Monthly Archives: March 2011

Because you will never see the house this clean again

We’ve spackled.

We’ve sorted.

We’ve painted.

We’ve purged.

Tomorrow our cozy little nest will be listed, approximately 30 minutes after the tile guy and the cleaning service have left.

And since my mother has never seen my house this picked up, and just in case a local blog reader is looking for 3-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, two-garage, all-brick ranch on a flat acre of land minutes from Falls Lake, here’s the reason why I haven’t blogged this week.

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings

1. We got home late yesterday afternoon to a balmy 51 degrees in the house.  We’d not looked at the long-range forecast that included snow and sleet for the area before we headed out of town and thus had left the heater off.


Fortunately, we didn’t come home to a kitty popsicle.

2.  My stomach did a little flip when I pulled into our driveway and saw the “COMING SOON!” real estate sign stuck in the front yard.  There is an unbelievable amount of work that needs to be done before Friday and yet here I sit typing on the computer and eating comfort cookies and I almost don’t know where to begin.

I’ll probably start by grabbing big black garbage bags and donning an unsentimental spirit.

3.  I have some fun pictures from my trip last week that I’d love to blog about but may not have time, so I’m just going to upload them so my mom can see her grandkids and hopefully I can add some text later.


Outside the US Mint where I used to work

Tossing pennies on Ben Franklin's grave

Or letting Mom toss the pennies while I sip my Pepsi in my US Mint souvie cup

Hanging out with our shortest president, Mr. Madison

First bite of cheesesteak - Thumbs up for Spataro's in the Reading Terminal Market

Our cheesesteak maker. Scary.

Can't. Hold. On. Much. Longer.

The back of the Liberty Bell. Because the front always gets the glory and I felt bad that no one talks about the other side.

Self portrait of our-soaking-wet-selves in Independence Hall

The tour guide who wouldn't move so I could get a picture of the table behind him where they signed the Declaration of Independence

My artsy picture of the Ben Franklin Bridge taken while driving and praying that on the other side I would wind up in the right lane to get to where I needed to be.

One of the eight bajillion toll booths I went through


4.  I also made a stop in Northern Virginia to visit NotNed and Momologuer.  Hooray for NotNed who remembered to take pictures and blog about that day!

I was too busy Facetiming with Momologuer while sitting next to her on the couch.

I love technology.

5.  Anyone wanna’ come help me pack?

Have a nice day.

Thoughts on New Jersey

I wrote this big old long post about the last twenty-four hours of our trip and the ^{>{*~!>]*{¥!~%{+|! computer lost it.

And since I’m slightly overdosed on Children’s Dimetapp because I forgot my NyQuil, I don’t have the mental capacity to remember what I wrote in the first place, so I shall sum up, in list form, a few thoughts about New Jersey that I had more eloquently expanded upon in the heretofore mentioned entry.

1. People drive like maniacs here.

2. There seems to be a general prohibition against making left turns anywhere. I have found this disconcerting on more than one occasion.

3. People dress a little more festively for dinner. I saw more sequins at the diner last night than I’ve seen at most junior proms.

4. I have yet to see a female wearing tennis shoes. High heels seems to be the order of the day (and I am going to wear a sign tomorrow that says “My podiatrist makes me wear these shoes.”)

5. The bakeries are beyond amazing.

6. I was surprised to be called “honey”. I thought that was more a southern thing.

7. I haven’t heard “ma’am”, though, and that makes me a little homesick.

8. There seems to be a love affair with the toll road.

9. It’s way more diverse than I expected.

10. Hair volumizing is an ART.

Have a nice day, youse guys.

Monday Musings, a day late

1.  We sold the Suburban over the weekend.  It was something that we’ve been talking about doing for a while because Tommy and JJ’s legs have grown longer and had started smushing the seat in front of them.  It had also become challenging to lift Travis in and out of it since the deck sits so high.

