Friday, November 30, 2012

11 Years to Life

It's hard for me to believe, and I'm sure the husband will tell you the time has just flown by for him, but Saturday is our 11 year wedding anniversary. It's been 11 years since I broke all those boys' hearts and made Clint the luckiest man alive. I kid! Sort of. There's been better and worse, sickness and health, richer and poorer along the way.

Clint and I were married in the metropolitan city of Toccoa, Georgia on December 1, 2001 (who wants a ball and chain for Christmas?). I was a year out of college and he had just finished graduate school. We went on our honeymoon to a pre-Natalee Holloway Aruba and enjoyed basically having our own private island for the week. And then the real world came a-knocking. Two days after we got back from our honeymoon, we started packing for our move from Atlanta to Charlotte for Clint's first real, adult, career-beginning job. We slept on a mattress on the floor of my empty apartment while what pathetically little else we owned was packed into a U-Haul (in retrospect, Clint need not have packed the majority of his man stuff as it did not make the interior decorating cut), and Clint officially graduated from Georgia Tech the next day. Then we made the four hour drive to Charlotte and thus began all this marital bliss.

For better, for worse: mmm hmmm. We bought our first house, our first lawnmower, our first Christmas tree. There have been tailgates and beach trips, friends' weddings, some fabulous Halloween costumes and in general, lots of laughs. We've also lost family members, friends, jobs. We made new friends and got new jobs (I just never wanted to keep any of mine. Jobs, that is, not friends). There was one terrible trip to Mexico--the frozen drinks are made with the ice made from the water you aren't supposed to drink. Put that in your Cabo guide book next time.

For richer, for poorer: yowza. I don't really want to go into a lot of personal detail on this one, but there have been some penny pinching, coupon clipping, peanut butter sandwich and $1.99 frozen pizza days (yes, they are cheap and no, not particularly tasty). Lest I forget, one of us retired at the ripe old age of 29 and I will buy generic until the day I die in order to avoid ever participating in any more corporate team building exercises. But hey, there have also Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, raises and (very small) inheritances along the way. I could say something trite about being rich in love, but things like that make me TIMMAL (throw up in my mouth a little). That's just not my style.

In sickness and in health: check. In the last eleven years, one of us has lost an appendix (his, and I don't mean the book kind), had walking pneumonia (hers), stitches (all his), a zillion colds, stomach flus and a serious bout of food poisoning (again, hers...I have incredibly good luck). We've both gained and lost weight through the miracles of low fat, low carb, low cal, low sodium. Low on our list of favorite things, too.

We've also had some adventures that our vows didn't include and we probably never expected. For snoring and for coughing fits, for cover hogging and for nights on the couch, whether Clemson beats Georgia Tech or vice versa. During times of methodical and deliberate action (his), and fast and furious turn this mother out (hers). With all the ups, downs, ins, outs, things we've chased and things we've run from, you'd think we'd be in better shape by now.

Happy Anniversary to my kinder, gentler, much more patient other half. I will probably only be around for another 60 years or so, so enjoy every minute of it. Here's to many more years to come!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Evel Knievel and Eggnog Pancakes

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for elastic waistbands, retail violence in the name of a good deal, and the beginning of that get-it-all-ready-for-Christmas ulcer I develop every year. We spent our long holiday weekend in the great state of Georgia with my family, enjoying all the sights (and tastes) of the season.

My mom always goes all out on holidays. When you compare the way she decorates and celebrates with my love of anything holiday related (especially sparkly things), it's a wonder I didn't have seizures as a child just from getting so worked up over it all. Mom's Thanksgiving weekend itinerary would make Martha Stewart want to slash her wrists with a dull butter knife. After which, Martha would use a soft cloth and some polish to gently remove any tarnish from said knife and return it to it's original, antiqued patina, but let me get back to my story.

This weekend was even louder and wilder than a usual visit to my parents' house since they have a new toy poodle puppy, Sam. He is four pounds of pure, wild energy. I don't know when I have ever seen anything move that fast. This puppy is like something shot straight out of a cannon. When he paused to take a breather, my brother managed to snap this picture--if we took one while he was moving, I'm pretty sure it would just be a streak of curly fur.

To Cotton, our blind dog, that little thing was like a fur covered ninja just waiting to pounce. Throw my parents' older deaf miniature poodle in the mix and you have got yourself some genuine canine chaos. In case you lost count, that's a blind dog, a deaf dog, and a devil-may-care six week old puppy. We celebrated Thanksgiving with See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Evel Knievel.

