Monday, May 29, 2023

Happy Memorial Day

We got our fill of cookout foods from a burger to Beyond brat, corn, beans and the like on Saturday.  We didn't get the patio together in time so it was sticking indoors until we went driving to get out of the house.  We managed to get one geocache in out in the boondocks but it was too crowded to do many of the park and grabs around the area.  The past few days we've been getting into the habit of taking turns on Reddit's AITA (Am I The Asshole?) threads to read them to give our opinions and see what other people have to say.  Oddly, it's a good way to end up in conversations of all different kinds which has been kind of fun.

Sunday we lazed around a little then I made brunch while the Mr returned an Amazon item.  Tried making amends for the previous day's sodium bomb with some fruit salad, eggs, turkey links and protein bread.  (That seeded protein bread is God awful.  Yarf.)   Then we did absolutely nothing all day.  We decided after putting away clothes and making the bed that we should probably get our walk in.  We thought with it being almost 6pm maybe the park would be thinning out.  We were wrong.  Dead wrong.  So. very. wrong.  


We were going to walk this cemetery that we kind of hate because there's no shade but it was kind of cloudy so we thought it might not be bad.  We were passing this big corporate building surrounded by sidewalks that was abandoned for the holiday weekend.  We started walking the perimeter and 40 calories in, a security lady pulls up beside us and says we can't walk there.  Yes...because there is a rash of obese, middle aged gangs tagging corporate parking lots.  


We drove down the road a little and I remembered this path so we parked and walked a new to us spot.

We lapped it twice to add on to what we burned walking illegally.  😝  It was pleasantly breezy and cool which is NOT what is forecasted in a day or two so we have to enjoy it while we can.

We settled in for the night and that brings us to today.  My thought would've been to walk early but after that crap fest, it might be back to the path for us.  We'll see.

How was your weekend?  Doing anything today?

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Friday, May 26, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #21

It's a Friday attached to a long weekend!  Whoop whoop!  I hope you guys had a good week and are ready for the unofficial kickoff to summer.  (For anyone who knows me, that means I will begin my official countdown to Fall which doesn't mean much considering Fall isn't like it used to be so I guess more like my countdown to Thanksgiving when we have a chance of it dropping under 80 degrees but still being attacked by bugs as we try to walk.)  

Now let's attack:

7 Healthy Foods for Your Liver That Help It Do Its Job (It's super important to keep your personal filter doing its thang!)

Strategies to Improve Intimate Relationships (Very interesting results to these studies)

6 Tips for Getting Deep Work Done  (I know someone who needs to read this.)

Is Talc In Makeup Dangerous For Your Health? Here's What Experts Say  (All I know is a family member who was an AVID user of talc down below ended up with ovarian cancer.  I try to use products that use cornstarch instead.  Make sure you look at your pills too.)

I'm a professional declutterer. Here are 5 tips for reducing the amount of stuff you own.  (Clearly I'M not but this lady is and she gives some good tips to get us started!)

How to Clean a Faucet Head and Why You Really Need To  (No use in showering with water coming outta gunky holes.  Eww, that sounded gross.)

Clever Ways To Repurpose Unwanted Pillowcases  (The ceiling fan trick has always been my favorite)

70% vs. 91% Isopropyl Alcohol: Which Disinfects Better?  (Wow, the answer is not what I expected or the reason behind it!)

Miss a few posts here this week?  Catch up below!

I'm sure there's a grill somewhere in our future like many of you.  I don't know that we have any plans other than that but might get out of the house for a little bit and see what we can get into.  You know what I miss?  Carnivals.  I miss being able to drive around from this point on in the spring/summer and just stumble upon a carnival in a parking lot where you scream "CARNIVAL!  Pull over!!!" and suddenly you have 20-90 minutes of fun depending on what they have going on.  Sigh...those were the days!  (And if any of you are lucky enough to still have them because you live in a magical land, pull over and enjoy one for me!)

Any plans for this weekend?  Are you gonna get yer grill on?  (Or at least get it cleaned up?)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Thank you Mrs. G


We were out of town for Teacher Appreciation Week the first week of May but I still wanted to do a post about a teacher that sticks out in my mind.  I was never a great student.  If I don't have interest in a subject, it's incredibly hard for me to learn; it's like my brain shuts down.  I can't count how many times teachers notes on report cards said "does not apply herself" or "social butterfly."  (I believe my mom said she got the same comments, particularly the social butterfly, so I get it honestly.)  The Mr and I have many conversations about how our education was handled back in the day because it wasn't by either of our parents.  It was "these grades are unacceptable, you're better than that" or I was asked "do you need a tutor?" said in a tone that was more as a threat than presented as help.  1) She knew I didn't want to do more school work than I was already doing 2) the few rare times I asked her to help with homework it was a shrug and "I don't know!" (totally get it- I would be the same if we had kids especially that BS new math crap) and 3) I knew she couldn't afford one.  I always made promises to do better and rarely ever did because I just did not know how to make subjects I had no interest in like history or math stick in my brain.

