Chicken Sweaters!

chicken sweater

OMG this is what you are trying to knit, isn’t it Em?! Consider yourself busted. Weirdo.

Em: First of all, I would never make my chickens look so nerdy. IF I choose to clothe my hens, I will first check the Kardashians’ latest instagrams and model my poultry fashion after what I find there. My chickens will have everything: ombres, jumpsuits, extra eyelashes, lip and butt implants, Uggs, giant earrings, etc. (you get the picture).

W: You have clearly given this some thought.

Em: If you lived with ANY girls, you would  understand! I’ve been searching for just the right nail colors for the girls too… Big pedi nights coming up!!!!!

W: You are nuts, Stefon.

Life Changer

I did something life changing today, girls. I replaced all of the slippery plastic and bulky hangers in my mudroom coat closet with those slim, no slip ones, and then… wait for it… I hung all of our off season jackets in there! OMG. Why haven’t I done this before?! It is amazing. We all now have only the coats we are currently using hanging in our cubbies, and the rest are hanging neatly, standing by, ready for an unseasonably warm day. I feel so liberated. Three jackets were able to graduate to the donation bag in the garage, along with 8 pairs of outgrown shoes (thanks to no shoe drive at school this fall). I am doing a little dance of joy.

Em: Wow- big day there! I am forever battling coats. When the kids started school I hung coat hooks by the front door so they could grab their coats on the way out and put them away on the way in… Genius, right?!!?!? No, dumbass, because we almost never use our front door… Neither kid takes the bus in the morning and only one of them ever takes it home in the afternoon- AND even then, it’s only two times a week! So out of all of their comings and goings- only ONE kid uses the front door AND it’s only TWO times a week! So instead of making life easier………. I’ve added steps to our step counts… Holla!! So I guess I’ll take it as a win! (Never mind that neither kid ever knows where their coat, boots, hats etc. are. Where’s the fun in THAT???!?! ) Plus, Joe LOVES the smell of chaos in the morning;0)

W: Hey, what if you gave up on the idea of your kitchen being and eat-in kitchen for a while and relegated that space to a more mud room functionality…? Like use that wall space where your calendars are (who needs calendars anyway) for cubbies like I have? Or even move that black shelf over there and hang coats above it? Could the kids reach them…? Then where the black shelf currently is, you could do that cute shelf as a bar at the windows thing I saw on Pinterest. I am just going to call you about this right now… I bet you are at work…

Em:

Kids Talking Mostly Shit

My two boys were on the phone with Em’s son for like an hour today. On speaker. On the couch, while they watched football. I was in the kitchen getting dinner started and cleaning up some, so I was like 10 feet away the whole time. Every once in a while I would tune in and listen to what they were talking about for a minute, then tune back out again. I tuned out because the conversation was mostly just inanely annoying nonsense ranging from movie quotes to hypothetical video games. At one point I just wanted to shout at them to have a real conversation or hang up the freakin phone if they are just going to hang out talking mostly shit… And then I caught myself.

Today I caught a squirrel.

 

 

Yep. Today I caught a live squirrel in my trap. I am a trapper-releaser, NOT a Trapper-Keeper! Hahaha! Anyway- the last time I caught a squirrel, it was DEAD. Yes, I am a talented trapper and I caught a dead squirrel in my trap. No one wants to start their day by shaking a dead squirrel out of a trap! And, that’s EXACTLY why I left in in there and waited for my husband to take care of it! Once the trap was clean of said, dead squirrel, I reset it. I am on a forever quest to trap whatever vermin is currently taking up residence under my deck or shed. I don’t know what makes our porch and shed particularly desirable to wild animals… Maybe it’s the mothballs, or the ammonia soaked rags we stuff under there.

W: So what did you do with the live squirrel? You didn’t just release it back into your yard, did you? I think we are on the verge of a chipmunk problem under our porch. I know there are a shit load under there, but they haven’t actually been a problem yet. They stand up on my neighbor’s fence yelling at me if I am out there between them and their home (aka my porch) but they haven’t actually attacked or chewed through anything important yet. I normally just yell back. What’s your skunk situation?

