Ice Marbles via Pinterest in a Moment of Insanity

queenvannacreations

If you’ve been on Pinterest for any longer than an hour, you’ve probably seen this image. I would like to first say, you have no idea how annoying it was to try to find the original post for this idea. Even now, I can’t even be 100% this is even it, but let it be known, I tried.

I discovered a stash of balloons the other day and I decided to give this a try. Without the help of the kids, because I just don’t have that kind of patience nor am I quite that insane.

The balloons I had were “standard” size but I discovered that this means smaller than expected marbles. Cheap balloons are meant to hold air, not necessarily dense, heavy water. I’m warning you now.

I filled up the first balloon with water at the kitchen sink at our drinking water tap faucet because I figured the higher pressure would make quick work of it. The balloon’s opening did not fit tightly over the spout, it filled the balloon but wasn’t enough to expand it. The water simply overflowed back out. Since the kitchen faucet had a sprayer head, it wouldn’t fit over that so I moved into the bathroom, which had the only spout in the house that the balloon’s end would fit snugly on.

So now I’m in the bathroom with my balloons and food coloring. I used the cheap liquid drops – the kind that comes in the bottles that look like garden gnomes. You know the kind I’m talking about.

I put a couple drops of the coloring in an empty balloon and then fit the end over the tap and gently turned the water on. It expanded as I had hoped, but I didn’t try to fill it very full for fear of it exploding. I didn’t want to reuse that balloon, either, so when I turned it over to empty it, the water violently erupted and red water went everywhere! It was a mess.

After I cleaned that up, I took a new balloon, added a couple drops of the coloring and tried again. It got about the size of a very large grapefruit when I carefully removed it from the faucet and tied off the end. It is crucial to NOT fumble-finger this part unless you are outside and you don’t care about the mess. I ended up with four filled balloons, which I gingerly placed in a bucket (again, because I kept imagining one would burst) and then set it outside overnight.

2013 025

Sparring Partner said that they would end up sticking together when the latex froze, however they did not, and really? It wouldn’t have mattered if they had. This morning, I cut the balloons away and I was left with my ice marbles.

2013 026

They are not perfectly round, so don’t expect them to be if you try this. The food coloring actually settles while the water is freezing, which resulted in a more ombre affect. Don’t put the final product anywhere you don’t want stained when it melts, like your deck rail or porch or steps. Of course, I don’t care, so I did sit mine on top of the deck.

OH! And I almost forgot: there’s no need to wait until the outside temps reach and maintain freezing. Since the balloons don’t get THAT big, you could just put them in a bowl or container and put that in the freezer, especially if you have a chest or storage freezer. I would recommend you put them inside something, just in case the balloon gives way.

2013 027 2013 031 2013 042

My Brain is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There.

My son has on different occasions asked me whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. I tell him that’s a great question and that he should ask his science teacher.

But now I’m curious so I google it. A tomato is categorized with the cucumbers, pumpkins and peppers so it’s a vegetable, right? Nope. Technically, it’s a fruit. They are all fruits. If a bloom creates the end result and it has seeds (whether they are edible or not), it’s a fruit. That means cabbage and lettuce leaves and potato and carrot roots are actually vegetables, but scientifically (!) they aren’t either. Vegetable is a culinary term, not a scientific category.

Not confusing at all.

This leads me to a post I saw on Facebook about Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention (which, as my husband pointed out, has the most unfortunate acronym…), and the whole "mom-in-chief" thing as compared to Ann Romney’s speech and the "love so deep only a mother can fathom it". Sparring Partner announced they had both played the Mom Card. The continuing smack down of women-on-women continues without the short nighties and the feather pillows.

But now I’m curious so I googled it.

Who DID play the Mom Card the most?

Romney
Mom – 5
Mother – 5
Dad – 7
Father – 3
Parent – 5

Total: 25

Obama
Mom – 2
Mother – 6
Dad – 5
Father – 3
Parent – 4

Total: 20

It was interesting, but not necessarily revealing. Trivia I’ll forget by the end of the day. But, hey, why not take it a step further… I found Hillary R. Clinton’s transcript from the DNC in 1996 (before the Mommy Feuds and the War on Women):

Clinton
Mom – 1
Mother – 6
Dad – 1
Father – 1
Parent – 19

Total: 28

And then I went one step further. "FAMILY / FAMILIES"

AR – 4
MO – 13
HRC – 21

So now YOU tell ME: are the presidential candidates’ wives fruits or vegetables?

