Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You take two steps forward, I take two steps back

WARNING: If the site of blood makes you queasy, you'll want to scroll past the first picture in this post pretty quickly.

JE: Upon arriving home at 8:00 p.m. this evening after hitting her new fitness facility for a nice walk/run (3miles down, 297 to go!): Wow, I'm tired. I think I'll go to bed early.

J: Before you do, can you help me bring the treadmill down to the basement?

JE: Us? Are you sure?

J: Sure. We moved it up there.

JE: Uh...no we didn't. We paid two pretty muscular guys to move it up there.

J: No, we can do it. Come on. The UK game comes on at 9:00 and I want to walk while I watch it.

Pause in dialogue for grunting, griping and general mayhem while treadmill is dragged out of one room and down the steps to the main floor. J is only almost crushed once, and cooler heads prevail pretty quickly. JE moves boxes of Ikea wardrobes-to-be out of the way so J can roll the treadmill through the living room to the basement stairs. Treadmill gets away from him and lands on his toe.

Pause in moving for screams of agony, first aid, and minor blood clean-up. JE is rather proud of her improvised bandage. J observes that it's rather like wrapping a gift, and conveniently UK colored. (Yes, that's blue painter's tape. It was handiest. And there is actual bandage underneath it all.)

J: Okay, let's get the treadmill down the rest of the way.

JE: Um, you just tried to cut your toe off. We're not moving it again tonight.

J: We can't very well leave it where it is now, and besides, my toe feels better.

Pause in dialogue for more grunting while treadmill is moved halfway down the stairs. Which is where it gets stuck on the sloped ceiling. JE thinks she suggests pushing the top of the treadmill back towards her while she pushes the bottom towards J, in an effort to drop the treadmill down a step. She didn't. J pushes the bottom of the treadmill toward JE, pinning her ankle between the treadmill and a stair tread. The bruise forming on her ankle bone will be more impressive in the morning.

JE: Am I crazy for just wanting to drop kick the treadmill off the side of the steps?

J: Actually, that may be the only way.

JE: Wait. What? I was kidding!

J wasn't. He braced himself under the treadmill, and lifted/pulled/something or other while JE lifted/pushed/something or other the treadmill off the side of the steps. She may or may not have dislocated her shoulder in the process. It's starting to feel better.

This is where the treadmill landed (looking down from the top of the stairs). Should he not actually be successful in using the treadmill, J has promised to pay the moving company to take it back upstairs.

JE: I'm going to bed.

J: Maybe you should take an ibuprofen first. I'm going to go watch the game.

Title: Opposites Attract, by Paula Abdul

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wasting away again...

I realized the other day that I haven't posted many pictures lately (probably because I like to post 'after' pictures and we don't have a lot of those around the Melton Point lately), but I recently came across a picture worth sharing.

No, not this one. Bear with me.

A year ago, I posted the picture above of me with my Cousin L's little boy, Charlie, at our family Christmas gathering. Today, she shared a picture of me with Charlie at this year's gathering. Now, I don't know what I weighed at this point a year ago, but I know that four months later I started my weight loss efforts and was down 40 pounds last week. I'm thrilled to have the photographic proof of the change!

Title: Margaritaville, by Jimmy Buffett

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Paint your palette blue and grey

Some blog posts require back story, and I am afraid this will be one of them. Bear with me, and I will get to the point quickly (or not at all, but I might make you laugh).

I've mentioned before that I am a very brand loyal person--a marketer's dream. Morning TV?The Today Show (for the last twenty years). Spaghetti Sauce? Ragu Traditional. Laundry detergent? Tide. It works both ways, too. Pet Store I'll never darken the door of? PetsMart. Really, I could go on and on.

Big Box Home Improvement Store? This is where it gets tricky. My default setting is Lowe's, and has been since I started going there with my folks as a kid. In grad school, Lowe's sponsored a reality competition show. I loved it and couldn't believe they didn't do a second season. I signed up for their free magazine, and still read the copies my mom brings me. When J bought a house around the corner from Lowe's, I was in Heaven. Until I started visiting regularly and discovered that more often that not, the service is awful and visiting Lowe's just leaves me grumpy. Seriously.

I've discovered the wonder that is Home Depot and have made many major purchases there in the past couple of years (usually after a Lowe's clerk ticks me off), but somehow, when inspiration hits, my car drives me to Lowe's. It's the Brand Loyalty, I can't help it.

Last week, J and I purchased a new dresser and wardrobes from Ikea for our master bedroom. While I was telling my mom about them, she suggested we paint the room before installing the wardrobes. I agreed she had a good point, and hit Lowe's on my way home from work last night to pick up some paint samples. I chose the lightest shade on two different cards and had the sample cans mixed, then went home and painted sample splotches all over the room. (Side track--I noticed the sales clerk didn't use the magic-shakey-paint-mixer contraption to mix the sample cans, but didn't question it. I regretted this when I got home and opened poorly mixed paints that I had to re-shake myself.)

