Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hackberry

I have one large tree on my property. It's sad but true. Want to know what's even sadder? The one lone large tree on my property is a Hackberry and I absolutely abhor it! Well, in the latter part of the summer anyway. 

This time of year, the Hackberry (which my great-grandmother planted by the way) produces gobs and gobs of sap which inevitably ends up on my roof and the chairs on my porch and my car and it seems that every other day I'm washing something because of the sap situation. If the Hackberry wasn't the only large tree on my property, I might have it cut down, but it does provide a lot of shade and it's only annoying about three months out of the year so I guess I will continue to put up with it...for now. 

Not only does the tree produce massive amounts of sap, it also attracts aphids which eat sap. The aphids are little white bugs which look like lint but if you look closely you can see them moving around. After parking in my spot for just a few minutes there will be some combination of sap and aphids on the car. Now, I'm not sure if the tree saps more because of the aphids or exactly how that all works, just that aphids are not good according to my neighbor Jeff who is knowledgeable in all things flora. 

Lady bugs are natural attackers of aphids and will eat them and therefore rid you of your aphid problem so whenever I see a lady bug, I let her be because she is helping, not harming. Jeff always says that when the aphids are bad there were not enough lady bugs. Well, my friends, thank to the power of the World Wide Web, I have ordered 1550 lady bugs from Amazon of all places and they arrived today. I'm going to rid myself of this aphid problem and in turn hope that the sap problem subsides a little as well. I guess you can call this my summer of 2013 science experiment. 

When I opened up the package, I read the instructions carefully. I had seen online where the ladybugs needed to be released at dusk and I wanted to make sure that was correct. The paperwork actually said the lady bugs could be released at early evening which I guess is dusk and since it was in fact early evening, I went ahead and opened the sealed bag and shook a few of them out and then placed the bag at the foot of the tree and let the lady bugs come on out.

I don't know if this little experiment of mine will be successful, but I hope it will be and I will certainly keep you posted. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Here's What's Happening

As I type this, I'm on a conference call with China and it's 9:00 p.m. It's awesome...or not. Things are just as busy this week as last and probably even more so. Unfortunately, this means my blogging will most likely once again be placed on the back burner. Please hang in there with me while I adjust to a crazy puppy and a crazy workload and maybe at some point life will return to some semblance of normal. One can only hope.

On Monday I had a day off from work to take care of some annual doctor's appointments. I'm proud to say for the fifth year in a row my eye prescription did not change; so, there's that. I was also able to meet Jackie for lunch which was awesome because we never get to go to lunch together since we work on separate ends of town. We ate at Sandwich Farm which is usually quite good, and mine was, but Jackie's sandwich was sub-par so they gave her a refund and a ticket for a free sandwich in the future.

After my last doctor's appointment, I went to election training for the special amendment vote we have coming up on September 10. I actually attended the inspector's school this time around. The inspector at my precinct is an older gentleman who is not in the best of health and he asked me to attend the inspector training in case he was unable to make it on the 10th. So, I guess you could say I'm next in line for the inspector position at precinct three which means I'll be making a whole $50 more than I currently do each election.

In work related news, I have finally officially been told that I am getting a promotion. It's something I've been working towards for a while now and I'm really grateful and thankful for the opportunity and the confidence my supervisor has in me to move me on up. I haven't been told the details such as salary and when it goes in to effect, but at least I know it is really happening and no longer a rumor wafting through the cubicles.

In regards to that, I've been in customer meetings all day and will probably be in meetings again tomorrow and in the mean time my emails will continue to back up. So, if you've emailed me at work, I'll try to get back to you at some point this year. I'm still listening to this Chinese conference all by the way - 30 minutes later. Did I mention it's loads of fun because it really isn't.

In gym related news, we WOW girls are still training with Josh on Tuesday and Thursday nights. My friend Maria even came with me recently and saw just how hard we work in the classes. Tonight I did 320 pounds on the leg press. Josh put more weight on all my presses than anyone else - so, watch out world, I'm making muscles...or something like that.

