Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who would do something like this?

We had a mouse problem recently. This meant putting sticky traps all over the cupboards & taking everything out of the cupboards, washing it or checking it for mouse contamination, washing the cupboards themselves & then putting everything back, but in better sealed containers.

I should know by now that cleaning anything in my kitchen is bound to provide blog fodder & that I ought to go get my camera for ‘before’ photos before I start.

I have no shame. I share my embarrassing bad housekeeping skills with the world willingly because even a bad example is still an example & someone may think to themselves “you know, it has been awhile since I cleaned out my fridge” & be inspired by me.

That’s my story & I am sticking to it.

My mom, right now, is cursing the day she joined Facebook and gained access to my blog feed.

The snack cupboard held no surprises because everything in it is in heavy rotation. It gets emptied & filled regularly & at various points every one of the 4 people in this house will poke around the entire cupboard checking to see if anyone hid the last few Oreos from the rest of us somewhere in the back behind & under the bags of dried fruit.

We never find anything because we are all much more clever than that.

The oil & vinegar cupboard is another story. I’m the only one who gets in it & then because it is up so high I can’t actually see what is there beyond what it is in the front of it. If what I want isn’t visible I have to go get the step ladder & even then, those are tall bottles.

This is all the stuff that I had already removed from the oil & vinegar cupboard when I realized I had blog fodder to document


This is what caused me to go get the camera

DSC_1955   Hey! That white bag looks familiar somehow.


Could it be?


Oh my GOD! it is! Chocolate raspberry Milanos!!! And there are still cookies in the bag!!!

Wait a minute.

I haven’t bought Milanos in forever. When did I buy these?

Sell by 10/05/2008!?!?!

Who forgets about chocolate Milanos in the cupboard for almost 2 years?

Obviously I thought I was being clever hiding them behind & among the vinegars but apparently I was too clever for myself & never found them again.

Then I was left with quite a dilemma... can you eat 2 year old Milanos?  Wasting Milanos is a major sin in my religion. But it’s one I had already committed by leaving them there for 2 years in the first place so I don’t think I am compounding it by not eating them now.

Probably the best thing to do, especially given the mouse issue, is just pitch them. So after some prayer on the matter, which consisted of inhaling deeply over the bag, I did toss them in the trash with the rancid oil and the vinegars I could not recall using in the past year, as long as they had the requisite layer of dust on them. Given my memory & cleaning habits it’s probable the dustless ones that I can’t recall using have actually been used in the past few months.

But it does leave me with another dilemma.

Does vinegar go bad? There are no expiration dates on the bottles & while I know balsamics can be aged for years & years, possibly leaving a half full bottle in my cupboard does not really count as ‘aging’. I have 3 opened bottles of apple cider vinegar. I have no idea why. I have no idea which is the most recent. Do I pitch them all & start over? Can I pour them all into one bottle & get on with life?


Monday, August 30, 2010

I knew this post was coming

pandora-1 but I had hoped there would be more time.

Granted I have been expecting this post for months, so there has been time. But not enough.

There never is enough time.

Especially when you have a 17 year old cat who has been slowly getting thinner & thinner. One who has a bloody abscess on her paw that never really heals. And who, despite being inside for 3 days eating & drinking, added nothing to her litterbox in all that time.

I knew it was coming. It was inevitable really, but I had hoped there might be something we could do. That I could take her to the vet today & they would say ‘oh some antibiotics and this special diet & she’ll be fine’

Even though I knew in my heart they’d tell me it was time to let her go.

I didn’t want to have to make that decision so I had been cowardly putting it off all last week.

Thursday morning when I was getting ready to mop the floor Pandora was dithering about going outside & I nudged her out so I could clean. She spent most of her days laying in the sun on the front porch, then she comes in at dinner time & stays the night, going back out after breakfast. No reason it should be any different this day.

But it was.

I finished cleaning, did some other things & looked out on the porch. There were cats out there like always, but not Pandora.

