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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

No, I Don't Have a Stripper Pole in the Basement


That's not stripper pole, it's a support post! I don't know exactly how wide a stripper pole is, but I'm guessing this one is a lot wider, so it would probably be pretty hard to get a good enough grip to do their tricks on. Fortunately, I don't have a lot of stripper friends, so I don't see this as a problem! I'll probably paint it so that it doesn't appear so intrusive, There's a steel I-beam running the width of the house, so I'm not sure why a post was necessary, but I'm not a structural engineer, so I won't be removing it!

I got the second coat of paint on the basement floor yesterday. I had originally planned on using that garage floor paint with the confetti stuff sprinkled on it to give it interest, but I heard it's really, really slick when it gets wet. After reading more reviews, the anti-skid stuff you can buy to add to it only makes it slightly better. I don't want anyone falling, especially my (future) little grandkids, so I decided on Behr deck and concerete paint.

The Behr paint is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. I chose a light tan, so it really does look like chocolate soft serve. (I'm pretty sure it doesn't taste like it, so I didn't sample it.) It only took about two hours to do the entire basement.

It takes three days to cure completely, so we can't move any furniture down there until this weekend. I will be so happy to finally move furniture down there! There are boxes I need, buried in the garage, and I'll finally be able to get to them. Even though we could technically bring the furniture down Saturday, I'll probably wait until Sunday. I want to make sure it's completely dried and cured all the way through.

I need to get a handrail for the stairs, and we need to insulate and drywall the ceiling. My bedroom is directly above this room, and Thing 2's bedroom is directly about where the TV will be ... and there is NO sound separation. When Thing 3 and his friend put the first coat on the basement the other night, I could hear the sound of the paint roller! Like all basements, the walls are concrete block, so we'll have to drywall the walls as well. And, for some reason, there are only two electrical outlets in the basement, and they are both in the utility room. We'll have to bring some electrical to the other side ... and by "we", I mean Superman!

Superman wanted to build a closet under the stairs, but I'm thinking it would make a cute reading nook ... or a playhouse for the grandkids. I have a little grandson only a few weeks away from making his appearance into the world, and I'll probably granddaughters joining him one day, so I'll have to make it gender neutral. It will be a while before there will be little hands and feet big enough to play in it, so I've got plenty of time to think about the design and color. Won't that be cute?!!

Below are a couple pictures of the "before". Neither show much of the floor, but it shows enough to give you an idea of how awful it looked before it was painted.



v

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Progress ... Slow, but Sure


Except for the family room in the basement, the house furniture is all in place. I'm still unpacking boxes, and I'm just beginning to hang things on the walls. Although I took a lot of things to the Goodwill before I moved and left a lot of furniture and decor for Thing 1 and her husband at the old house, I'm finding I need to cull things even further.

While large, my closet is still far too small and I have no place to put the hundreds of shoes I own. Getting rid of clothing and shoes I haven't worn in years should clear up the closet and give me plenty of room. That's not a critical task, but since it's raining, I'll probably tackle it today ... after I put another coat of paint on the basement floor.

I decided to paint the basement floor rather than put down carpet or tile. The basement will be the family room ... the kid's domain ... and even though they're adults ... they're messy! And, before I know it, I'll have grandkids needing a place to play where they can't ruin my beautiful hardwood floors. 

I took vacation this week to get things in order. I'm hoping that I can have it completely done before I have to go back to work, but there are some projects that Superman has to do, and he won't have time to do them all (his list is quite large!). Still, by the week's end, I'll have most things unpacked and put away. My garage won't be full of furniture and boxes ... and maybe, just maybe ... we'll finally be able to park in the garage.

Okay ... enough procrastinating ... I'm off to paint put the final coat on the basement floor!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Puppy Patrol


Olivia is now living with Thing 1 and her husband. She loves my son-in-law  ... or any man for that matter. (She's kind of a tramp!) She does not, however, love other animals. She tolerates Louie, because he's a cat, which makes him worthy of the occasional game of tag, but she loathes the dogs.

She particularly despises Roo. He's a giant pit bull, but he has no idea he is a big, mean, pit bull. He's the biggest scaredy-cat I've ever seen! If Roo comes anywhere near her, she slaps him. Though afraid of her, Roo occasionally tries to make friends ... or inadvertently gets within arms reach of her ... which results in a dozen or so slaps across the face fired off so quickly you almost need to record them and play them back in slow motion to see them! Luckily for Olivia, Roo seldom gives her time time of day. Half the time, he's oblivious to the fact that she's even in the room.

Gus, the puppy, is an entirely different story. When Gus first joined the family, Olivia wasn't living there. Roo was terrified of him and Louie had no idea what it was. Gus's persistence eventually won them over. Gus follows Roo around and does whatever Roo does. When they play, Roo is very gentle ... even when it's obvious to everyone but Gus that Roo doesn't want to play. Louie and Gus soon became fast friends, too, playing tag, wrestling, and running across the room tackling each other.

When Olivia made her first appearance, she quickly let Roo and Louie know she was the boss and they were to do as she said. Roo is afraid of her, so he was okay with leaving her alone ... but Louie loves Olivia, so her "hands off" policy hurt deeply. Gus, being a puppy and unaware of the pecking order, saw Olivia as a new playmate. He often tried to get her to play, running across the room to tackle her. Olivia immediately began slapping Gus silly.

