Sunday, January 31, 2016

no ifs, ands, or butts about it

It seems hard to believe that last Sunday we were digging out from two feet of snow, and this week it was warm enough to go for a long late afternoon walk outside.

In a light jacket.

With no gloves.

I walked a new route this afternoon.  Down the hill and around the church on the next block.  It was lovely.

As I walk I like to look at houses and get decorating ideas.  Most people have their outdoor decor away for the winter, but as I rounded a corner I could see a house up ahead with lots of decorations on their lawn.

As I got closer, this is what I saw.

A skeleton.  Riding a bicycle.  Next to a statue of the Blessed Mother and a deflated Santa.


The houses in our neighborhood are all similar styles, but vary a little bit in structure.  Most of the homes have large picture windows in the living rooms, and I think it's so interesting to see how people decorate them.  Lots of people have large vases with flowers.  Some have candles.  There is one house with all different colored glass vases.

And then, I came upon this house.

It's a little difficult to see, and to that I say YOU'RE WELCOME IN ADVANCE, but in the window are various statues of, well, butts.

It's like A Christmas Story gone R rated.

Maybe I'll walk around a different block next time.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

we certainly didn't go hungry during the blizzard of 2016

Well, Matt just looked over at me and asked, "Have you ever wondered what the oceans would be like with no water?"

After I told him that no, that's not a topic I've ever pondered, he said, "With water-less oceans, we would be living on giant mountains.  And mountains are like the goosebumps of Mother Earth."

Basically what I'm saying is we have been snowed in long enough.

All last week the weather reports called for a big storm Friday and Saturday, but since the meteorologists cried blizzard one too many times last year only to see storms that "significantly under-performed" and had "high bust potential," I figured we'd get ten inches tops.

However, I did go to the grocery store on Friday just to see how crazy it was, and also because Matt had texted me that morning that he'd run into the store before work to secure milk, and he left it in his truck which he'd parked in the grocery store parking lot.  I went to get the milk out of his car and discovered he'd purchased two big gallons of top of the line organic milk.

Well.  There is a man who bought into the hype.

I also purchased the blizzard necessities while I was at the store, which was experiencing Thanksgiving busyness times ten, including the following items that made complete sense to me while I was shopping but didn't quite make as much sense once I got home: cottage cheese, a jar of gravy, trail mix, a pack of chicken breasts, three Asian pears, a giant bag of broccoli, and syrup.  With the exception of the chicken and the broccoli, we don't eat any of those items on a regular basis.  But if we wanted them during the BLIZZARD OF 2016, we'd have them.

And could wash them down with a glass of organic milk.

The snow started falling on Friday evening and didn't let up for 26 hours, leaving us with a final total of about 25 inches.  Matt could hardly sleep on Friday night and when we woke up he bounded down to the kitchen to make his Famous Snow Day Breakfast which included chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, and bacon.

It was cold and windy and we spent the day alternating between trying to keep up with the snow removal and lounging on the couch watching wall to wall snow coverage which is my favorite thing to do.  Nothing beats ten hours of watching poor news reporters stand in desolate intersections, sticking their rulers in snow drifts and interviewing snow plow drivers and the occasional gas station customer.  I love it.

I also read, sewed, and drank more mugs of coffee and tea than I could count.

We also decided to roast a turkey and make a complete Thanksgiving dinner, so it's a good thing I picked up that gravy on Friday.

The snow was over when we woke up this morning, so Matt made eggs (in a heart) for breakfast and we cleared the driveway one last time.

Then we made a run to Walmart for salt because we didn't have any, which was a ROOKIE HOMEOWNER MISTAKE.  But the power was out at Walmart and Lowe's was out of salt, so we came back home to continue relaxing.

I just found out that my meetings for tomorrow are canceled, so it looks like another day at home for me.

I just wish that meant another delicious breakfast.

But I can have milk.  And cottage cheese.

Monday, January 18, 2016

i'll shred 30 cups of cheese for her birthday, but that might be my limit

I am sitting here on Monday night trying my hardest to think back to Friday, and it feels like it was  so long ago.

That's how you know you had a good weekend.

