Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Walking in the neighborhood

M and I took a long walk through the neighborhoods tonight and down to Baskin-Robbins for an ice cream dessert after dinner. It was (for a change) wonderfully dry and cool (relatively speaking). It was such a welcome relief that we just had to get outside. On our travels we spotted many, many beautiful yards, gardens and flowers in bloom.

I only had my camera phone on me, so the pictures aren't as clear as I would have liked. They're still pretty though, so I thought I'd share them with you. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dear Tshsmom...

In our first post on the kitchen remodel you said: "Hanging a range-hood is NOT me! Can't wait for the next installment!"

Well, the bastard is hung, after weeks of issues, pounds of sweat, and minor blood loss. I would have to say, "NOT fun" is a gross understatement and you REALLY should have warned us! *wagging finger*

This one corner of the kitchen was left undone in case we needed to get into the wall for the electric. Now we can finally finish the wall. The issues we encountered were: a microwave/fan combo will not fit, return that item. A simple hood fits, but will we be able to exhaust outside or go with self-venting?

After cleaning a wasp's nest out of the old vent and poison all over me, the existing vent was too far over to vent this fan. Okay, onto self-venting. We did all the prep on the fan and were ready to hook up the electric. We called over a friend who had done this before and none of the wires in that wall had power and he couldn't figure out the problem.

Next we called an electrician. The wiring in the wall was old and disconnected in the basement years ago, so we needed to run new lines. That done, now time to hang the bugger. No amount of measuring and placing the screws so we could simply slide it into place would work, so of course we'd have to do it the hard way and hold it in place while trying to put the screws in. The screws ended up being too short, the aluminum of the hood bent easy when trying to tighten the screws, and the screwdriver was too short to fit into the 2 inch area where the screws needed to be tightened on one side of the unit.

Next I made a trip to the hardware store for longer screws, wide washers, and a mega-long screwdriver, now onto installing. Taking two people to hold the monster in place while putting the screws in from underneath, and continually slicing my hands, knuckles and fingers on the sharp edges of the metal, the hood was finally firmly affixed to the cabinets above. Hooking up the wiring then took just seconds, and voila! It worked. Good thing too, otherwise it would have become a mangled projectile of aluminum as it flew through the kitchen window.

On a much cheerier note, I have begun to decorate the kitchen, hanging metal pieces to tie in with the iron drawer pulls and cabinet knobs.

Here are two cast iron trivets I hung on the side of a cabinet. They look much better here than hiding in a drawer. So we're down to 4 remaining items to finish in the kitchen, (1) touch-ups on the lights/ceiling, (2) install shoe molding, (3) install cabinets/crown molding on top, and (4) finally finish wall by stove. We already cut and painted the wall to the left of the stove and only need to put it in place. The wall behind the stove needs to be patched, then the overlay wall can go into place. At least the hardest work is now all behind us. *sigh*

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Naomi

Naomi's Here in the Hills birthday is Sunday. Be sure to stop by her blog and wish her a very happy birthday!

Here's my version of an electronic birthday greeting for her:

A little "Sir Paul" to get things started...

continuing the serenade, let's throw in a little musical kitty...

let's get out and about for a bit with a little tour of the South of France...

how about a tour of the museum

or better yet, take in a great show...

grab a delicious dinner after the show

I hope you have plenty of gifts to make you feel the excitement of a small child

and you can't have a birthday without a cake.

Hope you have a fabulous birthday Naomi!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy 75th Birthday Mom

Well we safely made it to Ohio and then back home. We spent the weekend with my mom, my sister D from Massachusetts, and my sister K who also lives in Ohio. My mom seemed like she had a really good time. She got gifts, gourmet cupcakes, a birthday cake, wine, a number of great dinners, a trip to the zoo, and the movies. It was a really full weekend for her.

Here we all are with my mom in the front (obviously), and in the back row from left to right is K, D, M and me. Very informative, I know. ;-)

This was my favorite shot of the whole weekend. Hope your weekend was great too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Road Trip

We're heading out for Ohio this weekend. We will be driving (8 1/2 hrs.) to go see my mother. It will be a mostly pretty drive after we get past the Baltimore / D.C. corridor. We will be driving through the hills of western Maryland, West Virginia, and a very tiny edge of SW Pennsylvania.

