Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sinecure

posted 07/19/08

My new hairdresser*: So what do you do?

Me: I used to have a corporate job, but now I stay at home.

HD: Hmm.

Me: When I was working, I would hear these women at the gym – stay-at-home wives – who would complain about how bored they were and I would want to slap them and ask, “Do you think I work as a hobby?”

HD: Uh-huh.

Me: So when I figured out that I all I had to do now was clean the house, cut the grass, buy the groceries, cook, do the laundry and change the sheets – all the things I was doing anyhow, plus working 60 hours a week – I asked, Where do I sign up?

* It took me three and a half months to find someone with a haircut I liked enough to ask her for her hairdresser’s number. Three and a half months. We are in the mullet capital of the world and I don’t mean the fish. I pointed that out to HD, noting that these women don’t even seem to be lesbians – they just have the haircut. HD said, “Yes, in West Allis, they like the haircut. The lesbians are all on the east side.”

Let's just kiss and say good-bye

posted 07/17/08

Dear Contractor,

It’s time for us to start seeing other people.

No. This is not a breakup! Really, it’s not. It can’t be. You still haven’t finished rebuilding our balcony. You know – the one you tore down last Thursday? And were going to rebuild on Friday but then it rained, so I got that. But what about Saturday? Or Sunday? Monday? Today?

Yeah, your helper is irresponsible. You thought he was going to do it on Saturday. Or Monday. You were out of town for four days. (Did I know that? No, I did not. Would that have been useful information? Yes, it would.) You didn’t call him to check to see that he was working. But if you know that he’s irresponsible, shouldn’t you have checked to make sure he was on the job?

It’s not that I don’t like you – I do, honest. If we have a party, we’ll invite you for sure. I enjoy our phone conversations, especially now that I know we’re both on AT&T and that it doesn’t cost me a penny to talk to you. It’s sure not the quality of your work, but I need someone who can get the job done.

I know you have health problems and that your helper is a recovering drug addict (oh, I was so happy to learn that little fact, although it was tempered slightly by the fact that he was addicted to painkillers for his knee problems), but guess what? I don’t give a flying flip about your personal problems. Sorry, but I don’t. Ours is a business relationship. All I care about is that I gave you a deposit to do this job two months ago and it’s STILL NOT DONE.

So even though you’re an excellent carpenter and do fabulous work, I’ll be calling someone else to do my repairs in the future.

Love,

CF

Chocolate for the feet

posted 07/15/08

Just the other day, I was thinking that I needed some new sandals (not wanted, but needed, the way I need oxygen) and wishing that Bass still made those cool leather sandals I wore when I was in college – those fabulous went-with-everything and were sooo comfortable thongs that didn’t make that annoying thong flapping noise that I have grown to hate so much that I would never convict anyone who murdered a thong-wearing flapper because I think it’s justifiable homicide – and guess what happened?

I walked into DSW to use my $10 coupon that was about to expire (of course I had noted the expiration date in my calendar, along with a three-week warning, because I have been burned before and I am capable of Learning My Lesson) and guess what I saw?

I saw these sandals:

[Imagine photo of Bass sandals here. I can't get it to copy.]

It was as if God was speaking to me, saying, “CF, I know the music stinks in the Catholic Church right now and I don’t know what that’s all about, except I think they think they don’t have competition, unlike the Protestants, who understand that there is more to it than having the Complete Truth, and I also think the US bishops, bless their hearts, are a bunch of soixant-huiters who think that Marty Haugan is the bomb and trust Me, We’ll have a little talk about that when they get here because honestly, all that inspiration I gave those guys who wrote those gorgeous hymns like ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’ and ‘Ave Maria’ and do I ever get to hear them from The One True Church? No! So anyhoo, to make up for your having to listen to merde at church every week – except the weeks you go to SH’s church, I am giving you the opportunity to buy the sandals you were dreaming of last week.”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our house is an Escher print

posted 07/15/08

Guess what? Carpenter ants are not a good thing. You’d think with a name like “carpenter ant” that you would get an industrious little ant that builds a balcony on your second floor instead of destroying it. Sure, it wouldn’t tell you when it’s coming, it wouldn’t return your phone calls promptly, it wouldn’t invoice you very quickly and it sure wouldn’t clean up after itself, but it would be good natured and it would do a good job when it did work.

