Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kids and stuff

It has been so nice and nostalgic having all of my kids home under one roof again. We have gotten so scattered and so busy that its a rare occasion. I am loving this. Everybody goes home this weekend, and I will be sad, but I have thoroughly enjoyed these couple of weeks. I wish I could have been off of work more.....but who knows, that may have been too much togetherness. LOL.

Anyway, we are wrapping up the old year and welcoming in a new one. I know I should be making resolutions, and setting goals. But I have barely had time to think about brushing my teeth much less making long and involved intentions. I have a history of not keeping them so much anyways. I always plan to eat healthier, which we do....off and on. Or exercise more....never happens consistently. Or being more organized or this thing or that thing. Not this year. I have neither the time nor the inclination. The only goal I am setting for myself this coming year is to be happier. I am more or less happy already. But I guess I mean taking the time to smell the roses, and appreciate the little things. You know....things like fresh coffee, warm kittens, hot showers....I want to savor those wonderful things, and pay less attention to the inconveniences. I may eat healthier, although my goal demands I make time for savoring chocolate. I may exercise more. But whether I do or not, I still hope to be happy about it.

I hope the New Year brings much happiness to all of you too. There is plenty to go around for everybody!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas to everybody! We had a wonderful day, lots of presents, and a huge feast. Now we are all waiting on the snow that was promised. It hasn't made it here just yet. Dad and Barb left right after dinner to make the 3 hour drive back to Va. to avoid being snowed in. They have company coming to visit them on Monday.....its been a tense evening waiting to hear that they made it ok, as they were driving right into the snowstorm. But they just called and made it home safely. Whew....what a relief.

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday. Keep up the party until New Years!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I think its done!!!

The gifts are bought, wrapped, placed under the tree or mailed off to their destinations. Stocking stuffers are ready and waiting (yeah, my kids are adults but Santa still fills their stockings every Christmas!). Enough food for an army has been purchased and is bursting out of the fridge right now just waiting for a big Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day dinner. The goodies are in the process of being made. Stephen made batch #1 of the absolutely necessary chocolate chip cookies. Erica made sausage balls last night, and is making cheese straws tonight. Sometime today I am going to make a new treat called "Besitos de Coco"....or coconut kisses. When we were in Puerto Rico this past spring we had a wonderful little bakery near our condo and we bought these delicious little treats several times (ok, maybe even more than that...) over the course of our week. I found an authentic Puerto Rican recipe for them so hopefully they will turn out and we can enjoy them all over again. We are trying out a recipe for Egg Nog cheesecake for Christmas dessert. Barb is bringing a bunch of stuff too.
Oh my Lord, we are going to have to go on a stringent diet for the new year. Seriously. But the point is that I am done. With everything but the cooking. Whew.....Christmas can begin. Well, it has to wait until I get home from work on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Decorations for the Blog




I LOVE this picture for some reason. It makes me want to pack up and spend Christmas on St. Thomas, or anyplace in the sunny Caribbean. That little tree all lit up at twilight with the ocean as a back drop is just so pretty. Its not my picture. I borrowed it. But it makes me happy all the same.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cold enough

I was running around this week delivering packages in this semi-rare cold spell we have been having. I had on a light jacket that was hanging open, no hat, or gloves. I had a heavier coat and gloves in the car but had decided they were unnecessary. One woman came to her door wrapped up tightly in half a dozen layers of thick clothing. She took one look at me and said, "Oh my goodness, you MUST be freezing!" I just smiled and said, "I'm fine. I love this weather." And I do. I am so much happier running around in fresh cold air than I am the hot and humid stuff. Granted, this is eastern NC and highs in the mid 30's is what we consider "COLD". For me, its perfect. Much colder than that and I may not love it quite as much. I feel like I can breathe, and I love the fact that I can go outside without sweat. No bugs, no snakes or other creepy crawly things. Now if we could just get a little snow. Not enough to make the roads bad, but enough to make a snowman in the yard.......

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A bit much?

I found this on Fail Blog. And my kids thought I go a little over the top....LOL.





Actually this year, I have scaled way back due to lack of time. My work schedule has been insane, and trying to get the kitchen finished too has left us scrambling to get ready for the holidays. It will be fine, I'm sure. My children won't feel lacking if the house isn't stuffed to claustrophobia with my Christmas toys. Maybe next year......haha.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Simon's Cat


Simon's Cat



This is so similar to what is going on at our house that it is uncanny. LOL.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Have a very Merry BACON-Y Christmas!!!

In looking around on line this year I keep coming across a strange theme. Bacon! Lots and lots of things that should NOT be bacon-related, but somehow are anyway. Its so weird. I mean, I like bacon. But still, this kind of freaks me out.

Bacon Band-aids?



Bacon Chapstick?



Bacon Soap??? Seriously? Who wants to smell like bacon? Wouldn't that attract large packs of dogs?



Bacon gum....yuck!


Bacon Wallet??? I really don't get this one at all.


Yet another fashion accessory, the classy and sophisticated bacon watch!



Delicious bacon candies....kind of makes me feel a bit queasy.


And while I didn't get a picture of it, I also found bacon stationary where the envelopes were bacon flavored. So odd.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How do YOU do Christmas?

How do YOU do Christmas?
Here is a holiday meme regarding family traditions "borrowed" from my friend, Em, at
Notes from My Corner.

1. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. We used to only use real trees when the kids were little. We had a family outing to go pick out the tree every year. It was a whole lot of fun. I really miss the smell of a live tree, too. That part I don't miss is having to water the thing constantly, and dealing with dropping needles all over the place. Ornaments hang better on studier artificial branches, too. Well, they would if cats weren't climbing in it.

2. Do you like decorating the tree?
Yes, actually. This is the first year that I did the lights and that part was harder than I thought. But I didn't mind it so much. The ornaments though....that is my favorite part. A cup of hot chocolate, some Christmas music and pulling out all of our old favorite ornaments, remembering where we bought this one or that one. Once again, its not nearly as much fun without the kids around. But they started to opt out of doing the tree when they were in high school, so I am used to doing it alone. My husband does NOT like anything about it, and really makes himself scarce until its all done. LOL.


3. When do you put up the tree?
Either the weekend following Thanksgiving. Or, if we are out of town then the weekend after that. If its not up by the 5th or so then I start to get unhappy, but that rarely happens

4. When do you take the tree down?
I have this superstitious notion that its bad luck for the coming year to take it down before the Epiphany on Jan. 6th. January 7th is the earliest I would take it down.


5. Do you like eggnog?
I like the idea of eggnog. I get excited when I first see it in the stores around the holidays. But then I buy a small carton and it always leaves me disappointed. I do like homemade eggnog with LOTS of brandy though.

6. Ever broken a present right after opening it?
If I have then I have forgotten it completely. I really don't think so.

7 . Hardest person to buy for?
My husband. He buys everything that he wants all during the year leaving us nothing to surprise him with. My son is a close second though. He is something of a minimalist, and doesn't want any kind of clutter in his home. According to his wife, Hannia, he sometimes even considers useful items that are still necessary clutter and gets rid of them. Haha

8. Easiest person to buy for? My daughter-in-law Hannia. She thoughtfully keeps an ongoing Amazon wish list that makes gift giving so simple!!! My daughter runs a close second, because although she doesn't keep a wish list online, she can generally think of some things she would like to have if you give her enough time to contemplate it. Maybe its just that girls are easier to buy gifts for. :)

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
We do. A small ceramic one. My husband and I are spiritual people, but not overly religious. Our holiday is mostly secular.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. My husband and I try to find funny, somewhat irreverent cards every year. We believe in the gift of laughter.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A box of peanut brittle. From a customer. It had a small pebble in the product and it broke an expensive crown on my tooth. I contacted the company and they paid to have it replaced, so at least there was a little Christmas miracle to go along with the sucky gift. LOL.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a toss up between "It's a Wonderful Life", and the original "Miracle on 34th St." I love them all, though, even the animated ones. We used to get so excited as kids when Rudolph (claymation version) came on because it meant Christmas was finally near.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Usually after Thanksgiving, but not on Black Friday. I always vow to start early in the year, like some really organized people do. But nobody has a clue what they want at that time. How do these people do it? Do they just buy stuff that they want to give regardless of the other person's wish list? How do you know that somebody won't just go ahead and buy a duplicate of your gift before Christmas finally rolls around? In theory, the early all-year shopping sounds great. In reality it just wouldn't cut it as far as I am concerned.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so. I may have given something away that I didn't want or use, but not as a wrapped gift. More of a, "Hey, do you want this thing right here? Cuz I am not going to use it."

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
I can't narrow it down to just one thing. Maybe the cookies. Or the fudge....I am pretty sure it will be something sweet. As a kid the only time of the year that we got to eat Hershey's kisses was at Christmas time (my Mom was pretty strict about junk food and soda). My sister and I called them "silver bells". They taste like Christmas to me still.

