Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kid Stuff: Backpack Homework Clean-Out

Evidence that the Little Kid is my child:

ADJECTIVES FOR COLORS AND SHAPES.  Color the boxes and circles. Write about the picture. Use color and shape words.

"All of the square boxes and rectangular shapes are JADE green. The OLIVE green circular shapes are in between."

Evidence that the Little Kid  is his biochemist nana's grandchild:

ADJECTIVES FOR SIZES.  Write about something you like that is very big.  It might be an animal, a place or a thing.  Use adjectives to tell about it.

"Megalodons were huge prehistoric sharks with giant teeth."

Write about something that is very small.  It might be an animal, a place or a thing.  Use adjectives to tell about it.  Say the adjectives you used.

"Krill are tiny shrimp that eat even smaller plants called phytoplankton."

Evidence that the Little Kid is also his mathematician granddad's grandchild:

"That was a self-check, Mom.  I gave myself infinity as my grade."  (Sure enough, he had drawn an 8 on its side at the top of the page.)

Evidence that the Little Kid is way smarter than he would like anyone to know:

See above.  Not intending to brag on my kid, but given the lengths that he has gone to in the past to fly beneath the radar, it is such a relief to know that the lights are on and a smart little cookie is home.  Equally gratifying:  seeing signs that he is willing to let his smart cookie status be known.

No longer having a big brother on the same campus is, I think, doing us a WORLD of good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thought for the Day

If scheduled on-site meetings with contractors merit wearing sensible (low-heeled) shoes, you might as well do things right.

Personally, I think my Prada ballerina flats added a little class to the whole affair.  Although the guys laying kitchen tile didn't comment on them.  And, also, they refused to let me work the wet saw.

Dang it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Countdown to the New Old House: FML, Sort Of

My platonic love affair with my cabinetmaker may be ending.


I knew that, inevitably, there would be miscommunications and mistakes arising therefrom.  Not my first rodeo, and, actually, a good part of my job involves helping people work through and around those types of problems.  So I'm probably better equipped than most to roll with the punches.  Also, fully recognized that it's hard to fabricate cabinets for a kitchen that has no floor.  For six consecutive months.

Nevertheless . . . well, I'll spare you all of the gory the details, but, among other items, I might be tearing out the 24-inch-square sheetrocked column that we paid to have constructed around an existing 19-inch-square chimney column.  A chimney column that, by the by, my husband loves, because of the exposed brick aspect.  But we sheetrocked it in, because that was our understanding, because it was depicted on every drawing that had been circulated, and also addressed in a couple of e-mails, but now we find out that Cabinetmaker thought that the sheetrocked column would be 19 inches square, which, I'm sorry, makes no sense, because:

(1) It's impossible to build a 19-inch box around something that is, actually, TECHNICALLY, 19 1/2 inches by 19 1/4 inches and made of brick; and, also,

(2) The man has a tape measure, doesn't he?  I mean, it's part of his job.  So he knew that we were starting from 19 inches.  Why draw a box around a smaller box with the intent of making the larger box 19 inches when you know that the smaller box is 19 inches?

Anyway.  Option #1 is to tear out sheetrock and framing, texture a flippin' five-inch wide strip of wall on both sides of the chimney (plus, I guess, some ceiling) and touch up JUST A STRIP OF PAINT all of the way around.  Option #2 is to shorten the cabinets that tee into that corner, which is actually okay with me, ON ACCOUNT OF HOW I NEVER KNEW THAT I WAS GETTING THAT EXTRA FIVE INCHES, ANYWAY.  (Sorry, don't mean to be screaming at you.)

I have decided that I don't care one way or the other - someone needs to fix the problem, at minimal or no cost to me, without me having to expend a lot of brain cells thinking about it. Because I have precious few working brain cells left.  And, also, it's my job to puzzle these things out for other people, so I'd just as soon not bother on my own time.

I am likewise trying to roll with the punches re: the facts that:

(A) However things are reconfigured, there is going to be a small cabinet (actually, two, upper and lower) between the pantry and the column that I will have to put a countertop on.  Not a lot of countertop, in the grand scheme of things - a scrap, really - but I am confident that the countertop people will find a way to make me overpay for it.

(B) Cabinetmaker notched in one of the lower cabinets to create doorway clearance - a decision that I don't recall discussing, and a detail that failed to catch my attention or Spouse's when we approved the elevations.  Said cabinet recess translates into a segment of countertop that is not the same width for its entire length, which will require "specialty fabrication" (translation:  another overpayment).

(C) I don't think that Cabinetmaker has actually built our island yet.  I'm actually okay with this, as something that is not built is something that hasn't been built incorrectly.  So, rather than fix it, we'll build it right the first time, now that we can actually see how the room will lay out and stuff.


Apologies again - it turns out that I didn't spare you any of the gory details after all.

So I have a bit of a black cloud over my head, although I feel pretty guilty about it - I mean, worrying about home remodeling costs implies that you have a home to remodel and some wherewithal to pay for it, so fully realized that there are worse problems to have, right?  But even THAT thought depresses me, because the subtext is that my life is generally too good for me to ever be justified in indulging in depression - which is, kind of in itself, depressing.

So I chose to vent by posting "FML" as my Facebook status -  and then (because I was too defeated by cabinet issues to fully focus on work) I decided to check out the Web site.

Which turned out to be a good decision, because I found myself laughing at most of the entries, which made me realize that the best response to my own current dilemma is probably laughter, as well.

Today, I got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. I called AAA, and they said it would take 2 hours to get there. They called 2 hours later saying they got a flat tire and would be there in another 2 hours.

Okay, now that I re-read that, I shouldn't be laughing, because being in the middle of nowhere can be scary, depending on what "nowhere" we're talking about.  Could be terrifying.  But the general concept of the tow truck getting a flat made me chuckle.

Today, my friend and I went for a late night walk along the beach. We decided to sit down on a log. It was a dead seal.

Again, I'm sure that this wasn't funny in the moment, but reading about it after the fact - well, it certainly puts perspective on my situation.  I think it's a pretty safe assumption that at no point during the pendency of our restoration/remodel will I - intentionally or accidentally - end up sitting on a dead seal.  Although I guess I can't rule it out for sure.

Today, my parents woke me up at 4 am and informed me of their impending divorce. They then woke me up again three hours later and told me “never mind”. This same routine happens several times a month.

This one did not make me laugh.  This is not an FML so much as a "WTF"?  Patting myself on the back for having much better parenting skills than at least one other mother out there.

