A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two…In The Dryer….

What better way to return from a blogging hiatus (sorry guys)  than with a touching tale of a woman, her two cats, and un-wanted house guest residing in her dryer. Let me start from the beginning

I was told when we first bought our home, that part of the ‘fun’ of owning your own place was being King Queen of the castle and getting to make your own decisions. For instance, If I want a hot pink wall in the laundry room, than hot pink it shall be. (I promise I do not really have a hot pink wall)

What they did not tell me was that with a new house, comes the opportunity to explore different career paths. For instance..

General Contractor/Repair Man.  Lets say you make your husband move the furniture around just one last time because you are just positive that table will look better just a smidge to the left, and he ‘accidently’ knocks a hole in the wall, you get to repair it..not a landlord. 

Plumber: in this instance, you find yourself in an unseasonably cold Texas winter, and while you are used to cold winters and pipes freezing in Indiana, your Texas house…and its brand new sprinkler system is not, and you find yourself outside at 10pm with a hair dryer, old new towels and duct tape hoping to thaw them before they explode.

Lastly….

 Animal control: This time, your comfortably asleep in your bed, its your day off and you have no plans other than to be lazy. Suddenly, as if you are a character in the children’s book “The Night Before Christmas” a loud noise comes from the other end of the house. Thinking its the cats fighting, you threaten them with the water bottle, again, and go back to sleep. Order seems restored, until it happens again. This time, you get a little more aggressive with the yelling and fire a warning water shot in the general direction of the noise and again, go back to sleep. It is then you realize that one of the cats has burrowed himself into the blankets, presumably out of fear. Now, slightly freaked out because you know the cats cant be the source of the noise, you get out of bed, change your clothes (because your high school gym shorts and spaghetti strap shirt are not proper attire when you have an un-wanted house guest..) grab your phone and head to the origination of the noise.

A Strange Sound Comes From The Dryer

 

Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a 26 year old woman feel like a 5 year old girl faster than a weird noise coming from a what should be silent dryer. You better believe I was hysterically calling/begging/demanding my husband to come home from work and rescue me from certain death.

To kill time and to make sure there was a witness to my death just in case Matthew did not make it home in time, I face timed my mom.

A single mother with two strong willed kids, my mom is, of course, trained and experienced in hostage situations, and was able to comfort scare me, until my animal control specialist arrived home.

30 minutes, a pile of clean/dry socks and an extended grabber later, Matthew and I were now the proud owners of a tiny brown sparrow who thought it would be cute to slide down our dryer vent. She, however, did not stay long. Like a white dove being released at a wedding..this sparrow had better plans that did not involve being fluffed and folded.

 

 

 

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Blair witch All gone

 

 

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How Not To Fly A Plane

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Most of you probably already know that my husband is a flight instructor. He is paid to hop in a plane everyday with people he barely knows and teaches them how to fly gracefully above the beautiful Texas land. As you can imagine, a job like this would require a fair amount of trust and patience (neither quality I strongly posses’). While I have been given the chance to fly quite regularly with Matthew over the last 5 years, I have never really taken the initiative to ‘learn’ the ropes of the plane if for any reason to share in his hobby that he is so passionate about (and of course to be able to personally answer yes if a flight attendant yells “oh my gosh, is there a pilot on board” on a crowded plane). Well that all changed today when I asked my brave, oh so brave, husband to treat me like a first time student and not his wife of three years. I could see this ending in one of two ways; 1. I am a natural Amelia Earhart, a maverick in the sky, pushing all the right buttons and making all the radio calls. or 2. I am a natural yet elusive Turkey, surprising agile, but limited in airtime as we like to stay closer to the ground because that is where the food is at. I’ll let you all be the judge of that. The following are just a few key items to remember when wanting to learn how to fly:

