Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pinterest cleaning tip #324

Let me save you some time and effort.

I found a tip for cleaning grout on pinterest that involved baking soda and vinegar.

Some of you, like me, may be remembering your elementary volcano science project.

Some of you, like me, may be remembering high school chemistry.  In case you aren't, this is the important part:

Baking soda + vinegar = water + carbon dioxide + sodium acetate

Granted, some of that stuff sounds impressive.  But here's a quick review of what it's good for and where you can find it.

1.  Water--in addition to being handy for Sunday afternoon diversions involving pots and unsuspecting visitors getting in the middle of family bonding time, water is ALSO a universal solvent.  Betcha didn't know that, huh?  Where to find it?  Everywhere.  Except maybe Southern Utah.

2.  Carbon dioxide--plants LOVE this stuff.  It's the equivalent of plant Monster drinks.  Where to find it?  Everywhere people breathe successfully.  

3.  Sodium acetate--is pretty handy for a few cool homeschool science projects, like hot ice and some crystallization stuff.  Where to find it?  Ummmm....mix up some vinegar and baking soda.

Keep in mind, most of what you get from the famous volcano experiment is water--which you can also get from your tap, generally--and carbon dioxide, which you produce by being alive.  Which also, coincidentally, diffuses into the very air you breath pretty much right after everything's mixed together.

So Saturday, in a desperate attempt to distract myself from the fact that the boys leave for a month today, I decided to try out the pinterest grout tip.  As I was dumping the vinegar into the baking soda, all of the above went through my cabeza, which proceeded to spit out the following, pin-worthy (in my opinion) grout-cleaning tip:

Guys.  Using baking soda and vinegar to clean your grout is about as effective as  spritzing it with water and breathing on it.  

Now, for the actual tip.  This is the actual grout-cleaning hero:

To keep with the technical nature of this post, here's what you need to effectively clean your grout:

Grout brush + water + manual labor = clean grout + dirty water

This formula has the added bonus of NOT causing you to smell like vinegar.

So you are aware, the limiting reactant in this equation is the manual labor part.  I've decided to to a few tiles a day.  It may take a few days, but sooner or later, I'll have clean grout.  Just in time for it to get dirty again, I imagine.  Seriously.  Who uses light-colored grout?  ALL GROUT should be dark brown.  DARK brown.  

Just be glad I didn't go off on my rant about breastfeeding, 16 oz sodas, P. Diddy's kid being unjustly criticized for having a successful father, and the honor student who was thrown in jail for missing ten days of school.  Because I could.  All of that is a nice distraction from the real issue at hand.  Guys, I am having a PANIC ATTACK about this year's summer visit.  Full blown PANIC ATTACK.  Deep breath.

You know what this means?  In six weeks, I get to have my semiannual dirty laundry rant.  Ahhhhhhh yeah.  Good times.

And for the record, the micropseudosuede fabric cleaning tip involving rubbing alcohol DOES work.  Wonders.  Again, though, the hero of the day is elbow grease.

Amazing how hard work pays off.

Unless you're P. Diddy's kid, then it gets you chewed out.  

All right, I'm out.  I'm going to carry on with my fall apart over laundry and a rice krispie treat.  Take that, New York City soda ban!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I know why animals eat their young (a mother's day post)

It's because they tattle. Or shove their dirty socks in between the couch cushions for me to find a week later. Or--my personal favorite--they literally rip open the bathroom door, splintering the door jamb, and causing me to have to teach them HOW TO CLOSE A DOOR CORRECTLY (turn the doorknob, THEN close--or open--the door). FACEPALM. All of this is weighing heavily on my mind because the possibility of us moving to Mesa is becoming more, well, possible. As a result, we'll have to find new housing. And, since we aren't in a position to buy a house right now, we have to find a rental that will take dogs. Which I think is ironic (in the actual sense of the word), because our dogs have NEVER shattered a door jamb. Or dragged pointy bass endpins across wooden floors. Kids are infinitely more destructive than dogs. Truth.

