Category Archives for "Household"

Weekend regurgitation: I don’t care what they say, Anderson Cooper can fix my plumbing anytime

After almost a week of not being able to do laundry, my new washer and dryer arrived yesterday. I plan to spend today getting to know them and being mesmerized by all of their shiny buttons, maybe even driving myself into a semi-delusional state for a day or two. That way, when the kids wake up on Tuesday morning and complain that they have nothing clean to wear to school, I can simply respond THE SHINY BUTTONS SAY WEAR SOME CURTAINS. THE SHINY BUTTONS ARE GOING BACK TO BED.

I leave you with the post I wrote a couple of years ago about issues we had with our refrigerator. And now I shall throw salt over my shoulder and knock on all sorts of wood, lest our home soon become a hospice for all major appliances.

And before I get the comments about my man Anderson Cooper, let me just say that even if I received incontrovertible evidence of the rumors before I finished typing this sentence, I don’t care. In case you can’t tell, I happen to like my delusional states of mind. They make living in denial so much more enjoyable.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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Can’t Anderson Cooper moonlight as my Frigidaire repairman?

(originally published January 19, 2009)

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The refrigerator repair man just left. He was as nice as can be and appropriately dressed and never even bent over, thus there was no need on my part to worry about potential “coin slot” sightings. The gallon of eye bleach I had on hand turned out to be unnecessary.

And thanks to him, we can now get ice out of our ice dispenser without fear of losing an eye from a rogue ice cube that comes whipping out of the damn thing at the speed of light.

Our Frigidaire fridge is not even two years old yet and as of a week ago, it had behaved itself but because Nate and I knew all too well that, much like children on the brink of adolescence, it’s only a matter of time before an appliance gets a burr up it ass and shouts NO, I DON’T WANT TO. MAKE ME, we purchased an extended warranty on it. We did this with all of our appliances when we remodeled our kitchen, figuring that if we were going to pay an arm and leg for them, we might as well throw in a couple of toes to ensure that the appliances did what we paid for them to do.

So, when our refrigerator water dispenser lever broke off, Nate made a big production of collecting all of the warranty paperwork and spreading it neatly, at right angles and with terrific symmetry, on the counter right next to the phone, which is his passive aggressive way of telling me that it’s my duty to call the warranty company, since he exerted so much effort in making it as convenient as possible. And when I asked him why he couldn’t make the call himself because last I knew, he had fingers and a larynx, he told me that I was so much better at these things.

I looked down at my stomach and lo and behold, there was no umbilical cord attached to it. Then I realized that it wasn’t yesterday. After almost ten years of marriage, I was on to Nate immediately. When he tells me that I’m so much better at something than he, what he really means is that he’s going to Dinosaur Barbecue for lunch with some vendors and can’t be bothered with something as mundane as a broken whatever unless the broken whatever physically prevents him from going to Dinosaur Barbecue with vendors.

I want vendors. With big, fat expense accounts. You know what … I’ll just take the big, fat expense account and to hell with the middle man.

No one is treating me to Dinosaur Barbecue and let me tell you, slapping some Sensuous Slathering Sauce on my meat and beating it myself doesn’t even come close to the same thing.

And now I’ll just sit back and watch how many weirdos visit my site because it came up in a Google search for PORN IS US.

I called the extended warranty company and informed them of our situation and the woman on the other end of the line informed me that the broken lever constituted physical damage and physical damage was not covered under our warranty so sure, they’d be happy to fix my lever to the tune of $200 and thank you very much.

And I replied that we paid for the extended service plan for this very reason and I want what we paid for and I had no intention of paying $200 to get the lever fixed unless Anderson Cooper came over to fix it in person and cooked me dinner afterward.

And she put me on hold and came back and told me that she doesn’t know any Anderson Cooper and the broken lever constituted physical damage and physical damage was not covered under our warranty so sure, they’d be happy to fix my lever to the tune of $200 and thank you very much.

And I replied that who the hell doesn’t know Anderson Cooper and that the lever had been pushed a minimum of one trillion times in the past two years which undoubtedly resulted in it breaking off which, by definition, constituted wear and tear.

She wasn’t impressed.

Please. I can’t take anyone who doesn’t know Anderson Cooper seriously.

The bell rang and we came out of our corners and went a couple of rounds and I tried in vain to explain the difference between physical damage and wear and tear.

