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Holiday Safety: avoid pants, not ladders

December 12, 2012

Last week, I got stuck on my roof. Bratchild spent a significant amount of time explaining that me getting on the roof was a stupid idea; I fall up stairs, walk into walls, trip over nothing, etc. She then decides, due to my visions of Griswoldism dancing through my head, that she could come on the roof with me. No, I explain, someone has to hold the ladder.

Ever since my first viewing of Christmas Vacation, I have longed for a house shrouded in lights. Due to a lack of outlets and a husband with safety concerns, this year I conceded that I was going to settle for a roof outlined in lights. Because of the hubs’ aforementioned safety concerns and his height, he is not a fan of ladders and rooftops. In my continuing efforts to be helpful, I decided to put lights around the roof myself.

Obstacle 1: he hid the staple gun. Obstacle 2: a fully extended metal ladder is much harder to get angled up to the roof then one would expect and wobbles scarily once it is in place–even when being held by a giggling, dedicated Bratchild. Obstacle 3: roofs are slantier than one would expect from the ground. Obstacle 4: Once I overcame the staple gun issue by finding sticky hanger things, I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to lean over the edge of the roof to attach them and then string the lights. Obstacle 5: pants.

Never one to be dissuaded by practicalities, I persevered.

As I was shimmying/crawling/starting to weep along the roofline, my spiffy don’t jiggle it when you wiggle it Old Navy bootcut yoga pants became entangled in my grippy bottom athletic shoes and caused me to stumble. I forced myself into a sitting position and was frozen in terror. Visions of best Christmas magic lights ever were replaced with bloody images of my skull on concrete. I actually physically couldn’t move.

Bratchild: Mom, are you okay?
Me: Nope, I’m stuck.
Bratchild: On what? Just come down.
Me: Can’t. Ladder will move and I will fall and die.
Bratchild: I told you this was a bad idea.
Me: Not helpful.
Bratchild: I’m going to take a picture. Does your phone have a video camera?
Me: No.
Bratchild: (squealing and cackling) It does! It does! Admit this was a stupid idea and I will come hold the ladder. I want it on video.
Me: Santa is not even going to wrap your presents in Bieber paper if you keep this up, he just won’t come. (In years past, I would have called Santa but my phone was safely on the ground whereas I was not.)
Bratchild: I’m going to call Poppy. (Dialing, chatting) He wants to know if he should call 911?
Me: I’m not a cat stuck on a tree branch!
Bratchild: He says to come down backwards.
Me: Hang up and come hold the ladder. You know what? Maybe I don’t have to use the ladder? I could just sort of roll into those azalea bushes. I think they would break my fall?
Bratchild: Mom. No.
Me: Really it’s these pants that are the problem, I keep getting tangled in them and they are tripping me up. Do you think I should take my pants off?
Bratchild: I think if you try to take your pants off while you are stuck on the roof you are for sure going to fall.

She eventually coaxed me down the wildly wobbling ladder which by then I was too tired to move. When my ex-husband came to pick up bratchild for dinner I met him at the door and asked him to move the ladder. When he wanted to know why, I explained I needed it down before J got home. He countered with it wasn’t like Bratchild wasn’t going to tell him I was on the roof and while I conceded that yes, that was true, it was entirely different to see something actually on fire than to know it had once been on fire but had since been handled. He shook his head but did move the ladder for me.

My holiday safety tip for you? Avoid pants. And sensible shoes.


Bratchild doesn’t support Bertram’s life choices

November 27, 2012

We got Bertram, our Elf on the Shelf, years ago before they were super popular and before they were a tool for moms to try to one-up one another. My Elf on the Shelf custom paints masterpieces that sell at Sotheby’s for one MILLION dollars. Oh really? Mine studied cooking with Emeril. Yes, but MY elf was classically trained with the entire cast of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” It’s a little out of hand and whole sites are dedicated to 101 ways to make other parents feel bad about themselves and their parenting choices.

