Monday, November 30, 2009

I can't think of a title that's appropriate for this post.

Vet Tech Girl phoned me this morning to tell me she was on her way back to our old home town. Her grandmother (my former mother-in-law) is not expected to live much longer and she wanted to see her while she was still conscious. It's been 18 months since her grandma was diagnosed with cancer and it's followed a pretty predictable path. My ex-husband has always been extra close to his mother and I'm pretty sure he's very upset and not dealing with this very well.

It was when Vet Tech Girl informed me that time was running out very quickly that I was reminded of a morbidly weird event that happened to me about 20 years ago.

I'm not being disrespectful here, because this really did happen.

My ex-husband's grandfather (on his paternal side) whom we called Gigi, was in his 80's had been experiencing declining health for about 2 years. Now, this isn't an uncommon thing, but the family always seemed to be somewhat hysterical about it. Gigi lived about 2 hours away from us, and Uncle Bob, who was a 'loud talker' and often said the wrong thing at the wrong time, lived next door to Gigi and Grandma, and kept us updated on Gigi's condition. It was Uncle Bob who one time, at the top of his lungs, announced to everyone (very erroneously I might add) that my ex suffered a speech impediment as a child. My ex never forgave him and I never heard the end of it.

It was understood that no one was to consider going away for vacations, long weekends, etc... because Gigi (who was usually out mowing the yard or planting a garden) might expire at any minute. I, for one, have never had any patience with people who get worked up in this way. My going on vacation is not going to cause someone to die, and even if I'm around when they do, am I going to bring them back to life?

Anyway it almost became a monthly event that Uncle Bob would call and announce that Gigi was at death's door, and everyone needed to get to the hospital NOW to say goodbye. I had three little ones at the time so I would stay home and my ex would drive down with his parents' to pay their last respects. This usually happened on the weekends and it would ruin my ex's golf plans.

They would get to the hospital in time to find Gigi enjoying his evening meal, or his breakfast, or being checked out of the hospital. After almost every 'at death's door' call, Gigi would replace a down spout, or a concrete slab in their sidewalk, and I grew weary of the whole thing.

So I really didn't worry too much the night the call came, that Gigi was in the hospital and not expected to make it. I was at work the next morning when Uncle Bob called my inlaw's and hysterically announced that Gigi had died during the night and everyone had to come NOW! My father-in-law immediately took off for the hospital, my ex volunteered to go home (we worked for the same company and we were allowed 3 paid bereavement days) to watch the kids while my mother-in-law (our babysitter) went to get her hair done.

I stayed at work.
The union called and asked where to send flowers and a bible.
I didn't know.
The secretary to our CEO called and asked where to send flowers.
I didn't know.

It was around one o'clock in the afternoon that I received a call, and I couldn't understand what the caller was saying.
It was my ex.
In a strangled voice it sounded like he said, 'He's not dead."
"Who's not dead?" I asked.
That's when everyone in the room looked up at me.
"Gigi, he's not dead!" He shouted.
"What the hell do you mean he's not dead?" I shouted back.
By then I had everyone in the room's attention.
Apparently my father-in-law had arrived at the hospital in time to find that, not only was his father not dead, he was being fed lunch.

Two days later when we were once more informed that Gigi was dead, I swore that I wouldn't believe it until I saw him in his casket.

He was and I did. But if he'd sat up and asked what was for lunch I wouldn't have been surprised.

The real kicker to this story was that my ex was hauled into his supervisor's office and given a demerit. This is because his missing a half day of work for the false alarm was an unexcused absence in the eyes of the corporation for whom we worked. And any employee receiving 5 demerits in one year would be fired.

"Imagine," I said to my ex, "If Gigi had 'died' four more times, you would have lost your job!"

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he found someone else he liked better!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Perhaps Nancy Drew can find my camera cord!

This is very frustrating! I know I had the damned thing on Thanksgiving Day because I took the apron pictures at our hotel. But what happened to it between there, and Toronto, and back home again, I have no idea!

Anyway we had a lovely Thanksgiving, and of course we ate too much but that's what going to the gym is for.

I'm not sure what the fix is for having way to much fun at a cocktail party though.

We arrived in Toronto Friday night just as the caterers were setting up for Baby Brother and Partner's party.

