Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Christmas, My Little Elves!

It's time for our annual Christmas video card!

This year features our new house (that is 107 years old), mucho attacking and pouncing and Chuck Norris in a wonderfully festive winter scarf. 

Here's hoping all of your Christmas shopping is done and you are happily awaiting your own bounty of presents to come down the chimney!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Modest (Christmas) Proposal

Ever since Ray got this gigantic saw weekend naps have been eliminated. The cats and I will be this close to dozing off on the couch when we hear it snarl into action.


So far he's built a set of Adirondack chairs and a cross-cut sled, whatever that is. (When he first told me that's what he was building I thought it was a sled for snow storms, like a toboggan. FUN! Turns out, no. Not so fun). And he's almost finished with a cabinet for the bathroom.

You can sort of see the frame of the cabinet in this photo. But mostly this is a photo of Ray playing air guitar in the basement.

All this practice is good because I have a long list of things I'd like built, including:
  • A mid-century modern record table
  • Built-in bookshelves for the third floor
  • A storage bench for the ballet room 
  • Nightstands

He said Christmas will be easy for him from now on, I can just get him wookworking stuff.

I started thinking of ideas - woodworking magazines, how-to books, a mallet maybe. I read on a woodworking website that 'every woodworker should have a mallet.'

If that's what my man needs, that's what my man gets. Mallet, done.

Then he told me he'd like a router.

Even better, I thought. He's just going to tell me what he wants.

'Great, send me a link. Then, surprise! Right under the tree.'

I began to bask in my awesomeness as a new wife. 

'The one I want is $400.'

'Four hundred dollars?!' I thought he had gone insane. 'Only if I get a subscription to the Kitten of the Month club!'

'What? Is that real? There is a Kitten of the Month Club?'

'Of course it's real. It's been my dream since I was a little girl to be in it.'

I looked away wistfully, as if to say, This is the year my dreams will come true.

Naturally, I made this up. I'm pretty sure there is no a Kitten of the Month club, but there should be. Every month you'd get an new adorable kitten. Or maybe every quarter - the Kitten of the Quarter Club.

That's when Ray put Hunter S. Tomcat on top of the bathroom cabinet he was building and proclaimed that my wishes had come true.

'Look! It's Mr. December!'

Behind us, Chuck Norris meowed from the basement stairs.

'And I think I hear Mr. January!'

I won't be the only one disappointed on Christmas morning then, because guess who's getting some books and a mallet? No kitten, no router. (So much for my man getting whatever he wants.)

For me, I am both unimpressed and wildly impressed with Ray's projects.

Ray: I'm surprised at how well the chairs turned out.

Me: I'm not. I knew they would turn out great.

You can kind of see the chairs in this photo. Somehow, we forgot to take portraits of them.

Ray's woodworking projects have actually equated to a fair exchange between us. I run back and forth  to the basement so he can show me his progress on things, and I yell for him to come upstairs when my latest Zappos delivery arrives.

Me: Do you like this black boot, or this black boot?

Ray: They look the same.

Me: No, they don't. This one, or this one. See the difference? This one, or this one.

Ray: I like the one that looks less slouchy.

Me: What? Neither of them are slouchy.

At least the cats have specific opinions. They obviously prefer the boots from the pink box.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Gas Monkey Ruined My Marriage

Last night Ray and I were watching Fast N' Loud, the one where the Gas Monkey crew are making a Trans Am and Burt Reynolds appears on the show in a nod to Smokey and the Bandit. 

My understanding of Smokey and the Bandit is vague at best.

There is a Trans Am and a semi-truck, right? And Burt Reynolds. And there is a monkey? And the monkey punches people and is named Clyde? Or that is a different movie with a semi-truck?

Anyway, I revealed to Ray during this episode that I've never seen Smokey and the Bandit and he broke up with me.

Like, on the spot broke up with me, without hesitation.

Worse, not even my "friends" were supportive. Those turncoats sided with Ray.

My (former) friend Amy even questioned if I'm American.  

Phsst. Am I American. I was watching a show about gas guzzlin' cars built in Texas. 

But seeing as how I'm single again, at least until I see Smokey and the Bandit, Richard seems like a good guy. He's sweet and humble and just the right amount rugged. Plus, he is always losing his ass on the cars he's wrenching on. All things I find endearing.

Heeeeeyyy Richard… call me. I like cars. My dad is a retired mechanic. I know how to bleed brakes, push-start a stick shift and hold a flashlight under the hood of a car while someone swears at me. (Damn it, Gina, hold the light still!)  

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Ax Me Again

I thought the most interesting thing that was going to happen at the Boss Man's Thanksgiving dinner was that we were celebrating the once-in-a-life event of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the same night.

I was wrong.

Just after the Menorah was lit and the blessings were sang, the Boss Man sparked something far more interesting: A bet.

"I bet you can't split a piece of firewood," he said.

If this dare was provoked by something, I can't remember what. It seemed to come out of thin air,  as if he was sitting there, looking around the table stacking his skills up against others.' Apparently mine appeared lacking.

I looked at him, incredulous.

