Dec 30, 2008

She ain't as innocent as she looks

Remember that loaf of homemade rye bread that I got for Christmas? Remember how I said I wasn't going to share it? Hmmph.
One night while DH was off hunting, I made myself an open-faced sandwich of that lovely rye bread with cheddar cheese melted on it, and decided to watch T.V. while I ate it. We get our signal from a roof antenna, and it has to be turned depending on what channel we want to watch.
So, I was out on the porch, turning the antenna and then peering in the window to check on the T.V. picture quality. After the third turn, I peered in the window to see Emma finishing off my sandwich. ACK!!!
Note to self: don't leave your sandwich where the dog can get to it, cheese hound that she is.

Dec 29, 2008

The ol' block I'm chipped off of

(We'll not discuss the Dallas Cowboys. Eeuurgh.)
My dad is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. He's a crew chief for Habitat for Humanity - South Collin County in north Texas. He's been doing this since his retirement in the late 90's. Every Saturday, rain or shine or Texas summer heat, Dad is out working with other volunteers on the latest house.
A crew chief is the "go-to" person at a Habitat build. He or she has experience with construction procedures, especially those of Habitat, and functions as an overseer. Besides doing actual work on the house, they teach and train other volunteers. Some, like my dad, are part of a Habitat group's construction committee, solving problems, reviewing tool and material requirements, and any other issues that may arise during a home's construction.
My dad and another volunteer have together installed every door and just about every window in nearly 40 houses. The other volunteer, Dave, is 82 years old (my dad is 75). They also fix mistakes and take care of unexpected problems that may come up on site. For example, they would attend to a plumbing pipe that accidentally has a nail driven through it. My dad does everything but siding and roofing; he says he's doesn't bounce anymore when he falls, so he prefers to stay off ladders and on the ground.
Dad works mainly on builds in Plano, Texas, but has also worked on builds in Dallas, Celina, Cleburne, and in the state of Georgia.
My dad and Dave were recently featured in an article about Habitat in the December 2008 Plano Profile, a magazine local to north Texas, specifically Collin County. The magazine has a website, but it is on the fritz and I can't get the article to come up. Bummer.
So if you wonder why I'm a DIY fiend, just look to the ol' block I'm chipped off of. Instead of scolding me for messing with his tools (okay, he did scold me for not putting them back where they belonged), Dad taught me to use them. He also showed me that tackling a job and doing it yourself is empowering. Thanks, Dad.

Dec 27, 2008

Christmas happenings (long)

Yeah, that's Sue Hillis' "Stitching Santa" pattern. And yeah, he's on my wish list. Sue's Santas are all so darn cute. I'm not normally a Santa fan, but I love the serenely benevolent expressions on all of their faces. Sue has done about five or six of them, each with a different theme. Offhand, I recall a Noah's Ark Santa, a Santa with birdhouses, and a cooking Santa.
I posted a picture of a Santa because I wanted to make an observation about believing in Santa Claus. My bro and I were brought up believing in Santa. (Although, weirdly, we didn't believe in the Tooth Fairy. Although we left "her" our teeth in hopes of gaining cash; we knew Mom & Dad were responsible for the nocturnal exchange.) Anyway, I remember how betrayed I felt when I found out that Santa wasn't real. I felt my parents had lied to me. They had, but it wasn't a purposeful lie; it was just what everyone's parents did when we were kids. Most kids probably didn't take it as personally as I did.
Well my Bro and SisIL aren't bringing up our nephews to believe in Santa. They understand he is make-believe. As we were discussing all this, my SisIL's mom quietly made the observation that if a parent tells a child that something make-believe is real, and then later recants, the child could take that one step further. "Mom and Dad lied to me about Santa being real. They say God and Jesus Christ are real. Are they lying about that, too?" I thought that was rather profound.
DH and I survived our trip up to DFW for the Christmas holidays and attended three celebrations with various relatives.
On Christmas Eve, we went up to my Aunt Lynda's and Uncle T's home to celebrate with my mom's side of the family. Everyone was there. DH and I usually only see these folks at Christmas. Each year, I am reminded of how quickly time passes. Our family tradition is that after eating, we gather around to pray and then read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke, and then we sing Christmas carols. This tradition was started by the patriarch of our family, my Grandpa, who is now deceased. Initially, he read from the Bible, and as we grandkids grew old enough, we took turns reading it.
Well, when the mantle of patriarch passed on to my Uncle T, he read the from the Bible until his own grandkids grew old enough to read it. This year, the middle of his five grandchilren read the story, 10-year old Caroline. I was holding my five-month-old nephew as we sang Christmas carols later. I felt old as I looked across the room at my cousin Renea's oldest daughter, Kathryn, and realized that 14 years ago, I had been standing in the same place holding her as a baby and singing Christmas carols! ACK!
As an aside, Kathryn is a gifted athlete whose passion is basketball. Her parents are Baylor alumni and she hopes to play basketball for Baylor. Silly girl. I keep trying to convince her to play for Texas A&M! Wisely, her father says she will play for the school that offers her the largest and most complete athletic scholarship.
On Christmas day, we celebrated with my side of the family at midday at my Bro's and SisIL's home. We draw names for gift-giving and I was lucky enough to have my name drawn by my SisIL's mom who is a baker. I have a tea ring pastry and homemade rolls in my freezer which I'll share with DH. The homemade loaf of rye bread (that I've been munching on all day long), I'm not sharing with anyone!
In the evening, we went to DH's Sister's and BIL's home. We had a lovely dinner (homemade lasagna). We met our youngest niece's boyfriend who will be entering medical school in January. Our oldest niece's young man is currently serving our country as a soldier in Afghanistan. May the Lord watch over him and keep him safe.
Yesterday, we drove home, stopping in Ennis for our usual mint chocolate chip shakes from Braum's as there are not any Braum's stores down in our part of Texas. I've been stitching a lot, but sporadically because I'm stitching row after row of boring fill-in in ecru at the top and bottom of my bellpull. But I hope to persevere and get this project done this weekend. I'll post a picture when I do.

