Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bright Ideas

I'm going to put off my oppressive holiday to-do list a while longer.  I'm hoping if I ignore it long enough, it will either 1) go away or 2) get bored and start doing itself.

We've got a new refrigerator.  The old one worked fine but it was small and ugly and when we first moved in we found an entire rotten chicken inside, a present from the previous owner.  It's been difficult to shake the image of that chicken.

A great appliance sale led to Bright Idea #1 -- buy a new fridge.

The new fridge delivery didn't go very well because I wasn't home when the delivery people arrived.  (Who comes at the beginning of a four-hour delivery window?  Nobody, refrigerator people, nobody.)  I was dropping Coco at school when the men called to say they were standing outside my house and a large refrigerator was sunning itself on my front lawn.

When I'm in a hurry on the road, everyone in Seattle seems out for a leisurely drive and all pedestrians seem hellbent on moseying.  I'm not generally a road rager but I may have laid on the horn once or twice.  My apologies -- it was full-on fridge panic.

I hadn't yet had time to empty the old refrigerator so I yelled "Hang on, I need a minute to empty this thing" as I ran into the house. OH, how they loved me then.

Nobody needs one million yogurts but that doesn't stop us from having them.  I began stacking the Danons and Fages in a pyramid formation on the floor and tossing bags of frozen peas and meatballs into the hallway.  I broke a sweat, which I hoped would endear me to the delivery men -- oh look, she's working so hard! -- but they had stone cold hearts.

It didn't help things when I yelled at my poor little schnauzer, "Why you always gotta be under my feet, dog?" as I dashed around the kitchen.  The delivery guys were evidently dog people because they couldn't even look me in the eye after that.

All's well that ends well.  The fridge is here and those guys aren't looking at me like that anymore.

Our new fridge is the obligatory stainless steel, a finish I don't particularly like but is still better than all the other options.  Why has no one come up with an attractive alternative to this awful fingerprint-riddled, non-magnetic surface?

It's a serious problem because Al and I are magnet collectors.  Check out this corkscrew beauty from the Czech Republic.  It fell off the fridge a year ago and the dude's head broke off. 

Our magnets needed a rad new home.  Then came Bright Idea #2 -- paint a wall with magnetic paint. 

The magnetic paint can said I needed three coats of magnetic paint to make my wall surface magnetic.  I dug in with gusto but the "what a fun idea" became "what in the bloody hell is this demon substance" pretty quickly.

Magnetic paint is awful stuff.  It's thick and has to be stirred constantly to prevent the important magnetic bits from congealing into a sludgy mess at the bottom of the can.  It smells awful and good lord, it spatters.

After three coats of paint, my magnets fell pathetically to the floor.  I gritted my teeth and began applying more coats of magnetic paint.  I couldn't admit defeat.  I wasn't going to come this far for nothing, time to double down.

Magnetic paint stains your hands, an issue that concerned me since the next day was Thanksgiving.  Our friends on The Street of Dreams hosted the Thanksgiving gathering this year.  I imagined walking into the party carrying my dish of bubbly hot Midwestern Cheesy Potatoes (with a crunchy Corn Flake topping no less), then everybody noticing my dark gray fingers as I served them up at the table and deciding they didn't need potatoes on their Thanksgiving plates this year.

Six coats of magnetic paint later, I was done.  I had nothing left to give.  The wall is now to the point where some of our lighter magnets kind of stay on.  Until they fall off. 

I covered the whole wall in chalkboard paint, too, so at least that part's cool.

Bright Idea #3 was an awesome new piece of furniture for our entryway.  I looked for this piece of furniture for a long time.  When I found it online, I danced joyfully around the house with my tape measure because I knew it was going to fit perfectly.

I was too right.  The deliverymen refused to put the hutch part on top of the base part because "It may fit perfectly, ma'am, but it's a little too perfect for us."  They were concerned about damage to our ceiling or floor, for which they would be liable.  They left it in two pieces in the middle of our entryway.  Alex gave me one of those narrow-eyed looks when he came home from work so I told him to stop looking at me like that and muster his can-do attitude, ASAP.

Seattle Mom and German Seattle Dad agreed to come over and help us with our furniture problem.  Al and I had a decent plan of attack, a careful plan that if executed properly should involve minimal damage to house surfaces.  But for some reason, in the heat of the moment, the four of us forgot the plan and just suddenly picked the thing up, lunged around a bit and shoved it on top of the base.

We did hella damage to our ceiling.

