Thursday, May 31, 2007

I don't have time to bleed

I have discovered that it's one thing to stop spending for 30 days. You can tell yourself each day, "Oh, you can just get it when this is over." It's quite another thing to think that you will be living as you are for the next 3 1/2 years. No excess spending. No gadgets or gizmos. Continue cutting out the dollars where you can.

I've actually been quite depressed the past couple of weeks at the prospect of this. That this won't be letting up anytime soon. That I can't continue to use shopping to occupy my time, keep myself entertained, make myself feel better. That I can't even do what I want to the house because it costs money and we can't afford it. I'm not even talking about remodeling the kitchen or putting on an addition. I'm talking about painting a room.

And I think I'm even more depressed now that I even need these things. That it's depressing me this much. That I can't just shake off the trappings of materialism and live with what I have.

Which is plenty. We don't go hungry. We have clothes and a nice home. Why isn't this enough?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

One more

Ok, this one was too funny and I swore I was going to put it here but I forgot when I did the last post.

So we're at the doctor's office in the waiting room, and they have this Little Tykes house, and Kitten is checking it out and she's really excited and there are two chairs in there. She's sitting and coming out and going back in and sitting down. She's opening and closing the shutters.

Then she goes to the table and gets a magazine, opens it, says she's going potty, and goes back in the house and sits down.

And Pants and I nearly roll off our chairs laughing.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Smart Girl

Kitten pooped in the potty today. Woo Hoo! Also heard on moniter this evening: "I go poopy."

Notes from the trenches:

New phrase: "DON'T NOT WANT THAT!" Always said in caps.
"Hold you" with arms extended. Wants to be picked up.
Tried a booster seat today at restaurant. Didn't work out. Will have to go back to the high chair in public.
Thinks egss are called "try it."
Invokes the name of one of the daycare kids all weekend while scolding and pointing finger. Must be the naughty kid.
Watching Lion King in the car this weekend and she yells, "Sit down and be quiet!"
Pants turns on the radio in the garage tonight and she's running into the garage, but stops to do a little dance.
Got a new scooter today, but can't quite get the hang of it - wants to sit on the bar instead of the seat so she's closer to the handlebars. Doesn't want to push with her feet.
Takes phone and walks around and talks - just like dad.
Pants tells her to talk to Nana on the phone and she walks by me and picks up one of her phones.

She kills me. I honestly laugh every day. She's gorgeous, funny, smart, outgoing.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Family hell

So, we went to a family reunion (Pants side, and they aren't aware of this site, so I will feel free to family-bash). Spent the day up north. Hmmm.

First, might I just say, I love my children and they are the best children on earth. Kitten went all day without a nap and it only got dicey at the very end. Meimei was her usual joyful self, but was especially cute in the process today. Yay for my gorgeous, well-behaved kids!

But then, um, yeah. Let's start with the two vicious dogs, who apparently hate all humans, that were oh-so-wisely brought to a family reunion where there would clearly be children. My kid's scared enough of dogs without experiencing your mongrel threatening to tear her face off this afternoon, but only when she got within 2 feet, you evil minion of satan.

But yay for my brother-in-law's big, loveable Golden that does exactly as he's told and let Kitten pet him as much as she wanted and would wait patiently while she got up the guts to get close enough to do it. He didn't even try to lick her. Or take away her chocolate brownie. Good dog.

And boo for the branch of the family with 8 (or so) adopted, but very poorly supervised children. Um, do you realize your kid is eating rocks? Do you know he's shoving his fists into the jello, smashing handfuls into his mouth, and wiping the rest on his sweatshirt? "Boy behavior" does not begin to explain this. If you would stop adopting kids and actually parent the ones you have, they might actually have a clue about appropriate behavior. If your kid screams in my kid's face one more time, I'm gonna take him down.

Ugh, I hate these things. MIL gets all tense and freaky, and then Pants gets all tense and freaky, and BIL's wife gets all weird and catty and defensive, and SIL just tries to keep her head down and not get asked if she's dating, and BIL drinks all day. The kids's schedules get all out of wack and we're on the edge all day of nuclear meltdown. We have to run after Kitten all day, so we're both wiped out at the end of it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Random Thoughts

Whoo. It's been awhile. Pants is making slide show discs for a family reunion so he's been bogarting the laptop for days.

