Friday, May 22, 2009

Busy Bees

We're heading into one busy weekend. We'll definitely be ready for our vacation to start on Tuesday. So, just what's on the agenda for us?

-Tonight: Show Mom how to use our washer & dryer, go to Target with Holly while Josh has rehearsal, Scotchguard livingroom rug(?), make ice cream for Sunday, a load of laundry (?), get together with Josh's fam for Drea's birthday, run soaker hoses, water compost pile a bit

-Saturday: Possibly hit farmer's market early with LeAnn, Nikon class at Fort Worth Camera, Ashley's 30th birthday party in Grapevine, Jason's birthday party back in Fort Worth

-Sunday: Up early to start digging ditches, installing yard drainage, make lunch/dinner after a hard days work (Nathan's hot dogs, grass-fed beef burgers w/ homegrown onions, roasted corn and homemade ice cream, I think), probably collapse, run soaker hoses

-Monday: Buy Nelson/Dylan tix on presale, clean house, finish laundry, pack clothes and carry-ons, notify Ann when we'll get to their house in the morning, spray the house and deck for springtails, get entertainment for flight together, pay mortgage/water/electric/gas online, decide on what sightseeing we'll do during our (rainy) visit to DC, decide best way to pack S&M's wedding gift.

Sadly, I'm sure there's more that I'm just not thinking of. But, when I leave today there'll be no more work 'til June! Yeah!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Planning a Trip (When You're a Nutjob)

My love of lists is not something I have kept a secret here, so it should come as no surprise that preparing for a vacation is an incredibly obsessive task for me. Lists of restaurants, lists of sights to see, lists for packing, and lists for the house/cat sitter. The collecting of information is an integral part of a vacation for me. Some resources have been particularly helpful to me in getting ready for the trips we've taken.

  • Live Search Maps-I like to use this to create a personalized map of locations I want to remember. I find this most helpful for mapping out restaurants we'd like to try. It makes it easy to know what food we'll be close to when visiting certain attractions or parts of town.
  • Trip Advisor- Trip Advisor is great for hotel, restaurant and sightseeing ideas, and you can create trip profiles to save all the great info you find. Travelers post reviews and share photos from their trips, which can help you decide if that hotel's claims really are too good to be true.
  • Local online publications- In the case of our upcoming trip it's theWashingtonian. Local newspapers aren't written expressly for tourists, which is why they can really help you get a feel for where you are visiting. You can get restaurant reviews and the skinny on events that might be occurring while you'll be in town. But some do have tips expressly for visitor's, like the Washingtonian's Visitor's Guide. For our Santa Fe trip I utilized the local alternative publication, the Santa Fe Reporter.
  • National Park Services- Not just for Yosemite or Yellowstone. Although it did help us plan our outdoor excursions in New Mexico, it also helped us plan our visits to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for our NYC trip. I think it's always worth a visit to see if there is anything amazing you might have overlooked.
Once I have a list of the stuff we want to do, and a general idea of maybe what day or at least what order we'll do it in I move on to the packing. Checking the weather is always a good idea, and I use the Weather Channel to see the averages and, once we're close enough, the 10-day forecast. Then I get really insane and plan not only what I will pack, but my outfits for every day. That way I know I am packing just what I need, and can get dressed and out the hotel quickly to start our adventures. Could there be anything more obsessive? Hmm, maybe a post with a list about ow I put together my lists, ha. Anyway, this is how I go about planning our trips. I try to be careful to not over-plan our actual time at our destination though. It is a vacation after all!

Photo from Real Simple

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Roundup

-Work, yuck
-Spray counters, windows, doors and flower beds for springtail control
-Leftover pizza
-Finish getting ready
-Head to The Aardvark
-Meet up with Holly and Misty
-See Calhoun for the last time *sob*
-Say bye to Tim
-Check on Holly back at Misty's house
-Grab some Whataburger and chow down

-Sleep in
-Tidy up
-Measure yard elevation with John and Ann and discuss drainage options
-Get ready
-Deb's baby shower at Blue Mesa
-Back home and change clothes
-Take yard measurements for drainage planning
-Spray windows, doors, flower beds, and eaves for springtail control
-Change clothes again
-Matt & Ashley come over
-Grab some Chick-fil-a and eat
-Boys play music, Ashley beautifies me
-Homemade ice cream and Will Ferrell on SNL
-Adios to Matt & Ashley
-Fall asleep watching Arrested Development

-Make weekly menu and grocery list over granola breakfast
-Work on yard measurement sketch
-Get ready
-Home Depot for posts, poultry fencing and shovel
-Grocery shopping
-Put groceries up
-Build compost pile area
-Tidy up
-Prep veggies for week and make dinner
-Eat shrimp & coleslaw po'boys and roasted corn on deck
-Add veg scraps to compost pile
-Fruit smoothies for dessert
-A little reading
-Hit the hay

Friday, May 15, 2009

Homeownership Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be (no pun intended)

So, here's the thing about me owning a home. I'm crazy. I got big neuroses rattling around in this melon of mine. And when you've been reading Martha Stewart Living since you were sixteen, pretty much just dreaming, hoping and waiting for the day that you'll have your very own space to unleash all your collected thoughts, ideas and projects- well, your expectations can get a bit out of whack. I realize that there are some things that are, more or less, out of my control. That however doesn't mean I always accept it.

