December 18, 2014

Dress 'er Up!

I got a little crafty the other day.
 
I have had these laying around for almost an entire year:  
 
 
They were free. I stuck my arms down a wine barrel full of corks and dug for these beauties.
 
I have had this for 18 months. In THIS condition:
 
 
Got me this slim dresser for my bedroom at the second hand in town for $15.
 
I knew what I wanted to do with them both. So I finally sat my ass down and got to work.
 
I unscrewed all the old/junky/missing hardware from the dresser.
 
And then I nailed these champagne corks in from the backside.
 
I had the nails already, so thems was free too.
 
 
Not one single drawer matching the other.

 
Took me about an hour start to finish.
 
Champagne corks: FREE
Dresser: $15
Small nails: FREE
 
Total cost: $15
Total time: 1 hour
 
What do you think?
 
I happen to love it :)

Bah Humbug........ 2014 style

Yeah, its 7 days until Christmas, and my Holiday Crankiness is starting to rear its ugly little (or big...... ) head.
 
Being divorced with kids is one thing. Being divorced with kids that you have to SHARE during the holidays sucks. Big hairy balls.
 
Now, I realize I am about to sound like a whiny bitch, so if you don't want to read further, I totally understand.
 
Having to share the holiday time with the kids is painful. Like stick an ice cold dagger in to my still beating heart painful. It means EVERY year I get half the Christmas fun. Half the holiday time. I either get Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Not both. HeeHaw and I could in no way share a day. He is too greedy and I am too stubborn.
 
This means less time to watch stupid ABC Family Christmas specials, less time to just hang out in our pajamas and eat M&M's, possible duplication of visiting area houses all decorated with lights, or sitting on Santa's lap. Not being able to count on them coming to an annual event/Christmas party/ornament exchange because the other parent has them.
 
Having to put on a brave face when they leave to go to the other persons house. The chitlins probably not understanding why mommy dearest is so FIERCE about her traditions. Knowing EVERY. GOD. DAMNED. YEAR I have to miss HALF the good stuff.
 
Bitter about it? Nah. Not at all....... Ok, maybe a LITTLE. The years of their wanting (or having) to be with me for the holidays are rapidly falling through my fingers, and I don't have that many left. They are going to grow up, making their own choice about where they want to be. Get married, or have a significant other that will have to be added in to the mix. What if I ADD someone to the mix? Will they understand my crazy holiday feelings? Probably not. What if the FNG (fucking new guy) has just as weird of traditions as I do? O.M.G.
 
So you may be asking yourself how I get through the holidays? Alcohol. LOTS of alcohol. Its the ONLY solution to this problem. Well, besides staying in my pajamas and watching movies all day. Isn't that how everyone else handles it?

December 10, 2014

Nov 2014

I dont even know where October went, let alone November. Gah.
 
I have been busy. Kids, work, holidays, adventuring, and of course drinking WINE!
 
NiceGuy and I have been taking advantage of our warmer than normal fall. October brought us to a sausage festival, a photo scavenger hunt around Mtown with good friends, a beer crawl for Oktoberfest through Leavenworth, and ended with watching the Rocky Horror Picture show on Halloween.
 
November has been just as busy! It started out with a visit to the Super Special Lady Parts Doctor. I had to make an appointment 3 weeks in advance, take the morning off work, shave from my toes up to my eye balls (damn near) and grab Moxie to ride in the carpool lane with me on the way there. About 40 miles from my house.
 
Now, I have been to see this "special" doctor once before. He is in his 60's, is of European decent, and is a very nice man. Since this was my second rodeo in the chair, I knew what to expect. Here is what greeted me upon arrival:
 
 
Now TELL me you are not jealous. Go ahead. You know you want those GI-FUCKING-NORMOUS cotton swabs stuck up your twat. I know you do.
 
I got all settled in the chair. Feet in stirrups. Ass at the end of the bench. Moxie in the room with me as we made inappropriate jokes. Cause that's how I roll.
 
