Hi. Before you commit to this post, I should warn you, it’s a double. Not a double blog post, but a double me blog post. So maybe scan for some words you like, or skim, or whatever. Or get some snacks, maybe a stool or ottoman for your feet. Stretch out. Settle in. I’ve been lonely. Let’s not be apart again.
∞ We’ve been in our new place for about two weeks now. Or a year. It feels like forever, because a forever amount of things have gone on. On maybe our first or second night staying here, our neighbors started pounding on the door. It seems that in our attempt to figure out why we had next to NO water pressure in the house (delightful), we had turned a valve on OUR house that THEY had previously turned off, reactivating OUR sprinkler system that apparently had a GIGANTIC leak, flooding out their yard where they had just laid down a whole bunch of weed killer. They let us know that they had let several people who had been in and out of the house know (maintenance, property management employees, former resident) about the problem, and obviously, no one had passed the message to us. After heavily hinting they’d like us to pay for their expensive weed killer that had been washed away while at the same time assuring us that they understood it couldn’t possibly be our fault, we went inside, where I did not sleep AT ALL all night, knowing I had to call the property management company in the morning, totally prepared to have to argue about who was going to pay for it, and when we could get someone out there, and fretting about the water bill and tons of water leaking into the ground, and just prepared to do BATTLE, after what hell our LAST property management company was.
Yeah. 45 second phone call, someone was at our house within hours. He fixed the sprinkler system, then ALSO fixed a shower inside the house that – okay, you don’t need the details, but it was stupid. And broken. And THEN he relit the pilot light of the water heater which had – okay, you don’t need the details, but again. Stupid. And all of this was exciting because the water pressure appeared! And we had hot water! Because until THAT point, we’d been going back to our old place to shower, because we had the electric and water switched to our name, but since the place didn’t have a gas stove, we neglected to get gas turned on… not realizing there was a gas water heater. Oh, and gas heat. We were cold. And dirty. But just for a couple of days. And it’s warm in Arizona now. So now we’re just warm and dirty. And it’s just Pen and I who are dirty. And it’s by choice.
∞ EXCEPT NO, IT’S NOT TOTALLY BY CHOICE. BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE NEXT WEEKEND? Both the toilets got blocked. One even in that way where it’s all clear water and you give it a cautious flush and then the water comes up and you have to RESCUE YOUR CHILD DRAMATICALLY from the oncoming flood [of a quarter inch of water] rushing toward her. I shut the bathroom door and left the house, because it seemed like a problem for future Phil. When he came home from work, both toilets were working fine, except making bubbly sounds? And then we noticed some… sediment. In the shower and tubs. And then by morning, both toilets were overflowing, and all the showers and tubs had water backing up into them. And this was a Saturday. Phil put in a call to the landlord, who put in a call to the property management handyman, who works a regular M-F schedule, so rightfully told us he could come on Monday. Because he doesn’t get paid to come from an hour away on the weekends. Phil called the property management woman back, and she was QUITE reluctant to send anyone else. Because it would cost money. It took more persuasion that was understandable to get across that no showers and no toilets from Saturday until Monday was not okay. Not. Okay. But, uh, anticlimactic ending, he did. At around 8 or 9am, she promised us a plumber between 3 and 4pm. At about 6:30pm, one arrived. Auuuggghhh.
∞ So in the midst of all this, we’re unpacking at this house, and overlapping at the other place – finishing packing there and cleaning it, etc. Before we moved in, as part of the lease/promises of the property management company, they were to send gardeners over to restore the backyard and overall landscaping to a manageable point, and from there, it would be our responsibility. It wasn’t maintained before we moved in, and while maintaining it is part of the lease, and also part of the HOA covenant we signed, it was at a point that professionals are kind of needed – we can’t really handle the dead tree in the back or the palm tree maintenance on our own at this point. Well, though our landlord keeps checking in, the gardeners haven’t shown up, and we got a letter in our mailbox from the HOA saying it was the second notice and we need to weed/edge the front yard.
Since we just moved in, it was the first notice we received, but still. We signed the HOA covenant. We’re fine with the HOA. We know we need to take care of the yard. We feel like dicks that it isn’t done. I hate special snowflake situations. I know that I’m kind of claiming one for myself here. I’m asking you, Internet, to look at the totality of the circumstances here. We’ve been here for two weeks, we’ve had disaster after disaster, and our promised gardeners haven’t shown up. We are very aware we are not keeping up with the HOA rules that we agreed to when we moved into the community, and we know that we need to at least weed the front yard if the gardeners are not going to show up as promised, especially considering we got yet another notice from the HOA. Which is weird. Because… you’ll see.
