Friday, June 29, 2007

New Potty

It's my much bally-hooed main bathroom. The shower/tub is to the left of this picture. Prior to this look, it was very crowded, with a large vanity and a very unattractive (and not up to code) medicine chest/electrical outlet/light fixture combo. The window had ugly pink curtains and the room was tiled about 2/3 of the way up with white tiles and black trim.

The true definition of FUGLY. Also, the toilet was on the same wall as the vanity. My highly skilled and thoughtful contractors suggested turning the toilet to the wall under the window to garner more space in an already very small area.

The entire bathroom was gutted to the studs and re-done. It wasn't a cheap process, but I am so glad we made the changes.

Oh, lest I forget, the former flooring consisted of ugly, matted, and again, pink carpet. Now, I have lovely porcelain tiles. And, the tub/shower unit is all new too. Instead of a big old porcelain (and badly stained) tub, we now have an easy care fiberglass unit. That's my main thing - easy to clean. I'm not the biggest fan of housekeeping. The Evil Twin will be glad to drone on about that.

That's a paint can in the background, next to the toilet. It's been moved to the workshop room where it can live in peace until we need it again. We are now the proud owners of a little plastic potty seat, that resides next to the vanity. I know, Sissy is only (nearly) 17 months old, but we figured if we brought it in, she would be curious and perhaps potty training will be around the corner? Ha ha ha. I try to deceive myself, as if I weren't already a parent to a 9 year old boy, who I was fairly certain would receive his college diploma in diapers.

It never hurts to dream a little dream....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just My Luck

I've been wanting to take the kids up to the pool this week. Today was hotter than hades, but our pool is closed on Wednesdays. Today would have been a perfect day for it.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to rain. :::Sigh:::: June is almost over and school starts again on August 21, so we're running out of days to enjoy the pool, really.

I think Friday, we'll head to Huntington. I need to stop in at Linens n Things and pick up some other window treatments. And, then I'll be done with the windows. I also need a new kitchen trash can and they have a great selection there, so the Evil Twin can help me load the thing in the van.

One really great thing did happen today, although it's a strange good thing and some people might not agree with me. One of my contractors broke a light fixture in my hallway. He came down the hallway, holding broken fragments and told me to buy a new light. I laughed because it was such an ugly light and I really hated it and had honestly thought - just yesterday! - that I should buy something new and have it replaced while my guys are here working anyway.

So, in a strange twist of events, I did get a new hallway light. One that I really happen to love a whole lot. I've made so many trips to Lowe's and Home Depot lately, they probably recognize me by now! LOL.

I'm starting to think I should buy new lights for our bedroom and the baby's room and just get the whole upstairs finished! Hmmmm. I'll have to give that some more thought. My contractors will be back to install my new door and screen door, so maybe they can squeeze in two light changes too.

It's a good thing we're all friends and they love me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More on Critters

Okay, so I think I told you all about our little turtle visitor. I left out a dish of water and some grapes. The grapes were gone by the next morning, but I don't know who ate them. We get plenty of non-domestic visitors in our area. Luckily, our little town has very strict animal control and leash laws, so we rarely see the wandering dog or cat and we hear yapping dogs even less than that! I've gotta love that.

In our old neighborhood, it was more rural and apparently, every family who moved in felt it was a pre-requisite to acquire a dog to park in their yard somewhere.... never to pay attention to it again. I got so sick of hearing barking dogs. And, I got sick of cats using my mulch as a litter box. I'd walk up on my front porch and it smelled like cat turds. GROSS!

When we had cats, they were inside only. Declawed in front and pampered beyond belief. We never tested my theory, but I once said we could leave our front door open all day and come home to find both cats inside, waiting on us. They weren't very bright cats, but they knew where the treats came from.

The cat I had prior to meeting the Evil Twin was a calico. She was a very special baby to me. She walked on a lead and loved to go bye -byes in the car. She slept right beside me every night. I still miss her sooo much.

Anyway, the day after our turtle sighting, we had a fawn in our back yard. So cute. Here are a couple pics of our visitors:

The turtle that Buddy wanted to adopt. (left)
The fawn who couldn't find his way out of the gate! (below)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wildlife Day

We have a little parakeet and his name is Apple. (at least I think he's a boy - that's what we'll stick with anyway). Sometimes, he's more tame than others. He definitely has his moods. Yesterday, I had opened up the top of the cage and left it open all day. Every now and then, he'd hop out on the very top and just sit there.

