Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I hate this blog.

What! I DO! I swear.

Ok............. I don't really hate it. I just hate that's its an unfinished project STARING ME IN THE VIRTUAL FACE. I have tons of photos and projects waiting to be blogged about, I just never seem to find the time to sit down and write. But I am feeling that October will be different. For one - Dave and I are giving our livers a break from alcohol. I know, I KNOW - just calm down everyone... I said a "break." We're on a break. Just like Ross and Rachel. You know we'll eventually get back together again. ;)

So with that break, and with the fact that the weather has turned from oppressively hot to surprisingly pleasant, I am hoping we can spur this into a whirlwind month of home improvement frenzy. It also helps that my in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving. What is it about being suddenly faced with the prospect of outside people sleeping within your house that makes you want to re-paint the walls, get new furniture, wash wood floors on your hands and knees, re-insulate the roof, run white vinegar through your coffee pot and then wash it out 10 times... No? Anyone? Is it just me?
Ah. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DECK this out!

When Christmas 2009 rolled around we found ourselves with almost 2 weeks off and no where to go. There had been plans to fly up to New Jersey to visit my fam... but with ticket prices as sky high as they were, I just wasn't able to pull the trigger. Then we thought maybe we'd drive back to Mississippi to see Dave's fam... but D would rather scoop his own eye out with a spoon than sit in the car for 20 hours.... so we decided to just rough it out at home.

With no one visiting.
And nothing to do.

I thought we'd be so bored, but honestly... it... was... GLORIOUS. Just glorious I tell you! There was lots of sleeping, and eating, and of course, all the drinking, and maybe some dancing in the living room in our pajamas, and inevitably there was plenty of chicken cutlet cooking and chicken cutlet eating. And every day, EVER DAY! started out like this............ YAWN! Oh jeez what time is it? Wait! I don't have to go to work today YIIIPPEEEEEE!!!! And then maybe I threw a hat in the air like Mary Tyler Moore.

But one morning Dave decided we were having too much fun. I mean, we talked about maybe tackling some sort of project, but I thought we were just talking. Until one morning when I woke up and padded out to the kitchen to get some coffee... passing this scene along the way......

Oh.... blink blink.... So.... we are actually going to DO this project.

And that's the story of how we decided to tackle the deck. Dave ripped half of it up while I was sleeping. Not that I minded actually - it was terribly rotted. It is in a very shady spot, and I don't think the wood was ever really treated to withstand the elements. I was always afraid someone would come over when it was lightly raining and slip and fall right through it and then of course sue the heck out of us. So it's probably a good thing that we (dave) decided it was high time we replaced it. Luckily when Dave ripped up the boards (half of them fell apart in his hands btw ) we found that the frame underneath was not nearly as rotted. In fact, it was downright fine! So we decided to leave it, clean it, and put new boards right back on top. Which saved us a boatload of time and money too.

We used those fake manufactured boards; the most popular brand is Treks, but we opted for the Home Depot generic brand which was slightly cheaper. And I tell ya we could not be more pleased!

Aside from the fact that they already have the pre-stained and pre-sealed look - they are guaranteed to never rot or warp. Which means we NEVER have to do this project again. SOLD! The only thing that's a little funky, is that when you screw in the boards, the shavings sort of pile up around the screw -almost like you're screwing into a crayon, if that makes sense? We ended up just knocking the material back down over the screw, and it ended up looking fine.

Other that that one weird gripe - I have to say -I'm a HUGE fan of the fake wood. Already it looks 500 times better! So this completes Phase 1 of the deck. Rip out and replace old boards. CHECK. Phase 2 involves expanding the deck beyond the original footprint, possibly with different levels. Intrigued? Stay tuned....!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And you thought Friday the 13th was unlucky.

Last weekend I volunteered to escort my Grandma home to New Jersey. She's 90 and doesn't like to travel alone. So I volunteered - wait - did you get that? I VOLUNTEERED, yes volunteered, to fly up with her on Saturday the 13th, and then turn around and come right back on Sunday. The plan was set - Arrive at NJ at 3:30, Uncle picks up Grandma at the airport, I spend the night with my cousin (she lives the closest to the airport) and then fly home on Sunday at 3:30pm. Literally 24 hours in NJ. My cousin is so excited she tells me she has planned an early St. Patty's day party at her house. When I get there it will be in full swing. Just enough time to get in a few drinks and then get back on the plane. SWEET!
Unfortunately things went horribly, horribly wrong.....

Saturday 3/13

Throw bag in car, say goodbye to the husband and the cat, make like a baby and head out.

Arrive at airport for 1:05 flight. Right on Schedule! Meet Grandma and my mom at Burger King inside the airport. Mother informs me flight is already delayed 1.5 hours. Hmmmn. Suddenly not on schedule.

Order some fries to kill time.

