All weekend, I’ve felt like I was Miss Prissy. Yes folks, as my brother called it, I’m nesting again. Nesting makes me hate being a female. It fascinates me that my body goes through this. It makes me feel like I’m in a nature documentary. “Here we see the young female in her 30’s preparing her home. Watch as she meticulously preens her home for mating. Although this lass knows motherhood is not in her future, nature’s innate cycles are urging her to this laborious ritual.”
Now, it’s not like I expect to do everything in two days. I make a list and I do a little at a time. This weekend I knocked a lot off the list. I cleaned the coat closet, the file cabinet and our new car.This is someone else's Mini but ours looks the same. It's green and has white stripes on the bonnet and white sideview mirrors and a white top. Here is a cute miniature replica. By the way, when you buy one of these, they give you a mini replica and a ton of stickers and CDs and 'mini' stuff (i.e mini mints). I was waiting for Lrudlrick to pull out a 'mini-maxipad'. Meet C5. Mini C to Lrudlrick. Clyde to me. I named her Clyde, even though that’s a boy’s name because she reminds me of a frog and when I think frog I think Clyde Frog. Don’t ask me why I don’t think of Kermit first. Clyde Frog was a puppet in an educational program I watched in parochial school. I don’t remember much about Clyde Frog except that he had a girl’s voice, had a talk show and liked peanut butter soup.
Anyway back to the nesting. Lrudlrick has been very patient and helpful. He helped clean out our storage closet. He knows when I’m in Mothra mode, I get downright warrior-like.
What ticks me off about this nesting is that it’s all in vain. Sure I’m cleaning and can finally find things in my utility closet but the real reason my body is telling me to do this is not to have a clean home for my MIL or myself.
I seriously hate hormones. Why can’t men have a tiny weeny bit of the nesting hormone?
Here I am cleaning the house like I’m selling it, making fresh muffins weekly for Lrudlrick’s breakfast, packing us lunches and making dinners nightly. Next I’ll be churning butter and darning socks.
I have a summer intern with me and I’m not sure if this is good or bad but I think it has jump started my enthusiasm for work. I’m not happy that I have more work, preparing stuff for the intern to do, but it does motivate me to get things ready. She’s already asked for an increase in days and Lord knows I have plenty of work but most of it requires professors to hand in documents I’ve asked in a timely manner. Because I’m not a priority in their list of to do’s, I spend many hours nagging via email, telephone, text message and hallways chases.
I am lucky that the intern is a wonderfully hard worker though. It reminds me of my days working in an all-boys high school. Lots of stuff to do but you need to prepare the stuff for them to do it. I think I like it.
Still, even though I have a lot to do and it only gets worse as we move towards October , I’m tired and really need the weekend to come. Sure I’ll be cleaning out a closet but it’s not brain draining work. My brain is tired. I love the energy of being productive but I’m also tired and would like to wake up late and have a leisurely dinner in the park.
Against my working girl judgment, I’m hoping to take the first week of August off. I have too much to do at work with too many deadlines; one being a go live in early August. However, if I don’t take a break now, I’m not going to be able to take one until the holidays and I’ll be burnt out by then.
I rarely talk about what I do. It sounds pretty vague and boring really. Many don’t understand what I do. Sometimes I don’t’ know what I do. In a nutshell, I implement data systems. I’m not one of those people that come in, install something and leave you to figure things out. I’m the person that sits down with you and your staff and spends 3 months learning how things work presently. Then for the next 6-9 months, I help you work on flows that currently don’t work, develop flows that incorporate good flows into the new system and build new flows for new processes. All while juggling vendors, programmers, interface gurus and IT staff to ensure everyone is doing what they need to. I'm sort of a consultant/manager of sorts.
My biggest goal is not to implement a new toy but to make sure that the toy enhances and improves the department. For me, there is nothing more important than understanding the existing culture and incorporating existing flows that work and ensuring continued growth of the toy after the first year of implementation.
Don’t ask me how I got into this. I think it was my OCD. Many have told me that I’m a sucker for punishment. I just like the feeling of taking something new and ‘scary’ and helping people adjust to it and making it work for their situations.
The job is challenging but it gets a bit crazy and even more stressful when I’m doing two of these projects simultaneously, which is exactly where I am right now.
