Friday, April 27, 2012

A Doctor In the Family

This evening, Brother #2 received his PhD in Chemistry from Florida State University. Needless to say, we are all very proud.

Firstborn and I watched the entire 3-hour long ceremony (including the six thrilling seconds my brother was actually on the stage) via webcast. Here are some photos:

Photo stolen from courtesy of Sister #4, who was physically present for the festivities (and not sitting in freezing cold Manitoba just wishing she was).

And here he is being hooded. My overactive imagination half-expected the professor to fall backwards and accidentally strangle him, but everything went off without a hitch.

One of the best parts of watching this ceremony via webcast was that I could wear sneakers and jeans, crunch noisily on chips, and chit-chat with Firstborn while we waited for the main event. As always, Firstborn made some astute observations:

(While watching the Criminology grads walk across the stage) "Will these guys get jobs with the SWAT team?"

"Was your graduation this dull?"

"I bet he'll be a better doctor than Dr. Zoidberg."

One can certainly hope.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Butt Circles!

Yes, you read that right. I have another terrifying tale of thrift store kerfuffles for you.

Now, since promising you all that I wouldn't set foot in Value Village anymore, I have made one trip back. But I had a good reason. RB needed some toys for his program, and I was also looking for a specific book I needed for the long-distance book club my sisters and I are trying out. On both counts, VV completely redeemed itself. I found the book (Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene, for those of you who are looking for a good read) within a minute of stepping into the fiction section for 99 cents. I also found several of the toys on my list, for much less than I'd have paid new. I did also look at clothes, but nothing has changed for me on the prices there, so I behaved myself and got out before my impulses took over. All in all, a successful trip to VV!

Now, when I decided to go through my closet to get myself ready for spring, on the other hand, I discovered something quite shocking.

Sometimes when I go thrifting I have a child or two with me. And when that's the case, trying on clothes is completely out of the question. It's also probably a good reason not to buy any either, but I really am the type of person who has to find these things out the hard way.

At some point over the winter, I came across what I thought was a cute denim skirt in my size. I thought it'd be great for summer. Did I need the denim skirt? Of course not. My other two denim skirts should've been perfectly sufficient. But I bought it anyway. Because that's the way I roll. And here, as I discovered months later when I finally tried it on, is the result:

Butt circles!

And just in case you're having trouble seeing what I'm talking about, I've monochromed and contrasted the problem for you:

Computer-retouched butt circles!

I think we can all agree that this skirt is not wearable. That's probably why it was donated to VV in the first place. So now I have to decide whether buying a $5 pack of fabric dye (bringing the total cost of the second-hand item to about $12) is worth the bother, or whether to just call it a day and enjoy the other two perfectly respectable denim skirts I already own.

But more importantly, I am extremely curious as to how this skirt came to have two very prominent faded circles right on the butt. Was this the company's disastrous attempt at a new trend in clubwear? Had the guy at the factory just handed in his two weeks notice and figured he'd have some fun in the dye vat? Was the previous owner prone to sitting on her power sander? 

As it turns out, the thrift store is a place of infinite mystery.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Little Project

In an attempt to help RB with his pretend play skills, I turned an old, unused Ikea computer table into a little play kitchen for him. I am no woodworker, and this is by no means a professional-looking job, but here's the makeover anyway.


Ugly, orange, peeling and--as I discovered during the sink installation--cardboard on the inside.


Brits of a certain age might recognize my subtle nod to the classic AGA. Okay, fine. It's a pretty subtle nod. The last time I checked, the AGA didn't have a sink built in...

...or a white board on the side... 

...or curtains underneath. 

But it's got a certain retro charm, no? I wanted to paint spiral burners, but my hand is just not that steady anymore.

These old, cheap towel  bars were hanging in our (hideous) bathroom when we moved in. The voices in my head told me to stash them in the workshop for a rainy day. Proof that you should always listen to the voices...

 I had to hang the oven door upside down because RB loves sitting on any appliance door that opens the normal way. Just ask my dishwasher.


So that's my little project. Everything I used came from around the house and workshop, except for the hinges and the screws for the "taps", which came to just over $6 at the hardware store. All the paint (except for the whiteboard stuff, which has been sitting around in the workshop for months, so I don't count it as new) and the plywood for the shelf and oven door were leftovers from past renovations. The curtains were made with fabric from my stash, and the burner knobs were stolen from RB's wooden lacing set. A very cheap (but slightly labour-intensive) project. Firstborn loves it, and has had fun coming up with a new menu on the side. RB just wants to climb in the bottom and close the curtains.

So much for pretend play.