February 19, 2011

If It Wasn't For The Last Minute...

I am definitely a works-well-under-pressure kind of gal. Most of that is by necessity as I put everything off until the last minute and have no choice but to get everything done under a serious time crunch. It's been this way my entire life. There was never any "preparing" for tests. There was only cramming the night before and remembering all the useless info just long enough to ace the test and then forgetting it all immediately after.

The funny thing is, I used to really freak out and storm around the house stressing about how I hadn't started yet and so I was doomed to failure. That's just my way. I did this one time and I got so worked up about how it was 1am the night before the big test and there was no way I could pass it so why bother studying? My roommate at the time had no choice but to be witness to my melodramatic doomsday-ing. After listening to me predict my inevitable failure a dozen times or so, she concluded I must be right and she gave up and went to bed. But that was just the opening act. See, after I've stomped around a good bit and thrown a tantrum, I buckle down and get the work done. I stayed up late and crammed and got an A on my test. My roommate didn't. And I don't think she has ever forgiven me for bringing her down.

Since then, I've learned to just accept that I am a last-minute person and it will get done. Will it be exactly the way I imagined? Probably not but the end product will be more than adequate and will pass everyone's standards (just maybe not my impossibly high ones).

So it really shouldn't have been a surprise when I found myself on Wednesday making phone calls and sending out emails to people to invite them to Sassy's birthday party that was on Saturday. That's right--3 days before my daughter's party and I was just now getting around to inviting them. And it didn't end there. Here is a little recap from the last few days.

Wednesday Realize I forgot to send out invites; break Sassy's heart that the invitations she'd been planning for weeks wouldn't be made after all; realize Howdy's party is the following weekend and go ahead and make phone calls for his party as well (Go me! I'm on top of something!)

Friday afternoon Oops! Apparently I left a close friend of Sassy's off the invite list. Send frantic FB msg to her mom, begging for daughter to be able to come; agree to let her stay well past party time in order for her to be able to make it

Friday evening--9:30pm-ish In the middle of a Pampered Chef party that I'm hosting at my mom's house, it suddenly dawns on me that today is Friday--the day.before.the.party. Games are not planned, cake is not baked, treats for goodie bags are not purchased; momentary panic then laugh it off and continue party. Before leaving party, convince mom to bake the birthday cake since she is better at it than I am (truth)

Friday night/Saturday morning--12:45am Finally get home after spending hours chatting with friends; dread the flight-of-the-bumblebee cleaning job that awaits me; discover MC has been waiting up to help me clean (love that man); spend a few minutes cleaning and then try to convince MC that we should just call it quits and finish in the morning; Hubby insists on cleaning (hate that man); crawl into bed at 1:45am

Saturday morning (aka D-Day) Wake up and alternate between random cleaning (sweep kitchen, dust TV, clear table, clean kitchen counters)and searching the internet for game/party ideas. Make a frantic run to the dollar store to get party props; stop at mom's and see that she bought everything for goodie bags and is going to put them together along with the cupcakes she's baked (love her); hurry to get back before MC has to leave for work; fail to find games on the internet; declare myself a creative genius for coming up with great party games myself; proceed to throw it all together

12:15pm After failing to convince MC that the kids would be better off with McDs for lunch, reluctantly take a break to feed the Minions; force down a sandwich while finishing games

12:45pm 15 minutes to party time; discover that I wasn't finished prepping; slight panic while acknowledging that I should have known better than to think I was done BEFORE party time

1:05pm Send the first 2 guests upstairs to play with Sassy while I finish booklets needed for all our activities

4:11pm With the exception of the one friend who is staying late, the guests are gone; pick up trash/discarded plates and cups; big sigh of relief that party is over

4:17pm Head downstairs to see MC who was hiding out in the basement for the entire party (minus the singing of "Happy Birthday); flop down on the couch and announce to MC that the party was a huge success; conclude I must be the most awesomest mommy ever

4:19pm Purposely block out the reminder that Howdy's party is only a week away and I will soon be doing this all over again.

February 17, 2011

House For Sale

FOR SALE:

Two story Tudor home with basement. Glass block windows give it lots of character and provide free air conditioning--year round. Highly sought after hardwood floors in the living room and first floor bedroom. A good buffing would take care of the roller skate marks the children left behind and the grooves the furniture made when the wife moved her furniture around every 2 months. The open kitchen has been decorated in retro, 1970's, gold shower paneling--except in those areas that the wife was able to rip it off the walls in ragged, broken patches. And speaking of open, you'll never have to worry about cupboard doors getting in your way again as all the doors have been removed. If you should decide to rehang them, the doors are still available, only without the hardware as the wife (again) removed it all in anticipation of a painting project that never got underway. Don't be alarmed by the missing piece of countertop--the husband has replaced it with a bit of plywood after another ill-advised home project attempt by the wife.