Today, my eight year old son came to me and said he thinks it’s time he started wearing bras. It turns out his older brother has been mind-f***ing him for the past several months and has him convinced it’s something all boys his age do. I can’t convince him otherwise. 

Okay, THAT's flat-out funny.  As a mother of two boys, I can laugh at that one.  Particularly because it's not about MY two boys.  (Yeah, yeah - there but for the grace of God and all.  Fairly sure that I would laugh about it if it WAS my two boys.)

Today, I went on a date with a seemingly nice guy I met online. He was drunk when I got there. Within the first 10 minutes, he had told me I was “like Hitler but with boobs”, and I was “offensive to the ninja community.” Then he said I just wasn’t all he had hoped for and left.

Again:  FLAT-OUT FUNNY.  I want to be friends with this guy - if (as I hope) he wasn't all that drunk and was just trying to get out of a bad situation.  I mean, drunk or not, I seriously doubt that anyone would make those comments and actually intend for them to be taken seriously.  That, or the author is leaving out some context.

Am now waiting for an opening in conversation where I can not-completely-nonsensically tell someone that they are "like Hitler but with boobs" and/or "offensive to the ninja community."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Countdown to the New Old House: Ambush

While showing my parents the progress on the house, I commented on the fact that the electrical outlet above the mantel  is too high to be useful for lighted Christmas garlands and the like:

"It's exactly in the center of where you would hang something over the fireplace."

Mom agreed.

The side of Spouse's jaw did that twitchy thing. 

"Do you think we could get Carlos to move it down, closer to the mantel, so we could disguise it behind a framed photo but still access it come Christmastime without having to take the art down?"

Another twitch.

Finally, he spoke:

"Um, the  outlet is where you would put an outlet if you were going to mount a TV over a fireplace."

"But we're not . . . oh, WAIT.  We could put the TV over the fireplace.  The big painting that used to hang up there is going in our bedroom, and if we didn't need the armoire in the corner for the TV, I could put the new painting on that wall - actually, it would look really good over there.  I could get a skirted round end table, like I've been wanting, and a new table lamp, and put those over in the corner, under the painting, and we could put the leather armchair and the Parsons chair on either side and make a new seating area."

Spouse's face remained neutral - almost. Twitch, twitch.

My dad looked bemused, and asked Spouse if, perhaps, he knew offhand the maximum flat-screen size that would fit over the fireplace.

Seventy inches, Spouse responded - a bit too readily.

Ah . . . so this is an ambush.

I'm not complaining, because we really need more space for seating, and the space-hogging armoire that housed the old-school TV became kind of superfluous when we finally joined the 21st century.  Plus, it's a rustic pine armoire.  I ceased to be a rustic pine girl at the turn of the century, as well.

So, added to the never-ending house shopping list are the following:

End table
Skirt for end table
Lamp for end table
Wireless DVD
Flat-screen television, not to exceed seventy inches in diameter

I tell myself that Spouse has worked hard to keep the restoration moving, so he deserves the TV of his choice. And I deserve my seating area.

Also, the armoire hogged a lot of wall real estate, and I need that real estate, on account of how:

I added can lights to better spotlight framed portraits and art on shadowed walls;

The can lights begat light switches; and

Carlos the Electrician put those light switches at eye level, which - coincidentally - is where I hung quite a bit of our framed portraits and art.

So now, to a certain extent, I have can lights spotlighting . . . light switches.

Fun, huh?  Thinking about putting frames around the switch plate covers.  Just to be ironic.

But now I can move some things around, which would not be a bad thing - stuff was too closely clustered together before.

Meanwhile, twelve year-old is over the moon, because:

Wireless DVD players only come in one variety - Blu-Ray;

That means that we can start collecting Blu-Ray movies;

That also means that he is getting a slightly used, non-Blu-Ray DVD player for his room.

Don't thank me, kid - thank your dad.  And Carlos the Electrician. 

Kid Stuff: Mini Spielberg

Snippet of conversation with the seven year-old:

Mom, I'm working on storyboards for a new movie.  Want to see?  Okay, in the first one, a guy dies.  I'm still working on that one.  Then the first guy turns into a zombie, and there are other zombies, and this guy over here jumps into a lake to get away from the zombies.  I'm calling it "Death Planet."

I'm sorry, did I say Spielberg?  Make that George A. Romero.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Countdown to the New Old House: Houston, We Have a Toasted Ahn-DEEV Kitchen

Okay, technically we will have MOST of a kitchen next Thursday.  GC has decided to prioritize painting and flooring in the kitchen, so that we can get the cabinets installed and then pull the trigger on countertop fabrication.  Nice of them to get with the program, right?  So, walls got textured last night, worker bees may be painting said walls as I type this, and the tile is going down early next week.  I have asked Spouse repeatedly if the GC understands that the tile goes WALL TO WALL, because this is not the kind of kitchen where the cabinets go in first and then the tile gets put in around them.  No, this is the kind of kitchen where the cabinets sit on the floor, because they are supposed to look like furniture.  Theoretically.  In the sense that they have little bun feet.

Spouse assures me that he has had multiple conversations with the GC on this, and we are good.

In other news, my Cambria countertop sample arrived in the mail yesterday ($30 worth of samples, $38 in rush shipping fees - ouch).  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to this particular person on Earth, because it appears that I finally found the countertop that matches the weird, sort-of-grayish-but-probably-technically-a-beige-with-just-a-touch-of-green paint color that I picked for the upper cabinets.  Because that's how rational people operate, right?  They pick a paint color for their cabinets, and THEN they go out and find a countertop surface that matches it.  Oh, wait - I was supposed to do it the other way around?  Sorry, that's not how I roll.  And, you know, all's well that ends well and stuff.

I knew when the sample came out of the box that it was a keeper - but then I had to go home and prove it to myself by pulling out the tester cans of paint and painting the cabinet and wall colors on a piece of foam core.  (Yes, there was an actual sample of cabinet board with the colors on it down in the garage; I have no excuse, save for extreme laziness.  And excitement.  If it's possible for those two things to coexist.)  After juxtaposing the samples and confirming that we were firing on all cylinders, I had to drag over a kitchen stool (to stand in for the stained lower cabinets), a paper towel holder (to mimic the color of the kitchen faucet) and various other random items.  I created my own still life, and then I stood back and stared at it like it was a flippin' Renoir.  Because I have become one of THOSE people.  The people who obsess about countertops and say things like, "No, the grout absolutely has to be a DARK taupe.  A medium taupe is not acceptable." 

I sound like the wife on that commercial:  "No, it's absolutely pronounced 'ahn-DEEV.'"

