Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don't Even Know Who I Am Anymore.

I both love and hate how doing something like this,
my new backsplash, makes me want to change everything up.
I'm crazy full of new ideas, and the biggest one is paint.
And that's the whole dealy-o right there!  Shouldn't paint be the easiest, cheaper-ish things one can do to one's home?  I have wanted to repaint my main floor for a couple years now. 
What's stopping me if it's easy-ish and cheap-ish?
18 foot ceilings.  I finally measured. 
I feel trapped by the very reason I bought my home: a big open floor plan with vaulted ceilings.  It's what I love about it, 'cept now I feel like I can't change my paint color any ole time I feel the urge.
And then after said backsplash,
I was like all, "I'm not letting high ceilings stop me from doing what I want!", you know, like all empowered 'n stuff,
and then I let the hubs know I was doing it, and he put his foot down right then and there.
"You are not painting these walls by yourself.  You are not painting the stairwell so you can fall and kill yourself. Forget it."
(not a direct quote)
So here we are again, at this impasse.  Like Cher, I felt impotent and out of control.
Just so we're clear, I've looked into scaffolding, those little mini cherry picker thingies you can rent (that's the technical term), and I've had a professional give me a quote (just in case you're like me and you always want to hear the actual numbers-- what people paid for their house, what they make, and other similarly socially "tacky" questions of the like, the quote was over $800 just to do this room, the stairwell, and the small, high entryway above what I couldn't do by myself).
I talked with the Daddy-o about scaffolding options, and it was like I could hear my mom in the background--
"Oh Mandi please, your paint color is just fine and can't you sit still for 5 seconds?"
Except I don't know that she really said that. But it sounds like something she might at least be thinking. In a nice way, though.
And I was dead set on picking out a creamy gray color.  And everyone's doing Grey Owl online and it looks fabulous in pictures, so I was just "sooo sure" it was all going to be totally perf in here,
And thank heavens I only picked up a sample of it and went nuts on a wall or two instead of the entire kitchen (side note, thank heavens you are not here in my home right at this moment because to the left of this pantry is this monster mess of chinese food.  It was like we were throwing ham fried rice everywhere).
Anyways, as I was saying, thank heavens for this small sample because I DO NOT LIKE THIS COLOR PEOPLE.  It is wrong wrong WRONG.
It is so wrong. I love it in The Lettered Cottage's house. I love it on the interwebs.  In my warm, very bright house, it has a strange blue-ish hue that does nothing for me.
Just believe me. Nothing. For me.
And you know what else? A friend said to me, "So, gray, huh? Are you just doing gray because it's so popular or is it because you truly love gray?"
I have no freakin' idea. I don't even know who I am anymore. 
Wait.  Wait-- yes I know who I am. Let me tell you who I am. In an annoyingly roundabout way.
I walked through a Parade of Homes home, and it was kind of my dream home.  Picture it--
Dark floors, lots and lots of white moulding, black touches here and there--
nothing but soothing blacks and whites with grays here and there.  The grays were nice, but it was all about the blacks and whites. Just like piano keys.
Gee, you've never heard that before. You're going to have a heart attack and die from that surprise. You wouldn't be more surprised if you woke up with your head stapled to the carpet then you are right now.

I told the Daddy-o that, during our scaffolding convo.  "I just really really like blacks and whites" I says. And he's all,

"Well I worry that style will go out and you'll regret your decisions",
and I'm like,
"But that's the thing it's really not in style. I just like it."

And the Daddy-o got all "oh wise one" on me and said,
"Well I guess that's your answer. You do what you like."

And. . .
I don't know what this means in regards to painting-- gray paint? White paint? Professional or scaffold rental?

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Don't Usually Do This. . .