But no. Carpenter ants eat wood. (Heh heh. I said “wood.”) Not only do they eat wood, they seem to specialize in vertical support beams embedded in brick and covered by electrical conduits. (Read “needs electrician to move,” read, “costs hundreds of dollars.”)

So what we thought was a simple job of removing the top boards of the balcony to replace them – because the top boards were too close together, the water could not drain well and the boards were in danger of rotting – became a job of replacing the entire balcony. (Oh yes – did I mention that when the top boards were removed, they discovered that the support boards had rotted because guess what? the water had not drained well! Who knew?)

At three times the original estimate.

And no, not replacing the balcony is not an option.

Because in a city where putting lawn waste in the trash is illegal, it is also illegal to have a second-story door to nowhere.

How pathetic is that #758

posted 07/13/08

I just washed the dishes in the kitchen sink not because I feel compelled not to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight -- doesn't bother me a bit to wake up to dirty dishes -- but because I don't want the guy who is coming tomorrow morning to install the basement carpet -- a man whose name I don't even know and whom I will never see again -- to think I am a bad housekeeper.

Will the trash police get me?

posted 07/13/08

I just noticed this as I slathered Vaseline onto my washerwoman hands made dry and nasty from 1) sanding and chipping stairs, 2) scrubbing the shelves from Goodwill with a Brillo pad because some idiot decided it would be a good idea to stain shelves that were already painted -- here's a news tip that even I, a non-paint professional know, which is that STAIN DOES NOT WORK ON PAINT! IT JUST MAKES IT LOOK DIRTY! -- the kind of dirty you get if you leave blue shelves in a room full of chain smokers for 40 years, and 3) calibrating the darn Kenmore, a SEARS brand, oven, which seems to think that 350 degrees means 420, no 390, no 375, no 337, no 325. OK calibrating an oven isn't that hard on your hands, but I didn't have a good number 3 otherwise.

Anyhow. What I noticed is that my Vaseline -- oops, actually, my Walgreen's Shea butter petroleum jelly skin protectant -- has an expiration date on it.

What can go bad with petroleum jelly? Does it get moldy? Does it rot? Does it no longer perform the responsibilities of petroleum jelly? Am I supposed to throw the jar out at 16:01 on 02/09 and replace it with a new one? Will bad things happen to me if I don’t?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Maybe she should become a vegan teetotaler who hates the Packers next

posted 07/11/08

Woman at the gym: Yeah, I had to quit smoking and now I can’t even be around cigarette smoke – I can’t breathe in it. So I was at a bar with some friends and the smoke started to bother me. I couldn’t go home because I didn’t have my car and I couldn’t wait outside because I can’t breathe when it’s cold, either.

Me: So Milwaukee’s a really good place for you to live, huh?

How to make the repairman show up

posted 07/09/08

Dedicate yourself to starting a little -- ahem -- quality time with your honey before he leaves on a ten-day business trip.

Trust me.

Your contractor will show up within minutes to install the kitchen shelves that arrived two weeks ago.

I do, we're done

posted 07/07/08

My sister, Jenny: I won’t be able to plan a bridal shower and party for you in two and a half months.

Me: That’s OK. I didn’t want to wear penis barrettes anyhow.

Jenny: You don’t even want a shower?

Me: Nope. We’re shacking up.* We’re just going to have a small, quick ceremony to make it legal. No parties.