Dec 23, 2008

Pre-Christmas Frenzy

Yeah, I know I haven't posted since last Thursday.
DH's office Christmas party was nice. Of course, I had the usual HoH issue of trying to hear in a large group of people in a large echo-inducing room. Luckily, most of the people know I'm hard-of-hearing and don't mind repeating themselves. But it is still a struggle and I'm usually very tired after such an affair. There's actually a term for it - listening fatigue. At least there was no background noise there like a stereo blasting Christmas music. That really makes it hard for me to hear.
Over the weekend, DH worked happily on the underbed storage unit. He had to spend half a day organizing his shop enough to make room to use his table saw. I spent Saturday stitching a little Christmas ornament for our oldest nephew. He's a car fiend so I stitched Lightning McQueen. It was not a fun stitch. I don't like stitching things I have no interest in, and a Disney Pixar car is pretty high on that list. But, it was for the nephew, so I endured. Here's a picture of it all finished in a plastic frame I had sitting in a drawer. It's straight in the frame, my picture is crooked.
I spent yesterday and today getting ready for a trip to the relatives for Christmas. Whoopee. A big trick for Christmas traveling in Texas is trying to figure out what the weather will be like wherever you are going . You have to pack for both warm and cold weather which makes your suitcase heavier and more packed. Double whoopee. You have more laundry on both ends of the trip. Triple whoopee.
Y'all have a Merry Christmas!

Dec 18, 2008

Christmas Ornament

Tonight we're going to DH's office Christmas party. His boss is hosting it at his house. It'll be a fun time. I like all of the people DH works with; they're good folk.
I have been to office Christmas parties that were not fun. I remember when I worked at UTHSCD as an Instructor, all the faculty were required to attend the tedious and very-dress-up Christmas party put on by the university uppity-ups. It was a pain in the bohonkus. I hated every minute of it. The food was bad and there was not one single drink available that didn't have alcohol in it. DH and I don't drink. I finally finagled a waiter into bringing us glasses of water.
Anyway, tonight should be relaxing and fun (and I don't have to cook!). The party includes a gift swap and I usually stitch an ornament for it. Actually, this year, I didn't have time to stitch one, but I had an unfinished one left over from last year. So I did a quick finish with the materials I have unpacked and here is the result:

Dec 16, 2008

Long musings from a cold Texan

Most of the USA is having problems with winter weather, and my part of south central Texas is included. Our high today will be about 35 degrees. The high inside my house will hit about 55 degrees. Space-heaters and a mostly drafty uninsulated house make me hope for a short, warm winter and several more pairs of sweatpants. Oh well. It will only be for one winter. And tomorrow will be warmer. Now if the sun would only come back out, but that ain't happening until next week. Bummer. I may wilt.
The weather outside isn't "frightful," it's squirrely. On Saturday and Sunday, we had sun with temperatures up in the 70s. One day last week, we had snow down here! I hate snow unless I'm skiing on it. Here's a picture:
I've made great progress with the mound of boxes in my den; I have about eight boxes left. However I've run up against the problem of having no place to put certain things because they will go in a place that DH hasn't had time to build yet. Cabinets, shelving, or my promised built-in computer/task desk for example.
After listening to my wails of woe, DH decided to put off work on the new bathroom (with my approval) and stop and build an underbed storage unit for our bedroom. We spent an afternoon hammering out (i.e. arguing and discussing) what we wanted in said storage unit. Then DH had to spend another half day drawing out the plans on several pieces of graph paper to placate his engineering soul and meticulous woodworker's heart. Next, we had to make a trip to town for lumber. DH also had to clean and organize his shop enough in order to actually be able to work in it. He hopes to begin cutting lumber tonight.
Wtih unpacking, I've been too busy to stitch. Oh, those of you lusting after and plotting ways to acquire my stitching chair should take heed: my chair is protected by my new Watch Frog. If my chair is removed from its rightful place, the thief will forever be plagued by stitching frogs every time they sit down to stitch until their dying day. Bwahahahaha!
It was really nice to unpack and set out my pirate collection yesterday. I don't have many as pirates are hard to come by. This makes the ones I do have even more special. Here's a picture of them:
Speaking of pirates, Sue Hillis Designs has made available a cute little pirate Santa freebie that matches her "Yo Ho Ho Ho" pirate Santa. You can download it from her website here.
Well, after I get our very late Christmas letters all ready to mail out, I'll be spending the afternoon stitching. It's too dang cold in the house to do anything else.

