Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fondly Recalling "Mailbox Mauling" While Pregnant

It's that wonderful time of the year again...... snowfall, kids and dogs playing in snow, snuggling under a blanket with loved ones, desecration of mailboxes....

Ah, yes! Good times, my friends.  Good times.

That last one carries many fond memories for me.  Before 2010, I never really noticed mailboxes.  And if I happened to see one that had been mangled, I always felt bad for the people it belonged to.  

And then I got pregnant.  Everything changed.

I've always had a love for MAIL.  When I was little, I ordered the RCA Record of the Month and stalked my mailbox waiting for it to arrive each month.  At every business I worked at, with the exception of hair salons, I was the mail person.  I retrieved the mail, sorted mail, stamped mail, dropped mail off at the post office, created mailing lists, etc.  One place even had me  help with the designing of their mailbox/brick fixture.  And when I forget to get the mail at home, someone always seriously asks "Are you okay?"  I love mail.  I'm sure you're picking up on that now.

The last 1.5 months of my pregnancy, I couldn't sleep.  I contracted a nasty cold after Justin and I decided to take a trip to a casino for the weekend.   Between the cigarette smoke and the INSANE AMOUNT OF GERMS, I was sick within 24 hours.   

If I wasn't sitting at a  minimum of an 80 degree angle, I was coughing and choking.  Laying down was impossible.  My anxiety was out of control and I was afraid that if I fell asleep, I would choke to death.  I watched the sun rise almost every day, still awake from the night before.  I knew every show that was on from the minute I got into bed until 6am.    I got between 2.5 hours and 45 minutes of sleep each night.  And then I worked all day at my physical, outdoorsy job.  

Recipe for disaster, indeed!

That month before Allie was born was a doozie when I was behind the wheel.  We had three relatively new vehicles that I was able to drive.  I had some sort of collision with all three within a few weeks.

Being blonde, Justin and I never thought about the possibility that maybe I shouldn't drive after the accidents with the first two cars.  However, as I was driving his Corvette into another car, he yelled "STOP!  STOP!" and calmly extracted me from the vehicle.  He decided that I shouldn't drive myself that day.  (Interpretation: "You can trash the other two cars, but don't f*ck up the really nice one or I'll mess your pregnant shit up !")  To be completely fair, he was super nice to me and held my hand while I cried because I had blemished his precious vehicle.  I'm really really REALLY lucky.

Pregnant selfie taken shortly after the "Vette Incident of 2010"

Going back to the topic of mailboxes.....

We had a Toyota FJ Cruiser and it was primarily Justin's truck.  For some reason I had it that day and on my ride home, I panicked when I saw deer on the side of the road.  My reflexes were totally lagging, so somehow I managed to swerve and hit both the front and back (but not the middle) of the truck into a row of mailboxes.

I stopped and was completely shocked.  I got out of the truck and stared at the truck.....then the mailboxes.....then the truck again.  There was mail everywhere.  As I mentioned, it was a row of mailboxes.  Dead soldiers, all bent over and their guts were scattered all over the road.  

As a lover of mail, I did what any other postal devotee would do.  I immediately started picking up the mail.  My big pregnant butt was walking around, bent over, trying to get the mail before someone drove by and really ruined it!  I waddled as quickly as I could and collected it all, junk mail included. 

As a partially sane, sleep deprived person, the important thing to do finally clicked in and I called Justin.  

Justin: Hey honey.  (he always answers nicely like that)

Me:  I just had an accident.

Justin: What??

Me:  I saw a deer and I thought it was going to run in front of me and I swerved and I hit this row of mailboxes and fishtailed again and then I hit the rest of them!

Justin: Where ARE you????

Me: (I give him the address.  I can't tell you.  They might have been YOUR mailboxes for all I know!)

Justin: That's where the mailboxes are?  Where are YOU?

Me: I just told you.

Justin: You're in front of the mailboxes?

Me: Yes.  I don't know which one belongs to which house and it's getting dark and no one is around.... (i'm crying by this point)

Justin: Why are you still there then?

Me: (silence)

Justin: Vicki!  Are you there?  Can you hear me??

Me: Yes.

Justin: What are you doing?

Me: Sorting the mail.

Justin: Your kidding right?

Me: No, I'm not!  The mail was everywhere! I can't really see the numbers on the boxes and it's a lot to sort!!

To this day, when Justin tells the story, he always emphasizes the fact that I sorted the mail before I left because he thinks I have an abnormal obsession with the postal system and, apparently, this story backs up his theory.

