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

My friends know me so well

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I once read a sign that said, "A friend will be the one to bail you out of jail.  A best friend will be the one sitting right next to you saying, 'Woo!  That was awesome!'"  My friend, Mrs. B, is the latter of the two.  She went on her honeymoon recently and brought me back what is quite possibly one of the most awesome souvenirs in the history of souvenirs.  Well, maybe the second best.  She bought me a magnet once that is slightly more awesome than this one, but that's for another day.

A little back story first.

We called the mechanic a few weeks ago because Bob, my car, suddenly stopped stopping.

Hoo doggie!  Say that three times fast!

Suddenly stopped stopping
Suddenly stopped sopped
Stoppingly suddened...wait, huh?

Anyway, they gave us a quote and an appointment to bring the car by to fix it.  The part we needed was a dealer-only part (of course) so it took a few weeks to come in.  We dropped the car off Sunday night and left the keys in the drop box as instructed.

I called them right as they opened at 8am the next morning to warn them that the car had no brakes so no one would hop in and slam into anything.  The receptionist assured me that they understood the situation and not to worry, that they would call me as soon as it was done.  I explained that I would be needing to pay them over the phone as I had to work all day and wouldn't be able to go pick it up until after hours.  She said that would be no problem and that I could pay when she called me to tell me it was done.

Fast forward to 3:30, and I still hadn't heard from them.  The quote on the paperwork said it would take an hour in labor.  In human hours that's like 10 minutes.  I began to get a little worried that something more serious was wrong with Bob than originally thought.  I had asked MacGyver and my brother if they are allowed to just rack up charges without calling first and I was assured by both men that this was not possible, and that they were required to obtain authorization.

When I called at 3:30, the receptionist explained that they were working on the car, and that they hadn't anticipated having to bleed the brake system and put new fluid in it.  To which I replied,


I said it pretty much just like that too.

She said they didn't think it was going to be as bad as I said it was.  Because she knows me so well and can tell when I'm being dramatic and when I'm being dead serious.  Right.

So I asked her if the original quote would still be the price, and she said that no, in fact it would be significantly higher than the quote because of all the extra labor and gold bullion infused brake fluid they had to put into the system.  We were looking at another couple of hundred dollars.

It's times like this when I'm glad I don't have a built in blood pressure monitor because I was about to go all sorts of Nancy Kerrigan on those people.

A few minutes after I got off the phone with the receptionist, the mechanic called to explain how he had no idea how we'd even driven the car to the shop and he had no idea it was going to take this much time, blah blah blah.  When I asked him why no one called me to tell me it would be a significant amount of money more than the quote, he gave me the lamest explanation in the history of explanations:

He said he didn't look at the car before agreeing to work on it, and only took MacGyver's word that all it needed was to replace the one part.  Plus, now that he's started, he is obligated to finish it because it's not driveble without brakes.



I was dangerously polite when I responded that it would have been nice for someone to have called me to tell me what was going on and that my small job was turning into a several hundred dollar job!  And don't tell me that I have to pay for anything I didn't ask for!


I want to take my toaster in there and insist that it used to be my daily driver and I just don't know what could have possibly happened to it!  I'll tell him I suspect the flux capacitor and ask him to replace it to see if that does the trick.

Excellent businessman, this guy.

The car ended up having to stay another night and and cost me an extra $250 by the time it was all done.

We were given a quote IN WRITING of how much they would need in order to restore Bob back to working condition.  Then when I called to see where my car was, they explained that they would need more money, but that it was okay because it's really my fault it's taking them so much more time and effort.  And didn't I want the best brake fluid Swiss bank accounts can buy?

She asked me to give her my credit card number last night so she could run the total so far, and she'd just add on the rest of the expenses when they finished the job.

I fancy myself as somewhat clever, and I was not to be taken by this mechanic's wiles.  I refused to pay for the car until it was completed, and though I wanted to throw a gigantic fish flopping fit and refuse to pay for the extra costs that I had not been notified to authorize, I eventually paid the full fee.  Had I been in possession of cash I would have paid for it in cash.  Hell, had I not had to work I would have refused to let him touch my car another minute and pushed the stupid thing back home just out of principal!

We'll not be returning there.

Here is the gift Mrs. B brought back for me.

She knows me so well.

What About Bob?

Monday, August 22, 2011

All of my cars have had names.

