Exercising the demons!

“Our daughter Carol-Anne is in the television…”

Do you remember the Eddie Murphy skit about the movie Poltergeist?
Eddie Murphy: “Oh what a lovely home!”
Poltergeist voice: “GETTT OUTTTT!”
Eddie Murphy: “Too bad we can’t stay!”

This is probably similar to what has gone inside my bedroom at night for the past 25 years or so.

When I was a little kid I always fought going to sleep. Once I tell you a little bit about my nocturnal habits, you’ll probably see why… But since I fought sleep so much, once I finally did fall asleep, I was usually in a coma-like state and waking me was near impossible.

I guess where it really started was talking in my sleep. My mom would walk past my bedroom to go to bed and would hear “chattering.” The first few times she was kind of mad because she thought I had somehow managed to smuggle the cordless phone into my room and I was talking on the phone. So she’d whip open my bedroom door and I’d be laying there 100% oblivious to her and the hallway light streaming into my room… yammering away, clear as day. I would tell her nonsense things like where my in-my-dreams-only pet squirrel was going and point the little fella out to her as it “whizzed by her head”…

Then it progressed into me getting up and going to the bathroom in the night. Mom would usually be in the living room watching TV and would just assume I got up and went and did my thing and would go back to bed. But when she would go in to check on me, she would find that I was asleep and would be in the middle of disassembling the toilet paper rack in our bathroom. All while still sitting on the toilet.

Eventually when I got a little older and didn’t require bathroom supervision, I would find myself waking up in the night standing in front of my bedroom window staring out. Which was probably the creepiest it ever got for me. I even had to pull open curtains and raise the shades to accomplish this, so I apparently still had very good motor skills while unconscious! We lived out in the boonies, so who knows what I was looking at or for!

I had a friend sleep over once and she woke me up yelling at me for standing in my closet. I probably would have punched me in the face if I were her…

No matter what/where/when I have always (even still to this day) had a thing about turning my bedside lamp on in my sleep.

My nocturnal habits seemed to settle down a little bit through college and through my early 20′s. They didn’t really seem to start happening again until we bought our house that we live in now.

Pretty much right off the bat, I started in with turning the lights on in the night. Travis would wake me up in the night telling me to shut it off or by him walking over to my side of the bed and shutting it off himself.

It eventually turned into me waking up standing beside the bed, lights on, sometimes off. Then it slowly morphed into something new. I started screaming about things being in the room.

Ha! Poor Travis, if the tables would have been turned I probably would have thrown him down the stairs or locked him in the basement Evil Dead style!

We switched bedrooms (for no reason related to my night habits lol) and that seemed to make it ten times worse!

I woke up one night screaming about the pipe cleaners coming out of the ceiling. Once rubber spiders were dangling in the closet. We promptly had to hang curtains in front of the previously open closet. But then it turned into me screaming “Who’s in the closet?!” and “WHAT THE F#&% IS THAT?!?”

Sometimes I get up and follow Travis to the bathroom and just end up standing in the doorway of our bedroom or in the hallway. Which I’m sure is a lovely surprise when you open the bathroom door and see someone standing in your path in the pitch black. I’m really surprised I haven’t been shot or punched yet. In my defense I usually am just trying to go to the bathroom too.

A few months ago Travis awoke with the light on to me loudly mumbling something to him. At first (as he usually does) he thought I was awake and talking to him, so he asked “Huh?”

“Mumble mumble… How are you going to have a party… mumble mumble… WITH ALL OF THESE LAMPS ALL OVER THE PLACE!?” At this point I grabbed my bedside lamp and ripped it off the table and turned over and started shaking it over his head.

Luckily, he found this to be hilarious! (Again, I would have punched me in the face) So he immediately began cracking up. Which woke me up, and realizing what had happen, I also started cracking up. We laid there in bed at 4 am for probably ten minutes laughing so hard we both had to get up and go to the bathroom before we peed our pants!

Then there was last week when I seemed to cross that creepy line for Travis.

We have a 10 year old Boston Terrier, she currently has an ulcer on her eye. She normally sleeps in bed with us at the bottom of the bed near our feet, but Travis is notorious for kicking her in his sleep. (Yes, he’s a sleep FLAILER…) So while she is on 3 different kinds of antibiotics, pain med and anti-inflammatory meds which are hopefully putting her on the mend, Travis has been a champ and has been sleeping on the floor next to the bed so we hopefully won’t have to pay the $2,000.00+ for surgery to remove her eye after Travis kicks her in the face.

Travis was laying there, nearly asleep, long after I was sawing logs when he heard me say:

“What the hell is that in here?”

I think he knew I was asleep because he didn’t respond.

“Well.. WHATEVER it is, I just pray to God it doesn’t start moving under the bed…”

At which point the hair on the back of his neck stood up as he glanced beside him into the darkness, which of course happened to be under the bed.

Yooo-hooo!

Luckily nothing ate him or dragged him under there… but he definitely told me about it with a slightly disturbed tone in his voice.

I’m not sure what the deal is with my night time activities. And as a friend pointed out the other day, it is totally weird that it’s different in different places. Like how it seems to be the worst in our spare bedroom. I mean it’s not like my head spins around and I spit green pea soup all over the place, but it would probably be pretty disturbing. 

Anybody have any sleep walking/talking stories?

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Leavin’ on a jetplane

So we’re getting ready to do a little traveling next week. The wheels go up first thing Thursday morning, on a big ol’ jet airliner headed towards Orlando, Florida! Travis is meeting with a few people he does business with on Thursday, Friday and Monday. But Saturday and Sunday are all ours to spend as we please!

