Friday, February 26, 2016

Five Willy Nilly Friday Fragments #3

It's Friday Fragments time! A chance to share the silly little snippets from the week, all in one post.

1.  Camping

Camping T-shirt. I don't drink when I'm camping. Oh wait. Yes I do!
My sister-in-law shared this with me on Facebook and I loved it! There's more here, many of them relating to crafting and sewing.
If you've been reading this blog for a few years, you know how I love camping. I blogged about every camping trip our family has taken the last few years, most notably about the time my sister nearly burned down our campsite (comics included).

Lucky you.

I'm happy to say that we've reserved our spots for this year's trip, near Rock Creek Lake in California. There's bears in this area, which is something we haven't encountered before, so it should be interesting.

I'm a little concerned because Mr. Wonderful is a snacker and will likely sneak food into the tent. If I stop blogging sometime in June, you can go ahead and assume I've been eaten by a bear.

2.  National Margarita Day

National Margarita Day! Margaritas and chips and salsa.

Monday was National Margarita Day and I don't know who thinks these things up but it's about dang time someone declared a day to celebrate margaritas!

3.  Free Images

Two pigs wearing birthday hats in dessert.
I think they're looking for the margaritas.
I don't remember how I found her, but Rebecca over at Best Blogging Business wrote a great post with several links to free image sites. You can use the images without attribution, even for commercial use (check the disclosures on the site to be sure). My favorite is Gratisography, which has some really unique images like this one. I mean really...who puts birthday hats on pigs? If you're looking for a source for free images, check out the link.

4.  Perplexed Hubby

I have a habit of stashing things in my purse or pocket and then unloading them on the nearest surface. I was at my sister's and she gave me a box of disposable gloves she had bought, not realizing they were latex (she's allergic). That same day I was outside and found a drill bit laying in the rocks near our front door. I put both items on my nightstand, intending to put them away later.

My husband noticed them.

George Clooney GIF where he's looking perplexed and doing a double take.

"Why do you have latex gloves and a drill bit on your nightstand?? What the hell do you do to me in my sleep??"


5. Christoper Walken

Have you seen the Kia commercial with Christopher Walken? This thing just cracks me up every time I see it. First, the pun. Then the last 3 seconds. DYING.

Linking up with Five on Friday and Friday Fragments this week.

May your weekend be full of margaritas, latex, and George Clooney (or the equivalent of).


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fast 'N Easy Turkey Chili Recipe

What's better than a nice hot bowl of chili, covered in cheese and onions with a big dollop of sour cream on top?

In honor of National Chili Day (and who thinks these things up?) I thought I'd share with you my favorite chili recipe.

Make this delicious, fast and easy chili with either turkey or beef. The secret ingredient makes it fabulous, either way!

It's my favorite because it's super delicious and more importantly, super easy. On work days I try to either put something in my Crockpot in the morning or plan something really simple that I'll have the energy to make when I get home. Because who wants to stand at the stove for two hours when they come home from work?

I made this earlier in the week and was sipping on wine while it bubbled on the stove in fifteen minutes flat.

Now if only I had a minion to do the dishes.

I have to confess, I can't take all the credit for its deliciousness. The secret ingredient actually came from my cousin. My fun, flamboyant cousin. She's also my fashion adviser, but she moved to Kentucky recently so I'm a little lost in that department right now.

But back to the chili.

About fifteen years ago we had a costume party at our house and my cousin brought over chili for everyone. My husband was the first one to taste it and declared it "Fracking good!"

He may have used an expletive that sounds like fracking, but I'm trying to keep this post family friendly.

Anyway...I watched my cousin make her fracking good chili and do you know what the secret ingredient was?

Fast and easy turkey chili recipe that can be made with turkey or beef. So easy and delicious it will be your go-to easy dinner recipe.
Pin it to try on your next chili night!

Taco seasoning.

How easy is that?

Ever since then, I make my chili with taco seasoning and my husband still loves it. It's his second favorite dish I make, after beef stew.

I use mild taco seasoning but if you like it spicier, use medium or hot. If you don't like the packaged seasonings and want to make your own, there's a good taco seasoning recipe here.

The last few years I've substituted turkey meat for the ground beef, to save a bit on calories and fat, and it's just as delicious. You can still make this recipe with ground beef though, if you prefer.

