Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Broke the Lawn Mower (And They Say it is a Capital Offense)

NOTE: I am posting this despite not being able to solve the photo issue I was having. 

I love wind chimes. I have five right now strung up across the yard. I used to have six.

Remember a few months back when I had all that yard work done? Well, the guys were good enough to take down the chimes and rehang them if they got in the way of their work.

Looks like they forgot to hang one back up.

And I found it.

With my lawn mower.

By the way, notice that fancy star shape in the center? That apparently makes this a "special" blade that needs to be special ordered from a parts depot because NOBODY carries it.

This blade is now good for ripping the grass from the ground in a whirlwind of inefficiency.

Keeping in mind that lawn mower blades need to be replaced or sharpened every season I don't mind having to replace it. And it was sort of fun hearing that thwackity clunk clunk clunk for about 10 nano seconds before I let go of the lawn mower and jumped five feet away from it expecting it to of course blow right the heck up!

But having to spend an entire day searching the stores for the replacement was a prelude to a tantrum. After an hour in Home Depot (where I was told to go to Sears because they'd have it), then waiting a half an hour for Sears to open only to be told that they don't carry that particular blade so I should check the bigger Sears in the mall. At the bigger Sears I was told they could order the part for me to pick up later.

"You don't carry it?" I frowned at the khaki wearing man.

"Nope. This is a special order part." He walked to an in store customer computer. "Here, I can help you order it."

Right, I think, because I can't order something online by myself! Jeesh! I don't want to pay for shipping which was the whole point in coming to the store.

"I'm really trying to understand this." I said slowly, my patience had already worn down to a very thin strand ready to snap at any moment. "I bought the lawn mower here." The man nodded at me. "You were in fact the one who sold it to me." (I have a great memory for faces plus he has been working at this Sears in the lawn and garden department for as long as I can remember). He nodded again, but he was clearly just trying to appease me at that point.

"Yes, Ma'am."

"And you are telling me that you do not actually carry the parts for the products that you sell?" I am sure steam is shooting out of my ears and my eyes have rolled into the back of my head.

"I can order it-"

"No," I interrupted, "I'm done. I'll just order it at home."

"I'm very sorry," he said as I turned and walked away.

I nod but just kept walking. I had a lethal weapon in my hand in the form of a rusty old lawn mower blade and I so wanted to shank someone.

Really, Blogger?

I've been getting a bit frustrated with Blogger the past few days, from auto-rotating my photos to automatically changing my settings, to the New and Improved interface (which, FYI Blogger, I HATE!), to deleting posts that I am working on arbitrarily. I am left thinking that I might find a better platform for my blogging requirements.

Let me throw this out there: Any suggestions?

Monday, August 27, 2012

I (un)Made It Monday

Remember that beautiful crochet project I was working on a while ago? The orangey sunset one?

The one where I knew, just absolutely knew that I would need more yarn to complete? Guess which one I can no longer work on because the store where I bought the yarn discontinued carrying it?

So very frustrating, my friends, to be in the middle of a project and not have enough yarn to finish it. Oh, I'm sure I could order it online somewhere...but that's not the point.

Because, I'm impulsive, see. And my level of spontaneity correlates directly with my level of frustration. So I end up with something like this before I even realize it.

Admittedly, it was kind of satisfying to pull the entire thing apart.

There is a new project in the works for this yarn, but as it is a gift, like many of my other projects at this time, and thus cannot yet be revealed.

On a side note, guess whose family is already getting sick of my impromptu bursts of Christmas music? And the stack of Christmas movies sitting by the DVD player? They just don't understand that when I'm in a gifty making mood, I need a gifty making environment to encourage my creativity!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Photos

Last month I met up with Sara and Geordie at the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens for an afternoon of exploration in what is supposed to be a very beautiful botanical garden - alas not much was in bloom and they were doing some minor construction on new garden areas so it was breathtaking in terms of the gardens. Fortunately for us, the real reason I wanted to go to gardens was Bongoland!

I first read about Bongoland about two years ago when the girls and I were first getting into camping. I had it in my head to explore as much of Florida as possible and, of course, the first book I turned to was Weird Florida.

Life being what it is, my plans to go to Bongoland always got scrapped. But when I finally got to go, it was almost as good as I hoped. The only thing that could have made it better would have been more...dinosaurs?

This was the only one of the five concrete monstrosities that "looked" semi-normal...and by that I mean ... never mind, just keep scrolling down.

Okay. Dinosaur eggs are pretty simple enough to make. These kind of looked cool. I liked how they had one that was broken open almost birdbath-like.

I've always been a fan of stegosaurus. They make me smile as I imagine them clodding around in the forest.

Cool I like tricertops - they always look tough, like they are just sitting on the edge of a major spaz out. Umm...okay so maybe his horns got broken in a fight...

Why is he trying to KISS US????

