Friday, December 7, 2012

Really, It's Christmas time?

I have been unprepared for Christmas for almost fifty-five years - yes, I said 55! (to be fair lets say I get a pass for the first dozen or so years because I wasn't at what one would consider an age of accountability, but after that it's totally on me.)

Every single year Christmas comes at the same time - December 25th. The day of the week changes but the actual date ... it's always the same ... twelfth month, twenty-fifth day. Every. Single. Year.

And yet,

Every. Single. Year.

I am unprepared.

Each December 26th I make a vow that next year will be different. I pinkie-swear promise myself that the following year will be thoughtfully planned out and executed. Sometimes I even go as far to put it in writing and it goes something like this:

  1. Start a Christmas fund where money is saved from every paycheck so when the time comes the funds will be available
  2. Make a list of all the people who should be on my gift list and beside each one list a couple of suggestions for what they might want or need; keep eyes and ears open all year long, you never know when the perfect gift will be mentioned
  3. Handmade gifts - begin in July
  4. Pick dates for get togethers and coordinate with family and friends ... before Thanksgiving. Write it on the calendar in big red letters
  5. Make purchases early, spread them out over the year, keeping a list of what is bought and where it's hidden so come December everything can be located
  6. As soon as the tree goes up, begin wrapping presents. Wrapping a few at a time sure beats spending an entire night frantically trying to get it done. Or worse yet, just handing gifts over still in the bag - now that's really pathetic! 
  7. The same goes for decking the halls, a little bit here and there is much better than a  marathon decorating session that leaves you tired and worn out. Start early but not too early ... before Turkey day is a little much
  8. Save a little money for last minute stocking stuffers and don't forget to put a little bit aside for shopping the day after Christmas - the best time for replenishing my gift wrap supply and purchasing new decorations, not to mention the after-Christmas specials, oh my! 
  9. Simplify whenever possible and remember - celebrating Christmas is not a competition, nor should it be a chore - do what feels right and forget the rest
  10. Sit back and enjoy
Now, doesn't this sound like a good, well thought out plan? I believe it is. It's too bad that I can't seem to follow through with my own plan. Sadly I don't even come close. Instead it's the same thing every year. Everything is a big fat NO! No money. No time. No ideas. No early preparations. No plans. Instead of sitting back and enjoying life I'm rushing around, running in circles. Sometimes I find myself wandering aimlessly in a store and other times I'm standing with my head stuck in the sand just hoping it will all go away. I find myself filled with dread and despair instead of anticipation and joy. There is no peace just inner turmoil and self-inflicted pain. 

Bah - humbug! 

Why do I torture myself this way? Why do allow the same thing to continue happening (or not happening) year after year? I have a good plan. I know how to fix it all. But, I don't. Instead I procrastinate, ignore, and in the end end up settling for whatever falls into place. 

You'd think, after almost fifty-five years of procrastinating, ignoring, and settling I would change. You'd think, right? I'll get back to you this time next year and let you know how it all worked out this time around. Meanwhile, I'm off to wrap the ONE present I've gotten so far for this Christmas. 

Bah - humbug!

---- I do have all the decorations up, score one for me, yay! -----
Christmas Village usually stays out until after the first snow. I'm not
so sure I want snow this year so it might go away early!
Dining Room centerpiece, Angel works better here than on the tree where she belongs!
Boys need bigger stockings and something that mom's made.
They'll get a new one once they bring home a bride!
Mother made the Santa in ceramics eons ago
Mother also made the Nativity set. It's got lots of dings and
poor Mary was broken in half, but it still tells the story. 
Louise gave the boys this Advent Calendar .
Eddie puts up the pieces now. 
Tree of gold (where's the frankincense and myrrh?)
In the dining room. 

Miniature trees in the foyer brings the total number of trees to 
seven. Once upon a time there were three more (3 1/2 footers) 
one each in the kitchen, the boys room, and the end of the 
hallway, AND another miniature in the hall bathroom. 
That's way too many now!
Big tree back in front of the window this year
There are actually three tubs of Christmas decorations that didn't make it out of the garage. I'm simplifying!





