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Archive for May, 2010

So this weekend we will be invaded by a passel of folk who have learned that the first “official” holiday weekend of the summer means a big barbecue at the Mox residence.  The crowd has over the years grown to crazy proportions, particularly when you consider we don’t have a big back yard.  There are never enough tables, chairs, or shady spots.  Some folks have come one year and never again, others are repeaters.  We’ve seen families grow and lost dear ones in this crowd, and the event itself has taken on a life of its’ own. 

I tend to dread these weekends.  Social butterfly I am not, and having gobs of people traipsing in and out of my house — my refuge from the world — tends to set me on edge.  What I dread most is the invasion of in-laws. 

Specifically, the littlest of in-laws.  The cookie crumblers and tricycle motors.  Even more specifically, the two youngest of my youngest sister-in-law.  To put it simply:  they are hellions. 

Because I have standards, I expect a certain amount of couth in my house.  And while I realize that kids are in short supply of couth, I do think it is up to the parents to enforce company manners.  Which means, you don’t trash a house. 

The littlest outlaws are trashers. 

And furthermore, I often don’t discover the carnage until they are well on their way home.  One year in particular, I found a half-eaten hot dog in Spawn’s toybox, and the legs to a table in Spawn’s room were literally glued to the carpet with some sort of candy that someone had spit out on the floor.  They have a tendency to get everything out of the closet, out of the toybox, and in general make a huge mess of Spawn’s room. 

The reason I do not have five kids is that I do not want five kids.  So when they bring their four, including the two youngest, worst offenders, I grind my teeth and try to stay on top of them the whole day.  It’s exhausting.  But it’s also not possible to put the onus back on the parents, because they like to sit on my front porch and smoke and in general let their kids run wild.  Words fall on deaf ears. 

So yes, the parents in question here are in short supply of couth themselves, and it’s a lost cause.  But having had some experience over the years with this issue, I have resolved it in my own passive-aggressive way. 

I hand out water balloons and candy right before everyone leaves for their 2+ hour drive home.  More than one way to skin a cat. 

—  Mox

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Well, that’s the closest approximation I can give you when describing what it feels like to have a shot administered to your eyelid.  In other words:  not fun. 

Also?  Not fun?  Poison ivy.  I’m just saying. 

And while we’re on the subject of “not fun” let’s talk about flying ants.  Flying.  Ants.  I’ve spoken before about our little ant problem at the house, how they just march in columns like it’s a military parade field and they’re presenting their platoon for review.  Now the Air Force has gotten into the act, and they’re dive bombing me as I sit under my reading lamp in bed at night. 

My husband’s natural reaction is to ignore such things, because obviously I am hallucinating.  Who ever heard of flying ants, Mox?  Really. 

And yet, there they are.  I know they’re ants because we’ve already had termites and they have a different physiology.  And I know I am not hallucinating because I kill the little buggers as they land and the killing fields (aka the carpet next to the bed) are littered with the corpses. 

My husband, he has other things on his mind.  Like an upcoming few days off (which are unarguably well-deserved) and an impending barbecue that has (as per usual) taken on a life of its’ own.  So I will wait until my brother-in-law comes in for this shindig and I will take him aside and show him the various things his brother has ignored, and he will bring them to his attention.  Because, you know, the radio frequency of my voice is more easily tuned out than the baritone of his brothers’ voice. 

As much as I despise the crazy-fest that these barbecues turn into, I do manage to make some headway in our household projects because of it. 

— Mox

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1. I do not like Indian food as much as I like to think I do. 

2.  After a childhood spent freely roaming the pastures and woods, I find it highly ironic that at 42 and living essentially an all-city existence, I have come down with my first-ever case of poison ivy.  This does not make me happy. 

3.  The impending threat of a houseful of people for the upcoming long holiday weekend will nudge you to do things like wallpaper a whole room. 

4.  I have discovered that I have an allergy to latex.  My discovery came via the (distinctly different) rash I developed around the edges of bandaids covering my poison ivy rash. 

5.  Two rashes are not double the fun. 

6.  This is the last week of school here in Podunk.  While I am overjoyed at the notion of no homework for these next several weeks, I am also a bit maudlin that my child will no longer be a third grader. 

7.  Because being past the age of 40 makes your body rebel in interesting and annoying ways, I am scheduled to have a minor lesion removed from my eyelid this week.  This will mean no eye makeup.  This will also mean that I will be walking around looking perpetually tired all week. 

8.  Wow, poison ivy really itches.  Hard to concentrate. 

9.  Having a boss out of the country on vacation, and sending you daily email photos from his trip, makes it very hard to sustain motivation for working. 

10.  Upon further review, the Indian food was a very bad idea. 

— Mox

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I noticed something as I was walking into the gym today.  Most everyone headed into the building at the same time all had white hair or canes, or was otherwise moving very slowly. 

This is what it has come to, folks.  I have scratched the surface of geriatrica.  What with my bum knee and various achy parts, I feel right at home. 

Most people at my gym have the sort of schedule that allows them to do their workouts at 7:45 in the morning.  They’ve been up since 4am, this is late for them.  For me, it’s early. 

My gym has a warm water therapy pool, which is essentially a mega-giant hot tub, big enough for short laps or to host an arthritis class.  My mother uses the pool to take some of the pressure off her swelling joints.  I like to use it just to float around in some seriously warm water, which is pleasantly draining and allows me to sleep like the dead. 