We bought a Sienna, and I think I’m going to like it once I get over the fact that I’m a mini-van mom.

I feel like I’m wearing the cone of shame.

2.  Speaking of shame, I’m feeling awful that I forgot to call my sister-in-law to wish her a Happy Birthday yesterday.  She reads this blog (or at least she did before I forgot to call her), so “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PATTY!!!!!!!!

3.  To celebrate Patty’s birthday, I’m taking the boys to Philadelphia for a few days.  The forecast calls for 43 degrees and raining, all four of us have bad colds, and I’m PMS’ing.

This doesn’t have disaster written all over it, does it?

Have a nice day.




Five on Friday

1.  I am in a little bit of shock as I just measured Tommy, my 11-year-old child with the size 12W shoe.

He is 5’10 and I don’t know what to do about that because in one more measly half-inch, he’ll be caught up with me.

Somebody, quick, send me a brick to put on his head.

2.  Not to be outdone, JJ and Travis decided to grow THREE inches since the last time I measured them.

They are 5’3″ which means I still have a few more inches to get my bluff in.

3.  We’ve been making some home improvements this week.  After 5 years, we finally hung closet doors in our bathroom and Tommy’s room.  I also figured out a way to push the stove all the way back so that it’s flush with the countertop.

Yes, it stuck out for 5 years and the fix took 4 minutes. I cringe to think of all the aggravation I could have saved myself if I had just taken the time to think it through and do something about it.

4.  We painted the shutters black – they were 1970s white  – and also fixed the carpet in the boys’ closet where it was ripped from that time the kids decided it would be fun to lock the cat in overnight and see what happened.

5.  I’m ready for the April issue of Southern Living to come out so that I can stop making the pound cakes from the March issue. They had seven different variations, and I’ve made four in the last three weeks.

Frangelico pound cake?  Yes, please.

It helps me get over the shock of seeing eye to eye with my baby boy.

Have a nice day.


In which I DIY

I think it’s well-established that I probably shouldn’t be the first one to call if you’re ever in need of assistance unless we’re talking about the removal of pound cake from the premises, in which case you’d better keep me on speed dial because, baby, I’m your man.

I did, however, solve a problem at the house this morning all by myself and did not have to resort to calling the husband or my dad and I’m documenting it for posterity because we’re all about the self-congratulations in this house.

My brand new hair dryer didn’t turn on this morning which was odd since it was working just fine yesterday except for an unfortunate over-crimping in my bangs that I couldn’t beat into submission but that was user error and not equipment failure.  I shook the dryer, unplugged it, read the safety tag, pushed the reset button, and plugged it back in and zippo happened.

Then I did the exact same thing again.

Because I still believe in magic.

I went to the boys’ bathroom and tried to ignore the disaster of biblical proportions another plug.




So I went to the other side of the house to the half bath.

Victory!  No running to Walgreens with wet hair at 8 in the morning!

I dried my hair and then using my superpowers that come from overdosing on the DIY Network getting ideas for improvements at the next house on which we haven’t even made an offer, I deduced that it had to be one of those switch things behind the ugly panel in the laundry room.

I’m sure there’s a technical term for that.  It just escapes me right now and I don’t want to google it to find out what it’s called.  Besides, showing my ignorance will give my brothers every opportunity to feel superior and lord it over me the next time we see each other.

There were lots of switches and not a whole lot of descriptors as to which one went with what, but I saw one that looked ever-so-slightly not aligned with the other ones and holding my breath that everything was properly grounded, including me, I flipped the switch.

And the house exploded.


I fixed the problem.

Which is unusual in my case.

Admit it, you were expecting something awful to happen, weren’t you?

Have a nice day.



Monday Musings

1.  I find it amusing that my husband can agonize over spending $0.89 vs. $0.99 for a can of kidney beans, yet feels no qualms about potentially buying two cars and a house over the course of the next three months.

I, on the other hand, am freaking out, having anxiety dreams and frequently wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I’m too old to move in with my mother.