So, those are just a few of the things that are going on in my crazy and busy life right now. Football season is also fast approaching, as in it arrives Thursday night and things won't be slowing down any time soon, but really, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Life With Pippa

Hello there reader, I assure you, I am alive. Last week was very busy for me - I had a lot going on at work, I was adjusting to having a puppy at home and I was tired from all of those things. So, by the time I got home in the evenings, logging on to the computer was about the last thing I wanted to do.

Pippa and I are settling in to a routine of sorts. She is growing and everyone says she is taller and bigger this week than she was last and I guess they are right. It's hard to tell when you see her every day. When I took her to the vet last week, she weighed 9.9 pounds and I will be anxious to see what she weighs when we go back on September 7.

I am getting up about 15 minutes earlier than I used to on the weekdays to make sure I have enough time to take her outside and play. Then a friend of mine, Pat, and sometimes her husband Dave come by around 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning and again around 2:00 or 2:30 to let Pippa out for a potty break. She has been good to not go inside the crate which has been great, but she still goes in the house on occasion. I've started taking treats with me outside and each time she goes potty outside I give her one and that seems to be helping with the potty training process.

At night she is sleeping with me and the past couple of nights she did extremely well, sleeping basically the whole night. I took her out when I got up for a bathroom break for myself and then she went right back to sleep. Last week she was exceptionally crazy at night, but there was also a full moon and I'm hoping that had a little something to do with her extreme hyper active behavior. Don't get me wrong, I know puppies are hyper, but she was beyond crazy last week.

She is also eating more which is good because she wasn't eating too much at first, but I guess she has gotten used to the food and is realizing that's her only choice. She is playing more as well and barking quite a bit and random things. She has also discovered her reflection in a mirror and the reflection of the dishwasher and always thinks there is another dog there. One of the funniest things is when she hears a dog or some other animal on TV and she stops whatever she is doing and looks around for a furry friend.

I wish she was able to be out of the crate more during the day, but unfortunately puppies love to chew on everything and I just can't trust her to be out and about right now when no one is at home. Overall, though, things are going pretty well considering she has only been with me a little over a week. She is a really sweet puppy and I'm liking her more every day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The First Weekend

Well, Pippa the Pup has come to live with me and so far things seem to be going okay considering the poor dog was just taken away from her mother and siblings. 

I had checked with the family where she was born to make sure that they didn't have anything going on Friday and scheduled to pick her up around 7:30. I was told that time was fine and no, they didn't have any plans for Friday which worked out well because I needed to mow the lawn and pick up a new toilet seat (another story for another day) before getting the dog. As luck would have it, my yard was super thick and required me mowing it twice and long story short, I was running way behind schedule. I called the family and they were planning to come in to town to go out for dinner so they were sweet to bring Pippa in to town and met me in the parking lot at Lowe's. 

The first night went okay, but not great. to be honest, I wasn't too fired up about getting her and was kind of reluctant about having her around. She stayed real close to me while we were sitting on the couch and when I went to bed, I put her in bed with me. At some point during the night, she got a little rambunctious and so I decided to try out the crate. Not long after putting her in there, she started whining and then kind of went berserk. I got up to see what all the fuss was about afraid that the crate might collapse on her as crazy as she was acting. As it turns out, she had pooped in the crate and then apparently stepped or sat in it which did not sit too well with her because she then began jumping around like a wild child and got poop everywhere. So, at 2:00 a.m. I was bathing her and cleaning the crate. I let her sleep with me the rest of the night and she did okay. 

Saturday morning I took her to the vet and she got her first shots and a de-wormer; of course the vet had to mention what a good dog the Tide was which started the waterworks. After the vet visit, we went by my parents' house so they could see her. I still wasn't too fired up about her at the time; but they all liked her. She and Scout just kind of had a stare off and didn't really do much else. 