I didn’t know there were jobs like this. I actually thought I’d be in the communications/public relations field. Then again I thought I’d be a lawyer/doctor/ballerina/mother to 3 kids.
Anyway, the anxiety of taking time off at the cusp of a project going live is a bit much but I need to trust myself, my abilities, my colleagues’ abilities and most importantly realize that no matter what, things go on.
My current mattress is an all latex kind that doesn’t have springs; it’s super comfy. My husband is a night owl and used to stay up until near exhaustion. Now, within 1 hour of his head hitting the pillow, he’s out like a light.
We have a mattress pad cover to protect the mattress and use a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, a blanket and a comforter(in the summer, we use it as a bedspread only). We don’t use a bed skirt (aka dust ruffle/pettiskirt) because we like a simple bed and we only use two shams and two pillows.
I have two sets for winter and two sets for summer in my linen closet and I try to replace a set every few years. I also have an extra comforter and three duvets. Personally I hate duvets. The only reason I have three duvets is because I used to have three down comforters. I’ve since donated two and kept one. Duvets require too much effort rolling and unrolling the comforter into it. It also involves periodic shaking to ensure even distribution of the down/comforter. Still, my comforter I’ve kept has this design on it that can only be described as Holly Hobbie-like and my husband is not a fan of it. So I use a duvet cover to save money.
With my MIL coming in August, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to replace a set of sheets. I went to Macy’s to check out the offerings yesterday. Now, I’m generalizing but I don’t know any New Yorker who likes Macy’s. The store would make a Buddhist monk curse and throw a temper tantrum. First, there is the mish-mash of elevator banks and escalators. Then there are the half floors (Yes, there is a 1 ½ floor) and the elevators that don’t stop on all floors. Lastly, you have the tourists. It’s a frickin’ store! No need to ooh and aah at the mannequins right in front of the entrances. Keep moving!
I will tell you the 7 times I purposely go to Macy’s: 1. Junior Prom. There was a blow-out sale and my girlfriends wanted to get our gowns together. We wound up going someplace cheaper. 2. My engagement. We got the ring appraised. I had a pretend I-can-afford-a-dress-here dress-up at the bridal boutique with friends. We researched what should be in a bridal registry and later found items cheaper on-line. 3. Tours for family members obsessed with shopping. Yes, I add to the tourist bottlenecks. 4. To get out of the rain. Even then, May times I'll endure the half a block to go to H&M to wait it out. 5. Cooking School. 6. Researching linens and bath towels. 7. Wednesday Coupon Days.
Notice that 6 of the 7 reasons to go to Macy’s does not include walking out of Macy’s with bought items. Since most of my family is acquainted with Macy’s and since my prom days are through, I rarely go to Macy’s now. It’s just too frenetic.
Anyway, I usually go to Macy’s to scope out the fabric, colors and designs and then search other stores for discounts or similar design schemes. I’m usually a Royal Velvet girl but I can’t find them at Macy’s or any other retail stores. Anyone know what happened to Royal Velvet? I only see their bath towels at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
As I’m looking at the display beds and feeling the material, a sales lady proceeds to school me what makes a well dressed bed. I find this rather insightful and amusing. I had no idea a pillow isn’t just a pillow. For instance, did you know that on a properly made bed you can have 4 types of pillows? There is the Euro, the Standard/King, the Standard/King Sham and the Bolster. Good grief, Charlie Brown. In my household, if the dog’s ass isn’t on the pillow, you’re in good shape.
I told her that if I brought all those pillows home my husband would smother me with one of them in my sleep. She smiled but didn’t seem amused at the ‘death by pillow’ scenario. She then proceeded to tell me that a good comfy bed also has a featherbed or the alternative fiberbed.
As a child, I don’t remember making my bed being such an ordeal. I’m keen on having a tidy bed and it just seems to me a mattress pad, featherbed, fitted sheet and a flat sheet seems a bit too much. Do they shift? Between the two dogs and us there is some form of flailing going on each night. Our sheets need to be tucked in securely. Do I really need a featherbed/fiberbed? Isn't it just a comforter I sleep under?
