Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I didn't sleep so well last night. Partly because I had a lot on my mind. And partly because the Problem Child was completely freaking out.

The Problem Child, please recall, is the cat. The cat who attacks perfectly nice veterinarians. And snuggles up to mice. Instead of killing them, as she was hired to do. She prefers, instead, to sleep all day and then curl up into a snooze ball at my feet all night. Needless to say, she is on written warning.

I really thought I was going to have to let her go last night. I spent a good half hour listening to her repeatedly dash across the tile floor downstairs and slam into the cupboard. Her future was not looking bright, let me tell you.

Until this morning, when I awoke to find her blissfully stretched out on the floor. Eating a mouse. Her paws held down the bottom end while she crunched away, and she left not a morsel behind.

So, so gross...and yet I approve. Warning withdrawn.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Before I tell you how easily the firewood pile is transforming into neat, orderly stacks, an introduction is in order. It is time you met Boyfriend.

Blogosphere, Boyfriend.

Boyfriend, Blogosphere.

Boyfriend has been wondering when I was going to get around to acknowledging his existence. Poor Boyfriend. It is certainly reasonable to want your existence to be acknowledged, and I feel it's time to do so. Particularly since it will be helpful to me in telling stories.

A few more words about Boyfriend. First, he is essentially dating three ladies at once - and by that, of course, I mean myself and the Tornadoes. Dating is not a state of being that I ever pictured myself dealing with again...and it turns out I was right, in the conventional "two people spending time alone together" sense of the word. It's more like how I intend to allow the Tornadoes to (one day far from now) spend time in the company of boys, which is only in a group setting and under heavy supervision.

Which reminds me of the second fact I will share about Boyfriend: he is exceedingly patient.

Fact number two is important - in many ways, you can imagine - but specifically it is important to today's woodpile update. It is also at odds with fact number three, which is that Boyfriend is very...tidy.

Very tidy.

...Not that I am untidy, mind you, but I do have to relax my standards a bit due to the fact that - well, I don't call them the Tornadoes for nothing.

Boyfriend helped me clean my basement last weekend (which is probably in the top five hottest things a man has ever done for me) to make way for my new kickass treadmill and my firewood. When I say "clean" I am not saying we moved things around and swept the floor. Cleaning entailed loading up a flatbed truck with junk and taking it to the dump, vigorous scrubbing and vacuuming, painting the floor (who paints the floor?), and assembly of my new kickass treadmill. Tres jolie, my basement.

The one thing he was unable to help me with was stacking the firewood. Because, if you recall, it wasn't here. So I have been chipping away (ha - made a little joke there) at it all week, filling the rack in the basement and, as Boyfriend suggested I might, stacking the excess in lincoln log fashion on a palette outside. Maddeningly, the pile appears to be the same size as when I started. Also, my lincoln log structure? May not have perfectly straight edges.

Here's the thing: I want to do it myself. Why? Because I do. I get like this sometimes. Like a two-year-old. And I just know that Boyfriend is going to get a little twitchy about the non-straight edges and then he will want to help, and that will make me a little twitchy, because?


As I see it, here are my options:

Option A: Find the nicest, calmest, most non-two-year-old way to say, "I so love the help but really, I can manage this one." Finish job over course of weekend (BY MYSELF - sorry, did I say that already?)

Option B: Retreat to kickass treadmill at first sign of lincoln log disassembly. Later, self-soothe with sight of neat, orderly stacked wood and disappearance of messy pile.

I'm torn.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Break Out The Marshmallows...

Last night, upon returning home from my REAL job, I was greeted by a lovely sight. "Lovely" may be pushing it - but at any rate, my cordwood has finally arrived.

Sweet, sweet firewood.

How ridiculous is it that I have been stressing for a week over the arrival of a pile of wood? Not that ridiculous, actually.

