Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who Are You? Who, Who (not a call for comments, just a snarky title)

Read the post, then the title will make more sense.

In the south it is common when a woman marries for her to start using her maiden name as a middle name and take the last name of her husband.  Not everyone does this of course, but a good number do as you may not want to completely lose your identity with your maiden name.

Forty years or so ago Mom got married.  When she married she went to the Social Security office (or what ever the procedure was then) with her freshly minted Marriage License and legally changed her name with the federal government.  When Mom did this she was angry with her father and decided that she no longer wanted to be a "Smith" anymore so she set up her legal name as "Jane Mary Doe".  Sometime within the next year or so Mom decided to start using her maiden name as her middle name and started using "Jane Smith Doe".  Years passed, Mom divorced but kept her married name  and has stayed "Jane Smith Doe" so all records, car titles, drivers license, deeds, etc have her listed as "Jane S. Doe"  My WHOLE life I've seen her sign EVERYTHING as "Jane S. Doe".  Do you see where I'm going with this?

Yesterday I sat down with Mom to fill out her Social Security Disability paperwork online.  Mom had plugged all the basic information in, name "Jane S. Doe" address, numbers etc.  I sat down and added the meat to grinder with all the doctor information, drugs, etc etc.  When we finished I had her e-mail the attorney we retained to help us through all this nightmare and there was an error message that said that the names did match what was on file.  You got it, Mom never went back to the Social Security Administration and changed her name to "Jane Smith Doe"   it was still "Jane Mary Doe".  My mother has been running around for 40 years without really knowing her legal name.  This in and of it's self wouldn't be so horrible except there is no way to go back and change the name on the disability application except to go the Social Security office with all the documents we can think of and hope they'll change the name on the application.  Great, my to do list is currently longer than my arm, and now a half day sitting around at the Social Security office is on it too.  I plan on making sure she has all the paperwork, my phone number and sending her alone.  Surely they are used to working with addled people there and can manage to figure something out.

In other news since we discovered the name fiasco I sent her to the DMV to get a WI driver's license and car tags.  Mom's car had to be emission tested which she went and took care of.  The bummer is that it didn't pass and that's one more chore for Hubby to puzzle out.  Mom luckily had no trouble at the DMV, however I filled out all the forms for her and we had to tear apart her files in order to find her car title.  She really needs the "Most unorganized" award.  The DMV was less trouble and she now has her federal legal name of "Jane M. Doe" on her car title and license.

The moral of the story.  Go check your Social Security Card.  I did.  I'm still amazed she's been walking around signing her name wrong without knowing it.  I can't imagine what kind of nightmare this may cause in the future.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Whole house mess.

Ever notice how doing one project simply takes over the house?  Do than in the kitchen and you might as well give up doing much of anything else until the project is over.

The before of our kitchen.  Please note we had already moved a lower cabinet and a small upper cabinet that was squeezed in between the range and chimney before we thought "Maybe we should take a picture".

In the process of the mess.   Remember we had already worked this chimney through the attic, an upstairs closet and over halfway down this room before getting to this point.

Of all the bragging I can do about my kids I am confident Igor will make it well in this world.  Not from some wonderful inborn talent (though that could still show up) but from the shear fact the kid is the hardest worker I have ever met.  He's always right in the middle of any project or chore wanting to know how he can help, how to do something and jumping in and working hard at any task you give him. 

Watch the video, ignore the title.  I can't type on my phone very well, and I forgot about the turning the  phone business so tilt your head or your monitor.

I swear the kid works harder than Hubby and I at anything.  Many times I have to tell him "Quit working and GO PLAY!"  While tearing bead board off the wall is a really cool task, he's as equally excited about running the shop vac, or cleaning the bathroom.  Go figure.

