## Friday, March 7, 2014

### Whose Doll Is It Anyways??

I know, I know...so much for getting back to writing. I am happy to say that I finally am over being sick. But Hubs was home for a short rotation so it was fast and furious getting things done around here. And now he's gone again.

So this story is actually from two rotations ago.

For Christmas, Mouses big brother gave her an American Girl Store Gift Certificate. Since there is a store in Dallas, which is only about two hours away, and we have family there, Hubs decided he needed to take her so she could spend it.  She was foaming at the mouth and had a list ready.....that she had compiled while perusing the online store.

I can promise you that neither Hubs nor I was thrilled about this. Especially with the child that can spend an hour (not kidding) in Claire's. I have already had the privilege of going to this massively overcrowded and stupidly expensive store, and Hubs has zero interests in dolls.

But off we went.

First, Mouse wanted her new American Girl Doll to have her ears pierced.  Wait...what? Get a dolls ears pierced? And pay money for it??? Both parents are horrified at the thought....but it wasn't our money so we marched upstairs to get in line.

And I do mean line. Like we stood in it for 20 minutes just to get to the front to tell them what we wanted.  See, it was done in the beauty salon. Not a people beauty salon you understand..... a DOLL beauty salon. And the sign informed us that the wait (after you get to the front of the line) was currently at two hours.

No. Way.  We were going to have to wait two hours for this???? Thankfully we found out that all we had to do was make it to the front of the line and they would do ear piercing immediately. No wait beyond that.

There is a God.

As we stand in line for foreverrrrrrrrrrr, we start people watching. Not like there is anything else to do. While waiting to get a DOLL'S ears pierced. There were 5 ladies behind the counter working away. I had to wonder what it was like for this to be your employment. "So, what do you do?"  Not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with this, beats fast food for sure.

There are posters up all over with the prices of the hairstyles. Different dolls had different choices depending on the hair type they have.The ladies clean the hair, trim it back into shape and then style the do you payed for.  And do they pay. This starts at about $20. I don't pay$20 for Mouses haircuts, so this was a shock to Hubs and my system.  Are you kidding me???
Standing in line.

After 10 minutes Hubs began to squirm. You could see that dazed look enter his eye. The trapped animal panic.

So you can imagine the kids around us started doing the same thing. Kids and guys....about the same patience level, right?

A couple of people up we noticed a very nicely dressed mom and her beautiful daughter. The girl looked to be about 4.  Mom was pushing a stroller with all her shopping bags hanging off it (and we were at the Dallas Galleria folks) and it looked like the girl was her only child with her. I wondered if the child still used the stroller...she was kinda too old for that....or whether mom just still used it as a shopping cart. It is handy like that if you are a power shopper and haven't given the stroller away yet.  Or maybe there is a younger sibling somewhere.

Anyway- mom gets to the poster, holding TWO dolls and asks the daughter which hair-do's she wants.

And the child? Not the least bit interested.  She had the trapped animal, bored out of my skull look that Hubs was wearing.  She was being very well behaved about the whole thing while she stood there, but there was no interest. She wouldn't even give mom an answer....just a lazy shrug of the shoulders.

Mom looked a little distressed.  So she turned around and decided what to get.  And I'm watching this whole thing play out and realize they really aren't there for the child.  They are there cause mom is going to spend $40-50 to fix these dolls hair. And its not like the hair was very bad off to begin with. That really puzzles me. Why does a grown woman want to spend that kind of money to fix doll hair. Why is it important enough to stand in a line for 20 minutes to deposit the dolls, and then wait another two hours for them to be done? Even supposing she has more money than she knows what to do with. Is she just a crazy adult doll lover? Is it somehow a status thing? Something the moms compare at play dates? I would have liked to know because I find most people have REASONS for what they do, even when it looks crazy to us. Hubs is really getting antsy now. He starts asking if we are done after this. Nope. Mouse has a list and we already found out what she wanted was out of stock so she was going to have to shop. She admits that there is something else but she doesn't have enough money. Dad volunteers to help her out. Hah! Note to kids: take dad and make him stand in a line for a long time. Its financially beneficial. About that time the couple in front of us had issues. Here we have a family that looks middle class. Dad is in work coveralls that look like a construction worker. Mom is rather over weight and so is daughter. Daughter looks to be 10-11ish. This family is obviously here for the daughter. Mom shows her the poster when we are close and asks which style the girl wants. She proceeds to pick out a style that does not go with her dolls hair type. Mom points out which section to chose from. The child starts throwing a two year old fit. It was ugly. And they get her settled down in a bit. Not a single word of warning or reprimand. You have got to be kidding. We would have removed our kid from line and left. Who rewards over the top ugliness in a child that age???? Just wow. Finally we make it to the head of the line and the ears are pierced in about 2 minutes and we move down stairs to finish up the gift card. Dad is past his limit at this point and just pushing to find something so we can leave. And to make a long story short -- Mouse ends up with about$50 in extra merchandise just so dad can  escape!