After some shopping Friday for Christmas decorations, we spent the afternoon at home with the three dogs driving us up the walls and literally chewing the shoes off our feet. The guys played golf and were happily oblivious to the zoo atmosphere of Mom's living room. As soon as they came in and dropped their golf clubs, we were off to Lake Lanier Island for Nights of Lights as is our family tradition. This prompted our annual conversation: "Are these lights new? I would have remembered those....No, those are old. I can't believe you don't remember that one, it's always been there...." Christmas lights, hot chocolate, roasting s'mores. In other words, all things that make Susie's heart go pitter patter. Holiday heaven.

On Saturday we decided to let the men folk watch football and dog sit those beasts while we braved the mall. A neighbor had, in true Southern hospitable style, brought over some real maple syrup for us to enjoy so we had to find something to pour flood drizzle it over. After reading The Haters Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalog last week and laughing until we were breathless, I was pretty surprised to find us in said store, happily shelling out a week's grocery money for a canister of eggnog pancake batter. I pictured us gathered around the table, happily slicing up dollar bills and munching on them with a side of savings bonds to use as gravy.

As it turned out on Sunday morning, they were worth their weight in gold. Those were the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes ever made. WS eggnog pancakes make all others look like the slackers in the back row at pancake class, slumped down in their desks, reeking of cigarette smoke and doodling "school sux" on their notebooks.

Shopping, decorating, eating. Golf, football, eating. I'm thinking you can tell which activities were mine and Mom's and which were the guys. There was turkey, watching the parade, looking at Christmas lights, Mom's famous-to-our-family holiday tea, and plenty of downtime. Eggnog pancakes with a side of Evel Knievel. And that, my friends, is how Thanksgiving is done.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don't Sweat(er) It

The holidays are upon us. It's almost time to untangle that 10 lb. ball of lights you threw in the attic last year, open those thoughtful gifts we will all be waiting in long lines the week after Christmas to return, spike the eggnog, and break into your best heartfelt rendition of Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer. I love all of it. One of my favorite things this time of year are the Christmas sweaters: the tackier, sparklier, more bedazzled the better. I people watch in anticipation, just waiting for some spectacular yuletide yarnage to walk by and set the holiday mood in motion.

Now it's confession time: I'm not just an admirer. There is a small section of a guest room closet with more beads, sequins and rhinestone embellishments than a Michael's craft store. I still own some tacky Christmas sweaters. I'm saving them for either one of those yuppie sweater parties, or in the unlikely event that they come back in style. Hey, I love holidays and I love sparkly things. These sweaters are right up my rhinestone encrusted alley.

Exhibit A: Sleigh (and sweater) Full of Santas:

I know what you're thinking: my God, that is a magnificent piece of wearable art. The owner of such an avant-gard item no doubt knows their way around a pair of shoulder pads and an Ogilvy home perm. Yes, it has a fur collar and detachable fur cuffs (which are not pictured, because I couldn't find them. I hope Clint hasn't squirreled them away for himself this holiday season). And it is a cardigan. And it ages the wearer by 30 years. Those Santas? Go all the way around. The photo doesn't even capture the fact that the beards are sparkly. It's a party coming and going. And I'm keeping it in deep storage, just in case. Kris Kringle is ready to mingle.

Exhibit B: The Sassy Spruce Sweater

Again, I seem unable to bypass a faux fur collar. The lure of marabou is too much to resist. I'm not sure why there are sequins radiating out of the trunk of the tree, but apparently, that is how evergreens roll in the world of high fashion. This sweater can take you from the freezer section at the grocery store, 'round the punch bowl at your office party and back home again in stunning style. Be the envy of the carpool line and make an entrance at the neighborhood cookie swap. Don't hate.

But the next one is really my sequin pride and joy. My family anticipates it coming out into the light of day each year, and it's become as much a tradition as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, cranberry sauce shaped like the can, or turkey and dressing. Get out your shades, because Thanksgiving future is about to get bright.

Exhibit C: The Glitzy Gobbler:

Oh yes, it's as glamorous as a turkey can get. Say what you will about the tacky Christmas ones, but I think we can all agree that this bedazzled beauty just rocks. What better way to give thanks and count your blessings than to razzle dazzle 'em? Fab-u-lous!

