November 28, 2012

It's kind of like an archaeological dig....only a bit more random

As you know, I've pretty much been possessed by a shadow of my former self lately and have been cleaning and de-cluttering like crazy and in the process have discovered something.

In the past I have claimed that my husband is a hoarder.  And he is, it's true, remember the great pasta post? And, apparently, I never even mentioned his tendency to hoard canned tomatoes or black tee shirts (despite the fact that I have informed him a billion times that black is NOT his color).

Well, during the Great Purge of 2012, I have discovered that I inadvertently hoard craft materials; this is hysterical only because I don't "craft."  Oh sure, I've dabbled in it once or twice when something has caught my eye and I think to myself, "OH!  I could do that!"  And then, apparently, bought the store out of all its materials to make said craft exactly once.

I have also discovered that I hoard ribbons.  Any and all kinds of ribbon.  You need Christmas ribbon?  I've got plenty.  It has also come to my attention that I have loads and loads of blue ribbon.  Baby blue ribbon, to be specific.  Some of which is inscribed, "It's a Boy!"

The only thing I can determine from the ribbon discovery is that I must have hosted and attended a great many baby showers where the sex of the child was a boy.  I am now currently urging any and every woman I know, of child bearing age, to get knocked up with a child of the male gender - if only so I can rid myself of all this damn ribbon that is taking up valuable real estate in my home.

Tights.  I love tights, this is not a secret.  The more fun, the better - I have harlequin, stripes, polka dots, plaid, mutli-color, brights; etc..  So explain to me how I own more than eight pairs of plain, black tights?  Not to mention footless tights.  I NEVER wear footless tights.  But yet, I own several pairs.  Granted they are fun - stripes, leopard print; etc - but they are footless.  Something I NEVER wear.  But because some of them were so fun, I kept them.  So any ideas on how I can wear footless tights - at my age- would be much appreciated.

"Beauty" products.  Yes, I do love beauty products.  But, apparently, my fascination with them ends pretty much immediately after I realize they don't live up to the hype. I'm so ashamed by how much dried up stuff I threw away recently.  New vow to self: only buy what you truly love.

So there you have it.....I AM a hoarder.  But in my defense, at least it's more interesting than pasta, tomato sauce, and tee shirts.

November 25, 2012

In the midst of a cleaning and organizing frenzy, I present to you my newest favorite (old) products

I have sorta been a domestic goddess lately.  Seriously. (Yeah, I don't know what's gotten into me either!)

As I am typing this, I have been off work since Wednesday - and I have three more days before I go back to work.  Needless to say, I've had to find something to do and so I have turned to housekeeping.  It's funny, usually when I come across an area of the house that needs to be addressed, I make a mental note to get to it on the next weekend (which never seems to actually happen since I totally get sidetracked by something else that needs my attention immediately) - but now that I've got all this spare time, I am able to just dive right in and I have.....and I have the aching back to prove it.

It's actually kind of refreshing.  Back when Man-Child was here, housekeeping was near impossible.  As soon as it was clean or organized, he'd come home and chaos would immediately ensue. (Want to hear something funny?  MC claims HE is the neatest between him and his roommate! Hahahahaha!  Somehow I find that hard to believe, but he swears it's true.) Hubby actually isn't so bad, except for his habit of hiding clutter, so usually when everything is clean and where it needs to be it stays there, more or less.

So far I have organized my bathroom (no mean feat considering that nothing has really been properly organized in there since we moved in four years ago when we just dumped the boxes straight into the cabinets and drawers); my dresser (ditto with the dumping four years ago), have given the bedroom a MAJOR cleaning from top to bottom, have cleaned out the fridge and organized the pantry (this was huge project, since it involved moving all of this; most of which had migrated to my countertops from the dining room table! and making room in the pantry for it all, complete with baskets of his favorites, so he can just remove the basket and put it back without just throwing stuff back in the pantry willy-nilly).

