Friday, January 30, 2009

Retro Bloggage - You Say Hello, And I Say Goodbuy

Originally Posted September 12, 2007 - I just felt it was an appropriate retro entry, considering Carol's confession of her love of Targets.

After a crapload of years together, a lot of places have joint memories for Carol and I.  Which makes referring to them easier, since we'll both know where we're talking about: this especially comes in handy with Targets, since Carol and I frequent almost every Target within a 75 mile radius of the Big D, and aren't that great with street names.

Case in point:

Carol: Any particular leanings for supper tonight?

Me: Um. Baja Fresh? Always a winner?

Carol: Sure, which one?

Me: There's that one near the Target where we almost punched out the manager, or the other one next to the Target where we bought the baby's crib. Remember that? What the hell were we thinking? Were we planning on strapping it to the damn roof of the car? Driving it home like it was some prize buck?

Carol: I'm liking the one near asshole-manager. It'll be closer to the Office Depot and I can pick up some supplies.

Me: Well, if you need an Office Depot, there's always that Target where we got the whole frickin bedroom ensemble for like 13 bucks on clearance. Remember that? I think that's the same one I got my car wash bucket for like a buck twenty-four. I love me my clearance deals.

Carol: You're missing the point. We don't need a Target, we need a Baja Fresh.

Me: OH! You know where'd be good? That Target where you almost killed us in the parking lot.

Carol: Ugh. I hate you.

She doesn't really hate me. She's just usually a very good driver who made one slipup one day and almost got us t-boned, and now she's resentful because she'd like to erase the event from memory, but instead it will forever be commemorated in my description of this particular Target.

But them's the breaks. 

D.I.Why?! (Super-Cheap & Easy Art)

Anyone who knows me, knows that my love for Target runs deep. A couple months ago, I found some little 5"x5" frames that came in a pack of three. I bought a bunch of packs in black, as well as white, with the intention of putting black and white pictures of my sweet, little cherubs in them.

Well, they didn't look as awesome as I would have liked and my poor photo printer was sucking up the ink like crazy. So, I decided to take a piece of 12"x12" paper that I'd been hanging onto for eternity and cut it into nine 4" squares. The result turned out perfect for filling out a wall in the master bedroom:

Lee's a little freaked out that I used tacks to to put the pictures up, but I find that since the frames are so lightweight, it isn't a problem at all. Plus, I was able to easily reposition the tacks to make sure that the frames were perfectly square with each other.

Time: roughly 10 minutes (most of the time was spent positioning the frames on the wall)

Tacks: negligible. Nine tacks out of a package of hundreds that I purchased about 10 years ago. I suppose you could get all fancy and actually put picture hangers for all nine. That would probably run a buck or two depending on where you purchased them.

Frames: $7.50 (for all nine!)

Paper: $0.33 (On sale at Joann's a couple years ago)

Total: $7.83

I also scooped up this super-sweet canvas print in their 30% off sale:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dads Must Clamor To Get Their Kids Invited To Her Birthday Parties.

Stolen from something I came across in my travels.  (Sadblog - The Buzz)

The following picture was submitted as homework to a teacher.

The teacher then contacted the parent to let them know about the picture.

The parent responded with the following:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Mrs. Smith

Monday, January 26, 2009

Maybe My AARP Card Was Showing.

There are certain milestones in life that very subtly show your age.  Not big ones, like your first steps or 16th birthday, but little social ones that are like little "tells" of how old you are (or how old other people think you are).

I think one big one is when you stop putting "and a half" at the end of your age.  When does that stop?  Sevenish?  I can't think of the last time I heard someone say that they were "thirty-six and a half".  If ever.  

Though I might start.

And I remember a very wise teacher once told me that "once a kid loses all his baby teeth, he ain't cute anymore".  Apparently, precociousness turning into obnoxiousness has something to do with the size of your incisors.

Getting ID'ed for cigarettes or drinks is another one.  Can you remember when people stopped asking?  What exactly was it that triggered that reaction of, "Oh, they're old enough for sure"?

But this past week brought another one.  I was talking to someone a few decades older than me and I mentioned that "old age was getting to me".  