Yesterday, Phil was outside trying to take down some of the weeds the best he could, just trying to be a good neighbor, because WE KNOW IT’S THE RULES. We’ve just had some PRESSING SITUATIONS. I know how I sound. You don’t have to tell me. I’m aware. I’m trying to get that across. Is it coming across? That I fully understand that we’re in breach of the HOA rules, and that I don’t really excuse us, but that it got away from us, and reasons, okay? There. Phil is outside taking down some of the weeds, and the “I kind of expect you to pay for this” neighbor wife sidles up to him and starts hinting around about how SHE would have expected the gardener would have come by now and how it’s just INSANE that the property management has let it go on SO LONG and SHE would be withholding rent by now.
We know now who finds the weeds to be such a pressing issue.
Here’s what’s strange. There’s not a whole ton of bylaws in the HOA covenant. Keep the lawns nice. Don’t leave the trash cans out. Don’t be loud and disturbing. No visible basketball hoops – yet, they’re all over the place. Okay. And no vehicle mechanics to be performed in driveways at all, absolutely none – but there are plenty of weekend mechanics doing their thing outside. And on street parking is prohibited. Well, people park all up and down the streets – including said neighbor, who use the cul de sac as their personal parking spot for their second pick up truck.
I’m fine with it if we live in a community where the HOA is lax. I’m totally fine with it. I’m even fine with it if we live in a community where the only bylaw they care about is the lawn. I just want to know, you know? I don’t want to be the only schmuck making my guests carpool because my driveway only fits one car, even though the people next door aren’t even using their driveway. So. Which plan do you like better?
- An apology to the HOA people, explaining that we just moved in, but also asking for clarification – you know, “we’ll get right on the lawn maintenance, but just for future reference, which of these rules we agreed to actually matter? Just so I’m clear.”
- Waiting until the next time neighbor lady strikes up a conversation, mentioning – a little embarrassed, of course – how we got tagged by the HOA for our lawn and how it got away from us with all of the plumbing emergencies we kept having during our move in, but how weird it is. “It’s so strange, though – they’re right on top of us about our lawn, but we read the rules really carefully when we moved in, and they don’t seem to care about the basketball hoops all over the place – which is great, obviously, because where else can you put them that isn’t visible? – and of course they don’t seem to mind the all the on street parking. MEANINGFUL GLANCE AT THEIR TRUCK.”
Seriously. I will follow HOA rules. I will. They’re there for a reason. And the neighbor lady can report me up one side of her frustrated life and down the other when I’m out of line. BUT TO DO IT WHEN SHE HERSELF is breaking the same bylaws just REALLY GIVES ME THE RED ASS. I just need to know. Which laws can I ignore?
Pep puts her butt on the dogs.
I don’t know.
∞ Pep is having some kind of sleep regression. I don’t know why. I’m not going to give you the details because even with the details, you can’t fix it. No one can fix it, not at this age. It’s not a matter of teaching her how to sleep. She knows how to sleep. In fact, she’s an excellent sleeper. Except for the fact that she’s never been one of those twelve hour a night sleepers I was promised in the brochure, she’s the kind of sleeper one might envy. She puts herself to sleep for naps at the same time every day in seconds. She goes to bed at bedtime, again in moments, without complaint. Usually. Sometimes, lately. She generally sleeps right through the night, occasionally requiring a parental visit to retuck a blanket or locate a pacifier, something I’ve suspected for a while we should just stop doing, because she’s perfectly capable of doing both of those things herself. But we’ve done them, because it’s hardly anything, especially in the previous house, where our bedroom doors were so close, they were practically touching. I almost didn’t have to open my eyes to dip into her room for a second, I was practically still asleep when I got back into my own bed.
But now, the house has a split floor plan, and the trek over to her room is not as easy. And now, starting a couple of days ago with a cold that disrupted her sleep with sad cries of “Nosey! Nooosey!,” we’re ending up over there a lot. A lot. For long periods of time. In the hours that should REMAIN UNSEEN BY DECENT LADIES SUCH AS MYSELF. Is she scared? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think she doesn’t actually know how to put herself to sleep, because she usually just falls asleep. I think that side of the house is too quiet. I think she’s aware of how far away we are in this house. I think she might be scared of the sound monitor we added to her room. She calls it the “hello,” because we can talk to her through it, and we say, “Hello, Penelope, it’s Mama/Daddy.” I don’t think she knows it’s us on the other side. I think she’s a manipulator and knows if she just cries LONG ENOUGH, we’ll show up. She sleeps straight through the night some nights. She falls asleep despite her distress if she’s exhausted other nights. She won’t calm down without parental presence and repeatedly walks to her bedroom door to beg for Phil to come over no matter how many times she’s replaced in her bed on the bad nights.
