Friday, November 01, 2013


I'm feeling under the weather today.  Which is particularly notable because the weather outside right now is gross, setting the bar pretty low to begin with.

But it's at least partially my fault,* so I'm trying to suck it up.  I'm failing, but I thought, 'misery loves company,' so here I am to share with y'all.

I heart pumpkins.  Maybe you do too.  I'm one of those people who gets really excited about the coming of "Pumpkin Spice in EVERYTHING" season.  I have a hard time understanding that there are people out in the world who get annoyed by this annual time-period.  It smells so good.  And if you don't wanna eat it, no one's making you.

Or maybe they are?

On the other side of that spectrum, I WANT to eat all the pumpkin spice things.  But I cannot.  Because I am allergic to it.  (except for pumpkin spice coffee, because that only has nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in it - no actual pumpkin.  So I drink the ever-living snot out of that stuff.)

I haven't always been allergic - As a kid I looked forward to the season of carving jack-o-lanterns and roasting the seeds.  I'd eat more than my fair-share of pumpkin pie (my mum has this killer recipe that uses bisquick so you don't need a crust.).  I'd delight in twirling spaghetti squash onto my fork.

Then one year in my early twenties, I welcomed in the fall just like any other year in my past- I brought an acorn squash home to make dinner.  I ended the evening quarantined in my bathroom.  Which believe me, is the nicest possible way to describe that night.

Thinking it was just a bad squash, I dismissed the incident, and a few nights later I made a box of butternut squash ravioli for din-din.  It ended in an equally horrific fashion as the squash before it (thankfully, the pumpkin spice candle in my bathroom kept anyone else from suffering but me).

Autumn came next year, and I realized that it wasn't from overeating at Thanksgiving dinner that I got a level 5 tummy ache - it was the pumpkin pie.

The year after that, I finished carving my jack-o-lantern and then spent the rest of the night scratching at my arms like a meth addict - anywhere the pumpkin guts had touched my skin was a blotchy, red mess.

And the year after that, The Mister took me out to eat at a VERY fancy restaurant where the chef cooks as a presentation in front of you and teaches you all about the food he's making and where it's from and all sorts of other information you'd find on the bottom of a Snapple cap.
It was set up to be a really romantic evening.  Except the chef there is known to be rather... Gordon Ramsey-ish in spirit, and the first course was a squash soup.  I didn't have the gumption to raise my hand and tell him that I was allergic, so I just ate it.  I ate the whole, delicious, bowl of squash soup. Then I spent the rest of the meal trying to will my body to acknowledge that I was on a fancy date in a fancy dress with a fancily dressed man that I, well, fancied, and not to make a scene.  My body rather loudly opposed my attempts with tummy grumbles and gurgles.  After the meal, the Mister took me home, where we were going to watch a movie.  Instead, he very graciously sat on the living room couch while I sat in the bathroom, pretending that the TV was turned up high enough that he couldn't hear the horror behind the powder-room door.

And so on and so forth.  You'll note that I figured out that first year squashes and I might not be meant to live in harmony, but that didn't stop me from actively deciding to eat squashes anyway.  Even in the face of scaring away true love.  Because pumpkins, man.  They. Are. Delicious.

I feel like Frank the Tank from Old School.  
I know it's a bad idea.  
A horrible idea.  
But it's soooo good, once it hits your lips.

I've come now to the point where I have just decided that there are two times a year where I'm simply going to go for it, enjoy the squashy goodness, and consequences be damned.

The first is when it comes time to carve a pumpkin, because carving a pumpkin is too damn fun for a kid with an art degree to NOT carve a pumpkin.  Also because along with carving a pumpkin comes the roasting of pumpkin seeds.  Those are super yummy on the way down, and make up for my pumpkin-gut-covered arms being itchy.  Pumpkin seeds on the way up, not so much yummy, but who's keeping score?  Thus, yes, I carve and eat a pumpkin once annually.

The second is Thanksgiving dinner.  Because - and this is not a healthy way to look at it, I am WELL aware so thanks for not commenting on it - I figure if there's going to be an ahem, "evacuation" after I eat a slice of delicious pumpkin pie, why not capitalize on that opportunity by eating that slice directly after I have devoured an astoundingly dense thanksgiving dinner and skip having to count those 3,000+ calories?

I know it's not "logical."  I become so immediately ill that it is CLEARLY a poor choice.  (Did you catch that in the post title? Ill-Logical?  Ha.  I slay me.)  But is every choice you make in your best interest?
Do you ever choose to do something you know is 
NOT good for you?  
Tell me in the comments!

So it is that today I'm sitting on the couch, hoping that my stomach stops doing a floor routine sometime soon.  Last night I carved my pumpkin while the trick or treaters braved the rain.  At least I don't work in the office on Fridays*, so I don't have to be anywhere and look/ act like a decent human being.  I did have to venture out to the grocery store though, as we ran out of toilet paper somewhere around 3AM last night.  

In related news, The Mister requested a shark themed jack-o-lantern.  I opted for a more subtle nod in that direction.  (you can click on the picture to make that toothy grin a little bigger.)

In conclusion? Worth it.

*I think I've mentioned it before here, but I've been working at a preschool since mid-summer.  The kids are fun and keep you on your toes, and I work in the administration, specifically making sure the branding and publicity for the school is polished and consistent, so I'm working in my wheel-house.  But the downside is that toddlers make for rather cute harbingers of the plague.  While I'm sure that some of my Ick-Feeling is from my pumpkin carving escapades last night, some of that is also that the little germ-mongers finally succeeded in passing something on to me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Adventures of a Lumpy Dog.

Mac is missing a fun Halloween event with the SPCA this weekend.  And we're bummed.

