Monday, February 25, 2008

To-do lists have me in deep doo-doo

So, my sister is pregnant (yay!). This means that my life will be a mad dash of knitting and sewing until my niece/nephew arrives. This also means that my normal sewing/button-replacing/hemming pile will be pushed to the side in favor of knitting baby caps and booties and making a baby sling and blanket for my niece/nephew.

This is all very exciting, and I have so many ideas on what I want to make for my sister so that she will be so very prepared (and stylish!) when the baby arrives. I'm not the only one scheming though. My sister's mother-in-law is a big knitter, too, and has a head start on me. She's made several baby sweaters already and I'm sure is planning on out-doing me every step of the way. She is at a disadvantage, though. She's in Scotland, and I'm only 3.5 hours away from my sister, who is working on buying a house in Houston.

I do plan on being the coolest frackin' aunt in the world, though. I haven't been around babies too much, that is, besides all of Dave's friends who are in various stages of parenthood. Some have as many as 3 kids, and many are in elementary school already. Crazy.

Anyway, it will be nice to have the opportunity to get used to being around babies since I have 3 sisters and a brother, though it looks like only one is dead-set on breeding.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The myth of the cat lady

It's been two evenings in a row that I've had to rush to after-work writing functions. Yesterday I spoke at two community college classes and today I helped organize a small writers workshop. Needless to say, after having to get excited enough to get other people excited TWO EVENINGS IN A ROW, I do not plan on being pleasant or excited tomorrow.

But the upshot is that this evening, since Dave is off work tomorrow for some vague reason I can't exactly remember, he went to a show with a couple of friends tonight, meaning that the house was splendidly silent when I got home. I unloaded my car and took the dogs out to take a crap in a neighbor's yard, and then came inside to settle in for the night in my nice, quiet house, with the TV turned off.

So, naturally, I wanted to relax, or do whatever the fuck I wanted, because hey, I'm all like McCauley Culkin, I'm home alone. Or at least that's what I thought. No sireee, the cats were screaming like their fat asses were going to die from starvation at. any. moment. I cracked open a few cans of animal slurry (Purina calls it dog/cat food) and fed everybody. I thought my duties as the dutiful pet owner were done.

I was wrong.

After I sat my fat ass on the couch and pulled up my laptop and Diet Coke (with Splenda, mind you) and got serious about catching up on tonight's Democratic debate in Austin, Hornsby started nudging and licking my pants leg. Apparently dogs need affection, too. I got a little annoyed, and I told him to go lay down. He did, but then Fitzgerald climbs his cute little butt up into my face and starts licking me. God. I couldn't resist the cuteness. So, Hornsby comes back over and starts harassing me again, and all the sudden I'm flanked by both dogs, nuzzling me on the couch.

But the animals weren't done yet.

Then, Mr. Orange makes his way over to the couch and I'll be damned if he didn't decide that my keyboard was the perfect spot for his fuzzy bum. I almost relegated my evening to herding the animals, and then I thought, "There is no way that the whole spinster-and-45-cats myth is true. I can't even manage one evening alone with two dogs and two cats."

Seriously, these guys may be cute, but they are needy little buggers.




(Couldn't help but take advantage of the opportunity to showcase the lovely furs of the House of England)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Will someone go camping with me? PLEASE?

So, for the past 5 or 6 days I've been looking through REI and several other camping/backpacking gear sites for camping equipment. Just the stuff I'd need to survive in the back country for a weekend. I've been obsessing about camping. A lot. I've been consumed in envy over my sister's backpacking trip she took last year with my brother and sister-in-law.

I really want to go camping if you couldn't already tell, so when Dave said there would be a music festival we should go to where there would be camping(!!!) I immdediately started scheming over what kind of tent we should get, and should I go ahead and get a backpack, and whether or not I should get a cool little gas stove, too, because we need coffee in the morning, and what about a new sleeping bag?

Well, since this function isn't until April, I guess I have a lot more obsessing ahead of me. Between now and then though, could someone please take this poor, deprived, ex-Girl Scout camping? Please?

Torrents of the Man Flu

Since last Wednesday I've been afflicted by the changing tides of illness, one so debilitating it can only be described as Matt's last spurious case of Man Flu. I know I'm not a man, but after reading the Wikipedia article on Man Flu (I shit you not) I now know that Man Flu may at times afflict the unsuspecting woman.

