Friday, June 28, 2013

Autumn Takes A Break

To the beach. Yes, that is twice in like three months. It's a good year.

There is nothing better than a Pony weekend. This summer's birthday girls requested a beach trip since the lake house is no longer available.

On top of that I had other family coming to Texas and wanting to visit the day we returned. So I had to get creative and come up with something other than them coming here as I don't even have room for four more people to sit.

I took the girls and dogs to their grandma in Fort Worth. Then I drove back here so I could ride to Gulf Shores with my friends. A 13 hour ride.... Which was a blast.

The weekend was spent on the beach. Like 10am to 2 am. Both days. And til 2 the first night also. Have I mentioned what hard core sun worshippers my friends are?

Unfortunately I wasn't well most of the time and was napping in the air conditioning until the sun was ready to go down.

No worries. Night time was beautiful and it was the weekend of the super moon.

All too soon it was time to go home. Since I had another two hour drive after getting back to town I was lucky to find two other moms in a hurry to get home. So we were up and gone at 6:00am and home before the other car even hit Texas.

But we didn't rub it in or anything. And yes we did make it in 11 hours instead of 13.

After that I headed back to Ft worth to pick up the girls and meet other family in Arlington.

We surprised the littles with a trip to Six Flags. Mouse loves her cousin Sweetheart. I'm not sure which of the two surprises Mouse loved more- her cousin or the park.

Of course it is not allowed for us to spend any time with family that other people don't cause drama and cast a nasty pall over our time. So in the end the only thing that made the trip worth how I killed myself to make it happen was the joy of the cousins in each other. That's all they know and will remember so its all good.

Now we are back to the tin can. Everyone is worn out in a good way.

It was a great break!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Windows in Wide Open Fields

The last of the wedding quilts has now been delivered. Wishing I could start something new but there is just no way in the trailer. I can hardly fit a computer on the table. A sewing machine is out of the question with our limited resources.
My nephew and his lady finally tied the knot last weekend. Of course we have claimed her as family for years, but now its official. All I can say is....what was she thinking????? LOL! Just kidding!

Their quilt is another Pinterest find. T had commented on it after I pinned it so I decided to go ahead and make it from them. The original can be found here at a blog called juicy bits. The creator saw some buildings in a field and created it from that visual.

My version is a little different as there are no instructions on how she did it so I had to make it up as I went along. I was short on my yardage guessing and made a cutting mistake so I ended up with six "buildings" instead of five. I like the odd number better but it still turned out well.

I don't have the skill and did not have the time to play with the quilting so I did wiggly lines through the blues and then what I am calling crop rows through the green. The orange windows I left unquilted so they would stand out a little more.
It is probably the largest quilt I have done so far. Was really loving my new machine with the wider throat to work with. This is on a king size bed.

For the back I found a cool cityscape fabric and used up some of the extra front fabric to insure I had enough coverage.
A look at the quilting. Nothing fancy here. Quick was the name of the game.
I used orange for the binding as it was what I had the most left over of. It also brought out the orange in the backing fabric.

And that is the last of my quilts until we finally have a home for our own. I have a whole list of people I want to make for so I need to get busy. Too many ideals in my head...I need to create them and free up some space up there.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Trailer Tales Two: The Blood and Guts Edition

...or, how Girl Scouts comes in handy again.

With Hubs gone on his next rotation, the trailer isn't feeling as cramped. This is a good thing as the snipping and fighting drove me to a meltdown of mammoth proportions that may or may not have resulted in my dropping the F-bomb on my children in the middle of one of their fights...while I was on the phone...and had already tried to get them to stop twice with zero results.

Thank goodness it was my sister on the phone and not a business call. Oy.

Since we will not be closing on the dream house and have to start the hunt all over again in mid July, we also decided we had enough with the occasional wifi. We now have our own Internet and this has appeased the wild animals and resulted in less bickering.