Why?  Because he's lumpy.

Dobermans as are prone to a couple of things.  The affectionately-termed-yet-near-lethal "Dober-gas" is one of them.  (case in point - Mac just farted and I had to leave the room so I didn't barf, which is not an exaggeration but an actual fact)  The other item that's common for Dobes is darn near any issue that might pertain to skin.

When I first got Mac as a pup, he had a serious case of mange.  Even after clearing that up, he's always been a bit itchy, which we attribute to mild allergies.  And once upon a time, he had a tumor on his leg (we briefly thought we were going to have a tripod dog).  We had the growth removed and tested, and it was benign, and so all was good in the world.  For a few years.

This summer we were up at the in-law's lake-house and I noticed Mac had a tick on his leg.  I did the match-stick thing (which according to this article apparently doesn't do any good, so that's nice to know), and nothing happened except my puppy winced a little.  So I took a tweezers to it.  Mac, being probably the best mannered dog ever, sat still while I tugged at the nubbin on his leg for few minutes.  Until I realized it was a skin tag that was very much a part of my dog, and I should stop trying to rip it off.  Lump number one.

Mac didn't make a peep while I did this.  I can't even imagine someone pinching at my skin like that without socking them in the face.  Good dog.

About a month after that, we noticed that one of Mac's ribs was sticking out of his side.  Then we realized that it wasn't a rib, it was a grape sized lump just hanging out on his side.  I took him to the vet for that and they told me they were 95% sure it was a fatty tumor (aka just a benign growth), but if I wanted they could aspirate it.  By which I mean they could stick a giant needle into it and try and suck out the fat in the fatty tumor... except the tumor was *just* small enough that they weren't sure it would work and they'd probably have to really dig around in there with the needle.

Still feeling pretty guilty about the whole tick debacle, I decided to skip that unless it grows.  So far, still just a grape-size bomb.  Lump number two.

Then a few weeks ago, I note that Mac's got a bump on his muzzle.  At first, I just assumed that Mac must have smacked his face into a door-jam, as he seems to have both zero understanding of where his face or tail are in respect to other immovable objects, and also the grace of a whack-a-mole game.  Seriously, maybe once a day he turns his head of wags his tail and smacks it into a door frame or against a wall with such force I think "for SURE this time he broke his nose/ tail."

Does your dog smack his face into stuff?  
Are you as weirded out by their lack of concern 
over their self-harm as I am?
Tell me in the comments!

new schmexy frames.
A week later, and the bump was not only still there, but The Mister noticed it and mentioned it to me.  That worried me, since The Mister is much like many men in his inability to notice small changes (for example, he came home a little while ago and had a five minute face to face conversation with me where he did not notice that I got my new glasses today).  So I called to ask the vet if I should be concerned.

The vet's answer was a very nonchalant "well, nose bumps are a bit concerning.  It could be nothing... or it could be cancer."

Honestly, who could possibly hear that and not just be paranoid about it until they get a more definitive answer?

Unfortunately that meant that this time the vet really DID have to fish around in his lump with their giant needle, because they needed some cells to analyze.  Except this lump isn't on his side, it's on his NOSE.  Can you imagine having to cross-eyedly (shut-up it's a word) watch someone jam a giant needle into your nose?  'Cause I sure can't without wanting to vomit a little.  So what did Mac do?  He winced a bit, and made a small whine noise when the tech squeezed it like a zit to get a "tissue sample,"  but he didn't try to move his head away, he kept his butt seated on the ground, and all around amazed the veterinary staff with his behavior.

Also he saved us over a hundred bucks for not having to sedate him to get that sample.  So that was nice.  And so we have Lump number three.

The samples were inconclusive.  They didn't see any cancer cells, but they did spot a TON of white blood cells, so they put Mac on an anti-biotic.  Our current best guess is that Mac was on the receiving end of a "high-five w/ claws" from Bubba, and that the scratch got infected.  In any case, we're going to give it a few more weeks of these anti-biotics to see if we can't get it to go away.  Fingers crossed for us.

The bummer of being on anti-biotics is not only that I am apparently the only person in the house capable of getting Mac to efficiently down a pill, but also that the vet recommended that he not have a whole lot of play time with other dogs until it heals up, since while he's on antibiotics he can't get his vaccinations renewed.  So no Halloween party for Mac.  But if you have a puppy, or you're in the market for one, that doesn't mean that you should skip Dog-O-Ween.

Mac will be lumpy at home with us, this weekend and maybe we'll put him in the batman costume I made for the event to take him for a walk around the neighborhood.  Meanwhile, The Mister and I are just itching for next weekend, when we have some events to wear our costumes.  Which match Mac's in theme.  But I won't spoil them just yet.

In any case, The Mister and I are happy to have a lumpy dog. so long as he's healthy.

As you can see, this latest lump is gigantic. Or not.  But we're supposed to track it.

As I wrote this article, I couldn't help but think of this old flash game I found back when I was still a teen.  I share it here just for that sake, but it's one of those horribly funny things that lets you know you're for sure going to hell.  So, you know, forewarned and all.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The dirt on the fence.

Here's a moment of honesty that maybe you can relate to:  I love gossip.

I wish it wasn't true - there's something about being cool enough to be included in the loop of someone else's business feels good to me.  Sorry?  I don't feel like I can sincerely say I'm sorry if I have no intention of stopping my love affair of reading seedy magazines, gathering around the workplace water-cooler, and trolling Facebook (I will never cease to be amazed at how few people really utilize the privacy settings on Facebook.  Now I know all your secretsssssss).

It's one of those things that makes me a horrible person, but I'm going to go out on a limb and propose that everyone has such a thing.  What's yours, if you're so inclined to share, you should put that in the comments.  Own it, yo.

