August 31, 2013

It's Official...the house is on the market, the "Boy" is home, and I'm getting old. *sigh*

Hubby finally put up the For Sale sign - yes, we are testing the waters with a For Sale By Owner sign.  So far?  The house looks almost as good as it did when we moved in.  Things are slowly, but surely, getting done (for those who are counting, so far ALL the painting has been done by yours truly and you are welcome to picture me giving Hubby the evil eye).  Things are getting weeded out, cleaned (again, it seems like yours truly is shouldering the majority of that burden.  Probably because he is a closet hoarder) and refreshed.

And as the house begins to take shape, I'm remembering how much I love this house (stop it!); but am prepared to let it go, if that is the plan, so we can start over fresh.

The pantry has been my main goal today - it was a mess!  As you all know, I am not the cook in this house so the kitchen and the pantry is mainly Hubby's territory.  But seeing as he is a closet hoarder someone had to take charge.  It literally took the majority of the day to assess what was needed in terms of baskets, containers, etc., set about purchasing said needs, and then actually following through with the clean up, decanting, decluttering and labeling (I labeled everything in hopes that Hubby will put things where they belong.  It's a vain hope, but a girl can dream, can't she?).  I even took a picture for posterity - because I think the odds of it remaining in this condition are slim to none.  Which pretty much means, I just wasted most of my day and some hard-earned cash.

Wonder how long it will last?

As I was collating the pasta into the containers, he piped up with "What ARE you doing?  Don't you know that those are different brands of pasta?  You can't mix them up like that!"  Are you freaking kidding me?  The pasta that I was manipulating were all labeled "thin spaghetti" (of which we had SIX unopened boxes!) which to me means they are all the same.  According to Hubby the different brands cook differently.  Who knew?  And even more importantly...why buy various brands then?  Doesn't that just result in too much info to store into your brain?  I told him to suck it up and deal with it.  For the rest of the pasta (rigatoni, elbow, penne and who knows what else) I gave up and just bought a big basket to shove it into.

And you still can't convince me that we NEED that much pasta and accompanying tomato sauce/paste.  Peanut butter, popcorn and coffee?  Yes.  Pasta, etc?  Not so much.

In other news, Man-Child came home for the long weekend.

Hmmm....didn't I have a very similar picture about this time last year?

Why, yes I did!

I love having him home.  It makes my little heart happy.  And he does provide perspective about certain things.  Consider what he yelled down the stairs yesterday....

And yeah...he's right.  As I noted with my next tweet...

And, even better?  The fact that he started his laundry without waiting around hoping I'd do it for him.  Granted, I did finish it (oh hush!  I'm allowed to spoil him a little!) but he still gets major points for not expecting me to do it in the first place.

Hubby is also enjoying having him home because he now has someone to watch football with - as I type Hubby is providing color(ful) and loud commentary on whatever game they are currently watching.

Now, we can discuss the most important part of this post.  I'm getting old.

Don't deny it.  It's true.

How do I know this?  Because in the last week I have succumbed and purchased readers.


I finally convinced my eye doctor that I couldn't see with my current contact prescription; and he agreed but informed me that I would probably need reading glasses. I was all "Whatever, I can't SEE!" Until I realized that the only time I can now see anything up close is without my contacts or glasses.  Do you know what this means?

As I am extremely nearsighted, this means that if I am wearing my contacts I can't see a damn thing that is even in the vicinity of my eyes.  I had become quite adept, when wearing my regular ("ancient" and definitely not my current prescription) glasses, of looking over them to see whatever it is I need to see.  But then I bought the readers - to wear while wearing my contacts when I need to see something up close.  Can you say "disorienting?"  And then when I switch from contacts to my regular old glasses (not the readers) - my eyes go into the eyeball version of anaphylactic shock.  It's insane.  I'm convinced that I am doing my eyeballs a disservice by freaking them out so frequently. But what choice do I have?  None, apparently, if I wish to see.

