momzonroof

… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…


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2:27AM State of the Union

I’m documenting this for my own amusement, BEmusement, befuddlement, amazement… whatever I am at this moment, I am all of those. And in the future, when I look back on this time… what the… crap, I don’t know… I probably won’t understand it any better then either.

I gotta say this, I am really enjoying the italics button today. Usually I just sorta CAPITALIZE whatever I want to EMPATHIZE, and it ends up looking like I’M SHOUTING stuff. Every once in a while I remember the italics button, and then I misuse and overuse it for a while…

Every night I do this thing. I fold 42 comforters in half, and stack them on the floor in the livingroom. This is a hardwood floor, maple in fact,  or most likely, I think it’s maple, I am the Queen of Commas, how many commas can I use in what I call a “sentence,” the possibilities are endless, so it’s especially hard wood, with one thin little cheap little area rug on top.  I don’t even think it’s a wool rug. No padding.

Oh yeah, this flooring is definitely of the light blue species. Oh my gosh, I’m going to quote this article, mostly because  Brian will enjoy this, THIS is how you might, I say, MIGHT, be able to ascertain whether you have a piece of hard maple vs what they call “soft” maple:

“Simply weigh the wood in question, and then carefully measure all dimensions to find its total volume. Remember, Volume equals Length x Width x Height: (V = L x W x H).

Let’s say we have a piece of maple that is 24 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 3/4 inches thick. This means that the total volume is 144 cubic inches, since 24 x 8 x 3/4 = 144.

Next, we’ll assume we’ve weighed the board, and found that it weighs 3 pounds, 8.0 ounces (or 3.5 pounds). So our board’s density is 3.5 pounds per 144 cubic inches. The only problem is that we need to convert our measurements to the units that we are trying to find in the chart above: pounds per cubic foot.

There are 1728 cubic inches in a cubic foot, (12 x 12 x 12), so to find our multiplier, we divide the 1728 cubic inches by the 144 cubic inches of our board, and get a multiplier of 12. (Most measurements won’t come out to a perfectly even number, but I chose a board with easy dimensions to make it a little simpler to calculate.)

So to convert our board from 3.5 pounds per 144 cubic inches to pounds per cubic foot, we simply multiply both sides by the multiplier we found in our previous step: in this case, it’s 12. So multiplying things out, we find that our board is 42 pounds per 1728 cubic inches (or one cubic foot). Taking this calculation (42 pcf), and looking at the table above, it would appear that in all likelihood, this board is indeed Hard Maple.”

All that, and you’re still using terms like “it would appear that in all likelihood, this board is indeed hard maple”?!?  Man, once I go to the trouble to use two or three conversion factors, I want something a little more concrete than in all likelihood

My floor is hard. So 42 comforters on top of a thin rug, it’s still not even very comfy. But I do this every night. I have a super lovely, super dooper cozy “new” bedroom downstairs, with plushy plush carpet, and glowy warm lamp lights,  fluffy overstuffed mattress,  78 pillows of the finest downy feather,  that’s an exaggeration  but there are many pillows, some are feather, but all are soft and fluffy.., the finest Italian cotton sheets so soft if you touch them you may cry real tears or you may emit some strange involuntary purring noise, and I mention that they are Italian and made by Mirabello, mostly because I am enjoying my newly acquired linky-linky making skillz… but also because these sheets are THE BOMB, and I would never have an opportunity to own something so nice and so genuinely pridefully Italian and upscale, but I found two sets of these sheets at the Army of Salvation for $8 each.  What caught my eye was the pattern, which I can’t find a pic on this whole blasted internet, but it looks something like this, only softer and somehow more ridiculously beautiful than even these dogwoods blooming in Jamaica:

photo by kindra clineff, offered for sale in print form

I got it bad for the linens, ya’ll. It’s a real problem, and may at some point in the future require an intervention. I have the linen closet jammed so full of curtains and table cloths and sheets and duvets and PILLOW CASES, what is with me and the pillow cases?! I have every crappy pillow case I’ve ever owned, from even wayyy back when I didn’t know cotton from percale from pima…  plus I probably buy 3 or 4 more every month. If it’s soft and cool to the touch, quality construction, vintage, and some awesome color or pattern, I gotta have it. And I tell myself lies about it too, I say, “I will definitely sell this thing on ebay” but that is a lie, I will never let it go, they will wrench it from my cold dead skeleton hands, and that is finally the truth.

