Tuesday, November 30, 2010

That Dryer Guy was Made of Lies!

Remember when I was all pumped up about that guy who came to service my dryer and cleaned my vents for me and all that stuff?  Turns out, he wrecked my dryer!

I did a white load last Wednesday, and a third of the load was stained with at least one dark brown line, and not just Rob's underoos.  It has ruined four or five of Rob's work shirts, and now has gotten on to some of Leila's white turtle necks, and let me assure you, IT NEVER COMES OUT!  So Wednesday I had had it, and I called Sears and scheduled a service call.  When the guy came out in September, it was a "routine maintenance" call, not a "service call" (apparently there is a big difference) and since he wasn't supposed to clean the vents or "fix" the dryer, they don't care that my dryer is now ruining my clothes.  For $195, a service guy would come out, and up to $500 worth of parts would be included, and if they couldn't fix it, I would get a $500 voucher for a new machine.  This sounded too good to be true to me, but Rob said we should go for it. 

Oh! Also! The September dryer guy gave me his direct cell phone number and said he could save me some money by going around Sears.  I called that number and HE DOESN'T WORK THERE ANY MORE.  Shocking.

Anyway, the new guy came out and told me that the reason I'm getting these stains on my clothes is that there is a metal ring somewhere in the dryer and when there is too much moisture the metal ring rusts and the rust stains the clothes.  The moisture comes from the vents being clogged.  Since my vents were "cleaned," I have had to open the windows and take down the smoke detector in the back of the house because the whole place gets steamed up.  This was not happening before Mr. Dryer Ruining Guy worked his magic.  The new guy tells me that there's no way the old guy could have cleaned my vents properly without a crazy vacuum in a van, and that he probably just shoved the lint around and compacted it somewhere in the dryer vent and that is what is causing all my problems. 

AND THEN!  He tells us that this problem isn't covered by the $195 deal with Sears because the vent isn't officially part of the dryer. Of course it isn't!  Awesome!

This morning I have to find someone to come out and clean the vent properly, and I can't use my dryer until I do.  The guy scraped all rust off and cleaned the metal ring thing, but if I use the dryer again, the moisture will accumulate and the problem will start all over again.  By the time I'm done paying for all of this, I may as well have bought a new dryer without a metal ring. 

This is all by way of saying: My benevolent appliance Gods have abandoned me, those bastards.

So what's the lesson?  Is it a bad idea to "maintain" appliances and cars that are in reasonably good working order lest some A-hole eff them up?  My car is idling weirdly since I had that major service, too...

**Addendum: Can't get an appointment with the well yelped vent cleaners for TWO WEEKS!  I don't think I can make it that long, even if I turn my underpants inside out.  Its been a while since I've been to a laundromat, but luckily my book club book requires time an attention, so that's where I'll be if you need me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Amazing (and sad) Discoveries!

Today is Thanksgiving (hello people of the future!) and I made an amazing discovery!  Actually two, but one is really not that amazing.

Since we don't have to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, Rob and I decided that we would clean the bathroom together.  Not-so-amazing discovery: I realized about half way through that this is becoming a holiday tradition: I cleaned the bathroom last Christmas Eve, he cleans the kitchen floor on Mother's Day... This must stop.

You know how I feel about cleaning the bathroom, especially the shower tiles, I talk about it all the time.  But I actually can't physically do the tub or the floor because that involves kneeling on the floor and bending over and girlfriend, those days are over.  I am 40, after all.  Rob, however, can do these things, so I cleaned the tiles, the sink, the toilet, walls, surfaces, etc, and he cleaned out under the sink (expired prescriptions much?) and then cleaned the tub and right now he's cleaning the floor.

Here is the more amazing of the two discoveries:  I used some Bon Ami that I've had under the kitchen sink for probably a decade.  Its a powder cleanser like Ajax or Barkeepers Friend, and I never use it because someone told me long ago its bad for your tub.  Well.  For the first time in one million years, I used it on the toilet and on the sink and that stuff is the bomb!  Rob had some consternation about using on the tub, but I told him that its probably only dangerous to the finish if you use it twice a month, but twice a year its probably okay.

Another bonus discovery is that I had never realized that the shower is one place where Rob can't wear his glasses! So all this time, he can't even see how dirty it is in there!  I never put that together!  I ask you, how lucky can a girl get?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm so hungry, I could eat Ikea

Given that this is a week that revolves around cooking and eating and belt loosening, I thought I would tell you about my adventures in eating today.

