Monday, November 13, 2017

Eighteen Days In

It was the 24th of October that we realized we had a problem.  Water dripping from the basement family room ceiling can never not be a problem.

It was October 26th when our kitchen was ripped out from underneath us. We were all at work and school when the restoration company came in and took everything including the kitchen sink out. We knew that would happen eventually, we just were not prepared for it to happen on that day.

Now, here we are on November 13th. The water is dried up, so that's progress, I suppose. But I still am not anywhere close to having a kitchen sink again. Why does everything have to move so glacially?

And here is the thing: THE THING: It is not just a matter of putting back the kitchen. They are tearing up the whole darn tile floor. And my thinking is, if we are going to the effort and heartache of ripping up the whole floor, we might as well make a bunch of other changes at the same time.  Like new flooring in the family room. Which means we have to paint. And while we are at it, how much would it cost to move the washer and dryer to the spot I want them? The spot that makes sense for them to be, the spot that makes the entire laundry room more functional, the spot that would require the tearing out of the tile floor to make the move? Oh and wait, we already have to tear up that floor...
and if we have to tear up the floor, and while we are moving the washer and dryer, can we just knock out a wall or too as well? Which leads to redesigning the lighting, and cutting into the ceiling.... it is a never ending THING.

Sadly though, my budget is very finite. Possibilities are endless and my imagination is unending, but what it will all boil down to is the almighty dollar. Insurance will foot the bill for some of it, but I don't know how I can justify new lighting from a flooded floor.

Anyhow, our project manager, Gary, is coming out tomorrow to get the ball rolling. I think tomorrow will be the start of a long and beautiful relationship. Me and Gary. BFF's but hopefully not really forever. It's just gonna feel like forever.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Another Halloween in the BOOks

Most Halloweens, we are scrambling for costumes the night before, and searching for random odds and ends to complete ensembles right up until the last moment for trick or treating. This year, our three costumed kids were on point and ready well in advance, for the most part.

The jack-o-lanterns, which we normally purchase a few weeks ahead of time, were another story. This year, I ran by the farm stand at 3 pm on Halloween Day, after attempting a Walmart run only to find out Walmart was fresh out of pumpkins. Fortunately, Days Farms still had a lot, and we got some good ones. We ran home, and got the pumpkins cleaned out and carved on the front porch, since we didn't have a kitchen. Turns out we should have been carving them outside every year. Why did no one fill me on this? It was so much easier. Of course, it helps when  the weather cooperates, which it did this year. In fact, I would go so far as to say our Halloween weather was pristine.

Olivia and Piper enjoying the sunshine while I was up to my elbows in pumpkin guts.

Olivia had super cute hair for Halloween at school, even if costumes were contraband

  They turned out pretty good this year, eh?  Olivia's is the one on the left, I did the other two, since Audrey and Duncan were scrooges this year. And I long since gave up making Dan carve a pumpkin. He is the ultimate Halloween scrooge. In fact, I think I will dress him up as scrooge next year, and Ill be the ghost of Christmas Past
 Duncan was Link. He ordered his own costume on Amazon this year. 
 Olivia was a waitress. She was inspired by the musical Waitress, but she was not THAT waitress. I was happy that she went trick or treating this year. She and her friends are beginning to debate if they are too old to trick or treat. They had a party, then decided they better go hit the streets for a while too. She came home with a good load.
 And Audrey was Rey. She was invited to an actual Halloween party, which gave her the perfect excuse to get an actual costume, which we all know she really wanted to do, and was just looking for a good reason to dress up.

I stayed home costumeless and answered the doorbell. Then I talked Duncan into watching the first episode of Stranger Thiings with me. He stayed for the next three episodes too, although he won't admit that he liked it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

To T-Bird or Not to T-Bird?

Last week, Audrey, Olivia and I took a quick road trip south to check out Southern Utah University. Audrey is thinking about going there in the fall.

I had never spent much time in Cedar City, other than a quick pit stop here and there on the way to somewhere else. I must say I was mightily impressed with SUU and all they have to offer, and a bit surprised at the size of Cedar City. It is still very much a cow town, or a sheep town as the case may be, but it is big enough that a freshman college student could survive there just fine. Their dorms are new and their class sizes small, tuition is extremely reasonable, AND best of all, she can get a great scholarship there. No final decisions made yet, but SUU is definitely in the running.

We also drove up to Cedar Breaks, and it was stunning. I had no idea it was so gorgeous.  It also didnt hurt that it was an amazing, warm sunny fall day. I think of Cedar City and that area as just being dry sagebrush, but the mountains are beautiful. We drove through Brian Head and on into Parowan and checked out the Parowan Gap too, which was really cool. That night, after it got dark, we headed back up the canyon to try our luck at star gazing. It was a beautiful clear night, but we were foiled by the light of the moon of all things. I don't think I've ever seen the moon so bright. It was more like twilight than night time, even at 11 at night.