We are going to Ohio to celebrate my mom's 75th birthday with her on Saturday June 19th (Juneteenth for all you Texans). When I was talking on the phone today with my mother, my sister D, who lives in Massachusetts, showed up at her house as a surprise for her birthday. I was surprised too, she didn't tell anyone! So, until I get back next week, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How'd they do that?

Okay, I needed some comic relief. Yesterday I caught this young man doing his spoof of an Old Spice commercial on the Ellen show. He originally made the video for his mom for her birthday because she loved the original commercial so much. Here's the original commercial:

So more than likely you've seen this commercial before, it was aired during the Super Bowl. The actor's name is Isaiah Moustaffa, former NFL wide receiver, turned actor. His voice and delivery are amazing. So, I don't know if you're like me, but I wondered how they made this commercial. Was it one shot, were there computer special effects? The answer might surprise you.

Here's a guy who wondered the same thing and interviewed the creators to find out.

This was the follow-up commercial. Okay, back to work.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Wanna Join

Have you ever wondered what new recruits to extremist groups say to themselves when they're thinking about joining?

I wanna join a group that is threatened by little Girls getting an education. I wanna feel powerful by attacking children with poisonous gas.

I wanna be a powerful man who feels in charge when he beats women. I want to live a backwards life as if I were back in the 12th century and force others to live like this as well. I want to fill my heart with hate and spend my life killing those who don't agree with me.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I saw this story this morning, and it's disturbing, yes, but why does this continue, why can't some people evolve and move forward? What can we do for the young girls caught in this mess?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Friends In Town for a Visit

This is Swee and her children with my daughter, Mindy. Swee came to live with us way back in 1993-94, I can't remember the exact date. Mindy was 4 or 5, and Bobby was 1 or 2. They were the same ages as Swee's children are now. Swee made it possible for me, a then newly divorced single mom, to attend college. Swee stayed home with the kids in the early mornings while I attended classes and I came home at lunch so Swee could then go to class. It was an arrangement that worked out well for us for years. So now 17-18 years later,

Swee had to go to NY to take care of her passport and on the way back stopped in for a visit. I hadn't seen her family for 2-3 years, the last time I was in Arkansas. Her family was a delight. Her girls' names are Natalie,

and her twin sister Naomi, and then baby sister, Nasha. These girls were a bundle of energy, squealing, giggling, wriggling, and laughter. I spent about 7 hours with them the first day and the children never slowed down, not even for a moment. They were such a delight to be around.

Swee's husband, Edmond was also here to join in the fun of his lively family. We talked for hours and hours as if we'd never been apart. I am so grateful that Swee came into my life at such a crucial moment and made possible what was previously just a dream. I am even more grateful that we're still friends and that we had the opportunity to share a couple of days together, because who knows how many years until we can meet up again. Swee says probably 3 years since her husband has to do his passport in 3 years. :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kitchen Remodel - Part 6 - Before and After

To spare you any more waiting, here are the before and after shots. All the clutter is gone from the top of the cabinets, and we're just waiting for the other cabinets to be installed up to the ceiling. Click on the pictures to see them larger.

That box on the floor in front of the stove is the new range hood waiting to be installed. So, not finished, but you can see enough of it that the finishing touches won't change it too much. What do you think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kitchen Remodel - Part 5

So last we left you in the remodel process, the floors and counters were replaced, the cabinets had been sanded and painted, and two walls had some blue paint on them. We still had a long list of things to do. The cabinet doors had to be painted and re-hung, but incessant rain and wind were inhibiting our ability to paint them outside. We were still in search of a microwave hood combination to go above the stove. That didn't happen, not enough clearance, so now we have a simple range hood that is STILL waiting to be installed. We also had wallpaper to remove, more painting to do, and lots of molding to install.