Anyway, I better get back to work before Hubby yells calls me again to help.  I kind of snuck out of work to post the video and pictures.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

...and the race is on...

and I'm not talking about anything in London.  Last night I attended our Cub Scout pack committee meeting to set the dates for the next school year.  Oy, makes my head spin.  Next week is going to be close to nightmarish with swim lessons, doctor appointments, school registrations, Hubby traveling and football practice starting.  I feel like I'm the director of a really crappy cruise ship seeing that everyone gets everything they need.  Yuck, sorry, just a little overwhelmed tonight when I started plugging in all the calendar stuff into my phone and the master calendar on the wall and trying to coordinate with Hubby.

Today I took Mom to visit a disability attorney and we'll get the ball rolling on filing for her disability.  The longer she lives with me the more I see she will not be able to hold down any kind of job where learning something new is a factor, and either her depression or shear laziness, or possibly some heart problem prevent her from doing anything mundane.  The attorney seemed to think she had a good shot at getting the disability and it's one of those deals where you don't have to pay him until he wins it for you.  Sure he gets a cut of any back pay, but that's more money than she would have gotten in the first place and I think it will take some of the load off of me not to have to try to deal with the Social Security Administration personally, because I really just don't have patience to try to deal with government BS along with everything else in life.  Hopefully she'll be approved quickly, and that will be at least 3-5 months, and we can get a ball moving to move her into her own place.  We've been getting along fine, but we'd all like some space.  I will say having a built in baby-sitter has been a boon.  I can go run errands during the day without it becoming a spectacle and go to the dentist and the like. 

This week and next the boys are in swim lessons daily.  Today they did pool-side instruction and never entered the water because when the pool staff arrived this morning they discovered that some pranksters threw a whole bunch of poo (hopefully animal) into the pool.  Nice huh?  Probably a good day for that because we had a cold front move through and I'm not sure it ever actually reached 70 degrees, amazing as it was in the 90's on Monday.  How's that for temp swing.  Nothing like the midwest to keep you guessing just which clothes to put on.  This will likely be Sonny Boy's last swimming lesson session.  He can really already swim, however his form lacks any grace or stamina and I'm hoping he learns some of that.  Igor is doing what I call a "tadpole" swim.  He'll put his face down in the water, arms to his side and kick.  He goes pretty well like this, but he'd certainly do a little better with some arm action in there.

The last weekend in July we had our big family reunion.  I set the date almost a year ago thinking we'd do a smaller get together, just something with Hubby's uncles, aunt and all of their offspring from Father-In-Law's side.  FIL invited every outlying cousin, in-law, out-law and even a few biker buddies and it became quite a large event.  Long ago I gave up planning control and fretted what kind of a mess would happen, however I will say it went pretty smoothly with only a few glitches, mostly from people just not listening.  Many expressed shock at seeing FIL condition as he's skinny as post, and weak, it was no secret he is ill, however I think many expected to find a robust full of energy FIL that they typically knew, not the frail, tired man in his shoes.  What many don't know is that in June we were all questioning if FIL would live long enough to even have the reunion, but I think he's been pushing for it for many months now and was determined to see it through.  I wonder how things will go with him now that that milestone has passed?  I do worry how Sonny Boy is going to take FIL's passing as he sees his grandpa as super cool, crazy dude and can't believe that after surviving Vietnam, several car accidents, several motorcycle accidents that something will kill him.  Sonny Boy tells me he believes FIL will survive the cancer.  I pray he's right, but I'm also realistic and try to prepare him that most people don't beat pancreatic cancer.

Chimney tear down has stalled the last couple of days due to schedules and exhaustion.  Even Igor who is one heck of a worker, has given up on picking bricks up out the flower bed and moving them to the dumpster.  We'll have to get back into the swing this weekend I know, but for now we watch the Olympics and ponder how the divers do that.

Black Boogers

A couple of months ago a friend started remodeling his bathroom.  Unfortunately for our friend he had more ambition than mechanical knowledge in the plumbing and electrical trades.  Friend and hubby worked out a deal if Hubby would help him with the mechanicals of the bathroom and teach him some basics along the way, Friend's father-in-law, who is a roofing and siding contractor, (and actually  did our roof last summer) would come help and teach Hubby how to roof on our little garage.

