Cleaning house physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Archive for October, 2011

Boo Hoo, It’s Halloween

I’m not a huge Halloween fan; not even as a kid did I enjoy the trick-or-treating. But when you have a child, you do what you can so they can enjoy this spooky tradition. And as long as they share the good candy, it’s a win-win for all.

I remember dressing up as a hobo as a child. Mom would smear shortening on my face and then put coffee grounds into the shortening so they would stick. Supposed to look like a bad beard. I hated the smell of those coffee grounds and still do. Totally cannot stand the smell of coffee. Maybe that was the trick-or-treat part on me.

Now that my daughter is out of the house, I don’t have to fake my enjoyment anymore. It’s lights off at my house, don’t bother ringing the doorbell, and a good time to just read. However, I did a quick search for some digital halloween pictures from the past, present, and future, and found these little gems. Hope you like them.

Hmm, not quite sure what Daughter is, but it doesn't look like Dorothy from Kansas.

The place where I work used to put on a huge halloween party for kids of employees. This was one of those years.

A couple of co-workers. No, this is not how they normally dress at work.

Daugher (left) and friend, looking cute as ever!

Twas a rough Halloween last year; we barely survived! (made with ZombieMe)


Fickle Friday # 8

I’ve been extremely busy around work and the house that I have not had much time for blogging lately.  So I will try to play a little catch-up now.

Cat Toilet Training

Look at that sweet face. Don't be misled; it is Miss #2 on the carpet Sunni, trying to fool you.

Sunni is trying my patience (which I don’t have much of anyway) with her #2 gifts that are not in the toilet. She has caught on to the game of me chasing her and has decided she doesn’t want to play anymore. So much for my cardio workout.  Tomorrow I plan to make the hole a bit smaller so maybe she’ll be comfortable again. Though she has no problem going #1 in the toilet. Picky cat!

MeiMei is a jewel and has the whole toilet training down to a science. Wish she would have a little cat-chat with Miss #2 on the carpet Sunni!

Preparing for Winter

Brrrr...winter is on its way!

Whine whine whine. The weather was chilly this week, but only in the mornings. Days were nice and sunny. I have a large maple tree in the front yard that usually leaves me (pun intended) a heavy deposit of leaves before Halloween. By putting them in pumpkin lawn bags, I have my minimal decorations and the ground is leaf-free. But not this year. There aren’t even enough leaves to warrant one quick raking. Of course that means that I’ll be doing the raking later when it is colder.

I have the snow tires in the car for the quick trip to the tire place early tomorrow in an attempt to beat the rush. Am hoping it is not crowded tomorrow. Usually people in the area wait another week or two. And I have to get the snow tires on my daughter’s car too so it will be driveable when she comes home for Thanksgiving. Plan ahead, that’s what I say!

Also hoping that this weekend I can pack up all the patio furniture and store it in the shed. And if I am energetic, I may also pull up all the dead/dying annuals in the pots so they will be ready for spring. Sprinklers have been shut off and blown out.

Thank goodness I’m not in the northeast as they are expecting several inches of snow this weekend. Meteorologists are predicting a colder and wetter/snowier winter due to la Nina. She was here last winter; don’t know why she thinks she has to come again so soon. Whine whine whine.

My New iPhone Toy

Yeah, ain

Daughter and I were eligible for upgrades to our phones. I finally broke down and bought us both the new iPhone 4S. Am having too much fun figuring out what I want to use. My gosh, the darn thing does just about everything!  I felt bad for Daughter though because when I bought her phone, they activated it and I had to send it to her via overnight delivery. Poor kid, had to go about 30 hours without a phone. I don’t know how she did it.

Siri, my personal assistant, is fantastic. Since I have issues with forgetting stuff, I now just tell Siri to set up a reminder. This is all done via voice and only takes a few seconds. Then I can just check those pesky tasks off as I get them done.

Last night, I read a short book on the iPhone. I was concerned it would be too small and just hard to read, but it was great. So I grabbed some freebies  (Sherlock Holmes for one) and now I will always have something on the phone to read.

State of the Plate

I was on the road for 6 hours this past weekend and enjoying the silence. Started playing the license plate game where you have to make a statement using the letters on the plate. I don’t deal with the numbers so it is just 3 words that fit together.

  • PYC — Play Your Cards (this one is my mom’s plate; she likes to play solitaire)
  • ABP — Always Be Prepared (this is my plate; how true)
  • CIF — Can I Fly (car that was old and slow)
  • ALG — Alright Let’s Go (car in a hurry)

And then there are the personalized plates. Some of them are very clever.

  • I XUD — I Exude ? Meaning what?
  • 8MSBHVN — Ain’t Misbehaving. Yeah, right!
  • WANDME — Wand me? Double you and me? (was the “u” already taken?)
  • 4GETU — Forget you? Going to be hard when there is a reminder on your car.
  • 82MUCH — Ate too much? Ain’t too much?

What would your personalize license plate be? Mine would be:
Can you figure out what it means?

Channeling Emily Litella

Ah… Emily Litella, played by the late Gilda Radner, on the Weekend Update Segment of Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s.