And so it is that I am obsessed with the fence next door.  That fence has a story - one that I have not been privy to first hand, but have garnered from neighborhood whispers.  Which makes it true gossip in that authentic gossip never seems to come from the actual source, but rather from a cousin of a brother of a friend's aunt.  Thus, it seems appropriate to share it with you all here.  Obviously, the authenticity of the details is up for question, but I've for the basics down.  Grain of salt and all that y'all.

"My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious."

Back in the day, the neighborhood fenced in their backyards, all laced together with one endlessly connected chain-link creation.  Most yards still have this original fence, much as it is in dire need of a little TLC.  Weather and wear have taken their toll and so really if you're coming over to visit me, I hope you're up to date on your tetanus vaccine.  Whatever, for our purposes, the yard is contained enough that we can let Mac out and he can do his business without supervision.  Good 'nuf.

Then there's the house on the corner.  The house that is directly next to ours.  Owned by a young couple, they began a journey together to make it the home in which they would one day raise their family.  Now, because it was a corner house, the yard and it's chain-link fence, had a side that reached the street, and afforded the couple zero privacy in their backyard.  So it was decided that they would put up a 6' wooden privacy fence.

They spoke to the Mister about it, as this would require removing the twenty feet of chain-link fencing that our yards shared.  Since they were putting up another fence, and our yard would still be self-contained, the Mister saw no issue and gave them his blessing to upgrade their fence.  The fence was put up, and all was good in the world.

A few months later, the lady of the couple came home from work.  Upon which she found her spouse had decided to invite a lady friend of his over to visit.  A visit which included an activity other than dinner and drinks.  I think you see where I'm going with this.  The lady of the couple was obviously less than pleased with this development, and so she promptly left.  For good.

She moved out in the middle of the night, and under the cover of darkness, she took all her belongings with her.  Apparently, she owned the fence.

Yes folks, one day the Mister woke up and looked out his window to see nothing but wooden fence posts next door.  And also that his yard was suddenly not completely fenced in.  Which was unfortunate, because just the day before he had invited his brand new girlfriend over for dinner, and encouraged her to bring her doberman-mix puppy along, because the yard was fenced in and he could burn off some energy tearing around the back lawn.

As it turned out, Mac did okay on a long leash, and rather immediately took a liking to an old rickety table that had been placed out on the porch, so it turned out fine in that respect.

Meanwhile, with the couple next door at odds in their relationship, they weren't exactly keeping up with the home they shared, and foreclosure snuck up on them quickly.  Mac and I (and Bubba) moved in with the Mister, and we enjoyed essentially living next to a field (the bank that took over the house decided mowing the lawn is for losers), though we did not enjoy the regularity of how often one of us had to run out and retrieve either Mac or Bubba from among the tall grasses and veritable tick-utopia.

In the midst of just trying to get our own lives in order, we didn't have the time or money to put into fixing the fence.  Or maybe we were jut lazy - what I know for sure is that our eventual solution was to buy a roll of snow-fencing and use zip-ties to re-secure the boundaries of our backyard.  You know snow-fencing; that day-glo orange plastic crap that constructions sites use to keep people out of drying concrete?  As you can imagine, such a janky fix drove our property value just straight up.  Yay sarcasm.  It sort of worked though.

Yes. Pure class.  That was our yard.

Two summers later Mac figured out the divine secrets of jumping over snow-fencing.  It only took two instances of letting Mac out the backdoor, then turning to look out the window and see him running around the FRONT yard for us to set aside the funds needed for twenty feet of chain-link fencing and the labor to install it.

Meanwhile, the house next door was still in foreclosure, and the fenceposts and tall grasses remained.

This spring we noted that the for-sale sign was gone from the house next door.  Could it be?  We finally had neighbors again.  Maybe they would be cool.  Maybe they would hang out with us.  Maybe they would finally pull out the fence posts and end the eye-sore we had been treated to for years.  Excited is not the right word for the feels that The Mister and I shared over the amount of possibility that neighbors presented.

Finally one day we caught them while they were outside working on their porch.  They were twenty-somethings!  They were friendly!  They regularly mowed their lawn!  And so after enthusiastically introducing ourselves, The Mister and I retired that evening to thoughts of our new best friends next door.

Two days later, with no prior mention, the wooden privacy fence was back up.  We haven't seen them since.  Apparently we made a great impression.  

And so after years of being in the know about next door and all the juicy gossip therein, we've been unceremoniously cut out of the loop.  It all came full circle, and I suppose I deserve it.  I'd say I've learned my lesson, but recently our neighborhood joined this social network called "Nextdoor," which is like Facebook just for neighborhoods.  The posts from our crazy neighborhood watch coordinator, and the catty stay at home moms are all FASCINATING.

Are you a gossip hound?  Has it ever come back to bite you?  Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What the Mister and I have been up to.

You know what's really hard after a hiatus?  Coming up with coherent thoughts to make a whole, well-rounded blog post instead of just snippets of blog posts that start interestingly but go nowhere.  All I have today are snippets.  I'm sorry Internet.

The Mister and I, we went to a wedding show as FINvites a few weeks back.  I don't have anything to add to that snippet other than we did it, I'm pretty pleased with how it went, and I didn't meet a single bride-zilla there, which I take to be some kind of miracle on par with that one time there was a flood Noah forgot to pack his unicorns.

Actually, I guess I could add that, if I may toot my own horn for a second, that I am stupendous on taking a theme and rocking it HARD.  And that I'm very pleased that we themed our stationery company after sharks, because that just made the whole thing a little fun, plus it justified me purchasing a dozen of these:
TINY PLUSH SHARK ATTACK! Which is now a business tax deduction.