Also, did you know that a higher threadcount does NOT necessarily denote a softer, more desirable linen piece? Did you know that there are THREADCOUNT MANIPULATORS out there, that some smarmy manufacturers will actually MANIPULATE some sort of variables in the calculations of threadcounts, so that some 1000-count sheets that cost literally $900 a set  will be less soft, less quality than a lowly 400 tc set from Kohls for example… Oh yeah, it’s a murky underworld out there, you gotta know your stuff…

I just remembered something, when I was standing in the long line at checkout at the army of salvation, and I had those two sets of gorgeous gorgeous sheets billowing up and out of the buggy, oh the color, oh the soft…  And the woman in front of me, she turns around and the color catches her eye, but then she sniffs and says, “Ewwwwww.. you buy BEDDING here?” like it was really a gross thing to do, and I suppose it could be, you could buy bedding that had lived a former life in a really gross place, that’s true, and how would you know…  You wouldn’t. Maybe she’s right, maybe it’s gross. But most things down there still smell clean and detergenty, I haven’t run into anything gross yet in the linens department… I just can’t talk about the Big and Tall Men’s Tshirt department though…  Anyways, you take it home and wash it. Maybe it is gross. I don’t know.  But this woman in front of me, after she said that, I said, oh no, I’ve never run into anything yucky here, and these are ITALIAN cotton sheets, oh my gosh you should FEEL THEM! So she reaches over and she feels them and her face lights up, and I swear she had a little tear in her eye and she actually PURRED, and she said Ooooooo those ARE soft and OH THE COLOR…  She couldn’t take her eyes or her hands off them, until it started to make me a little nervous like I was gonna have to fight her for them…

She did release them, and I did take them home and wash them and did NOT sell them on Ebay,  instead crammed and jammed one set into my linen closet,  put the other set on my bed, stood back, admired the glorious dogwood and the pale, soft blue… sniff… and then mournfully turned out the warm glowey lamplight, and shut the door to my comfy cozy bedroom…

Because here is why: My stinking dogs still have the NERVE to have fleas, and I know I haven’t written Chapter 3 and 4 yet, My Life with Fleas, sadly, there is more…  But I can’t sleep down in my lovely warm room in my soft sheets and fluffy pillows, because my dogs have to sleep on my chest and my knees, they have to both be under the covers, it never makes sense, how can they breathe under a heavy comforter, especially Poppy, with her puggy-type nose with the snorting and snuffling and  breathing issues, it makes no sense, but that’s how they sleep, and I know it’s a Boston thing, because other Bostons do it, and I know Cesar Milan would say I’m confusing them or something, because they should  be in a dog bed, but Cesar Milan does not have a boston terrier, that I know of, and he’s never slept with Poppy’s velvety muzzle resting in that little place between your ankle and your heel, or Boo’s little tiny round head snuffled into that little place between your shoulder and your collar bone… but I really enjoyed the Cesar Millan Eckhart Tolle meet-up, what a cool vibe they had going, and at 7:35ish, such an amazing moment…

The kids put on the movie “Stand By Me,” and I wish for the 1950’s again. Even though I was an unfertilized ovum at the time… And even though the movie was a bunch of kids, cussin’ and smokin’ and firing guns and bullying each other and scratching prison-style tattoos into their flesh and getting hit by trains and staring puffy-faced into eternity, and parents verbally and emotionally abusing one son after the death of another, and River Phoenix there with his fresh face  and his clear gray eyes, before he got so messed up.. by what… by too much money, crappy childhood, what?

