10 Pounds of Sh!t…

January 5, 2011

It's a puzzle to make it all fit - that's for sure!

I like puzzles. I like to be prepared. I like to have choices. Que the heaviest suitcase you’ve ever seen for its’ size. I’m only going to be gone 3 days, but one day requires a suit – YUCK – one day requires business casual (travel day – YUCK) and the other is totally casual. Plus, I’m staying at my boss’ place, so “normal” pj’s are required. And, I have no clue what we’re doing for dinners – if we’re going out and if it’s casual. And toiletries. I swear this is where the weight comes in. Shampoo, conditioner, hair tamer, shaving cream, razor, face wash (3 bottles), body wash (just one bottle), toothpaste, electric toothbrush, and so on. My toiletry bag takes up half the suitcase. My boots take up 1/3 of the remaining space. After my suit, that doesn’t leave me much in the way of space. I wish I had a suitcase that was just a bit bigger. But something tells me I would end up with the same problem.

If you haven’t already guessed, I buy many things in bulk. If I find a product I like, such as shampoo, I buy the biggest bottle I can find. My favorite products have a way of being discontinued right after I discover them. Don’t laugh (okay, maybe do laugh) I couldn’t find a bottle to put my hair tamer in. (The 10 gallon jug just isn’t going to fit.) I ended up using a small Rubbermaid container, placed nicely inside a ziplock baggie – just in case.

If you travel with me, you’ll also see the biggest purse ever. In my purse alone, I have my make-up, me technological accessories (laptop cord, phone charger, iPod charger, phone and iPod – unfortunately the laptop won’t fit), carry on liquids (hand sanitizer – and do they count lip gloss as liquid?), other girlie stuff, my wallet, an envirosac and a pair of shoes. Not just any pair, but my favorite (for work). Don’t ask my why I’m bringing them – I guess because they can be casual or dressy depending on the outfit. Plus I just can’t leave them behind. I wear them at least twice a week.

But wait, there’s more! (I just LOVE saying that!) I have my laptop bag. That’s got my 8 1/2 x 11 planner, laptop and work I have to bring with me. That puppy is packed full too! I can barely get it all zipped. But it’s going on the plane with me, and the laptop comes out as soon as possible (thank you Wi-fi in the sky!) so it won’t be stretched to the max for long.

So it’s off to Arizona I go… just for a couple of days. I’m sure there will be stories aplenty after this trip. Afterall, airports are seriously good fodder for blogging.


Probable Cause of my Demise

January 2, 2011

The boot looks pretty like my hockey skates. My actual roller blades are used. And ugly

New year’s eve, hubby & I decided that rollerblading would be a fantabulous idea to get me more comfortable on my hockey skates. (Yeah, I have hockey skates, but can’t skate.) So off we went in search of blades for me. I guess this was a popular gift item because no one had my size in stock. We ended up at “Play it Again Sports” (used sporting goods store) and what do you know? We found some Bauer’s (same brand as my hockey skates) in my size – for $22. What a deal!

Now, none of you actually KNOW me. But if you did, you would know that this is a bad idea. REALLY BAD. I can’t walk from my bedroom to the kitchen (maybe 40 feet) without hurting myself, banging into a wall or falling down. I’m convinced office furniture is out to get me. It just jumps into my path. Granted, most of the injuries are minor flesh wounds, but no fun none-the-less. However, I am completely able to ride both street and dirt bikes without much trouble. So maybe that “law” will apply here. (Although I can tell you it didn’t apply to my ice skating ability.)

So today, we’ll be off to some unsuspecting basketball court somewhere trying to off me. If I never return, now you know why.

I found myself missing you…

December 27, 2010

First, thank you all for checking in periodically over the last few months. It means a lot to know you care!

It’s been a bittersweet second half of the year. I am finally employed! YAY! While I’m making considerably less than I was at my last job, I AM making a bit more than I was on unemployment. Also, hockey season has begun and my boys are doing well.

Things have been rough on the health front. My one relative recently diagnosed with leukemia is still fighting the fight. He’s had some rough spots, but overall is doing ok. I have another relative with a different form of leukemia and he too is still trudging though treatments.

The really sad news is that I lost my grandfather on the 17th of December. He was in his 90’s and in so much pain. The doctor think’s he had a blood clot – probably in his lung. My grandmother is still hanging on, even though she battles with advanced Alzheimer’s. I feel that it’s cruel to make her relive the loss of her husband so many times, but on the other hand, I don’t feel it’s right to lie to her. Such are the dilemmas for the family of those with this terrible disease.

So, about my job. I am essentially an account manager supporting client needs and my outside sales people. The environment is excellent – everyone is caring and supportive. This is the most difficult job I’ve ever had, but I really like it. It’s like working on a puzzle all day, which I find challenging and rewarding. Our product is one of education in a sort or personal/professional development nature.

