Monday, August 31, 2009

Goodbye '80s Master Bathroom!

I dropped the kids off with the grandparents last week. Instead of taking a little mini vacation, Justin and I decided to do some work on the house. Demolition! We discovered that shoddy workmanship=easy demo! Excellent.

Day 1

The Shower

We also discovered that fiberglass, like sand (Amy), gets everywhere. (sorry Amy, I always think of you with that Star Wars quote!)

The Tub

We had bits on our arms, legs, feet. Finally, we wised up and put on long sleeves and long pants. After a day of Justin doing the wrecking, and me carrying bits and pieces, we called it a night.

Day 2

The floor and Potty Before


The Maniacal Hammer Wielding Husband!

Justin made short work of the potty, and we got creative (see pics below.)

Then came the tile. It was just glued here and there directly to the underlament. The backs of the tiles didn't look like they had mastic on them at all. It was like they were held together by the grout in between each tile.

Again with the shoddy workmanship! But at least we got to have a little fun with this demo project.

We thought we should find a new home for the Potty. What do you think?

I'm sure the HOA would love this display.

Next Stop: Yard of The Month!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


The kids are staying with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days while Justin and I do some work on the house (more on that later.) They've stayed there several times, and know that "what happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's." There are whispers of "ice cwame" and "tractors" and sometimes even "buff'lo" (or doggies, to Miranda.) My parents live out in the boonies with the cows, and all things bucolic (although, pastoral, sounds much prettier!)

When Evan used to go for a visit with "Gammaw and Gampaw," he didn't want to come home. He would get out of the car when arriving home, see my smiling face, and turn back around and try to get back in Grandpa's car. I hadn't won that popularity contest. But soon enough he would tell me about all the fun he'd had. Duncan has always enjoyed visiting, but for a while there he didn't really have the vocabulary to talk about his stay. In fact, what he's called his grandparents has been more of the story than what he did. For Evan they were always "Gammaw and Gampaw." When he was in a rush he'd combine them, and to me it sounded like "Let's go to GampaGampa's house."

But for Duncan the words Grandma and Grandpa have gone through more of an evolution. He first called Grandpa "Da." I think he actually used that for both grandparents. This summer he graduated from "Da" to "Da-Da-A." I think hearing us say, "Grandpa" may have confused poor little Duncan. He seems to have tried to get the correct syllables and the "ah" sound on the end. Lately, though, he's started saying "Drampaw." This is probably my favorite from Duncan. Strangely enough, I think he still calls grandma "Da."

On our last visit Miranda decided to get in on the fun. She started calling Grandpa "Pawpaw." Dad had always said that he didn't want to be called Pawpaw. And I seem to recall that when Evan said it once, my dad said, "I'm Grandpa!" But I guess this little girl already has him wrapped around her tiny finger, because now he says, "She can call me Pawpaw, if she wants." But Miranda is also being cagey. She has now started calling him "Bampaw." Which is the cutest thing ever. And poor Grandma gets the shaft again!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leapin' Lizards!

I'm back on the exercising wagon again (or did I fall off?) I've been going out for a jog a few times a week for about three months. That's right. I started an exercise program in the summer in the Deep South. Brilliant, I know. I've mostly toured around the neighborhood. I've enjoyed jogging in the outdoors much more than on the treadmill (even with video games!) All the fresh air you can stand. Who could ask for more? But there are some downsides to exercising outside. My neighborhood does not have sidewalks, so every time a car passes, I have to move over. Generally not a big deal. But then, cough cough, comes the exhaust, or someone's cigarette smoke, or paint can fumes from some neighbor's house. And that odor wafts, I can tell you.

When I'm not distracted by choking on one of those lovely scents, I seem to be climbing a hill. Because they are everywhere. When I have grandkids and I tell them I had to run uphill both ways, I'll mean it!

I've been chased by a dog (probably the best time ever on that hill!), glared at by cats, and I played a short game of leap frog with an actual frog! But I have to admit the snake in the road really had me leaping! Sadly, when I doubled back to do that portion again, I had forgotten all about the snake, and freaked out all over again. It was probably dead, on reflection, since it hadn't moved in the interim.

I'm looking forward to the cooler days of Fall. Oh yeah, and lower humidity. I'm not sure what Justin thinks when I come back looking more like a beet than my usual peaches and cream complexion. I'm also looking forward to this getting easier. It does get easier, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

May you live in interesting times...

