Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Got This!

Now that the man of the house is working so much, things have been a little boring in my neck of the woods. Instead of sitting around watching Bravo reality shows all evening and literally hearing my IQ drop, I've decided to be productive and start on Phase II of our little renovation.

Now that you've regained your composure from the shear hilarity of that statement, let me explain. We have a room and bathroom upstairs. It used to be my brother-in-law's room back in the day (we bought the house from my mother-in-law) but has certainly not been used in many years. Like many tucked away spots in homes, this room became a storage unit for the childhood remnants of my husband. There might be a few other odds and ends up there, but you will hear more about that later. Overall, it's a great little spot that just doesn't quite know its purpose yet: a guest suite for out-of-town visitors, a man room for H, a craft room for me...haha, just kidding!

Honestly, I blame it on HGTV and Southern Homes and Gardens. If this all goes down in a blaze of glory, please include HGTV and Southern Progress in my suit against BP. Since I am now able to watch all kinds of HGTV and DIY shows I've DVR'd throughout the day, I have really been inspired to get back on track. Oddly enough, along with that renewed enthusiasm for renovation came its wingman, the inflated ego. I have managed to convince myself that I can do this pretty much by myself. In my opinion, most of our renovation money needs to go to the things that we can't do ourselves. And there are a lot of those things. But cleaning, spackling and painting are certainly things this able-bodied designer can do! By the way, I am using the term "designer" very loosely here! But in my defense, if some of those yahoos on Design Star can do it, I can too!

So tonight, I spackled. It actually didn't take as long as I had thought it would, which probably means I am a phenomenal, FIFAesque Spackler Prodigy. But I'm really too old to be a prodigy, so it could just mean I did it all wrong. I choose to believe the first option.

Tomorrow I will sand down the holes and blemishes I patched tonight. The next step will be to clean and prep the walls for paint. And since I don't want all three of you to see the chaos that I'm sure is on the horizon, I won't document the next few steps. I wouldn't make you literally watch paint dry--it's like golf, never the same unless you can smell the azaleas.

I'm really at a loss as to what to use this room for. H really wants a "He-Man Woman Haters Club" with a flat screen and a kegerator. I think it would be best as a guest bedroom/mini-theater. We have our main living on the first floor, which has our master and master bath, guest bedroom, guest bath and office (which is currently the Boudoir, aka my dressing room, and would probably be the future Carrigan Jr.'s nursery if anyone around here ever thought about those types of maternal things).

I'm pretty excited about my undertaking! It really is easier to just pay someone to come in and do it all, but I know I'm gonna be really proud of myself once it's complete. I will have not only saved my little family some money, I think I'm gonna surprise some folks when it's all done. And then, like any good wife, I will have something to hold over H's head for the rest of our lives! :) Something of this magnitude should definitely be rewarded with fabulous purses and/or a weekend trip to New Orleans. I'm just saying...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Sometimes my thoughts are very scattered and random. I really haven't had any thoughts lately that might inspire an entire blog post, so here is my random stream of consciousness on a Friday afternoon.

My sinuses are killing me today for some reason. It feels like my eyes are gonna explode out of the front of my forehead. I've taken some meds for sinus headaches, but this dull ache just laughs in the face of modern medicine. Take that Sudafed!

There was a Pottery Barn catalog in the kitchen at our office. It has the most beautiful things that are pretty much all out of my price range. And then I remember the Friends episode where Phoebe is totally anti-Pottery Barn because they mass produce replicas of what would normally be charming antique cottage furniture and quadruple the price. Pottery Barn, you are dead to me now.

Which brings me other mass-produced items and chain stores. I hate chain stores and restaurants. I hate them because they ensure that everyone will inevitably have the same crap in their houses and stomachs. The chains put the little mom and pop shops out of business. I hate them because I don't really like things are always brand new--I love the story behind old objects, which is why I own a house that is almost a 100 years old. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and try to conjure up stories about the Winchells, the family that built our house back in 1902. I love the fact that there have been other wonderful memories made in this house. In my mind they were a pretty happening family. He was a banker, she was a stay-at-home mother of three with a love of crocheting and martinis in the afternoon....