In between the organizing and cleaning frenzy I have also been dealing with laundry.  The never ending laundry.  Throwing Thanksgiving into the mix only added to the laundry; what with Man Child bringing home EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE of clothing he owns to be washed, there was also the linens that needed to be dealt with.

We discovered just a few hours before our Thanksgiving guests were to arrive that some of our favorite tablecloths had old stains that had gone unnoticed last time they were washed and dried.  Lovely.  Needless to say, we used different tablecloths for Thanksgiving dinner.

After the festivities, I turned my attention to the old stains.  Certain that they would NEVER come out. I mean, who knows how long these stains had been there?  Who knew what caused the stains?  And I knew that those stains had been set by the dryer a year ago or so, since that was the last time we'd used those particular linens.

Enter my two new favorite (old) products.

Yup.  Old fashioned hydrogen peroxide and washing soda.

Let me tell you - this stuff kicks butt!  Seriously.  I have never seen a commercial "stain removal" product - including bleach - work as well as this; particularly on old, set in stains.  After soaking all the tablecloths in this mixture (even the multi-colored tablecloth) for a few hours in hot water a couple of times and then washing (along with a dash of each, in addition to the detergent) the cloths are stain-free.  AND the multicolored tablecloth shows no signs of fading or bleaching!  Color me impressed.  My question? How did I NOT know about this back when I was dealing with baby stains, toddler stains, kid stains and football stains?  Because I'm here to tell you, Spray 'n Wash (my mother's favorite go-to laundry aid) did NOT help with the majority of those stains....much less stains of this caliber.

Upon doing further "research" (okay, okay!  Hours spent browsing Pinterest.....), I have discovered many, many uses for these two super products and I can now state unequivocally that these two items will be staples in my house for years to come. 

Now you really must excuse me, I need to go reorganize Hubby's closet, and the mudroom, and something really needs to be done about that hall closet.....OH, and somehow I need to find the time to rearrange the garage....if only to be able to access the Christmas decorations; otherwise we will have to decorate the ficus and have Christmas morning in the dining room.  And nobody wants that.  I know because I already asked.  Something tells me that the heating pad is about to become my new best friend. 

*This is NOT a sponsored post - I just wanted to share my great new discovery!  

November 24, 2012

Black Friday....the Twilight Zone version

Remember last year when I was wondering whether or not I wanted to venture out on Black Friday?  And then I did and spent the majority of it in the car?  Remember how I said the older I get the more the noise, the crowds and the parking irritate me?

Well this year, Man-Child informed me that he wanted to "do" Black Friday.  I almost fell over in shock.  Mainly, because he usually stages a revolt if I try to take him near a store for anything that isn't for him.

After laying down a few ground rules - I would NOT be up and out at 2:00 or 3:00 am; nor would I shop on Thanksgiving night (some stores were actually open so that people could shop after their meal!*) and I most definitely would not be out the door by 6:00 am - we made a date; we were going to "do" Black Friday.

I was terrified.

Friday morning dawned bright and early.  And not on purpose; I just couldn't stay asleep any longer.  After leisurely reading the paper and having coffee, I climbed the stairs to wake MC.  I was certain he would growl at me and the whole trip would be off.  He didn't.  He did ask for a few more minutes; which I graciously granted....thinking he'd fall back asleep and then beg off when I came back up to wake him.  He didn't.

We stopped for an ultra-healthy breakfast at McDonald's and then we took off around 9:00 am.

If I had to be out and about in the madness, there was really only one store that I wanted to hit.  Belk's.  They were having an AMAZING sale on boots.  So that's where we started.  Our Belk's is located at a huge shopping center that is crazy even during the best of times.  Normally, from November on I avoid this place like the plague because of the insanity.  And the traffic directors, or whatever they are, that are there directing traffic actually seem to make it worse.  But I figured Belk's is on the fringe of the center, so I was hoping maybe we could sneak in without having to actually venture through the shopping center itself.

