Tag Archives: DIY

Wild Life

I am a pretty careful soul.  I always wear a seatbelt. I use sunscreen.  I don’t put my phone down on the table where there are toddlers drinking beverages.  I wouldn’t say that I am always looking for the potential disaster in a situation but I am not trying to tempt fate.

All of that is not to say that I do not ever live dangerously.  Two days ago I was in a hurry.  I had been to IKEA and it is a billion hours away and I got home and needed to fix dinner and get the kids into bed but I needed to hem the curtains that I had purchased.  Now.  I need to hem that RIGHT NOW.  I also needed an enormous glass of red wine.  Because I had been to IKEA.  With my children.

As I was ironing my new white curtains that were purchased a billion hours from my home and slugging back red wine I thought “I need to do this more often.”  Not iron curtains for damn sure and actually not drink red wine, either.  (January and February are routinely the months of drying out in out house.) I needed to throw caution to the wind.  I needed to live dangerously.  Take a risk.


You might think that drinking red wine while you iron your white curtains is just stupid.  But in that moment it made me feel alive.  Not reckless, just alive.  I set down the glass next to the iron and thought “I just need to believe in myself, man.  Don’t picture the red wine all over the curtains. Just don’t.  Imagine that your curtains will be finished before the kids go to bed, they will be perfectly hemmed and you will be on your second glass of wine in practically no time.”

I believed in myself, guys.


We think about New Year’s resolutions and it can seem daunting. We picture these huge life changes and enormous challenges.  Life doesn’t have to be BIG to be great.  Small changes, moment to moment, that is where the good stuff is.  Believe in yourself. Drink red wine while you iron your curtains. Go to the park instead of the grocery store in the afternoon and believe that you will find something to make a meal from in your refrigerator when you get home.  Wear red lipstick.  Tell that waitress at the diner she has beautiful eyes.  Live dangerously, whatever that looks like to you.  You’ll be glad you did.

Happy New Year, guys.  May you and your family find peace and love in 2015.

A Not So Very Big Deal Kind of Day

“I just realized I should have called you before I did this… but I gave away our crib today,” I said, as soon as he answered the phone.

“Just get a picture before you take it apart,” he said.20130701-143311.jpgIt wasn’t all the way apart.  And to be honest, this is as “in the crib” as Lucy ever got in the last two years.  So, it was kind of a non-event.

I took apart the crib and gave it away.

That sounds like a Big Deal, like a milestone.  “Awww, hold old is your baby? Is she moving in to a toddler bed?”

The “baby” is not even 18 months old but it doesn’t make any sense to keep stuffed animals in a gigantic cage.  In fact, I am not even really sure why we had so many damn stuffed animals and I gave away a trash bag of those today, too.

She isn’t moving in to a toddler bed.  In fact, when she moves out of our bed and in to her own it will be a step down.  She will be moving from a King to a Queen.  Poor kid.20130701-143303.jpg

I briefly considered looking at bedding online.  But it is hard to find whimsical kid bedding in a Queen size.  I spent a year and a half wedged in a twin bed with Emily when she “moved in to her own bed” and I am not making that mistake again. So, a Queen size bed it is for this kid.

And really, by the time she moves in to her own room she probably won’t want a whimsical kid room, anyway, right? I should probably get some kind of side table so she has a place for her cup of coffee, huh? I’m guessing she will be reading and drinking coffee by the time she moves out of our room.  She has a comfortable chair; she just needs a table.  Kid will be Virginia Woolf’ing it up by her 17th birthday, max.  But I am ready.

In the meantime, we are booking the Guest Room for the remainder of the summer season.


Day Three: Keep, Trash, Donate

Today’s episode of Keep Trash Donate is not sponsored by my ass. I will give you a moment to be sad.

I thought I’d move on to another part of me that gets no attention. Well, they get a lot of attention but mostly from my nine month old. Lucy is getting teeth this week which means I have a boob out about 20 hours a day. Oddly a single boob is even less than 50% as sexy as a pair of boobs. I will leave that to the mathematicians among us to figure out.

