Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A few junking treasures...

Lately I have been junking less. It has a lot to do both with the great junk purge of Spring 2011 and the sorry state of my checking account. Getting my house in order has made keeping up with it a lot easier and I am loathe to bring in more stuff unless it is six kinds of total awesome.

Last week I found myself with a few kid free hours so I went to Urban Renewals. I enjoyed browsing and scored a few things which were simply too good to pass up.

For Rebecca, I found a brand new North Face Denali Fleece in turquoise for $25. Now $25 is far more than I am usually willing to spend for anything at a junk store, but in this case I made an exception. This jacket is "the thing" for tweens and teens in our part of the country. Truthfully, I don't get it, but as someone who lusted mightily for Guess jeans and Coca-Cola shirts in the eighties, I understand the longing. At least these jackets are practical. They are super warm and comfy which they should be considering they retail for about $100.

For both girls I scored a Polly Pockets sized Hogwarts Castle for .99. It has secret passages, compartments, and is seriously cool for the Potter fans in my house. As a matter of fact, this blog post was written while Lily played with it next to me. That my friends is called a win.

In other news, we have returned from five days in the cape with my folks who fed us, spoiled us and got us through our last weekend without David. He arrives home on Thursday and our excitement is almost too much to contain. If you hear shrieks of joy on Thursday, it's just us, celebrating the return of our long lost love.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Part two of my big adventure...

While I was in Arizona, I stayed in the very glamorous, or at least very clean Days Inn in Prescott Valley. I have never really stayed in a hotel by myself. Unlike women in the state of Massachusetts, which has the distinction of having the oldest mothers in the country,  I started having my children at the relatively young age of 26. I lived with my mother until I was about 23 and then David and I ran away together. I have not had a moments peace every since.

I hadn't had any peace until my trip to Arizona that is. I found having my own motel room positively magical. It stayed tidy and even better- the bed was made by someone else every day. I had the television all to myself and could indulge in back to back episodes of Law and Order for hours without interruption. One night I stopped at CVS for lip gloss and Doritos. I then spent the night watching hard boiled detectives interrogate perps and ate Doritos without having to share with anyone.

One of the stops I made out in Arizona was to World Market. My east coast friends and I are deprived of this great store which can best be described as the love child of Pier One and Trader Joe's. It has all sorts of fun things and it was there that I found the perfect gift for the girls- Giant gummy bears.

My kids are already gummy bear lovers, but these gummy bears were special. Each was about four inches tall and encased in plastic; I knew that my kids would go bananas for these delights.

Once Monday morning arrived, I left my hotel room bright and early. My flight was scheduled for 12:10pm, but left to my own devices I was allowed to indulge in over-preparedness without any complaints from traveling companions. It was thanks to this foresightedness that I was on line for my scan (not probe) by 9:30am.  Everything was going swimmingly. The car was dropped off. I had a pack of lifesavers and a murder mystery. All I had to do was get my carefully packed gummy bears through the scanning machines.

You can see where this is going right?

I submit to the scanning. All clear.

My luggage goes through the scanner and I am informed that they need to search my bag.

The TSA agent pulled out the gummy bears and asked me about them. "They are gummy bears for my kids." The TSA agent considered that. The problem seemed to be in deciding whether they were a gel or a liquid. In all fairness, the TSA agent was very nice.

"I have kids too," he whispered apologetically. "Let's check with the supervisor," he suggested.

It was here that it became clear to me that the TSA is run by underemployed people on a power trip. The TSA god of gels insisted that the gummy bears were both a liquid and a gel and therefore, would not be permitted on board, unless I wanted to check my bag. I made the point that if I had a big bag of gummy bears, it would clear without incident. He would not budge. I said, "Look, I don't mean to be a jerk, but human-to-human, you know that these gummy bears are not dangerous, right?"

Readers, his only reply was, "No exceptions!" and so, flustered and embarrassed, I surrendered my contraband to the TSA weenie, who most likely ate them.

I was two hours early for my flight. I was so early in fact, that my flight wasn't even on the board yet. I was alone in a red state without gummy bears for my children. It was a sad time for me. At least it was until I discovered a seat at the gate next to a power outlet and then logged into the airport's free WiFi. I spent the next ninety minutes watching Law and Order, which I think we can all agree, is a soothing balm for the weary soul.

Once home I was smothered in hugs and noise from the children. I was happy so see them, but I confess I sorely miss the maid service.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Well, hello there everyone!

I imagine you are all breathlessly waiting to find out just where the heck I have been for the last week. If you were my Facebook friend, you'd know. (Friend me with that handy little button up at the top of the page.)

On Friday I flew to Arizona for my mother's wedding. I spent the days leading up to my trip in an absolute frenzy of anxiety. I worried about plane crashes, my luggage, renting a car by myself, driving through the deserts of Arizona by myself, being away from my children, being away from my dogs, the state of my checking account, the size of my butt and so much more.

4:30 Friday morning my taxi came to fetch me to take me to the airport.

I learned many things on this trip. The first being that there is no traffic in Boston at 4:30am. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to fret my way through security. I was scanned, but not probed and it seems that in 2011 this is the most one can hope for.

The flight was uneventful. It did not crash. It is always a miracle to me when my plane does not fall out of the sky. Why doesn't it crash? How does it stay in the air? Magic. The only possible explanation.

