Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Canine Calculations

I would like to report that jumping off the couch, dislocating her knee, having emergency surgery and subsequently being confined for 8 weeks (causing weeks of drama for everyone involved!) has taught Sassypants that the back of the couch is a dangerous place no dogs should go.

I would like to report that but it would be an enormous lie.

I think I'll spend the rest of my day calculating:

A. How long it will be before she attempts another Super-dog leap off the couch.

B. How much it's going to cost us to have surgery on the other knee.

Sunday, December 14, 2014



This is what I’ve taken to screaming at Opie at random intervals.

It’s kind of like Douglas Adams’ Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy when the mice announce that 42 is the meaning of life. No matter what Opie asks, I yell “Thirty-seven!” at him.

It all started like this:

“We’re almost out of dog food,” Opie said. “Did you happen to buy some today?”

“THIRTY-SEVEN!” I screamed, waving a crumpled piece of paper in his face. “That’s how many people we have to buy Christmas presents for.  THIRTY-SEVEN! And over half of them are your family! We have thirty-seven different people to buy Christmas presents for, including your work gift exchange and you haven’t bought a single one!”

“I bought yours,” he said.

And, somehow, I managed NOT to beat him to death.

The beauty of this is that, now, when holiday events get a particularly stressful, I just scream “THIRTY-SEVEN!” at him and arguments are averted before they even begin.

“Did you actually spend the whole day dressing the animals in Christmas clothes?” he might ask.

“THIRTY-SEVEN!” I responded. “I needed a break from the stress of THIRTY-SEVEN gifts!”

"I thought you got rid of most of your Mickey Mouse things when we got married." He said another day. "Don't you think all those Christmas Mickeys staring at us from the windowsill are a little disturbing?"

"Thirty-seven gifts!" I shouted.

“Are you making Christmas treats again? You said you had a ton of papers to grade." He said earlier today.


“Did I mention that we have THIRTY-SEVEN different people to buy Christmas gifts for?” I countered. “THIRTY-SEVEN individuals with thirty-seven different personalities who need gifts in less than a month.”

While this is not always completely informative, it is emotionally satisfying, The only problem is, what in the world am I going to scream at him when the holidays are over?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Twas Early One Sunday

Dear Princeton P. Kitty,

Please understand, it's not that I don't know how entertaining and emotionally satisfying it is to knock things off counters. I get that watching them fall and hearing the clatter they make when they hit the floor (especially LOUD things like the hair dryer) is nothing short of true bliss.

I also can get behind the idea that you are unable to resist sneak attacking the drawstring pants of the person who has come to investigate the aforementioned loud clatter (though your panic when your tooth got tangled in the frayed threads was a touch overdone).

And I know it's your mission in life to keep the dogs in line and that can only be accomplished through wrestling and other acts of physical domination.

I understand and appreciate all of your efforts to keep this household on its toes but here's the thing:

But in honor of the season and your ceaseless attempts to spread your version of sunshine through our lives (and since I'm up anyway) I have composed this little poem for you:

Twas Early One Sunday

Twas early one Sunday and all through the house
My kitty was prowling but not after a mouse.
Things had been scattered on the counters—who’d dare?
In hopes that they might get knocked into the air.
The dogs were asleep at the foot of the bed
While visions of milkbones danc’d in their heads.
Opie was snoring but I could still sleep
Until into the bathroom our cat he did creep.
In the next instant there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Into the hallway I flew like a flash,
Tripped on a dog toy and stepped on spilled trash.
The light from my iPhone glowed onto the floor
And the ridiculous cat who peered round the door.
And what did my wondering eyes then see?
The craziest of cats lunging for me.
He swatted at my bare toes, caught his teeth on my pants
And didn’t give a hoot about my threats and my rants.
He showed me the mess that he’d made with such joy
As if I should say “Great cat!” and “Good boy!”
He’d knocked the hair dryer clear cross the room
(Which was, I knew then, the source of the boom).
He’d knocked over hair spray, had a brush on the floor
“I’m not even done!” He said as he ran out the door.
Down to the living room to wrestle the dog
I stumbled after them both, still in a fog.
The flick of two tails, loud meows and shrill barks
Helped me to find them down in the dark.
They spoke not a word, just kept at their work
Convincing me I’d spoiled these creatures like a big jerk
Then laying my hands on the side of each head
Said “You better shut up or I swear you’re both dead!”
They sprang to the couch, and got all cuddled up
My ridiculous cat and rotten young pup.
 And I had to exclaim, as I witnessed this sight
“Is it too much to ask, that I sleep one whole night?!”

