Airing Dirty Laundry

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Meh. September 30, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:39 pm

You’ve made comments/sent emails asking about Mike’s reaction to THE ROOM, the mecca of all things sports, the embodiment of my undying love for him, the one room in the house that is HIS.

His reaction?


Not “WOW!”

Just. wow. 

Not even a capital letter.

He was so tired (and hungover) from his weekend in Vegas that he got home last night, watched about 3 seconds of the Steeler game (and in Pittsburgh it’s a CRIME to NOT watch the Steeler game), and went to bed.

Maybe in a day or so when he’s back to his normal un-hungover self he’ll appreciate it more.  “Or maybe he hates it and doesn’t want to tell me” whispers the little voice in my head.  Whatever.  I at least got a lot of exercise going up and down the stairs a bezillion times.  Always look for the positive, right?  RIGHT?

I think he hates it.


Before and after September 28, 2008

Filed under: projects — airingdirtylaundry @ 5:06 pm

For some reason I’ve had the desire to dig into some long-put-off home improvement projects over the past two weekends.  Last weekend I painted the master bathroom–what a difference a little color makes!


And after:

This weekend, I tackled the little sitting room that’s attached to our bedroom.  For the past two years it has been the “junk room”–ironing board, a desk stacked with books, decorations that will eventually go in our bedroom once I get it painted.  About a year and a half ago I painted it a very bright yellow, kind of by accident.  That little paint square looked much paler than a whole room painted that color.  Those of you who know me well know that bright colors just aren’t my thing.  I laughed it off and jokingly named the color “Electric Big Bird” and figured someday I’d repaint it.  You can’t even see the room until you go through our bedroom and around a corner, so at least Mike and I were the only ones that would see it.

A few weeks ago I got the bright idea (pun intended) to make it into a sports room for Mike.  All of Mike’s favorite teams–Pirates, Steelers, Pitt, Oregon–have yellow in their colors, so hey, I wouldn’t even have to repaint the room.  Mike has collected all kinds of stuff over the years, almost all of it in boxes in the basement. He’s on a guys trip to Vegas this weekend, so the timing was perfect.  He knew I was going to work on it this weekend, but I know that he had no idea to what extent I planned it out and that I would get as much done as I did.  So it will be somewhat of a surprise when he sees all of the holes I pounded into the wall when he returns tomorrow.


I still have to paint the TV stand, hang a few more pictures, and have Mike go with me to look at a black leather chair (since it’s going to be his butt that will be sitting in it), and there are 2 red shelves that are backordered that will go on either side of the TV stand, but it’s done as it’s going to get for now:

I’m going to spend the few waking hours that are left in this weekend reading and watching TV (which hasn’t been turned on ALL WEEKEND).  Hopefully Mike will be surprised when he sees what I’ve done, but even if he’s not I at least feel like I accomplished a lot this weekend.


It’s all fun and games . . . September 23, 2008

Filed under: secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:52 pm

Comment and I’ll give you a letter. You’ll then have to list 10 things you love that begin with that letter. After that, post this meme in your blog to give out letters of your own.

My letter, compliments of The Angel Forever, is “C”:

  1. Cooking  OK, that’s a lie.
  2. Cleaning Another lie.

Why is it easier to come up with things I don’t like?

Let’s get real.

  1. Cross-stitiching
  2. Curling up with a good book
  3. Card games
  4. Candles
  5. Cats.  Sometimes.
  6. Constantly harping on Mike about helping me around the house.  (I must love it since I do it all the time.)
  7. Cozy bathrobes on cold winter weekend mornings when I have nowhere to go and nothing to do
  8. Cutting coupons because I’m cheap (three “c”s for the price of one in that one!)
  9. Celis White
  10. Cuddling with Mike (I saved the best for last.)

Want to play?  Leave me a comment and I’ll assign you a letter!


Internet Contagion and the Fearlessness of a Certain Kitten September 19, 2008

Filed under: friends,meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:08 pm

First of all, one of my blogging friends has mono.  Oy, do I feel her pain.  So go over to Keeping the Dream Alive and give her your wishes for a speedy recovery. 

She and I were going back and forth via email about her having mono and not knowing where she got it from, and we came to the conclusion that I gave it to her via the internet.  You know, a cyber-virus.  It only makes sense.  Other than the fact that I would have had to kiss her or use her toothbrush or something to actually pass it on to her, but humor me.  This is going somewhere.  Kinda.

ANYHOW, since I gave her a cyber-virus, I sent her some cyber-chicken soup and a cyber-blanket for her to cuddle up in.  She also requested a kitty, since her mean mean (just kidding!) husband won’t let her have one.

I offered to put this little guy in a box, duct tape it real tight (because he’s very resourceful and very sneaky), and send him right off to her.

