Thursday, June 29, 2006

1 Great Thing. 10 Stupid Things.

1 Great Thing: Someone is coming to my house tonight -- WITH CASH -- to buy my car.

Well Halle-friggen-lujah already!

10 Stupid Things: (...I was asked while trying to sell my car)

1. Do you wear deodorant?
Why, I do believe that is none of your business and I'll thank you to stay out of my personal affairs.

2. Is it an automatic? What year is it? How much are you asking for it?
Let me group these questions into one category so that I can apply a blanket statement: Please remove head from ass and READ THE FRIGGEN AD.

3. What color is it?
Nevermind. The car is no longer for sale. You are to stupid to operate a vehicle.

4. Do you wear perfume?
If you ask me what I'm wearing, I'm hanging up.

5. Will you accept a cashier's check for twice the amount and just send me a check for the difference?
Yes, because I'm retarded and have never heard the word "Scam" before. Please send me an email so that I can report you to the authorities.

6. Will you meet me in an empty parking lot tonight so I can test drive it?
Yes. You'll know it's me because I'll be wearing a tube top stuffed with hundred dollar bills, no panties and a sandwich board that says "I'M A FUCKING IDIOT".

7. I know you're a woman and you probably have no idea, but have you changed the timing belt?
I'm sorry, I didn't catch that last question, my legs were covering my ears while I squeezed my fifteenth child onto the dirt floor of an abandoned trailer. Please let me consult any man within a 100 mile radius that must be more mechanically knowledgable than I, a mere woman incapable of paying a dealership $1700 to do this scheduled maintenance which was, BY THE WAY, mentioned in the ad as being done at 86,000 miles.

Try not to get your dick stuck in the spokes of your covered wagon, since you're clearly living in the 1800s.

8. What does it smell like?
Depends if I'm wearing deodorant at the time.

9. Can I roll up the windows, turn on the car and sit in it for half an hour?
Sure. I'll dial 9-1- and wait for your eyes to glaze over.

10. [At 7:30am on a Sunday morning] Can I come over in 10 minutes to test drive it?
If you show up at my house in 10 minutes, you'd better bring breakfast, the morning paper and a jock strap made of cast-iron because I'm going to bash you in the nuts with a 2x4.

There are many more fun little car selling anecdotes I could share, but by the end you'd be pulling your hair out, too. Believe me, I'm a little patchy now, thanks to the process. But, at least a few highlights:

Had one girl show up in a gas mask. Mmhhmm, like the ones our soldiers wear.

Yes, she was the same one who asked me about my deodorant wearing habits (for those who are curious, I do, in fact wear deodorant - unscented at that.), perfume (none, thanks) and the actual smell of the car's interior. Apparently she was exposed to some sort of chemical spill and can't be exposed to anything (car/house/person/outside) that has any scent whatsoever. Sad. She lectured me endlessly about the evils of dryer sheets, scented soap, solvents, cleansers and the like. It got annoying. Then she sat in my car and wasted about $25 worth of gas running it with the windows up trying to see if she "could smell ANYTHING!" Nope. No smell. Sold!

Then the windshield cracked while I was rinsing it off and she couldn't buy the car because they'd have to use some sort of heinous chemically enhanced glue to install a new windshield.

Well, great. Hubby thinks it's probably better that way. I tend to agree. Blessed fate did not want me to have to tangle with this maniac in the future.

One more, for the sake of closure...
Remember the dude that called me at 7:30am on that Sunday? Yeah, he also called me at 7:30am that Saturday, too. After he badgered me about the state of the car for 10 minutes and berated me for not being able to show him the car THAT DAY (I was hosting a party at my house all day) we agreed that he'd call me when he was free on Thursday to schedule a time to see the car. Why did he call the next morning to ask me the same exact questions? Funny, I was asking the same question when Hubby informed me that he also called during the party to see if he could come see the car. When Hubby told him he couldn't show him the car becuase it was my car and I was selling it, he got all up in a huff and hung up.

In case you haven't already guessed, this is Mr. Covered Wagon who basically told me I was too stupid to know whether the timing belt had been changed on my own car.