Our elf, Bertram, is very chill. Sometimes he hangs out in the same place for a couple of days. I like to say it’s because he found a good vantage point. Sometimes he’s tough to find. He never makes messes or does “clever” things because, unlike some parents, we get the point of having an elf. The elf is a means to terrorize your children into behaving. (And Bratchild isn’t even a badly behaving child! But still!) PB (pre-Bertram) I would have to call Santa Claus and have conversations with him, of course within Bratchild’s earshot. Now I have an elf to do that shit for me. SO WHY would you have an elf tear up shit, make messes, write on windows, et al when he’s supposed to be the ENFORCER not the ENABLER? I don’t understand and I digress.

Back in the dark ages, when we were the only peeps with an elf, there were only boy elfs. Now they make skirts. Bertram is a boy. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t enjoy a skirt. The hubs wears skirts, well, kilts at any rate. So why can’t Bertram? Pictured is the 2011 Claus Couture Collection Skirt, it would seem there is a 2012 edition as well. Ridiculous much?

Regardless, Bratchild and I were at Barnes and Noble heatedly debating Bertram’s desire for a skirt:

Me: But he wants a skirt. He told me.
Bratchild: Mom. He’s a boy. That’s stupid.
Me: BUT he whaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnntttttttsssssssssss ooooooonnnnnnnnnnne. (I hadn’t thought of the J skirt argument at this point.)
Bratchild: No.
Me: But he toooooooooollllllldddddd me so.
Bratchild: Mom. No.
Me: Who do you think he talks to more? Me or you?
Bratchild: You are not getting him a skirt.
Me: FINE. When he doesn’t come this year it will be because you aren’t supportive of his life choices. (a few seconds later) I could accent it with glitter?!?!
Bratchild: Can we go to Target?
Me: We don’t need to since you don’t want Bertram to be happy. You’ll wish he had a skirt when he decides to wrap all your presents in Justin Bieber wrapping paper making you not want to open them. Or maybe girls who deny elfs the right to skirts don’t even get presents. We will see.

We left the store, skirt-less to say the least, but I am not defeated yet. What’s wrong with being fancy? Maybe if I made him a kilt that would be more acceptable to the bratty brattiest bratchild? This skirt, ahem kilt, looks elvish, no?

There should be more party in the political parties

November 6, 2012

I very very VERY rarely discuss politics. For several reasons:
1. I believe that people are entitled to their own opinion.
2. I don’t care what other people think.
3. I’m not a fan of trying to force my beliefs on other people. It feels a lot like trying to lose 50 pounds when all you eat is chocolate cake. Frustrating. Also? Pointless.

For me it’s quite simple: as long as you are not hurting a creature or thing that is unable–be it due to age, health, intelligence, etc–to defend themselves or say what they want, I don’t really care what you do.

I also don’t discuss religion. See above.

On to my point on politics. As I said,  I rarely discuss them but feel like, for me, it’s necessary to speak out.  Rather than the hatred and vitriol thats’s spewed upon other human beings, the mass defriendings (gasp!) on Facebook, the generic Republicans are evil, Democrats are dumb; shouldn’t there be a little more party in the political parties?

In my opinion, the fact that we are ALL entitled to our own opinion is what makes us Americans. To me, that is worthy of celebration. I’d love to hear more champagne corks flying and less insults.

And holy shit ya’ll: what does that say about this country when things have to be “Facebook Official” and, the majority of the time, those things are ones that would never be uttered aloud to another person?

In this election season, at no point in time have I felt warred upon by a politician or a party; whether I agreed with them or not. The only time I have felt attacked is by the ignorance and broad comments people feel the need to share on the internet. It’s curious to me how many people only support a woman’s right to choose, in any matter, when her choices agree with their beliefs. What was the point of suffrage and the feminist movement? Too many seem to think it was so there could be a “feminist standard.” For me, I believe a woman has the right to choose her life: whether it be barefoot and pregnant or commanding the country. Women, and all Americans, deserve the right to choose for themselves the life they wish to lead. Pursuit of happiness doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone…and wouldn’t it be boring if it did?

