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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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One the Greater Ironies of my Internet career (or perhaps my Biggest Bullshit) is that I am routinely asked for advice on picky eaters. And I give it to people! When in reality, my track record for non-picky-eater creation is more like one out of three. I mean, Noah will absolutely eat what you put in front of him (thanks to this book, and a lot of occupational therapy), but I guaran-goddamn-tee you that when he grows up and moves out he will exist exclusively on boxed mac-and-cheese and dry cereal. And he will love it. His harrowing post-mommyblog memoir will be titled This Post Is Brought To You By Kale Salad, or How #BlueApron Ruined My Childhood. And Ezra, honestly, was just born a good and adventurous eater. Anything that I might have "done" early on that "helped" and could have possibly gotten up on a high horse about (blah blah homemade baby food blah blah restaurants blah blah exposure) was proven to be a load of shit by Ike. Who got all the same food and exposure and hardcore division-of-responsibility stuff as his older brothers, and who has spent almost seven years' worth of dinners sliding out of... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at amalah . com
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HOW MY DOGS SEE ME: Wonderful hooman! HI HELLO WOW UR PRESENCE IS AMAZE Beautiful face so haps so haps So good So kind Bet if I just knock glowing rectangle thing out of hand she'll be haps Look now ur hands are free for pets! Am hero! Oh no mad voice oh god oh no I so sry YAY PETS RUBS SNUGS Sometimes bed snuggles :) Sometimes no bed snuggles :( Confusing rules sometimes but ok Eats awful lot of cheese but shares sometimes so ok So much delicious wow how you do that Walk into room wow how you do that HOW MY CATS SEE ME Tyrannical withholder of food Cruel conjurer of inside rain water when we jus lookin for food up where you make food it's not a crime lady Dumb baby voice Food is right there won't give us food Just gave us food now won't give us more food Squishy belly is ok tho Nicer bed than our bed HEY IT'S THREE A.M. TIME FOR FOOD Maybe sort of deaf maybe just ask for food louder please to tidy our poop area peasant just poop outside the box it's okay that's how they learn... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2018 at amalah . com
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On our way out to brunch on Mother's Day, Jason backed his car (yes, the new one) out of the garage without realizing the kids hadn't shut the one of the back doors yet. Whoops. It bent the top of the door frame and messed up the window seal.* That amazing start to the day was followed by said brunch at a fancy French restaurant, where the waiter approached our table right as I hissed at Ike to stop chewing the tablecloth. "Happy Mother's Day!," he said, giving me a knowing look. "Can I get you a DRINK?" (Ike later went on to cry at the table because Jason gave Ezra half of the bread he'd just said he didn't want. When offered the other half, he said he still didn't want it, he just didn't want Ezra to have it even more.) (On our way out of the restaurant, Ike passed a bread basket on the waiters' station and was like, "OH WOW FREE BREAD" and helped himself to a few more slices.) (We tipped very well. Ike eventually settled down and enjoyed his French toast and some chilled peach soup. Ezra and Noah were angels because birth order... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2018 at amalah . com
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It's been a long week. Yesterday I took 40 photos of my cats having a turf war over a cardboard box, but none of them turned out as amusing as watching the actual thing unfold, which was still, like, only barely. But I have determined for certain that Rey is incapable of meowing like a normal, non-dented cat. She follows me around meep-morping like a very high-pitched robot who has a lot of questions about the nature of her existence. "Blorrrrp? Mrrrreee? Yeeeep?" I am in a box. Take me to your leader. She shrieks every time she gets picked up, even when she's come over and given you every indication that yes, she would like to be picked up. "Purrrrrr? Pllllluuuuurrrr?" she hums as she rubs against your legs, but the second her paws leave the ground she lets out a surprised and slightly-panicked sounding squawk. "BRRRRRMMEEEEEEEEEPP!!!!!" Nice upper thigh reflection, self. Sounds that startle all the other pets and send them scattering -- the vacuum, the coffee grinder, etc. -- elicit almost no reaction from her. (She definitely hears them, but simply turns her head curiously in their direction, like ah, yes, another transmission from my home planet.)... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2018 at amalah . com
