Monday, July 2, 2012

Goodbye Blogger!

Hello Wifers! Thanks so much for coming along with me for the ride on Blogspot - after three years here, I've decided to move "A Day In The Wife" to WordPress. Please come over and join me! All new posts will be on the WordPress site:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye, Nora Ephron

Tonight, I came home from an evening walk with a friend to discover via Facebook, my go-to news source, that Nora Ephron had died. What bittersweet news. I won't hem and haw and tear at my clothing for you here, but let me take a moment to say what Nora and her writing meant to me.

First and foremost, she was an incredible writer.  Funny. Poignant. Smart.  And a woman in a man's world, who paved the way for many who came after her.  I was influenced by her before I even knew who she was.  Like the rest of America, I fell in love with Sleepless in Seattle.  For a while, my singular goal in life was to meet a handsome widower with an adorable son and live on a houseboat in Seattle.  (And after Current Husband, I shall.)  She made me a better writer, and her books have certainly influenced how I write.

The movie "You've Got Mail" made me want to open a store.  I loved the Shop Around the Corner, and actually opened a retail store with checkerboard tile floors where I would "twirl" Oldest Daughter and The Son, and cuddle infant baby Youngest Daughter.  *sigh*   I sold the store when we moved to the Quad Cities.  I still miss that store.  They don't make much money and they are an 18/6 commitment, but they can be oh so much fun.  I miss my awesome customers, and you cannot BEAT shopping at a gift market, spending thousands of dollars to stock your store, and when your orders come in it's like Christmas.

The Shop Around the Corner, where Meg Ryan twirled with her mom.

Blurry pic of YD in my store.  In her bikini.  
Because that's how she rolls.

Nora's book "I Feel Bad About My Neck" is terrific.  Not only is it a guidebook of sorts to aging, but it's a beautifully descriptive book about New York City and a snapshot of life in the 1960's and 1970's.  I loved it.  Go.  Read it.  I'll wait.

(Brace yourself for the cheese factory....)

The Shop Around the Corner closed.  My shop closed.  And after 71 years, Nora Ephron has passed away.  I hope she died with the knowledge that her readers and viewers have loved having her as a part of our lives.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Workin' For The Weekend

This post is a summary of How I Spent My Summer Weekend.

1. I left work at 5 p.m. Friday to hurry home so we could leave for Northeastern Iowa to stay with my in-laws. Naturally, we hadn't packed anything.  We were picking Oldest Daughter up from music camp at Luther College in Decorah the next day, and this was going to ensure that we were not late for her checkout from the dorm and got to her concert in time, because alas, we are perpetually late. (This one time, at band camp... oh how those words haunt me now. Movies about teenagers are funny until you have a teenager.)

2.  I brought a bottle of wine for my Mother-In-Law.  Since she was making dinner and is an all-around gem, I brought a good wine.

Mmmm.  Buttery deliciousness.  However, I think the gesture was lost when I drank nearly the entire bottle myself.  She already had a white open when I got there, and exercised restraint.  I haven't yet learned those kinds of skills.  I'm sure this is what she was dreaming of when she thought about her future daughter-in-law:  A skanky lush.  Forgot my Priolosec and guppy puked Sauvignon Blanc all night long.

3.  Went to Luther College to pick up Oldest Daughter and see her concert, which was pretty amazing, but I might be biased.  There is something surreal about picking up your oldest child from a college dorm.  I'm so not ready.  She took a movie-making class, and her short film played in the lobby, and then she performed in the senior orchestra.  How I ended up with klassy kids I shall never know.

Can you see her?  She's one of the 12 cellists.

4.  Drove home from Luther with all kids and OD's boyfriend in the van.  Radio played "Sweet Child O' Mine" no less than THREE times.  My family always re-enacts the scene from Stepbrothers when we hear this song (except for the part where CH would berate me) probably scaring the crap out of OD's BF.  If this doesn't drive the suitors away, nothing will.

5.  Spent Sunday doing almost nothing.  Slept in until 11 a.m. (that's right, almost NOON) because there was a sleep-inducing morning thunderstorm, got up to Current Husband's coffee and Mother-in-law's leftover cinnamon rolls, worked on the 1000-piece puzzle I started with the kids, read a little, did a little laundry, cleaned a little, went on a walk, did a little more puzzle with the kids.  Bliss.

Hope you had a great weekend, Wifers.  Here's to doing more of less.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bad Santa and Coal in My Stocking

First and Foremost:  

I am finally switching the blog to WordPress!  So welcome to the new followers, and I'm so sorry, but your Blogger follow will cease to have meaning after July 1.  However, I hope you will come with me to WordPress, where the commenting is easier and hopefully there are fewer glitches from the administrative end.  Can I get an amen?

I will be posting on both blogs until July 1, and then I'll be switching over solely to WordPress.  Here is the link to the new address -  Please make a note of it.

