Sunday, May 20, 2012

Highs and Lows: Awk-warrrrrrd! Edition

Hey, are we still doing highs and lows, Jen?  Well, I am...

I'll list the lows first - usually I say it's because I like to end on a positive note, which is usually true.  But today, honestly, it's because the lows are all that I can think of!  It's not that I'm a negative person, even though DH says I'm a pessimist.  (I say I'm REALISTIC!)  I'm not even in a bad mood right now!  It's just been a rough week.  Thank goodness for the weekend.


1. Ugh.  I still feel kind of sick about this one.  Without going into too much detail (because a startling number of "real life friends" actually read this thing), here's the situation:  I was giving a friend's child a ride somewhere.  When we got there, the child WHIPPED the car door open with all their might, putting a dent (with the paint chipped off) in the $40,000 car next to us.  And yes, I yelled at the child with the same force that they smashed the door into the car, if you're wondering.  Then I felt like a humongous jerk.  Anyway, I left a note, the guy called (and turns out to be a state trooper!), and I had to deliver the news to my friend that the damage is somewhere around $500.  Talk about uncomfortable.  If you're wondering, yes, insurance would have taken care of it, but since it was my car, it would have had to go through my insurance.  We would have had to open up a claim and burn our "first accident forgiveness" on this incident.  Situations like this just suck the life out of me.

What would you have done?

2. We have a tee-baller and a softball-er.  And lately it seems that all of their games are scheduled simultaneously.  So I stand in between the two fields and try to watch both games.  When you try to watch two games, you go home feeling like you didn't see anything at all.  That is a bummer.  I know it's not my fault, but it makes me feel like a "bad mom" when I miss seeing my daughter pitch or my son up at bat.  I just hate that.  It's just the way the schedule is this year, it seems.

3. And speaking of "bad mom" moments, my kindergartener had a field trip this week that I didn't remember until that morning.  It's not that I had to do anything's just that I realized how out of touch I have been lately.  I always imagined that I'd be a "cookie-baking, homeroom mom" kind of mom...not a mom who forgets when her kids' field trips are.


1. As is our custom, DH & I had a nice morning of yard sale-ing on Friday before I started work.  I found a few things; a really nice set of curtain rods with ceramic finials for $5...I guarantee these cost a fortune when they were originally bought.  They are going in Abby's room.  I also found a couple of books, no big whoop.  But we just had fun...DH did pretty well.  It always cracks me up how some people can tell the ones who do the yard sale thing regularly and the ones who don't.  You can tell the sellers who are just trying to get rid of junk, and the ones who are looking to get rich by selling their junk.  They do not bargain at all, which just irritates me!  What's up with that?  I could have gotten a pair of strawberry pots for $10 yesterday.  I asked if she would take $7, and she said no.  I'm thinking, "you live in a $400,000 house.  Do you need the $3 that badly?"  So I walked away from the pots.  Now I'm kicking myself a little...$10 is still a great deal.  Oh well.  Anyway, the point is, Friday mornings have become a major high point in my week. 

2. This could really go either way, but when I think about it, all I have are good feelings mixed with a little sadness.  So I'm putting it in my list of "highs" - this week I went to my very last MOPS meeting ever.  When your youngest child goes into 1st grade, you become a MOPS graduate, and they basically give you a nice potted flower and kick you out.  ;)  But it's OK.  By the time your youngest is 6-7 years old, you really don't need MOPS's a different stage of life now.  Anyway, being a graduate, I got to get up and say something about my experience with MOPS over the last few years.  I hope I was coherent...I love speaking to big groups of people, but I have a tendency to babble and lose track of what I'm talking about.  If you can imagine that.  I did cry a little.  But not because I'm worried about losing touch with my friends; just because the closing of chapters of life can be so hard.  For me, closing the chapter of having babies/toddlers/preschoolers has been really difficult.  Every once in a while it hits me that my kids are SCHOOL AGE kids and not sweet little 2 year olds anymore. 

3. If all goes well, today I am FINALLY going to get all my plants & veggies.  Whether they get into the ground or not today, I don't know, but if I can at least get them to my house, I will feel a little less behind than I am right now. Yesterday we had a softball game right exactly in the middle of the day, which boogered things up.  Today I have a baby shower at 2, which is also threatening to interfere with my outside plans...but I think I can pull it off.  Cross your fingers for me!

Can you tell I'm totally overwhelmed and have no time for anything???  I am thankful for my job, I really am.  But I'm counting the HOURS until my summer begins. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Weekly Loot

Yesterday DH and I went out yard sale-ing before I started work for the day.  It was probably one of the most abysmal yard sale days ever.  I found absolutely nothing!  Sometimes it's treasure, and sometimes it's truly just junk.  But this morning we went out and came home with a truck full of LOOT!  And dragging the kids around with us, at that!  He did much better in quantity than I did, but I came home buzzing off of my one great deal.

