Saturday, July 29, 2006

Our Contractor

Here is our contractor. I call him Dad.

I didn't realize when I was a little girl what a commodity that was. I just knew each winter we had to haul scraps of leftover lumber from the work truck to our huge pile. And then nightly to haul it from the pile to the back door, for the fireplace in the family room, when all my priviledged friends basked in rooms heated by a furnace.

I knew that my Dad carried a lunch and a giant water thermos to work everyday, long before we were awake, and would return home after dark. Sometimes in snow, so cold--with biting wind that would cut through multiple clothing layers, and other times heat so dry and hot I don't know how he could bear it.

I remember taking drives in the evenings to check on a job site he was worried about. Sometimes he took us kids, and let us "help" him, handing him tools, and generally getting in his way the whole day.

I remember my parents struggling financially at times, but us kids never went without things we needed or wanted. We just knew when money was tight, cause Mom would make meals that used a lot of rice.

My Dad could do anything. Fix anything. I thought that was just what Dad's did.

He taught me to take pride in my work, to appreciate what I have. To dig in and do things right the first time. I didn't appreciate everything he taught me until I realized that not everyone was like that, like him--honest and hard-working.

It makes me smile to see his truck parked in front of my house. To see him, working at my own house. That my kids look forward to hopping on the roof to "help" him now. That my Shayne wants to be "a house builder like Grandpa Randy." Nothing would make me happier.

Thanks Dad. For everything. I will always be in debt to you. Love you--

Friday, July 28, 2006

Making more progress

This was what I found this morning. My babies up the ladder and up on the floor, which was what used to be the roof of our house. Oh mercy, I could barely help them down. And they had climbed the ladder in clogs!

Today the walls go up. Periodically I am paged to ask where I want windows to go, or if I want a closet smaller or bigger. Its getting fun now...and more real. I am sure by tonight I will be able to visualize the finished project.

We are not dying of heat inside any longer. The floor gives some shade. The flies are horrible, I am paying my kids a dollar for every ten flies they put down. HA!

My oldest had his birthday in the mess yesterday. He didn't seem to care at all. I told him I couldn't bear to bake a cake for him, so we went and bought all kinds of ice cream treats. Then, my good friend Wendy showed up, with a giant cake, and pizza too. There are times when a thank you just doesn't cut it. Thoughtfulness that goes beyond asking what you can do to help out. She anticipated a need, and quietly filled it. So grateful for her--making my ten year old feel extra special.

On a side note, I got to play with some papers from a brand new scrapbook company that debuted its stuff at CHA. Imaginisce. Look for the, people, they are going to be big. Great stuff, thick wonderfully textured paper--it hurt me to cut it! Awesome embellishments too--unique, and enough bling to make the squirrel in me happy.

Pretty stuff, eh? I love getting sample stuff to play with, always very inspiring. I am being paged again....have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More progress...

Holy cow. Blogger let me add a photo! This is our group at CHA, see Elsie, see Ali? The photo has nothing to do with the post, other than I have tried a hundred times to add it to my blog--so there you go.

Back to the post...

If you have your roof out on your front might be a red-neck.

Some great progress today, tomorrow I am told it will be decked! I will breathe a whole lot easier with some plywood separating our living space from the elements.

I slept out under the stars last night with the our KITCHEN. And this morning we had a sparrow tweeting on our kitchen cabinet. Not a whole lotta folks can say that, eh?

I have spent the day boxing up all my scrapbook crap. My small studio will soon become the laundry room, and the sooner I get this stuff out of here, the sooner the washer and dryer will be hooked up and functional, which means we can all wear clean britches this project has moved up to a high priority. Man, I have collected some stuff. I found a whole bag of Magic Mesh! Lucky!

My oldest is having his tenth birthday tomorrow. Took him shopping for stuff he wanted. I have never been happier to spend time in Walmart. Air conditioning is such a blessing! Oh my, I just let him browse.

So far, the weather has held, whew! And every night our house seems to be the neighborhood gathering, people checking on the progress. Anyway, at least it is all entertaining.

Need to go make some Mac n Cheese by flashlight. The kids haven't 10 at night. More updates tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Raising the ROOF!

Well, folks. The roof came off today, so I guess we are officially committed to this remodel. The second photo is the view from the top of my stairs, to the left is the kitchen, to the right the entryway and living room. It is hotter than the blazes of hell, and there are flies and angry hornets. So...please allow yourself a minute to be grateful for whatever living circumstances you are currently experiencing...cause we are EXPOSED to the elements here, baby. Never though I would need sunglasses and sunscreen to sweep my kitchen floor, but here I am.

I am so relieved the roof didn't fold up on us when the crane man lifted it off. We were told that was a possibility, can you imagine?

I keep reminding myself that I am getting a studio out of it. I will survive. And I will be happy...soon.

Pray for clear skies and constipated overhead birds.

Monday, July 24, 2006

CHA....let's re-cap.

I slept in my own bed last night, and even though it is still a piece of crap, I slept like the dead--cause it is my own bed. Shared my hotel bed with Ashley Gailey, and she really wanted me to spoon with I was nervous all night. (Hee, hee) Sam will be happy to note that I guess I *do* snore. But only a little. I came prepared. I brought all the girls earplugs...just in case.