I pulled into the lot and found a parking spot practically at the front door immediately.  I was shocked. We ventured into the store and it was relatively quiet; until we hit the shoe department.  Apparently, I was not the only one who had heard about the sale.  But even so, it wasn't overwhelming.  I scooped up the perfect pair of boots for a steal and we were on our way.  There wasn't even a line to speak of.

Apparently, the frenzy in the shoe department wasn't enough to put MC off; he then wanted to venture over to the other side of the shopping center to hit the book store.  Figuring I was being smart, I went back out onto the main road and circled around and snuck in the back way to the book store and noticed that the traffic directors were nowhere to be seen.  This is unheard of!  I, once again, immediately found a spot at the front door.  As I parked, we looked at each other and MC asked, "Did we sleep through Black Friday?"  I had to wonder.  If it hadn't been for the amazing deal on the boots, I would have thought we had slept through it.

Once inside the book store, it was ominously quiet.  We were able to move freely about the store.  We were only almost mowed down once - by a rambunctious toddler who had momentarily escaped from his father's grasp.  We selected our purchases and headed toward the checkout line - only to stop and look at each other in shock.  This store ALWAYS has a line.  ALWAYS.  And at Christmas time, the line is usually all the way to the back of the store.  There was only one person ahead of us. ONE.

From there we drove to Old Navy, where again, a spot at the front was immediately located and procured.  And again, the store was almost empty of people.  This phenomenon was repeated as we went to WalMart and Target.  It was almost eerie.

By the time, we'd hit Old Navy, I had started to ask the cashiers at each store if it had been crazy earlier, all of them informed me that they had just been on duty for an hour or so, and that no - it had been pretty quiet all morning.  I was dumbfounded.

Apparently, according to what the cashiers had heard from their coworkers as they were clocking in, the insanity peaked around 2:00 or 3:00 am and then it leveled off.

So, in essence, our Black Friday adventure was a walk in the park.  We were able to get in and out of the stores with ease.  We were able to promptly secure what we had set out to procure.  And we were home and tucked up on the couch with a movie by 12:00 pm.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

*Although I am sure my experience was so great because everyone else went shopping on Thanksgiving, I'm not sure I quite like the idea of the stores being open on the holiday.  It's not fair to the employees (in fact, we did see a mini-protest of seven or so people, at WalMart) and also, I'm kind of tired of retailers bumping the Christmas rush earlier and earlier.  At this rate, we will be having Black Friday on the day after Halloween before too long.

November 20, 2012

Banning books?! What's next....using the fertile women as concubines?

I was reading the local news the other day and read something that got me into such a snit that I HAD to say something to someone about it...lucky you.

Here, in my local school district, there is a group of parents that are petitioning the local school board to ban a book that is on the required reading list for high school students (seniors, if I'm not mistaken).

The fact the district has a policy in place where a parent can "opt out" if they don't want their child to read the particular book is of no consequence to them.  No, they don't want ANYONE to read the book.

Because I am an avid reader, an independent soul, and a, somewhat, rational and sane individual I am, of course, against this.

The book in question?  A Handmaid's Tale.

They are calling it pornography; un-Christian even; (Which is kind of funny considering that "Christianity" - of a warped kind - is a BIG plot point in this story)  and whatever else vile vitriol they can throw at it.  My question is this; have they read it?  And more importantly, did they comprehend what they read?

Or did they just focus on one particular aspect of the book?  Methinks THAT might be the problem.

It was on my son's required reading list in his senior year at a Catholic high school.  Did you catch that?  At a CATHOLIC high school, i.e. an "uber-conservative" institution.  The kind of place where woe for the student caught with their shirt untucked and detention is served for chewing gum.  And yet, they had it on their required reading list.....

