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did i mention?

November 5th, 2007

Did I mention that the carpet dudes are here, laying the new carpet? Hockey God stayed home to make sure they don’t lay me by accident. Heh heh heh heh heeeeeeeeee! (How does that joke go, anyway, “A guy goes over to lay this woman’s carpet…” No, it’s “A floor is just like a guy — lay it right this first time and you can walk all over it for the rest of your life.”)

Or… (stick with me here, I swear I’m going someplace with this…) “Soap” ha! I love you, Soap! I loved that damn show so much, I’ve seen every episode about ten times. If you’ve never seen it, go get it on DVD and have some good laughs.

I’m thinking of the episode where Jessica and Chester give marriage counseling a try. The minister who is supposedly counseling them flips out, rants and raves about his ex-wife, what a complete slut she was, “We were having new carpet laid. The installer apparently got confused about what he was there to lay…” Then he develops a raging crush on Jessica and can’t deal.

In walks the minister’s daughter (this episode had it all), Chester becomes obsessed with her and leaves Jessica. The minister’s daughter then leaves Chester.

“Why??” he asks.

“I found someone better.”

“Better how?”

“Better looking, better dressed, better in bed. Better.”

Chester: “Better dressed???”

The carpet guys just left — the carpet is perfect. A kind of wheat color — neutral, but not boring. Bright, and goes with the woodwork nicely, but not, you know, gray and stained like it used to be.


Magic 8 Ball Sez: Check Google Ads for Answers

October 17th, 2007

What should I do with my life? Let’s ask my Google ads, here they come now!

* Christian boarding school (uh. probably not)
* Teen counselor (a clue for who I’ll be calling in the future?)
* House values (sure. what are they if you don’t want to install new carpet, remodel the kitchen and upstairs bath and add patios?)
* Oregon house values (you know me so well, Google)
* Home appreciation rates (according to the realtors, you don’t have to have much money to buy a house in Portland! that’s news to the rest of us)

honest to pete — where did they come from? oh, wait. I think I know.

October 15th, 2007

Gets to be 4 o’clock, I’m more than happy to let the kids watch PBS Kids. Am I a failure? Shouldn’t we be at the park, or library or something? We do plenty of that — orthodontist appointments, playing at the park, then walking home when it’s nearly dinnertime, running by the library or the store. Some days I just am toast and so are they.

I don’t know what the line-up is now for afternoon PBS kids’ programming, they changed the sked. It used to be something like “Arthur,” “Maya and Miguel,” “Cyberchase” and… something. “Ruff Ruffman”? They are ga-ga mad for Ruff Ruffman. I kind of like him, too. His corny jokes and all. Now it gets to be 6 o’clock, PBS Kids is over and still, no word from my kids. Being a neglectful mother, I’m thinking, good, more time for me to get dinner ready, or have another glass of wine. (Sad, really, me giving up booze re: heart issues. I like a glass of wine.)

A couple of weeks ago I popped into the office. They were in front of the TV, absorbed, and wouldn’t tell me what they were watching.

“Just sit down,” Wacky Boy says.

“What’s the show?” I ask.

“It’s the one show,” Wacky Girl says, eyes glued to the set. “With the two guys. You know.” (Irritated.)

Me: “No, I don’t know.”

“Shhh!” (both kids, in unison.)

You know which show it was? Are you guessing?

That’s right. It’s This Old House. (Which I thought was canceled, but in the 1907-2007 time warp that is My Old House, it’s still on.)

“Oh, this is the good part,” Wacky Boy murmurs. They’re demolishing a kitchen. He’s right, it is the good part. I am a sucker for a good demo, just ask my husband. (Who hissed at me at one point, “No. More. Demo’ing while I’m at work. Got it?”)

My husband walked in at this point.

“What are you guys watching?”

“Just sit down, Dad,” Wacky Boy says.

“Is it…” he starts.

Wacky Boy, gesturing madly, “No talking.”

This afternoon they were both watching PBS Kids again; Wacky Boy was home sick with a cold, which didn’t deter him much from being a maniac. The rest does him good — it means he’s not using the couches as trampolines.

“Good,” his sister tells him. “It’s Monday.”

“‘This Old House,'” he says. “Ready?”

Ready? We’ll be doing some modest landscaping in the front, more radical in the back, patio, two retaining walls, so this family can really enjoy their home, now let’s take a look at this bush out front. No, let’s not. It’s a beautiful bush — lush and green.