  • Evaluate relationship with flight instructor

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  • Whether your married to your instructor or not, it is probably a wise idea to make sure that the personalities line up enough to where you feel comfortable to learn and to be taught. If it is someone who makes you nervous or annoys you, the motivation and drive to really learn may not be there. In my case, I needed to look at several different things. Were our wills in place just in case I manage to kill one or both of us (ie. who will get the cats..liz lemon?)? Are the spare blankets clean in the event of a major fight that will result in my husband sleeping on the couch for a night or two? Have I done anything to make him angry in the last month that would tempt him to push me out of a plane at 3,000 ft. Who has the better divorce lawyer? These are all very important situations to consider!
  • Pre-flight Check List

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  • I am a list girl, so when Matthew whipped out this little book of items to check before taking of, I was in OCD heaven. Of the 100 or so preflight tasks to complete, I shall focus on an important one.  Apparently it is quite crucial to UNTIE said plane for the earth to which it is bound to. Who knew that three tethered ropes make the difference between going….and not going. My flight instructor knew this the whole time, and was testing me. I, failed miserably..Plane 1 Jennifer 0
  • Get familiar with dials on panel

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    • We were flying a 2001 Cessna 172 which contains about 15 circular dials and one updated flux capacitor. Matthew did a quick rundown of a few of the dials, and I will short hand for you what I learned.
      • 1: Air speed indicator, tells you how fast you are going Smile duh..even a flightless bird such as the Ostrich could tell you that!
      • 2: Attitude indicator, reminds you ‘loose the tude’ and to check yourself before you wreck yourself, literally
      • 3: “Imitator” lets you know on a scale of 0-9 how close your imitation of being a pilot is. 0-2 you look like an ostrich,3-5  you’re a turkey 6-9 Amelia Earhart
      • 4:  Turn Coordinator with Gyroscope tells pilot how sharply they are going to need to tilt plane. if done correctly a fresh Gyro will be waiting for them upon landing.
      • 5: Plane indicator, is there solely to remind pilot that they are in fact flying a plane and not a train or a car.
      • 6: Vertical speed indicator..which is code for..your falling to the ground..and this is how fast your going to get there
      • 7: Candy cane indicator, lets pilot know exactly how long and how far they have to fly to get to the North Pole
  • Be clear with radio
    • For almost your whole flight you are connected with the flight instructor and tower by way of radio. This is so your position and your intentions are clear to all around you. For me..a person who clearly loves the sound of their own voice, it became a new venue to sing todays greatest hits. Fun fact: Did you know singing Miley Cyrus’ “We Cant Stop” is sudden and instant grounds to be dismissed from the plane by the flight instructor, even at 3000 feet? Furthermore, At one point I asked Matthew to stall and kill time as I was texting a friend that we were currently above them so they could come out and waive…he took this statement quite literal and “stalled” the plane..I stopped singing Miley after that.

We were in the air for a whopping total of 18 minutes before we, in an attempt to save the plane the citizens of bell county and our marriage, decided to land gracefully. I am proud to announce that no one died, no one is getting divorced and no one is sleeping on the couch. I will, however, be finding another hobby though Smile

I’m Back!

Summer break is over, and my writing hiatus has ended! A lot has happened since my last post (hence the writing break) So I will need to catch you up in a pinch. What better way to do this than with an epic “list” post covering everything some stuff I’ve learned or experienced in the last few months.

