Thursday, December 23, 2010

I need a poster-size print of this...

My boss has this tacked to her bulletin board, and I think it's perfect. It absolutely describes most every project I've ever worked on (from 1st grade to present).

Six Phases of a <insert your field here> Project
  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the guilty
  5. Punishment of the innocent
  6. Praise and honor for the nonparticipants

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stink Water

While Roland was at the gym last night, I did my usual inspection of all doorways in our house to make sure the locks were intact. Terrifyingly, I discovered an ant invasion by our kitchen door! These damn ants besieged us once before when our fridge broke a few weeks ago and we were forced to store our perishables outside in a cooler. Apparently they reasoned that if we stashed that kind of merchandise OUTSIDE, the stuff we kept inside must really be to-die-for. I hope it was worth it, because the battle of Kate's Kitchen had a tragic ending for the ant troops. Not having received the warning, reinforcements had now arrived, oblivious to what happens to little ant soldiers that try to cross a Son threshold.

I grabbed our trusty can of Raid and, well, you can guess what happened next. I followed up with a thorough vacuuming, just in case any of the ants had developed immunity to the lethal chemicals. Of course, the fumes after a Raid application are pretty overwhelming, and, coughing, I had to retreat to the other end of the house to avoid fainting. Even 1500sqft away, the vapors seeped over trying to clog up my lungs.

Here's the main part:
Roland arrived home about ten minutes after the incident chronicled above. Holding my breath to avoid inhaling any more of the toxic air, I went to greet him at the door. My husband has an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, so I knew he'd get a horrible headache from the Raid right away and have to take refuge outside while the smog cleared.

Instead, he walked right inside, inhaling normally, and didn't say anything. I looked at him, puzzled and red in the face as I couldn't hold my breath much longer, but he just smiled. I kept waiting for him to grab his head/fall to the floor in Raid haze pain, but no - nothing. Finally, I had to ask him.

Me: Don't you smell anything strange?
Roland: <sniffing>, not really...why?
Me: I just sprayed a quarter can of Raid in the kitchen. How can you not smell that? It's making me dizzy.
Roland: Oh, that. I thought that was your perfume.
Me: You thought my perfume smelled like ant poison? Like I purposely doused myself in neurotoxic carcinogens?!
Roland: Well...I don't know. You have some strange stink waters (his preferred term for cologne). I didn't want to hurt your feelings.
Me: You're sweet. But I can't believe you thought the most likely cause of this mind-deadening stench is that I bought eau-de-insecticide!

Anyway, my husband doesn't think it's beyond me to wear a fragrance that's designed to kill small creatures on contact. But he's too polite to say anything. Perhaps that's a sign I need to refine my tastes in stink water.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Speaking of junk collectors...

I present the hoardiest car I've ever seen. This (not cheap) SUV was literally stuffed from floor to ceiling, front to trunk, with trash and junk. The driver had carved out the tiniest spot to press the foot pedals, but that's the only clear space in the entire vehicle. There was zero visibility out the back window, or any of the side windows. I don't think this was a "living in the car" situation, as most of the stuff inside looked to be fast food wrappers and old newspapers. You can see one of the newspapers crammed up against the window, along with some clothes (purchased from the consignment store where I was shopping).

Below, just for a comparison, is the second hoardiest car I've ever seen:

See, this one has lots of papers and trash, but it's not up to the ceiling. At least, not yet. Does this look like a convertible? I sure hope they don't accidentally put the top down while driving 80mph on the highway...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday's Thoughts

Why does everything in the soda machine cost $1.25 - except Diet Dr. Pepper, which will only set you back $1.10? I'm not sure what ingredient makes this particular soda .15 cheaper, but now I feel ripped off if I ever choose a different flavor. I only buy a soda once every 6 months, though, so I guess it's not too big a deal.

I just found out that I'm going to California (San Francisco area) in February for work. I've never been there, so the excitement of seeing someplace new is currently outweighing my fear of flying. For now.

It was unseasonably warm here today. 75 degrees in the middle of December. Still, I don't think it was necessary to run the A/C on "blast" mode and freeze the entire office building. Luckily I anticipated this would happen and brought a space heater and down parka to wear at my desk.

It's 6pm, and I'm dreading leaving work. The traffic outside looks horrendous, mostly because I can see the entrance/exit to the giant mall next door. I think everyone in Dallas is there right now buying foot massagers and overpriced luggage.

About a month ago, our bed frame (just the standard issue metal type with wheels) collapsed while we were sleeping. Yes, scary. When my in-laws heard this, my dad-in-law decided that he would handcraft us a new bed for Christmas. He and Roland went down to a lumberyard a couple weeks ago to pick out the wood, and now dad-in-law is hard at work planning, sanding, routing, and building. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dad's Visit to Dallas

Kate and Dad, December 2010
 My dad stopped by for a visit over the weekend (on his way back from meetings in Houston), and we had a great time! Amazing wine and food (Greek, Italian, Texan, and Indian!), and he was a huge help with some of the projects around the house that require a bit more handiness and patience than I've been able to scrounge up on my own. Our house now has properly installed thermal curtains in Roland's music room, an anti-burglary device on the patio door, a peephole in the front door, and an insect-repellent coating to deter any unwelcome critters from visiting us during the holidays.

Our favorite Dallas restaurant!

As I mentioned, we had some really great food over the weekend. My favorite, though, was Momo's Italian Specialties. It's a hole-in-the-wall little place next to a beauty supply store and a shady nightclub, but the food is absolutely out of this world. Everything is made from scratch by real Italians, and it's BYOB so you don't have to deal with outrageous mark-ups on the wine. Just bring your own!

Mike, one of the pickers, rides around on a bike
he found in someone's house.

Also while he was here, my dad introduced R and I to a show on the History Channel called "American Pickers," which we happened upon in our Netflix choices. It's about two guys who comb the midwest for eccentric people who "collect" (hoard) old stuff either in their house or in the sheds/barns/trash heaps on their property. The pickers make offers on just about anything they think they could sell in their antique store. It's amazing what they find (and the prices they'll pay for rusted old junk that most people would just throw away)!

A very rusty bike that the pickers dug out of
someone's yard and paid a lot for (more than $300!)

Sadly, my dad had to leave this morning to return to snowy Ohio, and now it's back to the grindstone at work.