Monthly Archives: February 2012

Repaint, and thin no more


So as either of you might recall from an earlier post, we recently were afflicted with Kitchen Envy, specifically Spruced Up Kitchen Envy (a particularly virulent strain).  The only cure is to make multiple trips to the hardware store between bouts of feverish sanding and painting.

The kitchen as it was.  Note the brown varnished cabinets and pasty walls.  What you can’t see is how the drawers sit all cattywampus and threaten to fall out if manhandled, i.e. used in any way.

Cabinet door removal is underway.

The old hardware was designed by Klingons.  We removed most of the old knobs and pulls the minute we moved in.  The ones above the refrigerator were the only survivors.    And why put the pulls in the center of the cabinet doors?  Mid-70’s cabinet manufacturers were obviously on drugs.

These knobs bring honor to my people. Sadly, they also look like hell.

Several kind souls came over to help us, sanding and painting and just doing all kinds of helpful things.  One of them stayed for three nights, an unprecedented act of kindness that we can never repay.  We tried to get a start on this by buying him lunch but our rewards program kicked in and his lunch was free.  Let no good deed go unpunished!

Who knew we had this many friends?

A true friend will sand cabinet doors for you even though it's cold and rainy out.

Amber is flexible and compact.

We had sixteen cabinet doors and six drawers to paint.   Our friend Josh (who slept for three nights in the middle child’s room on Princess Flower Rainbow Unicorn sheets without complaint, while the middle child bunked with the oldest child) repaired/replaced the drawer hardware, cabinet hinges and pulls for us.  Because the forty-year-old hardware didn’t exactly match the new stuff, this involved drilling a lot of holes in stuff.

We had initially planned on painting the countertops but what we found was that the new colors of wall and cabinetry made the existing counters less unbearable. The countertop paint is fairly toxic and I’m glad not to have to deal with it.

These aren’t the photos I’d like to post in that everything isn’t finished — we still have three doors to hang –and there’s a certain amount of junk laying around cluttering up the place, but we’re both under the weather today and not able to work on it more at the moment.  But I really wanted to get this posted, so here goes:

Clean and fresh!

We even replaced my old ghetto toaster oven, purchased thirteen years ago.  It wasn’t toasting terribly well anymore.  I’ll miss the melted bread wrapper on the top.  The new one’s bigger and matches the other appliances better.  I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU LITTLE TOASTER OVEN

An old friend.

The new Toast-O-Matic 9000 (now with tint control!)

This week we’ll get started, and maybe even finish, the floor, and then we’ll be done with the inexpensive cosmetic overhaul of the kitchen.  Next, the siding project will get underway.  Further posts as events warrant!  Stay tuned!




Barbarians at the gate


So a long time ago a friend of mine dragged me over to her roommate’s new Internet Cafe.  Remember those?  Back when we didn’t all have smartphones with unlimited data packages?

He had just opened the cafe a few weeks before and it was early in the day when we stopped by.  He gave us a tour and since there weren’t any customers trickling in quite yet that day, offered to let us play games for a little while.  He fired up Diablo 2 and away we went.

I was hooked in an hour’s time.  I played that game for ages.  It was the gateway drug for bigger, badder games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Diablo 3 is coming out soon, and a guy I know (Hi Josh!) let me have a look at the beta test.  It’s upgraded with more detailed graphics, but still retains the flavor of the old game.  I spent a glorious couple of hours playing a toon to level 10 and reveling in those things that were the same, mostly the incidental game sounds. Gold whirling from a body as  you killed it, the fwongggg sound of a town portal opening, that sort of thing.  It was like I went back in time.

Tonight I searched Youtube and found some videos of the Secret Cow Level to show Josh, and then I came across a song somebody mixed using sounds from Diablo 2.  I was hoping to hear the complaints you get when you’re playing a barbarian and your bags are full and you try to pick up one more item from that bad guy you just annihilated with your whirlwind attack.  And I was not disappointed.

I am overburdened.   I can’t carry anymore. 

I’ve been quoting these to The Lovely Rhonda and at last she got to hear them as they exist in nature.   Let the circle be unbroken.

Echo echo echo


We’re having people over on Thursday to begin Exciting Kitchen Makeover 2012!

