Friday, August 31, 2007

Two Tags, and a House Snafu

It's not every day that I get tagged by a nekkid man, so how could I not respond to Nude Steve in Memphis? His question would make a good "Fun Monday" assignment: "If you were left alone on a deserted island, which celebrity would you choose to spend time with?"

Now, if you know Arkansas Songbird, then you know we have a "Battle of the Matts." I still think mine is cuter, so he's my first pick:Matt Damon is brilliant, beautiful, funny, and he would keep my full interest, be it thru conversation or merely standing in one spot. Food? What food? After getting in shape preparing for those Jason Bourne movies, you KNOW he could kick some serious butt on the island, lest we be attacked by pirates. And he wouldn't have to be all MacGyver to do it, with toothpicks, tweezers, tube socks and magic farts. It would be PURE man. Sigh.

I could also hang with this guy:But he would HAVE to bring a guitar. THE artist, mind you - genius, talented. I love music - so much that I couldn't live without it. I can see myself making percussion sets out of coconuts, or humming thru one of those palm fronds. So, our all night and day jam sessions would sustain me for a while. I know he would squeal at all those big island spiders, but then, I think he's a vegan. More meat for me!

Then there's this guy:You KNOW he has experience. And he would make me laugh. And as long as he didn't put his bloody hands on my face, he could still go nutso and call me "Wilson." I wouldn't mind.

Now the second tag was a TEAM-tag, from Fianna and Kaytabug, and it was the "Stuart Smalley Meme," where I'm supposed to list 10 things that ROCK about me! Well, the first one should be easy, right?

1. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me! (A Stuart CLASSIC!)
2. I went back to school to get a Master's degree and graduated with a 4.0. And I didn't do it to get a better job. I did it for ME!
3. I own my own business. And I don't usually crack under the pressure OR the bills.
4. I am honest with my friends, and I don't lie to them about the important stuff. I tell it like it is, and they know that I'm going to be forthright.
5. I am devoted to my husband and my daughter - completely. Our family unit is the highest priority in my life, and I am proud that I am giving enough to make these two relationships work.
6. I have true musical ability - and I still use it.
7. I am au natural, in all the right places, and I don't sag.
8. I am all about HYGIENE!
9. I am constantly trying to learn more and improve myself - I'm not satisfied with the status quo.
10. I love music, art, and football - and I'm not a "prude," if you know what I mean. An all-around cool chick.

Daily Affirmations are a good thing. I'm feeling better already.

Now, remember this picture of the brick? This is one of two stacks at our house site. Notice anything in particular? Well, I didn't either. Not after at least four visits to the house. Look closely - see it?This is OUR brick - the right brick:This is NOT our brick:See it now? Luckily, the wrong brick belongs to a friend of ours who is building a house down the road. Our brick was not short - and I didn't end up paying for the wrong brick. It just got put on our job site instead of a snafu that didn't hurt anyone. Well, except it inconvenienced him a tad.

Jackie and Cavin left for vacation to shoot things in Colorado, but Tony and Ronald are staying behind to work around the house. I have assignments to pick tile, talk to the plumber, pick cabinets, and find the electrician while they are gone. It's shaping up fine - I think I will take a few days off, too!Have a great weekend and Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In the Dry, and In the Guilt

Here it is, at the 9 1/2-week mark, and we are "in the dry," which means that all the plyboard is on the roof - along with tar paper. So, it can rain all it wants, and our studs are safe. Here they are, hefting the HEAVY sheets of plyboard to form the basis of the roof:Next, they rolled tar paper over the plyboard, and nailed it down with these orange tacks. Ronald and Tony did most of the tacking, while Cavin (pronounced like "Kevin") did the rolling and holding of the tar paper:Jackie would lift them up to the roof, but they couldn't come down until he fired up the machine again...can you tell that they were done for the day, and READY to come down?But with all this progress, I am racked with guilt, realizing that today is the two-year anniversary of the day that Hurricane Katrina devastated the lives and homes of thousands along the Gulf Coast. I am horrified that more hasn't been done to alleviate their situation, and as I watch the house I have dreamed of rise into the sky - I think of the poor folks in this video:
I also reflect on a moving HBO documentary regarding this subject. I hope that you will take some time to watch, reflect, and count your blessings. There are tens of thousands of families without homes. 30,000 families are scattered across the country in FEMA apartments, 13,000 are in trailers, and hardly any of the 77,000 rental units destroyed in New Orleans have been rebuilt.

