Thursday, January 21, 2010

life is hard


You know it's a bad week when you take your sister's dead cat to the crematory on Sunday and then things get worse (sharing the details would be more of a pity party than I care to throw for myself).

One great thing happened today, though: we finished the tracking for the BLUNDERBUSST album.

So tonight I am celebrating and commiserating by "unpacking" a "box" of Ben&Jerry's. In bed.

the "box" and official box blog tool

the contents: cream, skim milk, liquid sugar, water, cherries, et al

the success: another empty box

the result: smiling, messy-haired girl

Hey, The Sister said it counts and that I could out her grammatically creative often misspelled rarely punctuated but still completely charming blog.

I'm gonna get better at this life thing someday. Until then, I'll be in bed. With ice cream.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

cables and pens

Man, this really is the world's most boring blog. I should get an award for tedium.

Before I started on any real work, I addressed a pile of papers that had been hanging out since before Christmas. No surprises in there, just things that needed to be filed or shredded.

And in the ongoing quest for clean workspace, I've made some room on the desk:


after, plus bonus dangerous tower of rectangles

Not as much room as I would like (I wonder if I can snag that flat-screen monitor in the living room... Amy? Thoughts?), but at least it's a little better. Now that I have a laptop, I've been contemplating moving all important data off that PC, onto an external drive, wiping the PC's hard drive, and using it as the wireless hub only. I'm not great with wireless network stuff (I dunno why but it is the thing that confounds me, usually), so if you have thoughts and you know what you are talking about, please advise.

Phew. This little exercise reminded me that I've got some office supplies that need organizing. So let's do that.

First, this:

bowl of cables and such

I've got phone cables, ethernet cables, USB cables, iPod cables, headphones, earbuds, and data storage. Similar things are tucked in other places around the room (the curse of this project: rework!) and I'll need to consolidate them all in the future. For now, I will label a drawer "computer cables and accessories" and move on.


office supplies

We've already dealt with the bottom drawer full of stickers, so today we'll concentrate on the top two drawers.

before top drawer

  • Mystery brackets go in the utility drawer.
  • Eye of beloved teddy bear, chewed on by beloved dog, gets a special home...with the fortune cookies fortunes, sure.
  • Test every single writing implement for usefulness, toss the busted ones, keep the best , donate the rest. (Discovered several historic writing imlements, including a pencil from the Girl Scout Diamond Jubilee in 1987 and a pen with a boob-shaped topper from one of Amy's birthdays. I also tossed anything labeled HDFS or Great Basin Imaging, as a way to purge two different but equally awful periods of my past.)
  • My favorite Tria Pantone Process Black 3-in-1 graphic design pen finally died.

And next:

before middle drawer

  • Eight-year-old Happy Tree Friends Christmas cards go in the "stationary" drawer.
  • Pop Rocks (really?) go in the candy dish in the kitchen.
  • Twenty-five and 33-cent stamps go in the pile of "weird stamps to make current postage with."
  • A container of teeny tiny safety pins goes in the bathroom with the container of normal-sized safety pins.
  • Two rubber stoppers for who-knows-what get trashed.
  • One suction-cup X-wing Fighter doodad gets placed with the "display?" items.

And the results:

after top drawer

after middle drawer

I'd feel great except I just pulled my favorite pants from the dryer and discovered they are grease-stained from horsey sauce, so I'm off to pout now instead.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"you wouldn't be so cold if you'd stop licking the hair off your butt!"

In the great pantheon of funny things my mom has said, that little gem, directed at kitty Jazmine, is one of my all-time favorites.

After a painful and stubborn battle, the world's snuggliest kitty passed away last night. Today, The Sister and I drove her to a crematory in Reno:

oh yeah, that's a dead kitty in a box

We like to maximize the humor of death. It's how we deal.

We also like to eat, so while we were waiting to pick up kitty's remains, we drove out to The Parents house and made them make us eggs (Mom) and pancakes (Dad). Then I took a three-hour nap while The Sister went food shopping at the Wal-Mart.

When we got home and The Sister told me what she had planned for Jazmine's final resting place, I immediately remembered the Mom quote and laughed.

