Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My New Shed

You may recall that back on February 25 the storage shed that once occupied a small space in my backyard blew away and landed across the alley in the backyard of my neighbor P. All my belongings had to be moved to the workspace of my aunt's boyfriend who was gracious enough to let me keep my things there. Well, here we are two months later and I have been super blessed and now have a new shed and one that is far superior to the original one. 

My dad has a friend named Buddy who is an all around handyman and knows how to make or fix just about anything. In fact, Buddy and my dad are the ones who made my rolling table a couple of years ago. In January I had mentioned to Buddy that I would like for him to build me a bathroom cabinet and long story short, when he and my dad when to take some measurements in the bathroom, my dad asked Buddy about building a shed and lo, a plan was made and measurements were taken. 

Last Monday my dad and Buddy headed down to Lowe's (with my credit card in hand) and bought some material for the project. When my dad called he informed me they had decided to her Barnside to put on the outside of the shed which would give it the appearance of a barn. I said, that's fine, no problem. I honestly didn't care what they used. We had originally decided on some siding, but when the men saw the Barnside, the siding plan was thrown by the wayside. 

Tuesday they got to work on building the frame of the building and on Wednesday when I got home, the frame had been secured into the concrete pad out back. Yes, in case you are wondering, I feel confident this building is more securely in the concrete pad than the old building. I had no idea that they were even at my house on Wednesday so coming home to the frame was a big surprise indeed. 

Thursday the Barnside walls were put up and my dad drove out to Scottsboro to get some tin for the roof. My dad wanted red so it would look more like a barn, but Buddy told him to get the light gray, which happens to be the same color as the tin roof on my house and was the better choice. 
The roof was installed on Friday and the building is complete except for the door which Buddy is going to build himself and they will put that in some time this week (I think). 

The building looks great and is taller than the old building so I can stand up inside without worrying about bumping my head on something. I'm looking forward to getting the door on and putting all my "junk" back inside. I plan on cleaning out the "junk" before putting it back in the building and will probably part ways with some things I haven't used in many years. 

Buddy has some other projects he wants to do around my house. He said he could repair the fence where the building hit it and he also suggested putting in a gate which got me pretty excited. I've wanted a gate at the back for a long time. A gate would give me access to the back alley making it easier for mowing back there - meaning I won't have to walk around the block pushing a mower to mow the small stretch of grass along the fence line. He also knows of some paint that can be used to make the fence look like new. I also have a broken gate and some pickets missing out of my white picket fencing in the front of the house and he wants to repair that too, which is super exciting because that gate has been driving me bonkers for a while now, but I didn't know how to go about repairing it. 

So, a big thanks to my dad, Buddy, and Buddy's wife June who passed tools back and forth over the back fence! I'm super excited about the new shed and all the pending improvements at my house!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beards and Fireworks

Ahoy there mateys! I have no idea why, but for some strange reason I have been thinking all day about starting my post this way. My mind works in mysterious ways; I mean that introduction might make sense if I was on a boat somewhere, but alas, I am on dry land. Moving on...

I had a fun-filled weekend and hope you did as well. On Friday night, Erika and I went to see "Stuart Little" at the Playhouse. It was the last play and last weekend in fact of Fantasy's 52nd season. It was quite a good season if I do say so myself and the 53rd season looks like it will be a lot of fun as well. It just so happens that the lead character is the nephew of my cousin and his wife and Colby was hilarious in the role. Believe it or not, I don't think I have ever read "Stuart Little" and now I want to so I can compare the book to the play. The play only lasted about an hour and a half, letting us out around 8:30. Panoply was having fireworks at 9:00 and we had originally planned on watching those, but since we are old and didn't want to just wait around for 30 minutes, Erika went ahead and dropped me off and headed on home. Close to 9:00 I thought I heard the fireworks (I can usually hear fireworks in the city at my house) but then it began lightening so I don't know if it was thunder or fireworks. It's anyone's guess. 

On Saturday morning I got a haircut and then hit Publix for my weekly grocery trip where I was overjoyed to find that they actually had Tyson Chicken Fries in stock. I should have included these on my favorites list this past Friday. I can't remember when I first bought some, probably a year-ish ago, maybe sooner, I lose track of time. Anyway, these Chicken Fries are part of the Tyson Anytizers product line and are pretty darn delicious even if they aren't 100% nutritious. Apparently everyone in the city of Huntsville loves these because they can only be found once in a blue moon; but, I put them on my list every week just in case they happen to be sitting on the frozen foods aisle. I was starting to get worried because I was on my last bag and there were not very many in that bag. So, when I looked over into the frozen foods case and saw them, I quickly grabbed two bags and may or may not have let out a little squeal of delight. 

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning house and then took a nap before Sydney's arrival. Sydney was dropped off around 4:00 p.m. as we had some big plans for the evening. We met my cousin Alexandra and her daughter Indigo at Lowe Mill for the 2nd Annual Dixieland Beard and Mustache Coalition's Beard Competition. Hey, what else are you going to do on a Saturday night? It was actually a whole lot of fun. It was a family friendly event so there were lots of kids there as well as lots of beards. The competition has apparently expanded since last year as they had a division for children and women - obviously these would be fabricated beards. We saw kids with crocheted beards and beards made of feather and one lady had a beard made of rainbow Twizzlers. Sydney had her picture made with the rainbow beard lady and she also got a new shirt just for the occasion - it had a mustache on it (here we go with the mustache craze again) - and she looked super cute. 

Sydney with the lady with the Rainbow Twizzler beard. 
I think the lady has her eyes closed because her eye looks kind of weird.

We left the beard competition about 8:00 p.m. without actually watching any of the competition. I think they had the ladies' competition before we left, but we didn't make it inside to watch and I was hungry and had promised Sydney we would go watch the Panoply fireworks. So, we left, got s quick bite to eat and then headed downtown to watch the fireworks, which were quite good. 

On the way home from downtown (maybe a five minute drive) Sydney said she was going to close her eyes but not go to sleep; so, I kept talking to her so she would stay awake. She still needed a bath after all. We made it home with her awake and she took a bath and then lay down in the chair and declared she was hungry and wanted an apple. Before I could even get that apple cut up she was asleep and thankfully slept through the night as we had a lot of thunderstorms through the night. 