Afterwards, we had a frolicking fun slightly definitely morbid discussion on why, or HOW, how does it happen, that people get hit by trains?   If the person isn’t drunk or high, really, can a person be so distracted that he doesn’t hear or FEEL the oncoming train? And what is the last thing the conductor sees, before he bears down, terribly reluctantly and unstoppably, on a WHOLE PERSON?

And then we talked about abject stupidity. And frying pans and brass symbols and giant rubber mallets and other cartoony ways to take care of people who are, well, stupid enough to get hit by trains.  No offense to people who have gotten hit by trains, I’m sure they’re not stupid, I’m sure there were circumstances and what-not…  Later, I googled it, of course, “How can people manage to get hit by trains,” and one thing that made a tiny bit of sense was this: if there are actually TWO trains, and the person gets past one, and thinks he’s in the clear, and then gets wiped out by the second one. That, I can see happening…

So the whole movie made me sad, but then my kids made me laugh, and I just wanted to remember that, Mancub scratching his chin and pondering the abyss while the train and wildly gesticulating conductor come bearing down… and Adventurecroft wielding the frying pan, CLOIIIIIINNNNGGGGGGG!!! Thankfully, my kids  have been well-schooled in Looney Tunes/Sylvester/Daffy Duck cartoon retribution, and other important values.


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I Made This Thing

You know that scene in Castaway, where a decidedly, surprisingly rotund and hairy-chested little Tom Hanks finally gets the fire to light because the “air got to it” and he’s dancing and celebrating and pounding his round little hairy chest like a cave man who’s, well, just discovered FIRE, and he’s all “FIIRE!! I! HAVE! MADE FIRE!!!”?  You know that scene:   http://youtu.be/IS7Og1zvdy8

Well, that’s kinda how I feel about this: 

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Arbor and attached “arbor wings”… 

Oh the lovely arbor wings…

And I didn’t really make it all myself, I had help. AdventureCroft helped me with assembly of lovely lovely arbor, which is sold at a lovely site called “HayNeedle.com” and I love them, they couldn’t have been more precious. Of course, I am judging their customer service against my most recent SEARS DEBACLE,  so really they didn’t have to do much to impress me… They shipped the arbor quickly, and when my  promo-code didn’t work at check-out, they refunded the difference in a pleasant and timely manner. This arbor is called “Vienna by Eden”, which is a charming and old-worldsy name for something so… shiny and made of environmentally-toxic PVC : 

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Gettin’ her Power Drill on…

Then Beane helped me wrestle the big, floppy, unwieldy thing into the ground (vinyl arbors behave a bit like a 48 lb cat without a backbone, and they make scary “WOCKA WOCKA WOCKA” sounds as you move them…  so Beane and I managed to get it in place and centered and plumb and level and square and all those vital constructiony terms… Here is why they are vital: If you make one mistake, if one thing is not level or plumb, and you think oh… it’ll be fine, no big… guess what, you will be wrong. Because somewhere down the road, that little mistake will impact something else. Something else will not line up and it will be very noticeable, especially when you have DONALD GENE visiting on a regular basis and checking out your jobs… I didn’t get any pics of Beane and me wrestling with the arbor, because at that point, I have to admit, I was not believing that it was going to work out, I had read too many reviews and horror stories by others who tried to install this arbor, and I lost sight of the vision… I admit it… I faltered… We had to set it in cement too, and that is nerve-wracking to me, because it is so friggin’ permanent. Permanent has not worked out so well for me in the past, especially when planting things in the ground. I usually have “location remorse” with everything I plant or build:  trees, bushes, fences, gates, rock walls, sheds, decks… 

So, no pics of Beane helping me, but here’s what she looked like a few weeks later, playing football at the Lake: 

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Chief Leveler in Charge of Plumbing and Squaring

I think you can see how happy she was to be doing something besides wielding a tamper. Also, in the background, looming, in his official Morton’s Fisherman Yellow Weather Suit, is the Inspector General, Donald Gene. He’s shown here, inspecting his boat for barnacles…

