Thursday, May 31, 2012

Santana is snaking my toilets. Cheech sent him.

I wouldn't lie.

We've had flushing issues since we moved into this house but they're like that mysterious noise your car makes. As soon as you take it to a mechanic the noise stops.

On a daily basis the toilets work fine for us. There's only 3 of us and we know we have persnickety potties so we baby them by doing little things like a courtesy flush half way through. You know what I mean.

However we frequently have house guests who treat our potties like they do their own and they expect them to flush like they're supposed to. I don't think we've had a house guest yet who hasn't had to ask for a plunger. That's just unacceptable.

The property management company (let's call them ABC) who takes care of our maintenance issues has sent 4 different plumbers/repairmen out here over the past year. They have all come to the same conclusion: the toilets need to be replaced. Evidently ABC doesn't like that conclusion because instead of replacing the toilets they just send out more repairmen.

Yesterday they called and said for me to expect a call from Alberto who would set up a time to come look at the toilets. I quickly brushed up on my Spanish as I waited for Alberto to call because I've been down this road before. ABC always hires Hispanic repairmen because...this is Houston. That's just what you do. Most of them speak enough English to get by but they often have a thick accent that makes them difficult to understand. I try to be patient, I know they're doing the best they can.

Alberto called this morning and I'm telling you if he had not identified himself I would have sworn it was Cheech Marin on the line and I was being Punk'd. Because in my mind it would not be unusual for Cheech Marin to call me. I halfway expect it. I'm just delusional like that.

Cheech Alberto and I talked about the toilet problem while I waited anxiously for him to start singing Mexican Americans. I was dying to ask him if he had a son-in-law named Jeff. He even pronounced the word "you" like "jew". He didn't even try for the 'y' sound, it was full-on 'j'. His inflection, or whatever you call it, was the same as Cheech Marin's too. It was awesome.

Then Cheech Alberto said he was going to send one of his guys out to take a look at the potties. I thought to myself oh please God, let it be Tommy Chong. We settled on a time and he said for me to expect "a Hispanic man named Santana. Jew know, like the singer". Cheech was sending Santana to look at my toilets. This was turning out to be the best day EVER!

Santana showed up but his English was as bad as my Spanish. I had to keep the conversation on the task at hand or he got lost. He looked at all the toilets, snaked them and came to the conclusion that they need to be replaced.

I guess that means I'll be seeing another repairman in a few weeks. I'm thinking next time it could be Antonio Banderas or Javier Bardem. I know they're Spanish, not Mexican, but my delusional brain doesn't care and fully expects them to show up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Slacker Sacker Girl Offs Unsuspecting Cheetos

Reason #8,942 why I despise grocery shopping: Ditzy 14-year-old-too-bored-with-her-job-to-care Slacker Sacker Girl ran out of room in my cart and ended up making a wobbly pyramid out of my grocery sacks because she failed to utilize that precious cargo space under the seat when she so carelessly tossed the bags into the cart without arranging them so they fit like puzzle pieces...which she would have been trained to do had she been working at Shannon's instead of Kroger.

As I was carefully wheeling my teetering cart through the parking lot, I hit a small bump which caused my bag of Cheetos to slip out of the grocery sack and hit the ground where I stared in open-mouthed horror as I helplessly watched my inertia-driven grocery cart roll over the middle of what was to have been my afternoon snack.

As I loaded my surviving groceries into the car I fantasized about running into the store with my dead Cheetos and throwing them at Slacker Sacker Girl as I screamed with tears running down my face, "YOU DID THIS!!!" with a shaky pointing finger and everything.

But the temperature inside my car was 95 degrees and I had a half gallon of Blue Bell Caramel Turtle Fudge ice cream that was counting on me to get it home before I ended up having to mourn it too. I just couldn't sacrifice one delightful snack for another so I drove home without avenging my precious Cheetos. I'm just THAT mature.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Decorative Weapons, Art Instruments, and Malfunctioning Undergarments

I have forgotten to blog lately. It's not that I've been so busy that I couldn't squeeze it in. I just forgot. This is how I killed the 4 other blogs I used to have before this one. I neglected them to death.