I awoke Saturday morning with a nauseous headache and no memory of putting on my pajamas, let alone removing my contacts.

Hans remembers leaving the party to go lie down but has no idea how he ended up in his WalMart sweatsuit!

Just in case you wondered, we weren't driving, we stayed with our hosts!

I have pictures on my camera and I'm assuming that I took most of them. I know I took the pictures of the very pretty, tall blond, because she was carrying a really cool, pink suede purse. Believe me, if Hans had taken those pictures the purse wouldn't have been the focal point. I also think I gave her Nicole's website info because she said she likes to make purses too. Only I couldn't for the life of me remember how to spell Nicole's name so I wrote You Sew Girl on a sticky note.

At least I hope that's what I wrote!

The morning after the party Baby Brother offered to take me to the fabric district and I was thrilled, but I also knew that even if I was able to get dressed there was no way I could survive a subway trip. But after a dry bagel, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a late morning, early afternoon nap I was ready to go.

We ended up at Designer Fabrics on Queen Street but as it was getting late this was the only store we visited.

That's ok though, I really don't need more fabric, and I just like to pick up a piece here and there on our travels.

Designer Fabrics had a large selection at what I thought were very reasonable prices. It's too bad I'm not into wool because they had some beautiful selections along with soft stretchy spandexy stuff that would be perfect for fitted shirts.

I bought a gun metal gray piece (7/8 yard) of soft buttery suede-like fabric for $6.99. I want to make a purse like the the tall blond was carrying, that I mentioned above. Actually it looks very similar to the Day Bag. I also bought 2 yards of grass-green colored fabric with bright slashes of Japanese like symbols all over it for $7.99/yard.

If I ever get a hold of a camera cord I'll post pictures.

So since I can't show you my pictures, I'll leave you with the one that I stole from Baby Brother. He took it of me when we were in Trier, Germany visiting the family castle.

It's me, on the future jacket of a geriatric Nancy Drew book called, The Case of the Missing Camera Cord."

From the expression on my face, someone had better watch out!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A whole year has gone by but I finally finished my aprons!

These aprons are the same 'One Size Fits All' size. Look at the difference when worn by Hans and me. And I actually made the orange one about three inches shorter.
Needless to say if you were to make one of these for a small person you would really need to alter it.

Last year I started this project and then set it aside. I had finished the apron on the left and the one on the right was cut out and ready to sew. Now that Christmas is almost here it was time to get off my butt and finish it.
These are gifts for Baby Brother and his partner and since we're headed to their place this weekend I got them done. Well, almost done. The orange one on the right still needs buttons sewn onto the front but I'll do that during the 5 hour car ride.

We are very happy that we happen to be arriving the same night that they're having a huge cocktail party event. It should be a lot of fun and very interesting.

Maybe they can use a pair of aprons!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm so stinking tired, but happy Thanksgiving anyway!

I so wanted to post a picture of my grand dog Duncan, modeling the coat I made for him. But Vet Tech Girl has a very hectic schedule, which means she will be spending Thanksgiving Day at work. Anyway she told me that even though Duncan looks great in his coat, "He doesn't know what to do with it."
Yes, that would be my grand dog.

I had an unbelievably grueling time at my job this week. Two huge houses per day, complete with the crashing sound of glass at the 'house of memorabilia' (I thank God that I wasn't the one involved in that disaster) and we still have no idea what the insurance claim will be!
Post construction clean up at another house....
I feel like someone is wiggling a serrated knife in the small of my back .

Thanksgiving Eve is supposed to be a fun, going out and meeting your friends night... but I crawled home, took a hot bath, and drank too much!

Then I found out that my former Mother-in-law is going to start receiving hospice care as of tomorrow. She has been battling ovarian cancer for about a year and a half and this is not a shock to me but my kids and their dad are having a hard time with it.

Tomorrow we head back to my little swamp town to have Thanksgiving at my parents' house, and then the next day we're off to Toronto to visit Hans' baby brother.

Even when times haven't been very good for me, I've always been thankful. If you have your health, a place to live, and just one person who gives a hoot about you, then you're very lucky indeed.
Sometimes I almost feel guilty but I've got to get past that!

I hope everyone here in the US enjoys this holiday weekend !