The reaction I got?  "Tell me about it."

"Tell me about it".  Not some patronizing "Oh, you've still got some years" or "That's silly!  You're still young".  

Nope.  "Tell me about it".  Like we were peers in some kind of irrelevant segment of a marketing demographic.  Like we were both members of some senior's club and we were commiserating.  Like we "got" each other.  

Ugh.  What gave me away?  You can't *smell* Metamucil and Centrum on someone's breath, can you?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

D. I. Why?! (Cheap & Easy Memo Board)

I've always hearted DIY projects. Sometimes they're winners, sometimes notsomuch. I'm completely addicted to home reno/redecorating programs --- at any given moment, there's a TV somewhere in the house explaining the intricacies of crown moulding or harping about the latest trends in paint.

I'm also HUGE on doing things myself (in most cases - we won't discuss the plumbing in our master bathroom). You just can't beat that instant gratification when you finish a project - ESPECIALLY when it cost nearly nothing.

So, with this D.I.Why?! series, I'll do the best I can to lay out the costs involved in each project, as well as whether the project was easy-peasy or made you say 'WHY???'

Our first project is a memo board. The 2-year-old has been dragging around a couple pieces of foam board that I bought from the dollar store four months ago. I was going to use them for a signage project at a craft fair, but changed my mind. I needed a new memo board in my office because the old one was just gross and didn't match the decor.

First, I started with two foam boards from the dollar store:

I taped them together to create a thicker board:

I placed fabric over the whole assembly for measuring (came out to about 3-ish feet, by about 2 feet. Depends on how big your boards are. I left about 3 inches of extra fabric on each side, but you probably only really need 2") Oh, and iron your fabric before you get started. (.....duh, Carol)

I stapled the fabric into the foam board because I was in a hurry and wanted to get this done as fast as possible, but I would suggest a more permanent form of adhesive. (Glue gun? Might melt the foam....)

Say 'hello' to the baby on the floor:

This is what it looked like after the stapling extravaganza (again, a quick press with an iron prior to assembly would've helped, but in the end, it didn't matter):

I took thin, chocolate-brown ribbon and stretched 9 lengths across the whole piece securing each one to the back with straight pins.

Then, I placed a dab of glue over each crossover of ribbon and inserted a pushpin to assist in adhesion. A better alternative would have been to use a brad of some sort, or maye even an upholstery nail, but I really wanted this particular color/design combination:

The Divoga pins came in a pack of 30 from OfficeMax and had all of the colors that I wanted to have in my new office layout:

The finished product:

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. I might have to make some adjustments later on in the pins work themselves loose, but all-in-all, a worthwhile little project.

Time: about 30 minutes (including several stops to entertain the above baby)
2 foam boards: $2.00
4 pieces of packing tape: negligible
Ribbon: .17 (used half of a roll that was originally purchased for about .33 as part of a '3 for $1.00' deal at Michael's)
5 push pins: .65 (5 pins out of a package of 30 that cost $3.99)
Fabric: $0.00 (I used fabric that I found around the house, but depending on whether you have to purchase your own, costs will vary)

Total cost: $2.82 and 30 frenzied minutes out of my life.

Definitely an easy afternoon project.

Party's over.

Time to get back to work! Here are a couple new designs available in the shop:


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Was Sure He Was Gonna Mention "Hell's Angels' Clubhouses" Next.

I've always wanted to be the type of person who might be categorized as a "Maven".  A person who some might consider an expert in a particular field, who tries to share their knowledge and expertise with others.

Not that people would necessarily be listening.  But I would try to share anyways.

Achieving "mavenhood" requires a certain amount of research and brainspace.  You need to keep up to date on all the cutting edge stuff going on in your particular field of expertise.  As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to maintain the maven status, because frankly, you just stop caring.  Or life comes along and replaces your interests with necessities, forcing you to give up the title of "Cell Phone Maven" and take on the new role as "Diaper Maven".  ( by the way, did you know that Canadian Huggies and American Huggies are *totally* different?  With Canadian Huggies, you might as well wrap your kid up in cardboard.  Honestly.  And that's the kind of junk a maven would pass along to you.)