I will wear my beloved turkey sweater until every last sequin falls off  (and judging by the fact that there are approximately 13 billion of them, it may be a while). Even my in laws look better when bathed in the warm glow of multicolor sequins. They don't tell you in the history books that the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrim women totally rocked holiday sweaters.

So pass the potatoes and give me an extra helping of sparkle. I'm feeling festive and I've got the wardrobe to prove it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home Invasion

Today I heard the words that strike fear deep down in my heart. Stop me in my tracks. Fill me with an unshakable dread. The birds stopped singing, the sun hid behind the clouds and the band quit playing. The children ran inside, and even the dust rode out of town on the last sliver of a breeze it could find.

I overheard Clint on his phone telling someone from his office he is working from home again tomorrow. For the third day in a row. I had to resist the compelling urge to scream "Nooooooo!" and throw myself on him like a soldier on a grenade. If you and your spouse are able to work in close proximity together without one of you getting homicidal, I pity admire you. Please note I did not say that I envy you.

Having my other half work from home is especially trying because he is such a Company Joe. No--that doesn't do it justice. I'm sorry for this Joe fellow, but Clint is way more dedicated. He makes Joe look like a lazy fry cook at Burger King. He is a Company Clint. All work, all the time.

When the alarm goes off at ridiculous thirty every other wonderful, happy, normal workday, Clint gets up, I reset the clock, and blissfully get an hour and a half of snore-free slumber. This is my reward for not smothering that snoring giant during the night (continuous sleep deprivation will make you get cagey like that). However, when he works from home, I feel guilty about going back to sleep, so we're both up and at 'em. Which is great, because it makes this quality time filled day even longer.

To say I'm not a morning person is a giant understatement. I hate mornings like a fat kid hates carrot sticks. All I want to do is stumble through breakfast and sit comatose on the couch while the Today show rambles in the background until I absorb enough Diet Coke into my bloodstream to walk without falling down.  But there is no joy in Mudville when the company man is here, so instead of Today Show fluff, we watch the Golf channel. Or ESPN. There isn't enough Diet Coke in North America to help me overcome the tone that sets for the day. And there goes Days of Our Lives at lunch. Like sands through the hourglass be damned; the man has no appreciation for fine daytime drama.

Then there are the "You can" and "I am" statements. The "You can"s are basically verbal permission slips for me to abide by whilst being supervised. As in, "you can turn off the TV now," "you can go ahead and walk the dog," or "you can eat lunch when you're ready." How do I function on a daily basis without these helpful directives? It's a wonder. The "I am"s are a running monologue of his activities. All. Day. "I am going on a conference call in 10 minutes." "I am checking email for a while." "I am going to the bathroom." Now the first two were bad enough, but this is not Miss Susie's preschool and I need not be aware of everyone's bathroom business. Knock yourself out.

The phone, remote control, and ability to move freely throughout my home are all commandeered. I spend the entire day quietly tiptoeing around while Company Clint is on the phone, and making sure that at no time do I appear to be unbusy, not working, or enjoying myself. God forbid the dog bark because that is not allowed now that our house has been transformed into a ginormous cubicle. I find myself doing things to occupy time like staring at the washing machine and watching it go through the cycles. Refolding all the towels in the linen closet. Making lists of lists I need to make. Organizing the scissor drawer. Fantasizing about this ridiculous day being over.

So, to my micro manager for the day: I've got a "You can/I am" for you. You can go back to the office any time now. I am counting the minutes.

Because once he goes back to work, I go back to play.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homecoming Spirit-less

Clemson homecoming was this weekend, and while so many of my friends (and friends of friends, and their friends) celebrated with tailgating and cold beverages, I found myself once again living on the corner of Glitz and Glamour (I'm getting address labels printed). Specifically, on the couch with a cough, cold, sore throat and general lack of will to live.

While Tiger fashionistas carefully planned their best orange game day attire, the only reason I got out of my pajamas all weekend was so I could look forward to putting them back on again. Clint was sick, too, and our couch logged about a billion frequent sitter miles while we put the TiVo through its paces. The two of us stumbled around like extras from the set of the Walking Dead.

Clemson had cookouts and kickoff, we had Kleenex and cough drops. We didn't make it to Tiger Town Tavern, but we did down some shots of Nyquil and some serious mugs of Theraflu. Campus was littered with stray pom poms and Solo cups, while the Stancil abode was a sea of McDonald's cups and takeout containers. And while the crowd roared with enthusiasm in Death Valley, my cough perfectly mimicked a barking seal and chorused through our house all weekend. We've got spirit, yes we do, we've got spirit, and the flu!