On the way home, the night before Halloween,  we stopped in Fillmore at the old territorial courthouse and took a candle lit tour in the dark. We heard lots of interesting and spooky, gory history about Fillmore from some of Fillmore's finest. It was probably one of the better Halloween activities we have ever done, and it cost a whopping dollar per person.

Us girls had a blast together, we were only missing Alisa. Audrey and Liv are finally close enough in age that they can really enjoy each other's company. I had a few tear filled moments on the way down, thinking about Audrey moving out and growing up and all that. It will be very different at our house next year without her kicking around with us every day.

we stopped in Fillmore on the way down, and heard about the spoooky candelight tours they were doing the night before Halloween

Cedar Breaks 

 Parowan Gap- this cool geographic feature that Indian tribes viewed as sacred and they left all kinds of petroglyphs here.. We had fun climbing around the rocks and looking for them.

Dinner at the All American Diner. You never did see so many eagles in all your life.

just sittin in the gap

wiped out

After our tour at SUU. She looks good there, no?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Practically Perfect

Audrey is currently in my bathroom, making an attempt at applying false eyelashes. She's on her fourth try and I am no help whatsoever. I never was good at that cosmetic stuff. False eyelashes, tanning beds, high heels and lipstick are on my long list of things that are just too much to bother with. Sunscreen, now that's important.

Audrey really isn't a false eyelashes kind of girl either, but she is preparing for the role of Winifred Banks in the musical version of Mary Poppins that her school is putting on. I didn't know Winifred Banks wore false eyelashes, but hey, anything for the theater, right?  We are at the stage of rehearsal where everyone starts to panic and pull their hair out and lament that the show will never be ready on time. The kid playing Mr. Banks got bad grades and so got fired from the show. The kid playing Michael Banks failed to land a back flip he performed at the Sadie's dance (it is no longer called "Sadie Hawkins Dance", just "Sadie's") and now he has a concussion and it is very shaky on whether or not he will be able to perform next week.  Influenza A is running rampant among the student body, and the cast of  the musical has not been spared. Our dog Piper was almost cast as the dog in the show, but thankfully for everyone involved they found another, better trained, more proper English doggy to play the role. Piper would have been a disaster, I am pretty sure.

Eh, they will find a way to pull it off. They always do.

Audrey has certainly put her fair share of time, sweat and tears into this show, staying after school every single day since the beginning of the year, and sacrificing a few Saturdays along the way too. Where does she get that drive from anyway? I wish I had a little more of that. She does really enjoy it though, so that helps too.

It is bitter sweet this year, Audrey's senior and final high school musical. She has had a great time performing, learned a TON of valuable and vital life lessons, and her voice has improved tremendously. Her roles have gotten biger every year, and watching my kid on stage commanding the audience is pretty cool. I  hope she will find ways to continue to sing and perform, because in my humble and completely unbiased opinion, she really shines on the stage.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Saga Continues....

There is much to report on from the last two months ( how did that even happen), but there is only so much one post can hold, so I will start with the most vexing event of the year so far.

My kitchen is toast.

A couple weeks ago, Dan noticed water dripping slowly from the light fixture in the downstairs ceiling. Water coming from the ceiling can never be a good thing. But it was worse than we thought. I had visions of the plumber coming, patching up a leak, and going on his merry way. But no, the leak had been going on long enough that it had damaged the sub floor in the kitchen,  and the drywall and insulation downstairs.So, it all came out. There is a big hole in our downstairs ceiling, but that is no where near as debilitating as having the entire kitchen torn apart. 

It has been almost two weeks and the only change has been that more of the tile has been ripped up.  We had the restoration company come in with their dehumidifiers, fans and plastic and boy was that fun, to have six giant industrial fans blowing through the kitchen for five days. 

This silly dog really enjoyed the fans. He would stand in front of them and let the hot air rustle his fur.  I'm sure he was day dreaming of running though fields on a hot summer day in pursuit of a herd of sheep.

It's kind of funny though, because we were considering remodeling our kitchen in the next year anyway. Goodness knows it needed some help. The way we get around to things though, it probably never would have really happened. Now we have been shoved head first into a huge project with no way out except to dive in and giterdun.

The bright side of all this is no more cooking or dishes for the next couple weeks at least. It is amazing how much time it frees up in the evenings when dinner consists of a peanut butter sandwich on a paper plate.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Some News

Happy September. Happy Birthday to my boy Mitch.

 He is old enough now that we don't really talk about how old he is.

 We  took him out to dinner tonight to celebrate and made a general nuisance of ourselves. The waitress spilled a tall cold glass of water all over my mom, so that was memorable. Of course the waitress felt terrible, and apologized all over the place and asked my mom if she could get her anything, to which my sassy pants mother replied, "Do you have a dry pair of Levi's for me?" Pants are always called Levi's by folks of a certain age it seems.

Also, Alisa and Erwann have returned from Europe and rejoined the rest of us working blokes. They came back with a leeeetle extra baggage, in the form of my first GRANDCHILD!  They actually called us on the fifth of July to share this happy news, but we were sworn to secrecy for a few weeks. The word is out now though, and I'm gonna be a grammy. Yikes, that is gonna take some getting used to, but I can't wait to watch this new adventure unfold for all of us. It is a whole new chapter starting up.