  1. My instructions I left you in my last post about how to pick a winning NCAA bracket (read it HERE) are apparently not accurate. If anyone lost any money on using my “sure fire” method…sorry everyone!
  2. Buying a house is a stressful situation but in the end is totally worth it! Love having a HOME to come to after a hard day of work versus an apartment that has the haunting stench of the former renter’s pets.Home Sweet Home!
  3. Pets, even the ones you love dearly, become slightly less loveable when they all the sudden rack up a 500 vet bills and permanently require cat food that costs 50$ for 20lbs. But then they look at you like this…and it’s all better! 
  4. Cannon ball jumping into a 4ft pool when you are 26, slightly fluffy and on a vacation that requires a lot of walking is a bad idea…unless you want to spend the rest of your vacation with elevated feet in a hotel room with nothing but TELEMUNDO! Just ask my husband 😉
  5. I have beaten my record of consecutive number of days without chewing on my finger nails from 1 day to 2 weeks. Watch out world!
  6. Did you know that if you spray furniture polish on stained concrete floors you can instantly create an Ice rink fun for any man woman or four legged creature already struggling with friction problems.grave mix up in the kitchen...
  7. I have recently come to grips with the fact that I may never be able to “twerk” and am completely ok with that revelation. (so is half of America that is gifted with the sense of sight).
  8. Twinkies are back in stock, therefore I am stereotypically complete again!130712113828-walmart-twinkies-620xa
  9. My brave husband is teaching me how to shoot gun, believe it or not, I managed to hit the target, just above the right shoulder (not a kill shot). He is convinced I will get better with time and practice. I am convinced I will get better with time, practice and a pretty pink gun with an engraved rose or maybe a cat on the grip.17746_10100419870513244_1077010215_n
  10. Upon my request, my husband recently paid a mariachi band 10$ to serenade me at a river walk restaurant in down town San Antonio, furthermore, this was the best 10$ I have EVER spent! (Please excuse the fat arm, I was trying to discretely record this epic experience.)  

..::How NOT To Build A NCAA Bracket::..

Its March. The sun is proving to be a bit warmer and the post super bowl winter induced comas are lifting as we quickly shuffle into the next time consuming sports tournament, the NCAA college basketball tourney…AKA MARCH MADNESS!! Now, what kind of Hoosier would I be if I didn’t have at least have one post about this basket ball event? From what I’ve been told and observed the last 25 years, is that basketball is a pretty big deal in Indiana. For my Texas readers, you know how football is a big deal here? Yep, that’s what basketball is in Indiana. Still not convinced, then either Google the term ‘Hoosier Hysteria’ or rent the movie “Hoosiers” and learn.

   With all that being said, the tournament is only a few days away so to the brackets we must go! I have created my own bracket every year since Mr. Millikan’s 5th grade class(eek that’s been like 15 years) and I have successfully made thse predictions on my own. Let me clarify: By ‘successfully’ I in no way mean that I won ANY of these predictions, I simply mean that I didn’t leave any blank spots (go me!) I didn’t pick teams that were not included in the tournament and I, or someone else, kept track of the progress. I stand by my belief that my reason for not winning the last 15 years, was not because I didn’t possess the knowledge to correctly pick the team, but it was because I was going about it all the wrong way. So I am here to say that 2013 IS MY YEAR!!! I’m all in it to win it! What’s on the line, you ask? My reputation as the worst basketball manager that the Turkey Run Jr.Sr. Girls varsity basketball team has ever had. (no seriously..I was terrible…..).

I used ESPN to create my bracket. When you log in they give you the opportunity to educate yourself with 68 facts ‘before’ you  start picking your teams. These facts went something like this “ number 2 teams only have reached the big game 1 out of 10 times’…something like that. 68 of them!! Who has time for that? Not me. So I came up with a more manageable list that is sure take me and my bracket all the way to the end!

To start you need to pull up the full bracket with the first parings and use the next few tips to weed out the schools to you are down to the ultimate winner (Should look something like this at the beginning):

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1.) Whenever you come across a pairing that has a sate that you either lived in or a state that you have close ties with, they automatically advance.

** If two teams fit this qualification, pick the one that you may already be paying student loans . If this is not applicable (lucky) then you need to select the team that has the more flatting uniform color choice or has the best mascot. (you can choose which of those two)

2.) Eliminate any schools that hold bad memories that may one day cause therapy. For example: “My 8th grade boyfriend had a cousin who once stole my SpongeBob towel at the 9th grade summer pool party and never gave it back. I hear that she is studying physics at Michigan State University now…” using this equation…Michigan State University would be OUT!

3.) If you have NEVER in your life heard of a school in the pairing **cough cough IONA University cough cough** (2 points for a reader if they can explain to me where the heck this college is and why in 25 years I have never heard of it…) ..then its bye bye bracket.

