Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You're still here?

Blogs are a lot like the Kardashians. No matter how long you ignore them, they don't go away.


The freakin' hamster died.

Project 12-in-12 was put on hold for about 10 months, but has resumed.

I'm addicted to One Kings Lane, Joss & Main, and Craigslist; but feel I may soon wean myself from "furniture - by owner," to all things Pinterest. Pretty colors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Necessity is the Mother of Invention - and I am the Mother of Stupidity

Let me ask you something....on what setting do you wash your Capri Sun drink pouches? Delicate? Ultra-Handwash? Perhaps a simple rinse and drain will do the trick. I digress....

My son, Deuce, will be confirmed this year in the Catholic church. His catechesis requires several service projects along the way. Last year, ZuZu went through the same thing, and along with several projects done with her various sports team and extra-curricular clubs, she sponsored a "Zumba for Haiti" day and collected over $600 to be sent for relief efforts after last year's devastating earthquake. She was very proud and loved being part of such a great effort. Her project was even mentioned in the local diocesan newsletter. Not to be outdone, it was time for little brother to come up with an impressive project (translation: can mommy outdo her own previous service project?).

As with every other elementary/middle school in America, my children's' school is very environmentally conscious. We have paper and cardboard recycling bins in the parking lot, we have gone to electronic correspondence, and our school cafeteria recycles EVERYTHING - water bottles, milk jugs, even the trays (no longer plastic sent through dishwashers - ours are a recycled material sent back to a recycling plant). I did a little research and thought, "we should start a POUCH BRIGADE!"

TerraCycle is a wonderful company that accepts those colorful little drink pouches (i.e. capri sun, minute maid, etc), gives $.02 per pouch to your charity of choice, and then UPcycles them into cute little products. Here's the lunch box we bought to promote the program.

Cute, right? seems simple enough. We signed up online, named our school as the charity, bought a big tub for cafeteria collection, and every Friday, Deuce drags the big bagful home on the bus.

TerraCycle says no need to wash the pouches, but the pouches must be empty and no straws. Simple enough.

The first couple of weeks of school, we were on it. We'd outfit ourselves with surgical gloves, dive in, and throw out the various granola wrappers, milk boxes and potato chip bags that happened to find their way into our "pouches only" bag. We threw out enough straws to stretch from the Liberty Bell to Key West, Florida. And we were ALMOST at the required 500 pouches necessary to mail in our first shipment (postage printed out online and paid by TerraCycle).

Week three and four and five....things got busy. Bags were thrown in the garage to be dealt with later....

Yesterday was later....

Too late.


Yesterday we found not only random wrappers and milk boxes, but soggy bread and half chewed granola bars.

Deuce: "AWWW, somebody puked on this one!"

Me: "Nope, that's just two week old, soggy granola smears. Rinse it off and throw it in the sun to dry up.

Deuce: "That's disgusting."

Me: "Suck it up. One day it will be puke. Your child's puke. All over you. And the next thing you know, you'll be washing capri sun pouches in your front yard with a garden hose and nose plugs. Now stomp on that bee I just disoriented with the jet stream. Freakin' bees."

So as not to lose sight of WHY we were doing this mother/son bonding project, I forced him to say the "Our Father," ten "Hail Mary's" and a "Glory Be" during the festivities. My meditations were a little less holy.

As the Indian Summer comes to a close, I begin to ponder how we are going to clean those devil pouches through the chillier months. Let's face it, upcycling 500 pouches every three weeks is not going to close the gaping hole in the ozone, now is it? What's a mom to do?

WASHING MACHINE!! I dumped the next bagful of pouches straight into my front-loading washer, threw a little detergent in and pressed "Ultra-Handwash" hoping for the best. Thirteen minutes in, I couldn't wait. "Drain and Spin." Eleven minutes later, I open the door. Still reeks of stale, fake juice. Found a couple of "one of these things is not like the of these things just isn't the same...."


Hand to God, this one was still half-full (note the, the perpetual optimist).

It gets worse....I was hoping that a quick dryer cycle on low heat would finish the deed and prepare the pouches for packing. Sweet Mother of Mercy, now my dryer smells of stale, fake juice. There was a hazy, tacky film coating the drum. Clorox wipe, Windex wipe, hot rag wipe......I think the tacky is gone, but the smell remains. Doing my first load of laundry this morning since the debacle. We should be able to access the damage in another 44 minutes.

You may have won the battle, Pouch Brigade, but the war is not yet over. My next plan of attack - the dishwasher! Yes, I realize if those metallic little pouches fall through the racks and rest up against the heating coil, it could spell H-O-U-S-E-F-I-R-E. But I refuse to let these pouches get the best of me! And isn't a small, contained house fire a small price to pay for saving Mother Earth?