Em: I did not release it- I put it’s head on a stick as a warning to other squirrels!
As for the chipmunks-they are ALWAYS a problem! You need to take care of them- but don’t worry, I have a plan for you!
Step 1: cut a hole in the box… No!no!no! Not THAT plan- it probably wouldn’t work…
Step 1: get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it about half way with water (approx 2 1/2 gallons ;0)
Step 2: sprinkle in some bird seed.
Step 3: put a 2×4 across the top of the bucket (like a bridge) and one leaning against the bucket (like a ramp).
Step 4: done! Now your only problem is the bucket-o-dead chipmunks… You are welcome.

W: Seriously? This is what I have to do? Probably not in December or January… I will have to make sure my friend Tanya is around in case it works – she is the only one I can think of out here who will help me empty a bucket full of drown chipmunks – I think she is my most badassest friend. She had a rabbit stuck in her garden fence a few weeks ago – half in half out – dead. She asked me to help her, or have Steve cut it in half to get it out.  Apparently that is where she draws the line – sawing small animals in half.  I suggested she cut a hole in the fence around the rabbit and then patch the hole. I love that her mind went right to cutting the rabbit in half to get it out…?! And you know Steve will be out of town when my bucket fills up with dead chipmunks. He misses all the good stuff.

Out For Blood

Had a physical in March. Was told to get blood work done. Was told to fast for 12 hours. Are you kidding me? One would think this to be pretty easy- just go first thing in the morning, right? Well, one would be wrong. I like to eat late at night AND early in the morning. One cannot survive on three meals alone- dinner til bed is a long time to go without chips. Am I right?!!?!?

Last night I was busy sanding my new window boxes (I’ll be writing a separate post on that), so I didn’t get a chance to stuff my face with delicious tortilla chips. This sounds like the perfect set up for blood work this morning- except that because I’m sooooo good at planning that we didn’t eat dinner until 8:15 last night! We opened the pool yesterday- YAY! It was green- BOOO! We vacuumed and shocked it- now it’s clear -YAY! It’s only 50 degrees out today- BOOO!

Clearly not medicated yet… stupid fasting…

As I’ve mentioned before, I love me some banana with peanut butter every morning for breakfast. Instead of getting going on my day this morning, I had to watch my kids eat breakfast while I did NOT enjoy my banana and peanut butter OR my coffee OR the 20oz of water I start every day with (I’m not really sure the rules of fasting. Maybe I could have had water, but I wasn’t sure and there’s no way I want to try to fast for 12 hours again! Also- I didn’t brush my teeth… just in case. You cannot be too careful…. maybe I could have clarified the rules of fasting- but that’s a lot of work for someone who hadn’t eaten in nearly 12 hours!)

Ironically, that’s not even my story. When I arrived at the blood place- through the window, I saw a bunch of people in the waiting area having a lively discussion.  Of course I wanted to run for the hills, but because of the stupid fasting situation I reluctantly proceeded. I won’t even go into the crazy “discussion” of politics… you can use your imagination. But when that was done, a woman said, “And you know what else? I believe in aliens. Area 54 and all that. There are all those sightings of UFOs all around the world- all those people couldn’t be lying. And, now scientists can figure out how old things are and they have dated some things back to before the cavemen. And there’s pictures in caves. That’s how we got the technology for these babies (holding up her phone).”

Sadly, after that her husband came out from getting his blood drawn and they left. So my story ends here.

And also with you.

 

I refinished a table 3

Chiseling out the fishes turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

The table was still pretty dirty. I removed hardware and sanded that. I removed all the mismatched screws and found replacements – most matching. I sanded and sanded and sanded. It was taking forever. Then I began to wonder if perhaps I could have made much swifter progress had I started out with grittier sandpaper. Was I being too gentle, stripping the wood with 220? Hell yeh I was. Back to Ace Hardware, hello 100. Things happened pretty quickly from here – minus the 10 day vacation, vacation recovery time, the start of school, and I got a job (more on that another time). I lost a little momentum there for a while, but once I finally started back at it magic began to happen.