 Speaking of landlords: the morons next door. Holy smokes. They've been in the house THREE DAYS, and we've already had four police units and an emergency response vehicle at the property, searching for blunts and empties while an angry dad held his sixteen year old daughter by the arm because the lovely tenants wouldn't let her leave (read: she didn't want to leave, so the neighbors refused the parents' entry). THEN the lovely neighbors came to yell at us for having the audacity to call their landlord. We've gone the rounds before with the landlord over the tenants next door, so when we had the aromatic smell of marijuana wafting into our bedroom Friday night, our joint (HA!) iron fist made an appearance. All of which has led me to the following conclusion: I would MUCH rather have a nice, openly gay couple living next door than those entitled meatheads. And let's not discuss the number of hits on the registered sex offender list that our block has, mmmmkay?

Yeah, Mesa's looking good.

 Some of you may be wondering why I haven't blogged lately. Or been on Facebook. It's because I turn into She Hulk and start raging. And I don't like it. So let's post some relaxing pictures of all the non-rage-inducing things my wonderful kids have done recently. They really are great. I just have rage issues. Here they are:

Please note the position of his feet.  Ladies and gentlemen, he has mastered the scooter.

Photobombed.  Go Manny.

Ethan ran a 5k at school a few weeks ago.  Go, Ethan!  Me?  I run around trying to keep Gabriel and Jamie from fighting.

David Tennant FTW.

Brothers don't shake hands.   Brothers gotta hug.
 Peace out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's going to be legen...wait for it...DARY!

Lately, I've had a series of annoying age-related realizations.  I'll spare you the details, because they likely fall into the category of "TMI,"  but I won't spare you the effects of said realizations.  Because they are--like I said--LEGENDARY.

Here's the deal:  if I don't change something quick, my pancreas is going to blow out like an overworked tire and I'll end up turning into a Meegan-shaped pile of sugar long before Jamie graduates from high school.  This isn't good.  So, in a nutshell, I've decided that--against my own better judgement--I am going to run in some sort of K race on or around my birthday.

However, I hate commitments.  Also, I'm pretty sure that I look like this when I run:

To avoid all of that, I decided to make up my own event.  And so, I am proud to announce the...

First Annual 
Guy Fleegman Run for Your Life
(or walk.  whatever.  it's your life.)

Here's how it will work:

1.  Decide you're going to participate.
2.  Wake up on Sep. 22nd.
3.  Going for a run.  Or a walk.  You decide where and how far.

Now, it's been pointed out to me that one of the reasons people participate in these crazy things (when staying at home and eating donuts is so much more inviting) is for the t-shirt, so I added a few more instructions:

2a.  Get out your red shirt and a sharpie.  The shirt HAS to be red.  In the spirit of Crewman Number Six(es) everywhere.
2b.  Write, "First Annual Guy Fleegman Run For Your Life, 2012" on the front and "I'm the plucky comic relief" on the back.

Also, as it will be Brianna's 15th birthday (one of the age-related realizations that freaked me out), I added yet ANOTHER instruction.  I know, this is getting WAY too complicated, but here it is:

4.  Eat a piece of cake and think about how this is the last year that Monna and Casey don't have to worry about living with a teenage driver.

Guys!!!!!  This will be awesome!  There will be literally three or four of us, dressed in our awesome red shirts (for unity!), from all four corners of Utah running for our lives.

To indicate your participation, text or email me the phrase, "By Grabthar's hammer, I WILL RUN IT!"