The Mister and I also recently broke our bed.

I offer that without any initial context because I wanted to give you the opportunity to be a five year old and giggle at all the off-color jokes that went through your head at how we may have broken our bed.

Really it's just because it was a cheap bed made of cheap materials that was not meant to be moved more than once, let alone to another country and back.  And so the slats that used to hold up our mattress decided they are done doing that.   So now we sleep like we're Japanese.  Which has notably been pretty awesome for both our backs.

The only bummer is that the bed was a "captain's bed," which meant that it had drawers under it and we kinda needed that storage in our bedroom.  But being able to just throw the folded socks across the room into the sock drawer which is now just sitting on the bedroom floor makes putting laundry away a lot faster.  I initially typed easier, but I recognize that it's not actually hard to put away laundry, I just hate doing it so it feels like I'm being slowly drawn and quartered by underpants gnomes.

Dude, seriously though, do you remember those little guys?  They could have had their own spin-off.  Which would have been cancelled pretty quick, but I would have watched until then, is what I'm saying.

The Mister and I, we just got back from celebrating our first anniversary.
Mac came along.

We haven't killed each other in an entire year of being legally bound to each other.  Also, we love each other.  So that's pretty phenomenal, really.  We spent a few days up at his parent's lake house (hey Ma and Pa McD? I forgot my green water bottle there... hold on to it for me, will you?) and last night I found the pudgie-pie maker in the closet.

According to the facebook gods, these perfect little pockets of bread and whatever goo you put in them (I always make PBJ pudgie-pies) go by many names.  Obviously I call them pudgie pies, because that is the best name for them (because you get to say PUDGIE in a 100% positive way), but I want to know what YOU call them.  
Tell me in the comments - maybe this is a regional thing.

I believe next week I shall tell you a story about a fence.  Specifically this fence, which is a photo I took from my bedroom window because that's not a creepy neighbor thing to do at all.
I would feel worse about creepily taking a photo of the neighbor's fence if THAT CREEPY WHITE VAN in the upper corner hadn't gotten spooked and moved a few minutes later.  
I'm like my own neighborhood watch.

I say this will be next week, because teasers are supposed to increase readership (I read that somewhere on the internet, so you know it must be true), and because I haven't quite fleshed it out in my head from being just a snippet into a whole real post, but I think it has potential if I work at it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Enlightening thoughts on the housing process.

I've been away for a long time.  I know.  As I mentioned in my last post (over a month ago!  holy cats.  Is anyone still here?  hello?  *crickets*), life in general just has seen too many things lumped on my plate to be able to keep on keeping on like I had been and still giving 100% to everything.  I had to let something go, and unfortch, the blog was it for a bit.

I'd like to try and get back into this space, as I find it so cathartic sometimes, so I'm working on a few posts to get me back into place here.  If you're still here from before - thanks for sticking around!  If you're new - Shalom and Good Evening.

So the big thing on the plate is going to be continuing for seemingly forever quite a while, I believe.  This whole house business.  It would be so nice to find a home that the Mister and I can make our own together, with some more space for Mac to run around, me to garden, and the Mister to persue his love of the outdoors by shooting things (which to be clear, I'm totally okay with so long as it ends with my garden being protected from varmints, and my being able to consume my weight in venison.)

The Mister is my own personal Yosemite Sam.

We've kind of found a place that we like?  Without going too much into specifics, it's what the real estate business calls "A fixer-upper," and so we're in a back and forth with the current owners to get a lower price so we can use our remaining funds to make it livable.  We've thrown an offer out there, and as anyone who has gone through house buying knows, now it's an up and down journey of just twiddling thumbs waiting for responses, or "OH HOLY SNOT GO DO THIS/ GET THIS DOCUMENTATION/ SIGN THIS RIGHT NOW."  Which, you know, is "enlightening."

Meanwhile, the housing market is being stupid.  Our current neighborhood is a lovely space, very near the mall and walking distance from a few schools... but a few of the neighbors in this platt have seen better days financially.  By which I mean they've willingly taken big cuts when selling their homes, which by association drives the price of every other house in this area down.  So do we sell now or do we wait it out for a better price? Will we even make the money back on this place that it was purchased for?  (Ended a sentence with a preposition, deal with it.)  It feels like we go back and forth on whether or not it's worth it to sell right now once a day.  Which is, you know, "enlightening."

What's been "enlightening" for YOU when you search for a new place to rest your rump?
(aka what other "fantastic" adventures do I have to look forward to?)

We've looked at a few houses, and we've gotten advice on how to set up a house from our own selling agent, and I can't help but think a few things that I want to share today.

1.  The phrase "Fixer Upper" in the real estate field, is code for "This is a structure which may or may not need to be knocked down.  You certainly can't just move your stuff in here.  There's probably skunks living and or rotting in the rafters."  Maybe this was obvious to you.  I always thought "Fixer Upper" meant like, one of the bathrooms needs a cosmetic facelift, or there isn't a dishwasher, or you probably want to tear out all the carpet.  But not all of those things plus you'd probably want to check and make sure the foundation hasn't disintegrated.

2.  Paint is SUCH a subjective thing.  The first thing our selling agent pointed out to us was a small scratch on the wall that a chair had made in our dining room.  The generation of buyers these days don't want to paint?*  He flat told me there were people who would walk into the room, see that scratch, and that would be a deal breaker.  So I painted over the scratch.

Meanwhile, we looked at a place last weekend, and while it wasn't what we really wanted in a home, I LOVED every color in every room that the family selected.  As in, made The Mister take pictures of the rooms so I can copy them at some point.  When I said as such to the realator running the open house, he laughed; "Ha, that's why this is such a fun business - everyone else we've had in here today HATED the colors!"  How could you hate that teal?  It was such a pretty teal.  I would post the picture we took to prove it, but that room was their baby's nursery, and I feel a little weird about that.

