August 27, 2016

I've been grounded...

This morning my car guy came by to listen to my car.  It has been making a rattling noise for a while now whenever I started it.  As the noise would generally go away after the car warmed up, I did as I usually do when it comes to my car - I ignored it.

Until The Husband heard it.  Then he harassed me until I asked our car guy to come take a look.  When I talked to him on the phone, he sighed.  And then told me that it is probably one of two things.  One of those things is bad and the other is a fairly easy fix.

I was hoping for the easy fix.  I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

He informed us the problem was bad.  He offered two solutions - replace the engine or get another car.  He seemed to leaning to the newer car option.  He then told me that I should only drive the car to work if I HAD to because I could end up stranded on the side of the road if and when the car decides to seize up.  We are thinking for the meantime, I may drive The Husband's car to work and he will drive mine since his job is about two miles up the road while mine is a good twenty minutes away.

Also, for those of you ready to chastise me about ignoring the noise - I've been told that it wouldn't have mattered if I'd called the first time I heard it.  It's only a matter of time before it dies.

The Husband and I are now weighing our options and will most likely go with getting a newer car - which I really wish we didn't have to do right now; we were hoping to have Man-Child out of college and The Husband's car paid off before we replaced mine - but what can you do?  Even if we lived in town, the public transportation here is such that it's practically non-existent.  We simply cannot live without two cars - it would be next to impossible.

I have to say that this poor little car has held up well - especially considering it had me as an owner for the past ten years.  It's closing in on 200,000 miles so I suppose it is time to let it go.

In the meantime, I'm sitting here stuck at the house with a means of escape - that I can't use - sitting in the driveway.  I absolutely loathe being without a car.  I mean sure, I don't have anywhere to go right now but if I wanted to, I can't.  At least not until The Husband comes home and I steal his car.

If it's not one thing, it's another - isn't that the way life goes?  But, in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse.

August 25, 2016

The Kitchen House - a book review

As you may know, we just returned from a vacation where Wi-Fi was virtually non-existent.  As such, Man-Child and I reverted to our go-to offline way to pass the time...reading.

I only packed two books but Man-Child - the over-achiever - packed at least five!

At any rate, one of the books I packed was The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  Now, I realize this book has been on the market for quite some time, but it has just hit my radar and I absolutely loved it!  And after visiting the author's website, I notice that she has recently released a new book, which is a follow up to The Kitchen House - so I will definitely be searching out that book soon!

The description on the back reads as so:

"At the turn of the nineteenth century on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, young, white Lavinia, who was orphaned on her passage from Ireland, arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate, black daughter.  Lavinia learns to cook, clean, serve food, and cherish the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master's opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son.  She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Kathleen Grissom's debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep buried secrets, and familial bonds.

*Minneapolis Star Tribune."

I started this book on the two hour drive from Connecticut back to Pennsylvania and was entranced.  As my MIL and The Husband napped on the couch, I finished it -all 365 pages of it.

The book goes back and forth between Lavinia and Belle's perspective, so at first I had to be fairly vigilant about which character was "speaking" but quickly I was able to switch gears between perspectives.

This book will be one that will live on my bookshelf forever and ever - right next to my copy of Gone With The Wind - and will be read over and over and ever more cherished with every reading.  If you have even a glimmer of interest in reading this book, I would suggest that you do so - you won't be sorry.

August 24, 2016

The Trip - a follow up post

If you read this blog then you know we just returned from a trip to see family.

First off, no - The Girlfriend did not join us.

Man-Child and I told The Husband in no uncertain terms that we NEEDED to arrive on Thursday.  Yes, I know the 9 hour drive can be taxing - but honestly, if you've driven six hours and are that close there is no point in stopping.  Just switch drivers and move on.

And as I predicted, the MIL was not happy that she wasn't clued in to as when our arrival would be - but ever resourceful, she determined that sauce and meatballs would work for dinner on Thursday or Friday at lunch.  There is nothing like Mom's meatballs!  YUM!

On Friday, we woke up and headed to Connecticut.  Yes, it was only a two hour drive - but after the nine hour drive the day before it felt like four hours.  When we arrived, no one was home - but we expected that and had the code to get into the house - where we immediately made ourselves at home.  Then left Mom to get comfortable (and sneak in a nap) to scout out where we could find supplies.

Considering none of us (other than Mom) had been here before, all we knew was the way we came in - so we headed out toward the main road that took us into their neighborhood.  Little did we know that we came in through the less desirable side of town.  We quickly figured that out once we found a grocery store.  Which kind of surprised us, since the neighborhood my BIL lives in is quite nice.

Turns out, if we had turned left instead of right out of his neighborhood we would have been in a COMPLETELY different area of town.  It isn't apparently clear just how thin the line between the two very different sides of town is - until you come from out of town and make a wrong turn.