Before Rob left for work, he pointed out that I had lots of things to eat for lunch today.  Left over Chinese food that I'd insisted on Saturday night, a left over half sandwich that I got Saturday afternoon, plus other delicious left overs.  It was enough to feed, well, a bunch of people.  I started the day by doing my grocery shopping and there was crab on sale.  Crab is, like, my favorite, so I was giddy with the thought of eating my first crab of the crab eating season, and I almost bought an extra one so I would have some crab around for snacking.  I restrained myself, and got two crabs for dinner.  Rob isn't really in to crab, but I didn't care, he'll eat it and he'll like it.

Then I had my semi-annual trip to Ikea with my Ikea buddy.  Sometimes we only go once a year, but we always go before the holidays.  I stock up on candles, and paper, and all kinds of other crap (that's crap, not crab) and I am stunned when I get to the check out at how all these things that are only $3.99 add up to $161?  I just don't get it.  Must be Swedish math.  Anyway, after Ikea we traditionally go to lunch.  Of course, I knew that I was supposed to go home and eat left overs, but its tradition.  So we went to our traditional place and it was closed.  We went to our traditional back-up place, but before I ordered my delectable burrito bowl, I started to worry about Rob knowing that I didn't eat the left overs.  So I put my lunch on a credit card that he doesn't ever check.  I couldn't finish my burrito bowl, so... more left overs.  When I got home I went to the trouble of hiding the left overs in the back of the fridge, behind some older left overs and the dog food. 

This is the conversation we just had:

Him: "Hey, you didn't eat any of your left overs for lunch."
Me: "I know."
Him: "By any chance,  did you have lunch at Ikea?"
Me, sounding offended: "No!"
Him, grinning: "How about Chipolte?  Did you by any chance eat there?"
Me: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Him: (Laughs)
Me: It was our traditional pre Christmas Ikea trip!  We had to go to lunch!"
Him: "I love how you feel you need to justify everything like, 'But it was Tuesday!'"
Me: If you like that, you'll love how I put it on the Amex that you never see, and how I hid the left overs way back in the fridge.
Him: (Laughs, in a ridiculing, head shaking way.)


Now, this is why my marriage is awesome.  I think that I am pulling something over on him, and not only does he know me way too well, but I give it all up at the slightest provocation.  I'd better never have an affair; I'll be blabbing to him about it in no time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tick, Tick, Tick...

This day is just passing me by.  Much like yesterday.  I have a ton of things to do, but my mind is a jumble and I can't decide where to start, and the internet is just so interesting!  Prince William is engaged?  The Beatles are now available on iTunes? a Kardashian posed nude for something?  I ask you:  how am I supposed to move forward through my day in the face of such information??  No, if I don't get started first thing in the morning, the day is just over.  If I come home from school and don't get on the phone, don't sit down at the time-sucking machine, and don't take a nap, I can get a lot done and keep up some momentum until at least 2 in the afternoon.  But if I veer from the program, its just over.  The other day I sat sideways on my desk chair and rested my head on the back of it and just stared off into space for an absurd amount of time.

I need to make a list.  Lists are helpful.  They can also be soul crushing reminders of all the stuff you still have to do, but if I put Breathe in and out, and Get dressed on the list, I know I will accomplish something today.

I'm also having an EAT day.  All I want to do is eat.  I just ate, like, seven crab appetizers that I popped in the oven, and I'm hungry again.  It is lunch time, though.  I had wonderful sushi the other night, and its all I can think about. 

In other news, Rob and I had our parent/teacher conference this morning with Leila's teacher and I am showing enormous self restraint right now because I really want to brag, brag, brag.  It was a good meeting.  I wasn't expecting any surprises, but it is so nice to hear that your kid is doing fine in school, is well liked, and that there is no cause for worry.  Was that bragging?  Braggety brag brag brag.  That's all I'm gonna say.

Okay.  I am now going to make a list.  But first, I will quickly check facebook to see if anything earth shattering has happened in the last five minutes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Confession Time

Remember that time a few months ago when I canceled cable?  Well, its back.  On Friday, a nice guy from AT&T U-verse came over and installed all the stuff, so now we have cable again.  As the resident sloth and TV/sugar addict in this home I feel the need to tell you that ITS NOT MY FAULT.  I am actually a little bummed about having it back.  Except for the whole award show thing, I haven't missed it at all.  But then there was the world series, and a little team called the Giants were in it, and my poor husband had to invite himself over to people's houses just to catch a game.  He even paid for the MLB.com online streaming service, but it kind of sucked. 

And of course he starts snooping around online for cable deals right after he throws me an amazing surprise party, and looks up at me (or down at me, he's taller) with his sad eyes and says, "I'm done with this experiment." He may as well have asked for a pony, too.  What was I supposed to say after everything he did for my birthday? 

