Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garbage Picker

A view from my vantage point---ok, not really.
Today I spent nearly an hour cleaning up after my neighbor's kids.  This was completely unintentional and I hate myself for doing it.  As I waited in my grass for my dog to do his business, I happened to glance at the landscaping at the front entrance of the building.  Horrifying.  It seriously looked like a plastic manufacturing plant exploded.  Angrily I scooped up my dog's shit and went to inspect the piles of rubbish further. 

Here is what I picked up from the landscaping rocks (not including the half-ton of landscaping rocks that I had picked up off of the sidewalk and put back into the bed):

*Note: None of these numbers are exhaggerated.

12 plastic water bottles of various brands

9 plastic water bottle caps
4 Coke cans 
6 plastic wrappers from freeze-pops
2 lids Snack Pack pudding lids
1 plastic fairy wand (broken in two pieces)
1 plastic toy sword (crumpled)

I was even more angry because I had to make three trips to collect this bullshit and walk it around to where our recycling bins are; all while my crackhead dog was trying to attack the dead leaves that are starting to pop up. 

Here's where shit gets real: I know the logical response to seeing all this crap would have been to NOT clean it up.  It wasn't my kid's mess.  But please be advised: if I didn't clean this shit up, it would still be there NEXT year.  And probably the year after that.  Actually, they'd still be there in 450-1000 years still trying to decompose.  These kids NEVER pick up after themselves.  And the parents would NEVER clean it up either.  Not too long ago, the kids were partying it up in the hallway (see: riding their tricycles down the stairs) and had left all kinds of food (see: cheese slices and Reese's) in the hall and in a pregnant-hormonal rage I went all ape shit on them telling them they can't be leaving food out in the hallways.  Yeah, I'm THAT know, the one that yells at other people's kids.  I'm fine with it.  It stopped for about two weeks until the did it again, only this time they had popcorn EVERYWHERE in the hall.  I took hubby's loud ass shop-vac out there at 7:00am and cleaned that shit up.  Take that, Mr./Mrs. We-Sleep-'Til-Noon.  They stopped playing in the halls, only they took their tomfoolery outside...but obviously decided the mess would stay out there too.  I know I am going to have to say something to them, but I would really like to do it in front of the parents so that they know (even though I don't think it wouldn't make a shit-ounce of a difference).  Part of me wonders if I should "pick my battles" and assume that it will be getting cooler outside and they won't be out as much, but out of common courtesy (which let's get real, does NOT exist anymore), I feel they should be held responsible for messes in the common areas.  If you don't pick up after yourself in YOUR home, fine.  But don't make the entire building reflect your messy ass.  Shit.

Now I'm tired.  In retrospect, these are the SAME people who have BAGS and BAGS of Coke cans in the garage ready to cash them in for fabulous prizes.  $1.86 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Although I could NEVER watch, I'm sure my face looked a lot like this.
At my very first OB appointment with baby 2.0, my good ol' doctor wrote me up a big ol' order for prenatal bloodwork.  The thing with prenatal bloodwork is that they take a TON of vials; not just one or two little ones.  Although I can manage tattoos (have four of them) and piercings (x7), something about getting stuck with needles and emptied of my blood is a wee-tiny-bit creepy to me.  Since my pregnancy with Adam was so easy, I self evaluated that I did not need the blood work because nothing is wrong with me.  I figured they could just use my bloodwork from baby 1.0 and copy/paste the results.  They can do that, right?  Well obviously not, because my favorite nurse calls me every other week asking about them.  It's been ten weeks.  Now that hubby is all union-ified (unified?), our insurance covers everything 100% with no deductible or co-pay.  I had no excuse anymore.  I dragged my ass into the office and prayed to the Vein Gods that mine would cooperate today.  I have had horrible experiences in the past, a combination of the person drawing the blood and my shitty veins, and I thoroughly hate having it done.  Luckily the person who called me back was very nice and while niceness never is a guarantee of anything, she found my good vein and was able to access it on the first try.  I was staring out the window focusing my attention at anything except for what was going on.  I struggled to keep up with the small talk she was making because I was freaking out like a weirdo.  I waited and waited while she switched vial with vial and FINALLY she was finished.  Part of their procedure is that you have to verify the labels on the vials to make sure you're name is on them, which requires me to look and the vial and the contents (EW).  Eight vials later, I was SOOO ready to get the hell out of there.  I don't think I'm in the minority of thinkers when I say that that experience is just awful.  My arm is sore and bruised and it better not impede on me being able to dunk my cookies in my milk.