Dear IRS:

If you happen to work for the IRS, let me first apologize for how stupid I am going to tell you I think you are.

Our kids have to pay taxes because of some kind of trust, or something, their grandfather set up for them. This spring our Financial Dude (I think that’s the title on his business card) calculated that Aitch had to pay $28 in taxes for 2011. A check was filled out and attached to her return and that was supposedly that.

Then in May we received a letter from the IRS with a pay-stub enclosed asking us to pay her taxes, now with interest, to the tune of $28.11. Within a couple minutes I was able to determine that they had transposed the SS# for my daughter per the back of the cancelled check sent in April so instead of applying the check to Aitch’s account of say 111-11-1234, they used 111-11-1243. I was also able to confirm that this was an error on their part because we had copies of the returns that have 1234 on everything.

When I tried to call the IRS to explain how they are stupid, as I am sure they don’t hear enough of, I was told they couldn’t discuss the account because I am not Aitch. I tried to tell them that she was three, but because the IRS is stupid, they did not care that she was only a pre-schooler. I called the Financial Dude who said, “Seriously. The IRS is stupid and I’m not spending two hours on the phone (I was on hold for an hour) over $28.” Fair enough. So I made photocopies with a letter explaining the mistake and mailed it to the IRS.

About a month later, we received another letter and another pay stub informing us that to avoid additional late interest charges we should pay the $28 and some-odd-cents AND that they would review our information and respond within 45 days. That was in June.

Last week, we got another letter informing us that their big, giant collective heads were still reviewing and it would take another 45 days.

And I just laugh because…well, like, WOW. There’s a federal employee out there who has been paid three months salary to have a $28 tax dispute sit on his or her desk. I don’t know what an IRS employee gets paid, but I’m going to guess it’s around $7,000, minimum, a quarter. Doesn’t that make you laugh, too?

ETA: We got a letter from the IRS this week. They “found” our original payment from back in April and our 2011 taxes are settled. It took them three and half months.

Fabulousness

I’m a RSVP Nazi. I think that if I send out an invite to my kid’s party with a phone number or email to RSVP to that it’s not unreasonable to expect a response either way.

Not only am I a RSVP Nazi, I’m also a Hypocrite. Nice to meet’cha.

An acquaintance (a girl I temped with a year ago) invited us to her wedding reception. On the postcard-like invite, we were asked to RSVP on their website or their phone by a certain date. A week before their wedding, she sent me a text wondering if we were going to be there so she could get a final meal count.

I can’t believe she would have contacted everyone who hadn’t RSVP’d, can you? I thought well, maybe, she hadn’t invited that many so catching those last half dozen or so….but I’m not buying that either. If she invited me, who hasn’t seen her much less talked to her in months, she probably invited tons of other people who are much closer than we are. Unless she doesn’t have friends?

Is it weird that she text me? Would you? I’m not talking about a birthday party with ten kids, either.

She must recognize my fabulousness and wanted to make sure I was going to be there.

Yeah, that’s it. Fabulousness.

New Toy

I got a new toy for my upcoming bday and thought I would give it a test run via an app. I can’t imagine typing out a major post with my thumbs (esp since it took me 3 attempts to type “thumbs”).

But when the urge strikes I can update on the fly.

Gone

And just like that *snap*, the killdeer’s eggs were gone.

The man we hired to install a sump-pump next to my husband’s shop had no idea that his heavy equipment trailer’s width would take out the four speckled eggs. I saw the tracks in the lane as they drifted to the right, to the side where the nest was. I had coordinated the nest’s location with a large white rock and in line with the fence post several feet away. The adult killdeer, who took turn nesting and who had become so accustomed to our vehicles passing by and therefore didn’t even bother to fly away each time we passed by, were nowhere to be seen.

Even upon close inspection I could see no eggshell fragments. Nothing but gravel and rocks. Maybe they had hatched that morning before the trailer drove over their nest. Maybe.

It’s as if they were never there.

Mylar Murder

My son brought home one of the mylar balloons his teacher received for her birthday. He then tied it to some random toy and started using it like a punching bag…and then it floated up to the ceiling in our entryway.

Exciting, right?

