Sunday, February 27, 2011

Letters Part Trois

Dear Lia Sophia Jewelry Company,

Hi.  I very much enjoy selling your jewelry.  It's a great way for me to earn some extra cash for my riding obsession.  I love the monthly newsletter you mail us with the little insert to share at shows.  Sometiems it inspires me.  However.

Upon reading this month's insert, I have some scoffing to do.  Never, in my 4 years working for you, have I attended a show where any number of women crowded around each other, touching each other as they admire your jewelry, as you demonstrate here.  This is fakety fake fake.

While I have tried to suggest that in the summer, women host shows on the decks, I have only had this happen once and when the rain and bugs came, it was a bit of a crisis.  I would be concerned in this "urban" setting you have featured here that some "neighbors" might come over to help themselves, were we to have the show on the "deck" featured here.

People host in weird places, do weird things at shows, I get it. 

Of most concern to me though, is the collection of rocks, or potatoes, that you have clustered near the vase of flowers.  WTF?  If someone lives in such an urban setting, where would they find these rocks to display?  Should they use potatoes?  And what purpose does this serve in the overall atmosphere of the show?  If the salsa runs out, we can make french fries or throw rocks at the hostess? 

Basically, I think your marketing/advertising department is nuts.  But I like earning the cash.  Just stop putting weird things in your pictures, please.


Dear Marathon Organizers,

Hi. I know, you sold out all of the space for the 10K, the half marathon and the marathon.  It's a banner year for you.  I know, you're raking in the big bucks.  You do know it's February, right?  Are you aware that the weather here in February usually looks like this?  Do you see the actual snowflakes falling down in this picture?  What are you thinking?  Do you think people actually like to run in snow and freeze their butts off?  Are you sure the end of March isn't a better time to do this?

So Glad I'm Not Interested in Marathons,

Dear Old Wives,

Sometimes, I'm glad you created all of those tales.  Like the one where you say that you should always wear an undershirt to keep warm.  Because lately, I've taken to putting on a tank top under my t-shirt and maybe sweatshirt, if I'm just going to be home all day.  And amazingly, I stay really warm.  Especially if I tuck it in!  I'm not a tucker inner, so this is really hard for me to remember, but it works!  I never thought they did anything and I thought you just liked to do lots of extra laundry.  I've also carried this new trend into riding when it's cold and amazingly, it helps me stay warm without a lot of extra bulk.

Keep Spinning Those Tales,

Dear Erika,

Thanks for letting me host Feel Good Friday while you're out getting your MBA in blogology.  It's nice to see what people are up to .  And I'm sure it brought new people to my site who now know what a nutjob I am. 

Thanks For Sharing Your Marvelous Invention,


Dear Chobani Yogurt Gods,

Wow, you know how to get lemon yogurt right!  I am madly in love with the texture of your Greek yogurt anyway.  And then you created lemon.  And you put little bits of actual lemon in it!!  NO ONE does that!  I have to limit myself when I buy your yogurt and buy other flavors.  Otherwise, I'd probably pickle my tongue from all the perfect tartness in your lemon flavor.  You really did this well!

Puckered Up,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feel Good Friday- I'm Your Hostess, Welcome Aboard!

Wow, I get to host Feel Good Friday for a couple of weeks while thegirl is off creating a new and improved blog for us all to enjoy! Go look at her site- she has the cutest little critter on there right now.  Thank you so much Miss Erika for letting me host this!  I'm learning about the linky tool!

I happen to think Feel Good Friday is a most ingenious creation and I often thank thegirl for inventing such a marvelous thing.  It puts my week into perspective every week.  Even those crappy weeks where I'd rather tell you about the 5 most annoying things that happened.

If you've never done Feel Good Friday, you have a few options.  Tell us about one thing that is fantastic that happened during the week.  Or pick your top 5 things that made you happy during the week.  Or do something in between, but just tell us what made your week!  Grab the button on the side, write your own Feel Good Friday post and then come back here and sign up in the linky at the bottom (ooooh, my first linky!  I'm so excited!).

So, here's the week!

1.  Game Night was last night.  No, I have not been asked by any companies to review these products, but I would be happy to do so in the future!

A few of us teachers like to get together to play games.  But we never seem to be able to get it together to do it, so we've only done it 3 times.  We always invite a variety of people (mostly the women who teach 8th grade- and me(I don't count as 8th grade because I teach everyone) but it's the same 4 of us that keep coming.  And we are lame.  We play crazy games and then make up our own versions.  We do exactly what kids think their lame teachers do in their free time!  

It was at the first game night that I met Bananagrams.  And, as I insist to s-ster, people do FEAR my skills at Bananagrams.  I am LEGENDARY in my circle.   And now I've met its cousin Zip It.  It's very similar to Bananagrams but even faster and more madcap AND for those who like to keep score(Bananagrams doesn't really lend itself to keeping score and it's never mentioned in the directions cuz it's a feel good game, I guess- unless you play it with me and you feel slow and bad) you can actually keep score on the pouch it comes in.  You have to move a zipper to each number as you win, up to 10 points.  I don't own Zip It because it's more competitive than Bananagrams and I have enough trouble trying to get people to play that with me!  However, it is more totable and you only can play with 2 people at a time and there are fewer pieces.  Not totable for plane or car travel, but you could play this on a towel at the beach.

We also played Smart Ass which is kind of like Trivial Pursuit, especially in its circle around the board idea.  But the cards are more fun.  Rather than just asking questions like "What is the capital of India today?" you are given a set of clues.  Everyone listens and everyone can guess at any time.  But once you guess, if it's wrong, you have to keep your mouth shut.  There are like 10 clues, they get easier as you get to the end and the final clue is initials of whatever the answer is.  

We created our own version without the board.  We put the cards out and took turns reading and guessing and then if you got it right, you got a point.  That was how we spent most of our night, actually.  I learned a lot.  We all learned a lot.  Like we don't know a whole lot about geography (no social studies teachers present). 

Between Smart Ass and Zip It, we played Discombobulation.  We played it twice and found it much more fun the 2nd time around, but maybe it needs more than 4 people.  It's like Uno in that you are putting down numbers and then you have wild cards that discombobulate everyone.  Like it will say that the person who puts down this card gets to give everyone a name and everyone must use that name for the duration of the game and if you mess up, you draw a card.  Or everyone gets an accent and has to use it.  Or the player has to start a song and everyone takes a line and the first person that messes up takes a card.  I would rate that as so so.  And maybe if you're with a bunch of people who like to make asses of themselves, it would be fun.  But with 4 of us who make asses of ourselves in front of students but hesitate in front of each other, not such a funny game.

The funny part of Game Night was the location.  L-ster was hosting and her parents have a house they just bought as a summer rental.  OMG talk about summer house.  Beach house.  Lake house.  Completely 1960s/1970s with the dark paneled walls, the 8 track tape player, the cabinetry with it's fine lines.  I felt like I was walking on to a movie set.  And since no one really lives there right now, it felt even funnier.

2.  I got to hang clothes out on the line yesterday.  I know, how on earth is that Feel Good Friday worthy?  Well, if you are a simpleton such as myself,  you know the joy of hanging out the clothes.  The feel of the sun warming them, the wind whipping them dry.  

And the F.U. to the electric company because they don't get to charge me for using the dryer.  Yep, I'll stand out there in gloves and hat putting them on the line if I think the sun is strong enough to dry them.  And the smell- there is nothing out there that can truly mimic the "outdoor fresh" scent that you really get when you line dry.  NO.THING.

3.  This week has been February vacation week and I've managed to accomplish things.  This is big because I often lay out plans for vacations and then can't finish them for one reason or another.  I finished my Mutual Muses projects for the Cultural Center's exhibit.  I created the Americana one first.  A poet got that and had to write a poem inspired by it.  I received a poem called Swimming Lesson and I created Deep Blue in response.  Most people paint.  I don't paint, but I do sew.  And in my head, I have great pictures that I want to create.  Somehow, I can't manipulate the material the way I wish, so I have to create something other than what I originally set out to do.  I love the Americana quilts.  I make them often because they are easy and use up some of my scraps.  The Deep Blue one had to be done completely differently than I expected because I am sometimes D-U-M-B when it comes to spatial concepts.  I can't get into it now, but I am pleased with the result.  And unlike last year, I got them done in a reasonable amount of time so I was not flipping out the day before they were due.