Wear and tear is bearing witness to my kids’ perpetual smackdown starting on January 1, complete with a running soundtrack of STOP IT, DON’T TOUCH ME, DON’T EVEN LOOK AT ME, YOU’RE A BRAT, STAY OUT OF MY ROOM, GET LOST in surround sound, causing my eyes to roll back into my head an average of thirteen times a day, which then jams my stressed-out brain against my skull at least once a week, causing the vein in my forehead to pulse grotesquely 24/7, culminating with my head exploding all over the couch on New Year’s Eve.

Physical damage is my kids using my ears as walkie talkies at 10:00 a.m., so that they can shriek STOP IT, DON’T TOUCH ME, DON’T EVEN LOOK AT ME, YOU’RE A BRAT, STAY OUT OF MY ROOM, GET LOST at each other at decibel level 322, resulting in a massive brain aneurysm and my head exploding all over the couch at 10:02 a.m.

See the difference?

She didn’t.

And either did her supervisor.

Luckily, his supervisor did. That may have had something to do with all the yelling and shouting and general FOR GOD’S SAKE, THIS IS WHAT I GAVE MY TOES FOR? IS YOUR MOTHER PROUD OF YOU? PUT HER ON THE PHONE, I WANT TO TELL HER WHAT KIND OF AN ASSHAT YOU TURNED OUT TO BE spewing out of my mouth.

Not really!

But kind of.

My kids were horrified that I yelled at someone other than themselves. Or maybe that was relief I saw plastered all over their bugged out eyes and slack jawed mouths? When they come to, I’ll ask them.

The repair company received a call from the warranty company and thereafter called me in awe, wanting to know how in the world I had managed to get the warranty company to pay for this particular repair when claims by many others had been rejected?

And I told them that all it takes is a little persuasion. Persuasion can come in all different forms, from a simple “please” to a “maybe I should speak to my lawyer” all the way up to a flowchart detailing the exact method by which someone could shit their lung through a second asshole, if one were to become immediately available.

Not that I threatened anything remotely like that.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th … 5th? That one looks nifty. I’ll take it. Thank you.

I’m not, by nature, a confrontational person. I try to avoid stuff that makes my intestines bunch up, things like conflict and tarantulas and Gorgonzola cheese.

God, I miss Gorgonzola cheese.

It’s just that I’m so sick to death of shoddy craftsmanship and dirt poor customer service.

If I wanted crap, I would have paid for crap. I have no problem paying for crap, provided #1) I know it’s crap up front; and #2) I’m strung out on meth.

Otherwise, money’s tight so if I’m going to hand it over to someone, I had better get something worthwhile in return and it better not have a smidgen of crap in it, on it or around it. Otherwise, I’m not bending over and grabbing my ankles for anyone because I’ll need both hands to call everyone and their mother, giving all of them a piece of my mind until I’m fresh out. Of my mind, that is.

Had Nate made this call, we’d be $200 poorer right now and I’d be pitching a hissy in our living room. And he knows it. Which is the real reason he lines up forms so symmetrically on the kitchen counter for me.

Well, that and Big Ass Pork Plates.

Do you embrace confrontation? Or do you run screaming in the opposite direction?

Do you think Anderson Cooper even owns a tool belt?

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We bought a new washer and dryer and that’s why my boobs are crooked

At precisely 3:00 p.m., this past Sunday, our dryer decided to audition for every single role in the Broadway show Stomp. Simultaneously. In surround sound. After three minutes, it developed sudden onset narcolepsy and still hasn’t woken up.

By 3:15 p.m., we were at Lowes, looking at dryers that had no musical aspirations or sleep disorders. Then we looked at washers as well because our own had begun exhibiting signs of multiple personality disorder in that sometimes it was a washing machine and sometimes it was a ginormous, toothless mouth that treated a load of laundry like a jawbreaker, rolling it around and sucking on it long enough to remove its bright colors and all its flavors before spitting out its saliva-saturated carcass.

I affectionately referred to our washer and dryer by such endearments as “DUMB” and “DUMBER” when I was in a good mood and “F&CK” and “YOU” when I wasn’t.

