Something Green

Long time, no post.  But one of the sites I follow (www.rocktheshotforum.com) is having a contest featuring the color green and I have an awesome shot from a trip I took to Ecuador.

Image

The hummingbirds were pretty used to people, so I was able to get some great shots.  This one is probably my favorite so far- I love how you can see his individual feathers!

(thank you Rock the Shot for giving me a reason to post again)

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The “I” Word

I wrote this post several months back and have debated sharing it with the world for a while now, however, talking about this has really helped and since this is a topic we don’t really talk about in our culture, I want to share it:

Some of you who know me in real life know that my husband and I have run into some problems while trying to start a family, and last February, we found out that we are not able to have biological kids.  There were issues on both sides that I don’t want to get into here, but if you have questions, or are dealing with infertility yourself, feel free to message me and we can talk privately.

The thing with infertility is that it’s such an alienating experience- we hear about cancer survivors and talk about those who overcome addictions and the like, but infertility is rarely talked about.  And even though it’s a medical problem, it’s not covered by most insurance, making treatment expensive.

Initially, we only told our parents what was going on.  It wasn’t until later, when we had answers that I started talking about our infertility with friends and co-workers.  I was surprised to learn just how many people at my work alone were also dealing with fertility issues, and how receptive most of them were to talking about their experiences.  Being able to talk to someone who has been where I was has been most helpful not only in coming to terms with this whole ordeal, but has made me feel less alone.

One of the main reasons I didn’t talk about our infertility for a while was because I quickly learned that most people don’t know how to respond, don’t know what to say or do, when they learn of our problem.  They say things like “You just need to relax and you’ll get pregnant” or my favorite “You can always adopt”.  As time goes on, I’ve gotten better at rebuffing phrases like these, but they still hurt, so I thought I’d share both my feelings/experiences and how you can help, and while everyone deals with things differently, I’m hoping this will at least be a good starting point when talking to friends dealing with infertility.

First off, I feel alone- while I’ve found a few coworkers who are also dealing with fertility issues, there are so many factors that play into conceiving that our circumstances are quite different.  And there’s always at least one person pregnant at my work- it’s hard to escape the constant reminder of my failure when there are baby shower posters and pregnant bellies everywhere.  I work in the medical field and often see babies born into poor circumstances and can’t help but wonder why these women can have kids while my husband and I, with our stable income, loving home and strong desire for a family, can’t.  I feel angry, wondering why us, why do I have to deal with this, why my body is such a failure.  I feel lost- the future I envisioned is gone, changed, turned upside down.

Here’s how you can help:  Listen to me- being able to talk things out helps me figure out where I want to go from here.  Don’t try to fix things- hearing how someone else “solved” their infertility does nothing to help with my problems.  Understand that my joking about infertility does not give you permission to joke about it as well- yes, I realized that’s probably a double standard, but I’m trying to cope and it doesn’t seem so funny when others joke about it.  Offering me one of your kids isn’t nearly as funny as you think.  Be honest with me- I know talking about infertility can be uncomfortable.  If you’re worried you’ll say or do the wrong thing, tell me- I appreciate your willingness to try to help, and your concerns show me that you care.  Understand that sometimes, I don’t want to talk.  Be patient with me.  Some days, I feel great.  Other days, everything seems to remind me of my failure (I’ve cried more this year that I’ve ever cried before).  Be patient with me- coming to terms with our situation and trying to figure out what to do next is not easy.  There is no right answer, and as we decide what’s right for us, please don’t judge- none of our decisions in this matter are made lightly.

I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster, and while the lows are far less frequent than they were initially, I still have this hole in my heart and the wound is still quite raw.  I know in time the pain I’m feeling now will lessen, I also know I won’t be the same person I was a few years ago- this will change (and has changed) my life.  So celebrate the small successes with me, remind me what I am more than just infertile, and help me smile again.  Also, hugs are always appreciated.

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Pipe Down!

