I took the bait…

I took that slimy bait and swallowed because I have a bad habit of not finishing projects, or that is at least what I am telling myself.  It absolutely has nothing to do with the fact that I have little to no control over my second born child.  Either she is the youngest Jedi master ever or I am just plain exhausted. I did find this though which helped her case.

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We went to purchase our new family members only learn that we needed to buy more equipment first.  We shelled out cash for a heater and purchased a plethora of colorful plastic plants (thankfully there were no pineapples.)  We asked the same questions of a different employee, got different answers, and scurried out before I got even more confused and irritated.

Two days later….and a warm tank… We are back, hovering in front of a million fish, and the pressure is on. The UV light is highlighting each fish and I try to explain that this is not what they will look like in our tank while the employee that is on duty today says we can get 8 fish at a time (5 more than other employees said on previous visits.) I roll my eyes and wonder exactly how much commission you can make on 4 dollar fish that is on sale for 2.24.  “WE are only buying three fish” I blurt and somehow step away with two additional African dwarf frogs.

I artfully dodge all other adorable items, by illustrating exactly how much money we have leaked, and we are bobbing out the door changing the names of our new friends, for the fifth time.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you…….

Stephanie, Kathryn the great, and Matthew.. Tropical tetra fish

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Victor and Vanessa the African dwarf frogs (possible daytime soap characters) have yet to come out of hiding, and hopefully will live forever.

I am trying not to take the bait….

The Associate wants fish. I resisted for a long time because of the many misfortunes of previous fish. I asked The Teenager if she was scarred by my ruthless though unintentional slaughter of her pets. She says she isn’t, but I am.

This conversation happened at least year ago and the threat of never having a fish has been wielded frequently,  so much that it isn’t taken seriously at all anymore and I begin to consider this new addition to our family.  Being practical ( I do try) I first address the placement of this tank, and where would it be least likely the fish die by my hand. So kitchen. Next up what will this tank look like, and where will it come from. I am very frugal when it comes to purchases like this and I am pretty sure there is an abundance of fish torture chambers available for free.

Duh. I have one in the dining room that I have been using as a terrarium forever and is sorely in need of a replanting.  We clean it out.

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buckled it in and took it to the aquarium store to get a second opinion.

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They were very helpful and thrilled by my tank. They had never seen one like it, and tried to convince me to get jellyfish, I was sold, but The Associate didn’t want a salt water tank.  OK then.  We went home with a filter, a pump and a very stern warning to make sure it was watertight before any further action was taken.

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We set it up on the porch and filled her (she is definitely a she) up to see.  The Associate thought it was funny to splash water on the cardboard to make it look like it was leaking, but we had too much momentum to stop now and my empty threats fell upon deaf ears.  She held her water and we did some research about fish and ease of care.  After the test was done we emptied her again and moved her around the house to find a good home before I filled her up again.  Following the advice of our fish friends we let it run for two weeks and then set about getting some fish. I unfortunately fell ill and couldn’t pull it together until Sunday evening to make it to the store and they promptly closed as we pulled in.  Melt down ensued… “I am devastated, I have had to wait through winter, spring, summer and now it is fall again!!!! I am paraphrasing of course, but it went on and on.  The Teenager chimed in “and you will have to wait a whole 24 more hours, get a grip.” “you get a grip!” was shouted back but the mood slowly wound down as we strolled through whole foods looking for soup to make me feel better. 30 minutes later she is singing about being on top of the world, and The Teenager inquires about her roller coaster ride.  I go to bed wondering if she is stable enough to parent fish, because we already know that I am not.  What to do….

 

remove…… layers of skin! and tile your kitchen!

The cabinets were painted 6 months ago, and the hunt for the back splash ensued (yes, I know backwards). I wandered the isles of the tile shop, aimless, looking for something to jump out at me and grab me. I did this multiple times, each time leaving slightly more confused.  When it finally occurred to me what I wanted I headed out to purchase it and it was discontinued, not to be detoured I happened upon the perfect choice whilst trying to convince the salesman to call every store so I could have what I wanted.  It was just lying there staring at me.

