Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Fail

When my niece Kseniya asked me if I would make her a Nya Ninjago costume for Halloween, I asked her to repeat herself three times.

Until I finally just said, "Nia Ninjagaroo, sure. Let me talk to your mom quick."

Photo from Brick Brown Fox

Using her clothing sizes from some items from Old Navy, I got it put together in time for Disney World, and their elaborate Villains Halloween Party.

Even without her face mask (which made it hard to breathe in the heat), she made Gaston look under-dressed.  (Why Disney hasn't learned to temperature and humidity control their parks yet, I do not understand.)

But that was just from the front.

The back showed the truth.

That I had failed to fully compensate for the lack of stretch in the fabric.  And should have taken measurements, not used some random Old Navy items.

When I was helping her get dressed I took the tiny scissors from my back pack and cut straight down the back to get her into it.

The pants miraculously forced themselves on.  And when the crotch did rip out later in the evening, we weren't too worried about it since the top offered full coverage in the front and back.

Until she mounted the horse on the Magic Kingdom Carousel.

And I dove to reposition her top whilst simultaneously saying a prayer that any Disney predators were hovering at the It's A Small World ride.  At least her knees were still covered.

Luckily, I had a chance to correct things and send them off in time for today.

I cut straight down the back and added binding tape and extra ties so she could just slip it right on.  And gave her a little more room in the pants. With a velcro front and tie.

Which allowed for a little more room to wear over South Dakota appropriate clothing.

So no, not a complete fail.

More a fail and quick fix.

Fail, quick fix and mental note that for her wedding in some 20 odd years she may be getting her second crotchless Nya Ninjago costume.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesdays with Isaac: Trick.

Good day.  This is Isaac.

I have to be honest.  I was apprehensive about this 'Fall' thing.

And by apprehensive I mean that I hated it.

I thought that it meant getting my naked body shoved into cold sticky squashes. Not OK.

After giving my mom and Heidi a lengthy spiel on the importance of a bow tie and a snappy pair of chestnut colored trousers, I tolerated the pumpkin stuffing.

 And the Frankenstein stuffing.

But today, apprehension turned into love.

And excitement.

Thrilled by Heidi's stories about kids going door to door collecting candy gratis.

And knowing that I can hide by her door with my gas guzzling lawnmower and chase after them in a trail of pollen and smoldering oil.  In the fashion of Jobe from the 1992 hit Lawnmower Man.

You know you saw it.

And enjoyed it.

Happy my 1st Halloween.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Operation Listing: i-POD-ed

Our garage disarray is from operation listing.

But our neighbors? Their garages continuously look like this because of Operation: Lust for a basement.

Garage in Arizona = basement in Minnesota.  

Cars in the driveway. Couch, tools, fridge, gym, tan, laundry: all in the garage.  Our weather only supports the habit.

We couldn't leave it like that for listing though.  Stonewalling potential buyers from visualizing their future game room, quilting chamber, or oil stained alcove for guests.  Oh no.

So we ordered a POD.

I was painting our front door lain out on sawhorses when it was delivered.  (The door was lain out, not me) And when I saw the wheeled legs drop and the man using the attached remote to drive it off of the flatbed, I shrieked for Anthony.
Get the camera! This is fascinating!

I guess I never really stopped to think about how it would be delivered. Stork maybe? Forklift?

Not only is it a genius business idea, but it is genius drop-off engineering.

It took maybe 10 minutes.

POD delivery, pick-up and storage for one month:  $225.17
POD re-delivery to new house:  $85

The convenience of not having to drive back and forth to a storage unit? Priceless.

Well, actually not. $400 was my limit before driving back and forth didn't seem so bad.

Yes. Now that is more of an appealing garasement for buyers.

Sorry Norm. Of course I meant Norm Abram fantasy suite.  My bad.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hakuna Ma Ta-tas

Pardon my desertion.

I got sucked in by a dazzling set of sequins.

And by delicacies with ears.

Marshmallow ears.

That slaughtered my willpower.

And by my personal mission to shove one of my sweet nieces into the embrace of imagination and magic.