So, when I see a mangled mailbox, I remember that day fondly.  I won't continue with the dialogue, but while in that state of mind, I determined that the people should actually PAY me for hitting their mailboxes, because the other ones where total crap to begin with.  They would have to replace the mailboxes with new ones, which would increase the value of their property!  Therefore, as I informed my husband, I did them a huge favor, and THEY should pay US for the auto body repairs on the truck.  How I came up with that wacky logic is unclear, but I remember thinking that I was really smart when I was pregnant, sleep deprived and off of my anxiety medication.  AND, when I took him to see the mailboxes the next day, they had already replaced all of them with the pretty new kind that are encased in plastic mailbox-shaped suits of armor.  Improvements were swiftly made.  All. Because. Of me.

I am unable to post photos of the mailboxes before and after they were replaced (again, they could be YOURS and you'd be super pissed, as I imagine that you aren't buying that whole property value increase theory), but I've seen many others since that day and I always wonder what the story is behind them.  I've taken photos of some of my favorites since then and I hope you find these as intriguing as I did.  (Note: These are all taken in rather nice neighborhoods, which makes some of them even more entertaining.  Enjoy!)

These people are not giving up.  You can see by the multiple types of tape used that this was not their first rodeo, if you know what I mean.  

My personal favorite!  These people are on a mission.  They will protect their mailbox at all costs.  Garbage can filled with  cinder block chunks and held down with rebar, with electrical wire AND an audio/visual cable tying it to the post for the added touch.  I bet you he grabbed everything he could find in his garage that last time his mailbox was hit and put this together, fueled by fury!

Piggy back mail boxing.  At what point do you call your neighbor and say, "Ive had enough.  I'm not buying another mailbox.  I'm going to just tie mine onto yours.  I hope you can deal with that"?  Then, was the main box hit and the guy was too afraid to replace it with the other mailbox (from aforementioned pissed off neighbor) attached?

True New Yorker.  This person just took the box, flipped it so the opening was  facing up and still uses it this way.  There was mail in it!  I peeked!  This guy knows that if he replaces that box and we get a ton of snow, the DPW Angry Plowers will just take the new one out too.

This person just gave up.  RIP mailbox.  

Sent to me by a friend.  Total honorable mention! Support stick, rope, massive duct tape and who knows what else they used.  That little red flag screams "Never say die!  You can knock me down, but you can't take me out!"

If you have any of your own please email them to me! (those are zeros, not the letter "o")

Wishing you all a lovely start to the holiday season!  xoxo

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Demise of Organizational Confidence

Recent conversation in my home:

(Scene: I'm sitting on the couch in the living room watching Sofia The First with Allie and watching my husband as he prepares to fix our coat rack. Multiple trips have been made to and from the garage as he collects the tools necessary for the job)

Me:  (taking a double take as Justin walks past for the final time)You need a HATCHET to hang a coat rack????

Justin:  (eyeing up the wall with his back to me)  I couldn't find a hammer.  It's the best I could do.

Me:  WHAT?

Justin:  What?

Me:  You're a tool guy and you can't find a hammer?

Justin:  (still looking at the wall)  Yeah.

Me:  And you don't find that ODD?

Justin:  How can you expect me to find a hammer in that mess?

Me: I can't believe you can't find a basic tool like a hammer.  Aren't you ashamed of yourself?

Justin:  (pause)  Maybe a little.

Installation commenced.  Seriously, folks.... he used the hatchet.  Totally true story.

I tell you this story because for the past seven years, Mr. I Sold Tools For A Living has been arguing with me about our garage being a mess.  His arguments have changed over the years.  I think he slowly started to accept the facts.  For your amusement, here are the most frequently heard retorts to my accusations:

2006:    "It's not THAT bad.  All of this stuff is seriously important."
2007 - 2013: "It's a little messy.....but I know where all my shit is."
2008:    "I think we might to need to get out there and clean the garage."
2010:    "'s like training camp for an episode of hoarders out there."
2012:    "The garage is getting pretty bad."
2014:    "I can't find ANYTHING."

The 2014 statement occurred only after we had an organizer come and "just look" at the situation.  Apparently, all it took was a professional person with great organization skills, who could speak to him in gentle tones, to drive this point home.

I'd love to post a photo of our garage, but I can't and the reason is two-fold.  One, it's such an embarrassing disaster and I'm afraid you'll judge ME along with him.  Two,  allegedly we have stuff of value in there (or he's just lying so I won't throw everything away while he isn't home) and I don't wanna brag!  (as if you really give a shit about tools)  So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Let me post some supporting photo documentation to go with the story above before I wrap this up:

The tools necessary to REhang the coat hanger.  Notice the HATCHET.  I wonder how confident he would be about me hanging photos with a bunch of nails and a hatchet.
Speaking of nails..... notice the thing-a-ma-jig, whatchacallit, do-dads here.  Our garage looks like a tornado hit it.... multiple times..... yet his little parts and stuff are perfectly organized in a bunch of carriers like this.  I don't get it.  Did he exhaust his organizational skills with small parts?
Sad sad coat hanger.  For the fourth time, he points out that the rack has too many coats on it.  My question was "Don't you have a stud finder?"  (The responses are always eye-rollers.)  The little hanging whozeewhatzees above are supposed to help you hang stuff when you can't find a stud.   I think we can label this method as A FAIL  (not yet of epic proportions)
Removal of our overused coat rack for the 4th time.  I know the amount of times from the three holes in the wall.  I think we may be putting too many coats on the rack.... maybe..... I think.  I'll have you know that the rack is back on the wall and all of the coats are on it again.  We're blond, you know?  It takes us awhile to catch on.