I use canned tomatoes with no salt and low-sodium kidney beans, so if you use the regular variety, adjust the amount of salt to taste.

Fast and easy turkey chili cooks in 30 minutes and is so delicious it will be your favorite chili recipe!


1 pound ground turkey or beef
2 - 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (salt free, see note above)
2 - 15 ounce cans low-sodium light or dark red kidney beans (drained)
1 small bell pepper, chopped small (1/2 cup or so. I use green, but any kind is fine)
1 small onion, chopped small (1/2 - 3/4 cup, use less if you're not an onion fan)
1 packet mild taco seasoning mix, any brand (1.25 ounces or 2-1/4 tablespoons)
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt (see note above if using salted canned tomatoes)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like it hotter)

Brown the meat in a stew pot till no longer pink. Drain fat. Add onions and bell pepper and saute on medium heat for three or four minutes, stirring often. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Serves about 6 (good sized portions).

Garnish with shredded cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, and crunched up corn chips or tortilla chips. You know those broken chips and crumbs left in the bottom of the bag? Those are perfect. Or, do like my husband and stick with saltines.

If you try it, come back and leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it.

So how are you celebrating National Chili Day?

Linking up with Mama Kat's Workshop this week for the prompt: Share a chili recipe

Monday, February 22, 2016

Amelia Bedelia, Mr. Great-Ass, and the Wino

I just realized how much that title sounds like a porn movie.

My sister is a very capable woman. I've mentioned before how we call her Amelia Bedelia because if there is any household project she wants to tackle, she googles it and just does it herself.

This works out well because her husband isn't much of a handyman. He has a great ass though, so there's that.

You can't stop a woman ready to tackle a household project no matter how cute your arse is.

This weekend however, she decided she needed a little help to install a bigger doggie door in her wall because her dog, Buddy, suddenly won't go through the old one.

She asked my hubby to help her.

I may have mentioned a time or two how my husband doesn't care much for yard or household projects, but he couldn't say no to my sister because she's always there for us. When we moved, she helped me unpack and when that awesome house party that we weren't invited to happened at our old house, she was there with her boombox and rags to help us clean up.

So of course, the hubs said he'd help her with the doggie door.

Apparently though, my sister didn't clear the whole process with Mr. Great Ass, who wasn't keen on the idea of having a hole in the wall big enough for a small man to crawl through.

I can't say I blame him, but when it comes to a choice between her pets and her man, my sister has always made known that her man would get dogged, no matter how cute his hind quarters are.

She and Fred were crouched on the patio, examining the existing doggie door and trying to figure out how to make the hole in the wall bigger to accommodate a larger one.

My sister starts a whispered conversation with my hubby:

My sister (whispering): I just think I really need to do this to make it easier for Buddy.
My hubby (picking up on the fact that Mr. Great-Ass might not be on board): And I assume you had a family meeting and all are in agreement to this?
My sister (still whispering): I AM the family.
My hubby: Then why are we whispering?

Despite Mr. Great Ass's misgivings, the door was going in. While my hubby and sister, and my brother (who stopped by to see how things were going and ended up down on the floor, sawing into the wall, much to his dismay) were working on the hole in the wall, I was helping...

By sitting on the nearest chair having a glass of wine. Or two.

Quote about Alcohol and storytelling. Every good story should start with some wine.

I may or may not have posted video of a home birth to my eldest daughter's Facebook page. And a video of a horse giving birth on my own page.

My daughter's face when she sees my post. This is why she fled to India. (Source)

In my defense, I had just returned from a bridal shower in our old neighborhood. My daughter's good friend, whom we met after moving to the neighborhood and have known for thirteen years now, is getting married in April.

I was feeling a little melancholy about how time marches on and things change and kids grow up - you know how it is, right? And my own two girls being away from home didn't help either. Plus, I drove by our old house for the first time in three months and that just added to my melancholy.

Throw in the wine and you've got a real menopausal nostalgia-fest going on.

And now my daughter's Facebook friends probably think she's pregnant. Meanwhile, she's in India with sketchy Internet access and has no idea whatsoever.


Sorry hon.

Don't ask me what a horse giving birth had to do with any of this.

So that was my weekend, how was yours?