Just a couple random things I really need to get out of the way:
1. I really, ree-hee-heally appreciate your opinion/thoughts/commiserations on thee ole plastic surgery overshare last time we were together.  Dang you guys have good advice.  Have ya considered starting your own Dear Abby?  Just a thought.
-Also, I considered a dozen times deleting that post so no one else could see those pictures.  I guess I'm leaving it up. I have nothing more to hide. Well, mostly. But I'm really glad those pictures are not at the top of this ole blog, as I'm sure everyone else is, too.
AND. . . switching topics. . . .
2. Verizon Wireless is on the top of my SH$% list. I wish someone would have warned me, and so I'm going to warn you right now:
"Free Tablet at Verizon".  JUST SAY NO.  Make like a tree, and leave. It is a ploy, a sham, unethical, and I now have zero respect towards or loyalty to Verizon for it. They're not free, they will let you in on the "setup fee" as you are signing on the dotted line, you are assured a 14 day return period,  BUT not told of the restock fee (that will be handily specified in small print below your signature) and it will be horrendous.
Don't do it! For shame, verizon. You just lost a loyal customer for hustling me. I'm sporting my Angry Brows.
Okay!  All done. Everyone's been warned.
Let's talk about something I doooo love. Namely, the best holiday in the whole world: Halloween.  Olive it. I know I go on and on and onandonandon about summer, but I really do love fall.
I just hate that winter always steals from fall around here. Winter, you dirty whore.
I don't usually do this, but I really wanted to do a Halloween-y vignette in my open cabinet you see here.
Honestly, I love changing this thing around. Heck right now I love changing everything around 'cause I'm at home a lot and it's fun to have things feel different-like.
So obvs I was really feeling the white with touches of red before and it was funsies,
but I was totes looking forward to making things spooky. Except these were the rules--
-can't buy anything. I deeply need to consider another spending cleanse because I'm out of control again but THAT'S not what we're here for today. I'm sticking to the subject.
Anyways, I dug up stuff.  Found these cool candles I totally forgot I had and spray painted 'em,
Oh, I did previously buy black dishes with Halloween in mind a long time ago, but that doesn't count okay. It just doesn't. Black dishes are soo cool! Shoulda gotten 'em a long time ago.
And I saw on the interwebs how you can add the vampire blood drip by using cornstarch and red food coloring, and I thought the kids would think that was all neat-o so I did that,
and they didn't turn out as well as the pics online but what ever really does for me?
And there we have it. The cookie jar is now "POISON!" and I say that in my most overdramatic tone everytime I can to embarrass my older boys, because it's in my job description. I have to live up to my potential.
Also, the spiderweb plate was done by the Jeffro. With a sharpie. Waste not, want not. Know what I'm sayin'.
Now raise your hand if you like candy corn. (Me!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Big, Flabby, Overhanging Overshare.

I don't promise that what I'm gonna talk about right now isn't gonna gross you out. Don't promise that this'll make you like me better. I don't promise I'll even have a point. And I definitely don't promise that there will be a moral to this story.

I just wanna talk.  Apparently I want to get it all out there.  In an overshare kind of way.

I visited a plastic surgeon for a consultation last week.  Oh, also, this will not be an argument on whether or not plastic surgery is or is not okay.  That's definitely not what this is about.

Anyway-- I visited a plastic surgeon.  And I still have blue marker lines and dots that won't scrub off all over my stomach. 

People, my stomach is a mess. 4 kids later, and it's just a big blob of extra skin.  I guess, I don't know-- I guess I wanted to know if something could be done that was relatively minor to fix the problem.  A friend teased me,

"You were hoping for some magic cream weren't you?  Or 'take two of these and call me in the morning', weren't you?"

Yeah. Pretty much.

So I stood in front of that very nice doctor while he drew marker all over my stomach and discussed options, and I have never in my life felt so. . . uncomfortable. Self Conscious. Nude. Weak. Vulnerable.  It was not cool, man.  Not cool at all.  

And then I realized that besides myself and my husband, no one has ever seen my mess of a stomach, until this doctor, and I wanted to keep it that way forever.

I have no freaking idea why I'm doing this. I'm gonna show you my stomach. So I went from a total of 3 people ever seeing it, and now I'm potentially showing the whole world.  I'm getting nervous and anxious just typing about it.

For me, this is like the monster in the closet.  The thing under the bed.  For some reason it embarrasses me and makes me feel bad and sad and kinda broken-like.

And apparently all I have the guts to do right now is show you from the side.  You know what I realized when I was thinking about this all week?

I have felt guilty and ashamed that I did something wrong, like maybe, if I would have like, not eaten like a giant pig when I was pregnant and maybe worked out some more then this wouldn't have happened. I could have avoided it.

Okay.  That's over.  I'm throwing that out the window. I don't need to feel guilty over something that stupid.

Oh heck.  Should I show you from the front? 

