Archive for August, 2009

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

Ally at workMy daughter absolutely LOVES to come to work with me.  I have no idea why, but she looks forward to it.  I don’t like to make a habit of it because when she is at work, I get very little work done as my time is spent making her occupied and answering four thousand questions, but every once and a while I give into her and let her tag along.  Recently, we had a mailer that needed to get out the door so I thought it would be a good idea to enlist her help as at the ripe age of 10 years old she is an expert at letter folding and envelope stuffing and licking – just ask her, she’ll tell you.  It had been a while since I had had her here with me, and she actually did wonderfully – she let me work and concentrated on her task.  I actually thought that maybe she had matured enough that I might be able to bring her with me more… that she can now entertain herself and work on her own things… that she can be here and let me work without interruption. 

Then I brought her back with me a couple of weeks ago.  The day started out with her calling me every two minutes on the intercom system (I’m so glad she figured that out) and asking me what I was doing.  Sigh.  Finally, I called her into my office for a meeting. I sat her down and explained to her that she is going to have to entertain herself… that I have work to do… and that I know she can do it because last time she didn’t interrupt me at all.  Then I told her that was her official task – to spend the rest of her time here occupying herself.  She told me okay and scampered off to play in the office next door.  I figured this would last for all of 15 minutes, but no, she did her own thing for the next couple of hours she was with me.   She picked up her mess when it was time to go, and everything looked great.  I was pleasantly surprised.

And then I was a whole lot surprised.  I came in the next day and started noticing evidence of her being here that I hadn’t noticed when we left.  Usually, I find one or two things she forgot to put away which is pretty normal, but this was pretty impressive. 

  • I had a total of three pairs of scissors in my office – two in my pencil cup on my desk and one in my desk drawer.  They are gone.
  • I keep a bunch of little plastic hockey figures on top of a bookshelf.  She not only rearranged them, she placed them all into less than attractive positions.  I need to find out what she’s been watching. 
  • She had found and moved two angel figurines on top of my filing cabinet.  They appear to be in a parade… one of them is on an eraser float.
  • I located several of my writing instruments inserted into my plant.  One of them is actually a pen that looks like a tulip so I can kind of understand that one, but the rest baffle me.
  • On the same plant, there are rolled up pieces of scotch tape on each of the leaves.  This one is my favorite as for the life of me I can’t begin to figure out the thought process here.

Later on in the week I found a letter addressed to me in her hand writing.  I was hoping that it might explain in some way what she was doing.  It reads.  “Dear Mom, We had an expection and we parsed oh were having a carnaval to with candy, food, games and Rides. Love Ally”  Yep – I think that clears it up.  If anyone sees my scissors, please let me know.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

mr-clean-magic-eraserMr. Clean, Mr. Clean…sorry… it’s in my head now… that nice little jingle they have.  Not that I have any qualifications at all to do a product review aside from being a neat freak and the mother of a messy child, but I have to share this. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – this thing works… well.  It will get scum, scuffs, fingerprints, stuck on dirt off of just about any surface.  I have actually stripped my floor with one.  It works wonders with a flat top stove.  It’s great to get the dark discoloration off of door frames and refrigerator door handles. It doesn’t have an odor that will stick around on your hands, it doesn’t leave any residue behind, and it doesn’t require a lot of pressure or strength to use it.  I would go so far as to say it should be in everyone’s arsenal of necessary cleaning items.

Fire Sale

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So last night I had a quiet evening all to myself.  Instead of doing the practical thing by staying at home and cleaning or catching up on my DVR shows, I decided that I would spend the free time having some me time.  I headed over to one of my favorite discount stores to do some unneeded shopping.  I’m not sure what the official name of the store is as some people call it “1/2 or 1/2″ and others call it “Name Brand Clothing” or “NBC”; all I know is this is the place where clothing from high end stores and mall shops goes after it has been marked down and won’t sell.  I always find some treasure there that I can’t live without. 

As per my usual routing I shopped around and found a bunch of stuff to try on.  I looked over everything thoroughly and had decided on two really cute dresses, set them aside, and started picking up.  Just when I had zipped up my jeans, I started hearing this strange commotion.  I grabbed my stuff and headed out to see what the deal was.  People were yelling “Fire!” and other people were trying to figure out if the people yelling were doing it as a joke or if there was really an issue.  Sure enough, I rounded the corner and saw the smoke billowing.  Upon further inspection, there it was… in the back corner of the store a few racks of clothing were up in blazes.  Huge flames and lots of dark smoke.  One person had grabbed a fire extinguisher but couldn’t get it to work.  It was then that the staff started trying to herd the customers out of the store. 

This was also when it became a bit odd and surreal for me.  I remember being a little depressed that after all that, I would not be able to purchase my dresses.  I remember that everyone had huddled around the door… on the inside.  I assume that collectively these people don’t understand what ‘evacuate’ means.  I excused my way through 30 people to get out of the door, calmly walked to my car and drove away.  I was the ONLY person that did this.  It was weird.  I remember questioning myself as to whether or not I practiced good fire etiquette as I drove past all of the police cars and fire trucks headed that way.  I have no idea, but leaving as opposed to hanging around and suffering personal damage seemed like the practical choice at the time. 