Saturday afternoon Justin came by to help with a cookout I was having that night and Pippa pretty much just laid by him and slept (as did he) while I got some things ready for the cookout and took a bath (being clean is important, y'all!). At the cookout she entertained the masses and also did some napping on a blanket in the yard. She slept with me again that night and since I have to get up for a potty break in the middle of the night (I have the smallest bladder ever), I just let her out then too and that seemed to work out well. 

Sunday morning I left her in the crate while I went to church and when I came home she was laying in it being quiet, but I discovered she had in fact pooped inside, but thankfully had not jumped all in it. Sunday night she also stayed in the crate while I went to church and there were no issues that evening. All in all, I think it was probably a pretty good first weekend for the little gal. I'm sure she was kind of scared and nervous and I still wasn't too keen on the idea of a new dog. I will say she has grown on me since I first got her and I think she will be a pretty good dog. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting Ready for Pippa the Pup

Well, folks, this Friday Pippa the Pup comes to live with me and I've been spending the last few days getting ready for her arrival. The last time I had a puppy (11 long years ago), I lived in an apartment in North Carolina, I was in my 20s, and I let the puppy (known to you as The Tide) have free roam of the place. I think it probably goes without saying that this was not the best decision I have ever made. 

The Tide tore the apartment up from top to bottom. the linoleum that was in the kitchen when I moved into the apartment was no longer there when I moved out. The Tide chewed it away to the concrete floor. She chewed the baseboards and ate drywall and I have no doubt that if there had been no furniture in the apartment I probably could have picked the carpet up as well because she chewed all around the carpet causing it to come loose. She ate books and gnawed on everything, including a Christmas tree, knocking it over and causing a buzz as the lights came unplugged from the wall. When The Tide and I moved to Alabama, I left a key on the kitchen counter and high tailed it out of town. It was not really a shining moment for me or The Tide.

Having learned how not to raise a puppy and being a homeowner instead of a renter, I plan to do things a little differently this time. I don't, after all, want my home chewed to pieces when I arrive home in the evenings. So, I bought an extremely large crate and am going to give crate training a try. The crate takes up almost half the spare bedroom which is annoying but I wanted to make sure Pippa could use the same crate while she is growing. This crate has a divider you use and expand the size the puppy can use as it grows. It seems kind of weird and cruel to put a dog in a cage, but I guess it beats the heck out of having a chewed up house and from what I've heard, dogs love their crates; so, hopefully it will work out. If you have any crate training tips, please leave them in the comments. 

I've got a couple of people who are going to let Pippa out for a potty break during the day. One is my neighbor Jeff and the other is a lady who I used to go to church with that lives close to me and I'm sure Jackie will come by on occasion since she works close to my house and loves to spoil my dogs. I have no doubt that this puppy will provide many an entertaining blog post.

In addition to the crate, I have also bought some new toys but I'm using Tide's old blankets and I'm not really sure how that will work out but I guess we shall soon see. The trainer who was teaching our WOW class also crocheted me a blanket for the puppy which was so very nice of her and such a surprise! I didn't know Beth knew how to crochet or that she was making me a blanket. She just brought it to the gym last week and it was so sweet of her. (Side note - she is not working with us as of last Thursday as she injured her foot and is having surgery next week. We are working with Josh until Beth is able to come back from surgery). 

So, the house is more or less ready for Pippa the Pup. Hopefully the transition will be a smooth one and I'll be able to reach into the depths of my patience bag as I adjust to life with a puppy. Wish us luck! 

The crate

The blanket from Beth

 All set up and ready for Pippa the Pup

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We're Too Old For Ice Skating

I'm not really going to mention much about my Friday night because, well, it really isn't worth mentioning. I spent the majority of the evening reading and doing laundry and that's hardly worthy of a blog post on it's own. Saturday, however, was a rather eventful day.