OK, well sometimes she lays under my van or in other shady places so I didn’t think much of it.

Until she didn’t come for dinner. When it started to get dark I searched around the yard and called her but she didn’t come. She wasn’t there at the door in the morning like she always was when she stayed out overnight. I searched the yard again more thoroughly, looking in the sheds and under them, looking under the brush & tree branches, but there was no sign of her.

And I knew why. There could only be one reason.

She was gone. I sat by her brother’s grave (he died in 2006) and cried for her, dying alone outside, wishing I’d kept her inside, wishing I knew for sure she actually was beyond pain & suffering & not stuck someplace slowly starving to death. I searched again later in the day & again on Saturday, hoping I’d find…something, anything but where ever she went, it' wasn’t on our property or was so deep under something I can’t find her remains.

We got her & her brother as kittens from a coworker of mine in late June 1993. They were born on Memorial day


All she ever wanted was love. She was always on me, petting was not enough. She had to be on my lap, in my face and both my hands had to be petting her. Getting her to settle down & lay near me was almost impossible because as soon as I took my hand off her she was back stealthing her way onto my lap, getting under the book, nudging my hand, bumping the book out of the way “pet me! pet me!! pet me!!!”  She stealthed everyone.  You’d be sitting there talking, having a drink and suddenly you would look down & not only would there be a cat on your lap, but you’d be petting her. With no memory of how that came to be.


She and her brother were inseparable until the day he died.


She tolerated the boys, though bringing home Mayhem was pretty much enough for her. She decided since we would insist on bringing these stinky noisy grabby furless things into the house, she would go outside where it was quiet & safe. She and Buddah and our other cat Nefer decided they would be indoor outdoor cats, emphasis on outdoor after Mayhem joined us.


She & Buddah have been with us all our married life. For over 9 years they were our only babies & we indulged them & cosseted them & worried about them just like we do the boys. Havoc learned how to interact with other babies & toddlers from them. He used to head bump people’s hands when they looked at him, knowing that was how you asked people to touch you or hold you. He’d slowly brush up against other 14 month olds because that was how you greeted your peers. He met our friend’s 7 month old for the first time by gently butting her in the chest to say hi. He had the patience to pet Pandora endlessly when he was 3, maybe finally giving her enough attention, if just for a little bit.

A few months ago she started getting thinner but nothing was noticeably wrong with her. She developed a growth on her paw but it was benign & not hurting her or causing her any trouble walking. She was just old. Then about 10 days ago the growth split into a bloody abscess and I noticed she wasn’t just thin but skin & bones. It was creepy to pet her because she was just bones. It was like petting a skeleton. So we brought her inside more often to make sure she was getting enough food, though the younger cats had always been very respectful of Revered Very Old Lady Cat & would step away from the food or water bowls when she came over. They would lay near her & keep her company but I doubt it filled the void left by Buddah’s passing 4 years ago.

She’s with him now I hope & I hope she is filled with all the love she wanted so much in life. I pray the Lady will hold her in her arms and give her all the petting & attention she wanted so much in life. I pray her passing was gentle and painless & I wish I could have done better by her at the end.

A part of my heart has gone & it will probably be awhile before I don’t look every morning for her on the porch. Rest in peace Pandora. You are dearly loved and dearly missed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekly Winners

Some from my 365 project this week

Union job, one guy working, two guys ‘supervising’


My contributions to a wine & cheese party


I wish energy was this easy to find


Well let me tell you about that


Clone troopers go offroading. It can be dangerous, good thing they wear armor


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Musings about socks

Deep thoughts I am sure…


Yesterday’s photo was under captioned in my opinion, but I didn’t have time to write down everything that I was thinking about in relation to these two socks in the hallway, a mere 5 feet from a welcomingly empty washing machine, only 15 feet from the dirty hamster where they actually belong.

