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!

NIAW – Repressed

A high-school friend of Sparring Partner’s and her husband came to visit us over the weekend. We don’t hear from them often as she’s often jet-setting around the globe, but a few weeks ago during a long phone conversation she admitted to SP that they had gone to our very own reproductive endocrinologist for a donor egg cycle as well as an attempt at a subsequent frozen embryo transfer. She did not get pregnant. Dee (let’s call her Dee, shall we?) asked if at a later date she could pick my brain about it, and of course I’m always up for a good brain-picking.

While they were visiting the topic did turn to infertility and going through treatments. We compared notes and swapped horror stories about progesterone in oil (PIO) shots. I shared the time I had hit a vein (or something) with the needle and blood shot out of the hole on my ass; she shared how she had to have an infected subcutaneous mass, which was most likely due to her PIO shots, surgically removed from her ass. She won that “Which Sucks More” contest. We went on to compare costs, the number of eggs retrieved and transferred, protocol, etc., etc. Dee and her husband are now considering adoption and overseas surrogacy.

After they left, Sparring Partner told me that our conversation had brought up a lot of unpleasant memories for him. Things he admits he had forgotten about. Was glad to have forgotten. I can’t say I blame him.

These are not things I think about every day. Not any more, and for that you have no idea how relieved we both are. My life revolved around infertility and miscarriages from November 2004 until July 2008, just a little over four years. For some, a very short time; for others? An unimaginable waste of time and energy. Reading posts from my old blog always brings back very painful memories. Some so painful, I wonder how in the world could I have forgotten them until the moment I read those words again. Forgotten is probably not the best word for it: Repressed is more accurate, don’t you think?

I read very few infertility blogs now. When my friend Serenity wrote about an anonymous commenter suggesting she should be happy with what she’s already got (paraphrased in regards to secondary infertility (SIF)), I got my rage on. I remember tackling that topic so many times and reading her words once again brought out all those feelings I had repressed. I dug again in my archives and stumbled into one of my posts that actually was never published on my blog, but through a blog that no longer exists, created by Dawn Friedman. To create the link, I have now published it on my old blog (which if you still have in your reader, you’ve already seen). I would really love for you to go read it as I think it’s one of my better posts when it comes to SIF.

Dee’s visit coincided with this week being National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), April 24 – 30, 2011. I don’t advocate myself as much as I use to when it comes to infertility, and in many ways I regret that because the camaraderie and support from my fellow IF bloggers was (and still is!) second to none. However, at some point, I’ve both consciously and subconsciously made decisions that distance myself in order to protect what is left of my sanity. New worries and concerns (a son with ADHD and possibly ODD) (cancer) (eventually a child who needs to know her donor story) replace what has been archived. But I will always – ALWAYS – make myself available for questions, conversations, and debate when it comes to infertility and miscarriage issues.

I am grateful that I don’t have to deal with infertility issues every day like I did in the “good ole’ days”, but I am more grateful that when they do come up, I can offer a shoulder, words of encouragement, and most importantly when it comes to infertility – an ear to just listen.

Never Worse Than Never Ever Again?

(From the Archives: Another Child)

I read that line on a blog several days ago and I haven’t been able to shake it out of my head since. Its simplicity is what I think twists me up inside even though initially I nodded my head in somber agreement.

How could I agree when I don’t have anything to make the judgement on? Mr. DD and I never experienced the “Never”, and I can’t help but wonder how differently things would be for us now if we had started on the wrong side of the statistics.

We would have been better prepared by consciously making the decision almost immediately as to what to do when we’re ready the next time. Instead we waited with our eyes shut thinking a subsequent pregnancy would happen the way it did the first time. Ironically, it did, but nothing could have prepared us for the first of three miscarriages. No one can ever be prepared regardless of the number of times it happens.

After the first miscarriage, we had to “do” a minimum six month of trying naturally, which does nothing but stress one out and it’s not fair that most physicians won’t offer a referral until you do. In our most recent cycle, I’ve learned that the now 24 months that have passed since then, waiting and trying have not increased our chances of getting and staying pregnant. I found out the hard way that in just 12 months, my ovarian reserve has pretty much dried up.