Thursday, December 6, 2012

An Anniversary to Commemorate

If my dad were still alive today would be my parents 66th wedding anniversary. He died in September of 1974 just a few months shy of 28 years of marriage. If you do the math you'll know Mother has been a widow a lot longer (38 years to be precise) than she was a wife, a fact which makes me really sad. I think about all the years and things they missed out on as a couple because of stupid, stupid heart disease. At the time, he needed a quadruple by-pass, something that today, while still serious, is so much more treatable.

In their twenty eight years of marriage my parents experienced a lot but I'd like to think the highlight was the birth of three children, the first in 1947, the second in 1950, and last (and best!) in 1957. After the births came a lifetime of birthdays and Christmases, first days of school, lost teeth, learning to ride bicycles, swimming lessons, Little League, ballet, and family vacations. As parents together, they witnessed:

... their oldest child graduate from high school, get married, be drafted into the army, and produce two grandchildren.

... their oldest daughter graduate from high school, join the work force, experience a marriage misstep and then get a second chance, this time with the right guy.

... their youngest daughter work her way through the elementary years and enter into her teens.

And then suddenly in the blink of an eye life changed. Their time together was cut short just before my high school graduation. My daddy was gone and my mother was left to carry on alone.

Mother saw me through the college years, the time as a career woman, and finally a marriage that some thought might never occur. She saw three more grandsons be born. She witnessed the marriage of two of her grandchildren and the birth of four great-grandchildren. She worked hard at a career started in her middle age years. She survived selling a home and buying a new one. She traveled abroad. She bought new cars. She retired. And finally, just this year, she knows the pride that comes from having a college graduate, though it came in the form of a grandchild instead of a child. I always told her if she wanted that college diploma so bad she should go back and get one herself. She chose to leave it up to the grandkids.

I am now older than my mother was when she became a widow and just celebrated my own 25th wedding anniversary. Today as I reflect upon how short their time was together I think about my own marriage and the life we've built together. I think about how easy it is to get wrapped up in everyday life and take for granted the gift God has bestowed on me - having a mate to love and cherish.

Mother has told me that if she had known that their time together would be cut short she would have done some things differently. But then, isn't that how we all often feel after reflecting on the different stages of our pasts? It doesn't matter if the stage has changed due to a death or a simple changing of a "season," life can be full of  "could haves, should haves, and would haves" if we allow it. We must remember we are imperfect people living imperfect lives and it's our choice as to how we live these lives and our choice on how we look back on them. We must decide whether to cling to the past or let go and claim "live and learn" as our motto.  We can be filled with regrets, dwelling on things we should have said or done, or we can choose to simply cherish the memories of time gone by.

Today I choose to celebrate the anniversary of my parents. I am thankful for the life they gave me and for laying down foundations of faith and family. I'm also thankful for the memories, many of which have faded with time, but will always live on in my heart. Happy Anniversary Mother and Daddy, I love you!

I wish I had a photo of my parents on their wedding day. Sadly there are none due to one of those darn unlucky life happenings. Even worse, right now I can't even come up with one photo of my parents together. I think the next time I'm down visiting with my mother I better pull out her box of pictures and start scanning!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ian's First Car

The video is kinda long but if you make it to around the 3 minute mark it's totally worth it!

video

Yes, I'm one of those parents who giggles at their kid's misfortunes and in my defense he laughed too. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anyone else lost their waist?

Yesterday Eddie came out of the bathroom with his pants hiked up to his armpits. I wanted to tell him he looked like Steve Urkel but I didn't because 1) I'm not sure he would know who that is and b) I wasn't sure if he was playing around or being serious. It's one thing to ridicule your own kid, but it's another thing to do so to someone else's.

He quickly put my concerns to rest by laughing hysterically and exclaiming, "this sure is uncomfortable!" He then proceeded to quiz me on the location of his waist. According to him his friends say it's above your belly button but he thinks it's right below. I told him I didn't know because mine had disappeared years ago but as far as I concerned it could be anywhere you wanted it to be.

I surmised he was trying to figure out how his pants should ride so I told him that traditionally women wore their pants up to their waist and men below. (Of course that doesn't help if you don't know where your waist is.) I will admit though that my traditional thoughts are years out of date seeing as how most women's pants these days are what I call "low-riders" ie they are made to sit well below the belly button.  

