You wanna know what we saw with the blacklight?
Aw. Come on.
What if I show you what we saw on a random, fairly unstained and decent-looking section of carpet? That wouldn't be so bad, right?
Hey! Remember when we moved? That sucked. Fuck that.
But we did it. We sold our little condo in DC -- a condo we loved so very much, particularly and especially once we put it on the market. We're ridiculous like that. "Hey! All we really needed to do was move half of our crap into storage, maybe clean it occasionally and get that vile hussy of a toaster off the countertop! Let's call the whole thing off!"
We almost did, actually. We told our agents that we didn't want to be listed over the holidays, so if we didn't get an offer by Thanksgiving we'd go off the market and try again in a few months. The DC market was terrrrrrible at the time, and while we were itching to snap up one of the many bargain-priced places out in the 'burbs where the market was even worse, there was no way -- NO WAY IN HELL -- we were going to buy something before our place sold.
(Ironically, the only reason we could afford our new house was because the owners had already bought their new house and were so financially strapped that they slashed the price by $50,000, and then STILL let us lowball them.)
(God, now I remember why I never wrote about all this. BECAUSE IT IS CRAZY BORING. REAL ESTATE TALK! LET ME ENUMERATE THE MANY DISADVANTAGES OF ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGES WHILE I AM AT IT.)
Anywaaaaay...we were actually counting on taking the condo off the market and secretly plotting to "lose" our agents' phone numbers in all the "hustle and bustle of Christmas" and just maybe stay put after all. Then we got an offer just three goddamn days before Thanksgiving. Well. FINE.
We had to be out by Christmas. We didn't have a new house. We hadn't decided on a neighborhood. We hadn't even picked a STATE.
(Why? Why am I going into all this detail? I sat down to frame a little story about something else entirely and now I am writing paragraph after paragraph about things that have already happened and I cannot stop. HALP.)
Anywaaaaaaaaay...we found our house and bought it and everything was lovely.
Except for the carpet. I hated the carpet. But we agreed to live with it for awhile.
Then summer hit. And the humidity did...something...to the carpet. Something...smelly. Smelly like...pee. Old, old pee.
So you know what we did? You know what I recommend you do NOT do, unless you are really and truly ready to live with the consequences?
We bought a blacklight. The same kind you can use to squick yourself out in hotel rooms. We turned off the lights and looked at the carpet.
We submitted paperwork for a home equity loan THE NEXT DAY.
(Oh my God. OH MY GOD. When I just THINK about what that light showed us. When I just THINK about it.)
(pulls knees to chest, rhythmically rocks back and forth, weeps.)
It all starts tomorrow. No more carpet. No more Pergo. Just me, some hardwoods and the millions of dustbunnies. Invest in Swiffer stock today!
WILL NOT MISS.
WILL NOT MISS.
WILL NOT MISS.
Other projects on the nearish horizon include new windows, since I don't think windows should require PACKING TAPE in order to stay closed.
Verrrrry sneaky, previous owners. Now you know why I kept all your issues of People.
And then there's Noah's room. His old room was the hardest thing to leave behind. I cried. My mother-in-law hugged me and told me she could paint it all over again at our new place, that his new room would be even better, that it was totally okay that we were leaving behind the very paint that I painted, myself, with my own pregnant hands.
(Longtime readers may remember that I painted exactly three goddamn leaves in the whole room. But they were MY LEAVES. PAINTED WITH LOVE. AND A STENCIL.)
After a few months of insisting that I wanted the exact same room all over again...with the tree and the leaves and the butterflies and sweet fuzzy animals...I finally admitted that it was probably better to paint something a little less babyish. I hung all of Noah's old animals in the downstairs bathroom and asked my mother-in-law if she knew how to paint planes.
She's only done one so far, but yeah. I think she knows how to paint planes.
My lone contribution: Noah's name. Stuck to the closet doors.
With packing tape.
Whenever I'm on nitrous oxide, I always feel like I'm flying high above some magical land of magic. The land is different every time, and is usually inspired by whatever music is playing. (At the dentist's office, I should probably clarify. I gave up recreational use a good six months ago.) This has led to some really weird hallucinations involving Peabo Bryson in the past.
But this morning I was flying high over an animated land of rainbows, while cartoon characters with Afros and sequined yellow jumpsuits disco-danced to Shake Your Groove Thing. I was also 1) lying down with my feet up, and 2) officially off of diaper duty. Plus drugs! Let us not ever forget about the drugs.
