Mama’s Squeeze Box

So this week on Facebook, as my “Friday Kick Off Song” I couldn’t help but post The Who’s “Squeeze Box”. This song makes me laugh because MY mama played the squeeze box.

When she was in high school she was a cheerleader. And we all know all the social requirements of being such. Perfectly manicured hair, dating Johnny Footballstar, not talking to the band geeks… But she was also forced to play a musical instrument. So for whatever reason, mom chose the accordion. Which gives me mental images of my mom in the 60’s looking like Weird Al Yankovic playing her squeeze box at the county fair.

And she actually did play at the county fair.

In high school, the poor girl had to play in the bandstand on the main drag. In small towns like where we grew up, the county fair used to be the social event of the summer. While all her friends were riding the ferris wheel, kissing boys and making lovely 60’s memories… my poor mama played the squeeze box.

When my grandmother would host any sort of social engagement at her house, the main attraction was my mom and her accordion. The thought of 20 little old church ladies tapping their toes to my mom’s favorite squeezebox jams generally is enough to cause me to shoot liquids out of my nose.

But it apparently eventually worked out for her in her favor. Once we took her to a “Name that Tune” night at some beer-and-wings joint. She was feeling a little discouraged since most of the DJ’s repertoire consisted of Nickelback, Backstreet Boys and other fantastic artists of our generation that she had never even heard of. But just as she was getting ready to throw in the towel, the DJ announced he would give anyone who could name the last tune $50! He was clearly pleased with himself and seemed 100% certain that nobody would EVER get this one.

Well, she got it…

The song was “Beer Barrel Polka”. He was flabbergasted and went home $50 poorer while we had another round of margaritas!

Sadly, over the course of the past 50 years, the accordion has lived a sad and lonely life up in our attic. Cold and alone, collecting dust and decaying while taking on that old, creepy, musty attic smell.

But every great once in a while, one of us would come across it in the attic (probably looking for those giant plastic 70’s Christmas decorations), and we would bring that sucker down and force my mom to play us a little ditty. She always acted embarrassed, but after a just a little bit of coaxing, she would always oblige. Oh what JOY that stinky squeeze box would bring to our hearts!

We never wanted the joy to end! So one year for Christmas as a gag, someone bought mom a miniature toy accordion. She didn’t think it was quite as funny as we did at first, but every year now the biggest surprise on Christmas morning is finding out who got re-gifted Mama’s Squeeze Box!

Happy Mother’s Day mama! I love you!

Things I suck at as an adult

Let’s be honest here…  There are very few things in this life that I am truly good at…

Catching flying objects thrown across large spaces with my mouth is one of them… I’m also really awesome at falling down… I even fell down at the Garth Brooks concert last week and thought I broke my knee. I didn’t! But man was that an awesome fall!

So I wanted to celebrate the many things that I’m not good at here today! #nojudgement

I am 32 years old. I moved out of my parent’s house and went to college when I was 18. At 19, I ditched college dorm life and got my first apartment and my first real job. I bought my first (and current) house when I was 23. The lay person might think that I would have gotten the whole “adulting” thing down by now.

But they would be sorely mistaken. There is still a laundry list of things that as an adult I still haven’t quite mastered, or just plain don’t like to do! Try as hard as I may, I just think there are things that I will never develop a taste or liking for:


While this is something that we have more recently become a little better at, it is still something we struggle greatly with. We used to live in a 100+ year old duplex in one of the coolest older neighborhoods of Columbus, called Clintonville. The house had the original wood floors that were beautiful, and very slippery. (Where I also fell down – In fact, 9 years later I still have a dent in my right butt cheek where I hit the staircase in the fall!)

Our bedroom was on the 2nd floor at the front of the house down a long hallway, but our washer and dryer were in the basement in the back of the house. On laundry day, which only came but maybe once a month (we had enough socks and underwear to last us a month!) we would take our clothes hampers and dump them in the upstairs hallway. Then we would start at the end of the hallway, bend down in the downward dog yoga position, we would form a plow with our hands and shove the clothes down the hall. Then we would ride the mounds of clothes down the two flights of stairs, then sort it into piles on the floor in the basement.

Downward Dog Laundry

This is where it usually stayed until we got dressed in the basement, but then took our clothes off in our bedrooms, then the whole cycle started over again. Why were we not smart enough to just do all of our clothes-changing in the basement?! I have no idea. Work smarter, not harder, I always say… Well now I say that… I didn’t then…

Small talk

This is why I hate* talking on the phone. I get nagged from various members of my family and friends all the time for not calling.

*I still love talking to friends and family I haven’t heard from in ages! Those people will just have to deal with my awkwardness.

But I am sort of socially awkward anyway, I get this sort of anxiety where I get mords wixed up and I always forget the names of things, I can’t hear what people are saying, so I misunderstand things half the time! My dogs always start barking or I have to pee as soon as someone starts their 20 minute-long story…

My sisters and my mom don’t fall into this category. I’ll pee on the phone with them all day long. Well not ON the phone… you get what I mean.

So you can imagine talking to strangers is especially painful. I don’t ever have anything terribly exciting to talk about and it just ends up with me doing a horrible impression of a normal human who is capable of small talk – I say one thing, but mean another!

I blame the saying-one-thing-meaning-another thing partly on my mother. She once told a chaplain who had a visitor knocking on his office window: “You’ve got a little pecker on your window!”

Bless her heart…

I generally pick take-out restaurants solely on the premise of them having online ordering capabilities so I don’t have to think of words to say to people on the phone.

Dressing myself

I don’t want to spend my mortgage payment on a purse to carry my shit, I’m just fine with my $7 Ikea messenger bag. I hate wearing shoes, so flip flops are my thing 9 months out of the year, then usually a pair of Converses or cowboy boots I can pull on and run out the door the rest of the year.