Hmm.  Endive would be a nice paint color, wouldn't it?

See?  There I go again.

Okay, sorry, I was gone for a minute, because I had to Google "endive paint," and would you believe that there are 26 paints with "endive" in the name?

That's True Value's "Belgian Endive" on the left and Sico's "Endive" on the right.  The color in the middle?  My own paint selection, BM's "Refined," which I choose to refer to as "Toasted Endive" from now on.

Wait - make that Toasted Ahn-DEEV.

I really love it when a blog post comes full circle.

The other exciting news from the home front:  last night, I was able to access the master bedroom and the bathrooms for the first time in - wow, almost six months exactly.  Until last night, I had to rely on Spouse's reports from the "Home Back" (get it?  as opposed to "Home Front," because the bedroom and the bathrooms are . . . in the back . . . never mind), because I refused to traverse beams and floor joists to get from Point A to Point B.  But now we have subfloors, so now I am able to walk from Point A to Point B and personally confirm that the reconfiguration of the boys' linen closet is in process, and that the new bath fan is installed (but needs a sheetrock patch), and, also, that our bathroom stinks like an outhouse.  I'm not sure if that's because contractors have been using it for six months without bothering to clean it or if it's because the disconnected toilet from the boys' bathroom has, apparently, been cooling its jets in there this entire time?  Whatever.  There is a significant line item on the estimate for "cleaning," and I'm gonna hold them to that.

Pictures to follow.  Not of the grody disembodied toilet, but of other, more photogenic stuff.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crazy Cornucopia O' Internet Purchases

So, in addition to being the organizer of our family's "Reoccupy West Fort Worth" movement, I am also assisting with the planning of a couple of upcoming social events, which means I am ordering party decor simultaneously with hardware and home decor.  In the midst of all of the above, PJ came down with a bout of insomnia, and I happened to be on Pinterest, so in the interest of killing two birds with one stone, rather than reading him a story I read to him from a Pinterest board.  Specifically, from my "Art-y Party" Pinterest board, because the young artist in residence has decided that he wants an art-themed birthday party this year.  Long story short, just after midnight my son and I created and purchased a couple of photo creations (using online Photoshop-type tools), with the intent of incorporating those into his new room and, later, into the decorations for his party. 

All of this makes for an interesting browser history/e-mail inbox/credit card statement/PayPal account summary.

Here's an inexhaustive list of things that I have on order or have saved to an online shopping cart - along with shipping details, NOT THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THEM, BUT I AM JUST A WEE BIT OBSESSED WITH SHIPPING STATUS THESE DAYS, TO THE EXTENT THAT WHEN I LOG ON TO THE TRACKER FEATURE ON UPS.COM I GET A LITTLE MESSAGE IN THE CORNER OF THE SCREEN THAT SAYS, "REALLY, KATHRYN?  AGAIN?"  (Okay, that's not actually true, but I'm halfway surprised that UPS hasn't found a way to block me, because, my "refresh" frequency ought to be putting a significant drain on their bandwidth.)

Moroccan rug.  For C's room.  Should be here on Monday.  Praying that it is the right color.

Pearls by the yard and large acrylic diamonds.  For "Breakfast at Tiffany's"-themed centerpieces for ADPi Founders' Day.

Ikat-patterned FLOR carpet tiles.  For PJ.  We opted for the barley colorway (that's fancy talk for BEIGE), and in lieu of purchasing the rug cleaning kit we applied those dollars to two additional backup floor tiles, over and above the two I had already planned for.  When I say that "we" did this, I mean that I asked Spouse, while he was napping on the couch, if it was okay for me to pull the trigger on the carpet tiles, since they are on sale, and did he mind if I went with the beige instead of the gray, and did he think that the rug cleaning kit was worth $27.99?  And he authorized the purchase, and the color choice, and told me that he thought that $27.99 was highway robbery for a rug cleaning kit and that if we had a major stain we would consider buying the kit at that point.  Needless to say, HE HAS NO RECOLLECTION OF ANY OF THIS.  Was the timing of my inquiry driven by the knowledge that he was likely in REM sleep and therefore likely to agree with anything that I said?  No, not at all.  You don't know Spouse.  He is a big fan (HUGE) of sleep, and he does not suffer gladly fools who dare to disturb his slumber.  As such, it was far more likely that he would tell me to take a flying leap (but he would be far less delicate than that) and refuse to authorize my purchase.  At which point I would have made it anyway, because my momma didn't raise no fool, and I saw the handwriting on the wall (or floor?) - when FLOR puts something on sale, it means that they are phasing out the product.  And the fact that the barley was a dollar-per-unit cheaper than the other colors signaled an impending sell-out.
So drastic measures were required.

Gmail informs me that my FLOR has shipped.  But I can't track the shipment yet - dang it.

A high-resolution image of a Warhol-inspired photo, featuring my child's image and the Warhol quote, "Art is what you can get away with."  PJ picked the quote, and the background color, and I ordered the JPEG using PayPal.  As the Warholizer folks are based (I believe) in Spain, I was charged ONE EURO for this item.  Which made for a very interesting conversation with Spouse this morning (after I advised him that he authorized a purchase of carpet tiles):  "You're going to get a PayPal notification for a one Euro purchase.  It's legit.  Your seven-year old was experimenting with pop art in the wee hours of the morning.  You'll understand when the image arrives.  By the way, you need to let me know when the image arrives, because it's coming to the e-mail account that is linked to PayPal, which is the one that I never check."

Okay, so it wasn't so much a conversation as me telling Spouse things.  But at least he was awake at the time.

A wholesale lot of white picture frame mats.  Because it occurs to me that five of the Etsy art pieces that the boys have selected for their rooms can be matted to 11x15 and framed in 16x20 frames.  And a discount art supply store is willing to sell me a minimum of five mats at a volume discount.

Now I just have to find someone that will offer me a similar discount on the frames.

Alice in Wonderland photo booth props.  Self-explanatory.  I also need to find a big, heavily carved frame that I can spray-paint a crazy color, so that people can peer through it, "Looking Glass" style, at the JWC Past Presidents' luncheon.  And then again at an art-themed baby celebration that I'm throwing.  And then a third time at PJ's birthday party.  Thinking that I might have luck at Goodwill.  And I do love it when I can amortize a random item across multiple events.

Retro Scandanavian-style "Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope" poster (pictured above).  The showpiece of C's room, in that it ties together the gray on his walls, the moody greenish-gold that is going on the ceiling, the new rug (which I REALLY HOPE IS THE RIGHT COLOR - and that's not a "new hope," because I have been hoping that the rug would be right since I ordered it) and the gray and olive bed linen.  Poster is from Handz ReStyle Store's Etsy site. Proprietor is Jan from the Czech Republic, who is a lovely guy - ships internationally for $5.99 and is willing to change the proportions of the art to fit a standard American poster frame.