Hysterical.

And brilliant.

## Wednesday, February 5, 2014

### Stunned By Joy

In my favorite group of friends here in Texas, I am the old woman.

Its a little strange since for years and years I was always the youngest in any group.

But whatever. I earned every year.
Ha
Still, it was with great joy that I learned on of my friends sons was getting married. Not only because he was getting married...also because I was not going to be the first mother-in-law of the group.

Its the little things...

This also gave me the push needed to finish setting up my quilting room. I love saying that. I never thought I would have a dedicated space all my own to quilt and make a mess in. Because quilting is very messy.

After putting it all together, I was able to start on a quilt for a wedding gift. Timing was bad for going out and buying a bunch of material (Oh how I miss The Fabric Shop in Ohio) so I dug through my material bins and pattern notebook and came up with a scrap quilt \to use as a couch throw.  And I had everything I needed, including the batting to get it done. Of course I pushed it all the way to the last minute, but I did get it completed.

Sorry about the hazy shot...I didn't check the photos before wrapping it up so I don't have good shots of this quilt. Not smart.

This is called a Plus Quilt and is a free pattern I found on the internet by Jeni Baker at incolororder.blogspot.com

The back is made up of scraps from the 11 Pony quilts I did. I swear I will never use up all the purple leftovers.  I normally wouldn't have used purples on a wedding quilt like this but plum was one of the wedding colors. I took advantage.
My bestie Rena did the signature block for me. She has the ultra cool embroidering machines.

The binding is left over pieces of binding from other quilts. I don't throw much away. Material is too expensive to waste. This was cool because it was already cut and ironed in half, etc and I just had to join the pieces.
Not a good shot but you can't really see it from the front. The actual quilting I just stitched in the ditch around each plus sign.  I would usually do more quilting than that but I was running short on time.

And that was also quilt number 40.  Wow.

Now its time to get back to my list of other quilts I am making. No idea how long it will take me to get through my list.  Still have lots of friends I want to send one to because I love them!

## Monday, January 27, 2014

### Squirrel!!

My favorite part of the movie UP is how the dogs are always getting distracted by the possibility of squirrels. But its not as funny when it feels like your everyday life is like that. All day. Every day. I swear I can't complete a task without picking up four more right in the middle of it. And sometimes I finish something and lots of times I don't. Is this getting old? It feels more like loosing my mind.

On top of that Mouse and I have been rather sick. Of course its while Hubs is gone which makes it twice as bad. The day Mouse got sick I was relieved. I wasn't sure I could drive her to school. But we are on the mend.  I think. Every time I say that it seems we suffer a relapse.

Hubs has come and gone. He did get the rest of the boxes gone through if not unpacked -- and our claim has been turned in. Waiting for that first insulting offer. We turned in about $4500 in damages. I say the first offer is$500.

Hubs had his ulnar nerve surgery and is recovering. He has a lot of pain but has a little feeling returning to his hand. It can take up to a year before he knows how well the surgery actually worked.

Lots going on. House is mostly unpacked but we are working on rooms and all the little changes, etc. It feels like there are still a million things to work on. Because there are. Sometimes it leaves me feeling paralyzed. I try to remind myself how much we've already done. And it would help if I could complete a task without getting distracted by another.

But there is progress.

