Archive for the 'Auto-Pilot' Category

I Heart Travel

I find it only fitting that I bring up the Travel Category while we’re on another trip.

Back in 2004, my husband and I took two weeks to travel around Europe. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. He has gone back since for work, and we know we’ll go again in the future.

There are other Travel-related Categories, too, but this post will focus on our Europe adventures.

Here is a look into those stories.

It’s a paycheck

Did you know I used to have a “real” job?

It’s true!

This Category is a fun look back at when I didn’t have time to sit around and eat bon-bons all day. 😉

Check it out: It’s a paycheck Category

Are you bleeding?

This week, while we’re in Hawaii, I’m pulling some fun categories to the surface. One of my favorites is “Are you bleeding?,” not only because it’s an interesting category, but it’s the first triage question I usually ask.

I can’t help it. It’s how I was raised.

“Are you bleeding?” No? Carry on, then.

There is a whole other set of questions to ask from there if the answer is “yes.”

Check out the “Are you bleeding?” Category for some “fun” stories!


I’ve always been fascinated with language, and having a child is a crash-course in not only teaching a language but learning one as well.

Over the years, I’ve been careful to record the “Claire-isms,” the words and phrases that Claire makes up. As I looked back through these, what I feared is true! I’d already forgotten some of them.

It’s a good thing I’d written them down when I had a chance!

Check it out: Claire-isms!


Well, it’s finally here! In honor of our 10-year wedding anniversary next month (almost 14 years together…can you believe it!?) my husband and I are escaping to Hawaii for two glorious weeks of play. The grandparents have arrived for two weeks of play as well, but they’ll have their work cut out for them, too.

Play is hard work when a preschooler is involved.

I’ve got some things set to auto-post these two weeks. For your reading pleasure, I’m pulling up some categories, dusting them off, and providing links to them. I love reading back through our stories. It’s one (if not the main) reason I love writing here at The Casual Perfectionist.

So, sit back, relax and start reading.

Hey! That’s on my To Do List for the next couple of weeks, too!


Prepare for Landing

The captain has turned on seatbelt-light, so please put your tray-tables and seat-backs in their upright positions.

I know we’ve been on a road trip that hasn’t involved planes, but every time I think of the end of a vacation, I think of that analogy.

If everything went according to plan, today is the day we trek homeward. Soon, we’ll be landing in reality.

We have the rest of the week off and are planning on using it as a vacation from our vacation. We’ll have time to sort through laundry and emails and the mail our housesitter dutifully collected for us. I’m sure the kitties will be happy to see us. We’ll be sad to say goodbye to our vacation, but we’ll be glad to be back.

I can’t wait to share our adventures! By sharing them, we relive them, and that extends the vacation a little longer in my mind. And, if this vacation is like any other we’ve ever taken, it will all be over in the blink of an eye.

Lost without Lost

I can’t believe I’m missing the Lost Finale!
I can’t believe they’re making us wait until next year for the next season!
I can’t believe that next season is the last season.
I can’t believe I willingly come back for more.

But, I do.
And, I’m not alone.

And somehow that makes it a little better.

So, until next year Losties!

Yes, I’ll do a Lost Observations post on the two remaining episodes when I get a chance…stay tuned!

And going, and going, and going.

As I was looking through posts to re-publish in our absence, I ran across this one, and I had to laugh!

Just answer a few questions:

Yes, they’re still going. And going, and going, and going.
Yes, it’s just as loud as the very first time she opened the card.
No, I have not hidden the card yet…but it didn’t go anywhere near our suitcases.


Any guesses as to how long the batteries will last?
Published on Friday, December 5, 2008

So, I’m sitting here trying to BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! type. I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head and a ton of ideas in my BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! journal file saved on my computer. Now would be a good BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! time to get them organized and get some writing pieces BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! completed.

Claire is playing BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! in my office. I don’t want to wait BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! until her nap to get these writing pieces started. Now would actually fit well into BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! my schedule.

She is playing with some of the gifts and cards she BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! received for her birthday. She loves looking at all BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! of her beautiful birthday cards.

There is one card BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! in particular that she really likes. It’s from one of her BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! uncles. It’s a magical BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! card. It is battery operated BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! and plays the sound of a magic wand, followed by a BRRRUMMM CINDERELLA WISHES YOU A DAY OF DREAMS COME TRUE! princess speaking.


My daddy found a body under our deck

You should see the shocked and disturbed looks on peoples’ faces when Claire says this to them. For a while, she was telling anyone and everyone that “My daddy found a body under our deck!” And, then, she’d pause a beat and say, “It was Foxie. She died.”

This happened back in September, but sometimes you’d think it happened last week. Claire has stopped telling random strangers in the grocery store on every visit, so I think we’re making progress.