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Being the somewhat transformed wife that I am today, I only bought a sample.  “I must show The Husband.” (these are very new words for me, just ask The Husband) The salesman’s stunned expression only made me more proud.  Because we have been married for 11 years The Husband barely glanced and said “whatever you think.” (Whaaaaaaaaa? he is apparently also transformed.)

The demolition began immediately considering that I had plenty of work to do before I could get to the tile.  I made quick work of these beauties.  The Teenager arrived after school and didn’t even bat one long lash. I prodded her and she said “this is how our house always looks” :(  The Associate’s only concern was how long this was going to take.

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When The Husband toured our home before we purchased it 12 years ago, the previous owner was particularly proud of these fruit tiles. He removed the earlier accent tiles adorned with anchors carefully so as not to disturb the luxurious dimpled tile surrounding them, but with no regard for the drywall. With each fruity tile removed a deep gaping hole was left.   Patches were made.

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Once all of the tile was removed and the surface was almost clear of dust,  the naked drywall had to be primed with a coat of oil based sealer.  The next step skim coating.

If I was a more poetic person, my first efforts would be titled something like “ode to drywall magician”  If you are paying someone to plaster or drywall and the price seems high, it is worth it.  After what seems like days, countless moist towels, possible lung infection, and glob removal,  I have a semi smooth surface on which to tile.

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pathetic…

After several YouTube videos and reference books I am going for it. I painstakingly apply thinset (also a art form) and get busy setting my tiles.

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before grout.  The grouting is actually kinda fun.  I channel my Italian grandma Carmela and use my best tools, my hands.  I am free forming it I know, but how else am I expected to get in those tight spots.  I am so into it and every so often I stop to rinse my hands, The flesh of my palms is so tight because of the drying grout that a layer peels right off.

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Kitchen is done and I have palms as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

NEXT.

 

A little rusty after summer.

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I have been walking past this for two weeks now on the way to my micro studio.  It is posted on The Associates’ bedroom door as a declaration of some kind.  I mumble “fafarit?” as I meander by each time hoping to decipher it.

Today I got it!!! It reads as follows.

favorite

part of

school

yay

lunch good

eat food B+

Ok,  so we (I mean she is) are a little rusty after all good intentions of reading everyday this summer failed.

Seeing as she needs to read more I wanted to give her a bedside table to keep books.  On possibly every excursion to Ikea I have purchased book ends, but in reality the bookcases in our house are so crammed that there is no need for bookends.  I couldn’t get rid of these, and they screamed for a hack.

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I cut down a scrap piece of beautiful mashed together shreds of wood.

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Look at that quality.

I drilled holes in the bookends so that they could be secured to the “wood.”

This is before

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and this is after she got to it, not what I had in mind….

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Three days of my life that I will never get back were spent Ikea hacking The Associates room. Roughly translated this means I used all the same furniture but rearranged, cut and rebuilt it to look brand new. I was hoping to share pictures with you but she has already destroyed it, maybe next year.

 

 

 

this crazy and that Krazy glue #2 (starburst mirrors)

On a particularly deep dungeon dive I unearthed about five boxes full of discontinued countertop samples. When I have gone that subterranean  I have to use the material because,

1. justify having stored it for 1-12 years

2. and because it is awesome which is why I stored it for 1-12 years.

Krazy glue was looking for some home decor ideas, and technically you could ask your local laminate retailer for their samples and re-create this yourself so off I went.

I bought a good quality round mirror from the craft store and marked out the middle on the back (after placing it face down on a towel)

In my case I had multiple samples of each black finish so I divided them up in groups so they weren’t all grouped together when it was all said and done.

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I built on each layer and went around and around and around.

Gilded Ice Cream Mirror and Minimalist Sunburst Mirror

I made it in colors too.

