...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Everything is Broken

...including me.

MaHellions, it's been quite a while since my last post.  We've been busy here, moving and moving (and moving) furniture, books, CDs, pots, pans, clothes--all the crapola from the old house.  We had buyers already for the Gilligan's Island property, and were set to close on May 24th.

Then the inspection found rot and mold issues under the Gilligan's Island hacienda and all hell broke loose.  The damage was something we'd never have seen, as much of it is located under the freakin' chimney.  There is a little more where the deck joins the house and the inspector also didn't like the foundation work we just had done.

Here's what is so frustrating:  we had the chimney, deck and foundation work done by three separate licensed contractors, all of whom came highly recommended by people we knew and trusted.  It's bad enough to have issues come up when you're trying to sell a home, but when they are issues you've ALREADY PAID TO FIX, well, that's a whole new kind of pissed-off over here.

So, we're talking to NEW contractors, and the first estimate was in the $40,000-$50,000 range, but this group was not only estimating high but also pricing the work to be done by sub-contractors.  They flat-out told me that we could save money by calling the subs ourselves.  So, we're having a few more folks check it out and we'll see what we hear from them over the next week or so.

The thought of yanking that money out of the only two sources we have (retirement savings, fund for a hoped-for future adoption) makes me sick.  But there are people dealing with bigger problems than mine every day.  In the midst of being supremely angry with the contractors who did shoddy work but charged us for top level repairs, I try to remember to stop and say a prayer for folks with more serious concerns.  We do HAVE the money; we just didn't intend to spend it on this.  And Tank and the rest of our family are healthy and well.  We are not on our knees every night, praying for our child to recover from a devastating injury.  We haven't spent ten years hoping against hope that missing loved ones would be found alive.

Everything that is wrong with the Gilligan's Island house can be fixed.  And when all is said and done, we'll still be standing.  "Broken," after all, is a temporary state.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Look Out, Mayberry!

Oh, Taj MaHellions...so much to tell you!  I suppose that's what happens when you take a nearly four-month sabbatical from writing anything more challenging than a grocery list. 

In the past few months, we've survived Christmas, rung in a brand new year, eaten way too much Valentine candy and made plans to MOVE TO THE TAJ MAHELL.  Full-time, beyotches! 

Seems Shawn got on the radar of a corporate headhunter and his pointy little head (it truly IS pointy) got hunted.  The new job is about 50 minutes southeast of the Taj, so we will temporarily relocate there and plan a move closer to his work once our Gilligan's Island house has sold.  That should take a while, since we haven't finished the to-do list to even get it on the market.  Gee, I should start a whole new blog and then forget to write about the Gilligan renovations!  Or...maybe not.

So anyway, I know I've been MIA and both of the people who look at this blog have given up on it, but I'm planning to actually pick it up again and detail not only the remaining renovation of the Taj MaHell, but also my descent into madness as I attempt to live in a town that doesn't have a Target.  Or a mall.   Or baseball.  Or liquor-by-the-drink.  Think "wine margaritas", y'all...and FEEL MY PAIN!

On the good side, our entire demented extended family lives within minutes of the Taj, so we'll be able to drive them nuts with our shenanigans.  And possibly also get some free baby-sitting.

Mayberry-bound in 10 days.  Asylum-bound in 11.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mr. Clean and Dirty Politics

I clean when I'm angry.

Right now, you could pretty much eat off any surface in the downstairs of my house.  Since I will likely be pretty PO-ed for a while, the upstairs should get its turn, too.

Watching the majority of this country short-sightedly vote their own personal agendas ahead of national security and prosperity was a stunning wake-up call.  It is not over-dramatization to say that I don't feel very safe anymore.  Marijuana legalization and gay marriage?  Really?  When we're TRILLIONS of dollars in debt and madmen who hate us simply because we don't adhere to their religious beliefs are working toward nuclear armament, when our schools can no longer educate children because they're too over-stressed with trying to provide food and structure to the children resulting from parents who are children themselves, or on drugs, or just plain sorry...when all these things are crushing us under their weight, we really CARE about whether weed is legal?  It really MATTERS if a "domestic partner" can be added to your health insurance, when your employer is being taxed out of existence to provide it?  Enjoy it while it lasts, because it's simply unsustainable and won't last long.