Oh wow.  It looks even worse in this picture than when I stare at it in the mirror.  Can't even say how many times I've gathered that skin up and hid it with my hands and pretended like it wasn't there. The doctor even did that and was like "If we could just make this go away. . .the skin around it is fine. . ."

Yeah, I know. I say that almost daily.  Just in case you were wondering, this would take a "mini" tummy tuck (although I don't see why it classifies as mini since as you can see the cut would be hip to hip), at least one long incision, probably more like 3, and $4,000 to repair.

My daughter saw my stomach with it's blue marker, and said "What happened to your stomach, mom?"

And so I explained.  The doctor drew the lines. My skin is the way it is because I had you guys. And she said,
"I hope that never happens to me."

"Which part? The marker or my skin?"

"Your skin.  I don't want that to happen to my stomach."

She's five. She knows not what she says. She didn't intend to be the least bit mean.

Okay at this point I'm trying not to cry. Never mind I failed.  But you know what?  I'm over it.  I accept it. 

That was a total lie.

 I'm not over it, and I don't accept it.  But I'm going to try to accept it, from here on out.

This is not where I give you this big shpill about how these are my war wounds and my kids were worth it blah blah blah, even though they were and are worth it.  I'm not proud of my scars.  I'm just working toward being okay with it.

And you know what? While I'm at it, I'll work towards being okay with every single last part of me.

Maybe you think I'm ungrateful.  I do too, actually.  But honestly I thank God every morning that I wake up healthy and able to work on a daily basis.  I know this, this up there, is vanity. I do. Nobody really cares about my stomach. I thought my husband cared. I told him I'd get a mini tummy tuck if he wanted me to, and he was like, "What? For me? Why would you do that for me? I have never cared."

He's a good man, that Jeffro.  I guess all I'm saying is it's my turn to learn not to care.
Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Well I'm Not A Plumber.

So I called the Daddy-o, and I was all,
"Hey Daddy-o, um, remember how I said I was going to be all independent this year?"
Daddy-o: "Um, yeah.  You're an 'adult', right?"
"Right.  So on that note. . . I decided to replace my kitchen faucet, and the Lowe's guy on youtube says it's, and I quote, 'one of the easiest upgrades you can make to a house', and I'm ABOUT READY TO TEAR MY HAIR OUT."
Note to self: the hot water doesn't really fully turn off, we own waaaay too many cleaners, and there's a spilled bottle of blue dishwasher crap down there.
You know, switching out a faucet could be easy.  Would be easy.  Should be easy.  Except you're trying to do it all in this disgusting, dank, cramped space and you're dropping crescent wrenches on your head.
And these weird little things sticking out from the bottom of the sink under there?  Their sole purpose is to gouge you in the head. 
I was like a contortionist under there trying to get to everything.  I was on my haunches, I was on my side, I was on my back, and I just kept thinking about this quote from Clue over and over:
"Oh my.  Nobody can get into that position."
(Sure they can.  I'll show you.)
Or from Tangled:
"You should know, that this is the strangest thing I have ever done!"
I swear, the video showed this quick changeroo of faucets like it was this 10 minute project, and I swear, I started at 9 am and was doing final tightenings at 5pm. Keeping in mind that I did take many swear/throw tools/go to Lowe's for new hoses/utter frustration breaks. Right now I cannot think of a project more frustrating then this one.  I really can't.
It's like an alien.  It's like those metal squidees on The Matrix. 
Once, Jeffro replaced both our master bath faucets, and it took him the entire day.  And I remember thinking,
"Sheesh, man.  What is taking so long?"
Words. Eaten.
I went white again.  I have white appliances and a white sink.  It makes sense.  It gives me a feeling of control in a world full of chaos.  Plus they're half the price of metal ones, and that seals the deal.
Just so we're clear, I hope to never, ever ever ever do a plumbing project again.  Because they suck.
Dang it man, I had to clean my sink and my window for this picture. Not that you can tell. But the things I do for this blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Everybody's Doing It.

