a second.

I’m a paranoid runner. I do have my iPod or my Kindle going, but I never turn them loud, and I am very aware of my surroundings. I know where every person is, every car, moving or stationary. And I always have my gun. . . except yesterday. Yesterday I decided to leave the Pop Pop at home so I could run without the extra weight bouncing around at waist level–I have a bulged disc right there, and I don’t like to aggravate it. I figured I have a big pit bull mix with me, so if someone tries to attack me, she’ll jump to my rescue. Of course, I didn’t figure cars into the mix.

So I gave this car a few seconds to back out, watching the whole time, naturally. It crawled. When it straightened out to go down the street, I kept walking toward it, waiting for it to pull away from me. I was still three houses away. The car just sat there. I could see a creepy old hippie inside with long, white hair. He was watching me in the side-view mirror. So I watched him. As I got closer, I saw his wife sitting next to him. Same long, white hair, but she was turned around and looking back, watching me. Both of them looked as if they felt superior.

I kept walking and watching them, and they stayed until I was well past the car and their house. When I passed them, I took my earbuds out so I could listen for a car door to open. My mind was anxious and well on its way to pissed off, but I kept my body relaxed so Rowdi wouldn’t feed off my energy and become anxious herself–I didn’t need the distraction.

I can be passive-aggressive, yes, but I also get aggressive-aggressive now and then, and I had to really hold myself back from it at this point. When I passed the hippies’ car, I turned and looked at them, hoping to make eye contact so I could glare properly. The man turned his head, pretending he hadn’t been watching me. The woman looked down. I wanted to run up, slam my fist against the driver’s window, and tell them exactly what I thought of them. I was angry by this point. At them for car-stalking me and at myself for leaving the house without my Pop Pop.

When I was well past them and they hadn’t started to move, I kept walking, but I turned around and looked at them again with a glare that said, “Get going, unwashed pigs.” When I turned back around and wasn’t watching them anymore, they finally started to move. Slowly. They drove by as slowly as they could, and my anger escalated to near rage. I seriously wanted to beat the hippies down, I was so pissed. You don’t do that if you’re a decent human being. You don’t car-stalk a girl and her dog, try to intimidate the girl or make her think you’re getting ready to do something to her. You just don’t do that unless you are evil.

They got well past me, passed an intersection, and then got close to the next intersection, at crawling speed. I was coming upon the intersection they’d passed when they stopped their car, about ten feet before the stop sign. I’ve gotta tell you, this is when I started calling them very bad names in my head, words I don’t even want to admit to knowing. And the things I was telling them to do in my head–let’s just say there was lots of apologizing to the Lord after that. I was so so so ragey.

I had to make a decision–turn down the street they had passed and let them out of my sight but don’t give them a clue as to where I’m going, or keep going straight toward them. I chose to keep going straight, because they’re freaking hippies, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before I’m afraid of a smelly hippie. And apparently, that’s all they wanted to know. Whether I was turning or going straight. Because they finally went to the end of the block and turned the corner, and when I got to the end of the block, they weren’t lurking around the turn.

I’m about to take Rowdi for a walk. I usually don’t let her pee in other people’s yards, because her urine kills anything green, but today she pees on hippie grass.

I’m a very supportive wife

ME: If you ever murder someone, you need to tell me.
HE: Okay.
ME: So I can turn you in.

Bad Sweetie

FRANK J.: Don’t worry. The worst thing you can ever be is a bad sweetie. I don’t think you can be any worse than that.
SARAHK: The best thing you’ll ever deserve is a bad sweetie.

Ohhhhh! BUUURRRRNNNNN! Zoom zoom zoom, bazinga, and bam!

Sometimes I’m so awesome it hurts.

Tour of the new house part 2

Part 1.

Okay, where were we? Ah yes. We just finished the kitchen and the ’80s wallpaper (some of it). Next is the livingroom. I like the livingroom. I mean, there’s work to be done in here, but it’s not so bad. For starters, I love the fireplace, which burns wood like a real fireplace. I love that–the smell and crackle of the wood fire. On the other hand, you can’t flip a switch and get the wood fire. That’s okay, though–that’s what husbands are for. I’m going to buy firewood this week so Frank can build me a fire, because we are apparently skipping fall and going right to winter after having a very hot September (it was in the 90s most of the month!). I might want to paint the mantel white or black, but I haven’t decided yet. And I’ve been inspired by sheila and have decided that the long wall there needs to be covered floor-to-ceiling in built-in bookshelves (except where the TV armoire will go in the center).

As you can imagine, I’ve already started ripping off the wallpaper.

Underneath the paper is a nicely textured wall (!!) and pale yellow paint.