Weirdest bumper sticker I've seen recently - I'm covered by the blood of Jesus. At first I was sure it was a very evangelical Christian, but later I wondered if it was a very satirical Jew.

Man, do I have PMS. The great thing about the IUD is that I only get my period once every three months or so. The sucky thing is I'm never expecting it and I get three months worth of PMS. Blech.

In reality television news -
Yau-Man getting voted off the Island fourth to last? Pussies, all of you. You knew you would lose to him.
Blake not winning American Idol because he couldn't sing that god-awful song? Worst. Episode. Ever.
Jaslene winning ANTM? Ok, I can see that.

Kid has hit terrible twos. Pants and I both got swatted today by two-year-old because we didn't do as she wished. Including, Pants breaking up the cheese into four pieces. Apparently she wanted it in one big piece. Ok, this is stopping now.

New trend I hate: Having TV shows go a few minutes over the allotted half-hour or hour time-slot - Yes, I'm looking at you, Grey's Anatomy. 8-9:01 my ass.

Does anyone know someone in Oklahoma? Someone there said I referred them to AT&T for home service and I got points for it, but I don't know anyone there.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Holy clothes, Batman!

Went to a clothing exchange last night and OMG! Got rid of some of the stuff I didn't wear (or shouldn't have been wearing). I got sweater cardigans, tops, t-shirts, jeans, skirts! And it was all FREE! FREE, I TELL YOU!

Egad, I am excited.

Plus, a bonus inspiration - a girl showed up with 4 bags of clothes, size 20 down to 12, because she had lost 80 pounds. She woke up one day and her fat pants didn't fit and she decided to fix it. And she took up running and started eating right. I'm hoping for that moment to come, but in the meantime I'm considering taking up running, too. It started with an article in People about people who have lost over 100 pounds, and one said she had done this program to start running and got hooked. I'm still mulling it over, but I'm getting closer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Meimei now has three teeth and can clap and wave. Who taught her to clap?

Kitten is now saying the word "stupid". After a day of Pants blaming it on daycare and me blaming his neices, we were cutting down bushes in the yard and something happened and I let out an, "Oh, stupid!" Crap.

We cut all the branches off the big arborvitae and bagged them up. And Pants hacked up the spirea with the trimmer thing we found in the shed. And I dug up another 60 or so dandelions (sans super-cool tool) but there are still so many. I think I have only angered them.

I've moved from ensuring that I wear nice shoes and try to wear non-jeans pants to work, to trying to remember to wear lip gloss. That's as far as I will go right now into the milieu of makeup, since my hair is so butch that it would look like putting rouge on a pig. That and I don't really have time. But anyway, lip gloss is the new frontier. I found a nice one, though, Rimmel Sweet Jelly. Totally not sticky, didn't make me look all weird like I was trying too hard, and it tasted good. And I found it on the first try. That's a win in my book.

I think I'm going back to a no purchase rule - my bank account is leaking like a sieve. I guess you can only really live that way for short periods of time, but it's been bad this month. Four birthdays, Mother's Day, cupcakes for daycare on Kitten's birthday, plant sale, it just doesn't end. I think I'm going to cycle on and off. Maybe that will work.

Oh, and an update on the war. So now, the majority of America doesn't think Iraq is/was a good idea, that it isn't worth the price we've paid. I guess hindsight is 20/20. Cuz there was no one saying this stuff when the war started. STILL THINK WE WERE LIBERAL, DOPE-SMOKING PEACENIKS, FREAK SHOW? Yeah, no one talks now about all the people who were against Iraq then. Hmmm.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mmmmm... new plants

Ok, they're sitting on my cement. But they'll soon be planted, my pretties.

Here's what I got:
Chokeberry bushes - 2 (not tasty, but not toxic)
Dicentra (bleeding heart) - with deep red hearts - 4 (dwarf plants, and I took the last four)
Aroncus - goat's beard
Astilbe - japonica 'Red Sentinel' - 4 (down from 6, but I felt bad about taking all the bleeding heart)
Dutchman's Pipe - a lovely climbing vine that's already trying to grab onto the other plants
Hibiscus - deep red - yum!
Kentucky mint
Also purchased - gorgeous begonia for MIL

All in all, got everything at my list, although I shorted myself the two astilbe, even though they were there for the taking. My front bed will be whites (chokeberry flowers, goat's beard) reds (hibiscus, dicentra, astilbe, chokeberry foliage in fall), purples (dutchman's ear), and orange (my later-to-be-planted crown imperial bulbs). I don't know what color the autumn crocus are yet, as they will also be planted later.