Because I needed my outfit to be functional and cute (had to go to work right after my appointment) I opted for my jean dress, which can unbutton all the way up the front, and a pair of boots. So, since it was easiest, I slipped the paper thin sheet over my lap, hiked my dress up around my hips, and left my boots on. This is the scene the doctor walked in on: Moxie taking my picture, with my boots in the stirrups, giggling like a bunch of school girls.
 
 
He said something along the lines of that being a "first" and it just went down hill from there. I told the very nice Doc that I had been in a rush that morning, otherwise I would have drawn a smiley face for him above my two lips so he would have something nice to look at....... Oh the expression on his face was priceless! I think the nurse who was assisting sad this was the most she had laughed in one of these appointments, so points for me and my gutter humor.
 
Anyways, everything is all good with my lady biz. If all goes well, the good doctor and I will only have to see each other one more time. A year from now.
 
Over the next few weekends, Niceguy and I went on day trips around the area. I like to call them the Double J Adventures. Both of our names start with the letter J.
 
We did Whidbey Island, stopping first at Deception Pass for a photo op, and then on to stroll through the cute little town of Coupeville. I got a new button for my button board, and we stopped in the lavender shop. Man that place smelled good!!
 
The following weekend we headed to Seattle with Doodle and her friend Miguel. First stop? The Fremont Troll! Neither Niceguy or Miguel had ever been there before. Found a new sock shop along the way (totally awesome), had a short but sweet visit to the Pike Place Market, before taking NiceGuy and Miguel to the Chihuly Glass Museum. Doodle and I had been there once before a few summers ago.
 
As we made our way through the exhibit, both inside and outside, looking at the beautiful sculptures, I was making my way towards the gift shop,  when who do I see to my left? None other than Dale Chihuly! Less than THREE FEET from me! I didn't say anything, even though I wanted to........ I happened to look down at his shoes as he walked by. They were SO COOL! All black and splattered with a bunch of different colors of bright paint. TOTAL highlight of my day!
 
 
Niceguy and I (well really, just me) made list after list for the turkey day meal. We were having a combined family Thanksgiving. At his house. Lots of people. I think my list was 4 pages long, finally condensed in to one FULL page shopping list.
 
As if that was not enough to shop or plan for, CHB came up with a great idea. Prepping and freezing crock pot meals. GENIUS! So, CHB, SS31 and I decided on the 8 recipes we liked the best (thank you Pinterest, you crack whore). CHB made the shopping list and we all showed up at SS31's house and got to work.
 
And we chopped. And chopped. And chopped. As seen below. How ELSE would you chop onions without crying? Thank goodness for SS31 having kids who use swim goggles........ I used SO much garlic, I swear I was smelled like garlic for the next 72 hours straight. And yes, I did shower. I scrubbed my hands, I lotion-ed. I washed and washed and washed. To no avail. Next time I am wearing gloves AND goggles.
 
 
Needless to say my freezer is PACKED!
 
 
So far I have tried 3 of the 8recipes we made. Some of the recipes I would totally make again. Others? Eh, not so much.
 
 
Thanksgiving week rolled around, and I got down to business. NiceGuy got the turkeys out Monday to thaw. Mom and Grandma came up on Tuesday. Wednesday I took the day off work and made my homemade Ginger Cranberry Sauce. Mom made her Maple Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake.
 
Went to bed at a decent time so I could get up to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while I put my sweet potatoes and stuffing in the crockpot to cook.
 
And had some candid moments in between. That I had to share.
 
Grandma and I (me being silly and totally lucking out on catching her goofy face as well)
Grandma and Doodle licking the spoons from a batch of Nordy Bars Doodle made for turkey day
The famed ficus tree Angus, decorated for FALL
Doodle making us laugh, using her sock as a puppet for an impromptu performance (that kid is nuts)
 
 
Turkey Day turned out really well.
 