* We’re shacking up because of Wisconsin divorce law (we could not legally marry until June 4) and the timing of SH’s lease (we had to be out of his apartment by June 30, we had to give two months’ notice, and they would not let us have a month-to-month option, so we had to, had to, had to have a house by the end of April, which meant selling my house way before that), but that does not change the fact that we are shacking up. We’d be married already but the parents want to attend a ceremony so we’re giving them one in Sept. Small, immediate family only. Maybe we’ll go to a Brewer’s game to celebrate. (We couldn’t have an earlier ceremony because 1) we were moving at the end of May, 2) SH wanted to go to Summerfest at the end of June, and 3) SH has a bunch of work travel between now and Sept.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blue-light special on the cat aisle

posted 07/07/08

SH: We might have to wait until this spring to get cats if we are going to wait until after the Morocco trip to get cats.

Me: Why?

SH: We might not be able to find kittens in the winter.

Me: What, there’s a cat season?

SH: Well, I guess cats have kittens year round.

Kill the wabbit, #9

posted 07/06/08

Is it any wonder that this rabbit – and the (at least) four others that inhabit our back yard – has no reason to fear humans? In a place where it’s illegal to throw yard waste into the trash and to park on the street between 3 and 6 a.m. (yet it’s OK to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, which means that if someone without insurance has an accident, I end up paying, but if someone puts grass clippings in the trash, it affects me how?), it’s probably illegal to shoot rabbits.

Not that I’m going to let that stop me.

The cats debate

posted 07/06/08

1. Get cats now.

2. Wait until we have returned from our two-week trip to Morocco in October. (It’s not that we are overflowing with cash – we’re not; it’s that we are overflowing with FF miles. SH is concerned that the airlines will soon be charging 300,000 miles for a trip from Milwaukee to Chicago, so we are burning his miles with trips to Morocco and Hawaii rather than lose them.)

3. Get cats now so they can work for a living and kill the what must be dozens of rabbits (I am not joking – much) that live in our yard.

4. Get cats now so we can never let them outside while the rabbits continue to prosper and taunt us.

Maybe he should go into marketing

posted 07/05/08

SH: I feel kinda crummy.

Me: How come?

SH: Maybe it was the beer Bruce and I had yesterday during the brewery tour.

Me: Oh.

SH: I don’t know why you don’t like beer. You get to feel crummy the day after you drink it and it makes you fart.

Me: Don’t forget it makes you pee a lot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kill the wabbit, #7

posted 07/04/08

On the phone with Todd arranging to meet for fireworks later while SH fires up the grill and three, count them, three audacious rabbits scamper across the yard, flipping us off as they head toward my tomatoes:

Me [yelling out the window]: SH! Kill that rabbit!

Todd: Does he have a gun?

Me: Of course not. He’s a liberal.

The difference between cats and dogs

posted 07/03/08

SH: Look at this cool new radar detector. It’s got GPS and you can download the locations of speedtraps and red-light cameras into it.

Me: That’s pretty cool.

SH: Maybe it’s time I spent the money and upgraded.

Me: Well....

SH: If it prevents just one or two speeding tickets, it pays for itself – not to mention the increase to our auto insurance.

Me: You could always just follow the speed limit.

SH: That’s crazy talk.

The Peoples' Republic of Wauwatosa

posted 07/02/08

So far, this is what we've discovered to be illegal (that's illegal!) in our new town/state:

1. To park on the street overnight

2. To put lawn waste in the trash. We discovered this one when the trash guys dumped the weeds I'd pulled from the flowerbeds out of the trash can onto the yard.

You may put lawn waste in its own bin (reusable or paper, marked specifically in letters at least two inches high, "Lawn Waste") for disposal but you may never, ever put grass clippings out for disposal. Never. Ever.

Remember also that it is illegal! to remarry within six months of divorcing in Wisconsin.

It's a good thing there are no serious issues for this state to address. How lucky we are to be living in this utopia.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chats du jour: CSI





These photos go with this post.

Let them eat cake

posted 07/02/08

If you are baking No-knead Rosemary and Garlic Bread, it’s probably a good idea to check the “6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic)” before you put it into the oven for half an hour to heat at 450 degrees to make sure you didn’t throw that box of birthday candles and vial of magic Chinese potion designed to banish migraines that you bought at the Rabat medina – you know, the potion that smells of eucalyptus – that were in your junk drawer into the pot before you moved it from Memphis to Milwaukee.