Hmph! I guess I can officially be called an old woman because I despise these low-rider pants. My dislike comes from two different stances - those pants on me and those pants on others.

Let's talk about others first. To me the only thing worse than seeing a woman's butt crack is seeing a man's, but both are pretty unappealing.  Also, seeing skin about the waist line is equally unappealing in about 90% of women. There's always those stick thin people who look ok but the rest have what is commonly known as a muffin top. Whether they are clothed or bare, muffin tops are not attractive ... period.

I know many women will claim that pants are uncomfortable if they fit tight around the waist. And I agree. But, for me the answer isn't to go to low riders, it's to go up a waist size .... something most women would rather chew off their own arm than do.

So here we are with stance two, why low-riders don't work for me. Over the years I've developed the dreaded apple-shaped figure. Yes, I'm round in the middle. If I wear pants that sit below my waist, as the day goes on, they slide further and further down the bottom side of the apple. I'm constantly hiking them up and frankly live in fear that at some point they're just going to fall down around my ankles.

That is not a sight anyone needs to witness. Ever.

Now I guess you're wondering if I shared all this with Eddie. The answer is no - not because it would be inappropriate or anything but mainly because I never know when conversations I have with Eddie are going to turn around and (excuse the expression) bite me in the butt later. I can see it now - Eddie's mom gets a note from his teacher wanting to know why Eddie is referring to her muffin top and telling her she's wearing the wrong size pants. I can promise you this, when questioned about it he will promptly throw me under the bus and say, "Mrs. Sherri said it!"

Besides, I don't really think he cares one iota about my pants or girls pants, he's just trying to figure out guys pants. Obviously he's been thinking about this because he told me he preferred wearing jeans to his uniform pants because they feel better in the stride (yes, he actually used the term stride). Anyway, I think I see where this is going ... eventually he's going to want to venture into the realm of wearing his pants below his butt-cheeks, a terrible, horrible fad that won't go away. I know his mother well enough that it won't fly in her house but that's not to say he won't at least try to push that button. And if he does, good friend that I am, I will probably sit back and snicker ... because, yes I've already gone down that road! I can give her hope though, that they will all live through it and it will be one of those things that years later she can look back on and laugh  ... and the rebellious child will exclaim, "what was I thinking?"

Now if only all the females out there with their muffin tops and butt-cracks will ask themselves the same thing ... now!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving roundup


Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving holiday? For a brief time I was afraid we wouldn't due to our stove pooping out on us. Actually it "poofed" not pooped as the heating element went out in flames in the process of cooking a pork roast a week before the holiday. But as luck would have it, we got a screaming good deal at BrandsMart and

my new stove came just in time for Thanksgiving and having the boys home.

I have cooked on the same old range for over twenty years and things have changed. This baby has a smooth flat top instead of the old coil burners that I'm used to and it has a convection oven which I haven't a clue how to use. But, once I get the hang of it and stop feeling intimidated by it I think I'm going to like it.

Eddie came straight in today and said, "oh look, a new stove. I like it. But it doesn't fit right, it sits lower than the old one."

Sigh.   He's right but really, who points that out?

I swear he's not an eleven (yes, he just had a birthday), year old boy. He's an eighty-five year old woman without a mouth filter. Gotta love him!

In other news, we managed to have a lovely Thanksgiving meal despite the fact that I forgot to set the rolls out to rise until about two hours before the dinner hour. They turned out quite small but were still good and for the first time in ages the bottoms weren't burned. Yay new oven!

Also, I totally forgot to fix the mashed potatoes (but I don't think we really missed them). On the plus side, I fixed a new corn dish was which was quite delish albeit a bit spicy due to the red pepper flakes. We also had green beans, carrots, cranberry sauce, dressing (that's the Southern variation of stuffing for the uninformed), and of course the obligatory turkey

Speaking of turkey, the only almost real disaster we had involved the turkey. Have I ever mentioned that our sweet kitty loves, absolutely LOVES turkey? Once the bird came out of the oven she started stalking it and I had to keep one eye on her and the other on the task at hand. Of course it was inevitable that at some point my eyes had to close. Who could have predicted she would try to swoop in and catch her prey ... right as we paused to PRAY? Yep! Right in the midst of our blessing I heard a sound and peeped just in time to see her springing onto the buffet. I sprang into action, swooshed her up, and carted her off ... my guys all tried not to giggle and my mother-in-law never noticed a thing. Thank goodness.