Louie was crying because Olivia doesn't love him, Gus was crying because Olivia is slapping him, and Roo was crying because Olivia was being mean to Gus!

Olivia looks for the highest ground she can get to, but will settle for something out of reach of the puppy. Boxes stacked for the move give Olivia some peace of mind, but she still patrols from the top of the boxes like a policeman in a watchtower to make sure Gus doesn't ambush her. Gus is a chowini ... half chihuahua/half weiner dog. He's about six inches tall and two feet long. The fact that he is physically incapable of jumping up on the boxes has not occurred to her ... so she slinks along the boxes edge, keeping her eye on the "Gusnado" lurking just below.

Thing 1 and her husband moved their things into my current house a few days ago. I still have things here, so it's a bit of chaos at the moment, but Olivia is in heaven! Having lived here for years, she knows the house well. She knows the best places to nap and to hide when she needs to get away ... and let's face it ... with Gus around, she needs a place to hide!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dibs!


Louie is laying on the arm of the love seat and calling dibs on the arm of the sofa. Fortunately for Thing 1, she doesn't often perch on the arms of the furniture, because apparently ... they're off limits today.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Selling a Childhood Home

On the way to close on my new house last Friday, I thought about driving by the new one. It was almost on the way to the bank, but I decided against it. The people I have been working with to buy it is the daughter of the couple who built the house in 1957. (Her father passed away about a year ago. I'm not sure when her mother passed.) She and her brothers inherited the house, their childhood home.

I had a feeling the woman would be at the house, saying good-bye, and I didn't want to intrude. When she got to the bank, she told me she had went by the house and had a good cry ... so I'm really glad I hadn't driven by. I completely understand her desire to see the house one more time and say good-bye to it.

After my father died, my mom moved out of the home they had purchased right after it was built. They'd lived in the home for 35 years. Out of eight children, five of them came home from the hospital to that house. As the family grew, so did the home. What began as a modest three bedroom, one bath house eventually became a five bedroom home, with an added dining room, familiy room, and two car garage. Oddly, they never thought about adding another bathroom. I say oddly because my dad had six daughters and a wife ... that's seven girls to funnel through one bathroom, not to mention the two boys and my dad! Poor Daddy had to get up in the wee hours of the morning to get his bathroom time.

Anyway, after Daddy died, Mama moved and the house sat empty for well over a year before she began getting it ready to sell. My mom didn't need all of the furniture in the house, so even though the house was vacant, it wasn't empty. I would periodically wander through the rooms, memories running through my mind of Christmas's and family dinners (my mom was a great cook).

Every room was filled with memories. I smiled as I remembered the time I was playing "Let's Make a Deal" by myself in the dining room. The game I was playing was to guess the prices on various items to win a prize. I had various items displayed on the piano bench, but I could see the price of the food coloring. I kept picking up the piano bench and moving it further and further away so that I couldn't read the price. I'm not sure why I thought it mattered ... it was my game and I was the only one playing. I was going to win anyway! But, I decided seeing the price wasn't fair. I picked up the piano bench to move it again and got my finger caught in the hinge. Long story short, my right index fingertip was split to the bone and I needed stitches.

When we returned from the doctor, I was walking through the living room, holding my finger up to keep the blood from flooding it and making it throb. My mom was sitting on the sofa and said "Don't fall down the steps and hit your finger on the pool table."

I thought that was a strange thing to say. She didn't know where I was going! I could be going anywhere! Why did she assume I was going to the family room? Aside from that, I was around eight years old or so at the time, and I had never fallen down the two steps off the dining room into the family room. Why would she think I'd fall this time? I gave my mother a strange look and continued walking through the living room into the kitchen, through the dining room, then down the two steps into the family room ... where I promptly fell and hit my finger on the pool table!!

Turns out, Mama was right ... on both counts! I was heading to the family room and I did trip and fall, hitting my finger on the pool table! I would come to realize that when she offered me advice throughout the years, she was right those times, too ... except when OJ Simpson killed his ex-wife and a man who happened to be at the wrong place at a very wrong time. Mama said she didn't think OJ would be stupid enough to leave behind that kind of mess. I told her someone was stupid enough to leave behind that kind of mess, and besides ... it was his first double homicide ... I told her I was sure he'd be more careful next time! For the most part, my mom was a good judge of character, but she had a tendency to only see the good in people.

So, back to the story ...

As I wandered through the house, I realized I kept returning over and over and over and over, looking for something of "Daddy" that I could keep, but I always left empty-handed. Still, I kept returning, looking for a memento of my father's life. I remembered one time feeling particularly discouraged that I could find something of Daddy ... and then it hit me ... Mama was all the stuff inside the house ... Daddy was the house itself. There was nothing inside the house that I could take and hold and feel a connection to my father. Daddy was the provider and protector. I left that day with a heavy heart. When the house finally sold, I lost the last tangible connection to my father.

Before I closed on my new house, I had only met the woman selling the home a couple of times, but she gave me the impression that she loved the home, missed her parents, and in her heart of hearts, didn't really want to sell the house. I hadn't wanted my mother to sell my childhood home, either, but what was the alternative? Letting the house sit empty and watching it fall into disrepair just so that I could come back and reminisce was silly. I knew that. But still ... watching my mom sell the house was painful.