And the very worst part?  What to do with the readers when they aren't on my face.  At first, I dealt with them the way I deal with my sunglasses - I stuck them on top of my head.  But my sunglasses don't have those little nose pad things.  I buy sunglasses without them for a reason.  Because those little nose pad things - they rip out my hair.  Every single time.  Guess what these glasses have?  Yup, nose pad things.  Guess who will be shopping for a new pair sans nose pads pretty soon in an attempt from going bald?  Yes, that would be me.

Until then, you can picture me with my readers perched on the end of my nose like so...


In a vain attempt to see all things both near and far.

August 24, 2013

And let's just put this in the "Gigi was right" column; which according to my calculations means I'm winning.

As you guys have heard, we've had issues with our lawn mower...yes, I can hear you all yelling "WE KNOW!  Move past the whole lawn mower issue already!!"  And hopefully I will - after this post.

At one point we were told it was dead, kaput, gone.  By someone, who is very qualified in other areas, but maybe not so much in the area of small engines.

Considering that it is only about six years old, I begged Hubby to have someone else look at it - someone with experience at small engine repairs - because holy cow!  We paid a lot of money for that lawn mower; it damn well better last longer than six years!.  He resisted.  He was convinced that no one would make a house call.  He was convinced it was, in fact, dead.

But finally he capitulated (i.e, he got tired of hearing me tell him to call someone else).  He called a guy he found on Craig's List.  The guy came out, looked it over and announced that he thought he could fix it.  He loaded it up on his trailer and drove away; at which point Hubby's paranoia began to set in.  Quietly.

The next day, he called Hubby and told him that he could fix it for $50.  Which, after paying someone else - someone who wasn't qualified to work on small engines - who informed us that is WAS dead, seemed miraculous to us.  In Hubby's eyes, it was almost too good to be true.

A couple more days went by and Hubby called the man for an update - only to receive a "This number has been disconnected" recording.  And that was it; the quiet paranoia became full blown.  He was convinced that we had been scammed.  CERTAIN, that we'd never see the mower again.  (And, honestly, are any of us really surprised?  This is the same man that is convinced that each and every one of YOU are ax-murderers looking to kill us in our sleep...because "you know how those internet people can be.")

I encouraged him to try the number one more time - just in case.  And it went through.  The guy said he was waiting on one part but figured he could have the mower back to us last night.  Still Hubby was skeptical.  When the guy called and the connection was lost, Hubby's suspicious nature ratcheted up another notch, if that is even possible.  Despite me telling him that there had been cell tower "issues" in our area.  Eventually, he was able to leave a message telling the guy to call our land line - our dusty, unused land line.  Actually, it's a miracle either one of us even remember the number.  Actually, I'm surprised to discover that we still have - and are paying for - a land line.  Hmm, maybe it does have its uses - besides taking messages from random solicitors - after all.

Lo and behold, the guy called.  Said he'd be here in ten minutes.  And miracle of miracles, he was.  AND the mower was repaired.  And even Hubby had to admit that there are still some good people out in the world.  And?  Even more important - he had to admit that I was right!  Do you know how huge that is?  It's GIGANTIC.  Truly, this man should listen to me more.  Did I not tell him he needed a second opinion?  Yes.  Did I not tell him that not every person on the internet is out to "get" you in some way?  Yes.

So.  Does this mean the beginning of a new era?  One where he looks to me and says, "Oh my dearest darling, what do YOU think I should do?"

Sadly, no.  I don't think it is the dawn of a new era - because it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  But, I do get the satisfaction of knowing I was right.  And sometimes, that is enough.

August 22, 2013

BH&G may give you the recipe but *I* give you just a bit more

After yesterday's post I received a tweet...

(Random note - I totally need to update all my social media avatars.  Somebody remind me to do that soon.)

And, I must admit - she has a point.  So without further ado, here is my super-secret, super-yummy recipe for awesome chocolate chip cookies (which, in all honesty, comes directly from the Better Homes & Garden cookbook that my mother misguidedly gave me after I got married some 22 years ago.  Apparently, even my own mother didn't realize just how disinterested I was in cooking.  Seriously, Mom?!  But, I will admit - the baking section has gotten a workout over the years - which explains the spattered pages that are falling out of the book; while the rest of the book remains pristine and untouched).