We decided to hit up as many fun places as we could think of on our adventure, since we don’t get the chance as much as we’d like to travel. It will be a work hard, play hard sort of situation and I get to play Lovely Assistant and keep us on schedule with a semi-nazi-esque itinerary that I pulled together over the course of a few weeks we had to plan the trip!

Strangely, one of the things I’m looking forward to most is checking out are Florida Orange Juice some of Florida’s natural springs! There are apparently hundreds of them throughout the state, most of which are on private property. But there are several that are state parks! I watched a documentary-type video a long time ago about the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee! Weeki Wachee is a natural spring that they built a glass wall into the side of, that allows people to sit in an underground amphitheatre area and watch “live mermaid shows!” How could the little girl in all of us not be totally into that?!

Weeki Wachee Mermaids beckoning travelers in off the highway like Sirens of the deep to come watch the Mermaid Shows

According to the Weeki Wachee website, (which I couldn’t get to load at the time of this posting) the girls who performed as the mermaids back in the day were like celebrities! Everywhere they went, they were treated like movie stars! The spring is sort of off the beaten path, so the girls would go out to the highway road and stand near the sign and beckon travelers in for the show and then quickly run and jump in the spring for a show! There’s even video on YouTube of live wild Manatees who swim into the show area. It’s pretty rad!

Vintage photo of a Mermaid Show from the early days

 

Unfortunately, we won’t be in the Weeki Wachee area so we had to suck it up and check out Rainbow Springs instead. Which in my opinion is a little more awesome because we will actually be able to get in and swim and enjoy the springs first hand.

For those of you that don’t know a whole lot about me, I am a water person. I usually prefer a river or a lake. I like the ocean but I know that most things in the ocean can and will kill me. I am cooler with the ocean for some reason if I can see what’s possibly going to kill me. But I am not a major fan of raging rip-tides and angry waves that beat you down and force dirty-tourist-butt salt water up your nose. I want to swim, not fight that fierce bitch Mother Nature to survive!

I grew up on a lake, and I was the first one in the water in the spring and the last one in out in the fall. This was usually not on purpose – I had a bad habit of playing too close to the water and usually fell in, fully dressed while chasing bugs or just being me, and generally in near-freezing temperatures.

We swam at night, swam in the day, in the rain, in the cold, in the blazing heat when the water felt like someone’s old bath water. We jumped off the top of the dock and nearly killed ourselves. Stuck our toes in the mud on the bottom and picked it up and threw it at each other… The lake was the last thing I saw before bed while we sat out on the porch and talked about the day. It the first thing  I saw in the morning while we ate our toast and coffee on the porch and watched the mist over the water roll out.

The lake was my place. There’s just something about the water. It’s peaceful and makes me feel at home.

 

But I’ll take this place! This is Rainbow Springs… That’s fresh spring water, not sea water!

 

I’ll only get a few hours to enjoy it, but that should be enough to appease my water-loving soul! Then a few days later we will be spending a few days in St. Augustine right on the Atlantic coast. St. Augustine seems BAMF because it’s the oldest continually occupied city in the WHOLE COUNTRY! I’ve only passed through Miami, Florida on the way to other places, so I don’t know what to fully expect. The water in St. Augustine is pretty and the sand looks soft and the tide doesn’t look brutal. I guess I will have to just wait and see!

St. Augustine Beach, Florida

 

Traveling gives me a little bit of anxiety. It’s not the fear of actually the mode of traveling (you know, the plane ride…) it’s the fear of “OMG! What happens if my house catches on fire while I’m gone!!” Or “OMG!! I forgot my ID or my Credit Card or My Pants!!” or “OMG! We missed our flight!!”

… ok so I’m not really concerned that I’ll forget my pants…

Basically the fear of anything and everything going completely wrong or terrible things happening, like the things that always tend to happen to me and my family such as:

  • My mom and I nearly missing a cruise ship once due to a delayed flight. Note to anyone else out there… ALWAYS fly in the night before your cruise sets sail…
  • Travis and I flew to New Orleans on whim when he worked at the airport and got free flights. We didn’t have a hotel or anything booked before we left, so naturally we ended up spending the first 6 hours in New Orleans walking around looking for a hotel.
  • On the first day of our Bi-Annual Family Vacation to Myrtle Beach, my mom slipped on a puddle of dish soap in a grocery store and fell down and broke her arm.
  • Our freaking boat almost sank on a trip to Lake Cumberland, as told here.

I guess I’ve got to learn to relax. Hell, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. But I’m going to be like Aunt Bunny falling down the steps, I’m not going down easy!

 

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A letter to my 16 year old self

Beginning way back in 1995, the year I started the 6th grade and entered middle school, I began a tradition with of writing a letter to myself the night before the first day of school. I would then save it and open it the night before school started the next year. I kept up the ritual all the way through college. I usually included things like a bucket list of things I wanted to do that year, my favorite song, favorite band, who my friends were, who I had a crush on. (That name was usually the same name like every year. Sigh… teenage-hood really was a miserable, cruel joke!)

Luckily once I got into highschool, the letters started to become a little less boy crazy, which meant no more “I <3 So-and-So” scribbled down the side. The letters started becoming kind of motivational. I always had serious anxiety about going back to school (because I sucked at school). So I started writing things like:

Dear Future Self,
Remember, you always shit your pants the night before school and then the whole year goes by and nothing different ever happens! It’s going to be the same thing this year. So suck it up and force yourself to get up on time for once because you promised you wouldn’t spend another Saturday morning in detention for being late every day of the week.

