Sunday, May 31, 2009

Godspeed, Little Audie!

My poor little dog....First he gets shoved from pillar to post after his original owners couldn't take care of him. Next I take him in and he goes from scrappy little watchdog to fearful little thing after being blinded in an accident with my son's dog. Then the screaming started whenever I left the house. Now, for the past couple of weeks, he's had a permanent speck of blood on the end of his little nose from the cats sniping him as he walks past them. And that was the last straw. The little guy deserves better.

So I asked my friends if they could take him in. None of them seemed to want a blind Pomeranian with severe separation anxiety and a deep-rooted distrust of little kids. I asked the local no-kill shelter. They aren't equipped for doggies with disabilities. I asked our vet. She was hesitant to take him for fear she wouldn't be able to find him a home. So we struggled along for another week or so, Audie and I, as he lived more and more under my bed and I felt more and more that I was failing him.

And then my friend Rachel (Bless her heart!) happened to mention my situation to a friend of hers who works at an animal hospital, and that friend told her about the Fluffy Butts Rescue Resort. (That really is the name; click on the link and see for yourselves.) I emailed them, explained my situation, and they agreed to take in Audie. They specialize in small dogs, and the lady who will be his foster mom has a lot of experience with blind dogs. She assured me that if they can't find the "pawfect" home for Audie that he'll live with her for the rest of his life. I gathered up all Audie's chew toys (which are in remarkably good condition, because he always preferred my shoes to any toy) and his blankie, and his stuffed animals that have no heads cause he tore them off. I kept his little tiny collar. And then I took him on his last car ride with me and he barked the whole way to the Outlet Mall, where we met the very nice lady he'll live with until he goes to the Head FluffyButter's house in Iowa. I was a little sad at first, but on the way home I remembered the "doggie deck" video on the Fluffy Butts website and it made me happy to think of Audie trotting down that deck and playing in their big back yard with the other doggies. Godspeed, little Audie—oh, and I told them how much you love munching on baby carrots and they promised me you'll have some every single day. It's gonna be a great life for you there.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Price of Stubborn-ness

I now know the actual cost in American dollars of my own stubborn-ness, at least in this latest round of declaring, "I can do it by myself." The backsplash is done. Each one of those faux-copper panels costs about $20, tax and all. And as my friend Milah pointed out, there's a "right" way to install them. You just can't, no matter how much you might want to, use pieces and parts of leftover panels. Nope, they have to be laid out left to right. And you'd better measure twice and cut once. There's no second chance with these things. In my case, you'd better measure twice, then look real hard at the panel, and where you're putting it on the wall, then measure again just to be safe. Cut only after careful consideration and a complete understanding of the panel's position on the wall. Oh, that section in the first photo was easy enough. Straight cuts on every panel til I got to the window sill, and then just a little corner cut. Easy peasy. But that section in the second photo....that was a different animal altogether. You can't really see it in the photo (because I was, as usual, in a tearing hurry when I took these pics) but there's a small gap on either side of the range hood. On the left side, it's not so much of a problem. The backsplash panel butts up to the wall and goes straight across to the range hood. Not bad. But the other side—the side above the cutting board countertop that Mare finally came over and put in!—is a big problem. That panel butts up against the panel to the left, runs under the range hood, hiccups up into a space just a tad over 5½" wide between the range hood and the side of the cabinet, then drops back down to run under the lower edge of the cabinet. That necessitates cutting both an inside corner and an outside corner. And some pretty exact measurements. I was cutting a panel and talking to my sister about how wonderful Bleu is (Bleu being a pseudonym for my new guy) when I popped the panel into place and realized I'd cut it a half-inch too short. My sister, because she loves me, bit her bottom lip and said nothing. One panel (and $20) gone. So I dragged out a second panel, measured again, and started scoring it, just about the time that Bleu called me and I fileted the edge of my left thumb off with the utility knife. As he sat there listening to my unladylike language, he drawled, "Whyn't ya just let me cut that for ya?" Good question, since the man owns a remodeling business. But no—I can do it myself, remember?! So I scored the panel, and cut it, and when that panel went into place somehow the hiccup-y part was about an inch too narrow. I tore it off the wall and flung it into the dining room. Second panel (and another $20) gone. My sister grabbed the phone and told Bleu politely, "Sissa's gonna have to call you back." He laughed. "I'd come over and cut the next panel for her, but, well, you know." Third panel up, and my sister handed me a big piece of paper. "Pattern, sissa, pattern," she said. "He tell you that?" I said. She grinned, "Yep, he sure did." So I took that sweet man's advice, made a pattern, fitted it into the space, marked the panel, cut it, and....And it fit perfectly. The price of stubborn-ness? About sixty bucks and some change.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wedding Day!