**Unless the school has a fun name to say. For example..”Gonzaga..Gonzaga..Gonzaga” no idea where this school is located but oh how cool would it be to have a diploma that said BS of Gonzaga.

**Word associations always work too. Never heard of Belmont university but it makes me think of the EL train in Chicago, or Davidson university, which is obviously where all Harleys go to get an education.

4. Schools that are usually well known for other things other than sports should get at least one advancement in the bracket rounds. For example, I noticed Harvard was listed. Can’t say I’ve heard of anyone getting a four year scholarship to Harvard to play ball, but hey,  what do I know. 2 points and a bracket advance for being well rounded!  no pun intended.

As we start getting down to the nitty gritty, we need to start focusing on more important matters and facts to make sure our bracket is clear and thought out. Which why number 5 is important. This is where it gets real folks. 

5.) Which teams have the better mascot? If the school does not have have a mascot (which really should be an automatic loss in my opinion) look at the school spirit section. Are they well coordinated, do they have at least one student (or more) covered from head to toe in war paint? Is the pep band playing the Harlem shake, or a medley of who let the dogs out and the thong song (yikes)?

6.) Color coordination. In an ideal world where time is not an issue, I would look at the starters of each of the remaining teams in my bracket and cross reference their eye and hair color with that of their uniforms and enter them into an excel database that will then graph the statistical probability of being the most eye pleasing on a championship poster. Basically what we are looking for here people, is the team who “pops” the most.

7.)When you get down to the last few teams you need to think proximity. Which team are you most likely be able to visit in the even of a totally awesome championship parade? For example, you live in Texas (YEEEHAWW) and the schools in the final four are in California, Florida, Arkansas and Michigan. If the team from Arkansas were to win, you would have a better shot to reap the benefits from their win then you would from a team in Michigan.

8.) You’ve made it to the end, and now there are two teams left. Who do you pick? Up until this point, I have asked you to call upon the cold hard facts and scientific calculations to make all of your decisions (this gibberish is scientific..I swear). It is at this point that these equations wont help you. This last pick between the final two needs to come from your gut. Good luck..you got this!

 

Bam! I just did in 8 steps what ESPN felt needed 62. Who did you put at the top of your bracket?! Comment back and let me know 🙂 I am so excited to see how these predictions I made pan out. Here is how I see this years tournament based on my equations above. Enjoy!! 🙂 GO HOOSIERS!

 

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**Disclaimer: I, Jennifer Shidler, am in no way responsible for any money you the reader may loose by using my bracket selection method. I know absolutely nothing about basketball and am quite certain that if you listen to my advice you deserved to loose…that is all..Good Luck 🙂 lol

La La La La La..Living the Apartment Life

I swore up and down after my college years I would never again dwell in a house that shared walls, floors and ceilings with other people and after a wonderful year and a half living in a house we had fallen in love with, we are right back to square one. An apartment. Sigh.  The next is a list of items that remind me daily of how much I miss having a house..enjoy.

As I recall it Snow White was awoken to the beautiful animals of the Forrest singing in a heavenly tune. Similarly, I have often awoken to the sounds of saw blades as the construction crew works on the apartments outside. Many A time I’ve been greeted with the sweet sound vocals of Amedeo estevan (one of the workers who introduced himself to me last week) singing loudly outside my door. Amedeo, if I do say so myself, has a lovely voice!

Living on the second floor apartment is like having box seats at the opera. If you pick you location just right, your new home could be center stage of a real life soap opera. For instance, our neighbors across the way have been fighting this past week (we are talking clothes flying, doors slamming, dogs barking)..this is where the Adirondack chairs on the balcony come in to play. They sit low enough where the people fighting can’t see me, but I can clearly see them. Apartment Dweller Tip: Warning, while your may be hidden by railing of the porch, they WILL able to smell the popcorn you just popped just for this event. Next thing you know you’ve been court ordered to appear before a jury on your neighbors behalf.  and lets face it..‘ain’t nobody got time for that’

In conjunction with the last point, it is a given that the chances increase of your statistical probability of being on or seeing an episodes of cops filmed live in front of you..Apartment dweller tip:always look ur best! Never know when the cameras will be rolling! 🙂

Having no bike racks and living on the second floor means Athletically challenged people with 2 bikes..don’t ever ride bikes..true story.