This is NOT The Breakfast Club.

I know, I know, a little over-enthusiastic for the first day. So… enjoy your first detention of the year on Saturday!

(Insert number here) years until FREEDOM!
<3 Past Self

Luckily I survived high school, went on to college where I learned that school isn’t really all that scary. I got a job in my field two months out of college and the rest is history. And today I decided to turn my little tradition around and write to my 16 year old self!

Here it goes…

Dear 16 year old self (1999),

Look, being late is kind of a thing that you do… we both know you try, and people will hate on you for it, but just smile and tell them you had to poop. Because you probably did.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. “Love” at 16 is like a tornado in a trailer park. Don’t take things so seriously and learn to be real and realize that your judgement of the opposite sex at this stage in your life is extremely clouded (and will be for many years to come)… Like for instance that kid that you’re dating now is a douchebag and will eventually impregnate one of your family members. True story. So while you’re practicing being real, also practice patience, because like a non-curable STD, he will always be around… FOREVER!

Your pink Geo Storm will be the stuff of dreams. Literally. Even when you’re 30, every dream you have where a car is involved, it will be that car. It is the car that all subsequent cars will be measured against. Yes, we know it really isn’t that cool, but you will have some amazing memories in that car. That car will give you your first taste of adulthood and freedom to go wherever the mood takes you. When you’re older, gas will be almost $5.00 a gallon and you will sit in traffic for nearly two hours a day and miss the days that you enjoyed driving around just for the sake of going somewhere. Try to always remember, adventures really aren’t about the destination, but about the journey in getting there.

It’s fuschia, bitches! Everyone who took a ride in this fine piece of machinery was immediately cooler for it.

Speaking of dreams, you will eventually meet the man of yours. He won’t come in the form of a knight in shining armor high upon on a white horse, but rather a 20 year old boy in a white 1983 Chevy Celebrity wearing Harley Davidson boots. He won’t want to meet you at first because he’ll claim he’s “too tired to hang out” but you’ll eventually convince him you’re the coolest shit since sliced bread and then he’ll cave like a 14 year old at a N’Sync concert (in your day) and then he will never go home. I’m not going to lie, shit’s going to get rough. But I promise, eventually one day a man who looks like Kenny Rogers will officiate your marriage. Again, true story.

16 Year Old Self, I know you think you know everything, but you don’t. I’m 30 now and still don’t know everything. But in the future, you will be able to end every debate in mere moments just by simply Googling things on the internet with your cell phone. Your phone will become like an external organ that you will practically be required to have to function normally on a daily basis. But rest easy, cell phones now are nothing like the one step up from Zack Morris things you folks have now.

You’ll also be happy to know, dial-up internet will eventually be replaced by wireless technology. No more tiny velociraptor sounds coming from your modem!

Maybe you could use these phones in the future as paper weights? They’ll be nostalgic one day.

Also, be glad you were young and dumb before the invention of Social Media. Now, safely planted in 1999, you can pull off some shit without feeling compelled to post pictures of it online! You will learn that social media is an public online diary that allows you to look back and see how stupid you were, but with pictures! Unfortunately, so can friends, future romantic interests, employers, in-laws, etcSo BEWARE! A thing called MySpace will take off in 5 years or so, and then it all goes downhill from there.

I wish I could tell you when the time is right to invest in Google, Apple or something worthwhile to prepare for the even farther future, but you still will not have any money. You won’t be hookin’ it on the corner to make ends meet by any means, but we’re definitely not “making it rain.”

Oh, that’s a future saying! You could use it now and trademark it… that might work out for you!

But even though those clouds of Benjamins haven’t rolled in quite yet, you should be proud to know that you’ve made it this far without borrowing a dime from anyone and you haven’t completely destroyed your credit! Except for that outstanding medical bill when you almost chopped your pinky finger off!
(Note within a Note to self: As tempting as it may seem, for the love of God, don’t use a broken mirror to do your hair trying to save time while sitting on the porcelain throne! Yet another instance where you were in a hurry to get somewhere… See what I’m saying here! Being on time is a hazard to your health!)

Some tips to prepare you…

  • Stop buying VHS tapes. When you’re 30 you won’t even own a VCR, so all of those music videos you spent 4 years taping off MTV will be useless.
  • For that matter, stop buying DVDs, too!
  • MTV, VH1 and CMT will no longer play music videos… wtf!
  • Video rental stores will all go out of business!
  • You will have to start scanning and bagging your own groceries but grocery prices will always go up!
  • You will never get lost again, everyone now has a thing called a GPS system! But just to let you know, you will spend most of 2003 lost somewhere in Columbus.
  • Everyone can reach you at any time via your cell phone by calling or texting… which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.
  • You still have the same cell phone number in 2014 that you had in 1999! Read previous bullet point…

I could go on for days about how much the world is going to change in the next 15 years of your life, but I want there to be some surprises… The main point I’m getting at is that you should just be you. Always do what makes you happy, no matter if it’s “cool” or not.

<3 Always,
30 Year Old Self

P.S. The world does not end at the stroke of midnight on New Years!
So don’t spend 12 hours backing everything up on your computer preparing for the “impending doom” that is foreseen for the year 2000.

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Office Space

I have worked in a “professional” setting as a graphic designer for over 10 years now. Which basically means, I’m a cubicle dweller and I have to share my work space with dozens of other people on a daily basis. I had my own office for six months once, but then my company moved out of that building and I was forced back into cubicle slavery. I think those six months of joyous personal space ruined me for life.