See, Jazzy was going through a period of emotional instability. Mystic had recently arrived and Jazmine was acting out by licking off patches of her own hair. For a while I referred to her as Skin-Beard the Pirate Cat.

Eventually, she licked her own ass bare, and when she was cold, she would sit on the heater vents, prompting Mom to yell funny things at her.

It was a habit she would hold onto the rest of her life.

And into her afterlife, as well:

Jazmine's final resting box, near her favorite heater vent

Good-bye, dear Skin-Beard. We will miss your snuggles and your bitchy attitude, you old broad.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

for reals! a box!

Despite the fact that this is the time of year when I only want to hibernate or watch reruns of CSI, today I am committed to doing something real with the project. Let's do this box:

an actual box!

The box in question isn't labeled, but it's dusty and not taped shut, so I suspect it is something that's been floating around for a while.

contents of an actual box!
Wow. Ok. Awards and trophies and other things from high school. I wonder what is under this newspaper...

Awards from junior high school. A box of pins commemorating my many scholastic achievements. And one plastic Aviator Grover figurine.


If this is something I'm supposed to remember, please tell me now. Otherwise, Grover is headed for Donationland.

a highly decorated...dork

So this begs the questions: what do we do with our childhood awards? Are these things to keep or toss? Box or display?

Since it's nearby, I'm consolidating these treasures with some others that were unearthed on a previous day. Here's the total loot:

grand prize science fair, thank you

If you're curious, we're looking at Best Actress in a Musical trophies, science fair awards, Academic League championships, and a plaque commemorating my win in the Fourth Grade Fire Prevention Poster Contest.

I know there are several other awards lurking in boxes and piles in this room, so I think the best course of action is to keep them all in one place. Like the garbage? I dunno. Thoughts?

In the end, I've opted to display the trophies on my desk and stash the plaques and ribbons on the "display?" pile, until I reach that pile (lucky for me, it's gonna be the second to last thing to reach) and can decide what to do with all this recognition.

for now

Thursday, January 14, 2010

one box a day, almost

Yes, it's true. I blew you off yesterday.

To catch you up on the life stuff, J3SS and I spent one more day working on my car, only to discover that the spark plug wells are full of old gross oil. For those of you even less automotively inclined than I am, let me just say: this is bad. Like, potentially scrap-heap bad. Like, consult with the family mechanic for recommendations bad.

Also, kitty is still alive and kicking (literally, as in, tiny dog out of his room). That situation evolves slowly, and a few days at a time.

But on to the reason we're all here. Boxes!

(Damn it.)

The idea behind this project was to deal with one box each day until everything had a home (even if that home was in the trash). If you've been following along, you know that it's gotten difficult to achieve this with the lack of storage space and the increase in life stuff. I'm still trying to do some small things to make small room until I either acquire some more shelves or give up and leave every remaining box on the curb.

(Hmmm... I have some extra money due to the lack of car fixable-ness. Perhaps I will use it to acquire some new shelves tomorrow...)

In any case, tonight I:

  • Moved items from the old utility drawer to the new one (I fully expect to change my mind about the "tools and etc" drawer three or four more times).
  • Accepted that my Dremel, a gift from my folks' old second-hand store, is missing most of the bits, and therefore needs to go out with the donation stuff.
  • Put every portable casette- and cd-playing device into the old utility drawer.
  • Stacked last week's empty plastic drawers onto the boxes and boxes of cassettes from October.
  • Wondered if The Sister and The Hebrew-in-Law are annoyed by all the banging around in the blue room.
  • Separated out the boxes of "things that will go on shelves, if I get shelves tomorrow;" i.e., photo albums, music books, and the like.
  • Made myself bleed by sliding a milk crate into my thumb.
  • Put a small box of stuffed animals (and bonus "display?" weirdness) with the "display?" pile.
  • Stood around with the Polaroid for a while until I gave up on finding it a home and just put it on the desk.
  • Realized that I have a decent, important, and quick project in a three-drawer desk organizer box thing.
  • Separated out the "sentimementalos" boxes into their own pile.
  • Wondered if I should sell my Boss GT-3 or my Mackie 1202-VLZ.
  • Discovered that I am really just about to be ready to getting back to the whole "one box a day" idea.
Just about.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

avoidance and accomplishment

It seems I am avoiding the northeast quadrant of the blue room. And it's too icy and windy for car work today. So I am cleaning my room. Again.