I only have 9 shirts and 2 pairs of jeans. It makes getting dressed in the morning I wear black almost every day. Because you know what… Black is no-fail and it’s freakin’ classic, unlike so many other trendy things that have come and thankfully gone over the course of my lifetime… and apparently come back again…

Steve Urkel glasses are cool again…

Hopefully there was no cheese involved…


Acid washed, chest-high MOM JEANS are cool again…

“Nothing says ‘I’m not a woman anymore, I’m a mom’ like MOM JEANS!”


Being on time

I once read an article that said being late was a sign of passive-aggressiveness. Well I think that person is wrong and likes making sweeping generalizations.

The article states:

“Until we see ourselves as valuable – self-perception – we will not recognize our value to others – other-perception. Not seeing our own value, and, by association, feeling that others do not regard us as valuable begs the question, ‘Why show up?'”

Well Freud Dude… I show up because I really do care about the thing you invited me to. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have agreed to do the thing with/for you in the first place.

Plus, I know you’re going to hold a grudge against me for the next six months if I don’t.

Sharing a 6×4 foot  one-sink-one-shower bathroom space with another human being is not easy. I have bad time management skills and I only have one speed: slow. I get all hot and sweaty if I have to marathon it out the door and then I’m grouchy and no good to anyone.

Also, texting me EIGHT THOUSAND times after I’ve already told you I’m on my way is kind of like pushing an elevator button 50 times – It’s not going to make the thing move any faster. Once is sufficient.

General home maintenance

I realize that if you take care of something, it will last twice as long. So yes, we change our air filter in our furnace, we clean the gutters (well some of them), I vacuum the carpet at least once a week… sometimes. I even sealed our driveway last summer for heaven’s sake!

I’m talking about things like pulling weeds, trimming trees and landscaping…

The flower bed that lines the front of our house when we moved in was filled with landscaping rocks, and contained three huge, ugly, overgrown bushes. I hated trimming them and there were always stray cats hiding in them when we got home from work that leapt out at our face as we were walking to the front door, which made me pee my pants.


So we spent an entire weekend trying to dig them up and chainsaw them out. Eventually had to hook them up to the bumper of a pickup truck and pull them out. Ever since, we haven’t been able to grow a damn thing in those flower beds.

Except weeds. Lots and LOTS of weeds. Oh… And these obnoxious ivy things. It’s called Houttuynia or Chameleon Plant. And it’s considered by many to be the “worst plant in the world.” Last summer, I finally just said “screw it!” and just sprayed weed and grass killer over the entire thing and bought giant planters and hanging pots. It looks TEN times better than the cat bushes, but we are clearly not landscape specialists.

We also have these weird enclosed gutters on our back porch that we can’t figure out how to access to clean. In heavy rains, our porch roof resembles Niagara Falls. I guess we’ll need some sort of extra long snaking device… I keep making plans to pay someone to come clean them because we are clearly not gutter specialists.

We have a couple dead tree/bush things our backyard that were killed by a Little Shop of Horrors poison ivy vine that snaked its way through our fence from the lot behind our house and choked the life out of them. There is a whole row of these tall evergreen tree/bush things that were planted by the Others for privacy. Now they look like crap, but they still block the view of the house behind ours which would otherwise enable the neighbors to look out their living room window right into our back yard. We’ll cut them down eventually, but we’ll have to drop a few hundred dollars on couple new tree/bush things in their place. We had an estimate from a tree guy JUST to limb our huge maple, but that dude wanted almost $700. That’s a lot of clams. We’ll get to it. But we are clearly not tree specialists.

And most of our home maintenance isn’t neglected because we’re lazy… It’s just that… Well, neither of us are Bob Vila (he’s clearly a specialist) and we don’t know how to do a lot of these things so it’s kind of like we’re just stumbling around in the dark by ourselves trying to figure out how to find the light switch without burning the house down!



We started redoing our master bedroom in February and it has been a very long process. Because as I mentioned I have one speed: slow. We started with almost nothing.

Except poop-brown carpet, cheetah print wall border and burger-bun colored walls… If any of my Burger King friends read this… my walls were Pantone 721.

We had no mattress or bed frame, no linens, no night stands, no curtains… just a tv and a 40+ year old hand me down chest of drawers. Oh and tons of stuff still living in there in storage. So we’ve saved our birthday and Christmas money for a few years to fund our bedroom redo and we’ve been slowly acquiring the things we needed and piecing them together. We painted it a nice bright airy color. I’ve yet to decide if I love it yet. But it’s definitely an improvement from burger-bun-brown! I think the poop carpet might be detracting from the whole look.

It’s almost finished and I can’t wait to post about all the fun we had with that room. Including when we duct taped Travis’ cellphone to a broom handle that we then shoved through a hole in our ceiling to look at our inaccessible attic!

But until then… SPRING HAS SPRUNG in the Buckeye state! We’ve been sleeping with the windows open and riding Travis’ motorcycle. We did a night trip last weekend and had to embrace the cold when it dropped to 50 degrees when we stayed out too late and had to ride back to Columbus at 2:30 am! 50 doesn’t seem cold until you’re going 70 mph then it’s pretty brisk!

I can’t wait for summer!

40 BAGS in 40 DAYS 2016!

For the past 3 years, we have taken part in the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.

It doesn’t cure cancer, it doesn’t make us skinny, it doesn’t feed little children with distended bellies in foreign lands and it doesn’t give money to Sarah McClachlan to rescue puppies.

But it does make my house a safer, cleaner place to live, which in turn makes me a happier person, therefor making me less likely to physically assault people. SO consider it a public service!


And it’s 100% free. Hell, you might even MAKE money doing it!

It is a challenge spanning a forty day period in the spring (coinciding with the 40 days of Lent) where you focus on cleaning one area per day. In this one area, you challenge yourself to declutter, simplify, decrapify, and get rid of things you don’t need. The goal is one bag (or box, any size!) a day… but you can have more or less!