In the end, I left deciding that in addition to the new sheets, I want to get a new comforter with a design so I can get rid of the multiple duvets and a couple of Euro pillows. Just in case you didn’t know a Euro pillow is a square pillow with a firm fill that most people use to prop themselves up for reading. I figure I can go to the craft store this weekend, pick up some fill and make my own and save the $50.00 a store would probably charge for that sucker.
For the new set, I’m leaning towards almond colored sheets with a red/natural comforter. The comforter colors will match with my existing sheets nicely so I can reuse the comforter as a bedspread throughout the seasons.
As for the rest of the parent-proofing, the bathroom was updated this weekend. Our new theme is ‘Americana’. Lrudlrick picked out a vinyl curtain with route 66 attractions and such. It’s the one place my husband likes to multi-task, I suppose.
I saw a quilt pattern at the craft store that I plan to pick up in addition to the pillow fill Saturday. It’s a cloth pattern of a map of the United States and I plan to frame it and put it on our bathroom wall. Along the frame border, I plan to tack with removable tack laminated postcards we received from friends. I think we have more postcards from places outside the US but I think we have enough to make it interactive.
I also picked up a no slip bath mat so my MIL won’t rehash the ‘this guy cracked his skull once’ story to me. Now we just need to replace our toilet seat and get a bath mat that fits our odd angled bathroom and we’re set.
Lest I forget, Lrudlrick started cleaning out his closet to my amazement. Even more shocking was it sort of looked the same to me 5 hours after he was done. I know he did take stuff out too because he had a garbage bag of stuff and he moved his tool box and assorted man tools into the utility closet which I cleaned on Sunday. Finally!Lrudlrick won’t let me give away the steam cleaner though so it’s still in there but I was able to make enough space to store the tools and a box of manuals.
Above is the full utility closet. There is an extra shelf on the top I didn't catch that holds extra comforters and linens for the aerobed. The miscellaneous stuff. i.e. extra plant pots, tarps, boxes of cords, batteries, picture hanging stuff, manuals, medicine, sewing materials and backup mouthwash and shampoo. The cleaning stuff and tools. Next week, if I don’t sweat to death, I plan to tackle the coat closet and the bookshelves. Slowly but surely we’re making progress.
You move next to an airport, you expect noise. You move into the gayest district in San Francisco, you expect to see products oriented to the market advertised.
As for the sunbathing nude with your dog, I can’t find any pal of mine who would sunbathe nude next to their dog. There is too much room for accidents to delicate bits. Heck, it took me awhile to get used to changing in front of my dogs.
Ok, so who else had to deal with an anxiety-ridden dog last night? Those thunderstorms send Z-girl into a spin. If she could strap herself onto a kiddie sling and attach it to my back, she would have. Last night I had a 60 lbs furry shadow following me from the kitchen to the bathroom.
I’m glad my meeting ran over and I didn’t go to the park for the symphony concert.
I’ve been slowly reading the New York Magazine’s article on happiness. Although it’s an interesting read, I still find the whole idea of paying someone to assist me in the pursuit of happiness odd and well backwardly sophisticated.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a life long New Yorker and I will admit that cynicism and sardonicism runs deep in the veins of us Gothamites. I believe that over 50% of us NYC residents are pessimistic and live in a state of negativity. We’re constantly bombarded with inadvertent criticism and comparison. It’s like living in a perpetual high school where self image is assaulted and angst is prevalent.
But do we really need to pay people to tell us how to be happy? Do we need professional mentors and emotional mentors? Did our forefathers begin a movement where happiness is a literal pursuit? Seriously, can a historian tell me if any other country uses comparable terminology in their constitution?
I’ve been to therapy. Name a New Yorker that hasn’t. I’m not knocking therapy. I just can’t grasp the concept of paying someone to teach me to appreciate life. Have we become so obsessed and jaded that we can’t stop and smell the roses?
Granted, I’m only halfway through the article and my opinion may change once I’ve absorbed the entire piece but I’m going to tell you that an article about happiness is really bumming me out.
The first person I thought of when I started reading this article was my mother, of course. Are most New Yorkers living in a perpetual down state? Are we all maniac depressives?
As babies one of the first things we learn is to smile. We learn to giggle and laugh and find enjoyment in the sound of our own joy. When did we lose that?