Winter, if you recall, is a neverending story in my world. (...This would be an ideal time to hyperlink to last winter's string of posts about the snow that would not end. Alas, do not know how to hyperlink. Please turn to November through March in your AficioNada handbooks.) New Englanders, in general, are all adither right now over the looming cost of heating our homes, and I base this wise declaration on the following:

1) I recently spent a Friday night with friends hanging out, drinking Grey Goose, eating spaghetti...and discussing the merits of pellet stoves.

2) Upon visiting M - one of abovementioned friends - a week later, found that she and Mr. M had purchased BOTH abovementioned pellet stove AND four cords of wood for fireplace. Four cords. Do you have inside information, M?

3) A few weeks ago, in the heating oil equivalent of Whipping It Out, a (female) co-worker and I engaged in a vigorous contest of "Who Can Pre-Buy Cheaper." Sadly, she beat me by ten cents a gallon.

What does it all mean? It means we're all freaking old. Cripe. We're getting our kicks from outdoing each other on how to stay warm. Ever hear of body heat? Or tequila shots?

It also means that I will be stacking wood for the next few evenings, just as summer has finally decided to show up. I'm actually looking forward to it, sense-of-accomplishment-driven girl that I am. Sick, I know. Wait til I tell you about my new workout regiment later...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh THAT'S Where I Left My "Kick Me" Sign

Message I left for Man With The Wood on Thursday night:

"Yes, hello, this is Tress. It's about seven o'clock on Thursday night and I have just come home from work to find that - yet again - my firewood delivery has not been made. I don't mean to be rude, but I've spoken to you three times since Sunday and each time you have said my delivery would be here the next day.

I was just wondering if there is some problem you'd like to tell me about. If there is - you know, if something is going to keep you from being able to make my delivery - I'd appreciate it if you'd just tell me. That way I can make other arrangements. Because, you know, I actually do need to get wood this year. Thank you."

Message I received back from Man With The Wood on Friday:

"Hi, this is Man With The Wood calling you back. I am so sorry. We just got back from vacation, and things have been a little backed up around here...I had some help, you know, making deliveries, but he's been really busy, too. I don't know if you realize this, but delivering wood is just PART TIME for me...you know, I have a REAL job, too...anyway, I will get that delivery out to you myself, it will be there TONIGHT."

Please note that the time is 7:40 pm on Saturday. I still have no wood.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Then Again, Vacation Wasn't So Bad

An alternative title for this post could be "My Craw and What Is Stuck In It."

I am in a very bad mood this evening, for a variety of reasons. Normally I would not hoist my bad mood onto my blog for all to see, but I thought, perhaps, a little vulnerability might be endearing and, therefore, excused, just this once.

What is up with the mood, you ask? Well, for one thing, I went back to work yesterday. Although it was not exactly relaxing staying home with the Tornadoes for nine days on vacation, being forced to find ways to entertain them in the never-ending rain that ruled out almost all of our intended plans, it did accomplish one thing. It allowed me to forget, for a short period of time, how work has felt lately, which is - oh, how does one say - excruciating.

It is not always excruciating. In fact, what I do for a living is usually pretty gratifying, as it serves a very real purpose, and I enjoy helping people. I have worked very hard for many years to get to the point I am at and I (normally) take a healthy measure of personal satisfaction from a day's work. Except not so much recently. And especially not so much when, after nine consecutive rainy days off, the clouds completely vanish and the sky goes all cornflower blue for the first two days that I am back on the job. Add to that kick in the face the fact that I spent my first hour of my first day back engaged in an epic struggle with my bursting-at-the-seams inbox, and you have yourself an unpleasant return.

Now I know there are a handful of people out there from work who read this, so let me say right now, this here is just a little tantrum. Just a blip, nothing to get excited about. In fact, let's get back to that craw and see what else is stuck in thar...

Ah yes, there's the fact that I have been waiting for four days for a delivery of firewood that I was told would be delivered - well, four days ago. I should have known this would be problematic, because when it comes to trying to get any major task accomplished at home, what isn't? But I allowed myself to believe that when The Man With the Wood said it would be here on Monday that it would actually be here, and then when I called him on Tuesday and he said "So sorry, it will be there tomorrow morning" that it would actually be here the next morning. And here we are on Thursday night and alas: no firewood. So now, instead of being able to let off a little steam and simultaneously get a little exercise stacking wood, I am going to eat potato chips. Why? Because. Because of the real, actual reason that I am in a very bad mood tonight.