16. Have you ever actually eaten fruit cake?
Yes, and I know it makes me weird, but I don't hate it. Its not my favorite thing, and I don't crave it or seek it out, but its not awful to me either.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
I just love Christmas music period. I love the religious standards (a strong voice singing O Holy Night can give me goosebumps), I love the children's favorites, and I also love jazz piano Christmas tunes. I can't single out a favorite. My favorite Christmas song memory is of my kids singing "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer" by the tree when they were really little. Stephen's line of "as he shouted out with BLEE" still makes me smile even now. I can't hear that song without chuckling about all that BLEE. It makes me positively bleeful. LOL.


18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Never when the kids were little. How would Santa have found us?? We have attempted to several times since the kids have grown up, and more often than not it just doesn't work out. We did have a fantastic family Christmas cruise in 2005. But we have decided it was just meant for us to be home for the holidays. Traveling then is stressful anyway.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Are you serious? Of course!!! Our cat that Bruce found around Christmas time was named "Vixen" for a reason.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Animated Santa. Its tradition.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
We always have done both. When the children were young, they opened 1 gift from us on Christmas Eve, and then Santa loaded the tree down with more gifts during the night to be opened first thing Christmas morning. We still occasionally do the 1 gift on Christmas Eve thing just because...

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The Grinches who can't find any joy in the holiday.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I love shaped glass ornaments. Santas, snowmen, or any Christmas figure. I like the sparkle of the glass. Our tree is a hodge podge of favorites and we don't decorate it with a certain color or theme in mind. As far as other decorating goes I strongly prefer true reds and brilliant greens. I am not a fan of purple or pink or burgundy or whatever as far as Christmas goes. I like it to be traditional.

24. Favorite Christmas dinner?
Hard one. My kids always want a roasted turkey with all the trimmings, and I am fine with that. I never turn down a delicious turkey and stuffing dinner. Growing up, though, we usually did a roast beef. And that was good, too.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
World Peace. And maybe Elton John's newest CD.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ongoing

The kitchen is still ongoing. I have a stove now, at least, but still no kitchen sink or dishwasher. The countertops that were supposed to be installed yesterday morning (we will be there between 8 and 12 he said....yeah right), did not get done until after 7pm last night. Bruce took the day off for this and he waited and called and waited and called until I completely lost my cool and called them myself. And I was NOT nice. I was promised someone would be here within the hour. It was after 4 before the guy finally showed. I was literally on my way to go sit in their shop until they got my damned countertops in my house when Bruce called to say the guy just pulled up. Lucky for them. I was not in a happy mood.

So needless to say, the sink installation and plumbing that Bruce planned to do yesterday afternoon AFTER the countertops did not happen. He managed to get the sink in tonight (sitting there unhooked to any water or drain but it looks nice, haha), but its almost 9:30 pm now and the plumbing is just going to have to wait until tomorrow. Work is insane this time of year, we get home so extremely late, and its all a matter of doing a little bit here and a little bit there as time allows. Actually though, the plumbing and a bit more of the molding around the walls and it will be essentially done. I still want curtains, but that might not happen until after Christmas. Time is running out, I still need to shop and decorate and figure out what kind of food and goodies we want to feast on. Whew....remind me to NOT start a major project during this time of the year again.

Anyway, there may not be Christmas cards this year. I love you all, and I love doing my cards but we haven't even had a chance to pick some out yet. If I get decorations on the tree it will be amazing. Oh well. Its all going to work out. And since Dad asked, the countertops do look good. I am happy with how it turned out even if it took way longer than expected. Here is a little snippet of the color. Its called crystal flint, predominantly gray with white and black specks. Its busy enough to not show spots (you know, like coffee drips and stuff), and yet neutral enough to be able to use any other colors in the decor that you might want to. I will post some pictures of the finished room whenever the actual finishing might happen to occur.
LOL.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And its Monday again.....

How does Monday always get here so quickly? But anyway....Itty Bitty kitty came through her surgery just fine. She has been a little more quiet than usual this weekend, but is perking up more and more each day. Vixen did have a mild urinary tract infection and we got her to the vet for an antibiotic shot, mainly because that works for 2 weeks and getting medicine in this cat is virtually impossible. Hopefully things are all healthy and happy in Kitty Land for a while.

I put the lights on the tree this weekend. It seemed like a good time when kitty was not quite up to racing up and down the limbs. Bruce usually does the lights, but he was busy in the kitchen getting things prepped and ready for the new counter tops. One thing I realized: Its harder than it looks. It took longer than I thought. But I think I did a pretty good job of it. Bruce says that I have inherited the job from now on because its something he just never enjoys. I did run out and buy a new tree topper. We usually use an animated Santa and I love him. I decided he was too precious to risk on the tree while we still have young cats who climb it. So....a new, temporary tree topper was found. The choices are really limited out there. This is just a large red bow with LED lights. Its cute. Its not Santa but its ok. There are still no decorations. I am waiting to see how the cats do with the lights and maybe in a few days I will finish it up.

So the kitchen counter tops will be installed tomorrow. I can't wait. We have been living without a kitchen sink since Saturday...using paper plates, washing off the absolutely necessary things in the bathroom sink. The dishwasher is unhooked and as of this afternoon, the stove will be unhooked as well. Its been a bit, um, rustic. I guess I will run by and pick up some take out for dinner this evening. Bruce decided to do the removal of the counter tops himself to save some of the charges. The installation crew should be able to set up the new ones pretty quickly as everything is ready to go. I am looking forward to having a fully functional kitchen again......

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cats locked up

Its been insane around here this week. Work has gone completely crazy. Its been so late when I get home that it feels like I work, sleep and then work again. Seriously, I feel like I might as well set up a sleeping bag at the office. Monday was awful, but I kept telling myself that Mondays are always tough, so just hold on until tomorrow. Much to my dismay Tuesday was even worse. But again....I held out hope that Wednesday would bring some relief. Wrong. Wednesday was worse than Monday or Tuesday ever thought about being. Oh my Lord!!!

Also? I have lost my sub. He is (finally) going full time, and he deserves that. But now I will be working weekends, taking days off whenever I can borrow someone to work for me and it more than likely means no time off at Christmas, or New Year. Normally this would completely freak me out, but I am too tired to really care. It is what it is. At least Christmas is on Saturday, so I will be at home for the weekend.

Maybe some Christmas miracle will happen and another sub will decide to move to my route (although that will leave someone else in a bind). I have heard that some new subs have been hired, but no idea of when they might be in to train. I almost don't want anybody new coming in to work with me right now. I can only imagine a new person would take one look at how awful it is this time of year and run screaming out into the streets. I would. Hell, I almost do every single day of the week and I have been there for years.

But beyond work we have had our hands full here at home with kitty problems. One of the cats has decided to pee in inappropriate places around the house. Its so out of character because all of the cats have been so good and so meticulous about using the litter boxes (yes, plural....maybe its litter boxen?). We finally singled out the culprit (Vixen), and that took some time and sleuthing to figure out. I called the vet today and she said it could be a urinary tract infection. I have to bring in a urine sample. What in the world? Right now, Vixen is locked in a bathroom for the night in hopes that she will pee in a clean litter box (the Breeze system that has a grate filled with non absorbent pellets and the urine filters down into a drawer in the bottom of the box). So far the cat is miserable, and is crying to get out, but she can't come out until she provides a sample. Grrrr....

And besides that Itty Bitty goes in for her surgery (spaying) first thing tomorrow, so I have had to take up all the food dishes and now we have unhappy cats all over the house. No food, and they are feeling nervous that Vixen is locked up. They are standing outside the bathroom door meowing and sticking their paws underneath. Its going to be a long, long night.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!!



26 years ago today, at about 8:30 in the morning, our son Stephen was born, and my life was complete. Happy Birthday my beloved son. I am really sad that we can't see you this birthday, but I hope you have a wonderful one. And an amazing year ahead, too.
We love you.

Happy Anniversary to Dad and Barb, too. 7 years ago today they were married and Barb became a Kintz. I hope you celebrate many more years ahead. We love you both.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope you have a wonderful time with friends and family, plenty of good food and a little bit of time to feel grateful for whatever you have going on in your lives. I have so much to be grateful for that it would be hard to list it all. But I do have some that top the list of thankfulness.

- My husband, who is my knight in shining armor. He has been by my side since I was 15 years old. I don't know what I would do without him.

-My children (including my daughter-in-law) who always make me so proud I could positively burst. If I never had anything else in my life than this husband, this marriage, and these children then it would have been more than enough.

- The rest of our family because I love you all.

- My friends who cheer me up and listen to me whine when I feel down.

- Our home that provides a safe place and a sturdy roof over our heads.

- My job, because even while I don't exactly love it, I am grateful that it allows us to keep food on the table, health insurance to keep us healthy, and clothes on our backs.

- These warm furry little cats because I love them. They got me through the sadness when we lost the dogs, and they give me something to direct all my excess "mothering" to since the kids have moved away.