Oh well.

Let me see if I have anything interesting to talk about. Oh yes. Last weekend during a marathon shopping trip at Kroger the elastic waist band in my underwear 'lost its integrity' and started inching its way down. Fortunately I was wearing pants so it could only go so far but they were baggy elastic waist pants so I felt them inch further down with every step. Okay, the pants weren't nearly as hideous as they sound. Think scrubs.

Anyway, I gave them a discreet tug when I could but the store was crowded so it became increasingly difficult to do so without drawing attention to myself. Since I was confident they wouldn't hit the floor, I eventually just let them go. Jayson was with me and every 10 minutes or so he'd ask where they were. By the time we got to the car they were about mid-thigh.

I guess things like that wouldn't happen if I would buy new underwear more than once every decade but it's just not a priority these days.

Here are my recent priorities:

 I cleaned out my garage and could even get a car in there if I wanted to. But I don't.
Clean garage.

While cleaning out the garage I came across some rusty old tools that we will never use but they were just too fabulous to throw away. I brought them inside and put them in an old brass bucket where they can just sit and be fabulous.
Fabulous rusty tools.

This utility cart began life as a nice shade of filing cabinet putty. I painted it eggplant purple to match our last house then painted it...other colors to match this house. I guess it's sort of aqua/turquoisey.
Utility cart after.
Utility cart before.

This concrete column used to have a silver gazing ball on top until I broke it shortly before we moved. There was nothing wrong with the column so I kept it and glued my Grandmother's big Fostoria crystal platter on top to make a little table. Right now it's in my dining room holding that cheesy covered wagon lamp.
Platter table.
Covered wagon lamp.

I attached old rusty things to an old rusty saw and hung it outside next to our front door. I told Taylor that I put a curse on it so that if anyone steals it they will get tetanus and die from lock jaw. Someone stealing it never crossed her mind. She's more concerned that someone will break into the house and kill us with it. Gee I never thought of that.
Wind chime or weapon?

I put our DVDs in DiscSox sleeves, made some dividers for them and put them in this old metal toolbox that Jayson made when he was a kid.
Approximately 50 DVDs.

I found this broken wine rack at a thrift store. I brought it home, fixed it, painted it, and put it in Taylor's bathroom to hold extra towels.
Wine rack towel rack.

I painted a wire rack that I'd had lying around for years and hung it on a wall with the wooden shoes that Jayson brought back from Holland. I made coffee filter flowers to stick in the shoes and that just about cured my obsession with coffee filter flowers.
Wooden shoes & coffee filter flowers.

I've been trying to get my beads under control in the art room for several weeks now. I started out putting them in empty egg cartons but changed my mind and decided to use these clear boxes that Jayson gave me about 12 years ago. They were throwing them out at the warehouse where he used to work so he brought them home since he knew I'd love them.
Beads in boxes and bottle caps.

Yesterday I decided to paint the yucky little table leg thing that I got at an antique store for $6. I filled a couple of big cracks with spackle but didn't do any other sanding or prepping. I mixed up some pink homemade chalk paint: dissolve plaster of paris in an equal amount of hot water then stir in 3 times as much paint. Of course I used some pink Oops paint that I picked up at Lowe's for $5.00 a gallon. I can't remember how much I paid for the plaster but everything together was still waaayyy cheaper than buying real chalk paint which runs about $40 for a QUART. I don't freakin' think so.

Everything else I used I already had on hand. After painting the leg pink, I mixed some brown paint with a glazing medium and glazed over the pink paint to make it look more vintage and less babyish. Then when everything was dry I waxed it with a finishing paste which gave it a soft sheen. Then I used sticky tack to attach a silverplated tray on top to display my crown. I used sticky tack because I would like to find a larger tray to permanently attach to the leg but this one will do for now.
Icky random "leg".
Pretty random "leg".