Donate – I am getting rid of a terribly cute dress. It’s purple. And purple is cute. It is a “nursing dress” which means it has two secret mysterious spots to stick a boob out. And it is designed to hide the extra chub one is likely to be carrying after having a baby. I wore it the day I went to have my colposcopy after Lucy was born. (How dare I bring up women’s health issues during Movember?! Jeez, can’t men have just one month!?) Staring in to my closet this morning I realized I haven’t worn it since that day. That was almost eight months ago. I get my boobs out about ten times a day. 10 times 30 days times almost 8 months? 2400 times I have pulled a boob out and that dress didn’t scream “Wear me!” from my closet so it is outta here.

Trash – In to the trash will go a t-shirt I have had since Emily was six weeks old. It’s a pretty spectacular t-shirt really. It has the whole I am one shirt masquerading as two t-shirts thing going on. I enjoy that. A lifetime ago I was a skinny mini and could have appeared in public in nine layered shirts. A couple of kids and a whole lot of pints of ice cream later, not so much. Now I walk that fine line of searching for the ideal coverage. Not skin tight, because nobody needs to see that, but not so loose that it looks like I am hiding something far worse even than reality. Consequently the I am really one shirt but I look like two shirtst-shirt is a great choice. Even better this t-shirt is another item in my nursing clothes repertoire. You can lift up the top layer and pull a boob out of the gigantic underneath arm holes. Gelatinous stomach is covered, boob is exposed. Win win.

So, why am I throwing it out? I was carrying Lucy when I smelled it. Poop. I pulled it off, sprayed a little laundry schmutz on it and I went to throw it in the washing machine when I saw another tan-ish stain on the arm. It had been on there for years. About seven years, actually. This shirt has always had a tan stain on the forearm. I just ignored it. It was a comfy shirt, nursing mom or not. In that moment I knew I had been wearing a shirt with a shit stain on it for seven years. I don’t actually know that tan stain was shit. But I feel it in my bones. I am not ever gonna wear that shirt again. Trash. Day three.

Keep? I don’t mind if I do. I donated a nursing friendly dress. I trashed a nursing t-shirt. What am I keeping? Is it a nursing friendly tank top or a fun sweater that buttons up the front? Nope. Is that because I don’t plan to nurse Lucy as long as I nursed Em? Nope. I just don’t plan to wear nursing dresses and t-shirts for the next four years so I will be keeping these shoes. They are gorgeous. Most recently they were the crown jewel in my Halloween costume. 1983’s A Christmas Story. The Leg Lamp. “Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”

Day three. Keep Trash Donate. Some day I will be standing just over six feet and two inches tall at a cocktail party and my kids will be at home with a babysitter. I will be making wonderfully amusing small talk in a beautiful pair of heels. I will not be wearing a purple nursing dress shaped like a tent or a t-shirt with shit on the sleeve. Or a lampshade.

Mark my words.


November means a few different things in the blogosphere.  It’s kind of hard to figure out which way to go.

There’s Movember. I could campaign all month to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.  This is an issue close to my heart.  I could spend the month writing about my father.  Every little girl loves her dad and I am no different.  My dad is a prostate cancer survivor.  And moustaches? I am pretty lucky.  One of my favorite people is a proud wearer of the moustache.  I could write about my dad, post funny pictures of Q and his ‘stache. The posts almost write themselves, right?

I could spend November being grateful. Quite a few of my friends on the Book of Face post a new status every day leading up to Thanksgiving. I’ve got more than 30 things to be thankful for surely.  Shit, in the last month I can zip up almost 30 pairs of jeans that have been in my closet for the last two years without seeing the light of day (what up, p90x! Hollah atch’er girl!) There might be a few other slightly less trivial things I am grateful for.

But what about NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month. A movement that began in 1999 in San Francisco – a month long effort to produce a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. For several years I have been tempted to give it a go.  Creative fiction writing terrifies me.  I am way too chicken shit to start it unless it is on a dare and NaNoWriMo is a good enough reason to give it a go, right?

If NaNoWriMo is too daunting there is always NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month. The first NaBloPoMo was in 2006.  Currently NaBloPoMo is sponsored by BlogHer.  Surely I can commit to a post a day, right?