I am also thankful for cool crisp mornings, hot coffee, chocolate, clean laundry still warm from the dryer, hot showers, good books, and naps. I have a gazillion other things to be grateful for but excessive amounts of time to sit and play online here is unfortunately not one of them. I have a fudge cake to bake for the family thanksgiving feast. So have a wonderful holiday and think about all those amazing things that we sometimes take for granted every day. Love to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Countdown to Turkey Day

Nothing in particular is going on around here. I am working, running errands, baking some goodies and just trying to get ready for the big Turkey Day in general. We are having a brunch celebration at work tomorrow. I think we do it a day early because a whole lot of people take Wednesday off to either cook or travel. I have been instructed to bring sausage balls to that. I didn't take it off (we have taken off soooo much lately), so we will be in transit early Thanksgiving morning to be in Danville by lunch time. We are having a buffet at the Country Club with Dad and Barb, and our actual food extravaganza will be on Friday when the rest of the family can get there.

I would love to put up my Christmas tree. I feel like it needs to go up in all its naked glory for a while to let the cats (mainly Bitty) get used to it. But at the moment, there is a large box containing my new kitchen sink sitting right about where the tree needs to go. We are having our countertops put in next week, so hopefully that will finally be out of my living room. Seriously....the sink and faucet in a box about the size of a small car is in the living room. And a giant saw is sitting in my dining room floor. We spent the weekend putting down the quarter round molding in the kitchen, and we still aren't done. The saw has to be out and ready to go so we can finish....although I will say that the actual cutting was done out in the garage. He didn't turn the saw ON in the dining room. Grrrrrrr, my house is still topsy turvy. The kitchen china cabinet is in Stephen's bedroom waiting on the molding to be finished. Oh my Lord, I hope hope hope we can get this all pulled together in time for Christmas. Not just in time for the holiday, but in time for me to have a chance to decorate a little bit here and there. Its insane. I had no idea it would end up taking this long. But trying to squeeze things in between work and life just doesn't make for speed. The painting and updating I want to do in the living room, den and dining room will definitely be put off until spring. I am going to need a couple of months of having my house in order before we tear it all up again.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the long weekend, but I am also feeling a little sad that Stephen and Hannia won't be able to be with us. I don't like holidays without my kids, although I realize its probably going to happen more and more frequently now that they are grown. And we also won't get to see him on his birthday either, which makes it even worse. I know they are cooking their own little feast on Thursday. Stephen wanted plenty of turkey (the boy can eat some serious turkey) and lots of leftovers for those yummy turkey sandwiches....so....they are cooking a 20 lb. turkey for 2 people. LOL. I see turkey tettrazini, turkey salad, and turkey pot pie in their future for at least a week.....Well, maybe. He may prove me wrong and end up eating it all before they have to get creative with the leftovers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

hyperventilating

All of this Christmas stuff already has me hyperventilating. Its in the stores, on TV, on the radio. Good Lord, how can it be time for that already??? I feel like I lost October somehow. It can't possibly be time for Thanksgiving this soon. I haven't bought gifts. I have NO idea if we can even have a tree (with the wild kitten we have). Oh well....I have decided not to stress over the details.

Last year we had Christmas with very few of the trims and trappings. We had a trip to Jamaica booked and then Bruce got really sick at the last minute so we had to cancel. We came home on the night before Christmas Eve with no goodies baked, and no gifts under the tree. I was just glad Bruce was ok. We managed to celebrate though. Erica shopped for food and made dinner with all the trimmings. We played games, and we went to see a movie on Christmas night. It was nice. Just like the Grinch, "Christmas came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. ..." And I sort of liked it.

We are staying home this year. I am decorating as the cats will allow, but I am not going to kill myself over it. I am thinking I want to keep it low-key. Is it possible to have a NO stress Christmas? That is my intention. Laid back, time to chill out, talk and play games, and just enjoy having the kids all home for the holiday. A plate of cookies. Glasses of wine sipped over the scrabble board. That is all I want for Christmas this year. Well, I would kind of enjoy a few lights and a couple of ornaments on the tree......if the kitties deem it appropriate. LOL.

Facing Facts

I spent most of yesterday going through my clothes and cleaning out closets. I came to the realization that not only would I probably never fit into a lot of those things again, but even if I did they would be out of style. So....the result is a whole pile of stuff to take to Good Will. Its not that I am being pessimistic. Its more like being realistic. I am 48 years old, I have hypothyroidism, and I take at least 3 medications every single day that cause weight gain ....and I probably will have to take them forever. So.....it is what it is. That's not to say that I won't EVER lose some weight, but if I do then I am buying all new clothes and not closet shopping for something that is 10 years old and the wrong cut, or color or fabric. It felt pretty liberating actually.

I had to do the same thing with my shoes a month ago when I had the achilles tendon problem. My podiatrist gave me guidelines for the shoes I should be wearing. I got rid of anything that didn't fit the bill. Like flats, for instance. I love flats...but they are not so good for healthy feet. I need a moderate heel with good arch support. And just because I now know how painful it can be to go through foot problems, I am taking the advice to heart. Its not as easy as you might think, finding good comfortable shoes that do NOT look like orthopedic Granny shoes. It takes a whole lot of looking and trying on. I am figuring out certain brands that seem to offer the best fit, and that narrows things down a little bit. The one that is the most comfortable shoe ever (for me), is Rieker. Its a German company, and they call their shoes "anti-stress". I can't find them here. I bought my first pair in NY, and then have ordered 1 other pair. Not all of their women's shoes are cute, so I have to really look through what they offer. But if you can find a cute pair I would be willing to bet large sums of money that it WILL be comfortable.

The Doc (a cute little blonde girl that I swear doesn't look old enough to be out of college yet. Seriously.) also gave me a few other tips. Like never wear the same shoes 2 days in a row. It not only is good for your feet to have different padding every day, but it also gives your shoes a chance to air out. I had no idea it takes at least 24 hours for a shoe to completely "dry out". It not only keeps feet healthy but it will make your shoes last much longer, too. I have yet to convince Bruce of this, though. He buys 1 pair of sneakers and wears them all the time (unless he has to dress up) until they have to be replaced. Maybe I just need to make him go shopping!!! He has plenty of room now that I have cleaned so much stuff out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Demonic Forces



See this face? Don't be fooled by the cuddly sweetness. She is a demonic force wrapped in an adorable warm and fuzzy fur coat. I have never in my life seen a cat who is so hyper and prone to causing trouble. I thought Vixen was a force to be reckoned with when she was a kitten. She wasn't even CLOSE to what Itty Bitty dishes out. Vixen was an immobile cat statue compared to Bitty. We don't know what to do and are resigned to just waiting it out and hope that as she grows up it will get better.

Bitty has these moments where the urge to rampage mindlessly with no direction overwhelms her. She tears through the house at full speed, running and leaping blindly on everything, through everything, knocking things off, turning things over....nothing is safe from a Bitty rampage. I just cleaned up a cup of coffee that got knocked off the table. The drapes in my living room are torn down. Well, one side is on the floor and the other side is hanging precariously. She has torn down the curtains on several occasions. Half of the blinds in the house are damaged....Its insane.

Bitty's latest amusement is to unroll toilet paper until the roll is empty. We don't know how to stop it. I just fold it over and over in a neat little rectangle and place it on the lid of the tank. Its all I can do. Folded toilet paper is not as fascinating as rolled toilet paper. She leaves the folded stuff alone.

We have no idea what having a Christmas tree in the house is going to be like. I can imagine, but then I start to hyperventilate before the entire picture has time to fully form in my brain. We are going to try....it may be a bare-naked tree.....she likes to chew on things, and we are afraid she might electrocute herself on the cords of the Christmas lights. The plan is to put the bare tree up for a few days and see if the thrill wears off. Then we will move forward as the situation allows. I don't expect much. Any thoughts of a glorious tree decked out with my large collection of sparkly glass ornaments and blazing lights has been knocked out of my head....probably by the falling curtain rods.....She is chewing on the blinds behind me even as I type this. Lord help us.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We are back....

We got back from Las Vegas last night. It was a good trip. Not an excellent trip, but we did have a good time. We enjoyed being with Chris and Jessica. There were high points and low ones, too. The lowest of the lows had to be trying to get there. We were scheduled to fly out on the day that the freak storms hit all over the east coast.

Our first flight got cancelled. We got reassigned to another flight, felt positively elated when we finally boarded it only to have it taxi out to the runway, sit for 45 minutes and then taxi us right back to the gate. Because it got cancelled, too. Bummer. We were so exhausted by the end of that day, haggling to get a flight, standing in lines, multiple trips through security because we kept having to go out to the front ticketing counter to try and figure out how we could get the heck out of Raleigh. Ugh. We had to finally get a hotel and stay overnight, taking an early morning flight the next day. The one bright spot was flying first class that day as compensation for all of our trouble. I don't know if it made up for all the hassle completely, but it did help.

I have pictures to share as soon as I can download them. I am in slow gear today having gotten in late last night and then making an early morning Dr. appointment this morning. I can tell you that I am going back to work tomorrow, as my ankle has finally (tentatively) healed. I no longer have to wear the boot, but I have to be very careful for another month. I am supposed to wear an ankle brace, but its much less intrusive than the boot. I can't do yoga, running (as if), or extended walking for at least 30 more days. I assumed yoga would help, but the Doc said that its too soon to do any serious stretching yet. If I feel any pain I have to slap the awful boot back on, and I am still supposed to take anti-inflammatory meds for another month. I go back on Dec. 2nd and hopefully I will be completely cleared to go back to normal life after that....? This has been weird and long and I hope to never have this flare up again.

