May 29, 2010

... bugs, sweat and tears ...

So, whilst on vacation this week, Gregg agreed to fix up the front yard. We have been wanting to do it for 3 years now but there never seems to be enough time. We decided to start on Thursday. We put a game plan together, set our goals and suited up for the task at hand. Let me just say this - had we known it would take us 3 days to actually get it done I think we would have declined and chose to spend those days doing something we enjoyed. Sure, we wouldn't have then had the satisfaction of the beauty for years (or at the very least - months) to come but there would have been a LOT less complainin'. Ohhhh the horror. The BUGS. The sweating. The aches and pains. The sunburn. The BUGS. The blisters. The filth and dirt and grossness. THE BUGS. I started off by having mini panic attacks as each spider crawled by, each slithery thing slithered, each daddy-long-leg stilted around, each fat, nasty worm wormed and each "bug" crossed my path. By day two I had calmed down slightly - still shrieking at the sight of each insect. And by day three I was slinging worms across the yard on sticks. It was magical. 

Our mission: 
Front yard foundation clean-up: Rip out 2 shrubs/bushes, 2 trees and stumps, rake out gravel and shovel it away, rip out all roots and make nice nice with the soil - even out, edge the beds and line with stones, blanket the beds with weed prevention roll thing, plant beautiful goodness and top with mulch.

Sounds easy enough right? We were thinking a day ... maybe a day and a half. HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA ignorance was bliss. 

Day one: Trees and bushes ripped out, cut down and bagged up, beds full of gravel and nonsense... in need of a good raking

Note for future: always buy way more mulch than you think you'll need

 The creature on the foundation was just one of my many foes...

Such a big help... watching from the window all day

All cleaned and lined... guess who's in the window...

Well doesn't this look like crap?
Much better...

After two very long and very tiring days of hard work we finally reached "the fun part"- or so I thought. We headed out to buy some grasses & flowers with a list of a few must-haves but mostly we were wingin' it. We clearly had no idea what we were up against...


There were just so many adorable choices it was very hard to settle on anything - we chose a few favorites along with our list-makers and got out of there in just over an hour
Now comes the placement... it's just like page layout!!

We agreed on our layouts and started diggin'. 
It's hilarious that I thought it would be fun to plant the flowers. I guess if our bodies weren't broken from the 2 prior days we would have enjoyed it much much more.

I think we did a decent job considering we have no clue how to garden. We read the care instructions and all that but I'm sure we did a few things wrong ... and who really cares? It's only a few flowers and if they die we'll rip them out and put a friggin pot in their place. Hahaha just kidding (not really) - but it definitely looks more inviting and home-sweet-homey - which is what I have wanted all along. Trial and error, kids, trial and ERROR.

I hate the dirt. I hate bugs. I hate being dirty and I hate sweating. But I did torch a ton of calories and manage to get a base tan so I guess those are two pluses. Blisters and aches and pains will go away but the satisfaction of completing this project will last ... well at least for another day or two I'm thinkin'.

Here is the humble, little transformation:


Motrin. Motrin. Motrin.

May 27, 2010

... my favorite days...

Boy do I love vacation time. Normally we try to take the same two weeks each year... but being unemployed really takes the stress-work out of it for me. Vacation? WHY NOT?? Go ahead, Sheri, you certainly deserve it. Ugh. Anyway, I am getting side-tracked here, ahhh May vacation. We don't do anything fancy or exciting. We are still strapped with bills and living expenses - you know the drill. But we enjoy every single second of the week. We go to our favorite places, watch our favorite movies, cook our favorite dinners and enjoy our favorite "vacation moods" together. It is just really nice to see Gregg relaxed and not dead tired for a change... getting decent amounts of sleep and being able to enjoy life daily rather than having to squeeze in a few hours of fun on the weekend in between errands and yard work. 
Man, vacation is rad. 

Here are some pictures that don't exactly depict 'vacation' ... but they are like a little walk through our days ... 

... my favorite shade of sky

... hehehe

... a little treat for me

... can't leave Mystic without fudge I suppose

... nothing to say about this one, I just liked it

... in that napkin lies pieces of a horribly mean spider - he left my husband no choice 
but to pull over on the highway so I didn't throw myself out of the Jeep. 
I hate that spider and all his filthy pieces -and I am sorry that he made me litter.

... over the Jamestown Bridge

... and the Newport Bridge. 
It was 96 degrees that day but once we passed the center of this bridge 
the temp dropped about 15 degrees. Unreal. 

