November 28, 2018

I figured out what to get The Husband for Christmas...before I kill him.

I literally just Googled this...

Best Wireless Headphones for TV Before I Kill My Husband

Because, honestly?  I'm about ready to kill my husband.  We go through the same scenario every night...I log on to the computer (in the dining room) to see what y'all are up to and The Husband turns on the tv (in the living room)...did I mention that this house is an open concept home, which means the kitchen, dining and living room are all one big room?  The turning on the tv means that The Husband has the volume at full blast.  Which only gets louder when there is shooting, shouting or music of any kind.  And every time that happens I kind of hate him for it (kinda, I recognize that I still love him but that I also want to kill him - welcome to marriage!).

Muttering under my breath does no good - because, obviously he can't hear it.  Asking him to turn it down only works for so long before all the noise subsides to regular conversation that he can't hear has him turning it up again.  I have told him repeatedly that he needs to have his hearing checked.  So far, he is resisting this option (I think because he's afraid hearing aids may be in his future and isn't ready to admit that he is at that point in his life); much like he resists going to the eye doctor - even though I remind him constantly that glaucoma runs in his family.

So before I dive into an exhaustive Google search for the best headphones to keep me from killing him - is this a problem in your home?  Have you solved it?  If so, help a girl out, please!  If not, please start a Go Fund Me for bail money..

November 23, 2018

Sometimes Future-Gigi is pleasantly surprised by Past-Gigi...

Yesterday, I pulled open the drawer that holds the table linens prepared to spend far too much time ironing napkins.  Instead I was surprised to see that the napkins had already been ironed!  Apparently, after the last meal that I deemed worthy enough of cloth napkins (probably Easter, if I'm honest), I gave Future-Me a gift and ironed the napkins after washing them.

This made me very happy.

Except - for some reason, I ironed them in thirds - shaped like a rectangle.  This was only a minor blip though.  See, normally I iron them in fourths - shaped like a square and then proceed to do this very seemingly, complicated thing (it's really not) that my friend's son calls "napkin oragami."

But still - ironed napkins at the ready!  I did proceed with the napkin oragami and was done in more than half the time it usually takes me.  With this lovely surprise in the back of my head, today I presented Future-Me with another gift.  After washing those napkins, I ironed them - this time in fourths.

Future-Me won't be as surprised as I was yesterday since it will be about a month from now when those napkins get pulled out - but most likely it will remind Future-Me to treat Further-In-The-Future-Me to a nice surprise.

But you know what would REALLY be magical?  If I opened that drawer and found the table cloth was already ironed.  I know that won't be happening...especially since I skipped using it at all this year. Oh well, maybe by then the Future-Me will have figured out the easiest way to iron that stupid tablecloth.

November 19, 2018

Unspoken contracts...

All relationships have them...especially old married couples.  You know the ones I mean, he might loathe emptying the dishwasher, so it becomes her job.  She may need to be the first one in the bathroom every morning, so he uses the guest bath.  And on and on.

And then, occasionally, one might find that the other is overstepping his bounds in the unspoken contract...this is the dilemma that has recently presented itself in this house...enough so that the unspoken contract needed to become spoken.

The former owners of this house, created a "mini mudroom" in the hall from the garage to the house.  They did a board and batten kind of thing which I love and added five hooks from which you can hang purses, hats, bags, etc.

Note there are FIVE hooks.

Recently, I've noticed that The Husband has taken to using one or both of the hooks that I consider mine.  As our household has dwindled to the two of us, I had commandeered two hooks for my purse, reusable bags and jacket/sweater and left the other three for him.  And then, all of a sudden, random jackets, etc. began showing up on MY hooks.  I would move them back to HIS hooks, thinking surely that would be the clue that he needed.

This did not happen.

So finally, this weekend, I told The Husband that those were my hooks.  Twice.

And today, he had the nerve to lament that I dared to commandeer TWO hooks!  I looked him dead in the eye and said, "There are FIVE hooks; I have two and you have THREE."  And, lo and behold, today he left my hooks alone...

That unadorned hook? It's MINE!

As much as I like this little mini mudroom situation, it gets crowded, especially now in the in-between season where it's cold one day, warm the next, and then it rains.  In the summer, I try to keep all the hooks, except for the one on the end, clear. And to be honest, that in itself is a never ending task.

November 18, 2018

Old school blogging and missing the community we used to have

I've been hearing rumblings in the blogging world.  It started with this call to arms, which then led to the creation of this community.  Just Google the term "old school blogging" and you will end up with a myriad of results dating from 2015 to 2018 (and that's just the first page of results).  This tells me that there are plenty of bloggers/readers who are missing the community that old school blogging facilitated.