Now, I'll be honest - I didn't read it - nor did I investigate it before it was assigned.  After my son read it he offered it to me.  Again, did you catch that?  He offered it to ME (his mother) to read.  Do you think he would have done that if he was thinking about the explicitness of it?  No. If he thought the book was vile and disgusting; or in any way pornographic, he would have told me that it was boring and not worth my time.  He would have told me ANYTHING to keep me from reading it.

He offered it to me because he enjoyed the plot and thought that I would appreciate the story and the discussion that was sure to follow.  So I read it.

Was I a tad surprised with one particular scene?  Yes, a little.  But I wouldn't classify it as pornography, per se.  It was graphic, I'll give you that.  But it helped the reader to realize just how dire the situation was and how very, very wrong the society was in which they lived.  Did I worry that it would warp his mind?  No.

As a mother in this day and age, I realized that the possibility, at that point in time, that he had seen and read far more explicit information via the television and the internet was very real; because as much as we'd like, as mothers, to shield our children from every vile thing; the truth is, we can't.

I was most impressed with our discussion after both of us had read the book.  I was interested to hear his take how such a society could come to be - and his ability to connect the dots and realize that it hinted at Nazi Germany.

Despite the fact that the book had this explicit scene in it, the class seemed to focus on the plot of the book.  Hmmm; imagine that.  A book that sparks discussion!  Thoughts!  Opinions!  A book that helps to develop critical gods!  It MUST be banned immediately!  God knows we don't want our children to develop their critical thinking! (Where, OH where is the sarcastic font when you need it most?)

A book that YOU (no, not you, the reader - I realize you are far to savvy for this kind of nonsense; it's more along the lines of you, the censoring, know-it-all who thinks they know what it best for the world; i.e., it's your way or the highway) think needs to be banned.

Well, guess what?  With all the controversy that you have stirred up over this one book, I can almost guarantee that your child will find a way to read it - just to see what has you all riled up.

I agree, this is not a book for the younger set.  And yes, if for whatever reason you don't want your child to read it, then simply opt out - you are given a choice.  And realize this, you do not have the RIGHT to tell me what MY child, or any other child that does NOT belong to you, can and cannot read.  Period.

And remember setting out on this slippery slope of banning books, you are conceivably on the path to creating a society that was laid out in this book.  Admittedly, it's a stretch, but it's true.  Read the damn book and see for yourself.

And after all that, YES, this book is going to be included in "The Books I Love Enough To Tell You About" tab up there at the top of the page.....which, incidently, hasn't been updated in forever.  

November 12, 2012

Lessons Learned (...or you know you are getting too old for this)

In the spirit of spreading the knowledge here, in the cold light of a Monday night, are a few of the lessons learned after hosting an EPIC birthday party for your husband on Saturday.

Okay, okay, allowing your husband to throw himself a party....(as I've mentioned previously, Hubby took it upon himself to throw himself a birthday party).  Fine, whatever.

He sent out the invites (via Facebook....tacky, but that's just the snob in me.  He could have at least taken the time to create a beautiful invite and sent it via email.....cause that's SO much more personal) and was looking forward to it with great glee.  He had decided that he would make homemade pizza (like that's NOT an undertaking and a half) and demanded that I NOT make any sweets.  No cake. No cookies. No goodies of any kind. Fine by me, that meant that there was less for me to do.

He's on a diet.  But, apparently, pizza and wine are on the approved list of said diet.....

At any rate, here are the lessons.

1.  When your step-daughter actually shows up hours earlier than you anticipated (because she is known world-wide for showing up MUCH later than planned) it is NOT a good idea to join her in that first glass of wine.

2.  When Hubby takes that first pizza out of the oven, and every subsequent one thereafter, it's a good idea to be standing next to him to ensure that you get a piece.  Otherwise, all your guests just might beat you to it; all while refilling your glass.

3.  Be cognizant of the time.  Otherwise, at one point you will look up and discover that it's past 1:30 am.  And considering you haven't seen the other side of 10:00 pm in a long, long, long time, that means it's really, really, really late.

