Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Double Your Stoves, Double Your Fun

House, how's the HOUSE, Kelly?

That's what our families are always asking. If you're tired of house talk, turn away.

Our water closet on the first floor has been though an awful lot. That poor little room. When we first bought the house it had a shower stall and a toilet. Seeing the obvious problem with going to the potty and having to rinse your hands in a shower stall we pulled that shower out and placed it on the 2nd floor (for now) and were living okay with a vanity in it's place. However, like with a lot of things in the house the water closet still needs work and so this past Sunday it got gutted. The toilet and vanity are now in my kitchen (my poor kitchen) and Trevor's been working on fixing the wall there to be more sound proof. It's one of the very few walls through which we can hear our tenants. Otherwise the house is so massive that I can't even tell when they're home. I covered up the pink paint (yay!) and we've bought new tile to lay on the floor in lieu of the cruddy vinyl they had down which was peeling up anyway. And Trevor is working on routing the trim so it matches what's hanging around the rest of the house. Once the mudding on the drywall is all done I anticipate having to bust out the paintbrush again, but at least we're like 90% done with this horrible hot pepto pink.

The kitchen is still in a really sorry state and I can't possibly host Easter with a toilet in the middle of my kitchen. Kind of not a good impression to make on guests who hope I'm feeding them non-poisonous food. But things have been ordered. We'll have a beautiful kitchen yet! It just takes like 3-4 weeks to get the cabinetry and then of course the countertop and picking out our slab.

Once the water closet is done then it's probably on to the 2nd floor bathroom. That'll be another big project but after THAT? Then I think it'll be smooth sailing.

For anyone worried about my eating habits now that we have two functional stoves we've been eating...and WELL. I got us lobster and pate and bread and we had a good time making a decadent mess. Yesterday I made some box-dark chocolate cupcakes and although the pan wanted to slide out because the floor is not level beneath it...my cupcakes came out evenly. And the ones with cream cheese filling? Even better. I had leftover cream cheese from a stuffed french toast experiment over the weekend so I put little dollops in the cupcake tins.

Cream cheese plus seedless raspberry jam with a touch of sugar whipped together smeared between pieces of french toast served with maple syrup. And mushroom onion cheddar cheese quesadillas on the griddle for Trevor as a snack. And yes, I consider that a snack and not an actual meal. Yesterday we had pizza with spinach, mushrooms, onion, scallops and pesto and extra virgin olive oil drizzle.

So the ovens have been really fun thus far. I can make a ton of things all at once, but a few of the elements are different and I have to get used to managing the flow of gas to get the right heat. I have almost burned myself a few times from not realizing how hot the handles of my pots get but I haven't melted or burned anything yet. Given that Trevor will bark at me to help him IMMEDIATELY when I'm right in the middle of cooking something it makes me very nervous to be away from a rumbling stove.

I need to take pictures of the progress. I know. I need to have more pictures of me too, I know. I'm in this weird growing out phase with my hair so I'm not feeling in peak form. I really need a trim to clean it up and rough up my hair into layers, but meh. I go into work with paint on my hands and have been told I've "got a little speck of something right....there" more than I'd like from all my after-work painting. I won't be too surprised if I get pulled aside and lectured on taking better care of myself and projecting a more businesslike appearance. Exhausted part-time painter and handiwoman with broken ragged nails covered in paint splotches. What a model employee I am.

Joking aside, I think of this is a training period because I can't even get pity from coworkers because 99% of my coworkers have kids and live in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation.

So this is what it's like to hardly function.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Random Scoop....on Poop

As you may have already noticed, I have really random luck. Not particularly "good" or "bad"...just random.

Like, that $100 gift card a few months ago.

Like constantly getting hit by other drivers in my car and it not being my fault and my car perpetually being in the shop. If it was good luck I wouldn't be hit. If it were bad luck, I'd be horribly disfigured and hurt. As it stands I'm perfectly whole and healthy.

And I apparently tapped into some more random luck.

If you haven't already guessed I am a bleeding heart. I don't want to be a crunchy granola chomping hippie but I'll be damned if I don't secretly want to wear all organic clothes and throw away everything I own that's plastic. Dirty Dirty Petrochemicals. As it stands I don't want to shave my legs, but that's another story.