Oh Happy Day

Kid firsts - first bath together, and Meimei's first wagon ride and their first ride together. Yay!

So, I was out doing dandelions this evening, kids in tow, with a little hand tool. The one that looks like a really big fondue fork and you stab it into the ground and tip it toward the weed so the fork pulls it loose. It was going fine, and it was chemical free, but then my neighbor showed up. She said, "Happy Mother's Day, borrow my weeding tool." And I did, and holy crap, I want one. You just put the little basket in the middle of the weed, give the step a little shove with your foot, and pull back up. The weed comes with it when you pull back up, root and all. Then you just slap your palm on the knob to release the weed. So although there is more weeding to do, and every time I turned around there were more, I actually got quite a bit done. I had to stop for bath time and get the kids in, so I returned the tool because I don't know when I'll get back to it. Probably not for another week or so.

We got the entire creeping (creepy) evergreen thing out finally - four giant root balls to dig out, one shovel split, a cubic ton of lava rock mixed with soil, etc. Now, we just have the entire rest of the bed to dig up before I can get my new stuff planted.

Does spirea take over? It seems to be jumping and there's tons of little spireas growing in about 2 feet in front of the actual bushes. Weird. Anyone want some spirea before I rip it all out? I don't want anything creeping around in my front yard.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Break it down, now

Why is the US so far behind in green living? We're all over telling people how to build green. But besides Ang and Jaysan, I don't know anyone building. (But they are building green. Yay!) So how does one start to convert their life without laying out $50-100K up front?

So I decided I'm going to start consolidate some of the tips and stuff. It helps me get my thoughts together and will hopefully help get moving. And I'm starting with windows.

For more energy efficient windows:

You can buy new windows.


1. Check the caulking on the exterior where the windows meet the siding. If the caulking is cracked or peeling, it needs to be replaced. This can be done in a weekend for a whole house. You will need:
  • putty knife/scraper ($3.94)
  • Caulking gun ($3.97)
  • Silicone caulk ($7.98)
  • Ladder to reach higher windows (variable)
Scrape the old caulk off with the putty knife and clean the area. Allow to dry and recaulk. Use the right caulk, or you'll be out there again in a year or two doing it again.

2. Install Low-e film on your windows. The highest rated film deflects up to 70% of summer heat, retains up to 55% of winter heat, and blocks 99% of UV rays to protect your energy bill and your furniture. Best of all, Low-e film doesn't significantly change the view. $46.07 for a 4' x 15' roll of the highest protective film from Gila. Measure your windows and buy the sizes that will fit best in width.

3. Check your insulation around the windows. Choose your oldest/leakiest window and remove a section of the trim. If there is no insulation between the woodwork and the wood, this is a prime place for air to leak in. Use insulating foam ($5.47/can) in the crevices to seal the leaks. Before starting with the foam, ensure all trim on all windows is removed, as the foam is only usable for a short time after the seal is broken. Allow the foam to dry and take a serrated knife (I used a steak knife) and cut off the excess. Replace the trim. Three or four cans of foam should work for the whole house. This may be a two or three weekend project with removing and replacing the trim. Take your time removing so you don't damage the trim. Pound out the nails and use a nail gun to replace the trim when finished to make that go faster. If no trim is damaged, this project could cost as little as $20.

4. Purchase cellular shades for your windows if your current window treatments are not as good as insulating. Aluminum blinds are the worst, so definitely consider this option if you have them. Spend a bit more and purchase custom shades so they fit as close inside the window as possible for the best insulation. Buy online and purchase the company's house blinds instead of a brand name to save more money. With cellular shades, the larger the cell, the more insulating. Ditto for the number of cells. They also come in light filtering or room darkening, so they're good for all rooms of the house. Top-down/Bottom-up option is usually worth the money also on these shades.