Here's a photo of my little princess.  She helped me walk Tallulah today.  I love it when we get to spend time together in the middle of the day.  Aren't they both beautiful?

DISCLAIMER:  The previous story in no way indicates that my husband is unable to do handyman projects.  He gutted and remodeled a kitchen, two bathrooms and a bunch of walls and ceilings....which he had never done before.  He's a "let me wing it first and see how it goes" kinda guy.  I'm beyond impressed with his mechanical abilities.  I love you, dear!

NOTATION:  I once hung up a two foot wide shelf when my first husband was at work.  I used a level, NUMEROUS screws, bolts, nails (for screw reinforcement), a hammer, an electric drill, a chalk thingy to draw a line, and a hammer (NOT a hatchet).  He came home, put a book on it and the shelf felt forward about three inches from the wall.  After forbidding me to touch any more electrical tools in the house, collecting himself from laughing at me, AND removing the shelf and supporting items, he taught me about WALL ANCHORS.  Thank you, Ron, for this very valuable piece of homeowner knowledge that I will never forget.   P.s. I still have no idea how to use them!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Therapeutic, Drug Free Weddings

I've mentioned it before, but this past week, my wedding day has been stuck in my head.  Mostly, because a week ago I got to be a part of celebrating my friends' wedding.  I think those events bring up lots of memories for us "already marrieds".

Rose and Steve's wedding was beautiful.  I know people say it all of the time, but I think it may have been one of the most perfect weddings I've ever been to.  The location was fantastic, the people in the wedding were so awesome and the bride looked stunning.  And I mean stunning for real....not in the way that people say stunning because that's the right thing to say.  Plus the guests were a lot of fun and we were put at a table with the super cool people, which always makes it more comfortable when you don't really know anyone.

Steve and Rose...... and the rest of us peeps! 
There was something really strange about the whole event tho.  It was actually therapeutic.  Being able to participate in a perfect wedding with people I love helped me get over the residual guilt of my own wedding day.

Let me take you back 5 years......

I was sick.  The end.

Okay, there was more.  I had spent months upon months obsessing over things and carrying around this kajungus wedding organizer because I wanted things to be perfect.  My mission statement was, "I just want everyone to have a good time."  I just forgot to add "WITH ME."   Apparently, God is very strict with his interpretations when granting requests.
Waiting for the tardy party members.  Places people!  Places!
The night before, we had the rehearsal dinner, which was very nice and Justin and I were gloriously happy.  Before I walked out the door to go home, I sneezed.

Instant sick.

The next morning, I woke up..... sicker.  I rummaged thru my medicine cabinet like a nut, looking for something to make me feel less sniffly, sneezy, coughy and achy.  I was marrying the man of my dreams and everyone I loved was going to be there.  I needed energy and I needed to be clear headed.  So, I took Tylenol Sore Throat and Comtrex somethingoranother.  I grabbed my wedding day crap and ran to my mom's.

I walked thru that door and my parents, brother and sister-in-law all looked at me and said, "Oh my God.  You look awful."  I can still see their faces.  They had that flinchy, slightly shocked, "yikes" look.

I panicked.  "Oh my gawd.  What am I going to do......?"

Here's what else happened.  I FAILED TO MENTION the previously consumed medications from home.   So, when said family starting handing me glasses of water with promises of "take this and it'll help", I started gulping water and drugs like a fish out of water.  Tablets and cough syrups left and right.

About an hour later, I sat in the salon chair, getting my hair done, staring into Kathy's eyes as I held her hand, repeating, "I don't feel good.  I really don't feel right.  I think something is wrong."
This actually did turn out to be a lovely coiffure.  Kathy took the photo and then I confessed to being totally jacked up!

You've seen that I'm blond.  I do fit the stereotype from time to time.  My blondness prevented me from figuring out that I was.....O-V-E-R M-E-D-I-C-A-T-E-D.  In a big way.