And as soon as Duncan figures out what the hell he's doing in his coat, I'll get a picture!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sewing and a Bad Cat

Long before Halloween, the woman I work for asked me if I'd make a curtain panel for her dining room. She gave me the fabric and I ended up letting it ferment in my apartment for far too long. I dug it out this week and finally put it together.
I really don't like sewing lined curtains, and I won't go into too many details (like me kicking my box of pins over umpteen times, or Chlorox wriggling in ecstasy all over the fabric every chance she got!), but I finally delivered it today.
Back in September Heather invited Hans and I to a play. She gave us her parents' tickets as they couldn't make it, and she wouldn't accept payment from us, so I made the curtain in exchange.
I think Hans and I came out way ahead on this deal.

Really not much to look at.

Here it is with the bottom flipped up so you can see the lining.

And here's Chlorox giving it a test drive as it lies draped across my ironing board.
I made sure to tell Heather about this but luckily she understands. She has two cats and two dogs, and is a fellow animal lover.
As a matter of fact I took the measurements of one of her dogs today.
What a sausage this dog is too!!! Heather mentioned once that the poor thing is cold all the time and she can't find any ready made coats that fit her. However her other dog is an Australian Shepherd, is always hot, and doesn't need any covering.

This week I reworked a pattern , and made another coat for my granddog Duncan but hadn't heard from Vet Tech Girl as to whether it fit or not. I finally got word from her today, and get this; she says it fits and she sent a picture from her phone to Hans. Well Hans is in Germany, and I'm right here in the apartment above her!!!

Go figure!

Maybe tomorrow I'll get a picture, and if I do I will be sure to post it!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

When harmless fun backfires!

Way back when Hans and I first met, and became an old couple in love (we're now an older couple in love), he gave me a very cute stuffed lion.

This is because Hans is a Leo.

I, on the other hand, am a Pisces but I've yet to give Hans a cute stuffed fish.

Anyway our stuffed animal menagerie has grown over the past five years and now includes lions, bears, reindeer, a beaver, and most recently a draft horse(??), and their stable/den/cave is atop our bed.

The last person up is responsible for making the bed, and I'm embarrassed to admit that this is a Hans thing. Before I met Hans, making the bed was at the bottom of my to do list.

Somewhere along the line 'the animals' (sometimes called animules) have ended up in creative positions on Hans' stepmother's quilt, that adorns our bed.

Sometimes they are in a huddle, or toeing the line as if in a parade. One day I came home to find the tiniest teddy bear sailing a boat (yes, in the middle of the bed!) while the other creatures gazed on in wonder.

Hans was shocked to come home after the boat sailing episode to find all the animals , except for the tiny bear, in a tight circle. The tiny bear was a couple of feet away and, obviously not invited into the inner sanctum.

I knew exactly what Hans was talking about when he rushed into the kitchen and asked, "What's going on?"

"Are you talking about the tiny bear?" I asked as I continued with our dinner preparations.

"You know I am!" He seemed a little upset, and the poor guy hadn't even taken his coat off yet.

So I had to set him straight. "Well it seems that Tiny Bear is a bit of a braggart and the other animals didn't appreciate him going on and on about his sailing adventures. He's in time out!"

Hans has been out of town this week and is due back shortly (this would explain the glut of old movies I've been watching!). And it would also seem the animules have been taking full advantage.

Look at this!!! Vodka, beer, wine, champagne!!!!

Absolutely shocking!

This cute guy was the first lion Hans gave me and this is how he shows his appreciation.

Nose first in a Stella Artois glass.

Hmmm, is that The Countess von Chlorox?

It sure is! She may be live and not stuffed, but she is an animal, and a party is a party!

"This is more fun than pooping on the floor!" the Countess laughs with delight!

Oh yeah? You just wait until the big lion gets home!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Little Bit of Sewing and a Big Ass Purse.

Today I ended up slashing and enlarging the heck out of the doggy coat pattern from yesterday's post.

I took pictures of the altered pattern, and then sewed up a new and bigger coat. But I went and gave the finished project to Vet Tech Girl without taking anymore pictures! She was getting ready for an overnight shift at the Vet Hospital and since she was in a hurry I didn't even get to see Duncan trying it on.

Unfortunately I don't see Duncan as often as I'd like but I bet if I wave my checkbook around the apartment a bit, Vet Tech Girl will smell it and I'll get a phone call.

