Saturday, May 29, 2021

Another Whole-House Refresh Done, Here Come The Before-And-After Photos!

Whew. That was an unexpected marathon. What I thought would be a quick 2-week refresh on a dated rental house turned into more of a 5-week deep dive, and worse, most of our work barely even shows. There were so many little repairs: removing an old security system, moving A/C vents around, running new wiring, installing new exhaust vents, painting closet shelves, etc, that just don't show up in before-and-after pics.

But of course all the new paint and fixtures still make quite a difference, so I still have some fun stuff to share. C'mon, I'll give you the official "B&A" Tour.


That A/C closet on the left got a complete overhaul, then we painted all the walls, trim, and doors, refinished the chandelier, and added some pretty light-blocking curtains to the sliders:


How 'bout those black doors, eh? I love them so much, y'all. As a nice bonus, they pick up the black window frames throughout the house, so everything flows a little better. We also changed to daylight bulbs, which helps neutralize some of the warm pink tones in the tile and makes everything look all cool and de-saturated.

Thanks to the new A/C return vents on the left there's no more air coming in at ground level, taking in all the dust with it. Should keep the closet and whole system much cleaner.

Same space from the other side:

Remember that chandelier?

It's like new again!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Hey, So I'm Obsessed With Eurovision Now. COME OBSESS WITH ME

On Saturday my friend Robyn made some digital wizardy happen so that a group of us could all watch Eurovision live together, and my friends, I AM A CHANGED WOMAN.


Where has this competition been all my life??

The hours FLEW by, and it was much fun to be in a group that was cheering or snarking or laughing with each new act. If you're not familiar, Eurovision is an international singing competition, but those words can't do it justice. The stage productions aren't just eye candy, they're eye cocaine. The outfits, the dancing, the laser light show with pyro and giant props, all on the most STUNNING stage... wow. Just wow.

Like many of you I first learned about Eurovision through the Will Ferrell movie on Netflix last year. The movie is a roller coaster of soaring heights and cringing depths - the depths being any time Will Ferrell is on screen - but I highly recommend it for the good parts. Dan Stevens' character alone makes it worth your time (John & I are both a little in love with Alexander Lemtov), but then there are some absolutely jaw-dropping musical numbers, including John's favorite that he plays at least once a week, Husavik.

Anyhoo, if you've seen the movie then you might have thought they were exaggerating with the musical numbers - making them sillier or grander or more over the top. We certainly thought so. But Y'ALL. They're not exaggerating. And I am so happy about this.

Even though Eurovision doesn't air here in the U.S., happily you can find most of the acts on Youtube, so BRACE YOURSELF. I'm about to blast you with a bunch of my favorites from this year's lineup. And fun fact: most of the contestants sing in English, so no subtitles needed!

Let's start with a good example of Eurovision as a whole, just so you know what you're in for. ::evil grin:: Take it away, Lithuania!

(The Roop, Discoteque)

If you're not grinning by the end of the first minute then your heart has no sense of whimsy.

Now let's hop over to The Netherlands, because I can't believe this one didn't get more love. So powerful it makes me want to stand up and cheer and cry at the same time, oof. I love a good anthem. Anyway, like several of these the live performance is blocked in the U.S., but here's the official music video, which - oh wow - is actually even better:

(Jeangru Macrooy, Birth of a New Age)

(P.S. In the live version they translated the chorus: "Yu no man broko mi" = "You can't break me.")

That's fueling my obsession, btw: every act has both a live performance AND an official music video, so of course I have to go watch all my favorites again and see which version I like better.

Speaking of favorites, Graham Norton (who was emceeing the broadcast we watched) was hilariously snarky about this next one, saying the song was good but you had to close your eyes to enjoy it. I think Graham may be right, but it's hard to look away from this performance, haha. PLUS, this is John's favorite of the whole competition. It's a solid 80s style pop song, definitely one of my favorites, too. (Again, the song. Ha!)