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A few months ago, Ezra asked if he could dye his hair a fun color. I said sure! Why not! I am 100% on Team Your Appearance Is Your Call So Go On And Express Your Quirky Little Heart Out. (Yeah, I know, our team really needs to work on that name.) Just tell me what color you want and I'll pick up some Manic Panic or whatever. Red, he said. I warned him red would fade to pink. I don't care, he said, but then he got teased by another boy for wearing a pink t-shirt on Pink T-Shirt Day, like way to miss the entire point, you gender stereotyping jackass. So after that he wasn't so sure. He has a guitar recital coming up, and another Picture Day was today, so he decided it was time. He chose a bright turquoise, which I purchased without reading any of the fine print and missed that it promised zero results on hair as dark as Ezra's without bleaching it first. Which, no, not doing that, so I didn't have very high expectations that the color show up at all. I tested a little faux-hawk section first, but Ezra was adamant... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2018 at amalah . com
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(YES INDEED. WE'RE BACK AT IT AGAIN WITH THIS SHIT.) About a week ago, Poppy kept mysteriously vanishing from the backyard, then reappearing in the front, running around in a frothy panic of WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DOOOOOO. Unlike Beau, she's never been much of a runner or escape artist, and for the life of us we could not figure out what was happening. The gates were closed and locked on both sides. Jason went around with nails and a hammer in search of any loose posts and I filled in a couple suspicious spots where it looked like she might be digging out underneath. And then yet again, I'd look out the front window and there was Poppy, looking just as confused as I did, like, AGAIN? HOW? WHY? (Or, if she spotted any of our human neighbors, she was invariably right at their feet and offering up her belly for rubs. I'd run over and apologize and explain the current escapee mystery, and then they'd sheepishly assure me that it was okay, they were totally going to bring her back but just wanted to pet her for a little bit first. Everybody really likes Poppy.)... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2018 at amalah . com
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Our official plan was to wait at least until summer before replacing Jason's car. One car really works fine for us, at least when the kids are in school. (Summer camps are a different story, since everybody scatters to different half-day/full-day programs every week.) Jason can usually work from home any day I need the car for meetings or appointments, plus there are plenty of Lyft/Uber drivers around here, and we're honestly walking distance to a lot of things that we don't walk to simply because there's always at least one car in the driveway. Plus, how often do I ever have to go anywhere in person, besides once in a blue moon? Honestly, I'm not that important. The other day I realized we were out of bread, and instead of asking Jason to pick up bread on his way home, I just...walked to the damn store and bought the damn bread. In the wilds of suburbia! Like a crazy person! And I learned the secret to not going insane at Target with the impulse shopping: Remember that everything you buy, you have to carry home. Suddenly that decorative ceramic sheep and three-pound bag of clementines aren't quite so tempting.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2018 at amalah . com
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Last night was Ezra's second violin "concert," an elaborate affair that required fancy new dress clothing and shoes, a super-rushed meal at McDonald's in order to make the required 30-minutes-before-show-time arrival, then waiting around doing nothing for at least 45 minutes with his supportive but super-bored siblings. (The amount and sheer intensity of mobile-phone use going on in the background of this photo is impressive.) Finally, about one hundred or so third graders slowwwwwwwwly took to the stage and extended risers, each carrying a stringed instrument that none of them had never touched before last October, proceeded to play three five-minute "songs," and then slowwwwwwwwwwwly filed back out again. It was not quite the assault on my eardrums I'd been expecting, given how green these kids are (and judging from some truly, painfully screechy practice sessions at home). This was their first performance using the bows (last time they all just plucked at the strings and avoided that classic "dying cat stuck in a grand piano" sound), and while I don't know what "Farmer's Hoedown" is technically supposed to sound like, I am pretty sure I could identify their "Ode to Joy" even if it hadn't been printed in the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at amalah . com