And then a few days ago, The Bloggess, wrote a post entitled Calling All Bloggers, which was inspired by this post (and when I dove deeper I found this post)...all of which highlighted what many of us have been saying...where did the community go?

I can't say for sure whether or not I am an "old school" blogger - but I've been doing this fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants blog since about July 2009 (over NINE years?! Really?!  Somehow this amazes me),  I think that means I qualify. Here is what I remember about "old school" blogging...

Each blog had a community...people kept coming back for more because they loved the interaction.  I've written a million several posts about comments.  They were vital to blogs - back in the day...that's what kept us writing posts...because we wanted to connect.

I miss Texan Mama who wrote Who Put Me in Charge of These People? (which has since morphed into Gretchen Willis Photography (she is amazing with a camera!),  FourSons (which has completely disappeared from the amount of Googling can find her - sure I know where she resides on FaceBook, but I want to respect her privacy), Jerry from Gently Said was lost in the whole Blogger/Yahoo issue, which two years later is STILL NOT resolved (sending very disapproving looks to both companies along with a lecture to "play nice!"), From The Inside...Out - last I heard she moved to California and was loving it; Hyperbole and a half has also disappeared, as has Laundry Hurts My Feelings and Pearl...and many, many, many more.

If you look to your right, you will notice that I still have these listed on my "blog roll" (which is what we called it back in the day - these were the blogs that we loved and wanted to share) because I keep hoping one day they will pop back up.

We had a lot of fun back then.  We would share "awards" and tag other bloggers.  When someone new would pop up in the comments, the protocol was to go visit them and say hi - and possibly follow.  We would create tags, like the What's In Your Bag and tag other bloggers to play along.

I think part of the problem now is - people just aren't commenting as much as they used to - for whatever reason.  Maybe they are shy.  Maybe they are thinking, they don't know me and probably don't want to hear what I have to say.  Or, well, who knows why?

But here's the thing.  The person writing the blog is putting their thoughts out there; reaching for a connection.  Starting the conversation.  So it only makes sense that they would be delighted to get a response, right?  I mean, if the blogger wasn't looking for a connection they would either set their blog to private or not blog at all and just journal.

I know I haven't been the best at commenting lately but that changes now - I am going to attempt to comment on every post I read - even if the blog in question isn't one that I consistently follow - because, honestly?  I think that might be the way to find ourselves back to that community feeling we we used to have.

November 11, 2018

The cake that didn't want to be made...twice!

Yesterday was The Husband's birthday and we had planned to have our friends two doors down over for dinner and dessert.  The idea was to celebrate The Husband's birthday and Man-Child's birthday (which was a MONTH ago!).

The reason we hadn't celebrated MC's birthday yet was because getting him here to actually do so has been impossible with his schedule of late.

At any rate, I planned to make a praline cake - yes, not a traditional birthday cake, but a cake that Man-Child loves.  The Husband, who typically doesn't eat many of the sweet treats I make, scoffed at that cake.  I offered to make something else but he said no.

Then, as I pulled out my recipe binder, I remembered I had his mother's recipe for his all time favorite dessert; the one he always requested for his birthday when he was younger - and just like that I was making two desserts.

With relatively no issues, I whipped up the base for the "pudding pie" for The Husband and set about to making the praline cake while it cooled before finishing it up.

Truly, I can't even call this recipe "baking" as you use a boxed cake mix but it is - usually - incredibly easy.  I am sharing it here both because I think some of you might like it and because it will help to explain what happened in both instances.

Praline Cake

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (as always, I prefer dark brown sugar)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 pkg SuperMoist Butter Pecan cake mix

Heat oven to 350.  Mix pecans, brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in small bowl, with a spoon.  Spread on bottom of un-greased rectangular pan.  Prepare cake mix as directed on package.  Pour batter carefully over the pecan mixture.  Bake as directed on package (35-40 minutes).  When done, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen; immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof serving tray or wire rack.  Leave pan over cake for about 5 minutes; remove pan.  Serve warm or cool.

When the praline cake was finished baking, I pulled it from the oven, ran the knife around the edges, and prepared to turn the cake upside down...

 ...and promptly lost my grip and the entire cake exploded onto the stove top.  Ruined.  The entire cake was a total loss and the incredible, sticky mess was, luckily, contained to the stove top.  Thank goodness I was home alone as I may have let a few unladylike words fly.

I threw the ruined cake in the trash, cleaned up the sticky, gooey mess and headed to the grocery for supplies - this cake was going to be made come hell or high water.