And what knocks me on my ass is that we are now experiencing the Never Again possibility without warning.

So here’s a question: is there really Secondary Infertility when there was already Primary? With Primary you already know that the next time ART will more than likely be involved. You know the lingo; you know the odds; and maybe PIF has even given you the good fortune (in relationship to the whole shitty process) of having frozen embryos awaiting you.

In an email exchange I had with someone, my eyes were opened to the idea that there is no SIF if there is PIF. I don’t mean necessarily that the second child can come easier to the IF who desires child no.2, I just mean that SIF have their “eyes wide open” to what is to come. They may even know from the moment their first child is born that they are done. They’ve accepted it and have the peace that can comes with time and having a new baby in their arms. How many times have you heard a PIF hope that they have twins the first time around and know that their family will be complete?

Here’s something that came directly from my email exchange:

“When you go straight to ART for #2, this is not experiencing SIF. That’s not hearing ‘only’ one child for a few years, that’s not your child begging for a sibling, that’s not being the only only in a classroom and being told that your time is easier/looser etc b/c you only have one.”

Another question: how can there be Secondary Infertility when there wasn’t primary? I would like someone to explain to me how Infertility has become Secondary. Secondary to what?

Even more difficult when it comes to our Secondary Infertilty diagnosis is feeling like you are squelching your spouse’s hopes that you could possibly conceive without ART. Yes, it’s possible, but highly unlikely. My husband has repeatedly told me that he feels like I’ve “written him off” (because our IF’s main cause is MF, but not the only factor). If we had had Primary, we wouldn’t have the late-night crying and under-our-breath hissed discussions that we’ve done it before without a doctor’s assistance, we can do it again. We would just be trying to figure out what are the next steps we should take in ART that have the quickest and most desirable outcome.

For me, I can only speculate that we never would have had to do the two failed IVFs which strapped us emotionally and financially. If we had had PIF, the use of donor might have been accepted without a blink of an eye – maybe not the first time, but more so the secondy time – and possibly the only heated discussion we might have had was should the donor be Irish/German or Irish/Irish decent.

Secondary Infertility is a misnomer and leads to so many misconceptions and unfounded bias. Do you think the couple who had PIF who find themselves surprisingly pregnant naturally a second time now consider themselves Fertile? I would love to see someone admit to that. So why should I now consider myself SIF when there was never PIF. And here’s even a further leap: why should I consider myself SIF when maybe we were never “fertile”? Maybe we just got lucky the first time, and then found out the hard way that we are actually Infertile.

Johari

I participated in the Johari Window, which was invented in the 50s. I selected five adjectives and then asked my friends to pick five or six that describe me. The left column represents those adjectives I selected (in Arena and Facade), but Facade’s window shows “introverted”. It was the the one adjective no one but me used to describe myself.

The right column represents the adjectives I didn’t chose. My friends selected the ones in Blind Spot’s window.

In many ways, I wish I was the person in the Unknown window.

Arena

(known to self and others)

complex, independent, tense, witty

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, adaptable, bold, brave, caring, clever, confident, energetic, friendly, intelligent, kind, loving, nervous, observant, organised, searching, self-assertive, self-conscious, sensible, silly, trustworthy, warm, wise

Façade

(known only to self)

introverted

Unknown

(known to nobody)

accepting, calm, cheerful, dependable, dignified, extroverted, giving, happy, helpful, idealistic, ingenious, knowledgeable, logical, mature, modest, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, reflective, relaxed, religious, responsive, sentimental, shy, spontaneous, sympathetic

Dominant Traits

66% of people agree that yoyomama is witty

All Percentages

able (25%) accepting (0%) adaptable (25%) bold (25%) brave (8%) calm (0%) caring (33%) cheerful (0%) clever (50%) complex (50%) confident (8%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (8%) extroverted (0%) friendly (8%) giving (0%) happy (0%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (25%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (41%) introverted (0%) kind (16%) knowledgeable (0%) logical (0%) loving (16%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (8%) observant (16%) organised (8%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (0%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (8%) self-assertive (25%) self-conscious (8%) sensible (8%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (25%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (8%) trustworthy (8%) warm (16%) wise (8%) witty (66%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 26.4.2011, using data from xx respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window.