Tonight I will sleep in the only home my kid's really remember for the very last time. Fortunately, it won't be the last time I'll get to celebrate Christmas or enjoy noisy family dinner's there, but when I return it will be as a guest, not the owner. I won't be able to just walk in the front door ... I'll have to knock. But, that's okay. Selling the house to my daughter and son-in-law was a lot less emotional than selling it to strangers. Leaving tomorrow "for good" isn't really good-bye ... it's more like "See you later", and I can deal with that. We would all be a blubbering mess if we had to say good-bye forever to this beautiful, old Victorian.

I am so happy that I get to return. I am so happy my daughter and her husband will be making memories there. It makes me smile to think of their silly dogs running around the backyard, exploring every nook and cranny ... and playing in the tree house! One day, they'll bring their babies home from the hospital to that house. And one day, I will be so happy to come over for a visit and watch my grandkids flying around the backyard, exploring every nook and cranny ... and playing in the tree house.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Nightstand Until I Move


The kids and I have spent the week packing, and hauling boxes and some furniture to the new house. I moved my nightstands, so I am using my tv tray while I'm still here. It serves it's purpose, but I can't sit my coffee down when I'm in bed! I suppose if that's my greatest problem, I don't really have much to complain about, do I?

We'll move the big things and whatever boxes are still at the old house on Saturday, and then I can quit living between two houses. The garage at the new house is fairly full of boxes and some of the furniture for the family room and my office. After Saturday, I will still have to move some of the things from the basement, but nothing down there is life critical (or they wouldn't have been kept in the basement!). Mostly it's canning supplies and holiday decorations. I have a ton of decorations for every holiday. I was planning on leaving my Halloween and Easter decorations, but with a little grandbaby on the way, I'll have to have some of the things for him to get excited about when he comes to see Grandma! 

Being able to move the things as time allows over the next few weeks is a gift. I sure am glad my daughter and son-in-law bought my house!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

So Why Don't We Build Bridges With Spider Webs?


If this is indeed true, I find it disconcerting that I've spent my life driving over bridges that are made of a material weaker than the webs I can knock down with a stick!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ishmabob?

Drawing by Thing 1
The kids and I had a lot of laughs going through the boxes of drawing and reading stories they wrote for me as kids. Thing 1 drew this picture for me. I guess Ishmabob saw the fortune made on the pet rock and decided to get in on the action! Sadly, his idea never caught on.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Very Confusing

If you read my blog, you already know I bought a new house, and Thing 1 and her husband bought my old one. I have a few projects to complete before I move in, so I'm still living in my old house. Consequently, they can't move into their new home until I move into mine. As a result, when I'm at my new house and someone calls and asks me if I'm at home ... I don't really know the answer! I'm at the home I own, but not at the home I live in!

Thing 2 was supposed to pick up Thing 1 after work the other night, but Thing 2 forgot, so Thing 1 called and asked me if I could pick her up and take her home. Again, which home? The home she currently lives in or the home she owns that I'm living in?

See ... it's a very confusing time right now!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Preview

The master bedroom.
Before (above)., and after (below).
All of the rooms in my new house were painted a tasteful shade of light gray. I embraced the gray in the rest of the house, but I wanted my room to be the same shade of tan/gold as my current home. Once we closed on the house, painting my room became my first priority.

I got the first coat on my bedroom Friday evening. Saturday I put the second coat on the bedroom, and the first coat on the master bath. Today, I will put the second coat on the bathroom ... then I have to paint my closet (sob!). After that, I need to paint the basement floor (SOB!). Once that chore is done, we'll be ready to move.

Knowing this move was coming, I started preparing a month or so ago. I began by packing things I knew I wouldn't be needing in the interim. As the closing date approached, I started packing more aggressively. With boxes piled high in nearly every room, it's felt like I was living with a hoarder. It was all very organized ... each box was labeled with the room and contents, but the boxes made the house feel messy ... and it was driving me nuts! After closing on the house Friday, we began moving boxes and a few pieces of furniture. It's nice to be making progress, but now both houses are in disarray ... and it's driving me nuts!

As soon as I walked in the door at my current home, I knew it was the perfect house for me and my little kids. This was before the internet was so pervasive. If you wanted to see a house, you actually had to drive over and look at it. I drove by several other homes that fit the my wish list, but I didn't make an appointment to see any of them. I was already in love and no other home could turn my head. It was the same way with the one I just bought. As with my first house, this one spoke to my heart. Peeking in the windows, and then walking through the rooms, I just knew I was home.

The new house has a welcoming feel. Although the kids were excited to be moving, they weren't sure it would ever feel like "home" ... but it does. It doesn't feel like someone else's house ... it already feels like ours. We'll be moving most of the furniture and the rest of the boxes next weekend ... and I can't wait until it really IS home.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Today is the Day

In a short while, I'll sign the papers selling this house and get the keys to my new one. I have a few projects at the new house to complete before we move in for good, but we will be moving some things in before the "big move".

I must confess, though, that the process to sell my home and buy a new one without the help of a realtor on either side was less than efficient. Had this been my first experience buying, selling, or refinancing, I don't think I would have been so eager. It really has been the most painful real estate transaction I've ever witnessed ... and I used to work at a law firm that did a great deal of real estate business.

To speed up the process, I was pre-approved and so were my daughter and son-in-law, but it didn't speed things up at all. Initially, we were told we'd close in 45 days. Today is day 70. When the bank asked for something, we got it to them immediately. My daughter and I bank at the same bank, and that's the bank we went through for the mortgages. I thought going through our own bank would speed things up. Wrong again. And to add insult to injury, when my bank needed my bank statements, I had to buy them ... at $1 a page ... and send them in!

