Slice of Life: Political Hangover Division

politcalhangover

Me: rattling off a grocery list… and we still have tonic so we’re set for election night

Matt: You should probably pick up more

Me: We have 4 cans, that’s 8 [gin+tonics]… how tanked do you plan on getting?

Matt: You better pick up more

 

As you can probably tell, we’re not too excited about the election here.  I think a lot of other people feel the same way.  This is the first election for me where I’m seriously considering voting for a 3rd party candidate.  Not because I think they have any chance of winning the presidency (heck, I’m 99% certain Hillary will win MN), but because I think that if the alternate parties get unusually high support this year (especially if they succeed in taking even a single state) that there will be significant changes coming in the future (because honestly I feel that both parties really need to have a Come-to-Jesus moment).

That’s my logic at least.  I can’t tell you how to vote, but I do encourage all Americans to vote.  Do your research (if you don’t know where to start you can check out I Side With*), don’t buy into every media shit-storm, and as long as you have a rational reason for your choice you can’t really go wrong.

Oh, and if you’re going to comment with political opinions, just play nice, k?  Respectful discussion is great, but referring the candidates  as “Killary” and “America’s Angriest Clementine” is probably best left to rants among like-minded friends.

Dang…. I’m going to have to pick up more limes too….

 

*I think I failed their quiz.  I got Jill Stein as #1 and Gary Johnson as #2… I’m either an anarchist hippie or I need to make my own party…. or I have no idea what’s going on in the world.  Who knows?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Not Dead Yet Round 2

I haven’t given up on our house, far from it in fact!  October’s been a rough month for the women in the FPV household.  Schmutz (aka Moody Girl Cat) started loosing fur on her back paws and belly and then my energy level completely tanked, and I mean completely.  Like I could barely make it up the stairs and my legs were super shaky every time I stood up.  It was bad enough that I went in to get tested for Mono, but that was negative.

kittysnuggles

The one good thing about my inability to get off the couch was that I got to spend a few days cuddling with the fur balls… although they spent more time cuddling with each other.

“Fatigue” is like the worst symptom ever to bring to a doctor, it’s just so vague and symptomatic of about a billion different things.  After testing negative for strep and mono my doctor did a more extensive blood panel and tested me for possibly everything under the sun.  Then called me back in for MORE blood work.  Have I ever mentioned I hate needles?  Like I get an honest-to-god panic attack when faced with needles.  Last week was not fun.

In turns out my thyroid is an epic over-achiever.  First I though it had gone on strike (hypothyroidism) which seems to be slightly more common, but then I double checked my test results (and went in for doctor visit #2) and it turns out it’s running in overdrive (hyperthyroidism).  I think Thyroid Storm may be my new band name… if I had any musical abilities whatsoever.

My doctor gave me drugs to slow my heart (seriously) to make me more comfortable because I was practically bedridden over the weekend.*  It also turns out that one of the treatments for Hyperthyroidism is radioactive iodine, but I’ll probably have to meet an Endocrinologist first to see if I get put on the path to developing super powers.**  Medicine is weird ya’ll.

And for anyone completely unfamiliar with thyroid issues, they’re not terribly uncommon and quite treatable… everything just seems to suck until you get properly medicated.  I’m already doing quite a bit better, but still easily tired which makes house projects difficult (we have 3 out of 6 hallway doors done now though!  It sounds good, but I thought I would have been done with all of them at least a week ago).

As far as Schmutz (now aka Miss Baldy Paws) is concerned, Matt brought her into the vet yesterday and the vet ruled it over-grooming.  Whether it’s due to an allergy or stress we’re not sure, we’re just supposed to monitor her to see if she ultimately needs meds too.  And anyone who’s ever owned a cat knows just how fun it is to try and get them to take pills….

Meanwhile Matt and Spencer are doing just peachy so apparently the Y chromosome makes you immune to October cruddy-ness in this family.

 

*Really.  My achievement for the weekend was re-potting a houseplant and Matt supervised me the entire time to make sure I didn’t fall over.