18 people for dinner
(2) 14 pound turkeys (in roaster pans)
(1) 9lb ham (in baby roaster pan)
4 crockpots
2 bags of Costco rolls
8 bottles of wine (5 were consumed)
 
 
Not everything is on my plate, but doesn't it all look good? It sure tasted good!
 
This was probably the most relaxed I have been on a turkey day in Y.E.A.R.S. It was wonderful! NiceGuy did half the cooking. Since he hosted all of us, Moxie, my mom and I did the dishes. And we drank wine. And laughed. And everyone got along. That's a WIN in my book!
 

Maybe December will be a little more relaxing? Ah, who am I kidding? You know I will be burning the candle at both ends!

October 22, 2014

Gender Roles.......... still alive and kicking up in here

A few weeks ago, NiceGuy bought a new bbq. The last one went tits up, and the end of the summer is a GREAT time to get a grill. Lower cost and all that jazz. He ended up with a Char Broil gas grill. Nice right?
Anywho, a couple of days after he got it, I was over at his house for dinner. I came straight from work, so I had a pretty dress on. After dinner, I supervised the grill assembly process, sitting very demurely on the couch, instruction manual in my lap.
 
There were no words or directives given in the manual. Just a series of pictures in the order the Char Broil folks would like you to put their grill together.
 
All was progressing smoothly, until I flipped to the page that showed the actual gas grill part being mounted on the stand. And I saw this:
 
 
I did a double take. And then I showed NiceGuy. Who didn't see anything wrong with it. UNTIL I pointed out the graphics. Do YOU see it?
 
Apparently this step in the assembly process may require more than one person. And, instead of WRITING in "Assistance may be required" or "2 person assembly", the good 'ole Char Broil company decided to put in a shaded  2 "man" graphic.
 
I was highly offended. I politely offer NiceGuy assistance in lifting the grill on to the stand (nice dress on and all). He politely declines. He says if I want to be of assistance, I can go next door, knock on the door, grab the neighbor "guy" and he can come and help if NiceGuy needs it.
 
Seriously? I knew he was kidding, however I was NOT. I grew up in an ALL female house. My mom put together a grill or two in her time, and wouldn't you know it? All by her little lonesome. No penis required. Moxie bought a grill a few years ago and put it together herself as well, and it works just fine. Shocking right?
 
Now, I am not a HUGE feminist. Oh hell. I just looked up the word. Damn you Merriam Webster. I stand corrected. I AM A FEMINIST. Fuck.

fem·i·nism

noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
: organized activity in support of women's rights and interests
 
 
I do believe (at least for myself and what I teach my Doodle) that us ladies have to try to do something ourselves before playing the "damsel in distress". Those chicks that bat their eyes and swish their hips give us REAL girls a bad name.
 
As an independent, mostly self sufficient mother of two, (and a feminist apparently) I AM annoyed by this picture. What the hell is the Char Broil company thinking? Are men the only people that buy grills? Are men the only ones that can put them together?
 
Who was the GENIUS in marketing that came up with this brilliant idea? I happen to think it would be more cost effective to write out "Assistance may be required" then to completely shade in the two MEN stick figures.
 
Think about it. When you go to ANY public restroom, the signs on the doors for MEN and WOMEN are clearly labeled as such:
  
 
So when I saw what is clearly a gender preference in this manual, I got my panties in a complete wad. Now, I freely admit to having some double standards in the gender roles.
 
For example: I think if a guy asks you out on a first date, HE should pay. Do I bring enough money to make sure I cover the tab in case he cant? DUH! Who is the spider killer in my house?  I AM. Unless my Doodle calls screaming that she found a spider and I cant see it. Then I call in Lil C. I stand over in the corner wielding a shoe in case my assistance is required.
 