But anyway, I do want to write more about the trip later. The high points were dinner at Emeril's "Table 10"....so delicious. And Cirque Du Soleil "O". That show was strange and amazing and I would recommend it highly. Its done in a huge pool onstage, and the performers are all multi-talented divers/gymnasts, who are also synchronized swimmers, contortionists, trapeze artists and dancers. It very entertaining. We also saw the comedian/magicians "Penn and Teller" and we all loved that show, too.

Our hotel, the Bellagio, was luxurious. Our rooms were amazing, and the view of the fountains were fantastic. We were on the 20th floor, right in the middle of the building. Beautiful. On the downside, besides being expensive, you were nickel and dimed to death there. The wi-fi was NOT free. I refused to pay for it, too, so we went without it, even though I had dragged my laptop there. A 6 cup pot of coffee delivered to your room in the morning was something like $20. These were small cups, too. And I thought Starbucks was expensive. Geez. Honestly, I half expected to be charged for my wake up call request yesterday morning. And it was so crowded. Apparently, the casino, shows and restaurants are really popular, so in the evenings these areas were claustrophobically packed with people from all over. Most of them were not guests of the hotel. You had to show room keys to get past the elevator Nazis who guarded the guest room towers. In a way that was a good thing. But don't accidentally try to get upstairs if you left your key card with your husband, and he has disappeared into the vast, never-ending casino to entertain himself while you run upstairs for a minute.

The thing that surprised me was that I don't love Vegas anymore. I used to. When we went 10 or so years ago it was so much fun that I couldn't imagine running out of things to do. This time around....eh.....things have changed a whole lot there since we last went. Case in point, the Excaliber has always been advertised as one of the most "family" oriented hotels. We went there because Chris wanted to do the "Tournament of Kings" dinner show (the one in Myrtle Beach was much better, although the principle is the same). Right in the lobby, in front of the entrance to the "Fun Dungeon" arcade for kids, there was a stage out in the open area with a dancer. She wasn't nude, but almost. The dancing was erotic and provocative, and it kind of creeped me out how many people were dragging kids or pushing strollers past it as if it were nothing out of the ordinary. I do NOT have a problem with exotic dancers, strippers or whatever, but those performances should be in an adult-only club. Not out in the open public areas. Oh well....a lot of Vegas had gone much seedier that way. Even the food, and all of those highly advertised buffets were not all that great. They were much more expensive than the last time we went. Expect to pay upwards of $30 per person, but the quality is more like the local Golden Corral. I was a bit disappointed in that.

Anyway, we had fun, didn't win any money (at least we didn't lose too much so at least there's that}. It was entertaining, and I can officially put Las Vegas to rest now. Been there, done that, and now I am over it. I really don't think I will go back. If I feel the overwhelming urge to gamble (unlikely) I will go to Atlantic City or take myself a cruise to someplace warm and friendly in the Caribbean. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lady Luck PLEASE smile on us....

We leave for Vegas tomorrow. It has become increasingly clear over these past few weeks, while I have been out of work to heal up this stubborn achilles tendon, that my job is detrimental to my health in more ways than I can count. Since I have been off, my blood pressure has been LOW. Do you believe that? LOW! I have a wrist cuff and am supposed to take it several times a day due to the fact that medications only seem to control it marginally. Last night it was 105/69. Never in my life do I remember a low reading like that. I have felt so laid back and unstressed. I haven't had a single tension headache, or tension muscle cramps in my neck. My back has stopped hurting.
Its amazing. I was beginning to think that all of my problems and aches and pains were just a part of getting a wee bit older and it was something that I was just going to have to accept.

Oh well, if I don't win enough $$ to be independently wealthy (unlikely given my reluctance to gamble) then I will probably have to return to that God forsaken job in a week. Of course, there is always the possibility that I will run away from home and stay in Vegas.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paranormal Activity

Bruce spent the weekend with the guys down at the river, and Jessica came up here on Saturday to spend the night. Its funny how we were both "under the weather" a little bit and didn't feel like doing any of the things we had planned. She didn't get here until about 5pm because she was trying to nap and get rid of some kind of queasy-feeling bug. I was nursing a serious sinus headache. What a bunch of whining babies...HA. But I am glad she did make it eventually. We decided to go get take out (Olive Garden,,,yum), and rent a movie. In keeping with the Halloween season, we chose "Paranormal Activity", which I had seen before but she hadn't. I wanted to see it again since the new one has just come out in theaters, and my niece, Sydney reports that it rates right up at the top of movies that will scare the daylights out of you.

So, this movie sounds so bland and so boring if you try to describe it. Its a young couple, in a regular house (not your huge haunted mansion) and they set up a video camera to try and capture footage of some strange things that are going on in their home. Its not bloody, or overly violent throughout the movie. Instead it plays on your sense of vulnerability while you are sleeping and defenseless. It has an astronomically high "CREEP" factor. The one scene that gets to me for some reason is how the camera captures the girl getting out of bed and then just standing by the bedside with this blank, zombie-like expression for several hours. The counter on the video tape shows that it went on for 2 or 3 hours. Just standing there, while her boyfriend is asleep and totally unaware until he watches the play-back. I have NO idea why that scared me so much, but it made me instantly suspicious that Bruce might just be spending hours every night standing by my side of the bed while I am asleep. LOL. And IF I ever woke up to see that......yeah, it would definitely creep me out.

Anyway, I found that movie to be scary and there is NO way I would have watched it by myself, alone in this house. LOL. But now I am caught up on it and ready to go see the second part. Maybe we can catch it while we are in Vegas. Its definitely a good choice for Halloween.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fridge

Our new refrigerator was delivered today. Can you say HOORAY! They also hauled the old one away to be recycled, and I am so happy to NOT have a fridge in the dining room. But anyway, its big and pretty and unfortunately quite empty at the moment. I wasn't buying too many groceries with the other one threatening to die at any moment.
One thing that surprised me....magnets don't stick to stainless steel. LOL. I had no idea. I'm not disappointed about that though. It will help keep things neat and tidy without a million little bits and pieces stuck all over the fridge doors. Its funny how your eyes get used to something like that and you don't even "see" the chaos. But when its gone, and things are clean and stream-lined, you wonder how you ever lived with such a mess. I won't miss the clutter stuck to my doors for sure.

So, Bruce's friend Jeff (from Seattle) is here in NC for a visit. The guys are all having a "MAN weekend" down at the river. I probably don't even want to know whats going on down there right now. LOL. Meanwhile, Jessica is coming here tomorrow for a "girl's weekend". I am not sure what we will do. Maybe shopping, maybe a movie, and definitely dinner out somewhere. She is spending the night to get away from the overload of testosterone at their house. Sunday we are all congregating at the river for a seafood feast to say good-bye to Jeff until we see him again. My contribution is going to be twice-baked potatoes. Yum. I love them and yet won't make them very often due to the high butter, sour cream, and cheese content. Haha. Delicious but deadly. I can feel my arteries clogging just thinking about them.

And then....Vegas on Wednesday. Yay! I am getting excited. We have lakeview rooms at the Bellagio, tickets to the big Halloween celebration at Fright Dome, tickets to see "O", and Penn and Teller. And reservations for Emeril's restaurant, Table 10 for one night. I forget which night that is......but I am really looking forward to it.
Now if luck will just smile on me and let me win some huge jackpot so I can retire and spend my time traveling and lavishing gifts on my family. It won't be easy, seeing as how I only tend to play quarter slots and even do that sparingly. I don't mind blowing about 20$ at a sitting. I figure the entertainment and free drinks make it worth at least that. But much beyond that? Probably is not going to happen.

Also, send some good happy vibes to Erica for the first part of this coming week. She is going to spend a couple of days at NIH in DC doing some interviews and a brief presentation of her work (which was so not cooperating when I talked to her earlier this week. She sounded really frustrated because she had a firm deadline for this). I haven't heard an update from the work front. She did send me a brief email just to let me know she was alive but swamped. So.....I wish her luck. She seems to think that working for the NIH after graduation would be something she would like to do. I hope it all goes well for her.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Set to Defrost

I have spent a good portion of my day switching our meager food supplies between fridges. Our new one is set to be here on Friday. We moved the old one into the dining room temporarily so as not to have to slide it across our new flooring. It began to die almost immediately, so I was trying to save as much as I could by stuffing it into that little dorm fridge that we use for drinks. When Bruce got home from work, he managed to track the problem to a stray piece of cardboard that was hanging the fan up. Once he pulled that out from underneath it, it started working again. Still....we lost some food. Its wasteful, but I couldn't help it. I am going to hold off shopping for too much until the new fridge is here. I don't want to go through a day long shuffle-fest again. Our pantry is still not painted, so the shelves are down. All of that food is spread out on the dining table that is sitting in Stephen's room until we are finished enough to put the kitchen back together. I am not shopping for much until I can put it all away in its proper place. We are living in a little slice of chaos right now, but it is slowly coming together. If I wasn't stuck in the darn boot-thing or if Bruce was able to take a couple of days off....we could easily finish this up. Oh well.....it will happen eventually.