Let me tell you, in those 10+ years I have worked with some of the nicest people in the world. I have made some great relationships, some of which have lasted for those 10+ years! But on the flipside, I have also worked with some of the strangest people in the world. I’m not exaggerating or being dramatic to have something to talk about…

One girl brought a gaggle of stuffed animals with her to work daily. Each day at the end of the day, while having a cigarette I would watch as she was leaving. She had to meticulously buckle each of them into their seatbelts before pulling out of the parking lot. I’m not really sure what was going on there… Safety first I guess?

Another woman’s desk was such a war zone that the management had to send her home early once every few months to clean her desk for her. The paper clutter was the least of people’s worries. The ants and other bugs that were attracted to the things inside her desk were what people were freaked out about.

We had another guy who got a kick out of stealing people’s lunches out of the communal refrigerators. Nobody knew who the sticky fingered noms-bandit was for the longest time. People’s food went missing for years… people just thought it was some cheap asshole stealing their food so they didn’t have to go buy a lunch. However, everything came to a boil one day when someone went into the cafeteria and caught the guilty party popping ketchup packets all over the lunch room. During the task of cleaning up the ketchup that covered every surface, the janitorial staff moved the refrigerators and other appliances away from the walls and,  Surprise! All of the missing food was found thrown behind the refrigerators, pop machines and vending machines. All of of it was completely unopened, untouched. He apparently just got a kick out of squashing people’s hopes and dreams of enjoying their ham and cheese hot pockets for lunch by throwing them behind the appliances. He quit shortly after that… possibly out of fear of the owners of all those hot pockets?

I’ve dealt with 20-something dudes who had never met Mr. Soap or Mrs. Shampoo. A guy who chewed tobacco and spit into a pop bottle at his desk. A guy who “broke wind” as if he were at home watching The Fast and the Furious with his pals over a beer in his Lazy Boy recliner. A lady who used to eat her lunch in the bathroom stall. A girl who slept at her desk to recover from the alcoholic benders she partook in the night before. A lady who clipped her fingernails at her desk and sent the clippings onto neighbors desk, keyboard, drinks etc…

But hey, no judgements! I got along with them all just fine! I just can’t imagine some of these people in job interviews…

Which brought me my little art project of the day. It’s an infographic on how NOT to be a JERK at the office!

How to NOT be a Jerk in an Office Setting!

 

This was intended to be purely for entertainment purposes only! I’m not posting this on my bulletin board or passing it out to new hires or anything.

It’s a joke… kind of…

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The Boat from Hell – Part Two

Lee’s Ford Marina

Note: This is the second part of a two-part post. Click here to read The Boat from Hell – Part One!

The next morning we drove another hour or so before we got to the lake. After finally getting there, we realized we’d be putting our boat in for the first time by ourselves on a reallllly busy boat ramp where people with $75 thousand dollar boats were looking down their noses at us and judging our every move. Tim and I both were afraid to drive the boat or back up the van with the trailer hitched. So Travis backed the trailer into the water, and then jumped in the boat while Tim parked the van a mile away. I just kind of stood on the shore like a dumbass.

Travis went to start the boat. Nothing.

He drifted around for a while, eventually floating over to some yacht club dock, where we weren’t supposed to be. Tensions were high. I wanted to help, he didn’t know what was wrong, it was hot, we both feared we’d driven hours to only have to turn around and go back home, or worse. At this point, we sort of… started yelling at each other. We weren’t like trailer-park-call-the-cops-yelling; just heatedly discussing each other’s perceived ignorance.

Before you go judging… we’re married. Well, we weren’t yet at that point, but had been together for 8 years. If you’re going to tell me you’ve never been those people at some point in your life, well… aren’t you just special. People who love each other disagree. It’s human nature, and sometimes… they tell their loved ones that they want to punch them in the face at a borderline inappropriate volume level, in the middle of some fancy pants Kentucky yacht club, after suffering heat stroke in a stinky creeper van for 7 hours, while awaiting the sinking/explosion of the boat you just spent months refurbishing.

(Yes I did just use the words “fancy pants” and “Kentucky” in the same sentence.)

And to top it off, people always think we’re fighting when we’re not to begin with. Even my family makes comments like “can you feel the love?” when we’re totally just razzing each other. We’ve considered adopting southern accents when we’re play fighting so other people can distinguish the difference. My sarcasm is also so damn awesome sometimes, that even my husband has a hard time telling if I’m being serious or not. If we’re really fighting, trust me… you’ll know the difference.

Have you ever seen Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

But, back to the story… At this point, Travis had the boat somewhat dismantled when in mid-tantrum a light bulb formed over his head. He checked a fuse. She fired up and off he went, leaving me standing on the dock while Tim was still on top of the mountain/parking lot above the boat ramp and is only beginning his descent.

I stood there, half expecting him to just keep on going, middle finger in the air. But he stopped when he found a dock that we were actually allowed to park at. We loaded up and set out!

We get about 2 miles away from the dock and realize we forgot to get gas… that was a $5.00 per gallon mistake we learned the hard way at the marina.

The boat ran for maybe an hour, and then we started losing power. We were at full throttle and were only going about 10 mph (I don’t know speed in knots…). We were in this huge expansive lake on a holiday weekend moving at a snail’s pace, while people in these huge house boats were blowing past us, nearly capsizing us a dozen times.

At some point the guys decided to “take a look.” We were taking in water from the back end, due to too much weight in the back. So we started redistributing our crap to the center and front of the boat. We got a little faster, but still something still wasn’t right. We stopped again and the guys decided it must be the primer ball on the fuel line. So they completely disassembled the fuel line and took that off.

Meanwhile, mind you, we’re floating in the middle of this very busy lake. We were up shit creek WITH a paddle, which I literally had to use to keep us from bashing into the rocky shoreline. It was like 95+ degrees, no breeze, with the sun reflecting off the water. I promise you I put on about 4 gallons of sunscreen… but I’ll get to that later.

They finally got the damn primer ball off, but then the engine wouldn’t even turn over. So they put the S.O.B. back on.

I think after probably close to two hours, we finally got the engine running again. Not the way it was supposed to, but we would take what we could get. We eventually stopped in a cove to eat lunch and jump in for a swim.

Well we forgot we threw the ladder away after we had been swimming for at least an hour or two. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but it’s 100% scientifically true that girls are not as well equipped in their upper body to do “pull-ups” we have a higher body fat content, and our arm muscles aren’t as impressive as men’s. Pull ups are useful in daily life, to do things like… pulling yourself back into a boat with only your upper body. I have never in my life, even at my thinnest, been able to do a pull up.

So needless to say, we spent another hour trying to get my ass back into the boat. After the first 30 minutes, I just told them to throw me a rope and drag me back to the dock. Eventually they got so irritated, they each grabbed an arm and drug me back into the boat over the hardware and old broken ladder mount. I had bruises for probably a month afterwards.

We got going again as the sun was starting to sink lower and lower. We decided it was probably time to start looking for a place to set up camp. Every cove we checked out for 2 hours already had like 3-4 houseboats in it. So we eventually decided we’d just go back to the marina and camp in Tim’s creeper van.

This was probably my favorite memory of our boat; it was about 8pm, the sun was starting to set at our backs. It was shimmering hot pink, orange and gold off the water. The surface was like glass. There was nobody else out there but us. The boat finally started to run right, so we were skimming across the top of the water at what felt like 100 mph. It felt like we were on mother-effing Miami Vice. Travis was happy for what seemed like the first time in months, he was grinning from ear to ear. Tim was even happy! We all threw our arms into the air and started wooooo-ing at the top of our lungs!

Vice is Nice

We were like 3-4 miles from the marina and we come around this hair-pin curve where there are all of these random white crosses up on the cliff edge. Travis screams out “Those crosses are kind of creepy up there.” No sooner had he finished the sentence, the boat just stops. Like, stop-stops. No sputtering, no slowing then stopping. It just stops.

It was deaaaad. Good job, Travis. Way to piss off the Big Guy.

Travis started flipping switches, checking batteries etc. Light bulb #2… we forgot to fix the gas gauge on the boat. We ran out of gas.

We sat there for a few minutes thinking a fellow boat enthusiast would happen by and notice our bout of bad luck and perhaps offer a gallon or two of petrol to help us along our way.

Nope. We waited probably 20 minutes before the first boat BLEW past us creating massive wake, which I had to get the oar out again to keep us from smashing against the rocks.  A few more boats flew past and acknowledged our flailing “help” arms, and just kept on going.

By that point we were starting to get a little miffed by the current state of things and the fact that fellow water-craft enthusiasts aren’t exactly what I’d call “helpful.” Travis started digging around in the storage locker on the floor of the boat, looking for something. As soon as Travis lifted the hatch, a look of horror came across his face. There was a lot of water in there.

I immediately started bawling. We were going to die. I strapped a life vest that my dad had given me that belonged to our family, in what appeared to be the 1960’s. And to top it all off, my mother had taken a permanent marker and written our last name across the back of them in billboard-size letters. I have no idea why. For fear that someone would steal our 50 year old life jackets?

Yikes. If the water doesn’t kill them, those shorts will!

(I never could understand why she did this to everything we owned. Because you know, writing your name on something means someone isn’t going to steal it. My mother would be appalled at the number of Tupperware containers in my possession with “CAROL” inked across them.)

Luckily in our case they would have ID once our lifeless bodies washed ashore after the sinking of the S.S. PILE OF SHIT on Lake Cumberland.

So the boat was filling with water. Travis began bailing the water out with a 2 day old paper McDonalds cup. I began my prayers. Tim starts fishing. Lightbulb #3 on my part this time, I remembered some flyer someone gave us earlier in the day. There was an emergency service for people who broke down. Like AAA for boats. By the grace of God, I had cell service and frantically dialed the number, trying to choke off the sobs.

This a-hole answered and informed us it would be just shy of $300.00 to come and tow us. AND it would be about two hours before he could get there because he was having dinner on the other side of the lake. I would have hated to interrupt his jerk sauce dinner!

I covered the phone with my hand and I repeat everything to Travis. He threw the cup down and started screaming that “we’d let the boat sink before we pay that!!” Apparently my hand wasn’t muffling anything because the guy on the other end started chuckling and informs me that if we waited until after dark, the price would double.

I hung up on him. It looked like the boat was going to its watery grave in Kentucky.

About this time two fellas on a small bass boat happened by and tell us they will try their best to tow us as far as they can. They didn’t exactly have the equipment to pull it off, but bless their hearts; they pulled us about a mile. It was like a Honda Civic towing an F150.

(Miracle of miracles, as they started towing us, the water started draining out of the boat. Apparently because when we were sitting still, the boat was sitting flat, so the water couldn’t run to the back of the boat to be pumped out. We also later learned that we had majorly overloaded the boat past it’s weight capacity, which also effected it taking in water.)

Eventually couple of middle aged guys, who both looked like Anthony Bordain, in this gorgeous yacht-looking boat stopped at the sight and offered to take us back to the marina. We were so thankful I could have leapt onto their boat and hugged their heads off! We were being towed close enough to make small talk with the guys and came to find out that one of them grew up in Grove City where we live now! They informed us they had all been there before and they’d been towed back dozens of times.

We finally made it back to the marina around 10 or 11. Travis put another few gallons in the tank to get the boat up on the stupid trailer while Tim walked the mile back up the side of the mountain to get the van. By this point I am so cold I felt like I was about to go into hypothermic shock. I realized I looked like a damn lobster. I was burned to a crisp. (Seriously, 6 months later I still had a tan line from that weekend!) Travis wasn’t in much better shape.

Tim comes with the van and the trailer. While Travis is getting the boat ready, he ran one of Tim’s fishing hooks into his hand. This was probably where we decided to end the trip.

I spent the next two hours looking for a hotel. I just wanted a shower and a soft bed. We finally found one in B.F.E. an hour away. It was a total roach motel on the edge of a cliff. But it had A/C and a soft bed. After we got showers and started to really feel the sunburns, we laid in bed watching Tim make a Dagwood sandwich. Complete with Doritos, ham, cheese, lettuce, salami, bologna, ketchup, mustard, mayo etc… He turned around like an idiot to show us his treasure and straight up dropped it, face down, on the toenail-clipping-and-pubic-hair-infested carpet from 1973.

He picked it up and stuffed it in his mouth.

We went home first thing the next morning. We could barely move, let alone spend another day baking on the water. On the way home, a huge boil formed on one of the trailer tires, by the time we got to Travis’ parent’s house where we were going to drop the boat off, the tire was completely flat. Thank heavens it at least got us home.

We unloaded the boat, and left.

We came back in the late fall to move it to my grandma’s barn. Where it sat completely untouched until the following spring when we traded it outright for our motorcycle. :)

Goodbye and good riddance!

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The Boat from Hell – Part One

Glastron

Our’s didn’t come with this option.

So I might have made mention in a few other posts about a boat we once had. It’s a two parter because it really takes two posts to explain the sheer amount of hell and pain this boat brought into our lives… Grab yourself a beverage, perhaps a snack? Enjoy.

It was a blue and white 1970-something Glastron ski boat. It had sat uncovered, in a sad state, in my husband’s step-dad’s back yard for nearly 10 years, slowly becoming more and more of a disastrous pile of crap. A few years ago, it was given to us as a gift. We were consoled that it would be hard work, but not expensive work.

We started out in February or March driving the hour down to step-dad’s house every weekend and performing the laborious task of rebuilding this thing. The hull was fiberglass and was still in great shape, we just had to redo everything else.

For the first few months, every time we went to work on the boat, it began torrential down-pouring. We’re talking monsoons. For HOURS. Needless to say, it was a weekly nightmare that I was finding harder and harder to endure, even though with the men folk on the job, I was only given the simpleton tasks of holding flashlights, handing screwdrivers and being the go-fer.

We eventually got it hauled to our house where it was left in just my husband’s and my hands and I got to finally start helping do the fun stuff. Laying new carpet and upholstering the cushions (my sister helped me with the cushions <3 thanks Jo!) and cleaning it up and making it look like a boat again.

Come April, we decided we were in great shape and started planning a trip to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend. We would park the boat and camp on the shore somewhere. It would be fun! We had a few months to get it in shape. No problem, right?

Well this is about the time where everything started going wrong. We had motor problems, electrical problems, title problems (NOTE to strangers: I would advise against calling my husband “sweet heart” in a condescending tone whilst telling him you won’t accept his title because you aren’t privy to current Ohio law.) It was like a National Lampoon’s movie… I even ripped a hole in 3 different pairs of pants on the same damn nail sticking out of the side of that boat.

Sparky...

Oh, Sparky…

Two nights before we’re due to leave for Kentucky, we get the boat running for the first time.

We hooked that bitch up to step dad’s Durango (we didn’t own a vehicle that would tow the boat at the time) and drove it to Grigg’s Reservoir where we would put her in the water for her maiden voyage. In other words, to make sure she didn’t sink before we got to Kentucky.

We were driving up 3C, which is a relatively busy road. I was riding shotgun with step dad so Travis could watch out the back window. All of a sudden, I heard this loud “whirring” sound. The truck began to shake and then BOOM!!! CRACK!!! SCRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE!!!

I started screaming. This was the most reasonable thing I could think of at the time. “WHAT THE %$&# WAS THAT?!”

Oh, you know… it was just one of the tires on the two wheeled trailer falling off and rolling up the road past us.

Step dad literally drags the trailer, thankfully still hitched to the truck, into a butcher shop’s parking lot. (There’s still a huge scrape on the concrete there!) Travis leapt out of the truck and ran into oncoming traffic while people were honking and screaming. Travis is trying to find the lug nuts on the road as cars are whizzing by, three inches from his face. He finds the first one, reaches down and picks it up and burns the ever loving shit out of himself. (Friction tends to heat things up.) Screams. Obscenities. I think I might have begun crying at this point…

Eventually after our brains began to function again after the shock of dragging a one wheeled boat trailer up a major thoroughfare in the largest city in Ohio, we jacked the trailer up using cinder blocks we found in the ditch (how fitting at this point); put the tire back on after only finding 3 of the 4 lugs. (There was an O’Reily’s Auto Parts right next door, they didn’t sell lug nuts.) Then we towed the bastard onward to our intended destination.