Before leaving for the church, we were praying to God, angels, deceased relatives, the Pope, and anyone else with some miraculous pull that might help me feel better.  FAST.
Justin holding me upright and the girls were like book ends keeping me from falling over
ps. Liz I apologize for the photo with the eyes closed but it's the only digital one of these I have!
It didn't happen.  I was now "cold sick" as well as "over medicated sick".  NOT a good combo.  I spent from 1pm until 8pm on the verge of throwing up, unable to eat, dizzy, crying, completely miserable.  I laid on the couch in the bridal suite while people came up to check on me.  I especially enjoyed those who stated the obvious, "You never should've taken all of that medicine!"  Thank you and fuck you.

Here's what I do recall:

I spent a whole lot of time in the bathroom staring into the toilet and praying that I would barf up all of the meds and feel better.

My poor husband spent the first 3 hours of our reception on his own.  It was like he married an invisible person.  (I still feel guilt about that.)

A lot of people checked in on me to see how I was.  My mom, Justin, Kathy, my neighbor Trish, Justin's aunts Kathy and Angel, my mothers-in-law.... and then my oldest NY friend Wendy sat on the couch, feeding me bread and being so kind.  It turns out that Wendy had the magic touch, because even though I couldn't eat, THAT was what made me feel better.  A big fat edible sponge to absorb all of those meds.  She saved what was left of my wedding day!

I got to enjoy the last two hours of the day, even though I was high as a kite from everything I took.  I got to dance with people, cut the cake, ogle Justin, and have some sort of fun.

My favorite part though was the ceremony.  Why?  Because I learned that THAT was the most important part of a wedding.  Not all of the dancing and fun.  It was some sort of miracle, but for that 1/2 hour, I was perfectly fine and healthy and freaking THRILLED.  God took pity on me and said, "Ahhhhh....alright.  I'll let you enjoy the important part.  But that's all!  Don't get your hopes up.  I'll think about the rest of the evening."

We had this guy perform our wedding who thought we were  a riot.  We filled out questionnaires and he really went with it.    When I watch the DVD, I still laugh or cry while watching the ceremony.  It was the best moment of my life, right after having Allie.   I still get that same flutter in my stomach when I think about it.   Our guy kicked ass on our ceremony and I was totally 100% smitten with the other guy there.  You know.  Oh, what's his name?.......  Justin!  That's right.  Whew!  (wink)
One of the best moments of my life.  Lucky girl!
I was really glad we had someone do video because that's the only way I got to see what my reception was like.  It was as I hoped.  People had a good time.  But now I know to include myself when I make such requests!  Never forget yourself.  It took me 37 years to learn that if you don't make yourself a priority, chances are no one else will.
Immediately after our ceremony.....just on the cusp of become sickly all over again

Mind you, five years later, I was sick again!  Yep.  But I combated that shit with vitamins and medication and Airborne in a reasonable fashion.  By the big day, I had a slight cough and sniffles, but Mucinex D helped hide them until midnight.  I also annoyed the crap out of Rose, probably freaking her out, about getting sleep and not getting sick and taking vitamins.  She probably wanted to scream, "SHUT THE FLUCK UP!!!" at me numerous times.

Yet still, Rose and Steve's day allowed me to enjoy and participate in a "do over" of sorts.  I got to be a part of a perfect wedding and enjoy myself!  I cried at the ceremony partly because I was so happy for my friends, partly because it was a beautiful moment and partly because I had that flutter in my heart remembering the moment I married my own Prince Charming.

So, if you're a bride to be, or know one,  be sure you/they are mindful of three things:

  1. Take care of yourself physically.  Keep in mind that stress drains you physically and wreaks havoc on your immune system.
  2. Plan the day so YOU have fun.  Everyone there will follow your cue.  
  3. Focus on that ceremony.  Even if no one else listens, it's the most important part of what's going on that day.  Remember that.
Love to all!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Dodging Death Left and Right!

An important message flin case I die you all will know WHO/WHATDUNIT!!!

Wow.....that's not an attractive part of the video to use as "the preview"!  Thank you very little, YouTube.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kill 'Em With Kindness

Today I'm going to have a little bitchfest about niceness.  Or not-niceness.  Whatever it is, I'm going to complain about people being jerks.  Specifically, over the last 24 hours.

Right away, I'm sure you could conjure up a situation where some stranger was a big fat jerk face to you recently.  Something that makes you squint with pissedoffness when you think about it.  I have  bunch of them that regularly occur and really light a fire under my ass.

1- People who walk into an establishment before you and let the door slam shut on you.
2- People who walk in behind you and don't say thank you (or smile or even look at you) when you hold the door open for them.  
3- People who are polite enough to hold a door, but can't figure out that "you're welcome" is the correct response to "thank you."
4- People who look at you like you're an idiot when you smile at them as you walk past each other in public.
5- People who cut in front of you in line at a store because clearly they never figured out how a line works.  Get in the back, Jack!