I can see mom is starting to squirm. Her right eye is twitching. She’s eager to get back on the road. I finally relent and say maybe we should get to the gate? Mom jumps up and power walks away before we can say smell ya later.

HOLY SMOKES BATMAN this wheelchair is HE-A-VY and I have chosen the worst possible type of carry-on luggage for this endeavor. Somehow we make it through the security line.

At the gate, sure enough, sign says NOW DEPARTING 2:30. I look at Grandma, She looks back at me and says “Ok. So we wait.”

What? What....me? Yeah, did you say something? No I yawned. Oh.

My butt is asleep. I decide we need some movement. Ask Grandma does she want to browse the little shops in the terminal? She almost kisses me on the lips YES I would like that very much she says. I think she’s just happy for the distraction. I load up all our crap, and hobble off, pushing the wheelchair and my luggage, while blood flow slooooowwwly returns to my butt cheeks.

I know you’ve got people trapped here in the terminal, but seriously? 68 dollars for a scarf? A COTTON scarf? That my husband would most likely shrink in the wash? Grandma eyes the costume jewelry suspiciously and whispers to me, “This looks cheap.”

Back at the gate. OK! We should be boarding soon. No use taking that book out of my bag.

“Folks…. Uhh. It doesn’t look good. We have been given the word from Master Control that we aren’t cleared for take off until 6pm.”

I reach into my bag for said book.

After what seems like hours of sitting there reading, I ask Grandma is she hungry? She lowers her reading glasses and says what the hell! We’re not doing anything else right? I offer to take a look at the eating options and come back with a full report. She agrees that’s easiest.

I take the opportunity to call Dave and find out what he’s doing. He tells me he’s having a beer hanging out in the sunshine, cat is taking a nap, and he might do the same later. I am jealous and immediately regret calling him.

I plop down beside Grandma with a handful of menus, some very obviously NOT take-out menus. She eyes me over the stack, How did you get these? I stole them, I say. She laughs a humongous hearty laugh. Several people turn around to look.

We decide we want southwest eggrolls from Chili’s. Just then the little man who lives in the loudspeaker tells us our departure time has moved up to 5:30! Hooray! I hightail it back to Chili’s to get some food to-go.

We scarf down food. I am afraid Grandma will choke. I tell her she better be careful, I am not about to give her mouth to mouth if she chokes. She laughs and almost chokes for real.

ALL PRE-BOARDS CAN BOARD NOW. Don’t mind if we do!

WOO HOO! We’re on the plane!

Woo hoo! Everyone else is on the plane!

Hmm. Wonder why the door is still open?

This can not be good. The door is still open.

“UHH Folks, this your Captain. I guess you’ve heard… we will try to take off as soon as we can.” We all look around at each other – what is he talking about? I call my mom, False alarm, we are still on the ground, what does the website say? She looks it up and tells me we now have a 6:55 departure time.

Pick jaw up off floor.

They finally close the door and we start to taxi.

Up in the air and on our way. I don't remember the exact time - Its hard to see your watch through tears of joy.

After an uneventful flight, we arrive over NJ, pilot informs us this will be a VERY bumpy landing into Newark. Please buckle up.

It is really bumpy. I mean REALLY bumpy! I am getting slightly nauseous. My stomach keeps dropping out because it literally feels like we're falling. A big wind gust pushes us sideways and a lady in front of us screams a blood curling scream. The cabin lights all go on. The 20 year old stewardess starts to freak out and starts yelling from her little backwards seat in the front "HEAD BETWEEN YOUR KNEES!! HEADS BETWEEN YOUR KNEES!!!!!" I am in shock and think omg is this it? Am I gonna die in a plane crash on a flight that I volunteered for? Grandma looks at me and says "What is she saying?" I say nothing. Just relax and keep reading your book.

Somehow we land. Everyone applauds. I say a quick prayer that this was not the end. Hey look at that? Not too too late for the party!!

Meet uncle at baggage claim. HI!! He loads up Grandma and I wave. Goodbye!! I load up into the car service that's been waiting for me and I call my cousin - I'm on my way Woohoo!

Car service is lost. These streets are all blocked off because they are flooded from the weather... I offer from the back seat to call my cousin to get alt. directions, he declines, "The GPS will eventually pick us up and help us... its just so dang cloudy." sigh. this day will not end.

Get to my cousin's house. She answers the door in her PJ's. I have missed the entire thing. Everyone is gone, or passed out. Dang!! She gives me a beer and some leftover food. We sit in the living room for a little chat before we call it a night. Her brother is passed out on the couch.

Suddenly he sits up. She says Are you OK? He nods and lays back down. We go back to gabbing.

He shoots upright again. She says Hey, if your gonna puke you gotta go to the--BLUUURRRGGGG!!!!!!! he barfs all over the rug. We run screaming into the kitchen for paper towels and a pail. HOLY SCHNIKIES I CAN NOT CATCH A BREAK.

