One-Hit Wonders

My husband sent me a text yesterday morning on his way to work, and it said,

“I can’t stop thinking about how badass your pumpkin is.”

Why is he still thinking about the pumpkin I carved this weekend?  Because I completely, utterly blew everyone away with my mad carving skill. (I hesitate to say “skills” because I think it was a one time miracle, a fleeting moment in time, an absolute MARVEL that I could not possibly reproduce.)  No one expected it at all. I struck out of nowhere. It all started when I told my family that, this year, we were raising the bar. I was tired of the same old jack o’ lanterns. It was game on. Sean obviously didn’t take me seriously. He knows, or THOUGHT HE KNEW, all about my artistic (dis)ability. For example, dating back long ago: When I was a Freshman in high school, I paid a Senior art student $5 to make my clay pottery assignment because I knew my creation would suck so bad. I’m talking about you, Chris Kilander. (He later went on to Herron Art School, by the way.) Turns out, mine was the only one that blew up in the kiln. Thanks, Chris. I want my $5 back.

Well, as many have already seen, after two hours of intense handiwork with a couple of knives, a pattern that I paid $2 for, and completely hiding the project from my husband and kids until I was done, here is the final product:

Yes, I busted this out of nowhere.

I have to give credit to the Murphy’s for inspiring me with their own amazing pumpkin pictures. They set the bar for me. I am not joking about a Carve Off in 2013, I can hardly wait!! See you all there! BYOK! (Bring Your Own Knives).

Aside from Frankenstein, I tried my hand at something else completely new this weekend. I had always wanted to learn how to stain and polyurethane wood, so I got my first shot with refinishing a beautiful oak desk that my father built from scratch. More importantly, I got the chance to work alongside him. I got to learn straight from the master. It reminded me of when I was little honey badger myself, and hung out with my Dad in our garage while he completely rebuilt an old MG into a beautiful, shiny, apple red speedstress. Years of toil and sweat he put into that car, and it was gorgeous by the time he was done. My brother got to drive it to school shortly after it’s makeover was complete. It was a sight on the curb of Bishop Chatard High School. How could you miss it? I’m sure it was bedazzling, just hanging out in plain view. Someone obviously missed it, though, and drove a nice, fat dent right into the driver’s side door. As Erin would sing, “Womp, womp”.

Back to my burst of creativity, though, I am so thrilled with the results of the desk. I know my Dad is too. I worked and worked on it, and now I am ready to stain and polyurethane the shit out of everything!!! I feel like I really learned a valuable life skill. My Dad has taught me a lot over the years, I just hope he can pass on his knowledge of woodworking to me. The sky’s the limit! I busted out a pumpkin carving of Frankenstein, I can do anything!!

Here is the Before of the desk:

Forgot to take the picture with the drawers in. Oh well, you get the gist.

Here is After:

Does anyone have any marble lying around? I’m ready to sculpt something clever up in this piece. I have to take advantage of this flash of artistic ability before it completely vanishes!


My Husband is a Beast!

When it comes to Sean McGill, he’s all or nothing. So, when I asked him to join me on the Atkins diet, he was adamantly opposed. Then, I started telling him each day how I was losing 1 lb. per day. He was working out every day on his lunch break, but losing nothing. He still wasn’t swayed. I told him I had been on and they had practically endorsed the high protein/low carb Atkins diet and offered advice on how to work out while following the Atkins guidelines. Anyway, it was this that finally got him to give it some thought. He decided he was ALL IN. We were hard core Atkins followers, consistently losing weight for about 7…whole…days. Then, after he lost 10 lbs, and I lost 5, we decided maybe it wasn’t really all that healthy to be in ketosis (where you lose the weight so quickly in Phase 1). So, like any other critically thinking, highly intelligent, college grads’ couple, we decided we needed to add SOME carbs back in. In the form of wine. In the evening. And, guess what? We kept losing weight. We felt like badasses because we circumvented the process.

Then, we ate regularly during the weekend and we gained it all back.

Ok, we weren’t really doing it right to begin with. You’re supposed to do 2 weeks of nothing but protein, no wine, blah blah blah. We put forth some serious effort at first, but now we were half-assing it and still succeeding…kind of.  The result is I feel like I’ve now shot my metabolism in the face. In the meantime, Sean has transformed in a way that I have, uh, never seen.

FOR EXAMPLE, Sunday morning. He was pumped UP to go to the grocery. In fact, he went THREE times that day. It doesn’t matter about the first two trips. What really got me was the 3rd trip, this time to Trader Joes. He happened to come home right as my Mom & Dad pulled up in the driveway to take both of our kids, along with two of their other grandchildren, to lunch and the Dollar Store (where SO MANY treasures lurk!!!). My Dad asked Sean, “How’s it going?” and Sean responded, “I’m living the life, Bill. I just got back from the grocery!” And, sadly or not, he was truly happy about this. He prominently displayed his fruits and vegetables, including ginger root, kale, and tiny cucumbers (he was especially excited about these, never having bought them before).  He was more amped up than ever. The Colts game had already been underway for an hour, and my husband could usually be found sitting in the family room watching it and drinking a Guinness. Instead, he was in the kitchen concocting a “Smoothie” consisting of a recipe he found on Dr.Oz’s website. Who was this man and what did he do to my husband? We actually had a free couple of hours, NO KIDS, and my husband was excitedly chopping up his kale, ginger root, vegetables, and fruit to puree in the blender. He slowly poured it into a glass, drank it, set it down, put his hands on his hips and said, “Hm. Not bad.” I said, “That’s it?! After all that drama and excitement? Pour me a glass. I want to try it.” And tried it, I did. Not bad. I didn’t have too much to say about the “smoothie” one way or the other and went back to my work. My husband then threw one leg up on the granite counter top, hands on his hips and said, “I HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY!!!”.  Good Lord. The windows were open. People could see in, neighbors could hear us. I have no doubt Sean thought the kale was running through his veins.

This was all too much and I just couldn’t stop laughing. But, I pulled myself together, kept sipping my drink that I wasn’t sure if it tasted like vomit or something totally delicious. He laughed his ass of with me because, let’s be honest, he didn’t know who the hell he was either, and declared excitedly, “I’m going to pour myself another Health Shake and go watch the football game!!!!” and in that moment, I really did lose it. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even breathe. It gets better though. I was actually falling asleep working at my computer, getting ready to go lie down and take a nap. Then Sean strides into the kitchen and says, “I’VE HAD THREE OF THOSE THINGS!! I’M PROBABLY GONNA DIE!!” and this just sent me over the edge. I was gasping for breath, doubled over laughing at his sudden passion for kale shakes. Maybe this just sounds a little boring and not the least bit funny, but you have to know Sean and his enthusiasm for things. He threw his whole entire body into the kale shake and he’s a changed man. This was Sunday, it’s now Tuesday. He’s still making a shake each morning of kale, ginger root, bananas, carrots, celery, and other things that I can’t keep track of. I drink my coffee and marvel at this man who is a constant source of entertainment for me, my kids, and my own family. He’s a natural phenomenon.