... classic shot

... I'd love to have a house down here (or a castle)

... beautiful Brenton Point - a favorite spot

... I love the face he's givin me. I think we named him Barnaby.

 ... we enjoyed these days immensely. I only wish there were more of them.


Happy Vacation to you, Gregg. You deserve 52 weeks. 

May 19, 2010

... pasta lungs

Here's a boring fact for ya! I have gone through at least 237 exercise routines since I was about 18. (That was completely exaggerated). I get bored and move on after anywhere from 3-6 months. I hate me a RUT. The one thing that has been consistent throughout my days of flailing activity is my pasta lungs. I have strength, I have endurance, I have pasta lungs. What the hell are pasta lungs? My definition is this: Pasta Lungs = what I believe any overweight Italian's lungs feel like when they walk more than 10 steps. Now, I am Italian but thankfully this condition isn't because I am 440 lbs overweight  but rather that I developed asthma in my early 20s. Mild, yes, however seemingly more annoying as the hours tick by.

I mostly have trouble breathing when I get sick, have allergies or when it feels like a humid armpit outside. I hardly ever use my inhaler -normally I just push my lazy lungs to their limit. But I have been noticing that the little fellows are slacking harder than usual these days. Gregg and I went for a short hike a few weeks ago and I found myself having a ridiculous amount of trouble as I Gandolfini'd my way back on the incline. So much so that I will never go again without my inhaler. Same goes for our bike rides. A couple weeks ago I had the same shocking experience on a hill that seemed to be tiny until we were practically begging our way up it. Naturally we were both laughing at our level of fitness but privately I was trying to catch my breath for what felt like an eternity but was probably 5 minutes.

It's funny how I treat that inhaler like a pack of half eaten mints. Every time I change pocketbooks I see it in there and yet don't transfer it to the new bag. Laughing to myself like I don't need to bring this with me, I never use it. And that immediately curses the upcoming events with some sort of breathing disaster. So the point of this uninteresting tale is that I will bring that ugly, yellow and orange, plastic, portable paramedic with me from now on. No matter how big or small my purse may be, there will forever be a seat for the little guy. Who knows - it just might save someone a harrowing call to 911.... Which would actually make a way better blog than this - so actually let me just rethink this whole thing. 

May 15, 2010

you asked for onion, here's your stupid onion...

Here we go again. The waitress dream. After 9 years I still have nightmares about that horrible job. 

The dreams are always similar. Last nights: I couldn't remember my number in the computer. I didn't know how to make coffee. I had absolutely no clue what kind of food we offered. All of the chairs in my section were tiny chairs and people were sitting in them and not reaching the table. A woman was furiously yelling at me about her tiny chair and I replied, "LADY why didn't you simply ask me to get you a normal chair? Why are you trying to be a martyr here?" Someone actually found my old apron and it was still stocked- with my lip gloss and everything... but my notepad was out of paper. I had a million tables waiting for me and I was in the wrong part of the restaurant. Nobody was nice to me. All of the girls were awful and wore too much makeup and super tight pants. (Trying to ensure a 3 month relationship with one of the cooks- no doubt.)

I hated that job. HATED. THAT. JOB.

I remember one instance... an elderly couple were dining on hamburgers. How grand. Now, I love elderly people and I am very respectful but I will never forget this crotchety old bastard. He orders a burger with onion so that is what he gets. Just seconds later he grabs my sleeve and says, "What is this? I ordered onions!" I, still in my mind reacting to the grabbing of the sleeve and thinking about what I would say to him if he wasn't 97 years old, reply, "Yes, those are onions on top of your burger". He says, "You're stupid!! You don't know what you're talking about!" I then said, " I'M STUPID??? I'MMMMM STUPID?? You're looking at onions telling me you don't have onions!!" I walk away before this gets any more embarrassing and ask my manager to go fix his lunch. The big mix up was that he wanted his onions grilled. Well WHATDAYA know??? A simple adjective was to blame. Onions = raw onions. Gotta add that adjective in there, guy. So needless to say - my patience failed, the manager smoothed it over and that was that.