Which led me to give her a list of his antics that she would have to endure.  I rattled off about seven things without pause.  I then realized that those were only the tip of the iceberg.  This cat has such a personality that I thought I’d share some of his little quirks with all of you.  They certainly make my life a living hell more interesting.

  • He loves the hair dryer.  My loud 10-year-old hair dryer that sometimes startles me when I turn it on?  He comes running when he hears me fire it up and sits on the bathroom counter, waiting for me to aim it his way.
  • Also loves the Swiffer sweeper.  Really, I can’t blame him–I do too.  But it makes it hard to swiff (please just tell me I made up a new verb) when there’s a kitten pouncing on the thing.  And because we have mounds of cat hair everywhere, my Swiffer tends to make a high whining noise after sucking up little furballs–a noise that is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard.  But he keeps right on pouncing.  It’s like sweeping with the Energizer Bunny around.
  • “What’s in the toaster?  Hmm, let me stick my head in and see.”  This is what I imagine Forrest saying to himself before he checks out a hot appliance.  YES, I KNOW THE CAT SHOULD NOT BE UP ON THE COUNTER AND WE’RE GROSS GROSS GROSS.  So don’t ever eat at our house.  And I’m buying a spray bottle today to squirt him with to hopefully train him to stay off of the counters.  Why do I feel that I’ll have gallons of water to wipe up?
  • In addition to toasters, Forrest has also taken a liking to other appliances.  He enjoys walking across the hot stove to see what’s cookin’.  Last week, I got so pissed at him that I put him in the laundry room and shut the door.  Perfect.  He had food, water, and a litter box, and I had some peace and quiet so that I could cook.  He cried for about 10 minutes and then was quiet.  I thought all was well.  Except . . .
  • when I opened the door to let him out, a blast of hot air hit me and I noticed there was condensation everywhere.  He had managed to disconnect the dryer’s exhaust from the wall WHILE IT WAS ON.  At least the laundry room smelled like Bounce instead of cat shit for once.
  • Speaking of letting him up on the counter . . .he typically gets up on a chair, gets up on the island, and then jumps across to explore further.  He also tends to leap before he looks.  Earlier this week, he made the jump, slid on whatever pool of wetness was on the counter at the time, made contact with a glass bottle, and smashed it against the wall, shattering it.  Thankfully, he wasn’t cut.  Oh, did I mention?  This was 5:00 IN THE FREAKING MORNING!
  • He loves people food.  Doesn’t matter if it’s drowning in hot sauce, a vegetable, or hard candy, he’ll try to swipe it from you.  Makes for interesting meal times in our household.
  • Way back when he was a little harmless thing–a few weeks ago–we kept him in the master bathroom.  He had ringworm and we were trying to keep him somewhat quarantined.  Our bathroom is fairly large and he was a tiny little thing, weighing in at 1 1/2 lbs.  At first he was OK with his new living arrangements.  But then he started to revolt.  One morning I went into the bathroom to find the stopper to the sink drain uprooted (for lack of a better word).  He must have decided that the 14 toys we had put in there with him weren’t enough and he needed something else to play with.  We have dual sinks in the bathroom. As a testament to his strength, I tried to remove the stopper on the other sink.  And couldn’t.
  • Somewhere between 4AM and 5AM each morning (weekends included because Forrest’s skilz with the calendar are just as good as they are at telling time), I am awakened by the sound of a cat gagging.  A hairball? No, or not yet anyway.  Forrest likes to chew on my hair while I sleep to the point that he gags on it.  I then have to extract the (still-intact!) strands from his gullet.  Add this one to the list of reasons why my hair will never be long.  I think I need to switch shampoos, because apparently the one I’m using has trace amounts of catnip in it.  I now sleep with a T shirt wrapped around my head to fend him off, but he’s catching on.  By next week, he’ll be chewing through the T shirt to get at my hair.
  • Chewing?  I think he’s part tiger or something.  HE has some strong teeth for a 3 month old kitten.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Mike, whose toes Forrest sharpens his teeth on daily.
  • Let’s talk about the 2 cats getting along.  They don’t.  Simple as that.  And even though Guinness outweighs Forrest by at least 12 pounds and packs a mean wallop with her paw when she swats at him, Forrest just keeps coming back for more.  Immediately.  Hissing, screeching, and rolling around ensues.  All of you country folk that used to hear cats mating outside your bedroom window at night . . .you know that sound?  (Am I being too much of a hick here?  Do you have NO CLUE what I’m talking about?) Anyhow, that sound is a symphony compared to the noise that these two make.  It drives me INSANE.
  • I love animals.  I truly do.  Seeing an animal in pain, or hungry, or stranded makes my heart melt.  But if one more person tells me that having him fixed will calm him down, I just may get out the pruning shears and do a little snip snip on him myself.  We have TWO MORE MONTHS until we can get him de-masculinized (another new word, what do you think?).  Anybody know a black market vet that will do it a little sooner than the recommended 5 months?  If so, we need to talk. 