The bedroom on the first floor boasts 2 windows that both open--something you won't find on most of the first floor and therefore highly coveted. It has a quaint little closet that also features those glass block windows--perfect for making sure you are alert in the winter mornings. After all, nothing wakes you up quite like putting on clothes that are a crisp 34 degrees.

In the bathroom, you'll notice that there is a new shower/bath surround. Don't concern yourself with the lack of hardware on the bathtub plug--a rubber stopper works just as well. The empty metal box along the far wall used to house the radiator but now serves as a post-modern decorative accessory. While the vanity looks stunning with its marble counter and rich, cherry cupboard, you may notice the lack of running water in the sink. Not a problem as the family has proven that brushing your teeth at the kitchen sink works just as well.

Heading upstairs, you'll find the carpet is similar to Berber. The light, tan color is handy for helping you see each spot that needs to be cleaned. Wouldn't want you to miss a floor stain, after all. To the right is the first of the 2 upstairs bedrooms. Granted, it is only marginally wider than the twin size bed crammed inside but it's perfect for a baby or perhaps a Pygmy dwarf. Don't be alarmed at the 10 inch gaps between the stair posts, hardly anyone has ever fallen through. The last bedroom is the jewel of the upstairs. Bigger than any other room in the house, it has plenty of space for kids to spread out all their toys and can easily fit over 1,000 Legos in the walking space. As all the ceilings are slanted and low in the corners, it even has a built in doorstop, ensuring that when your kids throw open the bedroom door, it will only dig deeper into the ceiling instead of making a loud noise. Don't worry, the painfully bright yellow walls will grow on you. While the result of a paint chip mix up, they have since proven to be great for assisting in waking the children up in the morning. No more sleeping in when the sunlight hits those neon reflectors! The radiator warms up the room but not so much that you can't feel the fresh air seeping in through the single pane windows, assuring that you'll always feel the great outdoors--even when you're snuggled in bed.

Don't let the lack of overhead lighting discourage you. With a dozen or so strategically placed lamps, you'll have the house lit up in no time. And with the old wiring system, you'll never want for entertainment. Just try to figure out which breaker will trip when you run the hair dryer and the microwave at the same time. Or how about the washing machine and the bathroom heater? Or even the upstairs heater and the downstairs radio? Good times.

Before we head down to the basement, let's stop in the laundry room located off the kitchen. The flooring is hardy, indoor/outdoor carpet squares. This ensures that anything spilled will be well hidden. In fact, unless you happen to walk in there barefoot, you'd never even know that your dog peed in there because he was too wimpy to go pee in the rain.

Be sure to watch your head as you go downstairs to the basement. The ceilings clear 7 feet, but unless you're a giant, you'll have no trouble moving around down there. You'll notice most of the carpet squares have been removed, leaving only the concrete floor. Don't worry, throw rugs will help keep some of that frigid cold from seeping into your bones. The bonus room behind the stairs is great for storage, as long as you don't need a door as that has been removed. And the room at the other end of the basement would be a great office. Just be sure not to block the one side of the closet as it's your only access to the water heater and boiler. And there's a bonus--the boiler is an antique! Original to the house in 1947, it even features the old asbestos coating, several inches thick. They sure don't make them like that anymore!

You'll notice the cozy bathroom is actually about 6 inches higher up due to the hidden plumbing beneath the floor. Again, unless you're freakishly tall--like over 5'10--you'll be able to fit as long as you duck your head when leaving the room. The shower is just the right size for one person, as is the rest of the room. You'll never have to worry about anyone crowding you while you're trying to get ready in the morning--no one else will fit in the bathroom with you.

Pay no mind to the slight mildewy smell. With enough bleach and Lysol, the smell will go away. The hose running through the hole in the back door and snaked around to the shower will ensure that--assuming that it no longer rains like a waterfall and the city fixes all the drainage systems in the neighborhood--it will no longer flood in the basement. If you're concerned about it, just make sure that you keep all precious items at least 2 inches off the floor.

Through the back door (Don't worry that it's a hollow door--the odds are pretty slim that anyone will ever try to break in.) you'll find the back patio. You'll find plenty of room here, as evidenced by the owner's mountain of garage sale items that fills half the space. The yard is maintenance free provided you don't mind long grass. The owners recommended you don't leave small dogs back there as theirs had a tendency to get lost in the foliage for days on end. The garden space on the side of the house has produced lots of fruits and vegetables. The crows and the slugs seem to truly enjoy the harvest. And the owners were careful to leave all the dead plants in there for "compost".

The 2 car garage is currently so full that it can only be navigated by a narrow walking path--proof that there is plenty of storage space. And if that isn't enough space for you hoarders out there, the owners will throw in their 1992 GMC Safari van for free. They're not entirely sure it runs, but for the last 4 years, it's worked great as a storage shed!

