Airing Dirty Laundry

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Crafty! October 20, 2009

Filed under: blogging,friends — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:50 pm

I have some really awesome friends.  Online and in real life.

(Thanks, by the way, for all of your encouraging words and support after my last post!)

Maggie has gotten so many awesome gifts from our family and friends . . .books, clothes, toys, and so much more!  And it means a lot to Mike and I that people take the time out of their busy lives to pick out or make something special for our little girl.

I’ve always admired people who are crafty.  I think it’s because my mother was one of those people . . .she could crochet, quilt, and paint (folk art and tole painting).  It seemed like any craft she would try, she would excel at.  I’ve always wished that I would have inherited that from her.

My craft of choice has always been counted cross-stitch.  The picture of baskets on the wall behind Michele and I in my last post is actually a cross-stitch that I was working on for my mother; she passed away before I finished it and was able to give it to her.  I’ve always loved cross-stitch; it was therapeutic for me and gave me something to do while watching TV.  But to me, it’s not much of a craft.  It doesn’t take much talent or creativity . . .all you have to do is know how to count and make sure the right color gets to the right place.

Other crafts are different.  Like crochet and knitting.  You start with nothing but yarn and needles, and viola . . you have a blanket, or a sweater, or whatever.  You’re making something out of nothing.  Now that is awesome.

My Aunt Margie and my grandmother both made blankets for Maggie (and if I wasn’t so lazy I’d go take pictures of them, but they’re both upstairs and I’m downstairs . . .and tired). 

And yesterday Maggie got a beautiful blanket in the mail from Therese!  She tried it out last night when she was sleeping in her Daddy’s arms, and I think she likes it!

How sweet!  It’s so soft and so cozy!

And TheAngelForever had sent Maggie a box of goodies and had included washcloths that she made–I took a picture of them this morning before Maggie got her bath.

I’ve used these washcloths every time I’ve given Maggie a bath since they arrived–they’re so incredibly soft!

I know Mike has never understood how I’ve connected with people online that I’ve “met” through blogging.  He doesn’t quite understand how you can form any kind of connection with someone that you haven’t met in person, or (in some cases) have never even talked to on the phone.  But as cards and gifts for Maggie came in the mail, he would ask who they were from when he didn’t recognize the name.  And each time, I’d explain that the person was a blogging friend.  I think he’s starting to undertand that you can create relationships with people through blogging.  That others care enough about us and were so happy for us that they took the time to send us a card, or go to a store and buy something for Maggie, or order something online and have it sent to us, or–like my craftier friends–take the time to make something for her.

So thank you . . . those of you that are friends in real life, and those of you that I’ve never met and yet I feel like I know so well.  You’ve showered us with all kinds of well wishes, and gifts, and love . .  and we’re forever grateful!

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Anymore November 6, 2008

Filed under: blogging,life lessons,me being a whiney brat,random ramblings,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:09 pm

I don’t envy the “popular” bloggers.  If I was one of them, I think I’d eventually find myself in fear of the written word.  One hateful or overly-critical comment/email too many and I’d hightail it out of the blogosphere immediately.

As it is, I feel like I limit what I say write.  I would only write in specific detail about a friend if I had his or her permission to do so.  I mask the names of my family members to a certain extent.  I don’t write certain posts that are brewing in my head because I feel like I’d be sharing too much.  Things that maybe certain people would take offense to.  My original intention was to have this be a totally anonymous blog, but over time I added a link to it on my Goodreads profile.  And then my Facebook profile.  So now it’s not-so-anonymous and there’s a chance that if I bitch about someone in particular, one of my real-life friends may be able to figure out who that person is . . .and, well, my reason for this blog is not to start some snarky war where people’s feelings get hurt (whether intentional or not).

Today, I said “screw it.”  This is MY blog.  It’s for ME.  It’s ABOUT me.  My life.  And when something happens in MY LIFE that weighs on my mind for a week and I feel like I’m holding it in because I’m afraid of singling out one specific person . . . .screw it.

That’s when I have to remind myself that this is my journal, what will one day be my history.  And if something’s affecting me to the point that THIS THING is affecting me, I need to let it out.  So here goes.

Last week I played bunco with a fairly large group of people.  All women.  Some I know really well, some are just “casual friends”–we know each other’s names and can have a “Hi, how ya doin’?”-type conversation but don’t just call each other and chat.  When we were broken into groups, one of the women (a casual friend) said to a good friend of mine in front of two other people (I wasn’t in the group), “I guess she (meaning ME) isn’t pregnant anymore, since she’s drinking.”