Saturday morning I woke up around 6:15 or so and got started on some housework and finishing the laundry and washing the bed linens. At some point I sat down to read for a few minutes and also checked my phone for emails and tweets and photos on Instagram. A photo posted by my friend Jenna caught my eye. It was of a Saturday morning yard sale and as soon as I saw it I thought that it looked like a home that would be in my neighborhood and upon further evaluation thought, that looks like Amberly's house (she lives down the street) and lo, it was Amberly's house. 

I had a bag of "junk" at my house that I have been meaning to take to a thrift store for a sweet forever and so I text Amberly and said, "hey, I have a bag of junk I would like to get rid of, can I bring it down?" and her answer was, "yes, come on down." I quickly grabbed the bag of "junk" and took it down to Amberly's.

When I got there, I discovered that not only did Amberly and Jenna have a table set up but so did my friends Nick and Kristina and another girl, Marci. Since Nick had no "girl" items at his table, I put my things with his and told him to just keep the money from whatever he sold. My main purpose was to just be rid of the "junk". I ended up lingering around for a while and Nick sold three of my DVDs (two to Jenna) and gave me the $3. I think he made another $2 or $3 after I left - clearly what I had was junk. If they had told me in advance about the yard sale, I could have better planned and done some serious cleaning out; but, alas, they didn't. Maybe the next time they have a sale they will remember to tell me about it because I have no doubt I could get rid of a lot of stuff. 

After hanging at the yard sale for a while, I went back home and finished up some cleaning and then cleaned myself up and went to the Hampton Cove church of Christ to partake of a hamburger and hot dog. This is the church where my dad preaches and they were having a cookout and well, I do enjoy eating - especially when the eating is free. I was only able to stay for about 30 minutes though because I had to leave to go by and pick up my grandmother and take her with me to Sydney's birthday party. Sydney turned 5 on the 13th, but her party was on Saturday the 10th at the IcePlex. I have not been to the IcePlex in ages, but walking in the door took me back about 25 years or more to when my brother and I went ice skating as kids and were at hockey games every weekend. Those were good times, my friends, good times. 

Jackie and her kids were there as well. They were at the top of the invite list as Sydney is "in love" with Troy, "her boyfriend". Troy, bless him, is such a good sport about being the "boyfriend". When my grandmother and I arrived (a few minutes late), Troy, Ashlyn, and Sydney were all laced up and skating the afternoon away. It was a lot of fun to watch. My grandmother even stood at the glass and watched for a while. It wasn't long before Jackie and my aunt talked me into lacing up the skates as well. I had not brought any socks, but my aunt did and gave them to me. 

Jackie and I donned a pair of skates and hit the ice. It has been a long time since I have ice skated. Once upon a time I wasn't to bad at it, but that was when I was young and nimble and now I'm not so nimble. So, I skated close to the wall and on about our third lap around I lost my balance and busted my knee on the ice and it took a little bit of maneuvering to get up - I told Jackie that we were too old to be skating around an ice rink. I called it quits after another lap or two around the rink. Jackie, however, braved a few laps without be and not long after busted her booty on the ice. I believe she suffered a wee bit as a result as well. As of the writing of this post she was thankfully feeling better. 

We had chocolate cake and Sydney opened her presents about as quickly as you can imagine. She got some clothes from me and also from Jackie and the kids as well as some nail polish. Some of her friends gave her toys and a purse and a gift card and some Barbies. She had a big time. My grandmother and I left around 3:00 and I dropped her off at home and then went to my own home where a nap was in order. I spent the rest of the evening - you guessed it - reading. (Y'all seriously need to check out the Divergent series if you haven't already. 

Sunday at church, Jackie and I compared our injuries. I was actually not sore, but at the time she still was and I want y'all to know that she agreed with me that we are in fact too old to be skating around an ice rink. Sadly, it took her falling on her booty to realize it; but, we'll always be kids at heart! 

Sydney's Cake

 Troy with purple teeth - although they didn't show
up too purple-y here.

