Thursday, April 28, 2011

I had 4 men in my bathroom and I wasn't wearing a bra. That's how I do business.

While Big V was working, I hung out with 4 men in my bathroom. I tried to get them to clean the toilet and mop the floors but they wanted nothing to do with that. Instead, we were all gathered together to perform some sort of meeting of the minds.

A couple weeks ago, after sobbing hysterically that I was going to murder someone if I had to live one more blasted day with this bathroom inquiring about the remodeling process, I met with Dan from Stebnitz Builders for what was called a Feasibility Walkthrough. This was when Dan was forced to listen to me ramble on non-stop about what I wanted to do with the house. I want to take this wall down and put one up over here and add lights there and win the lottery and lose ten pounds and have French doors open into a home office.

Then Dan looked at me and said something along the lines of you need to fix that leak in the main bath before your whole house falls apart due to water damage. Since he's the professional, I figured he was right and I should hold off trying to diet away those ten pounds and focus on the bathroom. (Actually, I know he's right. That leak should have been fixed a long time ago.)

Over a box of Belgian Mini Chocolate Dipped Cream Puffs I explained to Big V our options. He agreed the bathroom needed to be done but worried we wouldn't have enough money to even consider a whole bath remodel. But Dan was aware of that, too, and noted that they would work with us. For instance, we could demo the room ourselves. And by "we" I mean definitely not me because I'm allergic to dust. And also I don't like the way grit and plaster bits feel on my fingers. (I have textile issues. Stop judging me.)

And, since Big V is a stellar tile setter he insisted he be allowed to do showcase his skills in his own bathroom which Stebnitz Builders is willing to allow. I've seen V's skill in the mansions he works on and if I can get just a quarter of what he does there I'll be in heaven.

Together we agreed to move forward. Besides, if it was something we can't afford we'll simply fix the leak and keep the rest of the crappy bathroom the way it is. No harm, no foul. Except for the shattered dreams inside my heart.

That brought us to this morning.

I was already planning on going in to work late because Cletus the Used to be Fetus had a physical/speech assessment at 9:00am, so when Stebnitz Builders called to set up an appointment with the subcontractors (in order to figure a quote) I scheduled 8:00am. Which would have worked out perfect if they hadn't arrived ten minutes early. Or if I had woken up a bit earlier and took a quicker shower and wasn't standing naked and dripping wet when the doorbell rang.

I yelled out to Dotter to go to the door and tell them I'd be right there then grabbed the first thing I could find (which happened to be one of V's huge t-shirts and the pants I wore the night before, wrinkly from being crumpled on the floor). I ran out to the door not even giving a thought to what my hair might look like. (I caught a glimpse of it later and, hoo boy! Bad decision on my part. Should have looked. Really. Should have.)

I think the guy's name was Mike, but it might have been Bob or Larry or Alfred - I honestly was just trying to look casual and not let on that I wasn't wearing any of the appropriate supporting undergarments a lady ought to be wearing. I grabbed the nearest sweatshirt and covered up.

To bring additional embarrassment to the situation I went to school with both the plumber and the heating guy. Hey, Jeff. Hey Ray. Haven't seen you guys in years. Don't mind the fact that I look like a drowned sewer rat.

As if my appearance wasn't humiliating enough, I eventually had to pull aside the shower curtain and expose my dirty, little secret: a twenty year old tub once painted green, now peeling; a tub surround that billows out away from the wall; and gross disgusting mold lining the tub. Yes, we shower here. Yes, the baby bathes here. Yes, it is disgusting and gross. Please help.

Embarrassed as I was I remembered the vital part of the bathroom remodel: the Laundry Chute. Big V requires a laundry chute.

But Big V might not get a laundry chute because the obvious place to put it in the bathroom would mean clothes are landing on the hot water heater. The one with the open flame. Which is not good because clothing could potentially start on fire and that's kind of a bad thing.

We could put a laundry chute in the hallway, but then the clothes would fall on the couch in the basement rec area. The Bean would be so humiliated if she was cozied up with her boyfriend and Mama drops her once a month grandma panties down the chute and onto boyfriend's head. Back to the drawing board.

The plumber, the electrician, the heating guy and Mike (or Bob or Larry or Alfred) measured, discussed, measured some more, brainstormed, offered suggestions, talked about building codes, while I stood there wondering how upset Big V would be if he didn't get his clothing tunnel. I suspect he would be pretty disappointed since that was the only thing he asked for.

Mike (or Bob or Larry or Alfred) assured me he'd figure out the chute. In about a week or two we should have before us plans for our dream bathroom... and a quote that I hope to God is lower than my children's college education.