I’ve had a pretty good run this last week or so in the Blog Universe and I have lucked in to a handful of new readers.  It has resulted in my feeling a wee bit of stage fright.  I want desperately to deliver the funny, the poignant, the truth.  And I am coming up with a fat lot of nothing.    Maybe this is the kick in the ass I need?

It’s November 1st today, guys. Today.  I kinda need to make up my mind. Em gets off the bus in three hours and Lucy is currently asleep in my lap.  My Get Shit Done on the Laptop while Lucy Sleeps time will be over in less than an hour.  And my String Together a Complete Sentence in My Mind time is over the moment Em gets off the bus in a Post Halloween Candy Coma, a coma that can only be cured by more candy.

Speaking of those 30 pairs of jeans… I should probably clean out my closets.  Did you just feel the A-ha moment?! I just had one.

November.  Here’s the plan. You are familiar with the game Screw Marry Kill, I hope.  A list of three people.  You have to pick one to screw, one to marry and one to kill.  It’s a mindebendingly important game among teenage girls and people with nothing better to talk about.  Andy Cohen brought it back to me on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live (by the way if you don’t watch WWHL you must have really important things to do while you fold your laundry. Click the link above to see Meryl Streep play Screw Marry Kill!)

I won’t be playing Screw Marry Kill all month while hitting you up for Movember donations (although that is a spectacularly clever idea.)  Instead I will put a link to Movember in my sidebar and nag you on occasion!

I will be writing every day this month and participating in NaBloPoMo.  Instead of Screw Marry Kill I wil be playing a game of Keep Trash Donate in an effort to clean out my closets, give a little in the form of donations to my local thrift store and remind myself that there is more to be grateful for in this life than Stuff.

All month. 30 days.  Something I will Keep, something I will Donate and something I will Trash.  The only rules – it can’t be something that belongs to the kids or to MQD. I get cleaner closets and less clutter, you get a peek at what matters to me.

I will start with those jeans in my closet.  Stay tuned for gratuitous ass pictures.

Patience, I’mma get me some.

Home Depot in our pajamas at 8:45 this morning.

Said woman take it slow, It’ll work itself out fine.  All we need is just a little patience. Said sugar make it slow and we’ll come together fine. All we need is just a little patience. 

I try not to take a lot of Life advice from Axl Rose.  But I could seriously stand to get a little patience.   I don’t have a lot of that. But then again I’m not terribly virtuous by plenty  of people’s standards either.

I have a laundry list of faults  and my lack of patience is to blame for most of them.  My inability to stay with a long term plan, my need to just keep talking… these things all stem from my lack of patience.

In an effort to showcase my growth as a human being I thought I’d share a picture or two of my half finished bathroom. Half finished?  WHAT?! How can I possibly be sitting in front of my computer if I have a half finished project?! The delightful Karen’s husband, Zeke, said “Better to be done right than to be done right now” and since I am neither related nor married to Zeke I did not want to punch him in the face.  I just had to admit that he was right.  

Sigh.  This weekend’s fiasco that resulted in my teary tantrum was largely due to the fact that I just couldn’t stand to let some glue dry.  For 24 hours.  24 hours is a long time in DIY world.  I wanna be done.  One afternoon.  Finished.

Sigh.  I picked off my molding.  I chucked it.  At 55 cents a foot I decided I was starting over.  New wood,  new paint,  new glue, new attitude.

Without further ado…. my freshly painted bathroom and the bathroom mirror frame that will be finished sometime tomorrow come hell or high water.

I hate my light fixture.  A project for another day.

I am practicing having patience after all.


My Big Girl

She was in tears. Standing on the steps looking down at me. Lucy was asleep on my lap. Nothing hurts my heart more than when Em needs me and Lucy is asleep in my lap.

“Baby, what’s wrong??”

Big fat years rolled down her face. “I know I said I wanted my room to be pink and green but… But….” She chokes on her tears. “I just don’t think that pink is my personality. I’m just….” A pregnant pause. She is my kid and the pregnant pause can add so much drama… “Not a total girlie girl.”

She sits down next to me and tries to pull it together. “I like blue. It is my favorite color because blue is the color of my eyes and the ocean and I was born at the beach…” and off she went. I let her think she had to really work hard to convince me that we were not going to be painting her room hot pink.