Reviews are like crack to a maven.  Product reviews, Consumer Reports, Amazon star ratings all call to us with the promise of more insight and more information.

So, at a loss for a specific area of expertise, the other day I was watching a show on hardwood floors, thinking I might become the guy everyone comes to when they need flooring advice.  Not as glamorous as HDTV expert, but awesomely practical nonetheless.  The guy confirmed what I already had discovered: maples dent easily.  He didn't recommend them for high traffic areas.  But he then went on to make another statement where he recommended laminate flooring for high-traffic areas, using the specific examples of "young families" and "dog breeders".

Apparently, having a brood of dalmations running through your home is somewhat akin to having a few kids.  High traffic.  Piss and drool.  And if I don't get to them often enough, the click, click, click of nails on the floor.  

But he totally neglected the most important part: what breed?  I think mine are more of the beagle variety.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No Animals Were Harmed In The Making Of This Blog Post...

Can fish have a personality?

Carol bought the kid a blue male betta fish for Christmas. I don't like the fish.

It's not that whole "sensible", "reasonable", "logical" dislike of fish in general.  It's not the fact that you can't pet it or walk it that makes me dislike it.  It's not the fact that it can't do tricks that makes me dislike it.  Or the amount of work with no gratitude that makes me dislike it.  

I just don't like the fish.

He seems snobby.

And not just your run of the mill, nose in the air, snobby.  It's almost like a weaselly kind of snobby.  Like if you saw Dustin Diamond at the mall and yelled, "Hey, Screech!"  and he just gave you a look and kept right on going into the Old Navy Outlet Store.

It's exactly like that.  It's like I'm getting dissed by Screech in my own house twice a day.

And then I read that these things can live *years*.  Which seems like an awful long time to put up with this.

But a part of me hopes he makes it that long.  Because by that point, I'll probably be getting more sleep, returning to semi-sanity and not trying to pick fights with him quite as often.

It's only fair that he gets to see my good side before I flush him.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


As promised, here are some photos of the renovations that occurred over the Christmas break. First off, here are some 'before/after' pictures of the bedroom (oh, the horror):

The 'nook' before (Lee's responsible for the extra-fancy ceiling border.)

and after:

Here's a shot of part of the closet/storage before:

and after:

The wall next to the bed:


This is the brick fireplace wall that I was talking about. I don't think I have any befores because the whole project was a bit of an afterthought. The pictures were taken in semi-dim light and I haven't yet learned how to play with the settings on the camera to make things look pretty. That would take way too much brain power.

opposite wall in same room (kiddo play area is hidden behind the couch)

And one of my favorite spots in the house.... would make a great bar, no?

And my $0.99 Ikea find in the clearance bin.... go me:

I'm hoping this will be the first installment of quite a few projects I've got going on. The next one will either be the Florida room or my home office.... oh, the suspense.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Well, we made it through yet another holiday season. However, I must say, this time around? Much more tired. Much, much more tired.

The break gave me a chance to unplug for a bit and really put my nose to the grindstone on some interior home projects I've been working on. Here's a sampling of what I was able to accompish this past two weeks (pictures to follow in the next post):

-Painted bedroom in a shade that everyone said would look awful, but I knew better
-Completely redecorated said bedroom, including several teary-eyed attempts at crown molding (Lee saved me there)
-Painted two accent walls in the living room --- one being a brick wall around the fireplace. Painting brick = pain in the ass. Painting brick with cheap paint = stab yourself in the eye.
-Decided the new accent walls in the living room required that the entire room be rearranged and redecorated
-Hung new curtains and fixtures in master bathroom
-Hung new lighting fixture in the kitchen
-Lee laid new flooring in part of the basement
-Hung room-darkening blinds in my office so that I can actually get design work done during the hours of 8:00a-5:00p
-Bought a fish for Jack (thought it would be considered home improvement until I saw how gross the fish-bowl gets every day....blech)

I still have to frame a couple giant mirrors, completely renovate the Florida room (do Florida rooms even exist in Canada?) paint my office and add some trim to it, repaint the hallway and doors and possibly change the light fixtures in the dining room and basement. But, I think I'm a little too pooped to party this go around. Maybe during spring break?

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!