library girls.

I have two rugrats, 7 plus years apart.  One unique advantage of this age gap is that I can clearly observe the developmental pattern because the littler one isn’t getting it directly from the older, rather going through the steps on her own.  For example, they both started dressing themselves in crazy outfits at a very young age,  cut their own hair at the same age, and they both acquired an affinity for lopsided hairdos at 7 years. ETC…..

Now I find myself waiting in line at a quite elaborate library set up in my living room at precisely 7.7 years for both children.  coincidently they are both bossy librarians who force me to return my books before I am even finished with them, and neither kept regular business hours.

The “library” that the now Teenager kept had detailed logs, and as The Associate comes sprinting along in her footsteps she keeps more abstract records, however, she does get points for creativity.  The miniature air hockey table becomes a scanning machine and its paddle becomes the stamper. She does all this wearing the dress she “made” while holding it up with one hand.

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After borrowing, not reading,  and then returning the first 6 books in the Nancy Drew series, she put her hair up. On the right side we have a ponytail (she wouldn’t let me take a picture) and on the left we have  it down, lightly brushed and a clip. I said “You look fabulous darling!”

And then I went to vote to support our local library, because I am a library girl too.

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.

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

Cleveland/ Iceland

Turns out it has all been a ploy. The people of Cleveland have been leaking horror stories to media all of these years.  Every late night host that has mocked my city was secretly fed those “hysterical” jokes.  A very carefully orchestrated and elegant plan to keep all ya’ll out.

Well played Cleveland.

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We are a Colony……

I know I am inclined to gush about my hometown Cleveland Heights, most of the time it is because of all the amazing experiences our far undervalued town has to offer. Today I am extolling its value based solely on its souls. A diverse and united bunch.

We experienced a great tragedy when one of our local business owners and community leaders was brutally slain in a robbery attempt. My first thought was for his family, friends and employees and then I thought about our community that is centered around these hardworking small businesses.  I was afraid we would see another wave of people fleeing to the outer ring suburbs, but we experienced the absolute opposite.

Every Tuesday for the last 7 years we have gathered at The Colony for girl’s night.  Ups, downs, rights, and lefts have been sorted and unconditional support has been provided. The unofficial leader of our pack, Brady, sketched an amazing design that very night and called on me to help.  We had to make hasty decisions and get started asap.  Flying by the seat of our pants, we set out to sell about 200 shirts and have ended up selling WAY more (the final tally has not been made)

Another fundraising effort rose from the ashes and raised at least 50,000 dollars for the employees lost wages, and a memorial fund was setup to get the doors open again. A dynamic brother and sister team organized a family fun cookout, while other businesses all over in different districts donated food, merchandise and services to raise funds for the people touched most by our collective tragedy.

The employees of The Colony, now our friends after so many years stepped up and toiled through their grief to save the place they work and love. The determination and tenacity of these fine young men and women is awe-inspiring.

Another friend, Shari championed a random acts of kindness campaign in honor of the departed, who gave generously to friends in need.  The people of Cleveland heights came out in droves to join together and celebrate a life and make sure we keep moving forward.  Exactly three weeks ago we suffered a huge loss. Today we are stronger, more united, and clad in matching t-shirts.

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friday freak day.

Utterly apathetic, a tad crabby and restless are not a good Combo. Actually I felt similar to what a nasty pretzel imposter must feel like when the pizza flavoring is dumped upon it. I could mope around and get nothing done or I can hop in my car and drive all over Cleveland to attend two promising estate sales. The first sale was on the west side of Cleveland and I purposely arrived late so as not to endure the aggravation of watching while early risers make off with all MY stuff.

I bet you could guess it was disappointing,  but did you think it would be disturbing? Well it was. First and foremost I was perturbed by the fact that nothing was priced! I wanna wonder around muttering to myself not asking for prices.  Second, there was an enormous wooden “structure” looming above my head,  I spied chain, wires, carabiners, leather, pulleys, and  multiple implements of dubious function. Third, I turned around, bumped into and spilled the contents of a box, and a massive pile of metal speculums came tumbling out as if trying to flee the scene with me.  Mid century modern my eye! Try Middle Ages torture chamber. Fourth offense false advertising.