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Today I'm Your John (Heyooo)

Last week I had a nagging pain in my left calf, a kind of pre-Charley Horse cramp deep in the muscle that kept me awake at night. I didn't think much of it, figuring it was from all the ladder work I've been doing at the rental. Then I woke up with a pain in my left jaw, an achey stiffness in the joint I've never had before, which also hung on for days and made me spill more than usual, since I couldn't get my mouth open all the way. And of course through all this I had my usual arm and hand numbness that’s been getting worse all year.

If any of that rings alarm bells for you, gold stars. You know some of the warning signs of a heart attack.

Spoiler alert: I did NOT have a heart attack. It doesn't get me at this time. Which I'm only explaining because you look nervous, and also because I want to make a Princess Bride reference.


I didn't have a heart attack, but what I did have was a John. So when I woke up on the 3rd or 4th day complaining of leg and jaw pain on the left side and numbness in both arms and hands, he started making calls. I was questioned by a nurse over the phone, and after a few more calls, we were off to an urgent care center that performs ultrasounds.

For the record, I didn’t think anything was seriously wrong. Nothing hurt that much, and my anxiety was relatively in check, so I didn't even have chest pains. Still, when I looked at the tightly reined concern in John’s eyes, and when I put myself in his place, there was no question. If it took all day, I was going in to get checked out.

Thirty minutes later I was chatting with a huge bear of a doctor who looked like a Persian Santa Claus in a paper mask. Five minutes after that, Dr. Claus was personally walking me down the hall to the ultrasound, where a kind attendant assured me it was perfectly fine that I hadn’t shaved my legs in 3 days, and let me listen to the whooshing of blood in my leg veins. Better still, no clots.

I was just cleaning the ultrasound goo off my leg when Santa Bear was back, literally waiting at the door to walk us to another exam room for an EKG. It was the end of the day and we were the last ones there, but at no point did we feel like we were inconveniencing anyone or we were overreacting. And listen, if you have a panic disorder and tend to think every new pain means this is The End, then you know what a gift that is.

For the EKG I got to flash my sexiest full-coverage granny bra (in beige, uh thankyouverramuch) at an attractive twenty-something while he hooked up all the little sticky pads to my chest. I’ve never had to hold my shirt up that long for a stranger, so I didn’t really know the protocol on eye contact. I briefly considered – and rejected – asking for Mardi Gras beads. Finally I turned to John sitting in the chair behind me and joked, “Y'know, I’d’ve worn prettier underwear if I knew it'd be getting so much action today. Aheheheh.”

“Please try not to move,” said Attractive Twenty-Something, eyes on the monitor.

Sorry,” I whispered wide-eyed, and attempted to sink through the exam table and under the earth while mentally making a note to burn all my beige bras and buy prettier underwear. Except these beige bras are comfy, dangit. They keep the armpit flab in check and don’t show up under tops the way black or white bras do. So maybe I’ll keep the beige ones, and just buy a few rainbow unicorn bras to mix in for medical emergencies. Except I can’t really predict a medical emergency - ergo the name. Otherwise it's more of a medical appointment. So really all I need is one rainbow unicorn bra to keep in the car that I can change into on the way... somehow. YES. Perfect. Glad we got that sorted. Also this will help explain things the next time John goes to get a napkin out of the glove box and a frilly unicorn bra falls out. 

::proceeds to lose the next 10 minutes shopping for "unicorn bra" on Amazon::

::(I didn't find any, but I did find a rhinestone bustier I want to wear under my t-shirt for my next EKG, because unexpectedly dazzling an attendent with rainbow sparkle boobs would be hee-LARIOUS.)::

As you may have guessed from my shopping side track, the EKG was fine. Well, I think it’s fine. For some reason whenever I get an EKG there's always a little something that shows up in the readout which the doctor will point out, circle, and then tell me not to worry about. Seriously. I’ve had 3 EKGs in my life, 3 charts with circled blips on them, and 3 docs saying I shouldn’t worry about this thing they just specifically pointed out and circled. Why. WHY. Did I not tell you I have a panic disorder, Doctor Santa Bear? Must you torture me this way?


