Monday, March 12, 2007

Elf Vomit

There's a house for sale across the street. We were lookie-loos on Sunday afternoon and walked in to a paralyzing cotton candy aqua blue. Other rooms were cotton candy pink, c. c. lavender, and then I either had a seizure or mentally blocked out the last color. I described this to my brilliant niece (who needs to blog some more but she just got a promotion so she is too busy) and she summarized the color scheme as "Elf Vomit." (Googling "Elf Vomit" only leads to disgusting Christmas decorations, but hopefully we can start a new thing here.) I think the sellers would not have had to reduce the price 40K if they had only painted everything a neutral color. Of course, there still were the multiple mirrors in the living room and dining room, the different 70's colored carpets in every room, and the funky additions.

We would love to buy a fixer-upper in the neighborhood, but this was too much fixing for the price. My departed mom's house looked better, even before the Handy Husband remodeled it. Since she never did much to it, she didn't mess it up too much.

The funky addition on my mom's house was a family room, added sometime before she bought it in 1970. The prior owners apparently did not care about codes: the studs were 24" apart and there was no insulation. And no record of the addition. The county assessor grandfathered it during the probate process. The HH fixed all the problems. My mom's house is now a new house in an old skin, and we will probably retire there.

Our own house had a funky addition: our bedroom. The original owner was into salvaged material. Some things in the bedroom are really cool: redwood paneling from a church in Lompoc, stained glass from a Stanford mansion (OK, I was told the glass came from a Stanford mansion and I have no proof or provenance, but it's still a good story), and a good luck horseshoe. It has strangely shaped closets and cupboards, tucked into nooks and crannies.

A confession: One cupboard has been screwed shut with a drywall screw because it contains a collection of adult videos we acquired from my late uncle's basement. Why did the HH resort to such a drastic containment? Hiding it from the kids? Or temptation?

The HH added his own salvaged material to the house (3/4" pine flooring from a high school in Arizona), repaired what was rotten (the pine deck outside,) and remodeled what needed it (kitchen and master bath.) Kudos to the Handy Husband.

There was some point to the end of this blog, but I inadvertently deleted it last night. Something about ugly wallpaper. I could go on for hours about that. So I won't.

The moral of this post must be: don't allow elf vomit in your house, or at least cover it up when you leave.

Friday, March 09, 2007


You Are An ISFJ
The Nurturer: You have a strong need to belong, and you are very loyal. A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways. In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music. You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

I took the Myers/Briggs personality thingie more than 10 years ago. I still have the same personality type. This blurb is totally me. Although there may be other facets to my personality....

The Mommy Guilt Post

Admit it. You all have it, all the moms who are reading this. It's Mommy Guilt. You have that niggling fear in the back of your mind, but you push it aside. Then days or weeks or months later it craps on you. And you realize you were RIGHT! You should "trust your feelings, Luke." Except Luke's NOT A MOM!

Remember my nightmares about "Ernest" going to camp? (No Ernest movie jokes, please.) Because six years ago "Frank" came home from camp and was sick for two months. That Mommy Guilt was because I couldn't ever find out what was wrong. Two months of Mommy Guilt is too long.

Now, my sweetiepie Ernest has had a cold for a while. I lost track of how long. This morning he descended the stairs and said, "Mom, my chest is growling." WTF???? I put my good right ear to his left lung and heard this disgusting growling wheezy chunky slushy noise inside. I looked at the calendar and realized he had had this cold/cough/ickiness for a whole month. MOMMY GUILT!!! (Backstory: A girl in my second grade class just returned after a bout of pneumonia.) I kept my cool and called the doctor's office. A recording. A recording. Again a recording. Another recording. Twenty minutes after they were supposed to open, I got a human voice and made an appointment.

Ernest's chest wasn't growling etc. by the time he got to the doctor's office. But it was nasty enough to get antibiotics...see prior post for that ordeal.

