Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the road...

I'm typing this from mike's iPhone, so  I'll have to keep it short. The keys are one finger touch and I'm not a texter, so this is weird. We are in a hotel room in Mesquite NV. We were going to go camping until we stepped out of the truck into 109F heat, and started melting. We quickly decided we didn't want to pitch a tent in that heat so we found a hotel room. We did stop long enough to wade in the Virgin river for a few minutes, but it wasn't as refreshing as it sounds since the water was about 90 degrees. It was fun to visit arizona for a few minutes along I-15. Tomorrow we will head to Fresno to meet up with my friend Kim for a visit. I need to get out the camera tomorrow too. Aspen did great today. She rode really well in the car, and was very patient. we stopped for an hour in Grand Junction at a dog park and Aspen went for a swim in their pond. She had a great time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's been one of those days!

Thank goodness for honest people! I accidentally left my purse in a cart at Home Depot today, but some nice person turned it in right away (Meanwhile, I got all the way home before noticing and freaked out.). I went right back to get it, of course. I blame it on loading a big bag of thinset, which I had to go get because we thought we were going to run out, but we didn't. Makes it even better that it happened for something we now don't need!

I spent most of the day today interviewing potential teachers for an open English position we have, which is always interesting. I'm always surprised that some people really don't know how they come across in public, and they don't speak well or anticipate questions. Lesson #1--Do not write your cover letter so that it sounds like an infomercial. Lesson #2--Do not speak incredibly slowly, which makes you sound hesitant. Lesson #3--A surprising number of English teachers do not know what the word lexicon means! Lesson #4--Answer the question, all parts of the question, so help me god! It's shocking how many people don't elaborate to explain their answers without insane amounts of prompting. Of course, we had several good interviews too, and I think we've found a good candidate. Hopefully, he accepts the job.

The tiling is finished, except for grout. I have to grout tomorrow and touch up paint in places and then we can start putting in vanity, fixtures, etc...I've included a sneak peek at the tile here. I will take many more pictures when the room is done. However, everything has taken so much more time than I anticipated. I've been forced to conclude that the bathroom won't be finished before vacation. Since we are leaving in two days, I really need to turn my attention to getting ready to go.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who Knew Screwdrivers had Clutches and other revelations!

The giant mud puddle is still going strong at the dog park, and today we met Lars, a Saint Bernard puppy who likes to lay down in the water and roll over. He looks like an elephant cooling off in the water, and comes up dripping gallons. He's quite amusing, and already 80 pounds at only 5 months! Of course, I had to run like crazy when he came out of the pond since his shake covered a half mile radius! Aspen and Lars had a great time splashing in the puddle. Aspen won't lay down in the water; she just runs through and splashes. The pictures are from my cell phone, so they aren't brillant.

Mike's wrist is officially broken, and he has the worst (or most spectacular, depending on how you look at it) bruise I have ever seen. The good news in the orthopedic surgeon said there are no shards floating around in there and he doesn't have to get a cast--just a brace for the next 6-8 weeks.

The bathroom remodel continues to come along slowly. Today, I finished laying the subfloor of cement board and tomorrow I will start to tile. I'm learning all kinds of handy skills. Today, I learned how to use a jigsaw and a tile saw, and I learned that power screwdrivers have a clutch. Who knew. I thought clutches were only for cars! I had to call my husband because I couldn't get the screws to go in all the way no matter how hard I tried. Still, the job got done in the end.

I visited the salon today for a haircut, which is always unique. My hair dresser is so un-me that it makes me nervous sometimes, but I like how she cuts my hair. It's just that I usually feel a little like I'm in the twilight zone. She has no boundaries, first of all, and asks me personal questions like "How's the family planning going?" as soon as she sees me. Now, this might be okay if in response to my telling her that we wanted kids or something to that effect, but I never have mentioned anything of the sort to her. Then, she's maybe 23 years old, she dies her hair different colors each month, she has a tattoo of which she is inordinately proud and prominantly displays, she's an unapologetic unwed mother who will happily tell you about how she got pregnant "by accident," and she has very interesting views on politics and most social situations. Perhaps most obnoxious to me is that fact that she frequently uses double superlatives like "most funnest" until I really want to adopt a teacher voice and lecture her. Ha! I try not to, but she does do a nice job with my hair.