Troy, Sydney and Me

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

I've got to tell you that I've spent the last week with my nose in a book (or my Kindle as the case may be) and I have loved every minute of it. After what has (so far) been a rather depressing year, I'm finally beginning to feel like my old self again. I've read three books in the past two weeks and have already downloaded another one to (hopefully) devour. I have been a lover of reading since my youth and there was once a time when you would never catch me without a book in hand. Somewhere along the way I apparently lost my way and it has really been years since I've red and read and read some more. I do book reviews (as you probably know) on occasion; but rarely are those books something I'm really interested in and when I read a book as an assignment, it is rare that I get real joy out of the reading.

In recent years, I have had a "spell" or two when I actually did a good amount of reading - when I read the Twilight series and then The Hunger Games series, but other than those two sets of books, I have not read a whole lot that has got me fired up about reading. 

Back in late June, I went into a book store to pick up a copy of the Velo News le Tour de France preview (yes, I am that nerdy) and I noticed that an author I really like had a new book out. So, I immediately grabbed a pen and a piece of scrap paper and made a note (yes, I am old school like that) to look it up and download it to my Kindle. A few weeks later when the Tour was over and there was nothing worth watching on the time suck known as television, I downloaded the book and started reading and rediscovered why I love reading so much. 

The book was And The Mountains Echoed by Khalid Hosseini and it was so good. Each chapter is told from a different person's perspective and in a different time period but by the end of the book, it is all tied together and turns out to be a beautiful story. As with his other books, this one is also primarily set in Afghanistan. Hosseini also wrote The Kite Runner (fantastic book) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (also good) and his third and latest book did not disappoint. I loved it. 

I don't know if it popped up on my Kindle or if I was perusing the Kindle book store or exactly how my next selection came to be, but the next book I downloaded was Divergent by Veronica Roth and people, I skipped meals and chores and TV watching to read this book. I even reserved myself a conference room at lunch one day just so I could read. Divergent is the first book of a trilogy and is similar to The Hunger Games and yet different in so many ways. The movie is coming out in March 2014 and I'm already pumped about going to see it. Also, for those of your Downton fans who may remember the scandalous Mr. Pamuk, the actor who played Pamuk is playing one of the lead roles in the film. I seriously could not read this book fast enough and emailed Jackie and told her she MUST download it and start reading it. She started reading it over the weekend and thankfully her kids are now a little older and can fend for themselves because the book has encapsulated her just like it did me. 

Last Thursday I downloaded the second book in the series, Insurgent, and started reading it on Friday. I finished the last four chapters on my lunch break Monday. I think it goes without saying that I spent most of my weekend with my eyes scrolling across the Kindle. The third book in the series, Allegiant, does not come out until October 22 and I am literally counting down the days (70 as of Tuesday, August 13) until it comes out. I've already ordered it for my Kindle and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Since I'm on a reading kick and really want to keep it up, I downloaded Gone Girl on Monday to start reading Monday night. I've heard good things about it from various people and I'm hoping that it will live up to its expectations. I'm not expecting it to be as wonderful as the Divergent books, but hopefully it will peak my interest and keep me reading for a while longer. 

What about the rest of you? Do you have any good books to recommend? Jackie and I are always looking for a really great read and I (and I'm sure she) would really appreciate some reading recommendations. Fire away in the comments! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

Today, thanks to the folks at BookSneeze, I have another book review for you. The book, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, was written by a mother and daughter about their lives and adventures in the kitchen and even contains some recipes that you might want to try. 

This mother-daughter duo could not be any more different if they tried. Becky Johnson, the mother, is messy and unorganized, whereas Rachel Randolph, the daughter, is all about organization; but when the two come together in the kitchen, they make magic happen (or something like that). The kitchen is the one place where these two seem to be in sync in life and therefore they decided to co-author this book which contains hilarious stories and delicious recipes. Another note if interest about these two is that Rachel and her family are vegan whereas with Becky, anything goes. I'm with Becky on this one. 