**Lacking in any musical ability, maybe I can use Thyroid Storm as my super hero name.  It sounds like a rejected X-Man, but I’m ok with that.

Lies My Hardware Store Told Me

No, don’t worry, this isn’t another customer service rant.  Our stove is still here and functioning well, and for the record, the local Home Depot employees are awesome when it comes to in-store help (it just broke down for us once there was a special order involved…. sigh).

No, today I’m going to talk about stain.

I’ve been working on refinishing our upstairs doors and, well, let’s just say there’s a reason I haven’t shared more pictures yet.  Last time I mentioned that I got  a color I liked, but the finish was kinda splotchy.

Annoyingly splotching in fact.

Matt was fine with it, but it was steadily driving me crazy.  Ultimately I decided I couldn’t live with it and decided I needed to try a different technique to get the same dark color minus the streaky-blotchiness.

Easier said than done.

stainlies

I currently have 6–count them 6–cans of different stains that I have experimented with.  Gel stain + polyshades was my first attempt, but it completely hid the wood grain really just looked like a crappy paint job.  The problem was trying to duplicate that same rich color, but with a better finish because you know what?  All those little samples they have in the stain aisle showing the stain colors on little bits of oak and pine? LIES!  I’d see a beautiful, rich, dark espresso stain in the store, try and on my door and  whomp whomp, it would only be a shade or two darker than the honey oak I started with.  I went through 4 rounds of stripping, 3 brands of stain and 6 colors before I finally found something that worked (more to come on that–I promise).  This is also why you only do one door at a time…

I even had a mini-meltdown in Menards bemoaning my inability to find a properly DARK (but not black!) stain.  Let that be a lesson to all you helpful employees who come up to customers and ask if they need any help–you may find a lunatic (although mystery lady–you were the single most helpful Menards employee I’ve met–thank you for putting up with me!)

Do you have any DIY disasters you need to vent about?  Knock yourselves out.  I feel your pain, really.

Weekend Road-Tripping: Spring Green WI

This weekend Matt and I slacked off and journeyed into the wilds of Central Wisconsin.  Last month we discovered a rather large miscommunication regarding a trip to Spring Green to see the American Players Theater with my mom and step-dad (and his mother and kids).  We thought they had been referring to this past weekend when we put it in our calendars, but no, this weekend was a completely different (and day-trip only) excursion to Spring Green.  Oops.  We had to miss the earlier trip, but were able to make it out this time at least.

This was my first time to see American Players Theater and it was quite lovely.  We saw An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde which was delightful.

Also in Spring Green is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin… but we didn’t go there.  Oh no. That was way too high brow for me and Matt.

We went to the House on the Rock.

If you’ve never heard of The House on the Rock (which basically means you’re either not from central-ish Wisconsin or have never read American Gods), this is the best description I’ve found for it:

The most concise way I can describe The House on the Rock is this: Imagine you took all the buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, deconstructed them, and randomly attached the parts to a generic office park. Then imagine you took the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, mixed that with the contents of every thrift store in America, and spread it all throughout the Frank Lloyd Wright/office-park structure, with no curation or explanatory text. Then throw a 200-foot-tall model of a sea monster in there, too.  –Vice.com

Neil Gaiman’s comment in regards to American Gods was something to the effect of that he had to tone it down a bit to make it seem believable.

I personally describe it as “Imagine a permanently stoned Frank Llyod Wright who was a compulsive hoarder with a particular fascination for self-playing instruments.”

Yeah… it’s…. weird.

There’s not a great way to describe beyond what was said above, so here are some pictures.

hotr_1

It starts off reasonably enough in the Original House.  You can definitely tell that the architect was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, but he also seems to be embracing the 70’s bachelor pad well before it’s time. And yes, those are trees just sticking up through the house.

hotr_2

Then there’s the Infinity Room which was a much later addition.  It’s actually pretty cool unless you’re like me and aren’t so hot with heights (the room just cantilevers off the side of a cliff).

hotr_3

Eventually you hit The Music of Yesterday which is the most insane collection of self-playing instruments possibly ever.  You can get tokens to make them play too.

hotr_4

Along with the Infinity Room, the Carousel is one of the best known features of The House on the Rock.  It’s listed as the world’s largest indoor carousel, and out of the 200+ animals featured on it, not a single one is horse.  It’s also impossible to get a good picture of unless you’re magic.

hotr_5

I’m skipping over TONS but throughout the tour there are collections of guns, Japanese art, organs, cash registers, coin banks, dolls, doll houses, suits of armor, planes, newspapers, and cars, along with self-playing instruments, fortune-telling machines, and other token-driven gadgets.