When middle school (7th/8th grade) rolled around, I fell into a new bad habit: not turning in homework.  Some would think this is stupid but do a search and you'll see this is not a new problem then or now.  Sometimes I would literally have the homework done and wouldn't turn it in.  That is insane to me but often times, I wouldn't have the homework done.  As an 80's latchkey kid, I was left to my own devices maybe 60% of the time.  Mom was working one full time job with inconsistent hours early on after the divorce (might be off by 5pm, might be off by 10pm).  Then when she got an 8-5pm job when I was in middle school, she also did a filler job doing party plan type stuff.  I was trusted to do my homework, do it right and nothing under a C was acceptable though I rarely remember a report card without a D thrown in which was usually in my worst subjects.  To admit I needed help meant I would have to burden her time and wallet, neither of which she had extra of thanks to a crappy child support arrangement.  I just didn't care and I was fine flying under the radar and getting the same old speech come report card time.

Well, in middle school they had mid-term progress reports.  Horrible little pieces of paper for us underachievers that let our parents know we were sucking but supposedly gave us enough time to right the ship before the end of the grading period.  In middle school, we had two teachers for our whole year.  The teachers were right beside each other and we would have one as our main teacher and then shuttle next door depending on the subject.  In seventh grade, I had the absolute worst teachers you could get.  Mr. H was what at my age now I would consider to be a silver fox but was so completely filled with anger and zero patience that your only job was to stay on his good side so that vein wouldn't pop out of his blood red forehead when you pushed him to his limit.  The times he actually had a kind word or a hint of a smile could be counted on one hand but were appreciated.  He was my main teacher that year.  Mrs. P was science and math, I believe, my two worst subjects.  She was the equivalent to Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off- so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up her ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond.  Lips always pursed, "11 lines" between her eyebrows of resting bitch face before it was a thing and I only remember her laughing once.  It was when she said orgasm instead of organism in science and we all howled with laughter and whooping as one does when you're 13 and she turned beet red, tried not to laugh and scolded us all to grow up.  (Obviously, we snickered the rest of the time.)   I remember the first time I got one of those progress reports, I thought it was just for us.  I didn't know you had to take them home, have your parents initial them and bring them back.  When Mr. H asked where mine was a week after they were due back, I relayed this info and he printed a new one.  I was fine to take it home because, as would be my whole M.O., I would go into the school year with my best foot forward so it was actually good.  All A's and B's and a C, I think.  When the next one rolled around, there was a D in it.  My motivation waned and it didn't help I had a real scuzzball in my worst classes who insisted on sitting close to me every time.  He was a thief, carried a switchblade and some days you were on his good side, other days if you didn't let him copy off of you, he'd make a threat.  I was constantly on edge in those classes and then would have to go back to my homeroom classes and see who was going to incur Mr. H's wrath from the stoner set.  I still remember the day I tanked a test that I actually studied for and as he flipped it onto my desk, he looked me straight in the eye and said "you're better than this."  I'm tearing up just typing it because I knew that but because his personality was so similar to my dad's, it was like disappointing him too.  You'd think that would've motivated me but it didn't because I thought "no I'm not" and I proved it every grading period.

When 8th grade rolled around, I promised myself I would do better.  I needed to get my crap together because when I went into high school the following year, every teacher would be different for every subject and I needed to be able to do well.  My math and science teacher was this thin, wimpy little man. Mr E who was truly as nerdy as they came.  Even he got bullied by students which was sad to see and made it hard to take him seriously because he had zero authority.  Sometimes he would just leave the classroom to gather himself.  I only saw him yell once and it got everyone's attention.  I wish he would've done it sooner because people really seemed to straighten up after that.  My homeroom teacher for English and History was Mrs G.  You would not have seen a cuter older woman in your life.  She had that typical 80's short hairdo with large curls, a big, welcoming smile, hard candy in her desk drawer but she also didn't take shit.  If you got out of line, she had no problem calling you out and if you were challenging her to look cool, she'd slam her hand down on the desk to "knock that crap off because maybe it impressed your friends but it doesn't impress me."  It was a thing of beauty to watch this little "old" lady to us (she was only 60 but we were 13/14 so...) put the smack down on some jock or hood trying to act like he didn't care or disrespect her.  I always loved her for that.  I did the same and started off the school year with my best foot forward, no issues.  Then the second progress report came and my grades in history and math dropped.  Sometimes I turned in homework, sometimes it was late and sometimes not at all.  In between 7th and 8th grade, my dad moved across the country and I'd just spent my first full month with him since I wouldn't be doing the every other weekend thing.  I was grateful for that but it also meant I wouldn't get to spend time with my friends over the summer.  I think my anxiety over that really kicked into high gear because I can remember that being the first time I began the whole ruminating, catastrophizing, etc. that happened right after the divorce and was never properly dealt with.  I am fairly certain it was a cry for help because mom was always working (or if she was home, I didn't want to admit I needed help) and now dad was gone.  (Not that he ever helped with that stuff anyway.  You were expected to figure it out.  He was from the school of children should be seen not heard.)  I'm not necessarily blaming my bad grades on his move alone but I can tell you that my anxiety shot up much higher after knowing what I was in for and knowing that the only time dad ever called was around report card time to lecture me and make me feel like even more of a loser.  I didn't know how to study properly and no one had anything more to offer than 'take notes.'  Thanks.  Never thought of that.  😒

