Tuesday, December 11, 2007

not an advertisement for Palmolive

At 1:34pm today, I loaded my dishwasher for the first time in nearly 2 months. No, 60 days of dishes were not teetering precariously on every surface of my kitchen (there isn't that much surface and I don't have that many dishes). Rather, I've been hand-washing every plate, glass, spoon, dried-pancake-batter-covered mixing bowl, milk-encrusted sippy cup, caked-on lasagna pan and any other utensil that has been handled by my family of four for what feels like an eternity.

My conservative estimate (my husband is the exaggerator of this pair) is that for the last half-year, our dishes have had some level of soap residue left on them after a cycle through the dishwasher. I'd become so accustomed to this reality that it wasn't until John commented at dinner several nights in a row that his meal had the faint taste of fresh lemons that I recognized it was probably time to take action.

In typical fashion, the item "Get dishwasher fixed" fell down and down my to-do list. Crossing that task off the list eluded me long enough for our garbage disposal to stop working as well. Recognizing that we could be throwing down some serious cash for two new appliances, I decided a better option might be to renew our home warranty. Even with the yearly fee and the service charge for each claim, that option it would still be cheaper than two new appliances.

During the month it took for me to finally complete the task of calling about the home warranty, I had completed the first several of the Stages You Go Through When Washing Dishes By Hand:

Stage 1: Mild Annoyance -- "This is annoying to be washing all our dishes by hand, but it's only for a few days. I can handle this. Lots of people don't have dishwashers."

Stage 2: Finding Inner Peace -- "OK, so this is lasting longer than a few days. I'm just going to try to enjoy this time standing in front of the sink. It can be time for me. Time for thinking and reflecting and pondering the things of life."

Stage 3 (directly on the heels of Stage 2): Denial -- "Dishes? What dishes? I don't see any dishes."

Stage 4: Take Out -- "Honey, can you pick up something for dinner on the way home? And make sure they give you paper plates. And spoons. And cups."

So I get our home warranty renewed and can barely contain my excitement when Rosemary (my agent) tells me the warranty takes affect at midnight tonight, so I can make a claim the next day if I want to.


"So, is there anything wrong in your house right now?"

"Ummm, no. Not that I know of." (Worried that if I tell her my dishwasher and my disposal are not working she somehow will not be able to renew the warranty. I realize lying is wrong people, but cut me some slack.)

"Well, good. Just one last thing I need to tell you...there is a 30-day waiting period for rust and corrosion. So, if you do make a claim and it's determined that the problem is due to rust or corrosion, the maintenance will not be covered under the warranty."

"Oh. OK." (Crap.)

Figuring that with my luck, it would be determined that both my dishwasher and disposal were not working due to rust or corrosion, I decided to play it safe and wait the 30 days. This was not an easy decision, but I wanted to bypass the reality of Murphy's Law being played out in this situation.

During the second 30 days, I worked my way through more Stages than I would've ever thought possible.

Stage 5: Water Conservation -- "Think of all the water we're saving!"

Stage 6: Glass Conservation -- "How many glasses did you use today? You're gonna reuse that glass aren't you?"

Stage 7: Dish Acrobatics -- "Look at that pile of clean dishes!" (I amazed myself at my newly-developed ability to stack dishes for optimum drying time.)

Stage 8: Dishpan Hands -- "Where's my hand lotion? I can't find my hand lotion!" (Truthfully, my hands have aged 20 years in the past 8 weeks.)

Which brings us to today. The Appliance Doctor braved the treacherous (or not) 1/4 inch of ice to show up at my doorstep and save me from washing one more dish by hand. In less than 5 minutes, he showed me the reason for my dishwashing troubles -- an elastic ponytail holder and what looked to be a mangled plastic straw. I've been washing dishes by hand for 60 days because of an ELASTIC PONYTAIL HOLDER?!?

My frustration was short-lived because I was about knocked flat on my feet by the horrendous smell coming from the dishwasher. It smelled like a dead cat.

"What is that awful stench?"

(The 'Doctor' with a cheekful of chew) "Oh that's stagnant water. It's probably been sitting in there since the last time you ran your dishwasher. That's nothin'. I've seen stagnant water that's turned black. Do you have any white vinegar?"