*I'm still confused that this is a thing with people, because usually the first thing I think about when we look at a place is "oOoOo - and I would make this room GREEN.  Or PURPLE.  Or no wait, TEAL."  I don't care what color it currently is, and if there's a scratch on the wall, who cares?  I'ma cover it up three days into living there anyway.

Have you moved into a new, paintable space?  
What are your thoughts on painting/ the colors you move in with?

3.  Selling agent informed me that when people come through they want to see clean and tidy, but not perfect.  Make it look like someone lives there.  I'll admit we're looking at houses that need a little work on purpose, but nowhere we've been has screamed "oh this is clean and tidy" to me.  Some of them have screamed "someone lives here," but more in the way that someone's squatting here because the last people to walk through forgot to lock it.  Also they were feeding the stray cats in the area.

To that effect, if you are looking at houses on the market, I would suggest not trying to pet the cat that lives there.  Because he probably doesn't live there, really.

4.  The Mister and I played a bit of a game to get our minds on the right page when it came to what we're looking for.  We would drive through a neighborhood, and with nothing but the brief second to look while passing a home, we would both say "yes" or "no."  Which sounded trivial when we started, but eventually we really honed our needs down to what we both really NEED in a next house, versus what we both really WANT in a next house.  Thankfully, we both agreed that we do not need or want a house that comes with four porta johns spaced throughout the property (yeah that's a real place you can buy).

How did you get on the same page as your co-habitant when house hunting?

5.  Our selling agent offhandedly mentioned to us that he always knows when he's got a bite before the buyers even do, because he can see them putting their stuff into our home through their minds eye.  I thought this was a really pompous statement on his part until we walked into the place we put an offer on.  And even though there was (still is) a HOLE in the main floor, I immediately painted the room teal in my head.  I installed a chicken coop beneath the deck.  And when I turned to The Mister to share this, he beat me to the punch by saying "we could plant fruit trees right there.  And my deer stand will go behind them."  Well, okay then.

How did YOU know your newest home was THE ONE?
(or at least worth putting an offer on.  we're still in limbo.)

6.  Fun fact - Loan-lending Banks are like NSA-level creepy with your finances when you've entered into house hunting.  Which means that even though Dora the For Explorer should probably have met her newest home at a scrap yard sometime in the last month, she's still  kinda trucking away in our driveway.  Because buying a car when you're putting an offer on a house is apparently a red flag.  I struggle to understand this, which has at a few moments in the last month made me feel like a spoiled brat when I throw mini tantrums from behind Dora's rattling dashboard.  I just want something I can drive without feeling like it's gonna die and leave me stranded any second.  Even that wouldn't be such a big deal if I could see the end of tis time frame - but apparently buying a house takes approximately the same amount of time to fully execute as it takes to ship something through international customs.  (if you don't remember our escapes on that from last year, indulge yourself).  Someone explain it to me.  

***Call to action!***
I know this is a skeezy thing to do after giving you nothing for a month, but I'ma do it anyway.  Judge if you must:

A while back, The Mister and I started up a stationery company called FINvites.  This weekend, we'll be taking the plunge into the real-world of running a stationery business by entering our first wedding vendors bridal show.  If you're in the Kalamazoo Area and have pending nuptials, you should stop by the Radisson and say hello.

If nothing else, we have cornered the market on Shark-themed wedding businesses.
As you can see, we will be carrying through with that by offering 
fish-shaped foods at our booth for you to take away.

Regardless of where you are, I'd appreciate if you took a second to like the FINvites facebook page.  I update it regularly with silly shark-themed puns and the occasional deal on stationery stock, so I like to think you'll get a lot back for your button-clicking investment.  Small business relies heavily on networking, we've got to spread our reach.  Thanks friends.
(recently The Mister honed his QR-code making skills.  He's quite proud.)

Monday, August 05, 2013

A Post WIthout Pants.

**NOTE: I wrote this post last week... and then forgot to actually hit "post."  So I present it in all it's glory... with some additional notes on the bottom.***

Our short term foster, Little Miss Addie Pants, is back at the shelter. 
Do you have a bacon for me?
Though it is all for the best, it breaks our hearts.

I posted a video Monday - short clips of Addie... well, of Addie being ADDIE, without all the sad and the gloom we originally saw when we met.  We had one more night with the pup, she snuggled with us for the first time, and then The Mister and I brought her back to the SPCA so she can find her forever home.

We had to come to the conclusion that it is time for Addie to go back to the rescue center.  We first took her as a short term foster just over the holiday.  Then she hurt her foot and we said we'd keep her at the house with us until her antibiotics were done.  Then we had some leads for possible adoptions, and figured we would just keep her with us until we could get her out to her new post as an adopted pet.  Unfortunately, suddenly all leads fell through, and that left my husband an I facing some reality.

While we're worried she'll end up going back into her shell at the shelter (she has truly become a different dog), our lives and odd-work hours do not allow for us to attend adoption events with her, and in the past few weeks we've exhausted any ideas for contacts I know who may be looking for a dog like Addie.  If we continued to foster her in the way we are right now, her chances for being seen by potential families and adopted are almost nothing.  It's unfair to her, and it only gives us more opportunity to get further attached to a lovely dog who we simply cannot care for permanently.  We struggle to admit it, but we aren't able to have two dogs long-term in this house - we have neither the space, nor the time, or energy to give Addie the foster she deserves, while being fair to our dog, Mac.  