So, anyway, that's that. Car is sold and I'm off to the bank to deposit this hard earned cash.

Moral of the story: The dollar difference between the Privately Sold value of your car and Dealer Trade-in value is roughly the same amount you'll have to invest in therapy after dealing with as much hooliganism as the American public can produce.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Race to the weekend

Oh there's just been a slew of annoying drama around the Finny house, mostly due to the fact that I'm selling my old car since I got Leeloo a few months ago. And, if any of you have tried to sell a car yourself rather than getting ripped the hell off by a car dealership on trade-in, you know why I'm so verklempt.

I won't get into detail now, but rest assured, there will be an amusing (if not downright eyerolling) top ten list of STUPID ASS QUESTIONS that people ask you during the car selling process that make you want to kill oneself, to follow. As soon as I sell the car. And right now, it's not looking like that will happen soon. Not because the car is a piece of crap (it SO is not) but because people are ridiculous, unrealistic, flaky, moronic, picky fornogoodreason, maniacal animals when it comes to buying a new car. Nuff said for now.

Mean time, lets talk about something that doesn't make me want to rake everything off my desk into the trash, smash my desk lamp over the head of the next passerby and karate chop the friggen phone every time it rings.

The garden.

It looks good!

We have tomatoes happening:

And honeydudes blooming:

And lemon cukes blossoming and setting fruit:

Plus, determined hydrangea and lavender that have been managing through the recent heat:

And to top it all off, there are ONE MILLION yellow finches chowing the hell down on the bird feeder pretty much 24 hours a day. They're piglets in finch clothing, I'm telling you. They may pop with all the seed they put down.

Regardless, I love them long time and keep filling up the feeder so that they can flit around it and entertain me. Plus! If I'm watching the birds at the feeder, I'm not a psycho sitting in a vegetable patch staring into space. See how that works? I'm The Master Of Ass Sitting!

Something else that does not piss me off like so many used car "buyers" calling my house at ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT (something I will surely cover in the forthcoming top ten list) is the unbelievable support Hubby and I have received for our sixth year of fundraising for AIDS Walk SF.

Normally I wouldn't blather on about the causes we support, but the selfless pushing forth of cash has astounded me -- and reassured me that there are caring, generous, reasonable, compassionate and all around good people in our world. Despite what my voicemail might dictate the day after my used car ad hits the circulars. To all of you who fundraise for your own chosen causes, work daily for the good of mankind, sponsor others for their chosen causes, order Girl Scout cookies from every parent in your workplace despite your low-carb diets, buy the chocolate with the white stuff on it from the boyscouts, etc - thank you for supporting worthy causes all around.

It's people like yourselves that keep me from losing my grip on reality and going on a spanking rampage with our push broom.

So, with all that AND two new Amy Butler patterns from Purl coming this week, I'm racing to the weekend -- a four day long one! -- with unbridled glee. Get me out of the canned office A/C and heels and into my breezy backyard and flip flops already!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A long walk

I find it funny that it takes me only moments to forget how painful a backpacking/camping/hiking/outdoorsy trip can be when I've climbed into the safety and comfort of our truck. Even though I have, like, JUST spent the previous two days in head-to-toe pain and agony wishing I were at home on my couch watching Dirty Jobs and eating popcorn out of my big polka dotted bowl.

These are the things I fantasize about while we're hiking many hot, sweaty, STEEP miles to and from our semi-remote wilderness campsite under the pretense of "getting away from it all." I guess we never sit down to define what "it all" really is, but if you were to ask me while I was transporting 40 heavy pounds of backpack from our truck to the middle of the woods via an unending maze of switchbacks I'd probably say that "it all" was my couch, iced tea, level walking surfaces and an environment not wholly comprised of mosquitoes. Because, really, that's what stands out.

It's only after the fact, when I'm prone, post-shower, on my couch admiring the many features of my remote control and TiVo, that I can appreciate the finer aspects of our adventures. You know, when I'm not tainted by blistered heels, bruised collarbone, itchy tumor-size lumps, filthy fingernails, irretrievably ponytailed hair and the phenomenon known as "camping colon".

