Anyone Who Owns A Home Deserves It.

As I was shlepping around my upstairs bathroom this afternoon contorting my body into what can only be described as Indecent Poses, my hatred of the former occupants of my home crystallized into a white hot ball of hatred. Mainly because I am at the same time shocked AND disgusted that anyone would voluntarily put a wallpaper border on a wall, JUST FOR ME TO REMOVE (they only lived here for several years).

Now, the first time we bought a place, I had so much fun at the closing that it was almost like being in a bar, aside from the distinct lack of alcohol (remember Whitney?). When we bought our new house, mere months later, our closing could not have been any less similar if I tried. The couple that we were buying our current home from were some of the coldest people I’ve met, and the closing itself left me anxious and sweaty.

(as a complete aside, I will tell you about the strangest thing that has happened to me in this neighborhood. A bit before Christmas, while my father was still in the ICU, I popped out to my garage to sneak a smoke when I heard a car pull up into my driveway. I immediately put out said cigarette and went indoors to catch whomever was walking up to my house before they could ring the doorbell and wake Alex up. Literally, the LAST person on the planet I’d have expected to see on my doorstep stood there (I’d have been no more surprised had it been Britney Spears) and when I opened the main door, WALKED INTO MY HOUSE WITHOUT BEING INVITED IN.

Sure enough, the lady with bad taste who had owned my house before me, waltzed into MY house like she still owned it.

Then she opened her mouth and demanded that I give her the “money” that “a friend had sent to her old address”–MY address of the past 2 years, mind you– like I was holding onto it or something. I rarely, if ever, get anything for this family, and surely anything looking unlike junk mail has been marked “return to sender” for “no longer lives here.” I know that these people DO live in town, but have left no forwarding address, and besides, they were so cold that I’m not about to waste my time trying to send them mail that should have gone to their new address in the first place.

She seemed quite suspicious of both The Daver and I, like we were holding out on her or something when we both told her in no uncertain terms that we did NOT have any of her mail (if I had, it would have been long since recycled). I can’t be certain, but I don’t think that she believed either of us.

For serious.

I suggested that she check with the post office, something which had not occurred to her and she went on her merry nasty way.

I guess I’m shocked that a) someone wouldn’t believe me regarding something I was completely truthful about b) her friend was stupid enough to send money via USPS and c) someone who DOES NOT LIVE HERE walked into my home like she still owned it.

This last encounter with them solidified that although I heart my house, I dislike them entirely)

*ahem*

Moving on.

To celebrate that my birthday bathroom circa July 15, 2007 is nearing completion (only the medicine cabinet to go!), I have decided to undertake the renovation of Bathroom #2, The Old 70’s One.

Now, since we don’t really want to shell out cash to have someone else do the work (which includes a new bathtub/shower AND new tile flooring), we’re doing it on a slightly smaller scale, but enough to make my eyes not bleed when I wake up to the olive green walls WITH flowery border (sexxy, I know. Don’t you wish your bathroom was HOT like mine?).

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to punch myself in the face over and over again for coming up with another REALLY BRIGHT idea RIGHT BEFORE I’M HAVING A PARTY.

What the hell was I thinking?

Ah, Suburbia.

Back when I worked outside of the home, The Daver and I divided up the house chores. I tried like hell to do mine and Dave’s, well, often went undone (let’s just leave it at “he works a lot” and be done with it. Normally, I’d make some sort of joke here, but I am trying to get laid. So, no jokes). So when I started to stay home, almost all of the chores were taken over by me. Save for two: mowing the lawn and doing the catboxes, as pregnant women aren’t supposed to actually touch kitty poo (not that I scooped it with my bare hands or anything. That’s nasty).

