Operation: Fix This House!

Operation: Fix This House!
Our adventures in fixing up a fixer-upper

Confessions of an Antibride

Confessions of an Antibride
Snarky Commentary on Wedding Planning

Pink Dog Cooks

Pink Dog Cooks
Sort of.


And other Crafting Goodness

No, this house is not abandoned.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The paint on our house was a little worse for wear when we bought it. After three and a half years of rain, neglect, and winds that would make folks in Florida want to call their insurance providers, our house has started to look not unlike a crack house.

MacGyver and I have talked about painting it for awhile. Well, three and a half years, actually. We're good at talking.

But after I came home to my new front yard I started realizing how bad the house really looked. MacGyver mentioned how great it would be if the house could be painted by the time my grandmother visits at the end of the month.

On Saturday, about 2pm, MacGyver said, "what do you want to do today". I said, "let's paint the house!" And he said, "okay!". Actually it didn't go down quite like that, but this version is better so we'll go with this one.

I'm going to regret saying this on here, especially after my little tirade before, but we ended up going to The-Hardware-Store-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named to get paint. For reasons I shall also not go into here. And in defense of that particular store, it was an uneventful visit. With no extra trips back required.

MacGyver pressure washed the house until 10:30 that night. Thankfully our new neighbors (delightful folks!) were moving in at that time so they weren't bothered by their crazy new neighbors who apparently like to pressure wash their house in the middle of the night. The next morning we masked off the windows (well, most of them anyway) and MacGyver got to spraying. My parents lent us their paint sprayer a really, really long time ago. And we just sort of never gave it back. Oops.



I picked out the color I thought was the color I wanted: a dark, charcoal gray. But as it turns out, I picked a shade darker of the same stupid color the house was already painted. It seriously reminds me of Civil War uniforms. You know, a nice, happy color. Overcast blue. Blue-gray. Civil War Blue. Tut tut, it looks like Crayola forgot to take his Prozac this morning. It's depressing. And I hate it.

However, I have been informed that hating the color you picked out yourself is evidently NOT a reason to repaint the house. Even if it looks stupid. And seriously depressed.

So I'm working on LOVING the color of our house! Perhaps I'll pierce the eaves and give it a tattoo on the lower part of the back porch. Then we'll have the goth house. And we'll be cool. 'Cause it's cool to be angry and depressed.

Okay I'm done, I promise. Despite that the color is not my favorite (by a long shot), it does look sooooooo much cleaner! It looks fresh! You know, like the goth kid who finally washed her hair for the first time in three months. And the happy front yard takes off some of that Marilyn Manson edge.

At least until I convince MacGyver to repaint it.

Painting the roses...gray?

I wonder what the queen of hearts would say about this.

Cue the lights and violins

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I came home from work on Friday to this! MacGyver came home from working all night, stayed up all day and re-did our front yard HGTV style. He wanted to have it all done by the time I got home to surprise me! This? This right here is why I love this man.

Raindrops and Whiskers

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I had to do an exercise in a training recently where we had to list some of our "favorite things". It took a great deal of strength not to channel my inner Julie Andrews and jump up onto the tables singing, "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." I know the whole soundtrack by heart. What? Don't judge.

I sat and listened to some other people listing off things I too enjoy, like that deep belly laugh little kids do when they've just cracked themselves up, a hot cup of coffee and a good book, the Internet!, funny movies, anything with glitter and rhinestones (that one was on my list, obviously), and then it was my turn. I piped up with: INDOOR PLUMBING.

It's probably a good thing I didn't start dancing around and singing like the scandalous nun in Sound of Music. I don't think indoor plumbing was on Fraulein Maria's list of favorite things, and in a room full of mental health people, you start talking crazy and people raise their eyebrows. Then I had to explain myself.

About a month ago, MacGyver texted me at work and says, "our basement flooded". And I can go around and around with him about why he would possibly send me a TEXT MESSAGE saying that, but there really is no easy way to tell someone the basement flooded. We're looking into texting etiquette classes.

So I call him, completely hysterical, only to find out that I'm about 6 hours behind the rest of the world.