This chair was at our last stop of the morning, which we almost didn't even bother going to.  But we'd just been to a "dud" and didn't want to end the day on that note.  $5 price tag, I asked if she would take $3.  She did.  :)

Some other random stuff:

It's not all just about the furniture; I like little silly things too.  That flowery tea tin was 10 cents; the stack of plastic containers was .50.  I thought I could use them to store little sewing notions and stuff.  Two puzzles at .25 each...I cannot resist puzzles, even though I rarely do them and have no place to put them.  So help me, I can't resist.  A pack of unopened paper for .25 and a book for .75.  $5.10 total - great morning!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Oven Mitts, Revisited: My Sad, Sad Story

Wait till you hear THIS one!

This past March, just a few months ago, I got an email from someone regarding some oven mitts I'd made back in November.  Here they are:

The email said this:
Hi- I'm doing wardrobe for a commercial in LA shooting Monday for Zaxby's (it's a big chicken restaurant chain- sort of like Denny's maybe?).  The ad agency referenced your exact oven mitts from your blog.  Any way I can rent those or buy them from you?  I can paypal you money right away and give you a fedex number or however you prefer to do it.  They just have to be in the mail by Friday at the latest.  Please call me and we can talk, I'll be up by 10am EST.  thanks!!

At first I assumed this was some kind of scam.  (Why a criminal mastermind would want to steal someone's oven mitts, I don't know.)  But I checked out the lady's website, phone number, email, etc...and it seemed pretty legit.  Just not believable.  My specific oven mitts?...for a commercial...this had to be wrong.  YET I found myself calling the number at the bottom of the email.  Sure enough, the woman on the other end of the phone was the real deal, and I think she was just as surprised to hear from me as I had been to hear from her!  She kept saying, "They are not going to believe it when I walk in there with the actual oven mitts they wanted." 

Flattering, you say?  Read on.

She told me the Chris Kattan would be wearing them in a Zaxby's commercial.   I felt like such a rock star.  My oven mitts found their way from my dinky little western PA sewing "space" - not even a whole room, mind you - to glamorous L.A., where a famous person (OK Chris Kattan...but I'll take it!) was going to wear my Oven Mitts of Glory.

So, after getting a Paypal payment for postage AND an "oven mitt rental fee" (nice!), I stuck those things in a USPS overnight envelope, marched them down to the post office, and sent them on their way.

Have you already spotted the mistake?

Yeah.  I'm not particularly "anti-government," but I will tell you that I will NEVER AGAIN trust any government entity to deliver any more of my packages on time.  Long story short (and I will even spare you the details of my battle-royal with the supervisor at the post office), the mitts didn't get there on time.  They'd sent my package to the wrong zip code.  I just wanted to cry.  The fame, the glory, the chance to have a great story to tell....all gone!

And then a few weeks later, my sister called to tell me that she'd seen the commercial, and maybe I should be glad they didn't get there on time.

For your viewing pleasure:


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bedroom Breakdown

I'm so happy to still have some readers here!  Thanks, guys!

So...the bedroom.  I actually have some "befores"...


What is with these cats???  Such camera hogs.  The "before"...eek.  Stark walls, leftover wall decor from when we had red bedding (not that it all has to match, but...).  ONE lamp, and not on my side, which was a pain.  Full-size bed...and I'm told that I kick.  No curtains. 

- I never realized that gray could warm up a room!  That is the Benjamin Moore color "Coventry Gray" - but I took the paint chip to Home Depot and got it mixed there in the Behr Premium Plus Ultra.  The kind with the primer in it. Looking back, I'd skip the Ultra and save a few bucks.  We still had to use two coats, and I wasn't blown away by the quality - I mean it's very nice paint, but I was expecting a miracle in a can.  I've used just the regular Premium Plus before, and thought that the Ultra didn't seem any different.  Not to mention, you really don't need primer on white walls.  Duh. 

- The bed: we got a queen-size bed and mattress set.  And there was much rejoicing.  Before we went shopping, I was under the delusion that we could probably get a good mattress set for about $300-$400.  But I was wrong, so wrong.  :(  And in an uncharacteristically UN-frugal moment, we bit the bullet, went to a furniture store, and bought the bed and dresser.  Even though we did not spend nearly what I know other people spend on furniture, I almost threw up as I paid the girl at the counter.

- The bedding!  I am in LOVE with the bedding.  Homegoods.  :)  And it came with the pillows - that's just one less thing for me to do!

Here's another before...