"All I have is cider vinegar."

"That'll do."(He pours an entire bottle of cider vinegar into the dishwasher and starts it back up.)

My dishes now smell like they were licked clean by a dead cat that fell into a tub of vinegar...but at least I didn't have to wash them by hand.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

hand cramps

I just finished handwriting 22 letters to mail out to our best customers at the store. (We have more than 22 customers that are "best"...we're e-mailing the other 38 people because we didn't have postal addresses for them.) I thought a handwritten note might stand out better. John's position was that I should type them out, sign my name and be done with them. My response was, "How many handwritten notes have you received from a retail store? Zero. That's right. I want these to make an impression."

Hours later and now I can barely move my right hand. And I'm thankful we only had 22 postal addresses.

The things I do to sell shoes.

I realized this morning after rereading this post that it might sound like I wished I had gone with John's position. Not the case. I was just feeling sarcastic last night after all that. It is interesting to me how far away our society has moved from writing things with our own hand. I mean, people used to write with a quill and ink (I'm sure some still do) and I can't sit down for longer than 20 minutes and write a letter with pen and ink. It's just so much easier to type an email, or a document and make copies. I set a "goal" for myself early in 2007 that I would write a letter to someone every month. I have yet to do that. Maybe I'll revisit it in 2008. Or maybe I'll decide to handwrite all our Christmas letters. On second thought, maybe not.

I also realized after opening up this post again that some of you with less-than-clean minds might get a laugh at the title of this post. I was going to change it to prevent any derogatory comments, but I've decided to let it remain. Please keep any potty-mouth comments to yourself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

bang up job

I feel as if I've been waiting forever to grow my hair out, so I could get it cut and achieve the look I have wanted for awhile. Now, I realize forever may seem like a gross overstatement when my hair is still short after growing it out, but it's all relative here people. I love the girl who cuts my hair -- Amber has an amazing ability to do exactly what I want.

I spent at least 20 minutes attempting a self-portrait to no avail. I blame it on bad lighting inside my house. So then I stepped outside and Margot asked if she could take a picture of me. Her shot ended up being my favorite. I like the angle and off-centeredness. Should I be embarassed that at 3 she takes better photos than me?

new hair a la margot

And here's a closer-up shot -- a rare occurrence for me because I don't like being on this side of the camera.

new hair close up

Thursday, November 01, 2007

habitat turns 2

habitat poster with tetra shoes
(photo credit to Hannah. This photo was taken one month before Habitat opened. The shoes are the Farylrobin Tetra and to this day, they are one of my favorites.)

Two years ago today my husband and I opened this. It has been an unpredictable ride to say the least. There have been times I've wondered if we've gone completely insane. Saturdays I've wished my husband could just stay home and have a weekend with our family. Moments of asking myself if chasing your dreams is really worth so much work (and then some more work).

Yet, there have been many more times I've been in awe of the generosity and support of our friends and family. Saturdays I've met and interacted with customers who love our store and get what we're trying to do. And lots of moments of knowing that I'd rather have chased a dream -- no matter how difficult -- than to have never known what would be on the other side of the pursuit.

Here's to many more years of schlepping shoes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

picking out pumquinns

For the second night in a row, my husband has fallen asleep before my daughter. I didn't realize taking a vacation would be so tiring. I thought I'd take advantage of some time to myself (if Margot doesn't come downstairs 12 more times that is) to blog. Recently, I've been experiencing some serious mommy guilt about how few photos I've taken of my kids in the past year. I haven't allowed myself to look through family photo albums of Margot's first year (I've wanted to see how much Vance and Margot resemble one another as babies) because I know I would be so ashamed at how few photos I have taken of Vance's first year that I might not get out of bed for a week. So, last night I wrote out my to do list for today:

1. Call and reschedule Margot's dentist appointment
2. Confirm reservations for John's 30th birthday party

This morning we went out on the front porch to do some sidewalk chalk and I grabbed the camera. Honestly though I felt like I was forcing it. Trying to get some amazing photo of Vance while he was doing laps around my car to make up for the last 12 months. Fortunately, Nana called and asked if we wanted to meet her to pick out some pumpkins.