At this point, the only gift these ridiculous animals are going to get from me this Christmas is life.

What do you mean you're trying to sleep?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Turkey Cupcakes and Other Fun Treats

So Opie told me he needed a dessert for his Thanksgiving carry-in today. I'm not going to lie, I may have gone a little overboard:

Here's a close up (forgot to take a picture of the cake balls but they're not that exciting):

Candy acorns

Turkey cupcakes
Now, I know this might cause some people to draw the conclusion that I have waaaayyyy too much time on my hands. But that's only because you don't realize how many household responsibilities I had to shirk to get these done.

The house is a mess, we're probably going to have turkey cupcakes for dinner, and I haven't even had a chance to comb out Sassy's Throwback Thursday 80's style side pony.

She's rockin' that 1985 look, isn't she?

It's not easy being me, make no mistake!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Making Your Own Frame Doors

This is not a DIY blog.

Not because I don’t do a lot of DIY projects; I’ve actually remodeled a lot of our house in the last three years. But I usually don’t write about these things because I tend to do them in a circular fashion…I start a project, get bored with it, move on to another project, get bored with that, go back to the original project and so on.

Thus making it a little hard to document.

The other thing that makes it hard to document is the fact that a lot of my DIY projects are interrupted by scenes like this one:

However, not to toot my own horn, but I’m too excited about my latest remodeling venture to keep it to myself. 

It all began when I started to paint the upstairs hall. I painted the walls, started to paint the trim, then decided I really, really hated all of our upstairs doors. They're not awful, they're just these boring, typical wooden doors.

I began looking for nice, painted frame doors—and WOW are they more expensive than I thought. The one I really liked was $315!!! And that doesn’t even include the $125 installation fee—which is PER DOOR.

We have 5 doors upstairs…which means I’d have to spend over $2,200 just to get some aesthetically pleasing doors!

Which I thought was a little pricey, and Opie...well, If you know Opie at all, you know he is very frugal. This is not a complaint--his money management is the reason I can work part time and the reason I've been able to jump between about 18 different jobs since moving here. But it's also the reason I was pretty sure spending over $2000 to replace perfectly functional doors would be enough to make his head pop off.

Seriously, it might actually have killed him.

Which didn't stop me from obsessing over the doors, hating the doors, and imagining ways to change the doors. So I finally decided to create my own faux frame doors.

I bought these wainscot frames at Lowes:

And began figuring out how to place them on the doors.

"Aren't you going to measure so you know they’re even?” Opie asked as I held the frames against the surface.

"It hurts that you know so little about me." I said. "Of course I'm not going to measure it. I'm just going to, you know, eyeball it."

"No!" He said, genuinely horrified. "You need to find the mid point of the door and match that with the midpoint of the frame ." And then he started talking about using a level and using terms like "equidistant" and "perpendicular" and I started to get a headache.

When I told him that this would be impossible because our tape measure tells lies, he decided he should hang the frames for me.

And then began the battle of the wills. Opie was more than willing to hang the frames. 
However, he is under the delusion that it would be better to finish one entire project before taking on another.  So he suggested that I finish the trim AND put the finishing touches on the guestroom (that I started redoing about 2 months ago) first.

“I can’t do that,” I said. “I can’t think about anything except the doors. They’re driving me crazy.”

Then he seemed to think that if he just waited long enough, I would get tired of waiting and finish one of the other projects first.

Again, it’s like he doesn’t know me at all.

Finally, I had to pull out the big guns.

I waited until a Friday evening and announced “If you don’t put the frames on the door this weekend, I’m just going to do it myself on Monday.”

“You know they won’t be even if you do it,” he countered.

“Yes,” I agreed. “But that also won’t bother me nearly as much as it bothers you.”