It’s a phase, obviously, and it’s either attached to the cold we’re still just coming out of, or attached to moving to the new house, or it’s attached to some magic combination of circumstances that we haven’t quite put together yet, because some nights are absolutely perfect, not a peep heard the whole night through. It’s a stupid phase, and I hate it, because I already don’t get as much sleep as I require (one million hours) during the week. It’s frustrating because of course it tries our patience and we’re not our best selves with her when she’s dragging us from bed at two in the morning, but she’s crying, “Please, Daddy! Please, Daddy! Please, Daddy!” And who doesn’t feel like a buns hole stomping angrily away from that? Answer? Me. I don’t. I don’t, until the next morning. Because I’m tired.
I guess I did give you the details. But seriously, don’t try to fix it. Come on. It’s a phase. I know the whole “lead her back to bed without saying a word” thing. There’s not anything else. You can’t force someone to sleep. I can’t teach her to sleep, she knows how to sleep. We’ve introduced her to all the stuff in her new room, and the thing is, she needs to suck it up and deal, because we live here. So. Life’s tough. Get a helmet. AND GO TO SLEEP. AH’M TAHRED.
∞ ANOTHER thing about my kid and my house? We have those handle door… handles. Like not knobs, but handles? Yeah, Pen can open those. It’s not good. She’s always bringing me shit from the pantry, which is kind of her, but my need for a box of lasagna noodles in the middle of the afternoon is low, and my need to have my window washed with a combination of her hands and the innards of a can of Coke Zero that she somehow busted open by slamming it repeatedly against the glass is slightly slimmer. Enter this thing Phil found – the Door Monkey. THE EMMER EFFING DOOR MONKEY. All hail that ridiculous piece of plastic. I love you, Door Monkey.
When Phil ordered it from Amazon and handed it to me, I did not understand what I was looking at. It makes no sense in the package, unless you’re the type who can, uh… look at things. And make sense of them. But he put it on the door in about a second and a half and my life was instantly unruined (it was ruined when I moved into a house with stupid handles for door workies, keep up). It’s out of Pen’s reach, she can’t open the door, neither can the dogs. It can stay on the doors all the time, and you can work it from either side, so it’s not like adults are locked in if it’s on. So I can go lay in our bedroom to read with it on the door, and Phil can come in or I can go out, without removing it or having to ask to be let it/out.
It does leave the door open a crack, and the site says it’s a benefit “to allow for air circulation,” but whatever. It leaves the door open a crack. That’s either something you like, because fingers can’t get pinched, or something you deal with, like if you’re using it on bathroom doors. It comes off the door and goes back on in a hot second, so it’s not a huge deal to take it off if you are using it on a bathroom door and then put it back on when you’re done, if you don’t want someone peeping at you through the crack, but aren’t YOU fancy, using the toilet without an audience standing two inches from your knees.
DOOR MONKEY. SERIOUSLY. DOOR. MONKEY.
MONKEY ALL THE DOORS.
∞ Benefit Cosmetics recently came out with a new concealer called Fake Up. I checked it out at Ulta, but was waiting for a couple of real reviews to come out on sites like Makeup Alley or Makeup Addiction on Reddit, or reliable beauty blogs, because all I had seen up to that point were glowing write ups from people who had attended a release party and gotten some swag bags, so not especially helpful in my eyes. Finally, though, a review came out from a blog I really like (it’s linked up in the blog crouton as well, I suggest you read the whole thing, I did), and I was especially impressed by the before and after pictures. I have an appointment this week for a free brow wax with a $50 purchase from Benefit, so I added this product to my list to buy. Maybe. But, then, I thought, I don’t really have a problem with under eye circles, so maybe not. I mean, it seemed to work well, but if I don’t have the problem it’s designed to fix, why spend the money, right?
But that thought coincided with one of the very rare days I was on the non-clicking side of the camera.
And Fake Up slinks quietly back on to the list.
∞ Oh, are we talking about makeup? Neat! If you’re following me on Twitter, I almost always am these days, and I want to clear something up. I’ve heard quite a few people say, in response to a picture of something I bought, or me talking about some kind of makeup or tool I use or want, that due to not having/using/understanding what I’m talking about, they’re not “good at being a girl” or they “fail at girl” or something like that. I get that the sentiment is a joke, but I want to be clear that one, I don’t hold those kinds of feelings at all – I don’t think of makeup as essential to girliness/womanhood in general, or even essential to my girliness/womanhood. At all. Period. And two, I don’t know what to say when people say that to me. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I’m either on the defensive, or that I need to comfort. Either I’m too girly and that’s “uncool,” or I need to say, “Oh, you’re plenty good at having a vagina! Let me see it! I’m sure it’s there!”