When the BIL came home we went out to dinner and caught up.  Not long after we returned to the house, my SIL came home and the fun really commenced.  We laughed and chatted about their trip to "the shore" (apparently, this is what a beach trip is called "up North").  During the course of our conversation the game Cards Against Humanity was brought up as the game was played during their visit to "the shore."  The SIL declared it was an awful game.  It reminded me that I had brought a game to play - one that I thought my MIL would enjoy (once she got over the fact that electronics were involved) - Catch Phrase.

Our little family LOVES this game - but rarely get to play as there are three of us.  The odds of us having enough people here to make even teams is rare.  Even rarer?  This is a game that The Husband WILL play without having his arm twisted or threats uttered.

It was decided - we would play.  MIL was hesitant at first - because of the electronics issue - but once she got the hang of it and realized it wasn't electronic charades, she LOVED it.  It was a wonderful night.  We all laughed like we haven't laughed in years.  If you've never played Catch Phrase before, you need to play.  It is hilarious.  Throw in some adult beverages and it ratchets up to insane hilarity.

On Saturday, we all pitched in to get things ready as the BIL/SIL were expecting about twenty-six people to show up for the mini-reunion.  The BIL, The Husband and Man-Child all headed one way while the SIL and I headed another - again leaving the MIL to take care of a few things and rest as necessary.

The mini-reunion went off without a hitch - well, except for the fact that I'm an introvert and not one single person in this family is one - plus, they all know each other well and I have only met a couple of them once or twice YEARS ago.  But they were all kind and accepting and drew me out of my shell - with the help of some wine.

It's funny, I just viewed a picture of all of us that the BIL posted to Facebook - MC, me and one other in-law are oddly out of place in this clan as we are all obviously NOT Italian.  I told The Husband - you can EASILY see who the non-Italian in-laws are!  He found that hilarious.

After everyone left, we all prepared for bed and while doing so I promptly dropped and washed a contact down the sink (perhaps one glass of wine too many?  Maybe).  This became a problem only because I neglected to bring a "just in case" pair - which I had thought about while packing and promptly forgot because in all my years of contact wearing, I've never lost one!

On Sunday we headed back to Mom's - all exhausted and out of sorts from the night before.  The Husband and Mom both napped heavily that afternoon.  I almost drifted off several times but woke myself each time because I knew I needed a good night's sleep for the next day's trip home.

Poor MC (oh, okay - me too) suffered from the lack of Wi-Fi at Mom's - but we powered through it somehow.  We were offered a brief reprieve while at BIL's  but it wasn't enough to stave off the withdrawal symptoms.  Between the two of us we read quite a bit and played several rounds of Rummy.

Monday dawned with the realization that we needed to get back in the car and face another nine hour drive.  It wasn't pleasant.  And this is our problem with our trips up North...we can never seem to arrange them to have more than a day or so without spending extended periods of time in the car.  This time we seriously tried to plan it better - but with MC's ever changing schedule it just wasn't possible - maybe the next trip.

Plus, this time, I couldn't drive - even if The Husband was willing to give up the wheel - because I was stuck wearing my glasses - which are at least ten years old - and so far out of date that I don't feel comfortable driving with them.  I mean, I probably could have drove during the stretches where construction/traffic wasn't present (which was few and far between; particularly in PA - that state has a LOT of construction!) - but really, I shouldn't drive with them.  This was particularly apparent after we arrived home and I put in a new pair of contacts and realized just how tired my eyes were from straining to see just the closest objects on the road while sitting in the passenger seat.

So getting new glasses is now added to my ever growing To-Do List.

I have to say, I am one lucky gal.  My co-worker tells me stories about her in-laws; particularly her mother-in-law; that sends shivers up my spine.  My in-laws are pretty awesome; particularly my MIL.  She made it perfectly clear that we need to visit more often and I happen to agree.

August 17, 2016

I've never been so stressed out over a vacation...

We have had this trip on the calendar for MONTHS.  We are headed off to visit family and have a mini-family reunion and throw in a surprise birthday party for my Mother-In-Law (sssshh!).

Our plan was to take tomorrow and Friday off along with next week.  The hope was that we'd have the reunion, maybe take a trip into NYC (my first visit!) and a few other day trips.  Everything was set.

Until last week.

We have been asking Man-Child for weeks now when he needed to be back - he's finished his summer classes and is all set to do his student teaching this fall semester.  Turns out that school starts on the 29th, with teacher meetings taking place during next week.  And he, of course, had no idea whether or not he needs to attend the meetings.  Finally, last week he informs us that he has to be back on Monday, the 22nd.  Of course.

We adjust our plans - we figure we will skip the week off and come back on Sunday and The Husband and I will just take Monday and Tuesday off and plan for a vacation for just the two of us in the fall.  Long time readers will know that this is almost unprecedented.

The next thing I know, Man-Child now doesn't have to come back until Wednesday *sigh*.  We leave our plans as is.  Then I find that Man-Child is asking that if his girlfriend can join us. *sigh*

Truly, I'm sure her joining wouldn't be a big deal's the deal - the car we rented isn't really big enough for The Husband, me, Man-Child, The Girlfriend AND the MIL that we are picking up on the way.  Not to mention, the fact that it is rude and inconsiderate to add another guest last minute to the Brother-In-Law's hospitality - particularly since we will be staying in his condo.  Which by my count - if she comes - means SEVEN overnight guests (us three, The Girlfriend, the MIL and - possibly, BIL's two girls) and remember - this trip has been on the books for MONTHS - why wait till the last minute?