After the first report card where my grades dropped, Mrs. G had parent teacher conferences.  (Most kids nightmares unless you were an A/B student.)  She told my mom that I wasn't turning in my homework or it would be late.  I got a stern talking to asking why I wasn't turning it in and she got the standard shrug from me with an apathetic "I dunno."  

"Well, you'd better figure it out because you have until the next progress report to get  your crap together.  Am I going to have to check in every day to make sure?"  

Needless to say, I thought it was an idle threat as always.  When the next progress report came out and it was noted as politely as possible I was still having homework issues, there was another conference.  My mom asked if it would be okay if I had a notebook to write down the assignments, would she initial them to show they were correct and my mom would check to make sure I did the homework and initial next to it and then the teacher would initial she received the assignment.  She agreed.  I was mortified.  I thought this would surely be a two week thing and it would go back to normal.  It was a two month long thing before seeing if I could be trusted and when I started slipping after two weeks, it got reinstated.  I don't know a teacher today that would have the time to do that crap for a student though I'm sure there are some who probably can through technology.  Mrs. G. never made much of a fuss as I saw her early before the other kids so they wouldn't question/tease me about it.  It was like disappointing your grandma for no good reason.  I won't say that my grades rebounded to scholarly levels, I was always a solid B/C student (with that occasional D) my whole school career unless it was elective classes like Human Ecology, Home Ec, or something I was interested in.  But I always remembered that she cared enough about me to do that.  That when I did good on tests, my paper wasn't flipped upside down in shame but right side up with an encouraging "good job!" and a smile and pat on the shoulder as she passed by.   Those always made me feel so good.  She didn't judge me by some of the people I hung out with whom many would've considered bad influences because I suspect she thought I was a better influence on them.  She was the only teacher I was going to miss when I left middle school and I got sent into high school with a big hug from her.  I always remembered the extra mile she went for me to make sure I didn't flunk out.  I knew she thought I could do better and was willing to take an extra few seconds at the beginning and end of the day to let me know it.  I never felt judged by her and I wish I'd applied myself more to really turn it around into some big success story.  

I thought of her often over the years, assuming she'd probably passed away since it's been about 35 years since I was in her class.  I was scrolling one morning on vacation, when someone brought up "Black Monday."  I only remember that because Mrs. G wrote something about it the day it happened and I remembered her looking very somber about it.  I decided to see if I could look her up and she had only passed last year at the ripe old age of 94.   How I wished I had tried to locate her so I could tell her what that gesture meant to me especially when I found out she had a social media profile too late.  At the end of her obituary that talked of her love for family, faith, travel in retirement and international food, I saw she was buried at the same cemetery my co-worker is where we sometimes walk.    I told the Mr when we got back I wanted to go see her.  On one of our first walks back, there was a huge traffic tie up at our usual park so we went out there.  I looked up her location on the cemetery's website and followed the map like a geocache.  When I found her last name with a somewhat fresh grave in comparison to those around it, I saw her name was clumped over in dirt.  I started using the heel of my shoe to remove it until I could confirm it was her.  I was so mad that she was covered over, that I started furiously etching the cement-like clumps of dirt from her headstone that she shared with her husband.  I vowed I would come back to clean it properly and bring her flowers.  I saw her husband died in 1987...the same year I had her.  The Mr saw another marker for him on the grave and said he died in April.  I burst into tears and said "she only had that summer to grieve her husband and 6 months later she was having to help a slacker like me who wouldn't do something as simple as her homework."  I felt horrible.  I immediately remembered the look on her face when talking about Black Monday that year which now made sense because she'd just lost her husband and now I'm betting her retirement took a pretty solid hit at the age of 60.  I had so much regret that flooded me as the Mr tried to say all he could to make me feel better and how she probably didn't mind putting in the effort for those she saw potential in.  It didn't make me feel better.  I apologized to her profusely out loud and in my head.  I was glad to read that she was able to travel, loved a good party and spent time in South Carolina the past 25 years.  It sounded like she was well traveled, well loved and lived a life many of us could only hope for after leaving the trials and tribulations of public school.  I'm so happy for her and I was happy to see the only thing that really changed in the only picture of her in her obituary was her hair was white but still had the same sparkling brown eyes, sweet smile and looked sharp as ever.  I am forever grateful to her.  