Socks whose owners suddenly couldn’t bear to continue the journey carrying them any farther. It was all too much. Those 3 steps they had to climb were the limit of their endurance, if they even made it up them, since the socks are at the top of the steps and the boys are taller than the 3 steps are high.

Perhaps their bare feet got stuck to the kitchen floor from the juice someone spilled & then wiped up in a half assed manner, keeping them from attempting the steps & all they could manage was to fling the socks in the direction of the laundry and hope for the best.

Maybe the weight of dirty socks is to great for males to carry.

It could be that only a woman is strong enough to lift & carry dirty socks great distances.

I’d think that the problem is dirty clothes blindness which effects people of both sexes, usually in their youth, though many continue to suffer from it all their lives, or it’s related issue – dirty plate blindness, the inability to notice dirty cups & plates in rooms other than the kitchen. But I rarely find dirty clothes anywhere else in the house. Dirty clothes all seem to end up in the hamper – except socks. Sometimes, socks end up near the hamper, but not so near you’d suspect a failed attempt at laundry basketball, unless the socks are so dirty they are bouncing back many feet when they hit the rim. Mostly though socks are everywhere else – the middle of the living room, under the kitchen table, around the beds, in the hall and a small colony in the main bathroom.

Then there is the nature versus nurture debate.

There were no dirty socks randomly scattered around our house when I was growing up. This is not to say there were not piles of clothes, both clean & dirty all over my room or my brother’s room, but the mess stayed in our rooms. I grew up in a home that was always so neat you though House Beautiful would be stopping by for a photo shoot later in the day. Though my room was the exception. Stray socks were NOT ALLOWED in my parents’ house. You can still occasionally find random footies by my bed because I have cold feet & sleep in them then take them off while sleeping because my feet get hot. But no where near the pile of socks on DH’s side of the bed or in the living room or in the bathroom.

I don’t know what the sock situation was in DHs house as a child & my ILs are deceased so I can’t ask them. DH is the youngest of 4 by several years, born to parents  who were old & tired & let him get away with everything. So I’m guessing, with many more important issues like my FILs failing health & MIL working 12 hour days, the sock thing was allowed to slide. I don’t blame them for that. But now I have to deal with it.

DH is 44 and for about 18 of those years has been living with me. I have made miniscule progress on the ‘pick up your dirty socks’ front. Mainly I have settled into a passive aggressive ‘I only wash socks that are in the hamper’ stance & leave the cleanliness of his socks up to him. If he wants clean socks, he knows where the hamper is. There are also far fewer of his socks in the main areas of the house than there were when we moved in here 13 years ago.


There are now two little males whose socks more than make up for the lack of DH’s socks. The little males take their socks off after school on the sofa and mostly leave them there. Or they push them on the ground, or they kick them over into a corner. Then they decide to go outside and put on NEW SOCKS, which an hour later join their compatriots on the floor, or halfway under the sofa. I then stand over the little males and direct them, step by agonizing step, through the challenging process of putting their socks in the hamper.

An hour later there are a half a dozen dirty socks scattered around the living room and NO ONE has worn any socks in that time! Where do they come from?

Sock wormholes?

Sock fairies remedying a perceived lack of socks?

The socks themselves preferring the bathroom floor to the clothes hamper?

I’ve been attempting to train my sons in the ways of socks and clothes hampers for about 3 years now, with no success. I have about 10 or so more years to go & I’m not hopeful. Some progress will probably be made. Hopefully.

But let me just say now to my future DILs, whoever they will be

I’m sorry. I tried. I really did.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Socks – malicious creatures that will not stay in the dirty clothes hamper no matter how often you put them there. Also very prolific at reproducing on the floor but easily lost  in the wash

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The pain…it returns

I’ve had 2.5 years nearly entirely free from pain caused by the endometriosis that has taken up residence in the left side of my pelvis around my ovary.

But the good times seem to be at an end unfortunately.