Sunday we went to church and then went out to eat with Alexandra, Josh and Indigo as well as a bunch of people from our Sunday school class. Sydney ate a good lunch and then when we got home declared she wanted some cereal. Y'all, I had no idea kids ate this much - all the time! I do not remember eating all the time like that. I will have to confer with my parents on this topic because it has me curious. Brittany picked up Sydney around 2:00 and that concluded our weekend activities. The rest of the day was spent doing a whole lot of nothing, other than leaving the house to go to evening church service. 

Side note - Did anyone else have a problem with their PBS Station on Sunday night? I started watching Call the Midwife and the reception was terrible and the sound was off and the picture kept stopping. I've set it to record on Tuesday at 2:00 a.m. and hoping that showing is a lot better because Sunday night's was so bad I couldn't watch. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - April 2013

I haven't done a favorite things post in a while; so, I thought I would end the week with a quick post of a few of the things that I currently love.

Frontier Soup Mix - Florida Sunshine Red Pepper Corn Chowder 
Jackie introduced me to this soup mix a while back. In fact, I mentioned it in a post because she brought it to me at church, I put it in my purse, then went grocery shopping, left it in my purse and hoped the store wouldn't accuse me of stealing. Jackie found the soup at The Fresh Market where it retails for $6.99. She was introduced to it at her mom's house as someone from church had made up a batch for Tim and Jan and she fell in love with it and then bought some for me. 

Jackie had mentioned to me that it was hard to find the soup at The Fresh Market because it is often sold out. So, a quick search on the Google lead me to the Frontier Soup web site where you can order the Florida Sunshine Red Pepper Corn Chowder as well as a plethora of other soup mixes. I placed an order for four of the Corn Chowders and one French Onion. I have not yet tried the French Onion, but am guessing it will be quite delicious. The Frontier site also sells dip mixes and cornbread mixes and offers gift baskets and discounts when you buy certain quantities. Check out their site and better yet, try one of their soups. You will not be disappointed. 

Cadbury Caramel Eggs

I love the Cadbury Caramel Eggs and am very sad these are only available one time a year. The Monday after Easter I stopped by Wal-Mart before going in to work and found only one box, containing five eggs, left on the shelves. I purchased it and sadly found no more. All the stores were sold out; so, clearly, I am not the only one who loves these. I do not care for the Creme Eggs, just the Caramel. Next year I will have to buy some before they are all sold out. I was hoping that box of five would last me a week, but it only lasted two days - what can I say? 

My cousin Brittany called the other day to tell me that Wal-Mart is now selling Cadbury Caramel ice cream bars so I stopped by to get some and see how they were. They are indeed rather tasty, but not as good as the plan 'ol eggs. Perhaps the ice cream bars will tie me over until the eggs are available again next year.  

The Home T 

I actually saw this on another blog that I read and she listed it as one of her current favorites. I thought the shirt was really cool and decided to order one. I received it a few days after placing my order and I love it. It is super soft and comfy and has a cute design. Part of the proceeds from the sales of these t-shirts go towards MS research which is another bonus because as you probably know, this is the disease that my mother has and a cure needs to be found. 

EOS Lip Balm

This is another product that Jackie introduced me to, even though she probably doesn't even realize it. She used to, and probably still does, keep an EOS lip balm in her car. I became fascinated with it and one day a few months ago I saw it in the check out line at Wal-Mart and bought one. I love, love, love it! It keeps your lips well moisturized so you don't have to apply as often; plus, it's a super cool design and people always comment on it. There are lots of different flavors. So far my favorite is Sweet Mint, but I recently ordered a Lemon Drop and I'm anxious to try it out. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Top-Notch Tuesday

Tuesday morning I had a dentist appointment which meant that I could start my day a little later than my normal 5:15 a.m. wake-up call. I, however, do not understand the meaning of sleep in and so I was still awake before 6:00 a.m. and went ahead and got up for the day. I fixed my lunch, unloaded the dishwasher and tended to some other household duties before taking a shower and getting ready for the day. 

I had decided that I would mow the grass Tuesday evening and since I still had not gotten a new filter for the lawnmower, I had to add that task to the day's agenda. I was ready for the day around 7:15 a.m. and decided to go ahead and stop by Home Depot since I had some time on my hands before my 8:15 a.m. dentist appointment. I'm typically a Lowe's girl, but there's a Starbucks by Home Depot and it wasn't out of my way whereas Lowe's would have been. Before I arrived, I decided to go ahead and get three annuals for the pots on my porch. The Garden Center entrance was closed, but they had what I needed outside and I got two red plants (I don't know what they are called) and one marigold (I do enjoy marigolds). I then made my way inside the store to get the filter for the lawn mower and the employees were having a team meeting which kind of threw me for a loop because I then began questioning whether or not they were open yet. I found an employee who was not in the meeting to direct me towards the filters, found what I needed, used the self check-out and was on my way. 

After leaving Home Depot, I crossed the parking lot to Starbucks and pulled around to the drive thru. It wasn't until there was a car behind me in line that I remembered my driver's side window is duct taped. I seriously don't know why I cannot remember this; I mean, I see it everyday, but when it comes to drive thrus I have a massive brain fart. So, I just had to open the door to place my order. I don't know if the car in front of me saw me open the door to order and took pity on me or if she already had it in mind, but when I opened the door to pay for and get my drink, the guy told me the car in front of me had paid for my drink. So, I said that I would pay for the drink of the person in line behind me and did just that. Hopefully this pay it forward, or backward as the case may be, continued as long as there was a car in he drive thru. It was the first time that the car in front of me had ever paid for mine and it really brightened my morning. Random Acts of Kindness - get out there and spread the love people! 

After leaving Starbucks I went to my dentist appointment and immediately remembered why I go in to work before 7:00 a.m. - there was a lot more traffic than I am used to in the wee hours of the morning. I left my drink in the car as my after dentist treat. It was just a routine cleaning and I had no cavities! Whoop! When I was finished with  my dentist appointment, I checked my phone and had a really sweet text message which made my morning that much better. 