He thinks so.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jumping the Shark

Wow! It's been awhile. So much has happened since we last visited, where should I start????

Well, I guess we should begin with Big Daddy. Life around the office is stressful, to say the least. Never a dull moment at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce - which is way too many names for a simple ad agency, don't you agree? I suspect there may be some office shenanigans going on, although certainly it can't last. Those mad men are sure to become impotent due to the Lucky Strike chain smoking that goes on in that office.

My daughter ZuZu apparently has broken into the blog biz herself. It seems she's "the one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite." Who knew?!? What can I say, "you know you love her. xoxo"

My son, Deuce, who is the quarterback on his football team recently joined the Glee club at school. He's a bit goofy and awkward, but can really sing (not so much dance). The slushies in the face bother him a little, but he's willing to endure because the girls in the club are hot and that's the way he roles.

MT had a great time down at the shore this summer. He spent a lot of time living in a pineapple under the sea. Took a job as a fry cook for a stingy lobster and LOVED it. His best friend, Patrick, is endearing, but stupid as a saltwater invertebrate.

As for me? What have I been up to, you ask? I'm just living my life as a real housewife of Philadelphia. Fundraisers, shopping trips, brawls and fake boobs (not me....those other bitches).

And that's what you missed on Aleighopolis!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm Sleep-blogging Again

Funny, when I rolled out of bed forty-five minutes ago (after giving up on sleep), I didn't expect to visit Aleighopolis. Yet, here I am. Perhaps when I have something to share in the middle of the night, and everyone else is sleeping, I turn to you! That's right. YOU! Even though YOU are probably sound asleep in your own 500-thread count sheets with the air set at a dehumidifying, ever-so-slightly chilled 73-degrees so-you-can-still-pull-the-down-comforter-up-over-your-shoulder! YOU. Oh, how I envy YOU and your REM....

So what did I want to share, YOU ask? Again, forty-five minutes ago (okay, now fifty minutes ago), I was making my way down the stairs Inspector Clouseau style using my iPhone as a flashlight, and suddenly, I saw movement across the foyer floor. Small, round, furry movement. ZuZu's freakin' hamster, who shall from this point forward be referred to as Houdini (and, maybe, S.O.B.). Thankfully, I didn't scream, break any more furniture, or wet myself. In fact, I'm actually starting to expect the little critter to fly the coup. You see, Houdini managed to escape from his cage THREE times while we were "vacationing" in Indiana last week (providing much entertainment for the 6-year old quadruplets that were pet-sitting during our absence). I'm still not in love with the little rodent, but I hate him a little less than I did a few months ago. I understand him a little better. For instance, I now know that if I put a little food in his green plastic exercise ball, he will happily crawl right inside - eliminating the need for me to physically pick him up, which would cause me to scream, possibly break furniture (or bones), and quite likely wet myself. So, here we are. Me, rat-tat-tatting on the keyboard.....Houdini "rolling" through the house, rattling the big sunflower seeds (which works as well as a bell around his neck).

There are many more things that have happened over the past couple of months that I would love to share....but......nah. I won't bore you. Perhaps I will share snippets every once in awhile. Just a splash of to speak.

I must say, I was delighted to see the new templates offered by blogger - making the life of an amateur blogger easy-breezy, lemon-squeezy. This one lightened my heart, and made Aleighopolis so sunshiney. Again, making it impossible to resist the urge to stop in for a quick visit.

Bye, bye, Larry King set - Hello, green pastures.

I guess that's all for now. I think I'll leave Houdini inside the green ball and place the green ball inside a laundry basket and place the laundry basket inside the powder room and wedge a towel underneath the powder room door. Maybe then I can convince myself that it's safe to fall asleep.

Freakin' Houdini.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's 2a.m. . . . Do you know where your blogger is?

This one is in front of her keyboard...regretting the two glasses of iced tea (realizing now, it was NOT decaffeinated) she had with a late dinner. That's what she gets for opting out of the red wine.

Enough of the third person....

Thanks to all who noticed my absence, missed me and told me so. This time, it was not so much a purposeful distancing as it was a literal distancing. I truly have not been able to sit in front of this screen and spend any quality time in Aleighopolis. It's true. Ask my facebook friends. I've been MIA there, as well. It started with a four-day trip "home" for a family affair. I returned just in time for my kids to begin a four-day weekend, during which my parents arrived for a week long visit. They left Sunday, and here comes another three-day weekend celebrating the unofficial kick-off to SUMMER!

What happened to May?

What happened to this school year?!?

As my friend recently reminded me. "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." So what lifey things have interrupted your best-laid plans? I'm hoping all good.

Ooh! Let me guess!

I'm thinking a third of you finished a chapter, were signed by an agent, or have a book available on amazon; a third of you just finished a mini-marathon, the 26.2, or are training for a triathlon; a third of you are still pissed off because Crystal Bowersox lost on American Idol.