That first face full of fur is always the most gratifying... and intoxicating.

So sucked in that I may have forced the nose of an 83-year-old mouse into my bosom during our excited squeeze.

He had no words.

Just a white glove over his mouth accompanied by some giggle shakes.

Probably not his last Disney motorboat of the day.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Operation Listing: De to the Clutter

Paint walls - Check
Declutter? - Checkish...

I mentioned that getting new carpet in 90% of our house meant the pain of moving everything to the kitchen, bathrooms and garage. 

But, I left out the amazing advantage.

Our house was magically 90% decluttered.

Only the necessities got to come back in.

That meant just a bed, dresser and side table for the guest room.

And only the clothes we really needed for the closet.

So while clearing out the space for carpet, I bagged up most of my cloths and donated most of Anthony's to make more room.

I kid, we each had our own mini cloth mountain to donate.

Wanna know what's crazy?  I had another donation mound when I was putting clothes back in.  

So much I don't need or wear.  It felt gratifying to purge.  Twice.  In my closet.

Don't get the wrong idea though.  There are still two garbage bags with my clothes and shoes in the garage.  I didn't go completely Tibetan monk on you.

But it did reveal that I really do wear the same few outfits all the time.

Almost every day in:

An Old Navy Vintage V Tee  (I bought 6 different colors when they went on sale for $5 and I had a 15% off coupon.)

and Lucy pants (which I recommend buying only via two scenarios:

1. the clearance items are another additional 25% off [happens every few months]
2. Black Friday when the whole store is 30-50% off.)

An article I read said that you should be able to space your hangers two inches apart when staging your closet. OK.

And a rule that I've decided is that once we list, I start folding all the clothes.  I have needs, and one of them is symmetrically folded clothes piles.  Judge me if you will.

Another need is to still get joy bumps when I walk into the closet.

That means the $30 Banana Republic sequin dress stays in peeking out seductively behind some cotton dresses.  And the giant black Seattle hat hangs proudly, unconstrained, on the wall.

What is that saying again?

It is the kitchen and the sequins that sell the a house?

Yes, that's right.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Operation Listing: Carpet

Sometimes you don't realize just how repulsive your carpet is until you move everything off of it.  And can gaze upon your chorus of stains all at once.

This is the same carpet we had upon arrival in 2004.  With our new stains now:

It was torn and frayed then too, but we strategically placed furniture in order to pretend it didn't exist.

Then kept pretending for 8 years.

Now we have a full house of Stainmaster Pale Clay carpet compliments of Lowe's and their $97 install promotion.

Before I break down the pricing a bit more, let me share my sophisticated process for picking Pale Clay.


It was the cheapest.

The man that came to measure each room had been in the carpet industry for over 30 years. Used to throw a whole roll over my shoulder, but now I'm old and just measure.  He shared that over 50% of the homes that he measures for install are people replacing brand new carpet. It doesn't matter...get the cheapest 'cause I'll just be back here in a couple months to rip it out.

I was still second guessing myself when I got to the store.  Until I found myself next to the carpet pads with a woman picking out carpet for her recently purchased home.  I'm here to replace the new carpet in the house we just's just too gross not knowing what's been done on it!  Let go of the color and just get whatever is cheap so it looks clean. 

Am I the only cheap-ass out there willing to ride out the wear of someone else's carpet expenditure?  Maybe.

Pale Clay wasn't the cheapest though.  To get the $97 deal you had to choose stock carpet on the big rolls in back.  Which meant limited quantities.  I seriously went up the price list.

Um, how about the 54¢ sq ft carpet? Nope, not enough.
The 58¢? No.
The 61¢? Done. Pale Clay it is.

With the help of generous and ripped friends we moved everything we own to the garage.

And Kitchen.

And the upstairs bathroom.

To save hundreds of dollars in furniture moving fees that they would have charged us.

But we did pony up for the $300 tear out and removal fee.

And an additional $728 for the basic-est of carpet pads. 

Bringing the total charge for about 1500 square feet of new carpet for our home at: $2,551.