My first car was a maroon Subaru grocery-getter station wagon.  His name was Harold.  You had to bang on the dashboard with your fist to get the windshield wipers to come on.  Harold also liked to overheat on the freeway late at night after I'd driven to Portland before work when I wasn't supposed to, and then my dad would have to come out into the driveway in the middle of the night in his boxers to check it out because there would be lots of scary smoke stuff coming out of the hood.

I loved that car.

I was without a car for a few years after that when I moved to college because parking was impossible near campus and we could ride the bus for free.  I had an awesome bicycle that I rode everywhere.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I never named my bike.  Huh.  Odd.

Anyway, after a few years of biking everywhere, I got another car.  She was a little blue Hyundai hatchback named Betty.  Betty was a little immodest.  She had some flatulence problems and a few other "wardrobe malfunctions", shall we say.  I had some car fanatic friends and they fixed her little exhaust issue up with some cardboard and duck tape, because that's really the only way to properly fix up a car.  She ran like a champ for a few years, and I even moved a few times with that car.  It's amazing how much furniture you can really cram into a hatchback!  We did have one small mishap where she dropped her muffler off in the middle of the road while we were driving.  I took her to Midas and gave her a stern talking to about leaving her bits about for everyone to see.  She did better after that.

Then I moved back to the city and was getting ready to go to graduate school.  My dad was worried about me driving Betty back and forth to downtown Portland, so he took me car shopping.  That's when we found Bob.

Bob is my little black Kia.  We got him at Bob Lamphere's Kia, and the license plate frame inserts said BOB on them.  My mom still teases me for naming him that.  I have tried to explain to her that he came that way, and he likes his name.  It would be impolite of me to ask him to change it.  Bob's therapist says change is not good for him.  It gives him ulcers.

In 2004 Bob and I were in an unfortunate accident (not my fault) and he was severely damaged, though I was miraculously unharmed.  I thought that might be the end of Bob, but after several weeks in ICU, he was resurrected and returned to his former spunky self.

Bob got new shoes last winter in what shall forever be named "The Great Tire Debaucle of 2010".  We don't speak of that in our house anymore for reasons I shall not detail here.  Maybe later, in say, 200 years.

Bob's is now pushing 96,000+ miles.  Which, in Kia years, is darn near geriatric!

As with everyone, things don't always work as well as they used to as we age.  For a while now Bob has had some trouble with his belts.  They get a little wiggly, and then the gaggle of screaming banchees that lives in Bob's engine bay lets loose when you turn on the AC.  Or start the car.  Or drive the car.  We're looking in to anger management classes for them.

I can't remember exactly when it started, but Bob began leaking brake fluid.  I'm going to say it was sometime in the spring.  It was only a little at first, so we did what any respectable, caring, responsible car owners would do and we topped off the brake fluid and ignored it.  We did this a few times a week for a few months.  Then one day after the car had been sitting for a few weeks while we were on vacation, I went to go leave our driveway to pick our dogs up and flew out into the middle of the road.

I had no brakes.

None.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  No soup for you!

Apparently an air bubble had infiltrated Bob's brake lines.  Translation: Bob had a serious case of gas.

MacGyver bled the brakes and everything seemed to be back in working order.  That's when we started talking about maybe thinking we might want to consider taking Bob to the doctor.  Someday.

Then it happened again and MacGyver made the call.

Bob is currently in the shop getting tennis balls installed on his walker.

I hope that this makes him feel better.

Channeling 1924

Friday, August 19, 2011

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but alien squirrels from Mars keep interfering with my concentration.  I had to fashion a tin foil hat just to get anything done today!

My ring arrived at the end of June after several weeks of waiting.  MacGyver's mom happened to be in town the same weekend it arrived, which was a nice coincidence.  I was petrified that it wouldn't fit.  Because I know a whole lot more about sizing fingers than that sales lady who has been sizing fingers for who knows how long.


I had promised MacGyver I wouldn't just snatch it out of the lady's hand and put it on in the store.  I could be polite and patient a little longer.  So I had her put it in a box and give it to him.  MacGyver's mom offered to give us a private moment in case he wanted to do something special...

Haha!  Hahahahahaha!  Hee hee....


MacGyver?  Romantic?  Not hardly.  He proposed on the fly in the car, so it seemed only fitting that he unwrap the box and hand me the ring in the car too.

Here is the first photo, taken with my phone in the car.  MacGyver's mom was in the backseat and told him to kiss me.  MacGyver was mortified!  It was brilliant!  Thanks MacGyver's Mom!!!

Here it is in the box, all shiny.  I love the vintage look to it.  I keep getting asked if it's an heirloom.  While that would be awesome, I'm happy that it looks like it could be.  It's very me.

