To: Crazy Person (or Current Resident)

I bought my house from a crazy person.

Ok, that might not be entirely accurate. Yes, I do frequently wonder what the previous owner was thinking, but at some point, doesn’t everyone question the sanity of the person who had lived there before? I have moved a bunch of times and it seems like there was something crazy at each place. Some examples:

–Two houses with carpeting on the stairs only. I assume it is a safety thing. It’s not likely to have been a fad since the houses were built about thirty years apart.

–A house with a sump pump that didn’t kick on until there was two feet of water in the crawl space.

–A house built with the laundry room in a shed in the carport. By the time I moved in the laundry hookups had been moved into the house and the shed was just a shed with weird plumbing remnants, but it was still a weird idea to do laundry in the driveway.

–A different house with the laundry room outside. It was attached to the house, but you had to go outside to get to it. Why?

–Two consecutive houses with doors installed to isolate the dining rooms. Did I follow the same person from house to house, or does everyone do this to their dining rooms now?

–A house where all the addresses on the street (it was new construction) had been flipped sometime between when the addresses were assigned and when people moved in. Everyone in the complex had to exchange mail for a few weeks, and we kept inadvertently canceling each other’s cable installation.

–A house with a baby nursery. This doesn’t seem bad at first, does it? My son’s bunk bed, dresser, and toy box all fit in it, with enough room left over for a play space. It had its own window. You could only get to his room via his sister’s bedroom, but otherwise a nice little room, right? Wrong. At some point in the preceding fifty years, someone had put a small clothes bar in one corner. So now my son likes to get all “Cupboard Under the Stairs” about it and complain that we made him live in a closet. Why did someone hang that clothes bar? A dresser isn’t good enough for a baby?*

Of course, it might not have been the immediate previous occupants who did all of those things. The crazy person might have been three occupants past. Some of the decisions could even be blamed on landlords, architects, or bureaucrats.

This is not to say that I’m innocent in this—I’m part of the crazy, too. By now, someone must have discovered that their baseboards were stuck to the walls with poster putty.** Someone else had to wonder why there was an old–fashioned schoolroom pencil sharpener mounted in the garage.***

I haven’t gotten around to doing anything crazy in this house yet—I’m still dealing with unusual decisions the previous occupant made. This time it’s the flooring in the dining room. It’s a large vinyl sheet that doesn’t reach the walls in one corner of the room. Because of that it is curling up. I considered just putting a piece of furniture over it and forgetting about it—who doesn’t need another bookshelf, right? But there’s another problem; when the heat pump comes on the air from the vent blows under the vinyl, lifting it several inches. It looks as if something is trying to break into this dimension through the dining room floor.  Are vinyl sheets supposed to be glued down? I don’t know. But I’m tired of heating the space between worlds, and if I have to pull the vinyl up to fix that, I might as well put down flooring that fits the room better. The internet assures me that even I, Queen Sort of Good at Home Repairs, can handle this.

It didn’t get off to a great start. Five minutes after I brought the boxes of flooring in, I realized that I had stacked them on the floor that I needed to tear up. As I was dragging the boxes to another room it hit me–this project needs a bingo card! It will be good for my morale when I inevitably screw something else up. Also, why work on a project when you can write about it instead? (This is the opposite of what usually happens. Usually, I plan on writing then suddenly find the need to do something else entirely.)

My list for the bingo squares:

  • Avoid an injury
  • Wonder why I have so many books–likely to happen while I am moving them out of the room and then back in. The sad part is that the bookshelf has been in there less than a month. Planning is clearly not my strong suit (see: stacking boxes, above).
  • Discover some other crazy thing about the house–I suspect this will involve finding out that half the vinyl is glued down and I’ll have trouble pulling it off of the floor.
  • Fit all of the old flooring in the trash bin
  • Make fewer than three trips to Lowe’s during the project
  • Get “help” from dogs–they tend to think they are supervisors.
  • Stop to dance when a good song comes on
  • Finish
  • Not break anything–damage is always a possibility. I broke a lamp moving the bookshelf to the dining room.
  • Question my sanity about starting such a project–I could check this box already, but the project hasn’t technically started yet, so I’ll wait.
  • Search the internet for help
  • Talk to myself about my shortcomings
  • Have enough flooring
  • Finish in three days or less
  • Work after midnight
  • Experience project rage–yell, cuss, etc.