Shut- up and get on the computer. # Things you'd never thought you would hear yourself say to your children.

Cooking is at a minimum. With lack of prep and clean up space it's just not a fun thing to do. Lots of sandwiches and Mac n cheese. # Things you never thought you would feed your children every day. I'm over it.

Our most fun issue with the trailer this week was the bloody one. Songbird got tangled up in one of the dogs lines while trying to enter the trailer with her hands full, and fell on her knee onto the metal steps while in a fully flexed position. Sliced into the joint like butter.

So here is where Girl Scouts come in. Scouts teaches first aide at every level. If you go through scouts for years you have had it several times with more age appropriate training each time. And as a leader I had to have CPR and first aide every two years.

So the three of us handled the crisis very well. Even with the pain, crying and screaming, dogs upset and confusion.

Mouse followed orders quickly and supplied me with the towel to use for pressure on the wound. Songbird knew just how to apply that pressure. And I didn't freak when I saw her kneecap. We had the situation under control, the dogs back in the trailer and everyone back in the car for a trip to the ER in about five minutes time.

Notice the lack of blood! Part is where the cut is located and the other is Songbirds skill in applying pressure. To herself. Way to go kid.

It's a nasty trailer bite but the kneecap was not harmed. The scar will be ugly.

Since my kids are older I didn't think about the steps. I know I would have if they had been smaller. But here's a heads up for those staying in a rv with metal steps- be careful. Fall away from them if possible.

Of course this happened a couple of days after I ended up in Urgent Care after my left lower eyelid, tonsil, ear and neck swelled with an infection. Only the left side. Doctors claim I'm weird. Lol. I'm just happy to have the new insurance that is paying for all this.

So that's it for this edition of trailer tales. It's getting easier in some ways, and harder in others.

No telling what next week brings.
But you know what? Even with an ER visit a month in the trailer is cheaper than a week in a hotel.
Love it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For My Friend....The New RETIREE Dependent!!!

My friend Sandra over at Dairy of a Stay at Home Mom is beginning the journey that is the adjustment to civilian life. Soon they will be leaving their last base and heading for their first civilian home. I am enjoying watching their journey as it seems to be going so much better than ours......


But then anyone that knows us know that we are incredibly blessed. We just have to go through the most possible solvable problems and hassles to get there. But we do get there.

Anyways, Sandra posted about the journey they are about to embark on and the fact that they will be stuck in a hotel for about a month. With two dogs and two kids (plus a few extras). Sound familiar?

Her journey will be rather different than ours. But on many levels it will be very much the same. Lots of people living in one tiny space.

One big challenge for their family will be food. We have a kitchen. They have a refrigerator and a microwave. It was her brainstorming on how to make that work that prompted this post. I started to comment with some suggestions and realized I had too much to say.

So this one is for you Sandra!

The crockpot IS awesome. Unfortunately most of my recipes are for real foods and this can be a hassle for clean-up reasons. Thank goodness for the internet and access to recipes full of cans and boxes and precuts. LOL. Its amazing how much stress it takes off to "cheat" and use these recipes. It seems like it would be so easy to cross contaminate in such a small place so I am doing the unheard of and buying meats already cut so I don't use a cutting board with them. This place is on septic which bleaches are harmful to so I am just sucking it up and wasting that money (in my eyes) for now. Pre-cut veggies. Cream of soups...all these things I usually avoid.

A electric water kettle is a very good thing to have. It will make your tea in the morning/afternoon/night and the kids can use it to make ramen if they get hungry. Also, any of the canned soups that you use a can of water with? Heat the water in the kettle and mix a can of the hot water in. No stove. Soup in two and a half minutes. MUCH less time than the microwave even. (This comes in handy with a sick person that needs a quick chicken soup meal.) (And I will admit...I am a tea snob. Do NOT mirco my tea water.)