Am I close?!?

I'm thinking we're on the same wavelength, because other than visiting and being visited, this is what I've been up to:

Contemplating a book idea that a friend suggested I author (can you imagine?)

Updating Zumba routines as I branch out on my own, renting space at a local dance studio

NOT watching American Idol

Sorry, I lost interest after Andrew Garcia was voted out. He had THEE BEST rendition of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" and Chris Brown's "Forever." I'd stick a link to youtube here, but alas, I still don't know how to do such a thing. And, it doesn't matter anyway....the polls have been closed for a few days, right?

Today should be Flashback Friday. With that in mind, how about we flashback to the Project 12 Rooms in 12 Months?



It's a good thing you're all holding me accountable.

I'll go get started now.

Scratch that.

I'll get started later today. After a little shut-eye.

Good morning.

And good night.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

There's an App for That

Six of the most annoying words in the English vocabulary:


I am unabashedly, unequivocally IN LOVE with my iPhone. That's right, iHeart my iPhone. Despite what that "other company" says about AT&T's dead zones, or lack of service area (or whatever they're calling it in their ads this week), I rarely have issues connecting to the server. And my phone is now over a year old, rendering it antiquated and nearly obsolete in the world of cellular electronics.

That, my friends, is what makes the last hour of my time with my beloved smart phone so completely frustrating. I was away from my PC for a mere hour and a half, and felt completely lost (that kind of says something about me, doesn't it?). Don't get me wrong, I can float away from cyberspace (with only slight detoxing side effects) for hours and hours, but this weekend, I will be leaving Big Daddy and the kids to fend for themselves for four days, so there are many a plan to be finalized and all that. This is no time to be unplugged. Unnecessary anxiety has set in.

What's wrong with my phone? What if it's broken. What if I don't have a phone over my weekend away?

I have tried to connect no less than 1,000,000,000 times over the past hour and five minutes, with those same God-awful words popping up every time.

Let me try to distract myself with something else.....

You know how, "they got an app for that?" Most (all) of my apps are FOC, just because I don't have time or $$ to invest in the fancy stuff. Many would accuse me of not fully reaching my iPhone potential. Call me a simpleton. I still have my favorites. Here are some top-billed (free) apps in Aleighopolis:

Words Free (Words With Friends) - my new favorite. My Sis-in-Law got me started in this virtual scrabble game, and now we're in constant battle - me in Philly, she in Ft. Worth. She and my nephew are the only people I engage in wordplay with, and I have yet to win a game. Although, I have to say, I WAS winning one round, and mysteriously, it disappeared. Never to be heard from again. I smell hijinks (which would make a kick-ass triple word play).

ESPN ScoreCenter - most fervently used during the fall to keep track of the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Phillies post-season play.

Shazam - musical voodoo at the touch of a screen.

Notes & Voice Memos - great for quick citations. Remember when we used to have to write notes on paper?!? How archaic!

I realize these aren't the most titillating of iPhone applications, but they serve me well on a day to day basis (and I suppose I would be remiss to leave off facebook mobile for obvioso reasons). If you want apps that would incite a riot (or at the very least, make a middle-aged mama squeal with delight), how about creating one of these:

The Carpool - At the tap of your screen, coordinate with your entire contact list to determine who could drive whom when and where, thus avoiding endless emails, texts, and phone calls with said network.

Copperfield Dinner - type in your random on-hand ingredients (mine would read 2 cans of chicken, a sleeve of saltines, a jar of green olives and ranch dressing), and feast your eyes on a delectable gourmet recipe, complete with calorie, fat, and carb count.

Personal Trainer (from Hades) - This app would work on an interval training schedule, alerting you to various cardio and strength-training feats throughout your day. One may find themselves shopping in Target, when "Personal Trainer" demands they "drop and give him two sets of ten!"

Extraordinary Excuses - Keep this one on page one for quick reference when asked to chair the next fundraising event at your child's school.

Grocery Getter - This app acts as a liason between you and your favorite, local supermarket. You input your grocery list and debit card info, and the store has everything grabbed off the shelves, bagged in recycled totes, and waiting for you curbside as you do a food drive-by.

And how about one more....

Because I'm the Mom! - this would be random comebacks to your children's most annoying questions and requests.

Tween Daughter: Mom! Why can't I go to the Katy Perry concert?

Because I'm the Mom: Because I said so!

Wait - I could create that one myself on my voice memo app!

So what's your favorite app? What's your dream app?

By the way....crisis averted. Very few iPhone problems CAN'T be fixed by simply turning it off and turning it back on.

Kind of like Big Daddy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

One Down. Eleven to Go.

Wow! My mind is 1/12 freer. Not kidding. I am on my way to a clutter-free cranium!