This is where the unintentional pun comes in. We wanted an older house, something with some character and charm. We knew that this being Texas, and us wanting to be in this general part of town (it's not called South Hills for it's smooth landscape), that we would have trouble finding a house without any foundation issues at all. When we decided to take a closer look at the home we now occupy we saw where many cracks had been patched and repaired. The sellers included a foundation report with their disclosure and we hired a structural engineer to do our inspection. Some shifting, not as bad as could be expected for the age of house, no repairs needed at this time, though possibly down the road. Sounded good to us. And then we weren't there to water the foundation as often as we should have been the first month. And then it rained for 4 days, and I saw first hand that slight drainage issue the inspector had mentioned we might have at the front of the house. Next came the cracks. Some big, some small, but a lot of them. Everywhere I look I seem to see one. I try to take comfort in the fact that they are cracks that previously existed, just coming back out. I spend a lot of time pointing and yelling- bouncing between yelling at them to stop and shouting that I won't let them take over my life.

That last bit is obviously not true (yet), since here I am doing an entire blog post about it. But I am trying. I try to keep my head down, try to keep my eyes on what I'm doing. Sometimes I just wonder around and look at them all, and look for more. And then I curse myself for mucking things up. When having a home has been your dream for so many years, and then you feel like your failing at the one constant wish you've ever had, it can be a pretty depressing state of mind to be in. But like I said, I'm trying. Slowly I'm finding things a home, emptying one more box, putting one more thing in it's place. I've got plans for a compost pile, have been reading about square-foot gardening and researching gutterless rain barrels. I think I've decided on a programmable thermostat and we'll be insulating our water heater soon. This one thing doesn't have to stop me from doing what I can to improve our home. Part of me knows that I should take these cracks as a sign that I can't plan for and control everything. But it doesn't seem to stop me from trying anyway.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ooh, Fancy

Have you heard? One of our wonderful museums got a real gem of a painting. Only the earliest known work of Michelangelo. Jealous much? Maybe you can see it when it's officially presented at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. Cause after that it's headed west. I took this pic way back in September during a visit to the Kimbell.


He's sort of getting used to the new house thing.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Roundup

-Work, blech
-Walk to bank for cash
-Leave with Holly, pick up Misty
-Head to park for Telegraph Canyon show
-Say hi to Tony, Adrienne and Jamie
-Eat falafel and enjoy the show
-Grab some pizza and eat at Misty's
-Back to house with Holly
-Work on arranging bookshelves late into the night
-See Holly off
-Hit the hay

-Oversleep, grr
-Get ready
-Head to Amon Cart Museum for photography exhibits
-Grab some lunch from Central Market
-Back home to eat
-Start assembling patio chairs
-Finish chairs and start on first chaise
-Deana, Jack and Drea arrive to go to dinner
-Mother's Day dinner for Deana at Chadra Mezza & Grill
-Hummus, olives, feta and more falafel, mmmm
-Back to house for some chilling and Mr. Show episodes
-See guests off, finish up chaise assembly
-Work on meal plan and grocery list
-Hit the hay

-Sleep in
-Coffee and finish up grocery list
-Do some weeding
-Finish up patio furniture assembly
-Clean off deck and arrange furniture
-Eat lunch
-Get ready
-Half Price Books for gift card
-Lowe's for potting soil, seeds, plants, etc.
-Grocery shopping
-Drop stuff off at house
-Over to John & Ann's to deliver rest of Mother's Day cheer
-Visit with Grandma, John and Ann
-Back home for shower, late nosh, and a bit of reading
-Finally fall asleep

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bookcase Inspiration

Holly's going to come over after we see Telegraph Canyon Friday night and I'm hoping we'll be working on putting our junk in the built-in. I've been peeking at I Suwannee's bookcase of the day collection for inspiration a lot lately. I think her very own shelf shuffle is inspiring me the most right now. Need some ideas for your bookcase or shelves? Shake it, baby don't break it.

Photo via i suwannee

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend Roundup

Didn't get near as much done this weekend as I'd hoped, but I guess I'll chalk it up to all the rainy weather. Seems to make me move at a snail's pace.

-Work, blech
-Stop by Mom's to pick up Grandpa's yearbooks
-Looks through pics with Mom at the casa to see if we can find Grandpa's students
-Hit Container Store to make a return and get an extra shelf for Josh's desk
-Grab some Chipotle and head back home
-Eat and catch up on 30 Rock
-A bit of reading

-Sleep in
-Fruit smoothies and coffee for breakfast
-Clean living room cushions
-Put new slipcover on chair
-Alphabetize DVDs and put in cabinet
-Turn leftover Chipotle into a salad for lunch
-Watch thunderstorm and hail out our big living room window
-Sweep living room
-Shower and get ready
-Snack of oatmeal and hot tea while watching Antiques Roadshow
-Worry that the garage is going to flood, discuss water deterrent options
-Head to Niki's so the boys can practice
-Look at wedding pics with Veronica
-Head to Dallas for Fate Lions show
-Hang out with everyone and enjoy the show
-Walk to the car in the rain, boooo
-Climb in bed for a bit of reading
-Fall asleep with book and get tucked in by Josh, awwww

-Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast
-Make meal plan and grocery list
-Get ready
-Head to Southlake for Rock School show
-Visit with Kim and Fred
-Drop drums off and hit the grocery stores
-Unload our cargo and start dinner
-Shrimp Tacos and Spicy Black Beans while watching Michael J. Fox's Inside the Actors Studio
-Feel beaten down by a day in the chilly air
-Take a shower and climb into bed
-Several episodes or As Time Goes By
-A little reading
-Lights out