I've been pretty busy for the past week - not only did all of the batshit crazy house projects happen, but I also managed to stalk (and perhaps frighten) an author last weekend at my writer thingy.  Photos were taken, but by a guy named Jim from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I'm going to wait and see if he comes through with the digital pics he took.  BECAUSE WHY WOULDN'T A GUY FROM TULSA I'VE KNOWN FOR LESS THAN 24 HOURS HONOR HIS PROMISE TO SEND THE PICS HE TOOK OF ME WITH ANOTHER WOMAN?  You have nothing if you don't have faith, people.

Another man I've frightened in the past few weeks is my neighbor, John.  He's a great guy, a bachelor, living in the house he grew up in, but I do suspect he is one of the Feral Cat Club in the neighborhood, where I seem to be the only non-member.  When we first moved into Current House, John made the fatal mistake of giving George the Superpet a Milkbone every time he drove out of the driveway, which runs right next to our backyard fence.  Now, if George hears John's car starting, he begs to be let outside, at which time he barks as though he is going to rip out John's kidney, but I know what George is really saying is "Where is my Goddamned Milkbone?" because George is a now complete Milkbone junkie, thanks to John.  If you're going to start handing out the crack, you can't cut your homies off, because those crackheads will cut. you.

John looks a little bit like Bad Santa.  He drives a sensible SUV, but he has a bottle green convertible Corvette that he takes out on the weekends.  He has a boat.  He likes whiskey.  John love of his boat and Corvette is in direct proportion to his dislike of taking care of his yard.  Including the poison sumac patch he was indirectly cultivating, where I believe the particularly festering neighborhood feral cats would crawl to die.

Neighborhood pack of feral cats waiting for daily 4 p.m. feeding across the street. Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.

If you'll recall, I had boob issues a few weeks back. Web MD diagnosed me with a rare form of ductal cancer, and my Book Club started a Casserole Chain for me and my High School Friend Paige The OB-GYN couldn't diagnose me over the phone because I had accidentally torn the top of my nipple off, so I went in to my doctor. 

DR: "So what seems to be the problem?  You have a sore on your...uh.."
(She is checking chart to be sure this is why I'm there.)
ME:  "My nipple.  It stuck to my bra, and I accidentally tore it off, but now I think it's poison ivy."
DR:  (not following my logic) "Why do you think that?"
ME:  "Because I got poison ivy the day after I tore my nipple off. And now I'm on Prednisone and that's why I'm blowing up like Jerry Lewis."
DR:  "Okay.  Let's take a look at it."

And then it's one of those awkward moments when you're laying on a table all National Georgraphic with your arm up over your head like you're in an oil painting.

This is how I do ALL of my breast exams.

And your doctor is feeling you up, in a purely clinical way, and making small talk with you, like "Is baseball season still going for you guys?" and I'm all, "It must be because you just stole second!" and then I ask about her kids, because really, enough about me.  Then she looks really closely at my nipple, sits me up, high fives me, and says, "Congratulations, you are the first patient I've ever seen with poison ivy on their nipple!"  This is why I love my doctor.  Let's turn a festering sore into a victory. 

She gives me cream and asks about my yard.  We determine that George the Superpet is getting oil on his coat from the poison sumac, which is then getting on my hands, and because I'm so allergic to poison ivy/oak/sumac, if it touches my skin it immediately gets into my bloodstream and BAM! Itchy sores everywhere.  My doctor tells me we should offer to cut the patch down for John, because as long as it's up, my yard is booby trapped.  Seriously.  She says that.  So I have to say, "LITERALLY" and she doesn't even laugh, she just looks down and says, "I can't believe I just gave you that opening."  Me either, Doc.  It's like you don't know me at all.

The last time I had it - big patch on my chest, and all under my chin and second and third chins, and pretty much everywhere else, which is why my doctor made me wear a tube top dress and NOTHING ELSE.  You're welcome, neighbors.

I see John in the yard and I say hi.  He walks over and we chat, and I say something along the lines of "Do you care if we have The Son chop down your Poison Sumac garden?" and he says something like "Oh my gosh, it has poison sumac in it?" and I say something along the lines of "Yeah, George rubs on it and gets the oil on him, and then gives it to me.  I've got it on my chest and arms right now".  He pauses and looks at me, and says, "I'll take it down today."  I protest, because I know he wants to get to his boat, but he won't relent, and spends his day taking the stuff down.

It wasn't until later that day, as John is slaving away in the sun, that I realize I told him George gets the oil on HIM, and that I now have it all over my chest, and I know he has a visual of me rubbing my nakedness all over my oiled up Standard Poodle.

And then I wonder why the neighbors don't talk to us.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mounting My Box

So yesterday I discussed my methamphetamine-fueled redecorating which occurs when Current Husband is gone; honestly, it's why he never leaves. What he doesn't understand is that if he would leave more often, we would have a clean, kick-ass house. Reverse psychology, CH. You should learn about it.