It’s a mixture of things that will likely happen no matter what; things I will try to make happen; and things that I might not want to happen, but I won’t be too sad if they do since they will help me get to bingo.

Send good vibes. I’ll need them!


UPDATE: Two weeks later

I intended to publish the above before I started the project, and then post the bingo results afterwards. But the writing was taking longer than I anticipated (no surprise) so I set it aside to get the floor finished before my vacation was over.  Hey, at least you get the bingo results immediately!

Items in blue are the things that happened. Bingo! Yay!

Notes on results:

–I cut my finger. Nothing major, but it did bleed so it qualifies as an injury.

–While moving the books back, I decided I probably did have too many, so I added some to the donate pile.

–I had plenty of flooring—not because I’m efficient (I wasted about a box) but because I bought a lot. I’m fine with that. Queen Sort of Good knows her limitations.

–The surprise was a random piece of metal screwed into the floor. It was where a door used to be, so it might have been a threshold, though that seems odd for an interior door. Also, the metal strip was under wooden flooring, so it wasn’t helping keep the door closed. Maybe it was just part of the frame? Whatever it was, it took forever to remove it because the walls on either side had been built over it. I ended up cutting it with tin snips. The entire situation was insane, and it contributed significantly to project rage.  A bingo two-fer!

–I got all the flooring down in two days, but the project isn’t finished because I still have to do the trim. That requires at least one trip to Lowes, so I left that box blank too, just in case.

Though I still have some work to do, I am happy with the results. The floor looks nice and I’m no longer paying to heat/cool the alternate dimension under the dining room. I even have space on my bookshelf for some new books! It’s an all-around win.

I recommend you make a bingo card for your next project around the house. It might help you feel less crazy!


* My kids are insisting it was a walk-in closet with a window. They have no explanation as to why there were no shelves and only one small clothes bar, but fine, whatever—I made my son live in a gigantic closet for a few months. Can’t wait for his Hogwarts letter to get here. Also, now I have to question the crazy person who took down all the shelves and clothes hanging bars.

**There was disagreement about the baseboards, so we used poster putty as a temporary fix, then moved away before remembering we had never attached them permanently.

***I like pencils, ok? And you have to attach those sharpeners to a wall stud, so the garage seemed like a perfect place.

Picture of dog
My supervisor

Have you ever doubted the sanity of the person who lived in your place before you? Have you ever been the crazy one, leaving the results of questionable decisions behind when you moved? Let me know in the comments.

(Even I Want to Get Out of the) House Party

Stay home and read? Twist my arm! Social events tend to make me anxious, so social distancing hasn’t been as difficult for me as it can be for others. But the other day even I grew weary of social distancing and got the urge to go out.

You know how it is, one minute you’re watching a home repair video, then before you know it, it’s two hours later and you find yourself watching old music videos and missing your clubbing days.

My clubbing days! I should point out that I only started saying that to look cool in front of my family. “You don’t recognize that song? Oh, I must know it from my clubbing days,” I would say, as if I were reliving nights at South Beach.

At the time, I didn’t mention to my siblings that my “clubbing days” were just a six-month-period when my (then) husband and I would occasionally go out dancing with two other couples. That wouldn’t have sounded as cool.

To maintain that aura of coolness, I still refer to my clubbing days whenever I get the chance. To be honest, it doesn’t come up all that often. The most memorable thing from those days isn’t even about a club—it’s the night I forgot my ID.

I realized that I didn’t have my ID as soon as we got out of the vehicle. We were about 30 minutes from home, so the others convinced me to at least try to get in the club before going back for the ID, “The bouncers probably aren’t even checking IDs yet!” they said. (Some of them had already been drinking a while, so their logic game was not strong.)

The club was checking IDs of course, but I did get in. The bouncer questioned me for a minute then let me in because—as he said—no one pretends to be 31 years old. (Also, I’ve always thought he had probably seen us roll up to the club in a minivan.)

Yay! Since I couldn’t drink without an ID, designated driver duty was transferred to me. That was a bit less “yay,” but no big deal. At least I got to stay and dance.

It wasn’t until the drive home that we realized the flaw in the plan: I’d have to drive through the military base gate to get us home. During the day, the base sticker on the vehicle got you through the gate, but at 3:00 am you’d have to show a military ID to get through. I, the only sober person, didn’t have any form of ID with me. But we didn’t have much of a choice, so we decided to give it a try.

Guy at the gate: Good morning. ID, please.

