Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Guilt Trip for Halloween

We don't usually get a lot of trick or treaters, but I always like to give those that do come here a nice treat so they won't egg our house because I'm a nice person.

However, this year, we aren't going to be around for Halloween. I felt bad about it because I remember how disappointing it was to see a house where there was no porch light.

My guilt got the best of me Because I'm a nice person, I picked up several giant sized candy bars and made wrappers for them so that I could deliver them early to the neighborhood kids so they won't egg our house so they wouldn't waste a trip to our house.

The wrappers were easy to make - I just downloaded a couple of Halloween clip art images, added our names, printed them on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, trimmed to the right size for the wrapper, and slipped them over the candy bar.

The hard part was not eating the candy before I delivered them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You Just Don't Understand

I know it's pathetic, but unless you live somewhere where there is virtually no shopping, you don't know how exciting something like this can be.

That's right. Three new stores opened this week in our area. THREE! That's huge for this wasteland that I refer to as shopper's hell.

And even better than three new stores opening is that one of them is Hobby Lobby. But that's not the good part. The good part is that it is . . . . drumroll please . . . . right next to Menards.

I may never have to suffer through the plumbing department at Menards again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm a Design Star

Okay, so I'm not really a Design Star. I just faked it to get your attention. But I can pretend to be a Design Star in my own house.

We had a difficult wall in our family room. It was long and blank, but because of the narrow path leading to our sun room, it's not a wall that really can have furniture against it.

My original intention was to have a photo wall, but lately, I'm really hating that look. Okay, you caught me. That's another lie. I'm lazy and I don't want to dust all those freaking photo frames.

So the truth (really this time!) is that I stole an idea straight from last season's Design Star winner, Jennifer Bertrand, and decided to paint the wall with a graphic leaf design.

I first drew the design on the wall in chalk so that I could make any adjustments that I wanted before I started painting.

Then I painted the design in the next color down from our wall color so that it is somewhat monochromatic. I also plan on using this color (the color of the leaves) in another adjoining room, so this will tie it all in together.

I'm actually really happy with the way it turned out. It gives some interest to the wall, but doesn't take up any physical space.

And it doesn't have to be dusted.

Up on the Rooftop

No, it wasn't Santa Claus coming for an early trip down the chimney.

It was the chimney sweep.

That's not entirely true either. It was the "Chimney Sweep formerly known as my husband."

He didn't even have to use a level!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Meet Sully

The labs have a new best friend. His name is Sully. He is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix that lives in our area.

Sully is apparently quite the escape artist. He loves to run away from his home and come to play with the labs. He's really a great dog, and we don't mind him coming to play with the dogs at all.

I just wish they had checked with me before they taught him to use the dog door. I got quite the surprise when I got out of the shower and came face to face with Sully yesterday.

If I had pants on at the time, I'm sure I would have wet them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Double, Double, Toilet Trouble

Ah yes, it is once again Fall. That lovely season that brings crisp, cool weather, changing leaves, and trick or treaters. However, it appears that it also brings an October Surprise for us each year in the form of problems with our septic and well.

It has been one year almost to the day of "The Great Well Disaster of 2007."

What a crappy way to end an already crappy year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Own Private Victory

I don't really talk a lot about this, so if you are a casual reader of this blog, you wouldn't know this about me. And even if you are a close friend, you may not know it about me. But I have a fear of driving.

I haven't always had it, although I've never been a big fan of being behind the wheel, but I managed okay until I started to lose my vision. There were quite a few times that the day would start out fine and I would get to work, but then by the end of the day, it became difficult to get home. Finally, I started working from home and that pretty much solved the driving issue. For several years, I couldn't legally drive.

Unfortunately, during that time, we also had the car accident, which sort of affected me as both a passenger and a driver. Since I couldn't drive for a couple of years after that, it was sort of a "couldn't get back on the horse" kind of thing. By the time I could drive again legally, it had been long enough to really make me nervous to get behind the wheel.

I've done pretty well around town or going places that I am familiar with. But a drive of more than 20 miles would freak me out and I would find a way to avoid it.

I've recently come to the realization that I can't live my life that way. I want to be one of those adventurous types who can hop in the car and go for a roadtrip with my girlfriends on a moment's notice. (Okay, I'll never be a spur of the moment kind of person, but just go with me on it, okay?)

My dad has had some recent health issues that have made me realize I need to visit him more often and we can't always find time in our schedule to devote an entire day to making the drive to see him. I do, however, have lots of time while Vern is working.

So, armed with my new GPS (because I have the navigation and directional skills of a blind person in a paper bag), I threw the dogs in the car (they are as close to girlfriends as I could manage today), and I set off to drive a few hours each way to see my dad.

I'm happy to report that I didn't get lost once, I didn't have a panic attack, and most importantly, I didn't die in a fiery crash.

