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Who is shoe fan?(A story in pictures)

Ok, so something fun happened the other day. And a little odd, but mostly fun.

I got a package in the mail. I wasn’t expecting anything. The return address simply said, “shoe fan”. Hmm, curious.

 

 

Inside, I found a custom-printed card.

 
With a lovely, mysterious message.

 

 

And underneath the card I found this.

 

 

Which caused me to do this.

 

 

And then this.

 

 

But mostly just this.

 

 

Here it is in its new home.

 

Hoops & YoYo sure seem impressed by it.

I wish I could tell Shoe Fan

 

This will have to suffice. But know that you made my day with your funanigans. 😀

The best $30 ever spent

I like stuff. I have a lot of stuff. Shiny, sparkly, colorful stuff. It’s all over my house. And I can be an impulse shopper, but I try to limit the dollars spent on shiny, sparkly, colorful impulse purchases. You can get more shiny, sparkly, colorful stuff (impulsively, of course) if you don’t spend too much on one shiny, sparkly, colorful thing. This is, in fact, one of the benefits of living alone: you don’t have to worry about whether anyone else likes your shiny, sparkly, colorful things, and no one cares about your impulse purchases.

(I just walked past another benefit of living alone. There is a heap of laundry on the floor over there, some in a basket, some just on the floor. It’s been there for, oh, a while. And no one has to know, or be annoyed by it.)

The other day I was reveling in the awesomeness of one of my impulse purchases, and I thought, “This is the best thirty dollars I have ever spent.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m talking about my (shiny) purple toaster, which I impulsively bought one day for $30 at Target, even though I had a perfectly functional (and boring) toaster already sitting on my kitchen counter.

Haha! Wrong! I do love, love, love my shiny purple toaster, and someday I hope to have more purple appliancy friends for it in the kitchen. But no, the amazing $30 dollar purchase I was marveling over was my showerhead. Don’t go there, it’s not what you think. I have a light-up, LED, color-changing showerhead. And it. is. da. bomb.

I first discovered it, of all places, on the Facebook wall of a local seafood restaurant. (We can discuss their lousy use of social media another day.) It was apropos of nothing, just a cool looking picture:


I reposted it to my wall because, holy crap that was pretty damn cool (and shiny and colorful)! And before I knew it, a friend had Googled it and located it for sale. And it was ONLY THIRTY DOLLARS. And there were only THREE LEFT!!!! It was a shiny, colorful, impulse purchase perfect storm. I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes. I mean, come on. I’m a grown up. (Sort of.) Is a light-up rainbow showerhead really what I need in my house?

Answer: hells yeah!

I ordered it. It arrived. I kept my expectations low. Were the pictures online and on the packaging a little misleading? Yeah. Does it lower my water pressure a teeny, tiny bit? Yeah. Does any of that matter? NO. It’s soooooo awesome! Especially in the dark.

Which is what happened the other night when I had my Best Purchase Ever revelation. I came home from a less-than-stellar Zumba class (NOT your fault, Lori, if you’re reading!!!!), and I was cold and tired and kinda crabby. Hot shower would be a good remedy for that anyway, but add in the bitchin color-changing lights and it is impossible to be in a bad mood in the disco shower with all the other lights off. It also might be kind of impossible to shave your legs with all the lights off, and hazardous getting out after turning off the pretty light-up shower, but who cares???? I kind of want to go take a disco shower right now, even though I’m fairly clean, having just showered earlier today.

It’s spreading, too. For my birthday, Klondike got me a faucet for the kitchen sink that lights up. That one is temperature-indicative. Blue lights for cold, red lights for warm, green for in between. It pretty much rocks, also.

Someday I’m going to die, and my house will be a realtor’s nightmare. Perhaps in my will I should indicate where I put all the original, boring, non-light-up water features (the linen closet, in case you should be the one settling my estate). In the meantime, it’s my house. Colorful silliness prevails.

Mine 🙂

Thanks, 3Names, for the groovy pics.

_______________________________________________________________

UPDATED, 20 minutes post-publishing….

Um, yeah, so I might need to get this. Thanks, Krista.

Thank you, Mother Nature and Samuel & Colonel David N. Foster

I’m not someone you would call outdoorsy, not by a long shot, but I do like to play outside. I like to walk my dog and ride my bike and roller blade (with protective gear covering most of my accident-prone self) and sit on my porch swing and daydream in my hammock, and all of those activities generally happen outside. But the weather really dictates whether it’s a fun time. I don’t like heat and I really, really hate humidity. Humidity is my kryptonite. (Spellcheck doesn’t know “kryptonite”. WTAF?)  And we have had an oppressively hot summer, and it has totally ruined my outdoor playtime. Until last week, when Mother Nature took pity on me.

