Saturday, March 31, 2007

I Laughed Out Loud

My husband always calls them Rifle Droppers. Which I am ashamed to say I laugh at. Go visit Hillary's blog to read this commentary she posted from another blog. It is so funny I woke up people laughing. I visited there in high school and would love to go back sometime, but I am married to a man who thinks Canada is too foreign to visit. He sees no need to visit France or most other European countries for that matter.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Points to Ponder

Now maybe I have taken a long time last several years I have reached some important conclusions.

I always thought the people around me must have been born with some special knowledge that I lacked. Some inner ability to put on make up, flirt, socialize, study, know about the world, skating parties, boys, TV and all the secular areas of life. The only areas I felt confident in were those less valued by the world. Now, I am not suggesting that I valued them less, but this discrepancy made me feel like an outsider.

I blamed it on lots of things. My parents were weird. I was a Christian, I was the oldest child, I wasn't allowed to watch some stuff on TV, my mom didn't wear a lot of makeup, my mom didn't work so I didn't get to be a latchkey kid. Those were the things I blamed my lack of coolness factor on.

As I got older I stopped caring if I had a coolness factor. I had friends, family, a life I liked. It didn't really matter anymore.

Because it stopped mattering, I started to realize that I wasn't alone.

Insecurities kept me from feeling like I could be cool. It is easy for people to ignore you if you don't make the first move to be friends. I'm a sweet person, funny, attractive, interesting, and interested. If people get to know me, they usually like me, so my lack of popularity, wasn't because of some unlikable-ness, but because I was too insecure to let them see me and get to like me. This was a problem in places where I perceived I wasn't cool enough to fit in. Church and family gatherings excluded. Now at big church camp gatherings maybe.

This has been a slow awakening over the last decade. In the last several years, I assume I will get along with people and make friends so I usually do.

This is only relevant because, I think most people are walking around with insecurities that the try to hid from the people around them . I think we interpret those as standoffish-ness, rudeness, or other negatives rather than look beyond the behavior to the motivation. Of course I am an eternal optimist. The glass is always half full. Everything has a bright side and the cloud always has a silver lining.

I am sure there are those people out there who are confident through and through and never experience a moments doubt. I am not sure I want to meet them because the intimidate me.

Maybe we should worry less about how we stack up, look for opportunities to bring new people into our groups, and be thankful for our insecurities because they keep us humble and people worth knowing because of them.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bargains Bargains Bargains

I've been in a bargain mood of late. I already blogged about my bed/bath redo, and the great deals I got on that project. Now again, my husband doesn't think going $250 over the original estimate is a great deal but he doesn't understand that one thing led to another and now the room looks better. He does like the new denim comforter however, and the shams met with his approval. The are very streamlined.

I returned from a grocery store trip having saved a ton of money and gotten something for free. I printed coupons off the KC Star website for pillsbury crescent rolls and cinamon rolls. The refrigerator kind. They are on sale this week so with my coupon it made them $.30 a can. It was for the small can of 4 but for the girls and I or just Shan that is enough. And on the crescents, that is enough to give us each one at dinner and that is probably as many as we should have for healthy eating. Pizza rolls are also on sale and I had coupons for those that made them free. FREE! I think the total for my groceries was $20 before coupons and $5 after. I got 14 cans of cinamon rolls, three boxes of pizza rolls, and 4-5 cans of crescents. I am well stocked.

Exploding Projects

It all started with a new mirror. Then two new mirrors. Finally a complete redecoration of the bathroom and partial redecoration of the bedroom. I was tired of fighting a foggy, spotty mirror to put on eyeliner. I had Christmas money waiting for a good cause. Aha! I would order a new mirror for our bathroom. Something that should have been done six years ago when we moved in. When the man came to measure it and give me an estimate, I had him give me an estimate for the hall bath. It also was in bad shape, just not as critical as the master bath. With a new mirror expected I decided that before it went up, the old wallpaper in that bathroom should come down. It is at least 10 years old, and it was starting to peel near the shower. I could see the 20 year old layer underneath it. I dreaded that project. The wallpaper in this house was all put up over one very thin layer of paint so it doesn't come off well, even with the good remover, and it takes the top layer of sheet rock with it in places. It was a huge project to get it all off. They had pulled the tank to wallpaper both layers behind the toilet, so we had to pull the tank to get it off. One of the bolts was corroded so it took a long time to get it off. With all the paper finally off, all the holes patched and sanded; I was ready to paint. I had a gallon of taupe that I got on clearance last year for $5 on a mixed tint table at Home Depot. It turned out to be a little greener than taupe. It is more pewter. It is okay since the bathroom is very light, it has a big window. Shan really likes it so I will deal with it. After I painted the walls I didn't like the antique brass and porcelain handles on the vanity. They were too frou frou for the new streamlined look. I know to go to Lowe's would cost about $6 a handle, so I looked on ebay. I found some brushed nickel, which match the rest of the bathroom fixtures, for $1 a handle and a flat rate of $6 shipping for however many I want. I decided to get enough to do both bathrooms so for $1.50 a handle I have a much nicer looking vanity. My mom had a border print from clearance. It actually goes pretty well. It has a tan background and then hearts and stars in an American Flag theme. With the blue towels and floor mats it looks pretty good. I inherited barely used bath mats and toilet lid cover from my mother, who had to get new ones to go with her recent redecorated bath and bedroom. I only had to get one mat to go in front of the toilet to keep feet warm in the winter on the cold tile first thing in the morning. Mom had enough to do the bedroom as well, since the border in there had matched the top layer of paper in the bathroom. So I took off the (again two layers) of border and then we had to paint a small strip at the ceiling, since the new border isn't as wide as the old border. We had painted the bedroom when we moved in and it still works so we left it alone. We didn't have any of that paint left so we used the darker paint from the bathroom. It actually looks pretty good. This led to a new comforter and pillow shams for the bed. Those were 11 years old so it was time they were retired. My mom called from Macy's sale, she'd found a denim comforter clearance for half of half. I then had an additional 20% off so it made the $300 Tommy Hilfiger comforter $65. The next day I was back with my sister, and found red denim pillow shams for $20 each and I had a $10 off $30 purchase so it made them $15 each. When I described this progression to my mother and sister, they thought it sounded logical and rational, even normal. My husband keeps shaking his head wondering how a new mirror project exploded.

