...but I just can't. The good news is, I've been getting ALL kinds of projects done around here. ANYTHING to not have to start packing for a trip I don't want to be taking. I know, I know, I sound like a royal bitch, complaining about having to go to Italy, but it is what it is.
In the meantime, I cleaned a bunch of crap out of my closet (finally!!) I ended up with three bags for Goodwill.And 100 new hangers to put down in the laundry room! Last week, I decided I couldn't take CSJ throwing his stuff on my kitchen island anymore, so I tried to figure out where he could dump his stuff when he gets home. I was at Michael's, and found this little shelf. It seemed like the perfect little solution. He can hang his keys underneath, put his wallet, change, etc., on top, right? I just needed to figure out where to hang it. I was going to paint it the same color as the kitchen wall, so it would blend in, but then I couldn't find the right place. Finally, I decided to hang it in the stairway at the back door. I figured that was the best place, because he can literally walk in the door and dump, and NONE of it would come into the kitchen!
Anyway, I got the first screw into the wall, but then when I tried to put the second one in, this is what happened.Um...yeah. BIG, GIANT hole in the drywall. Way to go, ChiTown! I've been trying to ignore that for over a week now, but it's impossible, since it's literally the first thing I see when I walk in the door. I'll just have to deal with it when I get back. Unless, of course, "someone" fixes it while I'm gone. But, I'm not holding my breath.
I also cleaned the fish bowl the other day. That's not really that rare, as it has to be done every week to ten days. But, this time, it got a DEEP cleaning. I used a cloth-wrapped chopstick to get into every single nook and cranny. I TOLD you I didn't want to pack!
Here's the happy tenant. I've had this little guy for about 3 years (maybe more?) and sadly, he's never had a name! We just call him "fish."
Oh, good God, what else can I do to avoid packing? I actually spent over 4 hours cleaning and organizing my linen closet the other day, which is something that was years overdue. I threw away 2 full bags of garbage, mostly expired medications. I bought a little storage drawer thingy to help me organize all the stuff, and at the end of the four hours, when I was feeling super organized and accomplished, THE FREAKIN' THING DIDN'T FIT IN THE CLOSET!!! Oh my God, talk about being pissed! One more thing I'll have to deal with when I get back.
I don't think I'll be able to put this off much longer, though, because I won't be around tomorrow. One of my cousins and his boyfriend are having a HUGE party. Actually, I thought it was just going to be family, friends and a few neighbors, but I just found out it's going to be a HUGE blow-out bash! Apparently, there were about 350 people on the guest list, and as of last Saturday, about 280 had responded "yes." WTF?! I guess I need to rethink bringing my Little Dipper full of Spinach Artichoke dip, huh? The party starts at 3, and he lives in Indiana (but just right over the border) so I figure that doesn't leave me a whole lot of time to pack tomorrow.
I guess with that, I'd better start getting my shit together. Literally, and figuratively. I intend to be back at least once more before we leave Sunday morning, but just in case I don't make it, let me just say "Ciao!"
My neighbor called me this afternoon to ask if I would take her to get her prescription. She uses the pharmacy located inside our local (big chain) grocery store, so afterward, I picked up a few things for dinner. When we got home, I was saying good-bye, and said I was going to go figure out what to make for dinner. She said she was going to do the same, and then said, "I could really go for a good hotdog!" Now, I could eat a great Chicago dog every night of the week. So, of course, once she put it out there, that's all I could think about. By the time I walked up my driveway and into the house, I had decided that we were going for hotdogs.
I had a few Groupons (of course!) for a hot dog place, so I immediately called Jean and told her we were going for hotdogs. She sounded so excited, I had to laugh a little.