And yes, I was also getting the very last of my fourteen zillion cavities filled, but that's really splitting hairs. I had a nice morning off! It was downright lovely.
Oh, and I received a brand-new bite appliance, for to be wearing at night so I don't grind my teeth down to little nubs of exposed nerves. It's sexy! I can't wait to put it in and whisper those magic words to Jason one of these nights.
"Hey baby, e'm ovulathing."
You okay, Mama? Why don't you stop twirling and sit down for a minute?
And now, for everybody who asked, I will destroy all illusions that I am your superior because I can open a bottle of champagne with a sword. Because it is so easy you are going to laugh. Laff!
(I'm not actually performing the trick in these photos, since we're down to our last bottle also, it's like 11:15 in the morning, people. That's way too late for mimosas. It's vodka time, baby.)
First find a very thoroughly chilled bottle of bubbly. Champagne, prosecco, sparkling wine, whatever. I have no idea if sparkling cider would work and frankly, do not care to find out.
Psychotic ninja glare not necessary, but it helps.
Then find a sword or something vaguely like a sword. It should be metal and extremely sturdy and (this is important) decidedly BLUNT. NOT SHARP. The back of a good chef's knife is perfect. The guy at the vineyard told us he's performed the trick with a tire iron. I'm sure MacGuyver could open a bottle with a crayon, some duct tape and a shot of whiskey, but I recommend you go with a knife the first time you try it.
Singing fridge magnets? I'm totally coming for you next.
Next, examine the bottle until you find the seam. It runs from the base of the bottle all the way to the opening. It's kind of raised so you can find it with your thumb.
The Seam: Your Roadmap to AWESOME.
Remove the foil and uh. Go outside.
Remove the wire cage thing. Hold the bottle with the seam facing up. And all you need to do is run the back of the knife along that seam until you hit the lip at the top of the bottle. That's it. Really.
If you do it with enough force (which isn't even that much, considering me and my girlish weak arms can do it just fine), the top of the bottle will separate cleanly and the cork will go flying. There may be some sharp edges, but no broken bits of glass.
Smile, bow, and try to remember that YES. IT'S A GODDAMN SWORD AND NOT YOUR INDEX FINGER, MS. HAND-TALKY McGESTURE.
That's it? Dude. What a rip-off.
On the off-chance that our trip to New York and the fourteen million pounds of pizza we consumed there were not QUITE enough to sufficiently celebrate Jason's birthday, we continued the birthday blowout extravagaaaaahnza with a bus trip to the always gorgeous Virgina wine country on Saturday.
It was awesome. One person puked on the bus on the way home and another fell out of her seat and into the aisle and still did not wake up. Meanwhile I was engaged in a high-level discussion about racial profiling with a nice young man whose family bought his ticket for Father's Day but did not accompany him. He assured me he actually preferred it that way, and also, NO, the fact that he, Jason and I were relatively sober after consuming just as much wine as Ol' Pukey and Ol'FallOuty McDrunkAss over there was NOT a sign of serious alcoholism, it was a sign that I needed to pass him a damn plastic cup, he was opening another bottle.
Also: I learned how to open a bottle of bubbly with a sword, people. A fucking SWORD.
Yes, I biffed it the first time, which made the wine foam when I tried again, but the cork landed in the hat I was aiming for, so: 1,000,000 FREESTYLE POINTS! RADICAL TUBULARNESS. YOU HAVE ACHIEVED DRINKING NINJA STATUS.
The trick also works with a chef's knife, as I demonstrated last night in our backyard because I cannot get enough of my new stupid human trick.
This could get expensive, and also somebody is probably going to lose an eye.
(Noah had yet another nice day with Grandma and Grandpa. They worked on painting Noah's Room Take 2, Big Boy Edition, Now With 100% Less Bunny Rabbits and 100% More Breaking of Mama's Heart.)
I made brownies (from scratch! from atoms and molecules and the sheer force of will!) last night. I am incredibly paranoid about burning chocolate, so I tend to hover and fret over the saucepan, unable to do anything else lest my precious, delicious chocolate seize up on me the instant I take my eyes off it.
So I asked Jason if he'd mind making the cream cheese topping.