Me: I’m sorry. I left all my IDs at home. I’m the designated driver.

Gate guy: (giving me a “Are you kidding me right now?” look)

Me: (smiling and trying to exude “good citizen” vibes)

Gate guy looked at the backseat of the van. The three Marines were sitting almost at attention, but all of them had gigantic smiles. Because, you know, grinning like an idiot disguises the fact that you’ve been drinking for hours. Whatever. My only chance at being allowed on base in the middle of the night was because I was chauffeuring a minivan full of drunk people, so it was probably just as well that they weren’t fooling anyone.

Gate guy: (with a sigh) Does anyone here have an ID?

My husband: (still with the goofy grin) I’m her husband. Here’s my ID.  

Gate guy: (comparing the ID and the sticker on the minivan): Staff Sergeant?

Great. Something else we hadn’t planned for—my husband’s enlisted ID didn’t match the officer sticker on my friend’s minivan.   

My friend: (less drunk and therefore able to have a conversation without grinning maniacally) It’s my van. Here’s my ID.

Gate guy went to confer with the other people working the gate. At this point I was sure they were not going to let us in. I wondered if they’d let us park the van and walk. It was about two miles from the gate to my house. What a fun walk that would be. Maybe we could call a cab from the gate…

Gate guy:  Here are your IDs. You can go on home.

Me: Thank you!

He waved us through. My theory is he: A-was supremely over it, and B-didn’t feel like looking up the code for “impersonating an officer’s wife after hours without a license.”

As soon as we got through the gate, the guys—who should have just been happy they didn’t have to walk two miles—started a play-by-play review of the conversation and accused me of batting my eyelashes, etc. “Oh, thank you!” they chorused in falsettos.

That scene at the gate—the grins, the falsettos, the worrying about herding drunk Marines home— is what I remember most about those “clubbing days.” And while it is a great memory, it’s not an example of an extensive party lifestyle.  

So, since I have almost zero party-girl history, what is this sudden urge to go out? Pre-pandemic I probably attended a social event twice a year, and usually had to convince myself beforehand that it “wouldn’t be that bad.” But last week I was sad that I couldn’t share a dance floor with dozens of other people! Granted, going out dancing is the best way to socialize: A-dancing! B-there’s not much conversation on a dance floor. If I’m wishing for something different to do, going out dancing does make the most sense. It’s not like I’d been wishing I could sign up for a debate club.

Once the pandemic is over, I might have to hunt up a bar or dance club. Or not. Either way, I’ll keep dancing at home. It’s the best club around—I don’t have to show ID, the music is always great, and I only have to talk to myself.

Party on!

***A note to those of you who thrive on social interaction: If the pandemic is even getting to me, you must be going extra stir crazy. I’m so sorry. I hope we all get some relief soon. Much love!***


Just for fun, here are the results from this week’s Kick Ass Bingo card:

I got bingo! Yay for me! I kick ass!

Since the week is not technically over I could theoretically get a few more squares, so I left those blank. You never know when one of my dogs will do something totally crazy and/or adorable. And if someone starts a conversation about Doctor Who, I could get the TV quote square and the time travel square at the same time!

The ones with “FAIL” are either the ones that I was unable to avoid, or the ones that I know that I will not accomplish by tonight:

  • Turns out you don’t need a hotkey for an em dash (figuring that out got me the “research anything” square! Yay!) so I won’t be creating one.
  • Write 3000 words is not going to happen even if I include this blog post.
  • Chips for dinner–Note to those worried about my nutrition: the meals were rice, beans, and cheese, but with tortilla chips as the eating utensils–sort of like nachos. I did not have bags of potato chips for dinner (this week).
  • No clod incidents–I failed this one very early in the week when I cut my finger while trying to clean a hand saw. Bummer. But considering all the potential clod incidents—cutting myself with the chainsaw, falling off of the ladder, getting knocked out by a tree branch—a cut from a hand saw is practically a victory for me. Bingo-wise the day was a victory. I didn’t overreact to the injury—just bandaged it up and kept going—and I remembered to put the ladder away. That’s two squares! Woot!

Since I have kicked ass this week, I am now going to reward myself with a movie marathon. No guilt. I deserve it! I hope all of you are also rewarding yourselves accordingly. Feel free to share details in the comments.