Dec 9, 2008

Stash, books, and a place to stitch

Well, we are now P.O.D.S.-less as it was picked up this morning at 8:15 a.m. It's weird to look outside and not see it sitting in front of DH's shop.
I received all the Redbird Designs patterns that I ordered from 3 Stitches and have enjoyed drooling over and fondling them. I got the complete quilt block alphabet series and three others. Whee-e-o!
I managed to carve out a place for my stitching corner and get it set up. Now I just have to dig out yet another extension cord to run my lamps. (We have no power to any of the plugs on this side of the den right now.) BUT! I can stitch whenever I want to! Yeehaw!
And I'm making a dent in the boxes. Even though I meticulously scaled stuff down and got rid of a lot of things before I packed up for the move, as I unpack boxes I find myself saying, "What on earth possessed me to keep this?!" So I have a couple of Salvation Army donation boxes going, too.
And yesterday, as I unpacked books, I kept getting distracted and sitting down to read favorite parts of favorite books. Fun, but it slows down the unpacking and putting away process. Books to me are like old friends. The books in our library have all been read more than once, and most of them multiple times. They don't get to stay in our library otherwise. Forget about not being too rich or too thin; you can never have too many books.

Dec 8, 2008

This and that and a frog

As always, thank y'all for your comments and encouraging words!
Saturday was my day to drive to Austin for the IH35 Stitchtogether. I got a lot of stitching done on my current WIP, and am close to finishing it! And I calculated that the last time I stitched on it was at the November Stitchtogether. Very sad.
There were five of us there - Mary, Lynn, Di, Sandi, and myself. We always bring food and we all brought "mealish" food this time; there wasn't a dessert or any chocolate to be found! ACK!
We also exchanged Christmas ornaments. The rules were that ornaments could be stolen twice before it was declared "owned." We must have all been very mellow as no one stole anything. I received an ornament from Di that she designed herself!
Blogger has this new "Followers" feature. I was interested in doing it on my blog, but it took it SIX MINUTES to load on my dial-up for each entry. So it ain't happening on this blog. FYI - pretty much if your blog is listed on mine, I read it.
Over Thanksgiving, we visited DH's family. One of his aunts is an avid crocheter. She spends all year crocheting animals, toys, slippers, and bookmarks to sell at a local annual craft fair. Many of the designs are her own. I always HAVE to go look at all her creations. She keeps them in a spare bedroom on built-in shelves that cover an entire wall, and they fill the shelves! (I know, I should bring my camera next year and take a picture).
Anyway, just as I was about to leave the room, a spot of green caught my eye. It was the most adorable frog! I bought him with intentions of giving him away at an IH35 Stitchtogether. But he's so darn cute that I ended up keeping him for myself (sorry ladies) and perching him where he could be guardian over my stitching area and keep annoying stitching frogs at bay.
Well, I'm off to unpack several of our eleventy-billion boxes of books. Y'all have a great day!

Dec 5, 2008

A new creature

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Monday, I opened an e-mail and learned that a former coworker and friend, Robert, had lost his battle with cancer, and had passed away at home with his wife and daughter on Thanksgiving Day. He was 52 years old. DH and I immediately cleared our schedules to drive up to east Texas to attend the funeral on Tuesday.
Like many funerals, it was a time sadness. But for me, it was a beautiful example of old things passing away once a man knows and follows Christ as his Savior; he becomes a new creation and a different person.
Robert and I began working together in the summer of 1979 in a prosthetics lab in Dallas, Texas. I was just going into college and he was just getting out of college. We were both interested in a career in prosthetics (fabricating and fitting custom-made artificial limbs for people). We worked together for around eight or nine years and both became Certified Prosthetists before going our separate ways. Robert bought a lab in east Texas and struck out on his own, and I got married and moved to Tennessee with my DH. We've seen each other in person only a few times since then, but we kept in touch.
The Robert I worked with was the "old Robert." He was a little wild, did some foolish things, lived in the moment, but was basically good-hearted. I thought of him as the older brother I didn't have. He had three brothers and no sisters. We were friends and occasionally fought like a brother and sister. He had a girlfriend, Mary. She was very level-headed and was a woman of faith. And at that time, though Robert understood the concept, he had never believed in Christ as his Savior.
Well, Mary and Robert got married, and Mary came to work at the lab in the office. I got to know her and really liked her. Whoever came up with the saying, "Behind every good man is an even better woman," must have been talking about Mary.
Robert grew up; he matured (as we all hopefully do). He and Mary had a daughter, Melanie, whom he often called "Babycakes." And then one day, Robert believed in Christ as his Savior. He became my brother in Christ. He was a new creation; he changed. He began attending church and seeking after God. He became active in a men's Bible study. He met with other men to pray early on Saturday morning. He became active in his church community and sought ways to help folks in need. And when he was diagnosed with cancer, his church family rallied around him and his family.
The funeral was a celebration of Robert's home-going to heaven to be with his Lord. I rejoiced as I listened to friends and church members give testimony of the changes in Robert's life. I could almost hear the Lord saying to him, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!"
After the funeral, DH and I were talking over the passage of time and old friends. We figured that the last time I had seen Robert was in the early '90's at an Academy Meeting in New Orleans. (Academy Meetings are national yearly educational and scientific lectures for prosthetists and orthotists.) DH last saw him in March of this year, again at an Academy Meeting, where Robert told him of his battle with cancer. DH said that he and Robert really seemed to connect with one another during that visit. I said, "You were brothers in the Lord and knew it."
Anyway, I will be keeping Mary and Melanie in my prayers. And I will be praising the Lord who keeps His promises to those who believe in Him, and thanking Him for the life of my brother Robert, a new creature.