Apartment dweller tip: Potted flowers are an essential piece to separating your stylish balcony from another’s ..that is unless you are me and living “non human” objects require far more of a commitment than you are able to commit to right now, in which case those are an eye sore…and you will fit right in Winking smile 

Evolution of Jennifers Laundry….The largest item on my list that reminds me of how much I miss living in a house is the process of doing laundry. I hate laundry..I miss being little..all I had to do was put the dirty laundry in the hamper and just like dry cleaning pick them up when done..fluffed and folded! I had a sweet ride on the laundry train for close to 17 years until college, college was the end of the end. I now present to you the evolution of Jennifer’s laundry.

It was my senior year of college and it was also my first Year of Marriage (we got married two weeks after graduation) All four years of college were nothing more that thwarted attempts of dragging a weeks worth of laundry to my moms house. It wasn’t until my last roommate before my husband did we have the chance of doing laundry in the same building and floor that we lived on. This lasted for 2 glorious semesters and then it was over just like that. Once I got married, I inherited twice the loads of laundry and to top it all off, our first apartment had no washer and dryer. 2 wedding rings and and an I do later and BAM we became a happily married nomadic laundry tribe. Wondering to and fro, doing our laundry where ever we could. “Of course we would love to come over and have dinner with you guys..should I bring a desert, also..do you mind if we borrow your washer and dryer?”

Luckily for us 3 months in to wedded bliss our lease was up in our ‘laundryless’ apartment and we were moving up in the world..for the first time ever as a married couple we had a washer a dryer in the same house and on the same level!!!!! It was the laundry honeymoon I have always wanted! No more hauling baskets and detergent to other houses and alienating our family friends! It was just us and our laundry!!

But the laundry honeymoon didn’t last forever..a new job opportunity meant a new house..and a new house means another round of laundry roulette "step right  up folks. Place your bets and take your chances in whirlpool wheel of death!" granted at this point in the game I was genuinely happy to have a nice house in a safe neighbor hood..pet friendly and as long as the washer and dryer wasn’t adjacent to the outhouse in the back yard..we were good! This time around the washer and dryer were in the basement..and while that is was a step back from the "honeymoon days" this round had a delightful And rather intriguing surprise; a laundry chute!

The Chute: Now any kid product of the late 80s should always associate a laundry chute with one memory and that is Kevin from Home Alone shooting toy soldiers with his brothers bb gun..it was cool then, and yes my friends it’s cool now! Not only was is the chute a magical portal of commutation to nag at my husband or meow at my cat from another floor..but it also served as the epic of all epic hiding places. You know, that one hiding place that you have planned out ahead in your mind for any environment you frequent..work,home,the gym (well,maybe not the gym for me) but those places you spend the most time. it is in these places that I have a hiding place planned out if anyone ever tried to break in/rob or if an impromptu hide and seek match erupted, I would be safe and golden! In my new house..the laundry chute was that place! I had already decided based on estimated measurements and actual attempts (I was bored) that I could fit myself and one cat (the quietest cat preferably) successfully in the laundry chute without being detected..the other cat would need to fend for himself..life’s rough..

