Monday, July 16, 2007

In Which I Bring My Problems to the Internets for Solving

It's late, and I'm tucked into bed, hubby already sleeping, surrounded by a whole mess o' sweet, warm, good-smelling poodles. Yep, Michelle was out with her mobile grooming unit today, and all the girls got spiffed up. The boys have their turn on Wednesday. They're outnumbered, so they always have to go last.

Speaking of dogs--problem the first: Dogs + wood floors. What do you do? We tried SoftPaws for a while, but on OUR dogs, they don't last long. They wear through long before they're outgrown. Especially on Delta, the Traction Queen. Do you just have the floor people put 70 layers of acrylic down over the wood? There's only wood in the central part of the house, which is good (the giant living room has laminate that LOOKS like wood, which I personally think should be mandatory in any home that is not intended for use as a museum, as the stuff is indestructible), but it's the part of the house where dogs and kids can get up the most momentum. Thoughts?

Speaking of the house--problem the second: Ugly/Boring (take your pick) glass-front cabinets in my tiny kitchen. Which used to be painted eggplant-purple when we moved in, and which is now painted exactly the color of Supa's kitchen, but mine was totally painted FIRST, haha! Anyhow, there are a number of ways to go with the cabinet thing. Right now, the entirety of the cabinet structures, top and bottom, is the same color, which is to say a chalky kind of almost-white that matches every other inch of trim in the house, and which trim is not likely to change since it matches the very nice, very expensive wood blinds that are custom-fitted to every window in the lower floor of the house. Lose those blinds? NOT LIKELY. So. I can paint the cabinet doors to match what tiny bit of wall color is showing (much like the amount of wall-paint showing in Supa's pics, linked above), which would mean just painting a "frame" around the glass of the door. OR. I can paint the inside of the cabinets so that it would extend the yummy warm color, which you would then see through the glass. OR. I could do both. OR. I could paint the shelves. OR. Any combination of the above. See where I'm going? What would you do?

Speaking of cabinets, problem the third: Bella needs a toy/book storage system. She has a large room, with a very good-size walk-in closet (little does she know at this point that she has reason to thank Mommy's defunct uterus for dividends in living space). What have most of you found works best as your children go into Pre-K and onward? Toy boxes? Shelves? Chests of drawers? A series of wall-sconces attached to pulleys and levers that expose hidden storage areas behind paintings of monocled barons? Honestly, I want to know. Because she has a lot of crap stuff.

Speaking of "stuff," a term that could be extrapolated to mean "detritus," problem the fourth: Every time it rains (which is a LOT), half the dirt of Pulaski and Lonoke Counties washwa STRAIGHT down the mountain and deposits itself squarely in front of our door. This really can't go on. I think I can demonstrate the problem. You see, UPHILL from our house, NOTHING grows on the ground. Just big stupid trees. Below the trees, nothing but rocks and dirt. NOTHING. See?
So there is nothing to stop the rain from stripping a good-sized layer of dirt from the hill and laying it to rest in our doorway. Here is what even a moderate rain looks like, as it washes mud right out through the fence and onto our driveway:
water, water everywhere
Do you see that? Below, we have grass. Above, NO GRASS. Now. I ask you, internets--if I, as I am itching to do, invest in about 3 rows of Bermuda sod right along the bottom of the fenceline, and tend to it as if it were my very own precious, precious you think it would take hold? And if so, would it have any affect on the runaway erosion that has obviously been going on here for at least a decade? And if THAT worked, could I not just add on to that sod, one row at a time, at least in the areas that are able to get sun in between the big stupid trees? Keep in mind that I am POOR, so no grand landscaping schemes, please.

Speaking of stupid, problem the fifth: Should I be worrying about what to wear to BlogHer? I mean, I just don't seem to be sweatin' it yet. Should I? If I just show up in a Houndstooth t-shirt, jeans, and sandals or Vans, and I run into Isabel Kallman looking like she just stepped off the set of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," am I going to run screaming from the room and spend the rest of the conference live-blogging what's available on pay-per-view from my hotel room? People who are going should be telling me how they're going to be dressed, and NOW. Don't make me show up in a tuxedo t-shirt out of sheer bewilderment.

And back to speaking of kitchens, problem the last: Tonight (but much to late for it to actually have been our dinner) I cooked what was sold at the market as a "new cut" of flank steak, "second only to the tenderloin in terms of tenderness." Well, I think that's a bit of balderdash. Anyway. I marinated it and roasted it in the same marinade (ginger-sesame teriyaki). Then I thinly sliced it against the grain, and stored it, with marinade, in a Ziploc bag until tomorrow. Sooo...what do I do with it tomorrow, when people are all hungry all over the place. Just go ahead and go Asian? Thinking of possibly baking some bread, too...if I have some yeast. Maybe a cheese bread, even.

Or maybe I'll spend the day watching Electric Company and reading Little Golden Books, and the family will be forced to dine on Totino's Pizza Rolls. Although actually? My daughter begged for a bowl full of broccoli for dinner tonight, and also wanted an entire box (serves 4) of frozen carrots. In one of the most surreal exchanges of motherhood so far, I heard myself telling her that if she ate all her broccoli and still wanted the carrots, I'd cook them for her. She did, and she did, and she ate EVERY LAST CARROT. Who is this kid, anyway? My sister?


  1. need kitchen pics! i like the sound of painting inside the cabinets. you could even do it in some kind of accent color. I'm not much help for the other problems, though -- sorry!

  2. I simply cannot keep track of all those questions, so I'll give one big resounding answer for all.............YES!

    Hope that helps.

  3. We planted shade-friendly, cool-weather grass seed last fall (can't remember what kind, but Lowe's could advise you) -- very cheap solution. It came up pretty well. So maybe try that in the entire yard before you invest in a couple of rows of sod? My husband even rigged up a cheap way to aerate the ground first -- hammered a bunch of nails through a couple of pieces of thin board, then screwed the boards to the bottom of a pair of throwaway tennis shoes, then went tromping around. While I laughed hysterically from the porch. :)

  4. I would love to say I came up with a solution that would help you, but I'm thinking about moving to a house that doesn't have a wood floor in the kitchen... I've redone my hardwoods twice in three years and they're down to bare wood in some places and all scratched up again in others. Ah well, given the choice between my big fluffy poodle and a shiny floor, guess what I'd pick every time?

  5. The wood floor is a difficult question. The storage is an easier one. I recommend some sort of storage where she can see what's what and what's where. That way she won't dump an entire bucket on the floor while looking for one small toy. Simple shelves, with small buckets on the shelves for things with small pieces, seem to work best for little ones. A section of the shelving can be set aside for books. Let her organize them if you dare.

  6. Hmmm...I'm the wrong person to discuss grass as mine is rapidly disappearing in the Florida heat. But clothes? I can help you there.

    What I recall of last year is a lot of jeans and skirts and cute tops...I like to call it "trendy but casual." That's what I'll be wearing or ATTEMPTING, I should say :)

  7. Andrea (the sister)July 17, 2007 at 9:51 PM

    When Bella eats an entire can of green beans for an after school snack -- THEN she is me. ;)