Is it the more you know the more bitter you become? Is less really more? Should I be more like Jessica Simpson and less Jodi Foster? Maybe my mother’s ‘don’t ask why just do as your told’ mentality produces a more satisfied person.
I don’t know if I’m confusing happiness with satisfaction. I don’t know if you can split the two either. Happiness is subjective. To me happiness is the art of balance. It’s personal satisfaction after reflection. Your body knows happiness; it’s engrained in us. We just need to quiet the outer stimuli and listen.
That’s my Lucy Van Pelt spiel for the day. You can leave the nickel on your way out.
At no point should any of you tease me if you spot me one day attending ‘Happiness for Dummies’ seminar at the New School.
According to a survey completed by the Economic Research Survey of the Department of Agriculture, the average household spent $40/week/person for food in 2004. Married couples without children spent an average of $32.50/week/person.
Now since I can’t find the complete study I can’t tell if this is a calculation of food eaten outside of the house (i.e. restaurants) only, a combination of food consumed at home and food purchased outside or just groceries. I tend to lean towards the later, especially since the price of food at a restaurant can fluctuate more so than groceries.
Considering inflation and locality increases, we’re about par or just a little over. This shocks the living daylights out of me. Lately we’ve been brown bagging lunch and breakfast and we’re still hitting the average zone. I think what helps is that I make bulk meals that last us for longer periods of time.
I love grocery shopping. I think I love it more than shoe shopping. The only problem with grocery shopping is having to pay for it at the end of the trip. Every time I go shopping I think of that scene in ‘Yours, Mine & Ours’ when Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda go grocery shopping. The cashier is standing at an old ribbon crank cash register and the receipt is spewing out ribbons like an old stock ticker. The family has 3-4 large carts filled to the top and as crates of milk, eggs and bread are calculated Henry Fonda gives this exasperated look on his face. At the end, the cashier finalizes the amount hands the receipt over to Henry Fonda and says something along the lines of “That’ll be $135.00. Would you like to check the receipt?”
I don’t mind spending money on good food that we’ll use. That’s why we joined a local CSA. I’m just always at awe on the amount of money we spend on groceries.
I spend the most money on vegetables, fruits (preferably organic) and hunks of meat. I’m a big Norman Rockwell roast on the table fan. I love making meals into an event worthy of sitting down at a table. When I was a kid, my grandparents always made us eat at the table. My parents did but as we got older, it became more and more lax.
It’s important for me to set the table and serve a meal. Once in a while we’ll do a pizza and movie night where we’ll sit and eat in the living room but there’s nothing like sitting at a table, one dog lying under the table waiting for fallen treasure, another dog sitting next to you following your fork as it ping-pongs between your mouth and your plate and savoring a well prepared meal.
This week, I plan to attempt to make wontons. I haven’t made wontons since I was a teen. I know this is odd for the weather, but I’m hankering for some comfort soup. Fresh wontons, silky broth, fresh egg noodles and matchstick bamboo shoots, baby bok choy and ginger root sound like something I really need to restore my body and soul.
Just when I thought I was minimizing the amount of money I would spend on my bi-annual decluttering of ye old apartment I break a bloody dining room chair. In an idiotic attempt to save time, I tried moving our dining room table back without moving the chairs first. One fell over and the back rest hit our butler table and split the wood in half.
Pissed is not the word that can describe my feelings.
Last night I didn’t get to any of the ‘to do’s’ I gave myself. Instead, I rearranged the living room. See, although I make an effort to relinquish myself from cd’s, dvd’s and video games, Lrudlrick has a tendency to restock our supply. I’m not saying I’m not guilty either. I’m a sucker for the TV season DVDs but I try to limit myself to a handful a year. Even then I get rid of a DVD that hasn’t been watched in awhile so the collection stays relatively the same size.
Problem is we still can’t seem to lower it beyond our size. So last night Lrudlrick bought a new armoire to hold our collection. So I spent last night moving the couches around and repositioning things yet again. At least I wasn’t just sitting on my ass watching Hell’s Kitchen, which is my new guilty pleasure show. Just so I’m clear, I don’t think any of the 6 chefs left are worthy of heading up a kitchen but I’m guessing the producers should have an idea about this. Apparently the last HK winner couldn’t hack it either.