Saturday, I made good on that promise.  We came loaded up with tools to scrub and mini power wash her headstone as well as some geraniums I got from Michael's and floral foam for her vase.  I dutifully scrubbed all of the clumped dirt around the letters of her last name as well as every crevice.  I removed every spec of dirt from around her name and somewhat fresh date of death as best I could.

I used the little frother the Mr uses for indoor car washes to power off the dirt with water.  I know they'll be mowing soon but I wanted her to have a clean stone.  It was all I could do for her now.  I've got your back Mrs. G., just like you had mine.

Teachers make such a difference in our lives, both good and bad.  The ones that are for the better stay with us decades after we've left their tutelage.  (Sorry Mrs. G. - spellcheck had to help me with that one.)  It can be as simple as a smile, a little encouragement or going the extra mile when they have zero requirement to do so.  You knew that someone believed in you and you always remember them fondly.  So many teachers never know what their students ended up doing and can only hope they made a difference.  I hope she knew what a difference she made for so many.  

Shout out your favorite teacher in the comments and how they impacted your life.

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Monday, May 22, 2023

A Much Needed Break

You guys know we pretty much were in reno hell since June last year.  We thought maybe we'd get a nice break for the Mr's 50th birthday in Traverse City but the day after (or half the vacation) we both got sick (not Covid- we tested) from the mold in the waterfront house.  So that wasn't quite what we needed.  As soon as we got back, it was back into the reno and having our vacation countdown clock turn into a 'loomsday' clock and  finishing up only days before leaving for our holiday trip to Vermont.  That trip was going to be the mental respite we needed to recharge from the months of reno failures and pivots.  Instead what we got was a storm warning going into the trip knowing we had two days of having actual fun before needing to get supplies to hunker down then being without power over the days leading into Christmas to then rush to get everything made and then our time in Stowe was over.  We never got the rest and chill time we needed so what's the best way to recover from that?  Dive into the experimental drywall project that may or may not be worth it (it wasn't) only to finish up a few days before our planned trip to Maine.  I say planned like I ever actually planned ANYTHING.  I didn't.  At all.  That's never good.  

Before we even left, things were not looking good.  About 4-5 weeks before we left, the Mr was having horrible SI joint pain and was a hobblemeister.  A week before we left, it started in on me.  It got to the point for 2-3 days I could barely put weight on my left leg.  I tried doing the PT he was doing for his and it was excruciating.  I did it in the morning and at night in bed praying it would do a little strengthening.  By the time we left, I was at least able to bear weight but knew sitting in a car for 8 hours to get to our halfway point house was going to inflame things.  I was just looking forward to having some down time in NY and resting.  The day before we left, I street viewed the place and saw something that did not sit well.  What we thought was the neighbor had two large, rusted out city or hauling trucks in the driveway.  😖

There was nothing we could do about it so I didn't bother to alert the Mr.  (Turns out he saw the same thing and didn't want to alert me and set off my gripe alarm.)  When we pulled up, we were greeted with the visual equivalent of the Sanford and Son theme.  (Click here before scrolling down to get the full effect)

Hmm, that wasn't in the VRBO pics.  As the Mr was backing the car in, I went to open the door into the house from the garage.  The steps are from the 50's with a shallow step and huge lip I didn't see until my shoe got caught on it and I fell forward.  Shins meet concrete.  Well, shins, left knee, wrist and shoulder so I didn't smash my face into the concrete.  (I guess the bright side is I still have reflexes?)  As the Mr got out, I told him I fell and my shins were on FIRE.  I thought for sure there would be blood but I didn't see any and I was too scared to look.  Just the jeans laying against my skin was like a cheese grater.  I pulled them up and the Mr didn't see anything, just red but I needed to get my legs up and on ice.  My wrist wasn't as lucky.

Those were my NY souvenirs for the entirety of our trip which went through the stages of a lovely plum, lavender and finally yellowish brown at the end; looking like I got firmly beaten about every inch of my body.  The only one you could see was the wrist one which was a lovely 6" navel orange size a few days later.  I immediately told the Mr after it happened "in 10 years, this would take me like 2 months to heal from."  So I guess I'll take the less than a month heal time.  