But what I’m most proud of, besides my amazing beautiful talented versatile daughterz… you see those two little pieces of descending picket fence off each side of the arbor? Those are called “arbor wings,” and they sell them for $270 at Hayneedle, which is more than the WHOLE DANG ARBOR cost! But I wanted them so badly! I wanted arbor wings with the burning desire of a thousand suns, and THAT is a sad commentary on my values at this particular moment in time, but there you have it. Arbor wings complete your arbor. They just do. And surely, in completing my arbor, I would then be complete also, right? It just follows.. 

So I got a little jiggy with the DIY, I had HomeDepot ship me  a single section of scalloped picket fence for $60 (free shipping! The box was 8 ft long by 1 ft wide! Assembly was easy. Home Depot! Why would anyone EVER shop at SEARS?! How many lessons do I have to learn about SEARS?!),  I cut the fence section in half with a hacksaw,  sunk two old wooden posts I had laying about, and then covered them with a sleeve of lovely vinyl 4×4 ($15), and plopped on a couple decorative vinyl post caps ($10).  Hardware was $30, and I really could’ve used less expensive hanging bracket thingies, but I didn’t want another trip to the hardware, so used what I had already bought…  I figure it out to about $115 for the whole job. Which is really interesting if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Less-so if you’re not. 

Here’s a lesson learned, I just want to document for future reference: A hacksaw is not a precision tool. If you only mark one side of your 4×4 vinyl post, and you think, oh, surely the hacksaw will cut straight down through the whole thing, nice and perpendicular and whatnot… guess what you will be wrong. But you will get a second chance, because you can strategically BURY both hacked up edges in CEMENT, upside down and at the base of each post, loooong before the Inspector General shows up for inspection!  

Getting this all to line up and have everything the same height, level, and in line, all the same angle, well, I’m not going to pretend it was skill: it was DUMB LUCK. Because my trash-heap posts were two different lengths, the ground was lumpy and on a 28 degree incline, the BRICK WALL was always in my way when I was trying to site down the line, I had to hack back 40 years worth of FORSYTHIA overgrowth to install the post on the right, the vinyl post sleeve kept slipping and sliding around until I had a stroke of brilliance and screwed it to the post… I was sweating, and cussing, and convinced I was creating a giant dungheap of wasted environmentally UNFRIENDLY building materials at every  step along the way… 

In the end, I stepped back and looked at the final outcome. And for a minute I took time to do the Tom Hanks hairy chested fire dance.  And then I looked closer… and wondered if maybe I shoulda angled the whole thing differently… and set it back just a few more inches from the driveway… 


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Light Up Night With Mish

She’s been asking me to go for 3 or 4 years now… Usually I’m all, “Booooo… it’s COLD out…,” or “Waaa…I don’t like parking in Pittsburgh…” but this year, I said, eh, what the heck. She  drove and found the $5 parking garage, and I wore multiple layers of clothing like a big girl. I dressed for the arctic, and almost died, death by turtleneck, in the car..By the time we battled through traffic and parked, I had stripped down to my socks and UnderArmor. 

It was so fun, people were nice, little kids in funny hats were everywhere, babies rolled into balls of blankets and stuffed into strollers with just two little feet sticking out, and the most lucky children of all, the ones getting awesome, lumbering, towering rides on top of Dad’s shoulders, tromping through town like giants… What a view they must have up there…

We saw many wonderful sights, we saw ice sculptures:

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We saw beautiful, billion light trees…

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And more beautiful trees…

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We saw Santa Claus..

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He’s back there somewhere… behind Michelle’s crooked halo…  

We saw fireworks…

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We saw the lovely restroom at the Wyngate: 

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OH that was a welcome site. 

And then we ate pizza, not just any pizza, Giovanni’s pizza,  it was fantastic, and it made us look like this: 

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and this: 


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Fun List of Exciting Adventures and Opportunities for Personal Growth

Accountability. I got it. 

