Weeding vs. Wedding

For the past several days I’ve been on FULL STEAM AHEAD.  Not out in the yard, but in every bridal shoppe in town.  Not to mention the mall, several discounters, the outlet stores, a couple thrift shops, and that one really funky vintage clothing boutique downtown.  Plus, thanks to cyberspace, I’ve been cruising every upscale retailer in the country.  All in the quest for THE DRESS.

Back in December I posted about my sister getting engaged.  I joked about being Matro(FU)N of Honor, wearing a Scarlet O’Hara=esque gown, and so on.  Well, fast forward five months.  The wedding is now sitting on top of us and I’ve yet to secure a real dress.  I may joke about a lot of things, but this is not funny.

Without disclosing her private life, my sister is in a grueling school program which barely allows for sleep, let alone shopping.  The fact that she lives 1000 miles away isn’t helping.  Thank GOD she has her own dress already!!  But.. I hear you saying.. the mother of the bride always fills in the gap.  The mother of the bride buys a dress for herself, then helps the bride select dresses for her party, and the bluebirds sing while little fairies float around their heads and they all live happily ever after.  Well, of course.  Except our mother is a high powered executive currently employed out of state.  So NONE of us are together.  And if you haven’t gleaned this quite yet, I am not exactly a shopper.  Don’t get me wrong, if I had bags of money I wouldn’t have a problem spending hours each week in stores, but my life is not like that.  I wouldn’t know an upscale dress shoppe if it bit me on the a$$.  Which IT HAS.

Yesterday I had on a dress that costs more than I have in the bank.  It was gorgeous.  I wanted it BAD.  But it wasn’t quite right.  The day before I tried on roughly 25 dresses at a lovely bridal place downtown.  Many of them were stunning, but none of them was IT.  I have been to Macy’s more times in the past week than I have since we moved here.  I keep pretending this dress is going to magically appear from doors at the back of the store, but it’s NOT!!  I’m just trying on the same damn things I did the day before.

I want my sister to be happy.  I want her wedding to be perfect.  And in my own way I am trying to make that so.  But it is leading me to obsess.  And as many lovely dresses I have seen, in every color of the rainbow except for the one that I NEED, I have seen an equal number that should be stripped from the racks & burned.  The running joke used to be how ugly bridesmaid dresses are.  I think the backlash against hideousness has gone so far in the opposite direction, we’re now actually worse off.  I will be blunt.  I know every woman wants to look sexy and appealing, but if you are unable to discern the fine line between “gorgeous” and “cheap ho” please do us all a favor and stay home.  A wedding is sacred, or should be.  The BRIDE is meant to stand out, not your floozy self. Let’s show some CLASS, Ladies!

And on that note, I am off.  So many dresses to eyeball, only so many hours in the day.  Wish me luck.

Vacation Week

Last week was Vacation Week here in Maine. If you are picturing me lounging in the sun, fruity drink in hand, keep dreaming.  The only downtime I got was Sunday, between the hours of 12:30 and 2pm.  I didn’t see a single fruity drink the whole week, unless you count the orange juice I had to wipe off the windows when the kids missed the sink.  The one highlight? My husband also took the week off. Normally this would have rocked beyond belief.  But since we are LIVING THE DREAM of 250 year old home ownership, Vacation Week was Hell.

Highlights of Hell included:

Cleaning out the basement.  Normally I wouldn’t complain, a little tidying here & there, but our basement was so congested we had to rent a jumbo sized construction dumpster.  It arrived Friday afternoon.

Let the Vacation begin!  Our super duper olde house had some super duper olde wood in the basement.  As you can see here:

All the construction debris from upstairs had to be stowed somewhere.  Unfortunately, the recent rains which flooded our basement also waterlogged much of the discarded material.  Causing it to mold as well as rendering it ungodly heavy.  The rodent excrement peppering much of it was just a bonus.

It took us four days to haul everything outside to the dumpster.  And if the backbreaking labor wasn’t memorable enough, its aftermath was truly unforgettable.  Likely b/c of something I breathed in/touched/otherwise ingested while hauling all that crap, I spent two nights splayed across the bathroom floor, longing for death.  There is something about a severe GI upset that scars a person.  Twice in 3 days is enough to induce psychosis.

In between the wood hauling, full body chills & bathroom trips, we enjoyed nature.  And we didn’t even have to leave the house!  When you are Living the Dream like we are, you discover all sorts of things you never knew you had.  Like red squirrels!

OOOooOOOh!  Yes he (or she) IS VERY CUTE.  My older daughter was beside herself with worry and desire, both to save and KEEP the squirrel.  I am wild about animals. but frankly, I draw the line at eyedropper feeding an infant squirrel ten times a day for the next who knows how long.  After 2 days of trying unsuccessfully to reunite baby w/momma, we took him (her) to the nature refuge.