I am happy with this ring all by itself.  I can't really imagine it with another band, so I'm not going to have a wedding band to go with it.  Apparently it's weird to remove your ring so it can be put back on in the ceremony.  Whatever.  Whoever made that rule clearly hasn't met the Antibride.

The "proposal" was classic MacGyver.

I wouldn't have had it any other way.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The other day I was laid up in bed and this is how I spent my afternoon.  Polyvore is a fantastic website. I obviously was able to spend several hours there designing our wedding.  Except the dress is different.  And the cake is different.  And I have no idea what the bridesmaids are wearing.  Though it's a pretty safe bet that they won't all be wearing $900 Louboutins.  And who knows what the flowers will look like.  But other than that the wedding will look exactly like this.  Except for all the things that will not look like this.  

Like I'd spoil all the surprises now.

Click here if you want to see detailed information about anything in this collage.  I'll pretend we don't all know you're only clicking to see those $900 shoes. 

Personal Planning Fail

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Part of my job includes taking a 24 hour on call rotation once a week.  Sometimes this means that we are up all night, and then have to go to work the next day with our game faces on and be productive.  I remember a time when I was about 22 when running on an hour or so of sleep was no big deal.  Now, it just hurts. 

Since I've worked here, our shifts have gone from 8:30am to 8:30am the next morning.  Those of us in the rotation have been rallying for awhile to get that changed for the above mentioned reasons.  The idea being that if we were up all night, we wouldn't have a full schedule the next day and we could sleep in a little bit.  I'm all for preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but I don't think the folks accessing our services should have to worry about that when they come in to see us.  

I was one of the more vocal proponents of this change, and last week we were able to implement it for the first time.  This meant that my original Thursday morning to Friday morning shift moves to Wednesday night to Thursday night, 5:00pm to 5:00pm.  

Last night, while in the ER for the better part of 3 hours, I realized a fatal flaw in my planning.  

We have a meeting at 8:30am every Thursday morning that is directly related to the on-call rotation.  Which means that no matter how late I'm up the night before, I still have to get up and go to work for our staff meetings.  This is not a problem with any other shift.  How I overlooked that one is a mystery to me. 

This morning was compounded by the fact that I was up late on Tuesday night helping MacGyver get ready for his new job.

OOHH!  I completely forgot!!  MacGyver got a job!

I'm sleep deprived.  Please excuse me. 

Tuesday afternoon MacGyver got a call asking him to come in for an interview Wednesday morning at 7:00am.  The interview was about 90 minutes away, so he needed to leave about 5:00am to make sure he got there in plenty of time.  Tuesday night we were up late at the office doing some maintenance work (I'm running off with the office maintenance guy!  Tee hee!!) and then had to run around and find everything he needed for his interview.  We didn't get to bed until about midnight.  I made the mistake of going back to sleep after getting up with MacGyver at 5:00.  I think I would have been okay if I'd just made some coffee and powered through the day, but I didn't.  I went back to sleep, and getting up after two more hours was just brutal.  

Then I did it again last night.  Today, I'm running on fumes.  My dad emailed me this morning, and I responded to a lot of information that was never in his original email.  I just started making things up that I swear I read, but that weren't there at all!  He wrote back and was like, "uhhh, did you even read that email?"  

I take no responsibility for my actions today.

Luckily I was granted reprieve from future staff meetings in the morning if this should happen again.  Everyone was kind enough to say that I could call in my information and show up later.  

Oh, and the best part?  My car is broken.  And MacGyver has our other car an hour and a half away.  I'm riding my Pink Bicycle to work, something that I actually enjoy doing when the weather is nice.  But today I'm so tired that bicycling home seems like so much work.  

If my next post is written from jail for passing out on some stranger's front lawn with my Pink Bicycle, you'll know what happened.

"Have you...the wing?"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm going to go start by saying that if it were not for my parents, none of this would have happened.  I want that noted for posterity.  My parents are awesome wedding planners.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!!

We spent all last weekend doing wedding stuff.  It's the first time an entire weekend was wasted spent on wedding planning business.  Though despite running around all day Saturday and Sunday for hours, and it being hot and humid outside, (if you're reading this from somewhere in the Mid West, I apologize for that statement and am sending thoughts of rain your way) we got a lot accomplished.

Namely, we discovered that MacGyver is worse than a 15 year old girl shopping for a prom dress when it comes to buying suits.

No, really.