It’s crazy, it’s trippy, it’s probably worth doing once… unless you have a crazy fear of dolls and/or clowns, then you probably want to skip section 3.  And if you’re claustrophobic the entire place might not be for you.

Oh, and unlike Frank Lloyd Wright houses, The House on the Rock doesn’t leak* and isn’t sliding off the cliff.

 

*As far as I know, every single damn building that man designed ended up with a leaking roof and lots of have needed significant repairs to keep them standing over the years.  Was he an aesthetic genius?  Definitely!  Was he an engineer?  Definitely not.

Save

Save

And Then We Found a Dead Body Under Our Garage

Well, part of dead body.

And probably not a human body… but other animals still have bodies and if you only find a part of it it’s still very clearly dead.

Matt pointed out that title is rather misleading, but that’s just how headlines work.  Sure, I could have said “And then we found part of a dead body under our garage.”  or “And then we found a bone fragment that was probably some dog’s chew toy under our garage.” But neither of those is very click-baity and my SEO app is already yelling at me about the length of my current tile (that thing is horribly judgemental).

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Our garage is… sad.  When we bought the house the inspector couldn’t even get the garage door open so for the past year we’ve basically had a giant storage shed that will fit anything that would fit through the smallish side door.  Awesome, right?

Also, the whole structure was leaning and wonky, and we weren’t even 100% sure that we would even be able to get a new garage door installed or if the entire thing would need to be torn down.  Yeah, it was just that good.

Recently we had a garage door company take a look at it, and thankfully they said they’d be able to add a functioning door.  Not only that, they even said they’ve worked with worse.  They came, they installed, and left us with a functioning garage that was still incredibly wonky.

garage_1

For the past couple weeks Matt’s been working on adding extra supports, sistering split or rotting studs, and digging out around the base to replace decaying boards.  I told you it was is pretty sad shape.

garage_2

On Saturday we dug a trench along the final side of the garage to expose all the rotting boards.  This wasn’t quite as bad as I anticipated, except for the tree roots that are clearly trying to eat our house.  And our garage.  And possibly us.  Hell, I think from now on I’ll just refer to the big tree in our backyard as Audrey II.

garage_3

About 10′ away from the tree there were still roots as big around as my wrist.  There were also TONS of the little spidery roots that had invaded everything.  As I pulled them out I also pulled up chunks of rotted wood that they had clearly eaten.  They were also starting to work their way up the side of the garage.  Awesome.

Also while digging out our trench we came across other assorted randomness.  A straw, tons of broken glass, plastic bags, rusted wire, and a coffee can lid.  Once I found the coffee can lid I was really hoping to find the rest of the can (filled with someone’s buried fortune of course), but it never turned up.  A short time later I exposed a strange, lumpy thing and was mildly taken aback.

garage_4

I thought it was a small vertebra but it ended up being the deformed top of a metal spike.  Bummer.

Me: No coffee cans filled with money, no dead bodies…. it’s like all those books I read when I was little lied to me.

Matt: Um, sure.

Me: I bet the Bobbsey twins were really the murderers/robbers/whatever just so they could set up crimes to “solve” and then cunningly frame other people.

Matt may have stopped talking to me at this point.

Later that afternoon I was standing by one of the dirt mounds, waiting to be useful, and I see something buried in the dirt.

garage_5

If you’re wondering if I can tell the difference between a stick and a bone in a random pile of crap the answer is apparently yes.  I have no clue what kind of bone because I’m not a boneologist…. er, wait, Latin… osteologist?  Maybe I should Google this…

…omg I was right!  I even spelled it right! (although spell check disagrees and suggests Meteorologist).  It’s like taking all those advanced Bio classes paid off… but only a little since I still can’t identify the stupid bone (but at least I’m still better at science than spell check).