2. I  woke up Saturday morning, strolled in the kitchen, wordlessly consumed the usual cup or six of coffee while my husband read me the important news of the day, and after an hour of quiet, peaceful communion, he asked what was on my agenda for the day and I said, “I don’t have anything planned.”

Except that as I walked over to the fridge to return the half and half, I noticed the calendar.

And noticed that I had something written in Saturday’s block.

And noticed that I had just missed an event that I had known about and planned on attending since last AUGUST.


3.  Speaking of last August, we went back to look at a house that we’ve had our eye on since last summer.  We are inches closer to making an offer on it.  I know our friends that live across the street from that house wish we’d JUST GET ON WITH IT ALREADY since they’re tired of parking junky cars on blocks out in their driveway to scare off other potential buyers until we’re ready to pull the trigger.

Oh, I kid.

Sort of.

4.  I am NOT kidding that Mr. CPQ found a package of pork sausage in the trunk of his car twenty-four hours after a trip to the grocery store and he tried to assure me that it was cool in the garage and that it was perfectly fine to eat.

I gave him $5 and threw it away.

5.  I look forward to having fewer balls to juggle after we get past this move.

Have a nice day.

PS – Our track-out trip is going to be Philadelphia.  If any blog peeps live near there, I’d love to have recommendations for things to see and do in the area.

Monday Musings

Oh, I am exceedingly vexed this morning.  I had great plans to embed a video from yesterday’s lunch at Tijuana Flats where Mr. CPQ tasted ghost pepper salsa for the first time.

It was amusing.

It was blog-worthy.

It was an opportunity to poke fun at my husband.

It got erased in the process of transferring it from my phone to the computer.


So just close your eyes and imagine hearing my cackling laughter while Mr. CPQ’s face turns beet red, his head sweats, and he jokes about never needing to take Claritin again.

We had a blessedly quiet weekend which was welcome after last week’s craziness.  We cleaned the garage out Saturday morning and tossed stuff that we don’t want to see in the new house that we haven’t located yet because we haven’t put our own up for sale because it takes us a sweet forever to get off the dime and then I spent most of Saturday afternoon processing registrations for an  upcoming conference.  The software I use to process the registrations has been a little buggy and has threatened to send me off the ledge on more than one occasion, but something clicked on Saturday and I was able to do a lot of work without any error messages which, truly, is a miracle on par with Moses parting the waters.

Sunday was church and lunch and the boys scattered to friends’ houses and I sat on the couch and got sucked into watching Superman I and II for the first time and asking Mr. CPQ questions such as “If Superman came from Krypton, wouldn’t kryptonite be helpful to him rather than harmful since it’s from his natural environment?”

It’s times like these that I usually get the “Oh, you poor little jungle girl” look.

And an eye roll.

Today’s the last day of track for the boys so I’m going to be running a few little errands and getting stuff organized for the next month of track out.  The boys are asking what we’re going to be doing and where we’re going to go and right now I don’t have any concrete plans other than a couple of field trips with Gretchen and Heather.  I’m sure we’ll figure something out and have a grand adventure or two.

Because if we don’t, I won’t be the only one exceedingly vexed.

Have a nice day.

Livin’ la Vida Loca – With apologies to Ricky Martin

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting in a conference room for over an hour getting barraged by 7 people whose singular intent was to tell me all the ways that Travis was not meeting expectations for 5th grade work.

Mrs. Scates, he’s only reading at a third grade level.

Mrs. Scates, he can’t answer “why” questions.

Mrs. Scates, he doesn’t understand the concept of fractions.

Mrs. Scates, he keeps figuring out how to get around the computer’s security firewall.

Way to go, kid.  Maybe you have employment opportunities as a hacker.