My hair needs layers. It's far too blunt for somewhere with wild curls like mine.

I hope my future children don't have my crazy hair. I pray their hair is straight like their daddy's. But blue/gray eyes like mine would be okay!

I refuse to believe that I can't go to the FREE Jimmy Buffett concert. I am a good person. I do nice things for other people. I give homeless people cheeseburgers. WHERE ARE MY 4 JIMMY BUFFETT TICKETS!?!?!?! Somebody call BP--I'm making a claim due to emotional distress and loneliness. And lack of inspiration. I think a few hundred thousand ought to cover it!

Lord, why does the clock stop at this exact time on a Friday afternoon? I need my weekend to get here as soon as possible. Obviously I have been working WAY too hard today!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Age-Old Questions

Since my birthday was last Saturday and I reached an undisclosed age that is awfully close to 30, I've really been thinking and pondering over this whole "getting older" thing. I'm on the downhill slide of my late twenties, and I can honestly say thus far I've had a pretty good life. If any publishing house is ever looking for a young writer to pen a novel titled "How to Get the Most Out of Your College Experience and Young Adult Life", I would say I'm the gal for the job! Sign me up--where's my check?!?! Now that I am creeping on up to a different age bracket, I'm starting to question whether some of my usual habits are appropriate for people my age. Emily Post was gracious enough to write an instruction manual on proper place settings at an elegant dinner, the importance of a well-written thank you note, and when to wear white and linen. As handy as this can be from time to time (especially in the South where manners and such things are very important) I'm left wondering why Emily Post left out the answers to MY types of questions.

Question #1: What is the appropriate age for a woman to have short hair?
My hair has always been mid-length and blonde. I'm certainly not into the Crystal Gayle look (Google it for a good laugh today) but I realize that there will come a day when I'm supposed to have a short bouffant that needs to be washed and set at the beauty shop once a week by a woman named Lenore. I need to know the exact age this will occur so I can prepare myself for this inevitable event.

Question #2: Are we too old to sleep on a blow-up mattress?
At this stage in my life friends are getting married (and some remarried), having babies, buying homes, etc and a lot of my friends live in far away lands like Birmingham, Montgomery, and Atlanta. I'm afraid I've reached the age when it is no longer appropriate to assume I've got a prime spot on a blow-up mattress, guest bed, or couch when visiting. When my parents go out-of-town they book a hotel room. When I go out-of-town I look through my rolodex (aka Facebook) and look for the person who lives closest to my intended destination so I can crash at their house! Maybe it's because I'm cheap (thanks for THAT gene daddy!) or maybe because I like to kill two birds with one stone and visit with my friends while I'm traveling.

Questions #3: When will I start being ashamed that I know dirty rap songs?
This question is dear to my heart. I'm not a foul person--I don't curse a lot, I've never been arrested or gotten in trouble with the police, I've never stolen anything. I'm an educated person who enjoys reading classic novels and watching old movies. I like quiet evenings at home with my dogs, a nice bubble bath, and a good sermon at church. And...I know all of the words to every Tupac, Eazy E, and Notorious B.I.G song out there. As of a few weekends ago this was a skill I was still very proud to possess. But I have a feeling that no one is gonna be too impressed with a little 'ol blue-haired lady that's spitting out Juvenile lyrics under the dryer at the aforementioned beauty shop.

Question #4: When will my smell change?
Granted I have no idea what I smell like now, but for the most part I haven't heard too many complaints. I wear deodorant and shower regularly (except for No Shower Sundays but that's a whole different post!). But then again I'm sure the 90-year-old lady that hugs me at church does, too. But she doesn't exactly smell "fresh". It's almost like the musty smell that comes from my dress/coat closet--the one that I only open during Mardi Gras and the three days each year when it's below 40 degrees.