Wanna see what I've been doin the past few days? Don't expect any home improvement pics here, folks--it's been all wedding, all the time.
I took Dylan out for lunch at the pub on the last un-married day of his life, and he endured a kiss from me while wearing his badge. (He's a sheriff's deputy.) My son has to put up with a lot from me.
The next day we all met at the church for the big day. Here's one of me and my beautiful sister, Stacy-Lynn.
After almost three hours of picture-taking before the wedding, my gorgeous daughter-in-law Sarah was tired. Here she's resting between takes. Pretty flowers and a beautiful dress.
I guess Dylan and the minister were tired, too....
My handsome boys, Dylan and his best man, Brian, watching Sarah walk down the aisle. Brian also calls me Mom and I consider him another son.
Listening to the minister read the verses from Corinthians..."Love is patient, love is kind..."

Dylan places the ring on her finger...

And they seal their promise with a kiss!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Another Thursday rolls around again, and with it my list of things for which to be thankful.

1. Finding my USB cable. Although I haven't found the time to blog in the past week, I did manage to find my USB cable. Under the bed. No doubt it was dragged there by one of the kitties. Unfortunately, I didn't find it in enough time to upload photos before I went to work. Maybe tomorrow.

2. My bestie Sharon. "Bestie" is a word I picked up from 15-year-old Megs and her friends, and it's what they use to describe their best best friends. Sharon's been my bestie since we were little kids. The past couple of weeks she's watched me ping crazily around my life like a pinball (for one reason or another) and Sunday morning on the phone she whispered, "Let's run away." So we did. Three days in St. Louis with no wedding-related phone calls, no house paint, no cats, no kitchen remodeling....and all the sleep, room service meals, late-night giggling and pomegranate martinis we could handle....ahhhhh. (Oh, and if you get the chance to pet the stingrays at the St. Louis Zoo, do it.)

3. Rachael Ray's Super-Stuffed Monte Cristo sandwich. Since my friend Sean passed away, I haven't wanted to cook. (Sean was a chef. I'm sure this is some weird manifestation of grief.) This sandwich is more assembly than cooking, and so it's what I fix myself when I can't face another frozen dinner. The combination of ingredients is odd, but delicious. Trust me on this one.

4. The way my Facebook wall becomes a chat room. I post some innocuous status and it sparks a conversation, reminds someone of song lyrics, starts a new friendship, and begins a friendly debate. Seventy-four is the current high-water mark of comments to one status update. I have no doubt that record will be broken soon. That open interaction among people from different eras of my life, of wide-ranging experiences and ages, is the best part of Facebook.

5. The pure, blissful potential of a new romance. Sigh.... Y'all know that feeling. Wow. Need I say more?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still Here

Just checking in to let y'all know I'm still here. Wedding preparations (my son and his fiancee will be married May 23rd), stormy weather, an odd work schedule this week, and the heisting of the camera's USB cable (probably by one of the cats) have made it difficult to blog this week. But never fear, work goes on at the Kelly House, and as soon as I can I'll catch you up.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's working! The first week I did this Thankful Thursday thing, I had to struggle a bit for five things. "Thankful" seems like such a big word sometimes...but I'm learning it can be applied quite well to the small things in life.