Mr. CPQ was not with me for this little gathering.  That’s actually a good thing.   He used to have to come for moral support because after twenty minutes I would be emotionally overwhelmed by the constant stream of bad news and I’d shut down and start crying and he would have to finish the meeting for me.  After 9 years of doing this (we started his IEP planning when he was three years old), I’ve progressed to the point that I can now wait until I get to the car before I break down.

After the bearing of the bad news, we managed to get the necessary goals and strategies written and the forms signed and we all went about our day, but a tinge of sadness stayed tucked in my heart.

Until this morning.

As I was unloading the kids at the carpool line, I heard Ricky Martin’s Living La Vida Loca blaring from Travis’ iPod (he inherited my old one with its complete collection of Ricky, Barry Manilow, and ABBA).  He didn’t get it turned off before I helped him to his walker, so I reached for it to do so and noticed that the Notes app was open to a page entitled “Livin la Vida Loca by Travis”.  I read it and started laughing.

This kid, who confounds his teachers every day, had written down BY MEMORY the lyrics as he heard them to the song.  And because they cracked me up and because this is my blog, I’m sharing them with you verbatim.

(And if you need a refresher to the real lyrics, here’s Ricky’s version.)

Season Sa Service Dishes, Black Cats and Famous Dogs.

A fail the autograph that girls gonna make me fall.

Season Sa Service New Kits and Sony Cameras,

He’s got a picture for every day and night.

To make you clothes of fund to Dancing in the Rain.

to make of crews of crazy life take away your pain

like a homemade to brain

Come on!

Outside, Inside Out, Livin la Vida Loca

Sharing shampoo your back

Living la Vida Loca

Or live songs ever end

eda skits call la moca!

She well there you out, livin la vida loca.

Whoo!  All right!

Woke up the New York City!  In a funky Dance Hotel.

He took your wallet and he took your money,  He must asleep you, sleeping pill.

He never dreams that want to makes you or of Friendship Pain.

Once you have a taste of honey Mustard, you’ll never be the same.

It’s to make you go in Target, Come on!

Outside, Inside out!

Livin la Vida Loca.

Regardless of what those teachers said, somehow, I think everything’s going to be okay.

Have a nice day.

Thoughts on Thursday

1.  My husband found cheese in my refrigerator that had expired in November of  2009.

He ate it.

I have no words.

2.  I tell that story as a humorous counterpoint to the not-so-funny behavioral  referral form that came home from school yesterday for me to sign.

Again, no words.

Except to say that parenting is not for the faint of heart.

3.  And on another light note, I successfully managed to make a bad situation worse this morning in carpool when I tried to help a woman whose lock was jammed on her car door.  I not only jammed it further, but also break off a vital piece in the process.

As a consolation, I gave her directions to the Chevy dealership and my phone car charger cord so she could bungee the door shut long enough to drive there.

Seriously, don’t ever ask me to help you with anything.

4.  Speaking of help, I don’t ask for it very well and this week I’ve had to ask three times for some assistance.


I think God’s trying to teach me something and I’m sure it’ll be the subject of a very long blog post when I can sit down to think it through.

5.  The eating of the expired cheese episode is really bothering me.

6.  We ordered shoes on-line from Zappo’s at 9:37 Tuesday night and they were on my doorstep by noon the next day.  And shipping was free, by the way.  They may be my new favorite company.

7.  Shhh…don’t tell the deer but the daffodils are blooming in my yard.

8.  I will have a passel of church ladies descending on my house this evening for a meeting and my house is not “passel of church ladies” clean. I think instead of spending my time vacuuming and scrubbing, I’m just going to make a boatload of desserts to serve while we chat amongst the dust bunnies.

It’s hard to pass judgment over a piece of pound cake.

9.  I may singlehandedly (YES THAT’S A WORD, SPELL CHECK!) topple this conference I’m working on.

10.  The anxiety dreams I’ve been having about it have been delightful, though.  Last night I dreamed I had dozens of pink baby elephants in my lap while Bill Clinton was chauffeuring me in a motor home.

Yep, no words.

Have a nice day.