Thursday, January 31, 2008

Well, that was a whole lot of nothing

6:30 AM, forecast:

12:00 PM rain and sleet
 1:00 PM  rain and sleet
 2:00 PM  rain changing to snow
 3:00 PM - infinity  snow

9:10 AM,


10:15 AM

Sign out for three hours of sick time, to go to doctor's appointment and insurance company appointment. Take raincoat so as to be prepared when sleet starts falling.

10:50 AM

Doctor's office waiting room. News crawl on television announces that local schools are dismissing at 12:15 because of coming winter storm.

11:15 AM

Leave doctor's office, following fastest exam known to womankind. No visible precipitation. Stop by pet store and grocery store and gas station, in order to be prepared when the bad weather hits. Head for insurance office.

12:30 PM

Leave insurance office. No visible precipitation. Go by Dairy Queen and get lunch. Take lunch home and drop off milk and cat food. Note that landlord has thoughtfully salted porches and sidewalks in front of building. Eat lunch. Laugh hysterically when cat gets face stuck in empty chicken strip snack box.

1:20 PM

Head back to work. First pellets of sleet begin to fall. Field phone call from MB, who reports storm on its way.

1:30 PM

Walk into work. Immediately receive word that everyone is leaving at 2:30 PM. Work feverishly with coworker to finish some important tasks. All coworkers encountered are happily looking forward to a snow day tomorrow, since the building is closed any time the schools are closed for bad weather.

2:30 PM

Exit building, noting that no ice or snow has accumulated, and precipitation has totally stopped.

2:40 PM, forecast

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM  rain
6:00 PM - whenever  sleet and snow

5:15 PM, forecast

6:00 PM  rain
7:00 PM  rain
8:00 PM  freezing rain

5:30 PM

Still nothing but rain. Air temperature 36 degrees F. Decide weather forecast is bullshit and go to dinner with evilducky and the bibliophile. Figure everyone can head home before 8 PM if the roads start to get slick. Begin to think sour thoughts about the ability of near-Southerners to overreact to even the suggestion of snowflakes.

7:30 PM

Exit pub. Still only rain. Head to the bibliophile's house.

9:00 PM

Leave the bibliophile's house. Still only rain. Sole weather-related problem is a salt truck that sprays the side of new car while pulling away from a stoplight. Resist urge to burn that fucker to the ground for assaulting shiny new car.

9:40 PM, forecast

Rain and snow mixing until 5 AM, then snow.

By this point,, you have lost all credibility. My love for you has been tested. The snow day you dangled before me like a fat, juicy carrot now seems no more than an impossible dream. So long, and thanks for the fish.

Monday, January 28, 2008


(stolen from the lovely Mrs. Squirrel)


Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A. It varies, but I'm almost always willing to eat at Wendy's, Dairy Queen, or Long John Silver.

Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
A. Longhorn

Q. On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
A. 20% or more

Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
A. ice cream

Q. What are your pizza toppings of choice?
A. beef and green peppers

Q. What do you like to put on your toast?
A. butter and apple butter, or butter and a mix of cinnamon and sugar


Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A. When MB set up my laptop, he used a photo from our fantabulous Washington State vacation as my wallpaper. The little tree in the center looks like it has dreadlocks and always makes me smile, so I never changed it.

Q. How many televisions are in your house?
A. one


Q. Are you right-handed or left-handed?
A. right

Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A. four permanent teeth, numerous splinters, a mole

Q. What is the last heavy item you lifted?
A. boxes of books (we're packing)

Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
A. No, but I have passed out after giving blood.


Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
A. Hell, no.

Q. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
A. You know, I really can't think of anything.

Q. What color do you think looks best on you?
A. most shades of blue are good for me

Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
A. Not that I know of, but I did once eat a chocolate-covered cricket on purpose. It tasted like a Nestle Crunch bar, but I still wouldn't recommend it...the legs could get stuck in your teeth.

Q. Have you ever saved some one’s life?
A. no

Q. Has someone ever saved yours?
A. MB would claim that he has. I should probably tell that story sometime.


Q. Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
A. Sure

Q. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?