CH and I have been in major negotiations over the past two months over my box. Specifically, my window box.


Current Husband, a 40-something man in Iowa, likes the Sci-Fi channel, Fox News. CH enjoys surfing the Internet on his iPad, weekend naps, and not getting caught in the rain. CH is anti-yard, plantings, or windowboxes. "They're too much work and it's going to rip the siding off of the side of the house."

Julie the Wife, a 40-something woman in Iowa, likes HGTV, live music, and reading. Julie enjoys hostas with porn names ("Don't Touch My Junk" is the next hosta on her list), pinot grigio in the summer, Jane Austen, and windowboxes. "They are so pretty and add cottage charm."

I'm outside in the front yard, looking at the house, glass of wine in hand, contemplative look on face. CH sees me and yells from window, "What are you thinking about doing NOW?!?" I pause.  I normally don't like to let him in on my plans until they are fully formed and halfway executed.  "I think we need a big windowbox on the front of the house.  Like the ones we saw in Martha's Vineyard, with the big, trailing flowers."  I hear a large sigh of exasperation.  "We don't need a big windowbox.  It will tear the front off of the house."  At this point, I know he is not on board yet.  I take measurements.

About a month later, we're in Home Depot getting a few items, and I leave him and go to the lumber aisle.  I select three boards and take them to the cutting table, where CH finds me.  "What are you doing?" he asks.  "I'm getting the lumber cut for the windowbox," I explain.  "So you're sure you want these cut to 110" each?" the sawing guy asks,  dubiously.  "Yes."  CH gets a little red about the face, which is sort of his natural state because he's Irish, so it's hard sometimes to tell if he's mad, sunburned, or just breathing.  "I thought we weren't doing the windowbox...that's...that's...110" is nearly 12 feet!" 

Well, duh.  The windows are nearly 12 feet long.  My wonderful cottagey windowbox must span the entire window if it's going to be in a magazine.  I just shrug at CH, because our voices are being drowned out by the sound of the tablesaw cutting into my non-returnable lumber.  "I'm not having anything to do with this thing," CH mutters while shaking his head.  "It's going to ruin our house."  No, it will make it look like it's on the Eastern seaboard.  You're welcome.

Two days later, I'm in the garage pre-drilling the holes in the lumber, which is set up on sawhorses.  CH wanders in and surveys my work.  "Your ends aren't matching."  I punch him in the junk.  I smile sweetly, show him some boob top, and say, "Can you fix it for me?"  and hand him the drill.  He spends the next hour getting the ends lined up on The Windowbox That Is Not Going On The House.  And then he fills the holes with wood putty.  Sucker.

I prime and paint The Windowbox That Is Not Going On The House.  CH is getting increasingly nervous.  "How are you putting this thing up?  I'm not kidding, it's going to rip off our siding."  I make a bargain with CH.  I will call the contractor who did our basement, and ask him to find the studs on the wall so I know I'm putting everything on properly.  CH agrees to my terms.  I call the contractor.  He's really busy, it's going to be a while.  CH leaves town for two days.  I have a drill and I know how to use it. 

My neighbors come outside drinking beer and look at my project, and they both advise me to wait for the contractor.  "You'll rip the siding off," they say.  My friend, who is normally a terrific enabler, drops off her daughter to play with Youngest Daughter, and says, "Don't do it Julie.  You're going to rip the siding off.  Wait for the contractor."  Shit.  Waiting is NOT my strong suit.  And I have two days to get the thing up before CH is home and able to tell me no.  I drink a glass of wine and think about it.  Then I drink another.  And then I decide that I am really good with power tools, and because my dad was a bricklayer I know my stuff, I move forward.

Apparently the Universe was also nervous about my plan (She'll rip the siding off), and just as I was getting the extension cord out, I got a text from the contractor.  Even though he was in a big hurry, he could squeeze me in between jobs.  He stopped by, and couldn't find the studs under the aluminum siding.  He drilled a bunch of holes, nothing.  He was getting nervous, I was getting nervous, he was getting texts from other jobs saying, "Where are you?" and finally, maybe TOO conveniently, he found all four studs and then left in a hurry.

I then drilled twelve holes in the front of my house.  They are not small holes.  Out of twelve holes, only one of them came out with wood shavings.  I started to get a little nervous.  My neighbor checked in again, and I told him only one hole had wood.  "That's not good," he said, and backed away from me nervously.  I had just ruined our house, and CH would be home in about two hours.  Could anyone quickly come over and re-side our house?  No.  No, they couldn't.  The only way to cover them up was with a windowbox.  I screwed in twelve 3" bolts, and to my intense relief, they seemed to catch into what was probably a stud.



Once those potato vines and wave petunias go crazy?  Total cottage charm.  CH pulled up from his trip to Ames, got out of the car, stood on the sidewalk for a second and then started smiling and shaking his head.  He got his suitcase and walked past me into the house, saying, "Nice windowbox."

I'm going to put this one in the victory column.