Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On parties and good byes.

Ugh. This moving business is hard. Just when I was starting to feel like this place was a home for us, the moving company dropped off enough cardboard boxes, bubblewrap, and packing tape to choke a goat. Wasn't it just a month ago I was complaining about moving? Okay then, I won't bore you all over again.

There's plenty going on around here, but not really in the crafty kind of way. Lots of travel to see friends one last time before we leave, parties and gatherings for family, and getting our ducks in a row in whatever meager downtime falls between all that. This time next month we'll be living in another country. In any case, a few fun pictures for you in the meantime.

Last weekend boyfriend, Mac and I went to Green Bay to visit my folks before the move. During mum's visit, we trekked out to the North East Wisconsin (NEW) Zoo, because I used to volunteer/work there, and because I love zoos to a slightly unhealthy level.

The Tortise wanted to come over and say hello. And then he got stuck. So that was awesome.

Then we witnessed one of the more horrific Zoo moments I've been privy to. There is a nesting pair of swans at the Zoo, and they act like the Ron Burgandys of the place: A big deal with many leather-bound books in their nest and such. To be fair, they are a big deal, it's uncommon to have a nesting pair like that, and the Zoo is quite proud of them. While we were walking across the bridge that overlooks their pond, and cooing at the young swans (yes, there may have been an ugly duckling joke in there, I'm not above it), we noticed a scuffle in the bushes.

Turns out a very unfortunate young Canadian goose had wandered into daddy swan's territory. Daddy Swanbucks wasn't having it. Now, I like critters, but I get that this is nature, and swans are some super territorial birds. That being said, a fun day at the zoo for me does not entail watching a swan kill a goose. But that's what happened. Mum ran off to find a zoo keeper - I'll be honest if I was a zoo keeper I would not be able to endure a Swan attack (they're seriously nasty, people) to try and save one of the most common water fowl in Wisconsin. I'll spare you grizzly details - the keepers waited for the Swan to calm down a bit, then fished what was left of the goose out of the area, and we moved on to the part of the zoo where you can FEED A GIRAFFE, spending a whole bunch of money on as many acacia leaves as possible to help my frazzled mother forget the trauma moments before.

And then a giraffe full-on tried to lick my boob. So I'd say all in all the day went okay.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Three Part Blog!

I have a couple of different ways in my head that I can see this post going.
  • The first would be a sort of FAQ regarding our move to Mexico.
  • The second, a recap of the weekend, which was jam-packed with trips to see friends and some of boyfriends giant family.
  • The third, I could flip out about the tree.
Since each of those would be a fairly quick post in itself, let's go for a three-parter, shall we?

Part One: The FAQ -aka- Preguntas más frecuentes.
Or really, let's go with answers that I have repeated so many times now its a wonder I'm not doing such in my sleep.
  • We know it is dangerous. There is crazy shit going on in Mexico right now, and that is unfortunate. I'm not going to guarantee I won't get kidnapped or shot or whatever, but you know what? Those things could happen here too.
  • We are bringing Mac AND Bubba
  • The company will pay for our home down there
  • I will be careful/ I will bring my big vicious doberman where ever I go/ I will keep an eye on boyfriend
  • Sí, hablo Español. At least well enough for people to understand the basic gist of what I'm asking, and really, there are a ton of people down there who are more than happy to use Americans to practice their English. Boyfriend speaks a bit too, and we're in the unique/ lucky boat that I know book-trained Spanish, spelling, pronunciation, and grammar. He knows slang, proper context, and situational Spanish. We're a good combo.
  • YOU CAN DRINK THE FLIPPING WATER. You just have to be smart about it. If there is a sign that says "don't drink THIS water" or "No Gringos," ...well you don't drink THAT water, or eat THAT food. I know this is a common stereotype for Mexico. Reality is that's super unfortunate - and it makes you look ignorant and superior for being so indignant about it when I tell you its no big deal.
  • I will totally send you a postcard if you provide me your address, but keep in mind that the postal system isn't what is used to be in the wake of digital mail - you're likely going to have a wait time of a month+
  • I am aware that I don't like spicy food. I can adapt. I'm not worried, you shouldn't be either. :)
  • You cannot talk us out of going. We are aware of the risks and are both going to hate ourselves if we don't take this once in a lifetime opportunity. But honestly, I am humbled that you are concerned enough to try. Thank you.
  • I will not have a job. Boyfriend will say that my new title is "Domestic Engineer," but the feminist in me makes me want to sock him in the gut everytime he says it. I will paint, I will blog, I will keep up the house in the wake of boyfriend's long hours, and ultimately, I will be someone along for the ride with him to go through the experience and relate to.
  • Housing is not super cheap. There are things that are less expensive up here than down in MX, but housing is not one of those things (at least in our case because the company is putting us in the safest neighborhood they could find). In reality, when boyfriend goes down there, his Mexican friends will ask him to bring them American goods because they are either not available or they are much cheaper here.
  • I am not stupid enough to think my large black dog should be outside in 100+ degree weather for any longer than it takes him to pee. He is basically an indoor dog right now, there is no reason for that to change.
  • No one is going to make Mac or Bubba into tacos, and the outlook on the rest of the world you're projecting with that question is the reason the rest of the world hates us. Stop it.