Otherwise, when you go to put the dough into the pot, you won’t notice the birthday candles and the potion because when you lift the lid off the pot, the steam billowing out will fog your glasses (or steam your glasses, technically, but I didn’t want to use the word “steam” again so soon but what are you going to do? What’s a synonym for steam that means exactly the same thing?) and you won’t see anything at the bottom of the pot and will suspect nothing, even though some person who will go unnamed here but happens to live in the same house as you do and is very detail and science oriented might point out that you should have noticed that steam is not a phenomenon that occurs naturally in an empty pot, even if it has been heated to 450 degrees for half an hour but hey, you were an English major and you just weren’t thinking that you might have left birthday candles in a pot four months ago, OK?

Anyhow, if you don’t check the pot for birthday candles and migraine potions (which didn’t work, BTW), you end up with waxy, eucalyptus-scented bread. Some people might consider that inedible.

Animal liberation #2

posted 07/02/08

Pet lovers, sharpen your pens and get ready to send me the hate mail. But I think this is a stupid, stupid way to spend money: the pet cemetery near where SH used to live has closed and people are moving their pet’s corpses.

[S]he paid $1,500 for a grave and marker at Thistlerose for her bichon, Bjorn, in 2005. Now she's shelling out nearly $1,000 more for a new spot and moving expenses.

A. Who spends $1,500 on a grave and a marker for a dog? We loved our cat, O’Malley, and we still talk about him, even though it’s been over 20 years since he died, but when he died, my dad buried him in the back yard. Without a coffin. He’s been tomato fertilizer for whomever lives at 8302 Brookline for years. At that time, $1,500 was half a year’s tuition at my private university. It is more than I paid for my first car.

When my cat was hit by a car in Miami and my neighbor, who knew about it suspiciously quickly, ran to tell me that my cat was lying in the street, I picked the cat up and put his body in the trash can. I would have buried him but I didn’t have a shovel. It never occurred to me to spend money to put him in a pet cemetery. I didn’t even know such things existed. I hadn’t read that Evelyn Waugh book yet. (What’s it called? The one about pet cemeteries?)

B. Who pays $1,000 to move a pet’s corpse from one pet cemetery to another? I wouldn’t want anyone to spend that money to move my corpse. Family and SH, you are hereby put on notice that you are not required to move my body if the cemetery goes out of business. You can leave me right where I am. Use the money for a trip to London or a party. And don’t embalm me!

Animal liberation

posted 07/02/08

Woman at the gym: We used to have cats, but had to get rid of them because the dogs didn’t like them.

Me: Which did you have first?

WATG: The cats.

Me: So you got the dogs after you had the cats, but because the dogs didn’t like the cats – the dogs, which showed up later – you got rid of the cats?

WATG: Yeah.

Me: Why didn’t you get rid of the dogs?

WATG: We really love the dogs.

Me: Do your dogs like your kids?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday at the park

posted 06/28/08

Busy days. SH is wonderful, setting up the stereo, installing a clothesline for me (a longtime dream, along with my engagement trash can – I am a woman of simple needs and wants), repairing the guest room bed. He’s a keeper.

We also had to go to Summerfest yesterday. We got there early enough to get free wristbands to see the headlining bend, Rush (motto: We don’t play any music unless it’s in a minor key), which was kind of fun (we got a free high, if you know what I mean), although if I’d actually paid to see them perform, I would have been ticked off that they didn’t start on time. Yes, I know all about musician time, but honestly. Be professional. Start on time. Marcia Ball started at 10:00 on the dot. And we liked her music a lot better. Still, for eight dollars apiece (and free parking, thanks to Serious Honey’s sharp eyes), I really can’t complain about a late start to a concert.