Naps on a Road Trip
If she can't be seen, she can't find a family.  She deserves a home that loves her in the way that we love Mac, and the only way they're going to be able to find her is if she's in a visible location.

So I made the video from the last post, we took a difficult car trip to the shelter, and now we wait.  We wait for someone to pick her.  We wait to celebrate her new leash on life.  We wait for Mac to stop sniffing around the house for her.  We carry on, missing the silly little grumbles she makes when you wake her up from a nap.  And we remind ourselves what a great thing we did for this pup, even though she broke our hearts a bit when we parted ways.  

One last time - if you know someone who is in the area and looking for a dog, please help us pass Addie's information along.

***Ready for the additional notes?  I know you are.
As hard as that decision was to make, I can tell you we made the right choice, because here is a picture of Little Miss Addie Pants with her BRAND NEW PEOPLES.  
They found her at an adoption event that the Mister and I wouldn't have been able to bring her to.  But the A+ SPCA volunteers at that event called my cell phone while they were out there so I could speak with Addie's new dad and answer some questions for him.  He sounded like a very nice fellow and he had some genuine love in his voice for our favorite little hound-dog.
Congratulations Addie, you're finally going to have the well-loved life as the center of attention that you 100% deserve.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Time for a catch-up post!

Catch-up.  Ketchup.  Haha.  Get it?

Yeah okay, sorry. (I'm not sorry.)

We've been busy, and as previously stated, the arts that make me moneys are the arts that get priority over blogging.  You understand.  In any case, it's a good problem to have.

Plus then when I finish up said arts, I can share teasers of them here.  So everybody wins.
We have some friends who own a little ma-and-pa type diner.  We eat... well conservatively we eat there 3 times a week.  Usually it's more than that.  It's fun, friendly, the food is yummy, and the prices are typically cheaper than what it would take for me to purchase the same food to make at the house.  We don't have to do dishes.  Plus we're regulars so we don't even have to order.  We just sit down and they bring us the same thing we order every time.  Sweet.  
Kelly, at Kelly's Cafe, hard at work.

Each place setting at this place has a little paper placemat at it.  As I'm sure you can guess, paper placemats will instantly cause me to doodle at a restaurant.  I don't ever keep those doodle-mats, it just gives me something to do while I wait for my food - when we're done eating that mat gets left behind.  Kelly's Cafe opened three years ago - after I think the third time we'd eaten there, I left behind a doodle, and we returned to the restaurant the next time to see that they had taped my doodle to the wall.

It quickly became a collection, and I loved that soon my doodles were surrounded on that wall by doodles from little kids who wanted to join the fun.  Eventually, they asked me if I would draw the restaurant's matriarch, Kelly.  So I did.

And then that became the logo on their menus.

That logo was where we started from when I designed their website for them.  

When THEN that whole set served as a style-reference when they opened up an ice cream shop next door, and asked me to help them with a logo for that place.

I've talked about Charlie's Sweet Treats here before, I painted their front window a while back for the grand opening.  I'm happy to report from experience that the ice cream is so choice.
And they give free flavor samples on those little spoons.  
Birthday cake* ice cream you say?  Well I don't mind if I DOoOoOoO.
Now Charlie's has a website to go with Kelly's Cafe (live -though it's still under construction).  Simple, but fun projects to file away for FINvites**.

Then they gave me one of my most fun projects to date:  They needed a kiddie-menu for both places.
Say what?  I'm all over that like stink on a monkey.
All printed, packaged and ready to go to the restaurant!

Tomorrow The Mister and I are headed out there to help them with a fundraiser they're hosting for the Burn Camp.  The Mister will be the dude in the dunk tank for a bit.  I'll be the one painting faces.  If you're in the K-zoo area, come on out and get a silly thing painted on your face by me.  Or bring your kids an have them get something silly painted on their face.  Or dunk The Mister in a tank filled with super cold hose-water.  Any and all of these options are winners.

As you can see, I have many face paint designs to chose from.  You will be super fashionable.

Thank you to Kelly and her family - not only have you helped keep FINvites in business, but you've given me some super fun projects in the process.

I / FINvites has also taken this time to design a few projects for some future newly weds.  We did this 100% custom-start-to-finish wedding invite for a bride and groom who are throwing a rock-n-roll themed wedding in a few weeks.  I wish we could have convinced them to order RSVP cards from us too - I would have loved to make cards that look like those "Subscribe now!" mailer inserts that magazines like Rolling Stone always shove between the glossy pages to go with their magazine-cover look.

Last but certainly not least, these save the dates are ready to get shipped out to our groomschick, who's getting hitched in January.  We're both pretty excited for her and her soon to be hubby - me because she's letting me design all her wedding stationery, and The Mister, because she asked him to be her bridesdude (which I'm also excited about because The Mister cleans up pretty good). 

*As it is actually my birthday on Monday, I believe I have license to eat much, much more of that birthday cake ice cream than just the tiny spoonful pictured.

**What's FINvites you ask?  I'd pretend to be offended, but I don't talk about the stationery company I share with The Mister here on this site enough for that to be a fair reaction.  Here.  Learn yourself. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure Sleepy-Time.

Ugh***.  I am not at all a morning person.  Not even with 1% of my being.  We're talking negative percents.  Black holes of percents.  I loathe mornings.  But we've covered this before here.  Conversely, we've covered that The Mister is totally a morning person.  Other than the implied "I'm kinda cranky with him when he wakes me up*," however, I don't think we've explored that combination.

