The Ugliest Desk in the World

Shockingly to some of the people who’ve known me for years, I like to scrapbook.  It’s probably about the girliest thing that I do (actually probably the only girly thing that I do).  Up until now, all of my supplies have been contained in large Rubbermaid bins in the basement and I had to drag them up and haul them to my friend’s house every time she had a scrapbooking night.

Just after Christmas, the boyfriend made the mistake of telling me that I could keep it all on the main floor of the house so it would be easier for me and I wouldn’t have to drag it up and down the scary basement stairs.

He regretted his statement, however, when I started hauling all the scrapbooking supplied up the stairs, him having been unaware of how much I actually had.  I piled it all in the corner behind the chair in the living room and he stared at it for a while before he told me to take it back downstairs.  I refused and told him he’d already told me I could have it upstairs and I wasn’t taking it back down.

My scrapbooking supplies, piled (somewhat) neatly in the corner

A compromise was reached, however, when I phoned my mother and asked if she still had one of the old desks my sister and I used in high school and if I could have it.  She did and said I could have it.  The problem was, however, that my sister’s desk was the only one left at the house, mine having been sold in a yard sale.  Hers couldn’t be sold because she’d written all over it with a Sharpie years ago and it was looking a little worse for the wear:

An old sticker and some Sharpie decoration

When my parents dropped the desk off, one of the wheels was broken and the boyfriend simply stared at it and said, “That is the ugliest desk in the world.”  He then sighed and went upstairs, certain it would sit on the front porch until I decided to put it on the curb and it all would have been a waste of time.  Little did he know, I had a secret weapon.

My friend, Martha Stacey, offered to help me with refinishing the desk, as she has a blog that is all about home projects and scrapbooking (and various other things as well).  She went with me to Home Depot and helped me pick out the necessary primer, asked about what paint we could use after priming and also looked up how to do the project.  If I had been left to my own devices, I concede that the desk would have sat on the porch until I decided to get rid of it and never would have been finished.  However, because Martha Stacey was relying on me for another blog post project, I dutifully purchased all new wheels, got the paint in a nice neutral grey colour, got the primer and all the painting supplies and we managed to get the desk into a it’s new and beautiful state in two weeks.  We used one evening to prime the whole thing and I did a couple more coats over the Sharpie over the next week, and then she came over again and we painted it.  When it was finished, I put the new wheels on, put the door handles and little arms back on and it was finished.  I then spent an evening organizing all my scrapbooking supplies from the pile in the corner into the desk so it was nice and neat.  As Martha Stacey can attest, this was no small feat, as I HATE organizing anything.

Mr. Pip decided he fit perfectly between the 12x12 paper and the cardstock

The desk is now in the far living room near the DVD shelves and holds everything perfectly.  I did, however, manage to convince Mr. Pip that he was not supposed to be there.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Abundance

Hey all! I’ve decided to try and keep up with The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge as much as possible.  For one thing, it’ll have me out using my nice camera more and practicing taking pictures and for another thing, it’ll help me with my postaweek2011 challenge as well.  So, in essence, 2 birds 1 stone.

This week’s theme is abundance and I immediately thought of this picture:

The kittens

This actually doesn’t do the situation justice, but this is a shot of the litter of kittens that Mr. Pip Squeak came from.  His mama Gypsy gave birth to 8 wee black kitties in my mother’s garage and they were the most adorable things ever.  They’d run around in a little group and my mother would call it “The Mongrel Parade”.  They all looked mostly the same except for our little guy and my sister’s choice, Maximus, who was fluffy.

Never Accidentally Feed Your Cat the Expensive Kind of Food

I love my cat.  Let’s establish that fact first off.  He’s like our son and he’s incredibly spoiled.  He gets cuddles and treats and we talk to him all the time and the boyfriend even sets aside time every day to play with him because he doesn’t want him to get bored and torment him.

However, I feed Mr. Pip the department store brand cat food because, let’s face it, it’s $3.75 a bag compared to the Whiskas which is about $7.50 for the same sized bag.  This has never been a problem for Mr. Pip in his entire two years of life until just before this past Christmas when I made an awful and horrible mistake.

I reached for the normal food on the shelf and instead, grabbed a bag of Whiskas.  I didn’t notice until I pulled it out of the trunk of the car upon arriving home and this is where the trouble began.