“They’re going to chop it down!” I say, horrified. (But not, because, you know. I’ve watched the show before. And I’ve been talking with realtors for the last week. We are now in negotiations because they want to sell our house for $12 and I think it’s worth more. I think it’s worth $15, minimum. “The market is so smooshy right now! You’ll be lucky to get $12 for it.” Argh.)

You think it looks healthy, from the outside, this bush, but the inside, look. (Obviously, it is healthy, it’s huge and verdant.) (They rip the bush apart.) All. Dead. Wood. (I think if you click on that link above you will see the bush in question.) It blocks the house! You can’t see anything out front but the bush! It must go.

“It’s not dead, it’s frickin’ healthy,” I say. “What do they know?”

Wacky Boy, satisfied, “Yep. They’re taking it down.”

Honestly, people who don’t know gardening have no busy selling houses or doing big exterior remodeling jobs. I spit on them.

We’re Moving. Hopefully Soon.

October 13th, 2007

Do you want to talk about ugly dropped ceilings? Soffits? My overgrown garden and yard? How to fix up a house and sell it? How to make an offer on a new house, way across town, even when you haven’t sold the old house yet? Oh, let’s talk about that here and now. (For the rest, head over to my new post on Grasshopper, “Where You See Corn, Your Realtor Will See Weeds.”)

We put a contingent offer on a house today. A big house, a fancy house that is way across town where I have never lived before. It has woods and greenspaces nearby, and is 10 minutes from my husband’s work.

Ten minutes. It takes him an hour and a half sometimes to get home now. (Usually it’s a mere 45 minutes.) (I count the minutes.) (The kids count the minutes, and fall apart.) (Usually because I’m attempting to make dinner and be a good little homemaker, to make his commute worth his while.) (I should make him martinis, don’t you agree?)

Ten minutes away? We could have nooners.

That is, f we weren’t too busy unpacking all 847 boxes of our junk.

We could have a nooner right now (it’s 2:10 p.m., but whatever) if we weren’t shell-shocked by the four-page list our realtor laid on us of everything we need to do. It includes, but is certainly not limited to:

* Ripping out the carpet in our room, Wacky Boy’s room, the stairs and the hallway.
* Cleaning. “Sparkly clean! Really, really sparkly clean!” (Will ponder this.)
* Clean up garden, tear down cornstalks, prune, weed, edge.
* Put up “light, airy” curtains and valances.
* Relocate the neighbor and her appliances which she is fond of leaving in her driveway.
* Relocate the cats because They Stink.
* “Sparkly clean!” This means you, windows.
* Re-do grout on sinks and shower.
* Buy a new doormat.
* Buy a new door.
* Install the new door. (Hockey God hates hanging doors. Hockey God just checked with the neighbor, who is a whiz at installing doors. Neighbor will install door.)

Gotta motor, more later…


Miss Sparkly Clean

fast post

June 3rd, 2007

Dear World Wide Web,

I’m tired. I’m working full-time the next two weeks, still waiting to hear on permanent jobs, the kids are getting out of school for the summer soon, we have swim lessons ending and starting right up again, a house torn apart from our awesome painter (no you can’t have his number, I’m keeping him just for us)… weeds to pull, laundry to hang out, fifty more dollars’ worth of gas for the car? Sure thing!

God. I remember having two measly bucks, coasting my Dodge Dart into the gas station for a drink, and praying the attendant would take pity on me and give me an extra buck’s worth. I am that old.

Speaking of — my birthday is coming up. I will be 43. My mother assures me this is not old at all and to please shut up.

A brief round-up, and then I am off to do more laundry and try to figure out where my purse is. (I mean it when I say the house is torn apart. I saw my purse yesterday and haven’t seen it since.) Also, the floors? Trashed. Cooking? Not happening. Dishes? Piled up. So what do you do when you can’t deal with your own house? Go look at the homes of Others. Others Who Can Afford Gardeners and Maids.

My mom and I went on a great tour of gardens this afternoon. My new loves: Baggesen’s Gold shrub honeysuckle, California incense cedar, honey locust, climbing hydrangea, verbena, hostas, candy hearts, clematis… I got so many ideas from the three places where we stopped, I do not know where to start. Perhaps with art. My favorite garden was stuffed full of tiny and big sculptures, pieces of blown glass, decorative stepping stones, everything. It was delightful and a little kooky. But in a genuinely kooky way, not a “Look at me, I’m so kooky!” way. I do not like the “deliberate kook” she is not my style. Wacky Girl went with us and fell in love with the bus stop-sized outdoor hangout that had benches, pillows and shade and everything she’s ever dreamed of, and was just the right size for an almost-8-year-old.