I see that he has a Star Trek version as well - and that he will vary the colors.

Hmm.  Needing a bulk frame-seller, stat.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Countdown to the New Old House: It's Really Happening

You may recall my kitchen of many colors, from a prior post.  That's it on the left.  Same kitchen is on the right.  That's a new sheetrocked column in the corner.  Hopefully, the pantry and cabinets for that corner will now tee into each other perfectly.  Note, also, all of the lovely, MONOCHROMATIC WHITE surfacing.  And the fluffy foam insulation between the floor joists.

Sheetrock penetrations in walls and ceilings have been patched.  Hardiboard is going down in the kitchen today, and by tomorrow everything should have some sort of subfloor.  I examined, and rejected, a baseboard sample this morning (yes, it's possible to have strong opinions about baseboards - we have the tall kind, and the sample material wasn't deep enough, which threw off the proportions).  Next to the baseboard sample was a strip of hardwood, which - merciful God in Heaven - appeared to be the correct color.  Boxes and boxes of its brethren are piled in C's bedroom, ready for liftoff.  Painting, I believe, comes next, once baseboards are a go.  In furtherance thereof, I have taped paint chips and instructions on walls in every room in the house, and I also e-mailed my specifications to the contractor in the spirit of "belt and suspenders."

I just got off of the phone with a lovely woman at the Pro Source showroom confirming my kitchen and bathroom tile and grout selections.  Contractor has my tub and faucet specifications for the boys' bath, the medicine cabinet that we are having built for us arrives on April 3rd, new light fixtures and bath fan have already been installed, and all that remains to be purchased for that room is the pedestal sink.

We have a target date for kitchen cabinet installation, and large samples of Cambria composite quartz countertop material are en route to me via two-day air.  It cost me more to ship the samples than the samples cost themselves, but I need to have them in hand sooner rather than later, and a childhood friend who owns a granite and tile business advised me that I will not regret seeing a big piece before I pull the trigger on my countertop selection.  (If nothing else, I figure that, with the addition of silicone feet, the samples will make excellent cheese boards for future parties?)

Long story short:  this is actually happening, people.  I was starting to think that this day would never come.  But it's here.


Update on Superman's Nipples and Lowe's-pocalypse 2012

This post actually has nothing to do with Superman's nipples, but I got your attention, didn't I?  I failed to recount a funny part of PJ's "Justice League:  Doom" movie review:

Wonder Woman says the H word.  You know, like, H-E-double-hockey-sticks.  But in the Cartoon Network show, you learn that her dad is Hades, the lord of the Underworld.  So H-E-double-hockey-sticks is where her dad lives, so it's kind of okay that she says that.  Although usually she just calls it Tartarus.

In other news, Spouse just called to advise me that my switch plate covers arrived.

Me:  No, honey, they must be calling about something else, because I don't have any switch plates on order.  I mean, I did, but then we cancelled that order, and then they couldn't figure out how to re-order them, so I'm only waiting on cabinet hardware, pendant lights and a disposal.

Spouse:  Perhaps you don't understand.  No one called.  They shipped.  I am standing here, HOLDING IN MY HANDS, switch plate covers.  Actually, an outlet cover and two switch plate covers.  And they look like something that you would buy.

Me:  Specifically?

Spouse:  Kind of a hammered bronze?

Me:  Yup.  Those would definitely be the items that I was no longer supposed to receive in the mail.

Now trying to decide what happened:  Did all of my cancelled special orders get processed, such that I will be receiving multiples of cabinet handles and light fixtures?  I suppose it doesn't matter, because everything else was supposed to ship to the store, so if multiples arrive, I will simply point out that I only am entitled to depart for the parking lot with half of the bounty.  But, theoretically, I was credited for the cost of the hammered bronze wall covers . . . which were shipped to me, anyway.  If Lowe's does not pick up on its mistake, am I morally obligated to tell them that I have been unjustly enriched?  I could argue that the value of the wall covers partially offset the hours of time that I spent trying to buy them and then trying to un-buy them.  Perhaps I'm entitled to retain the wall covers on an equitable theory?  Mainly, I'm concerned that if I try to explain what happened to someone at Lowe's, IT WILL ACTUALLY MAKE THEIR HEAD EXPLODE.  Mine is feeling kind of pre-explode-ish just as I type this.  And remember that these are the people who insisted on handing me an actual, factual penny after they reversed my credit card transaction.  Actually, I have no issue with the people of Lowe's - just the computer system to which they are enslaved.  Given experiences to date, I think that there is a high probability that the Lowe's computer would spontaneously combust if I tried to pay for my ill-gotten wall covers.  Which might actually benefit mankind a little bit. So I'm on the fence.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kid Stuff: Superman's Nipples

Review of "Justice League:  Doom," as recounted by my seven year-old to his father:

"You'll like it, Dad.  I mean, it may confuse you at first, but it will make sense at the end.  [Editor's note:  he's right.  It's a cartoon, but it's a cartoon meant primarily for adult consumption.  The plot is incredibly complex, but the payoff is worth a little confusion upfront.]  There are three swears.  Cheetah says the C word [that would be "crap"], and Wonder Woman says the H word ["hell"], and there are two D words ["damn"].  Wait, is that three swears, or four?  Anyway, there aren't any REALLY BAD swears.  The only really bad thing is - um - C, tell him about the bad part."

Big brother looks up, genuinely confused.

"What bad part?"


"Um, no, clearly I don't."

[Big sigh.]  "Okay, Dad, so Superman gets shot by a kryptonite bullet, and they have to take the top of his uniform off of him in order to operate, and [in a whisper] HE HAS NIPPLES AND YOU CAN SEE THEM."

Dad thanked him for the warning and agreed to assume the risk of being scandalized by Superman's nipples.

It does occur to me that, when Superman and the other male Justice Leaguers are shown without shirts in the Cartoon Network JL universe, they are nipple-less.  And GI Joe has a smooth chest - as does Barbie.  So I suppose that it is not outside the realm of possibility that a seven year-old would think that nipples are optional.

God, I love kids.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Countdown to the New Old House: BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH

In the "you really can't make this up" category . . . .