P.S. Linking up with Mingle Monday today! Hop over and check out the other posts if you can.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Five Willy Nilly Friday Fragment Things

Do you ever feel like your life is just one big blur of damn, it's Monday already and oh yay, it's Friday finally?

Me too.

Now that's out of the way, how about we just share five willy nilly friday fragments?

1.  Did you know February 18 was National Drink Wine Day? In honor of that, this made me smile:

I'm having fruit salad for dinner. Ok, it's fermented grapes. Ok, I'm having wine for dinner.
Source (It's actually all over the Internet, but this link is as good as any)
2.  My husband comes up with the funniest sayings:

My husband's funny sayings. Dance like no one's laughing.

If you saw either of us dance, you'd completely understand.

3.  My dog Lucy lives to eat. This is her putting on her cute face to try to get a bite:

Adorable chihuahua begging for food face.

4.  I used to love watching the birds on our bird feeder. So much so that it inspired this:
(Click the 4 arrow thingy in the lower right corner to make it bigger)

And my husband wonders why I don't get the laundry and housework done when I'm only working part time.

Linking up with Five on FridayWilly Nilly Friday, and Friday Fragments today.

A big Happy Anniversary to Amy, at Love Made My Home, who hosts the Five on Friday event each week. She's been doing it for one year now and it's a lovely link up with a sweet hostess. I'm so glad I found her. If you need a fun link up to do on a Friday, go check her out!

I had to put number five at the very end of the post because the video wouldn't let me post anything after it and I didn't realize it till after this thing went live.

5.  My fifth thing is to wish everyone a relaxing weekend. As relaxing as these guys:

Most Adorable Pictures
Posted by Most Adorable Pictures on Wednesday, February 10, 201

Whined and Dined - Writer's Workshop

When I asked Mr. Wonderful what he wanted to do for Valentine's Day, he said he just wanted a romantic dinner for two at home.

I call this "Whined and Dined."
That isn't exactly what I had in mind.

He posted a similar picture on Facebook with the caption, "A perfect Valentine's dinner with the apple of my eye...and my wife was there too."

Nice. Glad I slaved over that manicotti for him.

It's okay. I'm used to being second fiddle to his dog. I've grown to have a sense of humor about it.

(To see the whole comic, click on the little four arrow thingy in the lower right corner.)

Linking up with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop for the prompt: Share a photo that captures your special Valentine.

Or it could also be the prompt: Share something your significant other said or did that made you want to roll your eyes sarcastically smile.

Or it could be the prompt: February 18th is National Drink Wine Day - how do you like your wine?

To which my answer is: I like it just fine, as can be seen by the 9847563 posts on this blog where I mention it.

Always Wine-ing,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How I Gave my Home Office a Makeover with Washi Tape

This weekend, I discovered the wonder that is Washi tape.

I'd only recently heard about it from Pinterest and blogs here and there. I gathered it was tape with designs on it and you could do stuff with it and I was mildly intrigued, but not enough to run out and get some.

Until I decided my desk needed a little makeover.

Transform your work space with just Washi tape.

My desk in my home office/craft room/gym/library (all of about 90 sq. ft.) is a plain brown desk and most of my desk accessories equally plain. I decided since I was trying to blog more and work on an online business, that I needed to make my work space less boring and more inspiring.

But I also didn't want to go out and buy all new desk accessories because that's just more stuff I'll have to get rid of when the day comes that we can finally pull up roots and hit the road in our travel trailer (the one we don't own yet, but ya gotta think ahead).

So I thought I'd just give a couple of the most boring accessories a little makeover and Washi tape seemed to fit the bill.

I had in my head that I wanted to go with pink, gold, and black. I had a few accessories in the room that were black and gold and I just love me some pink.

Now I needed to find some Washi tape. The hubs and I had errands to do, so I tried Walmart first. Mr. Wonderful suggested we look in the laundry soap aisle.

"It's not Wash-ING tape, its Wash-I tape," I told him.

"What's a Washi?" he said.

"I have no idea. I think it's Japanese."

"I think you're making this up," he said, then wandered over to the snack aisle.

I was disappointed in Walmart as they had like 4 rolls to choose from. No black, no pink, no gold.

We tried Hobby Lobby next. I gotta hand it to the hubs, by the way. He actually seemed to enjoy strolling through Hobby Lobby. He was intrigued with the miniature fairy garden stuff because he said they looked like Hobbit holes.

