27 April 2006

Martha Who?

A Pier 1 commercial was on a while ago where the girl has her friend over for the first time to see her new apartment. It is only a few seconds before she bursts in excitement and starts listing her furnishing. “That lamp? $10! The rug $15!”

It got me to thinking. Having just moved into the Malibu Barbie Dream House, I could SO re-enact that commercial.

I am a …what did my friend call it…Value Village Pirate!
My mom marvels at what wonderful stuff I can find. What she doesn’t realize is that I equally as often leave the store, pouting and empty handed. My mom also provides me with coupons that she receives every time she makes a donation to the store. She even has her best friend collecting coupons for me now.

But the search is the fun part. I like getting an idea in my head and looking for stuff to make it happen.
I love, love, love that I spend a pittance for these projects, whereas the magazines picture the same look for thousands of dollars. I feel superior because it looks just as good and I DIDN'T spend that much money!

With moving into the Dream House, I realized there were a few things that just would not work from the old house. Firstly, the old house was still decorated mostly in the 1990’s country blue. This house is pine needle green and earth tones.
(Now my brother’s house – a single dad – is now decorated in 1990’s country blue)

The search began! I went from one bathroom to two. Must have new rugs! Value Village!
The heirloom quilt didn’t match in our bedroom. Must redecorate! Value Village!
I was in a Trading Spaces mood and my picture frames didn’t quite match. Value Village!
(I am still in active search to finish that project.)
You already read about replacing my old dishes (1990’s country blue, of course) with the grown-up dishes Value Village!
Now that we have the Dream House, we are having dinner parties! Must have more chairs! just a few old dining table chairs: one for the Mad Genius to sit to take off his boots in the “Mud Room” and two more for our dining room table.
If the chairs need cushions? Value Village! They don't even have to necessarily match . Very Better Homes & Gardens on a budget.

I think it is more satisfying…or gratifying…to find a treasure from the second hand shops than to buy something new. I have found that some of the items that are second hand often become my favorites. Is that because they have already gained character? Is it because I’ve searched for it and not just bought it “off the rack”? I’m not sure. But it sure is fun!

Some of my favorite treasures? My dishes, the yellow rug & valance in the Common Folk Bathroom, a few of my pillows, the list goes on.

The best part is a person probably can’t tell that that I'm Suzy Second Hand Shopper! How very UnMartha of me!


When I gave Sirius Satellite Radio to the Mad Genius for Christmas, I was extremely skeptical. I wondered how long it would be used or if it was worth paying for radio – something that is available for free. I was really questioning it when we went to the store on December 26th to buy the home receiver too.

But then, define “free”. If I were to put a price on time spent surfing through channels because it’s on the hour or half-hour and there’s nothing but ten minutes of commercials on every single frickin’ station, then I can see ponying up the $12 monthly. It’s cheaper than anger management classes or a road rage ticket! Or put a price on the times that a person swerves around trying to find the damn CD that has slid across the car.

I wondered how one would hear the news or traffic and if one would feel disconnected.
This was also a ploy from Terrestrial Radio to listeners to not buy satellite radio. Well, they had already thought of that. Sirius and T.R. are interactive. It’s not different than channel surfing, which we’re doing anyway.

And oh, have I mentioned the wonder of no commercials! The only time there isn’t music is if they’re interviewing an artist, which can be equally interesting and equally disappointing. I haven't decided if it's a good thing or not.

Every once in a while, I get to drive the Mad Genius’ truck and get to listen to the “radio.”
Oh, the wonder of all 80’s all the time! Or any generation of music, that strikes my fancy for that matter. There is even an Elvis Channel! The wonder of hearing the original MTV Veejays! At times I have to check myself to make sure I’m not driving an old beat up LUV truck with blue shag carpeting and a rocking stereo.

We also have Sirius on our satellite television. It’s perfect for mood music for a party, or house cleaning or for, um….anything else that you would like to have music playing in the background.
I didn't fully appreciate this feature until the Mad Genius got it.

Now I’m trying to justify installing Sirius in the POS Honda Car. The first problem is that the receiver etc. is probably worth more than the actual car.
The second problem is not wanting to get out of the car because there is always a good song playing!

Oh, it’s only $12.00…what the hell.

01 April 2006

Divison of Labor

I was thinking about Division of Labor. No, not the government agency but the diplomatic agency that resides within every relationship.

In my relationship, it is very clear: inside chores = me, outside chores = Mad Genius.

On some of my more pouty days, when I find myself endlessly vacuuming or scrubbing the bathroom, I wonder to myself if the Division of Labor is fair. Then I look out the window at MG working outside in the pouring down rain and think "F#$% that. I'd rather be dry and scrubbing toilets than in the rain and miserable."

A good example is yesterday morning. It is 6:00 a.m. and MG is on a rickety ladder, cleaning a clogged gutter in the pouring rain. Nope, I will stay inside and make the bed, thanks!

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, I have more and consistent chores. He does have it fairly easy in the winter months - unless of course the gutter clogs - where I don't have any time off. BUT, if something goes wrong, say a tree falls down & blocks the driveway or a fence needs building, it's all him.

It is also about what we like to do. He enjoys being outside, me not so much. Gardening, yeah hate it. There are bugs out there. Oh wait, there's movie on Lifetime coming on...
On the flip side, for someone that can run heavy equipment, he is terrified of the washer & dryer. I think he jus bought new clothes instead of washing them before me. Also, I never have to worry if my car is going to start or if I need oil or new tires. He never has to worry if there is toilet paper or clean socks.

Anytime that he is stuck inside for any period; I am also reminded how nice it is to have the house to clean. I can crank the radio and just go at it. If he is here, he’s watching something horrifying on the television and asking me what I’m doing. There’s a certain peace & satisfaction in housecleaning. It usually has a beginning and an end. His work is never done, it seems.

I watch, sometimes wistfully, couples grocery shop together and I think to myself "That would be so nice" then I remember what it’s like to take him shopping. It entails skidding the cart around the corners…complete with sound effects, bringing home Captain Crunch cereal and ice cream and at least two "Are we almost done?"
Then the wistfulness passes quickly enough.

My point, I do have one, is that I think each couple works it out individually. I don’t think there is any one grand plan. I think there are too many variables to consider. Who works the longest? The hardest? Who is home more? Who is better at it?

And it changes. My parents are in their 70’s. Now my dad goes grocery shopping while mom stays home. My dad gasses up her car. It’s all changed.

So, I suppose a little resentment is probably human nature. Now I have to go change the sheets while MG is outside, in the rain of course, doing something I’d rather not do. God bless him!