Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A letter to any new neighbors...that I probably can't send

Maybe you've heard about my neighbors and all the drama.  I really am considering giving anybody else who moves into this neighborhood this nice little letter, maybe with some editing?!  I sound so mean, and  like a total bitch.  I'm really not. But I am at the end of my rope dealing with the people that move into that house across the street.  I moved out of the ghetto, to the country, for a reason.  I don't want to be dealing with those issues anymore.  This letter is meant as a joke....maybe.....

Dear new neighbors,

Welcome to the neighborhood! We are writing this letter to let you know a little about the neighborhood and to help ensure that you become somebody that we like (we are pretty fun and nice if we like you,) and not somebody we will all equally hate with every ounce of our being. You may first read this and think that your neighbors are uptight assholes, and I assure you that we really are not!  We've had numerous bad experiences with the house you are moving into.  It may actually be cursed, sorry about that, but maybe YOU can break the curse! We are all rooting for you!  Here are the highlights of the last 3 tenants, so you know why we are writing this:  one who gave her "services" for a fee, one left her dirty diapers on her front yard and let her dog run in my yard to poop, and the last ones....where most of this comes from....they were obnoxious, loud, rude, took in borders, and that list goes on and on.  Please understand that we are all sick of drama from that house and really are hoping that YOU will be a cool person that can fit in. To ensure that everybody is on the same page, I figured I'd write a little list to help you out.  If you read this list and think "What the hell?  Why would they need to tell me not to do this?"  that may be a great sign.  These basic things were so foreign to the previous tenants that we decided to write them down, you know, in case you moved from someplace where respect wasn't common.

Music--We love music! In the summer, most times when we are all outside, there is some music playing on the radio.  It will be loud enough that I can hear it in my front yard or wherever I am.  It will not be loud enough that you can hear it inside your house, over the sound of your own TV, or so loud that it stops you from being able to read or hold a conversation with anybody.  I expect the same from your music. If you are unsure how loud the music coming from your house is, my suggestion is to walk outside, walk around the neighborhood, and LISTEN.  If I cannot sit in my front yard, reading a book, without hearing your music interrupting my every thought, your music is too damn loud!  Keep in mind that I may be understanding the first time, especially if you notice the problem, apologize, and correct it.   If you continually do it, remember that I have 1 car, 1 van, and 1 truck in front of my house.  I can easily turn them all on and drown out any and all noise coming from your house.  I assure you it won't be music you like either.  Let's not have to resort to that.

Respect--We are a friendly neighborhood, and kinda all wander from house to house in the summer, especially when the kids are out.  If you are the type to yell and scream over everything all day and night, please keep your windows and doors shut.  Same goes for when you are getting in and out of your car.  Remember that my bedroom is facing your parking spot.  If you yell every morning or night and wake me, I will make your life a living hell.  Nobody in the neighborhood wants to hear you swearing and yelling all day.  And we have little kids.  If we are outside, enjoying some fun time and the sounds coming from your house make us wonder if somebody's life is at risk or you are just being downright rude and obnoxious, it won't be good.  I may be nice the first time, and simply give you some sort of death stare and the opportunity to take your drama elsewhere.  I may just call the cops because I'm so sick of that behavior and don't want my days off ruined by you. We work hard, when we want to relax and enjoy our days off we would love if you were part of it, not ruining it.

Trash--YOU are in charge of ordering your own trash barrels, and paying the bill.  You are also in charge of picking up your trash barrels when the wind blows them around, or the trash guys leave them someplace other than their normal spot. If your barrels were full when they got blown around, be a decent human being and pick up the trash that blew everywhere too!  If you leave your barrels in the middle of the road, and your trash blowing around the road (and thus into a neighbor's yard) you are automatically moved to the black list.  It's pretty basic.  Take out trash bags from inside your house, tie them, place them into trash bin, close lid.  If you have any difficulty with this, I'm willing to show you. When we come home from work and our yard and driveway is filled with trash from your house, it makes us very angry.  Please don't be lazy, pick up after yourself, and we won't have this problem. 