I know you are all relieved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary

It is hard to believe but it has been four years today since my first transplant. Hard to believe because the time has both flown by and also seemed to stretch forever at the same time.

I try to remind myself every day to take good care of and make good use of the gift that a grieving family so selflessly gave. And today I stop for a moment to thank them as they also celebrate an anniversary that is not such a happy one.

If you haven't already talked to your family about organ and tissue donation, please do so and let them know your feelings as well as find out their feelings on the subject.

I don't know if my corneas came from a man or woman, young or old, rich or poor. But I do know that their family had to make a difficult decision at a difficult time and for that, I am grateful.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finally Moving in the Right Direction

Progress has once again started on the house after the long hiatus during Vern's kidney boulder episode. Vern's parents came from Minnesota to stay with us for a week, and Vern and his dad worked on several different projects.

One of those projects was our range hood.

It's a good thing they were here because by the time that we got the hood installed, it had taken the effort of all four of us!

But I think the effort was worth it.

Oh, and I finally figured out where Vern got his talent for using a level. (What you can't see in the photo is that they BOTH have a level in their hands.)

Knock Knock

Knock Knock
Who's there!
Alpaca who?
Alpaca picnic lunch!

Recently I went two two local alpaca farms for National Alpaca Day, an annual event where alpaca farms across the United States open their gates to the public to get a close-up experience of these fascinating creatures. I had no idea that we had any alpaca farms nearby, let alone two!

I learned so much about these darling creatures. For example, did you know that they always have a guard llama with them? Alpacas are such gentle creatures, but a llama is more aggressive and will guard them. (In case you don't know your alpaca from your llama, the llama is the rather ugly grey girl with the face like a horse.)

Don't you just want to grab a handful of fluff and nuzzle your face right into them? Unfortunately, they are very shy and don't like much human contact. It's just unfair that something that cute can't be cuddled.

My main reason for going was to see if they had any alpaca yarn for sale. And boy did they! They had enough to get me into trouble for a long time.

The yarn came from the very alpacas pictured above. I think that part of it makes it so neat. I can't even put into words how soft this stuff is.

This one is my favorite.

It is a mixture that comes from mother and daughter alpacas. See the mix of brown and black? It reminds me of my labs.

If you get a chance to visit an alpaca farm, "paca picnic lunch" and do it! But leave some yarn for me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Garage Sale to End All Garage Sales

Really. I mean it this time.

I will NEVER, EVER have another garage sale. This one almost literally killed me.

Yes, we made over $1,000. Yes, we got rid of a lot of junk (and the rest was donated because I'm not sure if I mentioned it but I'll never, ever have another garage sale.) And yes, it was only one and a half days out of our lives.

However, I don't know if I'm just older, more out of shape, or this garage sale was evil to its very core, but it nearly did both Vern and I in. I don't even want to drive by a garage sale. I don't want to see a garage sale sign. I don't even want to open the newspaper for fear of seeing an ad for a garage sale.

Even worse than the garage sale (I know! How could it be worse??!!) is that now there is the very likely possibility that we are not only known as the heirs to the Uno fortune but we are also known as the neighborhood pervs.

Long story short: we sold a sex toy to one of the neighborhood children.

Not just any child, but the grandchild of the neighborhood gossips. The ones that already told everyone that my family invented Uno. The one that "just happened" to be at the emergency room a few weeks ago when I tried to sneak in and out without anyone knowing. Yes, that neighbor.

What? You need the long story on this one? I'd like to say that it's not as bad as it seems, but it is.

Several years ago, Vern received a gag gift of a "Studmaster" exerciser.

It is an exerciser for the, errrr, male organ. After several years of kicking this thing around (NO HE DIDN'T USE IT), we decided to just throw it in our garage sale and rid ourselves of this. I've seen lots of gag gifts at garage sales (what kind of people do I hang around with??). I put it on an appropriately adult height shelf and watched it like a hawk.

Several adults looked at it and giggled but everyone left it on the shelf (except for our flirty neighbor who just had to bring it over and ask if DH had used it. I told her he used it while holding a level.).

Then it happened. A little boy handed me a quarter. I looked down to see what the little guy was buying with his allowance and low and behold, he had the Studmaster in his hand.

Seriously, what could I do? I don't know what I could have done, but what I did was grab it out of his hand, shove it in a bag and quickly moved on.

I'll let his mom handle this one. I'm busy dodging the drive by looky-loos that have suddenly popped up to see what kind of people live in this house.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Despite Reports to the Contrary. . .

I am not in jail.

Things around here have just been super busy. You can expect several updates in the next few days. It has definitely been hopping around here and I need to get back into the daily habit of blogging.

So, despite what my friends (you know who you are) might have told you, I am not in jail. Although there was that incident at our garage sale . . . (stay tuned)