Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A milestone of sorts, plus more than you ever wanted to know about my shower

First off, a bit of housekeeping. I'd like to thank my good friend Darren for his excellent guest post the other day. I almost forgot what well-crafted writing with a meaningful start, middle, and end looks like on this site. You mean I'm not just supposed to ramble along about whatever's on my mind? You mean people still write in full, logically sequential paragraphs rather than random bullet points? OK then. Perhaps I'll work on that.

Secondly, I thought I should mention that what you're reading right now is the 500th post on Stefanie Says. Considering it took me over three years to get here and considering there's no prize (not even a flurry of confetti, a balloon drop, or a startling and enthusiastic announcement over a bullhorn), perhaps it's a bit anticlimactic to mention this milestone, but since I'm a little surprised I even noticed the post count in time to announce it, I thought it bore acknowledgment of some sort.

With that in mind, perhaps the best way to commemorate 500 posts is to write a list of 500 more little-known facts about me. Are you ready? Just kidding. That wasn't funny when I threatened to do it after 300 posts, either.

Instead, how about I write a little something on each of the five topics I probably return to most often? Without any scientific polling or counting of any sort, I'm going to decide that those are the gym, Target, dating, alcohol, and my own stunning ineptitude. Sound fun? I thought so. Let's get started.

Regarding the sweat shop...
The other day, my kickboxing instructor had us try a move we haven't done much before. It was nothing complicated, but apparently she was worried if we didn't watch our form, we might throw out our backs. Considering I injured myself cleaning my bathroom last weekend, it's probably more than fair to assume I might need some sort of warning. The instructor apparently doesn't know I'm less coordinated than the average ball of twine, however, because after warning us to be careful, she looked at the small group of only five regulars assembled that day and said, "Oh, you guys are fine. This is the advanced group, right?" Um, advanced group?? Me?? I am the girl who once tore a ligament in my ankle when I tripped on a balloon. The girl who never once won that stupid patch from the Presidential Physical Fitness award--not even in the early years, when the challenge was an eraser relay and flexed arm hang instead of a mile run and a series of chin-ups. I have never been deemed "advanced" in anything athletics-related. But in kickboxing? Apparently I rule. I can crush imaginary foes like no one's business. Look out, air; I'm coming for you. I'm gonna kick air's ass. Kick the ass of air. Ahem. I may be taking this small victory a bit too far.

Regarding Target...
I tempted fate and went into Target with unwashed ponytail hair again. Apparently Target IS still my happy place, however, because I saw no past meMarmony dates while I was there. What I did see was the bar stools I had found online for $99 marked on clearance for $24.99. I got TWO bar stools for my newly sort-of-refinished basement for HALF the price of ONE. As indicated by all that capitalization, I am ridiculously excited about this. I was even more excited when I returned to that same Target this past weekend and saw a fresh new shipment of the same bar stools now marked $99, just like online. I realize this isn't a very interesting story to anybody but me, and yet I've told at least six people (plus now the Internet) about it anyway.

Regarding dates...
I don't have much to tell you here, but I do have a date with another middle-aged bald man tomorrow and a possibly pretentious English professor next week, so perhaps I'll have some stories to share again soon.

Regarding alcohol...
Apparently at our dinner for 18 last Saturday, my friends and I consumed 16 bottles of wine. There was one nursing mother and probably at least a few other non- or light-drinkers, which means that more than one guest drank more than a bottle of wine on his or her own. I'm very much hoping it wasn't me, but considering the five-course meal and subsequent socializing lasted well into the wee hours, I can't guarantee I didn't make a dent.

This weekend, the plan is to skip the wine and mix up some retro cocktails for the inauguration of my newly updated pine-paneled, sixties-tastic rumpus room. Tonight I went shopping for ingredients I have never actually purchased before (Angostura bitters, blended whisky, sweet vermouth), and after dinner I decided I should do a test run and try out a retro recipe or two. I have never actually had a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned before. I figured it'd be best to know what I am in for Friday night. Um, did you know Manhattans and Old Fashioneds are nearly straight-up alcohol? And not the really tasty alcohol, like Kahlua or Baileys, but straight-up whisky with a little ice and sugar just to pretend you're diluting a bit.

I'm curious if there's no chance I will ever like either of these drinks, or if I just picked a bad recipe off the web. Tell me, do any of you make either of these? Do these recipes sound about right? If you have a more successful ratio to share, please do so. Otherwise, I'm just hoping for better luck with the Tom Collins or the Sidecar. If not, it's back to the standard G&Ts for me.