SH won free tickets from a radio station to tonight’s headliner, John Mellencamp, whom everyone persists in calling just “Mellencamp,” which annoys me to no end, because really, how much harder is it to add that one extra syllable? Say the entire name, darnit. It’s not that complicated.

Anyhow, I don’t care about seeing John Mellencamp so much. I’m kind of over his music, but Lucinda Williams is opening for him and I really like her. And again, we’re getting in for free (not even having to pay Summerfest admission), so if we get tired of listening to his show, we can leave and find something we like better.

Find the top B----- and kick her a@@

posted 06/27/08

Lucy (not Rachel, WHO WORKS IN A PRISON): I was a corrections officer for a while.

Me: What was that like?

Lucy, WHO WORKED IN A PRISON: It was OK until they started bringing the women in.

Me: Why?

Lucy, WWIAP: They fought more and when they fought, they were more vicious and they fought longer. And there was a lot more homosexual activity among the women. If one of them went to the showers, they all went to the showers.

Me: Wow. More homosexual stuff than with the men?

Lucy, WWIAP: Uh-huh. We called it Gay for the Stay.

Me: Kind of like Lesbian Until Graduation?

Lucy, WWIAP: Yeah. I guess prison is a lot like college.

How about the "Love one another as I have loved you" suite?

posted 06/25/08

Me: So my new Y has these silly names for the exercise rooms: Responsibility, Respect, blah blah blah.

My friend: Maybe they’re trying to emphasize stuff for kids.

Me: Then why not go to core Christian principles? It is the Young Men’s Christian Association, after all.

MF: What if people get offended?

Me: So what? No one is making them join. What about this: The “Thou shalt not murder” room.

MF: But some people might have a problem with a Christian message.

Me: Well, technically, the Ten Commandments are Jewish. But really – what group would have a problem with not murdering?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We're never building a house together or undertaking major renovations

posted 06/21/08

Me: This guy is being charged with killing his wife during a scuba-diving trip on their honeymoon.

SH: Wow.

Me: I wonder if they were in the middle of moving.

How to buy a carpet

posted 06/20/08

Monday June 9
Go to Carpet Distributor #1
Me: Do you have any red plaid carpet?
CD#1: Yes – here it is. Made by only one manufacturer.
Me: How much does it cost? Is it in stock?
CD#1: Let me call. Oh. They stopped making this style two years ago. Let me call the rep. There’s a new style. He’ll send a sample.

Tuesday June 17 [8 days later]
Me: Has the sample arrived yet?
CD#1: No.

Get on the internet. Find other distributors of same manufacturer. Call to see if any of them have a sample. I just want to see the darn carpet. Am I asking too much? No one has a sample.

Carpet Distributor #2: I can ask my rep to get one.
Me: I’ve already asked CD #1 to order one for me.
CD#2: You know, we beat their prices by 40% most of the time.
Me: Keep talking.

Email the manufacturer. Is the carpet in stock? What is the lead time to get it?
Mfr: Scottish Plaid color 03800 [kinda brown] would be the closest to red. In order to check stock and to get the time frame for shipping you need to contact our customer service order desk at 800-shaw-usa- option 2. If you are not a shaw dealer then you will have to order through a local dealer. You can visit shawfloors.com to find the retailer nearest you. thanks.
Me: [Then why do you have a red version on the website?]

Wednesday June 18
Me [Call manufacturer]: Why do you have the red version on the website if you don’t have it in stock?
Mfr: We have the red.
Me: Great. What’s the lead time? I have a naked basement floor and nowhere to put the rec room furniture.
Mfr: I can’t tell you. You have to ask a distributor.

Thursday June 19
Call CD#2 again. He’ll have the sample by Monday. I mean, how hard is it to get a 5” square of carpet to someone in two days? It’s nice to be working with someone who appears to be interested in doing business with me.

Friday June 20
Discover that the basement doors are warped from the flooding. Good grief.

