Monday, July 27, 2015

The Neverending Story (List)

No, no, no...not that one! (image via)
It's the never ending LIST! Perhaps I should have titled this post, "Things I've Learned in the Two Years I've Owned a Home." And really, it's just the one thing. The list never ends. Even as you cross something off, feeling wonderfully accomplished at having completed it, you immediately think of three or more NEW things to add to the list.

The list was born as the closing was drawing near, around May of 2013. Topping the list was to finish the patio room. The patio slab off the back of the house (the kitchen, to be exact) is about 14 square feet and one of the previous owners decided to frame it up and make it an indoor patio...kind of. They finished the framing, and did a pretty good job. The electrician that I hired to put the electrical outlets in that room said something like, "[the framing] was done to ensure it would withstand a nuclear blast." Oh, yeah....check that off the list...power outlets in the patio room. The concrete slab that serves as the floor is uneven and has several deep cracks that weep as the heavy winter snow melts in the springtime. All we did in there was toss a couple of area rugs down and hastily staple gunned some insulation between the wall studs and ceiling beams. I did get a couple of estimates on doing a sub-floor, flooring (most likely laminate), and drywall for the walls and ceiling. The quotes were all around $3,500. Moving that to the bottom of the list.

Another big ticket item on the list from the beginning is a new refrigerator. The house came with all the kitchen appliances, although the flipper went second hand to cut corners (like I have found to be the case in many areas of the house). The fridge is adequately sized but has a huge gash on the inside back wall and the door seal is pretty shabby; you have to push the door once it's closed to make sure it's sealed, and it probably runs more than it should. Still on the list.

Then, a couple of months into homeownership, we adopted a rescue dog from the Wisconsin Humane Society. Now a fence was at the top of the list. My optimistic side told me that the boy and his friends could do it, while the pessimistic side was rolling her eyes and saying, "Yeah, alright, if you don't mind a shoddy looking fence that takes months  of nagging and arguments to finish." After two years of saving and having to spend my savings on other things and saving some more, and a little help from Dad, I am ecstatic to report that the fence is up and the dogs (yes, we added a second dog about a year ago...glutton for punishment that I am) seem to be oblivious to their new-found cable-free existence. *sigh* At least it looks nice. Cross the fence off the list.

That leaves the two big ticket items - finish the patio room and new fridge - along with an ever changing catalog of other, less costly items and projects.

Of course, now that the fence is up, I have the landscaping itch. Retaining walls and river rocks and ground cover and accent lighting, OH MY! That shit adds up, too. I find myself looking over that mental list and I have come to the realization that it will never end. There will always be something more to do or to want when you own a home. I just have to consider myself lucky that the flipper did much of the big stuff (or it was already done shortly before he flipped it) so I hopefully won't have to add roof, siding, windows, hot water heater, A/C, or furnace on my list in the near future. Most of my list is wants, really the only true need is that damn new fridge.

I'm working on it...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Family is a Fluid Word

This is my son (not the furry one), commonly referred to around here as "the boy." And that is his tattoo. You can't see the whole thing, but it reads, "Family is Forever." That got me to thinking about family, and what that word means. I think it can mean different things to different people.

The other day, I read an article about how so many of the cliches and proverbs we all throw around these days have actually been bastardized from their original phrasing. This often results in a complete 180 of the original intent of the quote. For example:

Blood is thicker than water.

This is one that people just love to toss out there when they feel like a family member is treating them unfairly. The actual quote (as adapted from a German proverb) is "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb." This literally means the exact opposite of what people generally think it means when they spout the old "blood is thicker" crap. The original intent of the statement was that the bonds made by choice, as in friends and companions (covenant), is much stronger and more meaningful than those thrust upon you by birth (womb).

I think the original meaning is much more accurate. I love my family. But I also love my friends. I chose my friends for a reason, because I like them and I enjoy having them in my life. Sometimes family...not so much, but that's another story. The people that are your family by blood (or marriage, as in steps and in-laws) are in your life be default; it wasn't your choice. Under best case circumstance, you will always love those people and care about them deeply. You may not always agree or get along, but hopefully when things arise, they can be settled and your relationship can return to its former glory.

But I'm here to say that it doesn't make you a bad person if you make a choice to distance yourself from someone, blood relative or otherwise, if they aren't a positive influence in your life. If someone is consistently making personal choices that make you sad or disappointed or angry...I say cut 'em loose. Alright, maybe not right away. People make mistakes, have lapses in judgement. It happens to everyone. And when it does, if you're on the receiving end of the fallout and hard feelings, speak the f* up and tell that person how you feel. It then falls to them to react. Sometimes it takes time, but if that person genuinely cares about you and feels that you are an important piece of their life, they will reflect upon what you've had to say and take action to make sure it doesn't happen again (or at least talk it out in an attempt to explain the why's and why not's).

If you never say anything, nothing will ever change.

The moral of my story here is that family is what it is to you. No one else has the right to define that term for you.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I'm a Wingman

Ok, so I'm a wingwoman. I didn't know this until a couple of weeks ago. The boy and I were out and about, gettin' it done. Our list was brief but pointed.

  • Sally Beauty - hair color
  • Pet Supplies Plus - dog food, canned cat food (of course, the obligatory dog treats)
  • Olive Garden - well, what else do you go to OG for??
  • Pick N' Save - food
  • Sports Authority - man panties (which is what I call the boy's compression shorts)
We were at the pet store, heading toward the checkout (where we always fall for the colorful display of over-priced, unnecessary dog cookies) when I heard the boy mumble under his breath, "Wow, she's beautiful." I can't say if he actually intended for anyone to hear, or if he even knew he said it out loud. I glanced around and knew he must've been talking about the checker whose line we were about to enter.