I was tempted to just stay out of work as the weather was exceptionally beautiful; but I went in and finished out the work day. I ended the day by mowing the lawn and planting the flowers I had bought that morning. It was a top-notch Tuesday - not to mention it marked the three week countdown until I leave for vacation. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Zombie Fun Run 2013

A few months ago on a Sunday morning before the start of Bible Class, the subject of 5K runs was being discussed. Don't ask me how this got started because I honestly have no idea. The two 5Ks that people were most excited about were color runs and Zombie runs. Jackie, a lover of all things Zombie, got pretty excited about the thought of a Zombie run. Not long after this discussion, I was on the Fleet Feet web site looking at upcoming runs and noticed that there was going to be a Zombie Fun Run on April 20th in Athens to raise money for Relay for Life. So, I emailed Jackie the link and we were both signed up within the hour. No joke.  For those of you who may not know, a zombie run is basically a run where the participants run and there are people dressed as zombies on the trail. You are given a belt with three flags on it and the object is to get through the course with at least one flag remaining. 

Fast forward to this past weekend - on Friday, we received an email from the race organizer telling us what to expect. There was a description of the types of zombies we would see on the trail. There were going to be two types of zombies, "the Stumblers are the traditional, slow-moving, shuffling zombies. They like to hang out in groups and while they're extremely easy to outrun, they will try to box you in to steal your flags. You'll easily see the big group standing in the middle of the trail. The second type is the Chasers. These guys are antisocial and like to be alone on the trail, but they can run after you for short distances. Watch out for these guys, they like to hide." The email also told us there would be additional flags hidden along the trail but there might be zombies nearby so watch out. When Jackie read the email, she was so fired up she was like a kid in a candy store. I, however, started having heart palpitations and visions of haunted houses in my head. I do not enjoy being chased and I especially do not enjoy being chased by zombies! 

Jackie came by the house around 7:45 on Saturday morning and we were soon on our way to Athens. A guy at work gave me quick and easy directions to Swan Lake Park which is where the run was taking place and we found it with no trouble at all. There were four or five waves of runs throughout the morning, beginning at 7:00 a.m. and starting each hour after that and we had registered for the 9:00 a.m. wave. We got signed in and were given our belts and flags. It was very cold on Saturday morning and so we found a spot of sun to stand in while waiting on our wave to start. While we were gearing up, a man from the National Guard asked Jackie about signing up for the National Guard. She turned down his offer quicker than he could even get it out of his mouth. 

Our wave started a few minutes late - probably about 9:15 or so. They played this crazy zombie type music and made an announcement about the types of zombies we would encounter, told us the zombies wouldn't touch us so please don't touch them, told us to stay on the trail and wished us the best of luck. I was really nervous and had the feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach. I knew I wouldn't be able to run much, if at all, and I was dreading being scared by the zombies out on the trail. Jackie on the other hand was super pumped and excited. Soon the horn sounded and we were off; there were lots of folks running and me, well, I was just taking my sweet time. 

It wasn't long after the wave started that we heard screams up ahead and we soon encountered the first of many zombies yet to come. There were zombies of all shapes and sizes - kids, women, and men. There were Army zombies and bride zombies and runner zombies too. My flags were gone in about the first three minutes of the course and the zombie that got my last flag held on to me while I screamed, "I thought they weren't supposed to touch you!" There were not, however, any dog zombies. Thanks goodness. 
Jackie and I walked the course and she screamed more than I did. I was looking at the side of the road to see if there were any zombies hiding in the bushes so I would see them before Jackie did and she ended up being the screamer, which was hilarious for me. 

We encountered lots of people who were just out walking on the trail for the morning. I asked one lady is she knew there were going to be zombies on the trail that morning to which she replied, "no, but one of them needs to see a dermatologist." This obviously gave me and Jackie a big laugh. 

The run was such that at the 1.3 mile point, you turned around and headed back to the beginning encountering the same zombies you had seen previously. The zombies at this point we were not too concerned with me or Jackie and we often found some of them in groups talking - I never knew zombies could be so social. The one who held on to me at the beginning of the course said as I passed her on the way back, "There's the one that walked me a minute ago," which again gave me a big laugh. 

Apparently after you are finished running (or walking) you can go get zombie-fied and get back out on the course as a zombie. We didn't have time for that, but will keep it in mind for next time as being a zombie is sure to be bug fun. 

After we were finished, we got our Zombie Fun Run T-shirts and made a stop by the doughnut shop in Athens and picked up some sweets for Sunday morning. We then hit the Cracker Barrel for some breakfast/lunch which was exceptionally delicious as I was beyond hungry at that point. 

It was a super fun morning and we had a great time. A big thanks to Jackie for slowing her roll for my non-running self! We will definitely be doing this run/walk again next year!

We Survived!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: When God Makes Lemonade

Today I'm reviewing the book "When God Makes Lemonade" created by Don Jacobson. I received the book through my affiliation with Booksneeze and picked it for a very specific reason. The subtitle of the book is "True Stories that Amaze and Encourage" and these days, I think we could all benefit from true stories that demonstrate God working in the lives of others. I think it goes without saying that 2013 has been a less than stellar year and in fact, at times it has been downright depressing. Through it all though, my faith in and love of God has gotten me out of the valleys and helped me to carry on; after all the Lord himself says that he will neither leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5). Furthermore, we know from the Sermon on the Mount that the Lord will always take care of us as he said "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26) So, I picked this book to help lift my spirits and to help remind me that even when times are tough, God is still by my side. 

I'm sure you are familiar with the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," and that is basically the premise behind the stories told in this collection. The book doesn't have one author. You may have noticed that I mentioned it was created by Don Jacobson. That is because there are 68 different stories in the book and only one of them was written by Mr. Jacobson. The book contains stories from all walks of life and I have no doubt that there is at least one or maybe more that you can relate to. Most of the stories are obviously about difficult situations and circumstances, but they all end on a positive note reflecting on how God made the situation better. A lot of times when we are in a situation the seems sour, it may take weeks, months, or even years to see the lemonade (if you will), but with these stories, you can immediately read the sweetness that God made out of each sour circumstance and perhaps it will shed some hope on your current sour situation; well, provided that you are in a sour situation. 