Parking--Your designated spots are in front of YOUR house.  Keep in mind when parking that you are parking on a narrow road. Also keep in mind that there are driveways on each side of your parking spots.  Do not park your car in such a way that people cannot easily get in and out of their driveways.  The neighbors are all nice, but also one step away from crazy and if you continually do this, your car may get rammed repeatedly one day. Please don't even consider parking in front of the house across the street or in front of the gate at the end of the road.  Your car could get towed.  Note that if you become a nice neighbor and are liked, if you plan to have people over, you can ask to use our spots.  We will most likely let you if you are respectful to us.

Kids--The neighborhood has kids, and if you have children that can play well with others, they are encouraged to play!  Please do not just toss your kid out of the house when you see us outside with our children. Call first, stop over and ask if we mind watching your kid too, or just come outside with your kid.  It will not be my responsibility to ensure that your kid doesn't get hurt or gets home when we decide to go inside or leave.  Also keep in mind that if your kid is playing at my house and is a little shit, he/she will be reprimanded.  I promise you that I love children and would never harm one.  But I also believe in discipline and manners in children, so if your kids lack that, I'd suggest you teach them. If the kids are running around, and you'd like to bring out a treat that is super.  But please do not bring 50 sugar filled treats for 4 kids.  I don't want to deal with the sugar high or intense low that comes from it. It's also best if you are around when your kids are playing outside because I do not pay attention to tantrums or crying for attention.  If your kid does this as part of their normal behavior, I will send them home for you to deal with.  Now here's the thing....I sound mean. I'm not.  I love kids and although I'd like to ignore your child if you choose to ignore them, I will not.  I will make sure that somebody is there if I am leaving and make sure they get home. I will make sure your kid is safe and loved.  But I will also call DSS on your ass if you continually ignore your child or put them in harm's way, this includes screaming at your child or hitting them.  If I can hear your kid screaming like they are being harmed when I am in my house, every day, there is a problem in my opinion. Lastly, there is a lake!  Watch your children!  IF they are wandering around and not being watched they can fall into the lake and get hurt or drown. Let it be known that if you do work out and we like you, we can easily work it out so that if I'm outside you CAN call me and ask if your child can come play while you run errands or clean your house.  I will do that and won't mind at all.....if I like you and your child. If I don't, don't think I'm the babysitter. You will be wrong.

Clothing--I understand the summer is hot.  Please keep yourself and your visitors fully dressed when they are outside.  It may be normal for your family to walk around half naked with all their nastiness hanging out for the world to see, but it makes me vomit.  I don't want to see that. Nobody wants to see that. Dress appropriately outside of your house.

The Lake--We have access to the lake at MY HOUSE.  There is fishing, boating, and other fun things you can do.  As of right now, YOU do not have any access to the lake from my yard.  You are not to be in my yard, unless I invite you.  You cannot go and use the boats, or fish, even if you see other neighbor's doing it. I will decide if I'd like to extend that invite after your trial period.

So that's about all.  Hopefully, you work out and we get a neighbor that is awesome and can be part of our neighborhood gang.  It's all pretty basic stuff...respect for neighbors, respect for your home and the neighborhood (don't have tons of shit in your front yard!), no screaming obscenities every time you open your mouth.  And drive cautiously on these roads, the kids play on them and if you hit one of my children or the ones I love like my own, you will die.  Even if I did like you! 

Much love,
Your new neighbors

Thank you to all of you that have read this and sent me messages!  I really appreciate it.  I know many of you have tried to post comments on here and were having difficulty.  I'm not exactly sure why it's not working well for you, but I appreciate the effort. I know that you have to  click on a "profile" from the drop down menu under the comment box, before hitting post, so make sure you are doing that!  I recommend writing a comment, then copying it before you try to post it.  That way, if for some reason it disappears, you can simply paste it back and try again.  Thanks again! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Video Games, Dressing Rooms, and 5 year old words of wisdom!