Over the years, anytime I needed a loan, I could call them up and it would be approved and in my account in a matter of days. Had I known how inefficient their mortgage department was, I would never have chosen them for this transaction.

I stop short of saying this has been traumatic, but it comes close ... close enough that I'm changing banks altogether, and so are all my kids. My best friend works for a bank. She's been trying to get me to switch to hers for years. I won't be switching to her bank, but I will be banking someplace else very soon

It reminds me of class day in high school. The last day seniors are at the school, they sit in their assigned section in the auditorium in caps and gowns. Then there is a "ceremony" where the graduating seniors vacate their seats and the incoming senior class takes their place. My homeroom teacher wouldn't let us girls take our purses with us to the auditorium. She said she'd lock the room and they'd be safe.

Wrong.

Either she didn't lock the door or someone picked the lock, because after the ceremony, we went back to our homeroom to get our things before leaving school for good ... only to find the doors open and all of our purses gone. The thieves didn't just take our wallets out of our purses, they took our purses, too ... which meant they had our car keys. All the girls in my homeroom had to call our parents to get them to bring spare keys so that we could drive home. I walked out of the school, not with a heavy heart, but with a "Hallelujah!"

And that's how I'll feel once I get an account set up at a new bank. After banking there for decades, I'll walk out thinking "Good riddance."


It shouldn't have taken 70 days to complete this loan. We were all pre-approved, have excellent credit, and good jobs and employment histories. The delays were when the bank forgot to ask for something ... over and over and over and over. At least this whole miserable loan process will end well. If I didn't love the house so much, I would have walked away.

But, I didn't ... and soon I will be making memories in a new home, In a few months, my little grandson will be born, and this is the home he'll know as "Grandma's house". This is where he'll eat cookies and chocolate chip pancakes. This is where we'll play games and giggle. This is where I'll rock him and sing to him as an infant, and where he'll remember being read to and tucked into bed when he sleeps over as a child. This is where he'll play basketball in the cul-de-sac and run with his (future) cousins through the woods.

It's not big or fancy, but it's the perfect home for me, and it will feel so good to finally call this place home.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A New Chapter


Sixteen years ago, I bought a big, beautiful, 2800 sq/ft Victorian home. The detail and craftsmanship of the of the original, unpainted, one hundred year-old oak won me over from the moment I opened the door. All the rooms were large, and the high ceilings made them look even bigger. After five years of living with my three kids in a 644 sq/ft home, I was more than ready to move and spread my wings.


After we had everything moved to the new house, the kids and I went back to our little white house with blue trim ... that the kids called "The Blue House" ... to say goodbye. We walked through the rooms one last time, then sat on the porch steps together ... and cried. We were thrilled to be moving, but we loved our little "blue" house. Tiny though it may be, if was stuffed full of happy memories.

I was seven months pregnant with Thing 3 when we moved in the blue house. Thing 1 was only three and a half, and Thing 2 was seventeen months. My next door neighbors became my friends and we are still friends to this day. When her husband saw me ... seven months pregnant mind you ... struggling to put together a swing-set for the kids and looking at the millions of parts required to put together for the storage shed, he and his son surprised me by assembling both of them when I was at work one day.

Truckloads of Cheerio's and macaroni and cheese were consumed there. The house was too small, but we made it work. As excited as we were to move, leaving the final time was bittersweet.

We finally said good-bye, piled into the car, and headed to our new home, where we filled the rooms with cherished belongings and laughter. With such a big house, I offered to host the Coleman Family Christmas every years. Coming from such a small home, I didn't have near enough decorations to do the new house justice, and began buying more. Within a few short years, I'd accumulated a forest of Christmas trees, garland, lights, and everything necessary to turn that huge home into a wonderland. Decorating it was a huge undertaking every year, but the work was worth it. The results were stunning.There are few things more beautiful than a Victorian home decorated for Christmas.


The house was perfect for me and my little kids. With almost 2,800 sq/ft, there was more than enough room. The kids all had their own bedrooms and a huge backyard with a tree house and wooden play structure, and it was in the school district I wanted. It wasn't long before the kids were flying around the yard on their bikes and swinging from the tree house like monkeys. The sidewalks in front were always covered with chalk drawings welcoming me home each day. The large rooms allowed for huge slumber parties for the kids. It was a perfect place to grow up, and I was able to give my children the idyllic childhood I had dreamed of for them.

Now, my kids are grown. The rooms are no longer filled with little boys from the neighborhood, covered in dirt and sweat, all asking for popcycles. I no longer have to step over little girls in sleeping bags all over the family room after a night of giggles and junk food. Consequently, I no longer need a house this big. I'm no longer raising children. That part of my life is over.

Tomorrow I will sell this house and move to a much smaller ranch. Although I will no longer call this place home, I'll get to return ... often ... because Thing 1 and her husband are buying it! They are as excited to move in as I am to move out. My daughter always said she wanted to buy my house if I ever decided to sell, and now she is.

I'd been casually looking for a new house (online) for years, but never saw anything that really grabbed me ... until I saw the one I'm getting ready to move into. There were several I saw that I liked, but none that I loved, but none that I even liked well enough to make an appointment to view them in person. I was beginning to think I'd never find the perfect new home in my preferred area. Until, that is, the day I saw a "For Sale by Owner" sign at the corner of a dead-end street. On a whim, I decided to look at it.