I fear believe I am channeling Emily Litella; she with her hearing issues and becoming fanatical in her editorial review only to have her error pointed out to her. She always was the quintessential lady, and quietly responded with “Never Mind.”

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Here is my list of Emily episodes.

One day my cousin called me and was a bit hysterical. I heard “My mom stabbed my dad to death.” Now in reality, what she said and what I thought she said were two diametrically opposed statements. She actually said ” My mom thinks my dad is dead.” As you can imagine, this Emily moment caused some wild thoughts as I grabbed my cousin and we sped across town to my aunt’s house. Yes, he was dead, but not due to knife wounds. It took a while to sort out the mix-up.

I was half listening to the news and heard “…the biggest swamp ever. Next weekend at the Fairgrounds.” What? A swamp, even a small one, at the fairgrounds? What’s the attraction? Having lived near the Everglades, I do like a good swamp, especially with alligators! But how do you bring a swamp to the Pacific Northwest? Won’t the gators get cold? They are cold-blooded. Oh, wait… it was the biggest swap ever. Ski swap. Never mind.

Attending a meeting at work one day, everyone was just sitting around. Someone asked “what was the hold-up?” Someone else responded with, “Waiting to drain the swamp.” Hmmm… was that the new catch-phrase of the day? Along the lines of “low-hanging  fruit?”  It reminded me of a favorite motto:  “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.” (I know it looks like I’m obsessed with swamps, but I’m not.)  So we all waited for several minutes. Then Dwayne Leblanc showed up and the meeting started. Ohhhh… “waiting for Dwayne Leblanc” not “waiting to drain the swamp.” Poor Dwayne. I always call him “drain the swamp” now.

Guess we’re safe here though because this is the written word, not broken. Geez — how do you break a word? The quality of stuff now-a-days is horrible; even words are breaking!   Ohh… spoken, not broken.  Never mind.

Planning for Judgement Day 10/21

According to some preacher (not using names as don’t want to encourage him), Friday, October 21, 2011 is Judgement Day. Mr. Preacher Man previously predicted May 21, 2011, but when that date fell through it was apparently just mis-interpretation, not an erroneous fact.

I can see that; sometimes I mis-interpret things too, such as when a work mate wants to get together for lunch, I think “going out” whereas she doesn’t. It can happen to anyone.

I should have been prepared, but I forgot. So now I have less than 48 hours to take care of my To-Do list. You know how I like to have everything planned out!

To-Do List Before Judgement Day
  • Go to my favorite restaurant for one last superb meal. (I do feel blessed lucky to be able to do this, because apparently prison officials are going to stop offering “last meal” to those on the date of their execution. Kind of the same thing, don’t ya think?)
  • Thursday night, stay up late and watch favorite funny movies, such as Blazing Saddles, The Hangover, and Top Secret (where Val Kilmer never looked so good). Never hurts to go out with a laugh.
  • Phones calls to family members to arrange a meeting place in the hereafter. I’m kinda shy and will be very nervous/anxious meeting new people so would like a few homies with me.
  • Stay home from work on Friday and sleep in, cuddle with kitties. (Am going to be tired anyway due to movie-watching.) If I awake, I am just early, so go back to bed.
  • Plan weekend blog posts (just in case Mr. Preacher man is wrong again has a new interpretation).

Hmmm — I’m actually coming up with more things not to-do, so am starting a new list.

Things Not To Do Before Judgement Day
  • Don’t pay November’s mortgage payment. Instead use the $$ to have a last meal (see To-Do list above).
  • Don’t eat all the Halloween candy I plan to take to Daughter when I visit her on Sunday. First, because it would make me sick and would hate to deal with that if I’m still alive. Second, I’d just have to buy more to give her on Sunday.
  • Don’t do the dishes; spend the last hours watching funny movies (see To-Do list above).
  • Don’t stress about toilet training the cats. I either won’t care or they won’t care (am sure someone won’t care whether they are toilet trained).

I’m sure there are a bazillion more things to think about, but I just didn’t remember in time to take part in proper planning.

Oh, and if this post offends anyone, please come see me on Saturday (in the hereafter, 7th cloud to the right of the Pearly Gates); I’ll apologize.

Relaxing in Bath Salts – NOT!

Last week I heard on the news that a young man was found dead in the river. His family said they were so sad, since he had been addicted to bath salts and thought he was doing well.

WTF? Addicted to bath salts? No wonder he was in the river; he obviously liked the refreshing feel of a dip and soaking in bath salts.  That just didn’t make sense to me. Does it to you?

I hauled out my handy-dandy Google and discovered that “bath salts” is the new drug on the block. It is a synthetic stimulant (mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone), similar to PCP or angel dust, and is known as bath salts or plant food.  They are sold in some stores under the product names of Ivory Wave (geez, I’d buy that thinking it was a soap product),  Vanilla Sky (a  lovely sounding candle fragrance), or Purple Wave (my favorite type of petunias).