The pain has returned, in full, long lasting force.

At least I assume it is long lasting because it started 5 days ago & is still here. Oh sure, I’ve had the occasional uncomfortable twinge, a brief bout of discomfort that rarely lasts an hour or so. You know, cramps, but not really. The ghosts of cramps past or the specter of cramps to come.

You know what I am talking about ladies.

But this is different. This is a continual discomfort, interrupted by moments of sharp pain whenever I do something silly, like stand up or sit down or….wear pants & underwear.

The sort of pain that makes wearing anything the slightest bit constricting (like underwear) uncomfortable.

The sort of pain that is accompanied by bloating & swelling guaranteeing that your loose pajama bottoms and your fat jeans are suddenly constricting.

The sort of pain that makes you wonder if somehow, without your knowledge & or any visible wound, you bumped into a steak knife & the blade slipped in to your pelvis & the skin closed up behind it.

That sort of pain.

A sort of pain I was long familiar with for 14 days a month every month for 3 or more years.

A pain that for a year blessedly went away for 3 months at a time with a Nuva Ring until my insurance said “Oh hell no we’re not paying for this non standard birth control usage anymore”.

A pain that vanished, really and truly vanished with the use of an IUD, about which my insurance said “Oh hell no, you don’t need no stinking IUD” three times before finally saying “Well, sure you can have IUD, why would you think we wouldn’t pay for it?”

This would be the same insurance that a year ago left me a voice mail telling me off for not having had a mammogram but also telling me that this message in no way implies that they will pay for it. (though they did pay for it)

The same insurance that in no way shape or form would pay for laparoscopy & surgical treatment for the ‘possible’ endo 3 years ago.

I resent this pain for reappearing. 2.5 years! I thought it was good. I thought it was taken care of. I thought the big issue would be in another 2.5 years when it came time for it to be removed and we had to have the Perimenopause Talk & possible battle #2 with the insurance about giving a 45 year old woman an IUD.

I’d forgotten how tiring dealing with chronic pain can be. I’d forgotten wincing every time i change position in a chair, I’d forgotten being awakened by stabbing pains in the night because I rolled over on my stomach. I’ve forgotten guarding my abs & pelvis from rambunctious boys who greet me with a body slam that hits right around my navel. I’d forgotten how frightening it is to know things are growing in you where they have no business growing & no real proof, except the pain going away with hormones, that it' is endo and not some cancerous tumor. Because it is always in my mind that it’s some cancerous tumor.

My OB can’t see me for 3 weeks & that is just as well for her because she wants to see how long this pain lasts, if it is different than before or a repeat pattern of pain until ovulation occurs. Its not so well for me because Tylenol & Motrin do little for it & it’s not bad enough to warrant a prescription due to the side effects. I’d rather deal with the pain than have my brain shut off from pain killers

If it is the same thing as before, then I’m looking at the possibility of having things…removed…the endo, possibly an ovary or even all of… you know... ALL of it. But that would be months away because the insurance will want proof I’m not just indulging my whims for needless laparoscopy.  I don’t think they were entirely convinced I needed my appendix and gall bladder removed either but only approved it because the normal refuser guy was on vacation each time.

So now I get to wait & count the days it lasts. Then do the same thing next month, if it happens next month. Probably with my luck it will be that erratic, hard to check, sort of thing that will drag this out until 2012, when I have to get the IUD removed anyway.

Meantime I am indulging in wine & chocolate, which is just as effective & more enjoyable than Tylenol

PS… if you have been reading out in the wider blogosphere the recent but ongoing debate about being ‘real’ versus censoring yourself or shielding off parts of your life so as to not bother readers or turn off potential advertisers and you have been wondering which side of the argument I come down on – now you know. But if you have been reading me since February, then you have long known my opinion on raw honest blogging.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekly Winners

It was back to school this week.