It was empty, so I pulled into the drive and peeked in the large and plentiful windows of the living room. The newly refinished hardwood floors were gorgeous, and the fireplace anchoring the room begged for a fire on cold winter nights. I didn't figure the house was in my price range, but I took down the number on the sign. I almost didn't even bother to call and find out what they were asking, but I finally did, and was thrilled to learn I could afford it! I made an appointment to see it after work and made an offer that night, then began the process of applying for the loan, as did my daughter and her husband. We were quickly approved and began performing like trained circus animals, jumping through all the hoops the banks required.

Thing 1 and her husband now have the honor of hosting the family Christmas, and I'll be a visitor. Seeing someone else's belongings in "my" house will be strange the first few times I visit, but I'll be leaving quite a bit of furniture for them, so it won't be completely alien.

Leaving my Victorian won't be as sad as leaving the "blue" house, but only because I get to come back. My heart smiles every time I think of my future grandchildren flying around the backyard on their bikes, having picnics in the tree house, doing cartwheels in the grass, learning to swim in the pool, and covering the sidewalks with priceless art.

My new home is a ranch house (no running up and down the stairs all day ... yea!), tucked into the edge of a woods (full of poison ivy ... boo). It's one story (plus the basement) and much, much smaller. It's the size home I need at this point in my life, and the woods will one day be filled with grandchildren having adventures. My old home was the perfect place to raise kids, and my new home will be the perfect place to play with all the grandchildren my kids are sure to give me ... and I can't wait!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Do You Do When You See a Mouse and Your Man is Out of Town?

First, you put a heavy glass bowl over it ...
Next, you put a bigger, even heavier glass bowl on top of that ...
and then a heavy fire extinguisher in that bowl ...
And, then you call over someone else's man to dispose of it in the woods!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Twenty-Five Seconds

video

It takes the elevator at work twenty-five seconds to go one floor! If they'd had these elevators in the World Trade Center, it would have taken over 45 minutes to go from the first floor to the top floor ... and that's only if it didn't stop at any floor in between. You'd have to get to work a minimum of an hour early just to ride the elevator to your floor. You can walk it faster!

(P.S. Notice that I hit the elevator button with my knuckle. I never touch the button with my fingertip or hold onto a handrail on stairs ... public buttons and stairway handrails are covered in germs!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Who Says Big Hair Went Out in the 80's?

Not this lady!
There is a place at the mall that makes really good bourbon chicken, so I stopped there for lunch the other day on one of my rare excursions to the east side. I was eating my chicken and looking around ... when I spied Miss 1985. Back in the 1980's, a hairdo like this wouldn't have raised any eyebrows, but it certainly caught my attention in 2015! Before I cast judgment on her, I reminded myself that she could have invented a time machine, came directly from 1985, and didn't have time to change her hair before hitting the mall.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What Do These Two Things Have In Common?


I've used both of them to line my eyes! I was getting ready for work one morning and realized I was out of eyeliner. Like most women, I would rather quit my job than show up without eyeliner! I ransacked my daughter's cosmetics, randomly distributed throughout the house, but couldn't find her eyeliner. Desperate, I did the only thing I could think of ... I got out my Sharpie marker.

Before I attempted lining my eyes with a fat Sharpie, I contemplated the wording of the email I would be forced to send to my bosses explaining why I had to take a sick day if this endeavor failed ... and it had failure written all over it! "I can't come to work today because I ran out of eyeliner so I tried to use a Sharpie, and now I look like a raccoon!" I took a deep breath and proceeded ... slowly ... to line my eyes.

It stung just a bit, so it can't be good for you, and I was hoping the Sharpie didn't have the same effect on me as it had on the cat when my son colored him (you can read about that here). Luckily, it only stung for a moment and I didn't use enough to intoxicate me. I was able to drive (safely) to work and didn't have to tell my boss I had to take a sick day because I drew raccoon eyes on my face with a Sharpie! I rarely miss work, so I wouldn't have been in trouble. They would have though it was hilarious ... and probably wondered why I didn't lie and just tell them I was sick! 

We use a lot of Sharpie's at work to mark boxes of computers going from one location to another or to send to repair, particularly in the summer when we're assessing and imaging all the technology. And I can hear the jokes now ... "I need to label this box. Does anyone have any eyeliner?"

But, I learned my lesson well, and now I always make sure I have a spare eyeliner on hand.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Funeral and a 9/11 Tribute


The funeral for a beloved police detective was held yesterday, not far from my office. I heard the cadence drums and got up to see what was going on. I stood at the window watching a seemingly endless procession of people walking from Locust Street into the Civic Center parking lot (pictured above), passing under an American flag suspended over the intersection by two ladder trucks. At first I assumed it was a tribute to those lost on 9/11, but then I realized it was the mourners who had gathered for the funeral.

A few hours later I left the office and turned onto Walnut. The firetrucks that had been used to honor the policeman had moved to a different intersection, in what I assume, this time, really was a tribute to 9/11 (pictured below). Even if it is to mark a horrific event in our nation's history, I love the way it makes me feel when I see a huge American flag dancing in the breeze.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Fourteen Years On

Photo courtesy of freeallimages.com
Everyone alive on September 11, 2001 remembers where they were and what they were doing. The slogan "Never Forget" soon popped up everywhere, but I never thought it was necessary. No one ... no matter how hard they try ... will ever be able forget that day.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I've Met a Few People Who Don't Even Have One!