While I enjoyed looking at everyone's adorable, festive, Tiger paw filled photos, I will spare you any pictures from our weekend. Y'all were homecoming, we were home bound and quarantined. Clemson fans' enthusiasm is contagious, and so was whatever almost killed us the last four days.

So if you felt like something was missing on Saturday, that something was ME. Hopefully, we will make up for it next year. We'll be louder, more orange, with even more Tiger paws and Tiger pride. In the meantime, I'll be planning my tailgate. And my outfit.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Fire Drill

A couple of months ago, a frenemy of mine (that's an enemy you're fake friendly with, if you're feigning innocence) bragged that she tried a new workout program and raved about her results. She claimed to be the fittest she'd ever been. Enter my competitive streak, which is about a mile wide and my ultimate Achilles heel. What did I do? Went online and ordered the DVDs, and scheduled them for express delivery. Anything she can do, I can do better.

The program is Turbo Fire and is self-described as an "intense cardio conditioning program." The theme of the whole kit and caboodle is fire--the instructor constantly says things like "fire it up, torch those calories, feel that burn, add fuel to the fire...." And a million more of these catchy little ditties. I am about four weeks in at this point, so let me give you the lowdown.

First, I have renamed this regimen Torture Time. Turbo Fire doesn't even begin to do it justice. I have done P90X many times and survived and thrived. I'll admit I was a bit cocky going into this, because if I can workout with Tony Horton and BRING IT with P90X, I assumed (incorrectly) that I was a fitness rock star.

Oh, how quickly we are be humbled. Torture Time is an interval workout, which means you learn the moves, a fire alarm sounds (seriously) and for one minute, you go as hard as you can go. A few seconds of recovery and then the fire alarm sounds again. After two days of working out like that, I was walking the dog and a firetruck went by, sirens blaring. I immediately thought, "Oh God, I have to do that damn workout now!" Then I felt relieved when I realized it was probably just someone's house burning down. Torture Time will give you some serious post traumatic stress.

Please imagine punching, kicking and jumping as quickly as humanly possible. No, faster than that. These people are moving faster than ninjas hyped up on crack, and they are all rocking flat ironed ponytails and earrings the size of hula hoops. In the meantime, yours truly is wearing double sports bras, a headband to keep the sweat out of my eyes, and a knee brace. Looking good and feeling fine.

Several of the workouts are labeled "EZ Fire." I wrongly assumed this would mean less intensity; instead I have come to realize it must stand for extra zealous. Forty-five minutes into one of these EZ things, my arms were so tired they went numb. For real. I could not lift them over my head. Since the DVD titles are clearly bogus, I have come up with my own titles for the Torture Time workouts. These include: WTF, This Isn't Happening, She's Trying to Kill Me, and my personal least favorite B*tch Please. These provide a much more accurate description of what is happening in each workout.

During the cooldown, your fearless fitness fiend instructor Chalene says, "See? Don't you feel fantastic? This is why you workout--to feel this way!" Um, no, Chalene. I do not feel fantastic. I feel as if I have been run over by a Mack truck, and as soon as I scrape myself up off the floor, I am probably going to vomit. What a reward. Last week, I actually finished one of the longer workouts and thought I was making stellar progress. Getting the hang of it. Conquering that mountain. And then I was seized by a coughing fit so hard it made me gag. Twice. Maybe I'm not conquering just yet.

The DVDs came with a 90-day money back guarantee, but you know I'm too stubborn to send them back and admit defeat. The workout ninjas and I press on. Let's just hope the sirens I keep hearing are fire drills, not ambulances.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Amazon Woman

My friends and family have casually labeled me OCD. I prefer to say that I am highly organized, passionate, and dedicated to keeping things the way they ought to be. In any case, I have become "passionate" lately about my love of Why leave the comfort of home when you can buy anything--and I mean anything your little heart desires--on Amazon and have it brought right to your door?

In the past few months, I have bought books, jellybeans, an exercise jump mat, shoes, vacuum cleaner filters, and DVDs, to name a few. Amazon will even compare prices for you, so you're actually saving money by spending money (professional shoppers: you know what I mean).