The challenge begins February 10th, so grab a fish sandwich and get on it!

I’ve been through the rundown before, so I invite you to skim through the real nitty gritty of the challenge in my previous post about the challenge: Our first 40 Bags challenge!.

2014, our first year was our most “successful.” We managed to purge:

  1. A Desk
  2. A Treadmill
  3. A Drum set
  4. 1 King size mattress, box springs and frame
  5. A CAR!
  6. A Lawn mower
  7. A Weed whacker
  8. An older programmable thermostat
  9. An 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, broken tvs, vacuum, carpet cleaner… etc.

Goodbye Trash

While we were in no way out to make a profit, we still banked over $1,500.00 on our purging of gently used items, which prevented them from going to the landfill! We do the best we can to recycle and give away what we can, but we have lots of second-hand or hand-me-down items that have seen their better days and those items ended up on the curb. Which still ended up getting picked through by dumpster divers.

In 2015, we got rid of mostly clothing. We have 10+ donation slips from our local thrift store! It wasn’t nearly as impressive as 2014, but it still made a huge difference in our closets.

We had made a huge dent in our basement, however once the holidays rolled around this year, it turned into a booger den again. (That was my mother’s favorite word for the state of my bedroom as a child.) Then we moved a lot of stuff from the finished side of the basement into the utility side so Travis could set his office up down there, and now, well… it’s just never been the same since. So the utility/laundray side of the basement is BACK on the damn Decrapifying List.

And surprise, surprise… the master bedroom is still on the list. Ugggghhhhh!

I really hate cleaning, guys. But last year my motorcycle sort of took over my life, Travis started his own business, we revamped our spare bedroom, gutted a camper, built a mausoleum, built a homemade stand up paddle board (The Pink Death) for our family’s whacky boat races, planned a bachelor party, and there have been some freaking awesome video games in my life lately. (We just got a XBOX One in November)

I know, excuses, excuses… But at least there’s no longer a lawnmower in there, right?

I feel that since we only have 980 square feet of home to work with, we just keep moving stuff from one place to another. I think this year we’re going to look into attic access.


But in the meantime, I can’t WAIT to get started giving things the ol’ heave-ho for the 40 Bags challenge. And I invite you to join in on this exciting journey!

Clean out the fridge, the garage, a filing cabinet, your pantry, your tupperware drawer! Dig through those boxes of crap from high school in the back of your closet! Maybe you’ll find your retainer from 8th grade?!

Last year we found my  Furby… Those things are terrifying. And approximately one million notes from friends over the years. With the invention of cell phones, do kids even pass notes anymore?!


I started this blog post while I sat in a hotel room in Jacksonville, Florida in November 2015, but then I got sidetracked by the ocean… Then once I got home, the holidays exploded.

But come along with me now as I regale of our recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee – Music City, USA!

It was stop 1 of a 3ish part journey. Over the next 7 days, I would spend 2,500+ miles in a Ford Escape (it was a rental… we’re Chevy people) with Travis on yet another one of our adventures! That equated to 43 hours and 19 minutes in the ol’ Escape. (We pronounced that “Escapé” like “café olé”)


This is seriously a pic of our console when we pulled into the driveway!

The company that Travis is an agent for offered to fly him to Jacksonville for a conference. But to be honest, we are not fans of flying and thought a good old fashioned road trip would be more fun, complete with giant bags of leftover Halloween candy, a cooler full of pop (or soda, if you please) and cheesy music playlists I had spent weeks curating!

Besides we haven’t had a really good road trip in over a year. On our last one, we nearly drove all over the entire state of Florida for his old job! We did fly for that one. We landed in Orlando where we got a rental car and drove to Ocala, FL to meet up with one of Travis’ customers. From there we went on to St. Augustine for a few days then we drove to Jacksonville for an afternoon and flew out of the airport there. We had some pretty epic times on that trip! (If you missed that adventure, you can read that post here!)

This time around, we not only trucked through Florida, we covered damn near the entire south east US! We made stops in:

  • Nashville, TN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Lee, FL (another natural spring!)
  • Gainesville, GA
  • Asheville, NC
  • Jellico, TN


But this post is JUST about Nashville!
I’ll get to the other stops in my next post🙂

So to begin, we stayed at a BEAUTIFUL Historic Inn called The Caroline House in. This house is what I DREAM my someday-house will look like. The front porch and back patio alone were enough to make me ga-ga! The story of this house is awesome. It stayed in the family for generations, until Miss Ashley bought it and renovated it. But the great-grandson of the original owner still lives next door!


We stayed 2 nights in the Coal Room Studio in the basement of the house, which really was the house’s old coal room from back in the day when they would use coal to power the house’s boiler. It was really one of the neatest places we’ve stayed!

Coal Room Key

Our Nashville run-down:

  • On our first night, we stayed up late in front of a blazing fire on the back porch with our hostess and her two nieces. We laughed and drank probably more than we should have after an 8 hour car ride on a night before we planned to visit ALL OF THE THINGS. But I fell in LOVE with a vodka for the first time in my life! (I’m a rum gal… It’s the pirate in me!) It’s a local distilled vodka called Picker’s that I CANNOT find anywhere… and I could just KICK myself for not buying a bottle while we were in Nashville! The blood-orange was amazing and I can’t wait to try the blueberry!

back porch

  • We woke up the first day to a delicious breakfast served by our hostess and then set out to check out Third Man Records Store where I bought some White Stripes vinyl, made my very own fire-engine red Mold-O-Rama miniature of Jack White’s classic Airline guitar!


  • The Johnny Cash Museum – where we perused the gift shop and had lunch while listening to the Man in Black!