If my scheme works, I promise to take many photos (of Duncan, not my checkbook).

I know you can't wait.

Here are the altered pieces.

I lengthened the body, and added a couple of inches to the chest area. That meant some collar and waist band fixing, and then I was done.

I only wish I knew if it fit!

Here is the underbelly/chest area on the pattern.

It looks like a full bust adjustment doesn't it?

Anyway, a week or so ago I mentioned that I was making a purse. And I was shocked because some people didn't like my choice of fabric!!


But I made it anyway and here it is.

Lying on the floor.

Look at this thing! It's huge.

I immediately started toting it around, and what I found to be surprising was the lack of comments--from women, but I got quite a few compliments from men. One man at the grocery store nearly turned inside out, and yelled for everyone to look at it.

Hans thinks it looks like something you'd buy from a store and that's why women haven't made any comments. I don't know, I guess it's just vanity on my part (c'mon, I'm never going to climb Mt. Everest, or find a cure for cancer, or win an Oscar) but I think it's fun when people take notice of things I've made.

I now use it for work since it can hold my water bottle, lunch, etc... and the lady I work for said, "Wow, that is a typical big 'burgh purse!"

But, it does hold a lot, and I also use it when I go to the gym (water bottle, towel, apple...), and since the gym is above our library I can also check out a couple of books with no problem.

I probably won't make it again but at least I don't need to buy a new suitcase anytime soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Damn The Big 4 and Their Pattern Sizing!! #*!^%@

If the pattern companies have to be so far off with the sizing of human patterns, couldn't they be just as 'off' with their pet patterns??!!

The answer is NO!

I made my first attempt at sewing a doggie coat yesterday.

Why am I surprised that it didn't fit?

I'm talking about McCall's 5776.

I bought this pattern (sizes S thru XL) specifically for my grand dog Duncan. I then bought a half yard of fleece for the medium size that I figured he was. He's a very fit and trim 45 pound pit bull (I only wish I had his little wasp waist!).

I managed to get the little stinker to sit still long enough to get his measurements and that's when I found out he's an Extra Large.

Extra Large? What about bigger dogs, like Labs, German Shepard's...?

So now I have a half yard of fabric and I need three quarters, and yes it makes a difference damn it!

Then the pattern cutting layout didn't include the collar. But there is a collar. I ended up piecing it together (off grain no less) but in the end it didn't matter.

And since when does a doggie coat need so much bias tape? Honestly, every stinking opening and seam, needed bias tape.

Unfortunately I have to sew something from the directions the first time out before I can figure out how it can be done differently. The next time, the only seam that will be covered in 'bias tape' will be the neck/collar seam, and I will probably just use a piece of the same fleece.

By the time I was done I didn't need Duncan there to realize that his coat was going to be way too small. Which is funny since when I sew outfits for myself I have to use patterns smaller than my measurements.

I made Vet Tech Girl drag Duncan up to my apartment and together we crammed the poor bewildered thing into his new coat. I can't imagine what he thought we were doing to him, and he was so patient!

He looked like The Incredible Hulk. We couldn't fasten the Velcro at his chest and it was all we coud do to yank the damned thing over his shoulders.

Poor Duncan. He's kind of embarassed in his ill fitting coat. It doesn't look half bad in this picture but believe me it's all an illusion.

Just sniffing around.

He knows that strange cat, The Countess von Chlorox lives here.

(She was hiding under the bed)

A very blurry picture of my poor Guinea pig.

Big smooches from our sweetie anyway.

I tore that coat off Duncan and told Vet Tech Girl to give it to a needy dog at the clinic, and then I went out and bought a full yard of fabric.

I was thinking about trying to enlarge the pattern but I'm not sure if I can do it properly. My brain doesn't compute very well in that area.

Then I got online and found a couple of very cute coats that some sewists have self drafted. One lady is a very thrifty recyler and she turns ugly old people coats into cute and fun pet coats!

So tomorrow I think I'll give this coat thing another try.

Hans is puzzled and says since dogs already have fur they don't need coats.

He just doesn't understand and even if I were to suggest it, I doubt he'd go outside in nothing but his birthday suit in frosty weather to take a whiz.

If he did, then I think he might understand.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Woman of the Year. Not!!