We stayed at a place in Kennebunkport Maine for two weeks.  We just needed a place where we could kick back, relax and there was no pressure to cram in a lot of sightseeing because we'd been there before.  It was close to town and a mile from the beach so we could walk to both which we did several times.  The first week was our dream week.  Rainy, windy and abandoned from tourists.  No one likes to be out and about in the rain for some reason so that is when we strike.  We did our most walking during that week.  The second week, unfortunately the blazing sun was out to set our skin on fire and bring people out from under their rocks.  Too hot to walk comfortably longer than a mile to Dock Square.  It was nice just taking a break from reno and not having to wear any earplugs because of jerk ass neighbors as I slept.  

Day one was an unexpected nice day though as the rain that was forecasted didn't happen but the howling winds were in full effect.  We got our first lobster roll from Mabel's and took it up to Walker's Point (where the Bush compound is) and watched the ocean look dark and mean.  When we got back, we kicked our feet up and had a visit from a woodland friend.

The next day it was time to do a little antiquing.  Wells has some great antique shops all huddled into one spot so we went there first.  We said hi to a puppy friend on our way into one that benefits the humane society.  There was another one that I was sad to find out later in the week would be closing for good at the end of June.  It was nice to poke around but I didn't find anything I needed.

Next was to Kennebunk to this super cool salvage place called Old House Parts.  We love poking through salvage places because there's always such cool old architectural stuff.  It's always way out of a price range I'm typically willing to pay but still fun to see what they have and be startled by some of their displays.
Highly recommend a stop there if you ever find yourself in lower Maine.  

We grabbed some goodies like a Nutella latte and croissants from Mornings in Paris on our way to Gooch's Beach.  It was a windy, cloudy morning perfect for walking.  We passed a nice little fairy door in a tree on the way and when we got to the beach it was approaching high tide so there wasn't much beach to stand on.  A feathered friend stayed close by as if to say "you gonna eat that?"

We took a drive up to Freeport/Brunswick which is where we stayed in 2018.  We visited the LL Bean flagship and home stores, walked around town in the rain which was awesome at keeping people away, went antiquing in Cabot Mill Antiques which is a must stop if in the area as is Gelato Fiasco.

Our 27th anniversary was super low key.  We started off the day with Congdon's donuts because they are by far the best donuts we've ever had coast to coast.  To walk a few off, we walked to Dock Square just taking in the surroundings and enjoying being outside in nice 60-some degree weather which is my spirit temperature.

We got several road trips in while we were there too.  We went to Laconia NH to visit the Mr's nirvana... Funspot.  They have hundreds of old school arcade games on the top floor playing 80's music and we got $20 worth of tokens to split and spent 2 1/2 hours there playing our childhood faves.

We also drove 90 minutes to Rockport MA which was the latter part of our 25th anniversary trip two years ago.  It was nice to visit an antique shop we liked in Essex Junction as well as watch the lobsterman load up the trawler to go out and set their traps.

We considered road tripping to Acadia National Park but it was at least 7 hours driving round trip and that was two days before we were starting the road home.  We've seen it twice and it wasn't really appealing to either of us so we skipped it.  The masses started rolling in for Mother's Day the day before we left so we were glad to be getting out of dodge.  I will tell you one thing, I had seafood no less than 8x on that trip and it all sucked except for the chipotle lobster roll and the seafood risotto which was in a cream sauce.  I don't know how you're Maine and have crappy cooks to insult your biggest export.  Sigh.  Maine was the first place I had a Connecticut roll which is warm lobster with butter.  We both know we had it and we couldn't find it, even at the place we got it from, because they do them cold with hot butter which is gross.  Oy.  A culinary home run, it was not.

We started the journey back and just before we left I booked the only decent house I could find at the halfway point a few days before we drove to Maine.  It seemed fine and was only for one night.  We arrived at 8:15pm after 3 additional hours being added to our original drive time and were exhausted.  Well, when we walked in it smelled like old people.  Like I'm pretty sure the owners parent passed there because it had that smell to it.  It was also hot AF in there for a place that listed AC (our MAIN requirement for booking.)  We saw window units in the closets.  I was SO pissed and emailed the host asking where the controls for the AC were because we couldn't find them and it was too hot to sleep upstairs.  (Knowing full well they didn't have central air at this point.)  He wrote back an hour later and said it was forecasted to be cooler- sorry.  Use the fan in the garage.  Oh, you mean the garage that smells like gasoline and that if I lit a candle we'd rocket to the moon??  I wrote back and included a screen shot of the A/C listed as an amenity and said that was disappointing as that is the only requirement for rental's for us and he should list they are window units and are installed during certain months so people can decide if they're okay with that.  I attempted to go to bed downstairs on the couch after opening all of the windows in the house but got no sleep.  In the morning, I woke to an email saying he would refund the night and would make sure he had the AC installed by May from that point forward.  I told him unfortunately for hot sleepers every season is AC season so we appreciated the almost full refund.  (VRBO obviously still kept their share and he still got his cleaning fee so we didn't get all of it back and honestly, it wasn't worth those fees either.)