In summation, friends, let me leave you with this encouragement: go and get the test. Get the thing checked. Even if it's probably nothing, even if it doesn't hurt that bad, and ESPECIALLY even if you're afraid you might be overreacting. Like you, I'm always worrying I'll seem "hysterical" or be dismissed out of hand, because sadly most of us women have had that experience, at least here in the U.S. HOWEVER. Today I'm your John, k? Today I'm looking you in the eye with care and concern and asking, "What's the worst that could happen if it's nothing? Now what's the worst that can happen if it's something, and you ignore it?"

I wish I could be there to (lovingly) shove you in the car and drive you myself, but since I can't do that, I'm hoping this boring story where nothing bad happens is a reassurance. I went in for relatively minor symptoms, but no one rolled their eyes or dismissed me. And even if they had, the peace of mind John and I got from a clean bill of health would have been worth it.

Let me add that I know medical care here in the U.S. is stupid expensive, even with insurance. It stinks, it's not right, and I totally get it if you're worried about the cost. Nothing I say will make that better, but here's what I do know: money is replaceable. You are not. If you suspect something life-threatenting, go.

Every time you do the Hard Thing and take care of yourself, know that I am so freaking proud of you. Then be sure to celebrate with chocolate or tacos or impulse buys or all of the above, because hard things are hard and you've earned it, dangit.


Finally here's MY impulse buy, since I just want to show it off:

It's yet another giant silicone phone case, because I can't get enough of these dang things. :p

Love y'all, hope you've had a restful weekend. Now let's get out there, be weird, and have fun doing it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

22 Cursed Objects I Found Antiquing That Must Be Shared

I go antiquing for three things: 
1) the cute nostalgic stuff from my childhood,

2) the cool history stuff from before my time, and
3) the cursed objects.


Cursed objects are hands down my favorite. You know what I'm talking about: the creepy, the inexplicable, the stuff that makes you recoil in horrified laughter shrieking "WHY???"

Yep, that stuff's my jam.

So last week for my birthday - and after a loooooong 2 year hiatus - John and I spent a heavenly 3 hours finding every cursed object in my favorite antique mall here in Orlando. (I also found lots of cute and cool stuff, but that's for another post.)

You ready for this?

And full disclosure: I 100% love most of these finds, and I'm already regretting not buying a few. So let's see how many you love, starting with...


At first I thought this was another boring garden ghost statue, but then I spotted her feet. She hangs on the wall and FLOATS, y'all. Perfect for over the bed in your guest room, behind the door in the bathroom... really anywhere someone can stumble across her unexpectedly in the dark.

Now, I know clowns are the low-hanging fruit of the cursed object world, but what can I say? I'm short.

Besides, it's really the hands on this one that bring the noise. You can tell they're supposed to be holding something, but what? A musical instrument? A bone saw? An even smaller version of itself that slowly siphons your soul into its ceramic cheek zit until you're an empty husk haunted by off-key circus organs that drive you into oblivion?

::head tilt::

Or maybe jewelry?

While we're having these thought exercises, imagine, if you will, the design committee that decided there was a market for flocked elephant boobies:


I don't know how an elephant can flash its nipples and still look that affronted, but here we are.

Can a plastic bubble bath container be a cursed object? I report, you decide:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Cats & Cricut Crafts

It's been less than a month since we put the cats on a diet, and I gotta say, I'm impressed. The girls are more playful, running around more, and shoving more things off the table in protest of this situation:

"Your glass of water is next."

All this extra energy is definitely fueling some extra sass:


She legit made eye contact while I was yelling at her, and did this:


Eva is just as bad. I use the bathroom off our bedroom during the day, so she lies in wait outside the bedroom door and slips into the room after me... which means she then gets locked in the very room we're trying to keep her out of.

We keep them out because I got tired of bed sheets covered in cat hair. So of course I come back several hours later to find her lounging on my side of the bed.

Ah, ok, but this was cute: I know it's nothing new that cats like sinks, but I've never seen either of ours in a sink until this week, so, INDULGE ME:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Watch The Robot Apocalypse With Bougie PB&Js

Top of the Tuesday to you, bots and tots. What's shakin'? Or jiggling? Multiple answers accepted.