So these hippie tendencies in me tend to make me want to secretly save the world. I don't have a brand name one, but I have a stainless steel water bottle. I also have a not-quite-as-fancy Rubbermaid one that I like mixing up my Crystal Light in because it's way easier to clean. It's really hard to get into the neck of a stainless steel one and that's my #1 reason for not using it more often. If I can't clean it right I don't feel good about drinking out of it. My coffee cup is made of recyclable materials and can be recycled once I am done making my use of it. And I try and use the reuseable grocery bags whenever I can remember and when my groceries aren't too drippy and gross and would end up leaking right through them. (ie: fish, lobster, chicken) I don't make it a point that I'm a little eco-conscious because people who rub it in other people's faces are self absorbed jerks who only want to pat themselves on the back and feel superior. I don't care to feel superior to anyone. In fact I know there are people who are 40 billion times more eco-conscious than me, but it's not a contest. You just do it because you should do it, Period.

Anyway, my point is that part of me likes to read up on random green products. Like gdiapers. Well, of course I throw my name into a sweepstakes and of course, of all the people who could possibly win I won me one of these.

Yeah, diapers. No, I'm not pregnant. Yeah...my husband looked mighty perplexed when the gigantic package came but if you're going to let me try an otherwise slightly expensive item for FREE that happens to help the environment? Why not. I'm all for it. And if the claims are the be 100% believed these gdiapers inserts are flushable, compostable and just plain tossable if you're not in a position to flush them.

Does that not blow your mind? When I was a kid there were only two options. To be a clothie kid and have your diaper held together by safety pins, or to be a disposables kid. And a disposable diaper will sit in a landfill for 500 years. They simply do not decompose well because of all the plastic they use in them to keep your diaper unleaky. And yes, I agree there is nothing grosser than a poopy diaper blow out. Gross.

I'm not above saying that disposables are simply a way of life and it makes things easy and when you're a parent you got to do what you got to do to survive. I'm not going to play sanctimonious jerk because I don't even have a kid. What do I know? Nothing. You're always going to run into a situation where you are on the road and you cannot possibly use anything else. But I also think that it's worth trying out alternatives and seeing if they'd fit into your lifestyle too. Like, I didn't think reusable grocery bags where a particularly good idea and then I grew to like them. At first I thought "why would I pay for something when they give it away for free? They just GIVE away free bags. Where is the incentive? I don't understand what the appeal is." But now I think they're less likely to bottom out and the handles are much stronger for heavy purchases like gallons of milk and tubs of detergent. They hold way more groceries per bag and the handles don't hurt my tender girlish hands. It takes me minimal effort to bring in the bags to the store and now that I have some I don't really need more. I always liked to recycle the plastic baggies anyway, but then it saves me the effort of recycling them because I don't have a big pile of them to bring to be recycled.

So I can't give you a full diaper report yet, but if this whole gdiaper thing is just as minimally invasive as the reusable grocery bag thing I'm sold. I'm willing to change my perception of what is "normal" consumer behavior if it actually ends up being a superior product.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Giving the Razor the Stink Eye

I've been teeter tottering between how to approach this subject without sounding really weird or racy. It's not racy at all.

But if you happen to know me you might know that I hate shaving. I just hate it. I can't stand the stumble, I can't stand the repetitive regularity that you have to do it. I can't imagine being 90 and leaning over trying to shave my legs. I'll just tell you now that it just isn't going to happen. I'll just be that really hairy 90 year old, thanks.

Despite my ire, I don't want to be that random weirdo with hairy man-legs. Not that I have anything against it, but the social stigma is too much for me. So I actually find a lot of interest in hair removal alternatives beyond the razor.

My favorite for a while was the Nair Sugar wax system, which I guess I'd liken to cheaper Nad's. If you were alive in the 90's you are all too familiar with the infomercials that Nads made. Oh Nads. What a wonderfully colorful name. But sugar wax is kind of like wiping caramel on you. It's really sticky and it gets everywhere and if you don't close up your tub correctly you have sugar crystals everywhere to deal with. Ick.

I've tried a few others since I think Nair discontinued my favorite kind in the tub. Everything good always gets discontinued. Anyway...so lately I've been making due with whatever Sally Hansen product catches my eye in the aisle of my local drugstore. I'm not crazy about it but it works fine. Mostly I have difficulty reopening the packages after I've used them once because they will seal themselves shut with their sticky contents never to be reopened again.