So, being the conscientious gal that I am, I didn't want to infect my coworkers with this virus if it happened to be the Full-out Flu and not its more tempestuous cousin, Man Flu. I scheduled an appointment with a doctor for 3 p.m. the next day for a Flu test.

Now, doctors' offices have waiting rooms. Big ones and small ones. They are self explanatory, yet that does not assuage the agony of waiting to find out which dastardly strain of flu might have infected your once able body. Instead you lay in a heap of anxiety and wait. The doctor arrived and jabbed my brain through my nostril with an 8-inch swab, and then I waited. And waited. And waited.

Test came back negative, so it's not Killer Flu, nor Full-out Flu. Though the doctor mistakenly marked my chart with "Viral illness" when I'm sure she meant "Man Flu."

So anyway. I've been coming to work just trying to manage the Man Flu symptoms: sore throat, full sinuses, throbbing head, achy back. No fever though. I'm totally exhausted and my limbs feel 40 lbs. heavier, which is like the death knell for a fat girl. I already feel heavy every day.

Everyone seems to be getting either the Man Flu or the Oh-My-God-I'm-Dying-of-Ebola Flu. Neither are swell. But I'm lucky to have the manageable one I suppose.

Y'all be careful out there.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Man and Wife in hot water

People say that things like infidelity, intimacy and leaving the toilet seat up will test a marriage. They’re full of it. Nothing tests a marriage like a leaky water heater. Early Saturday morning, Dave woke me with one sentence: “I think the water heater is busted.” In just seconds I was wide awake and mopping up our kitchen with the towels we got from our wedding registry. If anyone knows me, and knows me somewhat well, they know what I’m like dealing with a crisis in the middle of the night. I’m a God-awful bitch. A hopeless nag. I’m serving up guilt with a side of “I told you so.”

Now, our water heater is a sensitive subject. When we bought the house in which we live now, our Realtor, our seller’s Realtor and our home inspector all told us that we should replace the water heater before we have an emergency plumbing call in our future. I thought, “Hey, these guys know what they’re talking about. We should replace this thing before we have to get up in the middle of the night to mop up our kitchen.” Dave, however, did not share my incredible foresight. Dave is a flashy exterior kind of guy. I’m a brick-and-mortar person. When it comes to home improvements I’m more keen on taking care of the stuff that needs to be taken care of for the life of the home. Dave likes to make things look pretty. I don't have anything against pretty things, but I like those pretty things to actually make a sound structure, one that won't randomly gush water from weird places, look good.

So, we're up in a flash with mounds of damp towels trying to soak up the mess that has spilled forth from our water heater. I'm grumbling profanity and Dave is really trying quite hard to make the most of the situation. He's poking fun and making jokes and doing all that crap while I'm soaking my pajamas and socks, wading around our kitchen, trying to mop up all this friggin' water with my nice bath towels. Did I mention I was trying to mop up water with my nice bath towels? Yeah. The ones I registered for. For our wedding. Yeah, those.

So, we get things dry enough in the kitchen that Dave says to let well enough alone and go back to bed. So much for Saturday morning yoga. I didn't roll back out from under our exquisite down comforter until well after 9 a.m. and I got up then only because Dave said we had even more water on our kitchen floor than before. That's after we hooked up a garden hose, turned off the filler valve and closed off the gas. Since there was more water, we needed more towels. It was a repeat of our 3 a.m. de-messifying.

We were in quite figurative hot water. Our water heater was on its last legs. Those legs were beginning to crumple and disintigrate. We didn't know what to do. Next logical step: Call your father-in-law and bleat like a panicked goat.

Bobby, in all his cool-as-a-cucumber-ness, came to our rescue. He phoned his moonlighting plumber friend and we were set to get a new, incredibly better water heater at a fraction of the price most people pay to have one installed. I was friggin' thrilled, especially after Dave's 3 a.m. "Let's wait it out through Monday" suggestion. I'm sorry, but I'm a female with good hygeine (the opposite of Dave) and I can't wait for two days to shower. Period.