I do remember that Friday involved a staff meeting that lasted 30 minutes longer than planned because expense reports were on the agenda, and expense reports always go hand in hand with controversy and an extended discussion about mileage and points of origin.

After work I went to my parents' house.  They were hosting my niece's baptism party on Saturday afternoon, and since my mom was fighting a little cold I dropped by to offer my culinary expertise.  I'm proud to announce that my culinary expertise is increasing now that I have my very own gigantic yet outdated kitchen to cook in.
(I know you're jealous of that wallpaper and sweet wood paneling.  Not to mention the fancy faux brick vinyl floor and plastic wood ceiling beams. I have BIG DREAMS for our summer '16 remodel.)

But, I still wasn't prepared for what my mom told me when I arrived.

"Okay, we are making macaroni and cheese.  And we have to triple the recipe."


You mean 1 3/4 cups TIMES THREE? 

I haven't done math like that since the fifth grade.

I don't know if my mom saw the fear in my eyes, or if she was tipped off when I asked for a pen so I could work out the actual math problems, but she saved the day with the suggestion that we first double the recipe, and then make a single third batch.  She made me feel better by saying that strategy would work better with regards to ratios and ingredients, but part of me thinks she doubted my math skillz.

Which is a completely legitimate concern.  

In addition to successfully doubling the recipe, I must add that I single-handedly shredded TWENTY SEVEN CUPS of cheese.   

I can honestly say there are very few people in the world I'd shred twenty seven cups of cheese for.  

Annabelle is one of them.  Can you blame me?

The baptism and the party went off without a hitch and Annabelle couldn't have looked cuter or been a more perfect goddaughter. 

Also, I can now add godmother to my resume. 

 And professional cheese shredder.

Monday, January 11, 2016

a glimpse into the life of a lottery winner

Matt had off of work on Friday and had big plans to insulate the crawlspace in a valiant effort for optimal energy efficiency.  He'd gone out on Thursday night and bought twelve rolls of insulation so he could jump right in on Friday.  When the time came, he enthusiastically shimmied into the crawlspace only to shimmy right back out and cancel the project because THE CRAWLSPACE WAS ALREADY INSULATED.

I thought he'd done the proper recon before going to all the trouble to buy and transport the insulation but evidently not.  So we spent Friday evening returning twelve jumbo rolls of insulation to Lowe's.


In Matt's defense, the insulation in the crawlspace didn't look like traditional insulation.  But still, word about the mishap traveled fast because a few hours later we went to my brother in law's house and he and his girlfriend had already heard the story.  We ate dinner with them and then Matt and his brothers went outside to make a fire in the fire pit.  It was freezing so I stayed inside with my sister in law and nephew and tried to get him to walk on his own by luring him with exciting things like the remote control and chocolate chip cookies, which are pretty much the two things I'll get off the couch and walk for.

But he completely refused to have any part in walking.  And then we got a video on Sunday of him walking all the way across the room like he'd been doing it for years.  I guess he doesn't like an audience.

On Saturday Emily came over to spend the day with us which was very exciting and involved things like shopping for groceries and a new winter coat for Matt.  Matt has high coat standards.  He is currently searching for a dressy, warm coat with a hood, no fur of any kind, and it must be waterproof, but not feel waterproof because he does not like that texture, and he likes the brand London Fog.

We are looking for the unicorn of outerwear.

Sunday was the day we found out that we'd won the lottery.  After we called an attorney and an accountant, we talked about what to do with all our money.  Since we only won four dollars that conversation didn't take very long.

It was sixty degrees outside so we (Matt) took advantage and painted some woodwork on the back porch.  Then we put another coat of polyurethane on the office floor.  I was ready to relax after that, but we asked ourselves WWCAJD (What Would Chip and Joanna Do), and decided to tackle some wallpaper removal in the master bedroom.
 The wallpaper has actually been a hit with the over 70 crowd who has visited our house, but I wasn't thrilled with the idea of vines with grapes and various berries on the walls of the master bedroom.

So down it came.

And this is where we currently stand on that project.

The worse the before picture, the better the after, right?

Please say yes.

If not, I might use some of our lottery winnings and hire a professional for this job.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

an HVAC career is not in my future

Well, I am still working from home several days a week, and this experience had officially turned me into the girl who moves her houseplants around to various locations throughout the day to maximize sun exposure.