It doesn't seem quite fair that every octopus has three hearts when I've met people who don't even have one! In one instance, it may be hereditary ... the entire family is afflicted! It appears all the children inherited the condition from their heartless mother. From what I can tell, however, the children's children do not appear to be afflicted.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Gingerbread House


Superman's grandson's made me a gingerbread house! His daughter texted me this picture yesterday and said it was made out of a diaper box and lots of glue. The boys came up with the idea all by themselves. and asked their mom if they could make it. I'm not sure what prompted them to make this for me, and it's hardly museum quality, but I love it as much as if it were made of solid gold. I'll have to keep it forever ... if they come over and I can't produce the house, they'll be heartbroken ... and knowing I broke their hearts would break mine, too.

I kept far too many drawings and art projects my kids made me over the years ... and they made me a lot ... but I loved the things they made. Thing 2, in particular, was an art machine ... she produced drawings as though she was meeting a daily quota set by a sweatshop boss in China! They were all made with love, as are all gifts from a child, and I loved each and every one. Little kids pour their heart and soul into making things, and to me, there is nothing better.

It probably won't be on permanent display, but when those boys come over, it will be in a place of prominence. I do love it ... and I want them to know that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Custody Battle Over Chicken

A chicken crossing the road snarled traffic during rush hour in San Francisco recently. Three people have come forward claiming to own the  chicken, so the animal shelter where the chicken is being incarcerated has requested photographic evidence to prove ownership.

Most chickens of the same breed, by design, look identical (to me anyway). I went to a dairy farm on a field trip with Thing 1's pre-school class one time, and they had all the cows named, claiming they could tell them all apart. Maybe they can, maybe they can't ... but I couldn't tell any difference ... nor would I have known if the cow they were referring to as Marge was Marge or Gertrude!. They could have paraded the same cow in front of me and told me it was Marge or Ruth or Gertrude or Henrietta and I would have been none the wiser.

All this fuss over a chicken ... and yet no one bothered to ask, and finally get a definitive answer to the question that has been puzzling humans for decades ... why was she crossing the road?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Whoever Invented This is a GENIUS!

Whoever invented the paint sprayer was a genius! An absolute GENUIS who should have his own holiday!

When I told Superman we were going to paint the house over Labor Day weekend, he was skeptical that it could get done. He ran to Lowe's to get some lumber to fix the porch header and picked up a paint sprayer.

I was up on the back roof painting when he returned. He put the paint sprayer together and sprayed a section of the house ... and painted more in a few seconds than I had painted in the last half hour!

I was so happy I nearly cried!

Before starting this monumental job, I figured we'd end up renting a paint sprayer. After seeing how long it was going to take to paint by hand, I'm positive I would have either rented or bought one. This little beauty worked flawlessly.

Thing 1 has always said if I ever want to sell the house, she and her husband will buy it. Well, I did find another house ... less than half the size of this one, but perfect for me at this stage of my life. We're hoping to close on both homes in the next week or two. Hallelujah! They plan on siding the house, but until they do, it will be all white. No trace of pink shall remain.

I have wanted to paint the house a different color since before I bought it in 1999. The house was pink when I bought. Yes ... pink ... and I hated the color! The color is typical of what homes built in 1909 might have been painted, but who chooses that color nearly one hundred years later? The answer is the wife of the couple who owned the home at that time. I'm putting most of the blame squarely on her shoulders, but the husband who agreed to it shares culpability for being unable to tell her "OH, HE** NO!". The house is so tall that painting it seemed like a lot more than we could take on ourselves ... especially since I have a paralyzing fear of heights ... and expensive to have someone else do, so I kept putting it off. But, this weekend we bit the bullet and dove in headfirst.

I figured we'd scrape off whatever paint we could and just paint those areas, then finish painting the rest of it over the course of several weeks ... but the paint sprayer is allowing us to do it all in one weekend ... one three day weekend, that is. Thing 1, her husband, one of his friends, myself, Superman, and to a lesser extent, Thing 3 and a friend of his have been working on it. (Thing 2 has been suspiciously absent the entire time.) We're all sore, stiff, and walking funny, but we're soldiering through the pain and getting it done.

This Labor Day has been anything but fun and relaxing, but so worth it! We'll finish up today! YEA!!!!! I'll take pictures of it completely finished, but here's a teaser of one before and a few during pics to hold you over. We started power-washing and scraping Thursday evening after work and resumed scraping on Friday. The rest of the scraping and all of the painting was done in one day! The pictures below were taken Saturday morning, after just one day of painting.

The front ... before and during.
Before.
If I ever run into the woman who chose the paint color
 ... I'm going to slap her!

The east side.
The east side.
The west side, scraped, but unpainted.
The back.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Pictures from the Past


I found another, even larger, stash of drawings from my kids when they were young. According to Thing 2, all I like are stars, butterflies, flowers, candles (scented!), coffee, and blueberries. I'm not sure how stars and butterflies made it to the top six. While I don't dislike stars and butterflies, I can honestly say I've never really gotten overly excited about them. I would have replaced them with cookies and hummingbirds ... but she's right when she says I like flowers, candles (scented), coffee, and blueberries!