4.  I finally got back on my high horse.  Ok, not my horse, but Tucker.  And I haven't lost my skills!!!  2 months off for a novice rider can be like starting at square one but I've still got it!  I rode twice this week.  Both days were cold but reasonable.  

The first day was the first time he'd been ridden since I last rode, so we took it easy and he spent the time like "who do you think you are telling me what to do?"  He was good but not so good toward the end.  We had some words.  I wanted to go out into the woods but it was still very sloppy and icy and I thought we'd never get down the driveway.  He was ridden two more times and then I got on him yesterday.  He was suspiciously placid.  Fairly cooperative.  And we cantered like I haven't had any time off.  Cantering has been my biggest accomplishment since the summer and it felt like I hadn't had any time off.  And we went into the woods for a stroll when we were done. A HIGHLY energetic stroll.  I have never seen him walk so fast! 

5.  You may have read that I accidentally bought a couch last week but I told you that you had to wait until today to see what it really looks like.  I know, I made such a big deal about the new couch.  But it was totally worth it.  So first, we decided to completely empty the living room.  We have twice moved a couch into this room without taking everything out and it has been a MESS.  So, we figured we'd do it right this time.  I realized once everything was out of the room just how white everything is.  We have very little on the walls.  I have issues with crap on walls.  With everything out of the living room, I did a little happy dance after I vacuumed and then we revealed the previously wrapped pieces and brought them in.  Gwenstopher was very excited with all of the movement.

It's 4 sections and an ottoman.  The ottoman can be moved anywhere and it's on wheels.  We finally have enough sitting space for people if they want to sit in this living room.  Before, we have had couches that fit 3 people, but it's weird to sit side by side on the couch like that.  Now we have more room and people can move pieces if they want.   I was afraid the pieces might slide apart but they don't seem to.  And now we can both put our feet up and sit up against the arms if we want.  Something we sorely missed with the other couch.

And I really think this is the best solution to this room.  We can move this as we need/want, but they can also all be together and you can still move around the room.  Typical of an old house, once furniture goes into a room, people spend a lot of time avoiding banging into things, or climbing/walking over things that are in the way.  Not so much the case now.  

Along with creating space in that room, we rearranged another room.  This room is everyone's worst nightmare.  6 doors, 2 radiators and a window.  Plus an alcove off behind that plaid chair.  It's long, but not as wide as you think,so you can't really create "seating areas" like everyone tells me I can.  We have a piano that we moved into that alcove, which is like a little office, so now we can put the couch on the wall.  There's a green chair you can't see here, it's like the plaid one.  So, being all interior decorator like, I tried to convince k-ster that putting the green and plaid chairs in front of the couch would make a nice "seating area but he didn't like that.  So, once again, we have everything S-P-R-E-A-D------O-U-T all over the room.  Like we could offer ballroom dancing in this room now.

I'm not sure who all of these people are who will be coming over to enjoy all of our new sitting space and freedom of movement, but we are pretty happy with the new rearrangement.  And it's all picked up, nothing cluttered around yet. 

And that couch has spent 1 week totally living up to my expectations.  Which are set way too high for most things.  Totally worth the deal I got on this couch.  It's so firm but not too firm.  Hope it was worth the wait!!
So, there's my week.  And here's the linky!  Don't forget to go write your own and come back and link to this so we can all read what made your week!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting It All Together and I'm a Tattletale

Since I'm on vacation this week, you might think I'd have a post for every day of the week.  Not much of interest has been going on here, so I don't have much to say.  Just tattling to do, which comes as no surprise to my family.

We have rearranged 2 rooms this week.  The big reveal will be tomorrow.  But one of the things that we are no longer using is this cute little bench.  It's pretty silly, really.  But everyone used to make one in the middle school where I teach.  Back when wood shop was still a class. Sad that we don't offer that anymore.   I found this in my closet when I first started teaching and we've used it for a variety of things here at home.  During the rearranging this week, we decided we don't need it right now.  So it's sitting on the floor in front of my closet.  And it's really useful, as you can see!

I can sit on it and reach my tank tops and sports bras here, without having to kneel down in front of them.

And then I can stand on it and reach my jeans and sweatshirts a little better here.  It makes me laugh because it's like a difference of 4 inches, but it's a lift!

While we're on the subject of my lack of height, here's what else I did this week.  I bought some jeans that I knew were way too long (because the tag said TALL) but they were the only pair and a real steal.  I knew I had seen a great website for hemming jeans, so I wanted to try it out.  And it worked nicely.  The point is that when you do the hem, you get to keep the factory hem on there, so no one knows you've hemmed them.  Try as I may, when I hem jeans, I can never get that professional look on the hem and they always look like I had to hem them.  Not anymore.  HA HA.  I WIN!  

Here's the link to the website that enlightened me.   I can certainly hem pants, but this was one of those AH HA moments, when I wondered why I never tried it like this before.  Since these jeans were like 5 inches too long, I didn't do it exactly as she did on the site because that would have made them fold up too much inside themselves.  So, I cut off the bottom, sewed it to where I wanted it on the jeans, trimmed off some of the excess and then serged the inside.  And the most amazing part is that stitching on the side seams to keep the inside folded up.  That's the DUH moment.  INGENIOUS!  

This technique will not work on fancy pants or even khakis.  It works well on jeans because of the thickness of the hem.  It hides what you do.  And my advice is to make sure you line up those side seams when you do the new hem.  I did not, but unless someone is crawling at my feet, they'll never know.

As far the tattling goes.  I've lived on this street for all of my life.  I'm pretty possessive of the flora and fauna that I can see from  house.  So, when someone new moves into the neighborhood and thinks they can just rip out things and cause trouble, I go on high alert.  Thankfully, no one has caused a problem, but there have been some changes over time.  I've dealt with them. 

But today began day 2 of this endless chainsaw noise.  Or leaf blower.  Really obnoxious.  All day yesterday.  All day long.  So here they went again this morning.  I never identified the source yesterday, but knew the general area.  It wasn't until k-ster asked me how anyone could have that much brush to cut down that I realized something wasn't right.  And I've been noticing lately that the tree line is different across the street. 

There's a small creek that runs into our yard from across the creek and it's pretty choked up and doesn't flow properly.  No one has been maintaining it.  When I went out to get the paper this morning, I decided to investigate this noise and realized that it was coming from the creek area.  And I could smell all of the exhaust from my yard.  So I marched right over, in my pajamas, and saw a man in the creek with a blower.  CURSES. 

I came in and debated and finally called conservation to tattle.  They sent natural resources over and you know what?  It stopped!!!  Not a single bit of noise.  No vans or landscape trucks anywhere nearby.  I felt like such a fool.  So, the natural resources guy told me that I could call them back if I hear any more.  And of course, like 15 minutes later, they cranked up the engine again.  I surmised the chainsaw/blower bandit must have needed more gas just as the natural resource guy came by.

They came out in force this time, 2 natural resources trucks.  Only to find that it's mosquito control.  And they are trimming back the vegetation.  And maybe finally doing what they haven't done for decades to keep things flowing.  Oops.

I'm glad it's not a neighbor lest they somehow find out it's me that called and set my house on fire, or something.  I envisioned some city slicker who knows nothing about nature and didn't know about conservation laws.  I thought perhaps he was just cutting down everything and throwing it all into the creek, which would be such a no no.  Such a big no no.  With fines up the wazoo.  Better to err on the side of caution.  And become that neighbor that everyone warns everyone about because she'll tell.  Hey, I behave myself on my land, you behave yourself on yours.  And let all the land between us be as it was meant to be!

Come back tomorrow. I'm hosting Feel Good Friday because thegirl is going on sabbatical.  While she's away, she's giving me the keys to her castle and letting me do the Friday feel goods.  So come on back and share yours tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thinking About My Obituary

Do not be alarmed. I am in this for the long haul. The rumors of my impending death have been greatly exaggerated.

I'm kidding. I am not ill and death is nowhere nearby. That I know of.  But I have to comment on obituaries because they have become another out of control thing in our society.

Around here, and this is small town America, we get a daily paper that gives the news from around town and it sometimes has to stretch to cover its pages, so we get ridiculous snippets and pictures of things that no one cares about (like a picture of a car dealership that had a customer on President's Day.  Whoooopeee). And now, they have allowed people to start embellishing the obituaries. Have they started doing this with the newspaper you read?

It used to be that there was a person who actually wrote obits. You would tell them the important facts about family, jobs, where they lived, and a pretty standard obit was produced. If you wanted to pay more, you could have a little more added.