  • Big Machine Records – The record label home of Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, et. al.
  • Hatch Show Prints – This letter press has been open since 1879! Chances are pretty good that you have seen at least ONE piece by Hatch Show Prints in your lifetime. (They did all of the iconic band posters back in the day!) Plus, I am a graphic designer by trade, so it was SUPER cool to show Travis how things are printed and to visit the home of one of the oldest still operable letter presses in the world. We got a couple super cool prints that I can’t wait to find frames for to hang up at home! (2015 is the year we vowed to finally find some real artwork for our house, so these will be great starts to our newly established collection!)


  • Travis bought his first acoustic guitar, which we thought was so fitting. He also learned to play his first song on acoustic while we were staying in Music City! Oh, how I love that boy!


  • After some serious coaxing, I convinced Travis to finally try Shrimp ‘n Grits with me! In our neck of the woods, grits are a sweet breakfast item, prepared with brown sugar, syrup and/or butter, similarly to oatmeal or cream of wheat. So, we’d never tried them savory before and cringed at the thought of them made with cheese. But finally at the urging of lots of friends, we bit the bullet and ordered some! Lo-and-behold, the grits they used in these shrimp n’ grits is actually more like rice. Good Lord, it was delicious!

I also actually beat my husband at pool. This never happens.

Sadly, we didn’t get to visit any of the honky tonks while in town. With it being a Saturday night, the place was a bit crowded for us. But when we loaded up and pointed the car south, we vowed we’d definitely be back!

The majority of our adventures took place in Nashville, but I’ll write a post next about Jacksonville and the rest of our trip later.

But as for now, I’m getting ready to head out the door… I’m driving Travis to a local oral surgeon to have nine (yes, nine) teeth removed. 4 of which are his wisdom teeth he never had removed when he was a teenager. They’re giving him issues now. The other 5 are teeth that have deteriorated to the point of causing him pain almost all of the time. We’ve been dealing with his toothaches for about 10 years now, so as you can imagine, we’re stoked to finally be addressing the situation. The fact that we both have stable income and decent insurance for the first time in our lives is a major blessing and we’re thankful that his toothaches will soon be a thing of the past.

I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of hoping it will result in something like David Goes to the Dentist.

2015 in review

HAPPY 2016!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

And as always, THANK YOU for reading along and sharing my adventures with me! I hope you have a wonderful, prosperous and exciting 2016!


How to Build a Halloween Mausoleum!

So it may have been years in the making, but we finally did it… We finished our mausoleum for our yard!

We planned on this being a multi-part project and thought we’d just “slap it together” and just live with it this year, but we were both really pleased with how it came out, we don’t think it needs a whole lot more. Maybe we’ll add some architectural details/interest, and I thought about moss and more aging.

Here’s the run-down of how we did it!

We started the process by using this drawing as a a loose reference for the general shape of our mausoleum.

Travis did a ton of research online about how to actually go about building it and scoped out some other folks’ projects to get an overall generalization of what materials to use.

Then he took a trip to Team Blue (Lowe’s) and bought ten 2×2’s and four sheets of plywood. The guys at the store did some of the rough cutting for him, but since we were really just wingin’ it, most of the cutting got done at home.

This is Travis’ quick explanation of how he built it:

  1. I figured out the size that I wanted it to be – each wall is 4ft long and 5ft tall
  2. Cut the plywood into the correct sizes (measure twice, cut once!)
  3. Cut the 2x2s to the right length in order to make the frame
  4. I made 3 walls, then screwed them together
  5. Then I made two 1ft long by 5ft tall pieces to create the two front walls, which gave me the 2ft wide doorway
  6. For the roof, I used two 4ft by 3ft pieces and framed those as well to create the peak

Once the whole thing was built, we put on 2 coats of exterior paint.

Weather-proofing coats on, we'll start

For the arch over the doorway, we re-purposed our homemade “whacky boat” we made this summer for our family’s lake house regatta. (Thats that huge pink surf board looking thing behind Travis, above.) Which are in fact pieces of foam insulation board. The same goes for the “belt” piece around the middle. That part will eventually be painted to look like stones. The little ledges to the left and right of the doorway are made of scrap 2x2s.

To cover up the lines and darken up the inside to make our white ghost stand out, Travis used some horrible red paint that The Others left behind when they moved. It was actually the color of our 6 ft by 4ft bathroom when we moved in. Sexy.

I then mixed up a small batch of grey paint; I used white paint exterior with a tiny bit of black paint, then I thinned it out with several cups of water to make it about the consistency of thick watercolor paint. (I’d say the final mix was probably 2 cups of paint to 5 cups water, but that’s a rough estimate. I lost count, I just added water until I got the consistency I wanted.)

We used a cut up tshirt to color-wash the exterior. We used several different “techniques” like wiping and dabbing to create a cement-ish texture. I’ve heard of people using grocery bags to achieve a similar look, but I thought that would take too long. The tshirt really soaked up a lot of paint and kept me from having to reload it over and over.

Once the whole thing looked like concrete, I went it with varying shades of black and grey paint and dry-brushed in the aging, to make the whole thing look like concrete or stone does after it’s aged for decades. To dry brush, you literally use a dry paint brush to apply the color in very thin layers.

I started out with black along the edges and where I wanted serious aging “shadowing” and then went back in with some of the color-wash and applied that on top and just blended it in towards the center of each panel. Travis helped me with the bottom, once he got the hang of it, he really did a great job and he considers himself to be “very not artistic.”


I used a small paintbrush to add in cracks and paint in the spots above the ledges to make them look recessed into the stone. We’ll eventually add some sort of candle or torch there. We mounted a skull above the door that we had from another Halloween decoration that we didn’t use. You could put just about anything there… we thought the skull was pretty cool!

THEN came the fun part. We had to get this puppy through our 3 ft wide gate! Finished, it is 4ft wide by 7ft tall. We ended up having to remove the roof and carry it through in two parts, that was easier than we anticipated.

Once we had it set up where we wanted it in the yard, we hung our Lady in White inside. We have read all sorts of blogs that have animatronics that people have custom-built themselves and they look really great… But we priced out the parts needed to make her from scratch and we decided that buying this one from Spirit was far cheaper and worth it for us. Her arms move up and down! Maybe someday we’ll custom-make something to go in there, but this lovely lady seems to be working out super.