Behold the giant land sloth. Watch out folks, his a maniacal stalker! Look at how he is pushing back the brush... just like a velocioraptor!

"I'm watching you...With my shiny Frank Sinatra eyes!"
 And finally the majestic king of dinosaurs... The T-Rex?

Yikes! Rexy Baby! What happened to you? Where is your third finger? Have you dislocated a shoulder, you poor thing!

I'm pretty sure there isn't anything left to say but oh how these made me crazy happy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Washing Machine Woes

I love my washing machine.

Most of the time.

I picked it out after a whole day of diligent research. I knew what I could afford and when I went to Sears (don't knock it - any company that's been around as long as Sears AND used to sell mail-order homes is A-OK in my book!) I knew exactly the model I wanted to look at.

Right next to the model I could afford was a souped-up version of my machine. Just, you know, sitting there looking way shinier and flashier than the one I decided on earlier. The souped-up machine had a see-through glass top and instead of a regular agitator it just had a little round mound on the bottom.

The sales man explained to me how the souped-up model, while two hundred dollars more expensive could hold more laundry, had more buttons and could, you know, perform exorcisms on demand and make lunch for the kids.

My well planned shopping excursion hit a snag. More Buttons? More Laundry? Holy Monkey Butts! I needed that washing machine. I hemmed and hawed, walked between the two models to the point where I scuffed up the shiny waxed floor. The man flitted between me and another customer but I kept asking him more and more questions: warranty? rebates? sales?

In the end, being as budget conscious as possible, I stuck with my original plan: Buy the less expensive but still fully functional machine and be satisfied with that.

Oh! How I sometimes hate that decision. Because every. single. time. I need to wash blankets (which is often as we don't like to use flat sheets and we have long haired cats that insist upon shedding all their fur on the blankets) this happens:

And the blankets get so waterlogged and twisted around it is nearly impossible for me to pull them out.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Funk Explained.

Before I even push back the covers and sit up, I know that my period has started. In the bathroom, I confirm it, slightly pink-tinged underwear and blood on the tissue.

I start to cry as I wash my hands.

Scott calls through the door, “You okay?”

I’ve woken him with my tears.

“Fine,” I sniffle, “I’m taking a shower.”

“Alright.” A moment’s pause and then, “You need a towel?”

I nod, knowing he can’t see me but not trusting my ability to talk without crying more. I know the pause was his sleep clouded head registering why I am taking a shower. I never take a shower first except on days when I have my period.

I turn the water on and steam soon fills the small room. Scott taps on the door just as I pull the shower curtain closed shutting me into my own private space. The door opens a crack and without him saying anything, I know he is hanging a clean towel on the rack for me. He pushes the door shut with a soft click as he leaves.

In the shower the hot water beats on my back and I let the sobs I was denying take over. My eyes sting and I can’t seem to catch my breath; I gasp and lean against the tiles letting the water wash the tears from my face. I know that if Scott hasn’t gone into the kitchen yet, he can hear me. Although he is use to the tears now, I try to stop.

This is ridiculous, I tell myself, we aren’t even trying. 

But every month it is the same, hoping against hope that an accident will happen even though I monitor my cycle like a scientist with an experiment. I chart, I take my temperature, figure and refigure, count days and track symptoms. I have to. It is a habit now forged when I took medication that would have damaged or killed any life within me.

Eight years I spent taking rat poison daily until finally I had enough and begged my doctor to help me find an alternative. When he refused, I stopped seeing him and started a holistic regiment of vitamins and minerals that achieve the same results.

Eight years I spent knowing I couldn’t…shouldn’t do what I so desperately wanted to do. I stopped talking about it after the first year. It hurt too much. I focused on work and crafts and anything else just to not think about a baby. I told myself all manner of lies to make myself feel better about not having more children.

A month ago, I was out to dinner with my mom, sister and nephew, when my recent back trouble was at the most painful. I squirmed all through dinner – sitting hurt far more than standing. As we were getting ready to leave, my sister suggested that I try leaning on the railing of the deck where we ate and let my hips and legs just dangle to alleviate some of the pain.

Willing to try anything at that point, I did as she suggested to no avail. By back hurt just as much and I felt silly hanging on the railing.

“You and your odd hips!” my sister joked.

“They aren’t odd,” I said patting my hips as we made our way back into the restaurant proper, “I’ve got good child birthing hips.”

She gave me a funny look. “You do,” She said. “You should have had more children. You’re a good mom.”

Thankfully she looked away because otherwise she’d have seen the tears start to well in my eyes.

This morning I wake up after, once again, a night filled with dreams of pregnancy. I have them four and five times a month, usually between ovulation and the start of my period. I touch my stomach and sigh. The clock reads 6:21. I must have hit the snooze a half dozen times trying to stay in my dreams. Scott is making noise in the kitchen and soon I know he will come in to drag me out of bed.