But alas, no decent selection of Washi tape. What the heck?? I thought this stuff was really popular.

The next day I ran to Michael's. I thought surely Michael's would have it. And there it was.

Washi tape selection at Michael's craft store.
I think I heard angels singing.
I was in Washi tape heaven.

Two hours later, I had picked out some tape. I headed home to start my project.

It was pretty straight forward. I wanted to jazz up this...
Boring black desk tray before covering it in Washi tape.
Boring desk tray
And this...
Three tiered Desk storage container before covering it with Washi tape.
Boring (and dusty) paper clip and miscellaneous stuff holder
Using nothing but that:

Washi tape, ribbon and scrapbook trim supplies.
Washi tape I bought, plus some ribbon and scrapbook trims I already had
Anyone get the Apollo 13 reference? When the NASA team had to get a square oxygen cartridge for the module to fit into the round hole for the LEM and the guy dumps a bunch of stuff on the table and says, "...We gotta find a way to make THIS fit into the hole for THIS, using nothing but THAT."

No? Okay, moving on.

How to improve your work space with Washi Tape.

I found the Washi tape to be pretty easy to work with. Here's a few tips I learned while using it:

1.  It works best on smooth surfaces, which both of my objects were. I cleaned the surfaces and wiped them down with alcohol and dried them to make sure the tape would stick.

2.  The more transparent tapes look better when you don't overlap the tape. Washi tape is thin and a little transparent anyway, but the lighter colors are even more so.

3.  Try to line up the design on the tape so it's consistent. You'll see what I mean I show you the "After" picture. One section of the box is not lined up and you can see the difference.

4.  I had read that the Washi tape made for scrapbooking is not as sticky as other kinds, but I found it to be sticky enough. I had put a little glue on the end of the first strip, thinking I would need it, but that just made a mess and didn't help at all. I didn't use any glue and it stuck just fine. I used Recollections brand.

5.  Washi tape can be re-positioned, which makes it super easy to work with. If you realize it's not straight, just peel it up and give it another go.

6.  If you're using the kind that has a peel-off backing, I found it works better to pre-cut the tape, cutting it a little longer than you need. Then peel the backing and apply the tape where you want it. Use an Exacto knife to cut off any excess once the tape is down.

7.  If you're using the kind without a peel-off backing, I just applied the tape straight off the roll, not cutting it first. After it was down, I used scissors to cut it off the roll, leaving some excess. Then I trimmed the excess more exactly with the Exacto knife.

Here's the finished tray:

Desk tray after transforming it with Washi tape.

I used a strip of Scrapbook trim on the back. Notice I didn't cover the whole tray, just the parts that would show when it's sitting on my desk.

For the box, each tier of the box took three pieces of tape. I started with the bottom of the bottom tier, and wrapped the tape all the way around, right off the roll, then cut it. I overlapped the first and last corner a little bit to make sure the tape wouldn't peel up on the corners. I did this three times, so that the bottom tier was all covered.

In retrospect, I should have lined up the design on the bottom tier. You can see it's a little funky in the picture. I suppose I could have unwrapped and rewrapped it, but I didn't feel like it and didn't have time. I figured it was a "now you know" kind of thing.

Also, I should have cut the top strip on the bottom tier lengthwise, so that it didn't overlap the middle strip of tape. Since it was thin, you can see the overlapping. Oh well. You can learn from my mistake.

Here's how the box turned out:

Use Washi Tape to transform a boring desk container into a pretty desk accessory.

I maybe should have stuck to just two designs of tape, or maybe one design with gold trim around the top and bottom of the tiers, but I got a little carried away. What can I say, I like variety.

Both pieces took about an hour, total, to finish. And I have a cuter workspace that makes me smile when I see it.

Transform you work space using Washi tape and making a few simple changes.
And yes, I see the irony in the fact that the sign says Focus but the picture is blurry.
I had the decorative bottle in the kitchen and never used it. I added a bit of ribbon and a sprig of flowers I picked up at Michael's, and voila! Cute vase. The chalkboard I got from Home Goods, courtesy of a gift card a friend at work had given me.
Make a few simple changes to your work space to really jazz it up.
I love my new pink folders too. 
The tray used to be a catch-all with scraps of paper, notes, and whatever else thrown in it. I bought some cute colored folders and organized the notes and things I needed to keep. So now the tray is my inbox where I put the mail before I open it. I feel so organized!

