Thursday, May 31, 2012

Healthy Punishment...

"What are we having for dinner" Chris asked as I pulled a bottle of wine from the fridge.

"Seasoned Tilapia, broccoli, and rice. Sound good?" I asked.

"Yeah that sounds...."


Bowls, books, and cooking tools came crashing down on me as I opened the fridge to put the bottle back in.

Chris, out of room in the cupboards, stacks his large bowls, his cooking magazines, and other miscellaneous cooking junk on top of the fridge like a bad game of Jenga.

He looked at me. Terror crossed his face at my angry stare.

I thrust my hand into the air, still firmly grasping the bottle of wine despite the landslide of garbage.

"VICTORY!" I shouted.

Chris laughed uneasily.

"Sorry honey" he whispered.

"No problemo. But, um, hey. Scratch the rice. We're having quinoa."

"But I hate quinoa!" he whined.

"This... is for.... the bowlllllllsssssssssss!!!" I shouted with all the vigor of Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

That's what I call a great day. I get to eat healthy and punish hubsters at the same time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

He's Alive!

I'm still working on mastering the whole 'mom' thing. I've only got one kid but somehow, that kid takes every single ounce of energy I have... and he's only 10 months old.

Things are not looking promising for my future.

The problem? Other than my eternal exhaustion and diminishing sanity? Chris.

Chris works a lot. Days, nights, weekends, holidays. All of it.

He works hard and gets a lot accomplished at his projects. He starts with nothing, and by the end of the day, he's rebuilt an entire kitchen.

I, on the other hand, start with a clean house, and by the end of the day... have hiroshima in my living room and nagasaki in my kitchen.

He's nice. He never actually says anything. But when he opens the door, his look says it all.

After a very frustrating, teething, crying Saturday, Chris got home after working 11 hours, looked at the house, and sighed.

Tired and disheveled, I walked over, sat on his lap, glanced at our son who was happily chewing bug remnants, and said, "I kept him alive today. That's kind of a big deal."

I don't think he thinks I'm funny.

Cash did stay entertained for a hour in his exersaucer Monday morning and...

I cleaned the house, organized the pantry and the office, and sorted his clothes for storage. Pre-baby days, that would have been an all weekend long event. I'm so proud of myself.

I'm no Michelle Dugger but I'm getting further and further from Octomom crazy each day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Glass Ceiling

After 6 very long, overdue months, my boss gave me my performance evaluation. Thanks to my 'above average' performance, I received a merit increase putting me two solid figures above Chris' salary.

Sure, both digits are firmly on the right side of the decimal point, but I'm marking a large 'W' for myself in the win column.

That's right.

I make 86 cents more than hubsters*.

Now if that ain't shattering the glass ceiling, I don't know what is.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm headed to 7-11 to spend my 86 cents.

*86 cents above his base salary. Overall, his salary still kills mine. But we don't need to go there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Thanks to the ever mounting expenses from bonding, insurance, and licensing for Chris' Contractor's License, our checking account is barely in the black. I didn't realize how dire the situation was until I balanced the checkbook over the weekend and found we had just over $200 to last two weeks.

Sure, we could have made it work if hubby and I weren't both on 'E' and refueling his car is $96 and mine is $57.

Survive on $58? Painful but I've done worse....

until the bill came for Cash's ER hand debacle.


Yes, in the whole scheme of things, $50 is a deal, but $50 when all you have to your name is $58? It had me wishing I had done one of two things while at the ER:

Stolen a whole lot of diapers since we can no longer afford them OR
Inquired about the black market value of my kidneys. Or is it the liver? Or lungs? Whatever body part you can live without and DOESN'T filter alcohol. I need that one.

Now we're 'going green' and wrapping kidlet's butt in old t-shirts until we can afford diapers again.

Since we can't afford to buy groceries, we are currently playing what I like to call, "Freezer Roulette". Freezer roulette is a 'game' in which you blindly reach into the depths of your freezer and cook whatever it is. You spend the entire time hoping the 12-08 on that chicken wrapped in foil means December 8th... not December 2008.

If you read about a young family that died from a weird food borne illness... you'll know it must have been December 2008.

Now, you may be wondering, "Wait? Didn't she say she was remodeling her house one wall at a time? How can she afford that and not food?!?"