Gigi's Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies:

(better known as, Better Homes & Garden chocolate chip cookies - but they won't tell you the things that I've learned through the years - so there!)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (eh, I use more of "pinch", if I use it all)
1/2 cup of butter or margarine (forget the margarine - if you are baking, it needs to be butter)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar (use the dark brown sugar - not the light brown sugar, trust me.  And when they say "packed" they mean PACKED)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (forget that - use the whole bag - otherwise you will wind up with a 1/4 cup of chips left and what can you do with that?  Nothing!)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I totally skip this.  I'm a purist when it comes to chocolate chip cookies.  Besides, these days you have to worry about random nut allergies)

Stir together flour, soda and salt.  In a mixer bowl, beat butter and shortening on medium speed for about 30 seconds - or however long it takes you to gather the next ingredients.  Add the sugars and beat till fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Add the dry ingredients (flour, soda, salt mixture - being sure to cover the mixer with a towel so it doesn't fly all over the kitchen - can you guess how many years it took me to figure this out?) and beat till well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips (OK, AND the nuts, if you insist. But, I'm telling you, that just ruins them).  Drop from a teaspoon about two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheets (the oldest, most beat up cookie sheets you own.  Trust me.  For some reason the new, fancy cookie sheets just don't make the best cookies - this is why I refuse to get new ones).  Immediately remember you forgot to preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Impatiently drum your fingers while you wait for the oven to *ding* when it's preheated and finally, toss the cookies in for about 8 to 10 minutes (depending on your oven).

I have found that the larger you make the cookies the softer they are.  I prefer crispy cookies, so I make mine relatively small (much to Hubby's chagrin - but then he isn't a purist either.  He'd be giddy if I threw walnuts in there - but that's not gonna happen).  If you go with the smaller cookies, this recipe should make about 72 or so cookies.

Now, go forth and bake!  Just be sure to share them.

August 21, 2013

Paying it forward (aka...Mike? My co-workers LOVE you!)

As I've mentioned previously, our lawn mower died...again.

And, this led to Hubby thinking he could actually use a push mower on this lawn - which, as you know, led to disastrous results (which I could have sworn I told you about - but, according to my search through the archives, haven't.  Long story short - Hubby spent three days trying to push mow the acre or so of our "lawn," if that's what you want to call this field of weeds we have.  In the end, we had to call the paramedics because he had, what turned out to be, a wicked allergy attack and not the heart attack, that I was convinced he was having.  He's fine now, thank God.  And that ended his"brilliant" notion that he can push mow our so-called "lawn").

At any rate, dear Mike has been sneaking over to mow our lawn.  At least three times that we can figure.  This is in addition to the LAST time our mower died he came over, unasked, to mow.  And yes, I said sneaking.

Today, I caught him.  And seriously could have thrown my arms around him and kissed his cheek.

As I was pulling into the driveway this evening, I passed him, waved without thinking about it and got out of the car.  And only then did I realize, he wasn't mowing HIS yard, he was mowing OURS.  Again! And, by the looks of it, had just started.

So I did what any rational, kind human being would do.  I immediately went inside, yelled to Hubby that Mike was mowing our grass AGAIN, and began to make cookies.  Without even changing out of my work clothes.  Do you realize how huge that is?

Right about the time he was finishing up, and Hubby had snared him with his wonderful banter, I came outside bearing a plate of cookies with his name on it.  We chatted for a bit and I told him how we appreciated his help.  He is truly an angel.

We tried to invite them to dinner this weekend - but he put us off.  You can bet that we will keep trying.

Now, why do my co-workers love Mike?  Because my recipe for chocolate chip cookies (which in this instance turned out to be white chocolate chip cookies because my regular chocolate chip supply had been depleted thanks to Man-Child being home for the summer!) makes an insane amount of cookies.  And knowing that it is only Mike and his wife in their home, I only sent them a dozen.  The rest was given to the co-workers...thus "paying it forward."

And, I can attest, considering the way they scarfed the remaining 2 1/2 - 3 dozen cookies up, they love Mike.  As do I.