By 3:45 p.m.,, I had discovered that I had lost the ability to read because it turned out that the signs hanging above the washers and dryers which I thought advertised “We’ll call our competitors for their prices while you wait!” actually advertised “NO WE WON’T. BECAUSE WE’RE BIG, FAT LIARS AND YOU ARE LITTLE IMPOTENT CONSUMERS.” I realized this phenomenon after two salesman declined to call another local appliance store for me. I marched over to Nate and asked him whether I should complain, who should I complain to and whether or not we had time for me to pitch a full-on hissy by the Samsung display and still get home by dinner time but he wasn’t listening because he was too busy calling the local appliance store for price comparisons. So in a sense, he was doing their job and not getting paid for it. And believe you me, we could have used that money so that we could throw it right back into Lowes’ collective face to pay for F&CK and YOU’s replacements.

I would have asked Nate to stop the slave labor gig long enough to witness the spectacle I was about to make of myself but he shoved the phone into my hand because he’s allergic to conversation with faceless strangers and then I was too busy asking the local appliance store rep for price comparisons because it turns out that it’s surprisingly easy to do other peoples’ jobs and not get paid for it, especially when you’re distracted by things like steam options, RPMs and inconspicuously feeling yourself up underneath your coat to determine if your bra had somehow unhinged itself or maybe you completely forgot to put one on before rushing out the door to cure your narcoleptic dryer and do other peoples’ jobs without getting paid for it. By the time I got off the phone, my boobs were askew and I had forgotten all about the hissy because it’s really hard to concentrate on anything when your mammary glands are flying willy nilly.

Way to ruin what might have been a spectacular and justified hissy, Nate. Or my bra. Whichever. Apparently, neither one of them realize how rare a spectacular and justified hissy is to come by these days.

By 4:00 p.m., I had arrived at that prime piece of mental real estate located at the corner of Analyze and Paralyze and for those of you who want to accomplish a similar feat in record time, I suggest you do the following:

  • Ask the opinions and expertise of three different salesmen, one of whom was on his way to dinner and simply thought you were going to ask him directions to the ladies room. It’s not your fault he’s a newbie;
  • Ask another local appliance store for their opinions on Whirlpool vs. Maytag, top loading vs. front loading, the odds of a bra unhinging itself and the pros and cons of pitching stellar and justified hissies in the middle of large home improvement stores with your husband who could not care less;
  • Ask your husband to make the final decision so that if/when the new appliances break two days after their warranties expire, you can assess blame accordingly;
  • Worry about asymmetric cleavage.

By 4:30 p.m., I knew everything I ever wanted to know about front load washers and dryers, to wit:

  • They are expensive;
  • They are energy efficient;
  • They are freaking expensive;
  • They are shiny and kind of sexy;
  • They are expensive because they’re energy efficient, shiny and kind of sexy;
  • They have almost as many buttons as the space shuttle;
  • They cost $WHATTHEHELLARETHEYSMOKINGANDCANIHAVESOME?

You’d think I’d be ecstatically happy to have a new washer and dryer and if we had won the mega millions last week like I told Nate to make sure we did, I’d be jumping for joy but as it turned out, some old couple won the mega millions and will probably buy new outfits and underwear every day for the rest of their lives and won’t even need a front loading washer or dryer and I suppose I can take heart in the fact that they’re pretty old and probably won’t live much longer so they won’t end up buying *that* many outfits but honestly, that makes me sound like a heartless bitch when in reality, I’m simply just jealous and bitter.

So when it comes to getting a spankin’ brand new, shiny, sexified washer and dryer, I’m not so much ecstatically happy as I am CLOTHES ARE OVERRATED. LET’S MOVE TO A NUDIST COLONY WHERE EVERYONE IS BLIND.

These Whirlpool Duets are going to be delivered this Saturday. I’m going to call them “Zoe’s first year of college” and “Helena’s braces” when I’m in a good mood and HOLY GODDAMN SHITBALLS, YOU BETTER LAST TWENTY YEARS and HOLY GODDAMN SHITBALLS, I FREAKING MEAN IT when I’m not.

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No regurgitation today. Instead, just say NO to skull fractures in ugly ass houses!

As a blogger, my inbox is routinely inundated with emails me asking me to use my blog to (1) buy something; (2) promote something; (3) give away something; or (4) find out why the hell my brother hasn’t gotten married yet for shit’s sake, what in God’s name is going on? Is he trying to kill me? WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM?

Guess which ones come from my mother?

As for the others, I typically decline a majority of them because … well? To be honest, the offers just don’t interest me and if I’m not interested, I just can’t fake enthusiasm. This applies to all offers of roach spray, dehydrated fruit and sex at 3:30 a.m.

Guess which ones come from my husband?