Last week, Clint asked me if I would go to Sears and get lawn mower tires. Because that sounds like something that would be right up my alley. Clearly. Besides lawn mower tires, you know what they have at Sears that I like? Nothing.

So my answer was no, I will not drive 20 minutes to a  hardware store someone tried to disguise by placing it in a mall. I will log on to my old trusty friend and score the lawn mower tires at a frugal price without ever leaving my house. Then, in 5-7 business days, Rodney the UPS man (shout out to Rodney!) will deliver them directly into my hot little hands. Everyone is happy, and we are giving Rodney job security. It's impossible not to feel good about that purchase.

Whatever you have in mind, I'll bet they have it. Skeptical? Challenge accepted. Here are a few of the more unusual items (in addition to the usual batteries, sports bras, and lamp shades) you can find on this super site:

For $39.95, how about some uranium (back away, clearly states for educational purposes only. Duh.):

Let's say your neighbors are the ones ordering the uranium and you don't believe it is for a 5th grade book report. Trade in your minivan for this tank, available on Amazon for the bargain price of $19,995:
Note: at the time of publication, the tank was out of stock. However, it did receive an average of 4 out of 5 stars after being reviewed by 259 Amazon customers, so maybe keep checking back.
What about splurging and spending $9.99 on some canned unicorn meat? What a lovely stocking stuffer for the upcoming holidays:
It's a dismembered plush unicorn, stuffed in a can. You can't eat it, but imagine the delight on the face of the recipient of this gift. And again, you need not get out of your pajamas to make this happen.
One in ten Americans believe they have seen a UFO. Don't take a chance on missing out--at $74.95, this UFO detector will give you the priceless peace of mind in knowing that you will be instantly notified when a UFO may be in your area. You can tell by looking at this high tech piece of equipment that it is pure quality:
There you have it. Those are just a sampling of Amazon's awesome offerings. Go ahead, make a wish and let the Amazon genie grant it for you.
They say it's a jungle out there. I say, as long at it's the Amazon, it's a piece of cake.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pin It to Me

Before I collapse into an exhausted, frustrated heap on my sofa, I need to get this off my chest: Pinterest has to be a very elaborate trick, orchestrated at the expense of the ambitious and naive. I mean, seriously, who needs to make homemade Almond Joy bars? Can't you buy one of those at a gas station for 79 cents and be on your merry way? Why are we all so busy pinning ways to reinvent the wheel?

I am particularly susceptible to their seasonal tortures. It's just too much to resist. Candy Corn Bark was today's Pinterest punishment. Didn't it turn wonderfully?

Frick no, it did not turn out wonderfully. It is a crumbly, sticky mess of grainy candy corn that even I won't eat...and that is saying something. The only things I don't eat are beets, mincemeat, food on the bone, and now candy corn bark.

What are the ingredients? After an hour of work and a solid coating of white chocolate on my person, I will tell you it composed entirely of evil, cruelty and b.s. Sound tasty? You know where I got the recipe.

And as I marched the entire batch out to the trash can in our garage, I passed Clint doing yard work. He took a look at the white chocolate spatters, my red face, furrowed brow and paused to raise an eyebrow. I yelled "freaking Pinterest!" And he nodded and went right back to work. No further explanation necessary.

Now that I have fully vented my candy corn induced frustration, I'm off to find my yoga pants and a glass of wine. And then I need to pin some meditation techniques.

Tricky Situation

Let me begin by saying I love a holiday. I dye our food green for St. Patrick's Day, still hunt eggs at Easter, drink margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, and don't even get me started on my love of Christmas.

But I will confess: I have become a Halloween Scrooge. Or does that make me a witch? I digress.

When we bought our house seven years ago, I was thrilled at the prospect of trick-or-treaters. Finally! I was determined, as is my nature, to make our house the ultimate destination for treats. And so it began. In Halloweens past, we've given out tons of candy and even thrown in party favors like bubbles, spider rings, Chinese yo-yos...our house was the best trick-or-treat stop on the block. Let's not forget the year we had a witch with a "smoking" cauldron (fog machine) out on our front lawn.

But the last few years, I started to wonder if this was really the holiday fun I thought it would be. For starters, the candy is expensive. I'm talking dinner out or a spa pedicure kind of money, and I'm spending it on kids with confectionery entitlement issues in sub par costumes. If your costume costs less than I spent on candy, I reserve the right to eat the spoils myself. Boo-bye.