And if you missed the link the first time, here it is again for your viewing pleasure:

click on the dang link, already!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The month in review

Just after Thanksgiving, I started interviewing for a house helper.  Several mischievous shelf-dwelling elves applied for the position, but I didn't think our boys needed any ideas.  Fortunately, this guy turned up and saved the day.  He is...the Alfred Family's Sneaky Snowman:

The weather has been unseasonably pleasant so far this long as by "pleasant," you mean "sunny," and don't care that the temperature never breaks thirty.  There hasn't been much snow, either--can I get a hallelujah?  It was causing Elijah much stress, though, so the snowman brought us a personal snow storm...

a million space bucks if you can figure out why Ethan dubbed these "Nerd Flakes"

The Sneaky Snowman also went all Highlander on the fridge snowman (there can be only one!) and left, in its place, a massive Christmas present, complete with ribbons and bows.  And, in what is clearly an example of going the second mile, he spared the boys from a long and painful death at the hands of their Evil Stepmother by cleaning their room (there was UNDERWEAR--dirty, of course--in the legos.  Seriously.  Boys.  The hamper is three feet away).

On Ethan's birthday, he made dessert sushi.  Ethan is a sushi FREAK.  Note:  the snowman reports that sushi is not as easy to make as it looks, even when the sticky rice is rice krispy treat.

Speaking of Ethan's birthday, most of you know he turned twelve this year.  This means, of course, that he has blown out the candles on twelve birthday cakes.  At this point, you'd think he would have the routine down.  Shockingly, not so much.  I set the cake down in front of him, and he blew out the candles before we could sing.  Facepalm.

I love that little space cadet.  He did SO well passing the sacrament--I was massively proud of him.  He didn't drop anything or whack anyone on the back of the head with a tray, which I consider a major victory for a kid who routinely walks into closed doors due to his poor situational awareness.

Anyhoo, the snowman wreaked pleasant havoc for the month.  I think he'll stick around until the new year, as the boys are missing the last few days of his awesomeness while they are at their mom's for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, it took awhile, but Gabriel finally got into the Christmas groove...about the time Jamie woke up and we opened her presents:

Not that Jamie really cared...she found the wrapping paper cast offs and the rest was history.

One of Jamie's gifts is a Baby Prison.  To me, it was the most awesome puzzle ever and I was about to put it together when Jon and Gabriel realized that for me to do the honors would be an threat to their manhood.

Are you ready for some awesomeness?  The Mirror Alfreds gave this to Gabriel.  I'm pretty sure it's intended to be a cape for HIM, but Gabriel seems to think that I'm supposed to wear it and chase him around whilst roaring like a dinosaur.  Either way, it's the cutest flipping cape EVER:

I don't know WHY Gabriel is scared to go in his tent...

His man-eating dinosaur tent.  Hmmm....when you put the facts together, it's not that startling.

And finally, I give you reason #132 why we freak out the neighbors:

Most voyeurs go for subtle.  Not us.  At our house, we're all, "We saw what you did last night, sickos, and we aren't going to hide it."

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Approximately 13,000 words for your reading pleasure

I'm so incredibly, insanely tired.

Gabriel has croup, which means I got ZERO sleep last night, but I DID get to bring home a cool elephant breathing mask from our early-morning stay at the hospitable IHC Instacare around the corner.

Which, in turn, means that odds are good that Jamie will soon have croup, because Gabriel, like so many others, has decided to have a "thing" this month. However, unlike you cool, hip, talented people doing NaNoWriMo, Gabriel is participating in the lesser-known SiGeShaMo (Sibling Germ Sharing Month).

So basically, I'm biding my time between sick kids. Let us pray...

In other news, I love the dollar store. Where else can five bucks get you a set of tires and a puppy? Nowhere. The dollar store rocks.

The dollar store is also responsible for the dramatic increase in ambient noise in our house. Cuz I bought a ping pong set. For a dollar. Clearly, we're dealing with high quality sporting equipment here. Which is probably for the best, as they will quickly either be lost (by one of our kidlets) or chewed to pieces (by one of our dogs. Or one of the boys. Who am I kidding? I'm a side of bacon away from living the cold weather version of Lord of the Flies.)