I know that I haven't lived like a queen, in my tiny little house, for the last 14 years - but I consider myself humbled by the strength of others. May they be blessed as well.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fun Monday Reasoning - UPDATED!

It's Fun Monday again - I'm a wee bit late. Now that school for The Offspring has started, my schedule is WACKY, and we're having to get back into the routine. Lisa is this week's hostess, and her assignment was as such:

"I’d like to know more about you, what makes you tick. I’d like to know how you started blogging. Did you keep a diary under lock and key safely hidden as a child? Do you still? Do you share the same things on your blog that you would have, or do, in your diary? Why did you start blogging and why do you continue? May as well throw in any roadblocks you have run into while blogging. If you still have your old diaries we’d love to see them."

What makes me tick? HA...good question. I have no clue. I am extremely driven and competitive, but not when it comes to blogging.

I had several diaries as a child, but writing things out seemed, well, so TEDIOUS. My thoughts seemed to flow so much faster than I could write, so each one of my diaries would have maybe four or five pages of writing, and then the rest were blank. After I graduated with my Master's, one of my dear classmaters sent me a beautiful journal. I thought I might be able to overcome the challenges of my youth. After writing two pages, I saw it was not to be.

My introduction to blogging was by reading Heather Armstrong, and I was fascinated by her monthly letters to her daughter. I realized that it was a wonderful legacy to her child - even though some of her writings were more brutally honest than I could ever publicly express. So, I tried blogging - to see if I could maintain a journal through this new medium. Luckily, I type incredibly fast - so it has been more pleasant than I expected. Granted, not all material here is for The Offspring, but I hope that she can look back on this site, and reflect on what kind of person her mother is/was.

That was the main reason for starting - but now, I have enjoyed getting to know many of you on the blogosphere. And your stories keep me going - giving me inspiration, hope, and oftentimes, a hearty laugh.

I had to update this post, b/c another reason I blog is to share things that I find on the 'net, like this performance:

Now, go check out Lisa's place for more blogger stories!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Truss Me Up!

The other day, I pulled up to the building site - and lo and behold, it looked like a REAL HOUSE standing there!And they hadn't even built the bonus room above the garage, yet I really felt like the trusses made a HUGE difference. So, then I had to take some artsy-fartsy photos of the trusses:
Yup - I'm silly. I admit it. But aren't they pretty?
They started framing up the bonus room, and this is the special spot for Roger's private urinal and sink:
I know, I'm a great wife for putting a urinal in the house for the man and his friends, right? Unfortunately (for the builders), the trusses that go over the master bedroom and bonus can't be pre-ordered. They must be "stick-built," which is a lot of customized work that I can't begin to imagine. I have been worried about them, as they seem to hang from my house like monkeys...but I was glad to see that they are going to use this machine to help them hoist the wood and themselves above the bonus room:
Today, they were almost done framing the bonus room! So you can imagine how high the trusses will be to roof over this part of the house.
We should be "in the dry" by this time next week - I can't wait!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fun Monday White Lies

It's that time again, and this week, both Uncaring Bear and The Other Bear are the hosts! Our assignment has to be the MOST difficult of any Fun Monday in which I have participated:
Share with us a little white lie that you may, or may not, have gotten away with. Perhaps it's something more sinister than a little white lie - maybe even a deep dark secret that you've kept buried for years! All the better! Now's your chance to get it off your chest and confess: "Yes, I did eat that last slice of cheese cake", "No, I wasn't washing my hair that Saturday", "Those pants do make you look fat"!

Hmmm...this is REALLY tough. Now don't go thinking I'm going to reveal any huge secrets here, b/c I'm not. If I did, they wouldn't be secrets! But I tried hard to think of the "white lies" I've told. Basically, I'm so forthright and honest that I can easily hurt people's feelings. After a long weekend of thought, I finally came up with what are "sort of" white lies.

1. Pretending to actively listen to someone talk, when all I can honestly think about is breaking off the conversation to go do much more important things. In this Southern culture in which I live, running into someone at WalMart, giving a brief nod and merely GOING ABOUT MY BUSINESS is NOT protocol. So I find myself in a behavioral "white lie," nodding, smiling, adding the perfunctory "Mhmmmms," all while gritting my teeth and thinking of precious time lost out of my day.