I am hormonal as hell.

Gentleman readers, you may want to step off now.

Returning to work happened to coincide with - insert whatever cutesy terminology you prefer - what I call Day One. Day One of what historically has been three to four days max which has, in the past year, become a mind-boggling six to eight days. In addition, Day One has come to include an absolutely enraging amount of physical agony AND this "hormonal as hell" feeling AND the sense that I have blown up to the size of a parade balloon. I brought this phenomenon up with my doctor a few months ago, fearing something had seriously gone haywire, and he quite nonchalantly responded, "oh, that's just part of getting older." Well, thanks a lot, buddy.

So what to do? Strenuous, sweat-inducing exercise is about the only thing that usually helps. Running is my poison of choice. I never thought I would say this, but I have come to love running. I have come to love it so much that I completely burned out the treadmill that my sister asked me to store in my basement for her (well I couldn't just let it sit there) and had to start running outdoors, which has made me love it even more, which lead to me cashing in a truckload of what I will call "Attagirl points" that I earned in this crazy incentive program at work to get a really kickass new treadmill for FREE, which is right at this moment sitting in a crate in my garage waiting to be set up, which isn't happening until this weekend when I will have some assistance, and seeing it sitting there, waiting, makes me feel sad and not much like running outside.

So. Potato chips.

That's about it. Back to work. Out of "Attagirl points." Getting older. No firewood. Treadmill in a crate.

Consider this craw officially emptied.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mmmm, stuffing...

I'm supposed to be running right now - even got up and got dressed for it - but a brief detour to the Internet, to find out just how far away the LL Bean store in Maine actually is from here, has melted away a half hour of my life already. Yet again.

And now I am watching the turkeys.

There is a family of wild turkeys living in my woods. They visit often, usually early in the morning. When I say "family," I'm talking Mom and Dad plus twelve babies. Twelve! Mom and Dad turkey are highly protective - and rightfully so, given their food group placement - and have managed to keep all twelve alive and together since springtime. Nice work, Mom and Dad turkey. The babies are even kind of cute. In a plumping-up-nicely kind of way.

Oh come on now, I'm just kidding.

Speaking of stuffing, though...time to get running!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oh, Vacation

I have to say, this vacation at home thing is for the birds.

Maybe if I were the kind of person who could lay perfectly still and be happy about it, things would be different. In fact, that's not really the problem, because I can lay perfectly still and be happy about it. Just not with children about.

So what have we done? Well, let's see. Since my last post, we went to the movies twice. Let me pause here and tell you that I am a complete movie theater freak. Totally in love with the whole "going to the movies" experience. Sadly, do not get to go much. Have been to the movies without the Tornadoes only twice in the past year, and both of those times were last month to see SATC. One of these occasions marked the first time I have ever been to the movies by myself, which - if you love going to the movies as I do - I HIGHLY recommend. Unless you can find an ideal moviegoing companion, as I did for my second viewing of SATC - my friend K, whom I cannot thank enough for being quiet and watching the movie and letting me sniffle in silence and again, very important, for being quiet. A belated thank you, K, really.

Tornadoes? Not ideal moviegoing companions. Starting with movie selection. My pick? Mamma Mia!

What we saw? Space Chimps.

Not bad enough that we went to Space Chimps. Tornadoes talk. and talk. and talk. all the way through Space Chimps. Don't ask me what the damn chimps accomplished in space, I don't know. I couldn't hear.

So on Friday I make them go to Mamma Mia! because, you know what? I'm on vacation, too.

Fortunately, they are highly distracted by the constant singing, so I am able to follow along this time. That is, until Fourth Grader throws herself into my lap toward the end and mashes her face up to mine to check if I am sniffling. She finds it comical that I sometimes get weepy at movies. Why is this funny? ...And yes, if you must know. I was a little weepy. And now a little irritated, because she is blocking my view of Pierce Brosnan.

