Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fambly Updates

A month or two ago a project of mine at work won an award. I don't want to go into too many details about it, but I will say it was out of the blue and will look nice on my resume. The only problem--which you might recognize if you work in the PR industry--is that the award is basically the equivalent of "Best Muzak Composition," in that it honors writing that is so vanilla and unobjectionable that it is suitable for use almost anywhere. So while I am proud that I did good work for a client, because that is my job, when I learned about this award I did have a brief little sit-down with myself where I thought, "Okay, self, apparently you really excel at this particular form of blandness and that is where you are as a writer right now." 

The way forward, I quickly determined, was to keep on keepin' on with that blandness--because it's a steady gig that pays the bills, and isn't always that bland at all--but also, to come back here and have a little more fun, just so I can say I write some things that aren't about industrial adhesives.

And, you know, Things Have Happened since my last post, err... seven months ago. Big Things! I will spread them out over a few updates, but let me begin by showing you some decorative accents that are new in the house:
Lovely gouges in the kitchen door and wall, apparently made by some fearsome creature hellbent on freedom

Behold, the savage beast. This is Dougie. We took him home from the Humane Society on Labor Day weekend, and while he initially struggled a leeeetle bit with separation anxiety (hence the door gouging), he has since somewhat improved and occasionally hasn't even destroyed something when we come home. "Why don't you just kennel him when you're out?" people ask. "Because he bloodies his nose trying to escape from the kennel," we tell them. "And he has defeated three different baby gates." 

I'm making him sound worse than he is. The truth is, he is 25 pounds of lovey funtimes. We've come to accept that there will be some associated wear and tear on the house, and that's okay. The plan is just to accumulate it all over the next 20 years or so, then shine things up again when everyone is old enough to behave. 

"Who's 'everyone'?" you might wonder. Which brings me to my second Family Update: We are expecting a wee fella in late May/early June. This could severely upset Doug's little apple cart for a time, but we are hoping that he can really dig deep and find it in his heart to not pee all over everything. Eric is currently in the midst of stripping wallpaper in the future nursery (the little bedroom from this post), so expect progress reports on that soon.

Did you hear that? "Soon!" Hold me to it, now.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Things you learn when the power goes out

1. You might pull into your driveway on a Friday night after the power has gone out at the restaurant you were eating at with your family, only to find that the power is out at your house as well. You might go to a late movie then, hoping that it will be restored by the time you get home. But you might be hoping in vain.

2. Upon your return, when you find the power is still out, you might struggle with trying to manually open your garage door in the dark. Then a bug might fly up your nose and you will give up and leave the car in the driveway, because potential damage to your car might actually be preferable to having a bug up your nose. One quandary here: leave the car under a tree (protection from hail) or NOT under a tree (protection from falling tree limbs)? Flip a coin!

3. You'll call the power company and be informed by their automated system that your power will be restored in two hours. You'll pass some time sitting in the dark, waiting for the next round of storms. But your husband will not play Scrabble by candlelight with you, because you were too consistently ruthless with this game early in your courtship, and he does not enjoy it anymore. Are you satisfied? You have ruined Scrabble for the person you love most in this world.

4. The next morning, when you wake up and still have no power, you'll call the power company again. "Two hours," the mechanical voice will tell you. Later, the mechanical voice will turn sadistic and tell you that your power will be restored by Wednesday.

5. You will pack your cooler in a huff, taking care to save the Kramarczuk's sausages that your dad had bought, intending to grill them at your house that day. You will instead move the party to your mother-in-law's, where, despite the fact that you are actually so so fortunate to HAVE somewhere to go (let alone the fact that it's a beautiful, spacious, well-appointed home), you will still feel a little sad and displaced. You will wear a dress, because all of your jeans were in the washer when the power went out. 

6. You'll return to your house on Sunday to clean out your refrigerators. Both of them, you spoiled brat. Goodbye, kosher chicken breasts. Goodbye, Costco burger patties that you were always uneasy about anyway. You will keep your various mustards, though, because mustards are largely vinegar and therefore, let's assume, impervious to spoilage. (If this isn't true, please keep to yourself, because mustard!) 

7. Monday, while you're at work, your husband will check his Slingbox on his phone. If the Slingbox is working, the power must be on at home. The Slingbox is WORKING. GLORY GLORY. 

8. You'll go home and put things back together. All of the clocks need resetting, and Carson the Roomba appears to have gone on a drunken spree for some reason, having lost his dustbin in the kitchen but having still continued on, far away, into the guest bedroom, sweeping the dust but not collecting it (which is really the key thing), because for that he would need the dustbin, which, as we've established, was jettisoned in the kitchen. 

9. Outside, things will largely be quite all right, which you'll be very glad for, considering there are some house and cars in Minneapolis with trees resting on them at the moment. One casualty, though, will be the deck planter. After you'd seen the previous owner's pot filler early in the spring, you'd added to the system with whatever bulky recyclables you had on hand. This was all over Pinterest too; you figured it couldn't go wrong.

Turns out if the pot gets waterlogged enough, it can go very wrong. But you are lucky that this and some chicken breasts made up the total of your losses.

10. You then enjoy your air conditioning and your ice water and try to forget that this will most likely happen again someday, but worse. You will focus on devising a new pot filler solution, i.e., a problem you can solve. The end.

Friday, June 21, 2013

False Alarm

Here's a condensed transcript of what happened when the AC repair guy came over:

Repair guy: "Uhh, yeah, I fixed it. You just needed to flip the circuit breaker."

All of the other adults present: "You two didn't even look at the circuit breaker before calling a repair guy?"

Kate and Eric: "Umm..."

.... aaaand scene!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Currently chilling in the basement...

... because it's 82 degrees upstairs and when we flipped on our fancy-dancy eight-month-old air conditioner a few hours ago the fancy-dancy digital display said SYSTEM MALFUNCTION and then nothing happened, as in, cold air did not come out of the vents. So I guess all that money we paid was for, like, a brutalist metal sculpture that sits in our backyard. (It's very high-concept. You wouldn't get it. In fact, I don't get it either.)

Oh, and we're hosting six family members starting tomorrow. Great; adult life is awesome.

All the Euros are laughing at me. Shut up, Euros, HERRS LIKE IT MID-TO-LOW 70s.

Monday, June 10, 2013

All class.

Yeah, maybe I did run into my yard this morning in a bathrobe and pink hair towel, shouting "GIT!" to chase the Goose Duggars off the lawn. Whatever, I'm not ashamed. I hope EVERYONE saw.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The robins hatched.

baby robins

Mom and Dad are taking turns with feeding and childcare. Very egalitarian.

baby robins

I know they're taking turns because I accidentally just lost an hour watching the action.

baby robins

Apparently I am a bird-watcher now, in addition to a gardener. My AARP card should be arriving in the mail any day.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hardy Hardy Har

One of the projects that was on my list when I took that week off was removing these crazy spreading groundcover plants from one of the front beds. I didn't know what they were, but they were just growing too well for me to believe they were anything other than weeds.

You in-the-know plant people are shifting uncomfortably in your seats right now, because yeah, as it turns out, these are not weeds; they are hardy geraniums

The good news is, I never progressed that far down the list, and then they bloomed, and now I know they are not weeds. The Google machine has informed me that the annuals most of us refer to as geraniums are actually "pelargoniums." True geraniums are perennials. (The more you know.) Therefore I can be lazy and let these continue their march all over that planting bed, and it will still look like I am keeping up my yard respectably. 

In unrelated observations, when I look at this shrub, all I see is it giving me the finger. It's mutual, shrub.