An email that has a better chance of grabbing my attention is a request for promotion by a small business. I used to own one of those myself and I know first hand how hard it is to get your product “out there” without forking over at least one arm and one leg and leaving yourself all lopsided. It’s really hard to promote your business when everyone thinks you’re a drunk because you’re constantly tipping over.

Last week, I received an email from Bill Maguire, owner of Jamboo Creations, a small company in the business of child proofing homes without implementing the Butt Ugly theory of design. And I figured, hey … helping a small mom and pop business, promoting style and curbing blunt force trauma to little human beings’ heads? All at the same time? Sign me up! Because if this doesn’t get Anderson Cooper to sleep with me, nothing will.

Jamboo Creations is the maker of HearthSoft™ which is exactly what it sounds like … a soft cover for your hearth. I remember sixteen years ago when my eldest was a baby, I gave my OCD tendencies free reign to childproof every single room in our house and I spent many an afternoon duct taping pillows and couch cushions and rolls of toilet paper and the like to anything in our house that had corners. And Dave, my husband at the time, was all “Ummm, where is our mattress?” and I was all “It’s stuck to the fireplace.” And he was all “Where am I supposed to sleep?” And I was all “On the floor. Safe and sound in the knowledge that our baby will not bleed out from a gaping head wound. YOU’RE WELCOME.”

Jamboo Creations is offering a 10% discount to my readers – simply enter the code CJ10 when you purchase online. You can read about how Gina and Bill came up with the name Jamboo Creations here. And to those of you about to hit “send” on an email addressed to me, asking me to promote a 2 for 1 sale on coyote urine: calling your child by the name of one of the characters from the movie Monsters Inc., like Boo or Sulley or even Fungus or Bile, makes your email float directly to the top of my inbox for the coolness factor alone. Just a heads up.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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Mod Podge isn’t just for gluing mammary glands together, you know

The problem with having a creative burst is that it’s just, well, that … a burst. A brief respite from the daily grind, coupled with momentary surges of inspiration and imagination that build up into something monumental in your brain but, for whatever reason, are not translated into reality. They’re temporary and fleeting, lasting only until such time as the entire process *bursts* and then deflates because it’s no longer fun and has become something approximating work with a capital UGH.

Then you either wind up with painted but unadorned walls for months or a husband who complains ARE WE EVER GOING TO HAVE SEX AGAIN, depending on what your creative burst was all about in the first place.

A couple of months ago, I had a creative burst for Helena’s recently painted bedroom and by recently, I mean sometime back in January. The term “recently” is relative, just like the phrase “in a minute, honey” which really means “whenever the hell I get around to it, I don’t care what the big hand and little hand say.”

This past week I finally managed to bring my creative vision into fruition:

This is now the only wall decor hanging in Helena’s bedroom but it’s huge and made up of six separate pieces so really, it’s like having a whole bunch of art stuffed in the room, albeit in one spot. And bonus! If you stare at it long enough, you don’t even notice the floor, desk and bookcase decor which is best described as Dirty Laundry Art Deco.

This is what you’ll need to use if you ever find yourself suffering from a similar creative burst:

  1. Letters. I used large and extra large paper mâché letters from Jo-Anns. That aisle is, by far, my favorite of Jo-Anns as it never fails to get the creative juices gushing around my brain. If it were up to me, I’d have Roget himself come over and throw up his synonyms all over my walls but I’m married to a man who seeks therapy whenever we veer from the beige paint strips at Sherwin Williams so I have to confine such innovative thinking to the lesser viewed, non-common areas of the house. Currently, I’m waiting for Jo-Anns to restock their “S” because otherwise, when my kids walk into the vestibule from the garage and come face to face with a wall yelling at them in blue and brown paisley to TAKE OFF YOUR _HOES. BECAUSE I _AID _O, they’re bound to ask “Since when do we wear hoes? Who’s O? And why are you helping him?”
  2. Spray paint. I use Krylon because it has an awesome nozzle which is easily engaged and requires only a light touch. No need to walk around for days afterward with my pointer finger up in the air so as to lessen the throbbing waves of pain that come with having to exert bionic force to depress a nozzle. With any other kind of spray paint, I’ll use my middle finger on the nozzle because if I have to walk around with my finger up in the air, I might as well have some fun with it.
  3. Mod Podge. Did I ever tell you the story about how I once glued my boobs together with Mod Podge? I hope I don’t have to clarify that it was by accident? Fine. Consider yourself clarified.
  4. Patterned paper.
  5. Whatever embellishments you want to use. This is a 12×12 scrapbook overlay of black random numbers.
  6. Sealer. I used Painter’s Touch because it’s what I had on hand at the time but since very little is required, I did not have to walk around flipping anyone the bird for three days afterward.