2. I tell myself little white lies all the time:
"One bowl of ice cream won't hurt."
"You can eat that Big Mac with fries this week, and it won't make a difference."
"Oh...I can handle one more glass of wine."
"I can buy this without freaking out when my credit card bill comes next month."
"Sure, I can do one more thing, and my plate won't be too full."
Thankfully, I'm not too hard on myself when I catch myself in this habit.

3. Haven't we ALL told this one? "Oh, it's not you - it's me. I'm just at this point in my life where I need my space. Can we still be friends?" When what you really want to say is, " have been driving me FREAKIN' NUTS for the past MONTH, and I just didn't want to go thru all the DRAMA of having to break it off with you, b/c I just KNEW you were going to be all crushed and begging and crying and pleading with me, b/c you are SUCH a puppy dog. And EVERY LITTLE THING that I once thought was adorable about you is now ANNOYING ME TO DEATH, making me want to stick FORKS IN MY EYES, and having you around is like HAVING A HUGE WART I CAN'T BURN OFF...." Well, you get the gist.
One thing I discovered this Fun Monday is that there is a wine, supposedly tailored to a woman's tastes and preferences, which claims to have 25% less calories than regular wine. It's the Beringer Early Season White Lie Chardonnay, and it has a lower alcohol content (9.8%) than most wines. Plus, as a bonus, each cork has a little white lie imprinted on it, such as "I bought this on sale," or, "Those jeans DO NOT make you look fat!"

Now go check out the other participants! I'm sure they have better secrets than me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Our Deck is Screwed. Literally.

I'm long overdue for a house update - it's just that things are moving so FAST! Now, I know some of you have been looking ahead and cheating, and that's okay. If you haven't been cheating, and just CAN'T WAIT for me to get my blogger butt in gear, you can always go to this link for the absolute LATEST house photos, including many that I don't post directly on my blog. There are actually over 100 total photos of this house process.

Can you tell from this picture that there has been a LOT of progress?
LOTS...the entire first floor is framed up. They still have to add little blocks called "cats" to some of the interior walls, but in essence, it's looking like a real house. Ever seen naked stairs?I managed to capture the actual steps being installed, too:The stairs will be accessible from the main house, and lead to Roger's music studio above the garage.

I think Roger and Amber are ready to start playing some music up there, but for now, they have to be content to sit and wait.And guess what they were doing today? DECKAGE! It takes a lot of cutting, measuring and screwing to get this right. You can't see what they did next, which was fasten three screws through each board, at every joist. I don't think this deck is going anywhere:I got a photo of ALMOST the entire deck - there are a few more feet of it that you can't see in this photo:When finished, it will be 8' x 76', all across the front of the house, with some extra around the corner. Think we'll be able to fit a lot of people on it?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two Tags and a Yard-Warming Gift! be tagged...I feel like a celebrity. Well, maybe not the right kind...but before we get to that, let's start with big news: my first gift from a fellow blogger!! I got a message from the beautiful Vicki that I had a gift coming, and then I was horrified when I saw what the USPS had done in transit:Maybe they were suspicious of the contents? Thankfully, Vicki packaged the gift with the utmost of care, and even her personalized card made it safely. Isn't this a gorgeous photo? I think she should sell these cards commercially:And LOOK!! Hollyhocks! And if you read the package, it says they do well in hot I have the PERFECT place for them! I am grateful, dear Vicki - and thanks again for popping my blogger-gift cherry!Now, today's first tag is from the lovely Desert Songbird, whose blogger gift is SITTING ON MY DESK, waiting for the appropriate bubble wrap and box. (I think I've got the box, but this thing has to be cushioned. I promise, dear, it's coming!) As some of you know, I don't follow rules. I just can't. It's part of my thing. But there were TWO on her list I could comply with:

"Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
When you are tagged you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts."

Cool, b/c I totally love my middle name: Corinne. At all three of my graduations, NONE of the announcers got the pronunciation right. It is "CORE-inn." The Offspring shares this middle name, and still has to ask me how to spell it.

C - Crazy - but in a good way. My perspective on life makes me think "outside the box" and say things that most people wouldn't dare utter. It's about keeping it real - and is there anyone who can say that life isn't just plain crazy?
O - Orator. I can speak in front of large crowds and barely get a butterfly. I have no fear of public speaking and revel in "working a room" and captivating an audience.
R - Rhythm, and lots of it - without music, I'm not sure my life would be worth living.
I - Interested. In all aspects of life, people, places - I want to constantly learn all that I can, b/c I believe if I ever stop learning, I'll start dying.
N - News-addicted. Current events addict. I must know everything that is going on in the world, from politics to sports, entertainment to weather. I pride myself on knowing the latest!
N - Naughty. I have a sick sense of humor, and luckily, so does my husband.
E - Energetic. Always doing and going and keeping my plate full. I wouldn't be happier, any other way.

