Tuesday, May 19, 2015


We FINALLY had our sink drain fixed - you know, the one that Larry was trying to fix himself right before we had to go to a cocktail party, oh, 5 months ago?  That one.  We also had the tub drain in the main bathroom unclogged.

Picture it - for the last few months, we have all been showering in the master bathroom and then going into the main bathroom to do things like shave or brush our teeth. Why? Because I refused to call the plumber until I could make the master bedroom look presentable.  And that never happened because Larry insists on tearing apart different sections of our home, an activity that results in tons of misplaced items that all seem to wind up in my bedroom.

Case in point: I just pulled several pieces of 6-foot-long quarter-round out from behind my bed. If you don't know what quarter-round is, consider yourself blessed.  I didn't know either, until I had the misfortune to set up housekeeping with a DIY-er.

What finally broke our plumbing impasse was my realization, while cleaning the master bathroom shower last week, that the tiles in the shower wall moved when I scrubbed them.  I called the plumber to unclog the main tub so we could shower in the other bathroom, instead; and while he was here, I swallowed my pride and allowed him access through my cluttered bedroom to unclog my sink as well.

We need one of these.
Of course, we're not actually fixing the master bathroom tile.  That would involve a bathroom remodel (it's all original and falling apart), but we can't do that until I let Larry rip out the front wall of our bedroom and master closet to put insulation in there. Because it's all connected to the bathroom.  Also, I need to go rob a bank somewhere.

Look, I can't help it if you are getting confused.  It's the Domino Theory of Home Renovation - one thing always leads to another.  And everything costs way too much money.

I comfort myself with the fact that my laundry room is on Day 3 of remaining all cleaned out.  Of course, it helped that the HVAC guys were down there for the past 2 days working.  I'm thinking of putting a lock on the door now and not giving Larry the key.  That way, he can't sneak anything back in there.

Anyway, I have a question completely unrelated to all of this.  Can any of you recommend good women's hiking boots? They don't have to be too heavy duty (or expensive - see above, re lack of cash), just suitable for hiking in rocky areas.  And they need a wide toebox, or I can't walk right.  Suggestions?

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Silver Lining

Remember this? I wrote it over 7 years ago, when Larry had to clean out our laundry room in order for some plumbing work to be done. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you can probably guess that the laundry room didn't stay cleaned out.  Au contraire, I had resigned myself over the intervening years to treading an ever narrower path to the washer and dryer, while most of the room was taken over by what both Larry and I euphemistically called "The Pile" - literally, a pile of stuff that found its home in the middle of the laundry room floor and kept growing.

Sure, we should have done something about it; but what with Larry being a natural pack rat and my being busy with raising kids, keeping house, homeschooling, and becoming addicted to Words With Friends, I just couldn't keep up with all the junk that ended up down there.  Occasionally I would challenge myself to remove 3 items a day, but I could never keep up with it.  And there was the time a few weeks ago when I sneaked 15 half-empty cans of paint out of the house because a friend's son was collecting hazardous materials for his Eagle Scout project.

15, people - that's just embarrassing.  And that number doesn't even include all the smaller jars of paint samples that went with them.

Excuse me while I swoon...

Well, at long last, my junk problem seems to be solved, because glory hallelujah, the HVAC guys are coming tomorrow; and, in order to allow them to install the AC and furnace,  Larry needs to clean out the laundry room and the basement area (which is FULL of leftover construction material from his insulation hobby).  Now not only will we not have to endure humidity thick enough to swim in, but I will also be able to reclaim the entire lower level of my house. Not to mention regaining my own peace of mind - let's face it, worrying about our fuse box and gas line being surrounded by flammable material was never conducive to a good night's sleep.

In other words, this HVAC installation that is costing us a fortune? Worth every penny.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

There Had Better Be S'Mores

Rachel and Susie are heading out on a one-night Girl Scout camping trip today.  I handed them their packing lists last night before heading off to Knit Night. I spent the rest of the evening blissfully serene in the knowledge that, upon my return, I would see their neatly packed pink duffle bags sitting in the front hall.

Oh, sometimes I just slay me.

So here we are this morning, packing.  I found the difficult stuff: the bug spray (go, me!), the sleeping bags, the mess kits; so I have no idea what the girls are doing up there.  I mean, how hard is it to locate a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a shirt, some pajama pants, and socks?

Well, except the packing part...

Rachel claims she has no socks.  Seriously.  They all just "disappeared."  I suppose she thinks that there is a natural attrition rate for these things.

Actually, in our house? She's probably right.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Living Underwater, Sort Of

Look, I don't even know what happened to Monday.  There was a good nap in there, though.  And a bunch of driving.  And now? Now we brace ourselves for 90 degrees, a bucketload of humidity, and STILL NO AIR CONDITIONING. We've been lucky in that the temps and humidity have been dropping each night, so we start out in the morning at, oh, 76 degrees in the house, with breathable air.  But it goes downhill from there, as the humidity rises and it becomes ever harder to move or think at a reasonable pace

You know, there is a reason Southerners speak more slowly than people in the northern half of the US.  They just can't make the words travel any more quickly through that moisture-laden Southern air. In fact, there is no real Southern accent - it's just sound distortion due to atmospheric interference.

And...that's our science lesson for today.  I'm sure y'all are feeling vastly reassured about my teaching abilities, vis-a-vis my 6 homeschooled children.

Let us conclude with a picture of my gorgeous rhododendron.

There's an azalea trying to sneak into the picture there, bottom right. Pay it no mind.

Whenever I am having a bad day and feel as though I am getting nothing done, I go outside and give myself credit for not inadvertently slaughtering this beauty. Even before we bought this house, I had admired this rhododendron from afar; and, since we moved here, I have been careful never to even attempt to care for it, lest my black thumb jinx the poor plant. This photo makes it evident that it has thrived under my benign neglect.

Time to go manage climate control here. Also, apparently, some children want to be fed.  Enjoy your day, all you lucky AC-owning people, you!

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Sunday, May 10, 2015


A little poem/treat for Mother's Day, from the inimitable Billy Collins:

And Larry did give me chocolates and flowers today, despite the deal I struck with him yesterday. He explained, "Of course I was going to take those things back to IKEA for you. I didn't want you to go - who knows what else you would have come home with!"  So there you have it, folks - he was acting out of self-interest, or so he claims.

I hope you all had a pleasant day, and do listen to that poem - you'll never be able to look at a child-crafted lanyard again without smiling.

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