Q. Would you never blog again for $50,000?
A. I don't think so...I might take the money and change my blog name, though, if that would work.

Q. Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000?
A. It's possible, though I think MB would get a vote if I was ever given the option.

Q. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
A. Nope

Q. Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000?
A. No, never.


Q: What is in your left pocket?
A: I have no pockets (I'm wearing pjs), but I had a to-do list in my left jeans pocket when I got home. It has nine things on it, and I've done none of them.

Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
A: Negative

Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower?
A: What? Who sits in a shower??

Q: Could you live with roommates?
A: You mean other than the two roommates I have now (one human, one fuzzy, both sort of smelly)? I think I could, although I would need to have my own bedroom.

Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
A: three

Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
A: I guess that would be the night that a cop pulled my friend H over while she and I were driving home from seeing a band play. I think it was the summer after our senior year in high school. It was sort of creepy in that he pulled us over, checked both of our IDs, kept us there for a really long time while two other cop cars pulled up, asked us where we were headed, and then finally told us to go straight home and get the broken tail-light fixed. It was so damn weird. I later found out that one of my friends from work had also been pulled over that same night while riding around with another girl, so we theorized that two white chicks in a slightly hoopty 80s car had robbed a bank or something.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: pleased with the choices I've made


Q: Last friend you talked to?
A: S, at the meeting we both attended (hi, S!)

Q: Last person who called you?

Q: Last person you saw?


Q: Number?
A: 13

Q: Season?
A: fall


Q: Missing someone?
A: my sis, who's in Ireland for the semester

Q: Mood?
A: quietly content

Q: Listening to?
A: The Matrix on TV

Q: Watching?
A: my computer screen / The Matrix on TV

Q: Worrying about?
A: moving expenses


Q: First place you went this morning?
A: the bathroom, I'm sure

Q: What can you not wait to do?
A: move into the new house!

Q: What’s the last movie you saw?
A: Juno

Q: Do you smile often?
A: oh, yeah

Q: Are you a friendly person?
A: I try to be.

If you're looking at this and thinking, "I wish velocibadgergirl had tagged me," then guess're tagged! Link me in the comments if you want, because I'd love to see your answers.

Reading:  Coast to Coast Ghosts by Leslie Rule

Playing:  Juno soundtrack. It's very good and very earwormy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The ghost of snacktimes past

About a month ago, I developed a sudden and inexplicable craving for Oh's cereal. I used to eat Oh's all the time as a kid, but they're really hard to find these days. I told MB that if he ever stumbled across a box while shopping, it was his sacred duty to buy them for me. A week or so later, we stopped by my parents' house, and they had a box of Oh's in the kitchen. I immediately demanded to know where they were purchased, and MB and I went by that store on the way home and bought a box.

I was almost ready to swear that there used to be a cinnamon version, too, which came in a red box, but I can't find any evidence of its existence online. I did find this awful 1987 Oh's commercial, though, which proved there used to be blue Oh's as well as yellow Oh's:

The Oh's were just as delicious as I remembered, which got me thinking about other snacks that I loved as a kid. Some of them, I still love. Others, it's hard to believe I ever ate them without hurling.

Fun fruits, for example! Does anyone else remember fun fruits? They were like the original fruit snack or something. I remember two things about fun fruits:  ( 1 ) I once sucked one halfway into my windpipe while playing in the backyard and snacking simultaneously. I'm extremely glad not to be the world's only known fun fruit fatality. ( 2 ) the yellow fun fruits always gave me terrible stomachaches. I'm sure they were mostly wax and food coloring.

There's very little evidence of fun fruits on the internet, but here's another awful 80s commercial. I actually remember seeing this one on TV:

I also remember sandwich cookies that had faces on them. I think they were called Rascals or something similar, but Google neither confirms nor denies their existence.

What about Fla-Vor-Ice? My mom used to buy these in bulk at Sam's and keep a stash in the chest freezer in the basement for me and my cousins to eat in the summer time. We used to suck the flavored syrup out, and then eat the plain ice that was left behind. Or we'd carefully move the popsicle up inside the plastic sleeve, letting the melting syrup collect in the bottom. At the end, we'd drink the syrup. I've only had a few Fla-Vor-Ice pops since reaching adulthood, because the syrup has enough sugar to induce chemical burns on the back of my throat.