I lived to fight another day. One where I waited on a group of 15 women. The amount of hot tea with lemon and milk was disturbing. The few who didn't order tea chose to create their own lemonade with water, lemon and sweet & low. I assured them that we had lemonade prepared but they took the free road. I had never seen so many orders of scrod. It was overwhelming at 11:40 am. After two and a half hours and a bill of nearly $180 (yes, that's right, 15 people eating for $180- that's the Chelo's way) the women were ready to pay their tab. Calculators EVERYWHERE. It had to have taken over 30 minutes to figure out who owed what. I stood nearby, smoking like a fiend, anxious to get the hell out of there. Finally they were ready to plaster on their shawls and head out into their Mercurys and Buicks. A woman came up to me with the money - the book felt very thick. She said to me, "Thank you so much for all of your help, you were WONDERFUL!" with a pleasant smile on her face. I thanked her and slipped away to count the bread. They left me change. As I poured the change onto a table my blood boiled feverishly. I decided to meet her in the foyer. "Excuse me," I said, getting her attention, "I already have this whole pouch full of change so here you go, you can keep this" and I poured the change back into her hands. "Oh thank you so much!" she said- having absolutely no idea what sarcasm was and feeling as though I was a gracious gal.

I clearly am not cut out to be a server of any kind. I have a very hard time accepting the words of douchebags or the pennies of the innocent and elderly. I am proud, stubborn and sarcastic as hell - and I cannot fake pleasantness. If I hate you, it's gonna be pretty obvious.

May 12, 2010

what the f ??

Spring 2010. The second glorious week of the lovely May month has begun and all are anxious to celebrate it. Everyone is scrambling to get to kids birthday parties, Mothers Day outings and other various milestone occasions. The weather is seasonably beautiful- just right for hiking, biking, yard work or just plain ol' house-cleaning with the windows wide open. So what went wrong? How did this sunny dreamworld turn into a cloud of shit? And how did that cloud of shit turn into an epiphany? I'll tell you how.

Upon returning home from an enjoyable Mothers Day in Mystic-shopping with my mom- I received a horrible phone call. A very dear friend of mine had lost someone very close to him just hours earlier. I spent quite a while on the phone with the bearer of the tragic news and we expressed our sadness for our mutual and practically life-long friend. I truly couldn't fathom what he and his poor family would now have to endure. It seemed surreal and I could not get it off my mind. This feeling followed me into my sleep and materialized into several uncomfortable dreams. I woke up reminded and could not fully focus on my responsibilities. It wasn't as though I knew the deceased well- in fact I hadn't seen him in over 10 years. But we all grew up together. In our little school, in our little neighborhood. And he was always kind to me. My heart was heavy for my friend. Knowing what a sincere and good-hearted person he is just made it harder to accept that he was hurting and will be for quite some time. All I could do was express my sympathy and love. It is all anyone can do, really.

I went to work that day and kept to myself more so than usual. Headphones on, minimal conversation, mind focused half on work and half on my friend. And just seven short hours into the workday I was given the old heave-ho for the second year in a row. Laid off due to lack of work. I wasn't entirely shocked - although I was stunned that this would be my last day- my last HOUR in fact. I took the news easily, packed up my colorful desk decorations and after loading that crate into my car I was driving off into the sunset. Well, not really, it was only 5 o'clock so I guess I added that in for dramatic purposes. I wasn't upset. I wasn't pissed off. I didn't really feel sorry for myself. I couldn't compare my unfortunate situation to what my friend was going through. When you put things into perspective that way it is a LOT easier to deal with anything that comes at you. Sure my situation blows. And will certainly blow even harder if I am unable to collect unemployment insurance. We have a high mortgage, we have tons of bills, my car is starting to shit the bed, we aren't exactly living in the lap of luxury here - BUT we are living. We are happy, we are healthy and we have our friends and family near. What more can you really ask for?

Yes, I loved that job. Yes, this week has been a little on the difficult side. I am disappointed in the way that things worked out - for sure - but I have polished up my old outlook. And I feel almost guilty for attaining its shine through my friend's tragic circumstances. "It can always be worse" - just remember that every time you think you got a raw deal.

Someone else is always struggling harder. Keep that thought fresh.

May 6, 2010

about 6 to 6...

a blurry little black and white tour...

... up

... a little hygiene never killed anyone, did it?

... superfast. that's right. 

... gotta feed the boy 

... and a smiley breakfast for me, thanks

... finished product ready to punch-in

... patiently awaiting his first outdoor trip of the day 

... and now enjoying that moment 

... me, enjoying MY moment

... can't forget to make up for all the things you lack 

... slap on a little plaster

... and a little paint 

... hit the ol' ATM

... teeny weeny commute 

... almost therrrrrrre

... my area for 8 hrs

... and a little errand after work

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. a grand tour of a typical 12 hours of my weekday life. yeah, i left a few things out. i do have my secrets. plus it is extremely annoying to have to pull out the camera to document ridiculousness. just thought i'd give it a try for a day - as you can see i only lasted 12 hours.