Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Katie


Settling in for the first quiet night since the holiday. This season has been joyous, stressful and sad for us. Our family time is always a joy, albeit chaotic joy sometimes. The sadness and stress came as we moved Mom into an assisted living facility yesterday. I would be less than truthful if I didn't mention that there is also a good deal of relief associated with this action but still a lot of guilt and sadness. Rationally I know that we have her in a good place with the around the clock care that she needs but emotionally it still feels like abandonment.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Making lots of progress around the house today. We've cleaned and hung curtains and moved the furniture back in place. The new windows are lovely, at least from the inside. We can't move forward with the outside until after the holidays. Three of the windows were defective. The replacements will be here next week but the carpenters weren't available until after the first of the year. Then the balcony has to be installed off our master suite and then we can finally stucco. We will still have to have a driveway installed, trees removed, fencing installed and landscape. There's more being done inside but other than the kitchen it will be in an area that we aren't living in and we can close off the mess. Here's a partial list of our misadventures. Really.

This is long and boring so don't feel as if you have to read it all. I just want to record it. We really don't want to forget this experience. However if you are considering buying or remodeling an old house you should read every word.

Demo phase- tearing off the upstairs porch left a gaping hole in the roof. Big rain came before roofers. Plastic placed over opening failed. Ceiling in recently remodeled room is ruined and collapses. Sprayed insulation escapes.

Same day - An outside water pipe is broken as the porch is demolished.

Next day- one of the window installation guys breaks a pipe upstairs and doesn't notice. Carl does when he walks in the laundry room downstairs and water is pouring in from the light fixture. Another ceiling needs to be replaced.

Another water pipe is broken outside. Carl can fix these. To quote G'ma, he can do so many things and he does them well. These plumbing repairs usually involve me making one or two trips to the hardware store with muddy pipes and connectors in hand. Safest way to get it right.

The washing machine drain pipe is broken as a truck drives over it.

First two windows go in. I notice immediately, when I get home that evening, that they aren't the same height. They are right beside each other. Kind of hard to miss. They come out and are redone. Three times.

After five windows are in place architect points out they don't meet code. Windows come out, all are sent back and new ones are ordered. Holes are boarded up and there is about a three week delay before windows arrive and workers can be rescheduled.

Window guys demand extra money to carry old windows downstairs. Whatever.

Carpenters work to reinforce roof trusses. Find lots more work than expected. Takes longer than expected. Roof repaired delayed.

New roof goes on. New gable goes on at an added expense. Carpenters who lost money repairing roof trusses stick it to us to cover their previous loses. Whatever.
Fascia boards go on.

Bathroom shower enclosure is damaged when the window opening is enlarged. Tile is no longer available, has to be costumed ordered from factory. We were told 100 tiles needed for a minimum order. Fine, we thought we would have plenty of spares. Only thirty tiles show up. Five are broken.

Second dry wall repair guy doesn't work out. Tile guy isn't available either.

Three windows are defective and have to go back. New ones won't be installed until after first of year. Another delay.

Getting ready for the office Christmas party. Running late. Hop in shower. No water. Electrician had rewired box with different breakers. Not the right ones evidently. Went dirty to my Christmas party.

Water was back on soon but laundry had accumulated. Went to start a load. Nothing happened. More wiring issues. At this point I am seeing some humor in this. I'm cursing but thinking we really need to be documenting this because nobody is gonna believe it, right?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Livi's first recital

So sad that I missed this great performance. Too cute!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Just had a surprising conversation about moving into an assisted living facility with Mom. Mom is 87 years old. She is very healthy and mobile physically but has no short term memory. She needs someone with her all the time now. She wants to go look at a facility next week and said we should all talk about it when we are together for Christmas. She asked how we would pay for it. She asked if it would be better for her to look at homes in Florida or go back to Alabama. She mentioned there was a nice place near her home. She was rational and thoughtful and she said she thought it was time. I wonder if she will remember this conversation tomorrow. Mom's illness is saddest to me when she has moments of clarity and I get a glimpse of the old Mom.

She has been here through the worst of the construction mess. We've had to move her out of her room twice now and will have to move her out again tomorrow. I know it's upsetting to her. She's really done pretty well though all this, all things considered. We are living in a plastic wrapped nightmare of a mess. Every room has to have the drywall repaired around the new windows. The only room that hasn't been trashed is a small downstairs bathroom. We are all sharing it now. Hopefully we will be able to paint and clean this weekend.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

put the fire department on standby

I've started my Christmas baking

Thursday, December 11, 2008

messed up

I have reached the threshold of my tolerance level again for living in construction !@#$. Cement dust everywhere. Holes in walls. Furniture piled up everywhere and now all my clothes are missing from my closet. I should check into a Holiday Inn Express. I need to feel better tomorrow.I should definitely check out of here. Has anyone seen a study, article,segment,Ophra show,etc.on what living in construction mess does to a woman's mind.

about those lights

Aly, mother of adorable Alyzabeth An, asked me about Livi's entanglement in Christmas lights (pictured below.) Livi was helping with the decorating and was getting tangled up in the lights so it seemed like a good idea just to decorate her too. She was happy about it and fascinated by the lights. She was only decorated for a minute and then she was off to the next great thing. Probably to find gum in her Mom's purse. She sneaks to do this and then comes into the room with her little checks puffed and smackingly announces that it's mmmm alicious. It's about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

yummy soup

Here's the recipe for the easy Thai soup that I've been enjoying lately. I discovered that if you use lite coconut milk it is a diet friendly choice too. It only takes a minute to make but seems luxurious. Maybe because it reminds me of our favorite Thai restaurant, Surin's, in Birmingham.

1 can of organic chicken broth
1 can of Hokan lite coconut milk
red curry paste
cooked and cubed chicken breast or shrimp

Heat the broth and coconut milk to boil, add curry paste and lemongrass to taste (about a tablespoon of curry is right for us, but it really depends on the paste, Padi Thai is my fav. Warning- lemongrass paste is stronger than you might imagine. I can't find real lemongrass so I use a paste that Publix carries. About 1/2 tablespoon is plenty.

nutrition info based on 1/2 cup
calories 75- plus whatever lean protein you add
fat 4g
carbs 4.5
sugar-no added sugar but 1 g from milk

Monday, December 08, 2008


You say you want a revolution in our classrooms?




So Inspiration's concept mapping software has an online version now in beta. I like this product! Wonder how it will be priced? Very easy to use and share.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Free Rice

Just read on Carl Fisch's blog that Free Rice has added other subjects. This post is for Abbie. Your Dad said you are working on memorizing your multiplication facts. Click on the more subjects button and you can practice your facts while helping others.Pretty cool if you ask me! You can also practice foreign languages, grammar, art, chemistry, biology, etc. Go check it out.

Livi Lights

photo by Katie

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008