My husband makes the most delicious brined chicken you have ever tasted. He can perfectly roast a duck and every Thanksgiving he outdoes himself with an original stuffing recipe. If you come to our house for dinner he will probably serve you watercress vichyssoise or dates stuffed with mascarpone. The best gift I ever gave him was tickets to a pasta-making class and the corresponding attachment for our KitchenAid mixer.
I spent 40 minutes last night whisking that damn brownie topping, wondering why I couldn't get it to come together right, why it was gloppy and thick instead of smooth and creamy, before I finally gave up and poured it over the chocolate batter anyway. I figured the cream cheese was just too cold, or something.
No. My husband...wonderful chef that he is, who relies entirely on instinct in the kitchen, who thinks recipes are more like jumping-off points to start negotiations than something you should actually pay attention to...used an egg white instead of an egg yolk, because the topping always comes out white. And "wouldn't it be all yellow if I was supposed to use a yolk?"
The end result pretty much tasted like we'd topped the brownies off with a nice fluffy...omelette.
Breakfast Brownies! Coming soon to a Dollar Menu near you! Available in Original and New Spicy Western Style!
Happy birthday, Jason. Let's order in tonight.
Okay. Baby is napping. Time to write something. Something about New York.
Internet is down. Oh well. No point in writing something if I can't just go ahead and publish...
Oh. Back up. Okay.
Have a headache.
I could write about how I overslept on Thursday and missed the first two trains I meant to take and then got on another train that stopped at every damn stop in Jersey and oh my God how irritating that was to know I was going to be late for the graduation because there was a slight chance somebody in Metuchen needed to go to New York, but then you KNOW somebody will leave a comment like, "Hey! I'm from Metuchen! We're titans of industry! We're the puppy and kitten heart transplant capital of the world!" and then I'll feel like an ass. Plus, what is WITH me and the trains? I've already written about me and the trains. The trains hate me and I hate them. The end.
I could write about the graduation and how I got there late but there were all these people milling around the lobby so I assumed we were all still waiting to get inside, so I just stood there for awhile, clutching my ticket and probably letting my mouth hang open the way I do sometimes, the way that makes me look really stupid in the background of people's Flickr photos, but then it turns out I was standing in line with the freaking BOARD OF TRUSTEES of my niece's school who were about to march down the aisle and I was all, "SHIT." And then they almost didn't let me in even though I was all, "Pew 35! I'm supposed to be in Pew 35! Please let me in! I missed two trains for this!"
Nah. That's really boring, because in the end they let me in and I got to watch my niece graduate and hot damn, I am old. Also weepy.
Okay, there's the story about meeting Janice from The Sopranos at the post-graduation luncheon! That's a good story! Except that it was really my sister who talked to her while I stood behind her and grinned like an idiot all, "SONICETOMEETYOU HEH HEH," although it was really funny when my sister asked me which person at the table was the actress, completely oblivious to the fact that it was the woman she'd just spent 10 minutes detailing our entire life story to, and then how my brother-in-law overheard Aida bitching to someone that she was fucking sick of people asking her what fucking happened in the last three minutes, because she doesn't fucking know, so stop fucking asking her.
Hmm. On second thought, there really isn't too much to that story, since I was the social equivalent to a life-size cardboard cutout the entire luncheon. A cutout dipped in white wine and served with rubbery hotel chicken.
I could write about the rest of the trip...which was...a lot of pizza. And shopping. Then more pizza.
Man, but I have a headache.
Oh! Baby is awake! Must get him. God, I missed that little bugger.
So I guess there's nothing to write about after all. Oh well.
So it turns out that a complete and total vacation from the Internet was exactly what I needed, and I am pleased to report that I didn't even check my email twice. I checked it once, deleted four hundred million marketing/PR solicitations, scanned the rest of the subject lines for anything regarding anybody's hair being on fire, and then closed the laptop for the remainder of our trip.
It was glorious. I possibly saw Blue.
I have tons of stories and no photos. Unless you count photos of pizza. We ate a lot of pizza, and if you've ever wondered just how many hours of nonstop pizza-eating you can endure before your digestive system completely shuts down with a painful rattling thud, I have the answer. It's 42.
But! First I need to complete some professional-type writing obligations and also get my household back above the squalor level. This morning I justified serving my child expired milk because I was mixing it with yogurt, and you know, it's all basically bacteria anyway.
I later put the same milk in my coffee, and. Well. That probably served me right.
So I will talk to you some more later. Consider this post your placeholder for now, written only so all the potential robbers out there know that my house is once again occupied by a crazy constipated girl with a broom, so The End. Get the fuck off my lawn!