We initially wanted to do a name placard over the doorway, but we couldn’t agree on a name to give her. We Googled all sorts of famous ghost stories of ladies in white and couldn’t come to an agreement on one we thought was fitting. So we’ll come up with our own… But it’s gotta be good, and these things take time.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 10.11.36 AM

And what mausoleum is complete without the perfect ambient lighting?! So we purchased these Fire & Ice LED spotlights. One in green and one in blue. They each have motors on the inside that spin the internal light source through the diamond-cut dome, which makes the lights sort of shimmer. The best way to describe it is when light reflects off of water onto a surface.

The green one shines onto the front of the mausoleum, and we mounted the blue one on the interior, pointed downward onto the Lady. It gives it a sort of spectral, misty look. It looks almost like a really bright black light on her white dress.

And this is what the finished product looks like… Drumroll please….



And it blends in nicely with the rest of the graveyard, which is not quite done yet. We have a lot of items still to be put out. Plus on Trick or Treat night, we put in fog machines. But it is also lit up in blue and green to give it that sort of swampy-bayou feel!


All in all, we spent about $60 to build the mausoleum. Which doesn’t factor in that we had a coupon and two leftover gift cards from a return we made previously!

  • Plywood
  • 2x2s
  • 2 inch screws
  • 1 quart of white paint
  • 1 quart of black paint
  • 1 gallon of fence paint (already had)
  • 1 sheet of foam insulation (already had)
  • 1 gallon red paint (already had)

Then we bought the other items at Spirit, but also had a 30% off coupon for those, so we spent well under $100 on:

  • Ghost lady
  • Green Spotlight (already on sale!)
  • Blue Spotlight (already on sale!)

It took Travis probably 2 hours to build it. The painting took probably 3 hours over the course of 3 evenings after work. This is something that could easily be done in much less time, but we kind of took our sweet time.

It’s been up for about a week now and so far so good! We’ve even had some rain and everything seems to be holding up really well. The fact that we used fence paint meant for some hard-core elements is probably it’s saving grace. We made sure to get the paint on really thick and into all the nooks and crannies that will be exposed. After this season, it probably wouldn’t be too crazy of an idea to put some sort of sealant on it and even get into the interior and paint every inch of it. Considering the inside  is just latex interior paint, it probably wouldn’t hold up long-term without a sealant. But for the couple weeks it will be in the yard this year, hopefully it will hold up nicely.

Well there you have it! Happy Halloweening!

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble!

Happy October! My favorite month of the year!

We have several projects in the works at the house right now, all in varying stages of completion. But the good news is we finally got the driveway sealed before the winter sets in and destroys it more than it already is! And to make a good story even better, while the driveway cures, we have to park across the street and piss off the guy across the street! DOUBLE WIN!

That may make us sound like nightmare-neighbors, but really, we tried.

This summer, the final nail in the coffin was when the jerk screamed at Travis in the middle of the street for 45 minutes in broad daylight about parking in “his spots” because he’d “lived there for 40 years and he’d earned the right to park wherever he wanted.” And we were “punk ass kids with no respect.”


I didn’t mean to start off on a rant. I apologize… On with the show!

In the spirit of getting ready for the Halloween party, we’re trying to complete a few projects! Admittedly, I have been working on my Bruno scarecrow for a couple years now. I didn’t touch him at all last year due to our neglect of the entire holiday, but this year I really need to light a fire under my ass and finish him up.

I finally have all of the supplies together. His head is nearly done, and I will actually be making a sort of half-breed of Bruno and the Grumble. Both of which are from an amazing Halloween tutorial blog called Spooky Blue that Travis and I read. I have probably read every single post three or four times. I love this guy! His commentary is priceless:

“A scarecrow, hands on hips like he’s waiting for a bus to take him to Olive Garden where he serves nights while he works on his interior design degree at the community college isn’t scary.”

Also… to go in the graveyard in the front of the house, we’ve been working on building a mausoleum! We’ve wanted to build one since we’ve moved into our house and discovered we get a ton of trick or treaters, but we never had the tools to do so. So we’re about 75% done with that… here’s some in-progress photos!

Moby is inspecting Travis' work

Moby is inspecting Travis’ work

Weather-proofing coats on, we'll start

Weather-proofing coats are on, we’ll start “antiquing” it next to make it look aged.

It’s obviously far from done, but we have a little bit of time left before it has to grace the front yard for our party and for Trick or Treat. I won’t divulge all the details yet, but our little mausoleum will host it’s own ghost. We’ve been trying to come up with a name for our lady-ghost… It is hard work! She may remain nameless until she is placed in her home.

This will be a multi-stage project. We ran out of time to do much more than paint it this year, so we’ll get it to a state where it is just “good enough,” and then we’ll add more detail to it next year.

The year before last, we made The Reaper. He was super easy, just a bolt of burlap that we dyed black in our bathtub. Lord, that was a mess! The tutorial calls for mudding him in the end to make him rigid, but we needed to keep him collapsible so we could fold him up and put him away at the end of the season. So we followed the basic idea of the instructions, but really ended up making him our own.


Here is ours – Admittedly not the best photo, it was taken by a party guest. Plus we had been having trouble with his head collapsing, since it’s just a chicken-wire shape to hold up his heavy burlap hood.


And I did make this wreath last year. I bought several spools of 6 inch wide tulle ribbon, a foam wreath form, some plastic flowers and that adorbs little raven nested in there. I used a large piece of cardboard (about 16 inches square or so) and wrapped the tulle around it over and over again until I had used all of the spool. Then I cut the tulle at the top and at the bottom of the cardboard to make several strips in two quick snips. Then the hardest and most time consuming part from there was wrapping and tying the tulle around the wreath form to create the “ruffled” effect. You really have to cram them in there to make them look full and ruffly. I may make a better tutorial for this later.