I can't say this is a universal truth or anything,
but it is my experience that a kitchen backsplash gets really old really quick.
Well, at least loud backsplashs like mine.  My good friend did a similiarish one too and told me she was sick of it after a month.
Here, stare at my bum for a minute while we talk.
Oh, GAH, I am sooo not ready to get back to hoodie weather.  I wear them day and night all winter.  I'm cold-blooded.  Ask my kids.
So, I was kind of over this backsplash a couple years ago.  And I feel guilty about it.  Except I don't all at the same time since they were clearanced to .99 so hello I spent a total of what, like $15? 
And then,
to add fuel to the fire and pour salt in the wound, when I was working on our "other" house (stiillll thankful I just have my house to worry about, sidenote),  I paid to have subway tile put in during the kitchen reno.
It was like I was jealous.  Oddly jealous. 
But I had no idea subway tiles were so cheap!  Did you know they were so cheap?  I didn't know they were so cheap.  And everyone's doing it!  And I still like it.
And so out came the hammers and the spackle knives and the prybars, and within two hours of hammering and sweeping and vacuuming up dust, the kitchen looked like this. 
Don't talk about my maple cabinets like I'm not here! Honestly, and I don't care what the masses say, I like maple. I do. They're staying for a while. Indefinitely. I have no idea what I'd even change them to right now-- I really don't.  Don't say to paint them white, because my husband might punch someone in the face.
I'd like to thank my great AWESOME neighbor buddy who remembered that I said I was starting this little project and showed up, without being asked, with her own tools.  Who even does that kind of awesomeness?  I started on one end and she started on the other and we worked our way in until we were bumping butts and finished with that corner.
Obvs, I had to skim coat the entire area and let that dry,
and then I got to work.  I was freaking determined to make sure my kitchen wasn't torn apart while I took my sweet time-- got this shiz done in one day.  Start to finish.  Which is kind of cheating on drying time and why don't you tell on me.
It's like a whole new kitchen, and I love it.  You know how monochromatic I am, so I'm thinking this is more me.  Subway tile's actually easier than the mosaics, so virtual high five.

 And um, I hope the hubs likes it too.  Was it strategic that I got it all done before he came home?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Armory.

We never got around to talking about that little thing I did on the other side of the playroom for all my boys.
No, we didn't talk about it, and it will all make sense in due time.
Just as a little reminder,
I did this for my daughter on one side.
On the other side, the boys got,
Few things about the armory--
- I thought this was such an awesome, simple idea.
-This is/was a hit, but you're detecting a big "but", and rightly so.
-All these pictures are awful, because they're in the dank, dark, basement.
-If you're a parent who finds children playing with pretend weapons offensive, then you've probably suffered a massive coronary and are no longer with us.
-All my kids and their friends ever want to play with is weapons, and that's why I thought a wall 'o guns was a good idea.
-Have you ever cleaned up a bathroom that's had a dozen boys using it for like, 2 days?  There are no freaking words.  It's like this massive urine cocktail that you'll never really get over.
-If you live in my hood and you had a Nerf gun for your son, it's at my house.
-This is only half the guns currently in this house, and an eighth of the swords we have, and I just gave up on even finding the swords or putting them all away.
A good friend and neighbor made me this sign,
and I love her for it. 
And getting to the big "BUT"--
the sign is the only dang thing that stays on the wall for any amount of time.  It's like this wall calls to male children-- begging them to come pretend blow someone away.
Thus, 2/3 of the wall is always empty, and I can't keep it stocked.  And it's annoying to keep it stocked. 
But hey, at least the boys are being active.  I'm a glass half-full kind of gal.  From time to time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

And Just Like That, It Was Over.

I'm in deep mourning--
because to me, Labor Day is the end of summer.  Doesn't summer, feel, just over? 
"Danny?  Is this end?"
"Of course not.  It's only the beginning."
Yeah I quote Grease every single year at the end of the summer.  Even I think it's getting old.
But guess what?  All my kids are in school. 
I'm gonna let that sink in for just a minute. . .
yeah.  You heard me.  Even my little Strawberry Shortcake here is in school.
Shhhhhh!  Don't tell. . . I was really sad when my boys went back to school.  BUT I was happy, nay, excited for little Scarlet O'Hara here to start.  She was so excited to go, and plus while she's super crazy fun, she's also super crazy with wanting to constantly be doing something.  She wore me out.
But you didn't hear that from me.  Repeat that and I'll call you a liar to your face.
But back to summer, because I'm still lamenting.

I says to the hubs,
"We only have 13 total summers left with any kids in our house.  That's IT.  Can you believe that?"
Hubs: "13, huh.  Seems like a lot of summers to me.  It's not like the kids just die once they're adults, hon."
I don't even know who you are, anymore.
Mind if I tell you how I was feeling this summer?  A big, grievous error on my part, if you will.