I dug my old violin out of the attic and was considering arting on it like I did this guitar that I found in a trash can. I thought it might be a good idea to research the violin first since I don't want to art all over it if it has any real value at all. I found several just like it selling for over $200 on some auction sites so now I'm not sure if I should mess with it or not.

I'm not really into antiques as an investment and I don't hang on to stuff because it might be valuable some day. Everything will be valuable some day if you keep it long enough but I have no interest in hanging on to a house full of junk for the sake of "some day" that I will never see. Antiques are a bad investment unless you have something that's valuable NOW.

I have a house full of old stuff but the only value that any of it has is sentimental because it belonged to a great grandmother or something like that. Everything I have will be Taylor's some day and she might decide to throw it all out and that's okay. I wouldn't want to make her feel like she had to keep all her mother's old junk. 
Art guitar & kiddie violin
I know one thing Taylor will keep is my collection of souvenir kitchen towels. Some are cotton, some are linen, some belonged to my grandmother, others I bought at antique stores. Some are old from the 30s and 40s, others are from the 70s and 80s. We use them every day and Taylor has said that she will use the same kind of towels in her kitchen because she loves going to the drawer and always finding a clean towel when she needs one. And there are always 2 or 3 out on the counter that are being used. Some of them might have been valuable "some day" if I'd kept them in pristine condition but I don't care about that. We use them and love them today.  
Souvenir kitchen towels.

My next big project will be to convert my grandfather clock into a curio cabinet. Because I have lots of curios that need to be cabineted. I've been looking for a curio cabinet for almost 2 years and have found several that I like but just wasn't willing to pay for. Then one day I decided that my grandfather clock wasn't doing us a bit of good in its current non-working state and I have no intention of getting the thing running again. A few years ago we spent a fortune having it cleaned and repaired and it was functioning great but the thing about grandfather clocks is that they are needy and high maintenance. You have to wind them every day and manually change them for daylight savings and it has to be done a certain way or the timing gets all screwed up. I'm just not good with things that need my attention on a daily basis. My family will vouch for me on that. 

I took good care of it for a while because the clock repairman in Lafayette intimidated me and I was afraid if he found out I wasn't taking care of the clock he would fuss at me. He did that to me with my wrist watch. I've had this really nice dress watch since high school that I wear as my every day watch. It quit working one day so I took it in for him to look at it. He opened up the back and fussed at me because the inside had rust in it. He said I shouldn't be wearing the watch every day, just on special occasions. Then I should store it carefully when it's not being worn because the humidity in South Louisiana will get in there and make it rusty. The silly watch was fine for 20 years but after he fussed at me and cleaned it I stuck it in a jewelry box and haven't worn it since then. I guess now that we've moved I can wear it again. I'll just have to find me a less fussy clock/watch guy.

I like for everything we own to have a purpose whether it's functional or decorative. The clock has ceased to be functional and although it looks nice, I don't consider a broken clock to be all that decorative. Especially one that takes up an awful lot of space. After staring at it for a while I decided that it's already practically a curio cabinet since it has a door and lots of glass. All I would need to do is gut it, paint it, and add shelves. Easy breezy, right?

I might actually leave the clock part in the top since it's pretty even though it doesn't work. But I had to remove the chimes because they hung down in the back where my shelves will go and I had to take the whole clock part out just to get to the chimes. It had to be done anyway since I'm going to paint it.

I will be mixing up chalk paint for it like I did on the little pink table leg but I might actually buy a real gallon of paint for it since I know what color I want and can't rely on finding it on the Oops shelf at the hardware store. I would like to paint it a warm white which will match my dining table and hutch that I'll paint to match...someday. Maybe if I go ahead and buy the paint I will be more inclined to start working on the other pieces sooner since I will feel bad about wasting money on a whole gallon of paint for just one piece.

I have no idea what kind of shelves and brackets to buy but I guess I can figure all that out after I get the body painted. It was a little bit liberating to take the clock apart and imagine the clock guy in Lafayette having an aneurism over it. I even touched the weights with my BARE hands. Oh my gosh he would die if he knew that. The weights should only be handled with gloves since the slightest amount of oil from your skin can affect them.