Part Two: Weekend Recap
You know what? There isn't too much to recap other than I had a good time, and I think boyfriend did too. We spent some time floating in a pool, we enjoyed an excellent house party that was really more like a block party and featured a live 80's cover band (Skeleton Krew is the bomb-diggity people), and hopped out to see some of boyfriend's family and mingle. At the house party I sketched a few of the wee-ones running around. The baby (top two quick sketches) was awesome - he gave the lead guitar a high five because he's awesome.
Also, next time I shall remember to throw my sketchbook in my purse, but now you can see what color the trim for the bathroom is. So that's fun.

Part Three: Tree flip out.
I hate storms. There was a big storm today. And um, so this happened this morning:
That's the front yard. If that tree had gone the other way it would be chillin' in the living room right now. As it stands, that tree is blocking everyone to the right of this picture into the subdivison. Oh, and since it was nice enough incarcerate our neighbors in their houses, this tree also took the power out for the whole neighborhood too. Except us. Which I don't understand, but am TOTALLY okay with.
Anyway, back to this tree. It is not the only one down. In the backyard a neighbor's tree took out half of our fence. A couple houses down a tree went straight into an upstairs bedroom. Down from there, a tree took out a power line which fell into the flooded road, making a lovely death trap lake for three or four houses should they decide to go outside (which hours later is still there and death-like, because the power company hasn't been able to get to it yet). And all the while there were winds going CRAZY and hail and rain falling so hard it sounded like little bullets hitting the windows, and since I'm not real great with storms, Bubba and Mac are not great with storms either. So we had a terrified cuddle party in the basement for a few hours as the power flickered on and off.
Weirdly enough? Right now my biggest concern is that trash pick up is tomorrow and the garbage truck won't be able to get to our driveway. So I parked our can at the end of our neighbors one over. Hopefully they don't mind, and hopefully the garbage truck gets the idea - why there's two cans there instead of one. Wish me luck on that one.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


A quick painting and post before bedtime tonight.
Boyfriend, Mac and I spent the weekend at Boyfriend's cousin's cabin. It is a really lovely spot on a lake surrounded by many acres of wilderness. In the span of the last year or so, it's become one of my favorite places to be. This past weekend in particular, the cousins were nice enough to let Boyfriend and I sort of high-jack their 4th of July celebrations with the extended family at the cabin. Well, less high-jack and more add a little Mexican flair to the festivities as a pseudo going away party for the both of us.
Actually, it was the same party as usual with the same family lounging in the lake, but we added sombreros for all and tequila. It was a good time. Minus that bit where Boyfriend almost died. Rattlesnake. True story*.
As a thank you for their lovely hospitality, I painted a quick 5x7 acrylic scene featuring silhouettes of the crane couple that live on the cousins' property. They stayed on the opposite side of the lake and watched the frivolity from afar for the duration of the weekend, but the cousins explained that usually the crane couple will come up on the beach and the cousins will feed these lovely birds corn. I live for that kind of awesome nature connection.
So without further ado (because Boyfriend already went to bed, and I'm yawnin' up a storm):
*No, really. We were all down at the lake swimming/ floating in the water. Boyfriend was sitting on the shoreline with his feet in the water when he looked down and calmly proclaimed: Hey. There's a snake. When I heard him I honestly assumed he was just trying to freak people out and turned to look at him so I could tell him to knock it off. But then I spied the little snake head sticking out of the water, looking at Boyfriend and literally at a distance where he could have reached out and patted the little dude on the head. Long story short, boyfriend was able to slowly get out of his chair and inch to a safe distance away from the snake before one of the cousins carefully and swiftly relocated Mr. Rattles. But no lie, totally a rattlesnake. Kinda put everyone on edge for a little bit, but great story now that we're back home safely in suburbia.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I didn't hit a f*ing rock.