I will return when this list is finished: 

  1. pack n’ *ship ebay 
  2. transfer Mancub’s birthday money to account, little miser… 
  3. feed horses
  4. 3 loads of laundry washed, but I didn’t PUT AWAY, clothes are stacked all over the washer and dryer, and there is one stupid basket in the livingroom, but I’m too tired to put it away
  5. sweep laundry room, since I spend so much of my time there, might as well beautify it up a bit
  6. bath dogs AGAIN
  7. set posts and hang arbor wings, holy crap I can’t believe I actually got this one done!! 
  8. paint Fergie stars on finger nails
  9. iron 10 friggin work clothes, oh help me I hate ironing, I can’t do it.. I just can’t get that ironing board out and hear that nasty screechy noise it makes as it crashes open, and then find a stupid plug to reach the iron, and then a cup with water and then spill the water all down the side onto the board,  just can’t do it tonight… 
  10. hang salt block in horse barn
  11. clean and reinstate heated water bucket, really? already?? 
  12. ribs/potatoes slow cooker
  13. clean freezer bottom GOO layer, HORK
  14. *scrub kitchen floor, plus scrub ceiling where someone sprayed ROOTBEER in a tell-tale ARC 
  15. water poor little blue spruce I yanked from the flower beds transplanted last week
  16. rake leaves out front
  17. *dishes

* Hubs scrubbed the kitchen floor and ceiling, and took my packages to the post office… and Mancub helped with the dishes. 


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My Life with Fleas-Chapter Two

 

Labs are special dogs. They come out of nowhere and they enter your lives and there you are. You have a Lab. And you didn’t even know you were a Lab person. It just sorta happens. It’s very organic.

 Fleas are much the same. It’s the same process.

 This was wayyy  back in the time of Only Two Children. In the Land of Freedom. We had a Lab named Rita, after Rita Hayward, because I was enthralled with Rita Hayward at the exact moment that I had a puppy to name, and no other reason. Which explains why Poppy is named Poppy, (Insert sally Hawkins) And Boo is named after a grocery-store cookie/cake I bought for my husband for Valentines Day, that was piped in wayyyy too much purple icing, and read “My Boo”. And Lilly is named after a lovely white flower in honor of her lovely white flowing mane, Juniper is named after another flower that starts with the letter “J” because her name had to go with the word “Jumping. Chicken is named after a chicken leg that, as a tiny white kitten, he had the nerve to grab off a gigantic Golden Retriever named Tex, named after the giant state of Texas, Atticus after ToKillAMockingbird’s Atticus Finch, and to round it out, The Fish-That-Won’t-Die, cleverly named after the fact that he keeps breathing and swimming and eating stinking fish flakes..long past the time when all other fish have … tired of this world.. And so it may seem that I name all the animals around here, when in actuality, every time there was an animal to name, little people were consulted, it always turns into a major struggle, no one wins, everyone cries, and Mom names the durn animal… It’s very organic. 

 The house in Freedom was 14 stories tall, with a hand-me-down washer and broken dryer in the basement, and clotheslines for drying all those clothes strung in the attic, 14 stories above. I was young at the time, the baskets were heavy, and the steps were many..

 Rita mostly lived on the 1st floor of the house, where she enjoyed frequently urinating on the rug in the divan, scratching deep gouges into the century-old door, and escaping and running up the hill to the housing projects at every opportunity she got… where some small child always latched onto her and waited for the reward…My husband would soon arrive, with a couple bucks for the kid that was holding her. Labs are runners. It’s in their blood.. You know that going in, when you take the puppy home, but you look into those big brown eyes, and you tell yourself, somehow, this one will be different…

 One day, Rita had fleas. One day she didn’t, and the next day she did. And when you see the first flea and you recognize it for what it is, you tell yourself, oh no, this is the only flea there is, because this is the only flea that I see. But you are always wrong about that. And you know what they say, THEY say, if you see one flea, there are a hundred.  THEY are always saying ominous things like that, that no one likes to hear… So we lived in denial for a little while, while the fleas were mass-producing more fleas… And we probably bought one of those poisonous rings of poison flea-collar, and snapped it into action and attached it to our poor little dog’s neck, I don’t remember, but that’s what you did at the time, tie a Ring of Toxins around your dog’s neck… Everybody was doing it…It’s called Stage One.