And you bet your ass I saved 10% by making a post office trip and grabbing a change of address coupon packet.

And in case you are doing the math, there was a $400 fee to install carpet on the wrap around stairs.


All said and done, Pale Clay is proving to be a very handsome roommate. 

Even if it does mean shoes off.  And messy meals in the kitchen...above the sink...with a bib.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Operation Listing: Paint

The tan color that has been on our walls for the past 8 years wasn't atrocious.  Loosely still clinging to the 'neutral' category, I'd say.

But we felt the need to paint for two reasons.

Oh and...

2. We had previously painted everything ourselves.  

And it was obvious.  Because we are lousy painters.

One of my paint experienced brothers-in-law even told me that it looked like Ray Charles had painted our house.  
He wasn't too far off.

So we committed to $700 plus the $145 for paint to hire a pro. A steal for practically painting the entire house.

I went through 6 different sample quarts to find the perfect creamy shade.  Anthony reminded me graciously that the $5 samples were adding up, but everything was ending up too white. Too light to show a contrast with the white baseboards.

I finally found my match in Frazee's Expression. We put it in every room, except the bathrooms that still had nice paint.

Old color:

New Color:

Clean, warm and fresh.

Blending perfectly with the stains in the carpet.  Which we will address next time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesdays with Isaac: Blood Sequins


This is Isaac.

Today Heidi took me to SAS fabrics in Tempe.

After we got inside, she started getting all judgy about the woman holding the 'Costume Time' sign out front.

Something about "She would bring in more customers if she stood on the curb" and "I know we walked in behind her, but it would have been nice if she turned and greeted us."

I let Heidi go on for about 10 minutes before I told her that it was a mannequin with a motorized lever coming out of the belly that was making the sign move.


Then I pretended to be asleep.

Because if I had to hear about 'Poly blends' for one more second, my ears were going to bleed.

Give that woman a head nod, smile or 'oh really' and she will yap about fabric for hours.

But, she caught on and called my bluff with a quick placement of beaded boobie discs.

"Too far Heidi." 

But well played.

When we made it to the register, Heidi leaned over and whispered, "All right, Isaac, use your cuteness and get me a discount on my sequins."

So I slipped one of the four bags down under my car seat into the depths of my stroller.

Heidi thought she dropped one so just paid for three.

And I giddily showed her my loot when we were packing the stroller in the car.

BooYah! Put that shiz in the baby book! My first felony!

*Update from Heidi* I'll sneak the bag back in when I go tomorrow and a pay for it then.

**Update from Isaac** I just jacked a Lexus! Can't. Stop. Stealing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Operation Listing: In the Beginning...

Welcome! Come on in. 

No. No need to take off you shoes.  The new carpet isn't in yet.  

Thanks for signing up for my 'keepin it real' home tour.

The tour where I didn't bother to pick up our crap.  Or hide the sun fades in the curtains.  Just a random walk through our house showing the slapdash designing we have thrown into it for the past eight years.

As I mentioned before, we are going to try and sell our house to transition into something more supportive of my creative supply hoarding lifestyle and amazing interest rates.

And while some people don't feel the need to freshen and declutter before listing...

photo from Hooked On Houses

...we aren't those people.  No one is going to be persuaded to buy our home by my plastic fold up table behind the couch covered in Patty sequins and dancer tassels.

Well yes, actually, she might.  But, what are the chances that she would actually stop by?

So the hodgepodge is going.

Going from my corner of the office and all the closets.

Going like the red paint and extra furniture from our bedroom.

Going because in the few months that we have been looking at houses online, I've felt first hand how amazing 'neutral' and 'clean' feel in my gut.

Going because I've watched enough HGTV to see how spacious and tidy homes actually bring in a better price.

 So come along on our home transition.

Operation Listing.

Our mission to invest as much elbow grease and as little cash as possible to get top dollar.

And Operation Squash.

My personal mission to squash desires to throw an inappropriate photo into our listing.  A photo like this.

photo from Hooked on Houses

Anthony is lucky we don't have a pool.