My closet is "organized" using a plastic box system. I long ago realized that I am not great at laundry: I let the dirty clothes pile up and I don't put them away once they're clean, so the closest I've been able to come to a solution is to throw everything into tubs and hope for the best. I have a tub for socks, one for sweaters, one for pants, and so on. The only thing I hang up are shirts and dresses. And I rarely do that until I need the laundry baskets for washing dirty clothes. I'd like to get better at this laundry thing. Tips?

In non-laundry-related news, I've taken a major step in here: I've contemplated unpacking the record player. You may remember, back when I unearthed the big-ass TV (the last time I had a laundry problem), that I've had a record player ready for use for about a year and a half. When Rocket-Twin Jim was here in December, he chastised me about many things, and offered some solutions to my ennui that I have taken to heart (so yeah, I'm on OK Cupid now, too). While I'm not sure I'm ready for the emotional onslaught that could result from unpacking my records, I am, at least, one step closer to my old self:

one step closer

Back in October, I took the stereo apart to make room for the TV, so I am also preparing to put it back together:

i suspect the bi-plane wallpaper really kills the romance here

Which is actually kind of a drag since that's where I've been keeping my laptop while I type. And Strummer does not like when I jostle the bed while he's sleeping:

"I am displeased with you, human."

Yes, I found more fireworks cleaning my room today. I really hope that's the last of them.

I've also got a fair amount of Christmas-related snacks. Maybe now that my room is clean, I can invite people in here to share them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

i hold wrenches pretty good

Things I learned today:

  • Ask J3SS before asking anyone else (and before taking things apart) to diagnose a car problem. Some boys don't know shit.
  • An oil leak, when left alone for 100,000 miles, will gunk up the undercarriage of a car something gross. Pressure wash that action before you make your friends roll around under there.
  • Two dudes watching two girls work on a car will spontaneously decide to split firewood and build a raging fire. Call it the "un-emasculinity principle."
  • Gloves keep your hands warm but are not great for gripping things.
  • When the pressure is on and the temperature is dropping, I will forget how a socket wrench works.
  • Friends who loan you their tools are awesome. Friends who lend you their time and energy (and skin and cleanliness) are even awesomer. Friends who explain to you how your alternator works, show you how to change your serpentine belt, and teach you how to check and replace your spark plugs are the most awesomer more.
  • Getting down on the ground underneath your own car to help the selfless friend who is teaching and swearing and getting all grimey just might be one of the most awesomest things ever.
I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

(p.s. As previously stated, the engine is shaped like a box, technically, and things are going into and out of it, so this totally counts. Maybe tomorrow I will remember to take pictures before my hands are covered in filth.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

guest post: snatchattractor

J3SS is waiting until the fog and rain clears up to work on my car some more. Doing nothing but nothing all day has made me sleepy. Instead of half-assing it in the blue room, I turned to our regular reader and commenter Snatchattractor and asked him to compose a box-related haiku as a guest post:

Her box is empty
She need it to be filled up
For satisfaction

Hmmm... the typo is intentional (well, I left it there intentionally). The subject matter is provocative.  This post is done.

(Good thing my mom doesn't read this blog, geez!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

greasy girl and her sidekick stand-around

Faithful reader J3SS came to Carson City today to help diagnose my car woes. She was cheerful and knowledgeable and hardly swore very much at all even though she was cold and Saturn puts the alternator on the S Series in a totally annoying place. She's so rad, she didn't even try to brain me with the thing after we dragged it to Kragen to have it tested and it works just fine.