Tonight’s declutter to do’s: Repot pathetic looking plants Remove one furniture item from living room Figure out where to put manuals and instruction guides Figure out how to get chair back reattached to dining room chair
So essentially, I’m being told to plan to sweat my ass off for the rest of July.
I rarely complain because as humans, I have the luxury to defrock within a certain degree to cool off. My dogs do not. Unless you count the time my husband butchered our dog’s hair to the point where it all had to be shaved off.
My dogs are both part chow so this weather is not the most loved for our pampered pooches. When the weather gets this hot and sticky, the duet of panting dogs can be downright obscene.
The one I feel bad for the most is my husband. It could be 60 degrees out and my husband will think it’s too hot. My husband is fair skinned so when he’s hot, he begins to look like a toddler who is 3 hours behind in his naptime. He fidgets. He becomes agitated and cranky. He turns red like a radish.I get crabby too but I don't turn beet red. I just glisten like a hot dog on a grill. I also try to avoid any form of exertion. I'm like an iguana but without the sunbathing on a rock.
It’s those humid days when we duel over who gets the honor of taking the mutts out after work; no one wants to leave the comforts of the air conditioned apartment.
We turn into whiners and pull every excuse out to avoid going out into the stickiness.
L: Come on. I did it this morning. pg: But I have to cook dinner. L: I’ll make a sandwich. Please? I’m going to have to take them late tonight. pg: But they like it when you walk them and I have a bunch of chores I want to do tonight. L: No, they like it when you take them because you give them a longer walk. pg: They like you because they prefer the collars you use versus the harnesses I use. L: “P, who do you want to take you for your walk? You want mommy, right? Go to mommy. Go to mommy.” pg: Stop making them choose. They’d take themselves if they could. You’re making this into Kramer vs. Kramer. L: If you take them, I’ll do the laundry. pg: And put them away? I don’t mean leaving the folded clothes on the bed. Literally opening a drawer and sticking the shirts in it. L: But I’m going to be in the hot and sticky laundry room folding and you do a better job at putting them in the drawers. pg: I’ll put them in the drawers if you take out the recyclables. L: Deal.
This usually happens on a daily basis however there are certain conditions that trump the bargaining without discussion:
One has to stay at work late. One brings home work. One is deathly ill (requires fever, hallucinations, projectile vomiting and/or intestinal distress). One moves the car due to alternate side parking days. One wants a huge favor from the other to be cashed in relatively soon.
On days we can’t reach a consensus or just don’t feel like bargaining, we both take them out. Maybe it’s a remnant of the newlywed phase. Maybe we’re trying to be fair and equal. I’m more inclined to think it’s the chance to just chat and catch each other up on our day. By the time our average 20-30 minutes is done, we’ve filled each other in on news events, family events and work events. I will be honest though; Lrudlrick does do the bulk of the walking. I could just walk them without protest but I do enjoy our long walks together even in the heat. I guess I just like the routine. I like the bargaining and the walks together to the park and the occasional Good Humor popsicle or hot dog.
We have this old card table with green leather top and brass handles on the side and on the feet. Lrudlrick’s dad gave it to him years ago. We have no idea what to do with it. We’d give it up but it’s a lovely piece and I suppose it holds sentimental value to Lrudlrick.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that the only sentimental value is that his father gave it to him and the only reason he gave it to him was because he didn’t know what to do with it.
We have a storage room filled with items like these that we keep. We’ve always said to each other, “When we move into a house, we can use it in a room.” It’s been ten years and I’m not sure we’re going to be moving into a house. To add to our collection of things in storage, I’m adding a card table.
Am I keeping these things out of guilt?
I’ve already made up my mind that I’m going to sell a lot of the tchotchkes my MIL bought me. In the past ten years I’ve amassed too many angels, scrolls, cups with our names on it and miniature figurines to fill three boxes in my storage room.
I put some out for my MIL but the rest I hide away. I’m probably going to donate them to the local church. I’m not concerned with my MIL asking where they are because she hasn’t yet and well, I don’t think she remembers giving me the items. I have plenty that I leave out that she remembers are from her that she’s not going to miss the wooden train set that she bought Lrudlrick 3 years ago.
I know when it’s time for us to do our annual cleaning of our storage locker, we’ll keep the bed and the card table. We’re not going to get rid of them just yet but we need to stop the attachment. If it’s not used within two years, it should be donated or discarded.