This morning, I took the covers off his cage and he started acting very aggravated. Squaking like a madman and hopping all over. I went over and opened the top again and he started chirping and flew out onto the "roof". He even flew out around the room and back to his cage a couple of times.

This is pretty big for him because prior to this, he wouldn't even think about coming out of his cage. I'm really hoping he'll become a social bird who likes to spend time with the family. Here he is on my finger:

Isn't he cute? I just love his feathery little self. Then, if his new trick wasn't cool enough for the day, we found a neat-o turtle in our front yard. We have a very steep front yard and he was more than half way up it. He had to have been working on it all day.
Buddy wanted to keep him, but we had to let him do his thing. I did bring out a little bowl of water and some grapes, in case he might be interested in that sort of thing.
If he's not, all the chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits will be sure to take the treats. We also get parades of deer at different times of the year up here, but they're mostly interested in my apple tree and the hostas in the back yard.
We love all our cool critters, even if they do eat any flower I try to plant except the pansies that come back year after year. Oh, and they tend to leave my rose bushes alone, too.
Well, I'm off to do my injection and fold my third load of laundry. I also need to pick up in the kitchen a bit. It's back to the old grind tomorrow. The Evil Twin has work, our construction guys should be back to finish up (hopefully by Tuesday!) and we'll have to hit the ground running first thing in the morning! Shew!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Decisions, decisions....

I'm trying to decide if I should replace our old alumninum windows with double hung, Low E glass windows. The quote I recieved was quite a bit higher than what I had "guesstimated", but I hear it's a great price and I'd be a fool not to jump on it. We'd get a tax credit and upgrade the value of our home as well as improve the view from the outside. (that curb appeal junk).

Thing is, we don't plan on selling any time in the near future. But, I guess we could enjoy the energy savings for the time being and IF we did decide to move or the Evil Twin was transferred or something, we'd be ahead of the curve with a more modern home.

Plus, I call St. Albans "The Roach Motel" and I don't mean that in a bad way. People move in, they love it and they never move out, so real estate is hard to come by around here - especially in our little area on the hill here. We lucked out to get this house. It was already under contract with a 24 hour kick out clause contingency (the other couple needed to sell their townhome first), they couldn't take on the dual mortgages (our old house was already under contract), so it became ours and I couldn't be happier.

I mean, I thought houses like this were for "real" adults! I still feel like a kid playing house most of the time. Except when I'm schlepping laundry up and down the stairs every stinkin' day! Why is it that you add one more small person to a family of three and laundry duties aren't just double what they were, it's quadruple what it was. Good thing I enjoy folding. :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


My Aunt, Uncle and cousin are coming to Charleston tomorrow and they're meeting us for lunch. They live in Lewisburg, which is about 2 hours southeast of us. Sometimes, we arrange to meet at Tamarack in Beckley - which is a good "in between" spot for us all.

My uncle is my dad's older brother and out of all the kids in the family (there were 10 total), my dad and Uncle John looked the most alike. Since my parents have both passed away, my Uncle John and Aunt Sally have become surrogate grandparents to Buddy and Sissy. They spoil them like crazy.

My family has been extremely close to this set of relatives all my life. I would spend a few weeks in the summer at their house, hanging around and having a great time. Way back, they lived next door to my aunt's parents (who weren't related to me), but I still called them Nana and Pops and I loved them with all my heart.

So, we haven't seen Sally, John and my cousin Liz since Christmas time, when we all met up at Tamarack. They will be shocked at how much bigger Sissy is now and she even says a few words. One of her more popular tricks is when she hears someone say "Ewwwww", she sticks her finger in her nose. She thinks it's hilarious. I hope she grows out of it! LOL.

I think I'll add a pic of Sissy enjoying her bean bag chair. She thinks she is IT when she sits on this thing.

You didn't think I was going to show her face, now did you? :-) She's very busy watching the Big Ass TV. Noggin is on all day from 6 am to 6 pm and she doesn't miss a lick of any Backyardigans show.