Two of them are named Deb, two of them are named Kathy, and all of them are lesbians.

This brings us up to three Debs, two Kathys, and a Rhonda.

Oh, and Josh who is a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

What the hell!


I neglected to mention Amber, the ringleader and source of all home improvement around here.  She is not named Deb, Kathy, Rhonda or Josh, nor is she a lesbian.  But she’s energetic and flexible.

Don’t Poke the Homophobe!


So I sent our little friend from the previous post a little love note in the form of a personal message on FB.

Me:  I hardly think the “serving overseas” trump card is relevant here. It doesn’t make you any less bigoted. And yes, denying equal rights to people based on their sexual orientation pretty much fits the definition of bigoted.

Bigoted Homophobe:  Since your too ignorant to notice that that was my son who said that and not me, please feel free not to comment on any of my posts. My family has strong religious beliefs, how does that make us bigots? The problem with all who feel that lifestyle is okay fail to recognize that others have a right to disagree, you can believe what you want and your considered “tolerant” but god forbid anyone disagree or they are ignorant or a bigot, we fight for your right to live how you feel, you call us bigots because we have our own convictions, so who is tolerant certainly not the liberal gay community

Me:  Fine, we agree to disagree. The difference is that nobody’s trying to deny you civil rights. Not to worry, since you’re unfriended, I can’t see any more of your posts in my feed and I certainly won’t go looking for them.

Excuse me for not noticing that it was your son’s comment and not yours; an oversight hardly makes me ignorant. Believing that this is a “lifestyle” — that’s actually pretty ignorant.

Enjoy your beliefs. I guess we’ll see who’s right when we meet our Maker. I’m pretty sure my Maker didn’t make me as I am, capable of this kind of love, only to punish me for it later. So I guess, Thank God your Maker isn’t my Maker.

BH:  In case you haven’t noticed Christians are being denied their first amendment rights everyday

Me:  Gosh, I’m a Christian too. Which first amendment rights are you referring to? The ones where we have the right to shove our religious beliefs down everybody’s throats? That’s not a right.

BH:  No the one where I am entitled to speak freely that I feel according to the bible homosexuality is a son and not have those proclamations be considered hate speech


You’re a Christian, ever read Romans 1

Me:  Oh please. When we get to the point of quoting scripture at each other I’m done. You can use scripture to back up just about any viewpoint you want. You can preach to each other in your homes and churches anything you want, you just can’t spew it to people who don’t want to hear it, and that includes a lot more people than you’d think. Good day to you.

BHEvery view point except that the gay lifestyle is sanctioned by God,

Scripture by the way is the foundation to Christian life

Me:  And only your interpretation is valid, I’m sure. Like I’ve never heard this before. Goodbye.

BHWhen you have a masters degree in biblical literature, maybe I’ll weigh you interpretation equal to mine

Me:  From a conservative university, I’m sure. No thanks.

As a parting shot, I linked the infamous Letter to Dr. Laura. 


Dear Homophobe,


So I have a few friends on FB who are actually people I went to high school with and haven’t seen since then.  Some of them seem like people I’d actually hang out with, others not so much, but in general it’s nice to keep in touch and have a little window into what goes on in their worlds.

In general.

On Monday, Gov. Gregoire signed a bill in the state of Washington allowing same sex couples to marry.  You can imagine how someone like me might feel about this.  Because, as either of you might be aware, I am in fact a lesbian.  So this means that The Lovely Rhonda and I could conceivably get legally married, provided the poor law isn’t referendumed to death.  (Is “referendumed” a word?  It is now!)  We’ll know in a few months.

Today a guy I went to high school with who professes himself a Christian just posted:

Washington must be so proud, so glad I don’t live there anymore

He then commented on his own post,

I still love it up there! Even though most people up there reject GOD… let them have their homosexual marriage. It means absolutely nothing to me except that the door is being knocked on 🙂

I’m not sure why he felt the need to declare that “most people up there reject GOD,” since as near as I can tell a whole bunch of us are actually Christians, or if you want to expand your definition of GOD a bit, are fairly devout worshippers of some kind of deity.  Evidently not his particular one, though, hence the exclusion.