Original Mirror estimate on just the master bath: $142
Redecorating Tally:

Mirrors: $233
Paint: $5
Wallpaper: $50
Comforter: $65
Shams: $30
Bath mat: $ 9
Handles: $20

Total Redo: $412

Yes it is a differnce of $270 dollars but bear in mind I hadn't orginally planned on a new mirror for the hall, it was a bargain when the guy said he would only charge us the cost of the mirror since it would be a snap to install and they would be here anyway. The wallpaper was a deal also and since I changed one I need to do both. I had been saving Christmas and Birthday money for a while to use for some worthy project and this seemed like a great idea. I also had been looking at new comforters and quilts in the catalogues longingly, since I bought the one we were using for Shannon, before we were married. It was actually a comforter cover for the down comforter I gave him for Christmas 12 years ago. In the summer we have been using a quilt that we got for our first house about 8 years ago, so it was looking pretty sad. Basically it was time for a redo. Of course, since paint is a pretty cheap redo I will probably do more painting somewhere in my house this year. We will have to see where.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday Pot Rescue

I have often thought of what I could post for WFMW over at Rocks in My Dryer but until this week had no inspiration. I realize I am late to the party this week but if I wait until next week I'll forget my favorite kitchen clean-up secret. When I was in college, I burned something on the bottom of a pot when I was cooking. I can't remember what it was. My roommate's mother was visiting that week and she suggested a solution to cleaning the pot. She told me to put a little water in the pot, just enough to cover the bottom completely. Then she said put baking soda in the water and turn on the stove. When the water had all boiled away, I had a white crusty stuff that scraped easily off the bottom of the pot and took the burned on stuff with it. Then I could clean the pot as usual. I don't know how much baking soda to use, I just dump. I have used this recently to get the macaroni noodles and peas I let boil dry. Sometimes the baking soda doesn't quite get all the edges of the pot, but it loosens it enough that a little swipe with steel wool and the black crud is all gone. It works for me and saves my pots.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I Can't leave well enough alone

If I didn't have enough going on, we are getting new bathroom mirrors since I finally have had enough of the worn off silver backing in many spots. This prompted me to redecorate the master bath. So I started stripping wallpaper on Saturday. And to fit with the pattern of wallpaper in this house it was a huge job. Shan volunteered to help me when he saw how slowly it was going. I nearly fell off the stepstool. He hates those kind of projects. We ran out of wallpaper stripper so we had to finish last night. We still have a little behind the toilet but since Shan thinks we should take the tank off to do that it will have to wait till tonight. Today I will spackle and fill holes getting ready to paint. I will paint tonight or tomorrow and then rehang all the towel bars and medicine cabinet and the bathroom will be back in order. At least until I find a border print I like. Then I will have to do our bedroom too. And on and on and on. I am a glutton for punishment.

A Full Week

Last week was a big week at our house. We had a very busy schedule of appointments and other committments that kept me away from blogging. It started with a broken dishwasher on Monday that stayed broken till yesterday for want of a part and time in the repairman's schedule. Tuesday was a pretty regular day, but Wednesday was chaos in spades. I took Jo to the doctor to find out about this rashy thing I've been fighting for over a year. Turns out it is eczema and the doctor called it "the itch that rashes". Which I guess means she itches first, scratches and then gives herself a problem. After leaving the doctor I went to Walmart to get the prescription,(Yea! $4 prescriptions!) and a few odds and ends. I then had to hustle to drop off the girls and get gas before rushing to my dentist appointment. I go to the dentist in a little town about 30 + minutes from home so I was a little late. Fortunately the dentist was running late so he wasn't waiting on me. He filled my tooth and numbed I rushed home to wait for the appliance repairman. He came figured out he needed a part and ordered it. Then said he probably couldn't make it back until Monday since his Friday was already fairly booked. ARG! Thursday I watched a couple boys from babysitting co-op since their Mom had to go to the doctor. I dropped off my girls at my Mom's house, the boys at their house and rushed to a parent-teacher conference at preschool. I had to wait there because they were running behind.

Friday was Kindergarten Round Up for Je. Jo went to Meals on Wheels with my mom and we met for lunch. I am at once excited and apprehensive about sending my first child off to school. Jo will start preschool next year so that is another scary/fun conflict.

This week doesn't promise to be much better, we have a big weekend at church coming up and I need to get my house ready for company. Also, next week I start watching a friend's new baby full time for four months so she can go back to work. She works for the state tax people and hates to leave at such a busy time.