A loving brotherly moment while waiting for the bus

back to school-11

It never lasts

back to school-13

and then escalates

back to school-19 

and escalates

back to school-16

but then the bus arrives


Leaving me & these guys to make cookies


naturally there was trouble


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 20, 2010


DH & his team did such an awesome job this summer down at Ft AP Hill that they have job prospects doing the same installation/moderation thing at the NY State Fair and somewhere in Connecticut later this year.

Imagine the joy I feel at the prospect of DH spending days, nay weeks, at a time in upstate NY and in Connecticut.

And I don’t even know where Connecticut is.

Somewhere in the north eastern part of the country.

Nowhere within daily driving distance.

Yes I just admitted my geographical ignorance to the internet at large.

Yes, Americans…bad at geography…stereotypes… etc.

Look, once upon a time I knew where Connecticut was. I still can pick it out on the map if you give me a couple seconds. If you give me a full minute I probably can recall the name of the capitol city.

OK, maybe two minutes and a lifeline.


The parts of my brain that used to hold that state info from 4th grade geography have been taken over by the names of every single Pokemon, where it comes from & what it evolves into. Or possibly all those dinosaur stats & muffin recipes. Or the random Star Wars stuff that has been cluttering my brain & competing with the geography info for space literally since the 4th grade (1976-77).

Only jumbled bits of it remain.

Ask me what state is near Connecticut and I will confidently and correctly answer Rhode Island! Leading you think I know where Connecticut is, but if you then ask me what state is near Rhode Island and is not Connecticut, there will be a long pause and I will say “um…Massachusetts?” and I will be correct, but only by coincidence, not because of prior knowledge.

Ask me to name a state near Iowa and I will say Kansas.

After checking with Google maps it turns out I am only wrong by a small part of Missouri.

Obviously a generality of geography still exists.

I know Sri Lanka is in Asia, but mentally I put it closer to Vietnam than India.

But seriously, when was the last time I needed, really NEEDED, to know where Sri Lanka was, or Iowa?

Basically not ever in the past 15 years

How many plates a Stegosaurs has though? Or the name of the Clone Trooper who works with Obi Wan Kenobi? Or what Admiral Akbar’s native language is? Those I needed to know just this past week alone.

I do now need to know where Connecticut is. And thanks to google maps I now know it is 7-8 hours, give or take, from where I live.

Which is about what I thought it would be, despite not knowing where it was. So I suppose I retain at least some geographic knowledge, subconsciously.

DH will be gone for days at a time if they end up in Connecticut.

I would register my unhappiness about that but I’m not sure if it would matter from a job requirement perspective.

He better be home in November & December.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

After school treats

For the ill prepared.

Chocolate crackers

1. Realize you have a lot of graham crackers left over from the cookout.

2. Remember there was a cookie recipe for them in one of those mysteries with the really annoying sleuth that you have been reading & you copied it. Find it.

3. Lay out graham crackers on foil lined pan


4. Start 2 sticks of butter melting


5. Get one cup brown sugar

  a. Realize there is no brown sugar in the house because *someone* (I’m looking at you DH) made cookies last week and did not tell you they used all the brown sugar

  b. Google ‘brown sugar substitutes’ and find many proportional variations of ‘add molasses to white sugar’. Debate between 2t to 1 cup and .25c to 1 cup

  c. Realize you aren’t just making cookies, you are also making blog fodder. Get your camera & channel the Pioneer Woman.

6. Remove 1T butter from pan. Add 1 cup white sugar and 1T molasses.


Stir until melted together, bring to a boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes.


7. Decide that what you really want for Christmas is a tripod and a well lit kitchen

8. Pour this mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.


9. Spend 1 minute gathering some toppings.


Spend the remaining 9 minutes on a ‘just the right sized container’ quest to hold all  your jars of toppings & colored sugar.

10. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle 2 cups of chocolate chips over it all. Let them soften for a minute or two and then spread the melting chocolate evenly over the crackers


11. Sprinkle with toppings if you have people in your house that are partial to that sort of thing


12. Wait about 10 minutes for it to cool a bit then stick in fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.

      a. Damn!


b. rearrange fridge


13. Once it is hardened, pull the foil off the back and break into pieces


oh look! the quality control inspectors have arrived!


14. Taste one.

     a. OMG that is sweet!

15. Debate what sized sugar rush effects you want to deal with and resize the cookies


16. Referee the inevitable fighting


These are really good and really sweet. OMG sweet. One small cookie is plenty.

I might make them with 1/4 less sugar next time for comparison.


Chocolate crackers (from one of Joanne Fluke’s books)

2 sticks butter (1 cup)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 inner package of graham crackers (enough to cover a foil lined 10x15 rimmed baking sheet)

1 foil lined 10x15 rimmed baking sheet

2 cups chocolate chips

toppings optional

Lay out graham crackers on foil lined pan

Start 2 sticks of butter melting

Add one cup brown sugar, stir until melted together, bring to a boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes.

Pour this mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

Remove from the oven and sprinkle 2 cups of chocolate chip over it all. Let them soften for a minute or two and then spread the melting chocolate evenly over the crackers

Wait about 10 minutes for it to cool a bit then stick in fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.

Once it is hardened, pull the foil off the back and break into pieces

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A dreary rainy morning


Back to school

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tomorrow is the day

School starts tomorrow. The bus will be here some time between 7:13 and 7:25, which strikes me a very broad time range to cover half a mile and 4 houses but what do I know?

We have a new bus driver, possibly she could get lost I suppose.

We met the kids’ new teachers yesterday at the school open house. The school had two teachers retire & only one was replaced, so there was a shake up in the classrooms. Havoc’s teacher used to be a kindergarten teacher and Mayhem’s teacher was the 2nd grade teaching assistant & just got her teaching license in this state (apparently she has been teaching for a few years in NV but hadn’t had it updated when she moved here a few years ago)

We gave them apples.


Havoc is once again in the largest class. I assume that means he’s relatively well behaved. He’s in a class of 20. Judging from kiddie gossip it looks like the class of 15 is filled with troublemakers & there are a few in the classes of 17. It would be very easy to adjust the class size more evenly so I can only guess there is some reason for the inequity.

Mayhem was too shy to say much to his teacher, but he covers up his shy by finding everything else in the room more fascinating than the people so it comes across a bit rude. There are 16 kids in his class. His room was the second in that wing of the school so I did not get to see the other class sizes for comparison. Possibly Mayhem is in with the troublemakers, possibly there are fewer 1st graders. I suppose I’ll find out in time.

Each boy has homework for tomorrow. They have to pack a bag with some things they like & write sentences about why they like each thing. They will be sharing those with the class tomorrow. Mayhem also has to draw a picture of something fun that he did during the summer and write a sentence about it.

Naturally no one did that Monday when they were given the assignment. They both claim they will do it after dinner tonight, since that is when homework is traditionally done.

I volunteered to help out in the classrooms since the school can’t pay the assistants they’ve had the past few years and they don’t get the high school kids in to help until after December. The teachers are still working out when they need the help & what for so I won’t have anything to do until September at least, if not October but after that I’ll probably be at the school one afternoon a week in one or the other of the classes. There was some suggestion I teach the kids to crochet but while I can crochet like a demon, I can’t teach people to do it. I learned to crochet when I was 5. I don’t remember not knowing how to crochet & cannot understand how people don’t understand what I am explaining. I have never successfully taught anyone to crochet.

I have the same problem with teaching the boys to tie their shoes. I started teaching Havoc to tie his shoes 2 years ago.

He finally figured it out this past Sunday.

I haven’t even attempted it with Mayhem.