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DUMPLING UPDATE: Rey stole a dumpling! CAR UPDATE: The other driver has been found at fault for unsafe lane changing! Jason's car is toast, but they're giving us way more for it than we ever could've gotten in a trade in! We're even getting our deductible back! This is all very good news! Especially because he was putting off like $3,000 worth of repairs and had been ignoring the Check Engine light for months! Let this be a questionable lesson to us all! The bad news is that my husband now gets to shop for a new car and he is never more annoying to me than when he's shopping for a new car. It will take him months and he will test drive every car on earth. He will look at CarMax listing the way normal people look at Tinder. DUMPLING UPDATE II: Finn stole the dumpling! HAIRZ UPDATE: The only person in the world who is allowed to trim Ike's hair now is my hairstylist. Which sounds like it should be a pain, but she doesn't charge me much and swears Ike is always her best-behaved client of the day. Also, despite the holes in his pants knees... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2018 at amalah . com
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We spent all winter mapping out grand plans for our yard and gardens. We've now spent most of spring waiting for the weather to cooperate and let us actually plant some damn things. If it would just stop SNOWING, at least, or plummeting down to near-freezing temperatures every night. That would be a nice start. On Saturday we had a rare burst of summer-like warmth and sun, and so we opened all the windows, dug out evertbody's shorts and t-shirts, then joined approximately 56,231,000 other Vitamin-D starved people buying ALL THE GREEN AND FLOWERY THINGS at the local Home Depot. The Adventures of Zah In the Enchanted Forest Minivan The kids all whined horrifically the entire time about the heat and the sun and the sweat and the my baaaaack hurts my leggggggs hurt I am too pale and video-game soft for such torrrrrrture. So once we got home and got everything unloaded and watered and debated ideal shrubbery placement all that, it was on the late side so we planned to wake up early on Sunday and get planting. Of course, by the time we got up it was grey and nasty and cold all over again. And then... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2018 at amalah . com
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Hey, how was your week? Ours was POSITIVELY SMASHING. He's fine, Jason's fine, everybody is fine. His car... ...not so very much fine. Jason was driving home from work in a right-turn only lane when a car abruptly decided to pull out of the super-backed-up center lane without looking. Horn, brakes, screech, crash. His car suffered the most damage AND since no witness stuck around, he's automatically at fault for rear-ending the other driver. Which is fantastic! We're also assuming his car is a complete loss (we got it used and it's just not worth that much anymore), which is awesome because it was completely paid off and who doesn't miss car payments? WHO, I ASK YOU? RIP sexy Date Night Car. It's gonna be all beat-up minivan hotness around here for awhile. Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at amalah . com
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My children, historically speaking (and spoken with all the love and genuine affection in the world), are giant chickens. They've bailed on Disney movies. They run from TV commercials with dramatic music. The mere presence of my Walking Dead comic compendiums on our bookshelf continues to upset them to this day, and they've never even peeked at the pages inside. Every movie or TV show this side of Nick Jr. is met with the same running commentary: Is it scary? Who's the bad guy? Does anyone die? Is there a monster? Who is that? Does something bad happen? You have to tell me before something bad happens, okay? Some of this is entirely our fault, of course, We've made a few bad calls along the way (most notably Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, That One Scene In Force Awakens You Know The One I'm Talking About, etc.) and they don't necessarily trust our assurances that no, really, this movie isn't scary, it's just exciting. But still. Guys. It's Coco! It's Pixar! The only people here who will be sobbing, emotionally traumatized messes by the end will be the adults AND WE ALL KNOW IT.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2018 at amalah . com