We use leftover materials from Chris' construction jobs. That man can do amazing things with 47 pieces of scrap crown molding. If you turn off the lights and squint just right, it totally looks like one piece...kinda.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Chris is in the process of remodeling one of our kitchen walls. Why one wall? Because that's how we poor folks remodel - one wall at a time.

He knocked out a large area for a new pantry. Because the new pantry extends the kitchen into the garage, he had to re-organize his tool bench area. Since he's trying to finish the wall before vermin start to invade, he temporarily moved much of the stuff from that wall to an area directly in front of my filing cabinets and my chest freezer.

I'm trying to be nice. He is fulfilling my wildest dreams - a pantry large enough to store my cake pop maker, my mixer, and the fine china we got as wedding gifts and have yet to use after 8 years. I don't come home and scream, "GET THIS JUNK OUT OF MY WAY!!! CAN I PULEEASE GET TO MY FREEZER!!"

Well, not out loud anyway. I say A LOT inside my head.

Before leaving for the trade show last week, I needed to get to my filing area to find software. Problem? There was 6 horizontal feet and 3 vertical feet of pesticides, paint cans, and copper pipe between me and those precious file drawers.

I tried to move things around. Tried to wedge myself between things but... I fell.

I'm sporting a 3" x 3" scrape and bruise on my calf, and a bruise I'm too terrified to measure on my upper thigh.

Tears immediately sprung to my eyes as I walked in and showed Chris my mangled legs. I verbally assaulted him then proceeded to give him the silent treatment for 2 days.

During those 2 days of silence, he was in a fantastic mood. He whistled while working, cracking jokes, and poking fun at the bruise on my upper thigh asking if I fell on the pile of junk or humped it.

Who knew silence from me was an amazing reward?!?!

Oh hush up!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks a lot Costco...

Our HP laptop finally bit the dust after four good years. Turns out, that model had a known motherboard issue and there was a class action lawsuit I needed to partake in... three years ago.

Maybe I should actually read my mail before tossing it.

Anyway, the repair was going to cost $350 + labor. Considering I paid $600 for it 4 years ago, I wasn't about to drop a whole bunch of cash on it.

Things are a bit tight, and since we're cash only these days, I like to keep as much of it as possible. Who knew it was possible for me to get even MORE frugal?

Hubby was caught in traffic so I ran to Costco to buy the cheapest computer they had. I figured, the cheapest computer would be faster, have more space, and be nicer than the old one - no need to spring for something fancy.

Why did I rush to beat hubby to Costco? Because hubby is incapable of buying the cheapest anything. He always says, "For $100 more, we could have this!" as he points to the next best thing "And for $200 more, we could have THIS!!"

I hurriedly grabbed the request paper for the 'El Cheapo' version and ran to the registers.

I swear I heard his tires screech into the parking lot as I skidded into line.

Out of breath, he caught me just before reaching the register. "Don't you dare buy a piece of crap" he said as he wrestled the paper out of my hand.

Yup. We know each other pretty well.

I trudged back to the computer section, hubby already talking to the department manager about processor speeds and hard drives. "Which would you recommend?" he asked.

"This one or this one" the guy said, pointing at computers hundreds of dollars more than I wanted to spend "But definitely NOT that one" he said as he pointed to the one I was hurriedly trying to buy. "It's a piece of crap"

Hubby looked at me and smirked.

"We'll take this one" hubby pointed at one of the guy's recommendations.

"So sad to see our son won't be attending college" I said with an over-exaggerated frown.

Neither hubby nor computer guy heard me as they chatted about wi-fi and screen resolution.

We may be forced to live in a cardboard box and be limited to mac and cheese, but at least I can update my Facebook status on a high resolution screen.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

But There's Free Parking!!

There have been talks of moving my department to another building. The issue came up in our staff meeting, my co-workers objecting since the building had asbestos problems.

Usually quiet in our meetings, I suddenly said loudly, "Is there free parking? Because I can deal with asbestos for free parking"


Then laughter.

Lots of laughter.

Apparently they all thought I was joking.

Clearly, these folks have no idea how cheap I am.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Love It!!

Hubby surprised me with a necklace for my very first mother's day.


As much as one can be surprised when they tell a spouse exactly what they want, the style, the color, the sku #, and the store to purchase the gift from.

I was playing with baby boy on the floor Sunday morning when hubby snuck up behind me and handed over a little white box. Inside was the most beautiful necklace I could have ever wanted. He decided to pick one out on his own (how dare he!) and did a far better job than I did.