In other news, I took the initiative today to purchase a new bathroom vanity/sink and new floor tile for my bathroom.  Our place was built in 1982 and I am pretty sure most of the contents are original.  My bathroom is fugly.  It's taking all of my self control (and I don't have much) to not go in there RIGHT NOW and start tearing shit apart.  I'm impatient.  Speaking of impatient, we find out the gender of baby 2.0 in a little over a week and I can't wait to start creating that room either.  At any given time there is like nine projects going on in my house, clearly.  After talking with a mommy friend and fellow DIY-er last night, I have more drive then ever to finally bring our place into the current decade, regardless if I am all super pregnant and shit. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Unsolicited Advice or Why People Can't Just Shut the Hell Up

They should offer these in adult sizes...
People are so inclined to give their two cents whenever they possibly can.  It, among many things, makes me crazy.  I never noticed it until I was pregnant with baby 1.0, but I know for sure it existed.  I know that in certain situations, unsolicited advice is inevitable and mostly from people you don't mind hearing it from (see: family, people you wish weren't your family, doctors, the mirror).  I'm not talking about that kind.  I am referring to situations where perfect freaking strangers feel the need to tell you everything they know on the subject---mostly out of the blue.  It all goes back to that whole validation thing that people need to feel that they are doing things right.  Useless.  Unfortunately, social networking only empowers those who love to thrust their high almighty knowledge on others.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, when I looked nine years pregnant, I attended the local community college to finish my gen eds before venturing off to a different school.  This school hosted all walks of life, and ages in a classroom ranged from 19-118.  I had the mindset of just going there, getting my shit done, and getting the hell out.  Naturally, this attracted creepers like a magnet.  Women would plop down next to me and ramble on about their own kids, their pregnancies back in 1985, and all sorts of shit that I did not give a damn about.  Same situation in the part time job I had at a bank.  These high society bitches would come in and either make sure I knew what to do when my water broke (uhhh, go to the movies?) or remind me how young I looked to be having a baby (to which I responded, "Yeah, we start young in my family..." or "I'm actually 34, but thank you!").  Now don't get me wrong, of course I had questions and often sought information, but I DO MY OWN RESEARCH or I ASK MY MOM.  I would never, ever elicit life advice from strangers coming to deposit their checks; I don't give a shit how many kids they've had.  I love reading and learning new things, so I fully took on the challenge when it came to overcoming the chances of becoming a stereotypical "she-got-knocked-up-at-19" mom.  Once I made mommy friends that could tolerate me, I had a whole new, extremely awesome network to turn to.  Naturally though, the jabberjaws don't disappear once you have a kid.  They see you pushing a stroller and if you make the mistake of making eye contact, they abscond upon you with all kinds of "advice" for your babies "best interest."  I CALL BULLSHIT!  STFU!  Luckily, I have this great ability to make myself appear to be extremely irritable and lose-tempered, so it weeds a lot of them out.  But not all of them.  Unfortunately, some people just love the sound of their own voice, and no matter how enraged you appear to be, they'll still throw their bullshit advice at you.  This morning when I was dropping my dog off at the vet, this old bat who had to be older than dirt, appeared out of nowhere and started bitching about me having the training collar on him, and how I shouldn't have it on him in the car (really!??!!!!!), and how they can come off really easily if it's not a good one, etc. etc. etc.  I stopped what I was doing and gave her the death stare from hell.  I said nothing.  I just glared.  She made this bizarre sound and I thought she was going to drop dead, but she wobbled back off the her seat.  I turned back to the lady at the desk and smiled.  Towards the end of my visit, the nurse leaned over and whispered, "I hate it when people do that, you know..."  I leaned back over, not so quietly, and replied, "She's just mad because she had to wear one when she was building the ark." 