Here's another perennial childhood favorite:

The official circus peanut wikipedia page says it best:  "They are a fairly polarizing candy as most people have a strong opinion about them one way or the other." Seven-year-old me was solidly in favor of circus peanuts. Nearly-27-year-old me is pretty strongly anti-circus peanut. Or at least anti-circus-peanut-in-my-mouth. Blech.

According to wikipedia, circus peanuts inspired another one of my favorite childhood cereals:  "In 1963, General Mills vice president John Holahan inventively discovered that Circus Peanuts shavings yielded a tasty enhancement to his breakfast cereal. General Mills formalized the innovation and created Lucky Charms, the first breakfast cereal to contain marshmallow bits (or "marbits")."

I will still eat Lucky Charms like they're going out of style, I have to admit.

The "polarizing candy" comment reminded me of another polarizing candy from childhood:  the classic love them or hate them seasonal snack...Peeps.

I'm firmly in the "love them" camp, which is further subdivided into three factions:  only good when fresh, only good when stale, and good anytime. I'm a love them / only good when fresh kind of girl.

Peeps are a cultural institution as well as an Easter basket classic. I've already linked many times to Peeps research and Peeps surgery. I am delighted to report that some people participate in Peeps jousting:  The messy and largely self-entertaining game, "Peeps Jousting" is played with a microwave oven. One takes two Peeps, and licks the right-hand side of each until sticky. A toothpick is thereby adhered to each Peep, pointing forward like a jousting lance. The Peeps are then set in a microwave, squared off against one another, and heated up. As they expand, the toothpick lances thrust toward each opponent, and the winner is the one that does not pop and deflate (or fizzle and die). Both usually are eaten after the competition, however, regardless who the victor was, calling into question the nature of "winning" in such a circumstance.[1] This folkloric tradition has been noted by the Washington Post. Peeps jousting has also been called such names as "mortal peep fight."

Also, because it's fantastically weird...Peeps Jesus:

Tell me...are there any foods from your childhood that you sampled as an adult and couldn't figure out why you ever liked them?

Reading:  The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (it's really, really good)

Playing:  the Juno soundtrack (listen to it at the official movie website)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In which we finally get lucky

The painfully long and picture-laden saga began to reach its denouement on Wednesday, two weeks ago. Our realtor emailed me a listing with a note saying the price had just been dropped, and that she thought we might want to see it. The place was the right size, barely over our budget, and in a neighborhood we never thought we'd actually be able to afford. The pictures didn't look overly promising, but I figured what the least there weren't any aqua appliances.

Wednesday night around 7 PM the realtor called me so she could explain some complications with the listing. By this point the photos had piqued our curiosity, so when she offered to take us straight over to see it, we went. We took my mom to see it the following night, and went to the bank as soon as we got done with work on Friday. We made an offer that night, the seller countered the following day, and we decided to take the money and run (metaphorically, of course). By Sunday night, it was pretty much finished.

So, barring any unforeseen disasters at the closing, MB and I will be celebrating Valentine's Day weekend by moving all of our worldly possessions and one very confused cat into this house (provided we don't freeze to death first, because it is really fucking cold right now):

I suppose it's some sort of poetic justice for me to fall in love with a house with ugly wallpaper, after being so mean about all those other houses. We're planning to keep the orange cabinets (they're more terra cotta than dreamsicle), and the green 70s carpet on the stairs is growing on me, but the wallpaper has got to go, as soon as possible.

As my dear friend Chick (go vote for her!) would say, thank the sweet Lord.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In which things get ugly. Really ugly.

After sleeping on it, MB and I were less excited about the big house with the awesome yard. He was pretty sure the dining room and living room were too small, and didn't like that one kid's room would be on the main floor while we'd be upstairs. I was okay with everything about the house, but was feeling unsure about the neighborhood.

We decided to keep looking, and so one dreary day we set out for the west side of town. (Seriously, it rained nearly every day that we went house hunting. It was uncanny.) Oh, mama...we saw some fugly houses that day.