"Do you like it?" he asked nervously.

"Oh honey! It's gorgeous! Wow. So pretty!" I said, scrambling to put it on, running to the mirror to look at it.

"Really? Are you sure?" he asked.

"Oh my. Yes. Wow. Just wow." I said smiling, while looking at the delicate etchings in the metal.

"Whew!" he said. "Because if you weren't crazy about it, I was thinking we'd go trade in your car for a new one. Just saved myself about $19,000!"




"We just had this romantic moment... and THAT'S where you went with it?" I said.

"What?" he said confused, "I was being honest!"


Hubby. Ruining perfectly good romantic moments since 2004.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

So You Want to See the 'Italy' Wall?

Turns out, after I sobered up *cough*  I mean, woke up the next morning and saw the wall reflecting the beautiful sunshine, it was still the perfect shade of Italy. 

We haven't put the switch covers or the baseboard/crown molding back up yet, but here it is...

*The specifics:  It's a Venetian Plaster finish that must be applied with a wide putty knife and requires a minimum of 3 layers plus a waterproof topcoat.  You have to sand between the layers, wipe the wall down with a towel, and.. yeah, a whole bunch of other steps.  It's labor intensive - but it's worth it.  I can say that because I'm not the one who actually did the work.  Chris may disagree with my assertion.*  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Just Might Need Therapy...

My mother wrote a blog post recently about my grandmother's difficult childhood. At the end, she said she never wanted to hear us complain about our upbringing.

In light of that, I would just like to take a moment to...


Mom's right. I lived a pretty easy childhood. The problem? When I lunch with friends or chat with folks, stories of horrible childhoods arise...

and I have to sit and listen.

I can't one up anyone. No skeevy uncles, no cold parents, no abuse. Really. No good stories at all. It's like my childhood was a total waste.

Plus, I've got a rotten personality. Overly harsh, cold, uncaring... at least that's what people tell me... and I've got NOTHING to blame it on. I find myself grasping at straws, looking for any help, any help at all, for something or someone to blame my bad behavior on. I've found that shouting, "My mother wouldn't let me have Lucky Charms or watch the Smurfs!!" only gets strange looks - absolutely no support.

I was hoping my own child wouldn't suffer the same fate - loving family, attentive parents, security - but when I catch myself hugging him saying "I love you, I love you, I love you", I realize that unfortunately... he will.

Sigh. So much for good stories.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Family Planning...

Mother's day is around the corner and hubsters asked what I wanted.

Baby boy is in daycare most days and I miss him a lot. I thought it might be nice to get a simple necklace with his birthstone so I can keep him near my heart.

I looked up his birthstone and asked hubby for a small necklace with a tiny ruby.

While I was at it, I looked at the other months to see what the birthstones were. Garnets, sapphires...

hold up...

April is DIAMOND?!?!?

I am now plotting a future April baby.

Sure, it's not exactly the type of family planning my mother taught but... a DIAMOND?!?!?

Well honey, I HAVE to get that 2 carat diamond necklace. It's to help me remember the baby while I work. And while I'm at it, those diamond earrings, and that diamond ring, and....

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flashback Friday...

My grandparents lived in the great state of Oregon during my early teen years. Mom, in an what I'm quite sure was an effort to keep her sanity, regularly shipped me and my brothers to spend the summer with them. They had a beautiful house surrounded by a forest (whether or not it's an actual forest, I'm not sure. We San Diegan's qualify more than two trees in a five mile radius a forest) on a street full of kids our age (and my older, cooler brother lived in the area too).

On our first full day in Seattle, hubby and I drove around, enjoying the beauty of Washington state. It started to rain a little and we pulled off the road at our destination. I opened the car door, took a deep breath of the fresh Seattle air and...

I smelled summers by the pool, freshly picked blueberries for my Captn Crunch cereal, unlimited laser tag, the hot neighborhood boy who cycled by grandma and grandpa's house every night, tanned feet, McMinimins, swimming in the river, hiking to Wally's dam, and praying the raspberries we ate off the bushes on the side of the road weren't poisonous.

I saw their minivan parked with a tennis ball resting on the glass, the woodworking garage, their perfectly obedient poodle, and the wood roof that required work every summer.

I saw my childhood flash before my eyes in one sniff. Turns out, following a light rain, Washington state smells just like Oregon circa 1993.

Chris, oblivious to my flashback, walked around the car holding our son, "You ready to go?"