[Side note: I know some people love hot weather. There’s no need for you to argue with me about it. It’s just like being a morning versus a night person; neither is wrong. Although I could argue that when it’s cold you can always put on another blanket, but when it’s too hot you can’t take anything else off. I break into a sweat when the snow melts. I blame my dad. He is nodding along as he’s reading this, whereas my mother is putting on a sweater.]

Anyway, as I was saying, Mother Nature finally gave us a break. The last week or so has been freakin’ beautiful. Cooler. Comfortable. Some days, we’ve even had low humidity. I’ve had my air conditioning off for over a week now. In AUGUST. It’s fabulous.

Who can be expected to work on such a beautiful morning?

Friday I played a little hooky and went to revel in the glorious morning by taking a walk around Foster Park. I’ve been hiding out for months in climate-controlled comfort and had almost forgotten how much I love it there; it might be my favorite place in Fort Wayne.

It could be a country club, with its manicured golf course and impeccable, gorgeous flowerbeds, but instead it’s a public park, smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s vast. The golf course is surrounded by a 2.2-mile loop. There are playgrounds. Baseball diamonds. Tennis courts. Trails along the river. The bridal glen, where my aunt and uncle (and lots of other people, I presume) got married.  It connects to (and is part of) the River Greenway. There are pavilions for rent. There’s Pawster Park, for our canine companions. And it’s all thanks to the Fosters.


My dad comments from time to time about the foresight the Foster families had to preserve this kind of green space in a growing urban environment. A hundred years ago they donated over one hundred acres. (It’s even bigger thanks to additional purchases by the City.) That’s pretty badass, to make a gift of that magnitude. Imagine if someone did something like that today (ahem, Omnisource property, cough cough).

The park is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the community. It’s also one of the friendliest. During my loop last week almost every person I passed waved, smiled, nodded, said “hi” or “good morning” or “how’s it going”, despite my sunglasses and headphones. (Those are universal shields, right?)  I love it. Love. It.  On a nice weekend in the summer, it’s teeming with people. In the winter there are far fewer, but the camaraderie might be even stronger; it’s like a small band of winter weather warriors, united in our quest to circle the park even when it’s frigid.

Off-roading by the river

My affection for Foster Park goes way back. My family cross-country skied there when I was a kid. The circuit is convenient for walking (or running, I assume, but with no bears to chase me there is no need). The wide path with no motor vehicles makes me feel safe on my skates. And as previously mentioned, it’s beautiful. With my last dog, I tried hitting all the parks in the city for our excursions, but Foster was always the best for a good trek (although she loved Franke Park, too). When I was looking for my house a few years ago, I limited my search to the south side because I’ve always wanted to live near the park.  So it was a joy to rediscover my joy when the heat finally broke, and a reminder to take advantage of it more often.

Good news: the forecast this week is for mostly sunny, mild temps, with a high probability of walks in the park.

Sneaky Little Bastard Spider

A very persistent spider is attempting to take up residence on my front storm door.  I ignored it at first. Mostly because I couldn’t deal. Then I had my Cleaning Fairies (best money spent ever) wipe down the door and remove all the webs. Voila! Problem solved.

The next morning I got up and much to my dismay, a small web had been spun in exactly the same spot, right next to the handle to open the freaking door. (Please note, if I used my front door more often, this would have been addressed much sooner.) I could not let the large web conglomeration build up again. I grabbed 82 damp paper towels, and with my arm extended to maximum Stretch Armstrong distance in case the little bastard made an appearance, I removed the strands of web from MY door. Voila! Problem solved.

The next morning I got up, and much to my dismay…..wait, I already said that. Ok. Read the paragraph above about seven times.

Finally, after several days I got up, and TADA!!!! No web by the door handle! I’d done it!

Except.

The sneaky little bastard had given up on that location, but not the entire door. He had relocated his web to the exact same spot on the hinge-side of the door. Sigh……I got another wad of paper towels and wiped the webs away (still standing as far from the door as possible, even though I’ve never actually seen a spider during any of this).

Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been almost another week and he still hasn’t given up. Although this morning he made an appearance (he’s much larger than I’d expected, he should be ashamed of his tiny little web-spinning abilities) and I almost got him. But by then I’d used up most of my 97 paper towels and I wasn’t in full on Spider Attack Mode and he got away, even though I punched him into a ball multiple times. As I said, he’s a persistent little bastard. We will see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully he’s so traumatized by the smackdown that he’s going to take up residence elsewhere. Oh please oh please oh please!!!

Any suggestions on how to crush his spirit, since I failed at crushing him?