Monday, June 15, 2009

We're home...early

Well, the trip didn't quite go as planned. We had a great start to the trip. The location was gorgeous; we enjoyed some fishing and relaxed with some good food and a camp fire. It was cold and rainy, but we were willing to overlook that, given that the entire year has been that way. Summer hasn't come to Colorado.

Mike caught quite a few fish. His first, and probably the biggest, I accidentally lost. I was taking off the hook and accidentally dropped it back into the lake. Oops...but, he did catch one other big one to keep for dinner. I only caught one fish, and it was about 3 inches long.

Aspen did great in the tent overnight, but got us up early for sunrise. She hated the canoe, so Mike mostly took out the canoe solo while I babysat the dog. She ran and ran until she was exhausted. She's been under the kitchen table napping since we came home.

However, the trip didn't end well. Today, Mike slipped on some rocks and fell, hurting his wrist. We think it's just sprained, but the little clinic we went to didn't have an x-ray machine to know for sure. We'll see how he feels tomorrow and he can decide if he needs to go get x-rays. However, he's in pain and down to one working arm, so we decided to come home. Luckily for us, our next door neighbors had come up for the day to go fishing, so they were able to babysit Aspen while we went to the emergency clinic, and then they were able to help us pack up camp.

We still don't have any working water at home. The plumbers come tomorrow. This hasn't been our week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

When it Rains, It Pours, Literally

I've been in Denver for several days chaperoning a journalism conference, so I came home yesterday evening totally exhausted. I was ready for bed at 8pm, but just as I was heading to bed, an unplanned disaster prevented me. Our water heater had gone out, in a big way, pouring gallons upon gallons of water onto the basement floor. This wouldn't have been so bad to clean up--at the least the floor there is concrete--except that we had boxed up all our books in anticipation of moving the furniture for new carpet, and they were stacked in there. So, we have a lot of books with water damage now, which upsets me. We spread those out to dry and spent about an hour mopping up the flood. We are determined to go camping still, so it won't get fixed until we get home on Tuesday. We had to shut the water off to the whole house as a result; we went to a neighbor's house to clean up last night after getting all grimy mopping up the muddy water. It's tough to get ready this morning with no showers, no watering the plants before we leave, no filling water bottles for camping, and most important to Mike's mind, no coffee...Oh well...We are off to the mountains for two days where we will be happily ignoring the problem. Until Tuesday, which won't be fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I do still love my cat, Annie, even though I write about Aspen all the time. As usual, I'm feeling guilty that I spend so little time with her these days. She spends the day hiding under the bed because she doesn't like Aspen. However, she did come out for food this morning. She got wet food as a treat to make up for the fact that I accidentally shut the basement door, blocking her access to her food and litter box over night! Oops...

Another Busy Couple of Days

The bathroom has been demolished! The gold tile is no longer. It took about 2 hours to hammer and chisel it all out. Now we have to replace the dry wall with concrete board and we have hired someone to help install a new base and do the plumbing for the shower before we put in the new tile.

I also pulled out everything except the toilet, which I need Mike's help to do, and the light which will get changed out at the end. I had a minor disagreement with the vanity, but eventually it came out. The screws holding it to the wall were right at the top edge so I couldn't get to them with the power drill and I'm not strong enough to get them turning with a handheld screwdriver. Finally, I just took the top off the vanity to get to them and out it went. Now if only elves would come in the night to paint, tile, and put in all the new fixtures. I'll start on that tomorrow and finish some time next week.
After that, Aspen and I went to the dog park so she could run off some energy. Of course, she headed straight for the mud puddle, again...And she got all muddy, again....Unfortunately, I don't have a working shower at the moment since I just tore it out. I tried to wash her off in the backyard, but it's not contained enough to get her to hold still and she kept pulling away. I think I got wetter than she did! I guess we'll wait for her to dry and then brush out the rest of the dirt.

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's a good thing we are getting new carpet!

I haven't had time to add much lately because we are remodeling more rooms in the house, and I don't have much to write about except that.