When it comes to voting, and so many aspects of life, I don’t think there are right or wrong answers. There are only YOUR answers and your choices. And that’s the benefit of freedom.

So tonight, I hope you all celebrate your patriotism in a positive way. I’ll be enjoying my new reading material, a little Chardonnay and some paper mache.



I am the Postal Carrier of the Halloween Craft World

September 19, 2012

Neither monsoon nor heat nor gloom of night nor too small car nor inappropriate wardrobe choices nor ban from power tools and sharp objects shall keep this crafter from her appointed mess-making.

Monsoon season came to Huntsville Monday. As I picked bratchild up from school, the bottom fell out and we were engulfed in what one weather-watcher dubbed “frog-strangling rains.” I found myself in need of a giant cardboard tube, big ass cardboard boxes and foam sheet insulation along with the foam that I couldn’t recall its name but described it to the helpful Home Depot staff through a mixture of chipmunk cheeks, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man movements and whoosh, whoosh whoosh sounds. My impromptu game of construction charades led them to deduce that I needed Great Stuff Expandable Foam.

Because I am not allowed to use power tools, wood was out of the question for creating a coffin and the witch cutout as seen on Martha Stewart. (I’m sure Martha is allowed to use power tools or at the very least has minions.) Mine is going to be slightly different from the below as I am making two witches and a cauldron.

I decided to create my coffin, witch et al from 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of foam insulation that I would spray paint. (Regular styrofoam can’t be spray painted but I am pretty sure this kind can be.) Cut to Bratchild and I staring at the sheets of insulation. I was convinced they would fit in my car, Bratchild said they wouldn’t and I should call Poppy (my dad) since J was at work. When I called to ask what he was doing, he wanted to know why and when I asked him to come to Home Depot, he muttered and hung up the phone. Note: he wasn’t being mean when he hung up the phone, several people in my family just end conversations that way. (Turns out Bratchild was right and the sheets barely fit in my dad’s SUV/truck thing. In addition to lettering and bow tying, I also fail at dimensions.)

So, still in the pouring rain, we were loading insulation sheets, big ass cardboard boxes and a 12-inch diameter four-foot long tube PLUS spray paint and Great Stuff. No one was particularly happy with me. After telling me he was changing his number, dad took Bratchild in his car while I swam back to mine.

The result? A fashionable look I call drowned rat OR strangled frog. (My Lilly Pulitzer Murfee pictured below, coincidentally, is one with frogs in the print.)

In other news, I broke out the Great Stuff Expandable Foam last night and it is SO MUCH FUN.

I was the Pied Piper of the Rocket City Goodwill

September 12, 2012

Yesterday, bratchild and I went to Goodwill. I was driving by and all of a sudden hollered, “I have to buy a shirt to go with the white tux,” and into the parking lot we careened.

I am not overly fond of our Goodwill. It’s over-priced,  smells terrible AND they leave stuff sitting outside in the rain forever which may account for the offending odor. I much prefer the Greater Huntsville Humane Society Thrift Store or the one on North Parkway, the name of which always escapes me, but it’s the one where the man laid down behind my car, tried to pretend I ran him over and then starting hitting my window asking for money. I didn’t hit him but even if I had, I never carry cash.

ANYWAYS–so bratchild and I were wandering around the store trying to find a dress shirt to go with the white tux with tails that I purchased at another non-smelly thrift store. I am not a quiet person. I’ve been described as having two volume levels: playground and arena. This will play a role in the following events.

Bratchild: What are we looking for? (She knows it’s best to keep me focused.)
Me: A men’s dress shirt. White or black, plain. Hmmm, I don’t really know what size but he’s super skinny so it probably doesn’t matter much. I don’t want to spend much since it won’t really be seen as he’s wearing it with that white tux, top hat and a sequined bow tie.