The next tag was from the sweet JennieBoo. I'm sure her innocent experiment in google-isms never turned up anything like mine did. We were to type our names into the Google images search, and see what craziness popped up. I remember when I got married, that I LOVED my new name! I even joked to my husband that it sounded like that of a porn star. Well, guess what? Ta-da! Meet Tiffany Lane, aka, Tiffany Rose:However, I think my status will be safe, as I read this in her bio:
"Porn Star Tiffany Lane's meteoric rise to sexvid fame was cut tragically short when she was killed in a 1988 car wreck. Until then, Tiffany Lane was one of the hottest young starlets in the biz, turning her penchant for lust into a hard-charging carnal career. Tiffany Lane was known throughout the industry as one of the wildest women on the scene, and there was nothing that Tiffany Lane wouldn't try at least once. The large tattoo that covered her left shoulder attested to Tiffany Lane's 'anything-goes' attitude."

I didn't dare venture into the photos far enough to see the can only wonder.

Oh, but it gets better! Look at this lovely lass:Guess what she is? A PAGAN. Guess I'm covering all bases here. Here is her bio:
"I'm a 30yr old BBW, native South Floridian who moved to Austin in June with my LTR Isaac, I'm just looking for like minded souls to connect with who won't judge me/us. BOTH of us are also Polyamorous, Bisexual & Pagan/non religous but spirit oriented. Anyone know of good groups/people/functions that support folks like us?"

Someone help the Neophyte - what is an LTR? And BBW, does that stand for Bisexual Black Woman? I had to look up "polyamorous." Let me assure you, it is NOT a dinosaur.

But the best result was that THIS photo pulled up! My daughter and I created this beast, and it was later posted at this famous pumpkin site!I can only imagine what my google hits will be after this post.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fun Monday Libations...and, OF COURSE, a House Update

It's FUN MONDAY again! And this week's hostess is Beckie, who said (in part):

"I want to know what your favorite treat is....It can be anything, popcorn, peanuts, ice cream or chips, maybe you have more than one favorite - that is ok, just show us your favorite(s) and tell us why you like it so much. C’mon, what gets you all juiced up?"

Well, I love ALL sorts of treats - and food is my friend. But lately, the "treat" that gets me "all juiced up" is this:Now don't go thinking I'm a lush. I KNOW I posted a drink recipe for one Fun Monday assignment - but this stuff is my latest libation, of ALL food and drink. Ever seen the commercials featuring the Jon Bon Jovi look-a-like bartender and this chick?There really IS a reason she is licking that cube. This stuff is THAT good. I usually mix it with a little flavored water (Propel, if you must know)...but sometimes I like it on the rocks. Call me what you will.

Now for a house update - just can't post without one! Friday, I actually saw the head contractor, Jackie Ryan, do some very physical work. Here he is, cutting wood for the stairs:Then, the whole crew had to take some time and figure out how to get our large steel beam up into the top of the garage to support the bonus room:The beam is on its way up, but in the process, it almost flipped over! Here comes Jackie, quick with a board, to support that sucker until it is upright again:Now, it is perfectly in place, waiting for floor joists. The next adventure of the day was to pour the concrete piers for the deck bracings. Jackie's crew could do this themselves, with a few more baseball-type signs for the truck driver:Oh, and remember that "storage space" under the house? I found out who needed to use it:Sneaky dudes!

Now go check out the other Fun Monday partipants! Our next episode in home-building will hopefully feature our 8' x 76' deck!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

$10,000 and 3 1/2 Weeks Later...

Can you believe it? We are almost 3 1/2 weeks into this project, and we have come a LOOOONG way, baby! Now, when I showed up on site Monday morning - I was surprised to see an entirely new, shirtless crew working there. They are the concrete specialists. Our minor glitch really was minor, as the concrete was only delayed by three working days. Here they are, pouring the patio...whilst Jackie's crew was busy cutting boards to frame the walls: Then, they used water and this long implement to make the slab of the garage nice and smooth. I like this tool. I want to borrow it to mop my tile floors. I could stand in the kitchen and mop the living room with this gadget:Something I didn't know - it is good to cut these slopes in the slab so that the garage doors fit snugly, instead of having just a flat garage entrance:We were talked into TWO garage doors, instead of one large one. First of all, the two doors provide a place for us both to pull into the garage, without us having to swing over to one side or the other to park. Secondly, the extra little stud in the middle provides extra support to the bonus room above.