My pen holder is a mason jar tied with a ribbon to match the one on the flower bottle. 

So there you have it. My Washi tape weekend. 

My husband thought I was crazy. As I'm sitting at the kitchen table, painstakingly trying to line up the tape around the box, he says, "You know, this is what tweakers do."

"They do?" I said.

"Yup. And you should have lined up the dots on the bottom tier of the box."

"I know but I'm not going to. Just to prove I'm not a tweaker."

Tweaking with Washi tape,

P.S. Linking up with Haley's Laugh Learn linkup today, where it's all about things related to home and family. And to Sew Crafty Angel for her Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party. Please go check out the other posts and link up if you like!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Five Willy Nilly Friday Fragments

What better way to celebrate Friday then to share some Friday fragments with y'all? Five, to be exact, because I'm linking up with Five on Friday and Willy Nilly Friday, as well as my old favorite Friday Fragments this week. Hence, the post title.

1. The Adventures of Dog Walking

Walking the dogs

I've been trying to walk my dogs everyday and I'm not sure who's taking who for a walk. First, getting out the door is like a scene from Laurel and Hardy, with all three of them trying to squeeze through the  screen door at the same time. They all go tumbling out, dragging me behind them.

Then there's the fun of getting their leashes all tangled up. I'm constantly twirling around as we're walking, trying to unwrap myself. As if the neighbors don't think we're weird enough.

And finally, there's the fun of carrying a bag of dog poo with me because at least one (and usually more) of them has to do their biznus in someone else's yard and I get to scoop it up and carry it home. Gives a whole new meaning to the word "doggie bag."

2. Clever Hubby

I told my husband to tuck something on a shelf. He asked if I was telling him to go tuck his shelf.

This was a real conversation between me and Fred. He just cracks me up.

3. Poor Dead Kitty

Ashes of our kitty, Clifford.

I picked up Clifford's ashes last week. I was okay until I saw the little tuft of fur they give you. Dang, it's hard to lose a pet. I added his little box of ashes to the others that went before him. We have a whole dead animal shelf going on. With four dogs yet to go, I'm going to have to start stacking them up like Jenga.

4. Manicotti

Manicotti dinner, my husband's favorite. The perfect Valentine's dinner.

We're not ones to celebrate Valentine's Day. We just never have. However, Mr. Wonderful loves manicotti and I made it for him for the first time a few weeks ago and he's been talking about it ever since. So that's our plan for Valentine's Day. I'll make him his favorite meal, drink lots of wine, and we'll have our own little love-fest at home with the doggies. And that's fine by me.

5. Again with the Hubby

I go with Fred to the doctor because, well...he's male. Men just don't ask all the pertinent questions to get the full story about anything, including their health. His doctor must have sensed that because now she directs all her questions to me like he's not even in the room. Fred and I joke about it, but I had to make a comic so you can fully appreciate the humor of it. (Click the 4-arrow thingy in the lower right corner to see the whole thing. You may have to click and drag the top row to see the third panel).

If you've got five somethings to say then link on up to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday (I love saying Willy Nilly) or Amy's Five on Friday  or my old favorite, Friday Fragments.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and a Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Girls and Their Journey

I think I should just start a series called "Another thing I didn't blog about last year was the time..." because I want to start every post these days with that line.

How interesting that must be for you. "This one time at band camp..."

Anyway, both my daughters left the country last year. My youngest in May and her older sister in December. I'm missing them both right now and I wanted to write a little bit about their journeys.

Quote about life's journey. Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.

The Girl's Story 

The Girl is my youngest child, who struggled with addiction since she was 15. We thought she was on the road to recovery after a thirty day drug rehab program when she was 18, but she returned home only to relapse and disappear three days later.

It was jail that actually helped her get straight. Well...the things she learned in rehab contributed, but jail made her realize what her life was going to be like if she continued the way she was going.

After jail, her father encouraged her to start attending his church. She seemed to have found what she was searching for there, and faith and hope filled the void inside her that drugs could not. She has stayed on her recovery path for almost four years now.

She decided to pursue a career in Christian counseling in hopes that her experience could help others. Her church operates Bible Colleges all over the world and she left in May to attend one in the Philippines.