By the time we get to the reservoir it was dark. We back the trailer into the water and she slides off the trailer and into the water. I held my breath for what seemed like 10 days…

She didn’t sink.

I was a bit hesitant to get in it. But I did, and then step dad proceeded to open the throttle all the way. In the dark. (It’s illegal to operate past idle speed past sunset.) I was white knuckling it, holding on for dear life. I turned around to give Travis an “OMG” face and see he is pulling a Titanic. He was standing up with his arms out in the air, like he’s on his way to freedom. Unfortunately this won’t be my last reference to Titanic before this story is over…

Titanic

I SAID… Don’t ever let go, Jack!

After we were 60% certain it wasn’t going to send us to our watery grave, we slung her back onto the trailer and drove off like maniacs since the park rangers were heading our way. Crisis averted!

Two days later, we packed up our friend Tim’s van, hitched up the boat and drove off into the sunset, Kentucky bound! Unfortunately we got stuck in Cincinnati rush hour for over three hours (without air conditioning in 90 degree weather) and ended up way behind schedule and had to get a hotel the first night. After suffocating for hours in the van, we swam in the pool that we had to ourselves for probably another three hours! That was the best part of the trip…

To be continued…

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Camper “palette”

Camper Pallette

 

We’re going to do our best on a very small budget! I’ve loaded up on tons of coupons and dug out unused gift cards! And after poking around on the interwebs, I decided I’m going to do the upholstery myself. Even though I’ve been told by several people “Upholstery takes real craft and precision. You should leave it to a professional.

Two thoughts on that:

  • A professional wants to charge me around $500, and that doesn’t include the cost of material. I could buy a new couch for that price. Yikes.
  • I was also told to leave it to professionals before I re-sided a house, refurbished a 35 year old boat, rebuilt a 20 year old motorcycle AND before I schooled my husband last weekend on how to replace the fan clutch AND his third brake light in his truck… all in under two hours.  (That really happened.)

I’m not saying I think I’m a badass because I have boobs and can hold a wrench or a hammer, and I’m really not trying to come off as some know-it-all punk kid either…
But how do people learn they can do something, if everyone tells them they shouldn’t even try?

If I mess it up, you can say “I told you so,” if that’ll make you feel good. If I do it and it turns out awesome, well that’s awesome!

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“Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man!”

As you may have seen on Facebook, we are now proud owners of a camper.

Although she has not made her maiden voyage with us yet (technically), she has been dubbed: Hell On Wheels.

She’s 1988 Prowler Lynx 26 ft Travel Trailer. And she’s a beaut! She’s a little dated, but her bones are nice and sturdy. She might need a few coats of paint, new upholstery and curtains, but that’s nothing that will break the bank and can probably easily be done in a weekend or two.

I don’t have pictures of ours yet, but found lots of pics online of other people’s. I’d like to remind you that she’s nearly 30 years old and my-oh-my weren’t the 80′s a sexy time!

 

The outside front. The big rectangley thing under “Lynx” flips up and makes an awning over the window behind it.

 

The view when you first step in the front door. Dinette to the left, kitchenette straight ahead (complete with fridge, stove, oven, sink and microwave) and the jackknife sofa to the right.

 

The view when standing in the bathroom. The front door is there on the right between the jackknife sofa and the dinette. The window behind the sofa is the front window with the awning.

 

The view from the bedroom exterior door. Having another door in the bedroom will be nice for when we camp with dogs and other people. We won’t have to clamber through the front of the camper to bang around letting dogs out, or trying to get outside.

 

Like I said, I think ours is in a little better shape. Our still has the refrig (it’s torn out beside the stove in the 2nd picture) and it looks really new. This is the rig we took on our Annual Memorial Day Camping Extravaganza in 2013 and aside from a tiny leak in the front, she held up fantastically. But not including the fact that the back door blew off the hinges. BUT we fixed that already! G2G!

Yes… so this will be the next project. We have lost steam in the house while we’ve been going through some occupational challenges lately. But we’re both super eager to get this lady on the road so we can enjoy some time OUT of the house this summer.

I have even started mapping out a Campground Bucket List on Pinterest based on some cool looking parks I’ve always wanted to check out and some recommendations made by some folks in a camping forum I visit. We already have just about everything else we’d need since we’ve been camping for 10+ years already and we’ve had a pop up camper before. Plus I’ve been squirreling away odds and ends for years for the eventual day that we got another camper. Things like pots and pans, baking sheets, a spare coffee pot etc. Things that will live forever in the camper. Not to mention I can get the 4 huge rubbermaid totes out of my closet room now full of camping crap. I can put all of that stuff in it’s forever home in the camper!

We’re just praying that this won’t turn into another misadventure like the boat and our first motorcycle was. But those are a story for another time!

Let the adventures begin!

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Wax Ecstatic – Homemade Citronella Candles

20140503-210206.jpg

I love the smell of Citronella. I know some people hate it, but I think it’s awesomesauce!

Maybe because it reminds me of summertime and sitting on my back porch with my BFFs or of sitting out on the dock at the lake as a kid. Whatever the case, the smell makes me happy. And luckily that smell really honks off mosquitos! So I’m really killing two bugs birds with one stone!

So recently I found a pin on Pinterest on how to make your own citronella candles that really tickled my fancy! I decided this would be a relatively cheap and fun adventure with a low risk of me completely destroying something or burning down my house!