Each chapter is told by both Becky and Rachel and you know who is speaking as the name is listed above each paragraph. Their stories intertwine in a delightful way and at the end of each chapter are a few recipes and sometimes even pointers. The book is very similar to another book I reviewed earlier this year and I tend to really like this style of book. I enjoy reading about the experiences others have had entertaining friends and family and learning about the recipes that bring them back to those memories. Growing up in a house where the door was always open to friends, family and fellowship, it's interesting to read about other families whose homes were also always filled with food, laughter and good conversation. 

Due to the diversity of the lifestyles of the two women (traditional and vegan), there are a wide range of recipes for any cook. Many of the recipes look like they are worth trying and contain ingredients that are easily found in your pantry or at the supermarket. The recipes and stories alike make for a fun light-hearted read and is a book that you can pick up and put down at intervals - in other words, not something you necessarily have to commit to if you're one who doesn't like to sit down and commit to the continuous reading of a book. 

We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook: A Mom and Daughter Dish about the Food That Delights Them and the Love That Binds Them was released on August 06, 2013, is available in paperback or e-book from major retailers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and would make a great gift for the cook in your life - or yourself!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Case of the Missing Black Pants

Last Wednesday I had plans to wear black pants to work. I had an appointment with the chiropractor that afternoon and was teaching at church that evening and pants, as opposed to a dress or skirt, are much more conducive to those activities. I went to my closet and my black pants were no where to be found. I knew that they were not in the laundry basket because I had not worn them yet that week and all the laundry was done over the weekend. It was extremely perplexing. So, I just grabbed a pair of dark gray pants and wore those instead.

In case you are wondering, I actually have two pairs of black dress pants, but one pair needed some buttons sewn on and I am terrible at sewing and had been putting off that task for as long as possible. In fact, Sunday afternoon I did finally manage to sew on the missing buttons, but I had already washed the darks and so after sewing on the button the pants went in the laundry basket. 

After Wednesday, I honestly didn't think about the black pants again until Tuesday when I wanted to wear them and once again, I could not for the life of me find the pants. I searched high and low. I looked in the closet, on the floor of the closet, climbed on top of the washer and looked behind it to see if they had fallen behind it or beside it. I dug through my gym bag, looked amongst some folded clothes, under beds and under dressers and y'all, these pants have grown a pair of legs and apparently run for freedom. 

When I got to work on Tuesday I decided to email the director at the Downtown Y to see if someone had turned in a pair of black dress pants. I hear back later that day that, not surprisingly, none had been turned in or found. She asked if maybe I had left them in a locker and I said no, that I usually put my clothes in my gym bag and just thought maybe I had inadvertently left them on the floor or a bench when changing one afternoon. So, the mystery continued. 

I looked again on Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning, hoping that I might find them poking out from some nook or cranny some where in the house but I have still been unsuccessful in my quest to find the missing black pants and it's more than annoying. I can get by with one pair in the summer when I wear a lot of skirts and dresses and sandals; but in the winter, two pairs are kind of a necessity as I often go two or even three days of the work week in black pants. 

So, I've basically resigned myself to the fact that I will soon be forced to buy a new pair of black pants which really does not make me very happy. The missing pair, in fact, was my favorite of the two pairs I own, or owned as the case now seems to be. The only scenario that even remotely makes sense is that someone stole them out of my gym back and I never noticed until I went to wear them again. Although, who would steal a pair of pants out of someone's gym bag and nothing else? that just seems beyond strange to me. Although when I lived in New York I did have a favorite skirt stolen out of the dryer at the University and everything else was left behind; so, maybe it does make sense. At any rate, I have since purchased a lock (BOGO at Publix, y'all!) and am now using that at the gym for fear or losing yet another piece of clothing. Then again, maybe the black pants didn't disappear from the gym. Whatever the cause of the missing pants, it remains a mystery to me. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Photos From My Phone - August 2013 Edition

Okay folks, it's the moment you've all been waiting for (or not) - the August 2013 edition of "Photos from my Phone".