Question #5: At what age does bathroom humor become obsolete?
Just typing this question makes me giggle, so apparently I haven't reached that age yet! But seriously ya'll. There is nothing funnier to me than when someone lets out a squeeker my accident or cuts a silent-but-deadly poot in an elevator. I've seen the looks on the faces of other adults when these situations have come up and it ain't good. It is a mixture of disbelief and disgust--an awkward scrunching of the nose and watering of the eyes that obviously doesn't make them happy. I, on the other hand, am usually unsuccessfully trying to disguise my laughter. Then I talk about it for the rest of the day and laugh uncontrollably each time. I guess it will cease to be funny once I realize I just stunk up the elevator and blamed it on my husband.

Question #6: When will my biological clock start ticking?
I adore the children in my family and the children of my . They are adorable and entertaining and wonderful--especially when I get to go home and leave them at home with their parents. I know people my age or even younger who have 2-3 kids and it just blows my mind. I can't even imagine having ONE child right now! I'm still WAY too young to be a mom to anything other than Lois and Charlie (the pooches). I've been happily married for over 3 years, we are employed, we own a house....the list of reasons why we are ready to have kids goes on and on. But in the end I think we are too busy having fun and enjoying each other to want kids right now. I wonder when babies will stop being a far-off notion that makes me smile and become a deep need that keeps me up at night marking my ovulation chart on an Anne Geddes calendar?

I have many more questions about what to expect as I age gracefully (I figure if I go ahead and set my mind to "age gracefully" now it has to happen, right?) but the rest of them are probably better saved for someone with a degree in medicine. Or psychiatry. And those same questions will also be the ones that my mom would classify as "private" -- which, in Danita language, inevitably translates to "not to be aired on Facebook or that damn blog I lose sleep about at night!"

So don't worry mom! If you guys ever get anything other than dial-up internet in Kinston and you manage to read my blog posts....I'm keepin' it classy--bathroom humor and all!

Monday, June 14, 2010

My friend Lindsey said that she had been contemplating starting her own blog, but in her overly-articulated world she was afraid she would have "no more words." I laughed because I thought to myself, "There is NO WAY I could run out of words to say!"

And yet, I have found myself--only a few weeks in--with "no more words." Actually, I have plenty of words in my head (and voices, too, but that's for another post) but for some reason I just can't seem to get them down. I come up with all kinds of topics while I'm driving in my car, taking a shower, talking with friends, etc. But then once it's time to actually write them down, all of my witty comments have escaped me.

You see, this blog kinda frightens me. If you know me, you know I am rather opinionated and I certainly don't mind sharing my opinion. However, I am a firm believer in the 'ol saying "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." When I am voicing my opinion I tend to pepper my words with laughter and smiles (or at least I try to most of the time) and the other person can easily see that I am not combative or rude. You can certainly make your point, stand your grounds, and express an opinion without hurting or offending others. But when it comes to writing an opinion down and putting it out there for the world to see (like on Facebook or a blog) it can easily be taken the wrong way. Especially if the person reading it doesn't really know me or understand words like irony, sarcasm, and wit. Truth is, I can be kinda blunt sometimes and some folks just don't know quite how to take me. So that is my dilemna: Do I just wait until I have something interesting to post or do I post often with my thoughts and opinions? I surely don't want to alienate my followers (all 3 of you!) or piss anybody off, but what fun is a blog if I can unleash all of thoughts into the wild?

I'm also afraid that no one will ever read the damn thing! Having a blog with 5 followers is like baking a beautiful cake and then no one shows up for the party--you've spent so much time creating this cake with no one to help eat it or share in its gloriousness.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Birthday Month Ramblings

My birthday was June 12th. For some reason I have always loved birthdays. Not just mine (which are pretty awesome) but other people's birthdays as well. There is something so great about picking out the perfect gift for a friend or loved one and knowing that they are going to LOVE it or use it for a long time! You always hear people say "it is better to give than to receive" and while I don't really know if "better" is the exact word I would use, it is still a pretty darn good feeling.

