Thursday, December 25, 2014

How Many Licks Does It Take?

You've heard the question, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?"
Well, now I have a similar question.  How many clicks does it take to get a decent picture of my kids?




ONE



TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

SEVEN

EIGHT

NINE....Apparently, the answer is nine!
Hope your holiday celebration is as fun as mine was!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
And to Adam Sandler, Happy Hanukkah!!!
Oh, and to comedian, Lewis Black, too!
Hope you both had eight crazy nights!
(I had one crazy night with my kids!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What A Difference A Day Makes



No.  2003 was not a day ago....but doesn't it SEEM like yesterday?  Our sons were still small and Hubby was young....and still shooting the deer.  Time changes.  Our boys grew and became men.  Our trees grew tall and now shade our entire back yard.  Hubby is no longer young....and he no longer kills the deer....he sees them and hasn't the heart to shoot them....unless they are old. Then if, and only if, he knows someone who will take the meat to eat, will he shoot one.  Time has changed us all.  See the church in the background?  It was there when we bought this house.  It was the ONLY "business" in miles.  Unless you count the bait store that was closed shortly after we moved here.  It was across the street.  We wished for more stores to move out this direction so we wouldn't have to go so far.  Be careful what you wish for.



Yesterday, Hubby called me out to the back yard to get a last picture of the church.  They had begun tearing it down.  Remember back before I disappeared that they sold it for more money than they had ever been offered.  They couldn't turn it down.  I don't know where they are building their new church.....I am sure they are building a new one somewhere because they were still an active church....but, I am sure it will break their hearts when they drive by and see their old church family home no longer stands.




It takes so long, it seems, to construct a new building.  It is amazing to me how quickly it can be destroyed.  You must know that this building was not in disrepair.  I know there are shingles missing in these pictures, but it was well taken care of.  They used to have a playground in the fenced in area for their children to play.   For years, we cast our votes on voting day in the foyer of the building.  I feel a sense of loss as they tear this down even though those were the only times I had ever entered there.



Remember the building that they were laying the pipes for it within inches of our privacy fence?   It is nearly complete.  They are still working on the parking lot and the interior.  It is going to be a dentist office.  Notice how sunny it was yesterday?  It was 70 degrees yesterday.


You can see here that the trucks are within feet of our yard and the pipes are within inches of our chain link fence.  They intend to use every inch of the property they bought.  See the porta-potty?  It had been behind our fence.....the chain link.  The aroma that it was sending out into the air was suffocating....so what did I do?  I called the city and asked if there wasn't some kind of ordinance in place that would restrict where a porta-potty could be placed.  I didn't get to talk to a person.  I had to leave a message.  But, apparently, they got the message because a couple of days later, the port-potty was moved up by the church building. Sometimes it does do some good to complain.


It really seems like such a waste that nothing was saved from the rubble that they created from their day of work.  Not one window....not one brick....not a shingle....not a pipe.  Couldn't that all have been recycled?  I don't know anything about it, but it just seems like something could have been reused.



This is today.  Look at the dates on the pictures up above....and then todays......I couldn't believe my eyes when I realized the rain had stopped and I ventured out into the yard to see what it looked like today.

Where is the foundation?  I don't recognize anything!  It is all gone.  Just a pile of rubble.  How can a building like that be turned into rubble in one day....I mean, I know fire can do that....but I didn't realize that they could just beat it down into the ground.....no dynamite to make an implosion....just machines beating on it.


The temperature dropped while the work was going on and the rain clouds rolled in.  Today, we already hit our high of 50 degrees. Our warm sunny weather is gone....and it makes it even sadder to me that change is taking place.


I took one last look around the field behind our house where we have enjoyed nature while sitting on our patio for the past 20 years.  I am so afraid they will bulldoze all those trees soon.


I'm afraid we've seen the last of the road runners....the last of the bunnies....the last of the hawks.....no more owls to land on our chimney and hoot to us.....the coyotes that ran through in packs are long gone now....and the deer have no more places to hide.  Last year was probably the last year for them to come through.


They are supposed to build another little strip shopping center behind us.  There is supposed to be dining and retail.  The little strips across the street are really nice now.....but will they be in another 15 years?  I hope Hubby and I are around to find out.



For now, we can still sit outside in the evening and enjoy a little peace.  Were it not for the constant hum of traffic, we could look out this direction and pretend things were not changing.  They always said old folks don't like change.  Now, I see why.

 Even our old dogs seemed confused today.  They seemed to be looking at me and asking where that building went to and what are all those men doing?



They also have no peace because they want to bark at every one of those workers....so it's a constant reminder that change is going on whether we want to acknowledge it or not.  Maybe we can get a gate put there in the back of our fence and there will be a business there I would want to work at part time....and I could just walk to work.  hmmmmm

Monday, December 22, 2014

Almost Forgot How....


It's been so long since I have blogged, even privately, that I almost forgot how to upload my picture and make it larger.  Use it or lose it, they say.

Today, as I passed my Christmas tree, I glanced at the lighthouse ornament that Gere sent to me last year.  I felt a sense of sadness and decided to come and sneak a peek at you all and see how you are doing.  I was very sad to find out that Nancy had lost her husband.  This made me think that the loss of a computer is such a little thing.  I went to check on several more of you....and the old feeling came back....and I just had to make my blog public once more.  Please, whatever is causing my computer to freeze and then quit when I blog, please just leave me alone.  I've lost two computers to you....go pick on someone else!  Let me blog.

So much has happened since we last visited.  It will take many posts to even begin to bring my blog up to date.  I won't torture anyone who might find their way here with an extra long post.  I'll just say, "Merry Christmas" to you all.  And we will chat more later.  Gotta' go to the old grindstone and work.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And So Life Goes


At the end of September, this was how Bryan and Liz gave us the wonderful news that we would be grandparents again.  We were so happy.....only to have our hearts broken three days later.  Our hearts were broken because we knew how hurt Bryan and Liz were when they found out she had already miscarried.  One thing I will NEVER understand is why couples who would love and cherish their child often lose them, while the parents (not always couples) who will end up abusing or ignoring their child never lose them.  Life is so hard to understand and deal with sometimes.  I just pray that they will again give us that wonderful news some day and that 9 months later, we will get to hold that precious life in our arms.


In October, McKenna earned the right to wear this costume for Halloween.  She was Super Girl at school....earning tiger paws enough to have her name be the first to be honored on the marquis this school year.  She is a SUPER girl alright!  And we are so proud of her!


November brings progress.....progress that we hated to see come, in one way.  The new Walmart is coming right along.  While it will be nice to just have to go two blocks to buy something when we need it, we hate the thought of how much more traffic it will bring.


And the effect on our surroundings will be devastating.  All the wildlife that we have so enjoyed over the years will have to move on to try to survive.  Most of it has left the area already, but along our walking trail, we do still enjoy a few moments with the animals and birds, though they are fewer and farther between each time we go.



This hawk is there still.  I think it must have been where he was born.  He stays there and waits for mice  and other small prey.  He doesn't even seem to be afraid of us.  We got pretty close for this picture.  He really is handsome.


I fear for this doe's life. We have been seeing her and her fawn for several months now at the walking trail.  There is such a small area of wilderness on our trail and I am afraid she will wander off onto the busy road that leads to our house, as many others have done in years past, only to be struck by an unlucky driver who is unaware that there are still a few left here that may wander out onto the 50 mph road.

And so along with the good in life, we have to take the bad.  And sometimes, it's hard to tell if what we have is good or bad....it depend on how you look at it , I suppose.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Something's Rotten On Bluestem Court


Our story starts tonight in the shade of our young live oak tree.  Our neighbor had mentioned to Hubby that he wished we would cut it back some from over his driveway.  This was a complete about face from what our neighbor had said before.....that they wanted us to leave the shade for them.  So, Hubby, being the well-intentioned neighbor that he is, decided to get his ladder and chain saw out and try to make our neighbor happy.

Just a few days before, as we drove home from wherever we had been, we noticed on Meadowbrook a house that had their trees trimmed WAY up and how much better it looked being able to SEE the front of the house.  So, when I walked out and saw Hubby on the ladder, I decided to supervise him in his destruction trimming of our tree.

We trimmed and trimmed and trimmed....until the pile of brush looked like this:


We were lucky in that the brush truck was coming that day and they hadn't been to our neighborhood yet!  Unintentionally, we woke Son No. 2 from his blissful slumber and he came out to see what all the commotion was about.



He couldn't believe the pile we had whacked carefully selected to trim from our tree was taller than he is!!  And WIDER than I am!!!  lol


And then we stood back and saw what was left of the tree on the right....not much.  But, it will grow back....maybe next year.

You know how when you start working around the house how one thing leads to another....well, since we took off all the shade from the right hand side of the yard, this left that big front picture window to bake in the blazing hot sun.  So, Hubby decided it was time to call the people who installed Ginger and Jesse's solar screens.  The next day they came to take our order and in a little over a week, they arrived to install them.



We opted for the "linen" solar screens....you can't tell, but they are beige with tiny darker lines in them....almost stripes....you can only tell when you get up close.  You CANNOT see through them during the day AT ALL!!!  I was so excited to get them....I had taken off all the old screens and cleaned the windows and windowsills before they came.

Once they were all on, we realized just how horrible the chimney and the roof were looking!  I mean, we knew they were bad, but once we put something NEW next to them, well, they made the house look like it should be condemned!  So, I started playing around on the computer to see what color roof we would want.