I came home to a huge mess. The roof is coming off tomorrow. All of the electrical is pulled, which means we have no lights downstairs, no stove, dishwasher or washer and dryer. I am not sad. As long as I have a fridge with cold Mountain Dew, everything will be okay. I am a little bummed that I have no microwave for my Hot Pockets... I took all of my cool clothes to CHA, so I might have to bust over to the neighbors and throw some laundry in. Maybe not, though, cause my pj pants are clean--got plenty of those babies.

No light in the upstairs bathroom either, they are somehow connected with the electrical downstairs, although maybe Sam just rigged it that way. Showering in the dark might be distracting soap scum or cellulite...

Back to CHA:

Started actually before official CHA, with us flying out…luckily (or unluckily) we missed the whole, re-routing/canceling of the flights due to the electrical storms in Chicago. I hate to fly. I hate being folded up into tiny spaces. My carry-on bag was at my feet, and it tipped over. Things fell out, and I couldn’t even maneuver enough to pick them up until the plane landed and I could stick my heinie out in the aisle to look under the seat. It was hot, and somehow that pinhole air vent wasn’t cutting it. Not to mention that I felt obligated to hold *it* until my bladder nearly burst, cause I didn’t want my seat partners to physically relocate for me to be able to stand in line to use the half-sized port-a-potty. I am so grateful I didn’t have to sneeze…

The first day, set-up day. How does that *not* suck. We were all tired and hungry and hot. Our hotel was in another zip code, and Jason (the owner of the company I went with) kept leaving everything back at the hotel, including the instructions for the new booth. Since Jason is one of our regular readers, I am not going to say anything but, dude--when you told us to meet you in the lobby at 8:30, and Kristy called you in your room at 8:45--we totally know that we woke you up. ( ;) )

We had a class the next morning at 8 bells, and Ursula, the other teacher's flight got re-routed. Poor Kristy, who has never taught, had to fill in. We had no class samples--those had to be mocked up in the hotel room at 1:30 am. We were a tad late to class, but everything went well, and I think the ladies liked it.

Day two I worked the crowd at the Karen Foster booth. It was all good, I was right under a ceiling fan. That rocked. I was nice and cool, and I am pretty sure that it blew my hair back, and made me look a little like a supah model.

The rest of the trip was a blur...full of meeting my online peeps, and laughing, and pimping out product. The pea dinner was awesome. Mostly cause I won a major prize. Stemma paper--8 lines, 25 sheets per pack, and everyone wants to be my friend now. HA! Very cool stuff. I hope I get it soon, the airline lost that bag.

Some highlights:

Giordano's Pizza. Seriously. I am not a pizza connoisseur, truth be told, I have been know to eat Totino's or Jeno's frozen grocery store crap on occasion which tells you, I could have eaten the cardboard box this pizza came in, and been happy. But oh mama. The thick chewy cheese, the crispy pastry crust... I get the hype now. I will never be the same person again.

We ended up one night at the Cheesecake Factory for dessert only. This place is a big deal to us Utahns. We don't have one remotely close. I think California is the closest. So that is why I was snapping pictures Alissa. Don't keep giving me those youareacrazylady looks. Godiva cheesecake. Its really the only reason I go to these shows once a month, and that is about how long it takes me to burn it off of my hips.

Met some classy scrapping celebs. Those girls are in the place they are in not out of luck, or who they know--but because they deserve it. Not only for their talent, but for their graciousness, and humility. Cameras in the face, crazy stalkers sporting tee-shirts sporting the celebs name...things that the average person would carry mace for, and these girls are so good about it. A great lesson learned. Cool is cool. I don't think I could be cool.

This is my 12th, and final show for a while. It is bittersweet. I have always looked at the whole show experience like a travelling circus. It is the same people every time. Lance from the pickle--who it like an annoying big brother...Sid from SEI, the pod-father..Suzy West, the bubbly, huggy girl--the Junkitz girls, my Cactus Pink peeps--it is always the same people. We all borrow packing tape, swap product, put our feet up in the airport and share stories. I will miss that. To walk the floor and recognize most of the kids on the display layouts as the kids of my friends. To see my own work on display, and people taking photos of it, that is gratifying. I will miss that too.

But last night when my plane came in, I stood back and scanned the crowd. I saw five little tow-heads desperately searching a sea of faces for me. And their little faces lit up when we finally locked eyes. My daugher has the same now sagging pig-tails that I pulled her hair up in the day I left. I know where I need to be right now. I am good with that.

Welcome home.

Monday, July 17, 2006

CHA here I come!

Not much to report.

I am getting last minute prep work done for CHA. (Craft and Hobby Association Show) I am pretty sure that this will be my last scrapbooking *trip.* ETA: CHA is in Chicago this year for those who asked.

There is a time and season for everything, and right now I need time to just be a Mom. My kids are growing so fast, and I need to enjoy it. Quality time. Less Flip-flop time.

I am excited to take everything in at this show, hopefully meet some of you, hang out with some of you that I have met at previous shows. It will be a fun weekend!