He held out until late Sunday then, muttering under his breath, got them on the door and I put primer on both:

Then I painted them to match the trim:

Then I spent most of one afternoon cleaning paint off the cat's paws, the floor, and a portion of one wall (when up on the ladder and thus slightly vulnerable, it is important to make sure the lid is on the paint can and/or the cat is confined...apparently few things are more entertaining than seeing how far you can get the paint to splash).

Then I put new handles on and voila!

     BEFORE                                                                                 And AFTER!


5 new frame doors--for less than it would cost to replace 1!

Now maybe I can get that last coat of paint on the guestroom closet…..

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tell Me Lies

Well, I had my stomach procedure this week and I have to say, it went MUCH better than the endoscopy. I think that’s due to the following 3 things:

1.       I took a pregnancy test that morning.

2.       Opie took charge. When we arrived (20 minutes early again!), he confronted the receptionist immediately and said “Her appointment’s at 11:00, right? That’s what you have down? 11:00?”

Although it is interesting to note that as we were waiting, this other patient demanded to know what the hold up was, she was supposed to have her procedure at 10:30 and the receptionist said “We had you down  for 11:30.” 

Since it is difficult to believe that anyone could constantly make the same mistake and still be employed, I have decided that this is some bizarre tactic she uses when the doctors start to get behind.

In any case, the final reason that this experience was so much better than the endoscopy was:

3.       The nurse I had was an excellent liar. It wasn’t the same nurse I had last time and she listened when I said no one could get an IV in my arm. It did take her 2 tries to get it in my hand but that didn’t really irritate me because A. It always takes at least 2 tries to get an IV anywhere in my body and (more importantly) B. As she was trying to get it into my hand she kept saying things like “It’s hard because you’re so tiny. You need more meat on your bones. You’re just so little.”

Which is a big fat lie.

But here’s the thing, call me skinny and you can jab needles in my arm with reckless abandon.

It’s embarrassing but apparently true.

However, please don’t think that this means the entire experience was without typical Kimbo drama. And there were 2 big reasons for that.

1.       Opie is a TERRIBLE liar. When we got home and I was slowly working my way out of the anesthesia fog, he reported everything the doctor told him after the procedure…that one of my bile ducts was really constricted, that they had performed a sphincterotomy (which, when you’re slowly working your way out of an anesthesia fog, is a hilarious word and must be repeated in different voices, different tones and with different syllables emphasized a least 5 times) to widen the duct, and that this might have been the source of the problem.

“Might have been?” I asked. “It MIGHT have been the source of the problem?”

“He couldn’t say for sure,” Opie reported honestly. “There’s about a fifty-fifty chance. He hopes that it is, though, because if it’s not we’re basically back to square one.” 

“He did NOT say that!” I yelled. “Tell me that he did not say that there is a fifty percent chance that he still has no idea what’s wrong with me?!”

“No…well, kind of… I mean he thinks it could be…it probably is.”

I know honesty is one of the most important elements in a marriage but there’s something to be said for a convincing white lie now and then.

2.       God has a sense of humor. I woke up Wednesday morning with a terribly sore throat, which is understandable since I had spent an hour with a tube shoved down my esophagus on Tuesday. The fever, however, was a little harder to explain. Until I opened my school email and read a message from a student (who I had been working with on Monday) letting me know that he would be out on Wednesday due to a nasty case of strep throat.

I’ll leave my reaction to that news to your imagination (hint: there was swearing involved) but I will mention that I’ve been in bed swilling down antibiotics all week.

And maybe it’s still the anesthesia talking but sometimes I think I can hear God giggling and saying “Here’s some blog material for you!”

 I just hope He cured my stomach issues at the same time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bad Medicine

Tomorrow I go in for another (and hopefully final) procedure in the quest to figure out what’s going on with my stomach (you can read about the start of all that here and here).

And I’m pretty nervous about it. Not because I think something will go wrong but because I know that every time I have a medical procedure something goes wrong.
Take, for example, the first procedure in the stomach quest: my endoscopy. It was an unmitigated disaster.

And since I'm, apparently, turning into the kind of person who broadcasts her medical issues, I'll just give the full rundown of what happened:
The endoscopy was scheduled for 12:30 but we were supposed to arrive at 12:00 for check in, prep work etc. Left to my own devices, I would have flown into the building at top speed at 11:59 and used my last minute to cling to the reception desk in exhaustion and catch my breath—proud that I still made it on time.