Anyway, I found part of a bone buried under our garage which means I at least found part of a dead body.  Or the remains of a dog’s chew toy…. but dead body sounds much better.**  And just think, anytime you give your dogs pigs ears or beef bones to gnaw on you can refer to them as dead bodies.

“What’s Buster doing?  Oh, just burying a dead body in the backyard to save for later.”

“I had to get Fido a dead body so he’d stop eating my shoes.”

“Rufus hates being left home alone, but if you leave him with a dead body as a treat he does much better.”

Sadly, this is still not as exciting as the time I found a skull in Chicago.***

 

*Whether or not I can tell the difference between a bone and twisted piece of metal is an entirely different story.

** Or maybe it’s just me?

***True story!  And no, not a human skull.  It was probably a deer skull…. but it was just randomly in a locker in the train station.  For realz.  It was a little before Halloween and I was having  a party so I brought it back home with me.  I was maybe 12?   And possibly a bit different from other middle school girls….

Save

Save

The Stove Saga Continues

If you’ve  been following the blog, you’ll know we had a breakdown and ordered a new stove… and then just continued to have additional breakdowns because getting a stove delivery is apparently a positively hellish experience.

Via Just Memes

We got it ordered and the delivery date was scheduled for Friday of the same week (last Friday).  Awesome, right?

Awesome until the stove arrived anyway, because it was the wrong frickin stove.  Right box, wrong stove.  WTF?  It wasn’t ever the right color OR model! It seemed like one of the those “you had ONE job to do” situations.  So the stove went back, and our old one came back in after they had already hauled it out onto the truck.

And then the oven pilot wouldn’t light.  And the delivery company never got back to us about when we would get the RIGHT stove.  I called Home Depot after I got home from work and they said they would try and get in touch with the delivery company and also try and get a tech out to fix our existing oven.

Then there was no word until Saturday evening which basically said they still didn’t know anything (and no word about a possible tech).  While I respect the fact that they followed up with us, this was not the news I wanted to hear.  This conversation then rapidly went downhill (oh yes,  it keeps going) when the guy I was talking with offered the following options.

  1. Google what was wrong with our current stove (how about it’s old and something got jarred/broken when it was moved in and out of the house?)
  2. Come into the store and pick up an in-stock stove that is nothing like the one we ordered (other than it was white and gas but was otherwise missing every feature we wanted) and also a significantly cheaper model AND haul it home ourselves with no word on how our old stove would be hauled away.

Basically I got off the phone and was furious.  While I like Home Depot, I very much do not like that they contract out their delivery which leaves them pretty incapable to sort out problems for their customer.

Monday evening we still didn’t have an update on delivery so I called the store again! I got some manager this time (probably should have insisted on that the first time around because I think the first guy was just out of his depth) who proceeded to tell me that the earliest delivery date would be this Friday, a week after our originally scheduled delivery.

Ok, fine.  Matt was already going to be home that day anyway, but that was because we were leaving that afternoon to go visit family.  So I said we would need to have the stove before 3 that day and was told there was no way they could guarantee that.

%^$%^&%(*&(

That’s most of the frickin day!  How can you have  system that wouldn’t even let you add comments? I was steadily freaking out at this point because with travel and meetings the next day that would work for us would be next Wednesday and we still had no working oven.

At this point I will say the manager I was speaking too kicked it up a notch.  She called the delivery company the next day to explain the situation, then called me to assure me they would get us the stove by 3 and if we weren’t given a delivery window in the right time frame (because apparently the route is computer generated *headdesk*) to call her on her cell phone and she’d sort it out with the delivery company.

Ugh.

I was getting ready to post this when Matt’s phone rang.  It was GE calling to tell us there was a problem with the delivery, i.e. it would not be happening.  Something in their system was wrong somehow so no stove for us tomorrow.  We had even gotten a call earlier in the day (finally!) confirming our delivery window.  WTF????