ME: WTF do you mean the basement flooded?!
MACGYVER: I don't know how else to say it. There was water, and it was all over the basement.
ME: Well what happened?
MACGYVER: I don't know
ME: What do you mean, you don't know?!
MACGYVER: It's gone now
ME: Gone? What do you mean gone? Just now?
MACGYVER: No, it went away after awhile

You can see how this conversation continued. Apparently MacGyver took a shower and noticed it after he went to the basement to do some laundry. I should mention here that MacGyver is a princess in the shower. I don't think I've ever known him to take a shower lasting less than 25 minutes. So when I say MacGyver took a shower, I mean he SHOWERED. And evidently all the water from his princess shower ended up in our basement. And then went away. There is a hole in our floor where water drains into from our washing machine. I know what you're thinking. And yes, IT RUBS THE LOTION ON THE SKIN. Are you happy now?

So we did what any respectable homeowner would do, and applied the "Car Noise" technique. You know the one, Turn-Up-The-Radio-And-Make-The-Bad-Noise-Go-Away. We shrugged it off, and promptly forgot about it.

You can guess what happened then. A few days later it happened again. Only this time it was worse, and it wasn't just water. Uh huh. Yep, there was poo in our basement. MacGyver quickly discovered that our main drain was clogged. Which meant anything that went down any drain in our house, ended up on the basement floor!

MacGyver spend the next 2 days snaking out the drain. First with a 25 foot snake, then a 50 footer, and finally a 100 foot snake. Mind you, we're at day 3 of no plumbing. That means no indoor plumbing. MacGyver was a champ though, and he used our Shop Vac to suction the water out of the drain enough for me to take a monkey bath in the shower and wash my hair so I could go to work. Our entire house smelled like an outhouse on an 80 degree afternoon.

As this little saga progressed, we were getting input from everyone who was a plumber, or knew a plumber, or watched a thing on plumbing on the Discovery Channel one time. And each person we talked to had a worse scenario than the last. By the time I talked to MacGyver that afternoon, I had been convinced that the roots of the huge tree in the backyard had worked their way under the house, collapsed a pipe, and they were going to have to bulldoze the house to fix the problem. And it was going to cost me upwards of $10,000 and a pound of flesh. You'll have to forgive me. I hadn't had a proper shower in 3 days. And MacGyver spent three days covered in poo. We were under a lot of stress.

At about 3pm on Thursday, day 3, MacGyver threw in the towel and I called Roto-Rooter. AND I GOT A VOICEMAIL. I felt like I had called 911 and was told to leave a message with my emergency. Did he not understand that there was POO! In our BASEMENT!!! So leave a message, I did. And I was careful to make sure he knew about the poo. It was traumatizing.

The message said they closed at 5pm. And at 5pm, he still hadn't called back. So I called the 1-800 number thinking maybe that would get me somewhere, and was informed that when you live in the sticks, they'll charge you your left foot and first born to come out from Portland. We decided it had been 3 days, what was one more? And mercifully I had Friday off. MacGyver, however, had to go to work. So I woke up at the crack of dawn and waited by the phone with the intention of calling Mr. Rooter at 8:00 on the nose. And then Hangup-Redialing until he answered the phone. No more leaving messages about poo.

But I didn't have to. He called me at 7:50 and cheerfully informed me that he'd be happy to come out in about an hour and take a little look-see into our plumbing problem.

He brought out what appeared to be a glorified pressure washer and blasted the crap (sorry I couldn't help myself) out of the pipe! He said MacGyver had been snaking right through the clog. Because of course he had. 3 days spent poking around in poo for nothing. Perhaps we ought to take up dairy farming after all.

And when it was all over, less than an hour later, he charged me $85! That's it! That's how much my cleanliness, mental health, and a new cap for the drain cost. God bless the Roto-Rooter guy. I wanted to hug him, and tell him I was forever indebted to him, and perhaps could I build some sort of worshiping shrine to pay him homage? But I didn't. I think he could tell though. He probably drove to the courthouse right from our house and got a restraining order.

For the record, I did try to get some pictures, but MacGyver got angry that I was taking pictures of him covered in poo, while he was trying to get rid of the poo in the basement, that was also covered in poo. I tried to explain that this was for the blog, and that inquiring minds would want to know about this. His response to that would be edited out of most syndicated programming, so I won't post it here. I don't understand him sometimes.

Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One of my dear friends is having a baby in June, and we threw her a baby shower a few weekends ago.  I should go ahead and put this out there now that I loathe these little get-togethers.  I find them excruciatingly painful.  And it's not that I don't like my friends.   I adore them.  I just hate people in general.  And being around them for extended periods of time just pisses me off.  We here in the psych world call that Social Anxiety.  For our purposes we'll just say I'm a bit of a freak and move on.

Back to the food.  I like being in charge of something involved when I have to go to these things because it gives me purpose.  It gives me a reason for being there, and something to do with my hands, because when I'm in big groups of people I am at a complete loss about what to do with my hands!  Hence, the food.  If I'm in charge of food, I don't have that problem.

When I was little I remember my mom making a whale out of a watermelon.  She carved out the top of the watermelon and fashioned a tail from that part of the rind, and then scooped out the innards.  She was left with a beautiful whale to be filled with balled melon, which is really the best way to eat melon.  There is just something about melon in the shape of a ball that makes it taste that much better, don't you think?

So I decided to make a watermelon whale for this shower.  And it hadn't occurred to me until this very moment while I am writing this post that a WHALE might not have been a good choice for a lady who has been pregnant for the last 35 weeks...hmm

Anyway I was hunting around the internet for a pattern and found some very interesting (and strange) food carvings.  I also discovered a site called "FoodPornDaily.com".  You should check it out.  Just probably not at work.  You don't want to have to explain that one to your IT guy.

As I'm sure you can imagine, I was awestruck by this Food Porn business, and was sidetracked for a great while.  Fascinating stuff.  But when I finally got back to my original task, I found the most amazing idea ever EVER: a Baby Buggy made from a WATERMELON!

I said to myself, 'Self, this is brilliant!'  And I set off to create a watermelon baby buggy.  And create I did.


And I filled it up with balled melons.  They really do taste better, I promise.

And check out the watermelon flower that I totally carved all by myself!

I definitely channeled my inner Martha on that one!

I believe they call this karma

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Last night I was making dinner, much like I do every night, when the middle finger on my left hand had an unfortunate encounter with the sour cream container.

I know what you're thinking, 'how does one injure one's self on a flimsy, plastic container?!'  Oh but it is so much better than that!  I didn't slice my finger open on the plastic.  Oh, no!  I sliced it open on the FOIL.  You know, that little foil seal that they put under the plastic lid to keep it fresh, or whatever?

Yeah.  I cut my finger on THAT FOIL.  And bled all over the place.  I went to serve dinner to MacGyver, with a paper towel over my finger to stop the bleeding - I'm sort of a pro at this First Aid stuff by now - and told him I cut my finger open.  His greatest fear of me in the kitchen is that I will somehow sever a main artery with a kitchen knife.  So when I said I cut my finger, he came flying out of the chair all "What?! Are you okay? Do we need to call 911?  The national guard?  I know CPR!"  And then I explained to him how I did it.  You know, with the FOIL.  And he had to excuse himself because he was laughing so hard.

And all of this took me back a few years to when I was about 17 years old.  My parents left my brother and I home alone for the evening while they went somewhere.  Portland, I think.  I don't really remember that part anymore.  Just that they weren't home.  My brother was about 14 or 15 and I was being the ever responsible older sister and making dinner.

I used to do a lot of baking when I was in high school.  And I made a mean chocolate chip cookie.  We had this spatula that was the perfect shape for taking cookies off the cookie sheet.  It was big, and round and metal so it slid under the cookie like buttah.  It was my favorite spatula, and I used it whenever possible.

This particular evening I was using it to flip french fries over on the cookie sheet so they could finish cooking.  I had pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven and had it on the stove top so I could flip the fries without searing my arms off, when my little brother came up behind me and did something that made me jump.  I forget exactly what that was now, but I jumped and whipped around, spatula in hand.

It all happened so fast, that the next few moments were a bit confusing.  I watched his face go from laughing, to a little confused, to really, really pale.  And I looked down at his wrist just in time to see blood start gushing out of a 3 inch gash.

So many things went through my head at that moment.  "Great.  My parents leave for one night and I assassinate my brother."  "What the hell just happened?!"  "I wonder if I should call 911 now?"  "What the hell just happened?!" "I wonder if a spatula is considered a deadly weapon?"  And then the worst one of them all, "I don't know where the Emergency Room is!"