Opie, on the other hand, has the insane belief that it’s less stressful to arrive early for things and my argument that no one is ever around to appreciate punctuality did nothing to sway him from his intended course.
Since he was driving, we got to the office at 11:40.

We filled out the paperwork, got all checked in and started to wait. And wait. And wait. And then, just to be different, we waited some more
I should probably mention here that in order to prepare for this test, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. But since we don’t usually have dinner at midnight, I actually hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since 8:00 the night before. And 16 hours with no food has a slightly discordant affect on my usually sunny nature.

At 12:15 I leaned over and snapped, “This is EXACTLY why I don’t like to get anywhere early…this is all your fault.”
“Of course it is,” Opie agreed, patting my hand. “But it will be ok.”

Unfortunately,  that’s when they started calling for people who had arrived well after we had….and I started to lose my grip on what was left of my temper. At 12:45 I leaned over to Opie again and hissed, “If I don’t get called next, I’m going to go over there and KILL the receptionist.”
Which means that, when the receptionist called another woman’s name, Opie jumped from his chair like he’d been shot from a gun and was at the desk before I could even move.

“You’re scheduled for 1:30.” She said, then blanched when Opie showed her the sheet with 12:30 emblazoned across the top. “I’m so sorry.” She called over to me. “I must have written it down wrong.”
“That’s ok,” I lied. “Mistakes happen. Could have happened to anyone.” But then I got a scrap of paper out of my purse and began surreptitiously drawing a stick figure labeled “receptionist” and stabbing its eyes out.

When they finally did call me back, things degenerated even more.
“Is your right or left arm usually better for an IV?” The nurse asked.

“Neither,” I told her. “No one can ever get it in my arm. You’ll probably have to put it in my hand.”

Most nurses appreciate this information, take a quick look at my arms and immediately switch to my hand. This nurse was in the 1% who take this comment as a professional insult—like I’m saying YOU won’t be able to do it because YOU look like the worst vein-puncturing, IV-placing excuse for a nurse I’ve ever seen.

I honestly don’t understand this reaction. How is that a personal affront? When people tell me they’ve never liked Shakespeare, I'm not insulted. And I certainly don’t fling them into a chair and start screaming Macbeth quotes at them.
In any case, after a cursory check, she said “Let’s try the left.”

“It won’t work,” I assured her.
And maybe she was the worst vein-puncturing, IV-placing excuse for a nurse I’ve ever seen because FIVE TRIES LATER she said, “I guess we’ll have to use your hand.”

I didn’t answer because in times of turmoil I like to close my eyes and visualize myself in a peaceful place, slowly throttling the person who has upset me.
Then the real trouble began. She started reading through her preliminary list of questions “Have you eaten anything today? Are you allergic to any medicine? Are you pregnant?”

And that’s when I made my fatal error.

I was honest. "No, I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant."

“Pretty sure?” She asked “You’re not positive?”

“Well, I didn’t take a pregnancy test today or anything.” I said.

And she stared at me like I was Hester Prynne. “Have you had unprotected sex?” She asked in a horrified whisper.

“I’m married,” I told her. “So, yah, probably like a thousand times and I’ve never gotten pregnant.”

“We have to be sure,” she said. “We’ll need to do a test. We'll need a urine sample."

“I haven’t had anything to eat or drink for EIGHTEEN HOURS,” I said.

“Let’s give it a shot,” she said. “We only need a few drops.”

For the sake of decency, I won’t even attempt to describe the gymnastic efforts that providing this sample involved but I will mention that I was in the smallest bathroom in the free world, wearing a hospital gown that was at least two sizes to big with an IV in my right hand and an IV roller stand doing its best to knock me down.
“Good news!” The nurse announced twenty minutes later. “You’re not pregnant!”

“I was pretty sure I wasn’t,” I agreed. “Not unless you happened to look out the window and saw a really bright star and 3 wise men lurking in the parking lot.”
Which, in light of our previous conversation, was actually a terrible analogy. But keep in mind I was delirious from hunger. Plus, it always irritates me when people assume Opie and I are happy not to have children.