About 2 years ago, I noticed that some obits were longer than others. And then I started reading some, because curiosity got the better of me. OMG. Apparently, you can now let a 3rd grader write your obituary, if you're willing to pay more. The grammar is appalling and the things they write about.....

I suppose I should not make light of such a heavy topic. But who am I kidding? I have to. I can't hold it in anymore. I probably should write mine now, lest some child be allowed to write mine when I kick the bucket.

I read these tomes and see things like:

he graduated from xyz elementary school (the guy was in his 20s)

everyone knows he was the best papa ever (did you know that? I didn't)

he and his wife bought a condo in f-town so they could be weekenders and get to know the neighbors

she never meant anyone any harm

she was the best knitter in town (this makes me the saddest because they had nothing, so they grasped at straws here)

There have been so many more, I wish I had kept track.  I notice that the most notorious bad asses seem to be getting the longest epistles lately.  Like talking about his delivery of Meals on Wheels might make us forget the time he held up the corner store.
I don't know.  I haven't had to write an obituary, thank God, so maybe this is a relief.  Maybe I am very mean and should go straight to hell.

But there is something about this that also makes me sad.  What if you don't have a family member who is wordy?  What if your family thinks that obituaries are just the facts ma'am?  What if your obituary is 3 inches long and has to sit next to the meanest bully in high school's obituary that's 8 inches long?  How sad is that?

And one more thing.  I also notice lately that the page for obituaries is no longer limited to just obituaries and things related to dying, like funeral homes and such.  They throw anything they want on there, if it's a slow obit day.  I often see the Court Report right there next to some obituaries!  Is nothing sacred?

If your local newspaper doesn't have a Court Report, let me fill you in.  It's the local listing of those who have had to go to court over various things from drugs, to assault and battery, to larceny.  It lists the person's name, address and their offense.  I often skim them to see which of my former students and classmates are listed.  Rarely a day goes by that I don't know someone, having graduated from high school in this town and having taught here for 15 years.  And rarely a name comes up that surprises me.  Though there have been a few that have just about blown my head off with shock, most have allowed me to do the told-you-so dance.  I knew in 6th grade he/she wasnt' long for a life free of crime.
The one that still makes me smirk, and shouldn't, is a girl.  In 6th grade,she came to me, so horrified that there was a swear word written in a desk.  She was so cute and little and demure.  So, I did what I tell kids when they are shocked and appalled.  I said "ok, well, then don't sit there if it bothers you"  What, am I supposed to haul out the Comet and start scrubbing right there in the middle of class?  Bring out my sandpaper so I can sand down the carving of "asshole" while everyone continues reciting vocabulary?  If you don't like it, park your butt somewhere else and only pester me with serious things, like "I'm going to faint" or "John just bashed my face with is binder".  But I digress.  By 8th grade, this girl was all about being bad and that little demure girl had more swears in her mouth than quills on a porcupine.  I used to smirk when I'd hear about her shenanigans and think about that horribly offended 11 year old.  Maybe it was all my fault.  Maybe if I'd called the police and had them arrest the bastard who'd written such offensive words (I actually think it might have been THIS SUCKS that she had seen, not even a swear) maybe then she would have remained chaste and wholesome.  Maybe it's all because of my "who the hell cares, I have French to teach" attitude that she went south.  My point is that she has sailed across the Court Report countless times in her life and I snicker each time I think about her horror at the swear word.

Here's my final point.  When I die, I swear to God if you put my obituary on the same page as the Court Report, I'm coming back.  I don't care how much you have to pay, so help me, if I have to spend eternity knowing that my final remembrance had to sit beside a list of assholes who can't keep their shod feet to themselves and just say no to drugs, I will never forgive you. And I'll be sure to give them your name when I get there and tell them you can't come in. Not even with a hall pass.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Letters to Inanimate Objects

Dear Sun,

Hey, you did a pretty good job here.

Appreciating the Pretty Scene

Dear Winter,

Seriously?  We're doing this again?  I know it's February and it's totally within your rights to snow, but after nearly 50 degrees the other day, I thought we might be done by now.  But it sounds like this will just be inconvenience.  No money to be made snowblowing.  Just more wet on the ground.  From here on, it's full on snow or nothing.  Got it?

Muddy Driverway and Angry Carpet

Dear DirecTV,

How sweet you were when Comcast was really pissing me off, charging a little more each month for the same thing.  We got so many great channels for so little. And the only thing I didn't like was when we had a severe storm, we might lose reception.

Then my year was up, and the price went up.  I was OK with that because I bundled you with Verizon and I understood that the good deal was just for the first year.  But then you went up a little more.  And now I'm paying more than I was with Comcast for seemingly fewer channels because you sometimes remove channels we like.  I'm not interested in moving up to the next expensive level.  And I don't appreciate that when I call and tell you about deals I see, you tell me I can't have them.  When I remind you that I have been a customer for a while, you try to butter me up with free Showtime.

Let's talk about why Showtime is stupid.  You show old movies.  You show movies no one has ever heard of.  You show the same movies over and over and over.  Same stupid, old, unknown movies.  On many multiple Showtime channels.  I would never ever ever actually pay for Showtime.  And there is nothing I hate more than k-ster flipping channels.  Now you've given him more channels to flip through with the most stupid ass movies we've ever seen.  And the worst part?  He won't watch a movie from start to finish if it's on Showtime.  Oh no, he has to start it somewhere after the beginning and then change it partway through.

So, you can take your free 2 months of Showtime and shove it.  I'm mad that the only way I can get a good monthly deal is if I cancel and pretend I'm someone else with a new subscription.  Way to go to show your appreciation for my loyalty.

Spinning Eyeballs From Flipping Channels

Sunday, February 20, 2011


You may have read about my crazy couch obsession all week, and what an obsession it was!  I am here to tell you that I think after all this time,  we have finally found the solution to seating in the living room.  24 hours after setting it up, I am certain we could not have found a better solution.  But, you'll have to wait until Friday to see what it looks like.

It's amazing what you find when cleaning!  I vacuum regularly, but never get a chance to move things and really clean.  Yesterday, we completely emptied the room so we could put the new couch in with a fresh start.  In the past, we've made rash decisions about moving a couch in and haven't had a chance to clean and it's always been like trying to play catch up.  This time, we moved out everything.  Except what's on the walls.  This room is a great square, and from this angle looks marvelous.  But keep in mind, there are 3 doors, 3 windows, a fireplace and a radiator to deal with.  OLD HOUSE, remember?  This house is from circa 1810 and this and the bedroom are the original parts of the house.  There is a chimney that provides a fireplace here and in the bedroom, but both are so ancient, we blocked them and can't use them.  We should just paint some plywood and block them from the front too, and then we'd have more wall space.  But there are mantels, so it wouldn't accomplish much.  Wow, with nothing in it, this is a very white room.

I took down the curtains and washed them and cleaned everything, top to bottom.  I'm still amazed at the amount of dustbunnies and cobwebs. 

Once we brought in the couch, we had to decide what else was coming back in.  For the moment, it's just the couch and tv and one side table.  K-ster thinks it might stay this way.  We'll see.  The best part is that if people come over and we watch tv, we can all actually sit on the couch.  Before, there was room for 3 on the couch in a very side by side manner.  Now we can just sprawl all over.  Last night, we couldn't decide where to sit and kept moving around.

Someday, we will have to get a flat screen to put on the wall.  Our tv is from 1995 and looks like it.  I'm satisfied with it, but k-ster is not.  And his friends all have "real" tvs so no one wants to come here to watch anything because it's like you need a magnifying glass after the 50 inch screens of his friends. 

So, that's the next plan.  Years from now.  I just can't see spending the money on a tv.  Considering this one was free, from k-ster's brother, I just can't stomach the idea of lots of money for technology.  We'll see.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feel Good Friday

Hello again.  It's Friday and this is a good one!  Check out thegirl and see who else posted a Feel Good Friday post and then link up your own!  This was a pretty good week, so let's see what happened!

1.  The temperature was above 40 degrees yesterday and you know what that means.  Yep, every redneck in New England thinks it's time for this.  Believe me, it's never time for that.  Not surprising, we see some kids in shorts here in school today.  It's like 46 degrees.  Can we say HEAT WAVE?  But this weekend will bite us right in the butt with blustery wind and temps in the 30s.  It was nice to smell spring for like a nanosecond.  But really, it's February.  How can we expect anything nice weatherwise this month?