So my brother and I look at each other all like, "what the hell just happened?!" and he says, "I think we should go to the Emergency Room."  And it wasn't that I disagreed with him, it was just that not only did I just attempt Spatular Manslaughter, but I was going to have to admit out loud that I didn't know how to get around the block by myself, let alone to the Emergency Room!!

But God Bless my little brother, that kid can get to you Argentina and back with his eyes closed.  A talent he inherited from our father, that sadly, I did not.  Not even a little bit.  So he grabbed a kitchen towel to place pressure on the wound (see, I told you I've had a lot of experience in First Aid!) and I grabbed the spatula so I could plead my case to the doctors and social workers who were sure to place my brother into foster care, and me into police custody upon arrival at the ER, and we piled into the car. 

And my brother, who was on the verge of passing out the whole trip, got us to the ER with no problem.  I'm still so impressed.  That's the difference between my brother and I.  He is so level headed and calm in these sorts of situations, and I'm all, "OMG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE AND IT'S ALL MY FAULT!!!".  We were also raised Catholic, so I think that has something to do with the guilt factor there. 

We get inside and check in at the little desk and I'll never forget the lady who does the paperwork asking us what happened, and my brother saying, "my sister cut me with a spatula."  And I immediately added, "On accident!  It was an accident!!  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I'M NOT A SPATULA MURDERER!!!"  She raised one eyebrow and looked at both of us for a long minute before continuing.

That was the first of many long stares that evening.  After the doctor saw him, a nice lady (eh hem, social worker) who just wanted to ask me a few questions, took me into a separate room and asked me about what happened.  She wanted to know why we were alone, and did that happen very often, and did our parents know where we were, and has there been a lot of fighting in our family lately, and has my brother been feeling depressed, and would he ever try to hurt himself on purpose, and has anything like this ever happened before, and I was all, "listen lady, I accidentally cut him with the stupid spatula, I swear that's what happened.  See?  I brought the spatula with me so I could show you."  Not that it was helping my case any because, well, it's a SPATULA.

Finally, after my nice lady decided I really wasn't trying to kill my brother, and the nice lady who talked to my brother decided he wasn't trying to take himself out with a spatula, they let us go.  My brother ended up with eleven stitches in his wrist that night.  Eleven.  From a spatula.  The doctor gave us stickers and told us not to kill each other before our parents came home.  I'm sure we were the talk of the break room in the ER that night.

My brother had to have a bandage on his wrist for awhile to cover the stitches, but it unfortunately it looked much more sinister than that.  For weeks my brother had to endure endless awkward questions from friends and teachers asking him if everything was okay at home?  Was he feeling okay?  If he ever needed to talk to anyone he could talk to this teacher or that teacher.  No really, he could come talk if he needed to.  I really do feel bad about that.

What ever became of that spatula?  I'm happy to say, I still have it.  I'm thinking of keeping it for when I have children.  I can tell them the story of the time I was babysitting Uncle Bryan and almost killed him with the spatula.  That ought to keep them from misbehaving!

Yes, I was THAT kid

Friday, April 23, 2010

At work we like us some potlucks.  GASP!  She's writing about work, ohmigod!  Collect yourselves, I promise I'm not going to say anything about all those photocopies of your behind you stuffed into the recycle bin last week. 

As I was saying, we like us a good potluck.  And every time someone leaves the agency we throw a big ol' potluck.  I wonder if anyone has ever been offended that we throw a party in honor of them leaving?  Anyway, there are several extremely talented food-makers in our office.  I always feel good about my contributions until I place them on the table next to these other overachievers' masterpieces.  And then I shut up.

Well today, ladies and gentlemen, I stepped up.  You know in high school, there is always that one kid who messes up the curve for everyone else?  That one kid who brings her project on WWII in the form of a tea-stained, handmade paper diary tied together with twine, and burned on the edges for an authentic, war ravaged look?  Yeah, I was that kid.  And actually, it was middle school.  Well today, that kid came out again for the potluck.

Now, this isn't to say that I think my contribution was even close to the absolutely spectacular culinary creations of my esteemed chefs/coworkers. But for me? This is pretty darn impressive.


I assure you, it is as tasty as it looks. 

Here's how to make it!