I just re-watched Woman of the Year (Oscar for best writing), with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

First of all, I loved both of them, and I will always remember them as two of the greatest actors that ever lived. But I have to say that it's been awhile since I've seen this movie and after seeing it again, I'm very disappointed.

Just a quick run down.

Katherine Hepburn plays a very successful career woman.

She meets Spencer Tracy who, c'mon!!! knows she's a successful career woman.

They feel an immediate 'chemistry', and get married.

Then all of a sudden Spencer turns into what I consider to be a typical whiny man. Why doesn't Katherine know (ESP?) how his day went, why isn't she waiting at the door for him, who cares if she's getting the scoop on the Nazi's!! And then get this, he's obviously pissed off about the little Greek refugee boy she is in the process of adopting, and SENDS HIM BACK TO THE ORPHANAGE because it's 'upsetting the household' (he actually said that)! I could go on ad nauseaum but hopefully you get the picture.

So her dad gets remarried and Katherine goes to the ceremony sans Spencer because he tells her he has something more important to do. What he's really saying is that he's giving her a dose of her own medicine.

She then goes to the ceremony where the preacher goes on and on about the importance of a wife being the man's servant (or at least that's how I took it), and she gets all teary eyed.

Now I'll stop right here and say that if a woman wants her marriage to be that way, then fine. Really.

I mean it.

But in this case Katherine is not that kind of woman at all. I mean she speaks a million languages, she's on top of every current event... It's her career! And once again; he knew this!

But here's the kicker. She quits her job!!! And the ending scene is Katherine, stumbling around the kitchen (in her fur coat) trying to figure out the coffee maker, stove etc...and finding a cookbook from her new mother in law that has a thousand recipes to a mans heart. And Spencer is all smug that from now on every thing's going to be all about him (he wants to know if she's going to love, honor and obey! Wash his socks! And she says yes! Gag!!!).

And this is supposed to be a happy ending?

I love old movies but I don't think I going to watch this one again.

It's too depressing.

And that's sadder than the plot!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who you gonna call?

How about my mother!

My mother, a post depression baby, was born during the days of getting by with what you had, and utilizing everything the best you could.

So having been raised in this frugal way; in addition to growing her own huge garden (starting most of it from seed), taking care of every stray animal in town (including my father), and cooking three full meals a day, my mother once used her high school education and rotary telephone, and fortified with black coffee and cigarettes, she, in her spare time, once brought a Big Shot (her name for him) to his knees and had him begging for mercy by the time she was done with him.

She related the following story to me and for simplification her comments to me will be in italics.

It all started when Wuth (Ruth) her neighbor from across the street called in a panic after returning from a two week visit with her family.

Wuth's husband, Biwwy (Billy) had recently passed away. It had been a second marriage for both of them and unfortunately Biwwy and his first wife had a propensity for giving their offspring names that had contained l's or r's and as luck would have it Biwwy couldn't pronounce either. The family included Wandy (Randy), Tewwy (Terry), Wegis (Regis), and Wawwy whom I took to be Raleigh but was actually Wally which totally blew me away and from then on when meeting Biwwy's family I would just nod vigorously and smile like an idiot and hope that I wouldn't be called upon to address any of them by name.

Wuth (who could pronounce her l's and r's but we called her Wuth behind her back anyway) had gone to visit her own family after Biwwy passed away but not before deciding that in all fairness she needed to remove Biwwy's name from all of her utilities.

Unluckily for Wuth the electric company got their wires crossed (pun intended) and 'oops' shut off power to the house.

Wuth was apprised of the situation when upon returning home and opening her front door she was dealt with the unbelievable stench of rotting meat, spoiled milk, and decomposing vegetables.

This was because Wuth's huge refrigerator and upright freezer, both of which had been packed to bursting with every vegetable she'd sown from her garden, and every critter her family had shot, snared or trapped, had had two weeks in which to thaw. The resulting melted gelatinous mass had seeped from her refrigerator and freezer and had worked it's way across the kitchen and had been sucked up greedily by her living room carpet.

Wuth did what every respectable citizen in my little swamp town does when faced with an emergency.

She called my mother.

Putting down her cup of coffee and lighting another cigarette, my mother said, "I'll be right over."