Then I overhear The Husband on the phone with his mother waffling on whether or not we will be arriving on Thursday or Friday.  First off, knowing my husband, I was shocked.  He is the kind of guy who wants to know what the plan is and doesn't want to deviate from said plan.  Second, my Mother-In-Law is a woman who wants to know the plan.  She needs to know whether or not she needs to worry about dinner on Thursday or lunch on Friday.

And then, in the past two days, I've been informed that, yes, The Girlfriend is coming and that, no, Man-Child really has to be here by Tuesday.  By now, both eyes are twitching simultaneously.  And my temper is rising.

So this morning, I asked The Husband when The Girlfriend was planning on showing up as are planning to leave early tomorrow.  Whereupon, I am informed that The Girlfriend "may not be able to get off work" - not to mention that classes started yesterday.  Needless to say, today I was aggravated, as all my co-workers can attest after listening to me vent ALL.DAY.LONG.

This evening, as I'm driving The Husband to pick up the rental car he informs me that we STILL don't know whether or not The Girlfriend will be joining us.

At this point, I figure I will wake up tomorrow and whoever is here when we leave will join us.  I also figure that lots of wine will be featured in this trip - at this point, I think I deserve it; especially since I still won't get to NYC.

August 8, 2016

Laundry, easy fixes and procrastination....yes, this is my life.

What is it about humans...oh, excuse me, I mean SOME of us humans; i.e. me, in particular?

I am someone who immensely enjoys the rewards of completing a simple, little task.  A task that should, in theory, only take five to ten minutes to accomplish.

I am also someone who has the ability to put things off for a ridiculous amount of time.  Remember this post?  Yeah, I'm still shaking my head over that one.  Granted, this latest incident isn't nearly as spectacular as ELEVEN years, but still....

How long have we been in this house now? *counting on my fingers* Yeah, about six months or so.  From the first day, as the washer and dryer were being installed I knew that the shelf above the dryer was too high for me to reach easily - and despite the fact that these shelves are the re-positionable kind rather than the kind that are permanently attached AND despite the fact that these were shelves that I could easily re-position all by myself with no tools necessary - I did nothing about it.

This meant that for the past six or so months, I have struggled every week to reach the detergent...for the last twenty-three weeks (give or take) - until about two weeks ago, when I'd finally had enough.  I took everything off the shelves, got the step ladder, re-arranged the shelves, replaced everything - it all took about 10 minutes.

And for the last two weeks, I have been able to easily reach up and grab the detergent whenever I started a load of laundry.  I cannot even begin to express how happy this has made me.  So what is it about me that made me put this tiny task off for so long?  How to fix this flawed personality trait?

Now, if I could just figure out a quick fix for getting the wet laundry out of the extra deep washer - I keep going in head first and struggling to make it out on my own...or even better figure out a way to quit ignoring the dryer's alarm when it goes off...why yes, I DID just discover the towels left in there from last week.


I think I'm incurable.

August 4, 2016

Where I prove JUST how uncoordinated I really am...

Oh I look at me you'd think I was graceful and coordinated (HA!)...but in truth, I'm a klutz of the first order.

Proof?  Just look at the various bruises I sport on a daily basis...bruises I generally don't even know what caused them.

Apparently, I am my own worst enemy.

This was proven without a doubt Monday night...

It night was like any other night...The Husband was in the kitchen pottering around doing whatever it is he does in there while we discussed our day.  And by "discussed our day" I mean we complained about the things which annoyed us and laughed about the things that were ridiculous.

At some point during our evening, I reached up to scratch an itch near my eye.  And promptly stabbed myself in the eye with my nail.  The pain was brief and I didn't think much of it.  Until later, when The Husband walked up to me in search of a back scratch and exclaimed, "What the HELL did you to your eye?!?!"

Me, being completely clueless, replied that I'd done nothing.  He informed me that my eye was all red and bloody.  So naturally, I went to the nearest mirror to investigate.  And he was right.  The entire right side of the white of my eye was completely red.

It didn't hurt - so there was that.  But still...

The next day (and every day after that) I have had to explain to just about every single person that I came in contact with that I am an uncoordinated idiot who can't even scratch an itch without almost putting her own eye out.

Needless to say, I have been extra careful around my eyes lately - which makes putting in my contacts and doing my makeup super fun.

And now, everyone who walks by makes a point of stopping and evaluating my eye and telling me that it's looking better (while wincing and grimacing) - as if I haven't been monitoring it myself.  

I keep telling myself that they are wincing/grimacing because of how it looks and not because they are pained by the fact that I'm such a klutz who can't be trusted to keep her fingers out of her own damn eye...but you and I both know it's the fact that I'm such a klutz.