As we waited, we were our usual entertaining selves. We chatted about one thing or the other and when he couldn't remember something I was talking about, I loudly proclaimed, "I really wish you would stop using drugs." He immediately turned a very satisfying shade of fuchsia. Then we laughed, assuring the on-lookers that it was all in fun. When it was our turn at the register, our banter continued, as it usually does. It caught the attention of the cashier, who immediately sided with me in whatever "tiff" the boy and I were engaging in. She used some of his favorite verbiage, when he challenged her as to why he was being ganged up on, as she replied that she always sides with the girl when a guy's "coming at her reckless". The boy and I stole a brief glance at one another and he couldn't stifle the smirk.

As we concluded our business, we got in the Civic and the boy looked deflated. He mentioned how he should go back in there and get her number...but, alas, he felt too shy. I suggested that he pen her a quick hello along with his number on a piece of paper. He thought that sounded safer but still felt he wouldn't be able to get up enough nerve to do it and said, in jest, that I should take the note and give it to her on his behalf. I immediately agreed.

As a side bar here, I must mention that I felt doing this was only paying it forward. You see, my mom did this exact thing for me when I was in high school. I had such a crush on the service counter guy at the grocery store we frequented and she obliged my wish and delivered to him a note I had written. We had one date. He picked me up in his black Toyota MR2 and we went to go see Navy Seals.

Anyway....he scrawled his note (thank goodness I always carry a pen in my purse), handed it to me (I did not read it), and I headed back into the store. As soon as she finished with the customer she was serving, I stepped up to the back of the checkout area, apologized, and asked if I could ask her a quick question. She turned around, all smiles, and said absolutely. I handed her the boy's note and said, "This is from my son, he was too embarrassed to bring it in himself." She opened it, started reading, cracked a huge smile, blushed a bit, and replied, "Oh my god, that is soooo cute! I will text him later!" I smiled and exited the store, got back in the Civic and recounted the brief tale.

We finished our errands and as we dined on pseudo-Italian "cuisine" at The Olive Garden, the boy received a text from her, just as she said she would. He was elated...and they've been seeing each other here and there ever since. Will it become a "thing"? Who knows. But it does appear as though this will now just be something he comes to expect from, the wingwoman.

The best part of the story is, once they started getting to know one another, she confessed that she was particularly surprised by his note because she thought that he and I were.....wait for it.....A COUPLE! Oh my gawd.....I know that we have occasionally been mistaken for friends or brother and sister.....but dating??? I'm sure he was much more horrified than I was to hear that.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Return to MEEEE!!!

So…it’s been awhile. How have y’all been? I took a somber moment to go back and read the last few posts here on Big Funny Girl and, I gotta tell ya’, if you’re still here and following me…well, all I can say is “Thank you!”

Much has changed since my last post, which was in March (but who’s counting?). My depression and anxiety is gone and, mentally, I feel fan-f*ing-tastic. Not like “oh, is she off her meds” fantastic, just really happy and refreshed. I would like to thank my previous leadership team at work for this. Although it took a bit of hoop jumping and paperwork, they helped me transfer to a new position in the company and my work stress is GONE! (seriously, if by some chance you two are reading this - you know who you are - thank you a million times over, I will be ever grateful for your support, encouragement, and help transferring to my new home) I am so glad that, despite seeing my doctor for the depression, anxiety, and bi-polar-ish symptoms that had been crushing me, I stayed strong and declined the newest, shiniest psychotropic medications she thought may help. The change in jobs was literally all I needed.

Now, on to brighter topics….

My hair has gone through a multitude of color changes in the last for months. It’s been lavender, orchid, cotton candy pink, fuchsia, hot pink, cyan, and…..finally, after blogging about it all those months ago…BLUE!

Damn, that color totally looks photoshopped but I assure you that's a 100% accurate pic.

I had an interesting encounter at the grocery store last week. I ranted about it on FB but it bears repeating here, too. I was feeling pretty good, my hair was cyan at the time. The gal working the bakery counter said she loved the color. On my way into the bread aisle, I did a hasty glance at a fellow shopper. He was an unkempt man, maybe in his late thirties or early forties, wearing a grease spotted black tee-shirt that was quite stretched out of shape and a pair of unfortunately saggy black sweat pants. His hair was badly in need of washing. My initial fleeting thought was that of compassion, wondering if he was struggling financially or perhaps in need of mental health care of some sort. That compassion quickly evaporated.

As he rounded the turn into the aisle next door, he loudly states, "Nice hair." The tone definitely inferred condescension so I loudly replied through the rack of bread, "Thanks!" His response was a very 90's "NOT!". I did mumble under my breath what a mutherfucker he was, but it was quiet enough that no one but me knew I uttered it.

We caught up with each other near the cheese. I just couldn't help it...I approached, smiling, and said, "Maybe next time, just keep your opinions to yourself." He did NOT like that at all. He stomped past me in a child-like, tantrummy manner, huffing about how he would NOT keep his opinions to himself. I said in mock concern, "It must be hard to be so perfect." He agreed that it is, in fact, hard to be perfect and that I was dumb and normal people don't have stupid colored hair. I continued my shopping, hoping we'd not cross paths again.

Of COURSE the shortest checkout line was directly behind him. I rolled up, keeping my eyes to myself, and proceeded to load the belt with my goods. It was sweet, sweet irony when I saw that his purchases consisted of a couple of 2 liter bottles of soda, a very large bottle of some cheap vodka, and a bouquet of grocery store flowers. I immediately felt pity for whoever those flowers were intended for.

Well, that's my story for today. Now that I'm feeling back to myself, I am hopeful that I will resume blogging on a more frequent basis. 

Thanks again for sticking by to you soon!