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this crazy and that Krazy glue…#1 (monster vacation)

I was invited to help devise some craft projects for Krazy Glue, and I had some fun creating little scenes to be hung on the wall in a kid’s room (not gender specific.) Full of ideas and insecurities I headed down to my dungeon to seek out suitable surfaces, and any other tidbits that might suit my venture.

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I started with the frames and painted them all the same color. This is a great way to use old frames because you do not need the glass and the odd sizes make for more interesting compositions.  I had red spray paint, so they are red.

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I then cut out white foam core to fit in the back of each frame and secured it with glazing points and a flat head screwdriver.

I am not sure if I have told you this yet or not, but I cannot draw.  So, using the infinite interweb I googled “monster drawing images” and was delivered a million options (copyright free of course.) After a little image resizing I printed out a black and white monster shape. I then taped this image to a piece of vinyl wallpaper and cut it out using an Xacto knife. (pictures are missing, sorry) Once I had the monster and family or pets. I could visualize the rest of the scene and started cutting, arranging and Krazy gluing,  building the image up layer by layer.

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My favorite one is the mountain climbing lizard.

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Here is a whole family on a sightseeing tour with their dog.

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This monster is dressed up for a night on the town.

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I could keep going and going, going and going.

 

 

measure ten times cut once or twice depending.

You have two choices, either you can make sure your project has your full undivided attention or not.  Because life is hectic and precious I usually fall into the later category. I think to myself “No problem, The Associate is doing her homework, I’ll make some precision miter cuts for the cabinet trim.”  This sounds like a splendid idea, theoretically.  Ten minutes later I am chanting the measurements out loud as I climb down my ladder.  The chanting helps a little, it sort of signals to The Associate that I am in fact doing something that cannot be interrupted, but you are probably asking yourself “why doesn’t she just write it down?”  You are a genius, however I may have left my pencil inside.. with my tape measure… or I may have left that little piece of paper I ripped off of The Associates homework  to scribble on inside as well after discovering my pencil tangled up in my rat nest hairdo.  As you can see many things can happen, and the moral of the story is  “Your project will actually go faster if you do it when your family isn’t bothering you.”

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when censoring is good

So much has happened in the last couple weeks globally and locally.  My proverbial panties have been in a twist and I have started several blog posts that were very political.  Fortunately for me, WordPress has been malfunctioning. My media could not upload during at least five attempts and I would have to walk away from my computer, or my draft did not save when I returned to put the finishing touches on my abundant unprovoked opinions.  At first this made me even more upset and then I realized this was indeed a good thing.

Now that I have cooled down, I can continue my more subtle attack on society with words and pictures.

The other day I needed to flee The Family, and with a slight backwards glance I took off for an antique mall that was calling my name.  I have my little rules in places like this so I don’t buy everything that I want, besides that little thing called a “budget.”

The first gem I spotted mint condition.

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I knew I should buy it, but those little rules would not allow it. (I may go back and get it) Ohhh to play a game centered around a homophobic, racist, sexist character would be so much fun!!!

I picked up and put down many things, sometimes carried said things for a mile at least before my fingers almost broke, and then put back in the wrong place. (sorry)

The I found this! Rules don’t apply!!

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You have to snap off her normal flesh and organs, to experience “The Miracle of Creation” immaculately concepted of course.

When I step back and look at all my panty twisting feelings I see one very political vortex from which many issues stem, and this 1960’s plastic model was sure on the right track. Look what it says on the back of the manual.

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“If the human body, and especially its reproductive organs seemed less mysterious to us, our culture would probably healthier-minded.”

“Your “Visible Woman” enables parents and children to share information which is otherwise so difficult to communicate, and lifts the veil of ignorance behind which many adolescents hide their doubts and fears.”

You are not going to see this for sale at Hobby Lobby anytime soon.

Impromptu lessons in Capitalism.