Since I spend so much time at home I've appointed myself president of the neighborhood watch.  On Sunday afternoon, I noticed that there were two police cars outside.  I alerted Matt to the presence of law enforcement, and I stood at the front door while he ran upstairs to the bedroom to see what he could see from that vantage point.

A few minutes later two cops came out of our neighbor's house, meandering to their cars and laughing.  The situation didn't appear to be dire to them, but it was to me because they were parked in front of our house I didn't want the other neighbors on the street to think we are a couple of felons.

And then yesterday, as I was moving my houseplants to their 9:30-10:45 location on the kitchen table, I noticed a giant wire laying on the ground in our backyard.

So, I did what any normal person would do in that situation and called the non-emergency number of our local police department, and five minutes later Officer Davis was knocking on my door.

And then Officer Davis informed me that Verizon was running new cables in the neighborhood.

Part of me was embarrassed, but mostly I was just happy it was a quick visit and hoped the neighbors didn't see the cop car outside our house for the second day in a row.

I'm happy to report I didn't call the police today, but kept myself occupied by texting Matt updates of when the heat was turning on and off.  I thought it was running excessively, but finally at about 1:00 this afternoon and after my fifteenth update, Matt finally said, "I'm really not surprised that it's on so much.  It is 20 degrees out today."

But, when Matt got home from work tonight he checked the damper and the heater and the vents.  As his final check, he asked me to run up to the heater vent by the front door.  He would make some adjustments and asked if I'd yell down to tell him if more or less heat came out.

Well, I knelt down in front of that vent and I wasn't surprised at all the house was chilly.  The heat was hardly coming out at all.  Matt made the adjustments and after each one I said, "no change, no change."

He came back upstairs bewildered, and then he looked at me sitting at my post and said, "Well, you're sitting in front of the cold air return, not the heating vent."

That could have been part of the problem.

I think I come by technological confusion easily though.  My mom, sister, Mommom, and great Aunt Joan came over for lunch this weekend.  Matt had to move my aunt's car, and when he came back inside to give her the keys he said, "Wow Aunt Joan, I see you sprang for the remote start."

And she said, "Oh you're kidding.  I did? I've had that car for ten years and I had no idea."

But I bet she would've been able to correctly identify a heating vent.

Friday, January 1, 2016

starting 2016 with a new garbage disposal and without a pair of corduroy pants

The other night as I was cleaning up from dinner and rinsing some plates in the sink, I smelled a terrible, terrible smell.

So like all good wives do, I said to Matt, "Something really stinks over here, you come here and smell it."

With a whiff and a reach into the drain to discover old broccoli, tuna fish, and other unidentifiable food, we knew Wednesday night was going to be the night we replaced the garbage disposal.

Matt had purchased a new garbage disposal on Black Friday that we planned to use when we remodel the kitchen, so we conveniently had one on hand.

I was downstairs when Matt started on the project, but when he walked through the family room to his workshop to get some tools, he said, "Do you think you could write a blog about this?"  So here's Matt, happily prepared to replace the garbage disposal.  This smile was before he realized that it had been on there for 40 years and was therefore terribly corroded and almost impossible to remove.

After several minutes trying to remove the old disposal, Matt said, "Hmm, maybe it actually twists the other way."

And then "Well, I might just have to take the torch to it."

It was after that last line that I took my mom's advice about what to do when there is a plumbing project going on.

"Always leave during plumbing."

Of course I didn't actually leave because it was 7:30 on a week night and who goes out at that late hour?  But I did go upstairs and reorganize our closet and got rid of several things I haven't worn since college, yet have moved with me to three apartments and a house.  I'm talking to you, l.e.i. brand tan corduroy pants that I actually wore OUT TO A PARTY in college.

With a navy blue polo shirt.

When I was finished with my closet reorganization project, I went town to the kitchen to discover Matt had the brand new garbage disposal up and running perfectly with its powerful 3/4 horsepower motor.

So in 2016, my resolution is to run that garbage disposal all the time.

And not to wear any more tan corduroy pants.

I think both of those things are achievable.