Regarding my stunning ineptitude...
I've already told you that I managed to injure myself during the seemingly simple and innocuous task of cleaning my bathroom the other day. What I did not tell you is just how ridiculously that transpired. My shower is not lined with normal tiles like any normal house. Instead, the walls of my bathroom are covered with thin sheets of metal with indented lines meant to look like grout. After years of water and wear, the fake grout lines have sprouted cracks and rust spots, and that, combined with the chipping coat of paint that the previous owners thought was a good idea to apply, have made my shower a very sad, shameful looking place. I've tried to patch the cracks with caulk and sealant, hoping to get a few more years of wear out of the stuff, but I'm fighting a losing battle. The HGTV "Bad Bathroom" folks would love to rip those metal sheets out of there (if only I could get their attention to come do so). It's a sad, sad site to behold.

Anyway, Saturday morning I decided it was time to scrub the newest rust and mildew stains from the layers of caulk I've already applied and try caulking once again. There's a portion of the fake tile that fell off completely a few months ago and I'm embarrassed to say has been secured with duct tape ever since. My plan was to clean the shower, remove the duct tape, and recaulk anywhere the metal fake tile was cracked. I should know by now that things rarely go according to plan in my house.

About three minutes into this project, I was reaching across the shower scrubbing with a grout brush, holding on to the ceramic soap holder on the wall for balance. At the very moment I thought to myself, "You know, I probably shouldn't be putting this sort of weight on this," the soap tray broke away from the wall and smashed into pieces on the floor of my tub. My left thigh took a blunt hit against the tub as I fell, and only today have I finally stopped limping and wincing in pain with every step because of the resulting bruise. At the moment, I was in such pain (and was so frustrated--at my thwarted plans to end the day with less duct tape in my shower instead of more, at my fear about just how much a full-fledged bathroom remodel is going to cost, and at the fact that I now had a mess to clean up that was going to put me even more behind schedule for the day than I already was) that I sunk down to the floor in a flurry of tears and profanity. And then I looked down and realized that on top of the throbbing leg and the hole in my shower wall, I was also bleeding onto my floor. The gash in my wrist was deep enough that I worried for a minute I might actually need stitches (which would mean not only admitting this ridiculous injury to an emergency room doctor but also completely missing the roller skating party I was already late for).

By now, I have finally accepted that I need to find the budget for re-tiling (sooner, rather than later). I have also accepted that it's actually much more interesting to hurt myself cleaning my bathroom than to do so roller skating. (Anyone can fall and hurt themselves at a roller rink. It takes a special kind of absurdity and ineptitude to do so in one's own bathroom.) What I have not made peace with is how to address the fact that I have at least ten friends coming over on Friday who might be nosy enough to peek behind the shower curtain to see what's there. We all have medicine cabinet-peekers in our life, right? Surely checking behind the shower curtain at someone else's house is equally tempting, don't you think? So what now? Do I tell people about the garbage bag duct taped to the wall before they see it for themselves? Do I hope my friends are less nosy than average? Or do I tape a note to the shower wall for anyone snooping there to see? "Yes, I'm aware my shower is more ghetto than a double-wide. Wanna make something of it?" No? A note like that doesn't say "Welcome to my home"? Well, what do you think the note should read?


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Note: Can you believe I got through this entire post before I realized that I completely neglected to include in that list of five the topic I undoubtedly write about the most?? Surely I talk about grammar and spelling at least as often as wine, don't I? I mean, I've gotten awards for that obsession! Oh well. Have to save it for my 600th post, I guess.
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16 comments:

3carnations said...

I love a surprise good deal!

It's good that you know your date is bald already. I once had a terribly awkward date moment. I had met the guy when he was wearing a hat, he had a hat on our date. I made a comment that "I've never seen you without a hat. Let me see your hair." He took off the hat. No hair. It didn't occur to me that a not quite 30 year old would be bald. Awkward, awkward moment. The guy was a good sport, though, and actually asked me out again.

One Smart Cookie said...

Your bathroom sounds a lot like mine. Except that our shower/floor/walls are tiled, but the previous owners decided to put some kind of weird white paint/sealant stuff over the tile. That was all fine and good until we'd lived in the house for about 6 months and the stuff started peeling off EVERYWHERE. We keep talking about re-tiling it ourselves, but in the back of my head I just think, "Yeah. Like that is EVER going to happen." Poor, sad, bathroom...

nancypearlwannabe said...

Happy 500th post! If I had known I would have baked you funfetti cupcakes. They would have gone great with your retro cocktails!

Pam said...

Happy 500th post!

Isn't a Sidecar the drink that Emily Gilmore kept insisting was Lorelai's drink? I had never heard of it until that episode (which aired on ABC Family a couple weeks ago). And now on your post. It's a sign. Now I need to find out what's in it and maybe even drink one.

badger reader said...