“I think I am a tomboy. And maybe also a girlie girl. I can be both, you know.”

In the end she was thrilled with her room. She spent a long time getting things organized. This morning when I saw this in her jewelry box it made me smile. If you can be a tomboy and a girlie girl surely you can be a hippie chick and a ballerina, right?

Wet and Wild

This morning was awfully exciting. Awfully. Exciting. “I think the HVAC is making a sound. Did you hear that?”

“Nope.” I am famous for not hearing things. And alternatively for hearing things that no one else can hear.

MQD pulls on some clothes and goes to take a look.

I got up. “Let’s make Daddy’s lunch, Lucy.” I walked in to the kitchen. I was going to make coffee first. But I didn’t. I have a big glass of water the moment I wake up. This morning I found I’d left my water bottle already filled on the counter last night. I started slugging back the first bottle of water of the day. I ran my hand through my hair and realized I’d not showered yesterday or this morning. I always shower. Every day. Always. Had any one of those things happened I’d have noticed we had no water pressure.

There is a knock at the back door. MQD. He looks like he has been swimming.


Long story short. The sound he heard was not a leaf stuck in our HVAC fan. It was water shooting everywhere in our crawl space. Our hot water heater died last night. And apparently a pipe attached to it burst.

I handed MQD a flashlight and immediately filled the Keurig before he turned the water off. I contemplated racing in to the bathroom to wash my hair but assumed that would make me appear insensitive to the larger problem.

So I made coffee.

And then I made a tank top out of a Jack Kerouac tshirt I have had since 1992.

And MQD called our home warranty company.

And I painted the vanity in our guest bathroom.

And MQD talked to the plumber that fixed our leak.

And I painted the cabinets in the master bathroom.

And MQD talked to the warranty rep and scheduled the delivery and installation of our new water heater.

And I took a freezing cold shower. And we went out for Mexican food. I wore my new shirt.

The moral of the story? Moral number 1 and 1.5: When I feel out of control I get shit done. And when my hair is dirty I wear the overalls I was wearing the day before. And when I wear my overalls I get shit done. Today was a double whammy of getting shit done.

Moral number 2: Get a home warranty. Your new hot water heater will cost you $60 and you will take yourself out for Mexican food.

And now I wait.  And worry.  I really want to paint my cabinets in my kitchen.  Today I got a new hot water heater.  And  I painted four doors and three drawers.  My kitchen has twenty three cabinets and fourteen drawers.  I guess the weekday that my roof caves in I will start painting in the kitchen.

Welcome to the early 90s. Feel the love of the warm oak cabinets. Some day…


Saving the World at the Dollar Store

I painted my living room today and when I posted the pictures someone asked me what I had around my fireplace. My recent love affair with Pinterest had me thinking that maybe I should write a quick post and pin it since it might be the last thing I ever do in my house that did not come directly from a Pin posted by someone else.

As soon as Lucy started rolling over she started rolling towards the brick hearth.  It was as if she was a planet and the bricks were the sun, she’d roll around and around getting closer to the bricks and I would speculate as to when she might actually hit them.

I think Lucy is  likely to roll in to the bricks before any of the planets collide with the sun, certainly before December 21st of this year anyway.  This is good because I don’t think I can do anything about the end of civilization  with four bucks.

How to Baby Proof your Hearth with Four Bucks

  1. Buy four pool noodles at the dollar store.
  2. Cut them to an appropriate length so that you can wrap them around your hearth.  My hearth is short, it is only two pool noodles tall. Incidentally, my heart is exactly the length of one pool noodle plus two noodle pieces. (I should fix that typo, but my heart can also be measured in pool noodles.) I’d suggest piling the noodles around your hearth until you can figure out the way to wrap it with the fewest cuts.
  3. Glue your noodles together with Gorilla Glue.
  4. Tape them together while they dry.
  5. Realize that you could have just taped them in the first place.  Elect to just leave the tape on.
  6. Cover your hearth and your pool noodles with a quilt.

Now you can let your baby roll like a wild child.  Or like the Earth hurtling towards the Sun.  Up to you.