Baking chocolate (I used semi sweet and white chocolate) - at least one box of each, maybe two
Balloons - these were smallish, so I used little balloons, but they make great bowls for ice cream too, and you may want them bigger.
Heavy whipping cream
powdered sugar
cookie sheet with wax paper

I washed the balloons in water with a little soap, then let them dry over night.  Make sure they are completely dry before doing this, or it won't work.  I know the proper way to melt chocolate is in a double boiler, but that sounds like a whole lot of work that I don't want to do.  So I just stick it in a bowl in the microwave until it is all melty and smooth.

Now the super amazing part.  Blow up the balloons, but not too full, unless you were going for that chocolate splatter look in your kitchen.  Trust me, it's messy.  You want the chocolate to be at least as deep as half of the balloon.  So if your balloon is 4 inches tall, the chocolate needs to be at least 2 inches deep in the bowl.  Take your balloon by the knot in the top, and slowly dip it into the chocolate, rotating it slowly to coat the outside of the balloon until you form a bowl shape.  When you've got a healthy coating of chocolate on the balloon, set it upright on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.

Work quickly because the chocolate will start to harden and get lumpy.  No one likes lumpy chocolate.  When your cookie sheet is full, place it into the refrigerator or the freezer and let the bowls sit for at least an hour.  This is very important, because if you touch them or try to remove the balloons before they are cooled you will have a chocolate disaster of epic proportions on your hands.  Literally.

While you are waiting for the chocolate to cool and harden, mix a cup or so of heavy whipping cream, and a quarter of a cup or so of powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and beat until it forms stiff peaks.  (Do you see that, Martha?  STIFF PEAKS!  And you thought I wasn't paying attention!)  Chop up as many strawberries as you like into smallish pieces and dump them in.  Fold them into the mixture a few times until it turns a slight pink and they are mixed throughout.  Don't over-mix or you'll have creamy strawberry soup.  With lumps.  Ick.

This is the tricky part.  When the bowls are done, gently take a pin, or scissors, or something sharp, and pop the balloons.  You might get a little cracking around the edges if the chocolate is too thin.  That's okay, really, don't panic.  I usually run my hands under very cold water periodically during this process, because your hands will melt the chocolate as you start pulling out the balloons.  Think cold thoughts while you're doing this!

Gently, GENTLY pull out the balloons, and voila!  One bowl made of chocolate!  Then drop spoonfuls of your strawberry yumminess into each one.  I garnished the one for the picture with a strawberry cut fancy-restaurant style, but for the potluck I just stuck them all on a plate with no garnish.  They disappeared!

A suggestion, you may want to include a stack of napkins.  Or maybe a gross of them.  These can be a bit messy to eat.  Or maybe not.  In which case, bring a camera to catch all of your coworkers or friends with chocolate all over their noses!  That's good fun too!

Death March

Let’s have a lesson in definitions.

Death: (noun) a permanent cessation of all vital functions; the end of life; the cause or occasion of loss of life
March: (verb) to move in a direct purposeful manner; to move along steadily usually with a rhythmic stride and in step with others

And one more.

Coordination: (adjective) able to use more than one set of muscle movements to a single end
Uncoordination would, of course, be an example of lacking the aforementioned skill set.

Bear with me on these, they'll make sense in a minute.

We are a bit short handed at work as of late, and I have no boundaries.  These two things together mean that I have basically been working my happy little hiney off.  It’s exhausting.  And YES, I realize it is totally my fault, and that I need to find some stinking boundaries already.  Or maybe just some medication.  I digress.

Last week I had a particularly eventful day at work, and while I cannot elaborate on the details here, suffice to say that the end of the day, I'd had a brief (but intense) encounter with some of Tillamook’s finest law enforcement officers, had been given one of the worst insults I have ever received by a coworker, found out some extremely disturbing news about someone I thought I knew quite well, and cleaned up poo off my office floor.  That’s right.  POO.

(CBS are you listening?  I have four words for you: REALITY TELEVISION IN TILLAMOOK.  I’m telling you, it’ll be bigger than Survivor.  Call me.)

The whole drive home (all half a mile of it) I was obsessing over how I couldn’t wait to change into comfy sweatpants and hit the couch to watch DVRed episodes of Breaking Bad.  And let me tell you folks, it was heaven.  HEAVEN!  I was settling in and contemplating, if I decided never to move from that spot again, how many days it would take my work to fire me, and whether I could just have my last check direct deposited.  Then MacGyver stands up, puts his coat on and says: “You ready?”