Today I thought I'd share some cool stuff I'm watching and/or reading and/or eating, along with random photos from various Life Activities. Cool? Cool.

First, the movie John and I watched last night that I highly recommend:

The Mitchells vs The Machines

A family on a road trip gets waylaid by the robot apocalypse, and HIJINKS ENSUE. Super funny, extremely current with social media references and parodies galore, fabulously fun action, and heavy on the feel-good schmaltz - but not in a Pixar tear-jerker way, so we're good. I laughed out loud so many times with this one, definitely give it a watch on Netflix the next time you need some light-hearted laughs.

The Mitchells is made by the same folks behind Into The Spiderverse,  btw, so it has a little of that zany animation style. Less comic book and more story book, though. Also if they don't make a plush of the wall-eyed dog then I will RIOT. :p

Here's another way to add a little excitement to your evening:

Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds this adjective choice hilarious, because the people in line with me did NOT. Pthhp.

Also, really? A neck mask? Listen, I don't know who needs to hear this right now, but your neck looks awesome. Seriously. Save your exhilarating neck mask dollars for something better, like, uh...

Oh! These!

These were the snacks at our last Craft Night: three dollar wine from Aldi that everyone agreed tastes like a kids' juice box - but is somehow 8% alcohol so LOOK OUT - and Bamba Peanut Snacks from Trader Joe's, which taste like peanuts that have been transmogrified into Cheetos. Super weird, but good. And not too salty. Which could probably describe a lot of us here.

Kari, who brought the Cheeto Peanuts (Cheenuts? Peatos?) claims if you put both those and the wine in your mouth at the same time it tastes like a bougie PB&J, so there's your homework this week. Taste test and report back.

I'll have a proper update later, but John and I are still working our tails off most nights over at the rental renovation. Last night John was crawling around in the attic and suddenly slammed a screwdriver through the ceiling of the room I was in, so when people tell you the excitement fizzles after 22 years of marriage, don't you believe them.

Oh yeah, we keep it kooky.

Yesterday I set my phone down on the book I was reading, and it looked so pretty I had to take a picture. Which I needed my phone for, ha. But don't' worry, I made it work:

Friday, May 7, 2021

A Horrifying Hand Garden, Magical UV Flowers, & Boba Fett, Boun-Tea Hunter :D

It's time for more random internet fun finds!

First up, one of my favorite people, Simone Giertz, made a chair relevant to many of our interests:

Her dog Commander Scraps is also one of my favorite people. Head to Simone's Youtube channel for 20 minutes of pure serotonin: Simone is hilarious, Scraps is adorable, and they're making stuff. That's a recipe for happy, right there.


And now, preeee-senting, for your punny cosplay-viewing pleasure:

the "Boun-TEA" Hunter
by @Maweezy.

Y'all. Y'ALL. Look at these details!

The helmet lid! The swirly cream paint job! The straw arm rockets. And of course the ultra-realistic faux boba in each cup, wowie. (She put print-outs in each empty cup, so they don't weigh anything.)

This is true dedication to a pun the world needed, and I am HERE FOR IT.


NerdForge is always a great follow for this geeky duo's incredibly complex builds, and this latest one is particularly gorgeous for my fellow Lord of the Rings fans:

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Starting A New House Renovation & Ending In Disaster

We had some renters move out a few weeks ago, a wonderful couple who've been there 7 years. The 1963 ranch they were in hadn't been updated in at least a decade, though, so John and I are tackling a whole house refresh and renovation.

Because the renters had big dogs, all of the trim looked like this:

It's sticky, so won't vacuum up. An easy way to clean fuzzy trim like this is to grab a cheap plastic broom, wet the bristles in the sink, and scrub. Saves time and your back.

Here's the trim after cleaning:

And then after painting:

Ahhh. See, if I have to paint trim, I want it to be super dirty so I get this kind of result. 
(Wall paint is still to come. Always paint the trim first!)

I never knew a fridge could have this many nooks and crannies, y'all. I had to use a toothbrush. I kept quitting and coming back, so this was a 3-day clean. Oof.

Here's a look at the kitchen: