Well, I'm back. Yes, I'm back. (If you're not an AC/DC fan, the title and first couple of lines will make no sense and not seem funny at all. This is the time for LL to say, "I like them and it's still not funny.")
Renovations are still going strong, but the main computer was hooked back up by yours truly today. I keep the main unit in my daughter's room so as you probably can figure out, my daughter was the beneficiary of the room upgrade. She actually had her room done not too long ago, but my husband never finished (ceiling, trim, etc.) and then she hated her color choice. (She's an orange fan now)
I've been working my tail off in her room. I have muscles aching from neck to toe (not kidding as the middle toe on my left foot has gone numb). My bones ache. I'm still not finished, but so far, so good. It looks pretty magnificent, really, but I'm partial to my own work.
I just hate how one room affects all rooms. My house is in such disarray. If you know me, you know it's driving me batty. I feel like this is the moment of my life when Mommy Dearest will come in with cold cream on her face for inspection. I'd fail miserably. She'd probably beat me to death with that can of Old Dutch Boy cleanser.
I don't have any before pictures from right before I started. I have a before picture before anything was ever done though. I'll take a picture when it's complete. I just wish my husband was more happy for me to be helping instead of feeling slighted. I could use his help on the rest of it (I'm short so trim work is a true pain and death defying adventure all in one), but I believe he thinks my trying to finish home renovations was a personal insult to him. :::shrugs:::
And for the million dollar question -- how do you keep snakes out of your yard? My front and backyard are littered with snakes now and I'm petrified of them. They seem to have moved right in and as a result, I've been watering less and less. =(
Here's the deal, I met this fantastic woman (generous too) who has a brand new huge above ground pool (the good kind with metal frame, now blow-up crap) she's willing to give me for just $100. She paid a ton more, but is extraordinarily kind, i.e. not greedy, so just wants another family to enjoy it and get enough cash to buy her new baby a few new things. The pool is legit, as I said, it's big (big enough to need a deck eventually), it's new, has the filter, all the chemicals, a cover ... you name it.
Let me add, my two teens want a pool badly. They always have wanted a pool. They love to swim and we have more than enough space (7 acres).
There's only one problem -- my husband. Originally, we discussed going in ground. Something to fit in with my natural landscape, BUT our renovations aren't finished. He's still working on the cedar shingles on the exterior walls, the front porch (hasn't been started yet), and the exterior enclosed side porch (which we desperately need for space).
So, truth be told, (and isn't it always when you visit this spot?) my husband doesn't really have the time to help install even an above ground pool. Then there's the financial end. All of our extra savings go to this house. We need every bit of it at this time ... so can I afford all that I need to put this pool in place? The sand? The water? I don't know.
Still, a part of me is thinking just to buy it and store it if I can't install it because, well, come on, I'm getting quite the deal from this nice woman AND it'll let my husband and I know if pools are too much work to go in ground.
What do you think? Buy it and store it? Buy it and save a month to have it put it in place? Or just go another summer without one while the children get one year closer to leaving for good? All advice welcome, but pool-related advice specifically appreciated.
This morning while running on the treadmill, my knees began to seriously ache. The pain on the outsides of my feet rivaled it so perfectly, they almost negated each other. It wasn't until I hopped off, began stretching and heard the familiar pops and creaks of my knees that I started mouthing, "oil can, oil can" like the beloved Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.
Makes me feel old. Makes me feel eighty instead of thirty-six. Makes me want to eat prunes, drink Metamucil, and nap in a rocker. Since I have none of those things, I suppose I'll curl up with Google images of sore knee joints instead.
Kathleen had this up on her blog and I really liked the idea. I thought it would be a nice way to go gently into the weekend.
Here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend your cool...
I have the iPod phone, pictured here. I only get 100 songs so I try to keep my lists varied, but after doing this, I do believe Kat is right -- bands do repeat without having to be the majority on the player.
Anyhow, in addition to listing the songs, I'm also going to add a couple lines of each song to make them match up (if possible) with the category or just to give someone a vague idea of what the song is ... if you're the type that knows lyrics and not titles, like I am.
Opening Credits: Overjoyed - Stevie Wonder ("Over dreams, I have picked out a perfect come true. Though you never knew it was of you I've been dreaming.")
Waking Up: People Just Love to Play With Words - Men at Work ("There are two side - a win or loss. What's two down and four across?")
First Day at School: Now - Everclear ("Waste my time walking in rythm, waste my time talking in rhyme.")
Falling in Love: It's a Mistake - Men at Work [laughing out loud at this one] ("Don't think that we don't know. Don't think that we're not trying. Don't think we move to slow. It's no use after crying saying, 'it's a mistake.'")
Fight Song: Store Bought Bones - The Raconteurs ("Waiting on the rising sun, Clutching at your holster gun.")
Breaking Up: Where Is My Mind - The Pixies [that great song at the end of "Fight Club"] ("With your feet in the air and your head on the ground. Try this trick, spin it. Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it.")
Prom: Pop Goes My Heart - Hugh Grant [hanging head in shame even though prom songs sounded like this back when I went to mine] ("Something in the way that you move I can't deny, Every word from your lips is a lullaby")
Mental Breakdown: Warning - Green Day ("Is the cop or am I the one that's really dangerous? Sanitation, expiration date, question everything!")
Driving: Narcolepsy - Third Eye Blind ("I'm on a train, but there's no one at the helm and there's a demon in my brain who starts to overwhelm.")
Flashback: Portland Rain - Everclear ("Standing in the rain where I watched you drive away. Never thought I'd live to see this f*cked up day.")
Getting Back Together: Icky Thump - The White Stripes ("Red-head señorita, Lookin' dead, Came to said,"I need a bed" en español.")
Wedding: Graduate - Third Eye Blind [another friggin' repeat ... married right after high school graduation, so maybe it's kismet] ("Talking to somebody like you. Do you live the days you go through? Will the song live on long after we do?")
Birth of Child: You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison - My Chemical Romance [WTF?] ("Your life will never be the same. On your mother's eyes, say a prayer.")
Final Battle: Welcome to Paradise - Green Day ("A gunshot rings out at the station. Another urchin snaps and left dead on his own. It makes me wonder why I'm still here.")
Death Scene: A Change Would Do You Good - Sheryl Crow ("Hello, it's me. I'm not at home. If you'd like to reach me leave me alone.")
Funeral Song: Soak Up The Sun - Sheryl Crow [ok, I have five songs of Sheryl, but two were back to back. I don't get it.] ("I'm gonna soak up the sun, I'm gonna tell everyone to lighten up. I've got no one to blame for every time I feel lame, I'm looking up. I wanna soak up the sun.")
End Credits: Just Like Heaven - The Cure ("Strange as angels dancing in the deepest oceans, Twisting in the water. You're just like a dream.")
I'm not tagging anyone, but I do think seeing iPod songs is kind of neat, even if the bands repeat. Blargh.
One of the reasons, well, probably the biggest reason my husband and I wanted to have a home in the middle of the woods, was to skip the hassles of having neighbors. There are other people on our road, but they live right on the road, not back in the woods as we do, so beyond a wave when I'm walking the pooch or driving by, we don't see each other. And it is blissful.
All those years of renting with crazy ass neighbors blaring "Eighteen and Life to Go" through their boom boxes or this insane Tijuana music at dinner ... or the naked guy (who walked around in tiny underwear like a pale mutant stripper) who loved to wake up at 5am to death metal, all gone. Distant memories.
My husband and I, like most people, have horrid neighbor stories. We married at eighteen and moved in together as married people are prone to do, but didn't go through a phase of wanting to blast music, have parties, or be loud in general past 10pm ... or even before it. It seemed no matter where we lived, in apartments or houses, the neighbors always impinged upon our life.
But not after we moved here ... not until now.
It's not a big deal, but it has been upsetting. I have to weed whack for about an hour, usually a bit more. Since my mailbox is at the top of our driveway, I weed whack up one side, then stop to do a narrow strip at the driveway's end, around the mailbox, and then back down the other side. Wasn't a terribly big deal until this summer.
It seems the men who live on the road at each side of my driveway believe I not only love weed whacking my own stuff, but that I'd apparently love to give their greenery a good whack as well. Each year, more of their own stuff isn't done. I'm only supposed to do about 2' on one side and 3' on the other. This has now expanded to 6' on one side and the whole curb and then the WHOLE curb plus hill and water gully on the other side.
They always did their part, I did my part, but now if they don't do their part (for weeks), my part looks like hell. It looks like I just became terribly lazy and quit halfway through. Certainly this isn't as big as the time back in the 90's when a mentally-deficient neighbor almost ran his car into our bedroom, but stopped right before our window just keeping the high beams on and blowing the horn the whole time while doing it. (apparently, he didn't think loud music midweek at 1am was something for us to complain about)
Anyhow, this has become a big deal for me. It's taking a LOT longer and I'm wondering -- if you made it this far with your own weeds, would you just do theirs as well? Or should I just stick to my own and let theirs grow to the sky? Inquiring mind wants to know.
(Image from Johnnie Swearingen. Neighbors, 1989. Oil on canvas-board, 22 x 30 inches. Collection of Bruce and Julie Webb.)
Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, Batman and Robin, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Laurel and Hardy ... Taigh and Grant. Haven't heard of that last one? Well, I assure you, my son and his best friend were more dedicated than all the other male duos put together. They were inseperable ... except for the time Grant's parents were bothered by how much fun their son was having with us ... so kept him away for a month or two. Weekends, holidays, school days ... most every day passed with the two of them foraging in the woods, riding bikes, or just holed up in their room playing video games or reading and creating comic books.