Mr. Pip LOVES Whiskas.  He powered through that freaking bag in half the time it usually took him to go through a normal bag and whenever the dish was empty, he’d walk around and squeak at us until we put more in the dish.  Even in the morning, when he got his usual scoop of canned food, something he used to get all worked up about, he would now just sit and stare at the wet food and then move over to sit in front of the dry food side and squeak.

This went on for about three or so weeks until the Whiskas finally ran out.  We went to Walmart and stood in the cat food aisle and the boyfriend and I had a discussion.  We compared prices of different foods.  We looked at the amounts in the bags and compared it to the cost and everything else imaginable and in the end, I came to the same conclusion as the mindset I had before this fiasco.  I refuse to pay more than twice as much for Whiskas when Mr. Pip was just fine with the food from before.

So we purchased our usual brand of food and headed on home.  We arrived to a very grumpy cat who was sitting beside his dish and glaring at us because there was no Whiskas.  I started thinking that perhaps my cat was addicted and it was good that I was cutting him off before he had to go to rehab.

We put new food in Mr. Pip’s dish and stood there watching as he stared at it for a while.  Then he sniffed it a bit and we thought he might eat it but alas, he sat back and started squeaking at us in protest.

I explained to him about the money thing, but Mr. Pip does not care about finances.  He wanted Whiskas.  I said no and after that, it was a battle of wits.  Every single day since then (it’s been about two and a half weeks), we go through the same routine.  Pip rolls around on the floor looking adorable and squeaking near his food dish.  We feed him and then he sits there, staring at his food before he looks back at us and squeaks again.

The boyfriend has turned it into a fun game for himself and every time Pip does this, he makes a sad face and endorses the begging behaviour.  He looks at me and says, “Peep wants Whiskas.”  I disapprove because this makes me the bad guy.  You try telling this face no every time it squeaks at you:

The face that pleads with me every day

I have to look at that every day and say, “No, you can’t have Whiskas.”  It’s starting to make me feel mean.  I will say, however, that Mr. Pip is eating his regular food again, though he still makes it known that he’s not happy about it.  He’s also excited for his wet food every morning again, so that’s nice.  He’s getting a lot of guilt earned treats though and I’m thinking he’s going to end up being a little bit on the chubby side before to long.

The Perfect Accessory for Any Child?

Courtesy of Google Images

Today, while I was stopped at a red light on my way to work, I saw something that, to me, was intriguing.  A young mother taking her dog for a walk, properly on a leash.  What intrigued me was the fact that toddling along behind her and the dog, was a child…also on a leash.  Not only was this tiny human attached to the end of a leash, but she was BEHIND the mother and the family pet on the walk.

Now, I’m not a parent so I know that I have no real idea how hard it is to raise one; to watch what it’s doing every second and make sure they’re not wandering off or darting into traffic, but really…a LEASH? It just seems like the quick and lazy way out.  Your child is full of energy and running all around?  Well then, just hook it to your arm with a leash from your local pet store and you’re good to go!

Okay, I know that it was probably a government approved, safety-tested, specific to humans kind of leash, not available at your local Pet Smart, but still, not really all that different either.

On the other hand, something like this is the perfect solution to one of the biggest irritations in this day and age.  Unmonitored kids running around in shopping malls and other public areas with no apparent supervision from an adult of any kind.  I’m not talking about a kid that’s wandered a few feet away from Mommy and is playing with the toys on the shelf or something.  I’m referring to the fact that I’m seeing more and more kids just zipping around the stores at breakneck speeds, screaming at the top of their lungs and there is no parent in site at all.  Note even keeping an eye on them from a distance.

Not only is it one of the most annoying things about doing any shopping lately, but it’s downright irresponsible and dangerous.  Anyone could nab one of these kids as they’re running by and take off, which would make it quieter for the rest of us, but is ultimately bad for the child.

I think hooking all those little buggers up to a leash and attaching it to the table in the food court is the perfect solution to multitudes of kids running around, bumping into people who are standing in line, screeching at the tops of their lungs and basically interrupting everyone’s day.  That is, of course, except for their parents who are sitting around and enjoying themselves thoroughly as they converse with each other and ignore their offspring.

I’ve seen some kids run up to strangers and bother them blatantly and their parents didn’t even notice.  I even once saw a kid get completely outside the food court and end up halfway down one of the halls before his mother sighed like it was the biggest irritation ever and stomped off after him.