I like having makeup. I like owning it, and collecting it, and doing things with it. I spend my extra money on it, and I disappear into the bathroom to play with it when I have free time. I’m not going to get into the whole “why women wear makeup” thing, because OH MY LANDS, not today, but for me, it’s a hobby. Lots of people have hobbies. Lots of people have things they spend their money on, and things they spend their free time doing. This is mine. Sometimes I wear lots, sometimes I wear none. Sometimes I look really nice, sometimes I look really terrible. I just… this is what I like to do with my time. I also like to play video games and watch television, I like to read books, and I hate to cook and I’m bad at art, and I cannot decorate a house to save my life, and I have zero hostessing skills. So. Let’s not get into a who has the tiniest most shriveled up vagina battle over it, okay?
∞ In the new house, I have gotten all of my makeup into one smallish drawer, so it’s really not that bad. Well, one smallish drawer, plus a couple of things in purses here and there. One smallish drawer, the purses here and there, and then the tall bottles on the counter. The drawer, the purses, the bottles on the counter, and then like some samples and stuff I don’t use very much in an overflow drawer. Well, the drawer, the purses, the counter, the other drawer, and then the stuff that isn’t unpacked but that’s not a lot. And that doesn’t include hair stuff, lotions, or perfumes, but that stuff isn’t make up. And of course, brushes are separate in a different bag. So, really, it’s not a lot at all when you think about how I’ve been able to consolidate it together.
I’ve claimed the second bathroom as my own.
∞ I wasn’t planning on this post taking two hours to write or being 4000 words long, so let me just tell you some quick opinions about some of the stuff I’ve picked up recently.
- Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Palette – this isn’t pictured because it had to go back. Only a couple of the shades were really workable for me. There was a ton of fallout from a couple of them, a couple of the others were really muddy when they blended, and at first I thought that with patience, I could make it work, but… see above about this being a hobby I like to do. I realized that this palette would just NOT be any fun to play around with. Chalky shadows, muddy colors, fallout all over my face – nope. First time I EVER took advantage of the Ulta return policy allowing me to take back something that just didn’t work for me. Nope. Nope.
- Sugarbomb – This is one of the Benefit powder boxes. As you can see, I have a bunch there lined up on the left. LOVE IT. Coralista was my first, Hervana is my every day, Bella Bamba is one I’ve stayed away from and am just inching in to using, but I loved Sugarbomb from the second I used it. It’s perfect for the summer. It’s a little bronze-y-er than Hervana, and not as soft. You can see swatches here. (That’s a good beauty blog, too.)
- Mascaras – Clump Crusher by Cover Girl and Big Fatty by Urban Decay. I love them both. A lot. One is significantly less expensive than the other, neither makes my eyes water when I inevitably forget I’m wearing mascara and rub them. Huge bonus.
- Naked Skin Liquid Makeup by Urban Decay – I bought this after trying the Benefit Oxygen Wow stuff that turned out to be a bad color match. I recognize that I am pale, but I always turn out to be more pale than I think I am when I’m shopping for makeup, and I turned out to be the 0.5 shade in this stuff. I liked how it went on in the store, but I’m still struggling with it at home. It’s buildable, and I like to wear it a bit more sheer, but at home, I haven’t been able to find the balance between my skin being so dry that it goes on and I get flakes between my eyes/next to my nose, and so moisturized that the makeup slides right off my nose. So I end up with a heavier layer than I’d like (it still looks fine, I’d just like to wear a more sheer layer), set with Hello, Flawless from Benefit, which defeats the whole purpose, for me, of wearing the liquid stuff, if I’m just layering on the powder stuff ANYWAY. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just only going to get the results I like from powder/kabuki instead of liquid/sponge or brush. It could be. BUT. The formulation is great – it’s super light, it feels like nothing. The range of colors is awesome, with warm and cool versions for every shade. The price is okay.
- Brushes – My two favorites at the moment are the eyeshadow “C” brush from ELF and the Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques. If you need brushes, and you don’t want to spend a zillion dollars, these are two good places to go. On eyeslipsface.com, stick to the Studio line of brushes. They’re about $3 each, and they’re not the best thing in the world, but I like the ones I have – especially that “C” brush, the powder brush, and the small stippling brush. They won’t last you forever, but they’re better than expected for their price. The essentials line, the white handled ones, they’re not so good. The brushes are super scratchy. The foundation and concealer ones are okay because you don’t rub/blend with them as much, but that’s about it. The Real Techniques brushes are just great. If you have an Ulta near you, they often go on sale for buy one, get one 50% off, but even not on sale, they’re a great price for the quality that they are. There’s two sets that are a good deal, but I think my next purchase is going to be the travel essentials.
- I… could say a lot more things here. I should not. You didn’t ask for this. Nobody asked for this.
∞ I really need to stop saying things.