You'll be happy to know that I've already successfully whitewashed last weekend's backpacking trip enough to regale you with photos and a few of declarations of triumph.

Declaration #1: We logged about 16 miles in two consecutive days. And I was only partially paralyzed the day afterward. Surprise, surprise! I didn't die of exhaustion as I (repeatedly) predicted.

Some photos:

Beautiful and patient butterfly
Nice little man sat still while I futzed with the camera
and took a bunch of out of focus shots before settling on this one.

Swarming ladybugs (the only acceptable swarm of insects I can imagine). Listen close for the buzzing of a million tiny lady wings and look at all the flickering bits -- those are ALL ladies!

A close up look at those shrubs from the video. So many ladies!

Welcome Wagon the Rattlesnake

waiting for us back at the truck

Sunrise at the campsite

A full creek for once in it's bone-dry life!

My swollen tootsies. This is the REAL 8 Mile, hoomies.

Declaration #2: I'm ready to go back and do it again! Almost. I mean, as soon as the blister on Big Toe heals. And the temperature drops below 100 degrees (What the F! This is Norcal!). And our nice friends forget how arduous this hike was.

See! Don't we look friendly? (And tired, I know.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Oh, Dad.

As father's day approaches and the spam from RedEnvelope and Bass Pro Shops start flooding my inbox, I feel it necessary to wring my grey matter onto the keyboard and express in real terms (not those devised by aforementioned margin-oriented retailers) how unique and divine my dad truly is.

First off, unique and divine aren't casually chosen terms for Papa Finny.

I mean, how many men do you know who have, in their driveway at this moment, a '57 Chevy, antique fire truck (with working firehose, I might add), forklift, Baja, Willys Jeep and an Iveco? I'd wager, none.

My dad is an original character, right down to the vintage 501's he's been wearing exclusively since college. Ok, they're not the exact same pair -- but you'd be hard pressed to find pants other than those with the famous tan and red label in his closet. Pair those with a flannel of most any color combination (other than green and red, mind you), a worn-in Tshirt and his Levi's beltbuckle and that's the man I've been looking at my entire life. Always the same threads. Always the same beard (although the lengths of said beard have varied depending on weather, time of year, accesibilty to the clippers, etc). The beard in and of itself is a unique characteristic I rarely see outside of shul and the rare trip to New York.

Really the only time I've seen a diversion from this steadfast commitment to denim and flannel was at my wedding (and then my sisters wedding one year later) when he went away from the herd and paired is ever-present cigar with a white jacket and silver vest. Perfect combination of proud pop, irreverant hippie, refined businessman and skilled party-goer. One of the most emotional moments during my wedding was driving down to the beach head for the ceremony and seeing Dad, all dressed up in his white coat, smiling and ravenously welcoming everyone with his hair (and beard) whipping in the wind amidst hugs, kisses and a million handshakes. This is a man who knows how to enthuse a crowd.

You might wonder about the divine part, but I assure you, this is no exaggeration on the term. He can friggen tell the future. Oh, and he can be in ONE HUNDRED places at once, while making calls to another hundred places. All the while, he'll be cracking jokes and helping everyone around him with some random project that he is strangely perfectly suited to perform. It's bizarre.

But back to the "tell the future" thing. Probably, and I'll use this qualifier loosely, it's from years of experience and his open-minded nature, but he has made some very accurate predictions about my life that I, at the time of prediction, wholehardedly disputed and denied. For instance, when I left for college, to a town -- scratch that, STATE -- I'd never visited and, in which, I knew not a single person, my dad could not have been more proud. When, two weeks later, I called begging for a ticket to fly home to visit my friends/long abandoned fling of a boyfriend who I suddenly missed/parents/bedroom/dog/etc he agreed, but under one condition -- I would have to wait one month and I'd HAVE to use my ticket at that time and fly home.

To me, no brainer, of course I'd fly home. That's what I was asking for. That's what I wanted with the very fiber of my being. I'd have friggen walked if there weren't a grand canyon between my school and their house.

So, of course, I said -- "Fine, Dad. Perfect! Fly me home, Daddy-o!"