I took this photo of pickled grape leaves when I was in Publix a while back and sent it to my dad. You may recall he ordered a terrible dish at a Greek restaurant while we were on vacation which contained grape leaves. We both got a good laugh out of this photo. 

Back at the end of June or maybe it was in July, I went downtown and watched some people rappel off the old Huntsville Times building for the Over The Edge fundraiser for the YMCA. If I can remember, I am going to sign up next year and hope to raise enough money to go off the top of the building.

This photo was obviously a mistake. I was running to catch the shed door from shutting while it had wet paint on it. I was successful in case you were wondering.  

This ice cream is really good, y'all! 

My freshly mowed back yard - a lovely site 

 Huntsville Utilities recently replaced my gas meter and this is what my flower bed looked like when they were done. 

And this is what the corner of my backyard looked like. They came back later and put some straw down at least which I thought was nice.  

The day we went to pick up my new vehicle, my dad drove it around the block when we got home. The next morning when I went out to go to work, I opened the door and discovered he had left his spit cup inside. He said he was just "breaking it in properly."

And now for the boots - The front before

The side before 

The side after 

The front after

Here's an up close of the patched in leather. Which one goes with the original boot and which one is the patch?

Monday, August 5, 2013

The First Weekend in August; Well, for 2013

I feel like after all the exciting news and updates from last week that this week might be a bit of a let down for you as I really don't have very much to  write about (again). I will, however, do my best to entertain you for a few minutes of your day. 

So, we've reached the first full week of August which is so hard to believe. The year has flown by and I don't know about you, but I've already started thinking about what I'm getting people for Christmas and have even bought a few things. Right now, I'm just mostly excited that another football season will soon be upon us. Three weeks from this Thursday will be the start of high school and college season, and in two weeks will be the high school jamboree games, which to be honest I don't get too fired up about but my dad sure does. It will, however, be the first football season without my Papa and that makes the time bittersweet, especially, I'm sure, for my dad. 

My weekend was rather uneventful, really. After work I got the oil changed on Bertha since I had no record of when it was last changed and figured better safe than sorry. By the way, I would like to say that I get my oil changed at the Goodyear on Clinton and the total is around $23 which really beats the price of $40ish that you pay at other places. Just thought I would pass that along for those of you interested in some oil changing cost savings. 

Friday night I finally got around to mowing the grass which took longer than normal because I let it go too long without being cut. In my defense, I have not felt well thanks to a bad sinus infection and just could not bring myself to do any yard work until this past Friday. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I had a chat with my neighbor Charlie about some hideous bushes that are between our properties and asked him if he would mind me chopping them down. Long story short, he did not and I got one whole bush whacked down on Friday night before coming to the conclusion that a chainsaw would best suit my needs. So, that project has been placed on hold until a chainsaw can be borrowed from my dad's friend who is out of town. Rest assured that when the project is complete, I will be writing a post about it. I cannot wait to be rid of those bushes!

Saturday morning I had a haircut appointment at 8:00 and then at 9:00 I met my brother at Garvin's to get a load of gravel for my parking spot. I call it a spot because it is a far cry from a driveway and really no more than one car can fit there - thus, it's a spot. At any rate, it had been about six or so years since I had put any gravel there and it was in desperate need of a new batch since every time it rains (and that's often these days) it gets more muddy than anything. It took us all of about 30 minutes to unload the gravel and get it spread out and my goodness does it look a lot better there. This coming Saturday I have big plans to put out new mulch and hope we don't get rained out. Actually, I would work in the rain, but I'm not sure about Justin. As my dad says, you've got to get all these type projects done and out of the way before football season starts. That way you can relax and watch football on Saturdays.  

After shoveling gravel, Justin left and I showered and then sprayed bug bite medicine all over my poor legs which were at this point covered with mosquito bites. Seriously, they are bad this year! I then enjoyed a nap and did some laundry - see, it's all very exciting. On Friday Sydney had called to say she was spending the night, but when she hadn't shown up by 5:30 my guess was that she had changed her mind so I went out to PetSmart to look for a crate and some toys for the new dog and also to the grocery store. I ran into a couple of people I know and it was a rather enjoyable evening if I do say so myself. 

