I Am Thankful for YouTube

Have you ever written something about which you felt some degree of pride, and also felt pretty sure you could not ever really replicate in a worthy fashion?  I feel this way about the post I published to recognize Thanksgiving in 2015.  Please click here if you want to read my mic drop moment thanking the myriad kickass people I know.  I said it then, and I’m stickin’ with it:  You wish you had these people in your life.  Seriously.

This year, bereft of snappy commentary, I’m going to let YouTube do the talking for me.  I laugh a lot, and I laugh loudly–it’s entirely possible that I’ve snorted a time or two, which makes me laugh that much harder, thus perpetuating the cycle. I am as sentimental as the mighty Mississippi is long, so I never, ever don’t cry when someone near me cries, in real life or on screen.  I emote a million shades in between laughter and tears, but for Thanksgiving, I’m limiting my show to the snort-inducing.

I’ve never been the type of YouTuber who is gaga over sneezing pandas or “Charlie bit my finger.”  My brand of humor skews more toward the ridiculous than the sublime.  Of late, I find myself in need of ridiculous, so my recently viewed YouTube queue looks a little something like this:

Every list requires some sort of fanfare to herald its beginning, so without further ado:

As I was preparing for work Halloween morning, I heard the soothing (?) sounds of my little guy’s recorder flute floating from his room. Because I’m kind of a jerk, I immediately posted on Facebook:  You can imagine my delight to hear that E rediscovered his recorder flute this morning.  At 6:50.  Within hours, Angela, a teacher friend of mine from my US Grant days, responded with this link. It laid me out.  Laid. Me. Out.  I don’t know who posted the original video, and if you know me at all, you know it’s never, ever my intent to make sport of anyone but myself.  So if you’re the kid (adult? teen? tween?) who posted this, well, keep practicing.  You’ve made me smile, and I sincerely thank you for it.

If you’re my Facebook friend, you may have checked this video, as I linked to it in a post celebrating my baby’s eleventh birthday.  When I feel like I’m screwing up parenting in not insignificant ways, this reminds me that I have done something so right.  The lyrics are simple and the guitar’s a little rough, a little 80’s post-punk, but I think my then 2-year-old nails it.  I am thankful that my old computer hadn’t completely died before I thought to transfer some old videos and photos.

I am not even sure who turned me on to this, but it’s been my cousin Michele who sent me weekly updates to T-Rex Tuesdays after my first viewing and immediate sharing of this gem on Facebook.  I don’t have any need for fame or fortune–wait, back that up–I don’t have any need for fame, but frequently wish I had just one creative bone in my body.  The T-Rex idea is so ridiculous, but COME ON!  Don’t you wish you’d thought of it first?  I know you do. I lost it around 0:41 into this snippet.  The accompaniment is genius.

Unless you’re me or about 100 other people on Earth, you might think it’s odd to toss underwear on stage at a concert during a performance of Pinch Me.  To be clear:  YES, they’re brand new, and YES, unworn.  Seriously?  I’m a little hurt that you even asked.  YES, it’s harder to aim than you might think, and like any NFL placekicker can tell you, wind can definitely be a factor.  YES, my underwear made the concert review in the following day’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What I really wish I had video–nah, audio–of is my husband’s response when he viewed this video.  “Are those yours?” he queried with a tone drenched in resignation at around 3:08 of this video.  Our dog had died the morning of this show, oh our sweet Izzy-girl, and this concert was a diversion needed like no other.  Watching this makes me smile, as I recall both that day’s sadness and also the warmth I felt in having this concert to distract me.  PS–telling your favorite singer, “My dog died” is kind of a buzzkill.  I’m an idiot.

This is long and not exciting (and also not well done, consider yourself warned), but iMovie provided an easy way to capture our kitchen remodel metamorphosis.  The project is nearly done–nearly–and this little blast does give me perspective.  One:  my bank account is run dry.  Two:  When I feel that pinch of having let my bank account run dry, it wasn’t for naught.  Losing the sunflower wallpaper border and rockin’ light fixtures made it completely worth it right there.  Man, we worked our ASSES OFF, and by “we” I mean both of us.  But mostly Tom.

I first happened upon this morning’s final video entry long before our dog Caleb’s adoption.  I feel if Caleb had a spirit animal (read: creature buddy similarly limited in intellect), the Golden on the right must be it.  The first fifteen seconds is all you need to watch.  This video provides a clear example of a dog failing at being a dog.  My friend and co-worker Jill printed a screen shot of the moment, which makes me giggle still many months later.  Three months into his life at Chez Weir, I love, love, love the squishy face of my rescue dog.  Sure, he was much younger than the Humane Society’s estimate when we selected him, so he’s grown (growing) to be a larger pet than we’d imagined. But he fits.  Right on my lap on the couch, he fits perfectly, all sixty pounds of him.

