Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Handy Man

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "A man builds a fine house and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days." We did not build our house, but it is certainly our master in many ways. We are extremely proud of our home, and try to keep on top of repairs as well as planning for future updates...seems like there is always a repair or remodeling project on the horizon. It's wonderful, and economically a great benefit, to be married to a man who can accomplish almost any home-related task.

Today's blog is a salute to the handy man...specifically my sweet husband, Wally. He has tackled so many remodeling projects in the past few years that he deserves a posting all his own. Wally is the master of home repair, and is not afraid to tackle any project, big or small.

When he first retired, Wally remodeled our outdated basement into an extraordinary man cave. The biggest part of the project was the update of the cinder brick fireplace, which covered almost an entire wall from floor to ceiling. He did a fantastic job by covering the brick with drywall and cement board, added a beautiful tile surround to the fireplace opening, and then installed a gorgeous wood mantel around the tile.

We love our remodeled basement

Two years ago, Wally completely remodeled the master bedroom. We slept in the guest room while he gutted our en suite bathroom down to the studs, pulled up the flooring in two rooms and installed a new wall in the bedroom. He replaced drywall, installed a new shower, hung new cabinets, and replaced all the fixtures in the bathroom. He also created more useable wall space by replacing our huge bifold closet doors (which were a bear to dust) with an efficient pocket door. He prepped the bathroom for installation of Marmoleum (which we love) and, with the assistance of our son, installed gorgeous Pergo flooring in the bedroom.

Big changes to our master bath and walk-in closet

Last year I blogged about my handy man's big project, the pièce de résistance as far as remodeling our home is concerned. He did a masterful job of opening up the wall between our kitchen and dining room. This completely transformed the space and turned the kitchen into warm, wonderful gathering place full of natural light. We love it! You can read all about it here.

Our favorite place in the house

This year we decided to paint the house. Like all projects do, this one mushroomed just a bit! We had been thinking about new garage doors, and decided the timing was right for those, too. Our house was built in 1969, so there were plenty of repairs for Wally to accomplish while he prepped the house for paint. He replaced damaged soffits in at least five areas, most of them while working up high on an extension ladder. We had decided early on to replace our deck railing, but did not decide to replace the decking itself until much later when we discovered some damaged joists. Husband and son came to the rescue again by replacing the damaged stringers, tearing out all the old decking and installing new composite decking.

Love it!

Thanks for all your hard work, honey, it is (and will be) MUCH appreciated!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v.10.25.12

Here's what going on in my little corner of the world this Thursday.


A tree crew is currently outside cutting down five trees. Between the sound of the chainsaw and the sound of the industrial chipper, I can't think straight. That headache on the horizon is getting closer and closer...


Had I realized that one dining room chair has 320 (yes, that's three hundred and twenty!) staples per cushion, I might have rethought the idea of recovering the six chairs. Oh, well, one cushion down, only five to go.

I'm thinking overkill!


Have you ever shopped at Harbor Freight Tools? It's a fun place to browse the aisles for all those tools you want but don't have. Yes, the quality of many of the items is not the best, but it's the perfect place to find things like an upholstery-grade staple remover, or a cheap 600 pc. picture hanging assortment for $3. Believe it or not, it also made me a tad nostalgic for tools I used back when I worked in an industrial environment. Wish I still had a use for a drill press or a paint booth or a rivet gun. Fun!


Husband and I tried out the newly remodeled AMC theater in Lakewood this week. We saw "Argo", which I highly recommend. Get this, the theater seats are electrically-operated recliners! Luckily we had free passes, because this theater is definitely not cheap. They use a four-tier pricing system: $6 morning movies; $8.50 matinees; $10.50 full price; and $14 for 3D. At those prices, maybe we'll just stick to Netflix and Redbox!

Note: picture taken before I spilled his popcorn

Hope your week is going well. FYI - only 60 days until Christmas!

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Weekend, I...v10.22.12

Linking up with Sar (& Syndal) for a little look at my weekend

This Weekend, I celebrated my birthday with friends and family. My weekend started with a surprise visit from my two favorite kids, who presented me with a birthday card containing Starbucks gift cards...woo hoo! They also made me the sweetest gifts.

A beautiful picture and coupons for free stuff!

This Weekend, I enjoyed watching my son prove to my husband that yes, he really can throw a football 45-50 yards. Husband called son out on the claim, so they headed for the street to play some catch. Hilarious!

My "boys" playing in traffic

This Weekend, I ate dessert every day. Our out-of-town visitors brought dessert, my BFF made a delicious dessert, and husband bought one gigantic piece of chocolate cake ('cuz he knows that's my fav).

Yay for just one candle instead of fifty-something

This Weekend, I had the best non-dinner ever! My friend and I often comment that the perfect dinner might be appetizers and dessert, and that's just what we had. We were all so full after the scrumptious crab cakes that we bagged our plans to go to a restaurant and stayed home to eat dessert. Perfect!

Delicous home-made crab cakes made with fresh-caught crab

This Weekend, I laughed and celebrated with good friends.