Present Day….let me catch you up. Matthew and I have been in the great state of Texas going on 10 months..and this nomadic laundry tribe is still alive and kicking with possibly the worst of all laundry experiences…we are back to apartment life and this time while the apartment itself is nicer, the second story trek that involves me leaving the building, going down 2 flights of stairs (then back up them later) walking around the back to the next building and doing laundry in a room that equals that of a low level frat house..is less than ideal. If you’ve read this far you are probably thinking 1 of 2 things..either "grow up..it’s laundry..your an adult..stop complaining" or your asking yourself "Oh goodness Jennifer, how have you lasted this long you" well those of you asking the first question..I agree and the first step is admitting you have a problem and this post serves as your official notice! For those who are asking the second..I would say to you..”I KNOW RIGHT!” Thanks for the back up 🙂

So what’s it all about?! This post serves as another notice..a notice of gratitude and thanks to my husband..for the last 4 years the man has heard me whine and complain and has seen me wear and re-wear clothes until the point of no return and what has he done? EVERYTHING! 🙂 I often hear other girls talk about their husbands and how they never pick up, never do dishes and don’t even know how to do laundry..that is not the case in this house hold..my husband does laundry every Sunday while I’m at work..measuring just the right amount of softener..detergent..separating colors..drying the items that need dried and hanging up the items that can’t go in the dryer..that’s right ladies..he hangs up my bras!! ( my " I trained my husband the hang up bras..and you can too!" book is due out next fall) he does not complain..he does not try to get out of it..he does this because he loves me (and values my sanity Smile)..and does not see the benefit of turning underwear inside out for a day two reprise Smile I love my husband..I love that helps with everything..and I love most of all that he puts up with me and my ‘not soo June cleaver ways!

So Ya Want To Push My Buttons, eh?… “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That…”

 

what really gridns my gears After watching an episode of Family Guy with Peter Griffin on the news with his “What really grinds my gears..” bit, I thought that since I had already wrote a blog on what I was thankful for (read it HERE) that I should write one talking about the opposite, you know, the every day, mundane things that seem to get to us the most.  Since most of my readers know me on a personal basis..take notes..this could come in handy some day..just saying..

1.) Laundry…why are you so needy..my two cats require less attention than you do.hang nail

2. Hang Nails..you are not welcome..go home no one invited you. (ps..do not google hang nails..you wont like what you see.)

3. The crusty crust and residual liquid found on/around ketchup and mustard bottles. You can stand to learn something from the other members of the condiment family, like mayo for example. They have their act together. What’s your excuse?

bra 4. Bra straps, wires, and hooks. A unfortunate necessary evil literally designed to help AND paralyze the person who has to wear it…all day…every day…you five year olds have no idea how easy you have it.

5. My husbands stuffed pig, aka, “Boris T. Rockefeller III” that he shot while on a hunting trip with a good friend. Doesn’t Matthew know that if our life was really a Stephen King novel, Boris would indeed be the villain/killer and we are just sitting ducks in this apartment/crime scene awaiting Boris’s evil plans to come to a head. (yea..I’m not paranoid or anything..)

6.Stubborn Pimples that appear on a face that usually pimple free (yep..not that I’m bragging about that or anything ) and refuse to leave or surrender.

7. Opening up a full mailbox, heading back to the apartment with an anxious feeling of “ohh what did I get!!” going through it all..and see nothing but bills and coupons for a restaurant that has had laundrymore health code violations then hair on my head..

8. As an appendix to the first item on this list, laundry that appears dry when you go to take it out of the dryer, that is until you’ve exhausted all effort removing said laundry from the drum only to find that in fact 65-95% of it is still sopping wet. See, I told you it was needy. 

9. Articles of clothing that you haven’t worn in years,go to put in the goodwill pile where it will sit for two days untouched..that is until sentimental feelings rear their ugly head..then its back on the hanger it goes..(maybe next spring..but no..probably not)

apple vs android 10. Applications that you download bc you think you will love them, keep them on your phone for a month, then you decide you need to make life easier with less clutter and chaos so you delete said un-used application only to find yourself needing it just two hours later. Well played neglected app. Well played.

11. Expensive pens that make your hand writing look like that of a calligraphy god, that is until said pen is stolen and replaced with a 10 cent bic pen that is missing its cap. Goodbye beautiful penmanship, hello 3rd grade serial killer writing. handwriting

12. Shoes, socks and underwear that refuse to last more than 5 years..if my cat can live past the age of one..so should you.

Ok readers, I’ve shared what pushes my buttons…now tell me..what pushes yours?