On another non-halloween related note: I forgot to mention before, in September we bid farewell to our camper, Hell on Wheels. It was a bittersweet farewell, but I’m glad to have a driveway again. We will have a camper someday when we have the ability to travel more; Once Travis’ new company is sturdy enough to be mobile. When we were getting started, we picked gear that we could travel with so he can visit customers and go to conventions etc. We bought a laptop computer and a completely portable phone line.

We got one of these little gizmos that works on cellular signal, but you can connect a desk phone to it. As long as it has power, and a signal, you have a working phone! It runs for 3 hour in-use or 2.5 days on standby with the built-in battery. For $99 up front, then $20 a month with no contracts, it was a pretty sweet deal!

And in November, we’ll get to take his little operation on the road for the first time! Travis was invited to go to a conference hosted by the company that he works with. This will be our first major road trip of 2015!

We’ll be driving to Jacksonville, Florida for the conference, but on our way there we’ll be stopping at a place that I’ve been DYING to visit for as long as I can remember… NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE!

I’m serious, I’m in near shock at the excitement!! But before you go rolling your eyes at the thought of me Boot-Scoot-n-Boogie’in it up ’til the break of dawn in new pair of Tony Lamas

A queen on her throne! That’s my girl, Miranda!

Nashville isn’t just the place for country and bluegrass music anymore. Amazing musicians like Jack White and the Black Keys call Nashville their home too! We’re talking about the city where Elvis, Johnny Cash and Neil Young all recorded albums. And the home of Jack White’s Third Man Records’ Blue Room! Which is the only venue in the world to record live shows direct-to-acetate, producing a vinyl master in real time!

We enter code-red panic mode for party prep around the week of our birthdays (next week!) and we won’t sleep much from now until the day after the party on the 24th. After that we’ll be getting ready for our trip the beginning of November.

THEN comes the holidays, and we all know that Thanksgiving through the first week of January are usually a black-top blur with the holidays in full tilt! The thought of Christmas right now makes me throw up in my mouth a little. So let’s slow down and take this one day at a time!

P.S. THIS IS MY 50th POST ON MY BLOG! It’s only taken 2+ years, but we did it! Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Have a Nice Fall!

Happy first day of Fall!

It’s been months since I have tended to my sweet little blog-baby. Sadly, I’m turning into a horrible mother! No excuses… I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had much chance to sit down for any extended period of time and write a post. Womp-womp! I haven’t even had any vacation time in over a year! I’m dyin’!

Things have been on fire lately at the house. Travis quit his job and started his own company! You know… no biggie. Ha! And with all of that new business stuff, there were some legal issues and other unpleasantries. It has been very, very, very stressful. And it came at a time where we have a lot of other issues on our plate. While it would be very easy to become defeated and believe the whole world is against us, we know the best thing we can do is shake shit off and prove the nay-sayers wrong by succeeding. And that’s what we’re doing. BAM!

With the business being out of our house, Trav needed an office space to put his 3 monitors and 8 THOUSAND Post-It notes. I’m not kidding, we are single handedly keeping the Post-It company in business! And if you’re not already aware, space is at a major premium in our house since we lack a garage or an attic and our crawl space in our basement is stuffed to the gills… with Kevin Bacon references.

Our master bedroom also lacks a closet, so a few years ago, I turned our smallest spare bedroom into a “walk-in closet.” But now it’s doubling as Travis’ office. It’s only a temporary solution, but it’s actually pretty cozy!

And now it’s the last week of September and fall is beginning to reveal herself in small peeks here and there. I LOVE fall! And I especially love October! I LOVE the changing of leaves and bonfires, hot cider, caramel apples, pumpkin pie and hoodies. I love the chilly mornings and evenings! I LOVE decorating for Halloween and going to haunted houses (the attractions, not ghost-haunted houses! I even have a short list of some of the haunted houses we’ve visited and reviewed here!) and passing out candy for Trick-or-Treat!

We’ve also decided that this year we’re bringing back our infamous Halloween party! We’ve had one every year since we moved into our house, but took a short hiatus last year to recover from a particularly terrible party in ’13. This year our Halloween spirit is fully recharged and we’re back at it. And we actually started decorating on Labor Day weekend.

It’s a pretty big deal for us. We have a lot of decorations (our entire front yard becomes a full-scale grave yard), I make food, I spend weeks making the perfect party music playlist, we get beer and have a bonfire. In 2013, we even had our first “drive-in movie!” We used our projector to show classic horror movies on a homemade movie screen that we constructed out of PVC pipe.

We spend countless hours and probably way more money than we should to put on this party every year. We’ve spent years buying and building decorations and we break our asses for weeks beforehand to get ready. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. To say the least, it’s a big deal to us!

The front of our house all decked out for Halloween!

The front of our house all decked out for Halloween!

So when our guests started doing stupid shit like drunkenly peeing all over everything, splattering whipped cream on the ceiling, accosting the female guests and their I-still-live-in-my-mom’s-basement asses used our house as their personal mating grounds… we had to step back and re-evaluate some relationships and rethink things a little bit. Am I bitter about it? Absolutely.

Travis and I usually spend the entire next day on the couch in recovery watching horror movies on TV! This year I took off the whole week after. It will be my first vacation since our honeymoon/anniversary trip last year in September! I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! I am in dire need of a few days of rest and recuperation!

But back to the house topic: We’re getting some seemingly small but BIG things checked off our to-do list! We FINALLY got the electric fixed in the kitchen and the back porch. We had two mini track-light fixtures with 3 lights a piece on them. The year we moved in, one whole fixture went out. (It was the electrical box, not just the fixture.) Over the years, each of the lights on the other track went out one by one. Then a few weeks ago, we were left with one SINGLE tiny light. Making dinner and cleaning up each night like what I imagine Colonial times were like… without having to crap in the woods. It was making me crazier than I already am!