Larry & Cheryl, Wally & me, Tim & Judy

This Weekend, I saw the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

Gorgeous view from the deck

Hope your weekend was filled with fun, family and friends!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v.10.18.12

Linking up with the lovely Sar for a peak at what I'm thinking about this Thursday.


Today is my birthday...woo hoo! This landmark means I've been retired two whole years, which is really hard to believe. Then again, it's been an action-packed and fun-filled two years, and I'm absolutely positive I wouldn't have time for all those adventures if I still had to work. So, yay for me!


Our good friends from Spokane arrive today to spend the weekend with us. My husband and Tim grew up on the same block, so they have always known each other. But they didn't become good friends until high school. That's over 40 years! We see these friends only once or twice a year, but are able to pick up the conversation like we just saw them yesterday. Good friends are hard to find, and we definitely treasure them. (Insert the Girl Scout song "Make New Friends" here)


My daughter sent me this link on Monday about cats who kill. Since then, I've found bits and pieces of mice and birds outside the back door, i.e., the occasional bird claw, feathers, mouse whiskers and fresh internal organs of unknown origin. Maybe this need to terrorize and dominate is why our killer, Trooper, bothers his sister, Dash, when we lock him in the house. Wonder if Trooper would start picking on us if he had no other alternative? Hmmm...


I grew my hair out a bit this summer, and it's about chin length now with no layers. I'm really liking the way it lays on most days. However. We recently went 81 days without any significant rainfall. Until last weekend. I went to a soccer game and did a little shopping afterward. It wasn't until I got home that I realized how badly my hair reacted to the moisture. No wonder I was getting funny looks! I'll definitely need to find a different product to control the droop/frizz/flops. Blech.


I just got a surprise phone call from the lovely Sar in Texas. She had me on speaker phone, which I was not expecting because it was during her regularly scheduled class at University of Mary Hardin Baylor. Guess what? HER STUDENTS SANG "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" TO ME! A wonderful surprise from a very thoughtful daughter...I love her so much.

Link up and let us know what you're thinking about this Thursday!


Monday, October 15, 2012

This Weekend, I...v.10.15.12

Linking up with Sar and Sydal for a little weekend update:


This Weekend, I pretty much spent the whole weekend alone. Husband went to Seattle for the UW Husky football game on Saturday, and then went back to Seattle for the Seahawks game on Sunday. Truthfully, it was nice to have the house to myself!


This Weekend, I saw the recently released movie "Looper." This movie stars Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Bruce Willis playing the same character, but 30 years apart in age. The director did a fantastic job of setting the stage for the action that follows, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt continues to impress. Highly recommend! ✭✭✭✭


This Weekend, I tried a new local restaurant called "Everybody's American Cookhouse & Sports Theater." Much too long of a name, if you ask me. I had a slider trio appetizer with side salad for dinner, and had a great meal with plenty leftover to take home for another meal. Yes, I would definitely order that meal again. However, due to the many cranky children in the main restaurant area, I think we'll try eating in the bar next time.


This Weekend, I wore my new boots for the first time. Hurray for new footwear!


Hope your weekend was full of fun, friends and family!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v.10.11.12

Time for some Thursday Thoughts with Sar.


This is my favorite time of the year, and here's why:


I love the early morning when the fog hangs on the water. Some days the fog never clears, and that's quite alright with me.



I love waking up in a cold house and turning on the gas fireplace to make the room nice and toasty. My favorite part of the day is drinking my first cup of coffee while reading the morning newspaper.



I love the last few weeks of my summer flowers as they slowly fade away. The challenge is to enjoy the flowers for as long as possible, yet clean up the pots before the flowers become a wet, soggy, mushy mess.


Hope you are enjoying this beautiful Fall weather!


Monday, October 8, 2012

This Weekend, I...v.10.8.12

Linking up with Sar and Syndal for a quick summary of my weekend.
This Weekend, I watched Kayden's U-8 soccer game on a beautiful unseasonably warm Pacific NW afternoon. Ava and I made funny faces to send to Auntie Sarah, and we both cheered loudly when Kayden made a goal!

Ava and Grandma
This Weekend, I went to the annual Oysterfest celebration held in Shelton, WA. It's a great bargain, at only $5 to enter with no charge for parking. Other than wineries, only non-profit organizations are allowed to participate, so there are none of the usual booths with irritating vendors hawking non-stick pans or shoe cleaners or jewelry polish. We enjoyed a few samples of crab and shrimp, but, as usual, avoided the oyster delights. The highlight of the event is the wine tasting tent, where we have fun trying to find a gem or two to take home. The downside was the horrendous shuttle ride to and from our free offsite parking. Almost not worth the hassle.

The first people in line for shuttle had already been waiting 45 min. when we arrived.
A small handicapped school bus with about 10 people on it pulled up, and everyone who had been standing in line was able to get on. We were among those who stood for the 20 min. ride. I had nothing to hang on to, other than the man with the recently repaired knee. A little terrifying at times.