We use a cheap toaster alot. Pop-tarts (the kids think they have died and gone to heaven), waffles, toast. Great for a quick breakfast with little to no clean-up.  (And didn't you make some of those pretty dish drain towels with the cloth on one side and towel on the other? Bring them!)

Does your hotel have a place you can grill? We have a camping propane grill that folds up small. Some hotels we have stayed at had their own grills. Or you can find the pubic parks or campgrounds in the area and use theirs for a change of pace and a chance to get out of the little bitty living space and let the dogs and kids play. (Remember a couple of lines to stake the dogs with as most places require they are leashed...but a leash is just too short for any real time enjoying the outdoors. And some folding chairs which are easy enough to pick up when you get there.)

Some things we have but don't really use: pop corn popper - just use the micro; rice cooker - clean up is just too much; small food processor - just buy the pre-cuts. The amount of stress, time and frustration saved from trying to do something in a inadequate space is worth its weight in gold.

We have our favorite tea cups and a handful of other cups to drink from, and a "picnic set" which is a case with knives, forks and spoons and a can opener, but otherwise its disposable. Another wasteful practice most of the time -- but see clean up above. LOL. Oh, and sandwich bags, freezer bags, snack bags....don't leave home without them.

We have a handful of clothes pins that get used for a million things. Also, an expandable shower rod which we hang in the bathtub so all our towels have a place to dry. I even put some of those cafe curtain clips on rings over it to clip little things up like wash clothes. Pulls down fast and easy and takes no space to store in between uses.

If you have any little personal fans they are good to have. Even a cold room can be stuffy. We have fans for every bed. We also carry a "dog sheet" that we throw over the furniture. It not only saves the couch, it is cooler for them to lay on.

A kid attitude adjustment tool for us is a membership to the Y. Ours is like $68 for the whole family and they have a computer room, a game room and the best outdoor pool in town. Worth its weight. Plus for us the showers are a plus since our bathtub/shower is more of a storage and laundry closet at the moment.

Another really great thing I have is something that will charge multiple devices from one plug. On Amazon I found a radio (that will play your phone music also) that will charge up to six devices -- phones, kindle, ipads, ipods, mps players. Hotel rooms never have enough plugs. I'm sure you have at least 4 computers along with the kindle and phones. At the very least carry a power strip with you for the computers and one for the kitchen appliances you take.

Our own personal blankies have been the best emotional comfort. Familiar and well loved...well worth the space they took up in the car.

Good luck to you Sandra! Don't know if this helped any or if you have it all covered! Can't wait to read about your adventures!

(And feel free to cry on my shoulder any time you want.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Autumn Asks: Could It Have Been Any Worse???

And the answer is flat out no.

Three inspections of the house. Three bombshells.

Lets start with the easy ones first.

Pest inspection.  Can you say termites? In two areas? And its not a new colony. But hey, that really is one of those things. It can be fixed. We did not find weak areas.  But you are looking at 2k to treat.

Then there was the septic inspection. First, the tank really was too close to the house. Poor guy had a time finding it as it didn't have a ring with a cap above ground. Lots of digging. Plus there were clean-outs in 3 places. Does that mean three tanks?? No. It didn't.

So, the tank is originally built for a house with two bathrooms. Now it has five. Plus kitchen and laundry. Tank is way too small for this. (The house has not actually been lived in since the renovations started so it has never handled that kind of traffic yet.)

Now, the tank liquid level was also way too low. Was is leaking? Not sure. So we had to open all the faucets in the house to fill up the tank before the guy could even test it to see if the lines were working.

And I found a valve that was shut off in the master bath. What does that mean to you? To me it means there is a problem. So yes, yes I did yank that sucker on. And it appeared to be that the cold water handle in the master shower was stripped and could not be turned all the way off so it was shut off to keep it from dripping.

Anyways - long story short the tank was working. But it was not going to handle all the additional bathrooms. I asked for a ballpark figure on what it would cost to put in a new system (the current one is not up to code but it is grandfathered in). Price tag was about 10k.