Off the livingroom (and kitchen) is what is currently a reading cave and may have been a tiny dining room in the past.

All the bookcases are in there now, and I haven’t actually done any reading in there, but… you know. I could if I so wished. I’m pretty sure this fancy little decoration used to be a deadbolt, because this was the back door, and the gameroom is an extension.

What I do love about the door is that it’s pretty well soundproofed, since it used to be an external door. So sometimes Frank goes in the gameroom to write while I bang around in the kitchen with Buffy blaring on the TV so I can listen to slayage while I cook. And when Tarina visited, she went off to bed in the guest room one night, and Frank and I shut ourselves in the gameroom and karaoked for a while. Tarina never heard a peep. So that’s cool.

Oh, and this room, too, has wallpaper.

I sense a theme: Home is where the creepy heart wallpaper is.

Next is the gameroom, which I love.

Only… I don’t understand the color scheme. Blue trim, doors, moulding… white walls. Something a little backwards about that. I mean, I could understand if the walls were orange, because hey, BSU colors. But no, it’s white on country blue. Anyway, we have our office area when we first walk in, then the Wii/karaoke area, and then the other wing of the room is where the pool table will go once I’ve moved all the boxes out of that space.

The pantry is actually in the gameroom, and I’m glad it’s there. The house didn’t originally have one, so at least there’s one around the corner, even if it’s not in the kitchen. Do you love the valance on the back door? It’s blue/maroon with flowers and stuff. I might cover the walls in that fabric.

Here’s the powder room.


I’ll want to paint in here, replace the light fixture (not my style), and eventually replace the vanity, but it’s fine for now. Oh! And the floor–I don’t have a picture–is grey linoleum stick-on tiles with diagonal darker grey designs. The other bathrooms also have stick-on tiles, but they look fine. And the blue trim is all over the powder room, and the door is blue.

Next, we’ll tour the bedrooms.

Tour of the new house part 1

We’ve been here almost two months now, and it occurs to me that y’all haven’t even seen it! So I’ll take you on a little tour. I took all of these pics the day we closed and got keys, which is also the day before the movers brought all our stuff over from the rent house. I’ll also point out all the updates we’ll be doing (a little at a time so we can afford it). It’s a thirty-year-old house, and we think the extension and the wood laminate floors and the carpet are the only updates that were ever made.

This is the entryway. While I do feel a little old and wise with clouded eyes these days, I am not yet ready for the granny light. So that’ll be going away. Also, I want to either paint or replace the closet door (actually every door in the house) and paint the walls (actually, every wall in the house). But check out the peep hole. That is something I will be keeping in its as-is state. It’s like they always knew a really short person would live here, and it is perfectly SarahK-height.

Off the entryway, we have the ridiculously large dining room. It’s a great size, actually. Fits all the dining furniture my in-laws gave us and has a spot for the piano as well. I like the light fixture in here okay, but I’m going to move it elsewhere (either the guest room or the entryway) and put a chandelier over the table. Also, do you see the light switches and baseboards? They’re beige, and I hate that, so those will be going white soon, and the walls will be going NOT white. You can’t see the miniblinds, but they’re your basic metal, and they’re mauve. Mauve. At least we have a granny theme going, right?

Here’s the view from the kitchen, looking back toward the entryway.

The diningroom flows into the kitchen, which is workable for now. Which is to say that we’ll save for several years and then remodel the whole thing to get me my dream kitchen. There’s plenty of space in the dining room, so I can take over some of that to expand a little, or the little reading nook (which you can see at the other end of the kitchen) can become part of the kitchen. Lots of options. But for now, I have enough cabinet space, though I’d really love to have more counter space. The light fixture overhead is okay and has to be a hundred times better than the fluorescent lights they apparently replaced. The light over the sink is embossed with roses, so. Well. I’m not crazy about the ceramic stovetop–the one at our rent house was great, but this one scratches easily and isn’t easy to clean. The sink is insanely shallow, and I’m of two minds about that–on the one hand, I can’t let dishes stay in the sink, or I’m putting them on the counter after about three dishes, and on the other hand, I can’t wash anything without splashing water all over the floor and behind the sink. I would like new cabinet facing, or maybe just to paint what’s there.

Here you can see the small wall better.

I didn’t realize until I was baking something in the oven that the oven is pretty runty. I might later decide to replace the microwave with a second oven and put a microwave above the stove or something. We just got the deposits from our rent house back, so we’ll be getting a new refrigerator with that money. It kinda sucks, though, because I measured everything, and we’re going to have to get a counterdepth fridge, and those have less space and cost several hundreds more. But we will get to put the one that came with the house in the garage, and I can’t tell y’all how excited I am about having two fridges. TWO! After the apartment-sized fridge of the rent house, it’ll be like upgrading from the little Fisher Price house to the Barbie dream house. I can have an entire fridge devoted to pickles!