While she worked, I cleaned out the trunk (which is shaped like a box and she said so) and found:

  • A sleeping bag (which needs to be dry cleaned before and it can go away with the camping stuff, so for now it stays in the trunk).
  • An unabridged Webster's dictionary, about five inches thick (which I keep in the trunk for settling arguments).
  • A really old, gross Tupperware-type thing (garbage).
  • Yes, more fireworks (away with the fireworks).
  • Hey! That's where all the Mason jars went (dishwasher).
I know it's not a lot, but I'm pretty tuckered out from passing wrenches and heating up snacks (and feeling like an asshole for asking her to help me in the first place). We're going to try diagnosing the thing tomorrow, so maybe I will get some photos of my personal superhero Greasy Girl in action as we work on the box-shaped engine.

Friday, January 8, 2010

is that weird smell me?

I don't think I even brushed my teeth today. Sleep is still an elusive bitch, so I allowed myself to stay in bed until the sun started to go down. Then I sat in the living room with The Sister and stared at the kitty for several hours. Now I'm doing this, and then I will get back in the bed and hope that the Sandman pays me a visit.

Keeping my word from yesterday, I cleared out three of the four boxes from the under-desk. That's everything except the box of discs, because I still have no idea what to do with those.

I also pulled out the three boxes that were hiding in the corner next to the desk, and I found:

three boxes

  • Eyeglasses with a circa 2002 prescription (donate).
  • Pattern paper for the generic Lite-Brite I just donated (garbage).
  • A possibly broken flashlight (garbage).
  • A really nice Sabine metronome (away with the music things).
  • The Walkman Jim sent me when I lived in Davis, with which I learned all about The Clash, Rudimentary Peni, and The Replacements (away with the cassettes).
  • The stereo from the Jeep I crashed in 2002 (donate).
  • More freaking fireworks (away with the fireworks)!
  • A superfluous modem (donate).
  • Some guitar strings, bore oil (useful for cleaning up dirty fretboards), and a plastic whistle (away with the music things).
  • Two index card filing containers (away, for now, with the other empty containers).
  • A stainless steel business card holder my dad made for me when I started my grown-up job at HSI or Beller (away with the knick-knacks).
  • And a pencil holder The Sister made for me during her time at Morning Latch Key (as a teacher, not a student), which, after showing her, I can now not bear to discard (away with the empty containers):


This means I have cleared out technically six boxes tonight, which is more than ever I would've thought I could.

Now, in this new year, I have been thinking about only box blogging on the weekdays. Sometimes those weekend days can get away from a person, even a person who has a free day every day. Tomorrow I have a friend coming to hopefully get my car running again, and that will likely be an all-day project. If not, I think I'll start in the northeast quadrant and see what happens.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

file folders, perhaps?

Sometimes, just the act of labeling something makes all the difference in organization. However, labeling and then relabeling causes frustration and wasted labelmaker tape, which isn't cheap. So let me play the role of advisor here and say: if you're consolidating things from a pile into containers, make sure the things in the pile fit into the containers before you label the containers. Otherwise, you might get mad and swear.


As it turns out, I have a sort of stupid amount of file folders. Especially for someone who keeps all their important paperwork in a shoebox-sized firesafe, and everything less important else in a box the size of a milkcrate, even 100 file folders is too many. I suspect I've taken some from every job I've ever had, or where else would they all have come from? If you need file folders, call me, because I can hook you up.

I have retained what I believe to be a more sane amount of folders and the rest will be donated, which means they'll be sitting in the dining room for a few weeks until The Sister makes me throw them out. I'm not kidding: call me if you want some.

The under-desk is now of acceptable cleanliness, and the plastic drawer unit that I cleared out back in the fall now has stuff in it again (and would you believe, some of the same stuff? this project is stupid). And these drawers are now labeled according to their contents.

labels and drawers

These four boxes to the right are the box with the cable modem doodads, the box full of 5¼ floppy discs, a box for software I may have never used, and the box for the motherboard of my desktop computer. I am going to do something with them tomorrow:


I am also going to do something about this corner tomorrow:

friday's mess

For tonight, I am going to take comfort in completing this small task. Kitty is still breathing and an overdue explanation has been made. This is all I can do for today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

this end of the house

Because of all the upheaval around here, I am craving human interaction and not enjoying spending time alone. Normally, an hour or two down the "quiet" end of the house is a pleasant escape from all the idiots and assholes who roam our shoddy halls, but, normally, I don't need to be in constant contact with The Sister, sitting by the fire and watching near-death kitty breathe in and out.