We thought about a rust colored metal roof....until we found out that State Farm charges MORE for metal roofs on insurance and you have to sign a waiver saying you understand the insurance doesn't cover hail damage.  uh, no.  come on composition roof!



Then I started hearing things in the chimney....footsteps....and Hubby said it was finally time to have it rebuilt.  So, he went out on the patio and stuck his fist right through the rotten siding to see who was in there.  Apparently, it was too slummy for them because they were no longer there.




You can see that the siding was rotten up top, too.  This would be a job for a professional....this would NOT be a do-it-yourself project!  We called around and found a man who would do it for $1000....and that would include Hardy board and construction of a "cricket" that would divert the water from the back side of the chimney. He also would replace any rotten studs inside the chimney.  Two weeks would pass before he would send his two sons and son in law to tackle the job.


Seriously, if we hadn't painted the siding so many times with thick coats of paint, it would have just disintegrated by now!!  Just turned into sawdust!  It was that bad!  The only thing holding it up was the paint.


We had tried over the years  patching it and sealing it with foam and caulk....but that didn't help.


The guy with the pencil behind his ear had HUGE holes in his earlobes.  AND a nose ring that looked like silver snot was dripping from his nose.  I would have been afraid of him had I come face to face with him elsewhere.  But, you know....he was such a nice young man....so polite...and had such a nice smile!!!  He talked to Hubby while they were working ALL DAY LONG!!!

 We were surprised the only termite damage was to the bottom stud...and they easily cut it and then knocked it out....then replaced it with a new stud.


 What a mess!!!


They used that little handy dandy electric saw there to cut it out....looks really easy when you know what you are doing and have the right tools!



They put new black felt paper inside (the old felt had  probably saved the chimney pipe from the weather all those years.  It still looked brand new....still shiny!)  See the flashing inside the chimney there.  They said that the builder cut it too short and that was why we had so much rotten siding.  It was leaking inside on the right side of the chimney.


At first, I didn't think it was going to take them half a day to rebuild it....but they  slowed down once they got up on the roof....could have been the height, but it could have been the near 100 degree weather, too.



They reused the flashing and everything but the felt inside of the chimney, but everything outside was replaced.



Hubby wanted them to leave the scaffold so he could use it to paint the chimney.  One of the young men ALMOST offered to paint it for Hubby.  They said they had to take the scaffold with them when they left.  So Hubby borrowed Jesse's ladder to paint the top.


The builders  worked until 3:30 that afternoon.....


All three taking their time and being careful to pay attention to each little detail.




We wondered how the pipe got bent....was it that way when we moved in 20 years ago?



And we didn't get a picture of it finished that day....but, take it from me....it looked marvelous!


Exactly one week later, the roofers showed up at 6a.m. and started tearing off the roof.  YIPPEE!!


We hired Pro-1 Construction from Austin for the roofing job and were we glad!  The workers didn't speak much English, but Dave stayed outside and talked to them anyway as he snapped these pictures....ALL DAY LONG! lol I think Hubby was as tired as they were by 4 p.m.!  When they were getting all the old nails out, it sounded as if they were going to come right through the sheet rock!


It ended up that we had two different spots that were rotten in our decking.  One above the back door...and the other above Son NO 2's room!



Not sure exactly how a hole like that appears in the middle of the decking !


Like magic, they lifted that piece of decking out and replaced it with another.



Looks like there is some insulation in there!



How DO they measure that so exactly and not have to cut pieces over and over until it's right?



You can't even tell they had cut it out and replaced it, can you?  If you didn't know, you couldn't tell!



Pro1 uses GAF roofing....and we chose the dimensional shingles in Hickory, so they gave us some ridge vents at no charge.  We paid extra for that white paper instead of the traditional black felt.  That white paper won't tear!!  We tried!




After putting down flashing in the valleys, they put down that sticky black paper....don't think that will EVER rot and leak!!



Finally the shingles were delivered and they started the process of shingling!





That's our new dryer vent that is making our dryer practically suck out the water.....it dries  like a brand new dryer now!


And here he is installing the new ridge vent!

 They cut an inch off each side of the ridge and then laid the new vent....it's supposed to be much more effective at cooling the attic. It has a tiny screen all along the top and then they place special shingles over it!



PRETTY!!


The back.....


The front....Hubby was scouring the premises to make sure they were no wandering nails!  He didn't want to have to change a flat tire or rush anyone to the ER after stepping on one!


When they were finished shingling, they took a blower onto the roof and blew off the leaves and trash...then went around the house and cleaned everything up!


And finally, we have a beautiful new roof!!!  All because our neighbor, who incidentally moved  a couple of weeks ago, asked Hubby to trim back the tree!!!

We are getting a garage door opener tomorrow....if it doesn't rain!