Now if I can get my husband to do the same with his closet of old electronics.
Tonight’s house declutter to do: clean out utility closet repot plants
Sometimes a horoscope hits home. I don't really follow them because they usually are so generic but today's hit the nail right on the head.
PG's horoscope for the day: Even if you are somewhat conservative in your tastes, now you tend to like things that are unusual, even radically different. It's like you are trying to make a statement so others cannot put you into a nicely wrapped box. Your actions may even shock others, but that may not be enough to stop you. You've done enough book work, so throw those manuals away. It's time to make it up as if you really know what to do.
Ok, I know that most people don't want to be wrapped in a box so it's pretty generic but that's why they are horoscopes and for entertainment purposes.
2. Shaun of the Dead is funnier each time I watch it. The scene in the car with the mother and stepdad-soon-to-be-zombie brings me to tears.
3. The Venture Bros. gets funnier and funnier each time I watch them. "If you have a clumsy child, you make 'em wear a helmet. If you have death-prone children, you keep a few clones of them in the lab." -- Dr. Venture to Dr. Orpheus
4. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I really like clip shows. I could care less what they are about. Give me a countdown or a best of and I'm tuning in.
5. I can't watch any of the talent shows without cringing. That's why I'm not an idol watcher. I will however watch dancing with the stars without feeling bad. I guess I figure they are stars and they aren't deluded by family and friends cheering them on.
6. OK, I'll admit it. I'm a Gilmore Girl watcher. I used to like the mother/daughter relationships but now that they've changed to Rory having sex and catching up on the silly teenage stuff she didn't do as a high school student. Now I'm just watching it for the interaction with the parents. How ridiculously rich are they? I have a few million dollars laying around; let’s erect a building with our name on it.
7. I'm always looking up a silly fact about a program or subject matter. I would have done well as a Pop Up Video researcher. Lrudlrick thinks this compulsion is unhealthy but wait until I win the ultimate trivia challenge!
8. I am such a sucker for Animal Planet clip shows. I know I said I liked all clip shows but out of all the clip shows I'm a sucker for clip shows with animals doing silly things. It’s like crack for me. My husband entertains me and allows me to watch a few when he's around but I try to refrain from watching them too often lest he divorce me for a sane person.
9. You can’t start the day right when the first words you hear from a passerby is, “You be careful now.” Be careful of what? What do you know that I don’t know? Are you a seer? Am I going to be hit by a bus today? What prompted you to look me dead in the eye and say that Mr. Telephone repair guy? Great, now, I’m all paranoid for the rest of the day.
10. Sometimes I get too emotionally invested in things I shouldn’t. Lrudlrick thinks it’s because I’m always looking at things with a grain of Emily Post. I can’t help it if I like to be civil and cordial. “If it doesn’t bother me, I don’t see why it should bother you.” Well it does. Anytime I see impoliteness it grates on me. It’s like a hangnail nagging you until you finally clip it off.
11. A simple kind gesture says more than any words can. Do something you wouldn’t normally do today. Speak to the officemate you normally don’t speak to. Buy an extra muffin and give it to your co-worker. Just because your day started out funky doesn’t mean you need to carry it forward.
1. There is a robotic bunny that lives in the Holland Tunnel.
mom: We didn't want you to be afraid of the tunnel.
pg: But I wasn't afraid of the tunnel. I never even thought to be afraid. I told my classmates at school about the bunny and they all looked at me like I was nuts. I think I was more scared of a robotic bunny than a tunnel.
mom: Oh, well. At least you weren't afraid of the tunnel.
2. The giant water towers we see are actually giant bones.
mom: Giant bones sounded like a good story.
pg: Didn't you think I'd wonder what huge beast would leave giant bones halfway implanted into the ground? I think I was more freaked out about giant carcasses.
3. If I don't eat my crusts, my uncle will spank me.
pg: Mom, I was nearly as tall as Uncle Stephen when you threatened me. How could I have believed that was a legitimate threat.
mom: I don't know. I think I even laughed when I told you that.
4. The best way to dry your glasses is under a hair dryer.
pg: Thanks for the first degree burns. Did you and dad really have to tag team me like that.
mom: I don't even remember doing that. Sounds funny.