Of course I forgot to take pictures at this point.

And then like 4 coats of polyurethane later and still not a smooth finish, I make the call, “Dad, I can’t get it smooth.” “Did you try wet sanding?”

Ta.Da.

And then it was done. Well, nearly. The new screws I used to attach the legs to the table top were just a touch too long… SON OF A FLIPPING NUTCRACKER!!! Yeh, they splintered through the finally, beautifully finished table top. Many expletives. I wanted to poke my eyeballs out with my own fingers. How could I be so stupid? More swearing. Maybe some tears. All, very gloriously, in front of my gob smacked children. So, instead of hauling the whole damn thing out to the trash and setting it aflame like I wanted to do, I had to take a deep breath, put on my big girl pants, and get out the sandpaper and polyurethane, and start fixing the mistake I made. Which, by the way, the kids were kinda pissed about. My table had been hogging up a lot of space for kind of a long time in the basement where they and their friends like to hang out. Too bad – I needed a couple more days.

and THEN… ta-da!

Looks pretty much the same as the other picture. You’ll just have to trust me that there were holes and I fixed them. So now it is finished and settling into it’s new home and job… 

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously?!?! Reattaching the latch, guess what I did? Yup, made a new crack. This one is staying for now, though. I’m still done.

 

Dead Banana Peel

Preamble:

Everyone knows I have a sordid history with knives. The Prickerville incident, the Christmas ornament incident, the ham… needless to say, knife safety is a top priority in my house! (Tuck your fingers under- keep the tip of the knife down- cut away from your body)

The Main Event:

Its been cold and snowy in CT this March, so I have found myself daydreaming about Spring (just so we’re clear, by daydream- I mean incessantly pinning yard and gardening ideas on Pinterest). One thing I have learned is that banana peels are good sources of nutrients for vegetable gardens. I love bananas- I usually eat at least one a day- resulting in banana peels galore- a total score for my garden. You might think it’s okay to just toss your dead peel into the garden and be done with it, but it’s not. Number 1: gross. A bunch of dead banana peels filling up the garden looks gross. Number 2: (ha! Number 2! Hahaha!) you don’t want to invite wildlife into your vegetable garden to snack on dead banana peels. Number 3: danger! Banana peels are very slippery! It is recommended that the banana peels are chopped up into small bits before adding to your garden.

Two things about me, 1, I am a rule follower and 2, I love composting.  Now since the garden is currently snuggled in under a blanket of snow and I feel it’s in bad taste to throw all of my banana peels on top of the snow, I chose to add them to my tumbling composter. All winter I’ve been adding my coffee grounds and now with the addition of banana peels this is going to be the Mac Daddy of compost come Spring!

I’ve gotten into a groove- I have a small chopping block board  and my trusty, large chef’s knife (it makes quick work of the peels). The first week went amazing; I only had to pull my banana peels out of the trash twice! Old habits die hard) Then came Thursday and my past came back to haunt me (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please refer to the preamble. That’s why I wrote it.) So I’m chopping through my banana peel, creeping my fingers back as I chop, when suddenly  my chopping hand got going a little quicker than my creeping hand! I did not lose a fingertip, but I did manage to shave off a portion of both fingernail AND finger. Not enough to find a chunk, but enough to bleed and hurt like crazy.  And now I have a finger (that was previously  protected by a nail) that now has NO protection. OUCH!!!!!!!!! All. The. Time.

The next day, in an effort to prep for a blizzard, I ran to Trader Joe’s and bought 5 bags of totilla chips (because they are that good) When I found THIS!!:

I think it was taunting me.