The cat was banned to a bedroom as we ate our meal. She kept pawing at the door in a frantic attempt to escape and continue on her quest for turkey.  Finally my husband took pity on her. It was after all, Thanksgiving, a time for feasting and sharing time with loved ones. He fixed her her very own plate of turkey which she quickly gobbled down. Yes, I said gobbled. We are talking turkey day ya know.

After our meal my boys gave me the bestest present ever. They joined me in the kitchen for cleanup. I'm so proud of my big strapping young men who don't mind helping mom do the dishes. They're going to make excellent husbands some day. Girls take note.

Cleanup was followed by relaxation time in the living room. As is written in the book of American traditions we had the tv turned to football. I also spent some time picking my mother-in-laws brain for family facts, it's time to start adding details to the Frazier line on the family tree. One day my kids are going to thank me for tracing their roots meanwhile let them thank me for dessert. We had two - pies - apple crisp and pumpkin. And just so no one thinks I'm out to earn the Betty Crocker award ... I can't take credit for the pies. Alas, they weren't homemade but fresh from Marie Callender and Kroger. Everyone claimed they were good but I can't say for sure 'cause I don't do sweets. I know, hard to believe, huh?

All-in-all it was a nice day of family time. Even if I had foregone all the cooking and fretting over getting things just right, we would have still had a good day because we were together as a family. Now that the boys are moving out and moving on I don't know what the future holds for future holidays. Maybe that's why I want the holiday to be perfect ... so they'll always want to come home to Mom's. Time will tell.

Speaking of time, now it's time to put Thanksgiving away

and bring on Christmas. Who's ready? Not me!




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cat-i-tude

Anyone who shares their home with a cat knows exactly who the boss is.  They also know, no matter how hard they try to change the situation, in the end, it is usually the CAT who comes out on top.

I pulled out the Thanksgiving tablecloth yesterday and guess who promptly decided she needed to get on the table?



I'm not going to lie and act like this never happens because it does ... but only at the kitchen table. Now that it's just me and Dale eating at home we allow the puddy-cat to eat dinner with us. Sometimes she gets her own plate but mostly we just hand her bits of food. I know most people think this is gross but as long as she stays at her end of the able and doesn't get near my food, we're good.

We only use the dining room table when guests are over or when it's a holiday. Obviously these are times when a cat should NOT be getting on the table so I've been pretty diligent about keeping her away from it. For the most  she behaves herself and refrains from getting up there ... that is until a cloth is put on the table and then the battle begins.


"Excuse me. Are you talking to me?" What do you mean get OFF the table?"


"Oh girl please. Talk to the paw, I'm not listening!"


"That is all, you have been dismissed. Carry on."

Ugh! Little buggar. It's a good thing I love her so much otherwise she'd be toast. Meanwhile, I ask you this. What is it about a tablecloth that attracts her so much? It's like a kitty magnet. Lucky for her I have two of the same cloths and when it comes time to eat our Thanksgiving feast I'll switch them out.

Bazinga, I win!

Friday, November 9, 2012

An artist is born?

I've misplaced something very important and have spent the better part of the day looking for it. I know it's here somewhere, I just don't know where.

During my search I was going through a box of childhood keepsakes. Suddenly my mission changed from one of search and rescue to one of, "hey, look! This would make great blog material." Isn't it amazing how quickly I can switch gears and immediately find myself immersed in a new project?

Without further ado, I present to you photos of a young artist's earlier works.


I believe we have a rainbow and perhaps a self portrait? Big eyes?

I have no idea the dates on any of the drawings. My mother had the foresight to save them but failed to date anything. I guess that's what happens when you're the third child.


I think I was combining two seasons here. Note the colorful leaves on the half bare trees - a sign of Autumn?  I'm pretty sure the other "things" depict the flowers of Spring, though I guess they could be lollipops. But, the grass is green, so I vote for Spring. Note the yellowing, brittle scotch tape in the bottom right corner. This is obviously before my "scrapbook" phase where I learned all about archival safe products.