Wonder Woman

For every handful of days that I feel like a turd that needs polishing there is a day like today. An unbelievable, Wonder Woman kind of day.

I hopped out of bed this morning relatively pain free. This was a good start to the day. I ate a bowl of Cheerios. With sugar. Low carb, no sugar day be damned. As of this morning I have lost twenty pounds since May 1. I can do anything. I can do hard things.

A closet, mid summer. Note the lack of winter coats and scarves.

So I cleaned out the hall closet. This week when I pushed my grandmother’s mink coat out of the way to grab my vacuum (that I use daily) I questioned the wisdom of storing a coat I wear once a year in front of an item I use every single day, thankyouverymuchdogthatsheds.  And today I solved that problem. Not an impossibly hard task. But one I had been putting off.

And then I got the fever. I shoved all the furniture in to the center of the living room and started taping. I didn’t have paint yet. But if I got all the taping done I’d have no excuse not to paint, right?

Truth be told it is the taping I hate.  Patience is not my thing.  I like to just dive in.  The prep the whole damn room before you even go and buy the paint plan was perfect. I could not possibly skip a step.
I owe the next few hours of productivity to my big girl.  I could not have done it without her.  Em played with Lucy for three hours straight in the pillow pile they had assembled in the living room. For this, I let her pick the tunes.  This turned out to be a bonus.  I got my living room painted and I may very well have been cured of my freakish and somewhat out of character obsession with Katy Perry.
A clean closet and a painted living room might have been enough for Average Mom to have an above average day. But Wonder Woman? She conned her six year old in to playing with her wee one for an extra half an hour and stuffed some chicken breasts with the leftover filling from last night’s stuffed mushrooms, made some jasmine rice and heated up some frozen carrots (with maple syrup!!) and managed to have dinner ready AND the living room painted when Dad got home.
I’m still sporting the overalls.  I am setting a new goal.  Wonder Woman 2.0 will have a shower, too. I can try again,  I have at least three more rooms to paint this summer.
Join me on Facebook for my before and after painting pictures!

Happy Belated Birthday, Emily June

November 15, 2005

Dear Emily,
Today I put this little poem in a frame for you and I am going to hang it in your room. I started this project when I was pregnant with you. I would sit in the chair in the living room after a long day at work, put my feet up and cross-stitch to keep me busy and keep me from worrying about when you would arrive. As your birthday got closer and closer I cross-stitched feverishly in an effort to get it finished before you were born. As it turned out I was not nearly done when you arrived. This turned out to be a blessing. When you were just about a month old I realized that I could nurse you and cross-stitch right over your tiny, perfect little head. My arm would rest against your itty-bitty little shoulders. We sat for hours while you nursed and slept across my lap.

Working on my project late in to the night, both before you were born and after, I would picture myself as a mom, a real mom. In doing this I couldn’t help but think about my mom, your grandmother. When I was little she was always hard at work on a million projects, never just sat down and relaxed. Even when she sat down she was knitting, quilting, sewing something for one of the kids or for our home. Not until I found myself doing the same thing for you did I really understand.

Loving you is all consuming. I can’t just sit and relax even when you are fast asleep. I want to keep my love for you in action. I could never demonstrate the depth of my emotion for you, never put in to words the way you touch me. Through these projects, the cross-stitch, and the new bed skirt, the Halloween costumes and the fancy party dress I will someday make you will know that even when my day is done I kept my hands at work, loving you every moment. Sweetheart, this is the just first time you have filled my heart with love not just for you but for my mom, too. She taught me how to be a mother and we both owe her a big thank you.

Today I finished my first project for you, Emily. No coincidence, today is your grandmother’s birthday. When we look at this little poem hanging in your room I hope it reminds us both of a few things. For you I hope it reminds you to reach for the stars and dream big, little girl. It’s a big world out there and I will be here to help you. Just like the stars in the sky I will always keep one eye open, watching you grow up, sometimes from a distance that pains me now to imagine. For me this poem hanging on your wall will remind me of my mom. She taught me everything I need to know to be your mother. I just didn’t realize it until you were here in my arms.

I love you, baby. You are my big bright star.
Love, Mom