Seriously, if you don’t want to watch your kid when you’re out in public, hire a damn babysitter.  And here’s a fact that some parents don’t seem to understand: if you can’t get a babysitter, sometimes you just have to go without and take care of your child.  That’s what happens when you have one.  You are responsible for a life for many years after their birth and that’s just the way it is.

So if you can’t actually take the time to pay attention to your kid, apparently there are child friendly restraints available on the market.

The Boyfriend vs. The Ikea Shelf (and a kitty)

Last Saturday, I took the two hour trip from London to Burlington to enjoy some of the most entertaining furniture shopping in the world – IKEA!!  After browsing around with my friend for about 2 hours, I came home with a fourth DVD tower (I have an addiction, I’m working on it, I promise), a new bookshelf and various other odds and ends that caught my attention, either because they were nifty or they were brightly coloured.

The DVD tower was quick and easy to assemble (remember, this was not the first one I’ve purchased) and it now stands proudly beside the others, almost completely full already since my DVD’s have been piling up on the floor and every other available surface, waiting for me to get another shelf.

The bookshelf, however, contains many more pieces and connectors and this is the first time I have purchased this particular model, as they have discontinued the one I used to get (I also have a book addiction that I’m currently working on).  The boyfriend decided he would be nice and put the shelf together for me so I wouldn’t have to go to the trouble and I was eager to agree, since I wanted to see what comical events would ensue.

The following is a chronological time line of the construction of my brand new bookshelf.

7:16 pm – They boyfriend has laid all the pieces out on the couch, each matching piece sitting side by side and has perused the lovely instructions with it’s helpful little pictures.  First up, the support beams for all four sides.  There are four longer pieces that need to be attached to four shorter pieces with little wooden and metal pegs.  This has been accomplished and we now have four support beams.

*note – we have hit our first snag.  The small piece has holes that should point inward to attached to the connecting piece of wood to make it whole with the other support beam.  They are pointing outward on one of the beams to be connected and must be detached and fixed.  As a side note, the pictures in the instruction manual have a specific little hand pointing these holes out and telling the boyfriend to pay attention to which side they are on.

7:27 pm – the first side of the shelf is complete and the boyfriend is repeating the process with the other side.

*note – we have hit our second snag of the project: a repeat of the incident with the holes has happened with this side as well.  (again, the little hand in the instruction manual was very clear about these little holes and the importance of their direction).

Some additional information would be to point out that this project is further being hindered by our kitty, Mr. Pip, as he feels the need to inspect every single piece of the shelf, constantly wander around while the boyfriend follows the step-by-step instructions, has batted a few of the connector pegs around the floor and stole the screwdriver when he discovered it would make noise when rolling on the hardwood floor.

7:29 pm – The second side is together and they are lying side by side on the floor.  We have moved on to connecting the shelves to the sides.

*note – when construction got louder at this point, Pip retreated to the next room, but is still keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings.

7:35 pm – The shelves are being attached using special screws and an Allen key.  Pip has returned in order to make this as difficult as possible by weaving in and out between the pieces and sticking his nose in everything.

7:45 pm – The second side is being attached to the shelves.  This is occurring while Pip sits in the space between the shelves, seemingly having reserved it as his own part of a multi-level kitty condo.

7:49 pm – The screws are almost in to the second side.  Pip has lost interest and is chasing the receipt around the floor.

7:55 pm – The shelf was raised upright to finish tightening the screws and Pip immediately leaped onto the third shelf with no indication that he will be leaving anytime soon.  This was apparent when he swatted the boyfriend in the head with his claws extended as soon as an attempt at further progress was made.

8:00 pm – Construction has come to a grinding halt due to hostile kitty takeover.  A coffee break has been called to discuss strategies of retaking the project.

8:03 pm – A full-scale kitty assault was launched when the boyfriend walked past the shelf and Pip’s territory has been defended successfully for now.

8:05 pm – An attempt to tighten the screws was thwarted by a fully established kitty.  Desperate measures may be called for.

8:08 pm – Shelf reclaimed!!!  We distracted Pip by closing the blinds in the living room (something he always protests).  The screws are finally being tightened and Pip is diligently staring out the window, looking for birds.

8:13 pm – Construction has been halted once again due to the fact that when we put the shelf face down and put the back paneling on to nail it in place, Pip immediately took refuge underneath it and refused to come out.  We are attempting to lure him out with toys and treats.