My mom was kind of giving me the business about getting cable back, because she knows all about my unhealthy relationship with screens (that I have passed on to my daughter, apparently) and I had to remind her that I am not the only person living in my house, and sometimes you have to give in.  I didn't just give in, though.  I caved.  I caved hard.  But again, it was a SURPRISE PARTY!  I didn't stand a chance!  I even suggested that we wait until after the holidays, but it didn't work.

The good news is that I have actually sat down when I've had a spare half hour to watch some TV, and I've turned it off ten minutes in.  I have no interest in it.  I've gotten so used to life without it, I feel a little dirty sitting down to watch a cooking show. 

In other news, its the middle of November, 9:30 in the morning, and its almost 80 degrees outside.  No sir, I don't like it.  Its weird.  Like the Apocalypse.  Like earthquake weather.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Did It

I finally did it.  I turned 40.

Time to take some stock:
Vision: My eyes are going in divergent directions.  One is fine, the other is coming off the rails.
Hearing: What?
Bones and teeth: Strong.
Muscles: What?
Wrinkles: None, thanks to oily skin and ample body fat.  I am getting wrinkles on my chestle area, though, because my boobs get mashed together when I sleep.  Sexy.
Gray hairs: About 10 of them, easily plucked, and only on my head.
Weight:  Let's not go there, except to say that I am the anti-Bob Greene.
Memory: What?

I feel about 25 on the inside, and about 55 on the outside.  Rob says that maybe over the next 10 years those ages will meet somewhere in the middle.

40 is not the new 20, and don't let anyone tell you it is.  I wouldn't be 20 again if you paid me,  although I did it for free the first time.  I got a birthday card from a friend that I think perfectly sums it up: "Welcome to your 40s!  Its better in some ways!"

Rob threw me a killer surprise party for my birthday.  I seriously think it was the best birthday I've ever had.  The party was a Lady's Night with about 25 women and 4 guys.  It took me a while to notice that the guys were all wearing white shirts and black pants and they were acting as waiters and bartenders!  How adorable is that?  Rob held a quiz (complete with a prize) to see who knew me best.  My favorite part was when he asked the question "What is Bored Housewife's favorite activity between 3 and 4 in the afternoon?" and the whole crowd shouted, "Napping!"  and, of course, they were all correct.  The drinks were flowing,  the food was awesome, the hugs were heartfelt, and I didn't want it to end!  It almost didn't end, actually.  The hostess made more appetizers at midnight because we were all starving again.   I'm still smiling about it, and I'm going to ride the crest of this party for a long time.

And almost every woman in the place nudged me in the ribs about all the sexual acts I'm going to have to perform as a thank you.  So far, we've both been too tired...  Too much partying...

Thanks to my wonderful husband and all my wonderful friends for making my big birthday such an amazing one!  So far, my 40s don't suck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Oprah Recap, Part Two

Now, here's the stuff you really want to know:

We got the straight haired Oprah, rather than the curly haired Oprah, and I will tell you that she looks just like Oprah.  No taller or shorter, no bigger or smaller, she looks just like the Oprah you see every day on your TV. So she walks out and kind of waves and sits down in her interview seat, and then someone comes out and puts her shoes on for her, and then someone comes out and adjusts her sweater, and then her make up guy comes out and touches up her make up.  Then she made a joke about how when you're as rich as she is, no one will let you do anything for yourself.

Here's the interesting thing:  I realized that the show is not done for the studio audience.  We are a prop.  Which is not to say that it wasn't super cool and something that I will remember forever, but she and her guests are mic'd up for the camera, not the audience, and Oprah comes out, does her show like a smooth pro, hangs with the audience for a few minutes, and leaves the stage to go on with her day. 

So here it is:  Mercifully it was not Bob Greene for an hour.  Our show will air in January, and is a sort of New Year's resolution thing.  We had Dr. Oz for a segment on the five numbers you should know (blood pressure, cholesterol, waist measurement, weight, and I forget the other one) and he did a whole demo with a big blood vessel.  Then came Bob Greene talking about his five steps toward weight loss and his new book.  Honestly, I don't know what he said because I really did almost fall asleep, I was so tired.  When he left the stage we all thought, Don't we get a free copy of his book?

Then Peter Walsh, the organizing guru did a segment on de-cluttering your life, and shilled his new book, which we also didn't get a copy of, but Oprah said that everyone in the audience was getting a $100 gift card to the Container Store!  This was awesome, but also ironic since I worked at the Container Store for eighteen months and my whole house looks like a Container Store catalog.  Then came Adam Glassman, the O creative director who also does a style column in the magazine.  He came out with some models showing off new looks for fall.  Then Oprah talked about her new iPhone app, then she said, in her Oprah way, "Everyone here is going home with all this stuff!"  We all went nuts, partially because it was a bunch of free stuff, and partially because it was our job and we were all super excited to be there. 