2.  After accidentally buying boots last week , I accidentally bought a couch this week.  Someone really better get me some sort of insurance, with all of these accidents I've been having with my wallet.  Our couch currently looks like this.  Complete with Gwenstopher who immediately loved that spot and has lived there since we got it.  This was a freebie we got from k-ster's brother.  It's from a very, very cheap furniture store, the kind that have the commercials that are homemade and have the worst graphics ever.  I NEVER would have bought this.  But, our 10+ year old couch had had it and it was time for something new and we couldn't find anything.  We figured new was better than nothing, even if it was from cheapo depot.  There's a recliner on each end.  That is not such a great thing.  Ask k-ster how great it was to spend almost a month lying in the recliner with his foot up.  It's shoddy worksmanship all the way through and you can feel the wood when you press down.  And most of all, we missed the arms.  We had ridiculously high arms on the old couch and I had no idea how often I would sit with my back against the arm.  Finally, the depth of this one is very shallow and it's hard to sleep on.  When I'm forced to sleep there because snoring k-ster can't be controlled.

We went on a quest for a couch right about this time last year and came up with nothing.

Sunday, we went on a quest for armoires.  I have this theory that we can get rid of the bureau, get 2 armoires for our clothes and that would allow us to free up a closet for some more storage.  I didn't realize the armoire boat came and I missed it and no one has armoires anymore.  I'm always a decade too late.

After strolling through one store and finding nothing, we went across the street to another store that I am not such a fan of.  They have slightly better commercials than the aforementione place, but it's not such high quality, in my eyes.

They didn't have armoires either, but they did have a couch that we both deemed IDEAL in like 25 seconds.  It's a sectional, but not one of those 2 couch sectionals.  This is one that has 4 pieces that can be arranged any way you like and then the ottoman can make it a chaise on one end.  We have a strange house, since it's old, and every room has something that makes furniture difficult.  In this room, it's doors and the radiator.  I know some people with old houses who close a door and put furniture right in front of it.  I've seriously considered this, but in the summer, the breeze just comes sailing through and I can't bear to shut the door or block it forever.

The couch was $2000.  I haven't bought a couch in this century, but I thought that was a crazy amount of money.  Looking at other couches, I see it's not so crazy.  Unless I want to go to cheapo depot.  So, I left Sunday and thought about it all night.    I secretly hoped it wouldn't fit so I could stay in this flux of not finding a couch and not spending money.  But it would fit, in some configuration which will be determined when it gets put together.

All day Monday, I thought about it and was convinced it was actually sitting in my house.  I became obsessed.  Tuesday, I went to the store and after a very long time with no one helping me, I finally got a saleswoman who was an ass.  If I had had $2000 in cash at that moment, I don't think she would have cared.  I hate salespeople who don't care if you are interested and do nothing to help you.  She could not seem to tell me if a) the couch was going to disappear any time soon since I saw that it had been there since July, b) what kind of "deal" might be coming up, or if it came in other colors.

I left, still convinced this couch had to be mine, but I would get it online and give no one the satisfaction of commission.  But the 5 piece package online wasn't the same 5 pieces and it wasn't the same price.  And there was no online deal (a lot of places have free tvs and stuff on tv all the time).  The next day, my sister convinced me to go look online again because she had heard of a deal.  Whoo hoo, 20% off!!  I was willing to pay $1600 for this couch, for sure.

But it didn't say online when this deal would start.  So, I thought I'd stop in yesterday to find out when I could buy it.  And lo and behold, there was a bright orange sticker on it!  At first I was afraid it was the floor model and the last one and had been sold under my nose.  Instead, it was $1399 for that same set!!  $600 less????  And that bee otch couldn't tell me that on Tuesday???  Hmm, I wondered if I could take 20% off of that.  That would be something.  So, I stood there, I lay down on it, I sat there, I flipped the ottoman over, I moved the pieces around.  I could have sat there for hours before someone noticed me.

Finally, a man came over and I was already ready to deal, but he couldn't believe it.  I asked if it was on the floor model and he said yes and that it's being discontinued.  If I get it off the floor for you tonight, will you take off more?  Well, 10% is the best I can do.  SOLD.  Let's do it.

He didn't think I was serious, I guess, so he then tried to do his spiel.  I was ready to buy, what was he doing???  I said k-ster would be there within the hour.  He was shocked.  Did I have a truck?  Why is this so surprising, everyone has a truck around here or knows someone who does!  I assured him it would be gone before closing time.

Then we had to go through the motions of putting in the order but he screwed it up because he could not believe I walked in and bought it and would take it.  All just like that.

When he finally got it right and asked how I wanted to pay, I thought he would wet himself when I said Discover.  He almost lost the deal with these words:  now, you're not gonna get in trouble with your husband for buying this, are you? If I hadn't been so obsessed by this couch, I would have left.  What an ASS.  I assured him no, and he asked again.  Who the hell did he think I had just talked to?

I told k-ster when he went to get it he should cop an attitude and be all like "what the hell is this, I thought I was picking up a foot stool".

So, you are you dying to see the new couch???
Well, it sure didn't look like this in the store!  I wonder if they'll come set it up for me.  Guess you'll have to wait until next Feel Good Friday to see what it looks like.

But I am walking on air.  And wondering if this is fate or a curse.  I'm so cynnical like that.  Was it kismet that I should walk in and find it and then get it so much cheaper?  Or is it a piece of trash that they had to get rid of ASAP and I'll be sorry.

3.  I just got a text that k-ster is working on the greenhouse.  I'm sad that I am not there to participate and witness this, but it will be nice to get home and have more of it up.  We tried last week but the wind was not nice and it's time for the installation of things that wind cannot participate in.  This weekend won't be good for installation, so today's the day.  Then we have to figure out what we are doing for the flooring inside.  I know what we are doing, but how, is the question.

4.  It's vacation.  Well, in 2 hours and 15 minutes, it will be February vacation.  I really want this time off.  I really do.  I don't always feel the NEED for a vacation, but I do right now.  I have a new couch I have to set up and enjoy!

5.  I got some new pieces from the new lia sophia catalog.  Ladies, I declare, you must get on my site and look at this stuff!!!  Exquisite.  My favorite catalog so far.  And I've been through 10 catalogs with them.

Ok, so it's time for lunch which will make me feel good right about now.  Now go check out thegirl and do your own Feel Good Friday post and check back  next Friday to see what this beauty of a couch really looks like!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Girl Scouts Let Me Down

I used to LOVE Girl Scout cookies.  Thin Mints are pure crack, and the only Girl Scout cookie I would ever give the pleasure of being eaten by yours truly.  My family ferreted them away in the freezer, only to be eaten occasionally and only a few at a time.

When I became old enough to buy my own, I was appalled at the price.  $3 for a box????  Granted, they seemed to be $3 a box for a very long time, but I'm a little frugal, so that was a ton of money for me to fork over.  Especially since k-ster wasn't required to meter out his supply of Thin Mints when he was a kid, so he could eat an entire sleeve and not know they were gone.

Let me tell you now, I was never a girl scout.  I always wanted to be a girl scout, but for some reason, we were not scouts in my family.  I would have loved to have earned all of those badges and camp and do all of that stuff. I'm sure my mother knew that and did not want even more craft projects all over the house and she could only tolerate so much baking.   I now have to live vicariously through my friends who were girl scouts.  I've learned about sit upons, how to make papier mache Snoopy, all about the many sleep overs and camping nights created by girl scouts.  Notice I have dropped the capital letters in girl scouts.  You will soon see why.  S-ster, if you are ready this, keep your mouth closed.

It was not until I was about 30 that I learned the truth about girl scout cookies.  Do not laugh.  I am highly educated.   I am not naive.  But remember, I was not a girl scout, so I never learned.  I want to share this with you now, so that you never accidentally reveal, in public, that you didn't know this either.  I'm not embarrassed to tell you that I thought this.  This is what education is.  We think things, we learn we are wrong, and then we tell everyone we know, so they are wise like us.

Girl scout cookies are not made by girl  scouts!!!

I know that current, little girl scouts are not out there creating the cookies that we eat, but I thought that as the girl scouts grew older, some just couldn't leave the scouthood, so they got to go on to be the cookie makers at the girl scout cookie factory.  I thought that there was a factory in like Wisconsin (I don't know why) where all of the fat, old, unmarried adult girl scouts who can sew and cook like magicians but seem to have no husbands, were now working in the factory.  Thereby creating authentic girl scout cookies.  They stand around, in their girl scout uniforms, baking cookies like it's their job.  Because it is.