 And that’s nothing, those poison rings don’t work, and never did. And that is what they call a “panacea”.. A panacea is something you can buy or do, and it helps you because it allows you to feel like you are at least trying to address the whatever it is…

 So the fleas got worse. And they started hopping. That’s Stage Two. The Hopping. The fleas get so sick and tired of the same thing every day on their menu, dog blood, day in day out, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just dog blood, dog blood, dog blood… they begin to long for some variety in their diet, and so begins the Hopping. BING! Any part of your body that tends to spend any time near the carpet at dog level will be the first to experience the Hopping. BING BING BING!! Little black flecks on your hairy white calves. It’s an annoying sensation, but also kinda humiliating, as you think, oh my gosh, I HAVE FLEAS JUST LIKE A DOG. And then you know how your dog feels. It’s not a dignified feeling.

 At this point I went to the grocery store and bought some flea shampoo, most likely made by Hartz or Sergeant, because those were the most toxic, least benign, and most readily available to me on a desperate Sunday morning. And I bathed that poor forlorn little animal in this concoction, and somehow the suds were comforting to me… I was taking action. I was doing something. I counted the dead little sinking black specks as the tub drained and thought with a disturbing amount of satisfaction, DIE VERMIN!!!!!.

 It felt great to bathe the dog, (see “panacea” above), but it didn’t solve the flea problem. We began spending less and less time on the 1st floor of the house. We moved up to the 2nd floor. BING! The fleas followed. The 3rd floor. Fleas again… Soon we were living on the 14th floor of the house, and still had fleas hopping onto our calves…It was a very hungry time for us too, as there was no kitchen on that floor.  And the fleas didn’t stay on the floor, they began to launch themselves into our beds. There was no rest, no respite from maddening BING BING BING!! At our final, most humiliating, most desperate hour, we found ourselves, our entire family of four, scrambling to sleep on the top bunk of my daughters’ bunk-beds… huddled together in that precarious, lofty, but surprisingly sturdy, location… And that’s when I said, I give up, I give in, it’s time for Stage Three. The Bombing.

 It was a huge house. I forget how many bombs I bought, but I did ‘er up right, as I only wanted to do this thing once. I rounded everyone up and out of the house and into the car, and then began running through the house, launching my arsenal. Who knows what happened in there, because we left and hung out at my grandmother’s for the day. It’s an unsettling feeling, to close the door on a toxic, hissing, spraying thing in your own formerly happy little house…

 When we returned, all was quiet. No more fleas. Or at least I don’t remember any after that. We moved back down to the 1st floor again, near the laundry and the kitchen… and lived there in the Land of Freedom in relative peace for a couple years, until we moved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Chicken and Scrabble

 

Yesterday, this happened: 

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Birthday Brownie

The Mancub turned 14, asked for no party, asked for no science center, no cosmic bowling, no park, no skating… nothing. He wanted to play wiffle ball with his dad, eat chicken strips, and play scrabble. A Chicken and Scrabble Birthday. I should write it up for Family Fun Magazine. Brownies by Ghirardelli, because why ever make anything else… he decorated himself. He hid under the table until we quit singing..

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stop singing

That ketchup plate is lovely.

 

 

 

Making a wish

Scrabble was fun, Mum made filthy words and everyone was properly horrified…  He played Wiffle ball and football with his dad several times throughout the day, they got muddy, and carried mud and leaves into the house, and I hardly yelled at all, just sorta grumbled..  So then, since we were on such a roll and in such a great position, we  watched Nanny 911 together and judged other families.