So, Bruce just finished watching a Starz original show called "Spartacus". I watch very little of what he orders from Netflix. I am not a real "movie" person for whatever reason. I would rather watch episodes of House Hunters, or Design shows on HGTV than sit through a 2 hour block of fiction. Some movies hold my attention enough to be worth it, but it has to be interesting or I am going to pick up my laptop and see whats going on on Facebook. But Spartacus was actually pretty decent.
It was well done, characters well developed. The plot was engaging through out all of the many episodes that we watched. The one complaint I had was that it was so bloody and gory. What is with that? Every single thing we watch has violence and blood and guts. I have to look away because I feel my flesh crawl with revulsion. And I love horror movies, you know? Like I enjoy being scared, but the best ones have implied violence. Not a bloodbath laid out with no subtlety whatsoever. That part of Spartacus disappointed me. Not only was it one of the bloodiest things I have ever watched, but a lot of the scenes were done in slow motion so the blood splatters could be viewed in graphic detail. Why is that necessary? Oh well, we finished up that season of it. Maybe that was the end of it, I have no idea. I don't access our Netflix account so I don't really know whats on our list, whats coming next or anything else about it.

The boot!

I had another appointment with the podiatrist yesterday. She did an ultrasound and my ankle hasn't healed yet. Apparently thats not unusual as the achilles tendon heals very slowly. Honestly she could have skipped the ultrasound and just let me tell her its not right yet. LOL. She strongly recommended another couple of weeks in the boot. The alternative if I waltz off too quickly is an 8 week minimum stint in a full cast with crutches. She said its sometimes the only way. I am going to cooperate and comply in hopes of avoiding that at all costs.

So, 2 more weeks out of work....but the kicker is that in 1 week we have a trip to Las Vegas planned with our friends Chris and Jessica. This thing has been booked for months, my time off work approved way back in August.....so no matter what I am going to go. I am straining my brain to try and figure out a way to NOT drag the boot with me. I know you can buy these ankle support straps that are supposed to help with this injury. Would that work? Unfortunately its a week of a lot of walking. In the boot, my walking is not restricted. Neither is it painful. I am a bit slow and awkward, but thats it. Out of it....well having a small troll follow behind me and slice into the back of my ankle with a white hot sharp knife is what it feels like. Actually thats what it felt like. It is better now. Not completely but much better than it was. Maybe a troll with a plastic knife. LOL.

I don't know...I am so torn. I am scared to leave the boot home and get there and have this all flare up all over again. I am also scared of having to take this off and on through airport security. I do NOT want to end up in a cast and crutches, but neither do I want to go to shows and restaurants without cute shoes. Such a pain. I wasn't even considering that it would still be ongoing for this trip.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Good Friends

Good friends are priceless. Chris and Jessica spent the whole entire weekend (working 12 hours at a time) helping us install this kitchen floor. The guys did such a good job with the tricky cuts and oddly shaped areas. They worked so hard for so long but finally gave out around 7pm this evening. We have about half of the hallway and 2 closets left, but its 85% done and it looks good. Chris's skills as an engineer came in handy in calculating the best ways to lay it out. We owe them big time....and will make our services available next time they have a big project. I took pictures of the progress and will try to post some of those later. There is still a bit of painting to finish up and then we will tackle the problem of the countertops. Right now, we are all so tired that I don't even want to think about it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did you know?




Did you know that needing to paint the trim in your kitchen will cause your windowsills to be the ONLY place in the entire 3200 sq feet of house suitable for lounging and play? It renders all other furniture and expensive cat trees unusable, apparently. Go figure. A minute before this was taken I had all 4 cats lounging, parading and sitting on the long windowsill in the dining area. They got camera shy when I tried to get a picture of that though. I am an unpopular Mama today. I finally had to resort to locking them all up in 1 room with food, water, and a litter box long enough to paint and then let it dry (probably an hour and a half...?). Because you know they would absolutely die of starvation and dehydration in that amount of time.
I hope they forgive me because that was just the first coat. I'm gonna have to do it all over again....LOL.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poverty

Well, to add to my kitchen-remodel induced poverty, we went ahead and ordered the stainless Samsung fridge that I have had picked out for months now. Our fridge is still working, but its 16 years old and has seen much better days. Realizing it might not last much longer we have been out looking at options. I fell for this one mainly due to its interior layout. Its not the french door design. I am not really sure I like that pull out freezer drawer thing. I have looked at them and opened them and tried to imagine myself adjusting to it, but I just don't think I can.

This one is a side by side, with ice and water in the door (gotta have that). But it has a space saver ice maker in the door which frees up a lot of shelf space in the freezer. That was its selling point to me. I also like how it gives you options to adjust shelves and drawers easily. I haven't found another one that I liked more and am excited. It will be here next week, but we have delayed delivery until we get back from Las Vegas....so I have to wait until Nov. 2nd to get my hands on my new toy.

We also looked at stainless induction ranges. These things promise to boil water on the flat cooktop in 90 seconds. Wow. We waivered and almost.....seriously almost...got one of those too. But then I decided to do a little bit of research on them first. I think we can wait on that a little while. My range (glass top) is working fine for the moment. And while these induction ranges are seeming to get great reviews, they are so new to the market that they are really pricey. The prediction is that they will be more common and more popular and more available within the next year or so and then it might be something to consider. Prices are almost guaranteed to drop into a more reasonable range. Hopefully.

Its been a learning experience, having not paid attention to any of this stuff for years. Appliances, colors, finishes....all of these things have changed a whole LOT since we went through all of this back in the early '90s.

Keeping to a Minimum

I am trying to keep my whining to a minimum. Because seriously? Even though I haven't slept much, feel jittery, hungry, and can barely focus my eyes....The soreness and the swelling are quite a bit better already. I feel fairly confident that this is going to heal up fine without resorting to other treatments. Even after letting it go on for far too long. I guess it is all going to be ok.

We have another company coming out to measure our kitchen in about an hour or so. We have done a lot more research of whats out there, and believe it or not (I had to see it to believe it, multiple times) they are making some amazingly REAL looking vinyl planking. It comes in strips that lock together (with glue tabs) and goes down almost just like laminate. Its considered a "floating floor" just like Pergo. Its more flexible, more durable, more feet-friendly, and definitely more waterproof. I think I might like it. It is more expensive than laminate though. If you go with one of the better brands like Congoleum, or Armstrong.

We picked a beautiful pattern out in Home Depot and came home to research it before committing to anything. Thank God and all things Holy for the internet. How did we manage before it? As good as the stuff looked, and as reasonable as the price was it got such a mixed bag of reviews that we made the decision that it was NOT for us. It is called "Allure" and is manufactured in China. 50% of the reviewers LOVED it. The other 50% had horrible problems. Things like the adhesive being defective and not sticking. Or the most scary...some people said it emitted toxic fumes that literally made people sick. And it didn't dissipate over time, either. One woman was still suffering it a year and a half later because she couldn't afford to replace it. All vinyl is going to have that new vinyl smell for a few days, but if it goes on for more than a week then something is wrong. If the Chinese can put dangerous melamine in our beloved pet's foods....who knows what is in that flooring. It seems to be a 50-50 gamble as to whether you get a "good" batch or an evil one. Its not worth the risk.

The more expensive and better known brands all have gotten rave reviews. I think we can go with this stuff with confidence. It is so pretty. One other thing though.....do you know how fast money disappears when you are doing remodeling? Geez! We painted, needed a new floor, then decided our light fixtures were crap, so we have replaced those. Now I am no longer sure I can live with the countertops or sink, so we are heading out to look at those after the floor measuring people are finished. And that is just the kitchen!! We need paint, new carpet and light fixtures ALL over the house. And new den furniture as well. I can only hope I win the lottery in the near future. I don't actually buy tickets so that seems a bit unlikely....damn it. Maybe I will put one of those paypal donation buttons on my facebook page and beg for people to help me fund my projects. LOL. Think that will work? If you are so inclined to send us cash, please go right ahead. Its not necessary to wait for me to get the donation button installed. I accept cash and checks, too. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 2

Its the 2nd day of a 10 day round of prednisone. I can't tell you how bad I hate this stuff. I feel so jittery that I am jumping out of my skin. I am really tired but can't sleep. I am having trouble keeping a coherent train of thought. And the hunger is starting to make its presence known. I am starving, even after having a reasonable dinner and then a snack of grapes just a little while ago. At the same time, my stomach hurts. How can I have a stomach ache and STILL be hungry? It should be impossible, but its happening right now. Also? I'm getting that strange blurred vision. That doesn't describe it exactly, its more like eye strain that makes it feel difficult to focus my eyes properly.
Ok, I will try to shut up with the whining now. Its only 10 days, and I know from previous experience that while the side effects SUCK, this stuff does work for the purpose of relieving inflammation. I can do this. I may not like it but I will live.
I may not be blogging a whole lot if I keep having trouble seeing....that unpleasant part of it goes away pretty quickly after the course of the drug is finished. I just hate it so bad. I almost panic whenever I hear a Dr. start to prescribe it for me. Not that I have taken it a lot, but this is probably the 3rd time around. The first was for a sinus infection that would NOT go away (it worked). The 2nd was for back pain that hit right around the time that Stephen graduated from ASU (I was on pain meds, muscle relaxants, and prednisone just to make it there. The 5 hour drive was awful, it hurt to sit for long at a time. But again, it worked). And now this round for the ankle thing. Blech. But it will be worth it in the end....right?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day of the Doc (or just shoot me now)

I called in sick yesterday to go see my regular Dr. because my lower back has been bothering me (again). I have some very common degeneration of the lower vertebrae....which most people over 40 have to some extent. It flares up every now and then, but generally a few days of rest and a course of prescription anti-inflammatory meds will beat it back into submission. I've gotten used to the drill....at least twice a year or so. Whatever. I can deal with it.