You cannot imagine my shock and disappointment.  What do you mean they are probably processed in China?  What do you mean you don't have to have been a girl scout to make them??  Are you kidding me?

I assure you I have not bought a singly box since.  Not even when I've been attacked by little girl scouts who think they are so cute at the grocery store.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.  Ever again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dear Sir or Madam

Dear Gwenstopher,

I know you love to go outside.  You were born outside and you are a true alley cat.  I understand your preference for eating trash over eating out of a bowl.  I "get" your need to eat grass when you go outside.  What I do not "get" is your need throw up on rugs.  We have linoleum for this very purpose.

Did you really find it necessary last night to wolf down your food and then walk into the bedroom to heave?  Really?  You are so good about not biting the hand that feeds you, but how about you don't make that same hand clean up your barf from the rug?  Cuz you know it never really cleans up.  It's just never the same.  I always see the spot.  One word:  LIN.O.LE.UM.  I know it's ugly, we can see here.  It makes me want to barf too.  But at least it makes for easy clean up.


Dear Quilting Stranger Who Knows My Mother,

Thank  you for sharing these ENORMOUS spools of thread with your quilting group.  My mother gave me one the other day.  See the blue spool?  That's a normal size spool of thread, about 200 yards.  This white thing?  I sincerely think it might be hundreds of thousands of yards.  When I sit and think about how many hundreds of things I can make with this thread, my mind explodes.  I heard you have 100 boxes of these spools, that you acquired by accident, and you can't get rid of them.  I am so sorry for you.  I can't even imagine how many spools come in a box.  What a daunting thing this must be!

Thank you for supplying me with enough thread to never feel that I will have to buy white ever again.  In my lifetime.  And it seems pretty decent, to boot!


Dear Sellers of Pants,

Recently, it has come to my attention, that you think I am made of money.  Pants are not a thing I enjoy buying, so I do it as little as possible.  But sometimes, they wear out or are not so fashionable, and I have to do it again.  Often, if I find a pair I like, I will buy it in more than one color, so I have options.  And with amazing clairvoyance, I buy them at that time so they don't go up in price.  Apparently, I have not bought pants in the past decade or so.  When a high price for pants was like $39.99 but you could get them on sale for two for something reasonable.  Or maybe I've been buying them at Marshall's and TJMaxx and the Bass Outlet.

Whatever the story is, I find it highly offensive that just when I find the right pants, you think you can charge $70. And stand there with  a straight face when you tell me.  You let me go into Ann Taylor Loft, find these blessed pants called Julie, buy them at a crazy reduced price because it was the end of the season, and lull me into thinking I can do this all the time.  I was OK with hemming them.  For a reasonable price, I will suck it up and hem them myself.  And then I will find them all the time at your little store.  Yeah.  Right.

You send me these coupons online like 100 times a day, so I finally went to the site to see if  I could find Miss Julie in some other colors and lo and behold, there she was. For just $29.99 plus some crazy amount off of that.  SIGN. ME. UP.  Oh, only size 00 is available.  BITCH.  I am small, but really, that's just disgusting.  00?  That's not even a size.  And Julie is for those of us that have butts and are curvy.  No straight legs for us.  You can't tell me that ANYONE who wears a 00 has a curve or a butt.  Really.  You sicken me on many levels.  And now I have to go naked. 

Curvily and nakedly,

Dear Ladies at the Gym,

I praise you for getting to the gym.  Every time you come.  I really do.  I know how hard it is to summon the strength to go some days.  Though I have gone for more years than I can count, I have never been fat or out of shape and I have been an instructor for a decade, that does not mean I have some special inner power that makes me love working out.  Many a day I sit at the light when I leave school and have to literally FORCE myself to turn right and get to the gym instead of turning left and going home to sit on the couch.  Seriously.  I know you think instructors are the almighty.  That we have a special gene in us that loves to sweat and workout.  I know you think that fit people were just born this way  and we can't get fat.

Here's a little secret ladies.  If there is a special gene or a golden ticket, I didn't get it.  I love being done with a workout, but I don't love the anticipation.  Yes, it makes me feel good at the end.  Yes, I love fitting into clothes.  Yes, I love being able to do things and not be out of breath.  But you see, the more you do, the more you must continue to do.  Fitness begets fitness.  It's a sickness, sometimes, I am certain.

In any case, I have some bones to pick with you.

First of all, when I demonstrate something for you to do, I seriously expect you to do it.  Standing there snickering, when the rest of the class is doing what I've suggested is really not going to help you get fit, is it?  Grumbling just makes me think you should do a few more reps.  It's what makes me know you are alive!  We are not quitters.  All of your "ugh" and "oh no" just adds more reps.  This is a good thing!  You came to workout, right?  If not, then go get a manicure and don't take up space in my room.

Second, I know we are all about sanitation in this society we live in and I know we are supposed to clean the apparatus after using it.  But, does it make sense, when someone is huffing and puffing on the stairmaster, to spray cleaner right under her nose so you can go wipe down whatever you were using?  And do the faces I make not tell you that I don't like it?  Take the stupid bottle with you and spray the papertowel right there, not under my nose, please!

Third, when I tell you to get " a good, decent size weight, not BLUE (5 pounds)", why do you come in with 3 pound weights?  When you've been coming to the gym for years, and I know how strong you are, what are you doing with those little things?  Isn't the reason you come to the gym so you can challenge your body?  Do you think I won't notice?  Get the 8, 10, 12 pound weights and work, dammit!!

Finally, stretching is not there to take up time so I can finish the class doing something.  Stretching is the most important thing you can do.  When you sit and complain that you just don't have that flexibility anymore, it's because you don't stretch.  Don't you understand that when you continue to build muscle but then never stretch it out, all it does it get all bunched and tight and then things hurt?  Keeping limber is essential as you age and nothing aggravates me more than all of you 50 year olds who think stretch time is the time to put your equipment away.  You're only fooling yourself, not me.  Don't come complaining to me when you snap your achilles because you never stretch.

Thanks for seeing the light,

Dear Spirits Surrounding My Need For A Greenhouse,

You made me make this decision back in October.  You let me think that I would really like a greenhouse and be able to greatly increase my capacity to grow things.  You let me spend a lot of money to buy this super wonderful greenhouse that any idiot can install.

Then you let the dummies in shipping neglect 3 of the most major parts.  You laughed as we wasted many a beautiful Saturday in the fall, waiting for the parts to come.  You had a laugh riot when even one more part was missing and yet another beautiful afternoon was spent not working on it.

When k-ster had his foot surgery and the greenhouse was only a naked frame, you had a good old fashioned guffaw, watching the snow pile in the jungle gym of a greenhouse.

It's now February.  A month which can have an occasional day over 40 degrees and make those of us in new England think it's time for bathing suits.  Like last Sunday, for instance.  You know k-ster is just about back to walking like a normal person, so you tempted us yesterday.  You let us think it might be another 40 degree day and that we might make some progress.

The laugh was on us once again when you made the wind come whipping in and we realized it was not a good time to work on it.  Too windy and cold and too many variables would make for some bad decisions and this is the time we need to make no mistakes.  It's time for the poly carbonate ends and it takes skill to cut them properly.

So, EFF YOU, greenhouse spirits.  You know how much I want it finished, so I can see just what the warmth factor is.  So I can start to plan my spring plantings.  So I can get on with it.  So people will stop asking if that greenhouse is done yet.  It's like the project that will never end. 

You better be really worth it in the end, you 14 x 16 foot bugger.

Itching to plant,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Feel Good Friday

Last Friday, I was guest posting over at thegirl's.   That was fun, but strange not to be on my own turf.  So here we are, it's Friday again, and here are some feel good moments from the week.

1.  I had a bit of a boot issue last weekend, but I got my credit and gave the boots back, so I was pleased.   That's my feel good piece.  Then I thought I had found the perfect boots.  Wellies from LLBEAN.  All of the reviews were so excellent.  I knew they would be waterproof because they are completely rubber and there are no zippers or ways for water to get in.  They are almost knee height.  I was OK with that.  They were supposedly well cushioned for all day wear.  And they had the cute socks that you wear with them and they fold over the top so they don't get all stuck down by your toes.  And they arrived yesterday.  I was so excited to do a feel good post about it.  But they don't feel good.  So they're going back.  Just one more issue I have with boots.  I dont' like the floppy, clunckiness by the ankle. 