Sure no kid goes to high school in diapers, but plenty wear velcro fastening shoes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Backyard in summer

We had some friends over Saturday night for a cookout. We had hotdogs & hamburgers & corn on the cob & frozen margaritas and the kids ran around the yard at dusk chasing fireflies & playing flashlight tag (and occasionally going inside & playing Wii, which the adults let happen because we were talking & drinking beer & a little bit of silence was nice).

Then we assembled these things




(ignore that black & tan)

and we did this

DSC_1793 and made these


I haven’t had smores in ages. My dislike of camping means I miss out on campfires & toasting marshmallows & tequila shots around the fire after the kids go to sleep…

Naturally there was one of these in yard


or on the deck as the case may be.

The kids were having a sleepover combined with backyard camping. We tried to do this a couple of weeks ago at our friends house but it was rained out & the kids slept in the basement. This time the boys & their friends were able to spend the night out in the yard in the tent.

The adults slept inside.

We sent them to bed in the tent & went inside to watch tv about 10pm. Naturally they snuck out of the tent with their headlamps & explored the yard for a bit. You can see the tent from the sofa with the living room curtains cracked & it was easy to spot the headlamps But the kids don’t know that. They think they were all sneaky & put on over on us and that is half the fun of backyard camping.

They must have come in the house 15 times between midnight & 1:30am, each one with a different reason every time but eventually they all went back in the tent & fell asleep.

And were up at 6:10am.

I like the backyard camping kind of sleepover.

No one in the house to keep me awake.

They are out in the yard having a safe but oooohh its in the dark, scary adventure.

I get to make smores

Everyone wins.

This is going to be more of a feature next summer I think, now that we know they can stay out there ‘unsupervised’ as it were.

***disclaimer, we did not have tequila shots Saturday night. But they do have them when camping because they can’t make frozen margaritas out in the woods.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekly Winners

Only a few this week.

Legos, actually IN their storage bin


Havoc with the Legos


Playing on the whirly gig


Fruit salad for lunch


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Talking points

I can’t think of anything that would fill a whole blog post so I am working with bullet points today

  • Its freakin hot AGAIN! It had cooled down there for a week or so but it’s back to hovering around 100
  • I won a contest at Lizzie Made! I won a spot in shimelle’s Love Your Pictures Love Your Pages class. It ran in July but shimelle keeps all the materials available online for you to work through at your own pace.This’ll by my 4th class with her. I’ve also taken Blogging for Scrapbookers, Learn Something New and of course Journal Your Christmas
  • Note to self – if you think you smell green peppers when you pick up carryout pizza – CHECK THE PIZZA. Take 5 seconds, pull over, whatever, open the box & look because discovering that there are SURPRISE! GREEN PEPPERS! on your pizza at home, 20 minutes later is a real bummer. So’s the drive back into town to get the right pizza. Green peppers are a lingering scent in pizza stores, but not THAT lingering. Green peppers & pineapple… I’d’ve kept the pizza but no one would eat that combo
  • The new improved insult currently in use in our house is ‘sweaty caveman’ and I must admit I kind of like it. “Stop being a sweaty caveman Mayhem”. “You are SUCH a sweaty caveman”. I may start using it myself. Who is going to be insulted by it? Those guys at Geico?
  • You know what is a really liberating milestone? When your kids can buckle & unbuckle themselves at the appropriate times from their car seats. OMG! Life suddenly got ever so much easier when I no longer had to buckle people.
  • I’m sending my Kindle back to Amazon tomorrow to exchange for the wifi version. It doesn't ship until Aug 27th though so I have to swing by the library after the UPS store to pick up some things to read until then
  • Speaking of things to read. I know I mentioned that I was reading some books in a series & I really didn’t like them. The Hannah Swenson mysteries. Yeah. I’m still reading them. Still don’t like them. But they have cookie recipes in them & every time I read one I end up thinking “I need to make cookies” instead of “well, that really sucked” But they do annoy the daylights out of me.
  • Did you know that a home equity line counts as a revolving credit on your credit score? I didn’t. Apparently because we owe $40,000 on it it dings us on our credit score for ‘high revolving debt’ even though we have never ever made a late payment. I thought it fell under ‘mortgage’ but I suppose since we can actually take up to $55,000 out whenever we feel like it, it is sort of like a credit card.
  • Much much better interest though.
  • Sometimes I really really hate the things I have to know as an adult