Dec 4, 2008

YEEHAW! An empty P.O.D.S.!

Okay, I tried to post on Monday, but Blogger kept omitting my formatting. I am very particular about formatting and don't like it to be omitted. After three tries, I gave up.
Tuesday, DH and I drove up and back to east Texas to attend the home-going celebration (funeral) of a former coworker and friend. I'll post about that tomorrow.
Yesterday, I ran a bazillion errands in town including a trip to Wal-Mart and the Post Office (in December - ACK!!). But last night, our young friend Preston came over to help DH UNLOAD THE P.O.D.S.! That's right, it's empty! All our furniture and lots of boxes are now in the house! YEEHAW!!
Here's proof! And that's my stitching rocking chair behind all those boxes! WHEE-E-O!!
DH and I are avid readers and have lots of books - you can never have too many books. After carrying the umpteenth box of books into the house, Preston commented that he was not going to date or marry a girl that liked to read or collect books. (He was kidding.)

Nov 25, 2008

A floor without glue...

...won't stick down. Yep, we ran out of glue. Poop.
We got 1/3 of the floor glued down last night. We would have had the whole thing done if we'd had the glue. We could have made the half-hour drive into town, bought more glue at Lowe's, and then made the half-hour drive back home. But Lowe's glue is $5.00 more a bucket than Surplus Warehouse glue and Surplus Warehouse closed at 5:30 p.m. Based on our calculations, we need six more tubs of glue. Oh well.
DH will pick up more glue today on the way home from work. He will save $30.00 and the time and gas for a trip into town, and we will get it done tonight.
DISCLAIMER: If you are doing a vinyl floor "right," you don't glue it down to OSB. You use something like higher grade plywood and you are careful to mask or match the seams of the plywood. You use a higher grade (thicker) vinyl over a wood subfloor. Our vinyl is thin enough to strain tea through which is what you'd expect at 44 cents a square foot. Or you glue it down over smooth concrete. We are not doing this floor "right." We are doing it cheap and temporary, and don't care that we can see the OSB seams under the vinyl. We only care that we can clean it easily. A 4' x 8' sheet of OSB was $6.28. The same size of "proper" plywood was $21.99 a sheet. This was a tightwad no-brainer.
Back to your irregularly scheduled blog post.
Here is a picture of what we got done. You can get the idea anyway. Yep, the vinyl floor is a fake wood plank pattern.
For the rest of the week, we will be engaging in Thanksgiving festivities in various places with sundry people. There will be turkey and talk of deer hunting. There will fishing. Hopefully, there will be stitching. DH hopes to actually deer hunt at several points during the weekend. I hope to get furniture into my den. We will see what transpires. I'll post if I can, but don't expect me back until December 1st. Y'all have a Happy Thanksgiving, and count your blessings!

Nov 24, 2008

Our weekend floored us

No, I haven't stitched all weekend. *whine*
Our den floor plans prior to this weekend were to caulk all the cracks between the den floor boards as a temporary one to two year fix (eventually, we'll replace the old floor with a new engineered wood floor). In preparation for this, I spent two days meticulously vacuuming crud from between the boards and then scrubbing the boards clean with a scrubber sponge and soapy water. The floor looked nice.
Then, we figured out two things: 1) prepping for caulking and doing the caulking would take us about 30-40 hours of time (ACK!), and 2) even with the caulk in the cracks, to keep the unfinished boards looking nice, I would have to scrub them at least every other week. Scrubbing them took me a total of six hours. I ain't gonna do this every two weeks. I like a clean floor, but I'm all about ease of keeping it clean and cleaning it easily.
So we put on our thinking caps. We decided to buy cheap vinyl flooring to glue down . Easy to clean, easy on the budget, and it would cover the cracks. Off we went to Surplus Warehouse for cheap flooring.
Then DH got to thinking again. We wanted to reuse the old floor boards and gluing vinyl down on them would make this very difficult. DH decided it would be best to remove all the old boards and underlayment, assess the sub floor, add a new sub floor as needed, and then glue down the vinyl. (One nice thing about that nasty polyurethane glue used to glue down engineered wood flooring, it will stick to vinyl so we wouldn't have to pull up the vinyl floor before putting down the new wood floor in the future!).
So that's what we did. Here is DH wrestling the old screws out of the boards before pulling them up.
The black stuff under the boards is tar paper. And see all that dirt and crud left behind after my meticulous vacuuming? YUCK!
Next, DH rolled up the tar paper.
We found a weirdly floor underneath. It was half painted plywood flooring and then half plywood and OSB over unpainted boards. We think the part with the plywood/OSB was at one time a porch floor.
We also found evidence of a previous owner, or at least painting helper.
So we covered the entire weirdly floor with a layer of new OSB. DH fitted it and I screwed it down. We ran out of daylight and energy, so we stopped here. Tonight, we will glue down the vinyl; a picture tomorrow.
Then, I will FINALLY be able to move in my furniture!