We got on the road and I can highly recommend Dave Grohl's The Storyteller audiobook.  We listened to it on our travel days back home and there's just nothing like listening to him telling the stories over reading it in a book.  So that made time go a little quicker.  We had a nice, relaxing vacation mixed with  little adventures and it was a much needed break.

Have you ever been to Maine?

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Friday, May 19, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #20

Happy Friday, my lovelies!  I hope you had a great week and are ready for the weekend.  We have been adjusting back to reality as we were in Maine for two weeks.  It was a desperately needed vacation away from this soul suck of a place home.  I have no doubt we'll be planning our next escape soon because vacation zen is always so short lived upon return.

Now it's time to return to:

The 12 Best Foods That Help You Sleep  (I'm down with that.  Anyone ever try tart cherry juice?  Seems like it would wake you up rather than help you sleep?)

Why Working Out is Essential for Healthy Bones During Menopause (Good info and time to dust off those bands or dumbbells.)

The patients who regret laser eye surgery: ‘My life’s stood still since then’  (This and other stories are why I won't get it done as my eyesight gets more blurry.  I can't wear contacts but I don't know a single person that's had it that hasn't ended up with halos, night driving restrictions and/or dry eye.)

As pandemic emergencies end, some patients with long COVID feel 'swept under the rug'  (It's a little disgusting how quickly it goes from "we're in this together" to "not my problem.  Live with it.")

My Taste Is Basic. So What?  (Three words to shut a smug, judgmental a-hole down when they try to make themselves seem superior.)

6 effective tips to politely say no and not feel guilty  (For you people pleasers out there, NO is a complete sentence!)

15 Best Amazon Outdoor Decor Items That Actually Look Pretty  (That moment you remember you had to throw away your deck cushions last year.  Sigh.  I'll find some tree stumps and foam.)

10 Items You Should Never Pass Up at a Flea Market  (Good luck getting that travertine coffee table home!)

Are Natural Deodorants Better for You, Really?  (I really wish they could make one that actually lasts that I don't have to reapply come the afternoon.  I feel like I've tried them all so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know!)

Not sure if we have anything on tap this weekend other than trying to detox off of penuche fudge and lobster rolls.  I know we need to sit down and get a strategy together to get some weight off, build up to the strength routine we were on our way toward before we had every contractor known to man traipsing through our home and meal prep needs to happen.  I cannot face more of the food rut we were in this entire year so we need to get something in place otherwise I just say screw it and end up eating a bowl of Cheerios for lunch while the Mr shakes his head at me and gives me side eye for calling it in.  

What's on your agenda this weekend?  Any fun trips planned?

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Quick Solution for Ceiling Fixtures with Drywall Issues

I know you guys know about our current crap fest with the latest drywallers but did you know we still had issues hanging out from our previous drywaller fiasco?  The one from last July with the second floor ceiling, you ask?  No.  I'm talking the week the pandemic started and we had all of the contractors in and out of here and had our first floor ceiling smoothed along with our kitchen reno.  

March 2020.  Ahh, the good ol' days.  (insert panic attack)

What we were left with was a poop show around the light fixtures that due to lockdown, we couldn't get fixed.

See it?

How about now?

And if you think THAT'S bad, wait until the fixture comes off.

(They even took the fixture off to do that bad of a job!)



At the time we looked at it, we thought "oh, we'll close down for a week or two then get them to come out and fix it."  By the time I had resorted to making our own masks out of T-shirts, it became "we can spackle that ourselves and try to fix it sometime." which then morphed into "ain't nobody ever coming to this house again, just don't look up."

As we began putting our house back in some semblance of order at the end of April, the monstrosity we'd been ignoring for 3 years was no longer acceptable.  We used a product to hide a gap when I got our new chandelier a few months earlier and thought it could save the day here as well.

I got the most basic of designs and liked the way it looked with the chandelier.

All you have to do is turn off the breaker, detach the light fixture, put the medallion in place and rewire it.  Attach it just enough so the fixture holds then center the medallion before tightening the screws.


I tried to paint one with ceiling paint and it wasn't having it even though it said it was paintable.  So I will be getting some of the white chalk paint I have in the basement once I can find my dang chalk paint brush so it matches the ceiling better.  On it's own there is a bluish cast to it that is noticeable in natural light so that's a summer project or whenever.  

Maybe 3 years from now.  

