Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Under construction!

So you may remember a while back I got a fabulous new red washing machine. I love that washer, people -- which shows either that anything red really does rock my world, or that I need to get out more.

Well, the down side to getting the fabulous red washer is that I immediately began to covet the fabuous red dryer to go with it -- and to yearn for a laundry room that could live up to the fabulosity of the red glamour machines.

Well, dig this: my Contractor has been working her tail off the past two weeks, to give me the laundry room of my dreams!

My lovely red washer currently resides in my dining room, along with a whole lot of tools and construction schmutz, but when she's done -- have mercy!

First she tore out all of the ugly cabinet frames and wire shelving and battered baseboards and tacky linoleum. I felt better immediately!

And my Contractor loves "demo" -- she says it feels great to rip stuff off of walls and cut through nails with a Saws-All.

Then she patched and sanded and smoothed and prepped the walls; my Contractor is thorough, y'all!

Meanwhile I got a couple of paint samples and slapped them on a wall. That's the only painting I'm allowed to do; my Contractor has very strong feelings about proper painting technique -- and I don't have it. She told me, "just plop the samples up on the wall, because I'm going to put primer over them anyway -- you can't hurt anything." And then she promptly "fixed" the place where I had painted over some spackle.

After using her mad painting skillz to transform my boring white walls into pure gold, my Contractor hung a new door to the carport. Think about that, y'all. Her husband was her minion for the day (though I would have offered up the tall boy), because door-hanging is a four-hands operation. How swell is this new door?! And how cool is my Contractor?!

The next task was to tile the floor, which involves a whole lot of tools I don't know the name of, and some sweaty math moments, trying to make sure that the tiles in inches + grout/caulk = the square root of baseboards(x/threshold). Luckily in a former life my Contractor was an engineer.

When the floor was done, we took a break to play a game of checkers.

And my Contractor took a solemn vow never to work with black grout again unless a manicure is written into the contract.

Today, after she finishes hanging the moulding around the door, she will move the washer and (old, ugly) dryer back so my family can get a little laundry done without spending $40.00 at a time at the Spin Cycle laudrymat or hijacking the fabulous neighbor's machines. Then, while she hangs bright new cabinets, a nice man from the gas company will come and set us up to get a new dryer. Fabulous!

And my Contractor is doing all this while leading three Girl Scout troops, wrangling the copy machines at the elementary school for her daughter's fifth grade teacher, swirling her urchins to hockey practice and art lessons and orchestra rehearsal, walking dogs, making dinner, wrestling her house into submission -- and writing a novel. I shit you not.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Glamour Cat

So here's our ancient and elegant cat, Phantom. The husband and I have had several cat companions during our twenty-two years of marriage, but I have to say that of all of them, Phantom was the most beautiful. We said good-bye to her yesterday, which was sad, but not surprising, since she was twenty-four years old.

I know, right?

My mom took her in as a stray twenty-three years ago, and named her after the Phantom of the Opera -- because she wore a spiffy tuxedo and a strategically placed brown mask. She seemed a little spooky, too, like a glamorous ghost -- but it turned out she was just easily spooked.

We inherited her when my dad remarried, and have loved her for the past twelve years. Sweet, shy, and a little goofy like most calicos, she was always willing to be bossed around by Annie the Wonder Cat -- but I have seen her punch a passing dog in the nose, just because.

We will miss her.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The girl in charge takes charge

So last Friday my girl and I attended the annual Drama Club Banquet, where banquet = pizza fest. The drama glamour filled the home of our hostess and spilled out the front door.

At this event the club says good-bye to the seniors and elects officers for the coming year.

It should shock no one to learn that my girl was elected president of the club for next year. She is, after all, the girl in charge. I wasn't kidding about that clipboard.

But mostly the evening was dedicated to bonding with friends one last time before everyone goes their separate ways.

Some good-byes were just for the summer, while other friends are off to college in the fall.

Here's my girl and her total BFF -- soon to start college at The College of William and Mary (GO, TRIBE! Can you tell that's where I went to school?!).

I spent the evening bonding with the bestie's mother. They call us the "Drama Mamas." I like it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Catching up: the Louisiana way

Last month the husband and I went to an authentic Louisiana "Crawfish Boil" -- which, as you can see, is exactly what it sounds like, right down to the Louisiana-brewed beer. Our host boiled up a mess of crawfish along with some sausage, ears of corn, and potatoes. When they were ready, he dumped the whole shebang out on a table covered with brown paper, and told us all to dig in. As a concession to our sissified Eastern sensibilities, he did provide paper plates, although he insisted they were unnecessary.

Some random urchin insisted that I get a close-up of this critter -- he said he felt like he was eating an alien. I think he may be right -- but they're delicious!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Time lapse phtography OR Turns out the hellhounds are really just knuckeheads

When Watson sleeps, he really means it. Getting his belly scratched tends to bring on a fit of narcolepsy . . . .

. . . and he loses the battle with gravity . . .

. . . but, hey! As long as he's comfortable!

Sorry about the crappy iPhone photography -- and just ignore the slovenly housekeeping, won't you?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Snapshot: visiting old friends

So the tall boy and I spent some quality time last weekend with our old pals at the Virginia Hospital Center. People, can I just say that I have taken this exact photograph far too many damned times? Worried about the possibility of another lung collapse, the ER doctor kept him through the night for observation -- and as a bonus, he got to add more x-rays and another CT scan to his collection.

And just how sad is it that we were thrilled with a diagnosis of pleurisy? Painful enough to require narcotics, this diagnosis has the added benefit of making the tall boy feel like he has stepped into a Dickens novel. Maybe next we'll find out he has dropsy. Just as long as they stay away from the "consumption" diagnosis. That one we can live without.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Catching up: Come, Holy Spirit!