Duncan has decided he would like to find a girlfriend. But he also says he is scared to talk to girls. He asked his friend (also autistic) for some advice, and his friend told him that getting involved with girls might sound like a good idea, but it also means you are committing to raise the next generation of humanity, so you better think very carefully about all that.   I don't think Duncan has thought it through quite that far. He just wants somebody to play Mario kart with.

Will has had a busy week, with a baptism AND an intestinal infection. And that is just about all the information I have on that. His emails have been pretty brief the past couple weeks, and I'm choosing to take that as a good sign.

Audrey started her senior year. She just auditioned for the musical and got the part of Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins. She is going to be a busy girl once again.

 First day, going off with bagel in hand. I love her.

Some of our neighborhood high school crew.

Olivia started 7th grade. She is surviving locker combos, 8 different teachers, school lunch, gym, walking to and from school- all the joys of junior high. A lot has changed. But she still has her buddy Ella by her side, thank heavens.

Off to junior high. The boys outnumber the girls more than 2 to 1 around here. What is up with that?

In addition to all of the above shenanigans, we seem to be suffering under a curse. Our air conditioner went out a few weeks ago, and we are just now getting around to getting it replaced. We have been basically living in an oven for the past three weeks. It has been utterly miserable. Then  yesterday, on our drive home from Cedar Fort, the air conditioning went out in the car. We were in Murray, so we drove a good 40 miles or so down the freeway in 97 degree heat and no air conditioning, only to come home at 6 pm, the hottest time of day, to sit in our hot house and contemplate what hell must be like. 

We are weak, spoiled rotten humans. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Fourth on the Fringes

The highlight of our 2017 July 4th celebration occured first thing this morning. We were on our way to the Clearfield parade, and stopped at the store to get some candy for Audrey to throw at parade goers.  She was in the parade as part of the Clearfield High School Theater Department, which is the only reason we were going to Clearfield's parade in the first place. Truth be told, Clearfield is not my favorite parade, or city for that matter.  The parade route goes right down Main Street, past all kinds of sketchy looking businesses, and there are hardly any trees or good places to sit.

Anyhow, as we were checking out, I spotted a Diet Coke with the name Will on it, just sitting right there in the cooler next to the check out line. Just waiting for me, apparently. I could not let a  Diet Coke named Will spend the holiday in a cooler in Clearfield, so I  promptly bought it, took it to the parade and drank it in Will's honor. It was like having a little piece of  him there at the parade with us.


And then, the day just got off kilter somehow.

It wasn't  a terrible day, just.....different.  Kinda like we were just observers, not really participators.

We sat a few rows back at the parade. Most years we are on the front lines, diving for candy and waving at squirt gun carriers. This year we just sat and watched.  When Audrey came by, I tried so hard to get a picture of her in the parade, an right at the moment she was passing, my phone started ringing and I got distracted with trying to get the call to drop so I could use the camera. By the time I looked up, she was gone. I missed the whole reason I went to the parade in the first place!

After the parade, Duncan had to work til 2, so we all sat around the house for a few hours trying to figure out what we should do. We decided we better head up to the Logan house and check things out and water the lawn.  The renters moved out a few days ago, so the life of the lawn is back in our hands.

We got Duncan from work and headed straight for Logan. He was NOT happy about this shocking development in his itinerary and let us know all the way up there. We tried to convince him it was going to be okay. I told him it was a family adventure. He wasn't buying it, soI told him we would hurry and get it over with. Then Olivia piped up with, "Oh, great, it's a family outing we just want to get over with!" Ah, the girl is learning fast.

Our plans after Logan were to come back home, make a fire and roast hot dogs and s'mores, then head over to see the fireworks. We were so late getting back though, that we didn't have time for a fire, so we just fried up those dogs in the house and wolfed 'em down. Not very celebratory, and not a s'more in sight.

We made it to the fireworks in plenty of time and with a grumpy Duncan in tow, who really wanted to just stay home. His whole routine for the day was off and he was not having a good day. The fireworks were fine. Clearfield usually puts on a crazy good fireworks show, but this year, they just ended. Abruptly and in the middle of a song, with no spectacular grand finale like in other years. Everybody just sat there for a few minutes, thinking that they would start up again, but they didn't. Then the field lights came on, which seemed like a sign that things were really over so everybody got up and left. We were about half way to our car when the dumb things started going off again. So we stopped walking and stood on the sidewalk and watched our grand finale. I guess they had a bit of glitch.

Before we got to the car, a big fight broke out on the other side of the street. Guys were yelling and cursing and crowds were standing around watching. It was a little scary. The cops were right there, but it felt like one of those situations where you just can't predict what might happen. I would say the crowd on the whole was pretty rough this year. A little inner city jibe going down in Clearfiled tonight.  I don't think we will go next year. Next year in fact, we may stay inside in our pajamas, drink  hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie. Maybe Elf. Just so we can say we were swimming against the current. We are celebrating Independence Day after all.