This week has been, ah...interesting. It's not fun being sick (well, for most people. Duncan doesn't seem to mind too much!), and it's certainly not fun hanging out with sickos. The stress over Miranda's feverish weekend blossomed into the stress of Justin's Monday interview (which went well.) Then I took Miranda to the pediatrician to get her ears checked. They wanted me to fill out new paperwork. I know I probably don't do it every time, but it sure feels like I do! And this time they had a new touch screen computer for me to use. So, imagine a frazzled, stressed out mom of two sick kids. She's trying to use a new machine to fill out the same information that's already on file, and corral the two kids back into the sick room (and not leave the building.) After the 45 minute wait, I was ready to throw some punches.

The next day I took the kids with me to drop off some stuff at a consignment sale. It was all ready to go (because I stayed up until 1:30am to get it done!). The drop off went fairly smoothly. I decided to go ahead and drop off several things at a store that sells stuff secondhand. I bought a few things while they calculated what they would pay me for my stuff. $9. I was disappointed, but went with it. Duncan pitched a fit on leaving, which is always fun. On the way home I started thinking about all the stuff the store had purchased from me. There were at least nine pieces of clothing. All in excellent condition, little wear (worn once or twice for a couple of the outfits.) So, I got $1 per item. I felt so cheated. It's such a hassle to get things ready and go all the way over there, that $9 just didn't seem worth it. So, I decided everything else will go to charity. At least, then I know someone who wants it will get it.

We may need to sell the house depending on where Justin gets a job, so naturally, the house is rebelling. There are some weird leaky things going on with the upstairs AC, which is leaving those awful brown stains on the ceiling. I'm wondering if the overflowing AC pan may be leading to the increased number of mosquitoes inside my house! I've killed 9 mosquitoes inside the house over the last few days.

Today I really tried to start the day with a smile and the, "We'll have a good one today, kids" attitude. But late afternoon came and I discovered that someone (probably a little boy that lives here) used something to cut three slices into one of my leather sofas. Later, I found a whole roll of scrapbooking adhesive unwound and wrapped around the dining room chairs. I had made an attempt to keep the roll out of reach (in the gated dining room), but Duncan climbs over the gate and explores. I keep thinking of a Ron Weasly quote from the Harry Potter series, "Why is everything I own rubbish?" In his case it's because his family is poor, and he gets everything second hand. I just have a little Tasmanian devil who lives here.

Here's hoping for a happy tomorrow!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Miranda was very unhappy when she woke up yesterday morning. She was crying hard, which is uncharacteristic for our happy little girl. Usually, she'll talk and play in her bed until someone gets her, and only fusses if we take too long. But yesterday she had a reason. A fever. She was registering 100.4 on the ear thermometer. We gave her Tylenol, and tried to give her comfort. I made an appointment with the doctor's office, just in case. And I decided to take Duncan in to get his ears checked. They'd both been sick, and I figured Miranda definitely had an ear infection, and Duncan probably not. But might as well check him out while we're there. We got there, and were told that Miranda's ears looked great, throat looked fine, chest sounded good. But her eye teeth are coming in, which can cause fever---intermittent, not persistent. Ok, I thought. Teeth, we can handle that. The nurse checked Duncan. Duncan had been acting pretty normal, but his sleeping has been off, well, more than usual! And he has an ear infection! So, now Duncan is on antibiotics, happy as a lark. He gets two teaspoons of the medicine twice a day. When we got home from the pharmacy, I gave the first teaspoon, and he waited for the next with his mouth open. He even pointed to his open mouth as if to say, "This is where it goes, lady!" And Miranda, who "isn't sick" had a persistent fever the rest of yesterday. They slept horribly last night. He was great today, and she wasn't. Her fever was down, but she wasn't herself. So, chances are good we'll be going back tomorrow. It's all reminiscent of when Evan got sick. So, I'm trying not to freak out. And, of course, I'm starting to sniffle, and Justin, too. Justin has a job interview tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, he won't have a cold. Ugh! What a weekend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Ok, I know these pictures are grainy, but I was so excited to see the goldfinches out there. Had I run outside with the camera, I'm sure it would have flown away.

And here he is on a sunflower! They've also enjoyed my Black Eyed Susans and Cutleaf Coneflowers, and interestingly enough, my flute playing!

I wasn't quick enough to get pictures, grainy or otherwise, of my little hummingbird visitors. They loved my Crocosmia while it was still blooming. And lately they're enjoying my Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia guaranitica), annual salvia (Salvia splendens), and even my Alpen Diamond Dahlias.

A Typical Day at My House

Here it's ok to think inside the box.

Painting (ugh, with milk!)

Panda Rage!

Piggy Back Rides for All!


And, of course, Climbing!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More than One Kind of Knockout!