We’ll call this casual friend Elaine.  I’d like to give Elaine the benefit of the doubt.  I’d like to think that maybe it somehow just slipped out of her mouth and she regretted it instantly.  But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that that wasn’t the case.

I’m a fairly laid-back person.  With so many things, I feel that I can forgive and forget and move on.  But I’ve been thinking about this for over a week now, so apparently I’m not moving on.

Earlier this week on my way home from work, I saw Elaine standing in a neighbor’s yard, about 15 feet from my car as I stopped at a stop sign.  I couldn’t meet her eyes.  I couldn’t even wave.  Tears welled up that I fought back, and I continued on my way.

What she said hurt me.  First of all, I had never told her that I was pregnant, so obviously I had never told her that I miscarried.  And it’s not as if she took me aside and said “I knew you were pregnant earlier this year, so something happened, and I want to make sure you’re doing OK and see if you wanted to talk to somebody about it.”  There was no compassion, no concern.  Instead, it was “I guess she’s not pregnant anymore.”  In front of a group of people.

I hide my struggle with fertility/miscarriage a lot.  I joke about it, my favorite defense mechanism after sleeping it off (which didn’t work in this case).  We named our kitten Forrest because that’s the boy name that Mike loved and I would never agree to it when we were discussing baby names.  So we named the cat Forrest the Cat, Not the Kid–Forrest the Cat for short.

But each day as I dutifully chart my BBT, each month when I get my period, I get a little bit . . .sadder.  I remember my disbelief at the positive pregnancy tests in April, and I want that disbelieving/hopeful/too-good-to-be-true feeling back.  That overwhelming sense of awe that two people can create another one.  That I could be a MOTHER.

I don’t need reminders from people I barely know that I’m not pregnant anymore.   If Elaine really wanted the scoop about my situation without asking me directly, she could have least waited until I wasn’t in same house as her to ask someone else.  And she could have done it a hell of a lot more delicately.  Does she really not understand that every morning when I take my temperature, I recognize that I’m not pregnant anymore?  Or when I called the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to discuss fertility medication, I was pretty aware that I wasn’t pregnant anymore?   Or as I flip the pages of the calendar, ever closer to what was my December 25th due date, that I think about not being pregnant anymore?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

On a related note, I found out on Halloween that three of my neighbors are pregnant.  I guess there’s hope that there’s something in the water and it’s working it’s way up the street to me. . . .

 

These Irish eyes, they are a-smilin’ March 20, 2008

Filed under: blogging,hungryhungryhippo — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:18 pm

Remember about two weeks ago, when I casually mentioned that I had bought cookies at a local eatery that were stale?  You don’t?  You don’t hang on to every word that I type and breathlessly wait for the next one?  Shame, shame on you.

Anyhow, I made mention of buying smiley cookies at Eat’n Park, a restaurant that’s local to us western-Pennsylvanians (and–to be fair–central PA, eastern Ohio, and northern WV).  I heart smiley cookies.  Maybe it’s because they’re big and I can justify “only having one”.  They make me smile right back at them.  The cookies I had bought were stale.  That didn’t stop me from eating them (impossible!), but it did stop me from serving them during my turn to host book club that week.  I’m not a crazy irate lady who would march right back to the restaurant and raise holy hell over it.  It was no big deal.  It did require me to cram almost all of the 12 cookies down my throat in the span of 3 days, but other than that I didn’t really think twice about it.

Not long after my post, I got an email from a woman named Trina, claiming to be the marketing coordinator for Eat’n Park.  She apologized for the cookies not being fresh and offered a complimentary dozen to make up for it.  I did some serious stalking sleuthing and checked her out on LinkedIn to make sure she was a “real” person and not some psycho pretending to give something away for free in order to trap me.  Because anyone listed on LinkedIn is an upstanding person in my book (regardless of the “don’t take candy cookies from strangers” rule).  [Sorry, my paranoia makes me think that everyone’s out to get me.  Honestly, that paranoia has saved my ass on numerous occasions.]  The good news is she’s not a psycho!  And she really does work for Eat’nPark!  And she really DID want to give me free cookies!

I knew we were having people over for the Pitt basketball game (a little pre-St. Patrick’s Day party) on Friday night, so I arranged to pick them up at the restaurant closest to me.  They were mind-numbingly fresh and absolutely delightful.  You know, I had to try one out before serving them to my guests!

me eat cookie me cookie monsterme eat cookie me cookie monsterme eat cookie me cookie monsterme eat cookie

So, a great big thanks to Trina and to Eat’n Park.  Definitely customer service with a smile! (Pun oh so totally intended!)