We're waiting until all the contractor work is finished before we put down the area rugs we purchased. I went way overboard with them, so I better love them when I see them, in person. But, I hope to have a fully finished "after" pic of this room SOON! Next week.....

See ya - same time, same blog.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sneak Preview

Here's a little preview of my porcelain tile kitchen. This tile goes back into the half bath behind the kitchen and the little landing area before you take a left to go downstairs. I am very pleased with it.

There's Buddy's little step stool that he still uses sometimes. Sometimes, he just monkeys up the cabinets to get a glass. LOL.

This tile is Italian. I think it's called Castellano Dorato, or some such fancy title. My main reason for picking it was that I felt it wouldn't show dirt easily. I can do some dirt disguising - although I am a regular Swiffer user. Wouldn't matter either way, I could clean all day and the Evil Twin would still find a speck I missed.

That's what I get for marrying a military man.

The good news is: I have about 98% of a new half bathroom. It looks great. If any of you will be travelling to or through Charleston, please stop by and admire my new toilet and sink. I'll even provide the TP for free. And, take you to lunch. At Mayberry's of course - unless it's a Monday. Curse them for taking a day off!!! :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ready for Normal

I am SO ready to get my house back in order. I know, I know. I chose to do this stuff, so I really don't have room to complain and I'm not really complaining as much as expressing my desire for it to be over already.

The stress of shuffling items around while one area gets "treatment" is very high. The stress of spending money has reached critical mass.

The one bright spot of the day was that I was able to get the kids out of the house and we were able to visit our pool for the first time. We belong to a pool about half a mile up the street and it's nice. We've been there for 4 summers now and we see the same people year after year, so that is great, too. It's always strange to see how much their kids have grown in a school year.

At first, Sissy was not real keen on getting in the baby pool, so I let her sit on the edge with her toes in the water. There were two other little girls (4 years old) who were trying to encourage her to get in and handing her toys. They were so cute.

Finally, after about a half hour of toe dangling, I picked her up and put her back in the water - on her feet, so she wasn't in very deep. And, just like that, she was okay with it. She walked all around the baby pool, picking up toys. She took two face plants and that was hysteria, of course, but she calmed down quickly. We only stayed about an hour and a half, much to Buddy's dismay.

Sissy is very fair and has reddish hair, so I ran around after her the whole time, smearing SPF 45 on her. She still got a little sun on her shoulders, but not much. Maybe we need a higher SPF for her little Caspar self.

I don't use tanning lotion or SPF, so I got a bit of sun myself. Yay. I have to work on my free tan this summer since I don't have time for the tanning beds (I know - bad, bad, bad me!). I have tried all the tan in a can options and no matter what their claim (no streaking! easy to apply! no orange tint!), it still looks like I'm just dirty.

It's after 9 pm and I still have work to do, so I must end this here. Perhaps I'll have some more "after" photos for you soon! :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

An Evening Alone...Kinda

The Evil Twin did some freelance ad designs and other stuff for a friend of his who is promoting an event at the Ona Speedway. The "event" is that Dale Earnhart, Jr. and several other prominent racers will be guests at tonight's race. They're not racing, but they will be there to start the race and do whatever it is that NASCAR racers do. As you can tell, we are not very familiar with the sport (?) at all.

Anyway, because of his involvement in this little project, the Evil Twin was granted VIP access to the event. He and Buddy left around 3:30 and I think the race started at 5, so who knows when they'll be home. I know Buddy will have a great time watching the race, even if he really hasn't been exposed to it much in the past. Actually, any where there is hot dogs, nachos or any other type of fun snacks, Buddy is happy as a clam. And, he's stick skinny, so I don't mind him eating junk every so often.

Sissy had a later than usual "morning" nap, so I didn't give her another nap and she was getting very hard to handle. She got an early bath and bottle and is now quietly in her crib. So, I'm not totally alone, but it's close enough! Yee haw!

Sadly enough, I am over here contemplating if I should mop the floors since no one is here to get in my way. I also have a load of laundry I need to get out and fold, so maybe I'll just do that and then call it a day. I can plop on the couch with a glass of Chardonnay and stare mindlessly. That sounds much better than mopping.