Evan's Tree aka Crepe myrtle

The rain has really perked things up around here. It's also made it really humid again. I guess that's one of the things about living in the South. It's Summer. It's Hot. Deal with it. And again I say the prayer, "Thank you, Lord, for the inventor of Central Air!" Even in the heat we have tons of blooms. I know there can be a lull in the Dog Days of Summer. Maybe we haven't gotten there yet, because it's beautiful out there! We planted that Crepe Myrtle when Evan was 6 months old in honor of his birth. It was less than 2 feet tall then. I think it is upwards of 6 feet now! And I'm loving the umbrella sort of shape. I think the ultimate height for this one is 12 feet tall. I'll try to remember the cultivar. One of these days.

Dahlia "Alpen Diamond"

I got Alpen Diamond as a freebie when I ordered several dahlia tubers from J&C Dahlias. I must have put it in the right spot, because it seems extremely happy. I never dig them up. Although, after three summers, I may have tubers to share by now.

Dahlia "Pam Howden"

I wrote a few weeks ago about how I didn't think my Pam Howden dahlia was going to come up. Well, I was wrong. This is also a dahlia from J&C Dahlias. I first saw the opening bud as I was wandering around the yard scratching my itchy arms after the pole beans decided to get fresh. I saw that peach color and said, "Oh my." And I have to say that she is stunning. I should bring her in and make a bouquet. I used to do that more often. I'd enjoy my flowers inside as well as out. But I haven't done it lately. Maybe it's a lack of a cutting tool. When I'm outside I'm usually with a little one, and don't like to carry around dangerous implements. I'll have to make a special trip.

Knockout Rose "Sunny"

My newest acquisition. I've been admiring other people's Knockout Roses for a long time. So consistent. Supposedly trouble free. And this year they came out with yellow. And what's more, it has a pleasant scent. None of the other knockouts are scented. I looked at some pretty ones at a local nursery, but they were about $10-15 more than I wanted to pay. Then I found several on sale at Lowe's. They weren't as big, but they still look nice. So, I bought two for myself and one for my mom and one for my sister in law. This picture is actually from my mom's plant, which is still in the pot. She forgot to take it. If she forgets again, it's going to end up in my yard. It's tempting to go back and see if I can find some more. I really need to find a place in my usual walk from the car to the front door, because the scent is really nice. And the flowers are sweet. I put my two in Evan's Garden. I know, it's supposed to be a Zoo Garden. But my little boy really did have a sunny disposition, and these beautiful flowers fit perfectly in his memorial garden.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Little Boy's Imagination at Work

I've mentioned before that Duncan likes robots. He was already showing some interest, but the 30+ viewings of the movie Wall-E has taken Duncan's interest to a new level. His usual robot attire is a cardboard box over his head. `

But then Justin bought me a little red flashing light to wear when I exercise outside at night. Duncan talked a lot about that flashing light. He took it to bed with him (still flashing!) a few times. But then one day he said, "Where's my flashing light?" And felt on the top of his head for the missing flashing light that should have been there. Then in some alarm, he said, "Where are my wheels?" And he looked at the bottoms of his feet where his wheels are clearly supposed to be. And then we had to ask The Question, "Duncan, are you a robot?"

We expected him to say his usual, "I'm not a wobot. This is Duncan!" with a thump on his chest. But this time he said, "I'm a wobot!"


My Trellis of Pole Beans Toppled Over

I decided to tangle with my pole bean plants after some heavy rains (that's right, people, it rained! Alot! We ended up above average for July. woohoo!) knocked my homemade trellis over. Again and again. I propped it up with more bamboo, but as you see, it toppled over again. The last time I went out to fix it, I decided to pick some beans at the same time. It hadn't occurred to me that on previous occasions I had worn gloves. After the sticky leaves started winding themselves around my neck, my arms, my legs, I decided I was done collecting beans for the day. I felt a little like Harry Potter and the Devil's Snare from the second book. Then I started to itch.

I'm sensitive to numerous plants, so I wasn't really surprised to start breaking
out all over my arms, legs, and neck.

I came inside and washed with cold (always cold water on rashes!), soapy water. I went back outside, and thought it was all over. But one washing was just not going to do it this time. I got Duncan and took him inside. I took the bean-y clothes off and stepped into the shower.

And waited. I called Justin, "Are you coming home soon? Because I'm having a really bad allergic reaction." He suggested Benedryl, and said he was on his way. So, I took some Bennies, and waited it out with the kiddies. Thankfully, it was better by the time Justin got home.

The bean plant is on its side again. And I think it's going to stay like that for now.