I liked the greenhouse next to it. Ahhhh…

And… in lieu of a real review… next to the DVD player and and next to the nightstand at Wacky House we have:

Punk Rock Dad, by Jim Lindberg (Pennywise lead singer) — totally hilarious read. I’ll give it a full review soon (with help from the Pink-Haired Housewife, I’m hoping) but in the meantime — go pick up a copy. Pick up two and give the extra to a friend. Perfect baby shower gift, anniversary gift or birthday present for the dads (and moms) out there. He’s such a good writer, and so funny.

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, a Spike Lee Joint, Pick up a copy of this one, too. And please do not forget, when you’re thinking about Darfur and orphans abroad and the movie stars who love them — New Orleans and the South still desperately need our help. Do what you can and do it now.

Sunshine State, directed by John Sayles

Strictly Ballroom, directed by Baz Luhrmann

Onions in the Stew, by Betty MacDonald

Blood Diamond, directed by Edward Zwick

(Yeah, try to figure out how my brain works based on that list.)



In Which I Take on the School District and Later Am Nearly Crushed by Building Supplies

May 28th, 2007

(from April 18th, 2006… I can’t find this in the archives, so here it is again, with comments attached.)

Really, need I say more? I don’t think so. I think the hedder suffices. But if your need to know is pressing, like the concrete backer board that was pressing against my legs this morning, here you…

There was a school district/neighborhood summit over at Humboldt Elementary last night. First the mucky-mucks from the district bored the shit out of us with yet another PowerPoint demo. (What is it with the People in Charge and their love for PowerPoint?) Really, this was their first mistake. Because people are affected by PowerPoint in one of three ways 1) They assume it will give them Power! And more Power! And they ride the fucking six pack, to quote, who? Green River? Yes! (Or “Something!” as Wacky Girl would say 2) They are bored to sleep 3) They get pissed off and the tension in the room grows. 3) Is what happened last night.

So the district is all it’ll be great! Humboldt has high test scores! Ockley Green (the school where Humboldt students would transfer) has low scores! You can help! No, it’s soooooooo not because this is a poor neighborhood. No, nothing to do with race. It’ll be fantastic, just wait!

And the House said: No. Not amen. No. No, no, no. We don’t like the adult porn store right across the street from OG. We don’t like our kids having to walk a long, long ways to get to school. We don’t like having to drive them to OG when they can walk to Humboldt. We don’t like being told what to do. No, no, no. Everyone went nuts. It is an interesting night when Wacky Mommy is the calmest person in the room. And we were on the 11 o’clock news, so that was cool. Take that, school district.

My favorite speaker of the evening was the Humboldt student, a young man, who said, All I can say now is that you guys are doing something really stupid. Period. Which of course made everyone cheer and stamp their feet.

Now today, the contractor arrives. Not the one who needs to finish repairing the floor. Mister “I needed an eight-foot board and they only cut me seven-and-a-half. I’ll be back. Or someone will. I’ll call the supervisor and he can call your husband.” No, it wasn’t the floor guy. It was the tile guy, with a delivery.

He stacked boxes of tiles, bags of Versabond, plastic sheeting, caulk, all this shit in my office. But they can’t do the tile, see, until the floor guy is done. But I’m being open-minded and all. I’m thinking, The tile, she is here! But what to do with the backer board? The guy stacks it on the front porch, tells us, If it rains it’ll need to be covered with a tarp, or it’ll get ruined, then leaves.

It rains a lot here.

He left the tarp on the table on the front porch. Can you see where this is going? I’m thinking, It’s sunny — it’s not going to rain — followed by, This is Portland, Oregon. The only time it doesn’t rain here is July 15 through Sept. 22. Roughly. So I throw the tarp over the shit (nine fucking heavy ugly concrete backer boards) and am tucking it in around the edges when it topples. On my legs. Pinning me. Turns out he had them propped Way Too Vertical. Fucking asshole idiot contractor.

Yet here I am, writing. Do you believe in miracles? Yes! No, I don’t, not so much. But I do believe in Roadmaster Trikes, cuz that’s what the boards landed on, thus saving me from the life of a parapalegic. It torqued the seat but didn’t crush it. This is the power of Roadmaster. Jesus God, your life really does flash before your eyes, it’s true. I yelled for the neighbor (not the Naked One, she wasn’t home. The Nasty One on the other side, whose house is closer) and she came over and helped me extricate myself. This makes her the Not-So-Nasty-Neighbor, no?).