Our big Lowe's order didn't get placed Wednesday night, on account of how seasonal allergies got the best of Spouse, who elected to pass out and snore in lieu of accompanying me to the house to count switch plates.   Instead, switch plate counting took place Thursday morning.  It was pretty much a surgical strike, as much sheetrocking was going on, and we didn't want to be underfoot for too long.  (You know what they say:  if the house is a-sheetrocking, um, don't spend a lot of time categorizing electrical outlets.  Okay, they don't say that at all.) 

Once I had my switch plate specs, I was prepared to head to the office, except Spouse wanted me to follow him to Fort Worth Tire, because his air conditioning belt had slipped for the fourth time in as many months.  We agreed that he could have my car for the day, if necessary, and leave his car for repair.  Our detour to Fort Worth Tire turned out to be fortuitous, because when I made a sharp 180-degree turn into one of their parking places, I SMELLED THE SMELL THAT I ALWAYS SMELL WHEN I MAKE SHARP TURNS, being the same smell that no one at FWT has been able to duplicate, notwithstanding multiple attempts.  Needless to say, I jumped out of the car as soon as the engine cut off, FLEW over to where Spouse was talking to Peter the Mechanic, grabbed Peter the Mechanic by the front of his shirt and DEMANDED THAT HE SMELL MY CAR - both the interior and under the hood. AND HE FINALLY SMELLED THE SMELL.  We discussed the circumstances in which the smell arises, and we agreed that there is a leak somewhere, but as of yet Peter the Mechanic is still noodling on what the smell smells like, which will give us an idea of where it is coming from.  I consider this progress, and this progress excites me, the way all progress excites me when it has a component of, "See, I'm not  ACTUALLY crazy, and, in fact, far from it, I'm actually a little bit more perceptive than you, SO THERE."  I feel a little bit like an intern on "House, MD" who just provided the aha moment of the day.

Unfortunately, the day started to go downhill from there. As I am calling in to my office, letting them know that I got waylaid at FWT (this happens kind of often, unfortunately, due to aging car issues and stubborn drivers who like to get a lot of mileage out of their vehicles), Spouse flings open the car door and rather testily asks me to get off of the phone.  Actually, what he did was glare at me until I mumbled an apology and hung up, and then he informed me that WE WERE NOT LEAVING HIS CAR, BECAUSE THEY FIGURED OUT THAT THE A/C BELT KEEPS SLIPPING OFF BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT A BELT DOES WHEN THE COMPRESSOR THAT DRIVES IT GRINDS TO AN ABRUPT HALT. The problem was with his A/C compressor, and this is where I stepped in it:

"Huh, weird. Didn't we just replace my A/C compressor a year or so ago?"


"Oh.  Sorry about that.  Hey, while we're over in this neighborhood, want to go to Kitchen Source and look at countertops?"

In retrospect, it was not the best idea to suggest that Spouse look at countertops when he was twelve kinds of peed off.  He was - how shall I put it delicately? - less than helpful, bordering on hostile. Nevertheless, we got stuff accomplished.

So then I went to work, and I worked for awhile, and then over the lunch hour I made a spreadsheet of things I needed to purchase at  Lowe's, which my coworkers found hilariously anal retentive - but only at the time. A few hours later, they were complimenting me on my foresight.  That's foreshadowing, folks.

I ended my lunch break with a Web chat with a lovely Rugs USA customer service rep who I would guess lives in the Greater Bangalore area.  I wanted to know if she could confirm for me that the Moroccan-inspired geometric design on the gray rug I picked out for C's room was actually a saffron yellow like it looked in the picture.  She didn't have much additional information to give me, but she did opine that it sure looked like a saffron yellow to her. And I decided that this made the rug a solid "maybe," because I would put stock in someone from Bangalore being able to identify a good saffron yellow.   So  I ordered the rug, which is 100% wool and hand-tufted and ordinarily retails for $750 in the 5-x-8 size, but I got it  for $136, inclusive of shipping.  Another peak in my day.

Now let me tell you about my BIG, BIG VALLEY.

Logged onto Lowe's around 4 pm, remembering to access the Web site through Upromise so that the kids could get college money out of the deal.  Tried to buy the garbage disposal first - the same garbage disposal that Spouse played for me at the store on Wednesday. informed me that no one had that model in stock and I would need to have it shipped - as in actually shipped to me, not shipped to the store for pickup at a later date.  This bothered me, because I was pretty sure that "pick it up at the store at a later date" ought to be an option. However, I did the math:  $259 garbage disposal, less $26 discount with my 10% off coupon, plus $8 shipping was still a savings.

So I put the disposal in my virtual cart.  (Well, I thought I did. More foreshadowing.)

Bought two kitchen faucets next.  No problem with those - available for pickup from my White Settlement Lowe's in 20 minutes.

Then I ordered the pendant lights for the kitchen,which I knew were special-order.  I was advised that those would be available for pickup from my White Settlement Lowe's in seven days.  Wait, what?  You can do that with lights but not with a garbage disposal?

Plow through.  Just plow through.

Started ordering cabinet hardware and switch plate covers.  Hit a switch plate cover that was not in stock at my White Settlement Lowe's.  No problem - I pressed the virtual button that told the Web site that I would pick up that item at my South Fort Worth Lowe's.  Hey, I own a home by one, and I currently live by the other. Not a big deal to make two trips.

Except . . . the Web site would not allow me to agree to make two trips.  Either EVERYTHING got processed through one store or it all went through the other. Needless to say, neither store had my entire list in stock.

I decided that I could live without a 10% discount on the white switch plates, which I would purchase in person at my South Fort Worth Lowe's at another time.

Finally reached the end of my FIFTY TWO-ITEM LIST, which, when all was said and done, contemplated having three items (disposal plus two special-order switchplates) delivered to me, four more items delivered  to my local store next week and the balance ready for pickup that evening.

I tried to enter my 10% off coupon code. And the Web site wouldn't take it.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhm. I called my White Settlement Lowe's and was assured that, if I completed the purchase online and then brought in my purchase confirmation and coupon, they would rebill in-store and give me the discount. So I hit the "buy" button.

And the Web site informed me that I had successfully purchased a disposal, two pendant lights, two cabinet  pulls and two switch plate covers, but that "purchase of [two faucets and various hardware] is not permitted on this Lowe's card."

WHAT THE WHAT?  Basically, the site processed $450 out of my order, and denied $550, on a seemingly random basis.

First call went to Spouse:  what's our flippin' credit limit with these people?  (High.)  Are we near the limit? (Nope, nowhere near so - very small balance that remains because we are taking advantage of zero interest financing.)  Did we miss a payment?  (Nope.  Electronic transfer credited two days prior to the due date.)