Next we have a house, one that obviously needs some reconstruction.

When you were a kid did you always draw a chimney on your houses? I did and ironically I never lived in a house with a fireplace and chimney until I was grown and living on my own. I think it comes from knowing that's how Santa is supposed to enter our houses.


This picture was drawn specifically for my mother. Even at a young age I seemed to know what all mom's are good for is their ability to provide transportation for their children. I don't think I have ever ridden in a taxi so I'm not sure where this came from. It's a joy to see the happy sun (why do kids think the sun has a face? Don't they know it's only the moon that has one?), my patriotic offering (note the stripes are going the wrong way on the flag), and the lovely flower which might be a tulip or it might be one of those scary Venus-flytrap plants. Yikes!


My guess is this one was probably done around Thanksgiving. Sadly today it would probably be considered politically incorrect to depict an Indian and a teepee. You can't tell from this scan but I cut out the opening to the teepee. Wasn't I oh, so creative? As for the Indian, those are some seriously scary hands he has. Perhaps I was channeling the future Edward Scissorhands or maybe it's the forerunner of Freddy Kruegar?


Another seasonal drawing. This one is all about Autumn. I can't decide if those are leaves on the branches? Or maybe squirrels with colorful hats. I do know that's one big bird next to the person. And, look at those bird legs! I love the colorful cap on the person and note that there's just a faint smile ... probably 'cause he's missing a finger on both hands and apparently has no feet.

Don't you just love the way a child pays so much attention to some details but is totally oblivious to others?


... details like in this drawing where only one of the train cars actually has wheels. I guess the little engine that could is capable of dragging all the other cars along. Of course they don't have far to go because it looks like the tracks are abruptly ending. Only in a child's world ...

And finally we have this 
Paper, paint, crayon, tape, fabric and buttons. I wonder if my mother had a clue back then that she was raising a future mixed media artist? Whether or not she did, she always encouraged and supported my artistic endeavors and for that I will always be grateful. I'm also willing to forgive her for throwing away a whole semester of work from my life drawing class when she moved away from my childhood home.

For the record, I don't actually remember her disposing of my portfolio. She just recently reminded me of it and according to her I wasn't so much upset about losing the drawings as I was horrified that she put stacks of nude drawings out on the street!

Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Confessions of gluttony.

I grew up with my mom popping a roast in the oven before leaving for church, resulting in a yummy Sunday dinner. It was a tradition that I tried to emulate but wasn't very successful at - mainly because I don't like cooking on Sunday. I consider it my day of rest and we usually go out to eat. However, any other day of the week I do love to prepare and serve a good pot roast.

I think I've mentioned before that I don't cook it the way most folks do. I season it with garlic, salt, and pepper, add a little water to the pot and slow cook it in the oven for a couple of hours. That's it, nothing more. A roast cooked with potatoes, carrots, and onions, all in the same pot .... yuck! I do NOT like mixing all those flavors together, not to mention I'm just not a fan of carrots. My husband on the other hand grew up eating it that way so I've learned to compromise.

I cook potatoes, carrots, and onions but in a separate dish, seasoned with beef bouillon. He hasn't complained yet so I guess it's okay (honey if you're reading this, NOW is the time to speak up if you DON'T like it cooked this way. However it you don't want me to continue to cook it this way I don't know what I'ma gonna do 'cause no way am I ruining a great roast with vegetables!)

I also figure while I'm selfishly preparing meals my way I might as well cook a pot of rice. (Am I the only one who grew eating rice and gravy with their roast?) There's also the obligatory green beans and sometimes corn, to add a little color to palette. Yum! Comfort food at it's best.

I don't cook a roast often - have you seen the price of beef today? It seems a bit of an extravagance especially when I'm only cooking for two. Every once in awhile though the desire for comfort food wins out over being thrifty and a pot roast finds itself on menu. Yesterday was that day.

Yep, last night we had roast for dinner. And it was oh. so. good. It was all I could do to refrain from gorging myself. I behaved though and didn't go back for seconds. I'm really trying to cut back on what and how much I eat but it's been a struggle and having something that tastes so good, that also soothes the soul, (which is what comfort food does for me) ... makes it doubly hard to maintain will power.

