Friday, January 31, 2014

Ode to a Neighbor

This post is my first attempt at rhyming poetry since 9th grade english. My apologies…..I had to. I just had to. Enjoy readers!

Ode to a Neighbor

Cheers to my neighbor, so proud and so bold.
The man is a beacon, a sight to behold.

He guards the street bravely, fills criminals with dread.
Well, mostly he sends children to cower beneath the bed.

He fears not the cold, he is a true Spartan.
His stained tank top: his armor, his loud swim trunks: his Tartan.

With a scraggly beard, and long hair tucked in a hat,
His game face repels burglars, rapists, and one calico cat.

His strength is in the art of the multitask.
Spinning nun chucks while smoking, and in his pocket; a flask!

Sleep tight, gentle neighbors, you are safe and sound.
This vigilante; nay, this hero, will always be around.

So yeah, in short, I was walking Todd yesterday and one of my neighbors was in his front yard spinning nun chucks while smoking, wearing neon swim trunks, a dirty tank top, and a knit beanie in 50 degree weather. It was too awesome not to share.

I sadly did not get a photo because a) He could chase me down and beat me with nun chucks AND burn me with cigarettes, and b) I didn't have my phone on me :(

Monday, January 20, 2014

Curb (Appeal) Your Enthusiasm

In the 7 months we've owned this house, Matt and I have made a lot of changes to both inside and outside. The big projects like reclaimed wood wall, the deck, the horseshoe pits, the patio, paint in EVERY room, and all the small fixes like ceiling fans, a/c, plumbing, landscape clean up, and chimney repairs have all made strides toward making this house feels like "ours", but one thing kept us from really accepting it as our dream home. And that was this:
Hello, 1973.
( House actually built in 1986, shockingly.)
The pink and brown color scheme almost kept us from putting an offer on the house in the first place. It made the brick look old and dirty and beyond salvage. We even considered staining the brick, which after much research, we discovered that staining brick is one of the riskiest things you can do to it. For those who are wondering, it's because bricks are "baked" with the color and in order to change the color you have to sand off the "baked" exterior so the stain will soak in, making the brick forever porous and exposing your home to water issues (mold, rot, etc). Painting the brick is also a terrible plan because it flakes off every few years depending on the weather. I did paint the brick hearth on the living room fireplace, but interiors are a different matter. 

So we decided to paint the exterior and hoped that better colors and a power wash would be enough to revive the dull brick. We found out from the neighbors that the color choice was actually only 4 YEARS OLD. WHAAAAAT?!?!  Someone looked at a paint chart in 2010 and said "This is the future of exterior design." Yes, clearly pink and brown was the color combo of the modern age since the pantone of the year was…..
It makes ALL the sense, readers.
So for the colors we wanted to go with modern yet classic, something people won't ask "Why?" about in 4 years. We are putting a lot of bold design choices inside, so outside needs to appeal to a slightly broader audience. Grey with white trim, hard to go wrong.  "But Jamie", says concerned reader, "there are SOOOO many hues of grey, how do you pick the right one?" Here's how:

Pick a few hues to get samples of of, roughly $3 a pop, and then ACTUALLY PAINT THEM ON THE HOUSE. There is no other way to pick. Holding up tiny swatches to your giant house will not work. You will end up picking too dark or bold a color, or getting scared and picking something that washes out the whole building. We picked 3 hues, and a bright white trim, and went with the middle one in the picture; Sherwin-Williams Magnetic Grey.  Placement of the paint is key. Paint your sample colors next to trim and near something that is staying once the color has changed, like flower boxes, or brick, or a deck. 

So we picked a well reviewed crew who sealed me and the pup in the house with tape and plastic for 3 days in a row while they worked. Nothing like a stir crazy, naturally protective pup and the noise of 5 guys all around the house to drive a housewife to the breaking point. And then I had an interview for a non-profitworking with mentally ill clients. Perfect. I wonder if the glint of cabin fever made me more desirable as an employee or a case study? Anywho….paint. We were talking about paint.

The results!

Amazing the difference a little paint makes, huh? What do you think, readers?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Start 2014….Do's and Don'ts

So 2014 Started….yesterday. But how could I tell you how to start the year when I had not yet started the year myself? So I did it for you, sheltered readers, and you're welcome. Using New Years Eves and Days from this year and the past few, I have developed a list of Do's and Don'ts.