The little candy snatchers come early. And often. My sixteen pound fur-covered ball of canine chaos thinks the doorbell is his mortal enemy. The pattern becomes: doorbell rings, dog goes berserk, hand out candy, calm down dog, Wait two minutes. Repeat. After a few hours of all this supposed fun, this Halloween hoopla starts to wear thin.

And then: last year, I did it. I only bought candy for two. We turned off the porch lights, hid inside and ate chocolatey, sugary goodness while watching my favorite scary movies. The dog slept peacefully in the floor and all was right with the world.

I bought enough candy for the neighborhood this year, but I still haven't decided if we will treat or trick. We've already put a huge dent in the candy supply and I refuse to buy more. We've been trying to tell ourselves that we are not literally taking candy from babies by using the excuse "kids don't like this candy--no kids eat Kit Kats. Or Butterfinger. Or <insert awesome candy goodness name here>. " We are eating the stuff like it will never come our way again (I may or may not have gone so far as to add a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to a protein shake this week. It may or may not have been delicious.). I'm dreading the invasion of the candy snatchers.
So if the lights are off, the doorbell goes unanswered, and you don't get candy at my house, now you know why. Go ahead, toilet paper our yard. As soon as I finish eating this fun size Snickers bar, I'll get right to cleaning it up.

To Blog or Not to Blog

I’ve been known to rant, rave and muse about pretty much everything, particularly my not-terribly-glamorous everyday life. Apparently, some of you enjoy these tales of mine and have asked for more. And with this girl, flattery will get you everywhere. You’ve all been saying I need to write something, and while I have batted my eyelashes and sighed, “Oh, stop! Who, me? I couldn’t possibly!” I’ve actually been giving it a little thought. A friend even went as far as to demand that I write a book, a sitcom, or a blog—do something, woman! So I decided to put this plan into action.

But which format is best for Southern sarcasm with a side of housewife and a dash of hot rollers? I am an old-fashioned girl, so the idea of authoring a book was appealing. Putting pen to paper is a favorite pastime for me, plus I have great penmanship. And I kicked some serious butt in high school typing class, so handwritten manuscript or typed, clearly I could do no wrong. New York Times bestseller list, here I come. Until the thought of Friday night book signings at your local bookstore under florescent lights ran through my head. As anyone who knew me during my miserable retail employment will tell you, this girl does not do nights or weekends. I spent years in a little gray cubicle working for a boring bank simply for the benefit of taking back my life Friday afternoon at 5:00 and not having to do a thing until mean old Monday rolled around. Clearly, books are SO 2000 and late.

A sitcom, perhaps. Everyone loves television these days, even those who aren’t smart enough to read. I had found myself an even bigger audience. Pass the popcorn and set the DVR to record. Until you consider the fact that I would clearly have to play myself. Who else would have the big hair and extreme Southern accent to accurately capture the essence of moi? The idea of a hair and makeup person always makes me giddy, so I thought it was a go. But, the camera adds 10 pounds. And I’m not vain, okay, well, I am vain and I do not need an extra 10 pounds. I can find those in one McDonald’s, nachos, Ben & Jerry’s weekend just fine without assistance. I wish instead of HD, televisions came with Spanx effects; there would be a natural choice.

Alas, there is no Spanx cable package, so blog it shall be. Be careful what you wish for, because now I’ll blog it. Because most of the true things that happen to me are way better than fiction. And since I am truly an ugly crier, I would much rather laugh about it all. Let the good times toll!

Fence Mending

About two years ago, I came home to find a Home Depot delivery truck unloading 1200 pounds of concrete onto a palette in my driveway. Since they don't sell concrete at Nordstrom or Anthropologie, I was pretty sure I did not make this purchase. Upon further investigation, it seems that my husband was the one who ordered this mess. My initial theory was that he was going to build some sort of bunker for apocalyptic times, and another friend suggested he might be getting ready to build a skate park. Awesome.

It turns out, he had more ambitious plans. The split-rail fence surrounding our backyard was in desperate need of repair. Personally, I wanted a new, prettier fence, but due to The Budget, my idea was vetoed. Clint decided he could repair the fence all by himself. Because we don't pay people to do things that we can do ourselves (unless "we" is me and I can get it done without Clint finding out).