Clip this!

 

Soooooooooo some of you may have heard me whine over the last four years that my ex-husband kept all the good chip clips when we got divorced. I fully recognize that this is a completely silly thing to be bent out of shape over.  But if you’ve ever been through your own, you know that divorce brings out the stupid. And ps, he could have let me have a few of them! Every time I dig out one of my shitty plastic clips, I get a little pissed off.

Guess what? I bought my own today. Woot!

 

 

I’m not sure what took me so long – probably just never wandered through the right spot in Meijer before. But I finally decided to buy a cheese grater, since I am  surprised every time I go looking for one and realize I don’t have one of those, either.  You should totally be allowed to register when you get divorced and lose half your crap. I wish I had thought this up four years ago, but for anyone getting divorced now or in the future, please try it – I will back you up! 🙂

 
Now….I have to go find something in the kitchen to open, so I can clip it back shut again. 🙂

 

Powerless

Northeast Indiana was pummeled by a huge storm Friday afternoon.  We’ve been having a drought (as have you, probably) and I love thunderstorms, so when the sky started darkening I was rooting for a doozy of a storm. Pounding rain, booming thunder, the works.

Note to self, don’t wish for big storms.

Our storm was such a doozy, it even has a name, one I’ve never heard of before, and I watch Storm Stories. It’s called a Derecho. 500 trees were toppled by the wind gusts, creating havoc and taking power lines down with them.

I was very fortunate. Only one small branch fell off my already dead tree. All around my neighborhood, trees and tree bits littered yards and streets. Even now, almost a week later, a downed tree tangled with wires is blocking the entrance to my street, not to mention someone’s house. Tree shrapnel is everywhere.

This tree is blocking the entrance to my street, with a tangle of wires.

When the storm started up, I was at my desk in my office, and the lights started flickering. Uh oh. Flickering, followed by off. Klondike was in town, but not at the house, so Ruby and his two dogs and I sat in the dark and watched the storm through the front door. I wasn’t concerned about the power being out; it’s happened a couple of times before, and is usually back on in a matter of hours. I had no idea about the magnitude of the Derecho. (Cue ominous music.)

I was one of 119,000 people in the region who lost power.  Um, that’s a lot. It suddenly became painfully obvious that the electricity wouldn’t be back on anytime soon. Crap. Oh, and did I mention it’s been in the upper 90s for the last eon? Initial estimates were that power would be restored BY WEDNESDAY. And there was no way of knowing whose power would be restored first. We all felt so….powerless.

I like to think I’m a somewhat capable person, who has my shit mildly together. One of the quickest ways to prove me wrong is to take away my electricity.

Two people. Three dogs. Very difficult to invite that kind of entourage into someone’s home.

My dad lives in a magical house that never loses power (please don’t let me jinx him) even in the wake of a Derecho or the crippling ice storm of 2008, even when neighbors all around him have no power. It’s kind of amazing. And it’s my haven in times of need. Fortunately, he has a spare fridge, too. We spent a good chunk of time there over the weekend, running home to check on the dogs and to sweat. Oops, I mean sleep.

I took cold showers, followed immediately by breaking into a sweat from the simple act of getting dressed.

I went to get ice to put in the dogs’ water bowls, forgetting that my freezer was empty.

Every. Single. Time that I walked into the bathroom I flipped the light switch. Stunningly, it never worked. After about the third time, I started doing a little song & dance that looked a wee bit like me stomping my feet and shaking my fists, and sounded kind of like me screaming, “The goddamn light switch doesn’t DO anythinggggg!!!!!!!!!”

Neighbors across the alley and next door got generators. The noise was astonishing. It sounded like there was a running lawn mower in my house.

By Sunday evening I was hot and crabby and hot and whiny and hot and tired of not being able to live comfortably in my own home. I was at the end of my rope, and entering the work week as someone who works from home presented a whole new kind of mess. Klondike and his dogs went home, and I set up camp at Hotel Dad.

Through some wonderful fortune, a text from a neighbor late Monday afternoon informed me that my porch lights were ON! I was giddy with electricity. And felt so, so sorry for those who didn’t win the power-up lottery. Even as I write this (Wednesday night), I still have friends in the dark, with no a/c, and it was 100 degrees today. I can’t imagine how frustrated (and hot) they must feel.

It’s amazing, the things we take for granted, and how uncomfortable it is when our daily routines are turned upside down and modern conveniences are suddenly unplugged. But equally amazing were the kindness and generosity of those who were in a position to help. As I mention on a regular basis, I am a Facebook junkie. And while running down my iPhone battery keeping tabs on Facebookland, I saw invitation after invitation from people who had power: beds, freezer space, laundry. It was truly moving, and felt very genuine.

