Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things I Learned This Year

Reach your goal - even if it's at a tortoise pace. It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you don't stop. I'm talking about paying off debt. I'm talking about losing weight. I'm talking about cleaning out your basement. You don't fail until you stop. So just keep going.

Be who you were meant to be - everyone else is taken. Eat on the couch of you want to. Sing in the rain. Return items you simply do not want. Cry during Sex in the City re-runs (you know, when you finally realize Aidan isn't coming back. Again.). If you want to eat soup every day for lunch, do it. If you want to draw comic books, write music and perform in plays, do it. If you want to stay home and perfect the art of motherhood, do it. Just be who you were meant to be. You'll be happier. Trust me.

Don't blame life. Life really is simple. It's the self-discipline that's hard. You already know the lessons: Be kind to one another. Don't hurl insults at other people - it's mean. Work hard. Pay your bills; it's your debt. Don't spend money if you don't have it. Show up on time. Give 100%. Be honest. Don't lie. Don't steal. Don't blame everybody else. Own your decisions.

Pepsi does not satsify my caffeine withdrawals nearly as well as Coca~Cola does. It may be purely a subconscious, self-fulfilling prophecy, but when left with a mad headache and a can of Pepsi I end up unsatisfied and frantically searching for a Coke. Sometimes that's just the way it is.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Technical Writers Saved Our Laundry

Thank God for Technical Writers. The manuals for the new washing machine and dryer were so idiot proof Big V and I had no problem with the installations. Well, except for the part where we realized the two hoses for the hot and cold water were actually had the words hot and cold printed directly on the hoses after we had hooked them up (to the wrong pipes). We had to take the hoses off and switch them. Oh, and also the part when we got to the very, very end of the washer installation and we thought hmmm, maybe these rubber ring thingy-s are supposed to go on the inside of those hose connection thingy-s and we had to take the stupid hoses off again and put the rubber ring thingy's inside the connection ends. Something about stopping water leaks or something. But I'm sure this was all operator error and not the fault of the technical writer who wrote the manual.

We weren't discouraged because it only took us 14 hours to install the washer so we thought how hard could the dryer be? I mean, anyone can convert a gas dryer to an electric, right? Two days and a bunch of colorful language later we did, indeed, have a dryer that worked. The gas was capped off, the wires connected, the dryer plugged in without any electrocution - in a way it was kind of a let down, but we did it. We did it on our own. Without calling for help. And without needing to kill each other. Sure, there was a point when I considered it... right around the for the love of god just screw the stupid green wire to the stupid green post like it says in the stupid book part, but then I just took a deep breath and told myself calm down, don't do anything rash - you know there's no way you're going to be able to drag his dead, lifeless body up a flight of stairs and into the trunk of your car without help. And, let's be honest, I can't get the kids to pick up their shoes much less lift a finger to help dispose of a human body.

Thank God there were pictures in the manual. I showed Big V the sketches (after I color coded them with handy-dandy colored pencils), he believed me, tightened the wires and lived happily ever after.

Everything works great - except for the whole draining of the washing machine part, which is kind of an important part when you think of it. See, we've got one of those old basements with do-it-yourself plumbing fixtures. And since the people who owned the house before us were more focused on alluding the authorities and warring with the county SWAT Team, the do-it-yourself plumbing is really, really neglected. So much so that the washing machine empties into some sort of contraption which I can only assume is an antique laundry sink that doesn't actually drain. Instead the sink overflows forcing the water to find its way to the floor drain via slanted cement flooring. I'm thinking of just attaching a bunch of hoses together and snaking them through the basement and stuffing it directly into the floor drain. It seems to be the next logical step. I hope there's a manual for that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Crazies & Washing Machines, too!

Holidays can be crazy. Insane even. Especially if you surround yourself with insane people, which I strongly suggest you do because it gives you plenty of blogging material.

This weekend we met Byron. I believe Byron fit in that overall insane category, but he was one of those funny insane people as opposed to the eating human flesh for Christmas Dinner at the Dahmer's type. Byron lives with his sister. He has another sister, too, but he doesn't live with that one. The sister he does live with has three kids and they're kind of like teenagers. (He doesn't know their exact age.) Anyway, when they clean their rooms they just throw their clothes in the basement laundry room and some of the clothes hasn't been worn and is actually still folded. This happens at our house, too, but I didn't tell Byron that because it was twelve degrees outside and he was supposed to be lifting a washing machine into the back of our truck and not chit-chatting about how right now he sleeps on the couch but pretty soon he's going to have his very own room.

The reason Big V and I were standing outside listening to Mr. Talks A Lot is because we had to purchase a new washing machine. Either that or go to the laundromat. And I have a love/hate relationship with the laundromat ever since some lunatic in a fur hat came running in yelling at everyone that the washers were full of radioactive energy that the government installed to try to kill off all the people and the only way to survive was if we put aluminum foil around our necks, which he happened to also be sporting. I didn't happen to have any aluminum foil with me so I avoided eye contact, but it didn't work. Eventually he came up to me ranting about how my insides were frying right now this second and can't you feel your organs sizzle? and I was all Is that real fur? Because I don't think PETA would appreciate that.  So, even though I love how all the loads get done at the same time at the laundromat, it was either a new washer or invest in several rolls of foil.

Lucky for us Big V is a hotty and the chick in the appliance department was all this washing machine is on sale at one hundred dollars off, but for you I'll take an additional $75 off the sale price if you haul it away yourself and he was all I am a strong man with a big truck; thank you for the completely undeserved deal and I was all don't forget about me! I can use my military discount for an additional ten percent off and the appliance department chick was all do you hear something? and Big V was all that's just the rippling of my muscles so in the end we got it for a really good price.

I guess the catch was standing outside on the frozen tundra of a big box parking lot while Byron casually leaned on the side of the box telling us about his family history for a good half hour before he'd consider helping lift the darn thing. Did you know his brother collects dice? He has hundreds and hundreds of different colors and sizes and he keeps them in glass jars so you can see them all.