I was actually doing ok up until I began clearing away the dishes. There was quite a bit of food left over so I fixed a dish for tomorrow's lunch and then there it was ... the leftover gravy ... calling my name. I knew I should quickly toss it in the trash but instead I began to rationalize in my head - if I don't do something to curb this craving right now I'm going to be thinking about it all night long. If I'm thinking about it all night long, one of two things might happen. I might end up eating a snack later on or worse yet, I might get up in the middle of the night and EAT the leftovers. Oh my, what's a girl to do?

I did the only thing a sane (read - unable to maintain will-power) person would do. I took a slice of bread, tore it into little bite size pieces, dipped it in the gravy and savored every morsel of it's goodness. It wasn't without guilt however. I felt guilty about giving into my desires and even worse I felt guilty that I was trying to hide from my husband that his beloved wife was in the kitchen pigging out.  Hiding it wasn't easy because he kept coming back into the kitchen.  I wanted to scream at him, "get out! Can't you tell your wife is in here being gluttonous?"

Finally he settled down to watch TV and I was able to continue scarfing down my bread and gravy. I finished loading the dishwasher, and wiped down the stove and countertops. As I made my way to join him in the living room, I was careful to wipe any incriminating evidence from my face because nothing will get one busted faster than a glob of gravy in the corner of your mouth. I was content. My belly was full, my cravings abated, and as far as I know, my hubby was none the wiser.

I'm ashamed to admit I woke up this morning thinking ... not about my deceit from the night before ... but about the leftovers in the 'fridge. I was almost giddy with excitement, couldn't wait for lunchtime to roll around. Finally around eleven I said, "to heck with it, I'm eating early!" I popped the container of leftover roast, rice, and gravy into the microwave and watched the seconds tick away.

Yum it smelled soooo good. The cat thought so too. She ran and took up her stalking position, in anticipation of getting a handout. Yes, I feed my cat table food. It's probably why she's such a picky eater and I end up tossing more cat food than she actually eats.

Beep, beep, beep. It's ready! I sat down and began to eat. It was still a little cold so back to the microwave it went. Beep, beep, beep. Let's try again. Ah, yes. Just the right temperature. Let's eat!

I guess you're expecting to read now, about how yummy my lunch was, and how stuffed and satisfied I am. Alas, it's not to be. Surprise! About half way through lunch I began to think about it. You know what? Leftovers aren't nearly as good as originals.

What? Leftovers aren't nearly as good as originals? What you talkin' 'bout Willis? Last night it was delicious but today it's not?

Well, here's the thing ... it tasted ok but it wasn't making my tastebuds sing like it did last night. In fact, it was kind of blah. My husband refuses to eat leftovers. Maybe this is why.

So ... the second time around just isn't as good as the first which turns out to not be such a bad thing because I didn't even finish my leftover meal (and for the record neither did the cat).

Bonus? Maybe a lighter lunch will make up for the gluttony of the night before. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. I'm also inspired to not cook such a great meal again tonight. No need to set myself up for failure two days in a row. Look out honey, we're eating light tonight!

And finally I leave you with this photo which has nothing to do with the topic of today's blog. I don't like posting without at least one photo so this is what I came up with. 

Fall is my favorite time of the year and it's partly because of all the beautiful fall foliage. Sadly the color this year is not as vivid as in past years. I guess it's because of how dry it's been. A lot of the trees had their leaves turn brown and fall off prematurely. Others just sported more muted colors this time around. I spotted this little gem in my neighbors yard today and thought he deserved to be photographed.

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One, two, everything is new ....

For the past couple of weeks I've alluded to the fact we were working on a home improvement project. I hesitate to call it a renovation because we just don't have the resources or the know-how to do a complete overhaul of the room. Therefore I choose to call it home improvement and trust me, it's an 100% improvement over what it was before.

Without further ado, let me present my new master bathroom.

Now let's back pedal to what it was before. Our bathroom was so hideous that I actually have very few photos of how it looked. Dale asked me before we started if I was going to take pictures and I replied, "no way. I don't want people seeing just how bad it is." Of course halfway into the project I regretted that decision because I really wanted to blog about what a difference a little paint, wood, and elbow grease could make. So, I've been scrounging around trying to find any photos that might paint the picture for you.