Girl in Dumaguete Philippines
My beautiful little girl.
It took some getting used to for her. The school is in a rural area with limited Wifi access. It's self-sustaining, so the students take turns doing chores like taking care of the farm animals and working in the garden. She washes her clothes by hand. Despite the lack of modern conveniences, she loves it there. She spends her days learning Scripture, going on short missions, working on the farm, and exploring the area.

Girl holding goat on farm in Philippines
She commented on Instagram that she can't stop laughing every time she sees this picture. Her sister said, "Is it because you and the goat are making the same face?" 

Beautiful mountains near Dumaguete Philppines
The mountains near Dumaguete in the Philippines

Beautiful sunset over the ocean near Dumaguete in the Philippines
Sunset over the water near Dumaguete in the Philippines.
She's experienced more in her 22 years than the average person. So many things that I wish she hadn't. But sometimes we have to walk the wrong path to find the right one and she's found her right path now. I'm so proud of her for the courage it took both to change her life and to embark on this adventure so far from home.

Sissa's Story

Quote about life's journey. Not everyone will understand your journey.

Then there's my hippie girl. My free spirit. She's always gone her own way and when her mind is made up about something, there's no talking her out of it.

She and two girlfriends backpacked all over Kauai for ten months, during which time I read all about her cringe-worthy escapades on Instagram. When she returned from that adventure, she went on tour with her boyfriend's band. The five of them toured through the U.S., living out of their van most of the time. She loved it.

Now she's in India. She left December 1st to attend Yoga School in Rishikesh, a town located near the base of the Himalaya mountains and known as The Yoga Capital of the World. Her course lasted thirty days but she stayed in India to see other areas of the country.

Girl outside sitting by water in Rishikesh India
My Adventure Girl in Rishikesh, India
She became well-known by the locals as The Hula Hoop Girl. Below, she's hooping on the Ganges River.

Girl using her hula hoop in the Ganges River in India.
Yes, she brought her hoop with her all the way from Vegas. Fortunately, it comes apart for easy travel.

Beautiful water in Pushkar India
Pushkar, India. Just look at that water.
One of her Instagram posts was this:
"Change is the only constant. We can try to resist and hold on. We can attempt to stay and keep, but it would only be making the natural flow of the universe feel hard and unnatural. Not knowing is something to embrace. How beautiful is it to not have a thought about when, where, how, or why? All we have is now. All we can do is be."
That's her heart in a nutshell. She lives to just be. She lives for now.

Girl and a friend sitting by the lake in Pushkar India
Sissa with a fellow traveler in Pushkar, India
The paths of my girls are very different, but their journey is the same. They are finding themselves and their place in the world. The places they go and the things they see and experience will help shape them into the people they were meant to be.

I know it was partly the roots we helped them plant at home that gave them the wings to take these journeys now and that makes me happy. But I still can't wait for them to come home.

Two girls by the ocean writing Sisters in the sand
Both my girls.

Happy Travels,

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Party Poopers

I have a story to tell you.

It was a Saturday night and the hubby and I had enjoyed a cozy day at home together. I made a nice dinner, we watched a movie, I had some wine...all was right with the world.

We were especially happy because we were finally going to close escrow on the house we were selling. We had already moved out and were anxious to have the whole ordeal over and done with. It was scheduled to close in two days.

As we were getting ready for bed, our peace was shattered by a phone call from an old neighbor of ours.

That time we broke up a house party and were complete Party Poopers. And left a lasting impression on the neighbors.

I knew it was going to be bad when she started whispering into the phone, "There's 20 kids in front of our house and they're all headed over to your house!"


I told the hubs, we both threw on clothes, he grabbed his baseball bat, and we headed over to the house.

I have no idea what he thought he was going to do with the baseball bat.

Jackie Chan fight scene.

We got there in ten minutes and as we drove through the community towards our house, we noticed lots of cars parked on the side streets and we both thought, "Huh. Wouldn't it be funny if they were all for our house?"

As we approached, we both spotted two kids in our front yard. I use "kids" loosely. They were somewhere between 17 and 23.

Now at that point, I was on the phone with the police because I had called them on the way over to let them know the situation and that there might be a possible break-in happening at our empty house. And I was fully prepared to be all calm and just park nearby and wait for the police to arrive, if that's what the hubby thought best to do.