And I've already regaled you with my tales of threading.

Now? I'm going to have to tell you my epilator story. In case you don't know what that is, please click here. Now that you've been sufficiently scared by the close up of the head I can tell you I got curious and I got my hands on one for VERY cheap. Like I've bought cold medicine for more money. Bargain hunting aside, I was really nervous about 42 pinching metal pieces ripping out my hair at the root. Even though I have pretty much no feeling in my legs anyway, I'm still a bit intimidated about that kind of hardware so close to my tender flesh. What if it pinched my skin and made me bleed and I looked like I had some horrible rash? And because I got one for so cheap if it would just be junk and I'd regret not shelling out $100.

I will not keep you in suspense forever. The epilator did not rip my legs apart. In fact it didn't feel like much of anything, but I do preface this by saying the nerves in my legs are all dulled to such pain after so many years (YEARS!) of waxing them into submission. It hurt significantly less than waxing but I do think it would probably hurt like crazy if you had never even endeavored in a wax before. On the hurt scale, it's pretty mild.

I like it. I might be a permanent convert now, I'm THAT sold on it. No one even paid me off for this glowing recommendation.

Update: I tried it on not-my-legs and it was awful. Not so much I'd never do it again but I'd liken it to being pricked with a needle repeatedly. Like, really really repeatedly. If you're okay with being wildly stabbed with needles than I suppose it wouldn't be an issue to try it out. You may want to pop an aspirin before you start to preemptively hedge your bets.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Have paint will travel

Lex asked for another post so here it goes.

Apart from the mild euphoria of squeezing into those jeans and losing all feeling in my legs and slightly bruising my hips (which by the way, do not whither away as quickly as I do) it's been more of the usual. Weekends spent at Lowe's. Looking at granite slabs. Looking at cabinet swatches. Feeling generally nauseous about the cost. Ya know. The usual.

I'm a little confused about this granite versus marble thing because I've had laminate or tile in my other kitchens and it's been fine. I think it looks cool, and I'm kind of excited about the prospect of having a cold surface for chocolate tempering and dough rolling but otherwise? I just wish for a kitchen that works. My needs are pretty modest. I don't even need a funky back splash or granite light switch covers or a tin ceiling or built in bar sinks or anything.

Other than that I've been painting things, mudding up holes and generally sore from standing precariously on top of a ladder with my arms up over my head. Going in to work with paint in between my nails and spots under my neck. How embarrassing. But you can't get into all the corners of your built-in cabinet without crawling around upside-downy and dripping paint on yourself. At least I can't. Upside down painting kills me. I can't avoid looking like a mess. The prior owners were lazy painters though and didn't go all the way into the corners and they did not go all the way into each crevice of the molding. What jerks. First they stick me with hot pepto pink walls and then they can't even paint correctly.

I'm a tired lady but I'm looking forward to Lex's wedding. I figure by then I am owed a break from painting and will likely take at least a week off. The planning is fun and I'm excited about seeing the girls and being all together again. I miss Amanda terribly. Who else appreciates my Boston Creme Cupcakes as much as she does? Perhaps nobody. Speaking of food related projects, Trevor seems to have faith in me being able to make fancy apples for Lex's favors. I generally have faith in me too, even though I broke my candy thermometer during the move. If she actually wants me to do it, I would. I'd need to many more cookie sheets to hold all the apples on but I dipped like 500 chocolate pretzels for my own wedding so I think 40 apples is a cake walk.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just one for mankind seems like plenty

I'm going to tempt fate for a hot second and tell you something you totally don't want to hear.

I squeezed into those zero jeans! It's not in the slightest bit comfortable but I wriggled, zipped and buttoned up those 7s. My butt kind of looks like that model's too...really flat, but whatever. I accept that as an unfortunate side effect of being thinner than usual. That fat's gotta come from somewhere, right? In about 8 hours I'm likely to just slightly too bloated for them, but for now? VICTORY.

And designer jean victory, she is sweet.

(I probably just made 39049090 enemies right there, but hey the recipe for such success is packing up a house worth of stuff, going up and down eleventeen billion steps from your 3rd floor apartment, not eating the meals you want to eat when you want to eat them and generally being overworked and underpaid. Easy, right?)