So there it is. If anyone knows of anything else you can do to save energy with your windows, comment here so I can add it to the list.

All prices from Lowe's.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My daring daughter

Or, Guess Who Has Rugburn?

Kitten has come alive this week in our evenings outside, becoming so much more daring than we thought possible for a child afraid of common household pets.

Tuesday MIL met us for dinner and then she and Pants took Kitten to the park behind the house (Meimei napped). Apparently at the park, Kitten not only learned to climb the steps to the slide, but the smaller covered slide has a 6-inch lip on it, so she dove in head first like SuperGirl. Then that was the only way she would go. Wednesday when I picked her up from daycare, she had rugburn on her nose - she tried to go down the Little Tykes slide head first.

Tonight, in addition to her feats on the slide, she decided to run through the sprinkler. This is a child who screamed last year when we dipped her feet in the super-cold pool on a 95 degree day. She first stood on the edge of the driveway where the sprinkler was hitting the pavement. Pants would grab her up every couple of minutes and run through the sprinkler with her. Then she just started running through herself. BY HERSELF!

She was soaked and got a bath. She sat in my lap in a diaper with her clean, baby-smelling skin, and asked to hold my apple. She started eating the apple just like me, without it being cut, skin and all. Holy crap!

And I cuddled her and combed her hair and smelled her baby-lotioned skin. She combed my hair and leaned back into me and ate my apple. Then I put her jammies on we read a book (three times) and she leaned into me and we sat for a few minutes before I took her to bed. Just the right amount of growing up and staying my little girl.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Why not Hyde?

We were watching TV yesterday after we got home and Kitten was eating snacks and Meimei was eating her bottle and That 70s Show was on. And Kitten looked up and said, "Jackie." And then she said it again. Now, they had been talking about Jackie on the show, but clearly Kitten was listening.

Pants and I looked at each other in shock. "We should NOT be watching this." And I turned the channel to Sprout's Goodnight Show. It was so mind-numbingly, goobery childish that I jumped at the chance to turn the channel to Wheel of Fortune at 6:30.

So I don't think we'll be watching TV when we get home anymore. I can't take the Goodnight Show. And I can't subject Kitten to That 70s Show.

See, when I was little, I watched a lot of TV. I will never know how warped I am because of Three's Company. Hours and hours of Three's Company. And I can't let that happen.

Why not Hyde?

We were watching TV yesterday after we got home and Kitten was eating snacks and Meimei was eating her bottle and That 70s Show was on. And Kitten looked up and said, "Jackie." And then she said it again. Now, they had been talking about Jackie on the show, but clearly Kitten was listening.

Pants and I looked at each other in shock. "We should NOT be watching this." And I turned the channel to Sprout's Goodnight Show. It was so mind-numbingly, goobery childish that I jumped at the chance to turn the channel to Wheel of Fortune at 6:30.

So I don't think we'll be watching TV when we get home anymore. I can't take the Goodnight Show. And I can't subject Kitten to That 70s Show.

See, when I was little, I watched a lot of TV. I will never know how warped I am because of Three's Company. Hours and hours of Three's Company. And I can't let that happen.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Uses for Oxy Clean

I love Oxy Clean. Every asks, "What do you use it for?"

  1. Soaking plastic bibs - they all have this cottony, ribbony edging that gets really gross, but the Oxy Clean takes out the stains in just a few minutes.
  2. And it cleans the sink while I soak them. Even the coffee stains embedded in the stainless around the drain.
  3. When the toilet was broken and the water sat in the tank for months and months, it stained the tank. A little Oxy Clean and a scrub brush took it right off.
  4. I used it to wash the plastic picnic table that we got (free) - took all the dirt right off it.
  5. I burned a cream soup onto the bottom of the pan. Let it soak with water and Oxy Clean. I had to go back in 10 minutes and take a layer off and let it soak some more, but then it all came off with a minimum of scrubbing.
This shit can do anything. I have some shoes from when I was pregnant that are a little scummy (pregnant feet are sweaty, icky feet) and I'm going to try to clean the soles a bit with it.

Any other uses for Oxy Clean? Besides laundry?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

First-ever Purchase Day

I took Friday as Purchase Day because it is 4 full weeks after the start date and because Pants told me to take Friday evening for myself.