June is a big month for my family. My mom, dad, and I all have birthdays in June so it's a pretty big deal. My dad has always made sure my mom's birthday is a big deal--usually he whisks her off to some foreign land like Destin or Eufaula. A few years ago we even got some of my aunts and uncles together for a dinner cruise on the Lady Anderson in Panama City for her birthday. My mother does not let anyone forget her birthday is approaching and she certainly isn't too shy to go purchase her own birthday present!

So really, when you consider the antics of the lady who birthed me, it is no wonder I am the way I am. (And unfortunately this is not the only trait I got from her--my "mouthiness" as my dad says, my smile, my weininess as my husband says....the list goes on) When you couple my mother's genes with the fact that I am the youngest grandchild (on both sides) and the only little girl (on both sides) it is amazing that I'm not a walking poster child for "Spoiled Rotten Only Child." (But don't ask my dad cause he will say I coined that phrase!) I guess it is my parent's fault because they always made my birthday such a wonderful day. I always had a pool party, spend-the-night party, or skating party or some kind of party with all of my friends.

But today is the day to put aside my birthday and my mother's birthday. Because today is my dad's birthday--June 24, 1892. Haha--just kidding! It was actually 1902.

My daddy is hands down the greatest man that ever lived. He is kind, funny, sincere, honest, loving, handsome, unselfish, respected...he is every good adjective I can't think of at this exact moment. He is the most selfless provider and protector a family could hope for, and it is no stretch to say that he is the backbone, heart, and checkbook of our family. As far as I know, my dad has never been wrong. And he prides himself on this record. As a matter of fact, he is famous for telling me, "If I tell you the moon is made of cheese, you better bring crackers when you go!" He can beat me at anything. Even being 35 years older than me, he can beat me at running, climbing, push ups, checkers, Monopoly, washing dishes, jokes, etc. If there is any sort of competition he will not only beat me, but beat me happily. And then he will make fun of me at family outings and get-togethers for losing to an old man like himself. Needless to say, I never got to celebrate a Candyland or Old Maid victory in my childhood. And I'm still bitter. To be completely honest, the only thing I can beat my dad at is spelling. Which by the way, he thinks is hilarious. (Because apparently being a good speller does not a champion make) In the tournament bracket of life in my family, the rankings are as follows: 1. Dad 2. Me 3. Mom.

I truly wish that every person in the world (especially little girls) could have a father like mine. He was tough on me growing up because he expected the absolute best from me. My dad never gives less than his best, even if it means shaming his 3-year-old daughter at Candyland. Or his 26-year-old daughter at Spades. He is the type of man whose character is evident with every breath he takes or smile he gives.

Simply put, he is my hero.

Even though my parents don't even have the internets (I'm sorry-I can't help a good Dubya joke!) I wanted to put this out there. If you see him around town, give him a hug and tell him "Happy Birthday!" And tell him he's lucky to have a daughter that isn't in therapy after all those years of losing.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Real Housewives of Orange Beach

This past weekend marked the beginning of Birthday Week. This is a special time of year for yours truly as I find it absolutely necessary to milk every last drop out of my birthday celebration. This year's festivities started out a little differently--I agreed to share my birthday month with some friends who were also lucky enough to be born in June!

Side Note: June seriously IS the coolest month because it is the halfway point for Christmas!!! And because Gemini is hands-down the best sign ever--who else gets an excuse to be bipolar?