A Barbie in every toybox

posted 06/19/08

At TJMaxx the other day, sorting through the underpants, trying to find at least one pair with a smidgen of cotton in it that didn’t also look like something my grandmother would wear (designers! Know ye nothing of women’s bodies, natural fibers and comfort?), I overheard the woman next to me say in her inside voice of loud desperation to her two children, “Boys! Be nice and share! It’s good to share!”

Why?

Why is it good to share?

Why do we (the collective “other people with whom I absolutely do not agree because they are wrong” we) force little kids share their stuff?

We don’t make adults share their things. No one gets upset if a grown man doesn’t share his brand-new Mercedes convertible or riding lawnmower with his neighbor or even with his brother. No one says, “What a selfish jerk!” (Except maybe the brother.)

No one thinks that the woman with the new Kate Spade purse is a big meanie for not lending the bag to her best friend if the friend demands it.

So why should kids be forced to share against their will?

More specifically, why should kids be forced to share against their will when it might cause whining? I would think that parents would want to minimize the noise, stress and aggravation at home and would thus implement policies to that end. Wouldn’t you have a strict “no required sharing” policy? That way, no child could ever come to you and complain that Suzy wasn’t sharing her Barbie because your answer would be, “It’s her Barbie. Go play with your own toys and leave me to my People magazine and Pimms.” Give each kid his own toys, draw a line in the middle of the room with a Sharpie and be done with it.

Do liberal parents force sharing more than conservative parents? Liberals, who are convinced they can change human nature, despite thousands of years of evidence to the contrary (that human nature is immutable, that is), might be more likely to force socialist policies on their kids by making them share their toys, even though children have a highly-developed sense of property rights and know there is something inherently unjust about having to give away something that is theirs. Ha. They are just creating future conservatives, so it’s all good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

When I am in charge, it will be illegal

posted 06/18/08

1. To install carpet over hardwood floors
1a. To install cheap, ugly carpet over hardwood floors
1b. To pay almost as much to install cheap, ugly carpet as it would have cost to refinish the floors
2. To paint without removing switchplates first
3. To punch a hole in the wall for a new outlet and not patch the plaster before putting on the new plate
4. To paint the walls but not to paint the trim
5. To take the shower curtain rod (not the kind that is mounted to the wall but the kind that stays up with pressure) with you when you move out of a house
6. To take the dryer vent hose with you when you move out of a house, especially if you have adapted said hose to the egress, which is not the standard size on which 4” hoses fit but only 3”, which requires a special adapter available only at heating supply stores. Wholesale.
7. To install kitchen cabinets 30” high with no shelves. Three of them. Most cooking equipment is just not that tall.

Sleepless in LA

posted 06/17/08

Me: How was it sharing a room with your co-worker at that trade show?

SH: Fine.

Me: Did he snore?

SH: No.

Me: What did he wear to bed?

SH: Athletic shorts and a t-shirt.

Me: OK.

SH: With the t-shirt tucked in.

Me: To sleep?

SH: I think it’s an Asian thing.

Can't I just talk to them? Won't diplomacy work?

posted 06/16/08

SH: You don’t really want to kill that rabbit at the house.

Me: Yes.

SH: But why?

Me: Tomatoes.

SH: How?

Me: I don’t know. Poison. I can ask at the garden store.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quelle dilemma

posted 06/14/08

This is what I get for trying to be smart. I have been taking small things to the house in the car – things I don’t want to pack in boxes well enough that they could be thrown around by a couple of guys who think they should be paid more than $10/hour. I have taken clothes, bags of groceries, CDs, toiletries.

Bags of groceries: Boxes of cornstarch. Two boxes of nutmeg. Four – yes, four – boxes of baking powder. SH and I are merging kitchens, but even that is no excuse for four boxes of baking powder. I can’t explain that one, so I won’t try. The extras will go in the Goodwill bag, although I don’t know if there is much of a charity market for used/extra baking powder.

In any case. It’s all over at the house.

I am making peach cobbler over here.

I read the recipe enough to realize I needed the cornstarch and nutmeg, so I borrowed some from the neighbors.