Whiskey old fashioneds? Are you sure you were born in Wisconsin Stefanie? Try some Brandy old fashioneds, much better. Not to mention, there is a thing called old fashioned mix. Not really sure what it is, but probably sugar and preservatives. It definitely helps take the edge off the booze. In checking the web, some sites said the mix can be a replacement for bitters, but I think we used both and we like it sweet, so this confuses me.
I think my family always uses honey instead of sugar cubes and splash of 7up/sprite instead of the water. Okay thinking about this, maybe we just take a little brandy and add a whole bunch of sugar stuff to make it taste better (honey, grenadine, 7up, etc). If nothing else you can try these retro drinks out, have fun and be thankful we have better tasting cocktails nowadays. :)

Aaron said...

If it makes you feel any better, I was ironing the other night, and holding the thought "don't burn yourself" in my head like a mantra. I'm not sure if reverse psychology was at work, but inevitably, there was a (small, but hilarious) burn.

Happy 500!!

L Sass said...

That Target sale victory is SO monumental. I would be crowing about it for ages!!

Happy 500!

Lara said...

Happy 500th post! WOO! I have the same problem with Manhattans. I really love the idea of being the kind of girl who drinks Manhattans, but....yeah, I'm not so good at drinking straight bourbon. Even if it's Maker's Mark. My favorite retro drink, however, is the brandy alexander. Mmmm good.

lizgwiz said...

Happy 500th! Happy Target bargains!

I have those kind of metal tiles in my shower, as well (though they are actually individual tiles) and at some point someone tried to paint over a few of them. Only a few, though, before they realized it was a bad idea. Since I'm a renter, I'm probably stuck with them, though. Although my landlord DID ask a while back if there was anything I thought needed doing. Hmm...

I'm not a big fan of the taste of whiskey or bourbon, so they have to be mixed with something fabulous, or I just don't like it. I've never tried an Old-Fashioned, but I'm assuming it wouldn't be my thing.

lizgwiz said...

And oh! I forgot. I used to have a couple of friends in college who thought it was great fun to hide behind the shower curtain and listen to people in the bathroom, so...let's just hope your friends are better-behaved than mine. ;)

-R- said...

I think you should put up a sign and it should say, "Why are you looking in my shower, perv?"

Courtney said...

Thanks for confessing to the bathroom injury story, and YIKES, that does sound painful.

Here's to 500 more posts at Stefanie Says! Yay!

don't call me MA'AM said...

Great idea for a 500th post!

And you know what? You SOOOO have to post a photo of that shower now. Pretty please?!?!

Stinkypaw said...

Congrats on your 500th post! DCMM told me about it, so had to come and congratulate you!

Hope your leg feels better and also hoping you don't get a kick there during your kick-boxing class... that would REALLY hurt!

Keep on posting and saving money, and you'll get to that shower of yours! ;-)

Noelle said...

Your 500th post has me wincing in sympathy. Someday I'll have to tell you about my own bathroom injury. It's quite similar, and made me wish I had a roller skating accident instead.

Stefanie said...

3Cs--I'm just wondering why that guy would wear a hat on a date! I guess you found out why, though. I wonder how long he thought he could keep that a secret...

Cookie--Yeah, the quickly peeling paint was the first thing that disturbed me about the bathroom, but I'd gladly put up with that over the cracking and rusting metal sheets! :-( Poor, sad bathroom indeed.

NPW--Indeed, they would have. Thanks for the thought! :-)

Pam--Someone at my party mentioned the Gilmore Girls reference, too. I had forgotten about that. A friend of mine introduced me to Sidecars a few years ago, and there's one old-school supper club sort of bar in town where I like to order them sometimes. I'd never made one on my own, however. Had no idea what was even in them.

Badger--I should have tried the Old Fashioned mix, I guess. Instead, I just didn't have any more old fashioneds. The whisky was about a third gone after my party, though, so I suspect maybe *someone* tried it...

Aaron--That does make me feel at least a little better. Thanks.

L Sass--Thanks! I am still rather proud of that steal. :-)

Lara--I like that line. You're right: I'd *like* to be the kind of girl who enjoys Manhattans, but I just don't think I am.

Liz--Who knew these stupid metal tiles were so common?? Are they that much cheaper than real tiles? They must be, I guess, but much like the cedar shake siding on my house (which took a full summer to scrape the loose paint from when I needed to repaint), I think there's a reason people don't use that building material anymore.

R--That's certainly a good way to go, too...

Courtney--You're welcome. (And thanks.)

DCMM--Oh, OK. I can do that. You guys have to promise not to be appalled, though. I already told you it is BAD.

Stinkypaw--Thanks, and congrats on your 500th, too! Weird coincidence, eh?

Noelle--I still say a roller skating injury isn't nearly as interesting. Though I'm curious now what YOUR injury entailed!