4.  And upon waking the next morning, you will surely regret EVER telling Man-Child, "No, you don't need to buy a bus pass to return to school; I will be HAPPY to drive four hours, round trip, to take you back."

5.  And then, somehow surviving Sunday, awake on Monday to realize that you STILL don't feel human.

November 9, 2012

The post I never thought I'd ever get the chance to post

I have been meaning to sit down and write you a real post forever - but every day life seems to get the better of me and it's all I can do to read your posts.  Heck, I haven't even had the stamina to comment much lately.  Sorry 'bout that.

I had high hopes that I would get it done today (and I still might, if I can keep my eyes open) since I took a vacation day today.  I also had high hopes that other stuff would get done today - such as cleaning my house properly for the first time in ages.  This was actually a priority.  I wrote it on a To Do list and everything.  It really needed to happen since we are having people over for Hubby's birthday tomorrow.  Yes, he decided that he would throw himself a party since I seem to have lost that celebration, hostess-with-the-mostess gene somewhere along the way.  It didn't happen though.  I was too busy buying shoes.....

No idea why they are sideways.  I took the picture straight up.  It saved straight up.  But yet, when it loaded it came out like this.  And to be honest, I'm too tired to try and fix it. But aren't they pretty?

There is clutter and dust as far as the eye can see.  I can tell that tomorrow morning will find me doing an ad hoc job at getting the house company-ready. *sigh*

The thing is, I can't for the life of me figure out where my time and stamina is going.

As I mentioned in my previous rant post (which I disguised as a post the best I could) Hubby has found a job.  Thank you sweet, baby, Jesus!  Granted, it's just a part time job - but it's a job.

We have high hopes that this will turn into a permanent, full time position; but we don't know when.  He tells me they don't treat him as a part time, temporary worker.  They have given him the keys to all the buildings, a debit card for work expenses, they are in the process of getting him a new computer (because the one he had was so slow) and are moving him out of the storage room and into a cubicle.

They also gave him an iPhone.

This for a man who, up until now, has used only a flip phone.  The man who SWORE he would never need anything more than said flip phone.  He was expected to use it.  To send texts.  To respond to emails, etc.

Although the man is not a complete Luddite it would be safe to say that he was extremely close to being one.

And so it began, me teaching him how to use his phone.  There were tears.  There was cursing.  But before the night was out he had learned to text.  And, at one point, he even proclaimed it "fun."

Armed with the knowledge that he had mastered texting, he went into work the next day.  And all was well.  Or so I thought.

When I came home that night I had to talk him down off the ledge.  Apparently, he had started receiving all the orientation materials via email.  Which meant that while his computer was pinging so was his phone.  And if that wasn't enough to wig him out the contents of the emails were.  "You need to complete the online Understanding Compliance thingamabob.  Click here."  "Here is the link to access the online expense reports."  "Here is the link to submit your timesheet."  "You need to set up your voicemail, click here to learn how."  And on and on it went.

Now to be fair, Hubby has come a long, long way in learning to deal with technology.  He can "do" email (that's how he once put it).  He can even "do" the Google.  He can create documents, but anything more than that and he's lost.  In fact, he has asked me three times if it's possible to create folders in email.  And three times I've shown him how to do it.  And then he asked me again yesterday.  *sigh*  He has only recently mastered (I hope) the art of "cutting and pasting."

But in his last position, I don't think he had a computer until his last few years there.  I always thought my company was behind the times but that company is still living in the dark ages.  They did absolutely nothing online and this one? Well, this one is cutting edge - everything is online or computerized.

So by the time I got home that night he had wigged himself out completely.  Convinced that he would never be able to "get" it.  After I calmed him down and showed him a few things he felt better.  Thank God.

As of today, he's been there for a little over a week and he seems to be getting the hang of the technology end of it.  He has learned how to do his expense reports online.  He has figured out how to set up his voicemail and submit his timesheet.