My delicious coconut shrimp...mmmm!

This Weekend, I had a great visit with my brother- and sister-in-law from Idaho. They were in town visiting their son and his family, so ended up bringing the whole brood over to watch the UW Husky football game. Unfortunately, they are U of Oregon fans and were all decked out in Duck gear, so they enjoyed the game a little more than we did. An embarrassing loss for UW.

This Weekend, I enjoyed watching my husband's ex-little league player as the starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. Even though the Orioles eventually lost, Jason turned in a great performance.

Husband in center rear, son in left forefront, and Jason Hammel in dead center

This Weekend, I got to watch the grandkids overnight. We had a scrumptious dinner, read a ton of books, played Tumbling Monkeys, and built fantastic castles and towers with building blocks. Favorite moment from the little one..."At home, we don't go potty before we go to bed." Silly girl!

She loves books...YAY!

Hope you had a fun-filled adventurous weekend!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Waco Wanderings

I recently spent six glorious days with the lovely Sar in Waco, the Heart Of Texas. I met several of her good friends, enjoyed a few good restaurant meals and was spoiled with some darn good home-cooked meals as well. It was a busy week for Sarah, so I accompanied her to both Baylor University and University of Mary Hardin Baylor as Professor Lake taught her classes.

We did a little shopping in the outlet mall in the Round Rock area outside Austin, and made a special trip to a home goods store I had heard mentioned on some HGTV show. The store had some interesting items, but nothing you couldn't find in any Tuesday Morning or Big Lots store. Sarah did see one vase that looked an awful lot like a big flask.

Sarah turned shopping into a drinking game

I got to enjoy some cuddle time with my third-favorite kitty, Chloe. This made me feel pretty special, particulary since she wasn't quite so friendly with me the last time I saw her. Chloe loves to get right in your face, and was happiest when she could get settle on my chest right in front of the my iPad.
Chloe knows what she wants
It was fun to watch Sarah take pictures and tweet about her daily activities. I'm fairly sure my visit gave her plenty of material for her blog, too. Wonder if I should have asked to preview it first?
Taking a picture of taking a picture...should have tweeted it!
I think Sarah and I both look forward to grocery shopping during visits from her dad and me. She made the mistake of stocking her shelves before her dad's visit, but made sure she had a long list by the time my visit rolled around. We made a huge trip to HEB for groceries, and then another trip to Walmart for paper and kitty goods.

Ooo, I don't usually buy this because it's so expensive, but since you're buying, I'll get two!

I sat in on Sarah's 2402 Statistics class, my first exposure to statistics in a classroom setting. There are 110 students or so registered, but quite a few were absent that day. The students seemed to get a kick out of the professor's mom being present. I was impressed with Sarah's obvious command of the material as well as her control of the class. I even took notes and followed along as much as I could. My knowledge can be summed up thusly:

Collectively exhaustive events - A series of events which individually may be tiring, but when occurring in a series become collectively exhausting. Like traveling across a few time zones to a hot, humid climate and then attending an afternoon stats lecture.

Statistical Independence - Any number of indications or facts which when totaled provide evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that daughter lives a happy, successful, independent life.

OK, so maybe I didn't pay attention all that well!

You in the back...put down your iPad!
Sarah took me for a nice two mile walk on the last evening of my visit. I think she was just trying to make sure I got a chance to be exposed to the ultimate Texas experience...West Nile virus. I'm fairly sure I was attacked by garden variety mosquitos, at least that's my story.

If they were not mosquitos, I don't want to know!

All in all, I had an absolutely wonderful visit and can't wait to see my girl again..


Monday, October 1, 2012

This Weekend, I...v.10.1.12

Linking up with Sar and Syndal for a little update on my weekend in Waco.
This weekend, I got a pedicure with the lovely Sarah. First time I've had french tips on my toes in a very long time. It's still sandal weather in Texas, and hope the nice weather holds out back home for little while, at least.

This weekend, I watched the Baylor football game in a bar. It was fairly empty when we arrived, but packed by the time we left at half time. Yes, that is a child in the bar. It's one of those things that makes Texas so...special.

This weekend, I had dinner with Sarah's good friends Caryn & Mike Brown. Caryn served an absolutely delicious dinner with a fantastic dessert I initially thought was called Crack Pipe"! Turns out my hearing is not so good, because it's really "Crack Pie". This is one dish I definitely will try at home. On a side note, the torrential rains that day softened the ground such that Sarah got stuck in the mud next the driveway of the Brown's house. Mike came to the rescue, so a major crisis was averted.

This weekend, I watched Sarah revert to a seven-year-old by eating Pop Rocks. She enjoyed it just a little too much!

This weekend, I was out of town so I missed my brother-in-love's surprise birthday party. We received a huge zucchini from the neighbors, so my husband brought it along with our gift for the birthday boy. My sister, the grandma-to-be, got in a little cuddling practice with the gourd. Doesn't she look like a natural?

Hope you had a fun-filled weekend, too!