Now, for those of you who aren't up to speed on my neighbor, she's 88 years young, and a complete hoot! She and her brother, who passed away about 2 1/2 years ago, moved into the house next-door about a year before we moved in here. They have ALWAYS been the BEST neighbors. John, her brother, took care of my house for 15 years. He cut my grass, trimmed my bushes, shoveled my snow, you name it, he did it! Even for the 11 months that CSJ originally lived here, John insisted on doing everything. When we moved in, John and Jean were already in their 60s, and both retired. Every time CSJ would tell him he didn't have to do all that stuff, and the HE should be doing John's work (as we were only in our 20s!!) John would argue with him. "You work all night, keeping us safe. You should be sleeping during the day. Besides, I'm retired. What else do I have to do?" (You may recall that CSJ was a Chicago Police Officer)
Anyway, about 3 years ago, John had a heart attack, and Stud was finally allowed to take over the grass cutting and snow shoveling. Up until this point, John wouldn't let him, even though I would insist that the young, strapping teenager should be doing those things! After John passed away about six months later, we really stepped up our efforts to take care of Jean. She had a stroke about a year before John's heart attack, and lost some function on one side. She's also blind in one eye, and deaf in one ear (both on the same side).
Holy crap, why the hell am I telling you all this nonsense?!?! The point of this post was to tell you that CSJ and I took Jean for a hot dog for dinner, and it was like we had taken her out for steak and lobster. She was so cute and so excited. Truthfully, it made me a little sad, because it reminded me that she doesn't really get out enough. She never drove, even when she was young, and she has no family nearby. She does have a niece who lives in Michigan who tries to come see her at least once a month, sometimes twice, if she can. But, other than her weekly shopping/hair appointments on Thursday, she's usually home alone all day, every day.
So, like I said, she was very excited to be going for a hot dog with us. CSJ got such a kick out of her. While we were eating, he decided we needed to go for ice cream afterward. In a weird, twisted way, it was like taking a 5 year old for the night. I thought she would put up a fight, but she really didn't. We went to one of mine and Stud's favorite ice cream shops, and she indulged in a hot fudge sundae. I know it's probably so condescending to say it, but we got such a kick out of how cute she was all night. CSJ has never really had the opportunity to spend much time with her, so he got to see a whole new side of Jean. He loved it. He said we now have to take her out weekly, if we can.
The point of this long, drawn-out, boring post was to say that today, my happiness was sharing in Jean's happiness. See, I DID have a point!
(If you're curious about other stories I've shared about my awesome neighbors, click on the label below)
Ok, this has nothing to do with anything I wrote, but I just found it on Pintrest, and it made me laugh out loud. I don't know what the hell it means, either, but it still makes me laugh.
Ok, I'll warn you now that most of you will find today's post INCREDIBLY boring, so feel free to hit the little red x right now.
Today's happiness comes from my favorite source - Monkey!!
CSJ has been working really bizarre hours lately, and has been home a LOT! Not that I'm complaining (much) but I'm used to having my days to myself. He's come home in the middle of the day for about a week and a half now, and today, he walked in the door at about 8:30! Now, he usually leaves around 5:30-6 am, so in all fairness, he did get a couple hours in before coming back, but sheesh! Good thing I haven't been sneaking around with a boytoy, cuz I'd have been caught by now, for sure!
Anyway, I had planned to (once again!) try and see Monkey today. When he walked in, he asked what was on my agenda for the day. When I mentioned Monkey, he practically ran for the door. He's a bit obsessed with her. Seriously. You guys think I'm annoying, I mean bad about it, but he's worse!
I wanted to bring her tutu and get some pictures, plus I had another little present for her. (Mostly because Auntie can't resist the damn clearance section of Walmart!) She now has her very own slide! More about that in a minute.
We met my brother for breakfast at our favorite breakfast place near his house. Afterward, we went back to his place to hang out for the day. Monkey fell asleep on the drive home, but after her nap, we had a rockin' good time!
She was helping me put together her new slide (and yes, my brother is ready to kill me! He lives in a condo, and as you can see, the entire living room has become her playroom.) and she was just cracking me up!
Here's a few shots of her in her tutu. The pictures are crap because a) I took them with my phone and b) she never stays still!! I've already decided I need to try this again because this tutu is a bit too-too short. Now that I know how easily I can make her a new one, I'm planning to do it this weekend.