What I am having trouble getting behind is this clear statement from the Char Broil company. That it takes a penis to put together a grill. What the hell yo. It's 2014. Char Broil ought to have their shit together by now. I am sure they have more than ONE woman working for their company. Maybe in the great state of Georgia, where it appears the Char Broil company calls home, it might be inconceivable that the little lady could put together such a MASSIVE piece of equipment. Perhaps its a good thing I don't hail from the South.
 
Lets me say this: when I am in the market for a new bbq?  It WILL NOT be purchased from the Char Broil company. End rant. 

September 26, 2014

Money talks, and bullshit walks

Well at least it does around Mtown.
 
Now, it has been a while since I have shared a HeeHaw story with you, dear readers. I think it's past time that you heard the latest installment. Strap yourselves in and take a sip of the haterade I am sharing.
 
You may or may not know......... Lil C turned the big 1-8 this summer. I still can't believe it. Why am I bringing this up? Well, let me tell ya. Ever since my divorce was final, I have received a small amount in child support from HeeHaw. Which totally chaps HeeHaw's ass, since we have joint custody of our two cherubs.
 
Since Lil C turned 18 this year, there is no need to collect child support for him anymore. Or so you would think. Turns out when we filed the divorce papers 5+ years ago, there was NOT a specific amount listed PER CHILD. So, since the state could not determine how much was being collected in support for Lil C, and how much was for Doodle, they could NOT change the amount I was receiving.
 
Now, before you go and get your panties all wadded up, here this: HeeHaw could fill out MODIFICATION paperwork if he wanted to. That could change the amount he is paying. The likelihood that his support amount would go down? About as likely as me winning the lottery........... since I don't play. I took such a downward deviation in support (in lieu of something else) when we finalized our divorce, should HeeHaw submit his income, it was almost a given that the state would make him pay more. Like more than DOUBLE what he is paying now.
 
Now, thanks to ME and my BIG mouth, HeeHaw opted out of the modification. Damnit.
 
With Lil C deciding to live with me full time upon his 18th birthday, he and I went through some ground rules, and what would be expected of him. We also laid out a rental agreement. He was to pitch in a TINY bit for his "rent" and his portion of the cell phone bill. Now that I was not going to loose the child support I thought I would, I lowered Lil C's amount. I thought about it, and as a rite of passage, the boy needs to know the value of paying rent, and that mom's house is not a free ride.
 
But all of that was not good enough for HeeHaw. During the football game a couple of weeks ago, he decided to ask Lil C if he knew that I was still receiving support for him. Even though its not for Lil C anymore, HeeHaw thought it was important for the boy child to know this. Why? Because it made ME look bad. To my son. Who then turned around to confront ME about it.
 
I asked Lil C why he thought I needed to justify the amount of support I received? Or for that matter, how much money I made. Or how much my car insurance or 401k was. Really? It has NOTHING to do with Lil C, and I would be willing to bet that HeeHaw and LL dont share ALL their financial info with Lil C.
 
So I thought to myself: Why couldn't Lil C know the truth? He is 18 now. He can make his own decisions. I shared with Lil C all the struggles I had been through while still receiving child support. The days (when we were first divorced) where I didn't eat, because I had only enough food to feed the kids. Why my kids had to share a bedroom. Why we didnt have cable. How I did without to make sure they had birthday presents, or Christmas presents (as any single parent does). How I would not have eaten on any day I didnt have the kids, had CHB or Moxie not called to invite me over. How I had my power shut off. How I would only turn the heat on in the kids room, because I couldnt afford to heat the whole house.
 
All the while? HeeHaw had a brand new car. Or the latest gadget. Or whatever it was that was shiny and new. And that? Made my blood BOIL.

But hey, I made it work. As best as I could. And eventually, things got better. I paid off my car (one less bill for myself.) I learned how to budget, coupon, and scrimp, save and stretch things out to make them last.
 