In Mouses bathroom they still had the builders grade brassy looking light fixture.  I abhor this look. Now wasn't the time to spend the money on it though as we upgraded in Songbirds bathroom. So I grabbed a can of spray paint that matches the colors in there and painted it.  I've never been real big on spray painting things but there is no way I could hate it more so I did it.
Its like a tan that picks up the tan in the new sink top and the throne. One of the glass globes broke so we had to replace those also. Its okay. Not great. But better than the gold.
The fixtures in Songbirds room are antique. They have these cool looking tassels (can't believe I said that). But the metal was not exactly rusting but discolored and oxidizing or something. Some of the pieces are cracked.  So, we were sad to have to replace them -- especially since the wall scones in the window seat match them.  I figured we could see what a coat of paint would do for them also -- we didn't have anything to lose.
Of course the ancient Bakelite holder in  the ceiling came out and now that has to be fixed before we can rehang it. Just requires crawling around in the attic, which is not a priority with the other lights in the room. Its on the list.
Hubs one big request was to put up curtains in the living room. Well, that doesn't work with picture windows. And I hate curtains. Really. I do. So we talked to a decorating place and it was going to cost over $1000 for the cordless pleated shades that can be put all the way up. My mother and my sister have both used selectblinds.com and they recommend them. So I went online and found blackout shades in a mocha color that matches the trim exactly. When they are all the way up you don't even notice them. So Hubs is happy he can pull them down at night so people can't see in, and I am happy because you don't notice them when they are open and it doesn't spoil the wall of windows. Plus...all four of these plus two shades in Mouses room came out to just over$400 - good quality stuff. I highly recommend this company guys! One of the living room blinds had an internal defect and I got it replaced no problem. Plus they even have videos on how to measure to give them the measurements they need. It was simple.

Speaking of windows. There are full sized ones in all the bathrooms. This one is in Mouses room and made me to uncomfortable. So, Amazon to the rescue.
I bought that window cling stuff that makes it so you can't see in well but it lets all the light in. I did three of the four bathrooms. Songbird didn't want it in her bathroom, but I decided to go ahead and order some for it anyhow. It just makes me feel better. Don't know why.
The laundry room has been painted. It was a muddy tannish brown with raspberry trim. Not working for me. It is now a good grey color that Hubs picked out. Love it.
And did I mention the stove-top tragedy? We had the spices stored over the stove....and one fell and broke it. Horrified. The replacement cost for the glass top was in the $300 from the company,$500's at Sears and \$250 with free shipping on Ebay.  Shop around people. Anyhow, it came in and the electrician came by and installed it for me. The spices are no longer over the stove. Turns out that is the most common reason for breakage of the glass stove tops.
Mouses room used to be a ladybug theme. Everything was pretty much black, red and white. Here she picked a blue and white.  This weekend was exceptionally nice so it was time to turn all that red and black stuff to white or blue.
Two frames, two shelves and the stuffed animal basket all got the spray paint treatment. I have a white hand that Mouse says looks like mold. LOL. Now I need to change out the mats on a couple of her paintings so I can get everything hung in her room. Its still only half done.
I also did some carpet cleaning thanks to a puking dog (more socks) and cleaned the rug from Mouses room. The rug slips awful on the wood floor and I have tried several things without success. Yesterday I applied some safety backing to it. I need another tub. I'm hoping this works.

And lastly...
We did some planting...or re-potting.  I only had one plant in the house so Mouse and I went and picked out a few for some of the rooms. She loved the succulents so I got her two for her bathroom. Plus I wanted a couple of hanging plants for the spa room...it already had two ceiling hooks just begging for some ferns.

I think that's more than enough sharing for one day. I know its long....but I had a whole month to make up for. I'm going to try and be better but no promises. Half the time I turn on the computer to sit down and do this and I get distracted and forget. No, not half the time...all the time.

Wish me luck.

## Monday, December 9, 2013

### The Nightmare

Our moves never go smoothly. Its a rule.

But nothing, in over 40 years of my life...military moves with daddy, civilian moves with my parents, military moves with Hubs...NOTHING has ever been this bad.

Thanks to some new changes with the military contracts, you now can have several different companies handle your belongings.