Hey, remember that last post where I said I was moving and please stick with me but that the blog was going to be kinda sparse?
You know, that post from like 2 months ago?
Yeah I wouldn't be reading this blog anymore either. But in case you are... I humbly present an update.
Move number one is done. I'm officially a resident at casa de boyfriend. So are Mac and Bub. Bub seems to be enjoying his leisurely days spent entirely on the end of a cat leash hitched to his cat harness as he sits on his cat porch. That's right, the entire porch is his now. Mac is enjoying living in a neighborhood that's a little more conducive to a daily walk. And I am enjoying being unpacked - at least at the moment. Before you know it my life will be back in boxes as we transition to Mexico. But for now, I'm comfortable.
Along with the move, today is day numero uno of being unemployed. Or rather, employed as a house wife without qualifying for the wife portion, and that gets so sticky for everyone we try to explain it to. I'd really rather just stick with we're not married: I clean the house, attempt to cook dinner, and then we snuggle.
For now that'll have to suffice.
I've made some decisions about how this blog really needs a bit of a change to be truly effective, but while I work on enacting those decisions, have a fun story:
A few weeks back, the lawn was tall. Tall enough. Time to mow. It was a Saturday, and boyfriend had other errands to run, so he left the house to jot around town as I wheeled the mower out of the garage. I used to mow the lawn when I was a teenager for my parents. I got this. You hear me lawn? You're going down.
I'd dutifully picked up all the sticks and stones and dog poo. Two vicious, rip-your-shoulder-out-of-the-socket pulls on the cord later, and the mower fired to life in the backyard. I always do one lap around the perimeter, then choose a direction to peacefully mow lines back and forth. I had decided today was the day I was going to try some diagonals instead of the boring, ho-hum of horizontal lines between the porch and the back fence line. But then tragedy struck, and the lawn would never be the same cut diagonally.
I swear to GOD if one more person asks me if I hit a rock I will find a suitably sized rock to chunk at their face. Remember back a few sentences where I said "I used to mow the lawn when I was a teenager for my parents" (that's a direct quote.)? I have hit a few rocks in my time, I am well aware of what that sounds like. I DIDN'T. HIT. A ROCK.
But suddenly the loud growl of the mower was replaced with a high pitched whirring. I'm not good with mechanical things. I figured maybe it just needed to work through something. I kept pushing. The whirring continued, and I noted that the grass wasn't getting any shorter.
Again, mechanical things: not my forte. Maybe. Maybe, I reasoned, it needs to rest. Because machines are capable of taking time to rest and heal themselves now. Didn't you know? It was not a bright moment, so sue me. So I stopped, went inside for a glass of water, and came back out. Two shoulder-incapacitating pulls on the cord later, the mower roared back to life the whirring screamed back into reality. So I didn't just imagine that whole escapade. Well, crap.
The amount which I LOVE doing things that are not conventionally a 'woman's job,' is the same level to which I HATE having to ask someone for help/ admit I broke something. Clearly in this instance, someone was going to have to be boyfriend. Which compounds things, because there's a fair portion of the time that his way of showing me he loves me is to treat me like a damsel in distress. I spend a great portion of my time proving I can handle myself. But then I broke the mower.
Let's fast forward (because there's no point in me detailing how I was still convinced in the mower's self healing powers, and let it "rest" two more times). I waited for boyfriend to come home, and fessed up.
He flipped the mower over, and discovered that the part which holds the blade onto the part that spins had broken (I know, very technical). This is apparently uncommon.
"Did you hit a rock?" He asked.
"Huh? No, just started whirring." I replied.
"Are you sure?" He asked.
"Um, yeah, I've hit rocks before, I know what that sounds and feels like. Didn't hit a rock."
"Hmmph." He responded, in what was clearly a you-totally-hit-a-rock kind of way.
"Dude, I didn't hit a rock."
There was no convincing him, OR any of my coworkers when I retold the story the next day at work. There was no convincing the small motor mechanic that fixed the mower, or boyfriend's friends, or even my own dad when he called to check in that week. But I share this story here because now you and I both know the truth: I didn't hit an EM-EFFING ROCK.
You believe me, right?
Judge me if you must, but here's a picture of the roses I trimmed off of the neighbor's rose bush today*, AFTER MOWING THE LAWN JUST MOMENTS AGO. And I didn't hit a rock THIS time, either.
*Actually I just trimmed the whole unruly bush, not just flowers. Because it is SUPA thorny, and I like being able to go in and out of the side gate of our house without tiny, hypodermic thorns saying hello to the inside of my arm skin.