One month later, to a round of sarcastic surprise, I wanted to do anything OTHER than fly home to see my neglegent friends/annoyingly persistent long-forgotten fling/parents/bedroom turned office. I still missed my dog.

No! I wanted to go see 311 in concert with all my new friends and boyfriend. I wanted to be around for all the parties that would surely ensue. I needed to get caught up on my ill-advised and thoroughly ignored TV classes (what advisor puts a freshman in THREE TV classes their first semester, I ask you?). Going home was out of the question.

But I'd promised. And he'd promised. And with my plane ticket in hand I had to fly home and face the knowing smile of my divine father.

Now, he's not that divine. He took pleasure in telling me, via phone (he was off in one of those hundred places) that he "told me so" and hoped I had a good time at home, be nice to my mother and fly back safely.

So I didn't, I was and I did. And I never called to ask that question again. Granted, I still called for money -- because that is your responsibility as a college student -- but I never asked for a flight home, even when I graduated.

Now, I realize that this one incident alone may not qualify dear old dad for divine status, but the fact that he's done it so many times, and with nearly 100% accuracy, puts the star on his lapel in my book. So what does one daughter of a divine father do with this celestial knowledge? Outwardly ignore it of course, and then internally use it as a gut check for every forthcoming decision knowing full well that he's probably right.

So, on this forthcoming day of dads, I salute my own dad - predicter of nearly everything, schmoozer of nearly all party-goers, builder of nearly all structures, driver of nearly all vehicles, and lover of nearly all people.

Love you, Pop.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Pumpkins are coming! The Pumpkins are coming!

Ok, so no need to take cover, hide your children or start sewing your valuables into the lining of your clothes -- but the long discussed, prophesied and awaited pumpkins are...well...coming.


As soon as this guy has a buddy THEY will be coming. For now, he's showing up stag, so we only need to raise the alert levels to, say, orange (tee hee, get it, orange? Whoa.)

For now, Pumpkinzilla is joined by Honeydude:

A trio of strong-willed Better Boy tomatoes:

The greenest, meanest Cuke in town:

A virtual forest of wildly thriving lettuce:

and a mighty determined Moon and Stars watermelon who was rescued from beneath the wiry grasp of Pumpkinzilla by shear and nearly scythe:

And lest you think I've forgotton all other forms of vegetation beyond those that produce, well produce, my hydrangea is faring well in the johnny-come-lately heat:

Ok, have to run now. I have to go find a bathtub of vinigrette to go with my mound of lettuce for dinner.

Guess what my recent obsession has become? Go on. Guess.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fancy Kitty

She has a hat.

She has a collar.

She comes complete with a matching needle roll and note cards.

And, damnit folks, SHE'S ORANGE! Which I love. Obviously.

She is FANCY Kitty...

See how she is waving at you? Yes, that is because she is also fully articulated.

Pinocchio-esque miracle performed en route by the USPS?

NO! Clever crafting on the part of SASW! Yes, the lovely orange buttons (of which there are five) connect the arms and legs to the body so that they can move freely and express the emotion of a fully FANCY kitty. The fifth button adorning her pointy hat (which I like to think is more a witch hat than a clown one) is purely decorative.

I must say, SASW did a fantastically clever job of designing this softie.


I didn't tell you that SHE DESIGNED THIS HERSELF?!

Well, she did. And clearly, she's a pro. I mean, sheesh, I could barely manage the Wee Wonderfuls Pointy Kitty with a full set of instructions and a caffeine rush.

Not to mention the added challenge SASW ran into when, as she tells it, the first FANCY Kitty had an unfortunate and deadly run-in with a toddler and had to be, ahem, replaced.

Reminiscent of the running Snowball catastrophe at 742 Evergreen Terrace, FANCY Kitty #2 will be accepted as FANCY Kitty #1 in our house, no questions asked.

Long live Snowball!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hit me. No, for reals.

Where has the time gone, my friends?

One long week ago I was blogging about sewing and crafting and gardening and baseball and Happy.

And now? Well, I'm recovering from a week spent sitting on my tush at a conference in Vegas.