So after way too many attempts at painting the doors, we finally got them done enough to re-hang. I've ended up doing touch-ups on each door a few times until I saw all the bad spots in different lighting. They are now done, re-hung, and looking pretty good.

So on to removing all the wallpaper. Have I mentioned how much I HATE removing wallpaper? Well M's heard it enough times that she removed it all herself.

Then after all the wallpaper was removed, she primed the walls.

But don't worry, I wasn't sitting idly by while she worked. I was removing the hideous and mostly non-working florescent lights in the kitchen. We had this little octagonal one that never did work, so one end of our kitchen was always dark. We would compensate for the lack of light by turning on the bathroom and dining room lights to brighten that end of the kitchen.

There is darkness no more! The old light came out without any trouble and the new one went in, all in a matter of about 10 minutes! This is a piece of cake! . . . . You know I had to have spoken too soon, right?

The next light fixture to remove was the really long, rectangular one. Okay, so it was much bigger and would need a couple of people to remove it, no problem. Um, that was before we discovered the guy put it up with whatever screws he had around the house, so we had Phillips head, we had flathead and we had chewed out screws that he couldn't get in tight enough, but that were keeping the light fixture from coming down. Jr. had to use his muscle to get quite a few of the screws out. There was nothing we could do to get the chewed out screw, so a neighbor came over with his vice-grips and after much sweating and grumbling, finally got it out. So all the screws were out, the bulbs were out, the inner panel was out and still the fixture would not come down. What the heck?

So it turned out that the former homeowner who installed the light, didn't want to be bothered with molly bolts and brackets in the drywall ceiling, so he just decided to glue the frame to the ceiling. We tried cutting around the frame and the glue, and it just wasn't coming off. Finally, with brute force, we just pulled the bugger off the ceiling and decided to deal with whatever damage resulted. Here I am beginning the process of patching holes in the drywall and re-plastering the ceiling.

So we eventually got the new lights installed, but I still have a ceiling to fix.

We finally made it to the point where we could begin putting paint on the other walls.

So the paint is up. It's looking very close to finished, but it's not. We still have to install the cabinets to the ceiling. That will be done in July when M's brother comes for a visit. The hood for the range still needs to be installed. We can't finish the wall in that corner until the hood is done because we don't know where the wiring needs to go yet. The ceiling needs to be sanded and re-painted again to help the patched area blend in with the rest of the ceiling, and shoe molding and trim molding still needs to be installed.


Okay, we've been busy, so I haven't been around to your blogs much lately. Of course, after prom, we had graduation. They let him walk and we haven't heard anything from the school, so we're assuming he graduated. It's been a constant battle this whole last year to get him to do his homework and study to keep pulling himself back from failing. We knew it would come right down to graduation to see the outcome. So, that's behind us.

Of course, it wouldn't be a milestone of development without letting him run off with friends most of the night and having another meltdown argument on what time to finally come home. Had it been the weekend, I probably wouldn't have minded, but graduation was on a Wednesday and I had to be up to work the next day and argue in court, and the last thing I needed was him out all night with me up wondering and worrying when he'd come home, or if he'd come home. So just to make sure I wouldn't be too heartbroken come Saturday when I sent him off to live with his father, he showed me why he had to go and why I wouldn't miss him all that much. What a thoughtful kid. ;-) So the nest is empty, if only briefly. He'll be back on Saturday to hang out with friends for the weekend, then back to dad's. It's been such an emotional roller coaster with him that the quiet is a welcome relief...okay, I do miss him, but not the fighting.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Well I don't know about you, but we worked our tails off from Friday to Sunday so we could spend the entire day at the beach with a clear conscience on Monday. Yes, we've been working on the kitchen. Oh, the trouble replacing the lights turned out to be, but that post is coming soon. So in addition to work, we had a nice drive out to Assateague, listening to Veterans speak about their service memories on NPR and then sitting and reading, dozing and walking for hours on the beach. It was absolutely perfect weather.

On the way back from the beach, M picked up some fresh crab and we had our first crab feast on the porch of this season, with hopefully many more to come. Hope you all had a nice long weekend, now back to work!

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...