At times I was bitter that I relied on that money to survive. But I got over that real fast. Especially when HeeHaw failed to live up to his end of the bargain, with paying for the things he had agreed to as part of our divorce.
 
Having this conversation with Lil C brought back some of that bitterness. And I was angry with myself for letting him walk all over me, only because I didnt have the resources, or the will, to fight him at the time.
 
I hemmed and hawed over sharing this with you, my dear readers. And I had decided not too, until a couple of days ago.

Lil C came to me and said "Hey mom, I heard you got a raise. How come you didnt tell me, and I had to hear it from dad?"
 
Fuck. My. Life. I had let it slip to Doodle the other day that I got a teeny tiny raise. Apparently she let THAT slip to HeeHaw. Who now thinks my finances are HIS business?  He decided to strike up a conversation with Lil C....... I dont know exactly what the conversation entailed, but when I heard HeeHaw had said that the little raise would "make things easier for me"? I saw RED.
 
How dare he? Easier for me? Yep. Thats it. You keep thinking that you god damn jackass. While you sit in MY house. With your TWO new cars. How dare you judge me. How dare you call me immoral for not giving back the "extra" child support I am receiving every month. How dare you make me look like a money hungry bitch to my children. I hope it comes around to bite you in the ass.
 
But, hey. I am not bitter. END. RANT.

London Day 7

Day 7:
 
Our last "free" day to visit all the places on our "bucket lists" we had not been to yet.
 
Very high on almost everyone's list? Abbey Road. How did we get there? Via double decker bus!
 

 After a short bus ride, we arrived. In the middle of a functioning, and at times, busy intersection.

 
See that little sign in the background? Abbey Road Studios baby!

 
Monkey needed his photo taken as well. Of course he also witnessed me writing my name on the bricks outside the studio. All the girls wrote something.


 
We jockeyed for position with ALL the OTHER tourists for a turn to cross the road and take the iconic photo. We got highly annoyed with the French tourists who kept retaking their photo, and stopping traffic in the process.

 
 
What amazed me the most? If you live in London, and KNOW this intersection is where tourists come to get their photo taken, why the HELL would you want to be ANYWHERE near it? We got a lot of frustrated drivers going by and laying on their horns......
 
We hopped back on the double decker bus. Next stop?
 
Westminster Abbey
 
You know. Where Charles and Diana got married. Where William and Kate got married.


 
You feel a little small standing in front of it.

 
We did not go in. The line was long, and we had many stops to make that day.

 
We visited the gift shop. I dont feel like I missed too much by not going inside. I mean, I have seen the inside on tv. What could I possibly be missing?

 
We walked through the Queen's gardens on our way to Buckingham Palace.
 
 
The Queen was home that day, so not only was the flag up and flying high, it also meant no tours.

 
So we gawked and peeked through the gates like all the other hordes of tourists there.

 
We wound our way around the back of the palace, and hopped on the Underground. Next stop?
 
Harrod's
 
 
I wish we would have more than 20 minutes in the store. As a group of 9 it was really hard to stick together AND look at all the awesome-ness that is this store.
 
Next time? I will plan an entire day there!
 
We walked around the block to the world's largest toy store. Hamley's.
 
We let the girls wander through the store so they all got a chance to see what they wanted to see.
 
I made a beeline for the Lego's. They did not have ANY mini-fig's (damnit) however I settled for a photo op with a life size Queen made of Lego's.
 
 
Per a suggestion from a friend, we headed off to the London equivalent of a Walmart and Forever 21 fusion.
 
PRIMARK
 
We had about 30 minutes in this store and not ONE of the girls left without some kind of awesome treasure. We could have spent HOURS in there.......

 
We hopped the Underground again to visit Camden Town. Lots of street vendors for food, an entire street of souvenir shopping.
 
We were so exhausted, and it was late by the time we got there, that we just grabbed a bite to eat, hit a shop or two, and hopped back on the Underground.
 
The next day we had to get up SUPER early, because we are Paris bound!