Now we are not scheduled to get the stove until next Wednesday–a week and half after we were supposed to get it!  Plus, we’ve had no functioning oven for nearly a week now because of this whole debacle.  I’ve spent the last few hour periodically giggling to myself in that oh-dear-god-what-else-can-possibly-go-wrong sort of way because this is starting to feel a bit surreal.

Buying a car was way less of a headache.  Matt mentioned that we’re still paying off the car but at least the stove is fully paid for.  Yeah, but we fully paid for a stove that we don’t even have yet!

Slice of Life: Delivery Fail Division

We were supposed to get a new stove today.  This was seriously the highlight of my week!  Our existing stove is utter crap and we’ve lived with it for over a year before finally breaking down and getting a new one.

Matt worked from home today so he could be here for the delivery.  I got a text around noon saying that he had to send the the stove back because it was the wrong color AND the wrong model.

@#$^#$%&$^&

Then I get home and learn the oven is no longer working on our old stove (the pilot light refuses to relight).  We’re guessing something got bumped/shifted when they hauled it out and back in again (because why would you be super careful with an old craptastic stove?).

$%^$*&%(&)*

I then get on the phone with Home Depot and ask them what the hell is going on because we don’t even have a new delivery date for the CORRECT stove yet and are oven-less.* While waiting for the appliance guy to call me back with an update we had the following conversation.

Matt: We could do Caprese tonight
Me: Sure
Matt: The baguette you got isn’t take-and-bake is it?
Me: %@#%^&*##$%@#

 

UPDATE: We heard back from HD around 7 this evening and the company they contract with for appliance deliveries isn’t given them any useful info either, but they are going to try and get someone over here to get our oven working this weekend.

 

*I was actually much calmer than that on the phone.  Screaming at people is rarely effective… unless they’re your ISP in which case they are already the devil incarnate.

Nerd Alert: Go Watch This

Confession time: I’ve been feeling a little ADD with house projects recently.  I currently have a primed-but-not-yet-painted upstairs hallway, newel cap trim mostly cut and not at all installed, 2 outlets in my basement work space I need to redo, 1 small section of a cat tree re-wrapped, and a partial side of a workbench built.  I should really step back, take a breath, and refocus.

Instead I just binge-watched Stranger Things on Netflix this weekend.

Short version: it is awesome!

I personally think it’s like a cross between ET and Pan’s Labyrinth with a creepiness level of Children of Earth (4th season of Torchwood and the only season I actually like of that show*). I don’t want to give much away, but it’s full of 80’s nostalgia and the characters are all believable middle/high schoolers (ie totally awkward). Plus the main group of middle school boys are complete nerds and I love them to death.

There is a second season planned but what I’m reading is that it will be more like a sequel than a second season so we’ll see what happens. Matt and I have been thinking about switching over to Amazon Prime but I may have to hang on to Netflix now… Both of them are still cheaper than cable at least!

So have you seen it?  Are you in love?  Do you have another favorite nerdy show?  Let’s be nerd buddies.  Also, has anyone tried both Netflix and Amazon Prime?  Do you have a preference for either’s selection?  I know, I’m just full of questions today.  I’m apparently just trying to put off more work.

 

*Mini spoiler: I lost it after the Cyberwoman episode.  An overly sexualized female cyberman???? Are you freaking KIDDING me???  The only reason I watched season 4 was because it came highly recommended by one of my best friends who is probably even more opinionated than me.

Save

Save

Slice of Life: Useless Pets Division

Around 1:30 this morning I woke up to strange sound in our bedroom.  One of the cats was running around like a lunatic and occasionally meowing.  This is a little bizarre for either of them at 1 am and I was only partially awake so I listened for a few minutes to try and figure out what the heck was going on.

Eventually I turned on the light and peered over the foot of the bed.  Schmutz was the one racing around the floor and she wasn’t after one of her toys.  Because I had already expected this from the earlier noise I stayed calm, sighed resignedly and said to Matt, who was at least somewhat awake now too, “Your damn cat found a mouse.”