Those are five of my favorites.  I would like to give honorable mention to grammatical issues like those who think an apostrophe means you pluralized a word.  Louise's farts vs. Louises farts..... the first one is about farts that belong to Louise.  The second one pertains to flatulence created by a group of people called Louise.  And "car's" means that something belongs to a car.  "Cars" means more than one car.  It's really the worst!  It's apostrophe abuse.


Reading back, I've come to realize that I have a lot of issues involving door etiquette, don't I?

Anyway, I learned something new about "being too nice".  There is no such thing as being too nice when you're in business.  I've been criticized for "being too nice" to my clients when I don't charge for certain things that most other people charge for.  Most of the time it's because of some kind of human error.... and God knows I've got my own list of human errors that I've made!  So, sometimes I don't charge people for things like forgetting to cancel every once in a (long) while, or if they urgently need my help at the last minute because they (infrequently) forgot to call me.  Random stuff happens.   (But I DO have limits.)

As a benefit, it is that those little acts of understanding people for being human and making mistakes that usually improves and strengthens the bond with me and my clients.  BEING NICE HELPS.

Let me give you an example.

Exhibit A:  (I really don't need the A...there was only one situation today, but it sounds fancy to call it Exhibit A.)  (Don't give me crap, because lots of people would've written "....the bond with my clients and myself" in the previous paragraph to sound fancy, which would have been incorrect, so get over my "A")

Exhibit A: 

I need to have straps put on a dress and then get it steamed.  I asked around and someone told me to try a certain place that I've never been to.  So, I did.  I walked in the door and the first person I encountered didn't even turn around and look at me.  The second person, who was behind the counter, looked a little annoyed at being interrupted from....I don't know.  I got kinda nervous because this place did NOT give off the "warm, fuzzy" vibe I would like of someone who will be trying to help me keep my boobs in my dress.

"Can I help you?" They both turned their attention to me at the same time and they sounded as if they had taken a handful of Valium about an hour before I got there.  Enthusiasm was not an option here.

I rambled off what I needed and barely made sense.  As I mentioned, I was nervous.   I don't get nervous in regular situations.  But these two people weren't regular.  They weren't even remotely cheerful.  And I think they lost their smile muscles in some sort of accident.  

The whole thing was horrible.  I felt like they didn't want my business.  And it was a nice looking place, so clearly they must do well at..... something.  For a minute, I took it personally since I can't imagine these people made money being annoyed at everyone who walked in the door.  It must've been me, right?  Did I offend?

I lied and said I'd be back the next day (today) and left.  I made a "U"ey and went to the place I originally planned on going to.

Place #2 is not nearly as nice as the one with The Living Dead running it.  It's a little rundown looking.  However, they've been in business forever and the people working there were cheerful, helpful, and actually looked like they wanted to help me.  And they were freakin' NICE.  


"Too Nice" by some people's standards.  But not mine.  They deserved my business.  They earned it the minute I walked in and they smiled at me.  I will always recommend them to people.  And I will always tell the story why I like them so much.

Unless of course they screw up my dress.  And then I will have to say how nice they are and follow it up with "they don't know squat about sewing shit".   But I'll still mention how nice they are. Because I know that you should always start of the analyzation of a situation by saying something kind.  

It's the nice thing to do.

Before I go, check out these shoes:
Alfani Apryl Mary Janes
Aren't they cute?  Why am I showing you them?   Cuz I keep closing my browser tabs before I remember to save them to my bookmarks.  Now I need to save them here.  I'm using my blog to remind me of crap I want to buy when I have money.  I hope you don't feel used.
They're even cute in the Hooker Leopard, no?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This Is NOT Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

Do you remember that show?  If you're around my age, which is a very young and spry forty-two, then you know Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.  I loved that show.  Way before the Discovery Channel started doing documentaries on sharks and alaskan crab killers and whatnot, Wild Kingdom would take us to the natural habitats of all types of beasties and creepy-crawlies and stuff.    They started in 1963 and apparently they are still kickin'.  I think they just do videos now.

Anyway, I have always lived in a Wild Kingdom of sorts from the minute I moved out of my parent's houses.  It's still going strong!  We've narrowed it down a good bit, but I've still got my critters.

This summer (we did have summer at some point, right?) I focused on doing a lot of nature stuff with Allie here at home.  So, I present to you, Our Very Own Wild Kingdom In Pictures.  Enjoy.