Now, we have the actual home inspection.

It failed everything.

Electrical was not proper type of sockets all over and almost nothing was grounded. Lots of half installed or broken sockets. No GFCI in the kitchen even.

Roof - no flashings around several things. There were two water stains in the ceilings that I had him check for moisture - but they were dry.  Also, most of the sofets were missing and there was exposed stuff that should not have been out in the elements.

Outside walls - improper installed siding all over. Raw corners. Gaps. The replaced windows were not sealed. Bricks missing.

Heating/Air and water tank. Scary out of code and jerry-rigged. SCARY. They wouldn't even turn them on it was so scary (obviously they were off). Upstairs thermostat didn't work so we couldn't check that system.

Plumbing? Low water flow in several areas. The stripped handle in one shower. And then the missing head in one shower.

And remember those stained ceilings? Well guess what happened when we ran that shower upstairs with no head? We had a waterfall downstairs. Not a little one. We flooded the place. And guess what stopped it? Why it was that one valve that was turned off. And no, this was not in the disclosure...but it was definitely a known plumbing problem.

Dishonest much???

At the waterfall we were done. We had reached a point of hilarity that was actually good for the soul. It was so bad it was funny.

And to top it off, when we turned all that water off in the house? There was a copper pipe that they had bent up and CRIMPED off. Not capped off. Well apparently all that pressure was a little much cause that sucker failed! And we had water all over another floor and it took us a while to find that hidden crimped pipe in a closet to figure out what the heck was going on.

Mr. Owner had some serious mopping up to do when he got home.

Should I feel bad?

I think not.

So, we had everyone finish all their inspections and reports even when we knew we were walking away. See, if we send those reports to the sellers agents they now have to disclose everything they found. So of course I made the formal request that all inspections be sent....and saw that they were.

One good turn deserves another. Plus I let it be know that I would GIVE anyone a copy of my inspections that was interested in them for no charge.

We are out a chunk of change. We gambled and we lost. And its okay. Something can't remain your dream home when you witness one nightmare after another. It will never be the house that got will always remain the house we got away from.

We did scramble and look at a few new places that afternoon but didn't find what we were looking for.

Hubs leaves today so the hunt is off until he returns mid July. (You cannot imagine how thankful I am that he was here for the inspection.)  That ensures at least another month of trailer living -- which is not fun. But its all good. At least we are not in a hotel paying insane prices.

Maybe next time right?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Two Down....One to Go

I don't know why we all think this photo is so funny. Didn't you know we own a bioic dog? LOL!

Today is Songbird's 18th birthday. Any other time I would make this a picture heavy tribute to my middle child. But the photo album? Somewhere in the state of Ohio.

So no pictures.

It's hard to believe Songbird is now all grown up. Graduating a year early has helped me transition to this fact over this last school year. In September she will start college. She was sort of forced to take a year off from school with all the jobless time and moving and transition time. None of us are actually complaining about this.

Songbird was the cutest little thing with big brown eyes and unruly curly hair. As a child she was not easy to parent until she was about 10 years old. She was stubborn and always wanted things her way. But then she matured and became a joy instead of a constant parenting chore. LOL! (Persistence moms! It does pay off!)

As a teen she worked hard in school and on her extracurricular activities. She was never in trouble but didn't tend to pick the best of friends very carefully. She lived. She got hurt. She learned.

As a young adult the girl is funny with just the right amount of sarcasm (but still doesn't understand how wasted that is on a certain 9 year old). She works hard for her employers and is the one that gets called to see if she wants to pick up extra shifts. They give her glowing references and tell her if she comes back to an area to come back to work with them.

The world is her oyster. Its going to be fun to see where this one ends up and what she makes of herself.

So, for us as parents, that's two to go. We managed to get two to adulthood.

And it hasn't killed us yet.

But this last one?

It remains to be seen.