In our case it was 3.

One to pack us up.

One that stored our stuff for a year.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster right?  Well it gets better. You see, the last company to touch it gets to pay for the damages.

To begin with I did not want my stuff now. I wanted to finish painting before our stuff arrived. So the whole thing already started with a strike against it.  And I told the company if they couldn't deliver before my husband left again I didn't want it. So they declined. I was happy. Then they called back and said they would do it.

And they actually tried to be very accommodating. The guy showed up at the warehouse to get our stuff on a Monday a week out from when Hubs leaves.  But they said they couldn't get to our stuff -- come back Wednesday.  He returned Wednesday and they had piled it in a big pile in a room with no lights and had no workers to help load. Come back Friday.  So he shows up Friday and there is still no help. So the driver decided he would load it himself. And they said go ahead. But then he wanted inventory to check it off as he was seeing broken items already and wanted to note that. They said no, just put it on.  He refused. And stood in front of them and called me to let me know he was trying to pick up my belongings but the warehouse was making problems and he could already see many broken items.

So they left him to figure it out himself.  And it took him 12 hours to get it all loaded and inventoried. And there were lots of phone calls flying.  And in the end the warehouse people would not sign the inventory because they said they didn't break anything.  So the driver said to call him when they were ready to sign and he would come move his truck. LOL. So they signed.

And our belongings showed up the day before Hubs left.  Exactly what we did not want. But hey, it wasn't the fault of the guy delivering.

It gets better.  Once the poor guy gets here and makes the calls to have unpackers meet him at our house he finds no one has any workers.  In November. The slowest month for moves.  Right. So the guy had to call a day labor company and hire two guys that had never done this before to come move my belongings.  I did warn the driver that my walls and floors were new and I would file for any damages.  Him and his son did all the furniture and heavy stuff to ensure there was no damage.  And I must say they were the best I've ever had for that. More points for this guy.

What should have been done by noon took until 8 pm.  Day labor cut off at 4:45.  Not that they were much help to begin with.

The inventory sheets were a complete mess. Usually you might have two different colored sticker sets - one for large items and one for boxed.  No. Not this time. Three different colors. And they started and stopped at odd places.  So I'm trying to mark off three different sheets as things are being unloaded. It was a major pain and slowed things down.

Almost every antique furniture piece has been destroyed. The china cabinet -- the fold down desk has collapsed inside.  The corner china cabinet they busted out the glass and the frame and broke the woodwork. A dresser is pulled apart. The drawers are all collapsing and you can see daylight. A super solid brass floor lamp looks like a pretzel.  No really...like they tried to tie it in a knot.  Broken things. Destroyed art. Missing boxes...and one missing support bar for Mouses bed...so the whole thing is worthless.

(Chinese Folk Art watercolor painting brought back from China for Mouse)

Each box must be gone through slowly and the damage cataloged. I think I'm up to the 6th damage sheet now.  And I'm not even doing Hubs stuff.

Slowest unpacking job I've ever done.

Please God let it be the last.

So that's how I'm spending my days.  A box at a time. New damaged items every day.

And I know it will actually get worse.  When they offer me next to nothing for what we turn in.

I actually think we might have to get an attorney on this one.

What a way to say goodbye to the military.

## Friday, November 29, 2013

### Work Crew Number Two

After debate back and forth over exactly what to pay for on the walls, we finally got a crew in to tear down the paper from 4 bathrooms, 2 halls, kitchen and a bedroom. Then to repair the walls, texture/finish the walls and then paint. We threw in painting the living and dining rooms also. Big money, but it still leaves half the house to be painted.

They began in the back side of the house. Remember Mouses bathroom?

It had two layers of wallpaper and two holes behind the mirror. Even though it was the smallest room it held us up a day with the sheet rock repair. A guy spent three days in here.
Mouse picked a color called Spa. Its really nice and soothing...kind of beachy. Now all the yellow trim in the room stands out like crazy though. I didn't pay for the trim to be done so that is on me. But after painting her room to match, I was done.  Not sure if I fractured a finger or just messed up the joint, but painting was excruciating. Plus every time I tried somebody else decided they had better use for my time.