"Pssht. Of course I can split a piece of firewood. I get an ax, right?"

"Yes, you get an ax."

"I bet you those loafers I want I can do it. Maybe not on the first swing, but I can definitely do it."

He must have forgotten who he's talking to, I thought. I felt insulted. Ray Daugherty didn't raise no chump.

I mean, I had never actually raised an ax in my life, but really, how hard could it be? Isn't that what axes do, chop firewood?

"Fine. How much are they, like $30?"

"Thirty dollars?! Ha. If they were $30 I'd buy them myself. No, they're $180."

I'd been stalking these Madewell loafers for months and had even showed them to him and Carolyn when he tried to shove a pie in my face last week. At work. ('You shove that pie in my face, you buy the loafers' was the threat.)

"Fine, the loafers. I still bet you can't."

Visions of all of the Pinterest-worthy outfits I could build around these loafers danced in my head.

The deal was that I had just had to split the wood in half anyway I could do it, and I got as many whacks as I needed. Even with all of this, he was convinced I couldn't do it.


The Boss Man and Carolyn and I headed to the garage where he put a piece of wood onto the concrete floor and handed me an ax.

Now, let me tell you, this ax was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. But more importantly, there was no way in hell I was going to try and hit this hunk of wood against a concrete floor. I felt certain that least one, possibly two, of two things could happen:

1.) I might take out a car mid-swing. (Say goodbye to your precious Audi! Hey, while we're here, why don't you just hand me this ax and a piece of wood next to your Boxster!)

2.) If I missed the wood, I didn't want the impact of the ax hitting the concrete to hurt my hands. Or worse, send me vibrating out of the garage and into the cold.

Like I said, I don't know that I've swung an ax in my life. But wow, what a beauty this one was. It looked like it had been glued back together about 30 times and had streams of thick yellow wood glue dripping down the sides of it. I think I also saw duct tape.

It was the jankiest ax I've ever seen.

If you're going to accidentally chop your foot in half or break your back wielding an ax on Thanksgiving/Hanakkuh, then look no further. This is the ax for you.

Janky or not, I started whaling on the wood sideways, swinging the ax as close to my body as possible. For one thing, I didn't think my aim was good enough to hit it if it was standing upright. And for another, I could just see myself winding up with the ax over my shoulder only to have the weight of it pull me down face first into the grass.

Carolyn tried to coach me.

"You're going against the grain. It's going to be harder."

But already 10 whacks in and I had a good chunk out of it. Pieces of bark were flying everywhere.

I stopped to pull my hair back into a ponytail and dig the wedgie out of my butt.

Pro tip, ladies - I would recommend boy cut or booty shorts for cutting wood. Bikini cut, not so good.

I started again.

"Watch your foot," the Boss Man said. "People can get really hurt doing this. And careful with your back."

"Oh now, NOW we're going to talk about safety, when I've been hitting this thing for ten minutes."

My back was getting super tired and my hits were wimpier. I was also afraid I was going to chop my foot off since the wood wasn't raised up on anything.

I looked at the wood and realized it was harder than I thought it would be.

Plus, it was freezing outside, and even though I was warm from swinging the ax, I couldn't believe they were still standing out in the cold watching me hit this thing.

I made a joke that I might have to come back tomorrow to finish it. (I wasn't really joking. And I wondered if the bet could include me going home and watching a few YouTube pointer videos and coming back in the daylight.)

I hit the log a few more times and then, out of nowhere, the thing split in half like it got struck by lightning. A perfectly clean split right through the middle.

Even I was surprised. I thought it would take at least another 10 minutes of whaling on it before it cracked.

Triumphantly, I raised the ax up into the air and shouted, 'YEAH! DID YOU SEE THAT, INDIAN HILL?! DID YOU SEE IT!"

Counting out my winnings. 

I double high-fived Carolyn while the Boss Man, dejected, went back into the house. (Or maybe he was just really excited to be warm again. But I'm going with dejected.)

As any true outdoorsman would, I breathed in a few more crisp cool breaths of fresh air before I carried my kindling - now in TWO pieces - into the house to show them off.

No one else was really impressed, which I chalked up to no one else underestimating me. Of course I could do it, why would they be impressed?

As I washed dishes and basked in my glory, the Boss Man snidely told me the wood was rotten.

Maybe. But that wasn't my problem. My problem was deciding if I wanted the black loafers or the red loafers.

But anyway, I don't think it was rotten. I think someone who was about to buy me a pair of $180 shoes was just mad he lost the bet. I believe that is called 'loser's limp.'

It turned out the shoes were only $142.50 (with tax) thanks to a Black Friday sale. That's like $45 worth of stacked heel for free.

I cannot wait to get them. They will arrive on my front porch in all their hard-earned glory in about five days.

Sidenote: Twenty-four hours after the axing my arm felt like I had gotten 20 flu shots. Essentially, the entire right side of my body is in revolt - my right hamstring, glute, shoulder, tricep and especially my deltoid. It hurts especially to change my shirt. Which is why I might have to wear a Flashdance off-the-shoulder sweatshirt to work tomorrow.