Then I read the rest of the recipe.

No baking powder.

There is baking soda here, in the fridge. Yes, it’s the fridge soda, but I would rather use fridge soda than go back and say, “Oh, now could I borrow your baking powder? Cause really, I am so incompetent that I didn’t read the recipe all the way to the bottom so now I have to make a second trip here.”

But guess what? You can substitute baking powder for baking soda, but you can’t substitute baking soda for baking powder.

Building an ark

posted 06/14/08

It’s been a busy week up here in the Brew City and the surrounding areas. More rain than ever before, I guess. Manhole covers popping out of the streets and destroying SUVs. Flooded basements. Lakes disappearing. Houses getting washed away. Sewer pipes getting overwhelmed.

The good news for SH and me in all of this is that we didn’t like the carpet in our basement rec room to begin with (the finished part of the basement is about 300 square feet), that we hadn’t moved his sofa, stereo and TV into the rec room yet, and that our insurance, unlike many others, covers basement drain backups. (In the future, I am all in favor of the City of Milwaukee letting that untreated sewage run into the lake rather than letting it back up into peoples’ basements. Just saying.)

The other good news is that our contractor/general handyman guy, whose name I am not going to tell you because I want him available to work only for us, was at the house on Monday anyhow to meet me about the shoeing on the second-storey floors. He pulled the wet carpet out of the basement that afternoon so I didn’t have to smell it rotting down there the rest of the week.

The other other good news is that despite the inspection report telling us we needed to put fill dirt in the backyard and that we needed to replace the concrete divoting between the driveway and house with foam rope covered with a silicone sealer to prevent water getting into the basement, the basement walls stayed dry, so maybe those are not high-priority projects. (A sump pump, however, is.)

As is getting replacement carpet, which really, is not such a bad thing. When I called Lindley to tell her our basement carpet had been ruined, she chirped, “Now you get to get new carpet!” And she’s right. There’s a lot to be said for hotel-dull oatmeal carpet, like, it doesn’t matter if kids spill kool-aide on it because it’s already so ugly that making it uglier doesn’t matter so that’s where we would send our friends’ kids when they come to visit. Perfect.

But we’re going to live in the fast lane now that we’ll be getting that Big Insurance Check. In the House That Was All Wrong For Us, the basement had a fun, cheery red plaid carpet that was perfect with the paneled walls – a ‘50s retro look that went great with the beer stein collection displayed on one wall. This is an opportunity to put that red plaid carpet in our basement.

It is also an opportunity to rescue the wood stairs to the basement, which had been covered with the hotel-oatmeal carpet. It should be illegal to cover hardwood floors and stairs. I don’t know why any carpet installer with a conscience would do so, except I suppose they have bills to pay like anyone else. Still, I hope it makes them just a little bit sick to their stomachs.

Me, the Man, Oppressing the Little Guy

posted 06/13/08

Me: That's great! So be here next Saturday. We'll start loading the truck at noon.

Guy who's going to help us move: Bob said you were going to pay ten dollars an hour?

Me: Yes.

Guy: Would you be willing to pay more than that?

Me: No.

Guy: No?

Me: No.

Guy: Well. OK.

Me: Thanks so much! See you next week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Too much communication

posted 06/13/08

I don’t want to scare y’all or anything, but two of the couples I know (and I know this is correlation and not necessarily causation, but why take the chance) who shared an email address have divorced.

I have ranted about this before – why would you share an email address with your spouse? What makes anyone think that spouses should share every little piece of information that their friends send to them? I didn’t tell one friend a lot of the good stuff when she shared an email with her husband. “But I tell him everything anyhow,” she told me, which really ticked me off, because really, are my Female Problems his bidness?

Back to the issue. It costs nothing – nothing -- to get your email address. It’s free. Why would you share? It just seems to be asking for trouble.

It's against The Rules

posted 06/13/08

Overheard at the Y:

Four-year-old #1: Let's go to the pool!

Four-year-old #2: But we don't have our swimsuits.