Mr. Wonderful had other ideas.  He punched the gas, zoomed into the driveway, screeched to a stop, and jumped out of the car, bat in hand.

So I did what any good wingman would do and just followed his lead. I had no idea what I was going to do when I jumped out of the car behind him, but I figured I'd have his back and work the rest out as things progressed.

Kung Fu Panda doing his thang.

Hubby started yelling at the two kids to get off our property and they pretty much just shuffled off. Well, that was easy.

Then Fred opened the front door.

And there were strobe lights and smoke and loud music...

And wall.

To wall.


They were in the living room, in the hallway, on the stairs, they were everywhere. One had even climbed over the second floor stair railing and perched on the pot shelf, dangling his feet down like he was a flippin' Elf on a Shelf.

I was shocked into stunned silence. I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing.

Carrie Bradshaw shocked.

For about five seconds.

Then all I could say was, "Oh. My. God." over and over.

Mind you, the police dispatcher was still on the phone. "There's fifty kids in my house! Fifty kids! There's fifty kids in my house!" I screamed into the phone like a crazy woman.

The dispatcher was all, "Yeah. Lots of kids. Got it. Now calm the hell down." She tried to get us to get back in our car and wait for the officers to get there and in retrospect, that's what we should have done. But the shock of it all and the adrenaline rushing though us controlled our actions, not common sense.

And oh, the stench of pot! You could smell it ten feet away from the front door.

Fred stood there with his bat hanging down in his hand, feeling pretty silly, because his bat wouldn't have done a whole lot of good if fifty kids decided to jump him for breaking up their party.

So he did what any sane adult would do when faced with a mob of kids they can't control. He started yelling. He told them to get the hell out of our house and that the cops were on their way, among other things.

"Cops" must have been the magic word because suddenly, they started pouring out of the house from every opening. Our neighbor told us later that it was like watching cockroaches scurry out from under a fridge. They came out of the front door, the back door, both side gates, and later we learned they were even climbing down from our upstairs balcony.

And me, being the good wingman that I am, stood outside the front door and lectured all of them as they came out.

"Who do you think you are? This is someone's home! What are you thinking?"

Fred told me later that he was yanking me back by my sleeve and I kept pulling away from him to go lecture another kid.

I really don't remember that. I just remember feeling so violated and indignant that these hooligans were partying in MY house. And they were brazen little f*ckers too! They looked at me like I had some nerve telling them to leave!

Miley Cyrus do not care attitude.

It was unbelievable.

Did I mention the police helicopter yet? About the time I was yelling at the dispatcher that there were fifty kids in our house for the 50th time, she ordered up the helicopter. It must have been quite a sight from the air to see all those kids pouring out of the house.

And do you know what else?

As we stood there lecturing kids and ignoring the police dispatcher telling us to get back in the car, MORE cars poured into the community. Like 30 more cars, at least. They cruised by, saw the commotion, and kept right on going, but they were on their way to the party!

I shudder to think how out of control the whole thing could have gotten. Thanks to our neighbor, we caught it pretty early in the festivities.

An officer got there probably five minutes or so after we did. ONE officer. I told the dispatcher there were FIFTY kids and ONE officer shows up! Thanks to us being lunatics though, we had already scared all the kids off so there wasn't much for him to do.

The cop investigated and found out the party, along with the community gate code, had been tweeted out and that's why so many kids had shown up to it.

The most amazing thing was that there was NO damage to the house. Can you believe that? There were lots of empty booze bottles and ash and footprints everywhere, but nothing broken.

The most depressing thing was that it looked like the rockin'-est party ever to be had in our home... and we weren't invited.

Muppets at a rockin' party.
Seriously, this was our view from the front door.

We spent the whole next day cleaning everything up and the hardest thing to do was getting the pot stench out. We Febrezed the shit out of the place and prayed it would cover the smell long enough for escrow to lose.

The house sale did go through that following Monday, thank God.

We picture the buyers getting a whiff of a faint pot smell every once in a while and saying, "Damn, thems some POT-smokin' mofos that used to live here!"

About a week after the sale closed, we got a letter in the mail from the Homeowner's Association notifying us that the gate code for the community had changed. It said "There was a break-in and the gate code was tweeted out and a party ensued."