Poor, pitiful Emma!

(This is being reposted as Blogger ate the post when I tried to correct the typo in the title. BTW - Emma's toe is much better and she thanks you for your concerned comments!)
Several weeks ago, DH was throwing the tennis ball for Emma when she came up limping. She had injured the nail on one of her front toes. Well, it would get better and then she'd hurt it again. She'd gimp around on three legs.
Early this week, she went spelunking under an old shed on our property and hurt the toe yet again. So today, we went to the vet. The vet said the nail was dead and needed removing. He said as a young vet, he usually put animals to sleep for nail removal, but as an older and wiser vet, he recommended the "grab, yank, one yelp, and you're done" method. I opted for this method.
While the assistant held Emma, and I distracted her with a tongue depressor covered in Cheez Whiz, the vet grabbed and yanked. Sure enough, one yelp and it was over. Emma did sniff at her paw once, but then went back to the Cheez Whiz. She now has a nifty red bandage to wear for two days, and some pain tablets.
I gave her a tablet even though she doesn't seem to be too bothered by the toe. She still wants to play with her "Dirty Kitty," a toy so named because his middle is always dirty where Emma grabs him. She's killed the squeaker in it; it only clunks when she tries to get it to squeak.
Silly dog.

Nov 21, 2008

Knicker Knotter #7 - "Baby Needs New Shoes"

Many of the stitching message boards I read allow private individuals to post "for sale" notices. I don't have a problem with this at all. In fact, I've taken advantage of a message board sale on occasion.
What I do have a problem with is people announcing why they're selling something. "My kids need Christmas presents." "I need to fix my washing machine." "I got laid off and need cash instead of stash." "Baby needs new shoes." "My medications cost a lot these days."
Yes, these are all valid reasons for selling stash. But when this is the first thing I read before reading what the person is actually selling, it smacks of manipulation to me. "Buy from me because I'm manipulating your emotions into feeling sorry for me." It bothers me. And I usually read no further.
Maybe I'm overly sensitive to manipulative/guilt-tripping behaviour. Maybe I'm not. Anyway, just state that these items are for sale. Let the potential buyers decide if they want to buy based on the item's merit alone. Too much information is not a good thing, at least to this potential buyer.

Nov 20, 2008

Bad customer service

No, this is not my kitty. But she expresses my mood quite well. (I just love this picture!)
DH and I are in the process of ditching our bank, Compass Bank. They have the worst customer service. After dealing with them for three years, they pushed us over the edge last week.
When we moved here, I promptly spent half a day on the internet researching local banks. We wanted a bank that had interest-bearing checking with free checks and free online bill pay among other things. Compass Bank met all the criteria. Supposedly.
First off, we had a lot of difficulty getting the online bill pay set up. Every time DH would call the bank for help, he would be routed to ANY Compass Bank. He spoke to branches in New Mexico, Alabama, and all over Texas. The phone number we were given rolled you to whatever phone was available at ANY branch. Not all branches had online bill pay available. Everyone he spoke to was clueless. Finally, I went back to the local branch office and got it straightened out in person.
Then there was our ATM card. We don't use it very often, but it was also a pain to set up. They had difficulty spelling our names correctly and opting us out of the debit card feature. No, we only want an ATM card. Yes, we're sure about that. Yes, we'd like our names spelled correctly - we're funny that way. Once again, I had to go to the local branch in person to get this rectified. They ended up issuing us the cards FOUR TIMES before it was right.
At one point, we had two accounts, and wanted to close out one and change our checking account to one with more features. Easy, right? No. Of course not. We had major problems with this and DH and I both had to go in person to the local branch to get this fixed.
But last week was the final straw. We use online bill pay for every bill we receive. I schedule the bill to be paid five days before the bill's stated due date. Compass Bank paid our power bill late two months in a row.
We were able to resolve this with the power company amicably. When DH called the bank, they were clueless. They said they didn't know why the bills were paid late. Excuse me? They said it must be my fault as I scheduled the due date incorrectly. DH made them access our bill pay account and they admitted that the problem was not mine. However, they still couldn't explain themselves. So, DH called the bill pay service hotline. They were even more clueless. "This just happens." Two months in a row?! ONLY the power bill?!!
So we opened an account at First Victoria Bank, a bank local to central Texas with 143 years of service. The bank manager herself was the one who helped us set up our new account. We told her why we were leaving Compass Bank. She said she worked for them briefly but left because of...well, because. 'Nuff said.

Nov 19, 2008

The tools are in the shop (where they belong)!