We did some cool stuff.  We did.   But I felt like I was constantly repacking our driving garbage can.  Constantly heading back to the store to spend $100 on bags of air to eat and filling coolers up for a trip.  And it was neat-o that we got all close and personal with our family tent 'n all,
but it was too much.  Just a little. 
Summers should be calm.  Chill.  Sipped slowly like a fine non-alcoholic beverage.  More night games.  Less running about in the car.
So I've learned my lesson.  The kids' summer is short enough as it is. 

Also, gratuitous sidenote:
my sister and I learned to drive a boat this summer.  Because it's sooo hard.  Shuddup.

And this picture proves that I need to drop and give ya 20 any time I can.  I wanna reach over and just jiggle my own arm in this pic.  Or just poke myself with my index finger and say "Heehee!" Like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
We did do some fun, caaaallm things this summer, too.  And just to show the neighbors that I am, indeed, nutso, out to lunch, cray cray, and so on,
I had this great idea to do a treasure hunt for the boys in the hood.  I'm talking, lots of clues, lots of ground to cover, X marks the spot, dig up the treasure chest. . . the whole she-bang.
Like "Goonies" right?  I mean, right? 
I probably had more fun putting it together then they had doing the hunt.
I teased my boys and was all,
"Okay, you have to be a character from the movie."
I was just kidding.  Being a dork.  It's what moms do.
Jamison's like,
"Well, okay.  You're Chunk."
You don't kick a woman when she's down, son.  Obviously, you're Mouth.  Ya little buttmunch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

So I'm Over It.

I tole ya I was totally bugged about my new little backyard patio.

I still am, if I think of all the stupid, crappy things the guy I hired did over here.  I hadn't been this disappointed since Episode I.

But ya know--

the guy's not coming back.  He's been paid.  Jeffro and I will probably never hire anything out ever again.  Either we'll do it or it's never getting done.

And ya know, a couple of y'alls smarty pantses left me a comment and told me to use it.  Get it all soot-y and lived in, and enjoy it.  You're soooo, sooo right. 

"Tell your sister. . . you were right. . . "

Sorry.  Watched the Star Wars Trilogy real recently.  ANYWHO,

We had lots of loved family over.  And lots of loved friends over, too.

And we grilled delicious meats, and roasted lots of weiners, and toasted lots of marshmallows, half dressed,

and now I'm okay with it.  I'm over it.  I love the new space.  I wish it twould have been done better.

We could still talk about all the dumb, asinine stuff that got done,

but you know what?

Let's say we did, and then don't.

Because like I said, I'm over it.  And if later, I decide I'm NOT over it, then Jeffro and I will get our buns out there and change things up a bit.

Speaking of changing things up a bit--

we got out there and did a whole lot more.

Made a couple trips for some flagstone pieces,

and put 'em in for a pathyway from the deck to the firepit patio.


a pathway leading out to my side yard, too.  You know, you think in your head that it'll just take a couple minutes to put those stepping stones in the ground.  Not so.  They take an annoying while to get in there and properly leveled.  15 steps of obnoxiousness.

Between you and me, I'm pretty darned excited to get a fire going and sit in the hot tub while the fire crackles nearby.  It sounds cozy and kind of exciting.

We also took down the grill from the deck (holy congestion, Batman), dug out a spot of grass, and laid some more flagstone for it's very own grilling area.  (It really is far enough from the house-- although it sure doesn't look like it in this picture.)

I have dug out soooo much grass this year.  My arms and back should look amazing.  They don't.  But they should.

I've googled and pinterested all kinds of ideas to make this grill area look really purposeful and fabulous, but am coming up dry.  Toying with a stainless steel shelf above it. . . still thinking.


we dug out even more grass and made a few flower beds.  These flower beds are strategic-- nothing grew well here, and it was hard to mow so close to the house.  It's a win-win. 

I grew these zinnias all by myself with 10 cent seeds.  I'm so proud. 

So are we done here?

Yes. No.

Maybe for this season, we're done.  But we've got more plans.  Many, many more plans.  Some trees to line the fence, quite possibly some more beds for shrubs--

but let's do a complete before and after. 



Yeah.  Our yard is small.  We're doing what we can with it.  To quote Jeffro,

"We're polishing a turd."

Well, I have no intentions of moving right now, or ever, so I'll keep on polishing.