I will report back on Sunday. Place saved. Don't talk about me while I am gone.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Totally lost it.

I admit. I am not the best mom. Not the worst either, but sometimes I go postal, and it isn't pretty.

That would be yesterday. I just want to apologize to the neighbors, being summer and all, I am sure my windows were down somewhere, and they heard it all.

I just want to know at what point it is okay to bring Frosted Flakes down to the family room, and fling them all over the carpet and couch? Why are banana peels in the heater vent? Why, for the love of all that is holy, are there always "brown snappers" floating in my toilet? And the worst part about finding the toilet um, things, is that there is never any toilet paper in the bowl with it. Which explains the laundry phobia I have...which is a post for another day.

These are things going through my head as I am yelling at the kids to gather for the "talkin' to." Took a while to "gather" cause all my kids practice selective hearing...learned it from their Dad. All the kids eventually come, with that innocent look on their faces...."who did this?" I say pointing to the Frosted Flakes. Of course, NO ONE did it. Which means someone is yet again LYING to me. Fuel for the fire burning, burning within. (Plus I have been without caffeine, and I think I am PSMing...)

So that, my friends, is when I lost it. Off came the flip-flops. I used them to flog their lying heinies. Saved me some hand pain...."Flap, flap, flap!"

They shifted gears, and got that family room cleaned. They could see I meant business! And I'll be darned if they could hear my flip-flips walking around today, minding my own business, and the very sound of the "Flap, Flap, Flap" motivated them to get their jobs done today.

Flip Flops. A good thing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Need new bed.

Twelve years we have had this bed. Bought it new, when we were engaged. I still remember feeling silly in Granite furniture trying out beds before we were married. We both wanted a firm mattress. We were both skinny then.

I remember how expensive I thought our bed was.

I remember taking such good care of it...
Me: "Do you have anything going on Saturday morning?"
He: "Nah, why?"
Me: "Cause it's time to flip the mattress again, can you believe that?"
He: "Wow, that six weeks went quick..."

Twelve years. Around year five, the bed started to feel a bit too firm. So we invested in one of those egg carton looking foam mattress cover things. It looked stupid, but made it softer. After a baby or two peed on it, we replaced it with another egg carton thingie. I had to bunch a million pillows around me when I was pregnant, or else my whole side would go numb.

We soon invested in a thick mattress cover. It did the trick for a while. But now, my whole side goes to sleep again, and I am not remotely close to being pregnant.

Look at it!!! Can you see how it sags?! Can you see our body divets. Aaargh. This bed has made me a morning person. Not cause I want to be, but because I hurt so bad from sleeping on it, that I am glad when I can get up. Firm my a$$...

We went to a furniture store, you know, to "price" mattresses. Slick Salesman could see us coming a mile away, what with our Igor-like gait. He takes us right over to the "Rolls Royce" of mattresses. Oh mama... We didn't really hear what he said, cause I think Sam and I went into smallish sleep-deprived comas. It was made of some sort of miracle body-molding gel that they use in the space shuttle or something... all I know is Sam had his cell-phone in his back pocket, and didn't even know he was laying on it. I wondered, what if the kids were encouraged to jump on it--might we never see them again??

Then nervously he shuffled his feet, and revealed the price. It was just shy of $6000.00. "What is a lifetime of great sleep worth to you?" Um, yeah. Moving on....

We safely made our way back to the over-priced for our meager budget Serta's and Spring-Airs. "Maybe we can just add another egg carton thingie?" Depressed, we left to "sleep on it."

Honestly, I just don't want to pay the money. Sam does. He thinks it is time. So we argue, and finally I snatch up my pillow and a throw blanket and start to leave.

He: "Where do you think you are going?!"
Me: "To sleep on the couch!"
He: "What makes you think you are so priviledged??!"

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's the most wonderful time, of the year.....

So excited, cause July 4th is my favorite holiday. More than Christmas even. I love me some fireworks! Love the smell of the smoke, love the sound of the boom, and the little crackly the flare of colors, but mostly love Sam and I sprawled out in the warm summer air on a blanket surrounded by all our kids.

We do this thing, that I used to do as a kid with my parents. Each firework is designated to someone, in order--and that is *your* firework. "Okay, the next one is Brendan's......ooooo, niiice one, Brendan..." We also have names for the fireworks...."oooo, a popcorn! Lucky..." There are squigglies, popcorns, waterfalls....

We are a strange bunch.

For years we have been going out to Thanksgiving Point, to watch the show. We get a great spot not far from where the fire department lights the fireworks off. We go out really early to get the great spot. We have been blessed to have such a great group of friends--we were all neighbors at one time. Since then, some have moved away, but we always gather for the 4th. The traditon started one year with a 5:00 barbecue out at our *spot.* Everyone brought meat, and a side dish, and someone brought a grill out, and we all had dinner.

We have morphed it into an easier: bring your own meal, and a plate of goodies to share. The kids never eat anyway, they just want to play. And the adults spend the time catching up until it gets dark.

I love it. Good food, good friends, and great entertainment!

Happy 4th everyone!!