So, I got there at 8am and sat in the waiting room for 2 hours. Ugh. Then I sat back in the exam room for another looonnnggg time. I didn't check the time because it was making me too antsy. My doc comes in, and somehow over the course of asking me questions like "does it hurt more to sit or to stand, yadda yadda...." I made mention of the fact that I was having some problem with my ankle too. Actually I have been having a problem for months. I have sharp pain in the bottom of my heel all around the back of my ankle and part way up my calf. It comes and it goes. Ibuprofen seemed to take care of it and although my family has heard me complain (a LOT), I didn't think it was anything much. My back hurt far worse than my ankle, so I almost didn't even mention it.

The doc fixated on my ankle. She keep palpatating it, and making a concerned face and finally decided that she felt a cyst of some kind. She told me to wait a minute because she wanted to get me an appointment with a podiatrist "Today!". And she did.
So I left with my usual prescripts for my back and feeling a little scared. I overheard the phone conversation and I heard my doc say, "No I want her seen TODAY".

Anyway, I had a late afternoon appointment with the podiatrist. I was nervous and had no idea what to expect. After the way my doc sounded I was worried about amputation or something. Not really but I was uneasy. They took a million xrays of both of my feet. The appointment took forever, which made me unusually antsy because Erica was driving home. She came home to an empty house (inexcusable) because Bruce went with me. Mainly because my doctor said that they might do some kind of needle/draining thing if it was just a normal cyst. I didn't like the sound of that. But anyway....it took an eternity. I have some pretty bad inflammation of the achilles tendon in my right ankle causing a big mass of swelling, (but no cyst...yay). Apparently you need to address this quickly because it can cause a rupture. That tendon takes the most abuse of all the ones in your body. Its important if you want to walk. I wasn't doing myself any favors by letting it go on for so long. I also have the same thing in my left ankle only not as severe yet. Also? I have arthritis in the big toe on my right foot. LOL.....didn't need or want to know that.

They put me on the most dreaded of all medications: steriods. Hate them passionately! I get jittery, can't sleep and can NOT stop eating for the entire course of the meds. But its necessary. They also put me into this temporary cast/boot-like thing for ten days. It is both HUGE and UGLY. It looks like a ski boot, sort of. It velcros up and then you have a valve that you pump the insides up to conform tightly to your foot and ankle. I hate it. I also have a lighter one that is no-less obtrusive and ugly that I have to sleep in. What the heck? I just wanted a break from this back pain!!!

Anyway, Erica made it home safely. She and Bruce have mocked my ugly boot plenty.
And if anything good comes from this I have to take 10 days off of work....so....between that, the muscle relaxants AND the steriods, I should be healed and pain-free before I go back to work. And that will be a very good thing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's a bust

Well, its back to square one as far as the kitchen floor goes. The installation guy came out today to measure and determined that we have too many spots that are not quite level enough to make the pergo laminate feasible. It is too rigid, and would likely snap at the high spots eventually. Oh he will install it if I really want it but he won't guarantee it. So that pretty much makes it out of the question. It also takes hardwood, and tile out of the equation too. Apparently its not all that uncommon of a problem especially in older homes.

We could attempt to level the floor, but that is going to be expensive, under the house, mess around with the foundation kinds of stuff. Not worth it to me. So....that leaves basically one option: vinyl. At least there are a lot more options in vinyl nowadays. We saw some vinyl planking that looks amazingly like real wood. It has gotten good reviews online too. I checked. And there are lots of vinyl tile patterns.
So, we will see. We headed out to Lowes and Home Depot as soon as we got the bad news and we saw some things that we could live with. Nothing grabbed us quite like the Newland Oak pattern in Pergo though. Oh well. Its a set-back but its not the end of the world. We just need to make a decision soon. We have no furniture in our kitchen since it was in our way for painting and we were planning to have the floor installed within a week. It is all piled up in Stephen's room right now.

We hope to have some time to go look around at some of the flooring specialty shops to make sure we get a look at all the choices before we commit to anything.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Give and Take (mostly take) :)

We had to go shopping this afternoon. We have decided to go (almost) all out and redo light fixtures and the faucet and stuff while we are doing the kitchen. I say "almost" because the one thing we aren't doing is the countertops. We may eventually, but for now the old ones will just have to suffice. We have been looking at light fixtures, and ceiling fans for a while now without finding anything we really liked. We went to a specialty lighting store today and then to Home Depot and to Lowe's. It made for a really long day. But we were successful. We were in Home Depot, finding some things that we liked. We had them all piled up in the cart (ceiling fan, and 2 new light fixtures) when Bruce stopped to look at the under-counter lighting. My old fluorescents have seen better days. When we turned around to shop some more, our cart was gone. We walked around peeking down a couple of aisles, and we found an employee restocking our stuff. LOL. Bruce was like "Noooooo.....we want to buy that stuff!" The guy was nice and we all had a good laugh about it. One of the fixtures had been up really high and we had to wait on a guy with a ladder to retrieve it for us. We didn't want to have to wait on that again.

But later, after more shopping at lowe's where Bruce found the right length of LED under the counter lights finally, we were so tired and so hungry that we just went across the parking lot to Pizza Inn. We haven't eaten at a Pizza Inn since the kids were little. But we remembered they had a decent buffet....and it was pretty good.
Not great, or excellent but we were so hungry that it was satisfying. Bruce had eaten half his salad, set it aside to have a slice of pizza, and when he set it back on his empty plate to finish it, the waitress just breezed by and whisked it and the empty pizza plate away right under his nose. HAHA. We had a good laugh about that. Apparently its just the day for people to take our stuff away. No harm done, there was more salad at the salad bar. It was just so funny to see him poised to eat it and then it was just gone.

So about all the home improvement stuff....we remodeled this house back in 1994. Everything in it was new. But now, its all aging and needing to be replaced at the same time, it seems like. Appliances are dying right and left. The fixtures are all so outdated. Bright shiny brass was the choice of metal finishes back in the early 90's. Now, not so much. In fact, given the fact that our shower doors are trimmed in yellow brass, and our bathroom faucets....we were thinking we would need to go with that again. The lighting bars above the mirrors are in crappy shape. But right now you can hardly find brass even if you wanted it. Which I don't. Not really. But since we are doing this updating a little at a time, it is going to mean a hodge-podge of finishes for a while. Brass shower trim with brushed nickel faucets and stuff like that. We are going with chrome finishes in the kitchen this time around. The only thing that bothers me, even more than mismatched metals, is how no matter what I pick, it will be out of date long before the things wear out. Oh well.

Speaking of faucets, we didn't buy it yet because we were overwhelmed by all the choices to be made today, but I am in love with the Delta faucets that have the pull down nozzle with the high-powered magnet. Bruce was kind of digging the one that you can turn off and on with just a touch anywhere on the spout, but those were really pricey. It just looks like something made to break to me. We looked at Moen's and Kohlers and a million other brands, but Delta is the only one with magna-tite to hold it in place. I think I am going to have to go with a Delta.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's Child is full of woe

Monday again. And I swear there are more Mondays than any other day of the week. How does that happen? We spent our whole weekend painting the kitchen. Its not done yet. The walls and ceiling are done, but we still have all of the trim to paint. Time just ran out on us. Hopefully we can get that finished up this week and then get the floor in. We are still waiting on the call for the installation. Should be soon though.

Tomorrow we are supposed to have sunshine. I am not sure I will recognize it when I see it. Torrential rain last week gave way to drizzly gray days even through today.
Luckily we haven't been affected by the flooding here. Bertie County has been hit pretty hard though. I feel for them. But I am also absolutely thrilled that we managed to escape going through that again in this town.

So, its October and I should have already dragged out my ton of Halloween decorations, but I don't think I will. It makes me a little sad not to decorate but things are too busy and we aren't going to be home. I don't know...maybe I will drag out a little bit of stuff. It wouldn't seem right not to. Am I really getting too old and tired to enjoy playing with all of my holiday toys? Say it isn't so....

Anyway, nothing much is going on. Well, lots is going on but not much of it is blog-worthy. I can only say so much about painting my kitchen....LOL. Its just not that exciting. I'm tired, maybe even heading to bed early tonight. Right now I have a snuggly little kitty beside me so I don't want to get up and disturb her. She is sleeping so soundly. Wish I was too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Too Much going on around here.....