Second call went to Bangalore:  what gives, people?  I was told that my account had a fraud alert associated  with it and was asked to hold while they transferred me to that department. Mid-transfer, my cell phone rang (I was calling from a land line).  It was an unknown number.  I had the fleeting thought that it was someone calling from Lowe's, BUT SINCE I WAS ALREADY ON THE PHONE WITH LOWE'S, I decided to continue to dance with the ones that brung me.

Somewhat hostile fraud account specialist got on the line:  they had detected suspicious activity on my account, and the computer system  reflected that I did not respond to a call to my cell phone to verify said activity.

[Serenity now, serenity now.  OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHM.]  "Is it possible that the alleged fradulent activity occurred, like, within the last ten minutes, and the call to my cell phone was, like, thirty seconds ago?"

"It's possible. The system doesn't reflect a time stamp."

"Ohhhhhkay.  So, listen, I didn't click over to talk to you, BECAUSE I WAS ALREADY TALKING TO YOU."

"You didn't answer your cell phone, ma'am."

"Right, because - okay, I concede the point. My bad - sort of.  Can you describe the 'fraud,' please?"

"You - or someone pretending to be you - charged more than fifty dollars, and that did not match up with your prior account history."

"Really?  Because I'm thinking that my charge history goes like this:  fifty dollars, fifty dollars, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, fifty dollars, fifty dollars, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.  Which translates into 'maintenance, maintenance, BIG HOME IMPROVEMENT JOB, more maintenance, more maintenance, ANOTHER BIG HOME IMPROVEMENT JOB.'  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and speculate that pretty much everyone's credit history with you looks EXACTLY like that, on account of how you are Lowe's."

"So you can confirm that you made three purchases today?"

"No, I can confirm that I made one purchase, which I have no problem believing that your dumb-butt computer system broke into three purchases.  Actually, I would like the record to reflect that I did not even make an entire purchase, because your dumb-butt computer system only let me make FORTY FIVE PERCENT of one."

My use of percentages stopped her in her tracks for a minute.  But then she continued:

"Well, our system shows three transactions, in the following amounts, and one says Philadelphia, another says North Carolina and the third says Texas."

"Yeah, that's pretty inexplicable - except those amounts add up to the fractional purchase that you allowed me to complete. So I'm gonna go further out on my limb and speculate that the 'three separate purchases' represent items that are shipping directly to me, items that  I'm able to pick up right now, and items that I am able to pick up at the store next week."

Put-out fraud specialist agreed that her system would identify such segments of my total order as separate purchases, arising from the respective relevant warehouses.

I opined to put-out fraud specialist that her system was really, irretrievably stupid.

She lifted the fraud alert on my card and invited me to place THE REST OF MY ORDER - AGAIN.  (Here's where I felt pretty smug about my anal-retentive spreadsheet, by the by.  Made for much simpler re-ordering.)

I invited her to put a note on her computer that if her system thinks a transaction is fraudulent, it should consider refusing THE ENTIRE TRANSACTION.  Perhaps with a note to the consumer to "please call cardholder services."  As opposed to processing roughly half of it and then stopping.  Seriously, how does that work?  I'm imagining the Lowe's computer brain scanning my purchases:  "Faucet, another faucet, twenty four cabinet knobs - OKAY, I'M GONNA HAVE TO CALL THIS ONE AT 'NINE DRAWER PULLS.'"  By the way, who bogarts a credit card and goes on a knob-buying spree?  Do we have statistics on this?

So I resubmitted the rest of my order.  Then I returned to actual work for awhile, result being that I didn't depart from the office until about 6:30.  Called Spouse on the drive home:

"So, we're going to have to go into Lowe's tonight, because the coupon expires today, and so we're going to need to claim the in-stock items, and then return everything, ON TWO SEPARATE INVOICES, and then repurchase everything with the coupon.  In other words, it will be just like we did everything in the store in the first place, except, at least, they will have assembled some of the stuff for us out of backstock?  Want to have dinner over in that neck of the woods?"

[Long pause.]  "It's Thursday.  I play tennis on Thursday."

"Okay, yes, I acknowledge that you generally play tennis on Thursdays, but IT'S ALSO SPRING BREAK. And, as you well know, Girl World shuts down during Spring Break.  No Woman's Club, no Junior League.  So, you know, you might want to give a girl advance notice that Boy World remains open, because, seriously, what the heck?"

I gave him a hall pass - told him that I would handle everything at the store, with kids in tow, and then feed the kids dinner.

Here's how THAT played out:

I realized that I did not have a complete invoice to take into the store. We had problems printing out the invoice from the home computer.

A few minutes after Spouse left, I realized that my only set of keys to the apartment were missing.  A hard-target search ensued.  We were ultimately able to leave the house, and lock the door behind us.

Given our delayed start, kids and I agreed that we would do Lowe's first and THEN have dinner.

Michelle in customer service greeted me with a big smile, and when I started to explain my situation, she said, "Oh, you must be Kathryn McGlinchey."  GOD'S HONEST TRUTH, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW SHE KNEW MY NAME, BUT CLEARLY MY TALE OF WOE UP TO THIS POINT HAD BECOME THE STUFF OF LOWE'S LEGEND.

We returned batch of items #1.  The computer instructed Michelle to give me a penny - notwithstanding that we were crediting my Lowe's account.  We both shrugged, I accepted a penny, and we moved on.

The computer would not allow her to credit the disposal to my account.  We were finally able to determine that the disposal purchase was never actually processed - notwithstanding that it was identified as the part of the initial sale that did go through.

We got everything credited.  Then Michelle advised me that she could not ring up special orders directly, so to apply the 10% to one unified sale, electrical would need to invoice electrical special order stuff, hardware would need to do the same, and then she could add those invoices to the bill for the in-stock stuff.

I was introduced to Incredibly Helpful Lowe's Employee #2.  As a "hardware" employee, he was only supposed to process my two special order cabinet pulls - because, in the weird world that is Lowe's, switch plates aren't "hardware," they are "electrical."  Whatever. He summoned the cabinet pulls on his magic handheld computer.  He prepared an invoice.  At this point, the kids (who were doing everything they could to try to kill each other, and take out a Lowe's big box in the process) started threatening each other with the giant wood staples that were in a box on the counter.   I confiscated staples from PJ. I confiscated staples from C.  I told C to produce the staples that he was palming in his other hand, or else.  And, out of the corner of my eye, using my supermom peripheral vision powers, I caught it:  "You are invoicing the polished nickel pulls.  They need to be satin nickel."  Minor catastrophe avoided.  Pulls invoiced.  Then HLE #2 offered to pinch-hit for "electrical" and see if he couldn't pull up the other special order items for me.  We found the pendant lights.  I confirmed the item and model number, but - after Nickel Hardware-gate - he was skeptical:  "Are you sure that these are the ones?"  Yes, because at this point I have ordered them THREE SEPARATE TIMES.