Think meals served in chaffing dishes, monstrously uncomfortable chairs, long-winded sessions, endless strings of cocktails and late nights spent propped up at the blackjack table. Really, not the things dreams are made of. (Ok, so the last two might be, but it all gets tainted when it comes in the context of a conference. You know.)

However, I did come home with more than double the cash I left with and can now get back to the good things in life that were doubling in size, as well, while I was gone.

Namely, Pumpkinzilla:

Need proof? This is what he looked like when I left:

5/24 (Pumpkinzilla is in the bed on the right)

And I nearly passed away when I saw what the peas and lettuce had been up to.

To turn a phrase, they've gone over the wall.

I'm going to have to dig through my seed packets and figure out which lettuce this is because it's friggen the most awesome lettuce ever. I think it's some type of organic heatwave lettuce that likes the sun. Either way, it is going nuts in the garden - beyond our eating abilities I'm afraid, ruffles nicely, can hold up to a strong spray from the hose and doesn't seem to fall prey to evil white flies, etc.

However, there was a hitchhiker who made it to the cutting board last night, but was rejected to the yard before he could become part of our taco salads. Now I wish I'd photographed him, because he was so delightfully green and frisky. Although, I dare say he would not have been delicious. Gack.

Also doing well are the cukes


and Honeydude

I wish I could report that the tomatoes had sprung to life in my absense too, but not so much. I mean, they're alive. And they're green. But they're just not bushing out with the enthusiasm of say, the pumpkins. It seems they're not quite the "joiners" I thought they'd be. You know, following the crowd and succuming to peer pressure and all.

It has become clear that the tomatoes are not part of the cool crowd. Perhaps they'll start to fill out soon and the popular girls will let them sit with them at lunch.

If not, the tomatoes will be able to flaunt their fancy degrees and six figure salaries at their first reunion while the pumpkins drag their drunk husbands away from the cash bar so they can go home in their Astrovan to their six kids.

Meanwhile, the tomatoes have only produced a paltry few blossoms and aren't even in the same league as my neighbors tomato plants that taunt me when I'm in the garden.

If I can see past my own shame, perhaps I will post some photos of HER tomato plants which seem to be in the midst of their growth spurt and are certainly at least in training bras by now. Bitches.

At least some of my plants are cool. I mean, check these babies out -- I'm pretty sure there's a captain of the cheerleading squad, varsity quarterback, student body president and token "bad boy" in here:

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Drop the curtain -- Backtack III complete

After many annoying "exception" emails from UPS reporting on the yet undelivered status of my Backtack project for Ms. Knittale, it finally arrived unscathed.

YAY two times!

1. Knittale has Prissy Kitty
2. I can show you Prissy Kitty, the focus of my recent threadbound obsessions.

May I introduce to you, Prissy Kitty:

She is pointy, she is pretty, she is devilishly coy in her appearance. She is also wearing a suggestive little garter number that contrasts with her otherwise reserved appearance. To me, she has prissy written all over her, and I didn't know this until I put all the pieces together and added her eyes. Prissy! She screamed. And I complied.

And, being the Prissy Kitty she is, she demanded that I photograph her in all her newly constructed glory for all of the blog world to see:

Even Rocket approved of Prissy in a clandestine moment on the kitchen floor. It was touch and go for a moment though, when Rocket realized that Prissy was standing between her and her food bowl. Thankfully, she'd just eaten and Prissy was feeling brave.

So, there you have it. Black, toile and sparkly green were the order of the day and ran amok across Pointy Kitty and a needle roll. And who can help but stuff the box full of other fun things like yarn, tea and needles? Right, see. No one.

I'm already anxious for the next round. I mean, it's the anticipation that's half the fun, right? For dorks like me, yes. Will we make clothes? Or upholster a living room sofa? Sew uniforms for Burger King employees? It's a mystery.

Rocket votes for "Cat Beds for the Full Figured Kitty" since it has become clear that the cat bed I came home with is insufficient to house her significant girth. And so, it sits alone in the corner of our office, unused and a constant reminder that my cat may actually be a small sheepdog.

Something to think about.