1) Do: Ring in the the New Year with people you love. I am a lucky lucky lady to not only have a wonderful husband and puppy, but awesome friends that I cannot celebrate anything without. We were a small party (8) here in Texas, but I'd rather almost pee myself with merriment (emphasis on ALMOST!!!!) with those fools than freeze my butt off in Time Square with thousands of gropey, pukey strangers watching Miley Cyrus take a running leap at the ball as it drops.
2) Don't: Attempt to enjoy the fireworks going off  in the street while holding your puppy. He will pee on you. Last year, during our riveting celebration that consisted of Matt and I playing scrabble at home because we hadn't made any solid friends in Texas yet; Todd started freaking out at the fireworks display happening literally outside our door thanks to some neighborhood hooligans. I picked him up to comfort him, but then idiotically went to look out the door at the fireworks. Todd snuggled under my chin (apparently in shame), an suddenly I felt very warm and wet. First and only time he's ever done that. Happy New Year to me.

3) Do: Be safe and throw a party! If you can't follow the laws of man and non-idiocy by not drinking and driving, be a host! Matt and I follow this formula on most beverage-centric holidays: New Year's, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween….Secretary's Day….the usual. Hosting seems like a burden to most but I like having an excuse to make my house clean and festive and bake all day. Also, Matt is not a "dessert-guy" (I married him DESPITE this obviously major flaw), so I need a house full of people to eat the extras lest I become house-sized myself.

4) Don't: Attempt to clean up after a party while drunk/hungover. You will break glass. Every single time. Matt was guilty this year, having aggressively shoved a beer glass into the dish washer which already had a glass bowl in that spot. Oops. Bedtime for you, mister. This rule also applies to Cinco de Mayo, or more specifically Seis de Mayo seven years ago when I attempted to clean up the sorority house I lived in while horribly hungover and stepped right onto a broken Corona bottle in bare feet. And because I was hungover I didn't think about it as I pulled the bottle out of my foot, causing an arc of bloodspray which hit the kitchen walls and fridge in such a way that would make CSI and Law & Order envious. I lost several pints and limped for a month. Lesson learned, grossed out readers? Good. Moving on.

5) Watch great movies. It has become a tradition in our family to make the first movie of each year Jurassic Park. Why mess with success? I don't know a man that doesn't love watching people flee from a car crashing through a tree, or a woman who doesn't love a sprawled out shirtless Jeff Goldblum explaining Chaos Theory. Or anyone that doesn't love watching a T-Rex eat a lawyer on the john.

Thats, THAT'S Chaos Theory.

Sure, we go to the theaters for a new movie too, but that's a gamble. This year we went to see Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which read on our tickets as Anchorman 2: The Leg. A fantastic start at Alamo Drafthouse, which for non-texans; is a theatre that serves food and drinks and has a full bar and great beers. Also they custom design the previews to enhance the movie been shown. So for this flick the previews were Will Ferrell Funny or Die sketches and clips of real newscasters glubbin' up on the job (Bill O'Reilly, anyone!?!) Here is my review:  Are you under 35? It was stupid funny. Go see it! Are you my parents reading my blog? It was stupid. Don't see it. I don't don't know who else reads this blog that don't fall into either of those categories, but they can probably figure out if they should see it for themselves.

6) Don't: Go to the DPS (DMV for non-Texans) to get your new license (FOR THE FIFTH TIME). They will tell you after half an hour of waiting that the email receipt of a renewed registration is insufficient, and it's your fault that the department of vehicle registration hasn't sent you the sticker within the 7-10 days they promise to because of the holidays, so now your registration is 2 days expired. Their suggestions? a) Don't drive until you get the sticker. b) If you need to drive, and get pulled over, try showing the "insufficient" email receipt and explain to the cop that the holidays delay the processing, and the cop should be "totally understanding". Right. Did I mention I have been to the DMV FIVE TIMES IN ONE YEAR?!!?!

IMMEDIATE UPDATE: "Registration Lady" says my registration is not expired until the END of January, and DPS should have issued me a license right then and there. WHAAAAAT. THEEEEEEE.   F&*%$@#^! I desire to hurt them. Or crawl in a small crevice and cry about it.

7) Do: Pump the Jams. Those songs that make you dance and sing in the car no matter your mood/ location/ who's in the car with you? Yeah, those. Play those. A lot. It's a new year. Be free, and awesome, and make the person pulled up next to you at the light smile.

I would say organize closets and pantries and stuff because I did that, but I'm not your mom so… what you want, unorganized reader!


P.S.- My actual resolution is to research how to become "world renowned" as well as "shrouded in mystery"; and then make a decision for my self based on which takes less effort.