 

You want funny faces? Come on down! December 5, 2007

Filed under: blogging — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:42 am

So OMSH, it’s funny faces you want?  I used to joke that there are no good pictures of me, but I’m starting to realize that it’s no longer a joke, it’s reality.  Although, really, I can’t look that goofy ALL of the time, can I?  See for yourself . . .

First we have a somewhat over-exposed shot of my eyeballs rolling up into my head:

funny face

Then we have the happy face that just looks, well, scary:

scary face

And then we have the drunk, just-woke-up, dazed & confused look. But seriously, I walked around Las Vegas all day looking like this and thinking I was just fine.  Although I did kind of wonder why people around me were constantly discussing the plight of the homeless.

drunk

Word to the wise?  Don’t ever have a lollipop in your mouth when someone takes a picture of you.  Oh yeah, and don’t ever acquire a double chin.  Looks like hell in pictures.  Trust me.

lollipop

One more word of advice? Sing in the privacy of your own shower.  Hopefully there’s no one taking pictures there.

singing

And these were just from the last 6 weeks!  I have 33 more YEARS worth of these kinds of pictures!

 

Coming clean November 19, 2007

Filed under: blogging,NaBloPoMo,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:17 pm

I’ll admit it.  I’ve held back.

I started out on this blogging adventure not knowing how far I’d take it.  How much of myself I’d reveal.  No matter how much you tell about yourself, there’s always that little bit that you’re holding back–whether it’s some deep dark secret or just something from your day-to-day life that’s troubling you.

In a way I’m not myself on the internet.  I’m much more outgoing than I would ever be “in real life”.  I’m normally quiet and shy and reserved, especially around people I’ve never met before. I’m more apt to write what I think online than tell someone face-to-face.  I’m sure a lot of people feel that way.  The facelessness of the internet is almost comforting.  I can be really nice or I can be really mean and can choose not to deal with the repercussions either way.  Make a rude comment on someone’s blog and get 9billion nasty emails or comments in return?  Delete delete delete.  Not that I’ve ever been mean or rude to someone online (at least not intentionally–but the written word can always be interpreted the wrong way by the other party)–just trying to make a point.  In my case, instead of delete delete delete I’d probably cry cry cry.

Anyhow, back to the subject of this post, which I was very quick to stray from . . .

Something’s been on my mind a lot recently and it’s to the point that whenever I think about it I get a tightness in my chest.  And at other times, I blow it off–afraid to think about it too much. So I thought I’d lay it all out there for everyone to read, and maybe that would ease some of the tension.  Or maybe it will make it worse.  Or maybe I’m just writing all of this to fill in a NaBloPoMo obligation for the day and can only talk about my struggle to lose weight so much before it bores even me to tears. 

Mike’s having trouble at work.  Not trouble with the job, not trouble with a co-worker, not trouble getting there on time.  He’s having trouble getting paid. 

He took this job at the beginning of the year.  He’s working for a friend of his family (his father’s second wife’s step-daughter’s husband–draw THAT family tree, why dontcha?) that he’s known for years.  At first it was a dream job for Mike.  Casual dress vs. shirt and tie, 5 minute commute vs. the hour and a half that he had been driving, and working with a product that he understands with very little training.  It’s a small office, the people he works with are great, and all was well.

In March, there was a problem with their paychecks.  No big deal.  It got resolved, and everything was fine.  Sporadically throughout the summer, he wouldn’t get paid on time, maybe a day or two late, but he was led to believe that it was to be expected.  Small company, seasonal ups and downs, waiting for money to be collected from customers so that payroll could be met.  Not a big deal.  We sloughed it off, continued on with our lives. 

Until lately.  Mike is just getting paid (by wire transfer) today–hopefully.  This was his pay that was supposed to be from Friday the 9th–a week and a half late.  This Friday (a holiday for his company) is the next pay day, and he’s at the point where he’s not even expecting that money for at least another week.  Especially since we’ll be gone and he won’t even be there to fight for it.

And if he wouldn’t have fought for it this time, he STILL wouldn’t be getting paid.   If I have a tightness in MY chest, I can only imagine how he feels, going into work each day and having to fight to get compensated for it.

I’m not writing this as some kind of pity party.  It’s not like we’re in dire straits and are going to foreclose on the house or anything like that.  So far we’ve dealt with it.  No paycheck, transfer money from savings over to checking to cover pending payments and checks, and then transfer it back once the paycheck goes in.  It gets frustrating and I struggle with the idea that we’re transferring money from our savings account to cover his paycheck.  But twice in the past month–both times Mike was supposed to get paid–those paychecks bounced, and it was a mad scramble to transfer the money back over and pray that no checks or online payments went through in the meantime. 