I haven't written in a long time, but we have been so busy. The new front loading washer/dryer showed up on schedule (whew). The delivery guys brought them in, set them up, ran a test run, and hauled away the old dryer. Bruce had already taken the broken washer to the white goods recycle bin at our recycling center. So far I really like them. The washer takes quite a bit longer to run a full cycle, but the clothes come out so dry and fluffy that the dryer cycle is really short. I was able to do laundry and have clean clothes for my trip to Indiana.

So, I had a whole lot of fun visiting the kids in Lafayette. We crammed a whole lot into 2 and a half days. We ate out a LOT, because we were trying places out. My favorite turned out to be this little shop on Main St. called the Wine and Cheese Cellar. We went there for lunch. I had a mandarin orange/toasted almond chicken salad sandwich and a bowl of 4 cheese soup....it was so delicious that I crave that chicken salad, and am sad I can't have it more often. I loved the kids' new house, and the town, and the way they can walk to pretty much everything except Target and the Post office and those necessary places on the main drag into town. Even that is a 5 minute car ride from their house. I posted pictures of the weekend on Facebook, so I won't do it again here.

Then the trip home....it was kind of ugly. We were flying into the rain and bad weather on the east coast, so the first leg of the trip from Indianapolis to Charlotte had so much turbulence that it scared me. The flight attendants stayed strapped in and couldn't even offer beverage service. Then when we got into Charlotte it was a mess. Flights were delayed, a lot of them were cancelled. I had to wait about 2 hours longer than planned, but at least I made it home. I was tired and hungry, and I paid 13 dollars for a sandwich, drink, and a small bag of chips. It always kind of ticks me off....they have you stranded and your hands tied. Its not like I had the option to go anyplace else. So I paid it and I ate it and while it was just "ok" (nothing like my 6 dollar delicious chicken salad...LOL) at least I wasn't hungry anymore.

Of course, seeing the kids just made me miss them all over again when I had to leave.
And something about that arduous trip home made me realize just how freaking far away they are. I had such a good time, but then had a mini-depression again when it was over. I guess. I felt really sad and overly emotional. But I think I am ok now. This week was way too busy to have time for tears.

The rest of the week was a blur. We had torrential rain for days. Roads were flooding, school was cancelled....it was a real pain in the rear. But it has finally cleared off for the weekend. Bruce and I are busy painting the kitchen. We have the people coming out to measure for the new kitchen floor next week, and we want all of the messy painting to be done before that floor goes in. It hasn't been exactly FUN, but it is necessary and I have been dying to get this done for a long time.

So, that's where I've been. We are going to get the painting finished up and then are hoping that Erica can come home for a visit next weekend. She hasn't been able to confirm it for sure, but we both need/want some new fall clothes and IF she does make it, we are going to take long "shop till you drop" day in Raleigh to hopefully find some pretty things. I want a new dress to take to Vegas at the end of the month. I know what I want, but finding it is not as easy as it sounds. I want it to be simple enough to dress up or down, depending on where I need to go. And I want it to be travel-friendly and wrinkle-free, like a jersey knit...maybe a wrap dress. I've looked all over this town, and haven't found anything that even comes close, so....? If Erica can't make it, I doubt I will make the trip to Raleigh by myself. I might resort to ordering something online. But we will see.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Laundry Day

So, I told you our washer died on Sunday. We have ordered a replacement, a front loading machine WITH the matching dryer. My dryer was still functional, but like I pointed out to Bruce, it is 16 years old. I really wanted the matching set. In the end, Bruce gave in and ordered both of them. They will be delivered tomorrow evening, and I am actually excited to do laundry again. How weird is that? Its kind of piling up right now, so either a washer shows up tomorrow, or I will be heading for a laundromat. Blah.....lets hope it doesn't come to that.

On another laundry related note.....I am having the worst kind of trouble ironing any piece of clothing here lately. Itty Bitty kitty just wants to help me so bad. She pulls the stuff off of the ironing board from the floor, tries to play with the iron cord, and when all else fails to get a rise out of me, she jumps up on the counter and tries to walk up and down the ironing board. Bruce wears a lot of cotton button-down shirts that just have to be ironed, and I am sneaking around the house trying to iron a shirt or 2 whenever I see Itty Bitty taking a nap. I'm all like "Shhhhh.....don't wake her so I can iron". LOL. When things get desperate and Bruce is about to run out of shirts, I will just close the laundry room door to iron a few pieces, but that's where the main litter box is, so the door can only stay closed for so long.

Anyway 2 more days until I head to Indiana. I am so ready to see Hannia and Stephen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let's try again

I am feeling better. I think. At least we had a good time at the beach for my birthday. It was the first time that we left the cats alone overnight, but they were fine. I am trying to decide just how long I would be willing to leave without a pet sitter. 2 nights maximum maybe? I don't know. 3 nights may be pushing it, if not for the food (I can leave plenty of dry food down and they really don't eat any more than usual just because its there), but the litter box may not be able to go more than a couple of days without attention. I scoop twice a day when we are here, and I really don't want to test out just how long is too long. I don't want to ruin our perfect track record of never having an accident to clean up. I did buy this really neat little gadget for litter though. Its called a litter locker, and its basically a diaper genie for cat litter. You scoop the used litter into the gadget and turn a handle and it gets locked away in a microban plastic bag with no mess or odor. I bought one, used it for a week and have ordered a second one because we have litter boxes in 2 locations now with our pride of kitties. This thing is really helpful. I can't say enough good things about it.

Bruce got up Friday with this red spotty rash all over his torso. It doesn't itch, and we went ahead on to Atlantic beach. But it was worse this morning. He decided to go to the doc. The only med center open on Sunday here is Med Direct which is an extention of our ER. He was there forever. It was so busy that they sent him over to the ER just because they were so far behind. I almost had a heart attack when he called to say he was on his way to the ER though. He sat in the ER for another eternity. He did see an intern, who said it looked like a viral thing. He didn't think it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (our biggest fear) because that generally presents with a sudden high fever and flu-like symptoms. Bruce feels fine, other than the rash. They wanted him to wait for the resident Doc to take a look, but after waiting another hour or more for that to happen, Bruce got completely fed up and walked out. Just like that. I can't say that I blame him. It's ridiculous how long they keep people waiting for treatment sometimes. If I didn't feel pretty certain that I was about to die, I would walk out too. So, we will see. If it keeps hanging around maybe he will go see our regular doctor this week. The one thing we did determine is that I changed soaps this past week, so I guess it could be an allergic reaction. I went out and picked up some of our regular kind just to be safe.

Our washer died tragically today. We heard a loud squealing sound and I walked in to water leaking out on the floor. We are going to have to shop and buy one quickly, because I head up to visit Stephen and Hannia this weekend (I am so excited. I can't wait to see their new home and town!!!) and I really would like clean clothes to take on my trip.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A break

I am taking a break from the blog for a while. Hopefully not for too long, but for a bit. We lost Shep this past Monday. It was sudden, it was unexpected, and it was heartbreaking. And Erica....? Erica loved that dog. I think I have cried as many tears for her as I have for our loss. Sadness is exhausting business. I am ready for some happier times. It seems like its overdue.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day



Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Battening down the hatches.....

We really hope that Earl will just go away. Unfortunately, the news tonight seems to be bringing it a little more westward, right at us. We are as prepared as is possible.
We have food, water, pet food and supplies, medications and all to last us at least a week or so. Chris and Jessica may come up and stay with us if things get too crazy.
They live down on the waterfront in Bath....and that looks like it may take an ugly hit, but who knows? When I got home from work today, the weather reports made it sound like it was going to stay far enough east that we might not get much more than rain and a little wind. Now its heading more inland and has intensified to a category 4 again....my guess is that we won't know until it gets here. To all my friends and family out here in eastern NC, good luck. Stay safe. And keep in touch so we know that everybody is alright.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Not much

Not much is going on around here. I worked Sat. but will get time off on Monday (today). I might take Tuesday off, too only because I am having issues with lower back pain (again). It just flares up every now and then. I am trying to avoid seeing the Doc because I know what he will do. A course of steroids/prednisone which does horrible things to me (although it DOES tend to heal up the back pain pretty quickly). And a week or so off of work, which although that does sound tempting, I am trying to save up enough days to have some time off at Christmas when the kids will be here.
Anyway, if I take it easy for a few days, sometimes that will do the trick. Wish me luck.

I keep having this reoccurring dream. Not the exact dream per se, but the same theme over and over again lately. It has to do with my not taking care of something important. Like over the weekend, I dreamed that I took Itty Bitty aka Clover to work with me. And she liked it there, everybody was happy to have an office cat. But suddenly after she had been there for who knows how many days, I realized that she hadn't been fed anything at all. I was desperately trying to find something in the break room vending machine that a cat could eat. ??? And last night, I was vacationing at a lake house, having a grand old time....when it dawned on me that I was taking care of a friend's baby (noone in particular that I remember....) and that I had left him/her in the boathouse on the water for days and days without food. The baby was still alive, but very weak, and I was rushing around trying to find something to feed it. What in the world does all of this mean? It's not like our pets would even allow me to forget to feed them. LOL. Within a half hour of missing the regular feeding schedule, they go crazy in a relentless kind of way. I experience it every single weekend when I try to sleep in for just a little bit.