I love the brick behind the sink, and I think the thing hanging over it is a window from a very old door. Love that too.

And I’m sure y’all noticed this atrocity:

That’s right, peepies. The last remaining cottages-hearts-baskets-roses wallpaper is pasted to my kitchen walls. Maroon, mauve, beige, and country blue, mmm baby. I don’t know if I can get rid of something so current.

Next I’ll show you the livingroom, reading nook, and gameroom.

Splish splash, baby

Saturday evening, we went whitewater rafting on the Lower South Fork of the Payette River. First, let me give you some advice if you’re ever going whitewater rafting on a hot August day: go in the evening. It was beautiful on the river. The water was cold, but not too cold because of the time of day, there was a nice warm breeze between rapids, and the sun hid behind the mountains most of the time, so no sunburn.

We went with Cascade Raft and Kayak again. Last summer when we went, we did a full day, where most of the day is spent lazily floating the river with rapids spread out throughout the day, they feed you lunch, and you have a lot of time to sit and look at the scenery. That was fun. This time we did the half-day trip, which is three hours, and most of that is spent in rapids. I can only remember two or three spots where we had a lot of time for conversation and checking out the scenery.

We went with Laura (aka Elle) and her husband Jesse. The drive on the bus from Cascade was fun, because once we made the turn at Banks (a turn I missed, once upon a time, and will never miss again), we could see the whitewater we would soon be navigating. And, uhm, it was really white. Also funny, because there was a group of ten Asians going on this trip, and we all got up to look at the whitewater, and while my eyes were going huge with the knowledge of my impending doom, I suddenly heard a LOT of very high-pitched oohs, ahs, and things I didn’t understand. The Asians were very excited and also could not believe they were about to do something so intense. They were cute, because the guys were even louder with the scared noises than the girls.

We parked and got the big safety talk. What to do in a number of situations–it’s one of those talks that makes you want to crawl under the bus and cry for mommy. During the talk we learned that our safety kayaker (the kayak that stays with the rafts to help people who’ve gone overboard) was a guy named Andrew. I say guy, but what I mean is kid. He looked twelve. We later learned that he’s sixteen and an expert kayaker and can be your bestest friend if you’re the man overboard. A little scary to know that your life could very well be held in the hands of someone who can’t even buy cigarettes yet, but we watched him do his thing, and he knew what he was doing.

The four of us got our life jackets, helmets (!!!), and paddles, and then we got a guide and raft to ourselves, which was cool. We were the first raft to put in. The water was coooooold on our feet when we walked the raft in, and Kevin was like, “Don’t be shy, you’ll be getting a lot more than your feet wet.”

We had one or two Class II rapids first, if I recall correctly, and then we did the Class III Bronco Billy.

We’re making great faces in this picture.

I think between Bronco Billy and our next big rapid, Staircase, was when I did something I will never tell our theoretical children about. I rode the bull. It’s not kinky like it sounds. I got up on the front of the raft, threw my legs over the front, and held on for dear life while we went through a rapid. I think Class II, but maybe Class I. I held onto a carabiner (attached to the front by our guide, Kevin) and one of the ropes on the side of the boat. It was exhilarating and scary and had me in scream-giggles until I snarfed water. Even after that, it was fun fun fun. Sadly, no pictures of this event are available.

Our next big rapid was the Class IV Staircase, the signature rapid for the Lower South Fork of the Payette River. It’s a third of a mile long, and avid rafters from all over the states have either traveled to do this rapid or heard of the rapid at one time or another. And it lives up to the hype. When we saw it, before we were in it, Elle and I gave each other looks that said everything from, “Oh, crap. We’re all gonna die,” to “Who’s gonna take care of my cats when I’m gone?”

I love this picture of Frank and Jesse. I don’t know what happened to Elle, but you can see my paddle and my helmet there behind Jesse. Kevin’s gone, too.

I love this next picture for one reason: Seeing Frank take a wall of water right in the face.

Staircase was so. much. fun. When we were done, we had a big hi-paddle-five, whooped, hollered, all that. It was AWESOME.

After Staircase, we did Fake Slalom, which I think is a Class II or III–I think II, and then Slalom, which is a Class III or IV, I can’t remember which–I think IV. It has two big drops, and the rest is easy. But the drops are insane, and Jesse and I almost flew out of the raft at the same time, and I was grabbing for the rope across the middle of the raft. It’s crazy when you feel your butt come several inches off the raft, and your whole body starts to lurch. If you don’t have your feet set right and one wedged in the raft, you’re going for a swim. We all managed to stay in the raft.

