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Jul 9, 2013

You would not believe the year I have had

So, yes, I know, I haven't posted since January. I know. I can't believe it myself. sigh.

Seriously deep breath.

I know....

So, last year at this time, the "fam" and I were hanging out at our annual summer gig in an uber preppy New England hotspot - so hot that "TSwizzle" and her Bestie, "SelGo" were spotted here last week (last week 2013 not the 2012 that we are discussing)....

We had non-freaking-stop company last year and for the 3 years prior, and I could have just kicked myself in my own arse for doing that!

3 teenage girls - I'm not going into the gory details - but girls (and boys) do not do this to yerself. If you have 8th graders or soon to be 8th graders, or all too recently 8th graders, take one friend or take 3 do NOT NOT NOT take your one and 2 additional teen girls with you on vacation. Do freaking not do it.

So Big Daddy and I had the brilliant idea to take 3 teenage girls on vacation, during which we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, an event which I'd decided to celebrate with a party - but neglected to mention to one and all that it was an anniversary party, so I ended up - on my 20th wedding anniversary - waiting hand and foot on friends and neighbors.... sigh...

Friends, do not do this to yourself. Do NOT throw your own anniversary party. Even if YOUR anniversary falls on a fave holiday like 4th of July (hey, that's MY anniversary) do NOT NOT NOT have a party on that day or you will spend the day popping the tops off of bottles of "Summer Shandy"  for your guests and not having a good time, kicking back and having your Big Daddy hubby worship you in the manner to which all of us would like to become accustomed!

So, after 5 days of teen aged behavior, we were down to 2 teens... which was fine until we realized that the one teen that was not ours, would not be going home until WE got her there. I kid you not. The child in questions' biological family (as opposed to US with whom she has spent most of her time in the last year) actually drove past our freeway exit 4 times (FOUR TIMES) during the 2 weeks that we had said child with us last year, yet the family was never quite able (frankly I think they drink and forgot all about her) to make it to our house 10 mins from said exit.

Are you exhausted just reading about this? Let me tell you, it does not stop there!

So, we had this two week vaca, which, quite frankly, was no vaca for me, since I still do all the cooking and laundry and meal planning and shopping - do I need to say more?

And moments after this so called vacation, upon our return to our home, MiniMe and I packed up again and departed for the "opportunity of a lifetime" (this according to my mother). Which was a cruise from Seattle to Alaska.

Have you ever been up in the Seattle Space Needle? If you do go, I suggest that you look down on the Port of Seattle. If you have children, you will note (as many other parents have noted to me) that the Port of Seattle looks like it came straight out of a children's TV series.  Busytown, is how I think some have attributed the area.

So, the cruise was lovely. My Mom, MiniMe, My Sister and I all went on a Royal Princess cruise. Now, let me state that I once worked in the Marine Safety Industry and Cruising is NOT NOT NOT my idea of a good time. When you know how this stuff works, there is NO romance! When you know the cruise workers all  hale from semi cannibalistic, third world, Asiatic societies, one spends an inordinate amount of time avoiding the elevators which leads to walking through casinos, which is the only place people can smoke on board. Kill me.

Let's not forget that the Costa what do you call it (no offense) rolled over the week prior to our vacation, nor will we add in the fact that the very ship upon which we were to sail was adrift and afire the week prior to MiniMe's birth (though in another Cruise Region so apparently it didn't matter.. plus... they "fixed" it, right?).

Alaska is amazing. The water is many colors of blue and green and clear - almost as many colors as the greens of Ireland.... There was a waterfall so wide and twisting that it looked like a road, air so fresh it almost hurt to breath!

Unfortunately, every single thing we did was tourist based, ridiculously expensive, and every place we landed was only open during the cruise season. What are you going to do?  Almost every house (in many of which I would be pleased to live) had a rusted out hunk of a vehicle in the driveway and a beautiful, new, shiny (and I imagine, leased) float plane at the dock in front.

Let me tell you one thing that the cruise companies will NOT tell you (and it's on purpose): Your "first day" is a freaking travel night mare!  Do yourself a favor- fly into Seattle a day prior to your cruise departure!

Not only did we have a 6ish hour flight that started at O God O'Clock in the morning, East Coast Time, but we had to take a SeaTak airport train to the spot where we spent an hour-ish wait with our pink tickets for our bus to our cruise ship.  THEN, we had a 40 minute on your feet wait to go up the escalator THEN we had a 1 hour wait to go to the window, THEN we had a 90 minute on your feet walk onto the cruise ship... our embarkation photo was the best photo taken of our group on the trip. and my eyes were closed. Do you need more info? Really? Do you?

I would have encouraged "Big Mama" to walk ahead of us in the line and sit on the occasionally provided benches until we caught up with her, but the French Polynesian family behind us (who out weighed us 4 to 1) kept bumping into us and talking crap about us - in French - in a most provocative manner that, had they been any "smaller" or had my sister and I been hammered, might have resulted in headlines and FOX News "Breaking news" moments. Jeez, those chicks were built like the proverbial brick shit houses!