All the time the concrete crew was working, the other crew was framing and putting up walls in a flash:
After watching this guy finish up the slab, I found out why the concrete crew is muscular. And as warm as it has been, the concrete was setting up quickly, so they had to work much faster than usual. This isn't like a floor buffer, folks - this thing has some serious TORQUE:
This evening, I decided to quit harrassing the crew, and take some photos while they were gone. This is the view of our master bedroom and master bath - the extra slab stuff is where the stairs will be - leading up to the bonus room/music studio. And the dude in the front is obviously NOT a builder, but our friend - who busied himself playing builder with the little blocks that were laying around.
If you think I like windows, you're right! The three open spaces on the left-hand side of this photo are the dining room windows. The bottom sills will be a foot off the floor, as we have 9-foot ceilings and 6-foot windows. The space in the middle is for the front door, and there are three more 6-foot windows in the living room area to the right of the doorway. I think I'll be able to see out, don't you?
This is the laundry room entrance (far right door), coat closet (middle door) and spare bath door...leading off into the bedrooms.
Naw, that photo didn't explain is a panaromic shot (click it to big it)...this might give you a better idea of how the house looks so far: This was the first time I tried this feature on my camera - it allows you to stitch together the photographs in three pieces for wide shots.

There are still garage walls, master bedroom walls, master bath walls, and a kitchen wall to go - plus the second floor bonus room, but I'm pleased that the builders have done SO MUCH in only 17 working days! And so far, only one little draw from my construction loan.

Roger and I picked out a front door - and now we have to make some deck decisions. We have already modified the plan a LOT from our first sketches, so I'll have to upload that sometime to give you an idea what you're looking at.

Who said wood wasn't pretty?


Monday, August 06, 2007

Fun Monday Kitchen Wear

The wonderful hostess for this Fun Monday is Ms Cellania, aka ChrisB. Her assignment was as such:

"'Show your aprons' it can be your favourite or an unusual one or more than one. Be creative as you like; and secondly if, like me, you have lots of 'tea towels' that are brand new (or could be an old favourite) I would like to see those as well and hear the story behind the picture- was it a gift from a holiday, a present from auntie that you only use when she visits etc..........."

Okay - two more items to add to the house-warming gift list. I can't believe I don't own an apron. Tea towels? I get those $5 rags from Walmart, or use the old surgical towels Roger brings home from the OR. Snazzy, huh? Nothing worth showing you all. Dang. Another failed assignment on Tiggerlane's part. And for those of you hoping to see me nekkid - well, not gonna happen!

If I DID own an apron, it would be this one:Or maybe this one:Which would most likely lead to this one:Now, did you really think I could do a post without a house update? Of course not. Here is one of the last shots I will get with this much sun, under the house:The bracings I've explained previously...and they must work, since I haven't seen the blocks explode from the pressure of the dirt. They will leave the plastic down under the house, I was told. Next step is bracing the subfloor joists with these small pieces of wood, which I watched them meticulously cut:The boys made me VERY nervous as they put the bracings between the joists. Lots of nail guns, which make me flinch. I have a builder friend who had one of those nails shot into his leg, and every time I heard the guns go off, I imagined that one of the builders on my job was going to scream in agony.They also got the garage and patio ready for concrete. First glich in the house process has occurred, but you won't see it in this photo:The concrete company recently sold - as recently as the DAY BEFORE our concrete was to be poured. A small delay, but Jackie assured me that they had plenty of other things to do whilst they waited. And he was right...first, they finished the bracings:And the subfloor materials were ready to go...I found out that these guys not only screw the subfloor to the joists, but they also nail it down. Double security, to keep it from shifting and squeaking:Guess what is next? WALLS...real WALLS! I watched them "pop the lines" with colored-chalk-string things...but didn't get photos. I was too busy checking all the lines against the plan and making decisions about window size and placement. Another good thing about our builder? He and his crew check every board:He is sending about half of the boards back that are not up to his specifications to be used as studs. Good man!

Now get out of my house, and go check out the cool aprons!