The Compliance part is still wigging him out though.  Since his computer is so slow, they have printed out the materials for him to review and he can complete it when he gets the new computer.  I know that it's not the big deal that he's making it out to be, especially since I just finished our Compliance thing a few weeks ago.  But he thinks that he needs to read and memorize all of this....

Again, no idea. *sigh*

I keep telling him that the questions are obvious and he doesn't need to memorize all that but he doesn't listen.  He'll figure it out once he logs in and starts the thing.

But other than that it's all good.  He loves them; they seem to love him and we will see what happens from here.

Life is a journey or so we are told.  There will be ups and downs.  And we have been down; so hopefully this means we are finally looking at an up.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this text message exchange between Hubby and I.

Well, at least ONE of the pictures loaded properly!
Apparently, he still has his sense of humor.

And miracle of miracles, somehow I completed this post today.  Between that and the shoes, at least I can say I got something accomplished today!

November 4, 2012

ENOUGH already....and other unrelated *happy* news

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for Wednesday.  Why?  Because I am sick to death of this election.

Don't get your feathers in a twist, I'm not about to go on a political rant - you should know me better than that by now.  I don't discuss politics.  Ever. Period. The end.

But I am about to go on a mini-rant about the over saturation of this political season.  It is everywhere.  On the television, on the radio, all over the internet.  I tell you, I've actually considered cutting myself off from anything electronic just so I don't have to hear it anymore.  That should tell you just how tired I am of it all.  Me? Voluntarily leaving cyber-space?!

Here's the deal.  I've made up my mind and you, most likely, have made up yours.  Odds are good that your opinion and mine differ greatly.  And I'm okay with that.  Really.  But you (not you YOU, the general you) MUST realize that no matter how many times you advertise your views and your opinions, you are NOT going to change mine.  Just like if I were to advertise my views all over the place, I wouldn't change yours.  It's that simple.  So lets call a truce already.  As someone once famous with the toddler set used to sing, "I love you; you love me; we're a happy family...."

So enough already.  No more.  I can't take it.  Seriously.

Now as for the so called "undecided" voters?  I call b.s.  If you haven't made up your mind by now; on the eve of what must be "the MOST important election EVER" (according to social media) - after being inundated by all things electoral - then I'm thinking you have serious commitment issues and need to get yourself to a psychologist STAT or you live under a rock.....I kid, I kid...kind of....


Now that I've put my mini soapbox away.....I have some news.

Hubby has a JOB!!!!!

Kind of.

Technically, it's a temporary, part time position; with the possibility of becoming a full time position.  But he is getting thirty hours a week - about sixteen more than he was told he'd be getting at first.  And it's getting him out of the house and giving him a sense of purpose.  This makes me happy.  Happier than you could possibly believe.

It's not enough to pull us out of this ginormous hole but it's enough to give both of us a glimmer of hope.  It's given us enough to keep on keeping on; as it were....for now at least.

I'll admit it, I've been frozen.  In the past two and a half years, I have been absolutely petrified.  In more ways than one.  This little flicker of hope has actually given me license to dream again.  To realize that there are possibilities out there; that maybe the future isn't so dim after all.  That maybe I won't have to decide which cat food has the most nutritional value for the dollar.....

Tomorrow he heads into his second week (I TOLD you I've been frozen....I'm barely beginning to thaw out; which explains why I'm just now telling you).  Last week was fraught with quite a few freak-outs on his part as he began to realize that this particular position will entail quite a bit more techy know-how than his last, stuck-in-the-ice-ages company; but I think he is beginning to realize that technology isn't quite as scary and unknowable as he first thought. In fact for one thing, in the past week I taught him how to text.  In the past, he swore there was absolutely no reason EVER for him to text.  But just a few days ago he declared it "fun" and has been sending me random texts ever since.

And that, my friends, is priceless.