And? It's still raining.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Care For a Snow Cone?

It is day three of vacation. There are guest tornadoes here. And it is pouring rain.

I have only just now made it upstairs to my laptop after spending the entire day scrubbing down my kitchen. Why on earth I invested a whole day in the gargantuan task of emptying cupboards and drawers, cleaning shelves, and then completely rearranging the layout of abovementioned cupboards and drawers, I don't know. But I take extreme pleasure in knowing that I have rid my house of all those kid's cups from TGI Friday's, and a little weirded out to know that I owned plastic taco holders. Oh, and two snow cone machines.

The taco holders went. The snow cone machines stayed. You never know when you might want a snow cone. And that kind of rationalizing comment is probably exactly how I ended up owning two snow cone machines.

So yesterday was Water Country day and it was great fun - except for the part where the sun never came out and we froze our butts off. The Tornadoes tackled all but the most daunting water slides and even managed to talk me into going down a few. By midafternoon we had all had enough. Naturally, as soon as we got home, the sun finally showed itself.

Oh well. It's projected to rain every day for the rest of the week. Apparently I will be spending tomorrow putting Second Grader's closet back together, as she and her friend have emptied it of all clothing, shoes, bags, etc., and dumped them in the middle of her room to make way for their fort/schoolhouse/doll nursery. Fourth Grader will be a breeze since she'll be sick in bed, having insisted that she and her friend should be permitted to play outside in the rain this afternoon. Whatever, kid.

Perhaps a nice snow cone will make her feel better.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Step Awaay From The Roadmap!

It turns out an evil Spambot was roaming the blogosphere, causing AficioNada to be temporarily out of commission. All is well now.

Oh...and I'm ON VACATION.

What does this mean, vacation? Well. For months we have been planning the Big Road Trip and - had it happened - I would be writing this from somewhere in Richmond, Virginia tonight instead of here at my own beloved writing desk. That is, if we had even arrived in Richmond by now. And if I had been able to figure out how to use the free wifi to get online which, let's face it, is doubtful, since my own local Panera Bread still presents a challenge.

The plan had been: drive to St. Augustine, Florida, where some close family members live, visit for a few days, see the sights, and slowly make our way back home with several additional adventure stops along the way. The first problem? Heh, those family members were actually planning to be here this week.

Since this was really the only week in the whole summer that the three of us were A) together and B) not otherwise obligated to certain specialized camp programs which are really important to us, Mom, we decided to go ahead with the trip anyway. Hey, they offered us their house. Who am I to turn down free lodging?

Without that particular motivation, however, the whole plan seemed to lose steam. And that's saying a lot, Mr. and Mrs. Family Who Live In Florida and Who Occasionally Read This. Because I have a bad case of travelitis these days.

I made the decision to walk away on the morning of our departure for New York. I only had to somehow break it to the girls.

"You know," I tiptoed in. "We are staring at a 4 1/2 hour drive tonight. And another one on Sunday coming home. What say we feel this out and see if we are up for the big Road Trip?"

Blink. Blink.

"Plus, you know, I've been doing the math. Gas and lodging alone? A thousand dollars. Think of the fun we could have around here for a thousand dollars!"

Fourth Grader speaks first.

"You mean we can spend a thousand dollars if we stay home?"

"No, no, I mean that's what it would cost, just to go, we could have a good time on much less here..."

"So...we don't have to go?"

"Uh...no, we don't have to...wait, didn't you want to go?"

"...Not really. Can we just go to Water Country instead?"

And Second Grader chimes in with "Water Country, Water Country!"

For crying out loud.

So today we went to the beach. The weather was marvelous. The water was marvelous. The 90 minute round trip was marvelous. And tomorrow? Yes.

Water Country.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Where Am I?

Okay, a little disturbed this evening. I cannot access my own website.

Internet Explorer says I am not available.

"Operation aborted."

Followed by that horrid scary movie single note.

This makes it difficult to post.

Can you hear me, blogosphere? WHAT IS HAPPENING?