Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Purse Guts

Week two of Blogstalking, was to share the contents of my purse. This may have been more scary than the subject from last week. My purse is typically a jumble of spilled snacks, grocery receipts and miscellaneous bric a brac that I try to hide from everyone. It's embarrassing that I cannot even keep something as small as a handbag organized. But having seen some of the other pocketbooks out there, I felt the courage to do it. And here it is:

It doesn't look as bad as I though it would. lucky for me, most of the paper bits had sunk below the big, normal items, looking much better than reality. And here are the entrails of my purse, after having been removed. It's kind of like an autopsy table, although I didn't weigh anything.

Here's the rundown:

+2 nylon reusable shopping bags. I really need more of them. I got one from a local shop, and the other from
cell phone
+garage door opener
+brush -- I don't use brushes, I'm a short-hair gal. But my daughter is always in need for a good hairbrushing.
+patchouli perfume oil from the Body Shop. I don't actually wear patchouli every day, but this made it into my purse a few weeks ago and I haven't managed to get it back up to my room yet.
+wallet -- I hate this wallet: the dollar-section isn't big enough to hold dollar bills.
+New Kroger discount cards that I have yet to put on my keyring. In my defense, I only got the new ones last weekend.
+Lip glosses, balms, and lipsticks. My favorite of them are a Mary Kay gloss and a basil and cinnamon lip balm from Dreamseeds. The really sparkly lip gloss actually belongs to my 5-year-old daughter.
+too much change
+a rubber band,
+glass marble
+hair clip
+plastic buffalo
+spider ring
+one key to a car I no longer own
+one peppermint candy
+one peanut
+one dirty Smartie
+hand sanitizer
+and a pile of paper: receipts, coupons, shopping lists and candy wrappers. There were more of them in there, but I did clean my purse out recently, and the pile is pretty small right now.

Not Pictured: My keys, which were hanging on the rack by the door, and my sunglasses that were in the stroller, waiting for the next trip to go get the girl from kindergarten.

So, nothing earth shattering. But amusing, nonetheless.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The strangest squirrel encounter ever

I've been putting off writing this entry, as I'm pretty sure that words won't do it justice. But I have to try. The other day, I told the kids to go outside. It was a beautiful day. I didn't feel like sweeping the sidewalk or tidying the yard or picking the tomatoes that will end up rotting in the kitchen (FYI, when one is the only tomato eater in the house, one should not grow 8 plants of 3 different varieties of tomato). I of course brought out needles and yarn and cast on for yet another project.

A few rows into it, I hear Nora say "Hi, little squirrel" in her sweet little voice, echoed by Nigel's voice repeating his sister's words. Hrm. I've never known a live backyard critter to hang out long enough for not one but two children to say 'hello.' I immediately assume that the kids are saying hi to a dead squirrel in our yard. I decide to investigate further. As I walk across the yard, I tell the kids to stay clear of it, because sometimes squirrels bite or scratch, and it would hurt. This warning served mainly to scare the boy up onto the swing, where be started crying, because the beast was still sitting there, staring at him.

Yes, a live squirrel, just sitting there, with a 3-year-old boy treed on a plastic swing.

I picked him up from the swing, one-handed, and set him on the swing on the other end of the set. My knitting was still in my left hand at this point. I'm not one to set down a project in the middle of a row, you know. He was still rather upset about the happenings, but he was feeling more safe.

Nora decided that it would be best to take a trip over to the sandbox a few feet away. She quickly started cooking a sand cake. The squirrel headed off toward her, and before I knew it, he hopped onto her leg and started climbing up her.

As if she were a denim tree!

I ran over, shooed the damned thing off my daughter, who had quickly become hysterical, and swooped her up to the same swing with her brother. The little bushy bastard got the message and loped off toward the hosta bed on the other side of the yard. The kids and I took this reprieve to gather up the 2 baby dolls and 3 backpacks that were outside with us. I picked up Nigel and we started back for the door. Just then, the rogue squirrel hopped back out of the hostas and up to the door.

Nora cowered behind me and said, "Let's go in the other door." It sounded like a great idea, except for the fact that the back door was locked. The only way to get back into the house was directly. past. the squirrel. These are the situations that separate the moms from the boys, so to speak. I looked around, noticed the umbrella that had been left out, and told Nora to pick it up. I gave her explicit instructions:

Do not hit the squirrel with the umbrella, but poke it at him if he starts to run at us.

Nowhere in the parent handbook did it ever mention that I was going to have to explain to a 5-year-old how to protect the family from aggressive rodents, using only her gumption and a red plaid umbrella. Believe me, I looked. It's not in there. Was there an addendum somewhere that I didn't get? I probably should have mailed in the registration postcard, huh?

So we quickly head for the door, umbrella in Nora's hands, Nigel, baby dolls, and Bainbridge scarf in mine, and raced for safety. The *&^%@! tried to run into the house with us! We got in without him, so he sat on the step outside the door and stared at us. For like twenty minutes.

The kids now do a squirrel search before they go play out there. It was the single strangest encounter with any critter in my 35 years on this earth. It even beats the goat at the zoo that bit me in the head when I was 8.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Blogstalking debut

I've "signed up" to be part of the Blogstalk as created by members of Knittyboard. Each week, participants post about a common theme. This week's theme is "Who Am I". Geez, people, could you have started with a bigger can of worms? I'd rather show you the mold growing in the corner of my basement. But I signed up, so here goes:

I am Robin, a 35-year-old wife and mother of two. I proofread foreclosure notices for extra money. I am mostly a stay-at-home-mom. I like to knit, but knitting is all part of the swirling vortex of housework procrastination and guilt that makes up the lion's share of my life. The result is that I knit less than I like, my house is messier than I like, and I spend too much time on this, my computer.