8:19 pm – Two nails in and the boyfriend is moving to the other side for the other side now.  During this time, Pip has decided to attack the hammer in protest of the noise.  Also, after he got hold of them, the instructions have definitely looked better.

8:27 pm – 1 hr and 10 minutes since construction began, the shelf is finally complete and resting in it’s temporary location in the living room….with Pip sitting on the third shelf.

It’s true…cats are twisted and crafty beings…

I never actually thought cats were exactly like they’re portrayed in cartoons and in comics.  I had only ever had one cat in my entire life and she is actually my mother’s cat and, at least I think, the exception to most of the rules.

However, about three or four months ago, my boyfriend and I decided to adopt a kitten from a litter of eight that my mother was surprised with when she took in a stray.  Our little guy was the major runt of the litter, more than a little gibbled looking and, despite the fact that he was half the size of his brothers and sisters and he had a head that was larger than the entire rest of his body, he was the first one to climb the steps and beg for attention and food and even though he was constantly falling forward on his face as he ran around because his head was too heavy, he was always leading the pack around the garage.

We fell in love with him instantly and named him Pip Squeak, which was very fitting because he could fit in the palm of our hands and his meows were actually little squeaks.  So we brought him home and much to our surprise he has grown quickly and steadily and he no longer even looks like he was a little, gibbled runt who didn’t even look like he should be able to walk steadily let alone dash all over the garage and scramble up the cement steps with ease.

He took to the new house immediately, but his personality didn’t really show up right away.  We thought he was going to be a shy little guy but little did we know, he was waiting until we let our guard down and suddenly, our tiny little Pip became…Ninja Pip!

Yes, that’s right, our kitten is a crafty, sneaky little ninja who somehow manages to blend in with the background (this is probably significantly aided by the fact that he’s jet black), biding his time until he can bounce out and scare the daylights out of you.  He has developed an obsession with chicken that borders on psychotic and if we try to sleep in past nine in the morning, this is unacceptable.

All of those little quirks that you smile at when other people talk about them, a cat that steals your chair immediately after you vacate it, one that distracts you just so it can swipe some food, or wakes you up in the morning in the most annoying little ways, these are all so very true…but we still love little Pip.  He can do the most annoying and frustrating things imaginable and somehow, sit there on the floor, surrounded by an entire shredded roll of toilet paper, bits and pieces of it still floating around in the air, and you can’t help but smile and shake your head in amusement because there is a look on his face that says, “Well, you weren’t around to entertain me, so I did it myself…besides, I’m cute and you can’t stay mad at me.”  Which is all very true.

We agreed to dog sit for three months for some friends while they went to Florida and we were nervous about how Pip would take to this sudden appearance of a creature the likes of which he’d never seen.  We were pleasantly surprised when he only hissed once, arched his back and then ignored the dog for about two weeks.  I know now, he was monitoring her every movement so as to best devise a plan of constant harassment.

One night, while watching television, we watched as he slowly crept closer and closer to the sleeping dog, took his time making sure she was deep asleep by peeking at her and tentatively poking her in the head with his paw, before he suddenly wrapped his front legs around her neck and bit her on the head.  While we’re sure he was just trying to play, being as he was used to having eight other kittens to roughhouse with, Quiela is 15 years old and has emphysema, so she was less than please…thinking back, we probably shouldn’t have collapsed in laughter.

Not a day has gone by since that night when Pip hasn’t tried to steal Queila’s food, chase her around the house, or scare her out of her wits by jumping out from the shadows when she least suspects it.

We were determined not to let it happen, but yes…our six month old cat, still small by other cat size standards, rules this house with an iron paw.  As much as we said it wouldn’t happen, we’ve fallen into his trap…he knows we love him to death and he can get away with anything with minimal repercussions.  All he has to do is run out to greet us when we walk through the door like he’s so very happy to see us, or roll over on the floor and give us that “tummy rub” look, and we are total goners.

So, to all those out there that are pondering adopting a little bundle of fluff, no matter how tiny they are, how fragile and vulnerable they seem, in a few months, they will have grown up to be plotting little deviants who think your hands are chew toys and every other being in the house has been placed there strictly for their own amusement.  However, despite all of that, I fully recommend it…if I had to go back in time, knowing how things would turn out, I’d definitely do it all over again.  Mr. Pip Squeak is definitely a part of the family now…though we have learned not to stray too close to shadowy areas of the house if we don’t want chance having something leap out at us…pip1pip2