And?  It has been confirmed that white chocolate chips do not deter from the whole "chocolate chip cookie" case you were wondering.

August 18, 2013

And once again, silence falls

The past two days have been a whirlwind of activity around here.  Friday found me "helping" my son pack to go back to school.  Yes, he waited until the day before he had to leave to even begin.  Are any of us surprised?

And further, are any of us surprised that I freaked out when I opened his closet and abandoned the thought of packing when I saw what a rat's nest he had in there?  We had to stop mid-packing so that he could decide what he wanted to keep and what was going to Goodwill.  In the end we had three packed, solid trash bags and an overflowing hamper that was shuttled off before we could get back to the business of packing for school.

Despite the fact that he waited till the last minute it went fairly quickly as he knew exactly what he wanted to take.  Last year, as he wasn't sure he packed a lot more.  This time we had it down to two tote boxes, a hamper, his giant duffle bag, bookbag and computer.

Saturday began before the sun even came up, as we had planned to be there as soon as check-in opened up.  At this school, freshman all check in the day before everyone else.  Despite that, last year move in seemed chaotic to me; so I surmised that this year would be even more chaotic since we would be checking in with everyone else.  It actually wasn't too bad.  But that might be because this year his dorm room is next to the stadium.  And, more importantly, the stadium parking lot.  Last year his dorm was on the other end of campus and had a parking lot that only boasted about 15 slots.  Four were designated handicapped parking, while another four were reserved for the RA's.

At any rate, he's back at school.  Settled in and happy.  And I'm back at home listening to the quiet.

Last year I was so very anxious and worried.  Would he like it up there?  Would he be happy?  Would he fit in?  Would he eat properly?  Take care of himself?  Get into trouble?  You know, all the standard "mom stuff."

This year I know that he is happy there.  That he's made friends.  That he eats well.  So this year, my anxiety was pretty much nonexistent.  Although, I must admit, after having him home all summer, it's still pretty strange to have to get used to the quiet all over again.

August 12, 2013

It's Official - I've Lost My Damn Mind.

We've all known this day would come.  We've seen the signs (just look at any of my posts for proof).  But today completely and totally made it official.

But first, as usual, the back story - so that the rest of it makes some kind of sense.

On Friday, upon going through the mail, I discovered that I'd been sent a new bank card as my old one was due to expire.  Naturally, I set it aside and figured I'd deal with activating the card on Saturday since all that was required was for me to call a phone number from my home phone.

So before I set out to run a few errands on Saturday morning, I called the number; punched in the requisite numbers and was promptly informed by a recording that she was sorry but she couldn't activate the card and I would need to call my financial institution.  Fine.  Whatever.  The old card still worked so I figured I'd call the bank bright and early on Monday.

And I did.  Bright and early this morning, I called the bank.  Went through another phone tree hell and finally connected with a real, live human being.  I explained the situation and she was eager to help.  She said, "All I need is the last four digits of your Social Security number and your date of birth."  I promptly handed over the said numbers.  And she said, "That's not it."

WHAT?!  So I said, fine.  It must be under my husband's information and handed over the last four digits of his Social Security number to her and she said, "No, that's not it.  And it's under your information."

So I repeated the last four numbers of mine again while mentally running through my brain the entire number to make sure I was saying it properly.  Again, I was told "That's not it."

I was flabbergasted.  I asked her what I was supposed to do now, since THOSE WERE MY NUMBERS? And she suggested that I go to a local branch to have the card activated.  I thanked her for her time, hung up and fumed.

The bank closes at 5:00 pm.  I work until 5:00 pm.  Do you see the dilemma here?  Not to mention the fact, that somehow these people had a wrong Social Security number down for me.  I was not a happy camper.

As Hubby had the day off, we had decided to meet for lunch and I related the whole story to him as we ate.  He had the nerve to ask, "Are you sure you gave them the right numbers?"  And I adamantly said, "YES!"  He then worried over whether or not my identity had been stolen, to which I wondered why anyone would steal my identity and then change my Social Security number at the bank and, more importantly, can that even be done?