So, where was that squirrel hiding?!  Remember all that wood in the photo above?  Well, it’s reeeeaaallly hard to see, but there in the back you can faintly make out some wood paneling/shelves.  These walls/shelves were put up by the former owner, who had hoped to use the basement as a workshop – before realizing how high the water table is.  Back before we bought the house, our home inspector urged us to remove as much of this stuff as possible.  50 years of flooding hasn’t been good to this wood.  These walls/units were serving no other purpose than to 1) hold water, 2) mold, 3) conceal stuff.  Stuff like the squirrels who’d been living behind them.  As well as a lot of chewed up batting, poop, and potential structural issues – which, thankfully, we’ll now be able to see before they wreak havoc.  Here is the space with the beautiful brick archway exposed.

But the nature discovery didn’t end there.  Oh, no.  With all that work we’d been doing INSIDE, we hadn’t noticed just what a beating the outside had been taking.

When we moved in 8 months ago, we had a green lawn. Over the winter, the green naturally turned brown. As spring has sprung, much of the grass – mostly out back – has regained its verdant look. But the lawn out front?  About a month ago, these strange brown patches started appearing. Subtle at first, now downright ugly. Initially the dead grass fit the pattern of being urine burned. Along the edge the sidewalk, where dogs do their business. Or, as one neighbor suggested, it could have been salt burn from the snow plowing. Initially this made sense, until these brown patches began to grow, moving up from the sidewalk to the upper part of the front yard. My husband and I wondered whether it could still be dogs? But our neighbors are courteous, and we had such a mild winter. Surely, neither explanation could account for this, and no other yards seemed touched. The dead zones kept spreading and our concern grew.

I went out late last week to investigate. I brought along a heavy metal rake, and began first by poking, then by scraping the surface of the grass. The brown dead areas came off effortlessly, and just below the surface, to my horror, I found:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  WHITE GRUBS. Dozens and dozens of them. I spent some time removing the dead zones, which of course just so happen to be DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE. Facing the street. Where everyone can gaze upon them.

Ughhh.  Yes, it is UGLY.  Having had a mere postage stamp of a yard in Philly, we had no freaking clue.  How could we have possible hedged against a nemesis we didn’t even know existed?!  And so, we got to work.  Once again.  We spent time researching online, investigating natural and chemical pesticides, trying to determine the best course of action.  I wish I could tell you we did it the happy holding hands way, but this time – it was us or the grubs.  We decided to take the dirty route and poison them using Grub-Ex.  I did not want to do it, but dammit, we have invested everything we have & more in this house and I will not let some white grotty grubs take my beautiful lawn away.  OH NO.  Our next door neighbor lent us her spreader and we put that Grub-Ex down on every inch.  2 days of work and the lawn’s still ugly as sin.  But hopefully it’s on its way to health.  Time will tell.

The icing on the cake came at the least expected time.  I went to relieve myself and was greeted with this.

No droppings in the (lived in portion of) the house, no sign of them at all – then BAM! a dead one in the TOILET?!  When the mice are jumping ship, is that a sign?  Sigh..

PedEgg – the NEW family pastime!

Last week, an anonymous donor (really Curly Wurly Gurly) made our day by sending us a very special package.

It arrived so innocently.. WHAT COULD THIS BE??

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And then.

OH MY GOOODNESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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My VERY OWN PED EGGGGGGGG!!!

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HURRY HOME HONEY. We’re WAITING….

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The first scrapes made us all a little nervous — would it hurt??

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NO WAY! The PegEgg is (as they say) “so gentle, it won’t even pop a balloon!”  Soon we were in PEDEGG FRENZY!!!!!

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My children and I were fighting tooth & nail to be the next to scrape off Daddy’s heel callouses.  Talk about FURY!  I’ve never seen such scrambling (especially by CHILDREN) to get at a pseudo beauty product in all my life!   And the fun didn’t end there – oh no.  Because in between scrapings we rallied to be the next to OPEN the PedEgg and gaze in wonder at all the little skin bits.

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Talk about sensation!  Even though most of them had fallen into my lap like so many sloughed off snowflakes, we were still AMAZED by how truly captivating the whole process could be.

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Our only criticism?  The PedEgg is “so safe & gentle, it won’t even pop a balloon!”  SERIOUSLY.  NOT that we were looking to leave John footless, but the PedEgg took FOREVER to get even the barest amount off.  We were tempted to try the cheese grater.

Next up?  Someone please send us the SHED-ENDER!!

THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!!