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I am in the work weeds right now, the entirely predictable result of daring to take TWO WHOLE DAYS off and then spending the rest of the week ping-ponging around 17 different deadlines in a panic while completing exactly zero of them. So you know what that means, blobs? Time to post a recipe that maybe like three people asked for on social media last week and pretend like OH MY GOD SOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE ARE BEGGING FOR THIS RECIPE I MUST INDULGE THE WILL OF THE MANY, MANY PEOPLE. (But seriously, it's a good recipe. Teach it to your children well and let them make you dinner.) Chef Zah's Shu Mai (Steamed Pork, Shrimp & Mushroom Dumplings) (Adapted from dumplings we made at the Baltimore Chef Shop, with a few tweaks courtesy of Ezra) Ingredients: ¾ lbs. ground pork ¼ lb. shelled raw shrimp 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms (we use Shiitake, stems removed) 4 scallions 4 sprigs cilantro 1 small chunk of fresh ginger 1 ½ tsp. fish sauce 1 ½ tsp. salt 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch 1 large egg 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil Wonton wrappers Napa cabbage leaves (or parchment paper) Soy sauce (optional) Instructions: MISE EN... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at amalah . com
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It's hard to believe our spring break was cut drastically short this year after too many snow days, as every one of my children practically leapt out of bed this morning, thrilled at the prospect of school and getting fuck away from each other. It's been five days of a little too much togetherness, apparently. We didn't travel but instead filled the days with bowling, roller rinks, arcades and too many carbs. Oh! And Ezra got a new hairstyle and wanted me to share it with my "blob readers." Here's lookin' at you, blobs! He also finally, FINALLY lost that super-stubborn loose tooth, and had some demands for the Tooth Fairy. (He did not get 20 dollars, as we all know the Tooth Fairy is a punk-ass bitch around these parts.) Other exciting things that happened: We painted the master bedroom and bought a bedspread online that doesn't match anything like I thought it would, Poppy caught a squirrel and left its wheezing, flinching not-dead-yet carcass on the deck for me to find, and last night I had a dream about eating a fish that suddenly sprang to life mid-meal and flopped off the table and proceeded to bite my... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2018 at amalah . com
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I've been procrastinating on a Brain Update (among many, many other things, thanks for that lovely bit of self-sabotage, anxiety, you bitch), but hey, here goes nothing. The medication is definitely helping, although it also makes me: 1) Throw up 2) Gain weight (HOW CAN BOTH OF THOSE THINGS HAPPEN WHAT IS HAPPENING) 3) Ask you to repeat everything you say, a bit louder this time, so I can hear you better over the goddamn ringing in my goddamn ears. Antidepressants are weird. I don't particularly enjoy the side effects, obviously, but when I think back a few months, to the unmedicated alternative...well. I'll just buy some bigger pants and drink some ginger tea. Hey, it's like being pregnant! Only without the baby part, or the urge to clean things. Ugh, this house. Since I wasn't exactly live-blogging the worst of it, I'll just say, in the understatement of the decade, that things were not very good. Things were very, very bad. Everything else I've tried to type here instead sounds super dark and would probably scare my mother too much, so I'll just leave it at that. Please don't let things get that bad, dear people. It's hard to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at amalah . com
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Ezra and his magic glasses attended his first for-real, serious cooking class. It was everything he dreamed of and more. It was taught by a for-real, serious chef, who complimented his knife skills as "perfect." It took place in a for-real, serious chef's kitchen, stocked to the rafters with every spice and kitchen tool imaginable. He was allowed to explore and touch and taste whatever he wanted. He chose the Dim Sum class because it sounded the "most hardest." (Also because of Kung Fu Panda, I'm pretty sure.) We made a variety of dumplings and spring rolls, with different fillings and folding/rolling styles. He and I were tasked with making the shrimp dumpling filling for the class, and he admirably did almost all the chopping and measuring and even dug into peeling and de-veining the shrimp, which neither of us had ever done before. (He did ask me what the black stuff was and I told him that it was shrimp poop, which embarrassed him. "You didn't really need to say that," he told me, but then carried on bravely with his de-pooping duties.) (Turns out I don't have an actual shellfish allergy after all, but more of a "sensitivity."... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at amalah . com