This is when the first Goodwill shopper looked at me with crazed curiosity in his eyes and fell in line behind my seductive shopping song.

Me: I mean, really, he’s just a skeleton. Does it really matter what he wears? He’s just going to be there for people to look at. No, that shirt won’t work. It has a stain and I don’t want to go to the trouble of washing it before I force it on him.

A Goodwill employee joined in the parade…

Me: Do we even have to buy him a men’s shirt? Maybe we could just stick him in a ladies shirt? He is super little and won’t know the difference. It’s not like he knows better. And I don’t really care if he likes it or not.

At this point, FOUR people were following from afar like a slow-moving zombie horde.

Me: (as we walk by the shoes) I didn’t even think about shoes? Does he even have feet? I would think he does but since he’s going to be wired to a chair or mounted to a post somehow, I don’t think the size matters. Since he’s missing his ribs, is he missing feet as well? If he has feet, we can just shove something on him. Though I would like to figure out a way to have him hold a tray of drinks or something. Anything he wears will be an improvement on the tattered prison garb he’s currently sporting. Though we may have to scrape the kerchief bit off his head–they must have glued that on him.

At this point in time, I noticed the crowd we had amassed and I started giggling uncontrollably. I replayed my statements in my head and came to the realization that these people probably thought I was pulling an Angelina Jolie and was adopting some child from a third world country that I was going to dress up and have stand on the veranda of my plantation home in his tux greeting guests and passing out Bounce sheets from a beribboned basket. I imagine they all had cell phones at the ready to dial DHR, Homeland Security, the TSA or anyone else they could think of…

Now that I was envisioning myself as a psychotic Pied Piper, we decided to leave. The best part? The Goodwill gang will never know I was shopping for him:

And then I was officially crowned the crazy old lady in the neighborhood: more life lessons

August 8, 2012

I had a frustrating morning of working on an email campaign and fighting with html only to FINALLY make it to the pool for the sky to turn black and the thunder to roll in so everyone had to leave and then, of course, by the time I sat back down at my computer in my closet room it was sunny. Which provided clear visibility of the  incident occurring in my front yard and led to the now ongoing altercation with the frat boys down the street.

I was in a sorority and had many, many friends who were frat boys so the term isn’t a slur, it’s just a descriptor. In the South, we have a very specific type of frat boy: more often than not he drives a truck or an SUV but even if he drives a smaller car–they all have some sort of accessory rack for luggage, bikes, coolers, dead deer, etc somewhere on the vehicle. They also wear visors, always have croakies attached to their shades and, more often than not, have a black lab. It’s like they’re gifted these things at initition or something. Hooray, you survived hell week: have a black lab and a bow tie.

So when I saw a dog shitting in my yard that WAS  a black lab and was attached to a visor/croakie wearing tan boy–I knew it was one of the frat boys from down the street who, coincidentally live next door to my OTHER neighborhood nemesis aka the dude that got in a standoff with the police and then hit my car. I should probably just consider avoiding that region of the neighborhood.

I scrambled down the stairs to yell at him and as I opened the front door was punched in the face by the terrible odor of the poop his obviously gastrointestinally-challenged dog had left like breadcrumbs across my yard and driveway. He ignored me. That was his first mistake. I was wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops so I wasn’t about to take off running after the fit frat boy. Instead I grabbed my car keys and followed him down the street, careening wildly into his driveway and almost taking out a frog holding a gazing ball that must have been left by the previous owners. He reacted with the appropriate look of terror because until you’ve had a 35-year-old sweaty, no makeup wearing, crazy-eyed lady almost kill you and your frog with her big white Lexus, I don’t know that you’ve really lived. (This brings about the first life lesson of this post: it’s always more fun to be terrifying when you look cute. Slap on some lip gloss, brush your hair, pull yourself together. A little cleavage never hurt.)