All in all, it won't go away.  I have the most hilarious wedding video because at some point the videographer went table-to-table and had guests record a message for us.  The divorcees are the best.  So spiteful.  So much "advice."  To those who are begininng to embark on cohabitation, marriage, children, life, or whatever, just prepare yourself (that's my unsolicited advice--hah).  And shape up your "mean face" so that you can get rid of some of them really fast.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Divinity of Food

NOT what I had for dinner.

With how awesome I've been feeling (sarcasm), I have not grocery shopped in quite a while.  I'd say close to two weeks.  Sure, I've ran through some stores for the necessities, but as far as stocking the house with things besides ice cream and yogurt pretzels, I've been negligent.  It's just that seeing raw meat grosses me the hell out and I cannot stand the smell of that whole general vicinity of the store.  Here's to say I've been eating a lot of cereal for dinner and Jack's been thrown to the wolves (see: frozen pizza).  Adam is easy because he loves a variety of foods and is perfectly content with a buffet of different cheeses, fruits, veggies, and a cracker or two on the side (or a sandwich).  I found some cool frozen meals by Bertolli and Friday's, but that shit gets old real fast.  I figured out last night that I need to figure something out because Jack was turning into a pizza and I couldn't play off that I had actually prepared the takeout for much longer.  I was going through my mediocre collection of coupons and found a package offered from Omaha Steaks that gives you a plethora of meat for one not-so-low-but-not-highway-robbery price.  Not only do you just walk in to a clean, not smelly store full of frozen meat, but they package it all up for you and it comes in boxes so you don't even have to look at it.  The package I purchased came with two different kinds of steaks, chicken breasts, pork, hamburgers, hot dogs, and side items.  Of course I also purchased some dessert, because obviously.  It was the easiest grocery experience I've ever had.  I literally just stood at the cash register looking at sauces and the girl went from freezer to freezer putting all my stuff in a cool bag.  Excellent.  Last night, I made filet mignon with a light teriyaki sauce and parmesan crusted garlic potato slices (from TJ's, sauteed in a little bit of olive oil---so damn good, so damn easy).  All together it took less than 20 minutes to prepare (and we like our steak medium well) and the meat (from frozen, not thawed!) was extremely tender and restaurant quality.  I was so damn impressed with the product from Omaha and will definitely buy again.