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Happy Spring! It's so refreshing after a long, depressing winter to wake up to a beautiful sunny day full of promise and renewal. OH FOR THE LOVE. Schools are canceled again and even the boys are completely over it at this point. The first thing I heard this morning was a loud, concerning-sounding crash in the hallway outside, followed by a couple whimpers and a small voice saying, "Maybe we should not have done that." And to think this was us on Monday night, outside making s'mores in bathing suits and light jackets, enjoying the big outdoor landscaping/hot tub project we completed JUST IN TIME to cover/lock everything back up before getting slammed with several inches of solid ice followed by buckets of (still ongoing) snow. This was us last night, right after it was announced that schools were closed. We'd just finished watching Dolphin Tale and I figured fuck it, let's stay up and watch Dolphin Tale 2: 2 Tale 2 Furious, because we can all sleep in tomorrow morning. Unless, of course, you two goobers decide to ride down the stairs in a baby doll stroller at 7 a.m. instead. (And yeah, Ike is suddenly ["suddenly"] incapable of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 100 people will receive $40 off their first two weeks of meals here! My husband finally caved to the Internet Multi-Cooker Hype and bought us an Instant Pot. He bought it just a couple weeks before Valentine's Day, which is when I planned to buy him an Instant Pot, because he loves to blow up my gifting spot every. Single. Holiday. (He got socks for V-day.) He is MORE THAN A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH IT. Him: (looks at phone, eyes widen, gasps) Me: OMG WHAT'S HAPPENING IS HE GETTING IMPEACHED Him: (shows me yet another Instant Pot recipe) — amalah (@amalah) February 9, 2018 (After I finish this post I've been tasked with taking his precious Instant Pot full of his precious pork chili verde to his office to enter a cook-off on his behalf because he's stuck in meetings elsewhere. It's cute that he thinks I know how to turn the thing on, let alone how to not burn the building down.) (UPDATE: He won first place. I graciously accepted the award on his behalf. If he asks, just tell him about the spoon.) Anyway. What? Oh right. Our lives... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2018 at amalah . com
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We spent our weekend turning this: Into this: Our trees lost a TON of branches during the wind storms, though we're lucky we didn't lose an entire tree like many of our neighbors. (Noah's social studies teacher lives just down the street and had a tree crash through her bedroom window, barely missing her bed, which she was in at the time.) It was a lot to clean up, but hey! Free DIY firewood! (Ike is wearing a very old Coach logo-print rain hat, circa the year I started this blog and was inexplicably and basic-white-girl obsessed with all things Coach. I didn't even know I still owned this, but Ike has taken a liking to it and insists on wearing it all the time.) Poppy was not happy to be confined to the backyard while Ike and I cleaned up the front. Also not happy that we cut up or threw out all those big, delicious sticks. The firewood will be used to fuel our new fire pit (that old inherited-from-the-former-homeowners one there is completely rusted through because we...uh, forgot about it all winter and also did not inherit a cover), which we shall enjoy before/during/after dips in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2018 at amalah . com
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Well look at that! It's a patio. (Weird pipe thing is the conduit for powering the hot tub, which arrives on Tuesday, so look for updates typed by severely pruny fingers every day after that.) Those are some of the most uninspiring photos on earth, but they were all I could snap before they had to cover the entire thing with plastic sheeting to protect it from the coming snow storm. It's still wrapped up, waiting for the crew to come back tomorrow-ish for the final touches, including replanting all the grass that got mercilessly destroyed and churned into swampland during construction. And we did indeed get snow! And for the first time in the history of my children's existence on earth, waking up to some fresh snow on the ground did NOT automatically equal a day off from school, or even a delay. They were LIVID. Downright INDIGNANT. What do you MEAN. How do you DARE. We are being sent out in the frozen WILDERNESS to DIE or GET OUR SHOES WET. When I informed Noah that no, I would not be driving him two whole blocks to the bus stop because the sidewalks were perfectly clear, he collapsed... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at amalah . com