I tried to post last Friday, but Blogger was being annoying and sporadic as was my dial-up ISP. I had been tagged with the "Six Random Things About You" list and was attempting to pass on the fun. Doing this with dial-up is a pain so it ain't happening. So if you got a weird comment on one of your blog posts from me regarding being tagged, ignore it.
And here are six random things about me: 1) I was thought to be twins. Twins run very heavily in my family, especially with firstborn children. My Mom and my Dad's mom are twins. Luckily for the world, I was a single birth. They determined this back in the early 60's by x-raying my mom with me in the womb(!), 2) My great great grandfather invented the horse-hay rake and he's mentioned in an old eighth grade Texas history book, 3) I graduated from Texas A&M's original sister school, Texas Woman's University in '83, 4) I am the only short, blue-eyed blonde in my family. However, I look just like my dad (in a short, blue-eyed blondy kind of way), so that negates speculation regarding my Mom having illicit liaisons with the postman, 5) My shoe size is 6.5EE which is why I own few pairs of shoes and go barefoot most of the year, 6) I do not have a palmaris longus in either forearm. This is a genetic trait; my Dad doesn't have them either. Bummer if I need a tendon transfer as this is the first one a surgeon will grab. The palmaris longus doesn't really do much anyway so not having one is no problem (unless you need a tendon transfer).
I have come to the conclusion that I will rarely have time to post on the weekends. In our new house, the computer is in a corner of the bedroom. DH likes to sleep in a bit later on the weekends, so I can't get on the computer while eating breakfast to post. And once he rolls out of bed, we start working on the house.
Speaking of which, BOY! did we get a lot done this weekend! No, the furniture is still out in the P.O.D.S., but I have an empty den! All the tools are out in DH's shop where they belong! Yippee skippy!
The long-range plan is to start on the new bathroom (currently a bare-stud room) after we get the furniture moved into the den. After the bathroom is finished, we will install the HVAC; the inside unit will go in the old bathroom where the tub is. We will move the water heater indoors at this point also. Once the HVAC is installed, we will gut the rear den wall, replacing windows and adding a back door. Then we will gut the front den wall, replacing windows and the front door. At that point, we will have all new sheetrock in the den and can mud, texture, and paint it. Then we will replace the den floor.
Next, after saving up the cash to do it, in about two to three years, we will rip the kitchen and utility room off the end of the house and completely rebuild it. It isn't as structurally sound as the other part of the house (we think it was originally a porch) and it will be easier to rebuild it from scratch than to try and make right what's really bad. We thought it was okay enough to fix before we bought it, but as the sellers really frown on potential buyers ripping out walls or floors for a look-see, we weren't sure. Once we owned it and were able to rip out walls/floors for a closer look, we realized it wasn't too great. Oh well.
We thought we were going to move in furniture, but we have to stop and caulk the den floor. The floor is made of plain ol' 1" x 6" unfinished pine boards. Over half of them have 1/4" to 1/2" cracks between them. Besides being unsightly, the cracks get really disgusting stuff down in them. I know this because I spent an entire morning vacuuming out the cracks and using a 5-in-1 tool to dig out the disgusting stuff before I scrubbed the floor clean with soapy water and a stiff brush. I ain't doing this every week when I clean the den. So DH called a flooring company to ask if there was a solution. The installer gave DH very detailed instructions on how to caulk the gaps. It will be labor intensive but cheap. And I will be a much happier homemaker. That will get done this weekend.
The den walls consist of thin inside paneling, wall space with no insulation, an outer sheathing of miscellaneous boards with shingles over that. Much of our weekend was spent trying to make the walls somewhat winter-proof on a temporary basis as we anticipate having them renovated by next summer. The results are workable but not very aesthetic. We used duct tape to cover gaps in the paneling, strips of OSB to cover gaps at the ceiling and floor, and a bazillion tubes of caulk to seal the leaky windows. Here are a couple of pictures:
At the ceiling by a window:
At the floor by the front door:
We call this cheesy cheapskate decorating (not to be confused with the honorable method of tightwad decorating). And no, I haven't stitched in over two weeks. Bummer.

Nov 13, 2008

Redbird Designs, a WIP, and cows

Public Service Announcement for all you Redbird Designs (RD) lovers: Lorraine is quitting the business and moving to New York with her family. I received this notice from a friend who received it from her LNS. ACK! Shops will be able to order through the end of November, so if you have RD patterns on your wish list, get 'em now!
I went on an RD spree yesterday at 3 Stitches and shot my stash budget through December as I bought all 15 patterns on my wish list. But boy! will I have fun fondling once they arrive in the mail!
And as THE SUN IS FINALLY BACK OUT AFTER FOUR DAYS OF BEING GONE, I was able to get a good picture of my WIP. I just have to fill in the stitches around the edges and top of the panel, and then I can finish it and hang it up (it's a bell pull)!
I wrangled cows again this morning. We've been cow-free since last week, but this morning, I was out wranglin' again. I enticed them back to their own pasture with a bucket of feed (our neighbor left us some feed just for that purpose). They are getting into our other neighbor's pasture and escaping through his fence. That's what they did this morning. I saw them hopping the fence down our driveway past our land and went out to fetch them home. Then I patched the other neighbor's fence with a piece of old hog panel. FYI - Wire snips won't cut bobwahr, you have to use bolt cutters.
I had strong words with the biggest black Angus cow. She will butt you in the backside real hard with her head if you are carrying feed and she wants it. She got herself elbowed in the cheek (on her face) several times before she realized that wasn't a good thing to do to me. I renamed her Yankee as she's rude and pushy. ☺ And I have extra laundry to do as the jeans I wore while wranglin' have cow spit and cow snot all over the backside. Whee.