After appraising the situation, Mom gathered Biwwy's kids (they're from Biwwy's first marriage but they love Wuth) together and told them to make a list of all the food that had been lost and to call the electric company and inform them that Wuth would be sending a bill for new carpet. And as there was no way a refrigerator or freezer could be reused after such a catastrophe, the appliances would be replaced too.

"Jesus Christ. I have to do everything!" Mom told me. "Biwwy's kids just stood there staring at me and I told them, 'Get your asses to the store and get prices on everything!' Now!"

Wuth informed my mother the next day that the electric company upon receiving Wuth's demands had basically informed Wuth that she could go pound salt.

My mother was incensed and went straight home, got on her old rotary dial phone and called the electric company herself.

"God damned automated telephone systems!" My mother complained. "I don't have one of those fancy touch tone phones and it took forever to get a real person on the line! What the hell has happened to customer service anyway! Back in my day..."

Whoever answered my mother's call basically told her that she could go pound salt.

"Get me a supervisor!" She yelled.

They did and the supervisor basically told Mom that she could go pound salt.

"Listen to me!" Mom shouted. "My first cousin once removed is an attorney (he is) and he would love to take on this case (he wouldn't) and if this woman doesn't get restitution and fast, she's gonna sue your ass off, do you hear me?"

The next day, Fred Feeblemeister from the electric company showed up at Wuth's.

He listened to Wuth's tale of woe and offered her a couple of hundred dollars which Wuth would have gladly accepted if my mother hadn't been there.

"Absolutely not!" my mother stood firm. "You will replace this woman's appliances and carpet and you'll pay her for the food she's lost."

Fred Feeblemeister tried to bluff a little but he'd never met anyone like my mother and pretty soon he scooted out of there with his tail between his legs. In the meantime Biwwy's kids had inventoried the spoiled food and had ripped up the stinking carpet. A day later Wuth called my mother and joyfully told her that the electric company had arranged to deliver a new refrigerator and that it had just arrived.

Mom took one look at it and declared it to be completely unacceptable.

"It was a piece of shit." She told me. "They sent this cheap piece of crap refrigerator and thought that would take care of everything. So I had to get on the phone again and call those idiots and I told them to come and get the damn thing and that I was calling Cousin Tim."

Joe Blowhard (Big Shot) from the electric company was the next executive to swagger onto the scene in an effort to remove this boil from the electric company's butt once and for all.

My mother was ready for him.

In a bored tone Joe Blowhard wearily informed Wuth, "We offered you this lovely refrigerator for your trouble and that is more than generous. Heck we were even going to give you twenty cents on the dollar for the food you claim was spoiled and normally we would never do that! But we care." He also very pointedly ignored my mother.

"That's hogwash and you know it." My mother told him.

"We probably took him away from some big golf match or an afternoon tryst with his slutty secretary," My mother told me later when she was relating this story. "Mom! You don't know any such thing!" I exclaimed. And Mom (who reads way too many Sidney Sheldon novels and hasn't worked in an office since 1955), shot back with, "I know exactly what goes on in the business world, I've been around you know!"

"And who are you?" Mr. Joe Blowhard asked my mother with a sneer.

Bravely stepping in front of Wuth my mother proudly stated, "I am her advocate." And Wuth who so far had said nothing, leaned around my mother and nodded.

Mr. Blowhard, wearily and with many big deep sighs, made a couple of very 'important' cell phone calls. Poor Wuth was shaking in her shoes and if not for my mother she probably would have offered to pay Mr. Blowhard restitution for all the trouble she was causing him.

A lot of jousting between my mother and Joe ensued and my mother was beginning to worry that she'd actually have to call Cousin Tim when she hit the jackpot.

Joe Blowhard had gone outside to take yet one more 'important' cell phone call when he made the huge mistake of standing in front of an open window. An open window of which my mother was on the other side.

"Oh my God, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!" Mom said. "I heard him say, 'I've got the old biddy over a barrel and I'm done with her. That's the law.' and then there was a pause and then he said, 'Pennsylvania, why?' And there was another pause and he said 'What the hell do you mean Pennsylvania and Ohio aren't the same thing? The law is the law!' and then he said, 'Oh shit, I'll see what I can do' and hung up."