Example of bath salts (courtesy of DEA)

Here’s some info straight from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) regarding the use of their emergency scheduling authority to ban the use of the chemicals used in manufacturing the somewhat legal bath salts. I say somewhat legal, because since it is labeled as “not for human consumption,” the FDA does not govern it. However, they found a big loophole and are banning what is used when making it.

“This imminent action by the DEA demonstrates that there is no tolerance for those who manufacture, distribute, or sell these drugs anywhere in the country, and that those who do will be shut down, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement on the DEA website.  “DEA has made it clear we will not hesitate to use our emergency scheduling authority to control these dangerous chemicals that pose a significant and growing threat to our nation.”

This ban took effect on October 7, 2011 and makes it illegal to have or sell the main ingredients for bath salts (mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone). The ban lasts for 1 year while the DEA works with other government agencies to review the drug and so on and so on. Oh wait, it’s not a drug (not for human consumption, remember).

A majority of states (30) have already banned the sale of bath salts. This synthetic drug is like an extreme amphetamine overdose.  Agitation and psychosis are usually seen, but the biggie seems to be the suicidal tendencies after the drug is taken. Wondering if this was the deal with the young man in the river.

I’ve mentioned these bath salts to a few friends and no one has heard of it (all “older” people). I mentioned it to some younger people and yes, they have heard of it. So now you know, and hopefully this will be the first and last time you have to hear of this.

And to the blogger who last month suggested I make bath salts for Xmas presents, I know this is not what you were thinking (right?).

When Matchy-Matchy Goes Bad

In August, my daughter tripped coming out of the bathtub and grabbed the towel bar.  It bent.

The original bent towel bar; the start of all my earthly problems over the weekend.

Since I had to replace it, I decided to replace all the hardware in the bathroom. Yes, I’m into matchy-matchy.

After looking around for a few weeks, I found what I wanted and got it ordered. This weekend was the installation party. How hard can this be? Unscrew some screws, patch the old holes, paint the patch, add new hardware.  Easy – right?
First I decided to cut out a small area so I could match the paint color.

I was pleasantly surprised when the new paint did indeed match. So I could really get started. Here are the tools I thought I would need.

New paint, wood filler, spackle, putty knife, utility knife, and foam paint brush. not showing a simple little Phillips screwdriver.

I removed all the old screws and anchors. found that I could keep 2 different anchors; one for a hand towel ring, and one for the tp (toilet paper) roll ring.  Used the spackle for the dry wall and white wood filler for the cabinet.

This was one of the anchors I could keep and reuse.

After the spackle dried, I sanded it, and could then paint it.  Found that the look of the paint job is different when done with a brush vs. a roller. So I grabbed a little roller from the garage and rolled over the wet paint. Looking good!

Looking good Billy Ray!

Things are going well!  I’m excited to actually put the hardware up. I need to install an anchor. I figure out where it is supposed to go and figure I can just use a small screwdriver to make a hole for the anchor. Easy! Then I attempt to screw the backing to the wall.  Oops — the anchor hole is too big for the anchor and it basically falls behind the wall.  Hmm, I bet if I just use a bigger anchor I can still use the same hole. Yup – that works. so the first towel ring is up!

Nice brushed nickel towel ring!

So started on the double towel bar. I knew this would be interesting because I only had 25.5 inches to work with. The towel bar came with a template for placing the holders. Darn – can’t find my level. So I measured the markings 73 times and all was good. The template had the screws in a vertical row. I drilled and properly inserted the anchors. When I actually grabbed the holders, damn ##$@## — screws are horizontal, not vertical.  GRINDING of teeth……….

Back to the drawing board. Patch up the holes, let it dry, then paint.

By now, things are not going so smooth. remember the nice little preparation collection of tools? Well, here’s what it is by now — and this doesn’t show the drill and the 2 boxes of different drill bits.

Tools I'm now using, while grinding teeth; cat is just looking for a drink and not helping at all!

I reuse the template and am marking the center of the holders. Then I center the holder over the mark and mark the screw holes. Slight concern in that the screw holes are very close to each edge. I now use the drill and attempt to drill holes for the anchors. Goes through the dry wall easy as butter, but then I run into something else.  A stud? but not right on the dry wall? Huh? So tried to insert the anchors, but they would not go in the full length. Think they were running into the stud or whatever. I tried everything, but basically ended up pissed off and attempted to just pound the crap out of the anchor. Yeah, that worked well.  I tried shorter anchors but still had some trouble.

Finally got fed up with the double towel bar and just slapped it together. It is not 100% sturdy, so need to do something about that. And it is not level either. So will be having someone else come in and deal with it. I’m fed up!

Not level and not sturdy, but it looks good!

However, I did get the TP roll holder up on the side of the cabinet and it looks pretty good.

Thank goodness the TP is available, because the rest of the installation was crappy.

Now, the lesson learned from this scenario is to not get caught up in matchy-matchy because it can go bad on you! Only one little towel bar was broken. I really only needed to replace it and could have with the same icky looking hardware that I’ve stared at for 12 years. But nooooo…… I had to go matchy-matchy and replace everything (including my wallet) and I am not a happy handyman today.

Heavy sigh!