Sunday, as you may have guessed was church, nap and church again - my Sunday's don't change much. So, that was my weekend, such as it was. Erika asked for some pictures of the boots I mentioned last week so look for those some time this week (maybe tomorrow). Truth be told, I had some before pictures but when I wrote the post I was too lazy to take any after pictures so I will try to get that done this evening. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy Monday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let's Talk About Boots, Baby

Towards the end of June I mentioned that I was in the process of a boot experiment. As you may or may not know (depending on how long you've been stopping by and perusing these pages) I have gigantic calves and boots that will fit me are more or less impossible to find. I've had some luck with the pull up boots (no zipper) in the past but even now can rarely find a pair of those that will fit. 

Back in June I decided to look online for a pair of boots because as you probably know, boots are cheaper in the summer when people are more concerned with wearing sandals. I remembered that around the time of my birthday I had found a pair of boots online that were for extra wide calves and thought I would see if they were still available in my size and purchase them in hopes that they would fit my calves, which by the way are muscular. I don't want y'all thinking I got some big ole fat flabby calves. My large calves, by the way, come from my mother (thanks a lot, mother); had I inherited my dad's chicken legs, I would not be writing this post. The boots that I had looked at in February were no longer available, but I was able to find another pair (in black) that had the same calf dimensions and I ordered those. 

When the boots arrived a few days later, I was really excited to give them a try. I was able to get the right one one with a little struggle and a slight fear for cutting off the circulation in my leg. The left one was a different story. It went up most of the way, but not all of the way. I pondered whether or not the boots might stretch a little after some wear, but really, that's not how you want to decide whether or not you should keep a purchase. So, I called Erika because I knew that she had once had a pair of boots stretch by the cobbler and I wanted to know more about that and also the cost. She told me she thought it was around $30 or so and that she had used Brady's. You may recall, by the way, that Brady's is the one who told me my favorite brown shoes were, and I quote, "throw aways".

So, I opted to go to Ed's Shoe Repair with boots in tow. I have used Ed's in the past for various shoe and boot mending procedures and my dad has used Ed's in the past as well so I went in to see what Ed could do for me. I took the boots in and asked about stretching them. Ed said yes, that he did stretching and the cost was only $6 and if the stretching didn't work, he could cut the boots open, find matching leather and make them wider. The cot for adding the extra leather was $30. So, I left my boots with Ed with a big smile on my face because I just knew it was going to work! 

A week later I stopped by Ed's only to find out that the stretching would not work because of how wide they already were - I can see you all snickering now and picturing the largest calves of all time. Seriously, I sometimes think I should ask Guinness to come out and measure! The good news, however, was that Ed had found some leather that matched and could cut the boots and make them wider that way. I told him to go for it. I had gotten the boots at a really good price and didn't mind putting another $24 in to them considering this was the closest I had come to finding anything that fit. Furthermore, Ed told me that, "this is what I'm known for" in regards to making the boots bigger so why not go for it? 

A week later I came in and he still had not finished them, but had found some matching leather and cut the boots and wanted me to try them on before he cut the leather to add on to the boots to make sure he had a wide enough piece. So, I stepped into the boots and more or less got a "Wow, glad I didn't cut the leather because I'm going to need a bigger piece than I thought." I told you - giant calves! 

Finally, this week I went by and the boots were ready and they looked fantastic! the leather Ed found was a really great match and unless you are looking specifically for the difference, I don't think you can tell. The left is still a tad tighter than my right but I can get them both on and up with no problems and my feet shall be shod with boots this winter. I really could not be happier about this wardrobe development. I now want to get a pair of brown boots and have him do the same thing because the man is a boot genius! Women of Huntsville, if you need a boot man - definitely go to Ed's Shoe Repair. I assure you, you will not be disappointed!