Birthday Bash Weekend 2010 was here and we loaded up the cars (and planes) and headed to Orange Beach for one last hoorah before BP ruins our beautiful beaches. As a Florabama virgin, I was uber-excited about the hoorah! Here is a recap of the weekend:

First of all, we stayed at Bella Luna, which is unbelievably plush and lovely. Thanks to Jenny, we had these five-star accomodations to call home for the weekend. As much as I LOVE my historic, almost 100-year-old arts-n-crafts bungalow, it is really nice to escape to an ultra-modern, glass-enclosed high rise with NO dog hair! (Ahhh....as much as I adore my fur babies, I could do without the extra dogs I manage to sweep up 3-4 times a week!) For a girl's weekend, especially a birthday bash, you will need TONS of supplies. I have made a list of the few essentials our little group could not live without:
1. Groceries. More groceries than you could ever possibly imagine a group of 10 dieting girls who will spend the next 4 months in various states of swim-suited dress. In order to save a little money, each girl was responsible for a meal. This idea, however, is somewhat like communism--great in theory, but it never really works out in real life. Lucky for all of us the plethora of dips, cookies, chips, cinammon rolls, cake, and the world's largest turkey hotdog weiner you've ever seen managed to keep us from being too hungry this weekend.
2. An Iphone. First of all, thank you Apple for providing the world with this wonderful invention that has an application called "Talk to Text." Thank you for giving me a friend who doesn't mind forking over the cash for one. And most of all, thank you for giving us an option to choose an accent for the phone's voice when he repeats the text. Because honestly, there is nothing better than an English man yelling obscenities.
3. Vodka. No explanation necessary. It makes us laugh, it makes us cry, it makes us fall asleep in port-a-potties.
4. An abundance of dresses. Dresses are the staple of summer. They are comfortable, cute, and easy to travel with. And for some reason, most summer dresses seem to work on multiple people-despite varying sizes and body structures. Boys don't quite understand the concept of a clothes-swap, but it's pretty awesome.
5. An Ipod. Once again, thank you Steve Jobs for making music so handy. There is no other way (other than a good 'ol mixed tape) to have the soundtrack of my life playing at every possible event.
6. A camera! This is one that I am hesitant to add to my list. Simply because I feel that most people spend too much time trying to capture the moment and not enough time experiencing the moment. However, pictures are great to look back on and relive fun nights. Or they can be documented proof that there was too much #3.
7. Last, but not least, don't forget to bring a great group of gals. Ones who will laugh uncontrollably when you dance on the luggage cart, carry your bootleg booze in their purse at the Florabama, or wake you up when you fall asleep in the Pot O' Gold. In all honesty, I could do without the Apple accessories and I could certainly stand to miss a few meals over the course of a weekend, but it surely wouldn't have been the same without my partners in crime.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kill, baby, kill!

Even though I wasn't born in a beach town, living an hour away from three or four of our country's most beautiful beaches was a blessing. My mom's sister, my Aunt Diane, lived in Destin and we certainly took advantage of her and my Uncle Kenneth's hospitality on a regular basis when I was little. In high school we spent many an hour riding the "Strip" in PCB and laying out on the beaches. On my dad's side of the fam (my Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Lynda) we had a great excuse to cruise down to Pensacola Beach to spend time with them and soak up some rays. When I did my internship at WSRE in Pensacola, they were even nice enough to open up their home and let me live with them for the summer. And let me tell you--there is nothing better than living rent-free on the water! I just love the Gulf of Mexico, all the way from Panama City Beach to New Orleans!

Moving to Mobile was hard for me at first. I'm certainly not the shy type, but it was hard for me to make friends here in the "real world" of jobs, bills, and responsibilities. Some of my favorite memories here involve our beautiful, sleepy little coastal village of Dauphin Island. Once again I was lucky enough to have direct access to my in-law's beach house and boat. It was my weekend escape from my boring life in Mobile where all I had was H. The essence of me is there. I've lived every word of every Jimmy Buffet song on that little 13-mile-long island and the waters that surround it. I've had a terribly embarrassing moment on the Intercoastal Waterway at Lulu's, I've skinny-dipped off Petit Bois Island in broad daylight, and I've certainly had my fair share of sunset booze cruises. There is nothing better than eating fresh Red Snapper or watching a school of dolphins play off the starboard side of the boat. Or seeing the pride in my husband's eyes as he helped our friend's kids learn to cast a line. H proposed to me on the boat in the middle of the Mississippi Sound on Memorial Day back in 2006. We had our Wedding Party Party at The Pelican Pub, our couple's shower, and eventually our wedding at The Isle of Dauphine Golf Club. Dauphin Island is where we really fell in love and built the basis of our relationship. It is such a part of the fabric of my life, and I'm proud to call myself a local.