Vance picking out his:

come on Vance, pick it up

This picture cracks me up...it's like the pumpkin just told him a joke.

funny pumpkin

Margot kept asking me, "Mom, when are we going to pick out our pumquinns?

the "pum-quinn" girl

A good haul (Margot is pulling the wagon. I think she would've pulled Vance all the way back to our house if we would've let her.):

wagon ride

Friday, August 24, 2007

our little ballerina

beaming ballerina

Margot had her first dance class today. It's called "Creative Movement" -- a ballet class for 3-5-year-olds. It's pretty much all Margot has talked about for the past month. On a daily basis she has told us, and anyone who would listen, "I'm going to Miss Lilly's ballet class" (Miss Lilly is Angelina Ballerina's ballet teacher, so naturally Margot assumed her teacher's name would be Miss Lilly). In order to avoid last minute rushing around (which always seems to be the case for me when trying to get two small children loaded up in the car with all their paraphrenalia AND we're trying to get somewhere on time), I dressed Margot in her little outfit early...like 2 hours early. It was almost too much for Margot to take, she kept saying, "I'm ready to go to ballet," or "Mom, when are we going to ballet." Then, when we arrived at the studio, we found out the class actually started an hour later than I thought. This about killed Margot. She could not understand why we were leaving after all the build-up to it. A quick lunch across the street and then we returned to find 4 other girls her age waiting patiently to start.

ballet 1, wk 1

I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to watch her, but thankfully they allowed us to peek in through one of the windows to their room. It is probably one of the most adorable things I've ever seen (more photos on flickr, just click on photo above). Little girls dressed from head to toe in pink, dancing around with big smiles on their faces. Absolutely precious.

thirsty ballerina

Thursday, August 23, 2007

fly infestation

I can't stand flies. In fact, I loathe them. Anytime I see a fly around my house, I promptly find a magazine, roll it up and kill it. However, a few days ago I got lax in my job as Fly Patrol and chose to wait it out. I mean, flies only have a 24-hour life cycle, right? I was tired of chasing them, so I decided to let the one or two flies buzzing around live out the remainder of their short lives and die on their own. This was where I went wrong.

Tuesday afternoon while walking from our front living room to our kitchen, I noticed several flies sitting on the window in our dining room. I started to count them and when I got to 7, I thought, "What is going on?" I then glanced into the kitchen and saw 4 more flies on the window in there, and then turned back into the living room to see 5 more flies on one of the windows in there. By this point, my blood was boiling so much is was about to shoot out of my veins and through my skin.

I went on a rampage and spent the next 15 or so minutes killing 19 flies. I had mercy on 3 flies that I ended up shooing out the door and then killed 8 more later that evening. I was only mildly comforted by my success at elimination all the flies (I could see at least) because I knew the reality was that some fly had laid a nest of a zillion eggs and that this party was long from over. I came home from work the next evening to find John swatting at flies. He said he'd already killed at least 15 (which means maybe 5 because he tends to exaggerate...and even he admits he's not good at killing flies). I killed 8 more that night. One was still buzzing about, but I'd nearly thrown my elbow out going after his siblings, so I decided to get him in the morning.

Today, I've killed at least 10 more; I'm starting to lose count. I just googled "fly infestation" and believe that our house has been taken over by bottle flies (also called greenbottle, bluebottle or blow flies), which are noted for their "metallic blue or green coloration." The good news? -- "Blowflies are scavengers who deposit their eggs on decaying meat, fish, garbage, fecal matter and dead animals." Now all I have to do is find and eliminate this source of decay. Fantastic. The really good news? -- "Complete development (from egg to adult) can require as little as 10 days or as much as 3 weeks." So I only have to deal with this for 3 more weeks. Stupendous! Too bad my husband will have to commit me long before then.

Actually, one good thing that has come out of all this is I found one interesting piece of advice on how to keep flies from entering your home:

"Many people swear that a zip-lock bag filled half-way with water and attached over entry-ways will repel flies. No one yet knows how or why it works, but there is speculation that it has something to do with the way the moving water refracts light."

If anyone tries it, let me know if it works for you. In the meantime, pray for my sanity.