So…did you hear the story of the fox that died under our deck? I wrote about it last year, but it’s a good one. Well, as good as a story about the the harsh reality of the circle of life can be, anyway.

The funniest thing about this story was the fact that when I posted it, I didn’t have a resolution. We didn’t know what had died under the deck. I left everyone in suspense until the next day when we did discover what was causing all the trouble. This was real life as it was happening, man!

So, here is the post again. Only, this time, you have the benefit of knowing how it ends right away. Lucky you! 🙂

A quick note about the following photos: When I wrote about this in September, I searched my computer for the photos of Foxie. I *knew* we had them. I could picture them in my mind. Do you think I could locate them? No! I looked everywhere, and no luck! It wasn’t until we were transferring computers a month or so ago that we found them in a place I would have never thought to look and have no idea how they got there.  Still…Yay! As always, click to enlarge.

So, here is Foxie.

RIP Foxie.

Stinky Grossness
Published on Friday, September 12, 2008

Real life is really messy. Often times, real life is really gross…and stinky.
This is one of those stories.
You’ve been warned.


Last weekend, as Claire was napping and my hubby was digging rocks in the backyard, I was sitting on the deck working on my novel. As I was typing on the laptop, I asked my hubby if he could smell that gross smell. “Is that you?” I asked, teasingly.

He laughed, paused for a moment, whiffed the air, and said, “Eh, it’s probably just the shed. The stain is probably still wet. Go see if that’s it.”

“Oh, you’re right…that must be it,” I said. I even walked over to the shed and sniffed it. It was stinky, having just been re-stained by my hubby earlier the day before, but it wasn’t quite the right smell. The shed was pretty overpowering, and that had to be it. I didn’t think much more about it. I mean, what else could it be?

The weather turned cooler on Monday, and the smell seemed to die down, as would be natural, if it really was the shed. But, then the weather got warmer again, and finally, yesterday, I smelled something horrible in the living room.

My hubby thought I was crazy. “I really hope something didn’t die in our chimney,” I said. “The caps look like they’re still in place, so that’s probably not it…but don’t you smell that? That’s the smell of death.”

I was told that I was overreacting and being very dramatic, and that it was probably the litter boxes.

It was not the litter boxes. I clean the litter boxes! Litter boxes have a distinct smell, and so does the sweet, nauseating, rotting smell of carcasses. I mean, come on! I grew up on a farm. I know my smells.

The smell seemed to waft through the house throughout the day, changing locations, taunting me. Sometimes it would smell strong in the living room, then it would migrate to the kitchen, and finally, it settled downstairs.

By the time my husband got home I’d nearly gone mad looking for the smell. The last thing I want is a stinky house. We keep the litter boxes downstairs behind a closed door (with a kitty door for Merlin and Jasper to use), and an air-filter going full-blast. We pride ourselves in the fact that people don’t know we have cats by taking a whiff inside our front door. I even cleaned the litter boxes, just so that could be ruled out.

“I think it’s coming from outside,” I said to my hubby.

“No, I think it’s coming from my office,” he said. “But that concerns me, because I’ve looked everywhere for what it could be. Doesn’t it smell like it’s coming from over here?” he said, as he moved toward his desk.

I went past his desk to the window-well and stuck my nose up against the screen.

“OHMYUggggggggggggh.” I quickly jumped back.

“Smell that window and tell me it’s not coming from outside.”

“I smelled it before, and I didn’t think it was,” he said, as he made his way over to the window. “And, I actually just opened it wider to get more air flowing…”

He stuck his face up to the screen.

“Ohhhhugggggh” he said, his face grimacing. “Well, NOW it smells like it’s coming from outside.”

We were both glad that whatever it was outside and wasn’t inside one of the walls…perish the thought! 😉 (Okay, slight pun intended…)

I didn’t see anything in the window-well, but I was curious as to what I’d find outside on the deck, hoping that whatever it was would be lying right there and would be easily removable. It was nearly 9 o’clock, but I had to look. I grabbed the flashlight and headed out. After looking around for a few minutes and thoroughly freaking myself out, I asked him to come out with me. “You don’t have to do anything…just stand there and watch for critters.”

“There are no critters.”

“Yes there are. And, even if there aren’t, the thought of them is creeping me out. Just stand guard. I was too afraid to look under the deck by myself.”

The thought of seeing glowing eyes looking back at me was nearly enough to give me a heart-attack. So, he stood there while I flashed the light around.

As soon as we went by the window well, we could smell it.
Something rotting.
The stinky circle of life was happening right here, under our deck.