Anyway, Hubby spent several evenings and a few weekend days teaching Friend basic wiring and plumbing while working on his new bathroom.  This last weekend while we were away for the "Kamporee" - have to write a post on that later - roofing contractor father-in-law decided this would be the weekend to tackle our garage roof and had a small dumpster delivered to our yard.

This weekend the guys crawled on the roof, stripped a layer of shingles and put up new.  A huge improvement over the old which were peeling off at an alarming rate every time we had strong winds.

Sunday evening as we were admiring the new roof the discussion that we only had a 1/4 full construction dumpster that is paid the same if it's full or empty arose.  Hubby and I in penny pinching ways decided to start tearing out the old cookstove chimney in the kitchen.  The top had been removed during the re-roof but we still had bring going to the foundation.  Why you may ask would be crazy enough to take on three stories of chimney?  Well the answer is two fold 1) It will free up about 4 sq feet of  closet space and in a 120 year old house that's gold 2) it will allow me to move the refrigerator  from the far wall in the kitchen closer to the actual work area saving numerous steps around the kitchen per meal.

After all our roofing help left Sunday evening we fed the kids peanut butter and Jelly, told mom to fend for herself and got to work in the attic.  What a hot and nasty job it proved to be.  We started off gently lowering the bricks in a five gallon bucket from an attic window, but after about 5 hauls down decided to sacrifice the flowerbed.  With a sickening thud we watched my struggling impatiens (they never looked like much this year)  literally explode as three pound cream city bricks were dropped three stories from the attic window.

Sunday we made good progress as there was room in the attic to swing a large, heavy hammer and we reached the ceiling of the second floor pretty quickly and called it quits.  Monday, Hubby asked me to try to pull the plaster and lath from the chimney in the closet so he could get a good start after work.  This is wear things got interesting, since it appears when you plaster over brick, lath is not needed as plaster sticks really well to brick.

I chipped and chiseled a good part of the afternoon and removed a few rows of brick in between doing loads of laundry.  This process stirs up an enormous amount of dust, both from the chipping plaster but 120 year old mortar and soot from coal cooking fires of yesteryear.  Miserable and after a while forces you wash hands and clear nasal passages frequently - black boogers.

Hubby came home from work and real progress was made just simply because he's about ten times stronger than I and we got about 2/3 of the chimney removed from the second floor.  Tuesday, I again entered the the dust pit and inflicted damaged on the old chimney with Hubby coming home to work it down to the floor / ceiling of the first floor.  This is where we are stalled now as that will create a HUGE mess in the kitchen which will impact just about everything in the household. 

Sometime on Tuesday evening Hubby and I were pointing fingers at just who's wise idea tackling this project was.  Now, I'm beginning to wonder if that little bit of closet space and the ability to move the fridge is worth it.

Do you reckon you can get black lung from tearing down on sooty chimney?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Some helpful hints

Wandering around on Pinterest this morning and found this blog.  A really good blog that explains how jeans should fit, how to avoid "mom jeans" and all sorts of jean atrocities.  Just a good addition to the previous post since I'm donning a fashionista hat lately.

Avoiding Mom Jeans

How to fit Jeans

In all fairness it appears this blogger sells jeans at tupperware like parties so I'm not endorsing her brands or sales, however it does appear she has a good grasp of how jeans should fit and an easy to read style.  Fish around on her blog as she has many good tips for fitting jeans and clothes in general and doesn't believe you need to pay $200 for a good pair of jeans.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Age appropriate clothing

A post on FB got me to thinking tonight.  The poster was espousing her views on "modest" clothing and biblical stuff, yada, yada, yada.  While I believe there is a reasonable level of what is modest I'm not about to run around in Little House on the Prairie dresses, or swim in a suit that resembles the racing suits worn by Olympic swimmers (no way do I need to shave .001 seconds off my speed).  It did get me to thinking about what is age appropriate for girl's and women's clothing though.