Seemingly, everything in this house has broken. This is not a plea for sympathy… It’s a part of home-ownership that we anticipated!

Not to mention a string of surgeries and 2 cars totally crapping out on us. So we anticipated the electric being another pricey item that we’d have to live lean for a while to pay for. But we bit the bullet, the electrician came and spent about an hour and half, replaced a light switch and re-connected some electrical lines that were mysteriously disconnected from the breaker box, and voila – Lights! And we only spent about $150! That’s a fantastic day in my book!

We also bought a couple new light fixtures that would make the kitchen brighter, and one to replace the “boob light” on the low ceiling of our stairwell that has a metal “nipple” that pokes out and frequently stabs Travis in the head on his way down the stairs. No one wants to be stabbed in the head by a metal nipple… At least I don’t think they do…

We also replaced the bamboo blinds in the newly renovated spare bedroom. They sounded like shrieking eels when you opened and closed them…

And a few weeks ago, the cat, who loves to bat the pull-strings around, somehow broke them. So we went and got some new ones (the same style as the old ones, just new and no shrieking eel sounds). Have you ever seen how they cut these things!? It’s amazing! They slap ’em up on the saw table right there in the window shade aisle still in the box and cut them to size! Freaking awesome! It’s free and only took 5 minutes! I love technology!

Next paycheck, we’re finally getting a new screen door. One that doesn’t sound like a sonic boom every time someone lets it slam shut. We priced them out and discovered the installation cost at about $100, is worth the hassle to us and will finally fix our wonky ass door frame. Something that we have zero interest or knowledge in doing. I know it has to be flush and plumb  or something in order for your door to work right. I don’t know what flush and plumb means… Sounds like a toilet reference to me.

After that, we have to reseal the driveway and touch up some spots on our foundation with fresh paint before winter and we’ll be all set for mother nature to wreak her havoc on us. But hopefully with it being an El Niño year, we won’t have the -117 degree winter again. Here’s hoping!

Happy House Anniversary!

Happy July 1st! And Happy House Anniversary to us! 8 momentous years ago, we took possession of Casa De Awesomesauce. We were 23 years old!

It’s also by far, the longest my husband has lived in the same place! Ha! My small-town ways have rubbed off on his gypsy soul! Plus, moving sucks real bad!


We went to a concert that evening and afterwards were supposed to stay the first night in our first home, but when we stopped at the house, the previous occupants were still moving stuff! The place was mostly empty, but every light in the house was on… jerks.

We waited three more days for them to get out. It was the longest wait of our lives! Even after we moved in, they spent two more weeks coming back and forth to get their shit out of our yard and shed. Trampolines, pool, play houses… we probably should have made a stink about it, but that wasn’t going to accomplish anything.

On another note, I have some sad news, folks…

After doing some serious inspecting of the Hell on Wheels camper, we realized the damage is far more extensive than originally anticipated. There is more water damage than we can afford to fix. We’d normally just say whatever and haul it out to our favorite boondocking spot as-is, until it completely falls apart since we don’t really dig campground camping, but we no longer have access to that property where our spot is.😦 So since it would be really silly to put money into something we’ll never get a return out of, we’re throwing in the towel.

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We hate to be quitters, but this project just doesn’t make any sense for us anymore. After the nightmare that the boat became, (read about that here and here!) we just don’t want this camper to be a repeat of that. We found a charity that will come and haul it away for free, let us write it off for taxes like you would when donating items to a thrift store, and give they’ll give us a voucher for 2 free nights at a bunch of cool destinations across the US. So we’ve decided to do that and focus our time and energy on the house instead. Because you know what? We’re taking the first steps towards moving.

We’re not sure exactly where to, yet but we know we’re over the ‘burbs. Even though we still love our Columbus with the fire of a thousand suns! We love the convenience of it and the fact that we can find something to do virtually 24 hours a day. We love the culture and that it is a community of acceptance and understanding for everyone.

But I also miss the peace of living in the country, it fits too.

So in the meantime, we’re going to start slowly polishing up the house. For instance, we haven’t had electricity in over half of our kitchen since the year we moved in… 8 years ago. Things like that are probably important to future potential home buyers! So we’ll be begrudgingly hiring an electrician to come out and take a look at it since it’s not one of the things we feel comfortable tackling… Because we’d probably kill ourselves.

So to get that whole laundry list of things rolling, over the last month we got started with our spare bedroom. Yeah, kind of a weird place to start, but it was the place that really needed the most help. It had hideous, dirty, stained,  mauve carpet, green paint on the walls (that we slapped up in an hour to cover the vomitous pink paint and ballerina border leftover from the previous occupants) plus we had somehow managed to smear it all over the ceiling. It was one of our first paint jobs, give us a break!

This might be your cup of tea, but pink carpet with pink walls with pink ballerinas wasn’t really our thing! And like I said before it was suuuuper stained. Kids + dogs + carpet = Gross.

I could just slap myself for not getting more “before” photos. But we snapped ONE while things were in progress, where the two greens met (the bottom green was theirs, our darker green that covered the pink was on top) there was a piece of foam chair rail with little cutesy daisies on it. It was cute from afar, but upon close inspection, it was very juvenile looking. Plus we were over it. So it got ripped down.

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We initially planned on painting the subfloor while we waited for the cash to put in new flooring. Sounds scary, but some folks have really done some awesome things with their subfloors!

Like this! This looks awesome! It’s not a long-term plan, but looks way better than kid and dog stained pink carpet!

But then we ripped up the carpet and found laminate parquet flooring underneath! Initially I was thrilled, so now I could just paint the floor a sweet putty color and call it done! But upon taking a good look at the floor we realized how bad of shape it really was in. There were tiles that were cracked and broken. It was just a mess.

Then I remembered we had just bought all that bomb-ass peel & stick vinyl planking for the camper! Bingo!