Reason #783 why home improvement stores up here should be open 24-hours:

pipe-clog

That is the smelliest of all clogs living in our pipe.  When I took the sink out, I noticed the water coming from that trap smelt awful (I believe the quote was, “Ew, my hands smell like butts.”), so I did the only logical thing: closed that pipe back up and left it alone.  Also, sprayed down the bucket with body spray and thoroughly scrubbed my hands.

Unfortunately, the old pipes don’t line up with the new sink, which means that pipe needs to be shortened.  Or just replaced.  But I now have to wait 2.5 more hours until the store opens so I can pick up more piping.  In the mean time, I’ve got to hunt down some Febreeze or something because even though I closed the pipe back up after snapping a picture, our kitchen is starting to smell like butts.

Posted in DIY, House, Kitchen | 2 Comments

Everything, Kitchen Sink Included

This is our original kitchen sink:

old-sink

White, porcelain, impossible to keep clean, and totally not our style.  It’s constantly picking up abrasions from when we wash pots:

pot-marks

It never stays clean:

never-clean-drain

(it had been scrubbed out a few days before I took this picture)

and it’s got this mysterious burn that was there when we moved in:

mysterious-'burn'

Simply put: it’s gross.  So last fall we bought a nice new stainless sink so we could swap it out.  But it wasn’t until last month that we finally found a faucet both of us liked.  And I decided that 7p was a good time to start this project.  When I was working overnights.  Yeah… but the stuff for this project has been sitting around for a while- it’s time to get stuff done.

Fortunately, I was able to get the plumbing unhooked without any problems (though the water coming out of one of the drain pipes was seriously rank- I ended up spraying down my bucket with some body spray :) ), and while the garbage disposal put up a fight, I won in the end.

plumbing

Unfortunately, the old caulk was hard as a rock, and I couldn’t find my prybar.

old-caulk

So I went to Plan B- chisel out as much caulk as possible and hammer some flat-head screwdrivers under the sink to pry it up.  Once I had the sink lifted a bit, I slipped the prying end of a hammer under each side and used that instead :)

prybar-optional

(I really wish I had taken a picture when the hammers were in there!)

The caulk along the backside of the sink (up by the faucet) was especially stubborn, and held on even when we stood the sink up on the counter.  But we got it out in the end and, for lack of a better place to put it, set it out on the deck.  You’re welcome neighbors!

Look at all that rust!

not-so-effective-caulk

Glad to know our sink was sealed so well…

sink-leakage

I also found a (dead) bug that was trapped between the sink and the counter:

trapped-bug

Gross.

But my chisel and razor blade made surprisingly short work of the rock-like caulk, and I was even able to scrub away most of the rust spots!  Unfortunately, our new sink is ever-so-slightly larger than the existing hole, and I haven’t acquired a jigsaw yet (Dear eBay, please post a nice clean Bosch 1590 jigsaw for under $100.  Thanks, Me), so I had to borrow one.  In the meantime, I’ve got other projects I can work on like installing a set of these:

http://www.thehardwarehut.com/images/kitchen_misc/ras-6572-11-11-52.jpg

image via The Hardware Hut

and removing our dishwasher:

no-mas-dishwasher

I’m pretty sure the dishwasher was original to the house, making it almost 14 years old.  It was loud and temperamental- you had to load it just right or dishes came out dirty.  We finally just started doing dishes by hand and have gotten used to not using a dishwasher.  We’d rather have that extra space for storage.  It was really gross under there!  I found what I’m pretty sure was dog food (you can click on that link to see the picture- I don’t want to inadvertently gross anyone out!).

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An Apology (With Pictures!!!)

