Monthly Archives: August 2011

We’re peeing in sunshine (woh-ooooah)


So today The Lovely Rhonda and I had a little time on our hands.  It was the last unstructured day of the “vacation” that we took.

I was restless.  I have the hormones, you see, and lordy do they make me crazier than a shithouse rat.  Also, I’ve been under some stress about Stuff I Don’t Want To Talk About Here, and the combination of the two is never good.  Ask TLR.  She keeps a stash of cardboard boxes in the garage against the day when she can no longer stand me.  For my stuff, you see.  To put in the driveway.

Anyway, what I often find myself doing when I’m Like This is shopping.  Not like crazy buying stuff I can’t afford and don’t need shopping, but like browsing in thrift stores and rarely buying more than a paperback book shopping.  Just poking around.

We ended up in a discount home goods store where we spied a delicious shower curtain, competitively priced.  We’ve had the one we’re using now for a long time, it has monkeys on it and it’s not terribly sophisticated according to my mother.  Although she’s not inclined to say such things unsolicited or anything, but when I told her about the new one she said, ever so delicately, “Is it more…. sophisticated than the one you had?”

So we both fall in love with its riotous colors and general lack of primates, and TLR, because she is perfect in every way, turns to me and says, How about we buy this and then go to Homey’s and pick up some paint and paint the bathroom?  Like today right now?


So we do, and we pick out paint and we bring it home.  And we paint like our lives depend on it.  Because tomorrow we have plans, and the weekend is full of things to do, and school starts next week, and we both go back to work, and and and.

Which is how the bathroom is suddenly violently orange in places and searing, retina-exploding yellow in others.

Also, we got a new bath rug which is purple.  It all makes sense, trust me.


Believe it or not, this is an improvement!


Another use for Coban ™


So today I’m cleaning our bedroom, the loveliest room in the house.  It’s suffered from neglect because the rest of the house always gets attention first, but my mom and stepdad are coming over tomorrow.  There’s an electrical issue affecting some of the outlets and the overhead light in that room so they’ll want to go in there.  Eek.

We bought a shoe rack a while back to keep our impressively large collection of shoes on.  It’s made of metal rods, you know the kind I mean.  The front of the shoe rests slightly lower than the back of the shoe (assuming you put your shoes on it so that their backs are to the wall).

Unfortunately, while I was deeply satisfied with many things about this rack, such as its price, functionality, even its appearance which was quite benign — it had an annoying tendency.  It’s very lightweight and the metal rods are so smooth that the shoes have nothing to grip, and if you bump the rack or attempt to remove a pair of shoes from it, all the pairs of shoes come sliding off of it in a cascade.

This is particularly irritating early in the morning when you’re trying to be quiet while the other occupant of the room is still sleeping.  The shoes fall off the rack quietly, but the swearing is difficult to keep at a low volume.

We poked around at a few hardware and home-improvement stores looking for grippy tape of the sort that you put on outdoor stairs to keep people from slipping on them, but to no avail.  Then as we stared at the umpteenth roll of unsuitable tape, this time a cloth athletic tape, it slapped me upside my head out of nowhere:  Coban ™.  That rubbery, stretchy bandage roll that sticks to itself, used mainly by phlebotomists when they take your blood at the lab.

It’s grippy.  It’s easily obtainable.  And, if you know where to go, it’s cheap.

Where to go is the feed store.  People who have horses use Coban-type bandage for all kinds of things.  It comes in a variety of exciting colors, and it’s MUCH less expensive than the kind at the drugstore.

Five bucks for two rolls of black self-gripping elastic bandage (black because it’s my bedroom, not a rave party) and the shoes are neatly on the rack and only a comprehensive attack on the shoerack’s integrity will remove the shoes prematurely.

Aren’t you glad I’m so smart?  I know I am.

Staycation Indeed


So we took this week off, The Lovely Rhonda and I. We were so looking forward to Vegas or Disneyland or something.

Except then we bought a new (used) minivan.

So we were so looking forward to some day trips.

Except then we ended up with kids today and Friday.

So we were so looking forward to maybe a bike ride today.

Except we both had terrible headaches all day yesterday, and this morning the youngest child was vomiting so we couldn’t leave her with our manny.

So we were kind of thinking we’d see a movie tonight or something.  Maybe.

Then tomorrow The Lovely Rhonda has a dental appointment.  FOR A ROOT CANAL.  And then some work thing to do.

And the next day?  I have to work from 7:30-10am and then my parents are coming over to look at the electrical problem in our bedroom.  I’m thrilled to get the thing looked at, don’t get me wrong, but it ain’t exactly vacation material.

Well, okay at least we have tickets to a show Wednesday night.  That’ll be fun.

Thursday?  Thursday so far is free. THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER!

Except we get the kids back Thursday afternoon/evening.

So now I’m starting to wonder why we took this week off.



So we took the children to the fair on Thursday.  It was fun, although Nagging Unromantic Chronic Digestive Complaint made me pretty uncomfortable all day.  But it was fun, and we walked a lot.  Like, for hours.

I have these terrible non-load-bearing feet, so walking a lot, like for hours, is not as much fun as it sounds.

The next day the aforementioned Complaint was much worse, so I spent the day laying around waiting to see if it got Urgently Worse.  I’m sure you’re (both) very relieved that it did not.   By evening it was largely improved and so we went to see kd lang at the zoo.

This also involves a certain amount of walking.

Saturday my cousin, the adorable Carmen, came over and she and I performed yard work.  Much yard work.  Yard work that entailed bags of pea gravel.  Many, many bags.  And much bending over, squatting, kneeling, digging, and the like.  Also, standing.  And walking.