It's putting a crimp in my box blog plans (as well as the rest of my life). Sleep is difficult, so I'm not thinking clearly, but I also have large chunks of time in the middle of the night with nothing to do and no one to talk to.

Seems like a good time to clean and/or organize some non-sentimental things, so tonight I am going to do something about this:

under the desk
(and yes, i busted out my cheapie digital camera for this: 
i, too, tired of blurry DSi images)

During the first phase of the project, things were shuffled around and other things had no home. This is where I have been stashing things deemed "desk things" or "paper things" or "computer things." I've touched all this stuff already, so I'm not expecting any of those exciting surprise finds of joy or sorrow here (partly why I choose this "box" at this time). Here we go.

  • Brainteasers for Dummies should totally go in the bathroom. With a pencil.
  • Stacks of cds, both music and data are now divvied up into their respective formats. We'll see the music cds again when we return to that particular sub-project, though since most of them were of an archival nature, I've at least taken the time to organize them by project (BLUNDERBUSST, The Spark, solo work, Wax Models, home recording projects, and so on). We'll see the data cds and the "what the hell are these?" discs when we launch sub-project: data.
  • The Sister and I have agreed to keep all the crafty things in the den (which is her version of the blue room) until we can organize them together or until I leave and take my crap with me. The things I found under the desk are now in a box in the dining room until I have her help me navigate through the maze of furniture and sewing machines and trampolines and whatever else she keeps in there. 
  • Ok, I lied. Exciting surprise! I found both my Adobe Acrobat and my Photoshop CS installation discs. I know there are newer versions of both, but these will tide me over until I get the real tools onto my laptop. Cool.
  • Oh wait, no. Problems installing Photoshop are making me sleepy. So I'm going to troubleshoot them in my bed and then try to sleep and finish this tomorrow. Damn it.
  • Oh wait, I fixed it faster than I thought I would. Damn it some more.
  • Hey! I found the BLUNDERBUSST work demo! Now we can finish the album! Awesome!
  • Here is a shoebox full of 5¼ floppy discs and zip discs. What do I do with these?

    artifacts from another age
  • And here is a stack of documents related to my desktop PC, including a printout of some virus-slaying instructions (dated 1-26-2004) on which I have written "you learned patience in painting, now learn it in dating." I don't paint. Neither have any of my ex-boyfriends. Huh?
  • Oh happy day! Extra printer paper!
  • And one final box, full of postcards. Fifteen or 20 years worth of postcards. I always wanted to do something with these. Like clip them with mini clothespins to twine and hang them from the ceiling. For now I will put them with the photo albums and similar. But... what's your best idea for displaying these?

a select few

The under-desk space is now tidier but this is a two-part episode so no picture for you for now. To be continued tomorrow.

However, before I go, can I just say, while listening even to the really rough tracks: The BLUNDERBUSST record is going to be really really good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

little death boxes, or how the scaffidi sister regained her sense of humor

Our cat is dying. She's sixteen, feisty, snuggly, and coping with a rapidly growing brain tumor. She's getting ready to go. We thought for sure she was done this past weekend, but she made a small recovery and now we're back on the "is it now?" rollercoaster. It's exhausting, and sad, but not without its funny moments.

Like watching her, now almost completely blind, stumble down the hall to sit in front of the fireplace to wait for you to make her a fire.

Like sitting awkwardly on the floor, pinned underneath all her tiny fragile bones, while she makes herself comfortable, drooling and saying goodbye in your lap.

Like not fighting her for your bowl of spaghetti / mac-n-cheese / lentil soup, because she's in your face and hungry and, hell, she deserves it.

Like picking out her urn:

jazmine's final resting box

The Sister has spent several days on this website, considering options and reading comforting things. We're all wiped out and cycling (some of us faster than others) through the stages of grief. I've been in the dark sad place for a few days, but for a brief moment today, I felt better.

The Sister and The Hebrew-in-Law are in their room, looking at kitty urns. She says to me, "We just designed your urn."

"What?!?!" I say.

"It's this one:

um, thanks

She says, "Only instead of the marbling? It's going to be BACON."