With her favorite stalker, I mean uncle. Ugh, she's so freakin' cute!!
See, even HE wants to eat her up!
That cute little pink rubber ducky is something Stud picked up for her a couple weeks ago while he was out with some friends. She immediately LOVED it. She didn't put it down once we gave it to her. While she was "helping" me put the slide together, she kept giving her ducky rides on the slide.
She kept insisting on climbing UP the slide, which I knew was going to happen. She IS a monkey, after all!
Don't worry, after that first ride, she figured out real fast that she needs to pick up her feet. The next time we put her at the top, she didn't even wait for one of us to hold her hands on the way down. She basically just threw herself down, and cracked up! She parked herself up at the top for a minute to catch a couple seconds of Dinosaur Train. Ok, well, if you're still here, thank you for indulging me. Plus, you must think she's as adorable as I do, or you would have left, right? ;-)
Today's happiness is that my eldest niece came over to visit. We tried to go see Monkey, but that was a big bust. But, we're focusing on happiness, right. So, like I said, my niece came to visit. Then, I got to see her sister when we went to drop her car off at home (on the way to see Monkey, we THOUGHT) It would have been nice to see all three of my nieces, but whatever. Focus on the happy, focus on the happy....
I've basically done NOTHING today, which actually makes me VERY happy!!
I've managed to read 10 magazines so far (I just counted!) while lying in bed. In between, I did get up a few times, so stop judging!! In between magazines, I got up and made coffee with CSJ (he had another late starting day today), emptied & reloaded the dishwasher, ate breakfast (Nutella on a super-soft roll. MAJOR happiness!!), checked email, spent some time on Pintrest, talked to my Daddy on the phone to make sure he arrived in Sparta in one piece, cleaned my fish's bowl, checked in on my Bloggy Buddies, talked to my sister for a while on the phone, reheated left-overs for Stud and myself for dinner, had a visit with my neighbor (who brought over some goodies from her garden) and now I'm here, posting. That's a whole lot of nothing, wouldn't you say?
What I DIDN'T do is get out of my pajamas. Oh, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and (sort of) combed my hair as soon as I woke up, but I never got around to getting dressed. In my book, that means I did NOTHING all day.
Here's something else I was inspired to make thanks to Pintrest. (In case you haven't figured it out, it's my new addiction. I'm not even kidding. Thank God I don't have a job, or a life, cuz I'm on there 5 or 6 hours a day right now sometimes. I'm a loser...)
I've seen people turn picture frames into dry erase memo boards, and thought, I could use that! I have this tiny little strip of wall between the door jams of the doors that go down to my back door, and my spare room. It's the perfect place to leave little notes about things I need to remember, because I can't help but see it when I walk out the door. I usually put post-its there for myself. But, I don't like how wasteful that is, and I really liked the idea of something dry erase, that can be used over and over.
I wasn't sure what size frame would fit, so I picked up 2 different ones. I think I may just go back and get another bigger one so that match. But for now, here they are. I figured I would put different things on this one, inspirational thoughts, motivational thoughts, silly thoughts, whatever strikes my fancy for the day.I'll use this one the way I've always used this awkward little strip of wall, either to remind myself of things as I'm walking out the door, or just things I need to keep in the forefront of my mind. Like Stud's orthodontist appointment this Thursday. I put these together while I was on the phone with my sister for the past 2 1/2 hours, listening to her horror stories of just having spent 3 weeks in Italy with our mother. She probably could have vented for another couple of hours, but she was tired and needed to go take a nap. They just arrived home yesterday afternoon, and she's still feeling a little jet-lagged.
All she managed to do was give me horrible flashbacks to my last trip to Italy with my mother, which was 10 years ago. I took Stud and we were there for 6 weeks. I swore I would never do it again. I usually can only take small doses of my mother here, at home, where I can get in my car and be back in my own house in less than 5 minutes. Being stuck there with her was not pleasant, to say the least.
Let me just stop for a minute and say, I realize what a horrible daughter I sound like right now, but rest assured, I love my mother with all my heart. We just don't get along most of the time. The crux of it is that I'm so much like my father. She can't stand either one of us most of the time! Not only am I the spitting image of him, we have almost identical personalities. It just pisses her off royally!
My poor, sweet friend Jen was actually a witness to it at my Tastefully Simple party. As an ice-breaker, she had all the guests go around and introduce themselves, and then tell what they love and/or admire about me. (Thanks, again, for the tears, by the way, Jen!) Well, when it was my mother's turn, she started off saying, "What I love and admire most about ChiTown are her parents!" Ha, ha, very funny. Then she says, "Well, I can tell you what I can't STAND about her - she's exactly like her father!!" Well, hardy, har, har!
But, just so we're clear, yes, I DO love my mother!!! And, I know she loves me. But most of the time, we're like oil and water. Correction -OLIVE oil and water.
So, after telling you all that, I figured now might be a good time to share this little tidbit of news. I leave 2 weeks from tomorrow for Italy. Yep, you read that correctly. I will be leaving, on a jet plane, but I DO know when I'll be back again.
Isn't that what most unemployed folks do - take a European vaction? I'll be there for two weeks. Two really LONG weeks.
But, here's what's saving me. MY DADDY IS GOING WITH ME!!!! This will be my fourth trip to Italy, but the first with my daddy. I'm really excited about that. I can't wait for him to take me to his hometown and show my where he grew up. I want to see his house, where he went to school, where he hung out, all of it.
Now, there is a very real possibility that my mother might put the kibosh on all that, but I'm going to try and stay positive and hope for the best.
The other reason I've decided to suck it up and do this is that my brother's LONG-time, on-again, off-again girlfriend will also be joining us. I'm SO excited for her!!! She and my brother started planning almost a year ago for this trip. She's even been learning Italian. But, things have gotten a little rocky with them recently, and between the baby and the bar, my brother just is not going to be able to take 2 weeks away from either.
A couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that KC should just go anyway! She adores my daddy, almost as much as I do, and she actually likes spending time with my mother. But, I had a feeling she probably wouldn't go by herself. Admittedly, that would be a little weird, right, to go to Italy and hang out with your sometimes-boyfriend's parents? (for those of you who haven't been keeping up, KC has been around for nearly 13 years now, and she really is part of the family.) So, I told her I would go with her, if that's what it took to get her there. In her mind, she always imagined her first trip there would be with my brother (duh!) so I was a little stunned when she agreed.
A lot of different things have been falling into place for us, making both of us think we are meant to take this trip. Luckily for me, I don't have a job, so my schedule is wide open. We were able to get the tickets for nearly $300 less than my sister and mother paid. Which worked out great because my passport expired last month, and to get an expedited one cost nearly $200! We just changed our tickets yesterday to leave a day earlier, which saved us another $100.
Last week, I closed on a refi I did for my house (which I did because I knew I wouldn't be working, and wanted a lower mortgage payment) and I now get two months without having to make a payment. Hello! There's my vacation money. Plus, I'll be getting a check back from my old mortgage company for the left over escrow money in the account. Can you say "spending money?"
Like I said, lots of things are falling into place. I was able to keep myself focused on the positive for the past week, like having my Daddy and KC there, but after hanging up with my sister, I want to call and cancel. I just told my Daddy the same thing a minute ago on the phone, and he was able to talk me down a little. He keeps telling me not to worry, KC will take care of my mom. Good God, I hope so!!!
In the meantime, whatever positive thoughts you can send this way would be awesome! I'm off to my Daddy's house to visit, and Stud' going to cut his grass. CSJ is meeting us there, and we'll have dinner together before my dad leaves for another trip tonight. He's off to his annual national trap shooting tournament. (I think I may have mentioned it in the past.) He'll be gone a week, then he's home 6 days, then we leave for our trip. I hope I can find the silver lining again before then!!!