At this point the nurse patted my hand and said “Thanks for being such a good sport” with absolutely NO sarcasm (which means I’m either eligible for an Academy Award or she was completely clueless or most of her patients actually snap and physically assault her) and wheeled me into the exam room.
This should have been enough drama for one little endoscopy.

But it wasn’t.
Because the first thing the nurse in the exam room asked me was “Ok, you’re here for (insert some long medical procedure name I’d never heard of and certainly can’t spell).?”

“No,” I said. “I’m here for an endoscopy because the doctor thinks I have ulcers.”
“Really?” She asked skeptically.

Unfortunately for her, I had used up all my nice on the receptionist and first nurse. “What possible motivation would I have to make that up?” I demanded.  “So I can get a test I don’t need? Because I enjoy being in the hospital? Because I have Munchausen’s syndrome or some other mental illness? I’M HERE FOR AN ENDOSCOPY.”
The doctor came in, they consulted, pulled out a different chart and he said, “An endoscopy it is!"

And the nurse laughed. “Sorry about that," she said. “You know how Fridays go!”

“That might be the least comforting thing anyone has ever said to me before a medical procedure,” I told her with what she could have taken as a smile or (probably more accurately) a feral, teeth-baring grimace.

Though, to be fair, my statement wasn’t completely true. The least comforting thing anyone has ever said to me before a medical procedure was about 10 years ago. I had skin cancer and this woman I worked with who had had the same surgery came to my classroom-ostensibly to make me feel better—and launched into this long, horrifying monologue about how she woke up during the procedure, it was the most painful thing she’s ever experienced, and she still can’t believe how deep her scars are.

“Why are you telling me this?” I demanded. “Are you actually trying to make me cry?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “It’s just that, you know, it probably won’t happen to you.”


So, while the nurse’s insinuation that mistakes are to be expected on Friday afternoons wasn’t as bad as that, it was a close second.

“I think we’ll just go ahead and give you the anesthesia,” the nurse said.

From there, things went pretty smoothly.

Largely because I was unconscious and really don’t remember anything else from the rest of the day—although Opie says I was a constant joy to be around, randomly screaming nonsensical things at him.

I should probably tell myself that things couldn't get any worse but experience has taught me things can always get worse. 

So, say a prayer that everything goes well tomorrow and that I finally find out what's wrong.
And maybe a little prayer that Opie has the strength to go through it all again.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Sometimes when Opie says "So, what did you do all day?" I don't really know how to explain.

Just found the dog a costume with matching pumpkin socks.

Ran into the Headless Horseman...

And horrified the cat.

Seriously, it's been a BUSY day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tru-Green Tales

Is it possible to be black-balled from Tru-Green?

If so, I think we’re doomed.  I mean, we’ve had incidents with the Tru-Green guy before but I’m pretty sure today takes the cake.

Here’s what happened:

I was upstairs smack in the middle of a remodeling project (more on THAT later) and the door bell rang. I thought it was just the mailman dropping off a package so I ignored it until it rang again a few seconds later.

So, a veritable vision of annoyed, paint-covered, sweaty glory, I went down, threw open the door and found myself face-to-face with a slightly hysterical Tru-Green employee.

“Ma’am, your dog’s in the yard right now.” He said, looking a little wild around the eyes.

That probably should have been all the explanation that I needed. But I’d been breathing in paint fumes for several hours and I was a little distracted by the fact that my other dog was running around my feet barking like a maniac. So, for a minute, I thought he meant that Bub hadn’t been in the yard a few minutes earlier. That Bub had escaped and had been wandering around the neighborhood like an intrepid explorer dog and this this guy had found him and returned him to the yard and now wanted some sort of reward.

Which was very confusing because Bubba has never gotten out of the yard, he doesn’t even try to leave the yard when the gate’s open and he wouldn’t let some stranger touch him for all the dog biscuits at the Milk Bone factory.

And then it hit me.

“Oh!” I said. “You’re here to fertilize the yard!”

“Yes,” he agreed. “And your dog…he, well he won’t let me.”

“So he saw you try to get in the yard?”

“He saw me!” The guy agreed. “He definitely saw me.”