But I can do better.

"Put 'em in my lunchbox," I yell.


"My ashes! Put 'em in my lunchbox!"

my final resting box

And she says, "That's how we'll get your ashes all over the country, we'll carry you in the lunch box! Now there's your blog for the day: your lack of urn and ashes lunchBOX plan."

Please drive my remains around the country and scatter a little of me in every state, ok? And don't mind if I'm a little scatterbrained until our oldest pet decides to shake off this mortal coil.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

and tomorrow, success

When I started today's project, I said to the sister, "I think today's post is just going to be all about me wandering around the house, scratching my head and trying to solve the problem of where to put the donation / garage sale stuff." But then she solved the problem by saying, "Let's just have The Army come and pick it all up tomorrow."

I thought: no way, I want to sell some of this stuff. Some of this stuff is worth selling! There's computer parts in here! And a garage sale sounds so fun!

But with each trip up and back down the hall, dragging the boxes back to the dining room from the blue room, her idea sounded better and better, until finally I said, "Ok! Ok. What time are you coming with the van?"

So if you have been following the box blog project and have seen photos or heard mention of something you'd like to own, now's your chance to comment below and claim something.

The only things I have retrieved from the donation pile are two purses (Hello Kitty and Winter 2006-2007) that I decided I wasn't ready to discard, and my GWAR shoes, which I don't remember tossing into the pile (and which I need every November, thank you very much).

If these boxes get out of the house without me removing anything else, I think I can claim this a success.

temporary dining room storage

This is what the blue room looks like tonight:

northeast quadrant

southeast quadrant

southwest quadrant

northwest quadrant 

But I'm not sure where I'm going to start tomorrow...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

happy war (christmas is over)

Today I felt like I had to clean up my room before I started on any other rooms. I also washed the fish, watched a bunch of History Channel crap about the Seven Deadly Sins, balanced my checkbook, put all the important dates in my new planner up through March, and ate a banana. Obviously I was stalling, and if you look at yesterday's pictures, I think you can imagine why I might not have been super stoked to get going.

Since today is Christmas-themed boxes, here is a picture of a box I received for Christmas:

inside I found a "snack" of the best game I've ever played for DS

 I also got these, in this box:

hello, curly bouncy hair

I took some pictures of Christmas decorations, including one of my inflatable Christmas tree (the hardest thing to put away), but they all came out too blurry to share. To bad for you!

But now the decorations are all away and tomorrow I can start on clearing  path in the blue room. Yay.

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy new year!

I don't know why so many things come off the rails around the holidays, but they do. Maybe I'm a crazy train? My schedules and projects are in complete disarray, but here I am, January 1, as I promised myself I would be. Let this be an example to the rest of my life to get back where it's all supposed to be!

Resuming this project is a little disheartening. We hosted Thanksgiving this year, so all the potential donation / garage sale items we had been storing in the dining room needed to get out of sight. And the best out-of-sight place in the house is the blue room. I feel a little like I'm back at square one, having to clear this all out again in order to get to the boxes that are as-yet-untouched:

northeast quadrant


southeast quadrant

southwest quadrant

northwest quadrant

(As you can tell, I did not get a fancy new camera for Christmas. I did get The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and I think it's very fortunate that I beat it earlier today so I have free time to get back to important things like blogging and bathing.)

The mess is overwhelming. So I did a small thing today, to get back into the habit without overwhelming myself.

I bought one small container to store fireworks. Teak and I lit a bunch of roman candles and bottle rockets last night, so it seemed an appropriate place to start.

fireworks go here

This weekend we are packing up all the Christmas decorations and I'll be able to put away some of those boxes clogging up the northeast quadrant. Then I guess we'll drag all those donation / garage sale boxes back into the dining room. I'm thinking of renting a small storage unit to hold those boxes until the weather warms enough for actual garage selling, but I'm a girl on a budget, and since I could only afford one new container today, maybe the storage unit is an unreasonable goal.

This year looks to be a year full of setting crazy goals for myself, though, so maybe it'll work out. And while I'm talking about goals and new year things and craziness, let me ask a question: what do you think I should do with my life?