2.  I needed my jacket zipper repaired because the pull tab has sheared off and I refuse to throw away this coat.  It's an Eddie Bauer ski coat from around 2000 and no one seems to make them of this length anymore.  And the weight is so perfect.  Not bulky, just the right warmth.  So, I went to my handy local cobbler and he was able to put on a new pull.  This is a picture of his place.  You walk in and it's just lots of weird things that people give cobblers as collectibles.  But he's a nice guy and I was tickled.  He also looked at some shoes that I have that had a heel issue and he said he can fix them.  They are fine otherwise and pretty much a staple in my clothing diet, so I must get them repaired.  What will we do when no cobblers exist at all????

3.  If you spend money foolishly and have credit debt up the wazoo, skip and go on to #4.  I don't want to hear your whining.  I, on the other hand, know about spending money like a true old world scotsman and not a nickel goes out of my pocket without some severe thinking about it.  This also means that come hell or highwater, I have never carried a balance on a credit card because I refuse to give those suckers any of my money, while instead, I reap all those rewards they give to people who collect points.

Imagine my horror when I paid Discover on Wednesday and happened to notice at the bottom that it said in 2011 I had paid $21.00 in interest.  WTF????  I reread the statement like 50 times and couldn't figure it out.  I called them so fast, I didn't have time to dig out my other statements, but I was sure this was absurd.  I always pay in full.  AL.WAYS.

When I got a person, I said was calling about an interest charge.  She immediately told me it stemmed from

"the 10 cents you did not pay in November. "

"Excuse me?  Did you say 10 cents? "

"Yes, but I am removing those charges right now. "

"Wait.  WHAT???  10 cents?  What are you talking about?  I have to pay $21 because I underpaid by 10 cents??????"

"Yes, but I am removing that now.  And the $19 you paid in December because of that 10 cents.  You see, Miss Simpleton, 10 cents really ruins everything."

"Ok, I am still not understanding this.  Almost $40 because I didn't pay 10 cents?  I paid in full last month, correct?"

"Yes, and the $19 in interest you earned from the 10 cents you did not pay in November."

"So if I paid in full last month, how am I still receiving interest?"

"Because,  Miss I'm Going To Revoke Your Degrees, while you were waiting to pay that bill last month, there was still interest growing from that 10 cents you not did pay.  Yes there was $19 in interest on your bill that you did pay,  but that other interest was still there, earning.  It's not like this is geometry."


"I can see you are a customer who has never carried a balance which is why I am removing the interest.  Whenever people like you call, I always know it's 5 or 10 cents that ruined the whole thing."

"Ok, so both charges have been removed and I have no interest?"


"Well, thank you for that."

I didn't even have to ask, she just did it.   That was a major feel good moment.   I can't believe I am so stupid as to not know how interest works.  And here is the irony.  I ALWAYS overpay my bills.  I prefer to round them up to the nearest round figure.  However, with my Discover card, I don't, because I use that for my lia sophia business and I want that to be down to the penny.  Had I rounded like I do with everything else, that 10 cents would have been covered.  It literally was 10 cents.  I went back and looked.  Truly amazing.  Lesson learned.  Thank God I noticed or I'd be paying forever and ever and not even know.  And I'm pretty meticulous when reading my bills.

K-ster says that's what I get for writing checks.  If I did it online, he says, this would never have happened.  But, the money thing online for me is too much like a game and not real.  And too easy to overlook and never get around to checking.  I need the paperwork in front of me.  I need to write the check and mail it.

4.  I ran on Sunday for the first time in far too long.  It might have been October, the last time I ran.  Keep in mind that I do workout, I teach at the gym, I cross train, so it's not like I sat on the couch for 4 months and ate things.   I don't love running.  I run because I am trying to outrun death.  I've been running for 10 years and still don't love it.  They say that one day, you just love running.  Really?   Which day will that be, cuz I'm still waiting.

I have to say that though I do not love running, there are things that I do love about running.

I love being done.

I love the portability.

I love that I ran when I was in Belgium.  I ran in Washington, D.C.  I ran in Florida.

I love that I am strong and have endurance because of it.

But if you say "sparkling, do you love ice cream or running?"  I would choose ice cream.  "Correcting papers or running?"  Correcting papers.  "Cleaning the litterbox or running?"  cleaning the litter box.  "painting the walls in your house (which are not smooth and are little bastards, every one of them) or running?"  painting.  "getting a paper cut or running?"  paper cut, every time.

So, while it felt good to get out and run and not expire, I did have a little issue.  I was running, thinking it was a decent day for a change, the ice and snow were pretty much gone, it was nice to be running in the sun (something I loathe in the summer and curse the entire way).  Out of nowhere, my ankle turned and I was doing one of those comedy sketches where I'm trying to keep my balance while frantically spinning my arms so I don't fall down.  I managed to stay upright, staggering like a drunk and kept on running.  My ankle hurt, but I figured I could run off the pain.  And I did.  And at least I didn't fall, right?  But it probably looked even more asinine than if I had fallen.  The people driving by, whose eyes I saw before I tripped, must have been like

"What is that runner doing?  Is that some kind of newfangled training??"

5.  Gwentsopher does not appear to have anything wrong with her eye.  And that's a good thing.  The other morning, she jumped on the bed when k-ster let her in, and she wasn't opening her eye.  This has been a sign in the past of nasty fights.  She can't keep her paws to herself, outside.  She had 2 infections one summer, one right after the other, both needing surgery to drain and then had to stay in for 45 days.  Each time.  Have you ever tried to keep a cat who was born outside, inside for 45 days?  In the summer?   While applying a warm compress to the wound each night and giving antibiotics?  It truly is a work of art to watch me wrangle Gwenstopher into the proper compress/antibiotic administration position.  One k-ster stands back and admires.

One of those infections was noticed with the inability to open her eye.  So I kept my eye (ha ha ha) on her but she seems to have been playing with me.  Considering she has been out once in like 2 months, I was shocked she managed to get into a fight that one afternoon, but I wouldn't put it past her.   Looks like the coast is clear.

Now get over to thegirl and link up your own feel good moments from the weeek!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Win, For A Change

Saturday, I accidentally bought myself some boots.  Well, that's not true.  The accident was that I found them.  I intentionally bought them.  I had been on a recent quest for boots that were

a)  waterproof (this is not the same as water resistant)
b)  not too expensive
c)  not UGGS, or even resembling UGGS
d)  able to go on easily, without zippers or laces

I have some LLBean hikers that are just above my ankle, and after the many years I've had them, I realized this winter that when we have snow that is deeper than 4 inches, I have a problem with my pantlegs getting wet and if it's too deep, I can't go outside without snow pants.  Thus began the quest mentioned above.

HOwever, I sincerely despise boots the likes of which I just mentioned.  I don't like the look of them, I don't like the heat they produce in my feet as the day goes on, I don't like the lack of support in them, and most of all, thanks to middle school girls who wear their Uggs 24/7/365, I have learned that they STINK to high heavens and I never want to subject someone to that.  Amazingly, the narcissist has a whole deal about Uggs right now, you can even enter to win. Go see what that's all about.  I warn you, it's not for the sissies.  The beginning is about the Uggs deal but the rest is very naughty, so you are warned.  If I were to enter this contest, I would win because I hate Uggs that much.  It would be my curse.

So, I visited Westies because it was convenient and they had boots galore.  I lowered my expectations slightly, and opted for a pair that had a zipper because they claimed they were water resistant (yes, I know what this means) but that you could also slog through ANYTHING for 6 months and stay dry.  In my mental dictionary, water resistant means that material will soak through if you stand in water for too long, but occasional splashes will just roll off.  It has nothing to do with the zipper.  Here they are in very granny/6th grade girl fashion.  Funny, they were actually olive green because the brown that I wanted, which is what this looks like, were gone.  I settled for olive green and figured I would survive.  And I could stylishly tuck in my pantlegs so as to keep them dry.

I thought I'd waltz over to the grocery and try them out in the snow.  100 yards, no problem.  Then I saw a great big puddle and thought that would be a good test.  In poured the water through the bottom of the zipper.  Ewww gross.