But ceiling medallions come in all different sizes and materials.  These particular ones are cheap and lightweight but there are so many styles and colors you can get.  If you don't want to paint and just want black, you can get these.   If your style is a little fancier, you can get something like this.  Or if you're like "that ain't fancy, THIS is fancy" then you do you, boo!

There are all kinds of options from colors, styles, sizes and they can make an annoying problem like gaps or sloppy drywall something you sweep under the proverbial rugs and leave it for the next owner to find.

Have you used ceiling medallions in your home?

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Monday, May 15, 2023

How We Got Green Glue Out of Our Carpet

Did you or the drywaller you hired slop green glue all over your carpet while trying to soundproof your walls?  Well, if you did it, you would likely clean it up pretty quickly with rubbing alcohol because you aren't an animal.  If your drywaller did it because they disrespected your home and didn't cover the area in which they would be working so they could then try to sell you carpet afterward, then this post is for you.  (Clearly you can guess the option we chose given my high level of snark and irritation!  😏)

We didn't put anything down on our stairs (but did all over the hardwood and thank God because they would've murdered that) because we didn't want the liability for a trip hazard.   People who respect your home will lay down their own canvas drop cloth to cover the stairs/floors as they work.  We should've insisted on it but didn't want to feel like we had to babysit them.  I don't foresee us ever needing one again but if we ever did, I would insist on it before a stitch of work was done.

By the time we saw what our drywaller left us with, he and his crew had been traipsing up and down the stairs all day thereby grinding tons of dirt into the green glue blobs they dropped all over it.  Wanna see?

Look, this carpet is over 25 years old on this set of stairs, it was going to be replaced in the next few years anyway but that isn't the point.  We weren't planning on replacing it yet because it was still passable to us so we could focus on other projects.  The lack of respect shown for our home was astounding and given the only respite we had from the chaos of no living area available meant going up and down these stairs constantly.  So every time I walked on (and stuck to) them, my blood boiled.

We tried everything any forums told us from Goo Gone to rubbing alcohol to Spot Shot (which usually gets out anything) to steam cleaning.  Because we weren't able to get to it before they caked things on and those things weren't working, we were afraid we were stuck with this God awful mess or having to replace the carpet.  (Yes, we still want carpet on the stairs because with that issues that still exist in that area, the last thing we need is something to provide even MORE echo!)  Well after dropping over $20K on the various projects the preceding 3-4 weeks, we did not have the money for another big ticket item.

Finally, in a last ditch 3am online search one night, I stumbled upon someone saying to use an iron to remove regular glue from carpet while crafting.  I figured nothing else worked and since the Mr was the one working on trying to free us from our sticky prison which had now been sitting for 4 WEEKS unsuccessfully being removed, this was truly our Hail Mary.

This is what we used:

Hand Sanitizer (we found its easier to control than straight up alcohol)

I will tell you first and foremost if you need to do this and is why you're here- spot test an inconspicuous area.  You're doing this at your own risk and if anything discolors, that's the risk you're potentially taking.  We didn't have that issue but I assume it's because our carpet has seen some sh*t over the years and laughs at what we throw at it.  All carpet is different but if you're like we were, you're desperate to see if anything works.

Here's how he did it.

First, he surveilled the job ahead.

He muttered some curse words under his breath and got to the task at hand.

Ahh, nothing like ground in dirt, debris, despair and sorrow.

He grabbed some hand sanitizer and pumped some onto each spot.

Then it was time to heat up the ol' iron.

He placed a flour sack towel over the stair.  (Should you be using a dark towel?  NO!!!  But it's all we had on hand and we were at the "it couldn't get much worse" stage but clearly it could've had that transferred the color to the stair.  If we had them at the time, I would've used white ones.)

He then ironed over the top which I was not sure about given how wet the alcohol still was.  He said it was fine but I still might've just folded the bottom half of the towel over the top.  He's still alive so...

I guess the goal is to iron until it smokes or an apparition appears before you.

Then he peeled the towel off. You may have to pinch the carpet fibers with the towel a little to ensure you get more of the glue to transfer to the towel.

To our amazement, the green glue came off with it!

Then it was time to repeat the process.

Fifteen more times.

I'll be damned if it didn't actually work!  He also tried it with paper towels which also worked as well.

Keep in mind the above was taken while the carpet was still wet so it looks like there are dark spots.  

Time for a before and immediate after.

Yes, we still have some paint/primer spots but he wasn't concentrating on those just yet.  Then he grabbed the Bissel and steam cleaned the steps.  We did a little praying because we'd been fooled by other efforts before that looked like they were working and the next morning it was all like


But this actually seemed to work.  We gave it a few days to see if there was any residual green glue we couldn't see that would begin collecting dirt and drywall dust we were still tracking around the house and we did see a little so the process had to be repeated again.  But it did work after a few passes so patience was required which is why he did it and not me.