Peace and love(and ass-kicking!),


It’s All About Us

Almost as soon as I posted that “space time continuum” would be on your Lori bingo card (see: “But Is It Really Cool?” blog post), I started thinking about a bingo themed blog post. What else would be on a Lori bingo card? Would other people have a different idea of what should be on it?

I sent family and friends a text asking “what are words/events/things that you associate with me? Just the first things that come to your mind.”

***Note:  Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate it!*** 

My original plan was to use the answers to make two bingo cards—one with my entries and one with theirs. Discuss how we see ourselves vs how others see us, etc.

I couldn’t make it work. Because I had not told anyone it was for bingo, many of the replies were not “bingo friendly.” For example,

  • Introspective – How can someone tell if I’m being introspective or just trying to remember the capital of Latvia? (I’m still studying for Jeopardy).
  •  Liquid lasagna -Yes, I once used so much sauce in a lasagna that it came out like tomato noodle soup. I had to serve it in bowls. It’s one of those things people never (let you) forget. Even so, it wouldn’t be good for a bingo square because it will probably never happen again.
  • Intelligent/smart (thanks again, everyone!) – Ok, I’m smart, but is it observable? Maybe, if we’re watching Jeopardy together and I remember that Riga is the capital of Latvia. Otherwise, you’re much more likely to see me lock the gate, close the garage, and only then realize that the ladder is still in the backyard. People rarely ask about random capital cities, but I did the ladder thing just last week.
  • Over-reactive – This is an outrageous lie. Clearly someone is trying to sabotage bingo so no one wins.

Due to the lack of bingo friendly responses I didn’t have enough information to fill out two bingo cards–not even if I relented and included over-reactive. So I set the idea aside for a while, hoping that something would occur to me.

Months later (procrastination should have been on my list) I still had nothing, but I wasn’t ready to give up altogether. People had taken the time to answer my question–it would be rude to not at least try to do something with their answers. Not to mention that by this point those people were probably thinking I’d only been fishing for compliments. I dragged out the lists and tried again.

The two card option was still not going to work, so I thought maybe I could tweak the lists to come up with one card. That sort of worked. I did come up with a card, but it didn’t seem like it would be particularly interesting to anyone. It was barely interesting to me. The only way it might be fun is if A–people followed me around all day, and B– it was turned into a drinking game. “She sneezed! Bingo! You have to do a shot!” 

Yeah, not so much. 

I finally gave up. Nobody would get anything particularly useful out of it, and honestly, it was just too dull. Pointless and dull is a pretty good description of 2020, but who needs more of that? Instead, most of us would probably like some encouragement and fun. So I came up with something else: “Kick Ass Bingo.”

It’s a did it/avoided it/overcame it list crossed with a bingo card. Instead of just checking items off of a list, we mark a square for every item we accomplish.

Items on my “Kick Ass” card for this week:

  • Mow the lawn
  • Text a picture of the dogs
  • Do something  charitable
  • Avoid cooking fiascos – no liquid lasagna, or similar
  • Make someone laugh
  • Take the dogs for a walk
  • Sneeze – my life’s equivalent of  the FREE SPACE
  • Dance
  • Go to bed by midnight  
  • Research anything
  • Avoid overreacting at least once
  • Quote a movie/tv show/book – “Not the droids you’re looking for!”
  • Star gaze
  • Stay up late reading
  • Write 3000 words
  • Equivalent of remembering the ladder before closing the garage
  • Avoid cussing until after ? – (timing to be determined)
  • Have chips for dinner only twice
  • Cry– sad cry, laugh cry, sappy commercial cry, whatever
  • No clod incidents – “I didn’t break anything (or myself) this week!”
  • Prompt a “you’re not from around here, are you?” type comment – this usually involves my supposed accent
  • Procrastinate
  • Mention time travel or the space-time continuum
  • Create a hot key for an em dash
  • Sing at the top of my lungs

You can put some actual goals on your card if you want that motivation factor— I included a few on mine— but the main point of the card is to remind us to celebrate ourselves and the things we do.

You can yell “BINGO!” when you win, but I think it’s much more fun to yell “I KICK ASS!” while doing a victory dance. Your choice.

Once we have kicked ass (and we will!) we get to reward ourselves. Double rewards for getting two lines! After all, not everyone can do what we do.  We kick ass! We are amazing! And that is not an overreaction.     

That Time I Tried to Be Normal

My kids say we’re crazy, “but in a good way.” It’s fine. It’s a family trait, like having a cute nose, or being loud. Our lives are not non-stop, call-the-cops insanity. We just think a little silliness makes life fun.