W: Is there anything else in your composter? I’m not sure banana peels and coffee grounds alone make dirt. Not that I’m an expert. But I will attest to whole peels looking gross just flung into the garden. I’ve done that. They hang around forever too. Turns out there is nothing in Illinois that naturally breaks down banana peels (besides sweet slow time). You seriously cut them up every day? Aside from that one accidental self stabbing incident a few years ago, I have pretty good knife skills. But not the will to apply them every time I enjoy and banana – which, like you, is nearly every day.  And coffee grounds go directly into the garden. I can’t even be bothered with the composter on that one. What has happened to me…? I used to be all over the composting. I might be the laziest person alive.

Is your finger ok, btw? And yes, that peel is totally taunting you. I hope you didn’t pick it up and take it home. You didn’t did you?

My dog is moaning. It is 6:30 and he wants his dinner. I am guessing my kids are going to want to eat soon too. Again.

E: my finger is fine- several weeks later and my nail is almost grown back.

Obviously,  I picked up the taunting peel, Why, pray tell, wouldn’t I?!!?!! I taught that little cuss a lesson too- julienned it right up! Ha! In. Your.  Face. banana peel!

 

Backing Away From an Angry Cat

Some people like to decorate and undecorate  for the holidays in one fell (or is it full?) swoop. One day their house is normal, the next it’s as if Christmas threw up all over it. And then it all vanishes by January 1. It’s as if NOTHING happened! No trace of Christmas at all! Not me. I like to start sneaking decorations into the house in mid November -s-l-o-w-l-y. You might not even notice it at first. Just a few snowmen here or a some glittery beads there. Then the next day I might add garland or a bowl of ornaments. Until all of the decoration boxes are empty and all of our glorious Christmas spirit is on display! Then I sit back to admire my work and the kids comes in, all full of excitement (of course) and they ask, “Mom, can we decorate today??? Please?????” Reality bites. As do my festive decorating skills apparently!

Anywho, I do the best I can…

Today I started the slow process of undecorating. It’s kind of like backing away from an angry cat. I try not to let anyone notice  as each day I grab a few ornaments and deposit them back into their proper bins in the basement. I may take a few weeks before anyone notices. Plus, as I look at my dry, shedding tree all aglow in colored lights, I am reminded of the memories made over the last few weeks (and also of a story W told me about how her neighbor’s house burned down when their Christmas tree caught on fire…).  The moral of this story is that the tree will come down this week, but the garland might be up til mid February! (And it will make me smile as I remember Exploding Cats and an epic round of 7s! #NotEverythingThatHappenedIn2016Sucked Continue reading Backing Away From an Angry Cat

I refinished a table 2

My house in Lake Bluff has a basement but not one I can work on my table in. It’s a finished basement, like most around here. We finished it because it’s what will sell when we finally get to move back east.

In the mean time… I needed someplace to work on my dirty table. Hello driveway. Lake Bluff is a little village. That means houses right next to each other and driveways you can spit the length of. No one does projects like this in Lake Bluff so no one has space to do projects like this. Having no other options, I set up shop in the driveway (and I like to spit). And naturally, neighbors walked and drove by all day long.  As I sanded away layers of dirt and grime, I got lots of very skeptical, “So… whatcha doing there, Wendy…?” I said, “I am going to repair and refinish this table.” Which was met with mostly, “oh… huh. Ok…?”‘ I sanded on.

Then I had to dig out the little fishy shapes on either side of the big cracks to fit the new ones in. I had a chisel, a mallet, a dremel, and a wide variety of dremel tips. And then I went to Ace Hardware and bought more dremel tips. And more sandpaper.

Hamish was a huge help.

 

 

I refinished a table 1

Every time there is a gap in my posting, I am going to start a new one with something like, “Ok it’s been about a million years since I’ve written!”

So there it is.