I've making a list of everything I wanted and, in truth, it was actually pretty short. I was mentally adding a ton of things in my head, but I paid the bills before I went, which nipped that in the bud. I decided to basically stick to the list.

I purchased a trellis at Fleet Farm as planned, but added a garden bed edging for an additional $15. So Fleet Farm came to about $27. Check card.

I went to Lowes to get the thingies that would make my closet not stupid, but they didn't have a closet rod to fit them that was 5 feet long. They had 4 feet and 6 (too long), but not 5, and the rods weren't adjustable. So I just bought an adjustable closet rod instead and I'm pretty sure we have rod brackets in the garage somewhere, so I will use one of those. Plus, I bought a new number 5 for the mailbox. Mine fell off this winter. $10.23 total. Cash paid.

I then went to Target. Eep! I bought a little something for my mother for Mother's Day, a book for my cousin for her impending graduation, some nail polish for my toes (which goes along with my attempt to dress better), sunblock for the children and one for Pants to carry with him, plus some aloe for the inevitable sunburn (Pants, not the children), an outside toy for Kitten for her birthday coming up ($14.99 for a wagon and several sand toys, not bad!), and the May Real Simple. It was a bit more than I wanted, $72, but I thought I stayed pretty close to my list. I even put the cute shoes back because they weren't on the list and I didn't think I would wear them enough. Cute sandals did go on the next list, however. Check card on this one, too.

I did look at a weeding tool that I didn't buy, but probably will, even before the next purchase day. It dawned on me in the car on the way home how to use it and how easy it would make the weeding. And we seem to have a dandelion problem in the side yard and every time I try to pull them up, I just behead them. And it's a super-cool tool for only $5.99.

Plus, we broke the rules and bought blinds online Thursday night. If you have been here, you might remember we have BLACK aluminim blinds in the livingroom on our beautiful bay window. They do almost nothing to block the sun from beating in during the day and heating the upstairs up to 80 every afternoon. For the little they do, they completely shut out the sunlight and we have to turn on the lamps to see anything in here. Yet, there's still sections where the sun peeks through and blinds us. So not terrible functional, and not at all pretty. And not energy efficient either. The air conditioner was pretty much running nonstop this week trying to cool the upstairs. So we did some looking online and such and bought a set of blinds for each section of the window at I will let you know how they are when they get here, but I would already recommend them. They had a sale on double-cell 3/8 inch cellular blinds, plus top-down/bottom-up option for free this month. So we got really nice blinds for the whole, huge window (all three sections) for $215. Shipping was also free unless we wanted them overnighted or sent 2-day (for $125, we don't!). So we made this purchase outside the bounds of the No Purchase rules, but I figured it was one day, I had been given the Pants blessing on it, and it will save us money and energy over time.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Maple trees for everyone!

Seriously, although I pulled about 50 tiny little rooted saplings out of the side yard this afternoon, I have a couple of lovely specimens in the soon-to-be-detroyed front garden bed. They are two feet tall (thereabouts), very skinny, easily pulled, transported, and transplanted. You, too, could have a gorgeous maple tree in, oh, about 20 years.

Let me know soon, as they get plucked this weekend, one way or another.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Random Thoughts

All right kids, what time is it?!?!? IT'S RANDOM THOUGHTS TIME!!!

Jordin and Chris should be kicked off American Idol tonight. We'll see if I'm right.

We have guests at work so I had to actually wear dress pants, a top, and nice shoes. And someone, who I don't even normally work with, commented in the elevator on how nice I looked. Hmmm. Perhaps it's time to put a titch more effort into dressing in the morning.

I am so pissed that Gwyneth's shirt came up when she lip synched to Staying Alive and she didn't have ONE stretch mark. God damn yoga.

And she shook when she laughed like a bowl full of jelly...

I made turkey burgers tonight and mixed the ground turkey with some raspberry chipotle sauce. Pants was skeptical, but he ate them. And he liked them.

I wore a pair of sandals today that I haven't worn for oh, about three years because I was pregnant. I love them so, but they gave me blisters on both my big toes. Grrr.

Well, I can't wait for the end of Idol to end this post. Stupid hour-long episode.