Monthly Archives: August 2010

Water, water everywhere & not a drop to drink

I was in the middle of fixing supper yesterday  (beef stroganoff in case anyone wants to know)  when the water went out.  It’s not unusual to have low water pressure in the summer months since we’re on a community well and our neighbors put a strain on it filling their swimming pools, but it’s rare that we’re completely out.  I dialed the help line, entered my zip code, and heard from the Ms. Automated Customer Service that they were aware of a water emergency in my neighborhood and that a technician had been dispatched and I could feel free to hang up.

So I did.

Four hours later, I was putting smelly boys to bed because the water still wasn’t on, so I called back, punched in my number, heard Ms. Automated Voice Lady say once again she was aware of an emergency in my neighborhood, but this time, I punched 0 enough times to get put through to a real live person who had no record of anything being wrong in my neighborhood and she would have a technician call me.

Which he did.

And he asked me if I had been shut off for non-payment of my water bill.

That would be a “no”.

Then he asked me to get a flashlight and go look at the meter at the street and the first words out of my mouth were “I have three boys.  Do you think I have a flashlight in this house that hasn’t been disassembled for parts?”

He had three kids, too.  He told me he’d call back in twenty minutes to give me time to find a bulb, the spring, housing, and salvage a few D batteries from the toy box collection of robots.

Flashlight in hand, I walked down the very dark driveway to the scary meter box that has creepy crawlies in it, but I knew that I had a serious problem when I sank in six inches of watery mud as I bent over to pick up the lid that was floating on top of the river that was flowing out of the box.

Broken water main.

Flowing since 4:30.


Oh, and Mr. CPQ was out of town.


So I spent a couple of hours hanging out with Thomas from the water company at the end of the driveway and taking sneaky pictures as he dug up the yard because he inadvertently ended up breaking another part of the pipe in his attempt to fix the first part.

And we kept the neighbors awake with the rumble of the idling diesel truck and the flood lights that bathed their windows.

And Mr. CPQ got home after it was all over.

Have a nice day.

In which we help my mom wear her cute shoes

My mom called me yesterday wanting some technical assistance on wearing her sandals that have a strap between the toe.  It’s uncomfortable for her and she vaguely remembers one of you saying something long ago in a comment about buying some sort of cushion to wrap around the strap so it wouldn’t be as bothersome but Mom didn’t remember what post the comment was on or who said it.

I’d rather not dig through the archives. Has anyone had this problem and found  a way to solve it?

Have a nice day.

In which I attempt to be Chi-Chi

Notwithstanding my fondness for spas, purses, and pedicures,  I would never be accused of being a real girly-girl.  I’m very comfortable in shorts, tennies and a t-shirt, minimal make-up and hair thrown back in a ponytail.  But as I was telling Whimzie, I’m not 20 and running fifteen minutes late to Intro to Music class anymore, so maybe it’s time to raise the personal appearance bar.  Hence the mascara and my latest purchase, a flat iron.

I was a little nervous to use the flat iron at first.  It may or may not have had something to do with the fact that the lady at Sally told me to use thermal spray protectant on my hair prior to using it and on the back of the bottle in big bold letters it said COMBUSTIBLE and it made me a little nervous to be using flammable materials on my head in conjunction with an instrument that heated to 450 degrees.

Things that make you go “hmmmmm” and grab the fire extinguisher.

Just in case.

I asked Whimzie what to do because she is the queen of all things hair related (she had TWO sets of hot rollers back in the day) and I think she was a little nervous for me because she sent me three or four IM’s about what to do and not do when I tried it for the first time.

She knows when to be appropriately alarmed.  She saw the results of many a bad encounter with a curling iron in college.  I think at one point she considered just taking  it away from me altogether.

I was clearly an amateur.

I think I managed to use the flat iron somewhat appropriately because Mr. CPQ was appreciative of the results and let’s just be honest, anything that remotely resembles effort is better than my usual look.

Now if I can just work on the wardrobe and make-up a little…..

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings

We had a great weekend filled with lots of food activity that started with a post-car- dealership trip to my favorite Indian place for their Tika Masala and naan.

And since I had fallen off the wagon, I decided to eat the dust and went ahead and cooked all weekend long, but nothing I made was better than these.

Salted caramel and chipotle popcorn balls.

And they will cause you to stuff them into your mouth at a rapid pace.





I found the recipe in the September issue of Food and Wine along with four hundred and sixty-four other ones that I just had to try.  We ate the black-eyed pea salad , shrimp etouffee, biscuits, and tea-brined chicken that only four out of the five of us enjoyed and which caused Travis to declare “This chicken is nasty” and while I was grateful for the appropriate sentence structure, the judgement rendered at the dining room table? Not so much.

And I gained two pounds.

Have  a nice day.

At the car dealership. Again.

I spent five hours at the car dealership yesterday still trying to fix my car door from three weeks ago when it mysteriously malfunctioned in the middle of my girl’s night out. (I would hyperlink back to that story but I’m on my phone and besides, I’m sure the image of me trying to kick the door open in 4 inch wedges is sufficiently seared in your brain.)