Remember Songbirds room?

The crazy wallpaper that made me call it quits and hire a crew.  Even the light switch covers and outlet covers had this stuff on it. And it did not want to come off.
They came in and finished stripping the paper and had it textured in no time.  For days I would just go in there to look and see what real walls looked like. I think all the unfinished drywall scarred me. LOL.
She picked a color called Seacap for the room and parsnip (a shade lighter) for the bathroom. Its a very very light seafoam green. Now the off white trim in the room looks pink next to it. Not good.
\
Next was the very yellow living/dining area. This only required paint.
Yellow is one of my least favorite colors. And this was really yellow. See those paint splotches on the wall? Some of you know that story. The rest can make something up.

The new paint looks yellow when I shoot it. That is pretty funny. Its actually more of a sand color.
We used that color pretty much in the rest of the house that they did for me. Its called toasted pinenut. With all that big wallpaper down the kitchen looks bigger.
I really got cussed for my bathroom. It was that foil paper. They ended up just cutting it off with utility knives in many places and then just fixing the walls. All four of the guys were in here for a full day. I don't have an after shot. I just had them paint this room a white to match the bedroom as I havent decided what I'm doing back there and it will be the last rooms I do.

This stuff was only real bad on the border. They put it up with an adhesive of some kind -- not the wall kind. The border had to be cut off the wall. Unbelievable.
The toasted pinenut looks really good with all the wood and brass in here. It was a very nice surprise.
Believe it or not, this was the worst room in the house. It had a wallpaper that really didn't bother me and I was going to leave it, but then I got to thinking that if I ever did want to change it I would have to go through this same thing with the unfinished drywall. Forget it. I decided to do this mess ONCE. When they tried pulling down this paper, it was plastered on.  As in, put on with plaster.  Total mystery as to why anyone would do that. They had to chip this paper off.

Again, this hall looks great now as it has all the same wood as the bathroom. Its much lighter than before also. I didn't realize how dark the area was before.

It took 8 working days to complete all the work. We did find some pock marks in the wall of the small bathroom which is old termite damage. The house had been treated per the paperwork and now I know where. That was all fixed. The drywall holes in the same bathroom were fixed. Otherwise no new surprises on this job.

Glad its all done. Sorry I didn't get the painting done I needed to before the movers came. Now forget it. I'm not painting around all our stuff. It can stay a mess until I can afford to pay someone else to do it.

There is fine white powder all over the place from having all the texturing done. Most of it was cleaned up before our stuff arrived...but I still find it when the heater has run at night.

Oh - and just like most things we try to do here...these guys were the THIRD company I called. The first two were off of Angie's List. Neither called back.  Angie's list is a waste of money. The phone book got the job done.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

## Monday, November 25, 2013

### Thankful

One of the best parts of returning to Texas, is being able to celebrate the holidays with my friends. It just doesn't get any better than that.  And while many of you are thinking "duh", you have to understand that as a military brat and then military wife, I don't live anywhere long enough to have any roots and most friends forget about you the minute you leave town. Actually, most friends cut you off before you even leave.

How I ended up with 10 ladies that did not cut me off before OR after I left -- well, its a God thing.

Anyways....the Fabulous Zumba Queen opens up her home for an annual dinner with our guys. She has an amazing home that was built for entertaining and its awesome.  This was the first year Hubs and I were here to attend.

It was awesome.

My husband informs me that he had a great time hanging out around the fire after dinner with these guys. He only knew one of them before we went but has now been pulled kicking and screaming into the craziness that we are.
We are all very thankful that the Fabulous Zumba Queen and her handsome husband open their homes up for us. It is the perfect setting.
Everyone brought something to share and we had a huge feast. Tables were shoved together so we could all be in one spot.
Cool shot A -- you need to show me how to do this.

There were games to be played (team captains...serious competetors). There was talking and laughing and joking and just cutting loose.
Yes I was on the losing team. Even having the most competitive person in the room on our side did not save us this time.

And now they now have proof that the mysterious and elusize Hubs actually exists.