I've been emptying out and painting the basement the last few days. Let's talk about many, many square feet of walls. Today, Aspen stepped into the paint tray. Of course, I let out a squeal of dismay and dived off the ladder after her, which she read as "I'm in trouble." Unfortunately, her response to trouble is "Retreat" so she took off, with me chasing her as she left paint prints across the floor. Luckily, I caught her after a few feet. I forced her to sit still while her paw was depainted and cleaned up the floor as best I could, but it's lucky we are getting new carpet because the paint stains didn't really come up.

I'm painting the walls and ceiling a light yellow color with a brown accent wall in a color called "creme brulee." I tried to take a picture so you could see the colors, but I'm not sure how well they came out. Eventually, I'll have to take an "after" picture of the room, but it's not put back together yet, and the ceiling needs one more coat of paint. I can't put everything back where it goes until after the new carpet, which is currently on back order, so it might be a few weeks.

Then, I tore up the carpet in the bathroom in preparation for laying new tile in there and discovered there's a lovely blue and yellow flower-print linoleum underneath. It's a bit out of date--is that 70's or 80s? The joy of old houses is that you never know what you'll find underneath, but there's always something there.

Tomorrow, I plan to finish the basement, remove the bathroom vanity, and do a dry run with the tile to figure out what pattern the floor tiles should be. I'm already ready to be done with these projects. I'm determined that all the major remodeling projects will be done before school starts in the fall so that I can relax at home and enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Crafty Day and a Napper!

I hadn't seen Aspen for a little while, which makes me nervous, so I went looking for her and found her all tucked in. She knows she's not allowed on the furniture. I know I should have yelled at her to get down (and I did as soon as I'd taken her picture). The bed was fully made before, so she even pulled the covers down. This room will some day be for our children, and I can only hope they will put themselves down for a nap too.

I've been spending the day working on some craft projects. I'm determined to get my quilt done, but it's moving slowly. I made two blocks today, which brings me up to 8. This is my first attempt at anything other than squares, and getting those points to line up is something I haven't mastered yet, but each one's a little bit better. It's nothing like the quilts my talented sister- and mother-in-law make, but they've inspired me to try anyway. Of course, I started last summer, so we will see if I ever finish. For this quilt, I have a paper pattern and a picture, but no instructions so I've spent 8 blocks figuring out the best way to put them together. Hopefully, I'm getting faster as I improve. The funny thing is, I hadn't realized I put two of the colors in this block in the wrong spot until looking at the picture in the blog just now...Sigh...I'll have to fix that tomorrow. Hopefully, you didn't notice until I pointed it out either.

I also worked on cards today for some upcoming family occasions. I'm accumulating quite a collection of stamps these days. And, I really want a Cricut after seeing what my mother-in-law can do with one. Some day, maybe. Well, Aspen's full of energy after her nap, so I guess we'd better head to the dog park!

One last picture. I was just getting ready to log off, when I heard a loud bang out on the deck. I ran out to investigate, just in time to see Aspen run out onto the lawn, drinking a coke. Yes, you heard me right. Mike had taken some leftover sodas out of a cooler to clean it and left them sitting on the table on the back patio. Aspen "drank" two of them before she was caught. I think really she just liked the spray it made when she punctured the side of the can. We really must go to the dog park now. Clearly, she hasn't had enough exercise today. Spending the summer with Aspen just might cure me of the idea that I want to be a stay-at-home mom someday :).

Monday, June 1, 2009

School's Out for Summer!

It was so nice not having to go to work this morning! Graduation was Friday night. I only had one of my advisees graduating, so it was pretty quiet for me, but I'm very proud of Jazzy.

We celebrated the beginning of my summer vacation with a day trip to the mountains on Saturday. Aspen has to get used to car rides and camping trips before our big trip out to California and Nevada at the end of the month, so we figured this would be a good start. She had a great day sniffing and exploring all of the new smells and sights. She went on many walks and wandered through the lake a little bit. We met up with our neighbors for the day and everyone enjoyed the company.

Featured Post


We had a great time with 3 days at Disneyland!  The Disneyland Hotel was very nice, classy but with lots of discrete Mickey and Disney detai...