My apologies for not being much of a motivator for the Project 12 Rooms in 12 Months, but BIG THANKS to all of YOU for motivating ME to complete my first project in the first month. Accountability, people. I made you a promise, and I kept it. And here is my reward:

You know what I love? I love when one of my kids tells me they need a blue erasable pen for school and I can say, "mudroom, bottom right drawer" without hesitation. That's power, my peeps. Check out the big "OM" on my unitard - "Organized Mommy."

If you're wondering what's in those boxes up top, the answer would be, from left to right, top to bottom:

Fancy present toppers
"Extra parts" for "stuff"
Bows & tissue paper
Gift bags

The biggest accomplishment in the laundry room was getting all of the clothes upstairs in the proper closet. Claustrophobia cured! My itty-bitty laundry room now feels cozy instead of cramped. Note that I still keep the kids' team uniforms hanging here on the right. Again...

Them: Mom! Where are my baseball pants/shirt/vest/belt/socks?
Me: Laundry room. Hanging up on the right.

Organized Mom saves the day AGAIN!

You know what else feels roomier? This petite little mudroom closet. The over-the-door shoe rack is still filled with all kinds of things - from hole punchers to screwdrivers to fancy empty boxes to packing tape. I find no reason to disturb the organized chaos happening here. But check out the closet innards.....

And now, the piece de resistance....

Surprise! I had my powder room turned into a little jewel box! Isn't it adorable?!? I have a love/hate relationship with wallpaper. I hate "their" wallpaper, but I LOVE MY WALLPAPER! Actually, this is only the third time I have had wallpaper slapped up in my house, and one was a neutral textured paper, but I was looking for a bold, modern floral and this is it!

**DISCLAIMER: Project 12-in-12 is not about spending money on redecorating; however, if it is on the to-do list, "git'er done." **

Voila! So there you have it! My first of twelve rooms (which was actually three rooms rolled into one), is complete! And for my next trick - the living room:

I get a lot of compliments on this room, and at first glance I can understand why. It's trendy, but tasteful...well-balanced...warm and inviting. But, as the owner of this living room, trust me when I say it kills me (that's right, my LIVING room KILLS me).

Look at those 25 cubbies. Shelving units are our best friends and our worst enemies. Three words: Purge. Purge. Purge. And even though this room has been put together over time...pieces purchased for other rooms in other homes, brought together here, it still feels a little "Rooms to Go" to me. I need to edit and add in order to produce a more eclectic vibe, which is more my style.

This corner has always posed a problem...since moving in. It's a great hiding spot behind the foyer closet.

I have a bad habit of this, too. Propping "soon to be hung" items up against the wall. These were "soon to be hung" when we moved in 2 years ago.

And this closet needs the same TLC I showed in the mudroom...

One more thing. Take a look at what used to be a fabulous second-hand find for the "I love me some vintage furniture" shopper girl.

It's a liquor cabinet. Check out how it becomes a server bar. This little number has seen many a wild party in it's heyday.

Why is it lopsided, you ask? That happened Saturday night. No joke. Just two days ago.

Big Daddy was out of town this weekend. ZuZu had a friend stay over Saturday night, and the boys asked a couple of neighborhood friends to spend the night, too. As they were all having a dance party via Comcast On Demand videos in our family room, my neighbor (the boys' mom) was graciously inviting us all down for Belgian waffles and bacon the next morning. Lovely. We continue our chat, which suddenly veers a little off topic.

She: Do you guys have a hamster?

Me: Yeah. (she doesn't read my blog, but I thought she knew this)

She: Is he black?

Me: Yeah! WhyyYY?!? (escalating with realization) IS HE OUT?!?

She: Yeah, he just ran under the couch.

Me: ZUZU!!!!!

At this point, I do a vertical leap somewhere between 6 inches and 6 feet, and my bum comes crashing down on top of this liquor cabinet, which proceeds to make a crunching sound as the wheeled leg is forced through 60-year old rotting wood and slams onto the foyer floor (me, sliding off, running into the kitchen and jumping onto sturdier, more stable Quartz countertopped kitchen island).

The kids have made a barrier across the room, and my friend urges ZuZu to go get the hamster. She's frozen with fear. I JUST NOW find out that Scooter bit my son on the first day we had the stupid hamster, and ZuZu has been afraid to hold him ever since (TOLDYA SO! TOLDYA SO! TOLDYA TOLDYA TOLDYA TOLDYA TOLDYA SO!)

My neighbor's son finally captured the rodent without further incident, and he was placed back in his cage with the non-secured hole NOW taped closed. You all told me it was just a matter of time. Luckily, he was lost & found all at once. In fact, he was kind of found first. He was found, before we knew he was lost.

Freakin' hamster.
Freakin' ZuZu.

p.s. Mudroom Before & Afters will be in an album on my Aleighopolis facebook page.