Before we got started, we used a 5 gallon bucket with 1/2 cup Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface concentrated cleaning solution to scrub the floors. Vinegar would work too, but I love Mrs. Meyer’s!

Soap Box Alert: I freaking love all of Mrs. Meyer’s earth-friendly products and they are now what I use exclusively in my house. Laundry soap, dish detergent, dish soap, everything. They work amazing and smell wonderful. Basil and Lavender are my faves! Grab some at the grocery store next time or order yourself a gift bucket online. This stuff is amazing! I know it’s a little granola-crunching, but I really do care about what our home dumps back into the world. With all of the water problems we’ve been experiencing in Ohio over the last few years, it makes me feel better knowing I’m doing my best not to contribute to that.

Then we just spent an hour or two a night after work peeling and sticking those puppies down! I was really concerned at first about the peel & stick quality. We had used peel & stick once before in a family member’s bathroom and it ended up having to be redone later. This wasn’t really something we were interested in doing. But after we read a lot of reviews about it, we decided this brand had some serious sticky stuff and took a chance! So far, 3 weeks later we’re still really happy. There are a few spots that sort of lift a little bit, but we’re chalking that up to the crappy floor underneath. And if it continues to be an issue, we’ll just grab some sort of adhesive like Liquid Nails and re-peel and stick those suckers back down.


It was a lot of work, but it was easy work. They scored very easily with a knife and then could be snapped by hand to the sizes that we needed. By the time it was all said and done, we were definitely sore for a few days, but we were SUPER happy with the results!

Then after the floor was installed, it took a few more days of rolling around on the floor to measure, cut, paint and install quarter-round throughout the room. My mom had gave us her old air compressor with a brad gun. This was the first time we’d used the gun, and it was a LIFE SAVER. We had the quarter-round nailed down in about 10 minutes!


Here’s the semi-finished product! We still need a headboard and have since got a chest of drawers which we put on the wall at the foot of the bed, but it was a nice starting place and hopefully some fuel to finish up some of the other rooms in the house!

Mainly the master bedroom. Which we’ve been saying we were going to tackle for 8 years now. Blargh!

Well, Happy JULY and to Happy early birthday, ‘Merica! And until next time, stay classy!

You dropped a bomb on me, baby!

Last Friday after a short week that felt like a long week, Travis and I decided to take a ride on the bikes for the first time after I pulled some muscles in my back three weeks ago. I was given anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers to help get me back on the horse a little faster. After two weeks, I felt a lot better and stopped taking them. Mainly because you can’t booze it up while taking them, and well, I wanted to drink.

Ok, so I fully admit, operating a motorcycle still scares the shit out of me. Not like “OMG! I’m going to shit my pants every time I get on this thing“… But I get a healthy, respectful “I fully acknowledge that this thing can kill me if I’m not careful” bout of nerves every time I fire her up. I usually say a prayer as we pull out of our driveway and will my gremlin bell to do its job, and by the time we leave the city limits on our usual route I’m a little more relaxed and all is well and I don’t feel like a total noob.

Well, Friday wasn’t such a good day… It was pretty hot, like 90, so I forwent the usual 5-10 minute warmup sesh m’lady normally gets while I take forever putting on my helmet and synching the intercoms, etc. As we were leaving the driveway, I pushed in the choke because I figured she had warmed up and on the last ride, I accidentally left the choke out for close to 20 miles. Woopsie!

Travis always leads and I follow. He stopped at the yield sign at the end of our street and smoothly sped off up the road. I stopped at the yield sign and attempted to make the left turn. The engine was still cold, I didn’t give it enough gas in the turn, so the bike lurched forward then died. I put my feet down to stop but only made contact with my left foot as the bike was tilting past the point where it’s easy to hold it up. At this point the bike was at a complete stop, thank God, but I was wearing a tank-top and no gloves, so I knew if I went down with it I was going to skin the shit out of my hands and arms on the asphalt. So I kind of hopped up and off to the left side of the bike, still holding the right handlebar and let her go down.

It was more of a slowly, gently, lowering her to the ground. But this is the exact thing I hoped and swore I’d never do. I tried to stop it. But she is a 500 pound monster with a mind of her own. And that bitch is heavy.

She was on the ground for maybe two seconds. I grabbed the right handlebar and deadlifted her back up again.

Our neighbor was on his porch watching and couldn’t even get to his feet in the amount of time she was down and back up again. Travis had gotten to the next street by the time I told him in my helmet “I just dropped my bike.” I already had her back up and was pushing her out of the intersection by the time he turned around and could get back.

He asked if I was ok. I was. I was just really, really pissed. And ashamed… and embarrassed. And a little sick feeling. I hadn’t seen the damage yet.

By this point, the Trashy McTrashertons that live at the end of the street had brought out lawn chairs to set up in their driveway to watch the spectacle.

We stood on the corner while I explained what happened. We looked the bike over for damage, I expected to see the pipes and tank scraped up. I somehow managed to have only scuffed the end of my clutch and a little knick on the metal cover of my mirror. Thank you, lord! Really. But I broke my gremlin bell.😦

Travis asked if I still wanted to ride. I really didn’t, but I knew if I let this spook me I probably wouldn’t ever get back on again, so I gritted my teeth and got back on and fired her up. Travis made the turn, I started the turn and she lurched and died again. Blarrgh! The third time was the charm. But I had to convince myself not to puke in my helmet for the first 20 minutes of the ride.

I’m still a little nervous in turns, I always have been paranoid of skidding in gravel or popping a wheelie or one of the other thousand terrible things, but I suppose I’m going to have to stop thinking about it. After watching Travis TRY to pop a wheelie in the yard on the dirt bike and only managing to get the front tire off the ground about two inches makes me feel a little better.

So that my friends, is the reason why I have been shuffling around like Ozzy Osbourne for the past few days!

ozzyYou live and you learn.