Then we applied a saturating layer of Folex Spot Remover over the entirety of each step.  As I said, this carpet is 28 years old so even just dirt was showing up on it and we wanted it to be as clean as we could get it.  After it sat for 45 minutes, it was time for another steam clean.

I cannot tell you how ecstatic we are that this method worked to get the green glue out of the carpet.  We were sure it had been sitting too long for this to work but the hand sanitizer softened it enough to allow it to be absorbed into the tea towel.  Obviously, those have to be thrown away after use but that is a 14 pack so we were only out 2-4 of them.  I seriously wanted to cry when it worked.  Every time we looked at the stairs or walked on them, it was like the drywaller disrespecting our home all over again so this was the first time in a month I wasn't cringing while using the stairs.  I know the carpet looks like crap in general and it will be replaced but it's just us so we're fine with waiting it out for another year or two.  

A huge thank you to the Mr who had to sit there and iron the steps but I think he'd do it all over again to get that relief when he saw something finally worked!  I hope it's something you never need and I'm not recommending it.  I recommend you catch it the same day and use rubbing alcohol and a butter knife or plastic scraper like others online have suggested.  We paid the price because they were in our house for two weeks so cleaning the stairs seemed futile at the time which is why our final measure was taken. I'm sure someone somewhere is clutching their pearls/toolbelt at our methods to which I would say, move on and no need to express your disapproval because unless you've been walking on a crud crusted staircase barefoot for a month, you don't know our desperation.  😛

At this point, I'm just happy our stairs don't look like Jackson Pollock's spirit paid us a visit.  A big win in our book!

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Friday, May 12, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #19

Helloooo Friday!  Happy Mother's Day weekend to all of you mothers of two or four legged bebes small and large.  I'm getting a hankering to get the grill cleaned up so we can lie to ourselves about how much we'll use it before declaring it too hot to be outside and then abandoning it.  I don't think I'm doing flowers this year.  It looks like the wisteria and clematis on the arbor are like "nope" which really upsets me.  All I've ever wanted are climbing flowers out on this friggin' arbor and it seems like nothing I do makes it happen.  So if any of you vine growers of anything non rash inducing like morning glories have some tips, I'd love to hear them!

It's been a pretty chill week around these parts and I will certainly take that!  Since I don't have stories of mass DIY fails and setbacks to report, how about we just dive head first into:

Think You’re Too Old To Start Lifting Weights? Think Again—The Benefits Only Increase As You Age (Time to get back to pumping some iron.  The reno really derailed us on that front.)

Is It Safe To Eat Berries if Some Are Moldy? Here’s What the Experts Say  (Uh, are people actually eating moldy berries??  Pick 'em out, you animals!)

8 DIY Home Improvements That Add Value and Charm But Won’t Break the Bank  (We did #2 in the bathroom and it was an instant update!  Just reread deuces were involved.)

Can Body Shaming Be Outlawed?  (Very interesting article, especially the numbers on what obese people are paid compared to their thin counterparts!)

Couple takes cabin living to the next level with their seriously epic cabin designs  (OMG, sign me UP!  We already don't see anyone but to have this wonderland as your home?  Yes please!)

I Was Overjoyed To Get Engaged At 19. Then, Like With Millie Bobby Brown, The Comments Began  (As another woman engaged at 19, I'd say after 27 married years (together over 30) some people who are "too young" to be engaged are doing better than some of those who chose to wait.  I remember calling 20 apartments for rent costs, asking everyone we knew what their utility bills were and only using the highest ones as a measure, how much insurance cost (a family member is my agent) to come up with our budget and what we could afford when the Mr graduated college.  We bought new furniture when they went on sale and stored them in the Mr's room in the basement.  When we got married we had a brand new condo with all new furniture.  Not bad for two 'kids' who made under $40K!)

Flashdance at 40  (I remember I was 9 when this came out, my parents were getting divorced and my mom and her sister went to see this.  I wanted to see it so bad and my aunt afterward said they should take me and my mom was like "there are naked women in it" and my aunt said "they show boobs and butt, she's got those!"  I have to say I rocked out to the soundtrack when I started painting a few weeks ago.  You can't not shake your booty to He's a Dream or Romeo by Donna Summer!)

We've got a little road trip planned so we'll see if I have fantastical stories to regale you with next week from that.  I suppose soon we'll have to get back to real life and see if we want to get started on any more projects or if we need a longer break.  They should be somewhat small in comparison to the sh*tshow of the first few months of the year but they always seem to find ways to prolong what should be short on paper.

Anything planned for the weekend?  Will you be seeing your kids/taking your furbabies for rides?

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