That leaves me wondering if it's even worth getting my hopes up. We're a simple couple trying to raise kids and make the best of what we have. We're at the bottom of middle class or the upper part of lower class depending on if you're a glass is half full or half empty kind of person. We have no idea what finish countertops we want or type of hardware for the tub, we just want something that looks nice. Something that makes us feel proud - like, Look. We worked hard for this. And it's awesome. Something that makes us feel good every single time we walk in and not something that reminds us of the terrible financial mistake we made at the expense of our family.

I worry it will be too expensive and we won't be able to afford it.

I worry we won't ever be able to do better than what we have.

I worry we will be able to afford it, but then I get carried away and it becomes something we can't afford.

I worry I won't be able to choose the right vanity. Or mirrors. Or exhaust fan.

I worry I'll forget something obvious and find out I have no room to store towels or toothpaste or tampons or toilet paper.

I worry the walls will open and we'll find a sinister problem hidden in the walls that we won't be able to fix and our house will be condemned.

I worry because I've never done this before and I don't know if I'm doing it right.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to Feed a Family of 5 on $80 a Week: Starve Them.

Some time ago I posted that Big V went grocery shopping with me and screwed the whole $80 per week grocery budget up by tossing boxes of Hostess Twinkies in the cart. Since then people have begged me to let them in on my secret: how do I feed a family of five on only $80 a week?

Simple. I starve them.

That way the children don't grow as fast and I don't have to keep buying them new clothes. And also then everyone is really lethargic and I don't have to take them to places like carnivals and fairs. Do you know how expensive those places can be for a family of five? I want cotton candy! I want to ride the ferris wheel! Geesh, you could spend a fortune in no time.

I'm kidding.

I don't starve my family. Although throughout the majority of the month both girls will have you convinced we have absolutely no food in the house. (What they really mean is that we don't have bags of cheese puffs and boxes of Oreos free for the taking.)

I could try to convince you I'm one of those extreme couponers but honestly, I just don't get how that works. And it seems complicated. Also, my good pair of scissors got all rusty when someone left them outside after trying to hack away at a thick rope once used to restrain a crazy, satanic dog, and I really don't feel like buying a new pair just to clip coupons.

Here's the deal:

I budget $80 a week for groceries. My personal definition of groceries is "items to make dinner."

The girls eat lunch at school ($2.25 a day x 5 days = $11.25 per child, or $22.50 for both).

I either take left overs or buy lunch. When I buy lunch I try to limit it to $5-$7 a day, roughly 3 times a week, or $15 - $21 a week.

Big V eats out all the time and he usually spends between $8-$10 a day, everyday - so that's about $40-$50 a week.

Then there's the milk that gets bought just about every other day. $10 a week.

Nobody eats breakfast in our house because we all hate it. I know it's the most important meal of the day but trust me when I say if you made us eat as soon as we woke up you'd have three barfing girls fighting for the toilet. Our bodies were just not constructed to consume food that early in the day. (The baby eats breakfast. Usually a banana and yogurt with Cheerios mixed in.)

Sorry to disappoint everyone. I don't have any money saving secrets. But if YOU have them and want to share them with ME please do so!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You only want more Teen because you don't have more Teen.

As you know, I posted yesterday. I shared this text I received from my 15-year old daughter.


And you people wanted more.

Is that text even real?

Why on earth did she ask that?

Where was she when she asked that?

Did you even reply?

What on earth did you say?

So, because it's obvious I'm the only person in the entire world who has a child like this and you are all captivated in this unique species, I shall now give you more. I don't blame you; it's how I am with conjoined twins. I'm absolutely fascinated with how they manage to adapt in order to function successfully in life.

I was sitting at my desk at work when the text came in. The time was 12:07pm. 

After reading the text, and subsequently requesting assistance in lifting my head up from my desk, I responded with a series of text message replies because I believe it's important to 'keep the lines of communication open' even if it kills me.

"I would think the tampon would expand once it was soaking in any liquid form rendering it difficult/impossible to insert. Especially if you used the OB brand. However, I think the plastic applicators would still function. Not the cardboard... they'd fall apart from being too wet and soggy. Also, I would be incredibly leery of any guy wandering around with a box of tampons and a bottle of booze."

To which she replied with:

"Thanks for the info. I'll be glad to share it tomorrow with my class."

And that got me really confused. Like, really confused. And kind of scared.

Turns out they were discussing this rumor in class and whether or not it was true or false. My daughter piped up with hold on, I'll ask my mom - she'll know. Can't wait for that parent/teacher conference.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teenagers: You never know when they're going to blindside you.

Here is a text message I received from the Bean today.

If you are a guy & ur at a party & someone takes a tampon & soaks it in alcohol & shoves it up ur... u know.. Can u die?


I am currently accepting donations to be used towards a nice, long quiet vacation without children. Or the co-pay needed for the mental institution.