Bright Idea #4 was actually Al's bright idea.  He wanted to take the kids on the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad Santa Ride.  It sounded great in theory -- a choo-choo trip through the foothills of Mount Rainer, a visit with Santa on the train, hot chocolate, fuzzy blankets, popcorn -- it was a goddamn Norman Rockwell painting.

In reality, the Santa Train was a hot mess.  The inside of the train was as cold as the outside of the train. The water lines froze so there were no working bathrooms. Alex stood in line in the snack car for half an hour to pay a lot of money for lukewarm coffees.  There were many screaming babies.  And every time the train car lurched, all the people walking through the train car fell down. 

Chaos reigned on the Santa train.

The kids finally got to chat with Santa and afterwards he handed them some cheap plastic toys.  Coco got this generic Barbie.  She spent the rest of the trip making Fake Barbie do grotesquely terrible things.

Until it all went wrong --

By the end of our magical Santa Choo-Choo experience, Alex and I were dumbfounded and slap happy.  We could only laugh and laugh.  The kids kept asking, "What are you guys laughing about?" which made us laugh harder, which annoyed the kids, which made us laugh harder.  Then Santa came through and sat on Alex's lap.  We just have no idea.

 What happens on the Santa Choo-Choo stays on the Santa Choo-Choo.

We talked about it and have decided to lay off having ideas for awhile.  They're exhausting.


  1. another laugh out loud post....I so getcha on the stainless bit- I have given up- I clean it when the spirit moves me- pitched all the magnets except the precious (whatever that means)ones, which cling to the sides .... my bright ideas are usually of the same caliber mj- great in theory but practicality purposes ah that's another thing!!! the children are beautiful and will have many hysterical memories in their adulthood to share with their own children...giving them true family jewels ....until next time

    1. Thanks, g, always great to have you around. I hope we're giving the kids good memories but sometimes I think we're just traumatizing them and they're going to run far away from us as soon as possible.

      Have a good one, g!

  2. God! I'm exhausted and they're not even my ideas!:) Mind you, mine are exhausting enough in their own right;) Today was my last day of classes for 2013:) Yihaa!:) Now it's essay time until the 22nd, and on the 23rd, I'm off to Paris!:)

    That Santa choo-choo ride was hilarious:) Indeed, a great idea in practice:)

    I can't get over how much the kids have grown since the summer! And Coco's hair is so blond! I laughed when the barbie broke and she made the "sushi" face;)

    1. Hurrah, Duchesse, take that much-needed break. And enjoy beautiful, beautiful Paris. If you see her, give Virginia Mom a hug for me.

      We're not sure why Coco is blond. Makes Alex look at me suspiciously sometimes but I swear...

      Bye, D, thanks for saying hello as always!

  3. AH..magnets...luckily I have a small side section of my fridge that shows and that's where the magnets go...especially the one of the "special" parts of the David from Florence...ahem

    I too can't believe how big the kids are getting.....it's madness I tell you...

    and all my Barbies lost their heads at one point...a leg is nothing.

    1. I like your perspective, Debbie. I'll tell Coco.

      And you go, girl, with your dirty magnets.

      Bye Debs!

  4. Wow, your wee ones are growing up so fast!

    1. I fear that's true. And it's making me a little sad.

  5. Wow, they are growing up so fast.

    1. OK now I'm sad for real. They are never allowed to leave me.

  6. This is clearly too late to fix anything, but they do make "stainless steel" fridges that don't attract finger prints and you can even have magnets on them. (We too are magnet collectors.) We discovered this miraculous stuff when we replaced the dishwasher in the house in the old hood and I never looked back. I was quite ecstatic when I found out the fridge in the current house is the stainless steel that lets me put magnets on the fridge. :)

    Then we discovered that the fridge sticks out about 6 inches too far because the previous owners clearly did not account for door hinges when measuring. Now we constantly bang the side of it when we open one cabinet and it is a b*tch to get the produce drawers out to clean them.

    This is one of many decisions that the previous owners made that I question. Like running plastic tubing from the furnace condenser into the crawl space and not insulating it. That was fun to discover during the last cold snap. ;)

  7. Yep, too late... I've got magnetic paint all over the place over here. We had a similar kind of fridge on B.H. though -- I think it had a paint-like finish applied to make it look stainless but it was in fact some other kind of metal in disguise. Oh well, we're a stainless steel family now.

    Your previous owners sound as questionable as ours. The things this guy did to this house, I swear....

    Bye, Adrianne! Hi to all!

  8. Coco's expression at poor Barbie's dismemberment is classic.