Introducing Hermie, Cranky, Crabby, Grumpy and Canty (short for Cantankerous)
Welcome to The Crabitat That Screwed Me.  I'd love to introduce you to all five of the sonsabitches, but I made the huge error of following the directions on "how to keep hermit crabs" from a website for people who seriously love their crabs .  I've got everything in there from the regular water to the salt water bath to three kinds of food to quality substrate.  They used to get moss, but I'm pissed at them, so they're moss-deprived now.  Why am I ticked off?  Because they did what happy crabs do and they buried themselves!  You may ask, "Are you sure they're alive?"  I can confidently confirm that they are indeed alive.  I know this because Allie and I make Justin dig them up for Proof Of Life checks every other week.   What a joy it is to take care of invisible pets!  I should've bought a pet rock.
Farmer Allie
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, we started a vegetable garden from seeds in May.  My mother-in-law found this cute little do-it-yourself grow kit for Allie and I to do together and this is our second year attempting it.  Allie planted every seed herself.  You know how kids are with this kind of stuff, right?  They plant a seed and suddenly decide they didn't like the placement or weren't sure it went in the hole, so they dig it back up.  Therefore, the actual planting process became quite extensive.  Every day we watched  the little cups of dirt for seedlings to sprout, and then watered and measured them.  Thirteen days later we had a situation.
Day One on left and Day Thirteen on right
Our sprouts were seriously sprouting.  I wouldn't even call them seedlings because they were outgrowing their carton waaaaaay before the directions said they would.  Allie was super excited about this and we immediately embarked on a search for a system to help us grow vegetables on a cement patio.  I was happy to discover that I'm not the only nut who tried to do this.  Container gardening is really popular now.
I think the tomato plant was intimidating the beans and carrots.  I had to separate them.
For my birthday, I asked Justin to get me three of these awesome self-watering grow boxes.  I was seriously excited about them.  Allie kept wanting to pick up the burlap top "just to check", which is entirely against the rules according to the grow box people.  (She couldn't tell me what she was checking for, so I decided to be a law abiding gardener and deny her wish to peek.)  Justin, Allie and I transplanted our cucumber, squash, green bean, carrot and watermelon plants and those little buggers were off to the races!  They grew like..... I guess like vegetables grow.  Fast and stuff.
It was only right that Allie got to pick the first cucumber
Flash forward two months and I've got a jungle on my patio.  It's insane!  And there's all sorts of drama.  The plants drink way faster than the self-waterer can keep up with, some kind of dusty mold stuff is attacking my cucumber plants and I have to keep cutting them back, and it's seriously over-crowded on my deck which makes enjoying our lovely patio furniture difficult.  But it was all worth it to watch Allie pick the veggies!  She was dying to do it for weeks!
Our first harvest
We got some green beans, but the big score was the cucumber.  If you ever have a chance to taste garden cucumbers, you will understand why I loooooooove them so.  They make the ones at the grocery store seem plastic.  Justin and I ate this cucumber and actually fully evaluated its fabulousness as if we were professional cucumbers connoisseurs.  Unfortunately, Allie doesn't like any of the vegetables we are growing, other than maybe the carrots.  She prefers broccoli and cauliflower.  I know.... don't be hatin'!  My kid likes the vegetables most kids hate. She asked for broccoli plants next year.  I really can't imagine growing broccoli on my porch, so that negotiation is off the table.

Roadside Bouqet
This is the first bouquet Allie ever made for me.  She picked them on the side of the road in New Jersey somewhere when we made a stop on our way home from Virginia in June.  My sister got one too.  It was so cute that I had to take a photo.  I'm digging the floral arrangement....and the one blade of grass.

New York bear.  He was very gangster.
Since we're talking about wild animals.......this is a bear that happened to come out of the woods at a customer's house one day.  He just sauntered out and up the hill.  We've had some bear sightings in our condo complex this month so Allie is on red alert with Bear Watch 2014.  When people tell stories about how the bears were on their back porches or walking across the road, Allie starts freaking.  To be honest, I don't blame her, because when this bad boy in the photo above came strolling along, I didn't breathe, blink or swallow until he left.  Very scary.

Molly and TuTu
I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but my kid has a second personality named TuTu.  Out of nowhere she decides she is TuTu the dog and if we try to address her as if she were human, she gets annoyed and corrects us.  "NO!  I'm NOT Allie!  I'm TUTU!"  How bad could that be?  Well, when she wants to have a leash put on her to go outside, or tries to pull her pants down to poop in the front yard like our dog does, that's a problem.  I'm thinking there's a firm "No Pooping On The Ground If You're Human" policy here at our complex.  Anywho, I did some dog boarding this summer.  It's been about 4 years since we boarded and we gave it another shot.  The dog in the photo is Molly.  Molly is quite cooperative when playing the TuTu game, which is nice.  We adore and worship Molly.  We want to keep her, but her humans are not super keen on that idea.