I know I won’t be back posting as often as I had before (I mean hey – I had no job!). I do plan on posting when the mood strikes, such as now. 🙂 I’m excited to jump back in and catch up with the wonderful bloggers on my blogroll!

If it’s not one thing…

July 15, 2010

…then it’s another.

We got our wall knocked down (still need to do some more work on it – mudding, sanding, painting, etc.). It looks great! I love the open feel. I also got my kitchen counter tiles cut & glued back on. Well, when I say I “got” them done, I did it, with some help from MIL. Next step is grout. Turns out we got the wrong grout color. Thankfully I realized this before I started applying it!

Then, we realize our oven isn’t working. WTF? It’s one of the little in-wall jobs. Only like 24 inches. Not easy to find. Oh, and a while back the door on our ice chute quit opening. So if you don’t stick your finger up the hole to hold the door open, the ice doesn’t come down. Key problem here is that it will eventually come down when there’s enough backed up pushing it out. Hubby seemed to  think that worked just fine. Until the ice melted & refroze into a solid block in the chute. NOT FUN!

So, I called out an appliance repair guy. The part for the oven (let’s call it the brain) has been discontinued. Seriously? The freakin thing is only 10 years old!! The part for the fridge is only $15. Labor is $69. But I’m stuck, so I tell him to get the part & come back. He also says he can find basically an aftermarket part for the oven. It will run between $300-375 to fix including labor. Well, this is AT LEAST halfway to a new oven. Thing is, I don’t want a separate oven & cooktop. I have three sections of counter top that are about 1 foot max. If I could get rid of the cooktop, I would gain another 36″ of counter, PLUS the area on either side.

My quandary now is what kind of range to get? I REALLY REALLY REALLY want a smooth top. That means electric. Of course, the kitchen is not set up for electric. We have plans to completely remodel the kitchen in the next few years. So, do I cheap out now & buy new then? Or do I just get what I want now and make sure it will work in the grand plan? I was leaning towards the latter, but the choices for electric ranges are slim. Sure you can find them online, but you don’t have a clue about what they REALLY look like. And all the stores charge a 25% restocking fee if you return it because you don’t like it. (I understand it costs them money to return, but how am I supposed to know how the racks slide? What the configuration is? How the door opens? All with just a photo – that is a thumbnail no less – to base my decision?)

The only one I could actually see was an Electrolux (you know, Kelly Ripa’s brand? LOL) and it was $3000. Before tax, delivery & extended warranty. The least expensive I could find online is $1200. If I just went with a freestanding gas model, I could probably get away under $1000. We’re fortunate to have a Sears outlet (scratch & dent) nearby, and I have the time to shop it daily if I have to. But they don’t even CARRY the electric models I want, so the chances of them getting a return is pretty darned slim.

Oh, and part of the reason I just want to get a new range is because the grates on my cooktop are basically destroyed. I called to see about replacing them (all four, because they are junk) and they want…. drumroll…. $95. EACH. I asked the guy if they were gold-plated. Or at the very least, self-cleaning. Unfortunately, neither.

Damn. I just need to win the freaking lottery.

Construction Zone

July 6, 2010

Watch your step! Bitten’s home is a total construction zone!

We FINALLY had a 3-day weekend where my in-laws could come help us with some home improvement stuff. Here’s what we tackled:

  1. Turn the wall between the dining area & living room into a waist-high wall
  2. Fix the tiles on my kitchen counter
  3. Install indoor/outdoor thermometer & atomic clock
  4. Pull dryer out and clean vent/hose
  5. Install dimmer for dining light, plus kitchen light switch to match
  6. Hang new mailbox

I’ll add photos later since hubby absconded with my camera.

Of course, nothing really went smoothly. I was nearly trapped for life behind the dryer. But, I used my usual grace and coordination to flail myself up the wall and out of the hole.

I don’t know how many times the guys had to pull the sheet rock tape down & re-apply. I guess my house just wants to be full of bubbles. And of course, after the fact, they realized they sell the mesh wall patch stuff in a roll of “tape” too. Oh well. Since it’s so dang humid here (yes, it’s currently RAINING – WTF?) we are waiting extra time for the joint compound to dry.

The humidity is also to blame for my kitchen being, for the most part, non-useable. You see, we had lots of “help” when we first installed our tile. And it seems the trim pieces didn’t get enough mastic on them to hold them to the backerboard. That plus a couple little accidents left me with barely any trim pieces on my counters! U-G-L-Y!! I learned to use a power grinder thingy and got all the old grout and glue off. I also learned how to install tile. Guess what? It’s not that hard! Especially when you’re just replacing pieces. And when you have a father-in-law that can cut pieces to special sizes for you on the spot. Trust me, I know how lucky I am!