I explained to him that I expected him to clean up after his dog, that we didn’t behave like that in this neighborhood and that yes, it was more than four little nuggets and that perhaps Bo, all frat boys name their dogs Bo if they aren’t named that themselves, could stand a visit to the vet.

After I arrived home, I called J to inform him that I was now in an altercation with the frat boys down the street, explained what happened and told him that if he came home and Bratchild and I were collecting giant piles of Clifford poo from the backyard, I didn’t want him to be confused. Remarkably, J wasn’t confused in the least or even surprised when I told him that if the frat boy didn’t clean up his dog’s poo, I was going to collect some of our dog’s piles and place them around his front yard. I always like to keep J informed. I’ve also been known to make notes of people I feel look suspicious in case I go missing.

As I awaited the frat boy’s return I let Clifford, our ginormous Rottweiler mix rescue dog, sit in the front door to greet him when he returned. Clifford, who people often think is scary because of his size, did his part well and let out very loud, very terrifying, very deep barks that caused the frat boy to scurry to scoop the poop and race down the street with the poop sack, and his visor, trailing behind him. (Next life lesson? Have a bigger dog than your nemesis.)

Below: Clifford not looking terrifying just eyeing me with disdain.

Alpha Stamps Gypsy Fever Blog Hop

August 1, 2012

I don’t know what it is about gypsies: the cacophony of colors, the sparkles and coins, the fun fortune,  the gorgeous crystal balls but they all of us at Alpha Stamps in a feverish state. No worries, this is one fever you’ll be glad to catch so we hope you’ll join the fun, join the Gypsy Swap and play along for your chance to win a gorgeous gypsy prize. We’ve peeked into our crystal ball but we’re not telling. If you want to find your fate, here’s how: if you visit all 4 Design Team Members’ blogs and figure out the fortune, you will have a chance to win over $100 of art supplies chosen for the Gypsy Fortune Teller Swap! Read each blog carefully and look for the word in italics. Unscramble the words and be sure to leave the Gypsy Fortune in a comment on the Alpha Stamps Blog!

Plus, one person who comments on this post will be chosen at random to receive a piece of art created by me. I’m offering up this Fairy Follies Theatre created with the Small Nouveau Theatre Collage Sheet as well as the Small Diorama Box; both from Alpha Stamps.

With the glittering gold and punches of red, it reminds me of some of the gorgeous gypsy supplies, currently on sale,  including FIVE new collage sheets designed especially for this swap. The goodies were all so gorgeous I had a hard time picking and choosing for my design team projects. They’re all so fun and inspiring that I have so many ideas I’ve decided to participate in the swap myself. It will be my first-ever swap and I can’t want to see everyone’s stunning creations.

With the gypsy theme, I knew I wanted to do something with a crystal ball so I decided to create one. I use a plastic ornament and placed the gypsy inside the ball for a change. The ball is perched upon some teeny tiny dice on a table made from a Mega Bottle Cap that has dominoes for legs. Of course a gypsy has got to have beads and fringe, so the table trim is the fun and fabulous Yellow Gold Beaded Fringe.

For my other project I used the Concertina ChipBoard Pennants to construct a Gypsy Caravan. As you can see here, you can peer inside to see the fortunes being spun and told. I also used the Card Players Collage Sheet, the Gypsy Beauty Collage Sheet, the Talisman Collage Sheet, the Queen of Hearts #3 Collage Sheet  and several other selections from the gorgeous Gypsy theme.

I’ve got my eye on several other components for the Gypsy Swap including the Brass Halo, the Indian Matchbook Labels, the Iridescent Moon Mix and the Phrenology Collage Sheet. I do hope you’ll join this glittering gypsy gang and take part in the swap. What Alpha Stamps products have caught your eye?

Click here to visit the other Design Team Member’s Blogs!