Let’s add some details to that:

  1. The teacher’s birthday was in March.
  2. Doodicus’ ability to tie his own shoes is sub par, at best.
  3. The entryway ceiling is 18 feet high.

Unlike a latex balloon that loses its will to live within hours, this mylar balloon was in it for the long haul. I was warned by my friends on Facebook that it could take months for it to finally lose its oompf. But one of my friends threw out the words “sewing needle” and “nerf dart” and I was psyched!

"Ha ha! You can't get me!"

Warning: Do Not let your children see this!

Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?!

Ready? Aim! Fire!! (Lacking in the "Aim" department)

"I'd give you the finger...if I had any!"

Warning: Do not stand under a falling dart with a needle attached to it.

Nerf guns aren’t exactly accurate, did you know that? Wouldn’t want to depend on one out camping in the Rockies when a grizzly comes charging (because a Nerf Dart that was perfectly aimed would certainly take a charging bear out). I know I had several direct hits to the balloon, including one where the needle actually stuck in it long enough to weigh it down a couple of feet before it fell out. For whatever reason, I just expected that once I hit it, it would come right down, but it didn’t. Eventually I got bored and walked away (not before remembering to put away the needle first).

Some time later, I walked past the entryway to go into Aitch’s room and out of habit I looked up to the ceiling. No balloon. I spun around, expecting it behind me with a hypodermic needle aimed at my shoulder blades, and nothing. WTF? I looked back up again. Nope, my eyes were not deceiving me. I looked down again and finally noticed it. It had floated down and wedged itself between the loveseat the stair railing looking all tired and sad and I pouted on its faceless behalf. Awwww. Poor widdle bawwoon.

And then I did a happy dance! Victory is mine!!

Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Can Kiss My Butt

One of the perks in having my blog is knowing that when people are looking something up on the internet, there’s the ever slightest chance they could end up here. My stats show that the majority of people who end up at this blog are looking for info on Maggie Gyllenhaal’s tattoo from the movie Stranger Than Fiction. The second largest number of hits come from people looking for homemade diaper wipes.

I believe I’ve found my niche! Now to combine them into something fabulous…

So that’s why I’m going to voice my complaint with Kolbe Windows and Doors (Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork) because if I can save one soul from wasting their hard-earned money buying windows from this company, I will feel the slightest bit vindicated. I’d feel much better if Kolbe & Kolbe would replace all my windows with another company’s quality windows, specifically double-hung windows.

Our contractor convinced us that nothing else would compare to Kolbe & Kolbe. Not Anderson, Pella or Marvin windows. Silly us since who has ever heard of Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork? Not me! Have you?

Right away, we noticed the windows from Kolbe & Kolbe leaked dust. Wait, not just dust: Sand. I thought it was because we didn’t have a yard. Well, we have a nice green yard and the sand still pours in. The seals and gaskets on Kolbe & Kolbe’s windows were ineffective against the winds of the plains. Ironic since that’s where the company is based, in good old Wisconsin. For all you that get technical about where the plains are and aren’t (you know who you are), Wisconsin’s weather can’t be that much different from Nebraska’s.

Not only do they leak dust, sand, grit, dirt, debris; Kolbe & Kolbe windows whistle! Whistle is too kind of a description. The air HOWLS through the windows, scaring the bejeebus out of any person who may be asleep in the room, usually our son who gets a wonderful southerly wind that angles through the seams JUST right. I’m listening to it now, in fact!

We’ve complained formally. They sent out a Kolbe & Kolbe guy who replaced all the gaskets with larger diameter gaskets. They still leak and howl and scream. I’ve tried stuffing dimes, pennies and even nickels in the frame to “tighten” up the fancy Kolbe & Kolbe windows. Didn’t work. So I bought insulating felt and stuffed it in the windows. That hasn’t worked either.

Kolbe & Kolbe? You suck. Wait, no. Unless the wind is blowing and then there’s some weird joke in there somewhere. Thanks for bringing in a little bit of that old prairie life literally through my windows. It’s so attractive seeing it accumulating on the corners of every window. And that fine, high-pitched squeal that sounds like a bag-pipe being thrown on a bonfire? Ah, who needs peace and quiet when my daughter is napping in the afternoon or 3:15 a.m. when my son should be sleeping in his room but instead is waking me up to tell me he’s scared of the wind? Thank YOU, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork!