I take that back ... it's not completely accurate to say I like coffee. I like flavored coffee creamer, and coffee is my preferred method of ingesting it! You may be thinking "Coffee is your preferred method? What other method is there of ingesting it?"

Good question... you're on your toes this morning!

The answer is that you can put coffee creamer in milk, and it's surprisingly delicious. French vanilla creamer in milk tastes exactly like a vanilla milkshake (albeit thin) ... but I like it in my coffee even better!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Birthday Cucumbers


Superman's daughter harvested a bumper crop of cucumbers from her garden this year. She gave me a couple of them, and it just happened to be my birthday, so she wrapped them!

The last couple of years she lived at home, she had a small garden in containers. Their house is surrounded by woods. I see almost as many deer as squirrels, and I've spied more than one bunny rabbit hopping to and fro. When I first saw the pots of herbs and vegetables, I figured the local wildlife would see it as a salad buffet. The deer already see Superman's landscaping as a smorgasbord! They seem particularly fond of his hosta's ... and I couldn't help but wonder how long it would be before she was complaining about the forest animals ravaging her farm, but they never did! Every year the deer destroy his hosta's, but they never touched her "garden".

I bought a topsy-turvy to grow tomatoes one year. I love tomatoes and anxiously awaited my harvest ... but the squirrels usually ate the blooms off before a tomato could even form. Every great once in a while, they would miss one and a tomato would appear, but before it could grow to become a red, ripe, juicy tomato, the squirrels would eat it. They never ate the whole tomato, they just ruined it by taking a bite or two with their disgusting, filthy, germy mouths. The next year I gave the topsy-turvy to Superman ... but the squirrels ate his tomatoes, too. For some reason, however, the squirrels never bothered her container crops.

Most everyone I know who has a garden complains about the rabbits eating their plants, but I've never once heard her complain about rabbits, either.

She's married and moved to a home of her own now. She and her husband live in a house not terribly far from where she grew up. It's surrounded by woods, and presumably, full of deer and squirrel and rabbits and raccoons ... but they never bother her garden! How can that be?!!! She doesn't spray anything to deter them, but they leave her herbs and vegetables alone. I don't know what super power she possess, but I sure wish some of it would rub off on me!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Happy Newspaper Carrier Appreciaton Day


September 4th is Newspaper Carrier Appreciation Day. I'm not sure why it's on the 4th, because it was set to commemorate the first newspaper carrier, ten-year old Barney Flaherty, who was hired September 10th, 1833. This day, however, doesn't just celebrate Barney ... it's intended to celebrate all current and former newspaper carriers.

Both of my brothers had paper routes, as did my father when he was a child. It was the first job for many kids. When I was growing up, our local paper put out two editions ... the morning Courier and the evening Press. Those with a Courier route had to get up long before the sun even thought of coming up. They had to retrieve their papers from wherever the paper truck dropped them off, roll them up, put rubber bands around them, stuff their paperbag to overflowing, then set off on their bike to deliver their papers in time to get back home, eat breakfast, and get ready for school. Back then, of course, kid's walked to school ... through six miles of snow.

Uphill.

Both ways.

Okay, so the snow part isn't true, but kids did walk to school "back then", regardless of the weather. Snow and rain were the reason umbrella's and rubber boots were invented ... and we were expected to use them! Unless you had a ridiculous amount of stuff to carry, parents didn't even think about offering to drive their kids to school ... and kids never dreamed of asking. We were kids. Our job was to go to school and learn, and our mode of transportation was our bike or our feet.

But, I digress.

On Sunday's, Daddy would wake up all eight of us kids to help my brothers deliver papers. I hated helping. Delivering papers in the morning encompassed all of the things a night owl like myself detested ... getting up early from my warm and toasty bed, and going out into the cold. Had we been financially compensated for helping, I might not have minded, but I didn't even get a soft drink out of the deal! Each of the four older kids would grab one of us four little kids to help them when delivering their assigned houses ... and guess whose job it was to walk to each door and lay the paper on the doorstep? Well, I don't know if that was the case for the other little kids, but I was always picked by the same sibling ... and she was too scared to go up to each door ... because a murderer could be hiding in the bushes or a dead body could have been stashed there. And yes, she actually told me that! No wonder I was such a chicken growing up!!

Daddy, who began supporting his family at the age of six, and initially did so by delivering newspapers ... so took the job VERY seriously. Unlike Barney Flaherty, who got the job by demonstrating he could throw a paper into the bushes, Daddy mandated we put the paper squarely on the porch. My brothers, both a lot older and stronger, had perfected their aim from countless seasons of Little League baseball. They could toss a paper ... in the dark ... and watch it land on a postage stamp half a mile away. I, on the other hand, spent my days turning cartwheels and playing Barbie's. My skinny little arms didn't have that kind of power ... so I had to walk the paper up to the porch ... in what I considered the middle of the night ... braving the murderers and dead bodies lurking in the bushes.

In the bitter cold.

For free!