“You know…” I said, instantly remembering something that had happened the weekend I’d smelled that sweet, pungent, sickening odor. “I bet that’s what I smelled on Sunday. And, if whatever it was died here, that’s why Claire’s room smelled funny that one day. Remember that?” I said, looking up at Claire’s window, which was right above the part of the reeking deck.

We both did. All the pieces were falling into place now: the weird, big, black flies that had been buzzing around the deck that one day, the pungent odors, and now, the full-on stench.

So…what to do? We have a rather large, three tiered deck. Some areas are impossible to see from the sidelines, especially in the dark. We went to bed, hoping that it all would make more sense in the morning.

The next morning, my hubby had some conference calls for work that he did from the house, and Claire and I had a playdate arranged for 10am. When he was done with his calls, we went out on the deck to investigate further. As I shown the flashlight under the deck, I could see the old cement slab that had once been the step coming down from the kitchen doors. The original owners had build the deck right over the top of it. We always knew the slab was there, and it had never posed a problem before.

But, imagine my dismay when I realized that something has dug out a nice little hiding place, right under the slab.

“Oh no….” I groaned.

“What?” he asked.

“What if whatever it was crawled under there and died,” I said, showing him what I was talking about. This little stinky problem was turning into a bigger and bigger problem the longer we crouched there.

“Oh no…well, I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t put the lattice up around the deck like we were going to this weekend,” he said. At least something good was coming out of our procrastination in that department.

Then, I got an idea. It was a horrible idea, but if it worked, it would be totally worth it. “I’m goin’ in,” I said.

“What!?” My hubby couldn’t believe it.

“You’re not dressed for it, and I haven’t taken my shower yet today. Plus, if this works, the smell will be gone.”

I’d gone completely mad.

I ran back into the house, found my mask, got a long-sleeved work jacket and gloves and pulled a scarf back to protect my hair.

This was insanity. Do you know what lives under our deck? NEITHER DO I, but I was determined to find out. My husband’s next conference call was slated to start in 9-mintues. I couldn’t do this without his moral support. I had to work fast!

I had to do the army-crawl to get close to the slab. I used a rake to poke around and try to pull out something…anything. A gross, rotting body of a small critter would be preferable. (I never thought I’d actually say that…ever.)

“Anything?” he asked, hopefully.

“Nothing,” I shouted, so angry at all this.

I couldn’t see a blasted thing past a certain point. The hole under the slab was much larger than I’d imagined.

Then, I started to panic. Spiders. Snakes**. Bugs. Wasp nests. Creepy Crawlies in my hair, down my shirt, on my face. Real or imaginary? Either way, I can’t breathe. But, I refuse to cry. Still, the tears are stinging my eyes. Why did I do this, again?

I army-crawled backwards as fast as I could.

I’d failed. I’d crawled in that horrible place and had nothing to show for it, except bruises on my arms and knees, and weird things stuck to my clothes.

I wish this story had a happy ending, but we won’t know until later today. Today, we are going to attack this problem head-on. Grandpa gave us some good ideas on how to remedy the situation that won’t require us to rip apart the deck and break apart the cement slab. Here’s hoping we can actually locate some large bags of lime without drawing too much attention to the fact that we think we have dead bodies under our deck. 😉 (Yes, the smell will fix itself…eventually, but we don’t have that kind of time! We hope to have this big ol’ stinky problem fixed by the time our party-goers get here tomorrow.)

Oh, did I forget to mention that? We have a whole group of people coming over on Saturday night. Hopefully the deck will be in one piece tomorrow, and the only smells will be that of the Jerk Pork roasting on the grill.

Wish us luck!  (Click here to read the update!)

**And, no…we’ve never seen a snake on our property, but under the deck would be a perfect place for them to hide, don’t you think?


I love vacations.
I love Internet, Email,
And even Twitter.

Yes, that is written in Haiku format, thanks for noticing!

But, here’s the thing about the things I love. In order for me to have a true vacation, I need to be unplugged.

No Internet.
No Email.
No Twitter.

If I brought along all my cyberdevices, would I really be taking a break? I know myself enough to know that I wouldn’t be. The location and view would be different, but my mindset would be the same.  And, that’s not bad, it’s just not what I need right now.

Now, if you’re reading this, you’ll think I sound like a hypocrite. I mean, here I am! But I’m not really.

As you’re reading this, I’m probably lounging on the beach after a strenuous day of gallivanting around the countryside. By now, the thought of checking my email accounts or twitter streams are just a fleeting moment of thought as I hike to see what we can see, watch the waves, or take shadow portraits in the sand.

And, speaking of sand…I can’t imagine the mess I’d make by getting sand all over the Internet, so everything is unplugged and stored away in a safe place.

So, have a great weekend! I’ll be back to the real world soon enough.

Or am I already there?