We watched her for a couple minutes while caught the mouse, pranced around proudly, deliberately dropped it, chased it again, caught, pranced, dropped, repeat.  Spencer wandered in to see what the commotion was all about and would occasionally bat gently at the mouse with his paw if it came his way, but he clearly didn’t have any idea what to do with it.

Eventually it became clear that the mouse wasn’t going to be put out of it’s misery anytime soon so I decided to step in.

“Schmutz!  Get the mouse!”  And she did, but ran away with it as soon as I got off the bed.  I followed her into the dining room as she continued her game of chase-catch-prance-drop and grabbed a plastic tumbler and a large putty knife to attempt to catch the stupid thing myself.

Sometimes Schmutz and I would be working together and flanking the mouse, but I never managed to shoo it into the cup.  The 3 of us kept going around and around the dining table while Spencer watched from under a chair.  Occasionally the mouse would rear up or charge Schmutz. “I think it may have toxoplasmosis!” I shouted up to Matt.

After 10-15 minutes of this (and more random things shouted up to Matt who was staying in bed playing a game on his tablet) I finally managed to catch the damn thing.  Since it was nearly 2 in the morning, I just dumped it outside, so I’m sure it’s back in by now, but it was the middle of the night and I was all out of fucks to give.

I went back upstairs (Schmutz was still frantically searching for her new favorite toy) and Matt asked if I had given the cats a treat.

“A treat? Why?”

“Because my cat found a mouse.”

“But she didn’t kill it.”

“But she found it.”

And brought it into our bedroom!

Matt eventually went downstairs and gave both of them a treat.  What Spencer did to deserve it I have no idea since he was even a bigger failure.

Around 5:30 this morning Schmutz sat on my chest and yowled at me for her breakfast.

If you had just killed the damn mouse you wouldn’t be hungry right now.” I grumbled and then Matt kicked her out the room because she was being pesty and it was still way too early.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 6.09.03 PM

So those are our cats in a nutshell.  Spencer thinks everything is a friend and Schmutz has currently brought us one well-dead mouse and one far-too-alive mouse.  At least this is the first sign we’ve had of rodents currently in the home so I don’t think we have an infestation on our hands.

Looking on the bright side, at least she didn’t drop it in our bed.

 

Slice of Life: Safety Division

We started painting our entryway/stairs yesterday!  We’re actually doing pretty good on the ground floor, but have all the upstairs landing to do yet (trim and walls).

Matt was champ dealing with the obnoxiously tall wall on the stair landing…which was good because I am really not a fan of ladders.  He managed to reach most of the wall just by having the ladder on our larger landing, and I came up next to him to point out spots it looked like he missed.*  Now, there was plenty of room on the landing for the ladder, but me standing next to it meant I was standing pretty close to the edge and being the genius that I am, took a step back to get a better view.

Bad move.

I immediately felt myself unbalancing as my foot connects with nothingness and flailed wildly for support.  My left hand grabbed at the railing and my right hand grabbed for the ladder.

The ladder that wasn’t actually solidly attached to anything.

The ladder Matt was sitting on.

I realized this was probably not a good idea a split second after I actually grabbed hold of the ladder.  Oops.

Luckily, my foot shortly connected with the stair tread, about 6″ past where I expected to feel floor, and I was able to regain my balance without pulling the ladder down the stairs after me.  Matt was looking a little horrified though, and I can’t say I blame him.

He made it out completely unscathed, but I managed to bang or twist or something my left wrist as I grabbed for the railing, so it was pretty sore. Luckily it’s my left wrist, but because I’m also prone to emphatic hand gestures and continuing to work on projects when I’m sore, I picked up a wrist brace to try and avoid twisting it further since certain movements do make it worse.

I really don’t think whatever I did to it is that bad.  I’ve sprained both a toe and a foot in the past and at worst this is probably just a very mild sprain, but the best thing for a sprain is to avoid stressing it, so wrist brace it is.

In 90 degree weather.  Fun times.

 

*Painting light gray over light cream is a beast since it’s almost impossible to tell if you’ve missed anything until it starts to dry.