And the fights about doing the catboxes, they were mighty, as The Daver hates that chore possibly more than he hates putting away his laundry (which, judging by the fact that his laundry has sat in the baskets that I’ve put them in for 7 or 8 months, is a lot. To his credit, when my mother-in-law came out to stay this summer, I noticed what a fanatic she was about laundry and suddenly I understood my husband much, much better. You might even say that my sympathy grew quite a bit.). In order to avoid said fights, and the less pleasant option of letting the cats poo on the carpets and the sinks, I take care of them about half of the time (especially gleefully when I am offered sex as a bribe. What can I say? I’m easy) because I am no longer with child.

The lawn, however, would go unmowed to the point at which I would actually hide from my neighbors (this is especially easy when one’s lawn looks remarkably like a prairie!) so that they couldn’t yell at me or give me nasty looks. Alex never sleeps, so I can’t do it at his naptime, I cannot safely mow the lawn while holding him, and although I have threatened to get a goat, I’m certain that the neighbors might hate that smell even more than the waist high grass.

A couple of months ago, while having coffee with one of my neighbors, her teenage son walked into the room. It was then that my brilliant idea was hatched: I can pay someone about $20 a week to do something that has become a major source of contention in my marriage AND BE DONE WITH IT. Everyone walks away a winner!

His father, who is coincidentally my son’s soccer coach and the father of his best friend came to assist the first time, and they did an asskicking job. Although we were a bit sheepish about this arrangement, the same way you feel when a 50 year old man delivers your pizza, we were assured that his father was merely showing him the ropes. The check was written for $30 because the lawn had been in such sorry shape, and we made the teen promise to buy his father something nice as well (again, we were embarressed at ourselves here).

This may have been our fatal flaw, because the following week when I dropped by his house to give him his check for $20, he looked at it and got kind of, oh I don’t know, surly over the amount (which had been agreed upon beforehand). I’m sure he was hoping to get $30 EVERY week, but hey, he’s 14 and it takes him 45 minutes because my lawn, it ain’t sprawling.

It happened again this Sunday, he came by, mowed with our mower, and when Dave brought out the check, he got a bit salty. He’s never actually complained out loud to us about it, but you can tell that he isn’t pleased.

This annoys me on several levels. First, he’s 14 and $20 is a lot of money of 45 minutes of work. I dare you to find me a job at 14 that pays that well, besides of course, prostitution or porn. Secondly, I am literally surrounded by teenage boys that would be more than happy to make a quick buck. I’ve been offered many times by most of them that they are available to do odd jobs for me (too bad there are no cabana boys here). Third, it’s a lot more money than the job warrants. Period.

So I’m stuck between some grass and some taller grass here (get it? Because he’s MOWING MY LAWN! HAHAHAHAHA.). I can’t just tell him that he’s no longer needed and hire another kid, as his mother is one of my best neighborhood friends AS WELL as the mother of Ben’s best friend. Plus, he’s never actually SAID anything to me about it, just gotten sort of grumpy when the check is delivered (which, yeah, at his age, I babysat, and you know what? I never, ever bitched about what I was paid, because it was damn easy work. I also walked uphill to school both ways in the snow WITHOUT SHOES. Damn kids these days!)

What the hell do I do?

We Can Dance If We Want To.

Unfreakingbelievably, the bathroom is now completely painted, which ends my current foray into home improvements.

One half of the bathroom is a light blue and the other is chocolate brown, which Dave (btw–go visit that duder, he’s feeling lonesome) is too tactful to actually come out and admit that he hates. I reminded him that no matter WHAT we did to that room, it couldn’t be worse than it already was. The bathroom looked like a runaway from some stuffy old lady’s house who had died in approximately 1974. To give an example, we pulled down the light fixture from there and threw it into the garage where it is currently sitting. I may never part with it, because I imagine that anytime I am feeling sad or mad or whatever, all I will have to do is have a look at it, and I will burst into gales of laughter. Like blogging, it’s cheaper than therapy.

Ashley called it Testicleeeez (say it out loud, for once I intended to mispell something) whereas I happen to think that it looks more like boobs. Sweet Jesus, these people had no taste.