Nov 11, 2008

A cloudy Tuesday

Well, it's still cloudy and raining here. The bump/hump on our driveway has become a car trap again. We parked the car/truck down past the danger zone and have to hike down to them in the mud and rain. It beats paying for a tow truck.
We had the bulldozer guy out this weekend to take a look and give us a bid on fixing the bump/hump. We are awaiting his bid. He concurred that the bump/hump was made of "Texas white clay that gets slicker than snot" when rained on. Yeah, we knew that.
Apparently, the locals all know about "that driveway" to our house. Even though many of them thought of buying this property/house for a weekend hunting cabin, none were willing to take on "that driveway." Our neighbor with the cows told us this. We figure the driveway problems are a fair exchange for the peace, quiet, and privacy.
DH (Texas Tech Class of '83) was able to "nest" in his shop last night. He made a start in getting it organized in preparation for getting all of his tools out of the den.
We closed on our house in May, had the shop built in early June, and then worked out here all summer, moving in on August 31st. When we first got the shop, we were moving shop loads out here as we were able and just chucking them in the shop. As DH did demolition on the house, he was also saving usable wood and cabinets. At one point in July, I spent an entire day organizing DH's shop just so we'd have room to move around and to store more stuff. As we moved more stuff in, that organization was lost. So, DH is (FINALLY!) starting to get it organized. Frankly, I don't care how he organizes it as long as he GETS HIS STUFF OUT OF MY DEN!
I was in a grumpy mood yesterday. So instead of doing more caulking as I couldn't see well in the gloomy and rainy daydark, I plunked my backside down and stitched the afternoon away. I am SO CLOSE to finishing my WIP! I just have fill-in left to do at the edge and top of the banding. I will post a picture as soon as I get more camera batteries.
As I have no camera batteries for new pictures, I will leave you with an older picture of Emma.

Nov 10, 2008

Monday musings - long

Yeah, I know. I haven't posted since last Tuesday.
Last week was a blur. DH and I were suffering with our annual fall/winter-seasonal-change-sinus-weirdness. This always happens right after we've had our first "cold front" of the season that lasts more than a week, and is followed by a week or more of much warmer weather. It makes our sinuses fritz out. We go around with a dull sinus headache and a Sudafed haze. It lasts about a week and then our bodies decide that yes, winter is indeed coming on, and they decide to get with the program and get on with it.
Right now, it is raining. I hate rain. I'm part plant and prefer sunny days. However, rain is necessary, so I allow that it must fall. And we are a bit behind on annual rainfall here in my part of Texas. Too bad I don't live in Camelot where supposedly rain only falls after sundown! And now I will have the song "I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight" running through my head all day - happens each and every time I think of Camelot. I know the whole song and can sing it in an English accent.
We continue to make slow progress on the home front although we didn't get any furniture moved in this past week as you may have surmised as you didn't hear any yells, did you?! DH got Emma's dog door installed and I am no longer her personal door slave. But we had to spend the weekend reminding her that she had a dog door again. Reminding her consisted of one of us getting down on our hands and knees, sticking our head out the dog door, and hollering for her. At first, she would run around to the front door and wait for one of us to open it (the dog door is on one side of the house). Then it became a race to make it over to the dog door and lick the face hanging out of it before it could be pulled back in. Thankfully, she figured it all out pretty quickly. Once she remembered, she spent a lot of time going in and out. She seems quite gleeful about it.
I was going to take pictures of some progress (including my WIP!) but my camera batteries are dead and I don't have anymore AAs in the house. I have a battery recharger, but it is out in the P.O.D.S. somewhere. I'll get some new batteries when I go to town tomorrow. So look for pictures later this week.
Friday night we heard on the news that the bank we have our home loan with went under and was taken over by another bank. But "not to worry." Yeah, right. DH is calling them this morning to check on things.
Even though I am a Texas A&M Aggie fan, I will root for any Texas team (even tu) if they are playing a non-Texas team. And I'll root for any Texas team if they are in the BCS top 10 (unless the team is tu with another Texas team ranked above them). Right now, the Texas Tech Red Raiders are doing very well! They are ranked second and are ahead of tu. In fact, the Raiders handed tu their first defeat (bwahahaha!) and the Raiders are still undefeated! DH and I had a good time watching the Raiders beat OSU Saturday night on television.
We'll not discuss the Dallas Cowboys or the Aggies at this point.
DH went hunting on our land twice this weekend but didn't get anything. He did see several does, but he is not allowed to shoot does right now in our county, only bucks. He is not a happy hunter.
I haven't stitched since last Saturday, so I'm not a happy stitcher.
FYI - did you know that if you buy a cell phone to use with a certain provider (AT&T or Verizon for example), that the cell phone is locked into that provider?
DH and I have a pair of very nice Motorola V330s that we bought when we had to change to T-Mobile when we moved back to Texas. Then when we moved out to our new place, we had no bars and the phones would not work. So we had to switch providers. We got free phones, but hate them. Among other things, the clarity is terrible (really a problem for me with my hearing loss). We SOOOO wanted our old phones back.
DH heard from a co-worker that there are ways to unlock the phones so that they may be used with any provider. He googled "Unlock Motorola V330" and came up with several sites. Armed with this information, he talked to the co-worker who took it up as a personal challenge to get our old phones unlocked. (DH is computer and techno challenged - there is no way he could have done this!) The co-worker was able to log onto a site that gave her the unlock codes and 36 hours later, our old phones worked again! It cost about ten bucks - the fee for the code and a Starbucks coffee for the co-worker's time. ☺ So if you have an old phone you'd rather use, don't despair - it can be unlocked!
Well, I've rambled enough for one morning. I hope it stops raining at some point because it's as dark as a stack of black cats outside and in the house, and I've got things I need to do that require natural light. Phooey on rain.