As he was headed home after lunch, he offered to double check my Social Security number and call me with it...just in case.  I agreed and headed back to work figuring out the best way to duck out of work early to try and fix this mess and thinking, "Me.  This could only happen to ME!"

When Hubby called he said, "The last four digits of your Social is XXYY."  I said, "You're kidding, right?"  No, apparently he wasn't.

All afternoon I stared at those four digits I had scribbled down and wondered why I had been SO sure that the other four digits were correct.  They felt familiar.  Very familiar.  Something I just knew.  Just like my Social Security number.  And it finally clicked.

I gave the woman VWXX....the last four digits of my cell phone number!  Which, apparently has two of the same digits as my Social transposed.

It's official...I AM an idiot.


August 10, 2013

Really Hubby? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...just sayin'

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I composed a post.  I thought about sitting up and writing down the gist of it; at the very least.  And then I didn't.  And now, it's just "dust in the wind" to quote a band that, apparently, had bigger hair than I am currently sporting, thanks to the unnatural amount of rain and humidity that we've been experiencing this summer.

I think it may have had something to do with anorexia (because of some very disturbing things I found via the world wide web yesterday while patrolling the 'Net for trademark infringement/counterfeit, i.e., only part of my job - which let the Work Me just interject here - C'mon people, trademark infringement/counterfeit is NOT cool.  Stop it already; I have better things to do than chase you around the the rest of my job!  Also not cool?  Promoting anorexia via social media.  I literally cried when I came across these sites - the pictures!  Nothing but skin and bones.) OR it may have had something to do with the fact that my husband seems to hate my pajamas.

One or the other.

For now, I'm going with the pajamas.  I get it.  They aren't "sexy."  But guess what?  They are COMFY.  Yes, comfy enough to warrant all caps.

In less than a week, Hubby has commented on my choice of nightwear.  He has even asked me if I wanted him to buy me some new pajamas.  No, I do not.

While this ensemble that I am sporting might not be something I wish to be seen in public in, I am perfectly happy to sport this look around those that I love the most.  The cotton is soft.  The elastic in the waistband is stretched just enough so there is no binding.  In sum, these pajamas are perfect.  And those that I love the most better get used to it.  Because, dammit, after a long, hard, grueling day of staring at a monitor, with my fingers flying across a keyboard - while sporting something stylish and uncomfortable, I deserve to relax in something loose, soft and comfy.

So, in addition to the million other things that I have planned for tomorrow (back-to-college-shopping, packing, creating a "marketing packet" for the soon-to-be-up-for-sale house, cleaning, laundry, etc.), I will also be shopping for my next pair of COMFY pajamas...just to get my husband off my back.

And really?  Who is HE to judge?  Since, according to what comes across in the laundry every week, seems to be the same six t-shirts over and over again.

August 5, 2013

If the good Lord is willing and the creek don't rise; maybe I'll even wash it.

Well, I did it.

I cleaned my car.

What?  You don't think this is noteworthy?  Have I mentioned that I haven't cleaned my car in....well, let's just say that I can't remember the last time I cleaned it.

But for some reason today, when I got in it I was disgusted.  Apparently, when I get into my car the only thing I can see is whatever is right outside the windshield in front of me.


So, I made up my mind...that TODAY would be the day that it was cleaned.  Of course, as it's not the weekend, this meant that after a full day at work, on a MONDAY, I might add, I would have to come home and actually DO something other than put on my pj's and surf the 'Net.  The horror.

But I did it.  I gathered all my cleaning supplies, the unwieldy Shop-Vac and dove in.  It took me over an hour to just dust, vacuum and sanitize all the surfaces in that car.  AN HOUR and it's just a mid-size (if you want to be generous) sedan!  Needless to say, I earned that glass of wine or two after I was done.

The car is officially clean and I am seriously surprised that I haven't yet contracted MRSA or some equally horrifying disease from the disgusting amount of crud I'd been driving around in for however long it's been.  I count myself fortunate.

As they say, God looks out for fools, drunks, small children and, apparently, people with filthy cars.