So...cops, a party, police helicopter, lunatics yelling in the front yard, the HOA changing the gate code because of us...yup. That's going out with a bang.

Our new neighbors don't know what they're in for!

Party on dude!

P.S. This post brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop and by the prompt: Write a post inspired by the word "shocked." And by the letter P and the number 50.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Truth About Showing Your Home to Buyers

One of the many things I didn't blog about last year was that we sold our house and moved.

The way I said that, it sounds simple. But if you've ever sold a home, you know it is anything but simple.

First you clean the house and throw tons of crap away. Then you list the house and spend all your time hiding the crap you didn't throw away from complete strangers that traipse through your house and decide if it's worthy of an offer.

It's a humbling experience and you just want it to be over with.

If you're going through the process of listing and showing your home, it's a stressful time and you have my sympathy. Lucky for you, I've made a list of tips to help you show your home to potential buyers successfully.

The Truth about showing your Home to buyers. It's all a facade!

1.  Put away anything that implies real humans reside in the home.

When you're selling your home, you got to do stuff.

House hunters don't want to see any signs of someone else's life in their potential dream home. You must pretend that no eating, relaxing. sleeping, cooking, bathing, or mess making of any type happens anywhere on the property.

Clean off counter tops, make beds, hide laundry piles, and kick the dogs outside. And don't think you can get away with just stashing junk in a cupboard or drawer because they look there too. If you must stash a junk pile in a hurry, get one of those shallow bins that fit under a bed and throw it in there for a quick fix. Or skip the bin and just throw it under the bed. And hope you don't have a weirdo buyer that looks under the bed.

2.  Hide all evidence that poop happens anywhere on the premises.

Hide evidence of pooping.

Potential buyers don't want to think about someone else pooping in their potential toilets. They just don't. Get rid of the reading material in the bathroom, hide the plunger, put away the extra roll of toilet paper on the back of the toilet and hide the butt wipes. Eliminate all evidence of, well...elimination.

Your husband will not understand this. Be prepared for lots of arguments and questions, and to have to plug your nose while handing him each of these things while he's sitting on the toilet.

3. The above applies to pet poop too.

When showing your house to buyers, put the dogs outside.

Scoop the two three weeks worth of poop from the yard, hose off the dog piddle on the patio and make sure there are no presents sitting in plain sight in the cat box. And then pray no one lays a fresh dookie five seconds before the people come to the door.

4. Hide evidence of all other bodily excretions too.

Sophia Vergara makes yuchy face.

For God's sake, stash the tampons, panty liners, suppositories and hemorrhoid tucks somewhere out of sight! That goes for Q-tips too. And don't forget to dump the bathroom trash because any of the aforementioned items are even more repulsive to potential buyers after they are used.

5. Assume your house stinks and act accordingly.

Sheldon sprays Febreze.

Let's face it. Everyone is immune to their own funk. You might think your house smells just fine, but between the dogs, the cats, and the fish you cooked last night, a good whiff just might curl the nose hairs of visitors. So light some candles, get some plug-ins or spray some Febreze around.

6. If at all possible, have your spouse take the dogs for a car ride during house showings.

Doggies up to no good.

Seriously. Your dogs will act like complete creeps just when you need them on their best behavior. As soon as the doorbell rings the whole place is going to sound like a kennel and horrify any potential buyers.

You'll think you're clever by asking the agents to call and give you a heads up when they're a few minutes away so you have time to put the dogs outside, thus avoiding the cacophony of barks at the front door. But no.

It turns out the little bastards are equally clever. They will soon catch on that when you run around throwing junk under the bed, dumping the bathroom trash and spraying Febreze everywhere, that means people are coming to the door and they will not cooperate when you try to make them go outside.

They will do the opposite of cooperating and run upstairs and hide. You won't have time to chase them down and hurl them through the doggie door before the doorbell rings and so the dreaded cacophony of barks will commence..

Save yourself all the stress and tell your spouse to take them for a car ride.

I hope these tips help the next time you need to show your home. They may seem like a lot of extra work but remember, the whole point of it all is to find one sucker  buyer who falls for the charade of perfection and makes an offer. Then you can take it off the market already and be left the hell alone.

That is, until the appraiser and home inspector show up. Oh who am I kidding, the whole process is a circus from start to finish. Keep alcohol at the ready.

Better hide it in the garage.

Happy home selling,

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