But when he’s sleeping, he’s the most precious little kitten on God’s green earth.


Busy weekend September 15, 2008

Filed under: friends,meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:44 pm
Thursday night it was my turn to host our monthly book club, which is more of a let’s-eat-and-drink-and-spread-some-books-around-so-the-husbands-think-it’s-really-a-book-club kind of thing.  I look forward to it each month–it’s a relaxing evening catching up with friends.

Friday, Mike and I had tickets to the musical Wicked , which was PHENOMENAL.  I actually enjoyed the musical adaptation WAY more than the book, which seems like it should be a sin.  Aren’t you always supposed to like the book better?  We didn’t get home until close to midnight, grabbed a quick bite to eat since we didn’t have time for dinner before the show, did some last-minute housecleaning, and went to bed.

We were up early on Saturday.  My friend from high school (who was also a college roommate) came to visit with her husband and their two little boys.  We spent the morning talking and catching up, went out for lunch, went to an indoor recreation place so that the kids could play for awhile since it was raining all day, and then headed back to the house and had dinner delivered.  We were up until the wee hours of the morning and had to force ourselves to go to bed since the kids would be waking up early.  The day went by way too quickly!

Mike with the kids
Lori with the boys
Mike and Lori
Mike and Lori


Paul and I
Paul and I

It was so good to see them again.  The past few years we’ve only seen them at weddings and bridal showers and baby showers, so this was a perfect opportunity to visit with them and not have a scheduled event to go to.  This was also the first time we had seen their youngest son, who just turned 2 earlier this summer.  Amazing how time flies by.  They are the type of friends where months or years can go by without seeing them, but within minutes of being together it feels like we were never apart to begin with.  I just wish we all lived closer so that we could see each other more often!

Sunday afternoon ended up being lazy, which was great.  I took a nap on the couch with Forrest, who was tuckered out from playing with the kids nonstop.  Apparently that’s what we need to calm the kitten down–a 6 year old and a 2 year old! And since we had put Soft Claws on both of the cats a few weeks ago, I didn’t have to worry about either of the kids (or us!) getting scratched while they were playing.

just waking up from his nap
just waking up from his nap

I’m glad I took that nap since the Steeler game was a late one last night–even with the nap it was such a struggle getting up for work this morning.  Tonight we’re going to take it easy and catch up on laundry and all of the mundane household stuff, including looking at paint samples.  Next weekend’s project is painting the bathroom.  I’ve been talking about doing this for 2 years and I’m finally going to get it done!


7 September 10, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:13 am

Seven years ago today, you quietly drifted away.  It was a Monday. 

I had spent the weekend with you.  I sat by your bed and prayed that you would go, knowing that it would be the only relief from your pain, but still feeling guilty–and selfish–for wanting you to leave this earth.

I went back to Pittburgh on Sunday night with the knowledge that the end was near, but little did I know that it was less than 24 hours away.

I remember that night with a clarity that astounds me.  I remember eating dinner at the coffee table as Mike and I watched TV, discussing his first day at a brand-new job.  The phone rang and Mike and I looked at each other and KNEW.  No caller ID was necessary.  It was Dad, telling me that you were gone.  Mike poured me a pint glass of vodka.  I drank it like it was water.  It didn’t help much.

I remember the numbness I felt the next day, making the trip home as the world around me was in turmoil.  I sat in the passenger seat as Mike drove.  We listened to the news channels the whole way. I felt like a passenger, a bystander.  Able to watch and to take it all in, but do nothing about it. 

I remember stopping along the turnpike near Somerset, not long after the plane fell out of the sky nearby.  The manager at the McDonald’s laid into a customer who was complaining about them being out of bagels to make breakfast sandwiches.  He said, “There are more important things going on in this world than your breakfast.”  Everyone at the counter agreed.

I remember getting to the house and not being able to find Dad at first.  He was in his garage, a holster around his waist, a beer in his hand.  In my old bedroom, there was a rifle laying across a laundry basket.  Dad was talking about how close Camp David was to our house and that we needed to be “prepared.”  I didn’t know whether he was drunk  . . or right.  Or both.  He left for the funeral home a little while later to make the arrangements.

I remember what I wore to your funeral.  It was hot that day and I was dressed too warmly.  I didn’t notice until later, standing at the cemetery with the sun beating down on me.  I remember being angry at the minister that gave your eulogy.  He didn’t know you.  He had a few facts about you and strung them together like a sixth grader writing a report about a book he didn’t read.  But I sat there in the front row, numb, not having the strength to get up and take over.  Not wanting to cause a “scene.”