I found this idea on Pintrest last week, and the minute I saw it, I KNEW I just had to make them for my sisters-in-law. I changed it slightly, because I thought the angels needed halos. Whatta ya think?
We all know I thought long and hard about leaving my job, and planned and planned and saved, so I could do just that. Naturally, I also gave a LOT of thought to what I could do to bring in some income. One of the ideas I've been throwing around is crafting. So far this week, between the tutu and these cute little angels, I just may be on to something. = )
Are craft fairs big in other parts of the country or is that just a midwest thing? Cuz, they're HUGE here. If I start now, I could have lots of stuff ready for the holiday craft show season, which usually starts in October. I'll tell you one thing, I spent some time this morning making these for my 5 SILs, plus a few extra, and I didn't once feel stressed. Again, I may be on to something....
...but I think I may already have today's happiness post. As I type this, my weather widget says 63. Sixty-freakin'-three!! Most of you know how over-the-moon happy that makes this little penguin! I know it won't last all day, but a penguin can hope, right?
(Plus, CSJ doesn't have to go to work until around noon today, so somebody got a little mornin' lovin'. I know, TMI. But, talk about happiness...)
Today's happiness involves Monkey once again. I had a dentist appointment at 7 am this morning (and NOT yesterday morning, even though I showed up at the dentist's office YESTERDAY at 6:55 am, which set off the cluster fuck that was yesterday morning!) By 7:05 I was finished, and by 7:10, I was driving toward my brother's house. I figured since the dentist's office was already half-way there, I might as well try and steal Monkey for the day.
My brother already had plans to meet one of our cousins (Monkey's godfather, actually) for breakfast, so I joined them. Monkey was a delight, as always!! Believe it or not, I didn't take even one picture, so I'll give you an old one. It's from the other day, when I had the pleasure of babysitting for a few hours.
"Alright, already!!! I know I'm cute, but enough with the pictures!"
I've been planning to make my Monkey a tutu for ages now. I actually started buying the supplies right before her birthday. Well, this morning, I finally bit the bullet and got busy.
I may come back later and tell you about the cluster fuck of a morning I had, but suffice it to say, I found my ass at Walmart at the crack of dawn, gathering craft supplies. They didn't have everything I wanted, but they did have the missing item for the tutu. THIS is what's giving me happiness right now.
What do you think so far? (I wasn't sure if you could see the full cuteness, so I taped it to my wall. You're welcome!)I actually only used 1/3 the tulle I bought, but I think I'm going to use all of it, and make 3 layers. I think it'll be super cute and fluffy. What do you think? I'm definitely adding a second layer, so I'll be back when I'm done.
Ok, so for the past 30 minutes since the last post, I've been adding the second layer. Was it worth it? I really don't know if it made that much of a difference. I'm definitely not adding the 3rd layer. Instead, I'm going to use that tulle to make a tutu for a friend's granddaughter, who is exactly one week younger than Monkey. Here they are at her party. Little Miss Ally, there, has had THREE haircuts in her first year of life (really just trimming her bangs, but still!) while Monkey still has NO HAIR!!! Maria, you commented once that she has a lot of head gear. Well, THAT'S why!! We're trying to cover up her bald little head. :(
Why is Daddy wearing my super cool glasses?! These chips are da bomb!
CSJ unexpectedly came home in the middle of the day (another tidbit of happiness!) because he had some time between cases. Unfortunately, that means he'll be working late into the night. Nevertheless, we took full advantage of the free afternoon and after running my long list of errands (which Stud and I were walking out the door to do when he showed up) we drove out to my brother's to see Monkey. Yay!! We all went out for lunch at a yummy Mexican restaurant.
Even though it's still kind of early, I figured I might as well go ahead and post today's happiness tidbit, as I doubt anything is going to top spending time with my Monkey and The Boys. But, hey, if something big happens, I'll be back! ;-)