So here is what I got:

Bootights: a combo of tights and socks to be worn under boots.  
A Chickie: an undergarment that you attach to your bra so your boobs
don't fall out when you're wearing low-cut stuff. 
Perfect for the stacked, like myself.

The Shirt, a button down shirt with cool double buttoning so, again, your boobs don't fall out

The Side Slope Parka from Eddie Bauer
that I took a picture of in the Eddie Bauer store on Michigan Ave:


These cool Sorel Boots!

I had always wondered how they give away clothing items on the Oprah show.  I wondered if the audience had to go to some big room and try a bunch of stuff on, or if they ran out of sizes or whatever, so if you've wondered the same thing (or even if you haven't) here is the answer:  As you leave the building, you are handed a gift bag.  In our case, the bag contained the scarf (love it) and a big envelope with gift cards and vouchers.  Some of the vouchers have to be mailed in advance, some things can't be ordered until January, some take weeks to ship, but who's complaining?  Not me!  We got an Eddie Bauer gift card that we don't have to use for the parka, and I could do some good Christmas shopping with it, but, dammit, I'm getting that Oprah parka!  The women who were there with their husbands get double the stuff because the men get everything the women get.  So now you know.

It looked like Oprah had it easy that day because she came out casually, sat down, read off a tiny teleprompter like it was no thing and let the guests do the rest.  The guests really have to be on their game.  They have no teleprompter or cue cards, they have to know what they're going to say and how long they have to say it.  Then the audience claps and they leave the stage and don't come back out. 

When the taping was done, and the models and the last guest were gone, Oprah hung with the audience for a few minutes, answering some questions.  There was one woman in the audience who wouldn't shut up and just wanted everyone to know that she was in some small way connected to Oprah by talking about some animal shelter, and then another woman raised her hand and asked if she could get a picture with Oprah.  Oprah said, "Since you were bold enough to ask, come on down here."  Then every hand shot up, but she only took the one picture.  Oh yeah, there's an official photographer there throughout the whole show taking pictures or her and her guests.  

Then she said a really nice thing that I'm sure she says to all audiences, and I wish I could remember exactly how she said it.  She was all, "I know how much shopping, and manicuring and traveling and hair perming and hair straightening went in to you all being here today, and you've made us successful for 25 years and we really appreciate all the effort you've made to be here with us." or something like that, and then she said bye and left the stage. 

It went so fast!  The whole taping was an hour tops.  Then the fluffer lady came back out and gave us all the info on the gift cards and vouchers and stuff, and then we were ushered out of the studio, handed our gift bags and we were out on the street.  We were freezing, because only the person who made the reservations can get all the checked coats and phones and stuff, but we didn't care, we'd just seen Oprah!  We put our new scarves on, and went across the street to the Oprah store!

I went a little nuts in the Oprah store, and came home with a lot of souvenirs for friends and for myself that I now regret.  I'm not sure how many people want an Oprah Christmas ornament on their tree, but you're welcome!  I got one box of Oprah note cards, and I wish I'd gotten a bunch of those.  There is a section of the store called Oprah's Closet...

 where she sells clothes that she's worn before.  I almost bought a sweater, but then decided to stick with all the Oprah logo crap that was piled in my basket.  
Then we went to lunch and looked through all our vouchers and added up the value of everything and the number was over $650!  That was more than my plane ticket!  Then the server brought us this huge thing of cotton candy.  It was awesome.

We had so much fun, and it was such a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  The free stuff was nice, but it would have been great without it, too.  So I suggest you go to her website and try to get tickets for yourself and some friends.  Its totally worth it!

Chicago was fun also.  The people are really nice, and they all want to send you to their favorite steak house!
So: after all that, any questions?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oprah Recap, Part One

Okay, this will serve as my own personal journal entry on the Oprah experience, so its going to be a long one.  Get comfortable.

I flew to Chicago on Wednesday, checked in to the hotel, went to grab a bite with my friends, had one glass of wine, nibbled the edge of an ambien and tried to go to sleep.  No dice.  First lesson for anyone attending the Oprah show from the west coast: get to Chicago two days before the taping, spend your first day sight seeing and getting a mani pedi, get a good night's sleep and go to the show the second day.

We were instructed to be at the studio at 7 a.m. so we got up at quarter of 6 Chicago time (quarter to 4 California time!) and got all Oprahed up.  I put on my new Oprah boots, and we took a cab to the studio.  It was still dark out.