Great night friends! So thankful for all of you and the craziness that is our friendship...around life, kids, family and all the other things that we could let interfere.  Thankful you ladies are willing to carve out time in your crazy schedules as you can to make us what we are.You don't hardly find that anywhere anymore in our fast paced world.

As Steph would say....Nuzzle, nuzzle, neigh, neigh.

## Wednesday, November 20, 2013

### My Own Nightmare Before Christmas...And After...

I have a few medical issues I am finally getting taken care of.  See, military care? What care? They did not help me and did not want to be bothered.  What? Synthroid not working for you? Wow. Too bad. Guess you got a problem.

Anyways, now that I have real insurance (until the new rules kick in and we are taxed on it, at which point we will have to drop it and go back to the Tricare that no one accepts) I am getting answers.  Real doctors care. And never once am I asked if it could be a mental issue because my husband is deployed.

So there are 4 separate things we are working on. Most of them are just issues of finding the correct dosage, etc.

But there is one that is a bit of a problem. It keeps me busy - or at least it has for the last month. I finally feel like I have a handle on it though,

Part of my allergy problems and most of my migraine issues are food related. Military would not help. But that's ok cause all that testing is done now. And they ended up paying for part of it anyways.

So I have this list of foods I can't eat for 6 months in order to clear some of this up. Hopefully after the 6 month most of it can go back into my diet.  Some things like the wheat and diary will never be able to...I've known that for years, but now its officially in my records, not just a guess. (And no I am not a celiac.)

For now the list of no-nos include:
Beef
Garlic
Black Pepper
Green Beans
Cayanne pepper
Tuna
Clams
Shrimp
Dairy
Wheat
Soy
Corn
sage
Cauliflower
sweet potato
lime
orange
grape
iceburg lettuce
peas
pecan
rosemary
hops
yeast
banana
butternut squash
cane sugar
egg yolk

Wheat, egg, soy, corn, milk, sugar, yeast - that about covers anything packaged thank you very much or anything with oil

Beef??? Kill me now

Black pepper and garlic??? How am I supposed to cook???

Iceberg lettuce? Huh?

So its been an interesting month. I have learned to substitute cardamom for black pepper. I also have an Indian spice coming that they use as a garlic or onion substitute.  I also carry a cardamom in my purse.  Hey - did you know cardamom is the third most expensive spice? Yep. Right after saffron and pure vanilla. Unfortunately I am intimately aware of this.

Yesterday I messed up and used butternut squash in some roasted veggies. Goes to show I don't have the whole list memorized yet.

I survived the Halloween candy, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon.

But its only 6 months. After that point I should be able to start adding things back in to find what I need to stay away from forever. I've known wheat for years. Same with milk. Those need to stay off limits.

I've only had one migraine since I started this...and it was because I had a diet Sprite. I know  better than to touch artificial sugars also. Have to stick to my pure juices watered down with club soda when I feel like having a "soda".

Already looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts NEXT year!

## Tuesday, November 12, 2013

### A New Scout Troop

We finally found a troop in our new town.  Funny thing is the town hasn't had one for 5 years and this troop is just being started by two ladies with no experience but 100% heart. We lucked out. Talk about perfect timing.
I'm a fan of scouting because of the social projects they do for their communities. More kids need to get their hands dirty helping others right where they live. This is how you teach empathy and social responsibility without it always being a "church thing".  I have seen kids that grow up in the church doing "good works" have a total disconnect on helping out for no other reason than because its your community.  Whoops...rabbit trail.
On a more personal level, Mouse has been helped tremendously by Scouts. With her separation anxiety I needed that place outside of school where I could take her and have her with other kids and off my leg. Ok, so I stayed in the building and ended up working with the older girls again...but that's besides the point.
Now here we are being our 5th year.  Mouse grew to where she would go on field trips and then overnights without me.  You would have to have known her as a scared little baby and toddler to full appreciate what a big deal that is.
Its so huge I even found a troop that would accept her for the 6 months in Arkansas. It is a staple in her life to date. She has been blessed with the first two troop leaders that are amazing leaders that grew up in scouts and knew their area and camping like the back of their hands.  These are women worthy of your girls.

Looking forward to getting to know our new troop and all our new adventures!