Am I ready?  It’s 7:09pm and I just finished cleaning POO. off my office floor.  What the hell could I possibly need to be ready for?  He must have understood my thoughts in that one, wordless stare, because he informed me that low tide was at 7:15pm and he wanted to take me to this "really cool beach" he found. 

Now, I’m all for long walks on the beach, etc.  And any other day I might have jumped at the opportunity.  But in this moment, this moment right here, my first thought was to call Tillamook’s finest back and file a harassment charge against MacGyver.  OFFICER, HE’S MAKING ME GET OFF THIS HERE COUCH AND I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THIS KIND OF ABUSE!  But considering my interactions with them earlier in the day, I decided against that.  And I got my ass off that couch.  AGAINST MY BETTER JUDGMENT. 

So we go to this “really cool beach” he found.  And we park.  On the side of the road.  And this is what I see when I step out of the car:

What do you notice about this picture?  Lovely day, blue sky, beautiful ocean.  Ocean THAT IS REALLY FAR AWAY FROM WHERE I AM STANDING.  I turn to MacGyver and ask as nicely as I can muster, “how do we get to the beach?”  

“We go down some stairs.  It’s really cool, you’ll see.”


Oh and the STAIRS!  131 of them, to be precise.  I counted.  At least, I’m fairly certain that’s how many there were.  That’s how many I counted in between the parts where I passed out and had to be resuscitated.  I should also mention that these stairs are not STAIRS like you might find in an office building, or apartment complex.  They are STAIRS like the kind that are fashioned out of railroad ties and old pieces of scrap wood and rocks to pick your ways over and climb up on to because the next step down is two and a half feet away.  131 of THOSE kind of STAIRS.  These STAIRS are starting to make me think they deserve the LOWES! standard of reference. 

Remember when I said to trust me, that I would explain these definitions in a minute?  DEATH MARCH.  Does it make sense now?  I thought so too.

MacGyver had told me about this place a few days before when he had discovered it, so I knew there were tide pools and things around here somewhere, but when I got to the bottom of those STAIRS!, I didn’t see any.  That’s not to say it’s not a beautiful place.  It is.  Breathtakingly beautiful, in fact.  But if I’m getting dragged down here, off my couch, after a horrific day at work, completely exhausted, I want to see some damn tide pools!  I asked him where they were, and he points over yonder to some very large, very ominous looking rocks. 

I should mention here, that MacGyver was a mountain goat in a former life.

(Image taken from Flickr by Eickholt)
(Image taken from Flickr by David Couse)

I’m not kidding.  MacGyver is extremely agile on big scary rocks like this.  Me, on the other hand, I am the very definition of the opposite of COORDINATION (see above reference).  I have never been able to able to use more than one set of muscle movements to a single end.  Ask anyone who has seen me play softball.  It’s embarrassing.  And dangerous!  I trip over air molecules.  And I have never met a set of stairs that I have not either fallen down, or up.  Oh yes, I am the master at falling up stairs.  It’s a gift. 

So we go picking our way across these huge boulders that were perched over the ocean and covered with some sort of sea slime – actually, no, MacGyver went prancing over them like the Sugarplum Fairy, and I went sprawling much like Bambi on a frozen lake.  Only less graceful.  Two weeks later when I finally caught up to him,  I was an anxiety ridden, sobbing mess, absolutely convinced I was going to die, we were going to be stranded, the Coast Guard would have to be called to pluck us off of these ridiculous rocks, only to find out that it would be too dangerous to save us and we’d be left for dead and eaten by seagulls and tiny crab creatures I was certain were going to reach up from those dark crevasses in between the rocks and tear my feet off.   

DEATH MARCH.  See, the longer this goes on the more you understand!  I told you I was going to die out there.   

MacGyver, bless his heart, was oblivious to me standing there completely immobilized by my fears of heights, rocks, looming ocean, sea gulls eating my eyeballs, and the crab people that live under the rocks.  Oh, and then I look back and see that the stupid tide is coming in and it’s getting dark.  BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS.  When I look back, MacGyver has levitated across this huge pool of sea anemones and onto another HUGE rock 20 feet above me.  I start yelling at him, but we’re next to the ocean and he’s deaf, so that didn’t work so well.  I can’t lift my arms above my waist for fear of losing my already precarious balance, so I start flapping my forearms around me and yelling at him to look at me, BECAUSE I AM NOT GOING TO LET THE DAMN TIDE COME IN AND GET EATEN BY THE CRAB MONSTERS!  How about that for a mental image?  Next time you’re stuck somewhere and your bored out of your mind, just picture that.  See?  All better.