I remember all of the people who came over to the house.  I realized with alarm that I had to be the hostess.  I couldn’t just hide in my old bedroom and wait until they were gone.  I had to accept the food and flowers, remember who gave us what, and then write it down so that I could send them a thank you note later.  I was 27, married, a homeowner.  I had a college degree and a good job.  But that day was the first time that I felt like a “grownup.”

I remember cleaning out your closet and dresser drawers, needing something to do but disguising it as being one thing that Dad wouldn’t have to take care of later.  I stood there in your room with handfuls of your underwear and socks, wondering if Goodwill would take them.  I went back and forth between the trash bag and the Goodwill bag not knowing what to do, confused and unable to make a decision.  You would have thought it was funny.  I could almost hear you laughing at me and saying, “Why in the world would you give my UNDERWEAR to Goodwill?  Throw them AWAY!”

Time is supposed to make the pain go away.  I guess it has in some ways.  But seven years, well . . .it’s no different to me than, say, two years.  I still miss you.  I still see funny things and think, “I’ll have to remember to tell Mom about that.”  I still tear up at pictures of you.   When I was pregnant I was upset that our child would never know you, his or her grandmother.  When I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I wanted more than anything for you to be on the other end when I made that phone call.

We had 27 1/2 years.  Why can’t I remember more of our time together?  Why do I remember it as little blurry snippets here and there but not full high-def conversations? 

I can remember the “laugh attacks” we used to have where we gasped for breath and just one glance at each other would trigger a complete relapse.  We had one when you were driving me back from Pittsburgh one time and we had to pull off the road because you were laughing so hard you could barely see.  I still smile when I drive past that spot.  I have no idea what set us off that time but it must have been good.

I remember playing “dirty Scrabble” with you one night when I was home from college.  You looked at my letters and gave me suggestions on which dirty word would score more points, although I can’t remember what those words were.

I remember you not saying a word the first time I came home drunk.  It took me twenty minutes to get from the back door to my bedroom. Your bedroom door stayed closed.  I thought I was sneaking in.  But you knew.  Early the next morning you scrambled some eggs and brought the whole skillet into my room, held it right above my aching head, stirred the eggs, smiled, and asked if I wanted breakfast.  To this day, scrambled eggs do not smell good to me.

I wanted out of the town I grew up in, and you slowly let me have my independence while letting me think that I was claiming it.  You taught me how to fly, but never failed to welcome me back to the nest when I needed it. 

And yet, when you tried to strike out on your own, to be more than just “mom”, to fill your own needs instead of your children’s for the first time, I resented you for it.  I wanted my own wings, but to be able to clip yours. 

That’s what I regret most–the time we lost.  Whether we were disagreeing on something (that was probably so trivial to you but monumental to my adolescent mind), or just going through our own growing pains, it’s still lost time.  I took you for granted, thinking that you would be there forever, that I could fight with you today because there was always tomorrow.

Our “tomorrow” was cut short. 

Seven years ago today, I lost you–some of you.  I lost your presence, your physical being.  I lost your smile, your voice on the other end of the phone.  But I still have YOU.  I have memories.  I see traits in ME that I recognize as being YOU–whether hereditary or learned, they’re a piece of you that I have forever.   

I don’t have your eyes, or your smile, or your chin or your nose.  Physically we were as different as two people could be.  I have your sense of humor.  I have your “devil may care” attitude about some things that should be taken more seriously and your intensity about things that others would deem as insignificant.  I have your passion for reading, your love of getting lost in a book or character.  And your cooking skills, oh Lord do I have your cooking skills!  You’d be so proud of some of the meals that I’ve over- or under-cooked. 

Most importantly, I have something of yours that I can’t really put a name to.  I guess I’d call it your spirit.  It grows stronger as time goes on.  I’ll always be, well, ME, of course.  But as I flip the calendar pages and count the days, months, the years, since you’ve been gone, I know that it’s the strength you give me that allows me to get through the next one.  I know that you’re with me.


Long time, no blog September 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:16 pm

Thanks for all of your emails and comments wishing me well. 

Two words for you . . .mono sucks.  My throat is still sore, but I’ve gotten to the point that I barely even notice it.  And the tiredness . . .oh, the tiredness.  It’s so. . .exhausting.

I can feel myself getting more and more run down as the days pass.  I’m forcing myself to act as if there’s nothing wrong and go about my normal routine, but I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point.  I normally work through my lunch hour, but yesterday I laid my head down on my desk and passed out, only to wake up so disoriented I didn’t know where I was for at least a full minute.

Today I’m dreading going to the grocery store after work–a “chore” that I normally don’t mind.  But the thought of lifting all of those bags into my trunk just makes me want to cry.  After the groceries are put away, and after I throw together one of my signature half-assed meals, and after I sit down and pay the bills, I’M GOING TO SLEEP.