This country has turned its back on Israel and ignored a deadly terrorist attack on US soil (yes, the consulates overseas are US soil) and voted for a charismatic, empty-shell orator who is useless without his speechwriters and Tele-Prompters.  Is this the result of too many people watching too much reality TV?  Do we really just want the glitz and the catch-phrases and not give a rip about truth, integrity, honor, service?

Oh, God...let that not be so!

Another post will come, when I feel a bit less wobbly.

Til then, I have more cleaning to do...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time Flies

Did a lot of running around today in preparation for a Taj trip tomorrow.  Extra prep was needed, since we'll be celebrating Tank's birthday with family while we're there.

He's FOUR.


Dude, it was YESTERDAY when he was born.  I swear it!  I've had migraines that went slower than these past four years.  One day, he was a 9-pound wad of fluff, snot and poop and the next, he's 3 feet, 9 inches tall, 52 pounds and ruler of the universe.  (In HIS mind, anyway)

Holy crap.  How did that happen? 

Last night, I went through a box of clothes some friends gave us that their youngest son had outgrown.  I'd put them away six months ago, since they were sizes 7 and up...thinking it would be simply FOREVAH before he grew into them.

Yeah, NOT.

He's in a SIX now.  One of his legs weighs more than the baby we brought home from the hospital.

And going through his outgrown clothes makes me an emotional wreck!  I just ache to have Baby Tank back, just for a little bit!

I miss the sweet snuffles of a baby against my neck; the feel of his little round bottom that fit just perfectly in my palm when I cuddled him.  I miss the precious baby clothes (from 5T on up, it's skateboards and skulls...no more puppies and airplanes).  I look at his baby clothes and I just want to sit and weep over the loss.  Stupid, I know, but there you have it.

Would I trade for those days back?  No...I am even more in love with the spunky, spirited toddler he's become.  Every part of his personality that emerges from the rather generic fog of babyhood is better than the last.  Oh, but for one more hour of him napping on my shoulder!  Just one sweet, Dreft-and-baby-powder-scented snuggle with his downy little head tickling my cheek.

Oh, it goes so fast!

And it's worth every wonderful, terrifying, worrisome, exhausting, beautiful minute!

Happy Fourth Birthday, Tank!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

IKEA, etc

So...IKEA.  We went, we saw, we conquered.  If you enjoy the concept of "personal space", I highly recommend that you do NOT shop the Atlanta IKEA the Sunday before school starts.  Just a little tip, there.  Having never been to an IKEA before, it took me a bit to adjust to the shopping style there.  I probably annoyed some folks at first, before I caught on to the follow-the-gray-concrete-road concept and blended into the wall of humans pressing through the showroom.  Interesting idea, painting arrows on a walkway and herding shoppers through in a single direction.  Not the way I like to shop, but given how crowded the store was, I guess it's a survival technique.

Did I love IKEA?  Yes and no.  I had some drooly moments in the kids' section, particularly over these things:

The Mammut collection is just so fun and Dr. Seuss-y that I found it hard to resist.  I did resist, though, even though I thought everything was pretty reasonably priced.  I just figured Tank would outgrow the toddler-sized bed in about 8.2 seconds, so I oohed and ahhed and walked away.

College Girl Niece found a double bed she luuurved, so we somehow strapped that on and in the Jeep, along with all four of us and made our way home.  Me?  I bought a vase.  Hey, I was walking out of there with SOMETHING, dammit!

Will I go back to IKEA?  I am sure I will.  While uber-streamlined, blonde wood DIY furniture isn't my style, I did really like some of their stuff and again, you can't beat the price.  As long as you buy it with an eye towards needing to replace it after a few years, I think IKEA purchases are great.

So, what else?
Well, the Tankster's birthday approaches.  I've been asking him what kind of party he wanted this year and I get a different response almost every time.  Egads--do they have a special training for kids on this?!  We've been through dinosaur party, Thomas the Tank Engine party, Cars party, baseball party, sea turtle party....and on and on and on.  Since he's said baseball the past several times and gone back to it after forays into other ideas, we're doing a baseball party.  Last night, I ordered cute mock baseball card party invitations.  Which virtually ensures he'll change his mind between now and his party and be all, "What's with the baseball shizzle?!"  Consistency, thy name is NOT toddler!

Oh, and there's another project soon to get underway at the Taj.  Shawn found a great deal on a fridge--we've been using Nice Neighbor's dorm fridge for a year now and we were just SO OVER THAT.  So, Shawn went to a new and used appliance place and found a fridge that had been in a model home.  We got it for a used price (1/3 the retail), but got a new warranty on it.  So...yay!  But wait...if you've read this blog before, you know better than to start celebrating just yet.

Turns out the new fridge fits juuuuust barely into its assigned spot.  So tight, in fact, that you can't open the left door.  Our options were to take it back and get a smaller one or to widen the offending doorway between the kitchen and dining room.  Since the kitchen is a notoriously dark room and that doorway was smaller than standard anyway, we opted to open the doorway 24 more inches.  We COULD have done it ourselves, but I advocated against that.  I know...can you believe it?!  I was afraid we'd wreck the old plaster walls and make a huge mess of it.  Plus, the trim on the dining room side has to be custom-made o match the other windows and doors (kitchen has different, more modern trim).  So, we made a call to the Sainted Singing Plumber/Contractor and he's going to handle it for us.  He's also going to get rid of the cheap, ugly wood paneling that is behind the fridge and up the stairway to the bonus room.  Hello, Drywall!  Where you been all my life?!

The good news is that the refrigerator and dishwasher work great and life at the Taj is about to get a LOT more convenient!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Don't worry--it's not what you think!

I found the site IKEA Hackers today.  I don't know how I've managed not to see it before but I've really enjoyed wasting half the afternoon briefly glancing at it!

This in particular caught my eye.  Follow the link for instructions.

Not to be overly picky, but Jeeps have a seven-slot grille!

So, the Farm Maven and I are plotting a trip to IKEA soon.  Maybe genius will strike.  Hey..it could happen!

Anyway, that's all I have at the moment.  Back soon with tales of misadventure and mayhem!

Monday, July 23, 2012

(You Can't Even) Take Me Out to the Ballgame...and We Wobble

You'd think that, as much death-defying stupid crap I do in a day, injuries are fairly commonplace around here.  I always forget to lift with my legs, I check the milk by drinking instead of sniffing it, I have been known to lean precariously on a ladder to reach just a leeeeetle bit farther with the paintbrush...you get the idea.

Yet miraculously, I don't usually sustain any real damage.  The occasional strained back muscle and a constant collection of bruises notwithstanding, I am invincible.

Oh, but let me go to the minor league baseball game and it's all over.

Tank was walking behind the bench I was on (I had moved up a row to sit and talk with a friend, while Shawn stayed in back, talking to more friends).  I reached out to playfully smack Tank on the rear and SLAMMED the back of my hand into the metal frame of the bench.  I hit it right on the back side of my palm, at the base of the pointy finger.  HOLY SH*T, that hurt.  And now, it hurts to grasp anything or make a fist.  I can't live through a day if I can't make a fist, people!!  Oh, the humanity.

Well, despite my little pointy-finger drama, we had a great time.  Our team won and Tank got to hug the team mascot twice.  For years, Tank had a love/hate relationship with the mascot, but this year it's been pure love.  He stalks the mascot, pantomiming that we should "sneak up" on him and attack unexpectedly with many hugs.  Thank goodness the person inside the costume is a kind soul and patient with fixated toddlers!

So, all in all it was a great day.  We didn't stay for the whole game, so we missed the "Sweet Caroline" audience sing-a-long and also missed the mascot dancing the Wobble.  That alone is worth a trip to the ballpark!

There's not a video from the game online, but here's the dance.  Just imagine a 6-foot bug doing it and you've pretty much got it:

Happy Monday...now go get your Wobble on!