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Hello! Is everyone continuing to enjoy this ass-bonkers March weather? Tomorrow it's pgoing to snow, on Sunday I walked to Starbucks in a hoodie, and on Friday all our outdoor furniture tried to make a break for it and blow off the deck. (#TIREWATCH2018 #ISEEYOU) I bundled up and battled the wind for awhile and got all the furniture and cushions back in place and securely covered, only to look outside like 20 minutes later at this: Yes, that's much better. The kids are LOVING all the canceled school days, although I predict much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in a few weeks when they realize they're losing most of spring break to make-up days. Pro-tip: If you have to go to Target in the middle of a N'oreaster, try a ponytail! We still do not have a completed patio, and therefore no hot tub either. It's been a lot of stop-and-go trying to get work done in-between all these wind/rain/snow storms. I'm hoping they'll manage to finish up today but who knows. The whole patio-building process is a lot more complicated and labor intensive than I realized (I thought it was more like, "Here are the bricks,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2018 at amalah . com
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Look, it's a patio! Er...well, not quite yet. We admittedly chose the worst time of year to start an outdoor project, as the crew can't work in the rain or whatever the hell kind of INSANE WIND STORM swept in last night that canceled schools and sent everybody's trash cans dancing up the street. So right now we have a lot of dirt and rocks and pallets of pavers beautifying our yard. Also this! Which is delighting the boys to no end. Look at them, not even wearing jackets three days ago and now we're trapped in a sub-freezing bomb cyclone vortex of some kind. All very fine and normal and I am feeling really great about the climate right now!!! We're getting a patio for two three reasons. One, that area behind/under the deck gets absolutely zero sun and is basically a perpetual, unusable swamp. So trying to do anything in the backyard (be it gardening or s'mores or magical berry gathering) requires you to first wade through several inches of mud worthy of the Fire Swamp. Not pleasant, also take off your shoes take off your shoes omg children stop coming inside with those damn muddy shoes. Reason... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2018 at amalah . com
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Ike: That's Ezra, Noah, Mom and Dad. Dad is mad and yelling I LEFT MY PHONE IN THE CAR! Me: Um. Okay...are you that little person on the end there? Ike: Yes. That's me. I'm standing by PopPop's grave. We're all there to visit his bones in the semescary. Me: ... Ike: Dad's really mad he forgot his phone. Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2018 at amalah . com
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In other non-home improvement news, Poppy ripped open almost-new bag of cat food yesterday and promptly horfed the entire thing down in under five minutes. Or however long it took me to go from, "hmmm I don't like the sound of that" to finding this in the living room: (AND OF COURSE: It was a bag of expensive specialty cat food. Rey's on an elimination diet as we're trying to pinpoint what our vet thinks is a protein allergy. She is one high maintenance dumbass, but she's like, my high maintenance dumbass, you know?) (TANGENT: I had a doctor's appointment yesterday in Baltimore and not long after I got there Jason texted me asking about Rey's whereabouts, as someone on Nextdoor reported seeing a stray black cat on the road right by our house. She'd been on our bed when I left and for the life of me I couldn't think of a single rational explanation for how she could possibly have gotten outside but you KNOW I came up with several irrational ones* and was low-key terrified until I got home and could confirm that yes, she was still right there on the bed.) (Then I got in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2018 at amalah . com
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Not long after we moved in, we hat electrician come by and do a couple random jobs -- fixing some faulty plugs, installing extra outlets, etc. We also asked him to wire up some wall sconces and switches in our bedroom. Which he did, and when he called me to come observe that everything was working, I realized that he'd sliced out a huge slab of the drywall rather than...I don't know, I'm not an electrician but I've had this exact job done at two previous residences and neither time resulted in a giant gaping hole running between the outlets. "I know a good drywall guy for that," he said very nonchalantly. I bet you do, I thought bitterly, imagining some sinister organized electrician/drywall referral racket. I told him we'd make the repair ourselves. Which, of course, we did not. We simply pushed the bed back in front of the hole and figured we'd deal with it whenever we finally got around to painting the room. We did not paint the wall, but we (Jason) did fix the hole. And then we (both of our asses) did something else: We hung wallpaper. Wallpaper! Who does that anymore? Nobody at all,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2018 at amalah . com
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