That pretty much sums me up. The rest of my neuroses are hidden elsewhere in this blog. Except for the really neurotic neuroses: I keep them hidden under my pillow. ;)

I'll post later this week with progress reports on the stairway and my many knitting projects. I also hope to soon write of our recent harrowing experience with the 'friendly' squirrel in the back yard. But for now, I must get the girl ready for school. And refill my coffee.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Soygel versus Soyclean, redux

Over the last couple of years, I've blogged about all sorts of stuff, but no post in this blog gets more traffic than the one I made a year ago, with a review of Soyclean Paint Stripper. It's obvious that a bunch of you are looking for a nontoxic way to remove the ugly paint that previous owners put on your trim and/or furniture. I love that. So far I have tried Soygel and Soyclean, both considerably more expensive than the toxic ones at the big box store, and you don't want to get stuck with a $50 bottle of inert goo. So when I tackled another stripping project this week, I decided to conduct some, ahem, "scientific" tests to help you decide which soy stripper to buy.

Not long ago, my little guy decided that I needed to tackle the ugly wallpaper in the foyer/stairway. He was standing there, waiting to go outside, and ripped a 8"x12" hunk of paper off the wall along the stairway. I was not happy about it, as there is a LOT of wallpaper, which is covering dodgy old wallboard. And it is not a room that I stop to look at very often, thus making it pretty easily ignorable (I know that I might have just invented that word. I'm okay with that). Not to mention that I am still cooking in a really ugly kitchen, which was definitely higher on my "to do" list.

In my irritation at the destruction wrought by the Boy, I started to rip off more paper. In reality, it was my curiosity about what might lurk beneath, but I'll keep up the pretense that I was angry. I realized that there was beadboard under the wallpaper.

Beadboard! Real, live, wood that is not plywood or pressboard!

Later that afternoon, I hastily ripped off the rest of the paper, and started to hack at the plaster. I soon figured out that it was really spackle. Water soluble, premixed joint compound. So I scraped off what I could with a putty knife and tackled the rest with a spray bottle, scrubby pad, and rags. It took a few hours of the course of several days to complete this step.

Then I started to strip away the ugly "antique" colored paint on the beadboard and the several coats of cream-colored paint that had been slopped onto the stringer. Because I am a frugal gal, I opted to use the Soyclean paint stripper in my supply room. I had forgotten how overpowering the orange scent was. it gave me a headache and I had to open the windows and doors and put a fan in the room. It was not pleasant. I realize that my sensitivity to citrus scent is more acute than most, so this might not discourage others. I do not know if the scent is there for a mechanical purpose, or just for grins, but I wish it weren't there.

I waited 45 minutes (the bottle says 10-30 minutes, but I've found out that time is your friend when using natural paint strippers) and began to scrape off the paint. The one coat of antiquing came off pretty easily. The leftover goop was also easy to take care of with a wet towel and/or scrubber pad.

The glossy trim paint was another story. I do not know what kind of paint this is, although I think it was put on between the late 70's and mid-80's. But the Soyclean only made it rubbery, not allowing me to scrape it off. I waited some more time, but it just wouldn't budge. Because the Soyclean is only a thick liquid (think pancake syrup), it's hard to get a nice thick layer on top of the paint. I might have had more success if I were working on a horizontal surface and really piling on the Soyclean.

I ended up wiping off the remaining Soyclean and heading back to my supply room for the tiny bit of Soygel I have left. I put it on the paint, waited an hour, and the paint came right up. Now, I know that my earlier efforts had loosened up the paint, but really, the Soygel is just better. It's really thick (like molasses, but not as sticky), and it is easy to get a nice thick layer of it on the vertical surface. As a bonus, it has no scent. It smells vaguely industrial, but not at all overpowering. No ventilation needed, which was very good, as the weather turned hot that day. So my not-at-all-professional opinion is that Soygel is worth the extra money when working indoors and on vertical surfaces. Soyclean might be just fine outside and in a situation where you dip the wood in the stripper. But I will not use it inside again, most likely.

Through my efforts, I was able to strip nearly all the previous paint off the beadboard, to find that it was obviously unprotected wood for some time, showing much ground-in dirt and staining. I ultimately decided to paint it trim-white and am happy with it. I'll share pictures when I'm done.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I forgot to mention yesterday..

I meant to make a confession in my post yesterday: I have been spending more time surfing on Ravelry that actually knitting. What the use of a great knitting organization website if I have no FO's to organize? If you are already on (in? at?) Ravelry, look me up. If you are not, go get on the waiting list. It's way neato.

Last night I worked on Otis a little. I would have gotten more done, but the Girl wanted to snuggle. And some day (probably sooner than later), she's not going to want to snuggle up on the couch with me ever again. So I couldn't refuse her. And I was tired anyway. I'd really like to get it done soon, though. Cooler weather is a-comin', it is downright chilly in the house this morning.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

My boy is now officially three

He was actually three at 4:37 am on Thursday, but the party wasn't until last night, and I've adopted the policy that you cannot get older without candles and a cake. And last night we partook in a Spider Man cupcake cake from Super Floor-Mart. The cupcake I had was mediocre, but the boy was really happy with it. He then went on to get lots of Chinese-made superhero toys. I hope none of them are recalled. We're already trying to locate a zillion hazardous Polly Pocket toys leftover from the girl's birthday. argh.