We were trying to cram too much furniture into the room.  The room measures 10'3" x 11'.  No joke.  So we got rid of that dresser and now instead, I'm using my closet for all my clothes.  I got a Rubbermaid closet system and there are lots of shelves in there now.  It's a ridiculous mess right now, or I'd post a picture.  It works pretty well, but I'm still getting used to it.  It's worth having the extra openness in the room.

curses upon you, radiator!
Now there's just a mirror, which I love.  It was $80-something at the Home Depot - Martha Stewart brand.  Not exactly frugal, but have you priced these mirrors elsewhere?  Most start at $200.  I might have to take it back, though, because it makes my hips look big.  It's faulty.

Another before/after...

before...not great.
after...well actually, still not great, but better.  Please ignore the bag hanging from the door and the hamper sitting there.  I didn't mean to have those in the picture...
Low budget item #1: the curtains.  They're actually sheets.  Twin size flat sheets from Walmart, $5 each.  That's $10 a window.  Not too shabby!

that's my daughter's head in the picture.  I tried to crop it out, but there were technical difficulties. 
Low Budget item #2: the lamps.  $7 each at a yard sale.  I didn't have to do a thing to them!  The lady would NOT bargain, though, and had no sense of humor at all, which made me almost put them down and walk away, but DH was there and he talked sense into me.  You can't get lamps anywhere for $7 apiece. 

Low Budget item #3: the side tables!  I wish, I wish, I wish I had a before picture.  You would not believe how crappy these things looked.  They're just cheap-o MDF, and they were brown, and falling apart.  They were originally $5 each, but I bargained and got them for....ready...$5 for the pair!  I sturdied them up by replacing the original dinky little screws with bigger ones...and then a little primer, paint, & polyurethane...and wow.  They could not BE more perfect.

So the last thing to do is to replace the light fixture on the ceiling.  I have NEVER liked it.

I'm going back and forth between spending $99 at Lowe's for a showstopper...

Or just getting a $10 basic, unnoticeable, sad, boring flush-mount one.  I'm actually leaning more towards the "who cares" one, just for the sake of not blowing any more cash.  I don't know, though.  But I do know this: the old one has to go.  The Addams Family called; they want it back.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hello again!

Hi.  I couldn't resist.  :)

I have gone through my "trendy cutesy fakey craft blog cleanse" and I feel much better now.  I hardly did any blog reading at all, in fact - even the ones that don't annoy me.  The whole blog world is such a's great because it gives you a chance to connect with people you would never otherwise meet in real life. And I've met some really neat people online.  But on the other hand, it's easy to get sucked in and get your "real life" and your "blog life" confused.  Kinda scary - like that book, was it 1984?  Or Brave New World?  Where the woman would talk to her "family" on the screen...clearly I need to re-read some of those books from high school! 

Well, whatever.  The important thing is, now that it's yard sale season again, the temptation to bombard my facebook friends with my weekly loot is way too strong!  And boy did I score big this past weekend!  More on that later...

First a few updates:

1. I made a couple of new years resolutions this year, and so far, have actually stuck to them.  It's a miracle!  I think the lesson here is to AIM LOW.  The first one was to learn how to crochet.  Did it.  Thanks, YouTube!  That was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I'm "working on" an afghan.  It's stalled right now because I ran out of yarn (from Knitpicks) and the colors I needed weren't available, and even though they are available now, I haven't gotten around to ordering them yet. 

My other resolution was to read 36 books this year - about 34 more than I read last year. That one was a little loftier than the crocheting.   But I got tired of not being able to have a semi-intelligent conversation about books.  So I joined a book club, and that has been a blast!  Not only am I reading more, but I've met some great new people, and the food is always good.  :)  Right now I'm reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It's gut-wrenching, and I have a feeling I haven't even gotten to the truly gut-wrenching parts yet.  I found a site called Goodreads, which I really like.  Is anyone else on there?  Let's be friends!  Here's my profile.

2. DH & I have been working on gussying up the house.  We started with the sad, neglected bedroom, and now I just love it. 
Can you spot the low-budget items in this room?  :)  Leave a comment and we'll see!

It's not totally done; I want to get something on the wall above the bed, and a rug on the floor.  Oh and a new light fixture.  

3. I got a new hairstyle:

4. I joined a gym this winter...which has been going great!  I don't quite look like Jillian Michaels...yet...but I can tell that I'm so much more in shape than I used to be.  I get there 3-4 days a week.  I'd like it to be more. 

5. I'm still nannying for the "7 under 7" and that is going well.  They actually asked me to come back next year, so, great!  I'll have gainful employment, at the same place, for two years in a row.  That's probably going to break my record.  But I am SO looking forward to this summer, which I'll have off (the mom is a teacher, remember?)...just me, DH (when he's not working), and the kids.  Can't wait!

So speaking of the young ones, it's time to make lunch.  I must go.  But I am anyone still here?  Even if you're not the commenting type, just humor me this time.  Leave me a comment to let me know if anyone is still reading this or not!  Thanks!