At the end of many, but not all, of the stories is a section called "Lemon Drop" which is written by Mr. Jacobson. In this paragraph or two, Mr. Jacobson shares some of his own thoughts about the story and how it ties in with God's love for us. Like I said, each story does not contain a "Lemon Drop" but the ones that are there will really give you something to think about. 

Also at the end of each story is information about the author. Some of the information is just one sentence and other authors have a paragraph or more of information.  I liked that this information was included in the book because often in compilations of stories, we aren't always privy to information regarding the people writing or telling the stories. Plus, I always read the book jacket information on authors so for me in general, information about the author(s) is something I enjoy. 

"When God Makes Lemonade" is an easy and thought-provoking read. It's not necessarily a book you need to read all at once either; so, if you are looking for a book you can pick up every now and then and read a story or two, then this would be a good book for you. If you are a teacher of an adult or even teenage class at your church, some of these stories might be good to use as practical applications. A lot of the stories are only three or four pages long and can easily be read in a classroom environment. There are many ways this book can be used in your life to positively influence your own outlook or help positively influence the outlook of others. It will truly amaze and encourage you. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday Night Fun with Friends

On Thursday evening (yes, I realize the title of this post has to do with Friday, but just go with it) I received some heart-wrenching news regarding my brother. I'll let you take a guess as to what that might be. If you know me or have been reading this blog for any amount of time, then it shouldn't take too long to figure it out. I called my friend Nick who was leading our class Bible study that evening and asked him to please remember my brother and our family in prayer and later that evening the group said a special prayer on our behalf for which I am especially grateful. 

Fast forward to Friday - I woke up to a few different text messages from church friends letting me know they were praying for my family and Justin. then some time before lunch my friend Amanda sent me a text asking if she could take me to dinner. As is most always the case, I had no plans for that evening and agreed to meet her at 7:00 p.m. She and Leland, Haley and Holly were going to the safari park out in New Hope (yes, there is a such thing) and wanted to know if I could come with them for that as well. The timing didn't quite work out for me to meet them at the safari park. I needed to let The Tide out, etc. so I opted out of the drive thru safari but said I would see them all at dinner. 

I left work around 4:00 and as I pulled in the front of my house, Jackie pulled in at the exact same time. She had brought me a Gigi's cupcake because not much else cures sadness like heaps of sugar. As we walked up to the front door of my house, there was a vase of roses and carnations from another girl in my class at church, Amberly. Amberly actually lives a couple of blocks down the street from me and we share a birthday, as luck would have it. She left an extremely sweet card for me and said if I needed anything at all that she was right down the road. Her brother battles some of the same demons as Justin and so she can probably relate to how I am feeling at times. 

Gigi's Cupcake

Flowers from Amberly

Totally random note - there was a band bus parked next door when I got home. It has been quite a while since my neighbor had any bands stay the night at her house. Honestly, I have no idea how she even knows about these bands or how they end up staying at her house. I need to ask her about it because I'm curious to find out. The band was called April Mae and the June Bugs and they played at Lowe Mill on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. I did not make the show. This particular bus looked familiar, but I think it may just be the same color scheme as a previous bus. I tried to look back through the blog but couldn't find one like this. I do know that April Mae's bus runs on grease (like that restaurants dispose of) and I know another bus that stayed next door also ran on the same thing; so, maybe April Mae has stayed next door before, but you would think I would remember a name like April Mae and the June Bugs where it's "All About The Boogie"!

April Mae and The June Bugs - It's All About The Boogie!

Jackie hung out at the house for a few minutes and we chatted about all that was going on and also about our Saturday plans (more on that tomorrow) and then she headed home for the evening. I did some laundry and a little cleaning before leaving the house to meet the gang for dinner at Zoe's. 

It was really great to have some normalcy and a diversion to take my mind of of things and I am super grateful to my friends for going to dinner with me. I had the salad and hummus plate which is seriously one of my favorite things ever. We had a fun evening talking about nothing in particular. Leland, being the only boy, was either grateful for the insight into the thought process of women or he wanted to run for the hills. Actually he was a trooper and I think he enjoyed the girl time.

After dinner, we all headed over to Amberly's house and saw on the news that the second Boston Marathon bomber had been captured. We watched the news and had more girl talk and then Amberly whipped up some chocolate fondue. We had strawberries, rice kripsy treats, brownies, bananas, graham crackers and pretzels to dip in the chocolate and it was super yummy! I stayed at Amberly's until about 9:15 or so and then went on home. I was tired and had to be up early the next morning so I wanted to wind down from the evening and go on to bed. 

It was a really fun and relaxing evening and really lifted my spirits and I will always be grateful for these wonderful friends that God put in my life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Mystery of the Mustache

Can someone please tell me when and why mustaches became so stinkin' popular? Everywhere I look, there are mustache do-dads for sale - decals, necklaces, scarves, notebooks, and the list goes on. Seriously, one day there was nothing related to the mustache for sale and then the next day there were a plethora of mustache items available. I don't understand. Who is the person that started this trend and why did they do it? What's so great about a mustache logo? Can someone please explain this to me because I don't get it. Does this mean I'm getting old when I don't understand the new fangled trends? 

As I was driving to work on Wednesday morning, I drove up onto the interstate as I do every morning and there was a gray Ford truck in the lane driving so slow that I actually thought it was just stopped. I had to basically come to a screeching halt so as to not hit the truck. I was traveling at about five miles per hour behind the truck while all other manner of car was pulling over in front of the truck to continue going on down the road, but there were so many cars coming that I couldn't get over to go around. The next thing I knew lights started blinking all over the truck - like police lights. Blue and white and blinking like the lights of a police car. I say blinking, you may say something else. At any rate, I looked at the license plate of the truck and it was just a regular Madison county tag, starting with 47. There was absolutely nothing on the truck to indicate it was a state or city vehicle. Apparently the truck was after a white car in front because the white car pulled over, the truck pulled over, and I was finally able to continue my morning commute. Of course, all of this took place in the course of about 30 seconds, but felt like five minutes. This was the first time I have ever seen an unmarked vehicle without state or city plates and it kind of made me wonder if it was some prankster. I'm sure it was legitimate, but it's had me curious ever since. Have any of you ever noticed any unmarked police cars without city or state plates? Is it legal, because it seems like entrapment to me, at least as far as handing out tickets. 