Four-year-old #1: We have our underwear.

Overheard at the Y

posted 06/11/08

In the stall next to me in the ladies' room, which is next to the nursery:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Things I never wanted to know #839

posted 06/11/08

What it is that comes up out of your basement drain.

Hint. It's not the stuff that comes out of your kitchen tap.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The bar is low

posted 06/11/08

One of my first questions to our new neighbor, Coach, was, “Do you mind if I kill the rabbit that lives between our houses?”

He probably thinks I am a bloodthirsty monster, but so what? I want to grow tomatoes and I am not going to let any rodent steal my work.

Besides, the more I talk to our new neighbors, the more I realize we have a lot of leeway before we look bad compared to the previous owner of the house, who, apparently, never once cleaned the gutters, which you know, if you have gutters, is Not A Good Thing. If you don’t have gutters and haven’t just lived through incredibly heavy rains that caused a lake to disappear, manhole covers to pop out of the streets and houses to wash away, just trust me on this.

Anyhow. Back to the dead rodents.

When Patrick and Ilene were here, we took them to the house. The backyard neighbors were out, so we introduced ourselves. “Oh!” they said. “Neighbors who talk!”

When I met Coach’s wife yesterday, she said that she and I had already spoken more than she and Previous Owner had in an entire year. Then she gave me all the gossip.

When P.O. moved in, Coach went over with a six pack and introduced himself. P.O. took the beer, said thanks, and closed the door.

Coach’s dad is a snow-blowing fiend and blows everyone’s sidewalk, including P.O.’s, which is a great thing, because if you don’t clear your sidewalk within 24 hours of a snowfall, the city fines you. (Welcome to the Great White North, where they also send The Appliance Inspector out to make sure that Sears installed your washer correctly – because Sears surely doesn’t know what it’s doing – your tax dollar at work.) For an entire winter, Coach’s dad cleared P.O.’s sidewalk – and not once, did P.O. thank him.

He didn’t even ask Coach, “Hey – do you know who’s been clearing my sidewalk?”

For the record, I told Coach’s wife that if Coach’s dad wants to clear our sidewalk, I will bake him as many brownies as he wants.

The big secret

posted 06/10/08

Me [looking around the exercise room]: Why am I the only one who has visible panty lines under my gym clothes? What do all of you know that I don’t?

Instructor: Thongs.

Jen: Spanx.

Other student: Boy pants. They prevent chafing, too. [Me: Chafing? What chafing? Yet another secret I don’t know about. Where is the manual? How come nobody tells me these things?]

Me: Oh. I thought maybe I was the only one who had a flabby butt and the rest of you all had buns of steel.

Things I never wanted to know #378

posted 06/09/08

The intricacies of the differences of what homeowners' (which we have) covers and what flood insurance (which we don't -- we're in the darn 500-year flood plain) covers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Things I never wanted to know #377

posted 06/09/08

What a sump pump is and why you need to have one. (We don't.)

Things I never wanted to know #376

posted 06/09/08

What it sounds like when you step into carpet soaked with water because the basement drain has backed up during the most rain Milwaukee has gotten since 1916.

Back to regular programming

posted 06/08/08

I seem unable to get my lazy butt off the couch today, where I have fallen sway to my new guilty pleasure, the Denise Richards reality show (did she really give all those shoes, including her Jimmy Choos, to Goodwill rather than stop cussing? Say it ain’t so, Denise!), so I am going to give youse something to think about that Dr J sent to me. This falls under med school nerd humor, as the Bodacious Red-headed Pediatrician would classify it. She liked the story of Dr J calling me to tell me that my Anatomy of a Sleepless Night was really the Patho-Physiology (or whatever) of a Sleepless Night, so she’ll probably appreciate this.

Dr J wrote and asked me why we use the word “asshole” to demean someone when really, it is an anatomical structure that serves most people faithfully and well. He questions the justice and fairness of using that word pejoratively and suggests “quidnunc” instead, which I had to look up.

Discuss.