By mid day I was done with the gravel and poor Carmen had to muscle them around.  My dogs were a-barkin’ too loudly.

Today, because I am evidently still unaware of being over 40 and all the delightful aging that that entails, I went on a bike ride.  I haven’t ridden much this summer which I’m regretting, because I so love it.  There are a couple of reasons:

1. There are children here, or as I like to call them TIME-SUCKING LEECHES, who require attention of various kinds.

2.  I have a job.

3.  I am lazy.

4.  My bicycle is equipped with scary pedals that my special shoes attach to.

Probably reason #4 is the main issue here.  I put the scary pedals on the bike long ago, in a fit of some kind of bizarre, endorphin-induced overconfidence just after finishing the Livestrong ride.  I then immediately affixed the bicycle to the wall of the shitty apartment we moved to and for two years I did not ride, because I was in nursing school and barely had time to wipe my ….nose, let alone deal with Scary Pedals.

Last summer I went on an organized ride with the local bicycling club and when they asked if anyone had anything to ask or announce, I raised my hand and told them about my scary pedals.

“Okay,” said the ride leader, “Everybody stay away from Debra here.”

As we exited the parking lot, having ridden a whole 30 yards perhaps, I panicked and forgot the push-down-and-pivot-your-ankle-outwards extrication procedure when it came time to stop and wait for traffic to pass, which resulted in my tumbling to the ground like a sack of big, fat, flop-sweaty potatoes.  THERE WAS ACTUAL BLOOD.

Adrenaline being what it is, I sprang upright again (all but saying I TOTALLY MEANT TO DO THAT) and got back on, catching up to the group and making damn sure my foot was detached from the pedal anytime we even thought about slowing down.

I’ve been reluctant to repeat this performance, not the least because my stupid knee was bruised and sore for weeks.  But today I put on my big girl panties, also my bike shorts (my apologies to the innocent bystanders who were forced to witness my back forty in padded Lycra), and I went for a ride.

It was not so bad, really, about 15 miles on a relatively flat, paved trail.  But now my butt hurts, despite the padded shorts and the gel seat.   What was I thinking?

Stickin’ it to The Man


So I had these two high-interest rate credit cards.  They were leftover from a time when I was a) young, b) poor, and c) desperate.  I had not used either of them in years and we’d been paying them down faithfully but they had swollen to the point that it was impossible to get ahead.  And they charge such a small monthly payment that — and I so very much wish I was kidding about this — one of them would have taken SEVENTY SEVEN YEARS to pay off had we made only the minimum payment.  They are required to post this kind of information on your statement nowadays so that you understand exactly how screwed you are.  I think that’s awesome and wish it had been the case years ago when I was uninformed and ignorant and had hope for the future and stuff.

At any rate, we’d tried to negotiate for a lower interest rate but no dice.  You’d think that In This Economy they might have been more motivated to keep me as a customer, but no.  They all but laughed in our faces.

So, yesterday we went to the credit union and applied for a loan to pay them off.  At way less than half the interest rate.  In four years we will be free of them forever.  And there will be no more credit cards in our futures, except decent ones used for traveling only — it’s much easier to rent hotel rooms and rental cars with credit cards, and I do like to think that someday we’ll get to travel.  Right?

Today we’ll stop in and sign the papers, including letters authorizing the credit union to close the accounts when they pay off the balances.   And so the credit card companies can just f*ck straight off.

It’s oddly satisfying, and will be even more so when we pay that last payment.

EW! — updated with photo —


So the bathtub drain has been kinda slow lately.  Typically it drained well in the past; you flipped the thinger “down” and the water would all disappear in a reasonably good time frame.  We had no complaints and ours was a relationship based on mutual respect and good feelings all around.

But lately the drain had become sluggish.  The water would pool unattractively in the drain-end of the tub and only very slowly drain, leaving a nasty residue, and, inexplicably, no amount of swearing and thinly veiled threats had any effect.  This left us no choice and we were forced to break out the plunger.

Thus did The Lovely Rhonda stop the drain from functioning in any capacity whatsoever.  But I digress.

I did stop by and purchase a drain snake on my way home, yes I did, and I did attempt to cram it down the drain.  It would not advance very far, and I felt keenly the sting of failure.  I felt it keenly and then I made the phone call, and our knight in shining pickup truck did appear. You may remember him from such blog entries as this, or possibly this.

The keen sting of failure abated a bit once the inestimable siding-wallah had done battle with the drain for a while.  If it was giving Kenny this kind of trouble, I never really had a chance in the first place.  Never one to admit defeat, Kenny eschewed the crawl space (dirt and insulation bad for contact lenses) in favor of the more brutally satisfying cutting a hole in the wall behind the drain (conveniently located under the sink in the master half-bath that shares its wall).

You may find it yet more satisfying to imagine that he created the hole with a righteous punch of his mighty fist.  I know I do.

At this point I retired to the computer because this kind of thing stresses me out, but as I understand it he removed the flux capacitor and loosened up the dilithium crystal assemblage in order to get at the energon cube.

Also, he may have disassembled the drain thingy.

Then was the snake once more introduced to the recalcitrant clog, and victory was ours — A GIGANTIC, FOOT-LONG HAIR BEAST OF EPIC DARK AUBURN PROPORTION was removed.  It was a resplendent, slimy, full-bodied critter that fought removal tooth and claw, but no disgusting, foul hair clog can ever get the best of our Kenny.  There was a general HUZZAH from down the hall, which is how I knew that evil had been vanquished.  I dutifully admired it and then photographed it for posterity.

Okay, it's not *quite* a foot long. But still!

Also? I have no idea how that got there.    *cough*