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And this is what you will do with all this stuff:

First, spray the front and sides of all the letters with black spray paint. It took three coats to get the kind of coverage I wanted. Make sure you do this outside in a well ventilated area and only after you’ve gone grocery shopping. Why? Because when you almost asphyxiate yourself on the fumes, the only response you’re going to get when you stumble into your kitchen and choke out a barely discernible “I can’t breathe” is most likely going to be “Chicken again for dinner? Can’t you make lasagna? Mom? Why are you sleeping on the floor? Can I go to Katie’s tonight instead? Mom?”

Then trace out the letters onto the patterned paper. The easiest way to do this is to the lay your patterned paper upside down on your table and then lay the letter upside down on top of it.

Lay? Lie? OH MY GOD, WHICH ONE IS IT?

Trace around the letter and then cut out your pattern using sharp scissors, but only after screaming at the top of your lungs FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, WHERE THE HELL ARE MY SCISSORS? CAN I JUST HAVE ONE THING IN THIS HOUSE TO CALL MY OWN? BESIDES THE WASHER AND DRYER?

Then Mod Podge the paper onto the letter. Of course, I don’t have a photo of that step because no way was I going to have my brand new Nikon D90 anywhere near Mod Podge. Let’s review, shall we? Did I ever tell you the story about how I once Mod Podged my boobs together? Exactly.

When it comes to Mod Podge, you need a light hand and you need to work quickly. Using a sponge brush, lightly cover the back of the paper as well as the front of the letter you are adhering it to. Do not slop the stuff all over the place. Mod Podge has a tendency to migrate to places unknown. Remember … UNIBOOB. Quickly position the paper on top of the letter and press down and out to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles. I use a credit card for this. Just make sure it’s a canceled one lest your husband grabs it, hops on line and buys up the earth on eBay, hollering defensively WELL, THEN? WHY’D YOU GLUE THE MASTERCARD TO MY HAND?

Then, using a light hand, apply two or three thin coats of Mod Podge on top of the letters, allowing the coats to dry in between. This will give the letters a nice matte finish. Remember … a light hand. UNIBOOB TO THE TENTH POWER.

For the “A” I painted the front of it white and then, using the same steps as above, simply Mod Podged sections of the numbered overlay to fit on its surface. I say “simply” because it sounds a lot better than saying “Son of a bitch. Shit. Dammit. Shit on a stick, why won’t this work? It’s too long here. It’s too short there. Why can’t I get the “6” where I want it? Hey! Who the hell took the 8? YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.”

When you are all done Mod Podging and have determined that no part of your anatomy is glued any other part of your anatomy, go ahead and seal your letters. All this means is that you spray them with at least two light coats of the sealer in a well ventilated area. As with the spray paint, it’s a good idea to make sure your pantry is stocked beforehand.

And there you have it!

See? You can’t even tell where I went all Smoky Robinson on it and stained it with the tracks of my tears, can you? It’s a miracle!

Get it?

Nevermind.

I kept the “L” just plain black because I felt the whole piece needed a bit of simplicity in the middle to “ground” it.

Actually, I just didn’t feel like being crafty anymore. But that doesn’t make me sound as smart.

The “H” was done exactly the same way as the “A” except I used circles cut out of black cardstock and a whole lot less profanity.

Oh, and you can see that the top of the “E” bears the scar from where I ripped the price tag off of it before I painted it. I am rather proud of myself for conquering my OCD and anal-retentive tendencies by not spending 4.5 hours sanding the utter crap out of it. Go me!

Yes, this photo sucks because I still don’t know what settings to use on my Nikon D90 when I’m shooting indoors in this kind of light but you get the idea, right?

Now, I’m just waiting for a few more bursts of creativity to hit me so that Helena can get some decorative throw pillows for her bed, stuff for her three remaining naked walls and some cornice boards for her windows. And then, because I’m pretty much over my quota of crafty cussing for the year, we need a big honkin’ burst to hit Nate square in the head so that he can build her a new black bed.

But first we have to catch him and get him to hold still to make him a better target so if anyone wants to help me chase Nate around the yard for a few months, Helena and her room would greatly appreciate it.

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