Monday, March 31, 2014


There. I said it. I'm not great at hanging out with my offspring. When we go somewhere, like a museum, or the Little Red Lighthouse, or whatever, that's cool, it's fun. Here we are at the Botanical Gardens, on cloud nine:

OK, The Kids Look Miserable But Take My Word For It, We Had A Great Time
But just chilling around the house? At this, I do not shine.

That's not something mothers are supposed to have trouble with, or at least not something that mothers are supposed to admit having trouble with, but there you go. I just don't love a lot of what my five- and seven-year-old boys find amusing, like beating the shit out of each other or telling jokes about butts. I am also a huge failure at creating periods of structured play throughout the day (I mean seriously? I can't even...)

So for most a lot of the time that my kids and I are in the same room, I am on the computer. If it wasn't for our mutual love of Lego, it would be even worse.

It was pointed out to me a few about five hundred times that this was not an ideal situation from a mother-son bonding perspective, and I instituted mandatory (for me) crafts time with the kids. It has been a smashing success, if I do say so myself, even taking into account that hideous red wreath I had to hang on my door the Christmas before last.

What I have learned is that to have fun hanging out with the boys at home, I need to be doing something I think is fun, too. Well, sort of fun. OK, really just something that doesn't make me long to be mile and miles and miles away, single and childless, preferably with a stiff drink. So, on the off chance that there are other mothers out there who feel the same way, here are some of the hits from Craft Time with the Kids:

I had leftover supplies from the (actually totally kick-ass) Superhero Party that I threw for William when he turned 4 (seriously, that shit was like something from Pinterest, or a real Mommy Blog--any day now I will get around to posting about it). We took the capes (aprons with the strings cut off - I'll explain in the party post) and masks (bought on Etsy - how did I live before Etsy???) and made up our own superheroes:

It Escapes Me What Our Powers Were, But We Were Very Powerful
Andrew and William started demanding shields, and I thought (foolishly) that it would be the perfect project. I did not know that posterboard is a total bitch to cut, and needs primer before painting, and that spray paint has fumes... Well, it was a hit, despite being a much longer undertaking than I realized:

Supplies: Primer, Gold and Silver Spray Paint

William's Shield, Primed
Andrew's Shield, Primed and Taped
William's Shield, Painted
Andrew's Shield, Half Painted
Andrew's Shield, Painted
William's Shield, Finished
Andrew's Shield, Finished
All in all, a success. Although it was interesting that Ted was loathe to give up the location of the box cutter I needed to cut the posterboard, instead just offering to go get it himself...

I did not think this was going to be fun. I was wrong. I bought some cheap solar system kit at Michaels that had foam balls for the planets and dowels to hold them in their positions to the sun. You guys, I loved this activity. The boys shared, dividing up the planets, and the result was impressive. Well, I thought it was cool. I was easily more excited about it than either kid:

The Solar System On Our Coffee Table (Yes, That's Pluto -It's Clearly Old)
 All of this is to say that there is hope for anyone. Seriously. ANYONE. If I can find a way to spend time with my kids that doesn't end with one or all of us in tears, then anyone can. I promise you. It's just a matter of looking at the Venn Diagram of what you like to do and what they like to do, and choosing from the overlap:

Our next plan is to build a boat. Seriously. It's going to be awesome.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014


So having run through most of my friends and relations (or at least those I could boss into "hiring" me), I turned to the World Wide Web to find a new client. And much like chocolate and wine, I find that the Internet rarely disappoints. Readers, I convinced a stranger he was in desperate need of my expertise (I was right).

Let me start by saying: Kids, don't try this at home! It is not safe to "meet" people online and definitely do not let them attempt to hire you! And never agree to actually meet them, like in real life where they could kill you! That is crazy talk!

Now that that's out of the way, first of all he wasn't a stranger stranger, he was a friend of a friend...sort of. Look, it's a long story, OK? Don't worry about it. I didn't end up chopped up into bits and stashed in anyone's freezer so just calm the fuck down. Jeez. He lives like 100 miles away, which is a really long way to go to kill someone.

You may be wondering how the hell I worked my magic in his bedroom (that came out wrong, but you know what I mean) if he lives so far away. Well, none of this would have been possible without the miracle of modern technology, and I'm not (just) talking about Facebook. I'm talking about Room Sketcher, an amazing site that lets you create a 3D floorplan of a room, or even an entire house or apartment or whatever. So my new client took photos of his bedroom and gave me the dimensions, and I was on the job.

I will admit that had I seen exactly what the job was, I might have been a little less hasty in accepting it. Client #11 was living in what can charitably be described as a crack den. I'm not kidding:

I can't even...
I Don't Know WTF With the Fan in the Middle of Winter
I Also Don't Know How The Cat Looks EXACTLY The Same In Two Pictures
You will see that I wasn't fucking kidding. BUT. He is actually an awesome guy - smart, funny, like a father to his 9-year-old niece, and obviously a fairly secure person since he is letting me show these pictures to all twelve fifteen of you guys. Most importantly, he was willing to "try a new look" (Shut up! I was being diplomatic!). So once I stopped trying to figure out how he hadn't ended up on an episode of Hoarders and got to work with my fancy 3D floorplan website, things moved pretty fast.

I'm Not Sure Why the Ceiling is Tan
Or Why I Can't Close the Virtual Closet Door
The Bed Looks Weird Because It's Two Beds, One on Top of the Other (Don't Ask)
The cool thing (well, one of many cool things) about Room Sketcher is that you can dictate the dimensions of the furniture, so you really see what will work and what won't in the space you have.

TIP: It helps if you put in the correct measurements for the room, which at first I did not, so I had like a whole bench-at-the-end-of-the-bed thing going on for a while, and there were several IM fights with the client over whether or not it would fit before I realized I was the idiot. #winning

This concludes Part 1; tune in for Part 2, in which you'll see if I manage to make my virtual dream a reality, and I also meet Client #11 in person and live to tell the tale!


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