The first weekend, a grand total of four fence posts went up. Real progress, considering there are approximately 40 something of them surrounding our yard. For anyone who hasn't heard my complaints, my husband moves at a pace somewhere between paint drying and an exhausted snail. He is the anti-ninja. Weekends went by, one or two posts more went up. Excuses started to mount as the novelty of the fence project wore off: too tired, too hot, too cold, too windy, too *whatever*. At the one year milestone, Clint was almost halfway home.

Let me also provide this background: I read our neighbors the riot act for tying their fence into ours (basically, "sharing" one side of the fence because they were too cheap to build their own). I demanded that they fix some shabby workmanship that was on my property line, followed up to make sure it got down on time, and commanded that project like it was my job.

My husband is a real life project manager. It literally IS his job to manage projects. And we have the world's slowest fence repair project in our very own backyard. If he was getting paid by the hour, he would be the Donald Trump of split-rail fencing. The irony escapes him.

The neighbors fixed their fence. And sold their house and moved. Renters moved in. Renters moved out. The house is for sale again. That fence looks fabulous and mine is still under freaking construction.

I've been told by the project manager that he is "closing in on it." I'm hopeful that by the end of 2013, we will have an entire fence enclosing our yard. And by the time he's done, the first posts will probably have already fallen due to old age. Return to start. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Or better yet: take the $200 and hire a contractor.

It looks like we should have about 300 or so pounds of concrete left. So maybe we'll get that skate park after all....

Friday, November 2, 2012

Craigslist Crazies

Several weeks ago, I decided to sell Clint's brown leather "man chair" recliner. We are redecorating our den and the poor chair has no place to go and no one ever sits in it. I thought Craigslist could help find the chair a good home, and pad my pockets with a little extra spending money. I created a listing with a couple of pictures of the recliner, measurements, and a description. Easy breezy.

What I didn't realize, since this was my initiation into the world of Craigslist, is that a post will bring out the absolute crazy in people. And it doesn't do much to enhance people's intelligence, either. I got a flood of emails, most of which only said "Is the chair still for sale?"

The email I got from "Kevin" took the cake, though. And I have to hand it to him, he inspired me to respond and get all my frustrations out. The initial email from potential chair buyer Kevin is below, followed by my response. This is completely true and unaltered; I have only edited Kevin's identifying details to protect the colossally insane.

From: Kevin
Subject: Leather chair for sale
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 13:09:37
The chair looks nice. I have some questions.
Is it still available?

How old is it?

How often was it used? Every night in front of the TV?
Why are you selling it?

Would you consider taking less? This is a little bit out of my price range?
What town do you live in?

Best Regards,


Ph: 704-XXX-XXXX

Now you've met Kevin. A no doubt lovely individual with an inquisitive spirit. Now, my response to this fine fellow:

To: Kevin
Subject: Leather chair for sale
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 14:39:47

Dear Kevin,

Wow. You certainly seem to be a very thorough, savvy buyer. Let me attempt to answer your questions regarding the chair:

1. As of now, the chair is still available, although I have received several wonderful emails from individuals such as yourself expressing interest.

2. A quality leather recliner such as this one is, like an inquisitively minded gentleman, timeless. Age is just a number, after all.

3. The chair has never been used in front of the TV, as I cannot afford one. Perhaps once I sell it....

4. I decided to sell the recliner for numerous reasons, all of which you deserve to know. First, the aforementioned need of a television set looms large. Second, for many years I thought that was my roommate's chair and she used it constantly. However, I was recently diagnosed with multiple personality disorder and it turns out that no one has been using the chair and it was all in my mind. Hopefully the right combination of medication can free up some more unnecessary furniture. And the biggest reason is that the last time my mother-in-law visited, she sat in the recliner and stated that it was so comfortable, she never wanted to leave it. I put it up for sale as soon as she stood up and got out of it.

5. I am sorry it is out of your price range. I can offer you a 0% interest lay-a-way plan if you can have it paid in full by Christmas. Asking price was $350, however, for you, the price is $400. I need to make a dime for my time and you have been quite time consuming for someone looking for a bargain.

6. My ad states that I live in South Charlotte. However, due to the responses the ad is generating I believe I must either be in the Twilight Zone or bordering on the suburbs of CrazyTown.

I certainly hope this helps you with your furniture buying process.
All the best,

P.S. Thank you for including your phone number. I will be sure to suggest that if anyone is looking for a good time, call.

Much to my surprise, I never heard back from Kevin. I was forced to sell the recliner to a far less curious buyer a few days later. My chair sold to the highest bidder, but don't you worry: my sarcasm is absolutely free.