I know it’s been kinda quiet around here lately, partly due to the fact that we’ve been on vacation for the past 2 weeks, and partly because I haven’t really felt like editing pictures and writing up posts- I’d rather be working on projects and haven’t quite found a balance between posting and actually getting work done.  So now that I’m back and have some time, I’ll try to keep things current here, but the 2 main projects I have going now are kinda large, so it’ll take me a bit to get organized and posted, so in the meantime, enjoy a few pictures from our trip:

utah-hogback-canyons1

utah-hogback-canyons2

These canyons were all shot along Hwy 12 in Utah on a stretch known the Hogback.  The road alternated between running along the ridge of the mountain between the canyons and along the side:

utah-hogback-road

And yes, I did get a bit carsick (the heights/cliffs don’t frighten me at all, but cars, buses, trains, pretty much anything the moves besides planes makes me sick) But seriously, aren’t these views just amazing!?

utah-hogback-canyons3

utah-hogback-canyons4

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The Great Flood of 2013

Wow, it’s been a while since I was last on here- sorry ’bout that guys!  Unfortunately, that may be the way my blog is heading :(

But I do have a good story today!  I woke up to the sound of rain and our sump pump today.  And then I heard it again, and again, and again- about every 30 seconds.  Yeah… So I went downstairs to check on it and found water pouring into the crock (tank? pit?)- it would fill about 6-8″ (to the top of the float) and then empty.  Then the water would pour back in and flood the pit again and the pump would kick back in.  And it’s keeping up quite well despite the massive amounts of water pouring in.  But there’s one problem- the discharge pipe comes out from the house, takes a 90° turn and dumps the water right along the side of our house:

sump-pump-outlet

This picture is from after we “remedied” the situation, but the red line shows where the pipe ended prior.  Awesome.

A foot or 2 of snow + rain + 40° weather means that our ground is quite soggy.  I wish I had taken a picture before we started working on the water problem, but I wanted to get the water away from our house first.  Here’s what’s left of the lake on the side of our lot:

our-lake

We’ll need to put in an actual drainage system this summer, as well as address some grading issues around the house, but in the meantime, we attached a 25′ flexible hose to the sump discharge pipe and dug a trench down our lot line.

river-runs-through-it

I made sure it sloped downward as best I could without actually digging into the ground.  It’s not perfect, but it’s working well enough for now.  The hosing runs to about the front of the house, and the trench river takes the water all the way down to the road.  I’m not sure if that’s the best way to do it (I couldn’t find anything specifically against it in the city rules), but it’s at least getting water away from our house!

river-outlet

Our pump is still pumping about every 30 seconds, so I picked up a new pump just in case (a lot of other people must have had the same idea because the shelves were looking pretty empty).  Also, we’ll probably be sleeping in shifts tonight.  Or I’ll be up all night making sure our pump is ok and our basement stays dry!  (I did find 2 small leaks in our basement wall, but even the corner where the sump was discharging to was only slightly damp (and that’s probably being generous- the wall was just a hair darker than the surrounding walls), so for now anyway, our basement is staying relatively dry!)

Posted in Basement, House | 2 Comments

Happy Pi Day

I love homemade applesauce, but cutting up dozens of apples gets old pretty quickly, so last year, I bought an apple peeler-corer-slicer.  Seriously the best invention ever!  I think the price has gone up a bit since I bought mine, but since I can crank out a whole batch of apples in the time it would have taken me to peel and slice 2 or 3, I think it’s a bargain.

peeler-corer-slicer

If I have a really soft apple, the peeler sometimes has trouble getting the skin off, but most times I’m left with a neat pile of apple peel:

apple-peels

and a nice skinless, sliced and cored apple:

peeled-cored-sliced

I usually quarter each apple after they’re peeled, sliced and cored (there has to be a shorter way to say that…), because they bake down faster.

And no March 14th would be complete without a little pi action…

apple-pie

I didn’t follow any recipe- just peeled/sliced/cored 6 apples, tossed them in a bowl with a small scoop of sugar, a few pinches of flour, a hearty dash of cinnamon, some fresh-ground nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves until well coated and dumped them into a convenient, ready-to-use Pillsbury crust.  It turned out a bit on the watery side, but still tasted amazing!

Happy Pi Day!!!

apple-pi

Posted in Baking, Cooking, Food, Recipes | 1 Comment