And now that it’s over (for me), I can appreciate the silver linings:

  • My refrigerator is GLEAMING. Before loading it back up, I scrubbed the hell out of it.
  • My basement freezer was defrosted for the first time in two+ years. And I finally threw away those leftover buns from the cookout in 2010.
  • I bonded with my friend and neighbor, Claire, who I really only knew through Facebook. She and her husband Ben kept me in the loop about the power situation after I fled to Hotel Dad. They were the ones who let me know when I could return home to a powered-up homestead. (Thanks, pals!)

That’s it, no more silver linings. Be real, those four days sucked. 😉

Of course, I recognize how easy my everyday life usually is, especially now that I can have perspective in the comfort of my air conditioned home. (I’m obsessed with a/c, aren’t I?) I’m so thankful that I had options, and for my family, friends and neighbors who checked in on me and made sure I wasn’t in need. While I prefer not to have to choose, I will take that kind of love and friendship over power any day. At the end of the day, even if the day was hot and I was crabby, I’m very, very lucky.

Klondike by a tree in my dad’s ‘hood.

The base of that same tree.

Miss Ruby, reveling in the cooler temps at Hotel Dad

 

Oh sweet Jesus….a completely unexpected, bizarro thunderstorm popped up at the end of the day today and wreaked more havoc. More trees down, people without power again. I now have “loaner mayo” in my fridge from a friend who had JUST finished restocking from the first power outage, and she’s without again. I feel for you people, truly. Holler if you need something.

My typewriter is cooler than your typewriter

A few months ago, a friend sent me a link to something she had seen on fab.com that she thought I would like: a vintage typewriter that had been painted in fun, funky colors.

the inspiration

She was right. I. Loved. It. Wanted it. But holy crap, it was something like $400. I make impulse purchases like nobody’s business, but they’re usually in the neighborhood of $30 max. I don’t really have four hundred clams to drop on an interesting knick-knack.

Light bulb. How hard could it be to make something like that? Step one, procure vintage typewriter. Step two, make it look awesome. Shut up, stop laughing. I know I’m not the most crafty or artistic person in the world. But I have friends who are, and surely one of them could tell me what kind of paint to use and maybe help me with the execution.

I mentioned the project to my friend Jon (who for some reason doesn’t get a fake name – probably because he only does good things and doesn’t need protection), one of the people who I thought might be able to make recommendations. First words out of his mouth: “I have a typewriter you can have.” I’m sorry, what? Who just happens to have a spare retro typewriter? Jon, that’s who. He sent a picture to see if it was to my liking, and it was perfect.

Before

Not long after that, before I had a chance to pick it up, he mentioned to me that he’d started painting it. Shut the front door! Once again, more than I bargained for, and not at all what I’d been expecting or angling for – I truly just wanted his artistic input. But knowing full well that it would turn out far better in his hands than in mine, I simply waited.

A few weeks ago I got a text that it was ready. WOOOOO, I couldn’t wait to see it!!!! And holy cats, it’s freakin’ awesome. He went to town, not just on the typewriter itself, but on the case, so much so that I have to display it in its entirety.  (On my antique card catalog, in case you can’t tell.) Here, see for yourself, and envy me. 😉

After

Case, closed

Rear of case – duh.

Big fat shout out of thanks to Jon, for the amazeballs too-cool-to-be-called-a-knick-knack objet d’art.  MWAH!

A love letter to my house

My house and I just celebrated two years together. The traditional and modern gifts for the 2nd anniversary are cotton and china, respectively, but we decided not to get each other anything. Instead I thought I’d write it a little blog post to tell it how much I love it. Him. Her. I’m not really sure. I think my house might be gender-neutral. Nope. I think maybe she’s female, now that I’m thinking about her. We’re close like sisters or best friends or an aunt/niece relationship. (OMG. I’m really weird, aren’t I? But I digress.)  Ok, we’ll call her “her”. We also call her “Wendy’s Fun House” on occasion.

Until moving into Wendy’s Fun House at age 38, I had never lived alone. Childhood, college, roommates, boyfriend/fiancé/husband. When my husband and I split, I moved in with my dad until I could get my feet under me. (For which I am eternally grateful.) My dad rocks and the first year or so (yes, I said “year”) was great. We generally get along really well, and he didn’t go all parental on me – no “When are you going to be home” or “Isn’t it a little late to be going out” or “That is what you’re eating for dinner?” And he made sure we always had grapes, because grapes are my one essential food.