I came of age in the late 80's early 90's and frankly we wore our clothes huge.  I don't remember buying T-shirts in anything but X-large in my late teens and early 20's and would often be seen sporting around in some old shirt stolen from a boyfriend or male acquaintance.  Styles change - thank goodness - and more fitted clothing came into style.  When it did, many people that hadn't seen me in a while thought I had lost weight, I hadn't, just simple turned in those giant t-shirts for something in a medium.

Now days, I'm in that limbo world of too old to wear the teenager/ 20 something styles and too young to graduate to the granny embroidered sweatshirts.  Makes shopping a witch.  The tougher time though is convincing Mom she no longer can pull off shorts that are above the knee and tank tops.  I realize some women that are 61 years old can rock the look, but my mother is not one of them and she should embrace the fact she is destined to capri pants, Bermuda shorts and shirts with at least a cap sleeve.  Difficult to convince her she no longer has the legs of a 20 or even 40 year old anymore.

Therefore I propose we set out to set some Universal Age Appropriate Guidelines for women's clothing.  Of course these are not hard and fast rules.  If you happen to age like Sophia Lauren or Jane Fonda you can sure break the rules a little.  Face it though the vast majority of us don't have the cash for all that plastic surgery.

Winnie's rules:

Age 0-10  Little girls should not wear shirts that proclaim how much they like boys.  Skirts should come to about the knee.  Bikini's should be banned - really what keeps those tops from sliding up when there are no boobs involved?  Never should anything provocative be printed on anything and shoes should have no more than a 1/2 inch heal.  No make up either.

Age 11-13, yeah getting into some tougher territory here as some girls look 11, some look 18 and that's the difficult part.  Skirts a little shorter, clothing a little more snug.  I still don't like girls this age in a bikini, seems kinda creepy yet.

Age 14-18, a toned down version of 20 something clothes.  Not too anything, tight, low cut, short, see-thru or too high a heal.

Age 18-30.  Here's where I say if you got it flaunt it as long as your in the appropriate setting.  Club wear is not appropriate at a funeral or your job.  If you ain't got it don't flaunt it though, because regardless of your age nobody really wants to see a 260 lb woman in a bikini.

Age 30 - 50.  You should be able to figure out what things flatter your body and dress to improve on your good points and camo your not so great aspects.  This is the art to dressing well at any age really.  Invest in staple wardrobe pieces, a good black skirt, slacks, a pair of classic pumps.  Buy good quality.

Age 50+.  Just because your getting to the senior set doesn't mean you have to start getting wet sets weekly and wearing "World's Greatest Grandma" sweatshirts everywhere.  You can still be fashionable but take a look at your changing body.  Menopause will likely have you spreading in the middle so ditch low riding pants and the high riding ones as well, go for a mid rise pant.  Take a good look at your legs and arms, chances are the skin isn't where it once was so go with a longer short and skirt same with your shirts/blouse sleeves.  Stay fashionable by following trends in colors and shapes and accessories.

Other general musings on women's fashions.

NEVER should you wear an item of clothing with a word printed across your behind regardless to age or how fantastic your rear end is.

Always invest in a good bra.  If the girls are sagging to your belly button, hoist 'em up there, you'll look 10 lbs thinner.

Do the bend over test when trying on pants.  If your undies show, or worse your butt crack those are not the pants for you (unless you plan on wearing some lower cut undies and you're sporting granny panties that day)

Where I may be old fashioned -and I probably am- unless you have wonderfully tan, smooth legs invest in some pantyhose.  There is a reason the queen requires them in court.

I make no claims to be a fashion expert.  Goodness if you saw the get-up I had on today you'd proclaim " Who the hell does she think she is giving fashion advice!"  What can I say, I spent the day doing yard work, picking up behind Hubby and some roofers and then tearing out a chimney, hardly a fashion plate day.