It was a bit later that I reported this to Ken and he and Scoot started searching the news for it. Nothing.  Nothing until Scoot found a one word description provided by the Lenexa police department… “Arson. “  Well, duh.  It was also then that the puns started flying.  “How was the fire sale?”  “Did you get any smokin’ deals?”  “Find any burning hot sales?”  You get the picture.

The Fox and the Hound

fox and houndWell, I think we’ve found it… the perfect home.  It has great potential.  It’s structurally sound, has a lot of space, and is by far the home that has the greatest total number of weird things going on with it.  Like I said… the perfect home.

Back Story:  From what we can tell is the couple that bought this home 6-7 years ago are now divorcing.  The husband who seems to have been a handy man from the repairs that have been done on the home is no where to be found.  He also seems to understand the fine art of taxidermy as shown with some of the decor I can only assume was his choice.  The wife is now in the home along with a few roommates.  Although the total number hasn’t been confirmed, we suspect at least two.  We know this because we have never been able to view this particular home without someone being there with us roaming around and interjecting themselves into conversations while claiming that they don’t have a phone and had no idea there was a showing scheduled.

The first roommate which we have nicknamed “Mike” only because he sorta looks like a “Mike” has been there with us twice and has a couple of cute little boys that we saw running around at one point.  The second roommate, “Rib Joe”, is impressively large weighing in at probably 400 pounds. This first time we met him he was extracting himself from a gigantic conversion van wearing a stained and stretched out white t shirt, gym shorts and no shoes while lugging with him a trash bag full of styrofoam left over containers that we later learned were full of ribs.  There were probably 9 containers with ribs and the fixings in that bag.  I know they are ribs because when I apologized for interrupting his dinner and told him that he didn’t have to wait to eat on account of us, he smiled a toothless grin and explained to me that he wants to be alone with his ribs and uninterrupted.  I really don’t want to know why.  We have also counted two cats and a smallish growling dog that wander around.

The home is a short sale which means that the owners are on the cusp of foreclosure and are unable to pay their bills.  This of course doesn’t seem to stop them from constantly traveling.  I will say that once we made an offer, they have been as easy to work with as they are strange and Jerry Springer material.

High on the Strange Meter:  We have seen a lot of strange decorating ideas and signs of low maintenance in homes.  This one takes the cake.  We were so taken aback by the stuff in this house that we had to schedule a second viewing to really focus on the potential of the home.  Some of the more interesting features of this house include:

  • The closet in the master bedroom is locked. We have not seen inside of it any of the three times we have visited although “Mike” was nice enough to describe it to us at one point. We are told that the reason for this is to prevent people (kids and roommates) from stealing things while the wife travels, but we have a couple of different theories. We think either the husband’s corpse is hidden in there and they will transport him in the fridge when they move or it’s a portal to another dimension. We are really hoping for number two, and I hope that the other dimension has ample closest space.
  • This is not the only locked door. There is a door that could be a closet in the main bathroom that cannot be opened. The main basement area was also locked once, although we have confirmed there is nothing of major importance down there.
    The garage is packed full floor to ceiling and wall to wall with stuff like most of the house. There are probably at least 25 vacuums lined up in there along the walls. The garage also contains the largest Christmas wreath I have ever seen in my live. It is so large, they have mounted it to the ceiling for storage.
  • In having a look around the house, it’s pretty obvious that someone is a taxidermist…or knows one. Stuffed critters scattered around the house include a rooster and hen, an angry looking raccoon, two deer (well, the head portion of them), a cobra battling a mongoose or a ferret or something from the long, narrow rodent family, and our favorite…a fox. We suspect there is a moose somewhere… possibly in the closet.
  • They have mounted and hung a big brass dining room chandelier over the vanity in the master bathroom. They failed to mount it far enough away from the wall so it rests on the mirror. The vent fan in the bathroom sounds like a game show buzzer when you turn it on. Ken spent 10 minutes in there saying, “Survey Says?!?” and then flipping it on for a sound effect. We may keep that feature for his entertainment.

Hidden Potential:  This house has so much potential, and we believe that the majority of it is lost in the jungle that was once a back yard.  During one of our safaris back there we discovered there was once some landscaping done.  There is a bird bath hidden in the corner.  We also found a couple of benches.  In the middle of the yard there is a water feature complete with waterfall and Koi fish.  I believe they think they’ve been transported back to the wild.  Ken, who has hired someone to do his yard work for him since he was 12, is actually excited about landscaping.  I think it’s like unwrapping a present.  Once we get the six tons of overgrowth removed, and repair the gigantic deck, it will look like a picture out of a design magazine.  At least that’s what I see in my head… don’t spoil my dream with do it yourself realities.

This house that we have lovingly named “The Fox and the Hound” after the original growling dog and the spectacular stuffed fox is beginning to feel more and more like home… and it’s not even ours yet.  We’ve made our offer, had an engineer pick through it and done a termite inspection.  As I mentioned before, this particular arrangement is a short sale.  So now we are patiently waiting to hear if the bank has accepted our offer.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  We really have our hearts set on it.

© 2009 What's on Melissa's Mind.

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