Fast forward to today.  I went out to eat with my friend to a sit down chain of restaurants that is more expensive than it should be (aren't they all!?).  As we walked in, we were behind a couple of loud mouthed oldies and the woman noticed on the door that this establishment has a Zagat Rating for best burger.  She made a comment about how she was going to get a burger and seemed all excited about trying it.  Naturally, we were seated directly diagonally from them, so I had to listen to her talk about all the other places she has been to that had the best burgers.  Now I've never been a picky restaurant eater (or a burger eater for that matter), or one that sends shit back unless something was extremely wrong.  I once dated someone who would CONSTANTLY send things back for the most pathetic reasons and I always felt so awkward for whatever reason.  This woman received her food and judging by how quiet that table was, I assumed it was damn good.  They were already finished eating by the time the waitress came back to check on how everything was going.  So with the burger completely consumed, this crazy ass starts to complain about the quality of the meat.  NOTE: SHE ALREADY ATE THE WHOLE DAMN THING!  She goes off on some beefy tangent about how the meat quality was inconsistent and how it tasted wrong and the texture was off, blah blah freaking blah.  The waitress couldn't help but see that both the woman and her husband had already finished their food, so like any smart woman, she sympathized and apologized and said she'd send her manager over.  (HAH!)  A few moments later, the manager comes over with this memorized pitch about the meat (always fresh, never frozen, blah blah freaking blah) and the woman is attempting to talk over him about it.  The manager finishes (without ever stopping), and asks her if she had switched entrees with her husband, to which she, of course, responded no.  The manager seemed to think she was just as nuts as I did, because he apologized to her again but told her that he had spoke with the cook (cough cough bullshit cough) and nothing had changed with the meat they always use.  Crazy ass decided to take a new route and say she WOULD HAVE sent it back had the waitress come around more.  I really wanted to get involved at this point because we had the same waitress and I knew for damn sure that she had been around checking with the patrons often enough.  Luckily the manager wasn't a shitbag because he apologized to the woman several times but never offered her anything free or something along those lines.  He ended the conversation cordially and even served them the bill himself.  Boo-yah, bitch.  When he turned around he saw that my friend and I had watched the entire thing go down, we both kind of smirked at him and shared a simultaneous, "Yeah, we know she sucks" moment.  It was grand.  Although, it probably would not have been so grand if it were my sandy burger...

Thinking of my experience from my frozen food last night (mmmmm!) compared to my restaurant experience that I witnessed, I may try and cook more at home.  I'm not going to be pregnant for that much longer and I am running out of excuses.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Huge Step in the Right Direction: Pet Edition

Don't call him pretty or he'll eat your children.
I understand that this post may cause people to hate my ass.  That's fine.  What works for some doesn't work for others, just like in that whole raising-your-children situation (see: breastfeeding, vaccines, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, etc.).  Sometimes, when people do things a certain way, they feel the need to lash out at them; or troll them with a bunch of websites to articles and research that supports their way of doing things.  Oh, but they'll throw the B.S. at the end that says, "Just trying to help! myself feel better about the way I do things!" or "Just so you know! that I know everything and you suck at life!"  Tough shit.  This is what works for us and I could give a damn about your research article unless it's one that agrees with my opinion.  ;)

Our dog, Dexter (also referred to as Dex, Dexy, Dexican, %&#(@%&@!), is just shy of 6 months old.  He is a great dog and has come a long way from that faithful Good Friday when I brought him home.  He knows some basics as far as training goes, is potty trained, and has a great little thing he does when it's time to eat (another story for another time).  We crate trained him, and now he'll sleep from about 10:00pm until whatever time I get up or feel well enough to get to him (ranges from 7:00am to 9:00am) and he doesn't make a sound.  He does great with our crazy ass toddler and is just a great dog.  Our biggest struggle was getting him to walk nicely on a leash.  He has always pulled ahead of us, sometimes to the extreme of only walking on his back legs because he was pulling so hard.  I did my google research and tried many different techniques with him over the past several months and NOTHING works.  He just doesn't give a shit.  I've seen him give me the finger as I tirelessly try a technique to get him to walk politely.  The worst is when we go to a pet store.  He senses our presence immediately and starts acting all batshit crazy.  He pulls, chases, jumps, steals things, and it's just awful (and a bit embarrassing...).  Jack's B.F.F. has two big ass dogs (a mastiff bigger than my SUV, and a newfoundland that could eat Adam in one bite).  He swears by training collars (NOT CHOKER COLLARS!), which I think you kind of have to when your dogs weight a metric ton (each).
Training collar is for dogs NOT husbands (like I originally thought)
  He told us that from day one and I just couldn't put my poor Dexy in something like that.  I, the first time dog owner, said, "That's crazy!  Dex is so small!  He doesn't need that!"  "I got this shit!"  Well.  I finally caved and bought one.  Dex is about twelve pounds now and surprisingly he needed the medium size.  Which made me feel comfortable in the sense that they make collars for dogs even SMALLER than Dex.  We tried it out as soon as we got home and I absolutely couldn't believe it.  He walked PERFECTLY and showed no signs of frustration or aggression towards his new accessory.  He just trotted along like he had been walking like that for his whole little puppy life.  When we approached something interesting (and not dangerous) we let him check it out and when it was time to proceed we called him first and he continued on with no problem.  I was so happy I could cry.  It's really frustrating and discouraging to walk a dog that sucks at walking on a leash when you try and try to train it, so I know this is going to make everyone a hell of a lot happier.  I've done a lot of reading on the collars and I feel comfortable in my decision, ESPECIALLY considering the results.  When Dexy sees it, he doesn't get all weird and pissed, he sits nicely just as he had done before for his leash and lets me put it on.  I cannot believe how extreme of a difference it has made.