We got there and the line was already all the way down the building in a tented line area.  Second lesson for anyone attending the Oprah show: get there earlier than they tell you to.  You get a numbered release form as you go in, and you are sent into the studio according to your number, like boarding a plane.  The higher the number, the fewer seat choices you have.  But, the studio was smaller than I expected, and there isn't a bad seat in the place.  We were lucky because even though we were the second to last group to be called down, we were on the side of the studio that The Great One was facing, so we weren't looking at the back of her head the whole time.

But backing up for a second: Once you are in the building and have received your release form, you go through security.  They check your purse and put you through a metal detector.  They take your phone and camera, and they seem to take any pieces of paper in your purse.  They took all my business cards, and I saw them taking notebooks and things like that.  I assume its because people throw stuff on stage.  The person who made the reservation (in this case, my friend, G) is in charge of the claim tickets, and everything they confiscate from your party goes into one big ziploc bag. 

Then you go up a flight of stairs to a holding area where you fill out your release form, allowing them to own your image forever and ever amen, and then we were asked to fill out a fitness and diet survey from Bob Greene.

Bob Greene, I'm pretty sure, is Oprah's personal trainer, fitness guru guy.  He writes books and stuff.  Now, I don't want to appear ungrateful, but I thought to myself, If I have to sit through an hour of Bob Greene talk about weight loss and fitness, I don't know how I'll stay awake.  You all know how I feel about this stuff: there's not a lot about weight loss and fitness that I don't understand, and I really don't want to talk about it.  Also, I was so freakin' tired.

I wish I had been wearing a watch, but I wasn't so I don't really know how long we were in that holding area.  A half hour maybe?  Then the people in charge start sending us back down stairs to the studio in groups of 50, according to the number on our release form.  For the purposes of posterity, let me just say that I was number 251.  We went down to the studio, found four seats together, and waited.  One thing you don't realize is that, even though they've confiscated a lot of the stuff in your bag, you still have your bag.  So the next time you watch Oprah, just know that all those ladies have their purse under their seat.

Then the fluffer lady comes out, and she's the one who gets the crowd going.  She's the one who asks where everyone is from, and says happy birthday to people, and answers some questions and all that stuff.  Then she gets a signal from someone saying Oprah is on her way, so she leaves the stage, and then, without any fanfare or "Ladies and Gentlemen!", carrying her high heels in her hand, comes


To be continued...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Major Annoucement!

Okay, everyone.  I have something seriously MAJOR to announce.  Oh boy this is good!

Thanks to the generosity and persistence of a good friend, I am leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning, headed for Chicago to be in the audience of:



I am going to be in the same room as The Great and Powerful Oprah!  La la la!  So excited!

To answer your first question, I have no idea who is going to be on the show.  The shows are taped,  they do two shows in a day, and I will be at the morning taping on Thursday.  It could be Marie Osmond.  It could be George W. Bush and his parents.  It could be... Favorite Things!

If you know Oprah at all, you know that in the month of November she does her favorite things show where she tells us all what to buy each other for Christmas and gives the audience butt-loads of free stuff.  One year she gave away refrigerators and computers and cashmere robes and stuff.  I seriously don't think that I will be lucky enough to be on that show.  I am already pretty darn lucky in most areas of my life (except for that whole no dining room thing) but I've never been someone who wins things like raffles, or sweepstakes, or the California Lottery.  Its a longshot at best.   

I have my Oprah outfit picked out, I bought some new Oprah shoes, I'm going to take this black halloween nail polish off because I don't think Oprah would like it.   If I get to ask Oprah a question, I'm going to ask her where we should eat while we're in Chicago, and I'll go where ever she tells me to.

It would be cool enough to just absorb the Oprah-ness of the experience, but I also get to spend two days in Chicago, where I have never been, with a good friend, and its not going to snow!  Yay!

Feel free to envy me, I don't blame you.  I'd be envying me, too, if I were you. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween, DONE!

And Halloween is over.  Its interesting to me how Christmas seems to linger on; the kids are out of school, so they're home and playing with their new stuff. We leave the tree up and the lights on the house for a little while after, whereas with Halloween, November first I want it out.  All the preparations; the costume making, the house decorating, the school party,  and then the kids goes trick-or-treating for two hours and its over.  This morning I felt like the person who keeps their Christmas lights up until Easter with the pumpkin and the rubber turkey vulture out on the front porch, and Halloween only ended 12 hours ago!

I have so much left over candy, you guys, its crazy.  Anyway, its become a tradition, so here is the pictorial recap of Halloween chez Bored Housewife:

Black Widow!

How do you paint a spider face?
This is how!