I am losing my mind here, people.
Here's the thing: we're leaving! Tonight! For a vacation I did not tell the Internet about because there's something sort of "HEY COME ROB ME" about announcing vacations online. And then people will read about the robbery and shake their heads at these stupid people with their stupid MySpaces and whatever.
Anyway. We're going to New York for Jason's birthday. Well. Wait. It's complicated. I'm going to New York tomorrow, Jason's going to New York on Friday, Noah is staying with the grandparents in Pennsylvania which is where we're all driving to TONIGHT.
I also maybe FORGOT that we were leaving tonight. The thought struck me yesterday that I should pack.
So I planned to pack today -- a small suitcase for me to take up tomorrow (it's my niece's graduation from high school, oh my damn) and then a bigger suitcase for Jason to bring up on Friday for he is Man and Strong and Can Better Get My Shoes Into The Overhead Luggage Bin, and then a suitcase for Noah and everything his precious little self could possibly need and extra Green Juice and waffles and OH SHIT THE PETS I FORGOT I HAVE TO PACK UP THE PETS TOO DAMMIT.
Adding to the chaos: an electrician came this morning to upgrade our electrical panel and split circuits and blah bzzzt blah so our house would no longer be in danger of blowing the fuck up every time we used the microwave. And given my turkey bacon habit (which I microwave slice by slice by slice, because I always believe I am only going to eat one slice), the chances of that happening were pretty high.
So the power has been off all morning, and Noah and I just...stared at each other. There was no TV. There were no Muppet videos on YouTube. It was ugly. And boring. We played outside for awhile and I tried to make a to-do and to-pack list:
Wrap gifts and get $
Assorted tank tops
That's as far as I got. So there remains a good chance that I will be running around New York City this weekend in a tank top with no pants. But I will not be suffering from a hangover.
I didn't get very far on the list because Ceiba was busy having a fucking conniption for four hours straight. Because MEN. In our HOUSE.
BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP BARK BARK BARK BARK WOOF WOOF YIP YIP BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK YIP YIP BARK.
I fed her peanut butter out of the jar until her mouth got stuck together.
Anyway. I just came online to say HI, BYE and to mention that I might not be posting here, there or everywhere for the next couple days because frankly, I could use a little vacation from the computing box. But I always say that. And then I pack my laptop anyway and pay $10 a day for hotel WiFi because I start getting all pale and invisible (like Marty in Back to the Future) after a few days offline.
So hi. Bye. Maybe. Whatever.
Presenting! Some footage shot during three days of nonstop attempts to get Noah to say "ABEAH" clearly on video ("What's this, Noah? What's this called? Huh? Huh?"), and also preferably a clip that did not involve 1) possible poisonings, 2) propane and/or head injuries, 3) blank vapid stares, or 4) an actual abeah.
Because, you know, I wouldn't want the Internet to know what a shitty parent I am. At least not right away. Maybe a few days later, when I was feeling lazy and didn't want to actually write anything.
I swear, that kid misses his mark almost every time. He'll never be an Olsen twin at this rate, dammit.
I WIN SUBURBIA.
Is taking photos of stuff in your garden the housewifely equivalent to men pounding on their chests and screaming like Tarzan?
Because seriously, I accidentally lopped off a large portion of this vine (it's a Clematis, but we call it a Chlamydia) while planting it. The whole thing started to shrivel up and die and I was like, eff this, I'm buying some plastic flamingos and garden gnomes and no one can stop me, and then! Look! It came back from the near-dead and there's a motherfucking flower that I practically grew with my own two hands. With my own force of will and gardening skillz and also these vines are pretty much just indestructible weeds that you can buy for $10.99 at Home Depot.
My husband, on the other hand, is just being a show-off.
This is his herb garden.
And his other herb garden.
Whatever. They are not purple. Mine is purple.
However, all attempts by both parties to re-fold the baby pool have been met with resounding failure.
Fuck this shit, I'm going back inside.
Edited to add: a few of you already noticed, but the URL for the Advice Smackdown column has changed. Alpha Mom launched a shiny new version of their website over the weekend and the URL structure is different. Or something. They explained it really well but all I heard was "Take this week off until we have the site running smoothly" and I was all, "Party!"
So. New Advice Smackdown URL. But no new columns this week. Update your bookmarks and check back next Monday for all the vain and vapid goodness you've come to expect from me.