My time yesterday was spent listening to the 6865436 ringtones that one of my waiting room companions scrolled through and I was tempted to suggest Theory of a Deadman’s “Make Up Your Mind” as an appropriate reflection of her personality but my mother taught me better.

And then she started to show me her singing kitten videos.

Accompanied by interpretive dance.

We were soon joined by the woman who shared with us the intimate details of her granddaughter’s love life, the man whose girlfriend left him but not before racking up $23,000 in charges to his credit card, and the guy who desperately kept trying to get the TV to work so he wouldn’t have to listen to all of the above.

This three-ring circus kept getting interrupted by the technician who tried to insist to me that it was normal for my car alarm to sound every time I inserted my key to open the door.

I kept insisting otherwise.

Reason prevailed and they finally located the problem which was a circuit that wasn’t properly grounded and, of course, the part had to be transferred from another dealership so I’m back this morning to get that part installed.

And to experience 5 more hours of blog fodder.

Hopefully without the kittens.

Have a nice day.

A look at my make-up drawer

Light and fluffy.

We are light and fluffy today because I still don’t quite know how to process my new blog design and I can’t go back to the old one because WordPress deleted it.

And please do not be wedded to the current design because I will be trying out new ones for the next few weeks until I find one I’m happy with.  I realize this can be unsettling to people and let me say “I HEAR YOU” because while I am eminently flexible, I am also intractably routine and I do not like it when people move my cheese.

Or don’t sell it anymore.

So, we’re talking about make-up today since y’all arose a hue and cry yesterday over mascara.  By the way, that mascara?  It’s fresh on my cheeks because I wore it to the dentist’s office today and he caught me off guard when he mentioned that JJ has officially lost all of his baby teeth.   My gut wrenched and my eyes welled and JJ choked back a sob or two when he realized the gravy train had left the station.

I stopped wearing mascara 5 years ago when I was spending all day in the pool teaching the boys how to swim and just never got back in the habit, but the other day I was thinking that I needed to focus attention away from my double chin my eyes needed a “pop” and I decided to get back into the habit. I have a pretty simple make-up routine and while I am deeply committed to my eyeliner and my gloss, I have no allegiance to foundation, eye shadow, powder, etc. and usually never buy the same thing twice because I only buy what Whimzie tells me to and she’s pretty fickle when it comes to product.

And I say that lovingly.

In case she’s reading today.

She and I shared make-up in college, mainly because I practically lived at her apartment even though I had a dorm room, and in the morning I’d just grab whatever she had laying out on the bathroom counter.  Funny enough, when we get together now, we always go through our recent purchases and let each other try it out.  Some habits never die.

Her latest recommendation that has been spot on is Stila’s One Step Foundation.  It has primer, foundation AND powder built into it and it’s the first foundation that I’ve liked enough to buy a second bottle.

She also talked me into this Benefit Dandelion blush, and while I have liked it for spring and summer, I think it’s going to be too pinky for fall.

This is the new mascara (Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes) I bought.  It’s not waterproof; I cried it off watching a YouTube video someone sent me about soldiers coming home from Iraq.

My gloss.  It’s Philosophy’s Reflect a Little.  Sometimes I wear it by itself or with some lip liner.  I rarely wear lipstick.

I’ve saved my Mary Kay Deep Brown eyeliner for last because it is my constant friend and faithful companion, my American Express.  I just don’t leave home without it.

I’ve used it for ten years and I hope and pray they don’t discontinue it.

Like they did my blog design.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday’s 10 on the 10th Tidbits

Thanks, Meredith, for hosting!


1.  Why did my blog design change overnight when I didn’t do anything to update it?

And how do I get the old one back?

2.  Why did JJ ask me for steel wool and a D battery?

I need to make sure our insurance is paid up.

3.  Why did Mr. CPQ roll his eyes when I said I wanted to save a box of baby books to read to our grandchildren?

4.  If the boys don’t learn how to properly shower, I may never have grandchildren.

5.  I haven’t had a french fry in three weeks.

I was reminded of this as I sat across the table from Squishy Baby at lunch today and watched her munch on a waffle fry.  It was all I could do not to snatch it out of her hands I had a delicious salad.

6.  After a five year hiatus, I bought a tube of mascara today.

I didn’t realize technology had advanced during my absence.  The saleswoman, sensing my discomfort, offered to give me an application lesson, but I politely declined because I don’t particularly care to have people that close to my pores.

7.  I stopped in at the store to pick up some vanilla protein powder  and my cashier’s name was “Rabid”.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

8.  I had to practice some conflict resolution skills yesterday.

Turning 40 has given me some much-needed backbone.

9.  Speaking of backbone, someone who has more of it than I do is now wearing the gold jacket to critical acclaim.

You can read all about it here.

10. And on a somber note, former Senator Ted Stephens (R-AK) was killed in a plane crash today.  In a small world moment, I  had the opportunity to work with him/his staff when he was Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.   Prayers are offered for his family and staff.

Have a nice day.