Hey! Here's how I can talk myself out of mopping. Next week, we will have the same contractors tracking all over the floors, so I might as well wait til all the work is completely finished and I'll mop after that. Brilliant! Procrastination should be my middle name... well, that or Laundry.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Great White Screen

My life has been pretty much consumed with this home remodeling madness. I feel like I just don't have anything interesting to discuss. And, so, this white screen looms.

Actually, there is an orange button and a blue button on the page, too, so I suppose it isn't all just white and loco. And uninspiring. Crap on a cracker. My life is dull. I haven't even been out and about much, so I haven't been able to observe any human flotsam or moments of inspiration.

The Evil Twin had an interesting thing happen on Monday. On his way to work, a pick up truck pulled out of a run down apartment complex and then passed him, going very fast. He was behind it most of the way to work. About half way to his office, one of the two guys inside threw a hand gun out the window. It hit something on the side of the road and bounced back into the road - landing in the middle of the right lane. The ET went over it in his car. He decided to call 911.

The dispatcher asked if he could get close enough to the truck to give plate numbers. He sped up and was able to provide the information.

The Sherriff's office has called him back a few times with other questions, but the last phone call was detailing what had happened. The guys in the truck had been a several day crime spree. The truck was stolen - the first vehicle they stole was a van and they had abandoned that when they robbed the truck owner at gun point and took that.

Then, they robbed a man who lives at the run down apartment complex. His call to 911 had come in shortly before the Evil Twin's call. Police were sent to look for the gun, but it wasn't recovered. The sherriff thinks someone saw a freebie and took it. But, he assured the Evil Twin that these perps will be nabbed.

Exciting things happen to a quarter of the family, at least.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Why Does It Become A New Beast?

Okay, we're in week two of remodeling. I have a crew putting in porcelain tile in the kitchen and half bath. The same tile will be used in the main full bathroom (which is being gutted to the studs and redone). We've been living and working around all this chaos for the time being.

Tonight, the Evil Twin took me and the young 'uns to a lumber place to pick crown moulding and then to Lowe's for more picking of items. I told a friend of mine that it's like building a new house, only we have to live here while it's being built. Dragsville. However, we are lucky that we have the room to shift and slide around and still be relatively comfortable, if not in the same rooms we normally haunt. We're exploring the more utilitarian side of our home and really enjoying the new facets.

As anyone who has undertaken any remodeling or building project knows, the "thing" grows out of hand. One thing leads to another and I'm growing weary of being a money pit. It gives me pleasure to know that once it's all finished - then we're finished. For. Life.

We'll live in this house 'til we die or what-not. It seems like there are quite a few of my bloggy friends who are in my same boat with updates or remodels right now, too. Isn't that weird how that works out?

Ugh, now I'm all fired up to remove the kitchen wallpaper. Don't tell the Evil Twin, his butthole might explode from the stress. LOL.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


That's what I call the movies that the Evil Twin likes to record on the DVR. They're Japanese movies of various subject matter. He gets them from IFC or Sundance. Then, he transfers them to our DVD-R, so he can have a forever DVD copy of them.

Thing is, I find them so boring, I often sleep thru them. LOL. One weekend, he accused me of sleeping on the couch all weekend and I stated that if he wasn't watching his boring "Ichiban", I wouldn't be asleep. He thought that was funny, so now we call any Japanese movie "Ichiban" - which means "Number One" in Japan, so I guess I kind of paid them a compliment.

Even if they do put me to sleep with their weird messages and tiny, tiny subtitles. He's recording one such Ichiban right now, but I'm avoiding the TV with all my might and concentrating on my computer instead.

At least this one is in color and is set in a modern time period. Bonus! We are soooo alike in so many ways, but we really differ in what we like film-wise. IOW, we like a lot of the same movies, but he has a broader range of interests in foreign films and older films than I have. Still, we both despise the more recent big budget drivel that issues forth from the Hollywoodland.

We both like the weird and obscure and downright morally corrupt films we can get our hands on. Anything by John Waters (we own most of them anyway), Coen Brothers rank up the list, Scorsese usually scores points. It just depends.

For Father's Day, he got (early) a 42 inch flat panel HD LCD Philips TV. He set that up a couple of days ago and can't believe his good fortune on the Big Ass TV. Of course, being the bargain queen, I got an excellent price on it, so don't be over there thinking I've lost my mind and spent a fortune on it. No sir. It was just one of those "too good to pass up" deals.