We started at a pretty cute place:

MB didn't like the floorplan at all, and the bedrooms were somewhat small. The yard was little and slopey and there was no fence, so we ultimately had to move on. There were some really cute kittens in the house that we had fun visiting, though.

Things went right downhill after that. This house was very...odd. It was filled with an even mix of Jewish kitsch and Jesus knickknacks. It had started out as a little bitty place, and had two very unfortunate additions Frankensteined onto it.

The middle photo here is the dining room, which also had the fridge in the corner. The kitchen was basically the size of a closet. I don't know how a full-sized adult could fit in between the counter and the stove, which was wedged into the corner just out of the frame. Yikes.

Behind the kitchen, things got very weird. there was a full 90 degree turn down a teensy narrow hallway, and then another 90 degree into a bedroom. I have no earthly idea how they got a double bed back there. Magic? Teleportation? It must've been a marvel of creative manuevering.

Our next stop was this unassuming ranch, which hid horrors within:

There are no words, so let's just bask in the aqua glory for a few moments:

Are you still with me? Good. I'd hate for you to miss these built-in bunk beds with super narrow mattresses. I'm not sure they sell sheets for beds this size at Target. Or anywhere, really. This place was pretty depressing, so we hurried onward.

We were pretty excited about the next house, which was just over 2000 square feet and boasted a party house over the garage.

This place was a textbook example of really creative real estate photography. The downstairs rooms were okay, if a little bit generically remodeled. The house was a flip, and everything was apartment-colored--white walls and beige carpets. The yard was very narrow, and the party house was a lot smaller than it looked in the photo.

Overall, not terrible, until I went upstairs. The upstairs apparently didn't receive any of the remodeling love. The carpet on the staircase was deeeeeesgusting. Stains everywhere. But the best part? A total death trap at the top.

Check out that gap. I'm somewhat absurdly leggy, and I couldn't even make the step down from the doorway to the stairs. Here's the view looking straight down from the threshold of what would be the kids' room:

Uh, no. Kids are resilient and all, but I'm pretty sure this room = guaranteed head injuries. I can absolutely promise I wouldn't be in this house a week before I broke my leg.

Speaking of creative real estate photography:

I realize the lens had some rain splotches on it, but doesn't this photo make it look like there's smoke coming out of the house?

Anyhoodle, moving on:

Ooh! Cute, right? Except these people were out back sneaking a cigarette when the concept of flattering real estate photography was covered:

There's no kind way to put it, so I'll just say it:  this place was a goddamn disaster. The wood floors were in bad shape, and the master bedroom closet was a painfully cheap slap-up job. There were wires hanging out of all the places where light switches and outlets should've been. The "new paint" they boasted about in the listing was two rooms with really half-assed faux finish jobs in gold. GOLD. Oh, and there were dog pawprints in purple paint all over the carpet on the staircase, even though we didn't see a splash of purple anywhere else in the house. I have to give them props for not having a drop of death at the top of the stairs, but the artwork and the bird nest in the window kind of canceled out most of the scant few brownie points they'd just earned:

The house's only redeeming feature? Gorgeous doors on the master bedroom:

A few blocks down, we saw a basically-identical house:

This one was not so much horrifying as in need of serious, long-term, expensive TLC. I really hope it gets it, too, because this place could be breathtaking:

Okay, the scary boiler and uber-granny decor upstairs have to go. But otherwise, not so bad!

We had originally planned to see this one, too, but didn't get an appointment:

I love yellow, but this place made me want to cry. It was just so squat and ugly. All in all, I was pretty relieved that we were forced to skip it.

We closed out our west-side excursion with two decent, unoffensive houses that were on a street too busy for our tastes:

Finally, just for the hell of it, we checked out a two-bedroom Tudor that claimed to have a possible third bedroom in the basement:

Very cute, but pretty small, and the "bedroom" in the basement wasn't very appealing.

Although I had a good time documenting the heinousness of some of the day's finds, this trip really did take a lot of the wind out of our sails. We were beginning to think that we had standards too high for our price range, to be honest.

Little did we know, there was a big bright shiny light on the horizon...