The Royal Pain-in-the-Asses

Monday, normally the most derided day of the week, has been a godsend. It meant the end of the weekend. It wasn’t because of one major incident, but an accumulation of lowlights, only beginning Saturday afternoon when we all rushed out the door early to make it to Easter Mass at 5:30. We had dressed up and had sufficiently prepared Aitch’s diaper bag for the hour-and-a-half (minimum) we’d be sitting/standing/kneeling. I wasn’t screaming for everyone to hurry out the door.

When we pulled around the corner, I had a flashback to the prior year: we had arrived for an Easter Mass that wasn’t taking place. They preferred that the congregation make Sunday’s Mass since that is actually Easter so there was only one scheduled for Saturday. At 8:45 p.m. I’m sure the kids would be angels that late in evening. Apparently we have inadvertently started our own Easter tradition. Take note for next year.

When we got home, I changed and made a last-minute dash to WalMart for the kids’ Easter baskets. I was returning to my car after getting some things and saw a POS car with two adults in the front and a toddler standing between the bucket-seats as they drove through the parking lot. Coincidentally, they parked at the end of the row I was exiting and I watched them exit their car and walk towards the store. I parked next to their car and left this note on their windshield:

“Cute little boy you have. I hope you never have to watch him crash through your windshield because you are too lazy/high/selfish to buckle him in a carseat.”

I am unapologetic in my judgment.

The highlight of my weekend was later that night when I enjoyed a couple of beers with some friends we hadn’t seen in years. I climbed into bed right before 2:00 a.m., right after I prepared baskets and hid eggs filled with treats. I forgot to mention that I had found out early Saturday that one of my siblings wasn’t coming up for Easter. That’ll be important to note.

Sunday started way too early. Doodicus was up before 6:00 and scoping out where all the eggs were hidden. So by the time Aitch got up an hour later, he ran through the house picking up ALL the eggs leaving his baby sister in the dust. Luckily she didn’t care once she discovered there was candy in the egg she HAD found. My husband had to be nagged out of bed. Within two hours of waking, he was snoring on the couch.

I was chilling out as well, checking out Facebook while the kids gorged themselves on chocolate and taffy. I went to wish an IRL friend happy birthday and happened to notice that the Friends In Common looked off: My SIL and her daughter, who I had bravely accepted as FB friends months ago, were not pictured. They had conspired to unfriend me at the same time and within the preceding 24 hours of me noticing.

Sparring Partner suggested that they figured there wasn’t any dirt to get from my updates so they dumped me. I hope that’s true since I had my filters set up to not be visible to the people I knew in real life. However, Facebook has let me down before. I’m still undecided as to whether I will confront either of them. I know that ultimately, I shouldn’t care. They made their decision and raising a stink isn’t going to help anything except to satisfy my selfish curiosity. I didn’t take it all lying down though: I blocked her, her kids, and her husband from being able to even see me on FB as well as deleted all the tags I had on the photos of her grandkids from my albums so they will no longer show up in their photos. I’m Queen of the passive-aggressive.

And finally, SIL was hosting Easter lunch at her home but we hadn’t heard what time to be there, so my SP called and was surprised to hear, “In 15 minutes.” Why didn’t anyone tell us? he asked. “Yo-yo Mama said you were having Easter with her family.” Now that was true up until I found out my sister wasn’t going to be able to come up. I guess it was my failure to inform her and I felt like a schmuck. Unfortunately, the timing coincided with Aitch just going down for a nap and Doodicus didn’t want to go. So SP went by himself. I was actually relieved.

Apparently, I’m the Queen of Passive-Aggressive.

And Aitch is Princess Star Wars:

And Doodicus is our silly Jester:

Details on Aitch’s Cabinet

As most of you know, because I couldn’t help but brag about it on Facebook and Twitter, my little redo was featured on Better After. I haven’t been linked to by a big name blog in years, so my head blew up the size of an advertising dirigible. I can’t wait to finish another project just to see if I can get a repeat performance. POWER! GIVE ME POWWWWERRRR!!