  • If you choose to come along with me on this sleepless adventure, keep reading.
  • If you're going all "meh, that sounds stupid."  Well then, I don't really know how you got here in the first place.  Also I'm cranky, so bugger off.
Last night, I was faced with a challenging conundrum:  The Mister has got the sniffles.
If you have a significant other, who you also share a bed with, you may see my concerns.  We have two sleeping-appropriate spaces in our home; our bed, and the futon in the guest bedroom.  While a nice futon, it does not compare to sleeping on an actual mattress.  This is not astounding information that's blowing anyone's mind, I'm sure - it's just the nature of a futon.  But when faced with a sniffly husband, you must choose the lesser of two evils:
  • If you choose to sleep next to a man who is going to loudly sniffle snot all night, go to A.
  • If you choose to sleep on the futon, go to B
A.  Lights out, "G'nite, I Love You's" have been uttered.  Yet, you cannot sleep because it seems that your spouse's nose is set on a timer that coincides perfectly with your "just on the edge of falling asleep" feeling.  Right as you hit that precipice, the SNRRRT! erupts inches from your ear.  You make it a half hour like this before grab your pillow and head for the futon.  Nice try- gold star for wife effort.  Go to B.

B.  It's too late and you're too tired to bother with making the bed up properly.  You grab a collection of pillows and blankets and just make a cocoon on the futon.  At least you don't have to share your blankets with anyone.  That's nice, right?  The cat hops up on the futon and insists your one free arm pet him for the rest of infinity.  If you stop, he nips you.  So you scratch his head absentmindedly until you slip into dream land.  When you wake up, you realize you fell asleep with the cat pinning your arm down at an unnatural angle (think Mayhem in that one commercial where he plays the cleaning maid who falls down the stairs backwards), and your shoulder is JACKED right the eff up.  

You'll consider amputating your arm by gnawing it off before the pins-and-needles effect wears away.  But you lose the opportunity when the dog's "there's a people who is awake" ESP goes off and he bounds into the guest bedroom hoping that you'll get up and feed him at 4am.  Because he is, like, starving.  Even though you fed him more kibble than you should have last night.  And then gave him a bunch of treats at bedtime.  And he took an old hamburger out of the trash while you were at work yesterday.  When you tell him to knock it off and go back to bed, he takes this as an invitation to squeeze onto the little futon with  you and the cat.  You get to uncomfortably go back to sleep after only 30-35 minutes of refereeing the battle for bed-space between the dog and cat, so you've got that going for you.

Twenty-ish minutes later, 5am -or as your husband refers to it "morning"- rolls around.  You hear his alarm go off from the bedroom across the hall.  Grumbling and rolling over, you also hear him hit snooze.
  • If you are the type of person who hits snooze anywhere between 3 and 1000 times, and thus sets the alarm for a full half hour prior to when you actually HAVE TO get up, go to hell C.
  • If you are the type of person who likes to have uninterrupted, REM cycle-inducing sleep right up until you really truly have to get out of bed, go to D.
C.  Hmm.  Maybe if you lived by yourself, but you're not just waking YOU up every 10 minutes (FYI, you can't make yourself go back to that dream with Eva Mendez, and a proper REM cycle takes 20 minutes), you're waking up your spouse, the cat who decided this is an appropriate time to request he be let outside by scream-yowling at the back door, and the dog who is now acting like he is so food-deprived that his stomach is digesting itself.  I love you husband, and so I am grateful that my morning state of alertness doesn't allow my mouth to function properly, or you would have heard me yell "I WILL END YOU" instead of just making incoherent grumpy mumble-noises.  In any case, you resolve to be in charge of cooking dinner for your wife tonight, because it will make up at least in small part, for her tired**, and also because you know she loves you so very much, even though she just straight hoed you out on a blog post (she couldn't think of anything else to write about).  -THE END-

D.  You know where it's at, sister-friend.  Not that it matters.  Because your significant other's alarm has been going off for the last half hour.  Once he finally gets up, you've got exactly 20 minutes to snuggle into the actual bed instead of the futon, until your alarm goes off.  Just for sh*ts, because you're already exhausted so why not, you decide to hit snooze on your own alarm just to see.  Apparently your phone is set to snooze for only 5 minutes.  A window of time that could not be more useless.  You forgive your phone, though, because it's still way better than that hooker, Siri, your husband totes around (Soon, Siri.  Soon.)  

You get ready in a daze by throwing on the first clean piece of clothing you see (making sure it's a dress because that's only one piece of clothing and then you don't have to try and "match" it to anything else).  Then trudge downstairs to throw some oatmeal in the microwave and feed the 'emaciated' dog.  Fifteen minutes later you realize that your usual morning routine of checking e-mail and facebook is not holding your attention properly because you're that tired**.  You have 10 minutes left before you have to leave for work.

  • If you keep on with your morning routine of internetting, go to E.
  • If you start to think crazy thoughts like, "I could go back to bed for 10 minutes," go to F.

E.  You open your regular bookmarks in your browser.  You can't quite make yourself laugh at your usual webcomics. But there's a new video on Harto's channel, so that's kinda fun.  You wake up 3 minutes later and have no idea how the time passed while your eyes were closed like that.  You just blinked, right?  You decide to set an alarm on the computer just in case, and lay down on the bed with the laptop at your side to go through your Facebook updates.  Go to F.

F.  You know this is a horrible idea.  It's only going to make you more tired.  But the pillow looks so fluffy you wanna die. You set an alarm on your computer for the exact moment you need to leave the house to still be on time.  You lay down on your bed with the computer at your side.  You are instantly asleep.  Two seconds later the alarm goes off.  You didn't set like, a program or anything on your computer, you just googled "free alarm clock online," which is a new thing to you.  Thus, you were wholly unprepared for the horrific noise this website would deem an alarm, and fall off the other edge of the bed trying to escape its screeches in your face.  