So the sunny girl was confirmed at our church last month, and it was fabulous. Confirmation in the Catholic Church is a sacrament during which the confirmandi (dig the Latin!) are sealed with the Holy Spirit. For most people who are confirmed, this is the moment when they affirm to the bishop and the world that they will keep the promises made on their behalf by their parents and god-parents when they were baptized as infants.

And -- you get to buy a new dress!

The sunny girl chose the tall boy as her confirmation sponsor, because she has always looked up to him.

And I got to sponsor this Cool Breeze -- one of the sunny girl's besties. If you're looking for a rockin' sparkly mani/pedi and some excellent life philosophy, I can hook you up with her.

Oh, and if you were wondering why I took such a long break from blogging, this just might be one of the reasons: all three of my main subjects got obnoxiously camera shy; the girl in charge just flat out walked away from this photo. Eventually I told them that if they wouldn't let me take current pictures, I would just start using old photos. Very, very old photos. I've got some great shots -- real blackmail material. Let's just say we came to an understanding.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I suck

So I teach part-time at the community college,and I love just about everything about it. I especially love the students; college kids are my favorite -- always have been.

tangent: I have been a den leader, a brownie and girl scout troop leader, a day camp volunteer, and a dance recital cat herder. But if you told me I had to teach elementary school, I would very sweetly reply, "how about instead of that, you just give me that big stick over there and I'll poke my eyes out with it?" These teachers are either saints or insane. Probably both.

Well, as at most community colleges, space is at a premium throughout the campus where I work. There are classes stacked on top of each other, and the full-time faculty "offices" are really a warren of cubicle spaces. And office/work space for adjunct instructors? Oh, please.

But see, all of that is fine by me; I can do most of the non-classroom stuff I need to do at home, so I don't really need a work space. Some functioning copy machines would be nice . . . but here's my point -- most of the time the space constraints don't bother me.

But parking: this sucks. Especially in the middle of the day, there are just more faculty on campus than there are parking spaces for those faculty. Many, many days this semester I swore bad swears under my breath as I stalked some poor old professor as he toddled toward his ancient Volvo, and the clock crept ever closer to 11:00 -- when my class was supposed to start. I would die a slow death as 10:57 became 10:58 and I still had nowhere to put my car.

So one day as I cruised the lot and the clock sat at 10:59, I spied an open spot and whipped into it, victorious. As I jumped out of the car I noticed a sign . . . .

Hmmm . . . Well. My huffy reasoning was that certainly if the provost intended to work on campus that day he would have shown up by 11:00, right? So he wouldn't be needing his spot, right? And why weren't there enough spaces for us poor adjunct faculty, anyway?? And he's a very collegial man, so I was sure he would understand. Right . . . ?

So I left my car there, but after my first class ended at 12:15, I rushed out to try to move it to a more appropriate spot. But when I got to it, I saw that I was parked in by a big honking SUV with a faculty sticker on it. Hmmph, I thought to myself; the nerve of some people! So I just figured I would go back and teach my second class and when I came back the (other) illegally parked car would be gone.

You see why I was a little resistant to the idea of going to the campus police with my tale of woe, right? I was sure that they would make frowny faces at me for parking illegally, and besides, they were not really able to do anything about the big SUV that prevented me from moving my car. At 2:00, when my last class was over, I looked out toward the parking lot, and saw that I was still parked in. Now this was a problem, because I needed to get back to my real life and my car pool responsibilities. But no. I was stuck.

So -- and this is always a great solution -- I went into the library, grabbed a book I'd been wanting to read for a while, and read it. The whole thing. I highly recommend it -- funny, thought-provoking . . . you'll love it!

And then I looked at my car again. Still trapped! Well, at least I could get some work done, if I grabbed my computer out of the car. So I walked out to the car -- ticketed, of course. And as I approached, I heard the beautiful rich baritone voice that could only belong to one person . . . the provost.

"Is this your car?" he asked, and as I turned around I saw that he had a look on his face that said, you are killing me here.

"Yes, sir -- and I'm so sorry!"

"Well . . . let me move my car so you can leave, loser." No, he didn't call me a loser. But he thought it, I'm sure.

And I'll tell you in case you were wondering -- yes. It is possible for a car to slink away in shame.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Catching up: How 'bout them Bulldawgs?!

So it has been a while . . . . How's things? We've had a busy spring around here and that's no lie. Now that I can actually sit down for a minute, the first thing I want to say is:


The girl is charge is having another fabulous season playing softball for her high school team -- these girls take no prisoners, people! Just like the girl in charge!

This one (one of my girl's besties) broke the district home run record this season -- and she ain't even done yet! So far she has smacked ten balls over the fence; one of them hit the scoreboard, which the fans loved and the Athletic Director hated. Look for a profile of her in the next issue of Softball Today, because, to quote the girl in charge, "she's just that awesome."

And here's her sister, also a phenom; softball is paying her way to college this fall. Don't let that sweet face fool you. No prisoners, people.

All in all that could sum up this whole team. They're lovely girls: smart, shockingly tough, kind, funny -- and girlie. In fact, they got a little razzing from an opposing team once, because the Bulldawgs showed up with pretty, pretty ribbons in their hair.

Final score: Bulldawgs 11, Razzers 3

You may be noticing that the Blue and Gold Bulldawgs are rocking the Pink in some photos. We've got some breast cancer awareness going on this season -- which you can imagine warms my heart. At one game both the Bulldawgs and the opposing team were decked out in dazzling pink jerseys. The only way the umpire could tell the two teams apart was by their socks.

Love those Bulldawgs!