I’ll post more about this project, err, these projects, later… Just wanted to pop in to let you know what I’ve been up to!

BTW we did take time out to catch some fireworks. Turns out many of my neighbors have connections for the super-fancy illegal stuff. It was great that we didn’t have to walk but two blocks to catch an amazing show. This actually rivaled some pros!

Simplification: Check-In #2

June 22, 2010

It’s been a long while since my last check-in. What’s been going on?

  • Haven’t touched my sewing machine.  FAIL! I have, however moved it from the middle of the kitchen table to my nice guest room. (No, I do not expect guests to sew for me.)
  • I have been cooking more! Well, considering my diet, I kinda have to or I would starve! I have lost 11 pounds in less than two weeks. When I think about that, it’s kind of embarrassing because it just goes to show how terrible all the processed crap & fast food really are for you!
  • Less daytime TV – Check! More movement: FAIL.
  • Little chores: PROGRESS… Thanks to Flylady, I’m getting some basic stuff done (making the bed, keeping the kitchen sink shiny, etc.)
  • Remembering my reuseable grocery bags: I’m ROCKIN’ this one!! At Trader Joe’s, they give you a raffle ticket for a gift card drawing, and at Whole Foods, they give you a nickel off per bag. Little rewards are nice!
  • Clearing clutter: a little progress.
  • Gardening: my front planter box remains weed free and my container veggies remain alive. Yahoo!
  • Purchasing less: unless it pertains to something edible, or something to improve our house, I’m killing it!
  • Doing stuff that’s FUN: Check! I’ve seen one of my very favorite performers (twice) and have been taking walks with my borrowed doggies. Also, it’s been fun working with hubby on the house – kind of a bonding experience. We’re actually becoming quite a team when he’s more patient with whatever’s not going right, and as long as I don’t take his comments personally (they’re always directed at whatever isn’t working or himself anyway).

What are you doing/have you done to simplify your life? Are you struggling with any of the things I am? How are you decluttering your life?

So far, so good.

June 16, 2010

Yum, what a dinner!

We’re working on Day Three of this crazy food plan. Hubby decided he’d participate Monday morning. Gee – thanks for the head’s up, pal! I sent him off to work with the first smoothie, and I made a second for me. He calls me, not two minutes after he leaves, to ask if there was garlic in the berry smoothie. Yeah, it was pretty gnarly. But we both sucked it up, so to speak.  Lunch consisted of a huge salad and some chicken with veggies. Dinner was salmon with veggies and salad. So far, with the exception of the smoothie, the food tasted good (not crazy about the salmon but that’s because it was salmon) and I was pretty full. One of the ideas is to limit snacking so the body goes into fat burning mode. I found I wanted sweets or something crunchy mostly out of boredom.

Day two rolls around and we’re supposed to have leftovers for lunch, except when it’s fish. (Fish only every fourth day – which is great because I HATE re-heated fish.) Or a smoothie. Since it was just me for dinner, I opted to keep the leftovers from lunch yesterday for dinner and just have a smoothie. Popped that in a skillet and gather some salad and I’m good. Added some almond butter to the smoothie and blended it longer – that made a huge difference! Still not happy about my coffee situation because, basically, it tastes like a car tire. This is even with some coconut milk and xylitol for sweetener. Oh, because I had the smoothie for lunch I ate dinner early. I was dying for something to eat around 7:30 so I had a green apple with almond butter. NUMMY. That snack is a keeper no matter what.  And believe it or not, it satisfied my craving for sweet. I guess natural sugars as found in fruit are ok as long as they are in moderation and eaten along with some protein and healthy fat. BONUS: I got to have wine! Wine is allowed – but only at 4 oz a day, and not the sweet stuff. It was amazing – the wine tasted better than it ever has, and since I used a different glass, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t getting a full serving. HAPPY HAPPY

Day three and I’m ready to attack my coffee with Stevia. Made all the difference in the world! Plus I used a bit more coconut milk. And now for the smoothie, I realized I can add a tsp of local honey to help with my allergies and give it a little sweet. Add FRESH berries instead of frozen and – wahoo – I’m in business! I liked it so much that I made one for lunch too! Breakfast was raspberries and lunch was blueberries. Dinner is some sort of asian stir fry with beef. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m optimistic!

The biggest bummer is that I have a terrible headache and am very lethargic. I honestly believe this is a little bit because I didn’t have my regular two cups of coffee (it was so ick) until today and plus I’m basically going through withdrawals for white stuff like sugar and carbs. And trying to get in as much water as I can means lots of excercise to the bathroom! lol