“Well, this is going to be a pain.” I said.

And sure enough, when I went out back, Bubba was in full-on patrol mode. He was running from one gate to the other, barking, lunging at the fence, and basically trying to convince the neighborhood that he was a ferocious, crazed beast.

When I tried to get him to come in the house, he looked at me like I’d gone insane then included me in his patrol, running to one gate, running around me in a circle, then running to the other gate—completely ignoring commands, shouts and treat bribes.

“This is no time for eating!” Bubba told me. “There’s an intruder in the vicinity—we’re on red alert here!”

This is not why we’re going to be blackballed from Tru-Green. I’m sure that they encounter dogs all the time. They don’t, however, encounter ME all the time.

Especially not an irritated, over dramatic me.

See, just when I thought I finally had Bubba convinced that the danger was gone and he could come inside, the Tru-Green guy peeked around the side of the house to check on my progress.

This, of course, convinced Bubba that the threat level had just been raised to DEFCON 1.

“Resume your positions!” Bubba screamed, charging the fence. “Maximum readiness, we’re at maximum readiness here!”

If I could have gotten past the dog, I might have beaten the Tru Green guy to death with the leash. 

Instead, I went in the house then out the front door and walked around to where the Tru Green guy was still hovering.

“Dude,” I said (which is the most embarrassing part of the story—I actually said dude). “You need to move. You need to be somewhere this dog can’t see you.”

And he looked at me like I was crazy (why does everyone give me that look? It's a real mystery.)

Which is when I slipped into full-on Kimbo mode. “This is a very protective dog!” I shouted, waving my hands in the air “He has killed squirrels and moles by the dozen! He has come face to face with a skunk and lived to tell the tale! And he will die before he lets some stranger in the yard! He won’t let me face that kind of peril alone—it’s too perilous! You need to get out of his sight! And you need to do it NOW!”

I’m not really sure which of us scared the poor guy more, me or Bub. But he went over and got in his truck (pretty sure I saw him on his cell phone and I suspect that the conversation wasn’t about how much he loved his job) and I managed to drag Bubba back in the house.

So, in sum, this was the fastest fertilization our lawn has ever had, Bubba has lowered the threat level to DEFCON 4 but he’s still on hyper-alert sentry duty, and I think I know why we never seem to have the same Tru Green guy twice in a row.

This dog doesn't look scary, does he?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I should start by saying I love my iPhone. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am obsessed with my phone. It’s not only  my calendar and  my address book but I also keep my kindle and audio books on it, it's my GPS system, I have several games on it and  I text like a teenager.

A few years ago I dropped and broke my iPhone 3 months before my scheduled upgrade date and I whined about it so much that even my priest told Opie he should just cave and buy me a new one early (and we weren’t even married yet!).

However, having said that I must add that there is one thing I hate: iPhone updates.

I don’t know why but every time I update my phone it is a huge freaking nightmare (I’m pretty sure Opie suspects user error but is too wise to say that out loud).

Which is why, whenever a new update shows up on my phone, I avoid it as long as possible. 

Yesterday I finally caved and installed the newest operating system.

And it went a little something like this:

Hit update now on settings menu of phone and immediately get message that phone doesn’t have enough memory to update and needs to be connected to computer.

Remind phone that it ALWAYS crashes when we try to update through the computer. Suggest that, this time, perhaps it could be a good sport and just go ahead and update. Press update button 4 or 5 more times in futile effort to force update.

Question marital status of phone’s parents as it inconsiderately refuses to update.

Connect the phone and the computer. Hit “update.”

Get lulled into a false sense of security when screen on phone announces “Updating now.”

Watch “Updating” flash on screen for 35 minutes.

Begin to suspect that phone is lying.

Computer also becomes suspicious of phone, beeps loudly and flashes message on screen that phone can’t update because don’t have latest version of iTunes.

Explain to computer that do have the latest version of iTunes and hit “Try Again.”

Realize that computer has, once again, been sucked into the phone’s nefarious clutches and is refusing to recognize latest version of iTunes.

Curse so loudly that have to spend next ten minutes reassuring lunatic dogs that am not screaming at them, they aren’t in trouble, and are still loved.