I might even drill a hole in the middle of the pendulum to make a wall clock out of it. Clock Guy would definitely die a thousand deaths if he knew about that. The guy was really good at what he did, don't get me wrong. I would recommend him in a heartbeat. He just related to clocks a lot better than he did to people.
Grandfather clock curio cabinet.

I haven't done much of anything else over the past few weeks, I think this is it. I keep thinking that eventually I will run out of things to fix up, redo or try but for now I've got plenty on my plate. Plus I often break things which keeps me busy. I broke my computer a couple of weeks ago. After 4 Apple tech support guys failed to fix my problem, one little gal named Amanda figured it out. Of course it was caused by user error but I never do anything half way. If you're going to screw something up, screw it up good.

Right now I'm having another electronic issue with my TV and sound bar. The TV is a Sony and the sound bar is a JVC. Tech support from both places have not been able to figure out what the problem is. The TV works fine, the sound bar works fine, they just won't work together but they should. I can't even explain all the weirdness that is happening with those but the Sony people think it's a TV problem. They are ordering a part (that I am pretty sure we don't need) and as soon as that part comes in they will send a tech out to fix it. I'm just excited that someone finally agreed to send a live person out here to look at it. For free.

Because I'm all about free. Or almost free. I like to save my money for more important things like snack cakes. And Blue Bell ice cream. And Oreos. But definitely not underwear.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Nothing says love like meat on a stick.

Last weekend our good friends Chad and Jamie Thibodeaux and their kids from Lafayette came for a visit. We had a great time as usual and we saw some fun stuff.

Thursday afternoon while waiting for everyone to arrive I decided to put our DVDs into their new space saving storage system. We don't have a lot of them but the ones we do have were shoved into a bulky plastic storage box.
I bought some DiscSox sleeves and was able to get 44 DVDs (some of them have 2 discs) into this cute little container that I crocheted. Now all I have to do is make dividers for it then buy some more sleeves for all the Wii games. You can buy the official DiscSox holders and dividers but the sleeves are nearly $1 each so I opted to buy those and make everything else myself.

When everyone got here we went to Willie's Grill & Icehouse for dinner. They have a tasty chicken fried steak that's about the size of a frisbee.

Friday morning we headed for the Museum of Health and Medical Science. It wasn't as awesome as the Children's Museum but it was still a lot of fun and I would recommend it.

In the main hall of the museum they have lots of stations set up with brain teaser puzzles on them. I could have spent all day just trying to figure those out. We got a few of them but most kicked our butts. I was really impressed with one that Chad figured out where you were given about a dozen oversized nails. You had to stick one nail in a hole in the table then balance the rest of the nails on the head of that one nail. He actually did it. I spent 30 minutes trying to make the letter "T" out of 4 oddly shaped blocks and never could figure it out.

Colin getting x-rayed.

Emily studying her cells.

Jamie playing with livers.

Emily & Chad playing Mindball.

Jayson visiting a brain.

2 sets of actual functioning pig lungs. The lungs on the right are what they look like after smoking for 1 year. We couldn't figure out how they taught that pig to smoke.

After learning all about our bodies and what happens when pigs smoke, we decided to track down Bernie's Burger Bus. This guy converted an old school bus into a roach coach that serves up the most amazing hamburgers on the planet. We have chased that silly bus all over Houston and finally caught up with it at Inversion Coffee House, conveniently located on Montrose right next to Texas Art Supply.

Pricey but worth it.

Truffle laced hand cut fries with parmesan and green onions, served with homemade ketchup.

Once our tummies were full and satisfied we cruised by the Art Car Museum. If you're craving something funky, you can find it there.

This car is covered in mosaics made from broken pottery, porcelain, ceramic and other glass pieces.

I can't remember exactly how many thousands of pounds the car weighs but it was several.

This is usually what I think of when I think about art cars.