We dragged it home a couple of weeks ago and waited for the floors to be finished before adding furniture on the new (old) wood. But, that Big Ass TV and it's stand were the first items to re-enter the den. Men!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


You've heard enough about them. May I now introduce my shiny new floors?

Here is the "before" picture of the living room (or what us Southerners call a den). I was really worried about the white junk near the door, but it sanded up beautifully.

As you can see in the next picture, those dark stains didn't come completely up, but they're much lighter and I've got a 9 x12 area rug that is going in this room, so that should hide a bit (maybe - It's a 13 x 22 room).

Here is the "after shot". Yay shiny floor!

The last pic is of the dining room. I think it cleaned up quite nicely, too.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Ready for the Floor Guy

Our house is nearly empty in the den and dining room. The hallway is empty, of course. We still need to remove towels and sheets from the linen closet and move those out of the way so they won't get dusty from the sanding.

I've mentioned before that we'll be doing our living from the lower level, which is fine. We have access to the driveway and the backyard from there and the kitchen is at the back of the house on the upper level, so we have access to that as well. We just won't be able to go back and forth to the bedrooms or main bathroom.

We'll be up early moving last minute provisions to the downstairs den. It's like a fun camping adventure... only it's not so fun, really and I don't care for camping. Sigh. I'm trying to look at the bright side, though! It IS only temporary and I just keep imagining our joy at the end of this week when it's all in place and we can go back to our normal routines.

We've had several positive references on the guy we hired, so please, keep your fingers crossed that he's as good as we've heard and we're all happy with the outcome. Everyone keeps saying we'll be shocked at how nicely the floors will clean up. I just keep looking at the stains and the yucky spot where someone had glued down tile or lineoleum and I think, "What a mess!"

It's time for me to be moving more items downstairs. This is going to be a strange week, but I'll have my laptop with me, so I'll update when I can!

Friday, June 1, 2007

End of the School Year

Today was Buddy's last "day" for school. Actually, it was the annual school picnic, so there wasn't much scholarly about it, other than the school kids and teachers were there. We had a nice time, even though it was a pretty hot day. There were a few nice breezes and under the shelter (shaded) was nice.

In past years, it has rained or such, so as long as it wasn't raining, I was happy. The nicest thing about these picnics is that we have a full outdoor Mass (with communion). Our regular priest is traveling right now, so we had a guest and he was really excellent. I enjoyed his homily - and his accent - although I couldn't figure out where he is from originally. I'm usually good with dialects. I'm thinking he might be Filipino. Anyway, he had a powerful message and it just felt good to be in the warm air with all the good vibes around us.

The food was good. It was just hot dogs, sides, pasta salads, fruit, etc. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary, but it was all very tasty (at least what I could pile on my plate). LOL.

Of course, it is also Friday and we know what that means: Friday Night Freakshow. My boys are downstairs watching their "scary" movie, eating snacks and hopefully, enjoying themselves. Buddy has been up twice to badger me for something to drink. My motto on these nights is that I am officially "off the clock" at 8 pm. It's my time to blog, to think, chill out a bit, perhaps catch up on some reading or wrap up something of my "action-item" list. Yes, I keep a running list of everything that needs tended to and when I have time, I look it over and see if there is perhaps a moment or two to accomplish any of the tasks.

That includes bill paying or online gift purchasing, filling forms for school or anything else, basically just any little thing that I need to do - eventually. Cause eventually, I do get around to everything. I have a cousin whose son is getting married next weekend, so I went online and researched the shops available in their area, then went to those stores and looked for registries for them. I found two and ordered a gift card to be sent directly to the happy couple and VOILA! Shopping DONE. No shipping, no tax. I love the internets. It do make me happy.

Sometimes, I need a day or two to warm up to an action item. Bills, for example. So, I stack them next to my computer and look at them for a bit (well in advance of the due date). Then, I'll feel a burst of courage and pay those suckers! Wham! I love checking things off my list too.

I would be doing laundry tonight, but the Evil Twin frowns on me doing laundry on Friday nights, since the utility room and the "guy's lounge" den are both downstairs. Apparently, my noisy washer and dryer distract from the riveting B movie that's playing. Such is life and I'm onto my next item, so this is all for tonight.