I think this photo taken back in the summer when Dale and Andrew were replacing the stems on the handles shows you what we were working with.
 

I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow detail of what we did, I'll just hit the highlights. We:

  • put up beadboard on the walls and trimmed it out 
  • painted the walls a lighter blue
  • removed the shower doors and replaced with a shower curtain
  • removed the toilet paper, toothbrush, and soap holders mounted on the walls. (This is what you get when you rip take them off the wall) 
  • removed the cabinet hanging on the wall
  • removed the shelf mounted in front of the mirror
  • painted the vanity and replaced all the hardware 
  • faux painted the laminate counter top
  • hung new towel bars
  • bought new toothbrush holder, trash can, toilet paper holder, bathroom scales, towels and bath mat, shower curtain, shower caddy, 
  • new floor
Just for kicks, this is what we dealt with when we moved in back in 1991. Does this scream 1970 or what? 

So, do we have a beautiful new bathroom? NO! Beautiful would have included replacing instead of re-dressing, including new: shower insert, tile floor, vanity with a granite top, and toilet. BUT, for us, it is a major improvement and not so scary to go into anymore. Did we do a perfect job? NO! But, we're proud of the work we did and are happy with the results. (Except maybe the countertop. I think I might redo it, but I'll wait awhile and let Dale recover first). We also plan to replace the light fixture as soon as we get the money AND I think I need to add a piece or two of art on the walls. 

This is probably it for home improvements for awhile. My husband and my checking account are yelling, "Roger that!" 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Whiskers, the Boy, Not the Cat Food

Why is it when they're little they want to shave? 
1991

1993
But when they get older ... not so much? 

.

Oops! He's not that hairy


2012
Here's my little non-shaver. 

.
 and here's Whiskers with his new friend Sophia Bray. I'm so glad one of Ian's friends is willing to share his dog with him. Maybe one day he can get another dog of his very own ... which is fine with me as long as he's living under his own roof.

This man-child of mine is coming home for a visit this weekend, the first since he moved back in July. Can't wait to see him and give him a great big hug. Facebook, Skype, and texting are wonderful tools for keeping in touch, but nothing can replace an in-person hug. I'm officially counting down the hours ...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Return of the Invaders


Last night, around 1:00 am, I noticed that my husband, cat, and I were not alone. We had an unwelcome visitor, one that immediately brought back memories of this terrifying night.

Once again we have been invaded.

It always happens late at night, after my husband is asleep. I am bummed, not just because a sleeping husband is unavailable to take care of business (who are we kidding anyway?) but also because I can’t make a lot of noise in my attempts to kill the dreaded bug without waking said husband whose alarm is set to go off in four and a half hours. What a dilemma, what should I do?

This thing is huge and no way can I just ignore it so I run to the kitchen in search of a weapon. I return armed with a flyswatter and the flashlight on my phone. The dreaded bug is on the wall, just above the doorway. I know I must be accurate with my aim because I will only have one chance at getting this right.  If I don’t connect with it directly it will escape death and return to taunt me.

I gather up my strength, hold my breath, and take a mighty swing. Alas, victory is not mine. While my aim was accurate I miscalculated the effectiveness of a flimsy flyswatter against the steel armor of the intruder. All it did was momentarily stun him, after which he spread his wings and flew directly towards the enemy. Me. ACK!

I guess he didn’t get the memo that one is supposed to flee from the enemy, not go into attack mode.  Geeze, what is this, deja vu all over again? It's obvious I've forgotten my previous run-in I had with this guy’s kin.

I held my screams to a small yelp and retreated to the bed. For now the critter was no where to be seen. Maybe I had actually done more than stun him and he’d crawled off to die. Yay! I settle back onto the pillows and prepare to wrap up my nightly bedtime reading. Ahhhhh, if only life were that simple. You know what's coming, right? Moments later I glance up and my stomach does a flip-flop. The dreaded enemy is once again climbing the wall.

I glance over at my sleeping, slightly snoring husband, and sigh. Are we really going through this again? I climb out of bed, grab the swatter, and swiftly run to the wall and deliver a harder, more deliberate blow. Sadly, the results are identical to my first attempt.