Little Blogger On The Prairie*

Since I moved from my old blog to this one, I have been cautious about exposing too much of my previous identification. Once burned, twice raped by those in your real life who want to be up in your biz…and all that. Now that I haven’t been around the bitches from where I worked because 1) I don’t work there anymore; and 2) Stalker took a job in The Metro and hauled her whore-ass out of town, I am once again considering welcoming other people from IRL back here, especially those I am friends with on Facebook.

And then I go back to that “once burned” thought and I rein myself in. I guess I’ll wait a little bit longer before I update my old blog with a post that I can now be found here.

Instead, I am comfortable enough to share where I blog from (no, I’m not referring to the laptop I prop on one knee while I sit in my rocking chair situated in the living room), but where geographically, which is Nebraska, US of A. I know. Most of you probably already knew that, but hey, a blogger past her prime can still dream that she can pick up a new reader now and then.

While I have found an incredible sense of camaraderie through the community of blogging, I have to admit that not having a chance to actually get together with a fellow bloggers is one of the detriments to being a blogger in a what is considered a very rural part of the country where people generally still don’t have a clue as to what a blog is! I am pea-green with envy of those of you who mention spontaneous luncheons with another blogger who lives across town. You have no idea how lucky you are.

I’ve tried at different times to find other bloggers in Nebraska. Currently, I know less than a handful who do. So I’m putting out feelers once again for people who maintain a personal blog. I’ve found a syndicated blog, Momaha.com that networks in Omaha (obviously), but only a couple of the contributors have their own blog. I’m not a big follower of community blogs for a variety of reasons, one being rather petty: the truncating of posts. I know, I know. Bloggers, especially pros, don’t want their content stolen and it gives them a more accurate way to collect stats…whatever. I don’t like it.

So I’m collecting a list of Nebraska bloggers. I’m not particular about topics, but prefer to find “personal blogs”, not “Here’s what’s going on in the Capital Building today!” or “Today’s Spring Game for the Huskers was cancelled due to a blizzard!” (which, dudes, we totally had a blizzard today complete with an accumulation of around 8″ and ice and drifts and shit!) (however, I have no idea if the game was cancelled, nor do I care). So if you know of a blogger who lives in Nebraska or you ARE a blogger in Nebraska, shout it out. I’m going to start a new page with the links. Maybe someday this will lead to a CornFab or at the minimum, a spontaneous luncheon with a fellow Nebraskan blogger.

* This is the name of an actual blog. HOWEVER, this person not only has her blog as private, but she’s in Illinois. ILLINOIS! Please. That is so not on the prairie.

Stepping Up

I’ve mentioned at different times my friend who I use to work with that also struggled with secondary infertility. She got pregnant in high-school and now has a sweet teen-ager. Several years ago, shortly after she met and married a wonderful man, they had tried to get pregnant. This is also the same friend who has a great deal of faith and while they agreed to give a few rounds of IUIs with clomid a try, they didn’t feel IVF – or any further ART – was for them for religious reasons. They then started on the path towards adoption, just completing their profile a few months ago and are officially waiting.

This friend, who we’ll call Sasha, can be quite exasperating, but what friends aren’t on occasion? We definitely don’t see eye to eye on religion, ART, or even adoption (at this point, she wants a closed adoption), but I have an unbelievable amount of admiration for her. Once pregnant at 16, she could have easily become one of the majority of single teen moms and drifted through her adulthood, but she finished school, moved out on her own with a baby, worked full-time, got a college degree and soon after her masters.

When my ex-boss was promoted, his position was left unfilled for nearly a year. Several times I would encourage Sasha to apply, but she always waved away my suggestions (and her husband’s and her other friends’) by saying she wasn’t qualified. But Sasha’s hard work within that department didn’t go unnoticed and eventually the CFO went to my former boss and told him to find out if she was interested in the management position. Finally she figured, “what the hell”, applied, interviewed and quickly became the new director of the department. I am over the moon for her, and I can’t help but be glad I no longer work there, as we would no longer be able to sit in each other’s offices and have our bullshit sessions or disappear for an hour-plus lunch.

Sasha has completed our taxes for us for the past few years. Sparring Partner and I always talk about paying her, but she refuses. I think she’s just being polite, silly woman. This year was no different even though she admitted that with her new position, she might not be able to get them done as quickly. However, true to form, she finished them as quickly as before. So this time, as not only as a way to show our appreciation for putting up with our tax issues but to congratulate her on the promotion, I am doing something for her that she wouldn’t think of doing: Getting her new shoes.