I’ve been busy (and a little bit negligent) – that’s why I haven’t been on here. Over the summer, Dad was at his accountants’ house picking up a load of really old wood they had in thier basement. Steve went with to help. When they got home Steve came running to get me, “Wend! Come see what I found for you!” Woohoo! I came runnin. “Look! It’s a table! Like you were looking for!” Mom was like, “Uh, yuck. What are going to do with that?” But it was perfect. It was a drop leaf table in many pieces and in very poor condition… to say the least. It was dirty and cracked and scratched, with rusted mismatched hardware, missing leaves and a pirate peg leg. Circa 1900. Probably Sears catalog. Probably worthless. I was in love. Well done, Steve. I have always wanted a drop leaf table, I can’t say why, I just have. And for some reason I got it in my head that I wanted an old one to repair and refinish. Having zero experience with wood working, furniture building, furniture repair, and a limited attention span, I had been on the hunt to a junky old table in need of some love that I couldn’t make any worse. And here it was.

Lucky for me, Dad has loads of experience with all things wood working. We made a plan.

Both drop leaves had huge cracks. We made little bow tie pieces to pull and hold the cracked sides together. Then I figured that I would be unlikely to be able to blend these pieces seamlessly, so why not make them stand out? So we made them into little fishes. Then we packed all the table parts and pieces into my motorhome and drove it home to Lake Bluff.

TP

In case you need ANOTHER reason not to buy crappy (heehee) toilet paper:
Hub bought some CTP (crappy toilet paper) for his annual guys island camping trip (because they’re guys. On a camping trip) It went unused -and ended up in our basement for a while -then somehow worked it’s way up to our upstairs bathroom. At first I was just annoyed because it was so skimpy that I needed a TON of it-, but then, as the WEEKS dragged on, I realized that I hated it for a second reason as well. It’s so skimpy that there are LITERALLY hundreds of miles of it wound onto the cardboard roll! WTF!!?!?! It never seemed get any smaller! Finally last night- hub whipped to off the hook and we tossed it around the house, wrapped the daughter up like a mummy with it, and still had to throw most of it out!!!!
And, now, finally- ahhhhhhhj…..sweet relief of normal TP!
Seriously, spend the money. It’s worth it.

all day nothing happened

I don’t have a picture for this. It was difficult to capture the nothingness. Not that I didn’t DO anything. I did stuff. I was busy all freakin’ day. Luckily the past few days have been chockablock, just back to back stuff, so I deliberately planned nothing – I knew I had catching up to do on things like a board meeting agenda, helping the kids and hub pack for Island Weekend, laundry… But it was the preparing for work that hogged up the lion’s share of my day. This Pilates teaching gig is time consuming! On top of the 500 hours required for certification, I devote endless hours class prep. Whether it is researching a client’s particular condition (diastasis recti, knee meniscus surgery, talus fracture, 4-months-in-a-boot recovery, pulled abdominal muscle, or just never done Pilates before) or trying to choreograph a class that flows AND that flows exactly 55 minutes, or 45 minutes, or 55 minutes but for 2 clients who know what they are doing and 2 who have never even heard of Pilates before but are all in one class together… Sometimes is a mat class, sometimes it’s a mat class with foam roller, sometimes it’s a reformer class, sometimes for a group, sometimes private. And if I am also taking a weekend training module then I am away-ish and learning a new piece equipment and teaching to peers in front of an instructor – that’s not nerve wracking at all. Yes it is. My head is swimming. But in a good way. I am enjoying the challenge. Luckily I don’t have to also work a regular full time job so I have time to commit to this. Maybe too much time…? I spend A LOT of time on class prep. But I also feel like with each class I teach, it is getting a little easier.

I have ordered my own home Pilates equipment. I am super excited to get my reformer/tower and exo chair! I ordered them last week. They said it would take about 2 weeks for me to get them so I am going to call for a status report. To be able to practice at home will be awesome. I practice with a friend who has a home studio that is gorgeous and filled with equipment. That’s not what I will have. I will have Pilates equipment in my basement, probably littered with Nerf bullets. Do you think I have to charge less per session on account of the bullets…?