Needless to say, I am now heartbroken. Heartbroken and down-right pissed off. As an animal lover, my eyes well up with tears every time I think about all of the sea turtles, dolphins, pelicans, fish, etc, etc, etc suffering in this man-made disaster. All for the sake of making a dollar. There are commercial fisherman, oysterman, and charter boat captains who no longer have jobs-jobs they learned from their daddies and granddaddies. And they aren't jobless because they are too lazy to work. They are jobless because of one company's greed. ONE company has managed to rip all of this away from so many people. I am one of the lucky ones--I just viewed the Gulf as my playground, not my livelihood. But it doesn't stop there. No one will come to the beach when they can't swim and enjoy the beauty. Hotels and rental properties will stand empty, restaurants will close, businesses who depend on a hoppin' tourist season to make it through the year will fail. It's heartbreaking. No one will buy boats or jet skis. Charter captains will go bankrupt, marinas will close.....the chain of ecomonics that depends so much on our Gulf is about to take a beating like never before.

So what can we do? What can I do? Well...I don't know. How in the world am I supposed to know what to do when billionaire CEOs and brilliant engineers don't even know what in the hell to do? Boycott BP? Gotcha. Volunteer to help clean up the mess? Done! Try to reduce my carbon footprint and my family's dependancy on oil? Working on it as I type. At this point in the game, I don't care if Republican "Big Oil" legislature is to blame, or if Obama's response is too liberal or too nonchalant. I DON'T CARE. I just want BP to stop the leak and clean up their mess. According to the 60 Minutes special a few weeks ago, BP is the one who should be held 100% responsible for this. A chief engineer on the rig reported parts of the rubber annulator (the blow-out preventer) coming up through the top of the pipe. The BP Officials he reported the incident to (which, ironically, where on board the platform to celebrate Deepwater Horizon's safety record) instructed the men to keep on drilling--they had a deadline and a quota to meet. And, according to BP's 2009 Shareholder's Report (don't worry, I'm no shareholder I just did some research) the top-ranking officials and engineers receive a bonus of 150% of their salary and up to 225% of their salary on performance relative to targets set. That is a TON of money considering these dudes make well over a million a year. In this same report I kept spotting words and phrases like "integrity management" and "tireless attention to conservation." Funny, huh? In 2009, although BP had an operating budget of $27.7 billion, they terminate 11,700 employees to make a "simpler, more efficient organization." I guess by simpler they meant dumber and by efficient they meant careless.

Here is my plea--whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Purple People Eater: Let's ALL rally for cleaner, more sustainable resources to run our lives. Let's use the sun, wind, corn and whatever else we can think of to lessen our dependency on oil--both foreign and domestic. I can't see Russia from my backyard, but I used to be able to see Egrets and Cranes and Mullet. Now all I see is oil. People think oil is a necessity, and right now it is. But it doesn't have to be. And I refuse to believe that in a world where people can walk on the moon, clone sheep, and transplant organs we can't find a way to make a car run on something besides oil and gas.

I'm still researching so there will probably be more to come, but here is a list of BP products to avoid:

BP Select Motor Oil
BP Autran Syn-295
BP Gear Oil 90
Bartran HV
BP Spindle Oil
BP Energrease

And of course, don't forget the gas stations! In addition to the regular BP stations, Amoco is also a subsidiary of BP.