He finally sees me flopping around and, thinking something catastrophic has happened,   goes leaping across the rocks back toward me.  I swear, it’s not human.  I point in the direction of the rocks we just came from that are now lapping with water, willing him to understand the direness of our situation.  He takes my hand and moves it about 10 feet from where I was pointing, to a path (if you can call it that) that is completely dry.  Apparently THAT is where we just came from.  I’m guessing he saw one of the crab people at that moment though, because he decided it was time to go.  We made it back with relatively little incident.

Was it worth all that?  I’ll let you decide.

Will we go back?  Totally.  But not when the crab people are out.

Formal Introductions

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I realize that I have spent several blog posts referencing El Stinko, but have never fully introduced him.  Drumroll, please!  

This is El Stinko.  Our 1972 Dodge Half Ton Something Or Other.  D-100 I'm told.  To me he's just our big old stinky truck.

We bought El Stinko a few years ago after realizing that neither a Mazda Protege or a Kia Rio were ever designed to carry sheetrock.  At least not very far.  I'll admit I was a little leery of this purchase since the last truck we bought off some guy that lived out on a farm (in a van, down by the river - you get the idea) was a disaster of such epic proportions that we do not speak of it anymore in our house.

MacGyver found it on Craigslist (I swear, he can find anything on that site!) and we drove out to Hillsboro to look at it.  The guy had it parked in an RV storage area.  I don't remember exactly why, but at some point during this little endeavor, the guy wanted MacGyver to go to the back of the RV park.  I think for papers or something.  Anyway I was left back with the car.  And they disappeared for, like, 20 minutes.  And having the overactive imagination that I have, I remember thinking, 'well this is great.  This creep has gone and killed MacGyver.'  I was envisioning him chopping up his body somewhere in the back of this lot, and was absolutely convinced that I was next, and just as I was on the brink of a complete hysteric meltdown, they come walking back from wherever they were.  It was a traumatic 20 minutes.  

After a few hiccups and a fair amount of swearing, we got El Stinko home.  Did I mention how loud he is?  L O U D.  Like, could be mistaken for the entire Blue Angels team taking off in our driveway, loud.  And he has that nasty old, musty, stale cigarette smoke smell.  Since El Noiso just sounds silly, we went with El Stinko.  Which is a boy truck.  Because imagining a girl truck as big, and loud, and smelly as El Stinko would just be scary.

Who ever heard of a snozberry?!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just for clarification, Madam Veruca, this is NOT a snozberry bush.   Though how fabulous would that be?!  It is, in fact, a blueberry bush!  Actually, TWO blueberry bushes.  The package explained the reasons for needing to plant two bushes side by side so they can, YOU KNOW.  Personally, I think it would have been easier to just get them a room and say, "have at it."  It would be better than the driveway, right?  But I was never very good at the whole plant science thing, so I'll take the package's word for it.

Why I'm not allowed to have candles

I was doing some massive cleaning and gutting of the house this weekend and wanted to light some candles to get rid of that people-funk smell our house gets when the weather is bad and I can't open windows. I found a candle at this cute little restaurant/gift shop here in town that is labelled "Pineapple Cilantro."

Fed up.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I swore when we had our most recent bad experience with a particular home improvement store that I would not speak the name of that particular store.  I have since changed my mind.
Are you ready?  LOWE'S!  See that?  I even included a link for you to go to their site just in case there was any confusion about which home improvement store LOWE'S! is.  Yes, all references to the home improvement store formerly known as Lowe's at our house have been changed to, LOWE'S! And no, LOWE'S!, I would NOT like to build something together.  Unless it is a very tall bridge from which I can fling you and all the horses you rode in on.  Actually, no, the horses can stay.

Let's back up a bit and I'll explain this little rant.

When we purchased this house we knew the heating sources were bad at best.  There are three big baseboard heaters downstairs in the main living and dining area, only two of which work; however, those were our "for company only" heating sources.  It costs us about $30-$40 a pop when we turn those suckers on!  Much too expensive for us to use daily.  We'd been looking around and toying with various heating ideas, but those are expensive too.  Like a thousand dollars or more.  And I'm a cheap-ass.