Bug -2  Sherri - 0. Husband –still soundly sleeping.  I put away the fly swatter, turn off the phone, climb into bed, and pull the covers up to my chin. I close my eyes tightly and will myself to fall asleep. After a few minutes, as my heart rate decreases, I find myself thinking about sleep.

And then … I hear it. It’s like a scratching sound. Like tiny claws scraping along. That infallible bug is still there and is attempting to climb back up the wall. That’s it! I’m over it. And, I’m out of here!

I know there is no way I’m going to be able to get any sleep as long as I am in the same room as this creature. So, I do the practical thing – I gather up my pillow and high-tail it out of the room. After all there are two other bedrooms in this house, right? Besides, who doesn’t deserve a good night’s sleep after all this?

As I dash out of the room I briefly think of my beloved spouse who conveniently always sleeps through these nightly home invasions. You know what? Who am I to wake a sleeping baby? (Actually when my children were young infants I was known to occasionally rouse them in my attempts to assure myself they were still breathing. Silly, paranoid mom). Anyway, he looks so peaceful, so there he shall stay.

As I drift off to sleep I briefly consider leaving him a note to check his shoes before heading out to work. But, I’m too tired and besides – no way am I going back in that room before daylight!

As I type this I can’t help but wonder if I am destined to repeat this scenario over and over? And also, where is that darn cat in all this and why isn’t she taking care of business for me?
If she would just use her laser eyes this would've been settled right away! 
-------

My plan was to post this blog early today. Unfortunately my stupid internet provider had other plans. No connection until about an hour ago. Meanwhile you'll be glad to know the dastardly roach reappeared right in the middle of Scandal. This time no one was sleeping and I was able to attack with a shoe and a yell of "ay ya!" Stunned he fell to the ground, and I followed up with a severe beating with the broom. Flattened like a pancake, I scooped him up and tossed him in the toilet. It took two flushes to get him out of my house, but he is gone and tonight I can once again sleep peacefully in my own bed. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Smoking Toddlers?

In December 1995 Dale's nephew James graduated from Kennesaw State University. Dale and the boys were able to attend the graduation,  something we thought might inspire them later on when they started thinking about their futures.

Here's the graduate with Ian. 

Here's a group shot


Doesn't Andrew look angelic? I'm pretty sure there's motive in that look.
More than likely he's pleading for a piece of gum or candy. 

If you give me gum I'm smile really big! 

Like this.

That face deserves a close up don't you think? 

I'm pretty sure Aunt Pat couldn't resist, but she countered back with, "first, give me a pose."

Nephew number one, readily complied   Such a sweet expression. Don't you just love the "bowl" haircut? He used to refer to it as a"bold-cut." Now that I think about it, it was a pretty "bold" (not necessarily in a good way) look!

Time for nephew  #2  Always a bundle of energy, ever the clown.

After that performance I'm pretty sure Weird Aunt Pat came through with the gum.


Whoops!


Should of seen that one coming. Never fear, though, Aunt Pat is always prepared. I'm pretty sure there's more where that came from. So NO, you don't need to pick it up and put it back in your mouth!

Which reminds me of the time we were eating Sunday lunch out with a bunch from church. We were at Denny's and because there were so many of us we had to wait for a table. As is par for the course, the w-a-i-t-i-n-g seemed like an eternity. You can imagine how quiet and well behaved the boys were ...

I'm pretty sure Dad was on child-watch duty because as usual Mom was flapping her gums talking with her friends. Regardless, neither of us were doing a great job of paying attention because we look up and there sits our youngest (maybe around two years old?) with a cigarette butt sticking out of his mouth! He'd picked it up and decided he'd mimic dear Uncle Corky. 

Yep, here's the little buggar with his role model. He loved hanging out with Uncle Corky, and didn't seem to mind the smoke at all! 

Smoking around kids. Little one's running around in nothing but a diaper. Toddlers smoking used cigarettes. Yee ha, Honey BooBoo's family ain't got nuthin' on us!

Seriously though ...we did draw the line at sharing cigarette butts and chewing gum that fell on the pavement at  very public places ... unless of course, the five second rule has been applied. Then all bets are off!