Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!

best lego ever

mermaid, in case you were wondering

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frugal Luxuries: Shaving a Cat

and that's not all of it...
No, this is not a play on words. I actually shave the cat. And that's the result ->

Sid, our black, long haired cat has really thick fur. Not only is it hot in the summer, but he has trouble keeping up with the mats and he hates when I brush his belly and delicate area. So early each summer for the last several years he gets a graveyard cut - just the belly and peaches get trimmed (the better to walk over gravestones, so I was told).

When we lived in San Diego there was a groomer that could handle cats that didn't want a haircut. She was fantastic - but we no longer live in San Diego. And he's been banned from all local groomers (he really doesn't like getting his hair cut).

So out of desperation and a desire to have a happy, mat-free cat, I invested in an animal clipper (don't use a people clipper, animal fur needs a special type) and have done Sid's trimmings since. Neither of us like it. But he's only peed on me once, and I've never needed more than a band aid or two. And, ultimately, he likes the results (you can tell, trust me).

As far as why it's a frugal luxury - a trip the the groomers was $50, and the trimmers were $125. They paid off in only three trims. Granted, I had to do a lot of research on how to trim cats so you don't cut their skin (they have extremely delicate skin) and on how to properly handle cats so you don't cause them any harm (and hopefully you don't bleed), but in the end it was worth it.

And if you're wondering why I'm posting about something I did back in the spring - I just came across the photos while looking for something else.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weaning from Sippy Cups

We've been trying to get Max away from sippy cups at home, mostly because I'm sick of washing them. So we've been working on other drinking methods - like water bottles with sport tops (see gratuitously cute photo at right), and cups with straws. My canning jar travel/sippy lid has been great while he learns to hold cups correctly. It isn't leak-proof, but it certainly minimizes what otherwise would be a major spill down to just a dribble.

So far so good really on the weaning front, he hasn't asked for a sippy cup once. I just have to be aware of the amount of straws we have on hand. I try to wash the plastic "disposable" ones and reuse them, but sometimes they're just a little beyond repair (read, he chews/crumples/smashes them). Metal straws are certainly handy and not (easily) smashable, I might have to get some more of those.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Deck Railing Part Deux

With a clean slate to work with, I borrowed dad's pickup truck, and Max and I went to the lumber yard. I had done some careful measuring and brought a cut list (like a lumber grocery list) and had them pre-cut everything for me at the lumber yard since circular saw + toddler = very bad idea. Max had a blast - when I told the guy that Max loves tools, he set up the saw horses where Max could see from his car seat and made the cuts right there in the lot.

Lumber (and fresh drill bits) in hand, we went back to work. Max hung out with his Amma (my mother) for the morning while I essentially assembled a giant lumber puzzle. The result is railing that easily withstood me running and jumping on it (my standard durability test) and that is the same style as the rest of the deck. Woo-hoo! Less than $100 and a few hours of sweat really paid off.

While I was at it, I also installed a very tall pole for the clothesline. I'd previously had it attached to the railing, but since I was redoing stuff anyhow I thought I'd make it official. It'll also make a nice spot for a hanging basket.

I still have to stain it to match, but that'll wait for another day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Deck Railing

Max & pony showing off the "before" shot
To date, the house project I am the most proud of is fixing the deck rails. Not only does it look better - but it's safer.

Our deck has multiple levels. You walk out on to a raised platform that then leads down to the deck proper.. The entire deck has horizontal planks as rails - except for the platform. That had vertical spindles (that had obviously been chewed on by the previous owner's dog) capped by a horizontal plank. Not horribly consistent with the look of the rest of the deck, and apparently not very safe.

I noticed early this spring that the upper railing was wobbly, so I stuck a few screws in it as a band aid and put it on my to-do list for the summer. One sunny, Saturday afternoon in September (during nap time) I decided to start the demo. It was way too easy. I didn't even need tools - I just kicked it down and hauled it away. That was more than a bit scary, thinking about just how rickity it was. Whoever installed it didn't use exterior grade wood or screws (and in fact used interior grade 1.5" finishing nails), so everything was rotted and/or rusted. (Just to reassure you, I checked the rest of the deck promptly after finishing this project, and everything else is fine!)

it's demo time (can't touch this)

To give a little credit, the posts were sturdy, it was just the rails that had issues. So I kept the posts, reinforced them with a couple of L brackets, and called it a day.

L brackets make it all better

... to be continued.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lost a Week

The flu sucks.

Well, it wasn't officially diagnosed as the flu - they have to stick a swab up your nose or something like that to officially determine that yes, you  have the flu and your life sucks. Instead, she told me it's a very, very bad virus, and my life sucks. <sigh> I even got to wear a mask at the doctors. That makes you feel special. The fever lasted Sunday night through Thursday, peaking (more than once) at 104.something while on fever reducing meds. Now it's a lingering cough and overwhelming feeling of crappiness. But, I am doing better.

Sustained high temperatures apparently will whiten your hair, btw. That's not just a myth. My vanity got the best of me Saturday night (you know, after I showered and realized that I looked like hell) and I spent 1/2 hour coloring it with a semi-permanent. Much better, but I'd better stock up on the henna.

Of course I'd just gotten back on to the blogging routine, thankfully I had a few pre-written posts that I could slap up there last week.

I'm glad I have a wonderful husband who picked up the slack while I was out of commission. And of course a wonderful son who decided that it was ok if mommy just cuddled and read books instead of playing dinosaur ball. (I wasn't afraid of getting Max sick, he's the one that gave it to me. He just had it for 24 hours tho, lucky little man.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fast Food Toys

Generally, I'm not a fan of fast food. Never have been. But once in a while I do like some chili and nuggets that I didn't have to cook. Max gets the sliced apples, milk and nuggets - and daddy gets, well, something greasy and nasty looking. But he likes it.

And, Max has discovered the toys that come with the coveted kids meals. Usually those "disappear" promptly after we get home - but I made an exception for the Where's Waldo glasses. These are a hoot - and educational. They came with a bunch of flash cards that you put on the glasses and you have to ask questions to guess what's on yours. Granted, Max is too young to play the guessing game, but he loves the silly glasses part!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yellow Jammies

For weeks, the only jammies Max wanted to wear were the yellow ones. Every night it was, "Yellow jammies!" Which was rotten when the yellow jammies were dirty. So I sewed him up five pairs of yellow jammies.

And he promptly decided he no longer liked yellow.

But only for a week or so.

Now these new yellow jammies are his favorite, even better than the original yellow jammies.