It was actually really super easy. I read up on several other sites on the best way to do things, and sort of tweaked the recipe a little bit to how it would work best for me. Garden Therapy and a few other folks used their old candles and melted them down. I however chose to order some soy wax online. (I got a 10lb bag for under $20.) I like the feel and smell of soy wax a lot better, I think they burn cleaner and are easier to clean up after should something spill.

If you’d like to give it a try, this is how I did it and what you’ll need:

  1. Cans (I used soup cans)
  2. A double boiler (I used a big stock pot with a smaller older sauce pan inside it)
  3. A Metal cookie cutter (to keep your wax pot propped off the bottom of the water pot so it doesn’t over-heat the wax)
  4. A ladle
  5. Soy Wax chips/shavings
  6. Pre-Waxed wicks with tabs (measure your can, you want the wick to be at least as tall as your can, you can trim it if need be)
  7. Citronella (or whatever scent you like) Essential Oil
    NOT E – NOT  the oil that you put in your tiki torches… get yourself a good essential oil. I really like Piping Rock’s oils and they are very affordable.
  8. Some sort of glue to glue the wicks to the bottom of your can. I used super glue, hot glue would work… whatever you have laying around!
  9. Clothespins (2 for every can)
  10. Some twine, jute ribbon or anything else if you’d like to decorate the can afterwards

Directions:

1. Set up your cans with wicks.

I don’t have a baby hand, so I couldn’t fit my hand into the can to smash the glue-covered wick tab against the bottom to adhere it. So I used a straw. I slid the string end of the wick into the straw, then squeezed the straw to hold onto the wick inside of it and then used the straw to press the wick tab against the bottom of the tab until the glue set.

Someone else said they used a white Bic pen tube. I guess that would work, but I thought it would be hard to keep the straw in the tube.

Candle 5

 

2. Measure out your wax. I just eyeballed mine! (I think I ended up using probably 10-15 cups of wax for 3 cans. I added it in two batches since wax chips take up significantly more room than melted wax does. I let the first bowl full melt, then slowly added in more chips.)

 

Candle 1

 

3. Set up your double boiler. You want your water at a nice SIMMER… boiling is not necessary and will actually probably make things harder for you! Put the metal cookie cutter in the pot with water, then set your pot with wax on TOP of the cookie cutter. This keeps your wax pot off the bottom of the water pot. I don’t know if this is completely needed, but since I wasn’t using a candy thermometer, and wasn’t interested in catching my house on fire, I used a cookie cutter.

 

Candle 2

 

4. The wax will sort of melt like cold butter does. It melts rather quickly so make sure you don’t wander off during this step! You’ll want to stir it until it becomes a clear liquid and there are no more chunks of solid wax in it! Some people use a candy thermometer for this. I don’t have one, so I was just REALLY careful and guessed when it was ready. If you’re nervous about this part, please use a thermometer.

Helpy-Helperton NOTE:
The melting point of soy wax is 122 degrees.
You want a pour temp of about 125 degrees.

The flash point (FIRE!) of soy wax is 450 degrees! Please be safe about this and do not leave your wax unattended!

 

Candle 3

 

 

5. Ok so now that your wax is “molten” (that’s kind of a scary word), you can add your citronella!

I used a teaspoon or so, maybe like 20 drops? I didn’t really measure this part, I just added and stirred until I thought it smelled nice!
I guess the rule of thumb is 1 oz of Citronella oil per pound of wax.

 

Candle 4

 

6. Stir for about one minute to make sure the oil is mixed well.

 

7. Adhere the clothespins to the wicks to keep the wicks straight while you pour and while they are cooling. You don’t want your wicks to move at all while cooling.
Then carefully ladle your molten wax into your cans. I filled three cans up to about an inch under the top.

 

Candle 6

 

8. Let your cans cool in a warm place undisturbed for at least 48 hours before using!

 

Candle 7

 

9. Decorate the outside of your cans with twine or ribbon or jute ribbon for a cute, rustic, finished look!

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Decrapifying Finale!

40 day challenge

The 40 bag challenge has finally drawn to an end. It has been a whirlwind month+!

Even though we have sort of slowed down the progress at the humble abode, we hit the ground running at the beginning of this challenge and worked really, really hard to get some clutter cleaned up and out of our lives for forever!

We are by no means done “decrapifying” our house. There is still a master bedroom to contend with and a basement that is slowly creeping towards the crappy side, but if you’ll look at all the stuff we got rid of, I think we did pretty damn good myself!

Here’s the grand total of crap removal:

  1. Desk
  2. Treadmill
  3. Drum set
  4. King size mattress, box springs and frame
  5. A CAR!
  6. Lawn mower
  7. Weed whacker
  8. An older programmable thermostat
  9. Xbox Kinect (we used it a grand total of one time in the year+ we had it. And the weird shadows creeped me out!)
  10. 13 JUMBO contractor sized bags of clothing and shoes & coats (donated to Goodwill)
  11. 2 large boxes of misc stuff
  12. 3 pieces of “house ware” (I forget what they were, that’s all that’s marked on my Goodwill receipt)
  13. And this HUGE pile of crap that came out of the shed that went to bulk pickup. Coolers, a recliner, vanity mirrors, broke tvs, vacuum, carpet cleaner… etc.

Goodbye Trash

 

I think this was a success and will for sure be doing this again! Mad props to Ann Marie over at White House Black Shutters who inspired me to jump on the band wagon this year. Can’t wait til 2015′s 40 bags!

Until next year, remember!

  • You don’t need all of this stuff!
  • It won’t make you happier!
  • Your home should not make you feel overwhelmed or stressed!
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