Second special-order invoice processed. Fifteenth threat of death to squirmy offspring issued.

HLE #2 proceeded to try to find my hammered bronze switch plates for the hallway. Item and model numbers assigned to said product corresponded to lawnmower parts.  God bless him, he typed those numbers in over and over, like he thought he might beat the system into submission.  The whole time, I was saying, "You know, I really only care about getting the discount on the big-ticket items.  I don't care if we leave the switch plates out - we're talking pennies, anyway.  And Michelle gave me a penny, because the computer told her that she had to.  Also, I am afraid that one of my children will eat the other one, a la the Donner Party, if I don't feed them soon. So,  if we could just move on to the disposal, we'd be golden."

The disposal ended up being my Waterloo.

HLE #3 and  #4 were enlisted, because, once again, the numbers assigned to the disposal did not seem to correspond to a disposal at all.  Hence the reason that the computer would not allow Michelle to credit me for it:  I never purchased it at all, because it was, online, wholly unpurchase-able.  The six of us (me, the three HLE's and the kids) ended up taking a field trip to the other side of the store, where we located the demo model and the actual item number.  Third invoice was processed - using my phone number but with an 817 area code substituted for 682.

"Um, I'm not that guy in Arlington - I don't live in Arlington, and, technically, I'm not a guy - and Michelle said that she would access all of the special-order invoices using my phone number . . . ?"

"It's okay, she can change it from her terminal.  Are you sure you don't want us to locate those switch plates?"


I was reunited with lovely Michelle - the sunniest, funniest and most helpful HLE of all.  She confirmed that she could NOT, in fact, apply invoice #3 to my account using the phone number of some random guy in Arlington. HLE #3 was recalled and invoice #3 was re-rung.  Michelle processed my order.  She scanned my 10% coupon . . .

. . . and it was rejected.  Because the Computer from Hades determined that it expired on the 12th, notwithstanding the fact that the face of the coupon clearly stated the 15th.

Here's the part that makes everything worthwhile:  the White Settlement Lowe's backs up to the Joint Reserve Base.  Lowe's gives a 10% discount to service members, and - because they use that code a lot - they have the SKU right there at the register.  It was decided that the service member discount would be substituted for my coupon promotion.

Given that I would not have spent the last seven months of my life fighting a soul-sucking battle with USAA if I hadn't been born an Army brat, I thought that my honorary service member status was entirely appropriate.

We left Lowe's at 8:50 pm.  I had promised my kids, in addition to food, a trip to the nearby Best Buy to see if we couldn't locate the new "Justice League:  Doom" movie.  Best Buy was about to close, so we prioritized Batman ahead of sustenance.  (It was a unanimous decision.)   We almost didn't find the movie - as we were leaving the store, PJ spied it at the bottom of a "new releases" rack.  It really does help to be low to the ground sometimes.

We tried to order pizza from the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo on Camp Bowie.  Then Mom remembered that it's just a Taco Bell now.  Boys were set on pizza.  At this point, Fort Worth being Fort Worth, I looked up and realized that the car in front of me on Camp Bowie was Spouse's - he had just left tennis.  I radioed ahead, and Spouse agreed to pick up pizza.  It was the least that he could do.

And the boys and I went home to watch Justice League.  All's well that ends well.

Forgot to mention that just prior to my Lowe's debacle I remembered that today was the deadline for submitting dependent care reimbursement claims to our cafeteria plan.  I was fairly sure that, with all of the craziness post-flood, I hadn't turned in all of our camp receipts last summer.  Sure enough, I had left $500 in the couch cushions that was going to be forfeited to the IRS.  Scrambled and faxed in receipts, so let's review:

I bought roughly $1,900 worth of rugs, light fixtures, faucets, kitchen appliances and hardware today.

Promotional discounts got that down to $1,300.

Then I found $500 to throw at the $1,300.

So, $1,900 in value for $800.  Not a bad result, and makes up for the loss of $10 in college savings that I lost when we reversed the Web purchases.

By the way, that Web purchase ended up costing me two extra hours out of my day.   I bill $250 an hour.  $500 of my time, for $10 of college savings.

I like my first math problem better.

The next time you hear me say, "Hey, I could process this online and earn the kids $10 for college," please consider pulling a ten-spot out of my wallet and shoving it in my mouth.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Countdown to the New Old House: Total Insanity Awards

The finalists for the "most insane moment of my day, March 14th edition":

1) Just hung up with Spouse.  He was at Lowe's, tracking down a SKU for the Mystery Sink.  The Mystery Sink is a pedestal sink that exists in Lowe's stores but does not exist on the Internet.  (Seriously, is it possible for anything NOT to exist on the Internet?  Apparently.)  We were hoping to find a SKU so that I could order it online, because when Lowe's got wind of the forwarding order that we filed with the post office, they helpfully sent us a 10% off coupon to congratulate us on our new residence.  Which, you know, is an APARTMENT, so not a lot of renovation opportunities there, which makes me question the sanity of Lowe's marketing department - but this is about my insanity, not Corporate America's, so I digress.  Anyway, coupon expires tomorrow, so we're placing a big order tonight, and we're placing it online, so that the kids get Upromise college savings off of the deal.

Anyway again:  Mystery Sink does not have a SKU.  Well, it has one, but refuses to recognize it.  So I can purchase the sink in person, or over the phone, but not over the Internet.  What the WHAT?  Whatever.  It's the perfect sink, and - bonus - it's really reasonably priced.  Moving on.

2)  While Spouse was at Lowe's, he played various garbage disposals for me over the phone.  So that I could pick one based on relative noise levels.  I have had songs played for me over the phone before.  A guy I knew in law school even sang an Elvis song to me over the phone on my birthday, in front of an audience.  But I have never known a guy who cared enough about me weird enough to play InSinkErators for me over the phone.

By the way, we're going with the "Evolution" model, which really bums Spouse out, because he desperately wanted to like the "Badger."  Just so he could say that he purchased a badger for the house.