While he is dressing, I tell him of my dream; he shakes his head and tells me I need to find a job or more hobbies to keep me occupied. But his gaze doesn’t meet my eyes. He tells me this because he too wants another child and it is easier sometimes to ignore the yearning. 

We’ve talked about it before, having more children. Had I not been diagnosed with PE shortly after Cyra was born neither of us doubt there would have been more children.

Twice in the past year, when alcohol muddied our senses and gave us cause to not think or worry, we played the two week waiting game. Twice I spent two weeks holding my breath, hoping, dreaming, thinking about names, picking out color schemes for a baby afghan. Twice Scott spent two weeks asking me how I felt, looking at my stomach, telling me “it is what it is,” then grinning as he suggests boys names.

In a few months Cyra will be 10, a few months after that Ashleigh turns 16. Maybe I am yearning now because my girls are growing up and I miss the babies and toddlers and little girls that they were. Maybe, as oft cited in magazines, my biological clock has kicked it into overdrive…hyper-speed. Maybe I am already anticipating an empty nest.


But I doubt it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Photos

Yay! Friday Photos Returns! Triumphantly? Well...maybe. This week I am featuring photographs of games that we have played over the past few months.

Monopoly is one of our favorites, unfortunately since it always takes us forever to play, we often never declare a winner. Scott won't play this with us because once (a really freaking long time ago) my mom and I cheated taking money from the Bank when he went to use the bathroom. Jeesh! It wasn't like we were going to win anyway! He had hotels on every side!

Risk is another game Scott doesn't often play with me. I'm working on a blog post about it...but let's just say, for now, no one like screaming jihads. Even when its only little plastic army pieces.

I'm green and I totally own South American. All those drug lords are working for me now! (Umm...not really okay? Remember it's just a game - so if there are any drug lords reading my blog...I totally Do Not Own You...or any property in South America at all. I've never even been there!)

Clue is one of my all time favorite games. Mostly because I win. A lot. It is one of the few games that I can consistently win. And that makes me supremely self-satisfied.

I love this photo because it took about twenty shots to actually capture the die bouncing across the board so perfectly. Sometimes awesome shots just happen...sometimes you need to make them happen!
Also this is me winning. I always play Colonel Mustard. Always. And I love it when I am the suspect!

A few years ago, Scott and the girls got me Munchkin for Christmas and every so often they add a booster pack. We have so many Munchkin cards it is almost impossible to play with them all. Up until June of this year, we always played with post-it notes to track our levels. But then I watched this episode of TableTop (and if you aren't watching Geek & Sundry - SHAME ON YOU!) and lo and behold, they played Munchkin on an offical Munchkin board! I didn't even know those existed. Being crafty and perpetually short on cash, the girls and I made our own board! And we use our D&D miniatures as our tokens!

The object is to get from level 1 to level 10 by defeating monsters. It's a spoof of D&D and it makes me laugh every single time we play. The girls and I try to gang up on Scott because if he is playing, somehow he always wins!

The more I look at this, the cooler it gets. Now, I wonder if I can add a 3D effect to the board...maybe some pop-up walls and doors that really open?

More recently, during the Birthday Fiesta O' Fun (I swear on all that is holy, unholy and only slightly sacred I will be posting about this soon) Sara and her husband introduced the girls and I to Settlers of Catan. I vaguely knew about the game, but I hadn't ever played before. But I have to say...I am pretty sure that Santa will be bringing this to Someone because Holy Monkey Butts was it fun. They had the travel edition which seemed friendly albiet a bit small, so I'd be interested in playing a full sized version!

Also during the Birthday Fiesta O' Fun we played a game Sara got me for my birthday: Zombies!!! Trapped in a town infested with Zombies you have to make your way from the Town Square to the Helipad killing zombies and backstabbing other players to do it. Along the way, if you can make it, different stores have bullet and life tokens that will increase your chances to survive.

Players build the town as you go so often the town itself makes no sense whatsoever!

Fighting zombies is mandatory, but luckily only one zombie can occupy any one space - so no crazy hoards piling up on top of you. 

Sara taught me how to play Cribbage just about forever ago. When she went to Japan, I was Jonesing to play so I taught Ashleigh. We don't play it as much as I played with Sara (which was very nearly all the time) but it is a highlight of my day when we do play.

Ashleigh already off to a strong lead!

Coming into the home stretch...Ashleigh still in the lead and even though it was my crib, she had a really strong finally hand and took the game! Curses!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Story of a Cake Photo Edition

You didn't really think that I wouldn't take photos of the cake, did you?

mmm...melting chocolate and butter. What a great base for a cake.

A little yolk and sugar.

Beating those egg whites into shape!

Fold the egg whites into the chocolate base.

I could totally eat this as is!

It isn't there just yet...

Grating chocolate is tiring.

Almost looking like the photo!

There it is. I plan on adding a touch of fresh whipped cream with a touch of vanilla for garnish instead of the chocolate curls. Also, this is the very same orange plate that I served it on the first time.