For your edification, here are some pictures of our mad Ping Pong skillz, as well as some important Alfred Family Ping Pong moves.  Feel free to use our moves in your next ping pong game.

The "Robyn:" to hit your opponent in the eye with the ball.  HARD.

The "Elijah:"  to play a ball that bounces off a person on the sidelines

The "Ethan:" to yell, "You've been SERVED!"  Repeatedly.

The "Meegan:"  to roll the ball down your chest before returning it.

In other news, I counted 5480 of these.  THREE FREAKING TIMES.  Because--apparently--I have poor listening comprehension.  Thank heavens Robyn and Jon took pity on me and helped out.

Five thousand four hundred and eighty.  Three times.  If I had a million dollars, I would have just GIVEN the school the 548 dollars.

Then again...if I had a million dollars, I'd buy you some art...a Picasso or a Garfunkel...


OK, moving on from the Bare Naked Ladies...I've actually been making stuff from Pinterest.  You know, in between bouts of Gabriel not breathing and family ping pong tournaments (wherein I humiliate Robyn).

When Ethan saw this (it's in his room), he ran around the house freaking out because there was something wrong with his light switch.  This from the kid we sent to Harry Potter camp.  FACEPALM!

Gabriel already stripped Frosty of his buttons.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why I like the name Jack, #132

 I dare you to name a dorky Jack.

(There are none.)

If God decides to mock me and I somehow end up with another kid, that child will be named Jack.

Even if it's a girl.

That is all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'll think of a clever name LATER!

Dear Fall Funk,

I really don't like you.  If it weren't for Winter Inversion, you'd be my least favorite seasonal event ever.  Take a lesson from Summer Fun .  Or even Spring Seasonal Allergies.  I hope I give you a complex, you big jerk.



***And now for something completely different***

My friends are a motley crew.

And she's the GOOD influence in my life.  I'm doomed.

 Mollee and her Smurf-a-Day eating habit are nothing, though, when compared to my friend, April, who enticed me to join a cult.  "Come and eat dinner, spend time with the girls and get away for a few hours,"  she said. 

So I did.

And then I joined a cult.  And, let me tell you, I'm a Mormon...wait...a Latter Day Saint (GAH!).  Anyways, I know my cults.  I should have seen it coming.   Especially when she yelled, "You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha..."

Except replace "Sicilian" with "Mormon."  And replace "death" with "bunco." 

But that's just semantics.  I'm pretty sure my (now) fellow cult members take bunco a lot more seriously than the threat of death.  I have never seen such intensity.  At least, not outside of Las Vegas. 

Imagine a table with four women hunkered down over it, rolling dice as though their lives depended on it.  Dice were prematurely grabbed.  Hands were slapped away.   Stuffed animals were thrown.  Tears were shed.  And tomorrow, they'll go back to their normal lives as moms and teachers and therapists and pretend that NOTHING HAPPENED and that they are PERFECTLY NORMAL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. 

But I know the truth.  And I'm in trouble, because I just happened to agree to sub on the night they drew for hosting duties for the coming year, and got suckered into being a permanent member of the group.

April, you're a bad influence.  You were there when I pierced my ears.  And then when I finally succumbed to peer pressure and joined my first bunco group.

(dramatic reenactment:)

Me:  This is madness!

April:  Madness?  This is Bunco!

I guess I should be glad she didn't kick me into a well at that point...

***And now for something completely different***

Pictures of the cutest Two-th year old EVER:

We could have given him only the balloons and he would have been perfectly content.

But some of our friends got him bubbles, and that pretty much made his year.  
A few days later was Jon's 36nd birthday.  Like I need a bad influence in my life.  I'm my own worst enemy.  I giggled for hours after this one, folks.  Because apparently, I"m easily amused.

 Some of Gabriel's gifts inspired the BEST.  FAMILY HOME EVENING ACTIVITY.  EVER.

Awwwwww, yeah.

Peace out.