Moonlighting Plumber Guy was a real treat though. He had trouble finding the house, but when he arrived I was almost giddy. He was the definition of macho wrapped in a stereotypical asshole packaged and tied with a length of mullet-tastic-ness. Seriously, the guy had the balls for a mullet, and his truck had a set of plastic testicles hanging from the back. I don't think it gets much better than that. He did do a great job, though. He took only about 5 hours to get the water heater, fit the pipes, fit the vent and somehow fit the water heater in our incredibly small closet. Kudos, Mr. Mullet-Plumber.

Though today's grand event was supposed to be the installation of our wireless internet. It's coolness is compounded by the fact that I can now work from home on days I feel shitty. Awesome. Not only that though, but the cable guy was so sweet. THis was his first time to install a new cable connection all by his lonesome. And when everything worked properly we high-fived. There was a moment, I'm not going to deny it, when I had the Jerry Maguire You-complete-me look in his eyes. In a flash it was gone, but our insanely fast wireless internet remains. Everyone, rejoice.

So, I'll bid you folks adieu. I'm going to take a nice, hot, shower and mull over how many thousands of ways today could have gone so much worse. But it didn't.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Making it count

I've talked about my fat-ass problem before. I'm a fat-ass. It's genetic. I come from a long line of habitual overeaters and underexercisers. But, I'm trying to fight genetics and sometimes I feel like its a losing battle.

Despite the fact that I have huge hips (if someone says "child-bearing" I sweartoGod...) and very short legs and arms, which make me constantly look fat, I have the goal of pulling my ass up by its bootstraps and flattening out my tummy. This may or may not result in a more svelte, healthy body, but hey, it's a goal, right?

In order to accoomplish that goal I've started keeping track of what I eat via a food diary. This, my friends, sucks. I did it before when I first started trying to lose weight before our Key West trip. It really does work. But counting calories is a frackin' pain in the ass! You can't eat anything without nutritional information! Many of my favorite recipes don't have nutritional information. ARGH!!!

So, I can't eat a lot of stuff that isn't either prepackaged or predictable. My diet lately has consisted of raw fruit, yogurt, granola bars, cereal, canned soup and pre packaged popcorn or cookies in individual servings. DOUBLE ARGH!!!

If we go out to restaurants I check out the nutritionals on the website and don't order any tea or appetizers. That means no chips and salsa at Tex Mex restaurants, which is sucky!

But, I have found that I'm not the only one who is nursing a slim-fast and bitching. In fact, there are huge communities of people that read Hungry Girl just like me, tons of people that get excited over spray salad dressing that tastes more like the real thing. People that go through the trouble of typing in their recipies into Calorie King to log their food journals.

Seriously, this sucks, but I've got to make it count this time. Hopefully I'll make it last, too. At least that's what my fat ass hopes, right, chubby?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hey dere bebedawl!

So, Dave usually calls me around lunch time, either before or after, to just chat a bit and talk about how our days are going, plans for this evening, etc. I've been on the phone today with lots of people, several have been calling back intermittently. So, it's about 10 after 1 p.m. and I'm expecting Dave to call any minute now. Any minute. And my phone rings at my desk. I don't even check the number.

"Hey dere bebedawl!"

"Uh... is Joanna England?"

"Ummm... yes?"

"This is Soandso from What'shisname's office. I'm calling about scheduling your appointment."

So embarassing!

A moving memory

We've been talking -- actually, I've been talking, Dave's been listening -- about putting in a picture rail to hang our art in our dining area. I love hanging art, but I hate putting holes in my walls, especially walls that were ridiculously hard to paint!

Anyway, I'll probably be ordering those picture rails, soon, and some hooks. But, once I started checking out the hooks and the finishes available, I also started looking at the other hardware they sold. Such ornate door latches and hinges. Beautiful lock-sets, mail slots, knobs and trim. Even hand-antiqued vent grates! Most of these touches would look awesome on a Victorian or Craftsman-type home. I started thinking about how much I missed our old neighborhood. Yes, we were renting a 1905 Craftsman, but if I could've afforded it, I would have bought that house and renovated it. I would have poured my soul into that house. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

I do think it's something that Dave and I would enjoy doing, but we've barely lived in this house, which is only 50 years old. I really want to make our house feel like it did when it was a home to its first family. I want to refinish the crank-case windows and repaint the outside to restore it's character. But just for a while, it's nice to imagine putting your sweat and love into a gorgeous Victorian, and it loving you right back.