Then the walls started closing in on me. I was still waiting for money from my divorce settlement that I needed for a down payment (not his fault). Dad & I had moved our office into his house, so the two of us were together 24/7. I was having chronic back pain due to the most uncomfortable little bed in the entire world. (No offense, Dad.) I was seriously starting to wig out.

Finally, finally the day came that all the pieces in my life fell into place and I was ready to start house hunting. My realtor Rena is also my aunt (and my good friend), so she understood the desperation of the situation, and promptly rounded up a batch of homes all in my target area on the south side. I had no idea what was on the market that I would be able to afford, and all my wish list items were negotiable; all I needed was four walls and a roof.  The very first house we looked at was a craftsman-style bungalow that was vacant and had been on the market for months. As we walked through it, I asked Rena to pretend like it was normal should I burst into tears. The relief I felt knowing there was just one affordable house that wasn’t a total crapsack overwhelmed me. There was nothing showy about her, and it’s not the most fashionable neighborhood, but it had all the minimum requirements and was in a solid block.

We looked at a bajillion other houses. Or maybe 10. Some that were very lovely. But at the end of the day we went back to look at the first one again, because I couldn’t get her out of my head.  Being vacant made it convenient to see. Minimum requirements? What was I thinking! She had the whole wish list: porch, wood-burning fireplace, a/c, fenced yard, garage (two stalls!), good space for my home office. Wood floors. Built ins. And the previous owners had nicely updated her: newer roof and furnace, rewired, updated kitchen, most windows replaced. A lot of the other houses I looked at were lovely, but none had all the things she had to offer, and most were significantly more expensive given their more desirable addresses. And after a few more visits, some negotiations, and a long closing process where I gave up both my ovaries because I don’t have a first-born to give to the bank (I kid), she was mine.

Home Sweet Home

 I was nervous. Maybe I had made a knee-jerk reaction and rushed into a decision in my panic to get out of my dad’s place. Maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew with a 91-year-old house. Maybe my neighborhood wasn’t safe. Maybe there was something wrong with the house – it had been for sale for so long – why didn’t anyone want it? Maybe I would hate living alone. Maybe weird noises would scare me. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

I moved in at the end of January 2010. Everything in the house was beige. Everything. Figuring it was easier to paint empty rooms, I enlisted the help of a tremendous friend and we painted the shit out of things prior to the move date. Yellow & purple kitchen. Soft green bedroom. Bluish gray living and dining room. Bye-bye beige (mostly). A whirlwind of moving and unpacking ensued. And suddenly, there I was, truly alone, my first night in my new house. I curled up in a little ball in bed whispering to myself, “This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.” I was so happy to have my gigantic, comfortable bed back. I woke up sideways across it. Smiling.

All those maybes – none of them came to fruition. I have loved living alone,

Our yard

especially with the addition of sweet Ruby Tuesday early that first summer. I have never been scared being alone in the house or startled by weird noises, not once (this does not include the bat episode – shut up). I have discovered I’ve slept with my doors unlocked, come home to find I left the back door open, and awoken to find I neglected to close my garage overnight. (Jesus. I sound like an idiot. I’m really a safety girl, I promise. Don’t tell my mom.) None of those user errors resulted in anything bad or scary. I adore my historic neighborhood. And the house. Oh, the house. I love her so much. The longer I’m here, the more I realize there was nothing knee-jerk in my decision to buy her. I don’t know why she was on the market for so long, but I can only surmise it was because she was waiting for me. We were meant to be together. She has all the charm and character I love in older homes, and yet somehow she has large closets. She has all my favorites growing in her lovely landscaping. She has a variety of hooks and pegs on the front porch for my growing collection of wind chimes and sparkly dangly things. She has something like 24 windows. (By comparison, the first house my ex-husband and I lived in out in Aboite had 7.)  My bedroom is light and airy and feels like a safe, comfortable haven. My office is cozy and bright, especially now that it features sparkly purple paint on the walls. And every night for the first month, I said, out loud, “Good night, house. I love you.”  I feel like we have an unspoken vow to take care of each other.

I know plenty of people think my ‘hood is sketchy. There is a liquor store two blocks away that is heavily armed due to frequent robberies. Two blocks and a world away. Members from the association welcome committee brought me homemade cookies. The first spring day that I was out on my porch, numerous neighbors came over to introduce themselves. Jim & Phyllis next door share vegetables from their garden. Jim shovels my sidewalk and sneaks my dog treats. I didn’t move into a sketchy neighborhood, I moved into the 1950s. And I love it. Much like I still tell the house on occasion how much I love her, I revel in the neighborhood almost every time I drive home from somewhere. I cannot imagine being happier anywhere than I am right now.

Happy anniversary, house. I love you so much. Here’s to many more years together.