So hate on, haters of the training collar, but ours is here to stay.

Monday, August 1, 2011

When Saving Money Actually Sucks...

I'm in the center.  Obvs.

I first want to establish that I love grocery shopping.  I credit this to being extremely picky as a kid and living off of cereal and spaghetti-o's.  Now that I am less picky, I love grocery shopping because I love seeing what kind of food I can make and force Jack to eat.  I love going through each and every aisle and looking at everything and taking it all in.  In the beginning of my grocery shopping life (when I was only buying for myself), I would buy whatever I wanted (regardless of price).  I always had the yummiest food in the house, even if it was just Milano Cookies and chocolate milk.  Once I was buying for Jack and I, I started being more mindful of the price of things.  Jack will seriously eat everything in the house in one sitting if you let him.  I have seen him eat an entire large bag of chips in one afternoon.  I started buying the store brands of things because it cost less (and we had to buy double the quantity).  We also invested in a Sam's Club membership for some of the things that go extremely quickly (NOT for the price, simply for the quantity).  Once Adam started eating people food (jarred baby food is NOT people food), I knew I had to wise up fast because he is exactly like his father.  About a year ago, I started clipping coupons.  I feel the need to establish the difference between clipping coupons and couponing.  Those who clip coupons do it more casually and typically don't save as much money as those who coupon.  Couponers can walk out of a store and pay $2.72 for $60 of groceries.  HOWEVER: couponing takes a hell of a lot of time and energy, not to mention organizational skills that I do not have.  I know several people who coupon and they have to shop the ads and keep track of their coupons, etc. etc.  I preferred the lazier way that still saves me $1.00 off just for clipping the coupon out of the paper.  I often talk about my envy of those who coupon and save tons of money and have walls and walls of stockpiled goods.  I have been following an incredible couponer ( who explains her methods and even offers How-To's on her site---all while raising her young kids.  Super jealous.  Anyway, inspired by all of the great deals she mentions, I decided that I was going to shop the ads with my months supply of coupons I had been saving from the Sunday paper.  It took me over and hour just to line up (and write out my game plan) for one store.  My plan was golden.  I was going to get over $20 worth of things for $4.39---a first for me.  I drove to this store and was delighted that there were hardly any cars there.  I walk into this store and over to the first aisle and EVERYTHING on my list was sold out...empty shelves.  I go to the next aisle, same story.  I am fuming at this point because part of my exceptional deals relied on receiving those rewards that print out at the register for future purchases.  I am so angry that I could cry, and to make matters worse, this shithole of a store doesn't hire employees to work in the store aside from ONE cashier.  I walk up to ask the cashier about checking the stock of the items and she informs me she is the only one working at the time and cannot leave the register.  Showing poor manners, I storm out of the store with ZERO items.  (A similar event happened at a location of this store by where I went to college.  A bag of something rang up for $4 more expensive than the tag and the employee couldn't go check the price so she told me she'd have to charge me what it rang up for...).  I need to find some of my extreme couponing friends and ask them about what the appropriate thing to do is in this situation.  Until then, I am going back to my style of lackadaisical couponing.  Sure, I don't get really cool deals or save any money, but it's a hell of a lot less stressful.