So anyway I could not let this pass, so I made some kind of comment to the contrary, mentioning words that I felt were somewhat fitting such as “bigoted” and “homophobe,” and saying something along the lines of “it’s too bad you feel the need to spread hate instead of love.”

Then, of course, I had to unfriend him.  As the sole proprieter of my page, I get to limit the amount of homophobic bullshit that I am forced to view there.

His reply was as one might predict, defensive.  It’s fine, he has the right to his views, certainly.  But what capped it was this line:  But go ahead and call me whatever you want.  Just know that this “bigot,” as you claim, is overseas protecting your right to do so.

I hardly think that serving overseas has jack to do with any of this.  My issue isn’t about free speech.  It’s about being a second class citizen because of who I love.  If you’re going to defend anything, why don’t you defend the right of any couple of legal age to get married under the law and leave your conservative religious views about how marriage is a “sacred bond between a man and a woman” out of the transaction?  None of that shit is relevant to me and my family.

Serving overseas is a tremendous sacrifice and all that, I don’t make light of it and I support all you guys, but don’t pull the military service trump card to out-holy this issue.  I don’t care if you’re in Afghanistan or working at a gas station.   Military service isn’t making you less of a jackass regarding this.

Wild Hairs


So we dropped by to visit our dear friend Amber.  Amber is what you might call very energetic.  She is also possessed of the impulse to improve everything she touches.  We call Amber when we need to rearrange a room and haven’t the slightest idea how to position things.

Amber has recently made over her kitchen on a shoestring budget and viewing it has caused us to come down with a raging case of Kitchen Envy.  It turns out that a shoestring budget is our specialty, because we have to put new siding on the house this year and cannot afford much toward updating anything else.  Yet our horrible kitchen is so repulsive that we cannot stand to look at it any longer.  The appliances are decent, but the cabinets are funky and old and the sheet vinyl flooring is pretty beat up.

But we have a few dollars to throw at this, so we paid a visit to Homey’s to “look” at colors and so forth.

You know where this is going.

The back end of the van is filled with peel-and-stick floor tiles, cans of paint, and this fantastic thing we found called countertop paint.  Our existing countertop is… well… well, it’s green.  It’s bulletproof, in decent shape, not torn up, but it’s green.  Sort of a pale avocado green.  Frankly, I’m not a fan.

So The Lovely Rhonda had me bring in the paint cans so we could get a little idea of what the transformation will look like.

Manly, yes, but we like it too.

You can just see the countertop color below the outlet.

In related matters, we rang up a friend a couple of houses away to inquire whether she might have a palm sander or similar we could borrow since there seems to be a lot of sanding involved in this project.  She is of the sensible-shoed lesbian persuasion so stereotypically speaking might have a few power tools cluttering up the garage.  We once borrowed a socket wrench from her as I recall.

“Did you forget who you’re talking to?” she chuckled.  “Of course I have one.  Let me know when you’re starting the project and I’ll come over and laugh at you.  I mean watch you.”

We start Thursday.  See you all then?

Kettlebellter Skelter


So despite having had very little sleep the past couple of nights (thank you, school district, for having “earthquake drills” for 1st graders without providing said 1st graders some information about what an earthquake is and how unlikely we are to have one and that if we do have one it is likely to be very mild; you will be receiving a bill for my lost sleep), I did make it to the gym this morning for a lively session with Helga.

Unfortunately, owing to Pressing Matters weighing heavily on my mind, I neglected to eat before I went.  This is hardly proper and I do not advise it, and is precisely the reason I was unable to stay and do cardio afterward as is my usual routine.

I am also suffering from a mild head cold, which combined with insomnia and Pressing Matters has left me somewhat less than in top form.  So endeth the excuses disclaimers.

Nevertheless, I showed up which is all the sweeter a victory.  If this was easy I would not be inclined to write amusing blog entries about it.

Today Helga had something new up his fashionable burlap sleeve.  He brought out an instrument of torture with which I was previously acquainted with only by reputation.  To wit, a coworker shared with me his sad condition (back strain) brought on by enthusiastically embracing the kettlebell phenomenon after hearing our facility psychiatrist rave about it.  Word to the wise:  a naturally lithe, moderately athletic doctor who probably receives professional instruction is no one to take exercise advice from, particularly if you’re a bit more sedentary and somewhat more …. mature.  Just FYI.