Here’s a young woman who is now in a prominent position with one of the largest employers in our town and she’s running around in shoes from Payless. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… She just doesn’t know how to reward herself so I’m going to surprise her with these:

I’m very proud and happy for Sasha, so I want to make sure her career takes off on the right foot.

I know. Bad pun. It’s the one I’ll include in her greeting card as well.

How come…

…when one has an “a-ha!” moment, some refer to it as a “watershed moment*?” When I think of a watershed, I think of an out-house.

…generic prescription medications, who often advertise right on their packing, “Compare to Tylenol Cold & Flu”, don’t voluntarily recall their product when their name brand equivalent does? I’ve compared as they suggest, and I call bullshit.

…when I get dressed to go work out, I think, “Hey! My ass doesn’t look as dimply as I thought in these capri leggings!” but when I stand in front of the wall-to-wall mirror in front of 30 other women, I think I look like a bloated raccoon stuffed in fishnet stockings?

…with all the hoopla surrounding HIPAA, when I sign the pharmacy’s log book which identifies me as a potential meth producer, I can see everybody’s name, address, driver’s license number on the same form above my little section? I don’t like that my competition can get my personal information from the same form. Those crack heads are sneaky bastards. What kind of assurance do I get that one of them won’t break into my house and steal my box of Advil?

*[Probably translation of German Wasserscheide : Wasser, water + Scheide, divide, parting.]

Dear Timbuk2 Bags

Dear Designers and R&D People of Timbuk2 Bags:

First of all, thank you for providing the protection necessary to my Kindle, which I’ve now had for two and a half years, which is impressive considering I have a son who has the ability to destroy anything within reach of his Nerf guns, Legos, battling Bakugans and Beyblades. Also, within that time I have raised a girl from babyhood to toddlerdom in the same household without Kindle Incidents.

However.

I hate that everytime I have to take my Kindle out or return my Kindle to your envelope sleeve specifically designed for the Kindle, I scrape my knuckles on the hook strip of the hook-and-loop closure.

Why can’t you reverse the hook-and-loop closure so that the loops are on the flap? That way when I have a hold of my sweet Kindle, my delicate and lady-like knuckles will no longer scrape unpleasantly across the flap as I remove/return it and cause me to wince each and every time. Reading my Kindle is a joy. Retrieving it from the safety of your bag is not.

A simple change and one that will make us Timbuk2 users for life.

Yours,

Scraped and Bleeding But Would Rather Not

Little Annoyances

Yes, I’m blowing off the Photo Ops. It’s called “procrastination”. Get use to it.

Tailor Wannabe?

My husband noticed that I had “fabric glue” written and struck through on the grocery list, because during one of my errands I picked up a bottle. Sparring partner asked what kind I got and I just looked at him stupefied. “Uh, the kind that glues…fabric…?” As if he knows anything about fabric glue.

Related:

I used the fabric glue to adhere some fleur di lis patches to the back of my daughter’s jeans, which were initially very plain. To ensure good adhesion and to keep them flat, I grabbed a concrete paver from the front deck to lay on the jeans while the glue dried. I finished my project and hung up the jeans and set aside the brick. Sparring Partner asked why it was in the closet of the bedroom. I explained. Are you going to take it back outside? he asked. If it bothers you, take it out now. I responded. Hurumph was his reply. I just walked past the closet. The brick is still sitting there. Apparently it bothers him enough to roll his eyes at me but not so much to take care of it himself.

GAH!-la

My ex-employer has an annual fund-raiser. It’s a hoity-toity affair. During my employment I did attend a couple of times. Since I’m no longer employed there, I don’t go. Obviously. My SIL works there so she’s always getting FIL involved with contributions. He asked Sparring Partner if we want to go to the fundraiser and my this was husband’s response, “Not just no….”

I “contributed” ten years of my life there for what?? Did I ever tell you how my ex-boss emailed me while I was on maternity leave “strongly urging” me to make sure I contribute to the expansion project?! I did and was fired a month later. If that wasn’t enough, when the stalking co-worker gave my ex-boss a sob story about her empty pockets, he contributed in HER name. Oh boo-hoo, bitch. So, yeah, no. Thanks for the offer, but we won’t be going to the gah-la.