Lulu and Tutu
In case you were wondering where the name came from, she chose it when this Newfoundland stayed with us.  Lulu is a precious gem.  Just amazing.  And gianormous.  Completely hugeantic.  But she's really good with Allie and they are very good buddies.  Lulu and Tutu are a team.  A force to be reckoned with.  I nearly stepped on them when I got out of the shower one day.  They were snuggled up on the floor right below me.  If they were plotting to take me down, it was an excellent plan.

Benny observing Solomon having lunch
Okay.  Last domestic animal photo!  Benny is Sadie's BFF and our neighbor.  She's known him since puppyhood.  He's the mayor of our complex.  He is also smitten with our rabbit, Solomon.  Wen Benny stays with us, at least once a day you either catch Benny licking Sol's head OR you discover that the licking has already occurred when you end up petting a dog-slobbered bunny head.  He spends much of his time "observing" Solomon.  Solomon would last about 4.3 seconds in the wild.  You could smash into his cage with a car and he'll sleep thru it.  I figure either he's a very secure bunny or he ate way too much of the blue acid in the 60's.  Maybe he's on the medical marijuana....

My beautiful girl opening a gift at her birthday party
Shut up.  I know I said it was the last animal picture, but I thought I should post a photo in case you were wondering who Sadie was.  I'm just doing it for YOU.  It has nothing to do with how I love her as if I gave birth to her.  Nope.  Nothing like that.

All packed and ready to go!
Justin and Allie went to run and errand and came back with a Butterfly Garden thingy.  Oh joy.  Another thing for me to be in charge of.  But I thought it would be educational for her to see the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, and she certainly deserved it after the Crab Family became such snobs.  The 'Pillars came in the mail, spent three days growing and then decided they were ready to make a life change.  Suddenly I found them in the middle of the packing process.  That's some serious luggage!  Allie wanted to know if they each had "a potty in there".  She was very concerned about how they would "pee and poop" while changing in to a butterfly.

Hey!  Can you turn off the light??  We're sleeping here!
They became five lovely chrysalises.  Not cocoons.  Because my mom, the science teacher, corrected me every time I said cocoon.  "They are NOT cocoons.  They are CHRYSALISES."  Personally, I think she just liked saying it.  Chrysalis.  Chrysalis.  I believe this because I kind of liked saying it once I was forced to go cold turkey with my 'cocoon' usage.

Who drew that DREADFUL portrait on the floor?!  I'm far more spectacular than that!
I knew when they "hatched" because I got the call one morning and Allie was screaming "THEY'RE HERE!  THEY'RE HERE!" on the other end.  It was a lot of fun watching them and Allie wanted to observe them constantly.  The most difficult part of the entire process was getting her to understand that "you don't shake, drop or take the lid off of the container."  And of course, THOSE are the first three things that every three year old wants to do with a tightly closed container.

Freedom.  Sweet freedom
Today was the day that we decided to let them go free.  Butterflies only live 2-4 weeks so they were wasting far too much time watching tv in my house!  It would be like me watching 15 consecutive years of television.

Here are some short videos of the big event:

Did you get those last words, "Are they all out?" "No."

No.  Why?  Because two of them are lazy.  They hatched late and they decided to delay take off from Allie International Airport for another day.  So, we brought them back into the house.  And then tonight, I saw this:
A butterfly's living nightmare
This scenario annoys me because if you've ever been to my home, you would never guess that I have a cat.  Nay nay!  No cat!  That's because Lucky, the cat, is anti-social to an extreme.  She doesn't even like to be social with me and I FEED the little beyotch.  She religiously gives me death stares at night.  It really pisses me off when I'm watching tv and I feel like a hole is being burned thru my head because she's staring at me, thinking profanity and wishing bad things would happen to me.  So, now that we have butterflies, she decides that she wants to become part of the family and participate in activities..... as long as they occur within a 5 foot radius of the butterflies.  When these last two leave the establishment, I'm sure she'll go back to looking at me like I'm evil as she runs away.

Well, that's it.  It's been an interesting summer thus far.  Crabs, chrysalises and cucumbers.  Very eventful indeed!  The perfect finale would be winning a new car.  Another C on the list.  I guess I should start entering in car giveaways if I'm looking for that to happen, huh?

Wishing you sunlight and normal seasonal temperatures in your part of the world (it's chilly here!),


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Pre-Dead On The Food Chain

My food cannot make eye contact prior to consumption.  I just CAN'T eat something that was alive in front of me recently.   I don’t want to see the cow enjoying a good grazing in the pasture right before it becomes a steak on my plate.  If I’m feeding the chickens at the local market, I’m definitely not having a cutlet for dinner that night.

My food needs to be pre-dead.  

In other words, it needs to be dead and no longer in it’s original shape when I’m about to consume it.  Pig roast?  Not gonna happen.  Even if it’s dead when I first see it, it still looks exactly like it did when it was chillin’ in the ole sty.  Nay nay!