Mr. Blowhard came back in the house and he was sorry. He was so very sorry that he was rescinding his offer and he was taking the refrigerator back. He'd been a good guy, a stand up guy, but by golly a good guy can only do so much and if Wuth was going to be so unreasonable (and he hung his head because Wuth had hurt his feelings) he was taking his refrigerator and going home.

Mom laughed in his face and asked him what he took them for__ stupid?

"Huh," Joe's head snapped up.

"I said, do you think we're stupid? Just where are you from anyway?"

And poor old Joe answered, "Ohio."

"Well, no wonder!" my mother laughed derisively. "You're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! You're in Pennsylvania and the laws in Pennsylvania are totally different than those in Ohio. Maybe you should have done your homework."

"Huh?" another brilliant response from Joe.

"You are cooked! You are done! I'm calling Cousin Tim right now and we are taking you for everything!" and she headed for Wuth's phone.

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" Joe cried. "Now let's be reasonable! I think this can be settled to every one's satisfaction! I'll tell you what, you can go get whatever refrigerator and freezer you want, we'll replace your carpet, and we'll give you fifty cents on the dollar for the spoiled food."

It was all Mom could do not to kick up her heels with glee, but instead she turned to Wuth and in a somber tone said, "Wuth, I think that Mr. Joe Blowhard here has come up with a very reasonable offer and I think you should seriously consider it."

And then Wuth, who up until now had never uttered a word or an opinion, decided to get in on the act and wringing her hands said, "Well, I don't know."

My mother almost died.

Speaking very calmly, Mom said (with her hands clenched at her side and not around Wuth's neck), I really think that Mr. Blowhard appreciates what you've been through and I think that you should probably accept his offer."

And finally, reluctantly, Wuth did.

After some quick paper signing everything was settled and Wuth got her new carpet, new appliances, and a trip to the grocery store.

Joe Blowhard is probably still wondering what the hell happened.

This allowed Mom to get back to her gardening, and baking, and local township meetings where "every one is in everyone else's back pocket and Goddamn it we all know who's been stealing the bingo money from the fire hall and if someone doesn't do something about it, I will!"

Hans recently suggested that we all go together and get my parents a computer this Christmas. I was just starting to agree with him because we could send emails and pictures especially when we're away on the boat and then I remembered the above story. And I decided that if my mother could shake the rafters of a major utility with an old rotary dial telephone, who knows what havoc she could wreak with a computer? It would probably only take her seconds to find a direct phone line to the president, and then look out!

"You know what, Honey?" I said to Hans. "I don't think that's such a good idea."

Friday, November 6, 2009

This isn't really cheating is it?

Imagine seeing this, only twice the size (minus the muzzle restrainer), looking at you while you clean a house.

For comparison sake, this is my grand-dog Duncan who weighs 45 pounds.

Today we arrived at a new client's house and were greeted by Chuck, an 80 pound Pit Bull mix. He immediately took my arm in his mouth and wiggled with glee. Luckily I recognized this gesture as a sign of affection and didn't faint with fear.

We'd already cleaned two houses and this was our third but thanks to Chuck I didn't mind a bit. He became my good friend and I took many opportunities to stroke the soft fur under his chin, scratch his head, and rough up his ears as often as I could.

He insisted I play tug of war a couple of times but I was smart enough to brace myself first or I may have found myself flung into the next county. These are such high energy dogs and they are so lovable and full of life.

But I really did have a deja vu moment when, after being let out for a 'break', Chuck came to the door and insisted on being let in.

And I saw Duncan all over again.

I think I'm in love!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Deep fried foods are not a substitute for spinning class...

... no matter how you try to rationalize it!

It's been a week since I took my first spinning class and, like giving birth, the pain has faded into the distance. I was all set to do it again tonight but Hans informed me that we were going to dinner with a some people he does business with.

I'm now home after eating huge deep fried mushrooms, deep fried zucchini, breaded fried onions, tortilla chips with jalapenos drenched in melted cheese, and a lot of beer.

Add to this a huge dose of PMS and I don't even want to know what kind of nightmares I'm going to have tonight.

I joined a gym almost two months ago to try and rid myself of the ten pounds I've put on in the last two years. Five pounds per year to be exact.

It's taken me about seven weeks to lose a grand total of two pounds!!!!

This has been one long haul and while I'd like to blame my almost 50 years for it, I think what I'm putting into my body may have a lot more to do with it!