Reflecting, I really didn't see any serious symptoms until this morning. But you can't stop the Mommy Guilt. (Although in my defense, today was the first time Ernest said anything that made me worry!)

76 Cents a Minute

I hate, I mean... tolerate insurance companies. (Why can't I do that cool crossing out font I see on other blogs?) I can say that. I worked for an insurance company for 15 years. We were pretty good. There was always a live person on the phone who could solve your problem. Of course, we were only a life insurance company. Each policy would have one claim, the ultimate claim. Baby, don't fear the reaper.

HH (Handy Husband)'s company just changed health insurance providers, effective 3/1. He filled out the paperwork early last week. Of course Murphy's Law went into effect and I had to take "Ernest" to the doctor. (The Mommy Guilt post will have to come later.) We have no insurance cards yet, all we got was an e-mail with the group number.

I spent 20 minutes at the doctor's office while they updated their new computer system, before they could see Ernest. I took him home, then spent an hour and a half at Rite Aid trying to get the prescription. Let me emphasize it was not Rite Aid's fault.

There was no record of us with Blue Cross. The prescription had to be relabeled, so they asked me to return in 15 minutes. There is NO cell phone signal in that store, so I ran another errand and called my HH. His HR person was out sick, so we didn't think we could resolve this until Monday. I decided to pay the $209.99 price because Ernest needed his antibiotic now. It was still not ready. I waited longer, I paid the $209.99, then they took it away from me. What was going on? I waited some more. Eventually, someone told me they were talking to Blue Cross and the insurance agent. Did I have any more shopping to do? No. I sat in their waiting room and watched my feet swell. I chatted with two co-workers waiting for prescriptions. I read a Men's Health Magazine because that's all there was. I watched a child play with the blood pressure machine. Eventually they called my name. They had gotten the insurance info and now I only had to pay $141.68. A savings of $68.31. Or, 76 cents for every minute I sat there. At work I only make 15 cents a minute. Comparatively, I guess it was worth it. My feet didn't think so. They would have gladly paid $68.31 to go home and take their shoes off.

What happened while I waited with no cell phone signal is that HH's HR person was monitoring her e-mails from home, she immediately contacted their insurance agent who called HH, insurance agent called Rite Aid, other calls ensued, but no one could call me because there was no signal!, and Rite Aid got the information (at least for Ernest) that they needed. A lot of scrambling, so 90 minutes isn't to bad to accomplish a minor insurance miracle of getting a person into the insurance company's computer system.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Today I Bit the Bullet

Today I bit the bullet, swallowed my pride, sucked it up, went the whole nine yards, jumped the shark... and bought reading glasses. I talked the talk, but can I walk the walk? I'm struggling with them. My brilliant young son Ernest says, "It might be that your brain just doesn't want to accept that you have to wear reading glasses." He's totally right. They do make things clearer, but I'm still in denial.


There was an unusual round of vandalism in our small town neighborhood Friday night. Ernest and I were out of town; this is what I learned when we got home. Someone went around our neighborhood puncturing car tires. Handy Husband discovered this in the morning when the police came a-knockin' on our door. Many cars were hit. A dog-walking neighbor reported to the police that a number of teenagers had been hanging out at an empty house in the next block.

Only our truck was in the street, and it needed new tires anyway. HH had fortuitously parked the sports car (which just got new tires a few months ago) in the driveway. HH was talking to the next door neighbor yesterday, and learned that his next-door neighbors had been robbed a while ago, and their next-door neighbor had a peeper in the backyard. What happened to my nice safe neighborhood where nothing has happened for 19 years? We've never had any disturbances before.

Where Have I Been?

I have no idea. I was in such a funk the week before Ernest left for camp...worrying about that, work, snoring husband, nightmares, insomnia, and I can't even remember what else.

Ernest came back from camp with nothing worse than a cold. A three-week cold. Handy Husband caught it too, which made his snoring even worse. I've been taking Airborne and vitamin C and haven't caught it yet.