Then I called, in order, the contractors, You frickin’ need to finish the bathroom right now. My legs were almost crushed. And bring my kid a new trike, ya idiot; my best friend Zip, who said, Jesus, what if it had been one of the kids? which made me cry harder, because of course that thought was already going through my head over and over and over and over; and Hockey God, who said, Did they get broken? (referring to the backer boards, not my legs, thus prompting me to hang up on him).

He realized the severity of the incident when the contractors actually called him before he had a call in to them, saying something like, Guy is on his way out, sorry we almost killed your wife, or something.

Prompting him to call me, without being asked, and asking me, Are your legs OK?

They’re OK. Thanks for asking. And thank God it wasn’t one of the kids.

1. edj says: I wanted to say something witty, but really, I’m just so glad you’re ok! But I have to say, will you stop at nothing to get your floor finished?

2. Heather says: Dang! I am so glad you are ok! And thank God and the Baby Jesus that it was not one of the kids although I certainly would have preferred not you either! Oh, and the whole Jefferson cluster thing just makes me throw up my hands in the air *what-are-they-thinking*! — Hugs, Heather

More Remodeling? Not Remodeling, Just Painting!

May 28th, 2007

It’s been awhile since the Honey Bucket Brigade was here, it’s been even longer since I’ve had a run-in with Nasty Neighbor. But most noticeably, I’ve almost forgotten about this incident. (Almost, but not completely.)

Which is why tomorrow a.m. Nice Painter Guy starts to work here. We’re ready for some more remodelin’ action around here, and hopefully no damages to bodies or properties or occur. He will paint the living room, dining room, hallway, and two of the bedrooms (ours and Wacky Boy’s). (No, he is not Stupid Bastard Painter — we never saw him again after he stomped off.)

Colors? I couldn’t decide on colors, so we’re doing everything off-white. Off-white is just fine. We might sell the house sometime, remember? Or we might not. Mallory’s right. I’m ambivalent as hell.

(PS — What does it say about me that there are way more posts about remodeling than sex?)

Contractors, Part 17

June 20th, 2006

Price for crappy vinyl storm windows: Expensive, but not exorbitant.

Price for decent wood frame storm windows that go nicely with our home’s double hung vintage windows and fit with era of house: Too much money to discuss.

Next question?

Just heard from a survey company, calling to check and see how our job went. The job that took four months to complete. The job that nearly crushed my frickin’ legs. The painter whose work day was one long break at my dining room table. Reading my paper. Glaring at me when I walked through my dining room.

Yeah, that one.

“Mrs. Wacky? Do you have a few moments to complete a survey regarding Construction Co. from Hell?”

I could have said, “Yeah, THEY’RE ASSHOLES.” Or whatever else came to mind, but what came to mind was, “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

Caller, “Oh. All right then.” And she hung up.

Internet, I love having a shower that works. It is righteous. But really, do I have to send back the “Certificate of Completion” they’re insisting I sign?

I’m waiting ’til four months are up.

Stupid Bastard Painter

May 4th, 2006

Whew. After reading your posts and e-mails, I am feeling okay about the Food Thing. I mean, you promise, right? You promise they won’t eat like freaks their whole lives?

Thank you, I feel way better now.


The House of Tile and Sinus Infections

April 24th, 2006

Enough about the school district, school closures, recipes, how-to’s, product and book reviews (I have a backlog that I still am not reviewing anytime soon, but will someday, sorry), the remodeling, the kids who will just not stop screaming and whining (hmm — wonder who they get that from?), etc. OK, I will say one thing, cuz I know the anticipation has been killing you — THE TILE IS ALL DONE! I EVEN TOOK PICTURES TO POST! But I can’t because I am just too toasted. So deal. Also, the tile guy is so nice and now hates my neighbor more than I do. Cuz her yard stinks. And she stinks. And she was rude to him. My tile guy, who is pulling this whole long, sad, way overdue project together and ta-da!

Don’t be rude to my tile guy, damn, what the hell is wrong with you, Neighbor from Hell?

(PS — Not Naked Neighbor, I mean the one who helped extricate me from The Mess. And was this a bonding experience for us? It was for me, but not her, apparently, cuz she bitched me out up one side/down the other two days later??? Shut up, WitchyPoo! I was feeling all sentimental toward you.)


This is all about me, me, me and my hideous sinus infection and the “course of steroids and antibiotics” that I am now taking to avoid pneumonia. For the second time. I just went through this in February. Yes, it’s not enough that I get a sinus infection that makes me ache and cry and feel swollen and unable to breathe. It moves right down the nasal passages into my lungs and voila! Bronchitis, then bronchial pneumonia.


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