Ridiculous cat, it is interesting to note, is not at all disturbed by cursing but is highly offended that other animals are getting attention and immediately attempts to steal the spotlight by climbing up back and trying to balance on my head. Subsequent cursing AT cat does nothing at all to deter cat but necessitates another 5 minutes of canine comforting.

Decide that this is clearly a technical disaster best handled by computer programmer (Opie) and unplug phone from computer.

Immediately get this error message:

Which means that phone can not phone, text, or do anything useful until it has been plugged back into computer and updated.

Remember Opie’s maxim that, in times of technical trouble, step one is always to reboot gadget. 

Reboot phone.

Get message again.

Loudly accuse phone of engaging in Oedipal-like activities and feel nearly overwhelming urge to throw phone across room then stomp it into a broken puddle of communication on the floor.

Realize that A. Opie will probably object to expensive replacement of phone destroyed in temper tantrum and B. Are losing somewhat tenuous grip on sanity.

Check clock to see if it’s too early to pour a glass of wine the size of a human head.

Grudgingly heat up cup of tea instead, go out on porch with lunatic dogs and attempt to get self under control.

Come back in, somewhat refreshed, plug phone back in to computer, get on Apple’s completely misnamed Support site.

Click on “live chat” and get pop up window asking for serial number of phone.  Which, according to support site, can be found on the home screen of phone.

Check homescreen but it still looks like this:

Click on button that says “other options.” Get pop up that says “Send serial number through text.”

Scream “I CAN’T TEXT BECAUSE I CAN’T GET PAST THE ERROR SCREEN!” and try to remember every curse word have ever heard—in a variety of languages.

Check other options which include: call customer support or have customer support call you.


Spend twenty minutes in endless loop of alleged other options—all of which require the use of a phone to implement.

Realize that A. No one actually works at Apple Support and B. Sometimes the medicinal nature of wine supersedes polite society’s arbitrary time restrictions.

Return to computer, much more relaxed, completely uninstall and re-install iTunes.

Update phone.

Get message that update failed and now phone needs to be restored to factory settings.

Which takes about 45 minutes and, though I can use my phone again, means that I have to redo most of my contact list AND (far worst of all) somehow knocked me back TWENTY-TWO LEVELS in Candy Crush.

Seriously, it’s a wonder we have any wine left at all.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hockey Fan

In addition to his long term obsession with Rock Band, Princeton P. Kitty has developed a deep interest in hockey.

He likes the Stars but he's still a Blues cat at heart.

This is when I remembered to turn on the flash.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Belle's Bakery & Deli

After 8 long weeks, Princess Snowflake Sassypants is FINALLY out of puppy prison. I don’t mind saying it has been 8 weeks of hell. I tried explaining to her that being confined was for her own good, that we had spent a lot of money on her ridiculous little knee and that we really didn’t want to rush back to the surgical specialist for another 

Unfortunately, she was completely unreasonable about the entire situation and lodged daily verbal protests. Loud, unrelenting daily verbal protests, insisting that she could heal just as easily sitting on my lap or being carried around in my arms.

As I have always been one to rule my pets with an iron fist, I stood up to her tantrums for almost ten whole minutes before I caved and just started schlepping her around like some ancient litter-bearer.

Doesn't look like a spoiled rotten princess, does she?

Suffice it to say there was more than one day that Opie got home from work only to find me waiting at the top of the steps. “I need to be where she is NOT.” I would tell him, shoving a small yappy dog into his arms.

But those days are over! We are free! (Cue the George Michael lyrics Freedom! You gotta give for what you take! Freedom!)

And what better way to celebrate my new found freedom than with a cupcake? Especially since a brand new bakey and deli just opened up within a block or two of my house.

I had high hopes for Belle’s Bakery and Deli since I had already sampled one of their frozen chocolate-peanut butter chunks of deliciousness. I went in expecting the cupcakes to be equally amazing.

They were terrible.

Not quite as bad as the black anise cupcakes of death that started this whole search but close.

Dry, crumbly, with frosting that was just weird.

Doesn't look terrible, does it? 

And if you think this is an exaggeration or my typical overdramatization of things, let me just throw this out there:

I had both a chocolate and a vanilla and I didn’t finish either of them.