You know how I have this Barbie fixation recently? And how I want to have clothes for all the holidays? Well, such things aren't easy to come by and if and when you do find them, they can be expensive. I decided to try my hand at making Barbie clothes myself. Here is a pic of my first attempt. I bought a pattern and some really cheap bargain basement fabric, just in case it turned out that I couldn't do it. My sewing skills are limited and lame. I did this one entirely by hand just to get a good feel for how it all went together before I drag out the machine. The sewing machine scares me a little. Maybe with more practice I can get better at this. The bodice isn't quite tight enough, and its a little too long. The inside seams are ragged and unfinished, but I was just trying to get it together to see if I was doing it right. It turned out OK. I can do better next go round. And I might splurge on better fabric. Seriously, it takes such a tiny bit to make an outfit...LOL. I did go metal snaps like the vintage pieces instead of velcro. I just like the way it looks with the snaps. So....I am heading to the fabric store again today to find more Halloween fabric to try a 2nd dress. I want something a little more formal, so I am hoping to find some satin in black and orange. Its a new hobby, so get over my playing with dolls at my ripe old age....LOL!

Happy Birthday




In case you didn't know, its Barbara's birthday today. Happy Birthday Barb, from both of us. I hope you are having a nice birthday weekend, and got a chance to celebrate.
And cake....I really do hope there is cake involved in some part of your day. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Solved!!!

Thanks for the suggestion of the Kirby, Annabel. But last night, Bruce started thinking about it and remembered that we bought some extended coverage on that vacuum. He is pretty organized with receipts, so he dug it out and he was right. We have coverage. For 4 years!!! The vacuum is only 2 years old. I spent today dreading that Best Buy (where we bought it) was going to want to send it off for repair. I mean seriously, in a pet-filled household we can't go without a vacuum for very long. But luckily they just completely replaced it!!! Bissell no longer makes the model that I have (wonder why? LOL), so Bruce got to pick out something similar. He ended up with the pet-version of the Hoover. I have no idea how long it will hold up, but right now it works great. Also, its much lighter and practically silent (at least compared to the jet engine other one). The animals might not run away in fear for their lives. The best part though is that it was FREE. You can't beat that, so we are going to see how this turns out. I am so happy to be rid of that heinous beast!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The vacuum saga....

A couple of years ago, our little red upright Dirt Devil vacuum just wasn't able to keep up with the collection of dog hair that we had going on around here. Well, back then we had 4 dogs living most of the time indoors. So, we passed that one on to Stephen and Hannia, figuring it would still be fine in a household without pets. And I was lured into buying the Bissell "Pet Hair Eraser" after seeing those seductive commercials of how easy breezy life would be if everybody had one. I think it lied.

Well, at first it did just fine. It was a huge step up from the struggling little Dirt Devil, so I was pleased. But after about 6 months or so it started to show its true colors. It is louder than a jet engine on take off. It eats belts way too frequently. It clogs. It just plain out acts ugly and stupid and I keep wondering why in heck I ever wanted the thing in the first place???? My advice? Do NOT buy one. You will end up hating it.

So, today I got a note from Ana, the woman who cleans house for us. She always leaves me a note to tell me if we need anything as far as cleaners go....and tells me how the cats behaved (they play with the mop and broom and dustrags and make cleaning somewhat ...um....difficult, until the loud vacuum is turned on and then they hide). She said that the hateful vacuum is acting ugly again. And she doesn't think its the belt. It seems to be the beater brush not turning properly and it is burning up the belt. Sigh. She said she had a hard time finishing up, but bless her heart, the house was really clean, so she must have struggled through with that damnable beast.

Tonight, she sent me a picture of the vacuum she prefers to work with....LOL. She likes a Dirt Devil canister vacuum. Its not terribly expensive. She says it is light, easy to operate and simple enough to not have many problems. I don't know....do any of you use a canister vac? We had one a long, long time ago and all I remember is the hose clogging on a regular basis. Of course, back in those days we had small children who stepped on the hose and smashed it out of shape, and left tiny little toys and game pieces to get sucked up and stuck. Maybe one might be ok now?
We would prefer that a vacuum last longer than this one did, and Bruce keeps fixing it, replacing the belts and so forth trying to keep it alive. But honestly, I can't just whip out the vacuum and do a quick touch up if company is coming over because every single time this bitch requires some kind of adjusting or cleaning or belt replacing just to do a small job. I don't really care anymore how much we paid for it, or how long it lasted or anything else. I am just ready for it to die. I really have come to have a deep-seated hatred for it.

So, send me some thoughts on what vacuum you use or prefer. Unless of course you are using some ultra expensive system like a rainbow or Dyson. I probably won't spend an exorbitant amount of money on what we buy just in case, you know, it starts to suck. Or in this case, refuses to suck....LOL.

Also? The little red Dirt Devil got left behind for the tenant that moves into Stephen and Hannia's old apartment. It made it through a couple of more years ok, but was on its last leg. It just wasn't worth moving. Bruce bought them a new one when they got to Lafayette. But I do have to say, even though it was relatively inexpensive, it lasted longer than the Pet Hair Eraser did....by quite a few years.

And on another, non-vacuum related note...Bruce took our kitten to the vet today for her shots. She is 3 months old, and we are running a bit behind. Our vet recommends starting shots at 2 months, but with all the moving and stuff, it just didn't happen. She stays indoors though so its not like she was in danger of getting rabies...haha. But they set up her folder for a medical record and asked for her name. Bruce listed her as "Itty Bitty"...LOL!!!! Her name was technically Clover, supposedly. But we never call her anything but Itty Bitty, because she is the itty bitty baby. And now? Now I think its official. I am still going to consider that Clover is at least part of her name. Itty Bitty Clover, maybe? Poor thing....just watch her turn out to be the biggest cat we have and still have to bear the name Itty Bitty.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Second childhood? Probably....

I must be going through a second childhood. Or else I am insane...take your pick. Either would probably apply. But I have decided that I just HAVE to have Barbie dolls again. I was browsing on ebay, and while I have no idea why I was in the Barbie section, I spotted it. The exact doll case that I had as a child, circa 1968. I had completely forgotten that case, a double one that held 2 dolls, had a nice closet space with a hanging bar, a pink accessory storage area, and 2 large pockets for other Barbie trinkets complete with garish mod graphic flowers. Oh how I loved that thing. I got so excited that I sat up late into the night checking these things out. They are plentiful, but ones in decent condition....hard to come by. Still, the prices aren't out of the question. You can find ones that are not so perfect for under $10. Good condition is anywhere between $20 -30. I haven't placed a bid on one, but I will, I SO will, (even though I told Erica I was going to force myself to be content to look). I am just waiting and biding my time to see if one in mint condition surfaces. Lots of the cases, and there were several different styles almost every year seem to have a few here and there in mint condition.

I also found my Barbie Lively Livin' house, circa 1970, and again....if I find one that is in good shape with no missing parts, it just might end up being mine. LOL. I can't tell you how joyous I have felt reliving those memories of my favorite toy.
Because Barbie? She was my obsession as a child. None of my Barbie things survived, sadly enough. I have no idea what my Mom did with all of it, but I don't have it. That makes me a little sad, but thanks to ebay apparently I can own it all over again.

I do have the orginal Holiday Barbie from 1988. Lila gave her to me for Christmas that year, and opening up that doll made me so happy. I have been holding on to her all this time for collectors' value, but I found out something else in my recent Barbie research....the Holiday Barbies aren't commanding much of a price in the collector's market now. Part of it is due to the fact that so many of them were produced and purchased. Part of it is venue's like ebay that make these things so accessible for everybody. But the article I read attributed the main reason to the fact that most of these dolls were bought for collections. They were rarely played with. And a doll that wasn't played with does not hold the same emotional attachments as the ones that were childhood favorites. Nobody searches out a doll that sat in a box. Not like I have been searching hard for my favorite doll case and house. I totally understand that, too. I might even take Christmas barbie out of her box and just enjoy her now.

I do have one thing to confess....in all of my Barbie searching I found other holiday Barbies. Not Christmas, because we all know a new one comes out every year. But I found Halloween barbie (yes I bought it), and Easter barbie (I bought her too....well, it was a set of 3 Easter barbies so....). And then I found a woman who has an ebay store and makes Barbie clothes. Her stuff is pretty, but I am really dying to collect her holiday dresses. They were really reasonable, running around $10 per outfit, and some of them were really elaborate. I saw a Thanksgiving dress, Valentines gown, St. Patrick's day gown, and an adorable 4th of July outfit. She even had a gorgeous Mardi gras gown with a mask!!! I haven't bid on any of those, but we shall see. I don't think I want hundreds of Barbie's or even the clothes. But a few Barbie's with dresses for all the holidays? That would actually make me really happy. Oh, and a case to put it all in. And maybe a house so the Barbies have a place to live....HAHAHA. But that's it. And no Ken dolls. I had a couple of those, but his clothes were all so boring that he rarely got to play unless I was forcing him to marry Barbie so she could wear her wedding dress! Good times, I tell you. :)