Bounced.  Yes, you read it correctly.  His company is sending out checks that bounce.  And if they’re doing that with their employees, imagine what they’re doing with their vendors.  Oh, the stories I could tell you. 

So eventually, whether it’s next week or next month or next year, the time will come when Mike will be forced to find another job.  Whether it’s because he’s fed up over the whole situation (but if he leaves now, how will he get his last paycheck if he’s not there to fight for it?) or whether the company disolves.  Which is sad–the industry they’re in has so much potential.  I can’t help but to think that it’s pure mis-management.

I grew up learning to worry about money.  To watch every penny.  To be afraid to splurge on something.  We certainly weren’t poor by any standards, but we didn’t have a lot and were careful with what we did have.  I’ve gotten away from that feeling–Mike and I are DINKS (dual-income, no kids) and have so many things at our age that our parents didn’t.  And we’ve worked for those things and worked hard.  And in the end, they’re just things.

But now those old fears are coming back to the forefront.  What if he’s out of work and can’t find something else and we have to live off of our savings (which won’t last very long)?  What if we end up having to sue them for back pay and spend the money we do have on lawyers? What if we get to the point where can’t pay our mortgage?  What if . . .?  What if . . .?

And I’ve found that those old fears come back quickly and come back hard and permeate every fiber of my being.  I saved a used piece of aluminum foil yesterday, just like my grandmother does and I have always joked with her about it.

OK, enough for now.   I think I’ve worked myself into a total tizzy and need to calm down.  And I’m probably going to push the publish button and then go throw up.  Because THIS is a little TMI, a little bit too personal.  And if you someday want to refer back to this post and it’s not there any more, well then I’ve deleted it. 

 

Swaparooni! WooHoo! November 18, 2007

Filed under: blogging,friends,NaBloPoMo — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:50 pm

My swaparooni from TheAngelForever arrived yesterday, so I had quite a treat waiting for me when I got home from the gym health club.  I didn’t even shower before I started ripping the box open!

I had a great time opening the package (with Mike and our friend CDW observing and taking pictures) and loved all of the notes that TheAngelForever put on everything.  She’s so creative–she used paint chips in various shades of blue for all of the notes.  Here’s a picture of everything she sent. 

Blue silver and white swaparooni

She sent me return address labels with snowmen on them, holiday notecards (perfect for holiday thank yous and letters to friends and family), pens, white-out (with an oh-so-true note about women not making mistakes!), oven mitts, wintery soaps and chapstick, magnets (an angel and a snowflake), Peppermint Patties (my favorite), and wrinkle releaser.  We used to go through wrinkle releaser by the gallon when Mike had a shirt-and-tie job, but since he got a job with ultra-casual attire (we’re talking jeans and a sweatshirt–I’m sooo jealous), I stopped buying it and resorted to bribing him to iron my work clothes for me.  Because I DESPISE ironing, and, in all seriousness, he’s much better than it than I am.  He’s very happy to be relieved of his ironing duties by such a great product! The wrinkle releaser will be great for our upcoming trip to Vegas, because as much as I hate ironing at home, I hate it even more on vacation!

AND, in addition to all of that stuff, she also got me beautiful handcrafted blue glass earrings!  Here’s a picture of me with them in all of my sweaty-ness:

earrings from swap

Her note said they reminded her of the glass at the Bellagio in Vegas.  What a perfect comparison!  Since I’ve been sitting around in my PJs all day today I haven’t worn them yet, but you can bet I’ll be wearing them to work tomorrow! 

Thanks for a great swap, TheAngelForever!  It’s been great getting to know you and your family through this whole experience and I’m so glad to have you as a new online friend!

 

NaBloPoMo–halfway there November 16, 2007

Filed under: blogging,NaBloPoMo — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:18 am

OK.  The month is half over and I’ve been able to post every day so far.  But looking back over some of my hurried posts, I’m starting to think about stopping with the NaBloPoHo-ing (credit to Karen for that fantabulous word!).  Some of the crap I wrote was just stupid.  Filling a self-imposed obligation to write somethinganything–each day has made me aware of some of the “filler” that I just jammed in there just to say that the day’s post was done.

Kinda like this one!

So I’m caught between choosing quality vs. quantity.  There’s no way that both are going to happen.  After 10 or 11 hours at work, my little pea brain is tired.  And then there’s the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry . . .you would think it wouldn’t be that bad for just the two of us.  But it is.  And it doesn’t end.  But NaBloPoMo DOES, so really, what’s 14 more days?

I guess I’ll stick with it.  For now.  But I reserve the right to throw my hands up in the air and surrender at any time!