We also sort of figured that we ain't no stinkin' sissies and we'd just sort of tough it out through the especially cold weeks with space heaters and lots of blankets.  Uh huh.

Fast forward to December.  It had been a particularly cold week here in Tillamook, with temperatures averaging in the teens.  We didn't have any flooding this year, and I think Mother nature was feeling rather upstaged by El Nino.  This was her way of letting us all know she needed some attention.  Personally, I think Mother Nature could sue a little therapy to learn how to express her feelings in a more appropriate manner.

MacGyver and I had gone in to town and poked around at the various heating contraptions during those cold weeks, dreaming of a house in which we didn't have to peer around the fog made by our breath when we spoke to each other.  We compared heat output, cost of fuel, wood versus pellets versus ripping our house apart and installing ducting for a heat pump.  But the conversation always comes back to the one topic that is a perpetual thorn is MacGyver' side: I'm a cheap-ass.  And we left empty-handed.

I came home from work a few days later (and this is where I really wish I had taken a picture) to find MacGyver sitting in his chair, buried underneath every blanket we own.  Sticking up out of that mound of blankets were two small schnauzer noses, and he had a space heater sitting in his lap.  On high.  People, I swear to you that moment immediately ranked into the top ten most ridiculous things of all time.  Right up there with the Snuggie for dogs.

And that's when I said, "That's it!  Get your coat we're going to Lowe's!".  We purchased a beautiful pellet stove, complete with the little kit thing that you put through the wall so you don't blow smoke throughout your house or light the house on fire.  It took four guys and a forklift to get it into the car.  A FORKLIFT.  And just to clarify, we do not own a forklift.  So while I am watching this little charade of forklifting our new pellet stove into the car, I give MacGyver the one eyebrow raised look that asks, "How in the world is this thing going to get out of the car, through two doorways, through the kitchen and into the living room, sans forklift?!".  He just nodded and said "it's okay, I got this".  Uh huh.  It weighs 17 metric tons, but he's "got this".

It was late by the time we got back to Tillamook, and I was scheduled to leave at some ungodly hour of the morning for a conference in Salem the next day, so the pellet stove stayed in the car overnight.  I left the next morning for one of the most excruciatingly boring conferences I have ever been to, and while checking my phone every 12 seconds to see if it was 5:00 yet, I got this picture:

Because MacGyver is actually MacGyver come to life.  This, folks, is our back porch.  And what you see here is a 2x4 spanning the distance between the back porch and the Exploder.  He shimmied the pellet stove across the 2x4 and into the house.  If you have ever wondered how much weight a 2x4 can hold, now you know.  Roughly 17 metric tons.

Now, for many, this would be the part where the story winds down into a happy ending full of warmth and lots of happy fire.   I cannot tell you how much I wish that were the case.  Or how excited I was to come home to a WARM house for the first time EVER.  Except that didn't happen.

When I got home the next evening I found one very cranky MacGyver and the pellet stove in various pieces all over the living room.  I was informed that the thing didn't work.  Well, it worked, but only for a few minutes at a time, and then it would jam.  Needless to say I was unimpressed with the whole situation.

So I called Lowe's (which was well on it's way at this point to becoming, LOWE'S!), and I screamed and yelled and threatened that it would be OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! if they didn't come paint my roses red and bring the Jabberwocky over to heat my house.  And in that moment, Lowe's became, LOWE'S!

Okay actually I didn't, but I did get them to agree to exchange the pellet stove.  We just needed to bring it back.  Which, of course, is 65 miles away.  Because that sounded like fun.  So I got to witness the above pictured process in reverse, and back to LOWE'S! we went.

They exchanged our stove and gave us a 10% discount, which was agreeably better than me having to order all the playing cards to chop off their heads.  We brought stove number 2 home and MacGyver had installed in what I'm sure was record timing.

Cue the lights, orchestra and choir:

This seems to be the new favorite spot in the house!

My mother had a brilliant idea should we ever be forced to shop at LOWE'S! again: make our purchase, drive around the block, return said purchase and exchange it for a new one.  This way we can get all of that business out of the way without having to drive all the way to Tillamook and back.  Genius!

2009 ·Pink Dog Blog by TNB