I guess I would put it on my art car too if I had an extra water buffalo head lying around.

Me and Jamie decided we loved this car and would proudly drive it to Wal-Mart every day. My phone camera just couldn't pick up the incredible sparkliness going on.

Even the engine is pretty.

This is the hydraulic stuff in the trunk.

The interior is to die for. How Austin Powers is that?! The only way it could be better would be to add some of my turquoise pompom trim.

Friday night we made one of several trips to Connie's Frozen Custard which is (in)conveniently located just a couple of blocks from my house. We can do this guilt-free since we learned the custard is gluten free. It's practically health food.

Friday night I put some steel cut oats in the crock pot along with coconut milk, banana slices, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Saturday morning we had some rockin' oatmeal for breakfast. I used this recipe and doubled it but left out the weird stuff. Flax seed? I don't freakin' think so.

After breakfast we headed up to Conroe to help Jamie's sister move into her new apartment. On the third floor. On the upside, it's a one bedroom apartment and she had everything neatly packed in the U-Haul. On the downside, it's a THIRD FLOOR APARTMENT.

Jayson & Chad trying to will the mattress to walk upstairs on its own.

It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I would get off my couch more often but since I'm not used to doing strenuous things such as walking, it pretty much did me in. I still have jelly legs. However, it was totally worth it cuz we got to know Jamie's sister better and her new apartment is just adorable.

We had a late lunch at Chofa's Bar and Grill in Conroe. If you're ever in Conroe take my advice and eat anywhere but there. The food wasn't bad, in fact the burgers were delicious. The atmosphere is nice but confusing. It's a sports bar type place but the decor is contemporary Asian...lots of dark wood and leather sofas. The problem is that the staff are idiots. We got there around 3 and ordered some of our meals off the lunch menu which had reduced prices from 11-4, and some meals were from the regular dinner menu. When we got the check we were charged full price for some of the lunch menu items since the order was placed at 3:56. The last time I checked, 3:56 was still before 4:00 but Chofa's doesn't see it that way.

Happy at Chofa's because we hadn't yet been ripped off.

Sunday we decided to trek on up to Old Town Spring.  I hadn't been there in over 10 years and was surprised to see how much it had grown. It was the last day of the Texas Crawfish festival so it was extremely crowded and we had to try really hard to keep from laughing at the overpriced and teeny tiny little things they were calling crawfish. Bless their hearts. No self respecting Cajun would ever eat those.

We met up with Jamie's sister and Chad's cousin and walked around until we were tired of looking at stores that were pretty much all identical on the inside. There were a few that stood out but for the most part it was like Chinatown for white people.

Here are some sights from the day:

$15.99 for dollar store jars glued to dollar store candlesticks.

$34 for dried paint on a wooden palette.

When I am old I will wear purple. And I will drive a Ducati.

A cake ball bakery that donated $1 to breast cancer research every time you bought one of their boob balls, which looked like a ...boob.

Chad spent a good 45 minutes at the cake ball place trying to solve yet another puzzle. This was fine with me since it gave me time to savor my pineapple upside down cake ball which was the best tasting ball I'd had in my mouth all day.

No Green/Thibodeaux outing would be complete without meat on a stick. Here we see Chad and Jayson with dueling corndogs.

Is it weird that I have an entire album of Chad feeding Jamie some kind of meat on a stick? I didn't' think so either. At least this time there wasn't a traumatized child in the background.

Old Town Spring 2012
Traders Village 2011

After the Old Town Spring festivities we all went back to the house where we ate tacos, made yet another trip to Connie's and visited and laughed until the wee hours of like almost midnight. If you want to make any of us crumble into a fit of hysterical laughter just say "I will dance for you" with a Columbian accent.

Jamie's sister spent the night Sunday night and we all went to IKEA on Monday morning followed by lunch at Five Guys Burgers.

We had a great weekend with old friends, made some new friends and are already looking forward to the next time we can all get together. I don't know exactly when that will be or what we will do but rest assured there WILL be meat on a stick.