He finally is awake after all the commotion, looks up at me from the couch, where he is holding his bucket-o-vomit and says "Hey! How was the flight?"

12:00 am
Lay down in guest bedroom, cousin promises to make me coffee and a fritatta in the morning. All I can think of is - I volunteered for this.

All was not lost. Sunday was nice. We had a lovely breakfast and I did get a few quality hours in with the relatives. It was just so incredibly short. By the time we cleaned up the table I had to get back on the road so I could catch my flight home....... which was... you guessed it.... delayed. But only by an hour and a half.


Friday, March 19, 2010

The Maine Attraction

(Three posts in one day! Man, are you lucky!)

Last year we took our summer vacation/wedding anniversary trip to Maine.

Now don't get me wrong, you know I love a good beach vacation where the only thing on the agenda is 1. Get a fruity drink and 2. Get another fruity drink. But in an effort to give the old wallet a break (those fruity drinks are EX-PEEEN-SIVE yo!) we decided to look for a vacation on U.S. soil. The criteria was simple - someplace we've never been, and someplace where we can relax. That's where our good friend Batman comes in. (His name is actually Dan, but at a party once he was labeled Batman, and well, wouldn't you hang onto that baby too?)

Batman offered up his mom's cabin on Penobscot Bay (near Bucksport) in Maine - at a VERY discount price. The only catch was we would have to stay the first week of the season and "open up" the cabin. Uhh Yes please! We also realized this fit all of our criteria and more:

We have never been to Maine........ check!

It's very relaxing........... check!

AND....... it was our 5th anniversary which is the wood anniversary. Well, we were going TO the woods.... Does that count? I think so.

So off we went. We spent a week there and it was everything I thought Maine would be and more. Just gorgeous scenery (minus the black flies - yuck!) and all the lobster you can eat. I felt so relaxed I think I cried a little on the flight home. I don't remember. I blocked it out. Anyway the little towns and house styles up there had us pining away for a little cabin somewhere. Either that.... or maybe we could add a front porch to our little brick ranch house? Hmmm... it definitely got our wheels and had me craving some rustic Americana accents in our own humble abode..

Photo Finish?

So one of the reasons I've been procrastinating writing more posts (AHEMMM! Shut it!) is the fact that our computer started to crap out last year - taking all of our precious before and after house photos with it. I know! Sad! I still can not get over it. :(

We did not have any sort of good back up system... so we've been in this sort of purgatory state where we try to boot it up... it crashes, or never boots as all... sometimes we get the blue screen of death... and then Dave gets a little misty eyed... and then I yell out some obscenities and declare I NEVER LIKED YOU ANYWAY AND YOUR MOMMA IS UGLY! (and then I may or may not stick my tongue out)

But luckily - luckily guys! - I have some photos stored on my work laptop, just from saving them to get them from here to there or whatnot. So if there are some missing stages of projects - you'll have to forgive me - the computer ate my homework.

Spring has Sprung!

Ahh yes. Breathe in with me won't you? SSSSSNNNNNNNNIIIFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!
I can smell spring! I can I can! Seriously! It smells like a light dew mixed with fresh mulch mixed with chicken cutlets.

What! I'm a little hungry today....

Ok so you can't smell the cutlets, but seriously I know we're finally coming to the end of "winter" here in FL because some of the bushes are growing again, and I even spy a few flowers peeking through! I love this time of year. It gets to be the perfect temperature here in Jacksonville, there are no major holidays to plan around, we start dreaming of house projects we can accomplish over the summer this year, and football season is no where in site to ruin my plans! ha ha! I know that last one just kills Dave. But seriously, have you ever tried to get your husband to accomplish something in October? If you're nodding your head, then you've probably had this conversation before too:

So can we paint that wall/sand that floor/pull those weeds/etc today?
Uhh.... well the Jags are playing at 1.
Ok, how about after that?
Well it'll be too dark/too chilly/I'll be too tired.
Alrighty. How about tomorrow?
Oh well the BLANK team is playing.
You don't even like the BLANK!
Yes, but their win/loss totally will influence how the Jags play next week.

Anyway - no time to dwell - I'm off to write up a to-do list. I decided I am going to follow along with Apartment Therapy's Spring Cure. Unofficially. Cuz, you know I'm a slacker. And I don't need people yelling at me when I fall behind. I'll be snapping photos of my to-do list and I'll (try to) post every Friday about progress I'm making.

In the meantime, on the other week days I'll be catching you up on projects that have been happening since we last spoke. Don't you love how time flies in Blogland? One minute I'm talking about New Years Resolutions... the next Spring cleaning. That's how we roll at the House of Wax. ;) Just call me the time traveler's wife.