I wanted to share with you a funny story from Monday afternoon. A friend of mine, Janet, came over around 5:30 to pick up some make-up (yes, I still sale BeautiControl for those of you who didn't know). She didn't plan on staying long as she had somewhere to go and just wanted to stop by quickly to pick up her order. She was there less than five minutes and after she walked out the front door, I went about my business and then saw her walking back up to the house. She had locked her keys in her car but her sunroof was open and she wanted to know if I had a step stool; as a matter of fact I did/do. So, I got out the step stool along with what was once a wire hanger that has been manipulated into a long piece of wire that can be used to retrieve hair from drains and strings from pants. Janet climbed on top of the hood of her car and leaned into the sunroof and used the wire to get her purse and then got the keys out of her purse and was soon on her way to her next destination. So, not only do I have neighbors that I can blog about, but I can also providing blogging material for my neighbors. It's a win-win situation for everyone. 

In work related type news, W is back to bumming rides off of people, well, specifically T. She has yet to ask me for a ride. I don't know if she is scared to ask me or what the deal is, but I can't say I'm upset about it. She is once again waiting to the very last second to ask T for a ride home. She's actually only asked twice, but the second time was last Thursday when there were tornadoes in the area. T doesn't like driving in bad weather and was packing up her things to leave early. When W noticed T was packing up her things, she quickly packed up her things and basically just jumped in the car with T. Needless to say, T was less than happy about it but didn't say anything; however, her driving and mannerisms apparently made W realize that T was upset and so W has not asked for a ride since then. Rumor has it the car has the same problem as before (clutch) and that the part is under warranty but she isn't sure how much the labor is going to be. Um, why don't you get it quoted for one and if she can't afford the labor, well, I don't really even know what to say about that. Maybe for extra cash she could start selling mustache decals; I hear they're quite popular with the kids these days. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Channeling My Inner Mrs. Kravitz

I didn't mention in my last post that the neighbors across the street from me (and next to Jeff) moved out over the weekend. I actually have no idea what their names are or what they do, etc. as I have never bothered to go over and introduce myself. It's sad, I know. Since I've lived in my house, the rental across the street has had many colorful characters live there. I am assuming the lease has run out and the people decided to move elsewhere. In all honesty, I don't think the man who owns the property is a very good landlord, so the high turnover is not much of a surprise. 

When I first moved in there was a lady and her older son who lived there and about two years later her job transferred her to Washington and they moved. Since then, we've had an array of neighbors who never stay more than a year, and sometimes even less than a year. There was a woman who lived there with one or two family members that Jeff referred to as "Panties" because he saw her come outside in her underwear once and I think it scarred him for life. We had a couple of bachelors in their 20's live there and one of them had a girlfriend who was there often as well. In fact, the girlfriend took it upon herself to park in my yard until I left her a note one day to park in her own yard. There was a young family (wife, husband, young child) that lived there before the current couple and we never heard much out of them. Really, the only crazy people that has lived there is "Panties" and her crew. 

The current couple is somewhat of a mystery. When Brittany picked Sydney up on Sunday she thought she recognized the girl as someone she went to school with. The girl has a little boy who stays with her on occasion. They had a cat at one point; in fact I mentioned the cat once before as I found it interesting that it would sit on the roof of the house. The cat also had kittens which they gave away to various folks. Then Jeff found out they took the cat out to the country and just left it somewhere because the girl didn't want to pay for an animal license. They also have, or had, a dog; I'm really not sure if the dog is still with them or not because I haven't seen it in a long while. The dog was sweet and the man who lived there took it for walks. Jeff said it was a very friendly dog. Obviously Jeff and I do a lot of talking about our neighbors. Anyway, some time back in the fall, the couple broke up and the dog, which belonged to the girl, stayed with her across the street. Only instead of taking care of it and letting it inside as she did when her boyfriend lived there, she left the dog tied up outside. The dog would get tangled and Jeff would go over and untangle it. The girl didn't give the dog much care or attention. It was very sad. 

Also while they were broken up she had some other guy shack up over there; but, she was being really secretive about it because I would see his car there like at 5:30 or so in the morning but by the time I left for work, the car would be gone. Whatever girl, you didn't pull one over on me! Anyway, I guess she broke up with the new beau after a month or so and the next thing I knew the original (and still current) boyfriend moved back in. This was a good thing for the dog as the dog once again received attention, was let inside, and walked a few times a day, which made both Jeff and I happy. It's pretty apparent that the girl is not very responsible when it comes to animals. Come to think of it she must not be very responsible with children either or else it seems her little boy would live with her all the time, or at least that's my take anyway. 

That's really all the neighborhood news for now. Thankfully there haven't been any more break-ins recently, or at least none that I know of. Charlie is back to not mowing his grass on a regular basis which makes my yard look stellar compared to his tall, tall grass. I think that he thinks the hideous bushes between our properties belong to me when actually they belong to him. He never mows between them or trims them up so I feel like I'm going to have to break down and have a discussion with him on shrubbery maintenance. If it's left up to me, I would pull them all up and be done with it. The bushes were planted there by the people who flipped Charlie's house and they only planted them there to be mean. So, it just seems inevitable that these dreaded bushes will once again be a topic of conversation; hopefully it will go well, after all, I don't want to have to put the beat down on an old man! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Steady and Slow-Paced Weekend

Well, I didn't post Sunday night - just wasn't in much of a writing mood and the weekend wasn't too eventful - and then really didn't have much to say after the events that took place in Boston yesterday. So, today, Tuesday, I'm back to posting about nothing of great importance, otherwise known as normalcy around this little corner of the internets.  