Hylan was here for a good part of last week because of school vacation.  We had a good time, and for the most part everything went well.  He got a bit sad when Justin finally came home on Friday after work and then got another call and had to leave again.  Hylan is so excited when his dad gets home and loves playing with him.  As much as I play and interact with him all day, I'm just not as cool as his dad.  It made me sad when Hylan cried because dad had to stop playing with him and go back to work.  He's at an age where he can't fully understand they "why" and I did my best to explain it.  During the day we had gone shopping and out to lunch, and I explained that for us to do those things, dad had to work and earn the money.  He kind of understood it, at least as much as he can, and calmed down.  Luckily Justin's call was close by and he wasn't gone very long.
I absolutely love talking with Hylan and spending our days together.  The things he says really make me smile and the innocence in what he says is beautiful.  And often hysterical. 
Here are a few favorites from Hylan:
While watching me put on makeup, which he does every day:  "You don't want to put on too much because then you look like a clown, and you don't want to look like a clown unless you have a funny hat too, right?"
He helps me pick out which colors to wear for eye shadow, which perfume for the day, and which outfit I should wear.  He also really prefers my hair when it's down and I put "Jello" in it because I look much prettier.  (His dad doesn't quite love the idea of him learning about makeup & hair so in depth, but I think the time and interaction together is most important, no matter what the topic is!)
While in the dressing room with me when I was shopping for a new pair of skinny jeans since mine are all too big now and aren't tight like they should be:   Loud Giggles, then "It's so funny how you have to jump up and down to get those pants on.  Giggle Giggle"
Thanks buddy, I was really hoping every other person in the dressing room knew that my pants wouldn't fit over my ass unless I hopped a bit to get them up!  But dammit, they look great and fit great and I bought them! Bonus points for the running commentary of the entire dressing room process.  People were wondering if the pattern on my underwear was cool (it was), if you could see my butt in the other mirror (you could), and if my tattoos looked colorful (they do!)
While telling me a story about how he knows that you shouldn't show your butt to anybody, he says, "I shouldn't show my butt in school right, because then I'd be abareassed?"  His version of embarrassed perfectly sounded like a bare assed and I tried like hell to not laugh and just help him say it correctly.  But he was actually correct in what he said too, he would be bare assed.
We had a fun week.  One day we went to my work and got a corn dog because he loves them.  Hylan is quite fascinated by my boss Brian, and he is somehow his new favorite person.  He told me that Brian is his best friend, and he loves him 100.  But have no fear, he loves me 107 because I take care of him!  Funny he said that though because as we were driving home with our corn dog, I was saying how big it was and was worried about him being able to eat it all.  He told me had plenty of room in his belly, which made me realize I hadn't fed him breakfast.  OOPS!  But look at that, I still got the extra 7 points for "taking care of him!" Even if I can't remember to feed him.
I'm still working on the video game battle.  I'm so up in the air about it.  I really think he's too young to have the DS attached to him at all times.  When he's at home with his mother, he can play video games all day and all night.  I don't like that idea and I feel like he should be doing other things that engage him more.  I try to have him look through books daily, color, and play other games besides just video games.  I want him to do things that help him learn and exercise his brain.  I use video games as a treat for him, or sometimes for me....when I need a break and need to accomplish something in peace.  I know he will leave me alone for a while if he's playing.  But that's also why I hate them so much.  He gets so entranced by them that he's oblivious to everything else.  Then I also contradict myself if Justin is home.  When he is here and plays video games WITH Hylan, I feel like that is better.  I don't know though.  To me, the fact that they are interacting with one another, showing each other things and strategizing, and just spending time together is better than when Hylan is playing alone.  I don't know though....I still would prefer if he was spending more time doing other activities.  I think it will be better in the summer.  We are pretty good about going outside still, even if it is cold, because well...he's a kid and kids play outside.   But it's been pretty cold, so we don't stay out as long as we do in the summer.  This leads to more time being stuck in the house, which isn't always as exciting.   I'm working on a solution that makes me feel comfortable.
That's my story for the day....Do you let your kids play video games?  Do you limit them? Do you have a funny story you want to share about your little ones?  Leave me a comment here and share it!  It's quite easy if you have a google account of any sort, and you can simply log in and share with me!

As usual, thanks for reading, sharing with your friends, and all of your comments, texts, and emails about my blog!  I'm trying to get everybody to comment here, on this blog, because when I go back and read them the comments make me smile too!  Give it a try!  Thanks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lack of cooking confidence

I haven't written anything in forever, but I'm going to try to do it weekly again.  Here we go....wish me luck.

This is a real day (or two) in my life when it comes to cooking.  I wish I could make this shit up.   For those of you that can cook, this will probably be painful to read!