3)  We are also ordering our granite double kitchen sink tonight, but not from Lowe's, because the similar item at Lowe's has a divider that comes up too high and makes it difficult to wash large items, like baking pans and cookie sheets.  Okay, I'm going to divide this entry in half.  Entry #3:   Spouse and I have had, like, THIRTY DIFFERENT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GRANITE SINKS, and specifically about how the Elkay "Harmony" model has a superior divider, which makes it our first choice.  Today's granite sink conversation focused on the Franke double-wide sink without the divider, which is available at Lowe's (even online!) and would be a top choice, except that it only comes in graphite and not in mocha brown.  How is this a conversation topic at all?  I have no idea - but there it is.

4)  After ordering one Elkay "Harmony" mocha brown granite double-basin undermount kitchen sink from (because National Builder Supply has it on back order, and OMG, WHY DO I KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT SINKS RIGHT NOW?), we are going to have to separately order the drain thingies, because the drain thingies do not come standard.  And when I say that we are going to have to separately order them, I mean that we are going to have to SEPARATELY ORDER THEM, because no one retailer has both the mocha brown sink strainer AND the mocha brown disposal ring.  So you have to buy them from two different places.  And the mocha brown sink strainer will set you back $40 before you even get to shipping.  That's more useless sink knowledge for you.  Feel free to use it to impress people at parties.

I keep telling myself that we have been waiting for seven-plus months to get to the point where we could start buying things for the house.  But I question whether this brand of insanity is a step up from "imploring the insurance company to pull its head out" insanity.  I think it's mostly a wash.  Before, when I was taking a shower, I would find myself drafting demand letter provisions and discovery requests in my head.  Now, when I am in the shower, I have conversations with myself that go like this:

The master bedroom definitely needs to be Adams Gold.  But what will we do with Woodstock Tan?  I really love Woodstock Tan.  Maybe I could use it in the hallway.  No.  The hallway definitely needs to be Mink.  Mink is my THING.  Although . . . the dining room would look killer with Woodstock Tan on top and Simply White on the bottom.  But only if we paneled the lower half of the walls.  Simply White paneling, not Simply White wallboard - ick.  And, again, Mink and Palladian Blue - well, that's just my dining room, plain and simple.  THE WORLD MIGHT TUMBLE OFF OF ITS AXIS IF MY DINING ROOM WASN'T MINK AND PALLADIAN BLUE.  But . . . I could paint the chair rail Simply White while leaving the rest of the color scheme as is?  AHA!  The reason that I don't like my dining room (because, apparently, I don't like my dining room, and am just now coming to terms with that fact HERE IN THE SHOWER) is that I zigged when I should have zagged and painted the chair rail to match the bottom wall color.  The chair rail has the same fluting as the door frames; they need to be unified.  Problem solved.  Wait - what problem?  Wasn't I trying to figure out what to do with Woodstock Tan?

By the way again, I don't have these conversations out loud.  I think.

Okay, the band is playing me off of the awards stage.  (Thinking about giving my insanity award a name - the Badger.)  Time to return to my actual job - the one that allows me to order expensive sink parts from three different retailers, and pay to ship them separately.


Kid Stuff: Good, Clean (And Not So Clean) Fun

My kids were supposed to participate in a very fun event, benefiting Cook Children's Hospital, called the "Dirty Scurry" - like the "Warrior Dash," but with kid-sized obstacles, all mud-related.  So enamored of this concept were we that we encouraged various and sundry family friends to participate, and a team was formed.

A team that we will not be joining, alas, because C was invited to join his school's Cardboard Boat Regatta Team.  When I signed the permission slip, I thought that the date of the event was familiar - evocative of a conflict.  And every time that I went to submit our Dirty Scurry registration, I hesitated, because in the back of my mind it seemed like we just might have something else going on on that date.  I didn't put two and two together until Monday - yup, same date, same time slot.  So, instead of getting really muddy and then getting hosed down and drenched, we're just going straight to drenched.

Or, you know, not.  I haven't seen the "vessel" yet.  Perhaps it is sea-worthy.  All I know is that C is one of four sixth-graders selected for the team and that he doesn't know a lot about the team's entry, on account of how the seventh- and eighth-graders engineer it and do most of the construction.  The sixth-graders are what you might call "ringers."  See, you have to have four team members on the boat . . . and, since statistically sixth-graders are more likely to be pre-pubescent and therefore more lightweight . . . you get the picture, don't you?  But C clarified that "Gracie and I weren't picked because we were small.  The other two were picked because they were small.  We were picked because we are resourceful and good at math."

And how does he know all of this?

"Because the team captain told us."

Gotta love smart kids - as a population, NOT the most tactful people on the planet.

So you were picked because you were resourceful and good at math?

"Yeah, because if things start to go wrong, we have to trouble-shoot and stuff."


"Pretty much, yeah."

Well, that's worth missing the Dirty Scurry right there.

I checked out the Web site for the Regatta, and it appears that there is a little brother-friendly competition, involving piloting pinebox-type wooden boats down a rain gutter.  Putting the bug in Spouse's ear that a trip to the Scout Shop for a catamaran kit may be in order.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pinterest: The Tipping Point in Action

One of the many reasons that I love Pinterest.  And there are SOOOOOOOOO MAAAAAAAAAANY reasons . . . .

Seriously, tell me that this isn't the "tipping point" principle come to life:


"Judith Ann and 196 others repinned your pin."  Yup, it appears that the sunflower cake utilizing yellow Peeps chicks as petals just done tipped.  Because someone in the "pin chain" is either a connector, a maven or a salesman.  Possibly, all three.  No, probably all three.  I need to re-read The Tipping Point.  Loved that book - not just a little bit, but a "Def Con Pinterest" WHOLE LOT-A LOVE.

So I get geekily excited when a Pin tips - because I want to know:  why did it tip, and who pushed it over the edge?  Why, for example, was this Mr. Peeps Sunflower Cake's moment, when so many other ironic Peeps-related dessert concepts were there for the taking from my "Peep-alicious" board? 

Rice Krispie Treat Peeps Pops:  5 repins.

Peeps Push Pops:   2 repins.  Why?  Because they look intimidating?  Or because the decapitated bunnies are offputting?


Hey, I just realized that the common denominator is Peeps Bunnies versus Peeps Chicks.  Bunnies:  apparently, not hot.  Chicks:  tres hot.

Heading home to dip Peeps Chicks in melted dessert toppings in the interest of creating the next big meme.

(For links to these and other Peeps- and other spring-themed desserts and crafts, visit my Pinterest board at  Be sure to check out the Lemon Peeps Tart - it's a lemon meringue tart with Peeps where the meringue should be.  I can't tell if the Peeps on top are Bunnies or Chicks, on account of how someone took a creme brulee torch to them.  Kind of sad, really.  I guess we'll know if they're Chicks if the thing tips . . . .)