September 16, 2014

Metal Mouth Squared

The wee people have been in desperate need of braces for SOME time now.
 
At the end of August, the process got started. They went and had some teeth pulled. Both of them.
 
Here is the before:
 
And the after:
 
Doodle always swells up when put under anesthesia. What a difference it makes though to have those fangs removed for BOTH of them.
 
A couple weeks later, they went in to have their HARDWARE installed.
 
Don't they look thrilled?

 
That night was ROUGH. Each of them in pain. Eating all kinds of soft foods.
 
I remember the hell of braces myself. I know the pain, the chewed up cheeks, the broken wires stabbing you, and not being able to eat some of your favorite foods is TOTALLY worth it.
 
Trying to convince them of this? Like beating your head against a brick wall. I did remind them that it could be worse. They could have head gear........
 

 
At least my two metal mouth, brace faced cuties are rockin the bands well. Can't wait to see what they look like when they come off!

September 15, 2014

August 2014 in review

I figured I would give you guys a break from all the London posts and share some of the other exciting things that have been happening in my life.
 
August was a VERY busy month for me! Since I was gone for a while in July it feels like I am trying to squeeze in 2 months of summer in to once month.
 
Aug 1:
Hanging out at Tha Hut on Tha Upswing of Tha Hill, otherwise known as Jgurl's back patio.
 
 
Aug 3:
Couch potato/Movie day for Doodle and I

 
 
Aug 8:
 A HUGE moment for me. NiceGuy has one of these:
 
 
Image courtesy of HERE

And I got on the back of it. And rode around. Which may seem like a small thing to most of you, but its a BIG fucking deal yo. I am nervous passenger in a car, how did I ever think I was going to be able to conquer THIS?

Surprise, surprise it went better than even I expected. NiceGuy had us circling the parking lot for a while, then just around the block, all to acclimate me to the bike. We have been on some short rides (an hour or less) and except for roundabouts, I enjoy being on the back of the bike! It feels so different, and I get to SEE so much more.

 
Aug 9:
VIP tickets to the Bruno Mars concert at The Gorge. Uhm, it was fucking AWESOME! Great road trip with some SUPER great girls!
 
 
 
 
 
Aug 10:
Woke up from the concert with THE PLAGUE. So this is where my toothbrush sat all week, soaking in Listerine. Oh, and I gave all my super awesome road trip friends (who went to the concert with me?) the plague as well. Which they thanked me for. Uhm, yeah.

 
Aug 13:
Sweet treat for NiceGuy for his bday (along with some other goodies)
 
 
Aug 17:
Awesome new bauble from NiceGuy for MY bday

 
Aug 17:
Headed out for 5 days of Spicy Camping 2014
 
With the exception of HOW's little friend, we have been camping with these girls for almost 10 years..........


 
Our dish system (which rocks!)

 
All the hood kids........ so good to see them all hanging out together again and just having fun!

 
Aug 23:
NiceGuy and I hiked the Ice Caves and then rewarded ourselves with a glass of wine.

 
Had to try it with a name like this......
 
 
Aug 24:
Berry picking with Michelle, Moxie and Jgurl
 
Which resulted in jam making. 14 small jars and 3 large ones.
 
 
Aug 30:
Went for another hike with NiceGuy. This time to Lake 22. Which is not that far, about 2.7 miles to the top, but all uphill and some serious rock path switchbacks. My calves hurt for 3 days
afterwards.

 
Aug 31:
Woke up to my front porch that had been "forked". I have the best friends EVAH!
 
Another adventure for NiceGuy and I: this time to the State Fair. Where I decided to get on the Ferris Wheel. Did I mention I am AFRAID of heights? Lets just say that once we got to the top..... I didnt look down. Covered my eyes.
 
Also, had my first ever Purple Cow! Those are freaking GOOD!

 
It was a GREAT month, filled with ALL kinds of new adventures.