Nov 4, 2008

Mysterious modem and a very long post

My modem went wonky on me last Wednesday and I was unable to connect to the internet. I couldn't take the CPU into town to my computer guy until yesterday. Thomas connected up my modem and it worked fine for him. So, I brought my CPU home, hooked it all back up, and my modem worked again. Who knows? All that counts is that the darn thing is now working and I can post again.
Saturday was bliss. I was able to make the IH35 Stitchtogether for the first time since July. It was really great to see everyone and to catch up on all the news. I also got to fondle and gawk at Mary's and Lynn's new stash. Everyone had lots of Show-n-Tell finishes (except me). I so enjoy seeing everyone's finishes. Peggy and Di brought framed finishes; it's always fun to see "completely" finished finishes. Gloria showed off the really cool frog fob she stole from LoriRay. She actually made it home with it as none of us were able to "acquire" it from her. But best of all, I GOT TO STITCH FOR A WHOLE AFTERNOON UNINTERRUPTED BY COWS!!!
We find it necessary to have lots of food available at our stitchtogether. We all brought stuff to eat. Unfortunately, the lady who brings all the cutlery, napkins, and plates had an emergency and couldn't come. So there we were with food we couldn't eat because we had nothing to eat it with or on! And wouldn't you know it, the library switched from paper towels to air hand dryers, so we couldn't even appropriate paper towels to use as plates! Gloria brought Schlotzky's sandwiches and we were able to munch on those, but the Snickers salad and unsliced bar cookies sat there temptingly with no way to eat them.
On the home front, we got a lot of things done on the house last week. The kitchen is 95% done. We just need to put a threshold down in the doorway, but must wait until DH can use his table saw (which is in pieces somewhere out in the shop).
I have one more coat of paint to put on the doorway molding in the bedroom and then I'll be done with that. In the past, I've always used inexpensive ColorPlace paint from Wal-Mart. Well, I researched paint and bought the pricier and "better" Behr paint to use on trim molding. It is awful. I hate it. It doesn't cover near as well as my old cheap Wal-Mart paint. It also doesn't brush out or feather edge well. I'm having to use two coats of the Behr paint on the door moldings because it didn't one-coat cover my spackle. Stupid paint. The next room I paint, I will be going back to using ColorPlace.
I had the brilliant idea of using plastic cable ties to hold the new hog panels in place on the fence railings until our friend can come out and weld them on. He was supposed to come back two weekends ago, but got called into work. He will be out in the middle of November to try again. Anyway, the ties hold the panels quite well, and after working on the fence all last week after DH got home from work, we are nearly done with tying it. We should get it finished tonight even if we have to do it by flashlight as we no longer have Daylight Savings Time (whine). Then DH will have to install Emma's dog door and I will no longer be her personal door slave.
Our neighbor's cows enjoyed freedom so much that they started getting out of our pasture and visiting a lot of other pastures. Three days in a row, they followed DH up the driveway when he got home from work. Then on Friday, we saw hide nor hair of them. Our neighbor called to report that a friend of his down the road had found them and put them in his pasture until our neighbor can secure his fence. He was going to come out this weekend until DH reminded him that it was the start of deer rifle season. It would not be a good weekend to be wandering a fence line in the woods. Indeed, at dawn and dusk all weekend, you could hear the frequent sound of rifle shots.
On that note, DH hunted on our land this weekend and got a nice spike buck that yielded about 42 pounds of meat before processing. My freezer and I are excited! And DH is no longer a gloomy hunter.
I really miss Daylight Savings Time. It gets dark way too early now. Yesterday, I went to Lowe's and bought DH two shop lights for his shop. He doesn't have electricity out there yet, but can run them off extension cords from the house for now. He needs to "nest" out there and get stuff arranged/rearranged before we can move all the tools out of the den. Hopefully, he can get that done and we can move furniture into the den this weekend. If it doesn't happen this weekend, I'm sure it will happen by the next weekend. You'll know when it does as you'll probably be able to hear my hollering for joy from several states away.
I ordered some stash this weekend. I saw this pattern by Twisted Oaks, "Trixie and Treat." Now, normally this type of pattern is not my thing, but this one struck my fancy so I ordered it. I also ordered Sue Hillis' "Yo Ho Ho Ho" pattern that I showed y'all several posts ago - the Santa pirate.
Well, I'm off to vote, and I hope you are voting today also!