I decided right then and there they were going back because that was clearly a defect.  The signs everywhere said they could only be returned if there was a defect and you could get store credit.  I was OK with the credit part of it.  However, I could not find my receipt anywhere.  ANY.WHERE.  I had just seen it earlier, so where on God's earth it went is still a mystery.  But I didn't care.  I was going to march up there first thing the next day and tell them my plight and if that didn't work, I was googling the company and they were gonna get a piece from me.

I walked in, looking very angry.  The same girl was there, so I told her my plight.  She was annoyed and explained to me water resistant vs waterproof.  I whipped out the special card that guaranteed my happiness for 6 months and explained that it wasn't a matter of the water coming through the material but right in through the zipper.  She told me to spray them.  I explained again that this would not help.  Shockingly, she allowed me to return them for store credit.

I should have left, but I decided to wander around looking at the selection again.  This made her think I was such a simpleton that I needed some guidance in my selection for waterproof boots.  We discussed the high and lows of ankle boots and duck boots.  Then I wandered some more and she came over to berate me for not knowing the difference between waterproof and water resistant because, according to someone on the phone, that brand is only water resistant.  She said "I mean, of  course, if you walk in a puddle, your feet will get wet."

Well, where I come from, a 6 month guarantee lasts for 6 months, so I wasn't budging.  I was surprised that at that point, she didn't ask me for my credit slip back since she should not have taken them back in the first place.  I decided I had had enough and left.  There are other Westies, I will find some other shoe.

So, I found what I think might work.  I think they will arrive by Friday, so I might be able to do a feel good moment about them.  I assure you they are not Uggs!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Going A Mile A Minute

Did you miss me? If you came looking for me on Friday, I was over at thegirl's doing Feel Good Friday over there.  As her guest.  I know, how excited was I???? She invented Feel Good Friday, you know.  I love Feel Good Friday and in case you don't know, you just go over there on Friday, pick a prompt and write.  My favorite prompt is the top 5 things that made you feel good in the week.  Sometimes they are earth shattering, sometimes they are ridiculously simple, and sometimes they are real knee slappers. 

So, guest posting was very cool. It was like having a homework assignment and the teacher said I had to have it in by Thursday.  Which was hard because that was not Friday.  And what if something amazing happened on Thursday night that I would have put in on Friday? nothing did, by the way.   And then I didn't know if I was sending it to her the right way. She made it work, AND she spoke a little French over there, just for me!

Guest posting is good because you get to meet new people.  And I got to try out how her wordpress blog platform works- love the fact that you can reply so easily to comments.  Makes me think I might have to leave blogger one day.

So, since my guest posting debut, I have been going non-stop.  Friday was the opening of the My Impression of Impressionism extravanganza that my students created, so I had to be there Friday evening.  And I set up like 55 other things that I have to get done this weekend.  Posting was on the list, but I've just now found some time to do it.

I was too busy yesterday accidentally buying snow boots.  I was looking for jeans, similar to a pair I found the other day, but I wanted to see if they had a size smaller.  Of course, they did not, so I will have to decide if they fit or are a little too big.  They are certainly too long, so I might be able to try the new hemming lesson I learned for jeans.  I don't think I can use it this time because these are size whatever LONG, so I will have to take them up like 10 inches.  I have another idea up my sleeve, or should I say pantleg, though.

Anyjeans, I left TJMaxx and there was a Westies shoe place right next door.  I decide 2 weeks ago that my LLBEAN boots are more for hiking in wet weather, but not really for tromping around in actual snow since they are just over my ankle and I can't tuck in my pant legs.  I was ready to cave and buy boots that are mid-calf to knee length.  The pull on or zip kind.  I know, it spells granny or 6th grader.  I hate them. And don't you even think about mentioning Uggs to me.  I will shun you, if you do.

So, I walked in, and it was surely my lucky day.  20% off all boots!  And they had a ton.  I found a pair that were tolerable but I put them on and didn't love them.  And they were pricey. Then I found a paid that I like better that said you could wear them in ANYTHING.  I bought them and saved a ton.  New boots for $30 that I can slog through anything????

BIG.  FAT.  LIARS.  I stepped into a puddle and the water immediately flowed in through the zipper.  BRILLIANT.  But here's the kicker.  I can't find the receipt.  So I am going to try to go back and negotiate.  If that does not work, you can be sure that the brand name is going to be googled and they will hear from me.  All weather my ass.  I hate boot shopping as much as I hate shopping for jeans.  And that's some pretty serious loathe.

So, lots of time wasted on the boot fiasco, only to be followed by more right now.  I'm off to kick ass, barefoot, if I have to.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sorry, I'm Not Here Right Now, Please Come Find Me

WHOOO HOOOO!  It's Feel Good Friday and not only do I get to talk about my 5 faves for the week, I get to GUEST POST over at thegirl's site!  Go ahead, drop everything and come see us now!!  I'll be back here later, but in the meantime, check out some of my other posts and then come see what I have to say next door and then link up your own!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm Joining Ice Capades and WTF Wednesday

First, I must tell you that I was never taken to the Ice Capades.  I still want to go.  But now I can just have my own Ice Capades in my yard.  This is the driveway between  my house and my parents'.  And it is pure ice.  100% slick.  You can't even just stand.  You slip just standing there.  The irony that we own 2 sanders is not lost on me here.

It rained all day after days of freezing, and I think you know what that means.  Frozen ground with no place for the water to go... so everyone has swimming pools on their lawns.  And things are flooding.  And the dirt cellars that many of us have are now flooded.  I haven't even looked in  mine, but I am sure it is since the campground is one big pond right now.

This led to WTF Wednesday.  Our administration likes to make thing very complex, so there is a series of codes that they like to use on the loudspeakers.  Except they forget to tell us what these codes mean.  Here is the message that came over the speaker at 2:05 this afternoon: 

At this time, ALL STUDENTS are to go to their lockers, get their coats and report to where you go for the fire marshall.

We dont' have a local fire marshall, just a state guy, and the kids dont' even know what that means.  My 8th graders (my favorite class, the one I've had 2 lock down drills with and really like) looked at me, I looked at them, we furrowed our brows. WTF???  Thank God he came back on.

ALL STUDENTS are to go to their lockers, get their belongings and go out to your fire drill place with your homeroom

Oh yes, that's much clearer.  WTF?  It's raining, everything is icy, the alarm is not going off, school isnt' over until 2:42.  Get their stuff?  Get out??  The kids were like "does he mean OUTSIDE?"

So, I told them to get out and get their stuff and I grabbed my coat and phone (3 years ago, we had so many fire alarms that I quickly learned to grab my coat) and my other shoes so I could go into the slop and marched out the door.  Oh and I had my keys.  It was all very strange.  No one knew what was going on.  Everyone was hurrying out the door.  When I saw kids bringing out backpacks I realized I didnt' have my gradebook and all my school stuff. 

Rumors started flying.  Kids were surprisingly good on the ice that we all had to stand on.

Buses started coming in, having no idea we'd been evacuated, and were surprised when a fire truck snuck up on them and made them get out of the way. 

Then we were all allowed back inside BUT NOT NEAR THE GYM after like 5 minutes.  But everyone was sent back to homeroom.  So I completely lost my last class.

For what, you ask?

Well, the gym locker rooms were flooded due to the excessive water and frozen ground.  See above.  And then in the process of them being flooded, and this is the part I really don't understand, somehow a gas can that was outside managed to get tipped over into the snow/ice/slush and pooled into the water.  This caused a smell of gas that no one knew the source of at the time and the teachers were afraid to go into the gym with the kids and thus an evacuation was called. 

How gasy water managed to get into the building is beyond me since the water in the locker room was coming up through the drains in the floor.  And this mystery gas can was on the other side of the gym.

Oh, but WTF doesn't end there!  Earlier in the day, this was the announcement:

Teacher hold passing. (except it sounded like teachers hold staffing).

If you were a sub, would you know what that meant?  Yes, it means no one is allowed out of your room because there is an incident of some sort going on.  It's not a full blown lockdown where an intruder is in the building and threatening to kill us all, but there is either someone being removed in handcuffs or someone needing an ambulance or some sort of disaster in the hall. 

But no one ever remembers what that little phrase means.  And our dean is not good under pressure.  And he gets all anxious on the announcement so he's hard to understand.  He could simply tell us to please keep students in our classrooms until further notice.  But he must use "code language" so as to not worry kids.  But kids get worried because we have no idea what he is saying or what it means.