Two days, several hours, and endless stores later, he has a suit.  A pin striped, three piece suit in which he looks absolutely dashing.  I'm so glad he found it, and I'm so glad we don't have to do that again for a very long time.  And in the name of saving my impending marriage, that's all I'm going to say about that.

We also picked up MacGyver's ring while we were out.  (And I got mine cleaned for the first time!  It's so sparkly again!!)  We narrowed it down to two different rings of very dramatically different styling.  One was made out of cobalt, gray and rather shiny.  It was classy and sophisticated, and suited him well.  Then we found one that was made from titanium, but it was a charcoal gray.  It looked very industrial, and we really liked it.  It suited MacGyver nicely.  But the more we thought about it, the titanium ring was more fitting for the 30-something year old MacGyver.  We weren't sure it would look so classy on a 60+ something MacGyver.  So we went with the first one.  It's classy and timeless.  MacGyver said he likes it enough that he might actually wear it!

Monday night we went out with friends for dinner, and after we came home MacGyver thought he'd try his suit on again just to make sure it fit well and to see how it looked with a dress shirt on underneath everything.

Did I mention he cleans up well?  Eh hem.  Anyway.

He put his ring on just for fun to see how it would look with the suit, and it FELL OFF HIS HAND.

No, actually it didn't just fall off.  It fell off his hand and bounced all the way down the stairs.  It's almost an entire ring size too big.  In the store it fit perfectly.  Apparently MacGyver had been mainlining the salt over the weekend and his fingers were swollen when we tried on rings.

I called the place this morning and they'll let us come back and exchange it.  Until then MacGyver is on a no salt diet, just in case.  I'm glad we checked this before the wedding.  That would have been interesting.

What? We have to feed people too?

Friday, August 5, 2011

A wise person once bestowed some words of wisdom that I have carried with me for many years.  I would like to share them with you now.  It's important, so pay attention:

Hard before beer, you're in the clear. 
Beer before hard, you're in the yard.

I'm glad we had this little talk.

We are serving alcohol at the wedding.  We are also serving non-alcoholic beverages for those who do not partake.  However, I'm less concerned about the effects that too much coffee and water will have on people (though there is only one bathroom so that may be a bigger issue than I realize), and more concerned about the effects of too much beer and wine.  There is no liquor allowed on the premises, which is okay by me.  

A few glasses of wine is just fine.
A few long islands...

Wait, what rhymes with island?
I'm not very good at this.

Anyway, when serving alcohol, food is a necessity.  Plus, I really don't know how to entertain 75-80 people for that many hours all by myself.  And I sincerely doubt anyone would appreciate listening to me play American Idol Tryouts as much as I do.

(Seriously though, how awesome would that be, am I right?)

I was all for going super cheap and doing a weenie roast, but I was informed that even that was a bit too much for my vintage ghetto theme, and we needed a caterer.  

Making big decisions stresses me out to the point of incapacitation.  I become that deer in the headlights that stands there and watches the truck run me over because the department of transportation decides in that moment to shut down the highway between Lake Decision Maker and Camp Do Something About This Right Now and flaggers have to come moderate traffic until next spring.  Unfortunately for us (and everyone else helping us) MacGyver is just as bad.  We're quite the pair, he and I.

Choosing food was one of those decisions.

My mom had suggested we call up some caterers that did a luncheon she'd been to because she said it looked like they did a pretty good job.  We made an appointment for last night, and we all met at my parents' house.

They were super nice people and were down with the one  big requirement of MacGyver's, which was that we not serve sticks and twigs.  MacGyver, and many people in my family, are meat and potatoes kind of men, and they were not interested in "snobby sticks and twigs rabbit food".  Yes, that is a direct quote.

We went with basic dishes that would probably appease most people because we want to encourage them to eat more than they drink.  My days of throwing mattresses up in the windows to muffle the sound of the party out on the street are over.  Though that does work really well, in case you're throwing a rager in the future.

Right before we left, my mom brought out a checklist she's created that rivals War and Peace.  She's adorable.  She actually thinks I'm going to do all of those things!  

Just keep swimming...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My wedding dress arrived a little over a week ago.  It took me about that long muster up enough courage to try it on.  If you need a reminder as to why, you can read about it here.

This was on Sunday morning and I was by myself, so I thought that would be the perfect time to try it on.  MacGyver wouldn't be around to see it, and I could prepare myself for what I would look like in privacy.  It seemed logical at the time.

The dress laces up the back, but that really just seemed like a lot of work, so I tried it on without that first.  That's when I discovered that the dress weighs 17 metric tons.