Once I landed and got my car I made my way north to my mother's place in Prescott Valley. I did not dawdle or dwell on the scenery because I had an important job to do. I was the chief decorator and Maid of Honor. Well, I suppose Matron of Honor is more accurate since I am a married lady and all that, but really, is there a worse word than "matron"?

About a month ago I sent a box of supplies to my mother's house. The box contained eighteen yards of tulle, ceramic birds, an assortment of candles in varied sizes, ribbons, silk flowers and pearl garland. I walked in her door and got to work. Since it was a small wedding, my mother and her fiance Jack, decided to have the wedding at their home. They decided that the fireplace would be the best place to create a visual focal point and mock alter.

This is what we created.

This was so quick and easy to put together. We chose the container with the petunias and greens to provide depth and height to the arrangement.

See those ceramic birds? They were about $5 at Michael's.

We used some more flowers and greens to extend the lilac and green theme over by the cake.

The wedding was very sweet. My mother and Jack both got very teary, which caused me to get teary and make the most mediocre toast in the history of weddings.

Luckily, the happy couple did not seem to mind.

Stay tuned for Part Two of my exciting travel tale. It includes me watching Law and Order all alone in my hotel and getting my gummy bears confiscated by TSA.

Monday, June 6, 2011


About a million years ago before the recession and it's long reign of suck, I used to get my nails done with acrylics every two weeks. My nails are soft and peel and I loved how hard the acrylics made them. I could tap meaningfully on the table and gesticulate with authority.

I tried to do my own acrylics, but you will just have to trust me when I tell you that it did not go well. Periodically I would google for super hard nail polishes and even tried a few, but nothing worked. They peeled and chipped and caused me no end of grief.

It was while googling nail polish that I stumbled upon a product that I had seen for years, but dismissed out of hand.

Glue on nails. Could there be anything tackier? Well, the more I read about this product the better it seemed. People raved about glue on nails! Who knew?

Finally, I decided that for 5.97 at Walgreens I'd give it a shot. It was love at first application. They look just like the acrylic nails I used to get and are so stinking cheap! The glue that comes with them isn't as strong as I'd like so I upgraded to a stronger nail glue.

I've been using these nails for about a month now. Once a week I peel them off and apply new ones. So easy.

I must however, offer one bit of caution. It involves nail glue, smoke and fire.

This week while applying my nails, I spilled some nail glue onto my nylon nightgown. It immediately started to feel very hot and then it began to smoke! I grabbed the glass of water next to me and dumped it on my lap which stopped the chemical reaction and saved me from needing some very embarrassing skin grafts.

The internet provided this, which while not being an explanation, provides a visual of what happens when nail glue goes wrong.

So boys and girls, fake nails are good. Super glue will set you on fire.

My job here is done.

(This was not a paid review. Kiss Nails has no idea who I am and would probably be horrified by my fire story if they did.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ants, Tornadoes, Hair and Guilt or My Week...

So the ants are gone. I wanted to let you guys know that right at the start so you could stop worrying. I did have to kill a big spider today that had chosen to hang out on the ceiling right above my bed, but I am pretty sure that he is unrelated to the ants.

This week kind of felt like a week of trials. There were the ants. Then there was some extremely hot and humid weather, which was then followed oddly enough, by a couple of F3 tornadoes about 60 miles west of here. Yup. Tornadoes. In Massachusetts.

You know, here in Massachusetts we have nine months of soul crushing winter followed by three months of heat and humidity. I have always felt like the humidity and cold were the trade off against natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes. What is the point of stoically enduring all of that misery if we are going to have tornadoes?

I suspect that this logic comes from my years of being educated by nuns for whom punishment and discomfort were just another way to show Jesus your love.

"Stop complaining and offer your suffering to Jesus!" the nuns would intone. Sure. What Jesus would do with my suffering is beyond me.

Where was I? Oh yes, the trials of the week. The ants, the heat, the tornadoes, the spider on my ceiling- it all got to me. That's why this morning I offered the girls a choice: do schoolwork or go to the mall.

It was tough for them to decide, but somehow they choose the mall. I had an ulterior motive for going to the mall. I wanted a haircut badly and I wanted to Lily to get one too. My hair has been suffering from self inflicted hair cuts about a year. Lily's crazy short haircut has been growing out into an extreme shag that has gone from looking "cute and spunky" to "Does that mother ever brush her kid's hair?".

We arrived at the mall and snagged appointments with Toni our hairdo guru. You know what I like about Toni? She does not berate me for cutting my own hair. She just smiles nicely and makes me look like a grown-up again. She made me look pretty and made Lily look like a regular child and not a street urchin.

We are about to start week four of the David's eight week film shoot. In general it's going well. I have to say this, I just do, but I could not do this unless my kids weren't so awesome. They are not perfect. They whine and argue, but mostly they are great friends with each other. They laugh and play in all of the ways that make childhood wonderful.

Being with them is the greatest gift of my life. I think it's also why I feel so guilty that I have moments of desperately wanting to be alone. When David is home I usually disappear for a few hours on the weekend and recharge. With David gone and all of the kid's classes over, I don't have any regular chunks of time to myself.  While I know that I can leave my kids home alone together, I feel guilty and rushed when I do. I worry that if I am gone too long they will feel my leaving as a statement about them.

I ask them sometimes, "Don't you guys ever get tired of me?"

"No mommy! Never! Do you get tired of us?" they ask.

I tell them the truth. Sometimes I need quiet when no one is talking to me or needing anything from me. They'll understand some day.

In the meantime, I count my blessings, endure my trials and offer nothing up to Jesus.