With the availability of free news online, few people subscribe to a physical newspaper anymore, so the paper carrier jobs have all but vanished. There are a few carriers now, but it's mostly adults, delivering papers from their car. It's too bad that this profession is all but dead. It wasn't exactly hard work, but it was demanding. It was seven days a week, and the papers had to be delivered, even when they were sick. Paper routes were a coveted profession by adolescent boys. Aside from mowing lawns in the summer, raking leaves in the fall, and shoveling snow it the winter, it was the only way for a kid to earn money. A boy kid anyway. Back then, paperboys were exactly that ... boys. The only source of income available to girls was babysitting. Paper routes taught boys that hard work paid off. It taught them that nice people on their route would tip them for a job well done when paying their bill (which the paper boy had to go around each week and collect). It taught them that some people are mean and stingy and would seldom tip even if you hand delivered their paper to them in bed on a tray with breakfast. But it also taught that most people, even on a limited income, would be nice enough to tip what they could to say "thank you".

Having money of your own as a kid teaches you the value of a dollar, and how quickly it can add up when you save some of it ... and still have money to buy gum and candy ... and save the wrappers to buy luxury items like spy decoder rings or sea monkeys.

Kids today live a completely different kind of life. Their parents ferry them around in climate-controlled vehicles with built-in DVD's or blue-ray players for their viewing entertainment. They are born into a world of cushioned car seats with sippy-cup holders and snack trays. They are taught in air-conditioned schools, and have thousands of television channels and on-demand movies available at the touch of a button ... and all but a handful of their toys are more sophisticated that the computer used to send men to the moon!

Like everyone else, I've become a victim of technology. I no longer subscribe to my local paper, Instead, I read a great deal of news online. I dry my clothes in an electric dryer rather than hanging them on a line to dry ... even though I desperately miss crawling into bed at night to the fresh smell of sheets dried in the sunshine. I can fruits and vegetables because I want to, not because I have to. (I can't grow any food because when the squirrels see me with dirt or seeds or a shovel, they put on a bib ... grrrrrr ... a problem I have addressed in numerous blog posts!) If I sew, it's out of desire to do so rather than a necessity ... even though it's often cheaper to buy them ready-made ... and despite the fact that Amazon will deliver anything I can image right to my front door.

Growing up, only those in first, second, or third place got a trophy ... and oftentimes it was only the first place winners. We didn't get a ribbon because we showed up in uniform and chased butterflies in the outfield. We actually had to earn our reward. Our parents didn't have to tell us to do our homework. We did our homework because school was our job. Our homework was our responsibility. Our parents didn't help us with it unless we asked, and they never checked it for accuracy. We were spanked, in school, at home, and at the neighbor's house, if we misbehaved. Those things are a felony anymore ... but it taught us to behave appropriately. Celebrities and politicians were castigated for drug use, for having affairs, or for babies born out of wedlock. If anyone posed naked for magazines or made a sex tape, they'd better enjoy that line of work, because from there on out, that's the only kind of job they could get! Immoral and unethical behaviors ended careers ... they didn't catapult them to riches and stardom. No one trusted people of dubious character, and it took a long time for those people to redeem themselves and earn the trust and respect of others after such deeds were exposed.

I would give anything if my kids could go back in time and spend one long, hot summer day with me ... the way I spent it as a child. Their jaws would drop at the freedom parents gave kids back then ... and they would have more fun than they've ever had in their lives ... even though not one single toy or game would involve batteries or electricity. I'm amazed, and often grateful, at all technology has given to us ... but it has came at a price, And, sadly, I believe the youth of today are footing that bill. Sadder still is that don't they have any idea what's it's cost them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Son Complained We Had No Bread

My son called me at work, fussing because we hadn't had any bread when he made his lunch before work (what kind of mother am I?!), so he'd had to bring something else instead. His tone implied I wasn't living up to my end of the bargain on the mom/grocery thing, and that this rookie mistake would likely disqualify me from "2015 Mother of the Year". (Let's face it, though, I was probably knocked out of contention before the end of January!) I told him to quit complaining. He apologized, so I said I'd stop and get some bread on the way home, which I did. I also picked up a couple of gallons of milk (both white and chocolate), fruit, lunch meat, cheese, Miracle Whip, chips, drinks, etc.. When I got home, I opened the cupboard to put away the two loaves of bread I had just purchased, and saw this ...


Clearly, we had bread ... over half a loaf to be exact. I had probably seen it sitting on the table the night before and put it away. I say that because the other people who live here rarely bother to put anything away. If something was put away ... were it's supposed to go, it was ... in all probability ... me! Since it wasn't in his immediate line of sight when he got ready to pack his lunch, it (obviously) didn't exist. I took the above picture and texted it to him. Mom's can play passive/aggressive, too!

I realize mom's have an almost superhuman ability to find hopelessly lost items, but this wasn't "hiding in plain sight" ... it was the first thing he would have seen had he bothered to open the pantry door! Even a jellyfish is smart could have found the bread!



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Unlike Most, I Don't Enjoy Fall

A spider on the second floor window at work.
Why I don't enjoy fall:
  1. This week we are enjoying another heat wave (yea!). Last week we had temperatures in the 70's ... 20 degrees cooler than we typically have this time of year. While I admit the cooler temperatures during the day were nice, I had a hard time enjoying them. It just reminds me that another miserable winter is coming. Even when the days are nice in the fall, the mornings and evenings are a little too chilly for my taste. (My taste, by the way, is upper 80's or 90's). I consider anything below 70ยบ to be cold.
  2. In the fall, every leaf within a 50-mile radius ends up in my yard. I'm not kidding!  And, I can provide very credible witnesses who will back me up!!
  3. Spiders seem to be everywhere. And as everyone knows ... spiders are icky.