One of us got caught on film not paddling! Shame shame!

Again with the faces. Elle’s kills me. She’s just so happy to be there, not working. Haha. And Frank is so determined to beat that rapid into submission. Either that, or he’s reaaaaally concentrating, looking for Aquaman.

We had one more rapid, right at the end where the South Fork meets the North Fork. The water is about twenty-five degrees warmer where they meet, and as soon as you go into the rapid, you feel like your feet are in a warm bath. This is where Elle decided she would ride the not-kinky bull. She enjoyed it, but instead of snarfing water like I did, she got slammed back into the boat by a rather rowdy wave. The guys were no-shows on the bull riding, because they’re sissies. ;-)

We had a great time. I’m in love with whitewater rafting and can’t wait to do it again when my sister’s here next week!

Taunted UPDATED

Ok, so my hammock taunts me. Absolutely taunts me. It knows that I retire today, and it most certainly knows that I plan to spend at least a little bit of every day lying in it reading my Kindle, sipping fresh-made veggie juice (I’m a boring excuse for a leisurely housewife, I know), yelling at the dog, etc.

So my hammock stand arrived Wednesday (thank you, bikermommy, for the Amazon certificate that bought it), and I assembled it Wednesday night after our Bible study group left. It took about ten minutes, because it’s the easiest assembly ever. So Frank came out to help me, and I was putting the S-hooks in each end of the stand. I asked him to go get the hammock from the garage. He brought it back, and when I went to hang it… the chains are too short, and my hammock doesn’t reach to both ends! I was sure I would be testing out ye olde trusty hammock before I went to bed Wednesday night… you know, to prepare myself for how awesome my afternoons will be.

So I need my extension chains. I have them, you know. In a box. In the garage. I went out and checked all the boxes. My boxes are labeled in detail. If there is a screwdriver in the box, it says so on the outside. Screwdriver (phillips). Dryer cord. Vise grip. 5/8″ wrench. (Ok, not as detailed as to tell the size of the wrench, but you get the picture.)

Naturally, none of the garage boxes is labeled with “hammock chains,” even though I clearly remember labeling a box with hammock chains. I know I did it.

Which means that I have to unpack the garage boxes this weekend so my hammock is available to me on Monday. If I get all the way through the boxes with no hammock chains, I may have to go back to work. Or Home Depot, I don’t know.

UPDATE: The chains have been located. By accident, really. I was scanning my gameroom boxes for something else, and there with my softball glove were the hammock chains.

Four days

Including today.

Six days

Including today. Then I’m retired! Here’s a list of some of the things I plan to do during my retirement (in no particular order):

Write novels.
Cook.
Clean.
Read.
A lot.
Hang out in my hammock with my Kindle.
A lot.
Walk the dog.
Exercise.
Get in shape.
Spend a lot more time on the IMAO/mm/SRM blog empire.
Blog.
A lot.
Make t-shirts, including that one I promised Tracey.
Scrapbook decades of pictures and movie stubs and such.
Bead. I like to bead. I apologize.
Hike on weekends w/ my sweetie.
Study the Bible more.
Hopefully a lot.
Take care of the house.
Play.
A lot.

He’s the sweetest and the cutest, and I love him the best!

The card reads, “From your secret admirer who is also your husband. I got you flowers since they are pretty like your face. I can’t even remember life before you.”

Taunting

There’s an exit sign about twenty feet from my desk at work. I’ve decided that the reason for its existence is to taunt me. It teases me with its bold red letters, the energy it sucks from the room and from me to keep itself on, the door it hovers over (a little creepy, if you ask me, all that hovering).

Monday one of my coworkers gave her notice. She found a great job and only has to come here until the end of next week. Lucky girl.

And then there’s me. Yes, I should be grateful that I still have a job, and I am grateful that I have the paycheck. The job, not so much. I won’t go into it here, but let’s just say that it’s not a fun environment–barely even tolerable. Also, the work has devolved into a massive pile of bore. For the last three months, I’ve felt like I’m just taking up space, and they’re probably only keeping me just in case everyone else gets a job. Or as headcount on the health insurance. Or so they can laugh and the exit signs can taunt me.

Since my coworker gets to scoff at the exit signs and get out of this soul-sucking place, I’m taking over her work. And now suddenly it looks like they actually need me here again. I have nine years of accounting experience, and I’ve only become useful again because a staff accountant with a little over a year of experience is leaving.

How twisted is that? It’s demeaning.

I know why things have turned out the way they have, and I don’t know if I’ll ever blog about it, but to give you a hint, there are some people in this world who are only happy when they make everyone else around them miserable. It’s hard to hate those people, because they’re so pathetic. I mostly pity them. Mostly.