Friday night I came home from work and mowed the lawn - front and back this time. I need to do some weed-eating as well; but, I suppose that will have to wait until I have a shed again and all my belongings have been returned to me. At any rate, it looked pretty good after I was done. Apparently when my dad and his friend Buddy worked on the mower the week before they didn't properly screw up the side where the filter is because by the time I started on the front, the little door was basically hanging on for dear life. It's probably a good thing this happened though because honestly I didn't have a clue where the filter was even located and it needs to be replaced. So, I plan to do that before the next mowing, which will be here before you know it. 

After mowing the lawn, I spent the rest of the evening doing laundry and straightening. Please don't be jealous of how awesome an evening I had. Then I watched some TV, falling asleep before the stroke of 9:00. I live a thrilling life.

Saturday morning I was up before 6:00 a.m. and started on the weekly cleaning and even made myself some pancakes for breakfast. The church where my dad preaches had a community cookout on Saturday and so I went to that for a couple of hours. They had a really good turnout, or so it seemed, for which I was glad. They put a lot of effort and hard work into the event and hopefully they will soon see the fruits of their labor. 

After the cookout I went back home for a couple of hours of quiet time before Sydney came for the night. Brittany brought her over around 5:00 and I fixed her some dinner which she ate a little of and then declared she was hungry a few minutes later. I think I've mentioned this before, but that child is always hungry and it cracks me up. After her bath she wanted an apple and I think she also had a bowl of cereal at some point. We watched "Mary Poppins" (again) which she is now enjoying and has asked me if I will get it for her for her birthday. She played some games on the Kindle as well and I broke down and bought her a new game she asked for and since she liked it so well, I bought her a few others after she left that are similar to that one. They were just 99 cents so it's not like it broke the bank. I also painted her toenails and actually stayed in the lines as opposed to when I paint my own toenails

Sydney fell asleep shortly after 9:00 while watching the movie and I soon took her to bed. I went to bed myself and watched some of  "The Help" for what seems like the 400th time. About 2:00 a.m. I heard some little footsteps walking towards my room and sure enough here she came. She said it was just so dark in the other room (I leave the closet light on for her) and she wanted to sleep with me. So, I spent the rest of the night wedged between her and The Tide. It was not a relaxing experience. 

We went to church on Sunday morning and got some pizza for lunch and then Brittany came and picked her up. she wanted to know why she couldn't stay two nights, why only one? I told her that I had to go to work early on Monday mornings so I couldn't keep her on Sunday nights too. She is really enjoying church and has made some sweet little friends. It's really fun to watch her learn about the Lord. 

I spent Sunday afternoon and evening after church watching The Masters - what a finish! - and then watched my new favorite "Call the Midwife". I've given up on The Amazing Race; since so many Sundays have had sporting events which have caused The Amazing Race to have a late start, I've missed a lot of episodes. It's also not on On Demand and I don't feel like watching it online. So, I've just dropped it from my Sunday night line-up. "Call the Midwife" is much better anyway. So, that sums up the weekend - not very exciting, but still productive and entertaining, which is just how I like it. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pray For Boston

I started on post to put up on Monday night, but I've decided to wait until Tuesday. Instead, I would just like to remind everyone to pray for all the folks in Boston who have been affected by yet another act of terrorism on this great country we call home. Some days being an American can be frightening and Monday was one of those days. So, remember to pray for the families that have lost loved ones, those that were injured, and the first-responders who helped at the scene and at the hospitals. Pray for our leaders and pray that justice will be served. I'll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Make Up Your Mind Already

There's really no rhyme or reason to today's post. Let this be a warning.

Wednesday the USPS announced it was going to continue Saturday delivery after all. Really? Why? I didn't read anything in-depth about it but the headline I saw said it was because of Congress. Seriously, I don't see what the big deal is in giving up Saturday delivery. I think the postal workers might enjoy being able to watch a full day of football in the fall or go to a cookout in the summer or whatever else they might decide to do with their newly found Saturday free time. I for one would not be opposed to doing away with Saturday delivery and I really don't see what all the fuss is about. I will say this though - if the postal service wants to save money, they might find a better way to ship packages. I recently ordered a few items from Lands End and my package went from Illinois to Nashville (logical) then it went to Birmingham, then to Montgomery and then to Huntsville. Huh? Did they forget where Huntsville was? Then , after it arrived in Huntsville it took another whole day before it arrived in my mailbox. Seriously, seems to me like it would have saved a lot of gas money for my package to come from Nashville to Huntsville. 

We are experiencing another round of storms and tornadic (apparently this isn't a word or I can't find how to spell it if it is) weather this afternoon (Thursday). As luck would have it as soon as I walked out the door to leave work the tornado sirens started going off. I went ahead and left anyway because I needed to stop by Wal-Mart to pick up some Drano and muffin mix. Drano because the bathroom sink isn't draining well and muffin mix because I've been craving Blueberry muffins all week and I didn't have any mix or anything which is extremely unusual for me. 

I made it to Wal-Mart before it started raining and while inside the bottom fell out. Thankfully when I left a few minutes later it wasn't raining too bad. I headed towards home and at one point it felt like I ran over something in the road only there was nothing there. Then I thought I smelled gas and before I reached home my service engine light was on. Y'all I wouldn't be surprised if I end up stranded on the side of the road some time soon. At the moment the service engine light it on, the driver's window is taped up, the passenger side view mirror is missing and the passenger side headlight cover is missing. That's all I can think of at the moment. Usually when the service engine light comes on I just have to put some gas booster in the tank and it's fine before the next fill up, but since it felt like I either ran over something or something fell off the car, I'm doubting it's going to be that simple this time; but here's to hoping. 

In the afternoons, around 3:45 or 4:00, the night janitor comes around and empties our trash. Listen, I don't like to complain about folks, but really, this gets on my nerves. When I'm working, I don't want the janitor all up in my personal space trying to empty my trash or recycling bin. I'm most likely going to be leaving by 4:30 - can't you just wait until then? I like the janitor, he's a nice guy, and I'm nice to him and say hello, but if he would just skirt around me until I'm gone, I would like him a whole lot more.