Dancing was always part of that fun. We cranked up the radio and surfed with the Beach Boys. Ray Charles led us through “Shake A Tail Feather.” There were victory dances practically every day. Got a turkey in bowling? Victory dance! Poured the milk without spilling? Victory dance! (That one’s for me. I lack pouring skills).

Another silly favorite was the cutout in the kitchen wall. It was originally intended for handing food through to the dining room. But since we used the dining room as a family room, the cutout was pretty much pointless. Not to the kids, though. They renamed it the “pizza window,” and could not get enough of it. They’d “order” their food at the window, and then go eat in front of the TV. It was the best restaurant ever, as far as they were concerned.

The family room also functioned as a campground. We built tents out of chairs and sheets, and the kids would live in them for entire weekends. One summer, they convinced me to leave the tent up for a week. I was invited in for games, snacks, and TV. Even the dog would hang out in the tent. In the manner of our family tradition, she was a bit weird, too.* Her favorite snack was crickets. Obviously, this campground didn’t (usually) have crickets, but she considered sharing the kids’ chips an acceptable alternative.

Though the kids were perfectly fine with silliness at home, they weren’t always quite as chill about public displays of weirdness. My demonstrations of different ways to jay-walk (jay-skipping, jay-twirling, etc.) were usually met with “Maaaaahmmmm. Stop.” There were also minor protests over my “Meanest Mom Ever” Halloween costume. Even so, most goofy behavior was met with a shrug and “Whatever.”

(Or so I thought. When I mentioned putting the jay-skipping in this blog, my daughter said, “Oh man. Wow. I had totally forgotten about that,” and hid her face in her hands. I’m sure she’s fine.)

They’re adults now, but so far none of us has grown out of being a little crazy. This past winter, my son convinced us to create a multiple snowman display in the front yard. Just this week, my daughter and I did a “the Wi-Fi works” dance. So yeah, we’re still one with the weird.

I did try to be boring once. The kids saw something about a “normal” family on TV, and it somehow led to me trying to prove I could be normal, too. Of course, I couldn’t just stop dancing and making jokes. There’d be no fun in that. I decided to be “ultra-normal” and started acting like a proper, boring mom like the one on TV.

“What would you like for lunch, children?”

“Grilled cheese sandwiches, please.”

“Excellent choice. I shall get started right away.” Giggles from the kids.

After about ten minutes my son started getting worried, and the conversation changed a bit.

“What pleasant weather we’re having.”

“Ok, Mom. You can go back to being your normal self.”

“This is my new normal self. Your lunch will be ready presently. Would you like to eat at the table like a normal person, or do you prefer to eat in front of the television like crazy people?

“Mom, please go back to being regular.”

Looking back, I realize he might have been a bit freaked out to see his mom change personalities so dramatically. (Maybe I really was the Meanest Mom Ever.) On the other hand, it might have been that he just didn’t like the idea of eating lunch at the table. Either way, he was done with the normal experiment.

“Mom. Just be the regular you.”

“Whatever do you mean, children?” I replied in my posh voice. But as I flipped the grilled cheese, I couldn’t resist a quiet cheer and a tiny “didn’t set it on fire” victory dance. (Gas burners. It’s happened.)

Unfortunately for the normal experiment, I hadn’t noticed that my daughter had come up to the pizza window to see if the sandwiches were ready. Busted! She giggled at my little dance but didn’t say anything, so I broke into the “Monkey” for a super victory dance.

Before I could come up with another boring comment about the weather, my son also got up to check on lunch. He spotted me and yelled, “I KNEW IT! I SEE YOU DANCING IN THERE! DOING THE “MONKEY” IS NOT NORMAL!”

Experiment over. I failed the normal test. We laughed and did the “Monkey” for a minute, then I handed them their lunches through the pizza window.

As my son was taking his plate he said, “I’m glad you’re not normal.”

I figured he was really saying “I’m glad you’re not being normal anymore, and went back to being our regular fun mom.” After all, I was handing him food through the wall. But I asked anyway, just to see what else he had to say.


“Because you suck at it”.

A normal, boring mom would have grounded him. But we’re crazy in the good way, so we just laughed and made it a family legend.

The Cricket Patrol
The Snow Squad saluting me as I drove by

*See previous blog posts about the other crazy dogs in our lives