Upon returning home, I started the whole process again.  While the cake was in the oven, I finished off the pudding pie.  And, in the event that anyone wants that recipe, I'll share it here.  Also, not really baking.

Pudding Pie

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks of butter)
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans is my preferred nut for this recipe)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup Cool Whip
2 4 oz packages instant chocolate pudding
3 cups of milk
1 chocolate bar

Mix flour, butter and nuts with a fork or pastry blender.  Spread in 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely.

Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip.  Spread over the cooled crust.  Mix up instant chocolate pudding and milk.  Spread this mixture over the cream cheese layer.  Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the last layer.  Grate the chocolate bar over the top.  Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

As I was finishing up the pudding pie (which The Husband was delighted to see), The Husband was hovering around the kitchen waiting for me to finish so we could go to lunch.  And, as he told me repeatedly, he was starving.

As I pulled the cake from the oven, I thought it seemed a little jiggly but the toothpick I had used to check for done-ness came out clean.  The Husband flipped the cake for me, as I had told him about the first cake.  In my rush to wrap up this process, I neglected to leave the pan over the cake for the required five minutes.  Turns out, this step is pretty crucial to the recipe.  It doesn't ruin the cake, but it helps to firm up the topping (which was in the bottom of the pan).

We left for lunch, only to come home to discover that a lot of the praline "juice" had run off the sides of cake - once again leaving a sticky mess on the stove top. *sigh*  And, even worse...the center of the cake had collapsed!  Despite the toothpick being clean, the cake clearly could have done with another ten minutes in the oven.  Luckily, it was only that one, small part - the rest of the cake was fine.

You know what is next to impossible to photograph?  The collapsed part of the cake.  The topping serves as a fine camouflage...

This angle kinda shows the collapse...but also shows what happens when you neglect to leave the pan on for the required five minutes.

At this point, there wasn't time to make it again, so I called it "good enough."  I also neglected to take a picture of the pudding pie...I am clearly failing as a "food" blogger. ;-)

Despite, the collapse, this cake was a clearly a hit.  Man-Child took the rest home and will, hopefully, share with his roommate...but I have a feeling he may hide it.

The pudding pie was also well received, I did notice that The Husband didn't offer to send any of it home with MC though...

November 4, 2018

A weekend of purging...

Next week, we are having a business dress clothing drive at work to benefit those who are in need of nice business clothing in order to interview for jobs, etc.  As I have been meaning to clean out my closet of some of those now, unnecessary clothes this was the prod I needed.

Yesterday, I waded into the closet and was able to fill four bags of clothing and shoes that I do not need anymore.  I did save a few favorites because you never know when I might need some "grown up" clothes.  But now, the majority of my closet is fairly casual.

A little over two years ago, when we moved in, I knew that I would need to go through the dresser that landed in my dressing room when we discovered that all of our furniture wouldn't fit in our bedroom and move some of The Husband's clothes to his closet.  But then life got in the way, as it always does, and this project was put off.  Mainly, because the system I had in place was working...kind of.

Today, I dove in to that dresser.  There were two drawers of The Husband's old socks and two drawers of old tee-shirts.  He has not wandered into that room to look for any of these clothes in well over two years.

Because I am a kind wife who wanted him to know what I was about to do (since he's accused me of taking his clothing and giving it away before without telling him; which I have never done!), I walked into the living room and informed The Husband (aka The Hoarder) that I was sending all the socks and tee-shirts to Goodwill.  He agreed - and then it dawned on him that I wasn't talking about sending MY socks and tee-shirts; because why would I announce that to him?

Then he said, "Do you want me to come look through them first?"  I told him no, because then he would want to keep everything - despite not missing those clothes for over two years.  Surprisingly, he didn't argue.  So I packed everything up, along with a few items of my clothing that weren't business, and some of my costume jewelry that I never wear, into six bags, put them in my car and carted them away - before he could change his mind and take a peek!

When I came home, I was then able to rearrange all the drawers in a way that actually made sense and was able to find a home for my socks and tights that had been living in tucked away bins.

Now, the dressing room, is far from where it needs to be - as I have stuff that was under the extra vanity in the guest bath living in there (we FINALLY had it removed AND had the Amityville Horror paint job fixed!  Now we are waiting for our friend to find the time to help with building the shelves - baby steps), but it's getting closer.  And I know it will get worse before it gets better - because Christmas is coming...and guess where all the gifts get hidden prior to being wrapped?

Speaking of which, I guess I better get started on some serious Christmas shopping because, holy cow, HOW is it already November 4th?!