1. Michael J. Fox. Almost everyone loves the kid-actor-turned-activist, but I'm particularly thankful for his television special tonight, "Adventures of an Incurable Optimist". He traveled around the world to speak with folks who remain hopeful in the face of trying circumstances, and the message delivered by this hour-long show is a humbling one. Any man who can find something positive in being accused of faking his Parkinson's symptoms by Rush Limbaugh (MJF thanked him for bringing attention to Parkinson's research) has my undying admiration. I can't wait to read his book, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

2. Independent book stores. Dovetailing nicely with the above...Sure you can buy Michael J. Fox's book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or one of the other big stores, but I'd really rather you'd buy it from an independent book store. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful bookstore, River Reader, right here in my own hometown. Pat at River Reader is always ready to tell me about the last good book she read, point out an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, or fix me an Italian ice. Maybe you have a great little bookstore near you, too. Find out at IndieBound and support small business in your community.

3. Sheridan's Frozen Custard. After listening to me whining about having to come to work on the first night that felt like summer, a firefighter took pity on me and my partner and bought us Sheridan's frozen custard. Mine was chocolate with peanut butter cups in it. Yum. Now that I think about it, he's not on my team in the Biggest Loser Contest, so maybe this was a strategic move on his part....No matter, it was gooood!

4. Megs. The 15-year-old gorgeous daughter of a friend of mine, her outlook on life is a breath of fresh air. Getting to know her has been a joyride, and the child never fails to make me laugh. She is smart, funny, and a huge baseball fan. She's also quite the photographer, as you can see by her self-portrait here. If she didn't hate cats, she'd be almost perfect.

5. A winning baseball season. After several years of baseball that had fans cringing from the awfulness of it, the Kansas City Royals finally are having a winning season. At the top of the heap of the American League Central Division standings as I write this, they have a phenom pitcher in Zack Greinke (who Megs swears will be her husband someday, by the way) and bats that have been on fire. It's early days yet in Baseball Land, but I'm already hoping for the playoffs. Another I70 Series with the St. Louis Cardinals would be just fine with me!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today Is Wednesday

Today is Wednesday. By the time you read this, it might be Thursday already, but as I write this, it's still Wednesday. Wednesday is the first day of my work week now. Not the first of my days off, as it used to be.

Today I picked the spent blooms off my petunias, watered all my container plants, yanked a piece of trim off the porch (Mare thought it should go there; I did not), replaced a little piece of moulding at the joint between the porch ceiling and the wall of the house, cleaned up the still-not-done kitchen, re-hung the living room curtains that one of the cats pulled down, made an appointment to get my hair did, watered in my new rose bush, had a long conversation with my future daughter-in-law about food for their wedding reception, (which made me hungry so I fixed a big bowl of chicken salad) shopped for more wine on, moved my mother-of-the-groom dress and my wrap to my mom's house where they will be safe from kitties, cut four strips of wallpaper for the kitchen and hung two of them...and then...

Then I realized that today is Wednesday. And I work tonight. And there's no time now for a nap. Shoot.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hidden Picture Games

Remember those hidden picture games in Highlights magazine? I loved to play those as a kid. Heck, I love to play 'em now. Some things you never outgrow.

But it wasn't until I uploaded these photos that I realized they look a lot like those hidden picture games. We'll start with an easy one.

See the row of daylilies I planted along the side of the house today?

Now for a little bit harder one.

See the rosebush in this picture?

It's a Mother's Day present from my mom, and it's a climber called Joseph's Coat. It doesn't look like much now, but I have big plans for it. The black thing in the background is part of an arch trellis over the gate opening in the fence.

And now for the Challenger Round....

See the dogwood tree in this photo?
Look hard. I know it's difficult to see with the weeds and tall grass all around it, but that's it in the center of the photo. I have high hopes for this little tree as well.
Floyd planted it for me last week.
I'm hoping with careful tending and some work (and a little grass seed in the scrubby barren parts) that pretty soon my yard will look halfway decent. Like everything else around here, it's a work in progress.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lonesome Ghosts

This is probably what happens at my house when I'm not home...which would explain the silent 911 calls from my house that the Sheriff's Department has been getting...