Any bullet points going on in your life lately?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Letter to my Mortgage Company

To you desperate people in the refi and home equity department:

Please share notes about customers. Please read the customer history. It will save us both endless amounts of time, money and the lives of several trees in bulk mailings, if you would just do a little looking around before contacting me.

I realize it drives you home equity people nuts when you see that, according to your records, I have over $80,000 in equity in my house. That's equity I could be paying you interest on!

And I have the audacity not to have contacted you asking to have my debt load increased!

You feel you are doing me a favor by contacting me and telling me all about how I could borrow against that equity and pay off high interest credit cards or remodel the house or pay for the kids college. 

There are a couple of problems with this pitch. Please, make note of them in your customer database.

First, those high interest credit cards of mine that you are so worried about? There is one, and it would cost me more in fees to you to get the loan than I actually owe to the card itself.

Second, remodeling my house would be a SERIOUS undertaking requiring more than the equity you believe I have.

Third, my kids are in grade school. College loans are a bit premature & we’d just blow them on unnecessary electronics, dental care and power tools well before they were needed.

Last and most important, what you don't know is that I already have a home equity loan.

With another company.

I actually only have about $30,000 in equity and no, I have no interest in cashing it out. You really ought to talk to the refi department. They seem to have more information on me than you do.

I also know that I am driving you refi people nuts because I have a $50,000 home equity loan with another company and you desperately want me to be paying that interest to you. (Why do you know about that loan and your home equity department does not?) But the thing is I have a great low rate with you all (Why don't you know that? You should know that. You are my mortgage company after all.) and a great rate with the other company (I've told you that on more than one occasion), so refinancing my mortgage to include the HELOC at a higher rate makes no sense. Please make note of that in your database.

Do you really think people are going to take on tens of thousands of additional debt in this economy? The government may be bailing you out of your fiscal irresponsibility, but no one is going to come rushing to pay off my debts if I overextend myself.

I realize you don't make notes so you both keep calling and calling and sending mailer after mailer, promising fast turn around, low fees, great rates but the thing you all are not understanding and should be able to see in your database record for my account history is:



You never have and you never will. Despite the fact that I have paid 152 out of 157 mortgage payments to you, on time 100% of the time, you will not give me a loan. Those 5 payments were made to 3 other companies who would. You have bought my mortgage, on 3 separate occasions, as part of package deal from those companies. You did give me a no cash out refi once, that got me the great low rate I have. But you will never ever give me cash, not even to roll in closing costs.

This is why

back 009

That is my house.

My earth bermed, sod roofed house.

It gives your underwriters fits that the company holds the mortgage in the first place and sends them into paroxysms of horror at the very thought they might lend me MORE money against it.

It's unusual, they think it is hard to value (trust me the county tax assessor has no problems with that), there are no comparable properties in a 50 mile radius (That have been appraised in the past 18 months. There are comparable properties but we unusual home owners don't sell very often and since refi-ing is a PITA we don't do that much either.) It is, to your underwriters, practically unresellable and entirely too risky (unlike those sub prime interest only loans to unqualified borrowers, oh but hey, they were buying normal homes, so that makes it ok I guess).

Since you won't stop calling or mailing me, please put this photo in my file. Attach a .jpg to my database entry. Make sure it pops up immediately after my number is dialed in the system so everyone can see what they are dealing with before any of us waste our time in fruitless 'cash out' conversations.

Better yet, save a few trees, and yourself a few bucks and just stop mailing me and calling me. You are not going to lend me any money and even if you were- I don't want it.


The no cash out homeowner