During our late night shopping trip on Sunday, Justin gets the great idea that we (meaning I) make corned beef and cabbage.  I love corned beef!  Plus, it totally is within the lines of my 2 pan maximum rule about cooking anything.  I really prefer the crock-pot and could have done it this way, but I've made it before in a pot, with success, so I was thought I could do it again easily.

On Monday, I'm driving down the road pondering how I will make dinner, and I realize I cannot remember the most basic parts.  I do what I always do in these situations and call a friend.  Lucky for me, I have not one, but two friends that are chefs, and a few that are just amazing cooks,  so I have a good selection of people to consult.  I call my boss, Brian, and he briefs me.....put the meat in the pot, then the potatoes, carrots, and onions.  Save the cabbage for the last hour.  Ok, I got this.

"Brian, how long will it take?"
"How big is it Loriann?"
"Umm...it cost me about $16"

Yea...that's my answer.  He is kind enough to not repeat the question since I didn't actually answer it, or hang up on me and tell me I'm a lost cause and I really appreciate that!  He suggests about 4 hours.  I realize that it's already almost 4, so I go to liquor store, buy a bottle of wine, and put it off until tomorrow.   It was the smart thing to do.

Today, I'm ready.  I cut my veggies and have it all ready for the pot, which is missing.  After a little game of hide & seek, I find my pot and off I go.  I put everything in the order I was told, and put in some water.  Then I start to worry about HOW MUCH water I should put in. (I really do better with an exact amount, "you will need 3 cups,"  but things don't always work that way when cooking)  I put some water in and it's barely covering the potatoes, so I think I need more.  As usual, I doubt myself because of my lack of cooking confidence, so I take a picture and send it to Brian asking if I need more water.  Brian is working, and my cooking questions via text are actually not his #1 priority for some odd reason, so I don't get a reply right away.  Hmmm....what's a girl to do?

So I call Justin, or Smitty as he has been known as for years.    Not to be confused with my Justin, because he would be no help if he even did answer his phone.   Smitty finally calls me back (again, damn chefs more concerned with running their restaurants than my basic cooking questions!) and tells me I should add more water and I run what I do know by him to (again) make sure I have this right.  Off I go to begin this process.

Next step, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 4 hours.  Ok, I think I got this from here on out.  Except I don't because after it starts boiling, I wonder exactly what number on the stove dial will equal "simmer."  These things should be labeled for the task, not some random fucking number! So I have to make another call.  Being that Smitty & Brian are actually working and cooking far more complex food for tons of people, I decide to call Craig.  He can cook very well, so he will know.  But he's at his AA meeting, and my cooking questions don't trump that either.  Ugh.

Finally, Craig calls me, we talk, and  I turn the stove from 4 where I originally put it, down to 3, then we settle on 2 with a cover for the next 4 hours.  I am directed to NOT REMOVE THE COVER  multiple times.  (We lived together, he knows I will open it, look at it, stir it, and whatever else repeatedly!)  I promise I will not touch the damn pot, cover, or anything in the kitchen until 5:00 and I'm all set.  Dinner is in the works, all of my questions are answered, and the house smells good. Success. Finally.  After consulting 3 people to make one very simple dish!

Sadly, this is just a normal day in my life when I make something other than what I make regularly enough that I remember how to do it myself with confidence.  I wish I could just find a book for this. Although a cookbook is helpful because it tells me how long to cook things and at what temperature, it's not really what I need. I can follow a recipe, although I don't really enjoy that.  I use them as guidelines and kinda do my own thing, which usually works out well. What I need is a book to read about the very basic things about cooking.  The stuff your mom taught you, that I wasn't taught.  Or maybe a book about learning to have a little more confidence in yourself when cooking.  That might help too since I know a lot of this stuff, but I don't have enough faith in my knowledge to do it without using all of my "phone a friends."

Oh well....dinner is on, it smells great and I know it will taste great too!  The end result will be exactly what I wanted, even if starting it takes far more effort and phone calls than are necessary. I guess we can't be confident in everything we do all the time!  And I'm really working on this, and getting better every time.  One day, I plan to make something I've never made before without having to call a single person!  That is my goal!!