I'm not exaggerating.  I might have permanent dents in my body from this thing by the end of the night.

It took some wiggling, but I managed to pull it down over my head and more or less into position.  Everything looked fine from the front, but the back was gaping open and I immediately concluded that the dress was too small and we wouldn't be able to lace it up.

(That was my conclusion, 'it's too small.'  Not, 'you didn't lace it up, Stupid, that's why the back is gaping.'  Sheesh.)

Anyway, I panicked and wiggled back out of it, determined to lace it up and make sure it was going to fit.  Mind you, the back laces up all the way from slightly below my waist, all the way up to between my shoulder blades.  It's a lot of lacing, is what I'm saying.  This will be even more important in a moment.

I get the thing laced all the way up like it's supposed to, but I leave it a little loose because I'm not that dumb and I know I'm going to need a little wiggle room to get it on.  I've done this once before about 5 minutes ago.  I'm a professional.

With a lot more wiggling and yarnking, I got back on.  To my utter relief, the dress fits beautifully.  Truly, it's a really wonderful dress, with only subtle marshmallow undertones.  Breathing a whole lot easier now that I knew the dress fit and I wouldn't be parading around in a sheet-toga, I started to take it off so I could put it away and not have to worry about it for another few months.

Heh.  Remember all those laces?  And the wiggling and yarnking it took to get everything in place once the laces were laced?

About that.

As it turns out, when the dress weighs 17 metric tons, and is fully laced, it's near impossible to get it back off again.

Sadly, Crush, I did not have my exit buddy.  Which meant I had to unlace the damn dress again to get it back off.  The whole thing.

Which is irritating in and of itself, but I'm also not a side-show contortionist.  I can't reach the whole area of my back with both hands at the same time.  And the taffeta was catching on the loops and not wanting to slide through...

After several minutes of wiggling and tugging and swearing, and a mild panic attack when I envisioned myself as a modern day Miss Havisham, forever stuck in her wedding dress, minus the man-hating business, I had a small epiphany.

I grabbed the hangar on which I had been storing the dress and was able to reach back and spring myself free from the laces.

After several more minutes, and a lot of swearing, I managed to wiggle back out of that dress.

Lessons learned today: Never put on a wedding dress without an exit buddy.  Be thankful it laces up and doesn't button up with those teeny tiny little wedding dress buttons.

Family vacation: Fin

Monday, August 1, 2011

If you've missed vacation trip days 1-4, you can read them herehere, and here.

As you can see, this vacation has been a real kick in the pants.  Har har.  Hahahaha.  Hee hee!


I'm so funny.

Anyway, after dad decided to turn his 4-wheeling trip into an X-Games tryout, we thought a low-key few days at the campsite or the lake were in order.  We went to bed Tuesday night with the plan that Wednesday we would see who was still standing, and maybe spend the day hanging out at the campsite playing board games.

The next morning, enemy forces took out the mothership.

I woke up early Wednesday morning to the all the unmistakable sound of someone revisiting their last meal.  My mom had caught some sort of evil virus and was down for the count.  She spent the rest of that day in her tent, miserable.

MacGyver, Turbo, his girlfriend and I decided to leave Mom and Dad behind to rest and we took off to Sea Lion caves and to do some tide pooling.

We started out at a beach to check out tide pools a bit.  That was really nice to go walk around the beach and climb on some rocks.  I'm happy to report that no one suffered any physical or psychological injury during those few hours.

I remember visiting Sea Lion Caves as a child.  I remember my dad telling me as a child that the sea lions were talking to me, and being very excited about this.  I was a very gullible child.  I'm sure my mom and brother were there too, but I don't remember that.  Other things I didn't remember: Sea Lions don't smell like petunias.  \

Holy Mary mother of Jerusalem those creatures smell awful!!  But it was fun to see them.  Even if we had to go on a bit of a death march to get to them.  Something else I had forgotten about.  This marshmallow is not a fan of death marches.

But I digress.

After we got back to camp, Dad reported that Mom was still not feeling great, but refusing to go home early.  Typical.  So we hung out for the rest of the night at the campsite.

The next morning, Mom was doing a little better, and we all decided it was best to pack it up and go home before anything else catastrophic happened.

We made it through packing up the campsite and getting home without incident.

As nice as it was to go camping, it was nice to get home again too.  Plus, I was able to get a head start on the monogrammed bubble wrap suits I'm making everyone for next year.

2009 ·Pink Dog Blog by TNB