I tried to convince them not to bother with a lemonade stand, partly because I am feeling lethargic today and also because I fear that I will be cleaning this mess up for days. After they begged and pleaded I caved.  They quickly set up a table and chairs and raided the cabinets looking for lemonade and cups.

me- “We only have a few somewhat misshapen disposable cups, but what do people want for 25 cents.”
TA- “We’ll make them gulp it, leave and we will wash them.”
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All family members in the vicinity promptly purchase lemonade and say “keep the change” eye wink, thumbs up. (as if that happens in the real world)
me- “After you you have counted your earnings you then have to pay your supplier (me) for the juice, ice and cups.” Mouths agape.

Several new attempts at marketing are discussed.

1. We can dance?

2. Do you have any other stuff you don’t want that we can sell?

3. Who can we call to come buy it.

These whippersnappers catch on surprisingly fast.

The Associates Associate invited her older sister over to make a purchase. Then they tried to take over. I continued to weed my roses while I let them figure it out. It got heated quickly as the older kids tried to steamroll the younger ones, but mini corporate lawyer was on point.
1. You didn’t help us set up
2. You didn’t work really hard to come up with the idea and sign.
3. No we aren’t splitting the money four ways,  maybe you can have 10%

I intervened briefly to put the hostile takeover in perspective, and once the older children discovered they would not in fact be leaving with 50% of the money they went to set up a competing stand.  The minis yelped with pride, and immediately got distracted by a sprinkler.  I “watched” the stand while they made a huge mess elsewhere and told them they had to pay me for my shift. Mouth Agape.

Out storms The Teenager angrily waving her beauty accoutrements that are now covered in nail polish.  I guess we know where the mess is.

I order them to clean up all their messes while I gather up the cash which seems a bit light.  hmmmmm.  Apparently, The Teenager helped herself to a little of the take for the loss of her beauty supplies.

The good old American Dream in full effect.

 

 

 

“the runt in a large family of pigs”

I am still reeling from the harsh reality. The Teenager is going to *&^%$ high school. They basically pluck them from the purgatory that is middle school and drop them into a giant maze with no school supplies! I may be over reacting, because she was fine with it despite her obvious genetic love for writing implements and notebooks.

sorry trying to think and she is listening to most horrific “music”  the “artist” is apparently turnt.  (see urban dictionary if you are as clueless as I am)

Anyway..

The Associate has a school supply list and being efficient, I first wrote it down, cursed and then copied and pasted it to my phone.  full circle. So we head out to The Big Box store that we favor, where everyone wears red, and in the short drive the The Associate is already in mini corporate lawyer mode.

TA- “So, if I am good in the store you will buy me a toy.”

me- “Is that a question or a statement?”

TA- “Both”

me- “Your good, but no. We are getting what we need today not what we want.”  (ongoing theme, I won’t bore you with the rest of this banter)

I realize that we haven’t been here in quite a while and pile on paper goods to create the perfect conditions for an avalanche.

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After the nice staff backed us out of the perfect storm we got down to the nitty-gritty.

TA- “mom, why do we need ziploc bags for school?

Me- “maybe so you can keep everything organized”

TA- “why do the boys need to bring gallon sized and the girls need quart sized?

Me- hmmmmm  “what else do you need?”

I make some attempts at good momming by having her check the prices, and compare products. This tactic also helps when she wants to bring home these types of “things.”

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The entire experience is fun except for her constant attempts to get more of everything. Like 12 pink erasers which I am pretty sure last forever already, and two rulers. Each fresh attempt at additional consumerism makes me wonder why she feels like she will never have enough. This isn’t new, just the other day she started pouring herself two glasses of milk at a time. She is in fact the smallest member of the family and almost always wants the most.

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We make it out alive, after I buckled and bought her one toy. Actually I am still not sure if I buckled or she Jedi mind tricked me. The Teenager oohhs and ahhhs over her school goodies.

Me- “I think that the TA was the youngest of 9 in her last life and never got enough porrage.”

TT- “you mean the runt of a large family of pigs.”