Anyway, here comes Helga bearing a squatty little cannonball with a flat bottom and thick iron handle.  He demonstrates for me something known as the “Turkish get-up.”  This sounds like it should be some kind of national costume, but instead it is a fiendish torment, no doubt designed to break down infidels incarcerated in Turkish prisons.  I present an image stolen directly from the internet:


The idea is you go from laying down to standing up in six easy steps.  And then you reverse them.  And then you do it again for a total of six times total, three with the weight in one hand, three with the weight in the other, while planking and performing the “kettlebell swing” in between times.

For those of you fortunate enough to not be acquainted with the kettlebell swing, it is described in detail elsewhere on the internet.  I found this particular passage the most compelling:  “At this point in the swing, you should have your forearms push up against your groin and the kettlebell extending out behind you. After the kettlebell reaches its peak decline, you will simultaneously squat up and thrust your pelvis forward.”

Sexy, no?

I’m not sure what “squat up” means, only that it frightens me a little.

February Mini-Break-A-Palooza


So early last week The Lovely Rhonda decided that we just don’t have enough chaos around here and booked a beach cabin for the weekend.  And we packed up the minivan, Moby Titanic, with everything we own that would fit and off we drove.

(But first!  The washing machine died.  Nothing says “relaxing beach vacation” like spending the evening beforehand wringing sopping wet unmentionables out on the back patio and hanging them to drip in the bitter winds of Vancouver.  At least it had the decency to die on the very last load.)

So first thing Saturday morning we bundled up the Collective Spawn and hiked down to the beach.  The tide was either coming in or only just starting to go out, in other words high tide, and I warned the girls about sneaker waves.

About five seconds later, and I am totally not exaggerating there*, a sneaker wave nailed us and took the two older girls down.  TLR and the youngest were able to scamper out of the way but  I had to wade out and get the middle child.  They were right by me and not in any danger of being washed out to sea, to the point that I didn’t even have to jettison my latte, so it was more of an adventure than anything else, but it sufficiently terrified the youngest child that she freaked out anytime we got within a hundred yards of the waves for the rest of the weekend.

(*okay maybe just a little, but really it was nearly immediate)

Sneaker waves are so sneaky!

Note how relaxed and carefree the youngest looks. NOT.

So we went straight back to the cabin and got cleaned up.  There was about a pound of sand in Delia’s pants.

Later on we met up with some friends who also happened to be at the beach and we all enjoyed the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  Sadly, we didn’t get any photos of the actual friends, but rest assured that we have friends and we saw them at the beach.  No, really.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

They have a cobblestone beach there, made up of delightfully smooth round rocks that make a distinctive sound when the tide is washing them around.  There are tidepools down there at the cobble beach.  We made our way down to them and discovered that delightfully smooth round rocks ranging in size from golf ball to softball sized are the very devil to walk on.  Nevertheless we pressed on and saw anemones, sea urchins and sea stars, along with seals and hermit crabs and other such creatures.

*poke poke*

TLR’s oldest got a new hat since her old one washed out to sea so dramatically that morning.

These cobbles aren't that great to sit on either.

The rangers at the lighthouse have a “junior ranger” activity for the kids, which they all embraced earnestly.  Delia was a giant pain in the butt quite task-oriented in this regard.  On completion of a rigorous handout, the children got to take a vow and receive their junior woodchuck ranger badge.

Check out our badges!

At one point the kids — ours plus our friends’ two girls, for a total of five in all — discovered a small patch of sand along the trail by the lighthouse and descended upon it like prairie dogs.  Because, you know, sand is such a rarity at the beach.


The next day we went to what the youngest called “the safe beach.”  This was at Siletz Bay.  The bay is sheltered from the waves and has some areas that leave nice fingers of calm water perfect for splashing in.  Best of all, the beach is a treasure trove of agates, shells and pretty rocks.  We spent a long time here goofing off and picking up little bits of this and that.  It was not windy enough to fly kites, although we tried pretty hard.

Across the bay at top left of photo, the gray shapes are seals!

It was a pretty nice weekend at the beach.

Will be adorable for candy!