In other news I'll be getting a new shed soon - oh yeah! My dad's friend Buddy is going to build one at his workshop and then they will bring it over to my house in pieces and put it together. It's going to be wooden and hopefully won't blow away in the next wind storm. 

Hope everyone stays safe through the rain and storms this evening!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dave Matthews Band at Oak Mountain - Part Two

Yesterday I brought you part one of mine and Justin's Dave Matthews Band concert experience and today I bring you part two. Please try to contain your excitement. 

Before I get started on part two of this tale, I must backtrack for a moment and mention an observation from the parking lot before the show. I actually wrote this tidbit down to remember and share with you and then didn't pull out any notes when writing part one and therefore forgot to mention it. At any rate, there were three guys and a girl parked across the row from us and one of the guys had a koozeball. What is a koozeball you may ask, it is a koozie shaped like a football. I realize this is completely irrelevant to any part of this story, but Justin and I found the koozeball to be quite hilarious and before we left the parking lot, these lads were tossing the koozeball around like it was a real football. To us, it was quite entertaining and I wanted to remember it when I look back on this blog years from now. 

Now, to pick up where I left off yesterday... 

I went back to my seat and then Justin decided to make a pit stop and by the time he came back the doofus that had the seat next to mine had arrived. He had been drinking and was just generally obnoxious. He was with a married friend and to the right of them were two girls who drunkie and his friend started hitting on. Y'all, it never ceases to amaze me the ridiculous things guys will say to try and impress and girl. Seriously - so dumb. The guy was also broad, not fat just broad, and took up a lot of room. At one point he elbowed me in the face. I let it slide since I knew he was about two sheets to the wind (he hadn't quite reached three. Justin soon came back to the seat and not long after I reached down to take a sip of my $5.50 Diet Coke and it was gone, vanished, nowhere to be found and I was crushed. There was no way I was about to buy another one though so we just went through the remainder of the show without anything to quench our thirst. It was seriously a bewildering moment. That missing Diet Coke always remain one of life's greatest mysteries. 

The Dave Matthews Band came on stage about 8:30 and opened with Proudest Monkey, which was apparently my cousin Bennett's guess  on what he would open with. Bennett and his dad (also my cousin) Chris were there but Justin and I never saw them. It's a large venue. Most people immediately stood up when the show started, but Justin and I are old and the folks in front of us were still seated so we remained seated until they stood up and therefore forced us to stand up too. The guy beside me started dancing and I was generally afraid for any future blows from his elbow. The band played a lot of newer songs in the first set, but the second set had mostly older songs which made us 30 and 40-somethings happy. All the boozers on our row (and the rows below us for that matter) made multiple trips in and out of the seats for bathroom and beer runs and were sometimes gone for 20 minutes or more, which just baffles me. I mean, let's think about it for a minute, why pay $75 for a ticket to a concert and spend the majority of the show in the bathroom or at the beer cart line? It's a lot cheaper to just listen to music at home and drink beer on your front porch. I'm pretty sure these feelings of mine are a sure sign that maturity has set in and that kind of saddens me. 

There was a lot of pot smoking going on at the show and as Justin put it, you could tell who had the good stuff and who had the not so good stuff, and that's the truth, folks. Even the guy sitting directly in front of us brought a bowl and would look back behind his shoulder and take a hit and this gave Justin and I a large laugh on many occasions. The guy was obviously trying to not get caught but his mannerisms were those of complete paranoia and it was rather hilarious. 

The band played for almost three hours, with the show ending around 11:15 p.m. We maneuvered our way through the masses to the car (where Justin immediately tor into those Dunkin' Doughnuts) and then bobbed and weaved our way out of the parking lot, trying to avoid all manner of people and car. We finally made it to the interstate at midnight - yes, a five minute drive turned in to 45 minutes and that was the most frustrating part of the evening. Once we got on the interstate it was smooth sailing. I had been worried earlier in the day when, as we were driving south to Birmingham, we noticed a TON of people driving north on I-65. Seriously, the traffic going north on the interstate was basically bumper to bumper from Birmingham to Huntsville. I think a lot of people must have been making their way home from spring break beach trips. Thankfully all the vacation traffic had cleared out by midnight and there were no obstacles in getting home. We made a stop for a soda and a bathroom break on the north side of Birmingham and quickly returned to the road. Justin cranked up the volume on Blue's stereo and played DJ until he fell asleep leaving me listening to Green Day and volumes that were probably not safe for my ears. I, however, sung at the top of my lungs and felt quite wired, most likely a result of all the drugs I inhaled at the concert. We pulled in front of my house about 15 minutes until midnight at which point Justin decided to wake up. He made the trek over the mountain while I walked in, let The Tide out and then hit the bed. It was a fun evening and a great brother/sister outing. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dave Matthews Band at Oak Mountain - Part One

I did not originally intend for my recap of last Saturday's Dave Matthews Band show to be two posts; but, you know me - long winded - and the post was getting way too long. So, I've split it in to two posts and today bring you part one.

Saturday afternoon, Justin and I headed south to Birmingham for the Dave Matthews concert at Oak Mountain Amphitheater. I found out some time back in January that Dave (yes, we are on a first name basis) was coming to Birmingham, and immediately made a note for myself to buy tickets the day they went on sale. I asked Justin if he would like to go and if so, then I would buy his ticket for an early birthday present (his birthday is May 3). He said yes, that he would like to go and so the plan was set in motion. 

The tickets went on sale back in February and I logged on as soon as they went on sale and was able to purchase a couple - with the help of Jackie who I was on the phone with and was logging on as well. Whichever one of us got through first would do the actual purchasing. As it turns out I was able to get through and buy the tickets without any problem. 

Justin and I left my house around 2:00 Saturday afternoon and arrived in Birmingham about 3:45 or so. Our first stop was The Fish Market, my favorite place to eat in Birmingham. There was no wait and we were able to get in, get a table, order and eat in less than an hour. Needless to say we had a lot more time on our hands than I anticipate we would; but, I'm a sticker for having plenty of time and arriving early so it was no problem. 