This is an event almost completely unprecedented in my cupcake history.


So, final verdict

Price: $1.50 – Great if they were halfway decent, about $1.49 more than they were worth.
Size: Average
Cake: Yuck
Icing: Double Yuck.

All in all, the kind of cupcake you eat when you’re confined to puppy prison but no where near good enough to celebrate freedom!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fear of Flying

Here’s the thing:  I don't fly well.

And when I say I don't fly well, I don't mean that I run around the yard, flapping my arms like some deranged bird, unsuccessfully attempting to fly.

I mean that when I board a giant metal tube and prepare to be hurtled across the skies at hundreds of miles per hour, I get a little nervous.

And when I say I get a little nervous, I mean I’m absolutely convinced that, at any moment, the engine will malfunction and we’ll all plummet to our fiery deaths.

A conviction I feel compelled to share with anyone sitting around me.

Just doing my part to spread sunshine and joy wherever I go.

In any case, this is bad enough when I’m on a regular 747. But now when I travel to Illinois to visit my family, I frequently fly the last part of the trip on this little 10 seater plane:

It’s really convenient but it’s also HORRIFYING.

One of the things that always freaks me out is the fact that, even though regular sized airplanes have lessened the restrictions on leaving electronics on while you’re in the air, the little planes haven’t. 
Apparently the plane’s computer system is so sensitive that the tiniest signal from my phone could rip through the circuitry like a virus and, of course, send us plummeting to our fiery deaths.

So, when I traveled to Illinois last weekend and this young guy (about 22 or so) kept sneaking his phone out to play with it, I almost snatched it from him and beat him to death with it.

“Sir,” the pilot said. “Didn’t you hear the preflight instructions? You have to turn your phone off.”

“Ok,” the guy said, put it in his pocket until the pilot turned back around, then he got it out again.
It was like I was back in a high school classroom…and I began having horribly violent fantasies about hitting him with the phone, pouring water over the phone and electrocuting the moron, turning the phone into the world’s largest suppository and shoving it right up the guy’s…well, you probably get the picture.

Luckily, the pilot confiscated the moron’s phone before I could do any lasting damage.

And, to show you just how clueless the moron was, after the pilot took his phone, the moron looked at me and whined “Geez, that guy’s on a power trip!”

At which point I put my hand in his face like a traffic cop and said “WRONG AUDIENCE DUDE!”

When he started to protest, I said “If I was the pilot, I would have taken it ten minutes ago and I would have SMASHED it." I said.

Then I smiled like I was kidding.

But I wasn’t kidding.

And I’m pretty sure the moron knew I wasn’t kidding because he didn’t talk to me the rest of the flight.

Then, if that drama wasn't bad enough, when I was leaving Illinois and getting ready to board the little plane again, the guy in front of me in the security line got dragged out of the building in handcuffs.

I may never fly again.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Puppy Riding Pillion

I know this picture doesn't look all that great and some of you are probably saying to yourselves "Kimberly, it looks like you took that picture while you were driving your car."

But that's only because I took this picture while driving my car.

Which, yes, is dangerous and reckless and a hundred other things I tell my students, nieces and nephews not to do...but check out who this biker has riding pillion:

That's right. It's his DOG...his tiny little yapper of a dog, complete with helmet  and goggles!!!

And you people think I'm weird about MY animals!

Monday, October 6, 2014


Ok let’s say you have a hairless cat whose tail has occasionally been described as “rat-like.”

And let’s say this alleged cat takes an Olympic-gymnast style leap from his window seat to the floor—only to get the aforementioned tail caught in the cords of the blinds.

And let’s say that he is then suspended from the blinds like some yowling, angry, hairless marionette.

And let’s say that you immediately rescue the cat from his predicament (which he is pretty sure is all YOUR fault) but the second he is free, he runs all over the house in an attempt to hide from you and your tail-damaging shenanigans.

And let’s say that you finally corner him on the DVR:

and realize that his tail is bruised and a little bit swollen.

Do you take this cat to the vet? Can the vet do anything about a bruised tail?

Or do you spend the rest of your morning trying to figure out why these things only happen when your husband is at work and wondering if 11:00 am is too early for vodka?

Asking for a friend…