I could go home and have some lunch, but no I am looking for more trouble, so I hopped back into the car and headed east. The curse of the self-important collector was running rampant and I ducked and covered. Unfortunately all there was to duck under were really, really, really decorative afghans. There were three fur coats identically fashioned out of the same rodent in violet, hunter green and brown. There were a few beautiful and expensive pieces of furniture. I, however hadn’t yet removed the unneeded piece from The Husbands car from yesterdays excursion, so I don’t consider adopting any. I did acquire a little bundle, I don’t need any of it, but I cannot go home empty handed.

The lure of ridiculous cross stitching cannot be controlled and I grab this beauty.

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The Teenager- MOM!  You are not going to hang that in the kitchen!

me- oh yes baby!

The second spoil of the day is simply a reflection on my most recent and current mood,  I’ll wear it often to keep the innocent from harm.

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The third bit of windfall is a 1970’s chia pet, which according to the teenager is a large cucumber with a snout.  She isn’t wrong, but I clean him up and name him Henry Higgins.

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The torture chamber theme marches on with this fourth little gem that was nestled among sewing paraphanelia.

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The batteries still work and now I can go home.

 

 

belt banger.

In an effort to remain hip to the The Teenagers lingo I listen carefully, although stating it like that makes me decidedly unhip. Many of the phrases, music, and movies are coming back around and I hear my own mother’s voice echo in my head.  “I used to have that same dress” says the voice, or “I used to listen to that music”  shake head vigorously. I listen closely because I want to pick up the secret teenage code and be aware without embarrassing The Teenager.  For instance if a young girl within earshot says “I had surgery and those pills they gave me were awesome.” Her name automatically gets added to a list in my head, and that list is called “I have my eye on you little girl.”

A word that the kids are using these days is “banger” I know!!!!! right!!!! It is a word that can summon a number of images to ones head, especially a mother of a beautiful teenaged daughter. Fortunately, The Teenager thinks this is a ridiculous word for party and promises she will never attend a “banger.”

I have been encouraging The Teenager to have friends over so I can quietly get to know these walking masses of hormones.  She had a few friends over yesterday and I set about working on a chair.

This just happened in real-time as I write this.

The Associate- Can you glue his hair back on?

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Me- Maybe grampa went bald. Maybe it is a toupee.

The Associate- Maybe, can I have an Ice cream cone?

Me- You need to have a sandwich first.

The Associate- Ok.

Then I went down to grab some more coffee and she was just finishing up an ice cream sandwich. sigh.

Back to the chair. I was sitting at the kitchen table because there was “a nice breeze” (bringing their voices in the window)  I learned quite a bit in that time.  First of all and most importantly they actually wanted The Associate to hang with them.  WOW. I think I could like these kids. A few wandered through on the way the bathroom and I cataloged the ones who or whom (*sorry Mickey and Nicky) said hello and or thank you. I am pleased to say not a single name made it on the list today, and the chatter was nice background to actually finish my chair.

So…. this chair came to me one day on a walk through the neighborhood.  I brought her home and I cleaned and shined her up.

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Some glue and a chair clamp settled her back together.

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A whole bunch of belts, a hammer and some upholstery nails, and I had myself a banger.

 

*I apologize to Mickey and Nicky for my grammatical incompetence.  I am sure you both wince when you read my blog, but I will never be as eloquent as either of you so I am gonna call it poetic license. xo

 

 

 

 

happy day. solstice.

 

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I know that this day also signals the decline of sun we are allotted per day, but I opt for optimism and have a big day planned.  The Associate and I headed out around one for some fun after some bribing went down. Anybody who reads this blog o’ mine is familiar with The Associates, shall I say lifestyle,  so sometimes it takes a little promise of a cookie or some such sweet to get her out of the house.

Recently people in my little slice of the world have begun to acquire chickens. We being lucky enough to have too much backyard are toying with this idea.  Well they are, I am in.  We started this beautiful day with the chicken coop tour to pick like chickens at the brains of those already rearing chickens.

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my favorite design of the day, but this chicken looked grumpy despite her beautiful abode.

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I dragged The Associate around for a while until the allure of lunch and cookies became overwhelming.  She is as cantankerous as that chicken as we wait for our snacks.

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I ditched The Associate for The Husband and we headed out to the Larchmere Porch Fest for some music, and then down to The Cleveland Museum of Art for the summer solstice party.

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good times. xo