This weekend I saw a HILARIOUS video about a woman cooking live crabs for the first time and I definitely could relate!  In case you missed this gem, have a look:

The dog totally makes the scene for sure.  He’s all worked up and frazzled because his human is freaking and there are creepy crawly things with pinschers on the floor moving around.  Of course they cut out the part where the dog starts barking like crazy at the crab on the floor after the woman dives under the table.  The whole thing is priceless.

Just like every other time we go to the supermarket, this weekend Allie insisted that she go look at the lobsters.  It KILLS me.  I can’t go.  I make Justin go with her.  All of those poor lobsters, looking depressed with their claws bound up, and probably thinking about frolicking happily in the ocean when they were baby lobsters.  To boot, there are like 47 lobsters per square foot in those tanks.  The seafood department is heartbreaking.

(Side note: Don’t even get me started on Red Lobster.  Food should NEVER greet you at the door before it gets killed!  What kind of sadistic person thought THAT up?!  Can you imagine the anxiety they feel every time that door opens?  I always tell the lobster that I’m allergic so they relax a little)

Of course you know that I have to preface my story with SOMETHING.  Here it is.  On the way into the grocery store, Allie sees the shopping cart with the car on the front waaaaaay over yonder and asks if we can use it.  “Please, Mommy??! PLEEEEEEZE???!!”  So, I trot across the lot to fetch it, she gets in the car in the front and off we go.

We aren’t in the store more than five minutes when the lobster viewing drama starts, so she gets out and off they go to the tank.  As always, I continue shopping and wait for them to catch up with me.

Every aisle I went through had a child in a regular cart that pointed at MY cart and said, “Mommy!  There’s the cart with the car!  I told you!”  And every child and mother would look in the car, see empty space and look at me funny.  Of course, I felt the need to explain to every  last one of them that my child was back in the seafood section…. and I really don’t think anyone believed me.

I finished all of the shopping and was in the dairy section when Justin and Allie came trotting along, toting….what else….a bag with a lobster in it.  By now I’m completely stressed from feeling the need to validate why I was using the cart with the kid car on the front with no kid in it, so seeing that bag nearly freaked me out.  It must’ve shown on my face.

“Huge sale on lobster, Vic.  HUGE!  You wouldn’t believe it,” says an extremely happy looking Justin.

“Mommy!  We got a lobster!  We’re gonna take it home!  I want to put it in water!”  He’s lucky he’s got that happy little human next to him to lighten the mood.

We’ve done the lobster thing before, so Allie has seen that the lobster comes home, goes into the fridge where it’s forced to think about it’s sins and wish it was back in the supermarket where “things weren’t so bad”, ends up on a pot of water on the stove, and then Daddy eats it while making all sorts of happy noises.  So, she knows it’s going to die.  

I just think that she has hope that one time we’ll fill the tub and just let it live.  Truth be told, if we lived near the ocean, I’d kidnap the poor thing, drive like OJ to the beach and set him free.  He should be food for something out there!  Not for something I live with!  The food chain is all jacked up as long as he’s in my fridge!

(Warning:  If you're sensitive to the whole Lobster thing, quickly scroll past the next few photos.  Stop when you see the lobster cartoon.)
Lobster Coffin courtesy of ShopRite

The moment of hope for a last minute pardon.  Sigh.
I'm sorry Mr. Lobster.  Poor fella.  (insert major UNsmiley face here)

I’m so glad that I can’t eat shellfish.  This whole process just freaks me out!  I vacate the premises while he cooks them and sometimes I leave when he eats them too.  BLECH!

I discovered I was allergic when I was much younger, and then it was confirmed when I got a job in a local fancy restaurant as the “shrimp n’ salad” girl.  I was the person who prepped bread baskets, made salads and prepared shrimp cocktail.  It went something like this: Fill bread baskets, eat shrimp, make salad, eat shrimp, make shrimp cocktail, eat shrimp, eat shrimp, eat shrimp, etc.  By the end of the night, my shrimp consumption career was over.  I was sssssiickkkk.  My passport to Shellfish Island was revoked due to awful allergic reactions.    
And now I know things about bread baskets that I wish I never knew!  Let’s just say that if it looks like a bunch of random bread pieces tossed in a basket, only proceed if you’re really hungry.  I won’t even get into the butter recycling situation!

Anyway, the lobster is gone to the big aquarium in the sky.  I make Justin clean everything that came in contact with the poor thing....or was near it..... or the lobster looked at.  I refuse to participate in any part of this heinous act, from purchase to dishwashing.  No lobster death on my hands!

I can't just end this on such a negative note.  I need to find something happy.  Here's one of my all time favorite videos.  It's a cat beating the crap out of a laser jet printer..... and narrated by an English bloke.  The accent always makes it funnier.

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