And I'm not overly thrilled with the purse I'm working on and the fact that I'm supposed to cut 1/4 inch slashes around the entire perimeter of the damned thing has me thinking this might not be a real good idea at this time!

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times; thank God I'm not a surgeon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Let's get busy with a new project.

Halloween is over, Helga has gone home, and I picked up an on sale pattern.

Like I really need any more patterns.

I had yesterday off so I spent the day cutting out and assembling a new bag.
At least I tried to.
I cut out the pattern in the living room and then I headed to the sewing room. But where the hell were the facing pieces? I couldn't find them.
I must have some PMS kicking into gear because I threw a fit and at one point accused the Countess von Chlorox of stealing them. Poor Hans even tried to help. I went through the pattern envelope countless times, and even looked through the Halloween Costume pattern envelopes just in case I stowed them there.
No go.
We then went through the garbage can where I'd thrown my pattern scraps.
I then felt just like a co-worker from years ago who came to work one morning and relived a fight between her and her husband that occurred when she misplaced a carving knife. After an evening of tears and meltdowns, the knife was found behind the faucet, where it had slipped earlier.

Anyway Hans finally found piece # 14 completely balled up in the garbage. Only after 3 more forages through the same damned garbage I came up with piece # 13.
Then I couldn't find my glasses. And where the hell did the cap to my erasable pen go? This happened over and over again.

By the time I had my ducks in a row I could have had the damn thing done.
Then I discovered that the flap is a continuation of the back piece and therein lied my problem. The fabric I wanted to use has words printed on it and for it to flip over the top as a flap meant that it would read upside down.
Can I ever for once in my life do anything the easy way??

Long story short, I made the front and back from the same piece and created a separate flap to be sewn into the back seam so that when it flips over to the front it's not upside down!

I'm using the purse in the lower left corner.

It's huge.

It should probably have a lot of structure.

I'm out of interfacing.

The white handle is for sizing only and won't be on the finished project.

I'm beyond tired.

I got home from work (2 huge houses), met with Vet Tech Girl and my exceptionally smart, grand-dog Duncan the Pit Bull, who can sit, shake hands, and high five, (although not necessarily in that order) had dinner and a bath, and was in my pajamas by 6:15.

Once again I'll blame PMS because I didn't even go to the gym!

I'll think about the structure and stabilizing tomorrow if I have the energy. One of the houses I'm due to clean is a massive 3 story home full of marble and stainless steel!

This whole working thing is interfering with my sewing!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Introducing Cousin Helga

What a whirl wind weekend!

Cousin Helga blew in from Germany with one thing on her mind.

"Find me ze man!" She bellowed.

So I dressed her up and back to my hometown we went. Helga is pretty outgoing and boisterous so I very politely tried to convince her that ladylike behavior might work in her best interest.

Here she is. Cousin Helga dressed up for the evening.

My, what strong legs she has. And a great personality too!

I thought it would make her feel better if I dressed like someone from the old country too.

I love the way the lighting makes my vest looked like it's strained to the nth degree!!

This big Scotsman already had a date but he wouldn't leave Helga alone! "Where's my big boned gal!" He would cry and then he and Helga would belly slam each other. This went on far too many times and left me standing on the side lines.

Helga enjoying a liquid refreshment.

The ladies were far too eager to adjust Helga's bosoms after she vulgarly announced, "Ze airlines, zey take my brassiere! Zey say it was for zecurity issues!"

Helga tried to reciprocate and adjust the other ladies bosoms, but I made her stop!

The DJ started some Shania Twain music and this is what Helga looked like after shouting, "I feel like ze voman!" and hitting the dance floor. She has quite a dance repertoire ranging from can-can to seductive apron swishing.

Everyone watched her with amazement.

Even though Helga has led a sheltered life she is one of those girls born with that inner feminine knowledge. You know what I mean? The kind who know when to toss their hair, even if it's not out of place, all night long!

By the end of the night I had long quit worrying about whether Helga would be popular or not and realized I hadn't felt like such a wallflower since High School!

My main job of the evening.

Adjusting Helga's outfit!

Modesty you know!

Helga showing her appreciation for the lovely evening.

Now I know what Dr. Frankenstein felt like!

I've created a monster!!!!!