I got my usual - the combo with fish and shrimp - and Justin wanted to order a plate with fish fillets but somehow ended up with a plate that had not only fish, but also shrimp and oysters. We both cleared out plates and left with full bellies. Justin pointed out that it had been exactly four months since we had last eaten there (December 6 when coming back from the State Championship football game), which I found to be quite interesting. After dinner, we went over to the Dunkin Doughnuts across the parking lot and got six doughnuts for the ride home. I figured we might be hungry by the time midnight rolled around. 

We left downtown and made our way to Oak Mountain. I had bought an advance parking pass with the tickets and our spot was very close to the entrance which was nice. There were lots of people out tailgating and boozing it up. Justin and I just sat in the car and observed all the shenanigans going on around us. Then we started reminiscing about Dave concerts from years past and ended up calling our mother to ask her about one such show. It was (I think) my sophomore year of college and mother brought Justin to Oak Mountain to meet me and some friends. I don't even remotely remember the plan to get him back to Huntsville. Maybe he was going to stay the weekend in Tuscaloosa with me. At any rate, I remember there being beer in the trunk of the car and that it was confiscated by mother. I wasn't old enough to legally drink at the time. Justin didn't remember any beer; so, we called mother to see what she remembered. She also didn't remember beer being confiscated. She remembered leaving the beer with all of us. Obviously none of us can remember exactly what happened that night long ago. Suffice it to say Justin and I probably killed those particular brain cells and mother can blame her lack of memory on MS. 

We made the decision to go in to the venue around 6:30ish. We honestly were not sure if there was going to be an opening band or not because the ticket didn't indicate one way or the other. So, we made our way inside and found our seats which were in the middle section of what was once the lawn at Oak Mountain. I don't know when they put in seats there, but they did and they are actually quite nice and we had a great view. The seats are at a steep incline and we could see the stage very well. At this point of the evening we reminisced about all the shows we had seen there on the lawn when it was a lawn, including the Widespread Panic show in the summer of 1997 that we were both out but didn't know the other was there until this past weekend. Yeah, I know. 

There was a trio of women that came in and sat to the left of Justin (I was on his right) which included a mother and her two daughters (one pregnant). The concert was the mother's early birthday present as well and they were from Mobile. They were nice people and were calm and not rowdy which was a plus. As it turns out there was in fact an opening band called Vintage Trouble and they were not very good. There sound was nothing like I expected and neither Justin nor I enjoyed their performance. I left towards the end of their set to get a Diet Coke. I was thirsty and decided to go ahead ans shell out the ridiculous amount of $5.50 for a 20 ounce soda. I first made a pit stop and then went to the main concession stand where the people working there were not letting people have the caps to their sodas because supposedly people in the stand might throw them down towards the stage or at other people. Listen, I'm not about to pay $5.50 for a soda and 1) not get the three Coke points associated with it; 2) leave it open so someone could slip a roofie (I doubt that's how you spell it) in it; 3) leave it open so someone can kick it over and get the place where I'm standing sticky with Diet Coke or 4) not have a top so that I can safely transport said soda from Point A to Point B. So, I found a beer cart that was also selling soda and bought one from there - cap and all. My guess is that one of those Pelham football boosters is a collector of Coke Points and was hoarding all the caps for his or her self. 

Come back tomorrow for part two of this very enthralling story.

Monday, April 8, 2013

T-Ball on a Saturday

It was a beautiful weekend here in Alabama which was perfect for my very busy Saturday. I got up early Saturday morning and started on some laundry and cleaning and then headed out to the ball fields at Central School to watch Sydney play in her first t-ball game of the season. 

She is playing on a team called the Grasshoppers and their uniforms are grey pants with orange shirts and a grasshopper on the front. The little players have their name and numbers on the back of their jerseys. The team is composed of both boys and girls. I'm not sure of the age range on the team, but I would venture to guess four and five year olds. There are a couple of kids on her team that are super tiny and they all look adorable in their uniforms. 

The game started at 8:30 a.m. (first game of the day) which is perfect in my opinion - it's not too warm out and you can get the game out of the way and then get on with your day. I got to the ball park about 8:20 and found the field and my aunt, her boyfriend and my cousin. They all had Grasshopper shirts on as did a lot of the other parents and grandparents. I guess this is the thing to do these days because that certainly wasn't the case when Justin and I played. The Grasshoppers were playing the Lemonaders. Some of the names of these t-ball teams are quite funny, but also very fitting for preschoolers. 

Sydney was playing catcher and her team took the field first. Apparently in t-ball the catcher stands in a circle over to the side and behind home plate and then can move when the ball is in play or when home needs to be covered. Justin and I never played t-ball so I don't know if this is a newer rule or has always been the case. Sydney also wore a helmet while standing in her circle which is a good idea - even major league catchers wear a helmet. As she took the field she saw me in the stands and yelled out and waved, it was cute. 

The Lemonaders scored one run in the first inning and then it was time for the Grasshoppers to bat. The Grasshoppers scored five runs (there is a five-run rule) and then it was back to the field. Apparently Sydney's coach told her not to move out of the circle (we found out later) because when the ball was in play or she should have covered home, she didn't move a muscle. My aunt and I were yelling at her to move and get the ball but she wouldn't move a muscle and then got embarrassed because we were yelling at her and hung her head down. This brought me back to a conversation I had with my friend Ryan when I was in college. He said, "Please promise me you won't be one of those crazy moms that yell at their kids all the time during games." Well, I don't have any kids, but something tells me if I did I would be breaking that promise. I have a tendency to get a little crazy at times. I even wanted to yell at the kids I didn't know to hustle on down the first base line; some of those kids were just taking their sweet time. 

In the end, the Grasshoppers won about 15-11 or something along those lines and they got seven outs during the game which I think is pretty impressive for a group of kids that young. They all looked like they were having fun and that's what's most important. I loved it when the kids would see a parent or grandparent in the stands and wave at them. Sydney had a great time and looked adorable in her uniform. I'm looking forward to seeing her play again before the season is out. It's sure to provide an hour of good clean fun!