The ladies also really don’t give a rip what they look like in a swimsuit.  Will I ever reach that point?  Dunno.   I mean, sure, my body is rapidly morphing into a Weeble, but right now I’m fighting it with everything I can throw at it.  I’d like to be that little old lady who still has it (meaning, no knit pants or banded bottom tops or orthopedic shoes), regardless of what genetics has in store for me.  (I’ve seen it.  It ain’t pretty.) 

I will have to say, though, that some of the gray-haired group can flat-out outwork my ass on the weight machines.  I’ll come through to work on my favorite machines and it amazes me the weight levels some of these folks are pushing.  I mean, I’ve got to take it down a few notches, since I don’t want to throw my back out. 

Sure, I can move a lot faster than the lot of them, but they shame me with their tenacity and stamina.  But they also show me what’s possible. 

— Mox

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At the end of this week, I am going to attempt to do something I haven’t done in 15 years. 

Wallpaper. 

Wallpaper is somewhat out of vogue these days, what with all the nifty neat-o tricks you can do with paint nowadays.  Trouble is, the faux finishes you can approximate with paint are sometimes are more labor-intensive than putting up wallpaper.  My husband and I learned this during a happily misguided foray into painting stripes in our hallway.  My dear sweet husband about lost his religion over that one.  Consequently, I haven’t asked him to faux-paint anything else. 

When it comes to decorating our walls past the standard I-can’t-decide white, paint has been pretty much the go-to choice for us.  It helps that my father-in-law is a commercial painting contractor and my brother-in-law is happy to come visit us and do some painting every once in a while.  There is quite a difference between professional and amateur when it comes to painting, and I, my friends, am the amateur. 

The whole point of wallpaper, I suppose, to change the color and looks of a room in a quick fashion.  Which, if you’re going beyond a solid color, is easier to do than to layer on designs and glaze and all that stuff like you do with faux painting.  The wallpaper I’ve chosen is designed to look like an old stone wall.  Miles easier to paper than to paint something like that. 

Except it’s been quite a long while since I wallpapered anything, and I’ve forgotten how to do it. 

This thought occurred to me as I was driving home yesterday, and I spent a good long while thinking about it.  I had to reach back into my files a bit to dredge up the process, and I found my memory to be a bit spotty.  Good thing there’s the internet, I can get a bit of Remedial Wallpapering 101 before I start. 

It will feel good to restretch old muscles. 

— Mox

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Anybody with any sort of web presence keeps track of things like site hits, search terms, and the like — and if someone out there in blogland says they don’t care about that sort of info, I would advise you not to believe them.  I personally find it very interesting to see the search terms that people have used to land on this blog (some are weird, no doubt) and I also find it interesting to see where the IP addresses hail from (hello, Netherlands!). 

One post that gets a lot of airtime here on this site is the one titled, “When a woman can’t change anything else in her life, she changes her hair.”  The search terms for this are either the phrase itself or Reba McEntire, and mostly what people are looking for are photos of Reba’s hair.  And yes, I have had a version of this haircut for a while now, in varying lengths. 

But it’s summertime (or damn near it) and I have had enough.  Y’all, I’ve got a lot of hair.  A LOT.  So it’s time for a major summer haircut. 

The thing that I hate about trying to find a new cut is the photos that you end up with.  Either they’re celebrities (who have stylists) or they’re salon photos (which means they’ve been styled within an inch of their life).  There’s just not a whole lot out there in the way of haircuts for real people.  However I get my hair cut, I’ve got to be able to pull this look off, by myself, in under ten minutes. 

But if anything I’m the sort of person who will exhaust all avenues until I find what I’m looking for.  I just don’t want to be That Woman, you know, The One Who Think She Looks Like So-and-So.  I bear a resemblance to the late and beautiful Princess Diana, and that is not my own assessment.  Those who have known me a long time have told me this many times.  However, she stopped aging at 36, while I’ve passed that milestone and kept on going.  (So really, maybe I don’t resemble her so much any more.  Moving on.) 

I would have loved to have seen what she would have done with her hair over the years.  The inspiration would have been helpful. 

So, in my attempt to Not Look Like So-and-So, I found a cute short haircut that works for my thick hair, and it belongs to a French actress whom I had never heard of before this.  Not obvious, right?  No one will think that I think I look like her?  Yes? 

 Hey, it’s the kind of cut that can go from the gym to the shower and out into the rest of the world without much to-do.  Which will work very well at the pool this summer. 

And for the record, I do not have big brown eyes or dark brown hair, and though I wish I were, I am not ten years younger. 

 Nor do I have big, perky bazooms. 

~sigh~

— Mox

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When I was a senior in college, the onus was upon me to find a job.  Because I labored under the mistaken notion that I could go and get myself a job in just about any city and my parents would be okay with that, I set my sights on Nashville, Tennessee. 

That’s a long and bitter story to be told another day, but now that I am on the opposite side of 40, with a mortgage and kid in school here in Podunk, that ship has sailed. 

Ahem. 

I loved Nashville back then, and I love it now.  My love is borne of different reasons now than it was 20 years ago and the city has changed in that 20 years, but it’s still a place I fantasize about.  I know I will never live in the hotsy-totsy Bellemeade area, but boy, I love it. 

And the photos I am seeing posted on Facebook about the flooding downtown and in the Opryland Hotel/Mall area are currently breaking my heart. 

I have been in touch with several of my friends who live in the Nashville area and all of them are fine save for some basement flooding and whatnot.  But it’s going to be a long time before my beloved city is able to recover. 

— Mox

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