It meant a kid was refusing to go home when his parents came, so they had to call the police because he was out running around like a maniac, so they brought in 3 cruisers and no one needed to see that circus.  Chances are, no one would have even seen it because everyone was in class, and the 2 kids that might have gone to the bathroom probably wouldn't have noticed.  Instead, they get everyone all riled up and dying to know what the incident was.

So then he has to follow up that incident with one more announcement that a teacher from each team should go to the office.  To find out what happened and then disseminate it.  So then even more tension builds as people wait for the whispers about what was happening.

We really could have used a snow day, as I might have mentioned yesterday.  theconfessor has a great breakdown of the snow day.  Go check it out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Day in My Life- Quit Whining

There are weeks that I set up for myself that are so busy and out of control, I don't know what my problem is.  I don't know why I don't have the power to say "no" and just not do things.  Probably because most of the time, everything has its special place and time and it all works out.  My weeks are reasonable and no one gets hurt.  It's only when things pile up that disaster is imminent.  Here's a view of today.  Tomorrow will tie for a close second, but then it's smooth sailing through the rest of the week.

Normal start to the day.  Got up, made lunches, ate breakfast, didn't get the newspaper because it's gross out.  Second day in a row.  I don't mind running out if it's cold or hot or raining or snowing, but when it's sloppy, icy and nasty, I choose ignorance.  Reading today's paper would have prepared me for what was to come.  Got dressed, realized I have a serious problem with hem length.  I have 2 pairs of pants that I love, that are nice.  I like to wear them with heels, so I hem them that way.  This means if I wear them with super flats, they drag.  I have done something weird to my knee, so I think flats are the way to go this week.  I still think I can wear the too long pants.  I put them on and then get mad that I have to change.

Got my stuff together for my day, knowing it wouldn't end until long after dark.  Almost bit it 3 times trying to get to my car and put things in.  At one point, it was like Bambi on the ice with limbs all over the place.  But I did not fall.  And my feet did not get wet.  I forgot there was ice under this snow we got today.  Made for great walking into school too.

Got into school and remembered this is day 2 of the Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) food tasting that 8th grade is doing.  Everyone had to make a dish from a website I put together and then bring it in to sample.  It was a banana fest, let me tell you.  So, everyone had to bring their food to me first thing, lest a dish needing refrigeration should sit in a locker all day.  So I had to be in my room during homeroom.  Except a girl needed to upload something to the internet and only one of my computers will do that and I needed to be logged into the one that does it.  So we went to the library.  While things were being dropped off in my room.  And when I got to the library, I thought the librarian was hiding, so I gave her a hard time.  But she was crying.  Because the school committee voted last night to can all librarians in grades k-8 due to budget cuts for next year.  This was a royal shock because they play this game every year because the budget is awful, but they always give a variety of scenarios and drag it out.  This year, no scenarios, no dragging out.  They just voted and that's it.  Thanks, see you later.  So now I have to worry that my job isn't safe because in the scenarios they create every year, foreign language is usually next on the block after librarians.  Tense times and it was only 8:22am.  Had I read the paper, I would have been prepared for this.

Left the girl with the crying librarian so I could maintain order among the bananas and honeydew concoctions.  Taught 2 6th grade classes with nary a problem.  Didn't make them laugh today though.  Usually I have at least one comedic moment.  I didn't flamboyantly grab a boy's pen (that he stole from a teacher)and then proceed to fall into a desk like I did last week.  Didn't say in French smart flag instead of smart board like I did yesterday and then caught myself.  I wasn't feeling too funny after my encounter with the librarian.

On to 8th grade, for another food fest.  We had 2 yesterday, one today.  This group was really very creative and the presentation was much classier.  You can go view the food here.  If I don't smell another banana for the rest of February, I won't cry.  They had a blast.  Why does food make them so happy?  Tried fried plantains again today and they were much better.  Like a hash brown.  Yesterday's was not good.  I try not to eat things kids bring in, but I tried things that I thought were pretty  hard to screw up or sneeze all over.  Who am I kidding?  People are gross and lick their fingers and touch food.  All the time.

On to lunch duty.  The highlight of my week.  7th grade lunch duty.  The first time I did lunch duty this year, I slid on a pea and thought I was going down.  It's awful.  I used to not mind lunch duty, under a different principal.  Now, kids are allowed to table hop and raise holy hell once they are done eating.  And the dean just stands there and says it's so hard to keep track of who leaves their trash where.  This is the perfect opportunity to also be groped or at least get to 2nd base because they are allowed to sit as many to a table as can fit on the benches. These are round tables, meant to sit 2 to a bench.  That means 8 kids max.  There are upwards of a dozen at most tables.  I just hate this duty so much.  Hate.  It.  Dangerous.  Gross.

Then on to my own lunch.  Fun to chat, but everyone's gotta run.  Gotta do this.  Gotta do that.  So much for a 30 minute duty free lunch.

Then my prep which really means getting finished with the labels for the paintings in the My Impression of Impressionism project which is being hung at the cultural center today and opening on Friday.

Then come 2 7th grade classes.  They are finishing posters so they are working and I don't have to talk.  Then the announcements start coming about cancellations after school.  Except there are no cancellations.  But everyone has to go back to homeroom 7 minutes early.  But it's expected that the buses will be late due to the snow.  But everyone MUST go back to homeroom at 2:35.  If you say so, dean.

Then it's time for technology club because after school activities were not canceled as I had hoped they would be.  So, we work on our blogs.  Except one boy was absent last week and wants to start his.  But he doesn't know what to write.  And he thinks people will just come and visit his blog from outer space.  He should read this so he'll know what to write about.  And 2 kids come in while I'm in the computer lab and want to take quizzes they missed.  So I have to run back to my room to get them.

I  have to tell this little aside.  So, then one kids goes off to running club.  Running club takes place inside on rotten days. They run around the halls.  Not usually a problem.  I asked who manages running club and was SHOCKED to find out it's our custodian.  He doesn't seem fit to me or much of a runner.  But I guess he does.

So, about 20 minutes later, we can hear the gym teacher at the foot of the stairs REAMING out someone.  All about "running your mouth"  "if you keep it up, you'll never be allowed to run every again, for the rest of your life" something about "making such a problem for everyone you might not be allowed to run in the halls again" and on and on.  She was really livid.  And I guessed it was the kid who had been with me.  The same boy who stole a pen last week and made me trip on a desk.  He is such a PAIN IN THE ASS.;  So I  said out loud who I thought it was.  And this kid said "OH I thought she was yelling at the janitor!!"  which had me ROLLING on the floor.  We were all dying.  Imagining one adult talking to another like that.  Saying such silly things.

Then it's 3:50 and I must escort my kids to the cafeteria for the late buses.  As though they were in 1st grade.  They manage to get around the building all day unescorted, but after school, we must escort them to the cafeteria, lest they find trouble along the way.  So I escort my kids, but most do not.  And I wait until the dean gets there because it's not fair to leave them with someone else who also thinks he/she needs to stay until the dean gets there.  Unlike the teachers who just let them go, or who escort them but drop them at the door.  And the contract says we can go at 3:50 but the dean is never there at 3:50 and so I wait.  Because I'm good like that.  But I stew.

And then I was off to teach Rock Bottoms at the gym.  Where I no longer can use balls in the class because it's too big.  34 people today.  RI.DIC.U.LOUS.  And so unsafe.  Everyone has their steps out and we pretty much have to do everything within the confines of the area of the step so no one kills anyone else.  I used to use the weighted bars for them to do lots of challenging things upright, but apparently they make holes in the floor so now I can't use them.  HOLES?  I searched for holes but could not find any.  I think the owner is crazy.  There are no holes in the floor.  So, I am supposed to make these women do 8,000 squats and lunges for an hour because all of the stuff I like to use to try to shake it up and make it less boring but more challenging are becoming forbidden.   Just do them on the floor, lying down, she says.  Really? We can barely fit everyone upright, let alone laying down.

And then I had to go to the cultural center to hang the paintings for the project.  And then put the labels.  This was much faster than last year, but still took too long.  I didn't know the center would be open for a while because there was ballroom dancing and Spanish and knitting, so I raced from the gym to the center.  I could have come home for supper first and then gone.

So there you go.  And tomorrow is a lot like this but without the gym.  A meeting instead and then crocheting and then a French group oh and one more class than today and another meeting. And more slushy, nasty ass snow that isn't pretty or quaint.  Sloppy and messy.  And brown.

I could really use a snow day.