"I wanphsti meu seuthiws" SNIFFFF "eurhw suhtgi euhiuih" (which in blubbering cry language is "I miss my grandma and grandpa and their house in Oregon!!")

Fortunately we were at one of the most soothing places known to woman (a chocolate factory). Hubby ordered a milk chocolate covered white chocolate peanut butter square stat.

Had it not been for the IV drip of chocolate to my veins, it would have been a rough day.

Here's to some of the best summers of my life. Thanks grams and gramps (and my brother who funded all those laser tag games).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Designing Italy...

When hubby and I went to Italy, we were constantly enamored by the beautifully painted buildings. Unlike San Diego's blah beige buildings, Italy's were painted the warm colors of sunset. Yellows, pinks, purples, and deep reds scattered the landscape.

After returning home, we decided we wanted to capture the 'essence of Italy' on our dining room wall. We took our photos of the best colors and matched them under the fluorescent lit swatches at the hardware store.

We watched the colors drip from the machine into the creamy white paint, barely containing our excitement.

"This is going to be awesome" my husband said smiling. "Let's paint the walls, cook the italian pasta we brought home, and drink a nice bottle of Chianti."

On the car ride home, we held hands and reminisced about our unforgettable trip. But this, THIS paint, would bring back floods of memories every time we saw it.

Hubby painted the walls while I cooked the pasta and uncorked the wine. A few rolled brush strokes in, we stood in front of the wall, our heads tilted sideways.

"Hmm. It seems off... but paint changes color when it dries right?" Chris said.

"Uh. Yeah. Let's let it dry." I said.

So we did.

And uh... there is no other way to describe the color than...

the color of puke after drinking pepto bismol.

Not willing to admit defeat, Chris and I sat at the kitchen bar, eating our pasta, silently staring at the wall.

"Well hon, the only memory this is reviving is the one where I barfed after the luau in Hawaii. While that trip was a great one... that's not the part I want to remember" I said taking a swig of the expensive Chianti.

We stared more in silence.

"Yup. Barf. Pepto barf. Gotta go." Chris said.

Off went Chris to the hardware store to re-tint the paint. I cleaned the kitchen and poured another glass of wine.

Paint, paint, paint.

"Looks like the Barbie Dream House" I said.

Off to re-tint the paint - taking a stab at yellow this time.

I poured more wine.
Paint, paint, paint.

"I think we may have captured the color of urine" I said, gulping wine.

Paint, paint, paint. Glug, glug, glug.

"Looks like blood."

Paint, paint, paint. Glug, glug, glug.

"Looks like Barney the dinosaur" I said, swirling the wine in my glass.

"Are you shooting these all down so you can polish off the Chianti by yourself?" Chris accused.

"Meeee??? Nooooooooooo" I slurred.

Paint, paint, paint. Glug, glug, glug... bottle empty.

"That'szp itz!" I screamed, "That'sz Ishaly!!"

"Convenient. Italy appears when Chianti disappears." He said.

Whatever. We found the color of Italy... and it's lovely.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


My husband played water polo in high school. Each year, the school puts on an alumni vs current student game and my husband played in it this weekend.

Hubby and I attended different high schools and graduated two years apart (let's pretend he graduated first - well.. ok... if you must know, I'm the cradle robber) so our circle of school friends rarely crosses. But as I stood on the sidelines, cheering at my drowning husband (turns out, he's far more out of shape than he thought), the father of a long-time friend came up to me.

"Hey you!" he said, "Long time no see. How long has it been? 10? 15 years? Is this your little guy?" he pointed at baby boy.

"Oh hi!! Yes, this is my son!" I said proudly.

We chatted about old memories and old friends when all of the sudden, baby boy opens his mouth as wide as he can and blows his version of a raspberry on my cheek.

Spit flys everywhere.

"Heh. Kids" I say embarrassed.

Baby boy, clearly sensing his duty to continue to embarrass his mother, bites onto my neck and starts growling.

My friend's father remained silent, staring intently at my rabid child.

"Hm. Well. I'm gonna... um... change his diaper. See you later" I say over my growling child who has now started to slip in barks.

So. Here's a lesson to all the folks out there who will one day have children. Don't blow raspberries on your child's stomach... and it's not a good idea to let him or her play with the dog either.

He will be fully capable of returning the favor at precisely 9 months old...

and he will want an audience.