So YAY! bathroom is done. Well, I should clarify that: MY part of the bathroom is completed, and the ball is in Dave’s proverbial court (because we don’t ACTUALLY have a court here, dumbass), where I am sure it will remain for the next several months until I learn how to install a toliet tank and bathroom sink. I don’t know what is scarier, the thought of me installing a toliet by myself or the thought of having to sit on the couch, phone in hand while I dial 9-1 and wait for the screams before I hit the next 1. I’m thinking about having a Housewarming Party in my bathroom, providing I can clean up the blood in time.

To celebrate the possible demise of my husband by toliet, I give you a video:

(I SOOOO want to learn to do the robot.)

White Flag!

Unlike the previous owner of our old condo, I had no real beefs with the previous owners of our house. Sure, I hate all of their paint choices, and maybe the fake flowers planted (and thoughtfully left) in the backyard were pretty rank, but overall I couldn’t complain. There were no size 20 skirts in the closet and no spoiling milk in the fridge.

Until I started work on this bathroom. In a word, it’s been a nightmare, the likes of which only someone else who has removed wallpaper can appreciate. Let me give you a mini-primer on wallpaper removal should you ever be cursed with such a chore:

Wallpaper is made of 2 pieces of paper: the vinyl outer layer (in this case, 3 separate flower patterns) and the inner layer which is designed to glue to the wall. Removing the outer layer isn’t hard, but the glue bonds itself to everything in it’s path. Including drywall and the old paint from the walls.

After you scrape the bejesus out of the glue/paper and it comes off, you’re left with patches that weren’t able to be removed (so you have to sand it) AND in this case, bits of chipped wall paint. So now you have 2 choices (somewhat like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, only less awesomely awesome): you can sand off ALL OF THE PAINT from the walls OR you can spackle the living shit out of the patches (because if you don’t, the painted wall will resemble the pockmarked face of a teenager with bad acne).

I chose to spackle, which is somewhat more satisfying but will THEN have to be sanded smooth. Then primed and painted (assuming I haven’t committed myself first)

Here’s hoping that it works, otherwise you may see the only recorded death due to spackling (considering the recent back injury, the tally is now Spackle: 1, Becky: 0).

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

The rumors are indeed true. We are moving back to civilization.

Fed up with the blatant snobbery of Oak Park coupled with living in the ‘hood, Daver and I have decided it will be in our best interests to move right back where I started from, oh do-dah-day. Call us ‘sell-outs’ or ‘suburbanites’ til you turn electric blue in your face, it will be lost on us.

Sure, the city is a whirlwind place, teeming with new people and exhilarating experiences but how can you enjoy it with a small child? And why, pray tell, would one want to pay MORE for goods and services, common variety of course, as we all know that I’d pay through the nose for a wax replica of the vagina of Katherine the Great, but hey, this is Chicago, not France. I guess that I can still find Chicago a neato place from the suburbs, which may be impossible for most of you to understand.

I like wide open spaces, devoid entirely of homeless men showing me their penises and scabs. I appreciate not being panhandled on every street corner, each sob story more impressive than the last, all, apparently involving missing train fare. I like being able to park in places that I would like to shop (or rob, but who’s counting?) and not have to beat off all of the eco-friendly vehicles with my behemoth of a truck.

I love that traveling from one point to another for such goods and services as ‘groceries’ and ‘gasoline’ isn’t such an arduous journey taking upwards of 30 minutes in the car.

Each way. I like that said grocery stores DO NOT HIRE SECURITY GUARDS. ESPECIALLY AT THE GROCERY STORE. THAT IS SO FUCKING CREEPY.

What I adore most of all is that there is only one valuable color for currency in St. Charles. It is not, miraculously, hemp, nor is it a muted earth tone procured ONLY at Whole Foods, it is green and it is great.

So we’re off to the land of gas-guzzling monster Hum-Vee’s; off to the land of wide open spaces, off to wherever the hell is far, far away from Oak Park.

Fuck you Oak Park, I don’t want you back.