Oh, call me a racist if you want, my sister was there.. she would back me up.....

Yeah, and note to those who speak French or a dialect thereof:..... French is more widely spoken than Spanish or English so if you are going to talk crap about the family in front of you in line to get on a cruise ship, you might consider for a nano second that those people could be multi lingual and understand when you talk about their fat mother is or how you think they are bitches even though your only social intercourse has been your own bad cellphone manners and lack of personal space. By the way, your Brobro's pareo is slipping and the theme of this cruise is NOT "Free Willy" ... if you get my drift...


But I digress.... So, the cruise was very nice, though I am accustomed to observing basic manners and dress codes and the rest of the ship seemed to have brought nothing but TShirts and dirty jeans. I kid you not.

The first night, my sister and I went to dinner, appropriately dressed, only to be sat at the "A" table. We couldn't imagine why the wait staff would seat us, two 40 something women in almost identical tunics and white slacks, until we realized that everyone around us was wearing ass-crack jeans, wife beater shirts and baseball cap, askew... no, sadly, I'm not kidding.

It didn't get any better as the trip wore on, so we stopped eating in the... "public" dining rooms and retired to the specialty restaurants (which cost extra but are worth it!).

Upon my return home, it might interest you t know that Big Daddy and I embarked on what we thought would be a 6ish week redo of our house. I may have mentioned it in a previous entry... the windows, siding and insulation...

Did I mention the lead paint? As in "we need to charge that $X thousand dollars extra for lead remediation. The results on your paint have the highest lead content we have ever encountered in the 25 years we've been doing business"?

I have so much material from "Demo Day One" that I could do a life long blog just on that one day. Let me tell you.... so, the shingle siding came off, the housewrap stuff came off, the plywood sheathing came off.... you know what was under all that? The original 300 year old battenboard siding. That came off.... and you know what was under that? Anyone? Anyone?


I know, you are all scratching your heads out there, thinking... whaddayamean, nothing?

The entire structural integrity of my house had... for lack of a better term... "Taken a Powder".  A Powder Post Beetle, to be exact.

The contractors told us to move out (like yesterday) because the house was likely to fall down. The good Lord knows that it tried to fall down... on several occasions, but our lovely crew of incredibly talented and determined construction guys just pushed her back up and built temporary walls and braced others till the cows came home.

Can't tell you how many times people said to me - "It'll be cheaper to knock it down".

Can you imagine being the one to live in a crazy snowglobe New England town that loves all of it's "character" and you tear down the oldest house in town? Can you? Well NOT me!

So, our 6 week windows-siding-insulation project turned into a 4 month drama of rot, lead, carpenter ants, powder post beetles, no electricity in 1/2 the house, squirrels nests, asbestos, more asbestos and hey, do you know you have asbestos?

The lovely electrician made sure we had power to parts of our house where it mattered - kitchen, laundry and den. Big Daddy, determined not to be inconvenienced or displaced by our revolting and revolutionary home, ran a multitude of orange extension cords to lamps and fans so he could stay in our bedroom. I and MiniMe decamped to the den where we had a large AC in the window.

We made Tom Hanks and his "Money Pit" look like a day at the beach.

Because of the amount of structural "issues", the project had to go much more slowly (read: expensively) than anyone had anticipated: One Wall at a time. ugh.

I learned to fear comments such as "Change Order", "Engineer", "Based on what we've seen, we expect everything to go smoothly from here on out".  It never did. Oh, and 2 of my very fave phrases: "I didn't want to put this in an email" and "Do you have a minute? I'd like to show you something.". Sister, (and bros) that last one just about put me over the edge. Drove me to tears. On more than one occasion

I absolutely lost my way the day the Project Manager said "uh, Don't know how to put this but you need a new roof over the mud room."

I swore at everyone. I stomped my feet. I put on a cry that rivaled "Asbestos Day".

I said..... "You know what? I'm not writing another check. Not. Another. Single. One! No. No NOOOOO. Not. Going. To. Happen. No.
Stop everything. Do not do one single thing more.... Pull off every single bit of siding from the back of this house. Tell me what more needs to be done, then we are going to ask Big Daddy to cut one O-N-E. more check. That is IT with Two T's. One more check."


So, they stripped the entire back of my house to see what more might need to be done, what dramas would unfold, what horrors lurked below the innocent looking shingles.... Fortunately, the answer is nothing....
except, ofcourse, the aforementioned roof...

close your eyes... raise  your eyebrows.... yeah... still that bad....

So, to conclude; never buy an antique house. No matter how "cozy" or "cool" it might sound. Don't do it!

I will be back with more... this is all I can give you for now.... I will be back soon... I'm not going to promise because you will just scoff at me and roll your eyes and I won't blame you!

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