It wasn't all bliss. Grant's parents have a penchant for disaster. Fighting with each other, a cheating husband who has a preference for teenage girls, a crazy abusive mom, and poor little Grant picking up the slack. (And yes, I did report the parents, but nothing ever came of it.) Still my son and his "brother from another mother" weathered all the storms. After a few years, Grant became a part of our family. My husband and I felt like surrogate parents and even our "loves to scowl" daughter said she had two brothers instead of one. All was right with the world ... until Grant's real parents packed him up and moved him halfway across the world. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but Arizona may as well be another planet as far as New York is concerned.
For the record, I adore my son. I can't help it. He's kind, witty (not just funny), cute, and considerate. Sure, he can have minor mood swings, but they're just that -- minor -- here one minute, but entirely gone the next, followed by a swift apology. We've always been extremely close and I've always had this certain knee-jerk reaction of watching over him (even if he doesn't know I'm there).
So, when his best friend aka brother left over a year and a half ago, I knew when a part of Taigh died. Our whole family was changed. We, including my husband, hoped Grant would live with us permanently one day, but when he left, that dream was over.
Taigh's internal death took many forms. The vivacious, fun-loving kid began shutting down. The neat freak became a slob. School was a necessary evil. His major pursuit was shutting himself up in a dark bedroom. He didn't cry or pout ... he just existed. I told him a million things I truly believed -- "it will take time, but it'll get better," "everything happens for a reason," and the biggest stretch of all -- "you'll see him again someday."
And in time, as time is prone to do, plus with some nudging from me, Taigh began to emerge from his shell ... to play again, to hang out with many friends again, and most importantly to a neat freak ... to keep his room somewhat clean again. Things would be good again, but always there was that familiar pang. Taigh would say something to the equivalent of "[insert any name of any of his friends here] is okay, but Grant and I just had more fun." Bam. My heart drops, my palms get sweaty. Hello, emerging panic attack. Put brave smile on face and say something brilliant. Something like, "Isn't it better to have had a friendship like that than never to at all? I mean, some kids never have that." A shrug, a long look back at his comic book, and time enough for me to exit the room and wipe my eyes in private.
Grant and Taigh did at least have the phone. Apparently, Grant's life turned upside down shortly after he moved. Stepdad was caught peeping sunbathing teens, parents break up, Grant moves in with his real father (who also lived in Arizona), but who wasn't any better than the crazy mom he had left behind. Calls were monitored and timed. Every day calls turned into once-a-week, which turned into once-a-month, which turned into about every three months. Now when I mentioned Grant, my son would shout, "He's gone. Okay? I'm over it. I'm fine now. Let's just not talk about him."
Did I mention I have a 400' driveway, which sits back from view of the road in the middle of the forest? Did I mention no one drives in here unless I know they're coming? Even the UPS guy leaves my packages at the top.
Well, anyhow, Saturday, when my husband and I were in my bedroom picking out clothes for him to wear for dinner, I heard a knock at the door. We both looked at each other for a moment instead of answering it. Knock-knock-knock. "Well, I'm still in my boxer shorts, so you're up," my husband laughed, knowing I HATE surprise visitors.
Out the door and down the small hall, I peer on the side of the peekaboo curtains I've made and I see a mirage. An angelic face, light blonde curls surrounding it, a familiar smile, but it can't be. Am I dreaming? I'm dreaming, but I'll follow it through. Open the door and he's there, it's Grant, and even though I'm sure I'm deep in slumber I scream, "Oooooooooh, Grant, you're here. You're here. Oh my God. It's GRANT!" I hug him, knowing he can't breathe, but it's a dream so he'll live. I cry, letting the tears fall down my face, after all, it's a dream ... why be embarrassed? Then my son Taigh comes around the corner and I stop for a moment, I see his face and I knew he's choked up. I think, this might be real.
"Oh my God, dude. I don't believe it," Taigh said.
"I know," his friend shyly said in return.
"Grant, what happened?" I asked him, hugging him again.
"I'm back now. I'm back for good," Grant said, but not to me, he said it to my son. A LOT of time has passed. Is it too much? When they instinctively run off to the side of the house where the bikes are kept, I know the answer. And the mother of Grant, the mother that let her son live without her for the last year stepped out of her car, came to me and told me all that I've missed, none of it good, and said Grant just got back and he wouldn't stop saying that this is where he wanted to be, so this is where she took him. And I believe in God and angels and the universe and that maybe I'm still dreaming when she tells me he can stay with us for the night and even the weekend if we want it.
I played it cool and told her, "of course," while watching my boys patting the seats of the bikes. I waved goodbye to her while the boys start getting ready for a long overdue bike ride and smile at them as they head off. I said to my husband, "My boys are back together again," and cry like I haven't in months.
The next morning while Grant is showering, I ask Taigh how he's feeling about this. If he's as happy as I am for him. "This dream is so huge," he said, "I just keep waiting to wake up." I know exactly how he feels and things are good in the world ... or the dreamworld, whichever the case may be.