This morning, we decided on one shade, but agreed that it was a little too dark to cover the entire room. Not concerned, I grabbed the paint card and went off to work. When I left work tonight, my first stop was Lowe's, to ask that they mix up a couple gallons of the color on the card, but lighter than the sample color I picked up yesterday. I walked in and saw the same clerk I'd worked with last night. This worried me for a moment, but I reminded myself of our 2010 phrase and vowed to cut her some slack. Until she flat out told me she couldn't lighten my paint. Exact words--"I can't do that; you need to pick a lighter color."

I seriously thought I heard her wrong. You have machines that that can color match paint to the gold fleck in Brad Pitt's eye, but you can't go one shade lighter than the color listed on this card that also conveniently lists the formulas for the next two shades darker? Really?

So I explained again what I needed, and that it specifically needed to be the same color family as that card I was holding, just lighter. Again, "I can't do that, you just need to pick a lighter color from the paint cards." I explained that I didn't want a new color, I'd already picked one. Now, it's very possible that Lowe's carries another card that continues down the spectrum of the card I took in. Unfortunately, I don't know if they do or not, and I wouldn't know how to find it. You'd think their employees would know, and that they would be trained to walk me over to the wall of options to find it. Not this girl.

At this point I gave up, told the girl that someone could get me a lighter shade and they'd be getting my money tonight, and walked out. I heard her offer to call a manager for me, but she'd already fulfilled her Lowe's responsibility and ticked me off.

I sent J the following text: Why do I even bother with Lowe's? I know better!

As I alluded to earlier, Home Depot has a knack for cheering me up when Lowe's has knocked me for a loop, so I headed there next. I was now prepared to hear that maybe I couldn't get a lighter shade after all, but I knew that I'd get better service and that it would cheer me up. I walked up to the clerk at the paint counter, held out the paint card, and explained what I needed. "Sure," she said. "How much lighter? 25% 50?" Really? Was this possible? The girl at Lowe's just told me this was impossible, and this girl is offering me scientifically altered paint options, using another company's formulas? She quickly whipped up a gallon in the new, lighter, shade, then offered to paint a swatch on my card to see if it would work or needed to be darker. After making sure I was satisfied, she made a second gallon and sent me on my way.

I seriously considered walking my two lighter blue-grey gallons of Home Depot paint back into Lowe's to share with the clerk and her manager. Just to show her that it can be done.

Now I'm crossing my fingers this snow storm shows up early and gives me a chance to paint our room this weekend. I'll post pics when it's done!

Title: Vincent, by Don McLean

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

J and I spent a quiet New Year's Eve at home, and then we got up the first morning of 2010 to head to my folks in western Kentucky. We spent the afternoon and evening with folks from their community and organaizations they belong to at their annual open house, then spent Saturday evening with my Dad's side of the family at Patti's 1880's Settlement. This is the second year that we've gone to Patti's for our extended-family Christmas dinner, and it's a nice way to celebrate without overwhelming any particular family member with the whole group.

Overall, this weekend was a nice way to get 2010 started. My cousin Lori and I are making plans for the Derby mini-marathon in April, and J and I talked her into joining our team for the Bourbon Chase (a 200 mile relay tour of Kentucky's Bourbon Distilleries) next October. I think this sets us up well for the first of the MeltonPoint 2010 resolutions--

In 2010, J and I will :
  • Run 300 miles. (In my heart, I hope we'll knock this out of the water; after all 30 minutes three days a week will achieve this goal. However, we need to focus on consistency, so this goal is geared towards that.)
  • Lose weight--JE will meet her weight loss goal (35 pounds to go) and then re-evaluate. J will begin his weight loss journey with a one year goal of 60 pounds.
  • Complete the following home improvement projects--

Library built-ins--sand and stain the bookshelves; install cabinets, a counter, and the bookshelves.

Deck--re-sand and paint deck trim.

Main Bathroom--re-finish vanity, paint the room, install new vanity/sink and mirror.

Master Bedroom--paint, install wardrobes, sew curtains for window and wardrobes.

  • Restructure our spending so that we can live comfortably on 70% of our current combined take-home salary. This includes increases our charitable giving and reducing the amount of spending we can't account for at the end of the month. With the remainder this year, we'll be paying off student loans and building our emergency fund.
  • Internalize and live our 2010 phrase--Be Gentle with yourself and others. This phrase comes from the blessing our priest gives at the close of Sunday services. Sometimes, we forget to give ourselves and others the benefit of the doubt, and we're quick to rush to judgement. We pray that in 2010, we learn to be more accepting, more loving, and more gentle.
Title: Auld Lang Syne