*ahem*

I couldn’t help but go back to Lindsey’s (yeah, I’m cool. We’re on a first name basis (even though it’s right there on the blog.).) (Of course, that’s the only name she gave me, and I voluntarily gave her mine because she asked.) blog each day to read the comments, which I was relieved to find that they thought I had done a great job. But with all 15 Minutes-of-Famers, there’s always one of those in every crowd: one commenter thought I had basically devalued the piece, which across the seas is worth billions of dollars and now no one else will want it since the color scheme is so personalized…I paraphrase for drama.

Call me crazy, but that was the whole point of redoing it. It had no personality. I have no intention of turning around and selling it. It’s for my home. In 50 years when I’m worm food, my kids can throw it on a bonfire and curse my lack of good taste. And if I gave you a dollar for each of those 50 years, that’s how much I had paid for it 10 years ago…so OK, 83 cents a year – rounded down.

I was also asked by some amazing people about the details of the project, so if the rest of you want to get caught up on your bloglines or reader, uh, you may go now.

After following some links from Better After to other beautiful redos, I happened upon a product that often gets referred to as “liquid sandpaper”. Wil-bond was the brand-name tossed around the most by the other bloggers. I checked several local stores for some, including ACE Hardware, Bomgaars and a personal building supplier but no one had Wil-bond so I just bought their brand, which was labeled as a deglosser.

I followed the instructions on the container by cleaning the entire cabinet, which led me to finding an old spider nest and cat hair still stuck to it from before we moved. Once the alloted time passed (there’s a suggested window of time for when it’s best to add the new color, and that means don’t start deglossing at 10:00 p.m. and think you can then add the color the next day. Nope, for best results, an hour. Plan ahead.), I put the first light coat of quick-dry spray paint on. In this case, I did not use a primer. After adding two more light coats of color, I dragged it back into the garage and let it completely dry overnight.

My inspiration for the base color was the fabric itself. I found the duck cloth at Hobby Lobby. The weight is between a percale and upholstery fabric so it had body without too much heft. Specifically, this fabric was called “Owl Lelujah Floral” (#750331). I measured each side of the drawer for the panels and then cut a matching panel from the thinnest foam board I could find at Hobby Lobby (which is where I picked up the paint and fabric). I sorted the front panels out because I wanted them to be padded.

To pad the panels, I just used spray adhesive on the foam board and the batting (the kind used for quilts as it comes it “sheets” and was easier to work with for this kind of application). Once that was done, I cut out enough fabric to cover each panel as well as plenty to overlap to the back, which is where I did something that most professional furniture redo-ers would probably find sacrilegious: once the fabric was folded to the back, I hot-glued it. Not only that, but I have to confess that’s how I attached the fabric-covered panels to the weaved panels of the drawers.

I’m a HEATHEN!!

For the side panels, I used spray adhesive again and applied it to the fabric and foam board because it would provide a smooth finish. Now to defend my use of the evil hot glue, I did try removing the wood trim that was between the weaved panel and the drawer frame. Unfortunately, those bad babies were glued on using kryptonite and unicorn snot. Nothing was getting those suckers off, not without breaking the trim and ruining the whole project.

The top of the piece was finished off similarly to the sides, just larger. I guessed at the amount of fabric I would need so I think I bought two yards and when done, there was about an 18″ square left, if that.

I adored the colors and patterns of the other duck canvas that Hobby Lobby had in stock. I found one in particular that I would love to use on the second cabinet that is sitting in my dining room (which as of right now has a small cookie sheet pan sitting on top of it so my plant that is sitting on top of THAT doesn’t leak all over it) (and that was decorated with a permanent marker by my son, so yeah…it looks REAL classy!), but Amie offered an excellent suggestion in leaving the weave texture. I’m seriously considering it since it would save me a buttload of time and I wouldn’t have to use hot glue. Maybe a deep, glossy red?

I don’t know. What do YOU think? And yes, that is where it would go: next to that other incomplete project from years ago…