It’s 5:30 AM now, and I have got to get a start on my bread baking for our little Thanksgiving dinner.  Whatever it is you’re doing with your time today, I do hope you find a moment to acknowledge the good things which have come into your life.  My incredible mother-in-law is quick to remind us that someone is always worse off than we are.  She’s right, and even when I’m not feeling head over heels in love with each and every detail in my life, I know I’m incredibly fortunate.  I am.  So are you.  Bask in the contentment of having experiences, people, and/or things.  But mostly people and experiences, OK?  By 4 AM (yeah, insomnia bites) I’d already received Happy Thanksgiving wishes from friends in Australia and the UK, so yay for the internet!  Thank you for being here for me.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Lies Our Kitchen Contractor Told Us

Remember when I told you I hauled out a 60s era fridge out of our basement last spring?  It seems another lifetime since I wrote this.  I thought that would be the most painful  moment of the kitchen renovation.  Ah, what I rube I was then.  Those were the days. . .  This installment of the saga–the tall tales, the broken promises (broken hearts and broken bones), the general beginning of the end of pure truth began March 30, 2016:

Yours is the third job we will begin in June.

So.  So.  Ugly.

Construction of the cabinets is nearly complete.  We have to come out for just one final measurement before we go ahead and schedule installation.  What this means: We don’t believe you actually completed your demolition and prep to meet the agreed-upon timetable, so we already pushed you back.  We’re just here to check out your actual progress.  Oh shit, you’re ready??

We will begin the project June 27.

We will begin the project July 5.

We will begin the project July 11 and it will take three weeks.

Your counters will be installed on July 26.

You can have your appliances delivered July 28.

Go ahead and have your appliances moved in August 18.  19.  OK, 20.  (The 20th was actually true)

We will have the tile installer there tomorrow.

We will have the tile installer there Monday.

It’s a natural fissure in the stone.  Cracks occur sometimes with natural products, I’m sure you can imagine.  Cracks also occur when you drop a giant slab of granite, I’m sure you can imagine.

 The caulk goes on white and fades to clear when it dries.  Not when the dude uses white caulk it doesn’t. 

We will replace the caulk.  Yes, you’re right, of course the caulk should have been clear like it is on all the rest of the counters.  Still waiting.

Yes, we will remove the vinyl floor roller.  Sorry it’s been in your dining room since July.  Curious that the floor installer wouldn’t need it on another job.  Still waiting.

We’ll have a carpenter there to finish the cabinet molding this week.  (This lie was peddled in August; it’s October 1 and my husband cut and installed it himself today).

What a coincidence you called.  I was just on the phone with the carpet installer.  (Who showed up two weeks later).

The moral of the story is this:  For impeccable design, high-end details, and custom cabinets, you want a high-end contractor.  You want someone who has experience designing $100K kitchens for the locally rich and famous.  Our room has been transformed, and the layout is something I, in my wildest ideations, could never have dreamt.  Big box hardware vendors with 2-3 options for cabinets and counters could not provide the expert attention to detail ours has.  But high-end vendors don’t care for the do-it-yourselfers, the sweat equity types such as ourselves.  Even when they say it’s great if you do do it yourself.  Which is how we could fiscally manage their bid, and why ours isn’t a $100K kitchen.  They don’t actually mean they think it’s great.

When you’re their smallest job, and people, this WAS NOT CHEAP, you’re unimportant.  Or you feel unimportant anyway.   Compared to many of their clients, I feel like Cinderella–dancing in their showroom/ballroom knowing that too soon I’ll be back home sans glass slipper, put in my place, my lowly station scrubbing the rich ladies’ luxury vinyl plank floors.  Hey wait–that’s my floor!

Everyone asks how I like my kitchen, and I am stunned this kitchen is in my house.  It is beautiful.  But it is still incomplete.  We still owe them money–the final installment, but they haven’t even shown enough interest in us to bother to collect that (what I imagine to them is a) pittance.  So let the record reflect that I am happy to pay them to finish the work they’ve been paid handsomely to do.  It’s what I agreed to do, and I intend to remit what I said I would.  It’s called integrity and honesty and decency.  But take the check we owe you yet, get your damn lockbox off my door, roll your cast iron vinyl floor roller the hell out of my home, and let my husband finish what we paid you to do, OK?