Picking yourself off the floor, you have the wherewithal to congratulate yourself on not instinctively shoving your computer off the opposite side of the bed- as your husband would probably get upset about that.  Grab your keys, purse, and a water bottle, and get into your death-trap of a Ford Explorer.  As Dora roars to life in much the same manner that you roared yourself awake a mere 30 seconds ago trying to escape an alarm clock, you have the brief realization that you are not fully awake, and thus probably an unsafe driver.  But you're not awake enough to care.  You slowly pull out of your driveway and hit the trash can out for collection on the curb.  The ensuing light "bup" noise terrifies the ever-living crap out of you, and after righting the trash bin and shakily getting back into Dora the Explorer, you drive to work fully awake and alert.  You are the perfect driver, hands on 10 and 2, eyes on the road, checking the mirrors every 3-5 seconds, using blinkers.
I'm sorry, trash bin.

After arriving at work, your adrenaline goes back on strike, and you find yourself sitting at your desk staring at a leaf on the sidewalk outside the window until your coworker asks if "everything's okay with you?"  This is when the realization that you FORGOT TO DRINK COFFEE hits you.  Thankfully, you have five dollars cash and a coworker who is about to go run errands.  She happily agrees to snag you a giant latte while she's out.  Half an hour later, what looks like a big-gulp of coffee is in front of you on your desk, and you are able to return to a state of somewhat normal human functioning.  As you while away the work day, you hope your husband, whom you love very much, cooks you dinner.  -THE END.-

How does your morning Choose Your Own Adventure end?  
What options are you usually faced with?
Tell me in the comments!

*I will be the first person to admit that this is a horrible understatement.

**I know I'm griping a bunch about being tired here.  And I know that there are people out there who are more tired than me.  They handle it far, FAR better than me.  AND super kudos to them, but this here is my blog.

***I totally made a second blog post last week.  Apparently I forgot to hit "post."  Whoops.  But this one is funnier, so we'll go back to that other post on Wednesday.

Monday, July 15, 2013

When the Cat's Away, It'll Come Back the Very Next Day.

I have nothing of real substance to share today.  That's fun right?

The Mister is on a quick work trip to Mexico at the moment.  I find these opportunities to be very "when the cat's away the mice will play" moments.   Even though I have plenty of responsibility of my own, something about him not being here to keep me acting like a reasonable adult has lead to me resolving to pull some night-owl design (aka staying up past 3am to doodle instead of keeping normal adult hours... which is, let's be honest, when I do my best work), and sleep in like crazy tomorrow, and also I'm making a batch of cookies.

Said cookies will be gone by the time he gets home tomorrow night.  I have no shame about this.

Except we're out of milk.  So you better believe I just paused the writing of the blog post and went to the gas station to get a gallon of moo juice.   Did I mention that earlier today I thought "I should see what happens if I put my hair in foam rollers."?  No?  Because this is apparently what happens.
the derpiest photo of myself on the internet.  so far.

Yep.  I would suspect though, that a chick in her PJs with half a permed-head, is probably typical clientele for the Speedway this late at night.  (edit from after when I went: yeah, I was not the weirdest looking person in there by far.)

Meanwhile, the groundhog is back.  Remember when I blogged about that little fuzzy jerk last year?  Okay so we trapped him, and relocated him.  And I thought "ha.  I win.  That's the end of that."

Then I looked out the kitchen window a few weeks ago to see another groundhog pulling a pea-plant out of my beloved garden by it's roots.  I rage-faced about that long enough to set another trap.  Caught and evicted him, and I thought "ha. I win.  That's the end of that."

I wash my hands of this tom-foolery.

Two days ago I let Addie and Mac out into the yard a ended up having to sling Addie over my shoulder to carry a very ecstatic hound dog* back into the house when she tried to dig her way under the shed after yet a THIRD groundhog.

Sooooo I reset the trap.

This morning I let the dogs out before I went to work.  I open the office at this job, so it was early. The sun had just finished coming up over the trees, I had been awake for only the mere 28 seconds it takes to roll out of bed and open the back door for the dogs, and I was wearing only boxers and an oversize t-shirt.  I was not wearing a bra, socks, shoes, or glasses, but I did still manage to fuzzily see that Addie's white-tipped tail shot up into the air as she trotted faster than her usual lumber-trot toward the wrong corner of the yard.  I had to break-neck run out into the yard to catch Addie, and yet again sling all of her 50 pounds over my shoulder to carry her, squirming and wiggling* away from the very angry, very snarly raccoon.  (full grown and pissed.  not like last year's cutie patootie little one.  or maybe the same one all grown up?) Thankfully in these situations, Mac is more than happy to just go back inside the house and pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary.  Because 5:30AM is too early for him, too.

Really, any time of day is too early for me to deal with this kind of crap.

For lack of any better ideas (as my brain was not yet functioning), I just opened the trap and let the nasty dude run off over the fence.  Ugh.

I know that logically, this is three separate groundhogs and a racoon I'm dealing with.  But it just makes me think of this:
Anyone remember this cartoon?  Been stuck in my head all day.

Do you have a garden? 
How do you keep it safe from varmints?
(we've done fencing, the liquid fence spray, mothballs, and a ring of cat crap -thanks Bubba- around the perimeter.  So far, no dice.)
Do you cohabitate?  What do you do when you're left to your own devices in your home?

*98% of the time, Little Miss Addie Pants looks like this:
Oh yes, she's figured out the bed now.  God help us.
the remaining 2% of her time is split between eating foods, and getting more excited than Honey-Boo-Boo on go-go juice over a raccoon.
Seriously though:  Someone adopt this puppy.  She needs a forever home without another dog so she can monopolize the bed properly.  Mac and her share poorly (aka they try to covertly kick each other off the sides)