The front yard is pretty low maintenance as well with the side being covered by 2 truckloads of dirt and gravel. Nothing to maintain there as long as you're a fan of morning glory and blackberries. The far side of the yard features 2 young oak trees. As they seem to be sickly and not growing, you'll never have to worry about raking up those annoying leaves.

Act now to get this great deal. Thanks to the lousy economy and the housing bust, the owners now owe much more than the house is worth. Don't make the same mistake they did--get it now while it's worth almost nothing! And if you call in the next 10 minutes, they'll even throw in their lawn mower for FREE! While it's not actually working, it makes for a great lawn ornament. Don't wait--call NOW!

February 9, 2011

You Can't Rely on Dogs

I thought I would share with you another slice of my disaster magnet life. Again, let me stress that I am an intelligent, highly capable, somewhat educated woman. But for some reason, minor disasters seem to follow me everywhere. I'm like the Pied Piper for mishaps and mayhem.

This particular event happened when I was pregnant with Bubba and I was given a baby shower over at my mom's house. After it was over, I started loading all my goodies and loot into my station wagon like anyone would--while my Mom and sister went into the kitchen to chat. I know what you're thinking. How could they be so thoughtless to not help out a pregnant woman, especially a daughter/sister? In their defense, I'm sure they were only looking out for me. You know, trying to help me keep my strength up or some other garbage like that.

So I'm loading up my car which I have backed into the driveway and I have a LOT of stuff. I have very generous friends. I don't want my purse and keys to get buried in the back so I leave them on the passenger seat while I'm loading. At night. In the dark. By myself.

I toss in the last gift and that's when I do something monumentally stupid. Just as the hatch is closing, I decide I need something out of the back and I reach over to stop it from closing. Wait for it...I close the door.on.my.FINGERS. I know, brilliant, right? It gets better. I think, maybe I can just pull my fingers out so I tug really hard while trying not to cry because it frickin' hurts. I get 2 of my fingers out but my index and middle fingers are still stuck and now, with the others out of the way, the door closes that much tighter.

Here is where I need to stop and explain something. My parents house is basically in the shape of an "L". I was in the driveway at the top of the L, my mom and sister were in the kitchen at the end of the small part of the L--all the way at the other end of the house. My dad was in his room at the corner of the L, watching TV with Howdy tucked into bed beside him.

I've now got my right hand stuck in the back of my wagon and I want to cry because it hurts but I know everyone is inside. But I should just be able to yell for help, right? I yelled. And yelled. And yelled some more. Nobody heard me. Actually, that's not entirely true. The neighbor's horse started running around in circles in the pasture. I could only hear it though because it was too dark to see. Also a dog started barking somewhere in the neighborhood. I was hoping that he was starting one of those barking chains like they did in "101 Dalmatians" and that help was on its way in the form of canines who were trained to fetch car keys and help idiot humans.

I kept yelling for my mom, dad, sister, anyone, but no one came. I did finally get through to someone though. From my dad's open window I could hear Howdy calling, "Mommy?" Yes, you read that right. My dad's window was OPEN and he still couldn't hear me. He's not the most alert man during the daytime but put him in front of the TV at night? Forget it.

I tried not to panic. I figured, I'm pregnant and have a lot of stuff to carry out. Surely my mom or sister is going to come into the living room soon to help me and then they will find me, grab my keys off the passenger seat where they were now taunting me, and get me out. Nobody came.

I started to get desperate. I thought, if I could throw something at the house, maybe the noise would cause someone to come out and investigate. So I took off my shoe and threw it. Did I mention that my right hand was the one that was stuck and I'm right handed? And also that I throw like...well, like me? My shoe landed about 3 feet shy of the house. Which meant I needed to try again, right? The next shoe made it farther but it only made a slight tapping noise as it hit. I may have started to cry at this point.

How long was I going to be stuck out here? I'm 8 months pregnant--things could happen. Dad had a grandkid tucked next to him and a sitcom--he wasn't going anywhere. MC was at home, knowing I'd be home whenever us girls could stop flapping our jaws long enough for us to actually say goodbye. Mom and sis were doing who-knows-what at the far end of the house. But surely someone had to be wondering about me. Right?

They did eventually start to wonder about me. After almost a half an hour. I saw my mom come into the living room finally and I started shouting. Luckily, the window was open so she heard me pretty quickly. She got the keys and opened the door for me, saving my fingers from having to be amputated. By that time, they had gone numb and when the circulation started moving, they started to hurt all over again.

My dad had indeed heard Howdy calling for me but just figured he was asking a general question about where Mom was, not that he was trying to alert anyone to my predicament. As far as the barking chain? Yeah, it so doesn't work. I never saw a single dog. I always have been more of a cat person.

Did I learn a lesson from all of this? Definitely. Now I have someone else load all my stuff for me.