Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's (Eve)

And a happy New Year's Eve to blogland!

It was just about 40 degrees when we got up this morning, with howling winds making it feel much colder. Since the temperatures are set to drop to about 20 tonight, it was time to actually wrap the exposed water pipes with insulation. And since Stud Muffin threw his back out not too long ago, I was elected "installer." Hrumf!

First, you have to don warm work clothes, eye protection (from the fiberglass), gloves, and a mask (in order to rob a bank if you find one under the house!) You also need to cover your hair, unless you enjoy clumps of mud dangling from it as you crawl around and bang your head on the floor joists.

I wore overalls and a sweatshirt on top of thermal underwear, scarf, wool socks and work boots. I started out with eye wear, but it kept fogging up. No mask to be found, so we went with the bandito look and tied a bandana around my face. Thin-ish gloves were procured and similarly discarded. Have you ever tried to unroll duct tape, cut it with scissors and tape insulation, while wearing gloves?? Guess I can cross "surgeon" off of my career list! Aren't I lovely (and happy?)

There are no "before" pictures, because Studly high-tailed it back into the warmth of the house and left me to get to work. So, here is the "after" picture.

For some (unknown) reason, the main water line was brought above ground under the porch, not under the house. It runs along the cinderblock skirting before it turns to head towards the connection under the house. The shiny stuff in the background is the foil-backed insulation. Closer in, running the width of the porch, I also covered the insulation with plastic sheeting, since water gets in through the porch floorboards.

I may never move again! Crawling, squatting, sitting and scooting in about 3 feet of space below the porch floor is just a bit more than I could handle this morning! But the deed is done, and hopefully there will still be running water in the morning!!

Here are my poor (hard) working clothes drying outside.

My boots are so clumped with wet mud! I need to chisel it off, but since I could barely GET them off, that job will have to wait for another day.

And who says I don't know how to dress up nice and partay??

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First sentence meme

Being somewhat quiet around here, I stole this idea from Cauldron Ridge; sort of a look back on the year based on the first sentence of the first post of each month. Here's a trip down memory lane.

I hope everybody had a good welcome to the new year!

This is why I am intimidated by and in awe of my sister Christina , all at the same time.

Hard to believe that there is only one more of these Sundays from Singapore post after this!

Well, it's been raining here.

I am up to my eyeballs with work!

It's amazing what one guy and a bulldozer can do in a day!!

As much as I love summer fruits, this to me is the epitome of summer pleasure!

I am so tired of whining about how hot it is.

Had a wonderful trip to Vegas to help Almost Grown celebrate her 23rd birthday.

Anybody remember the Domino's ad campaign with the bunny-eared guy trying to thwart the Domino's delivery guy?

I woke up this morning at 4 AM to feed the "pesticle" dogs and realized that I had a headache.

Photo by Articulate Matter.

There is no beaver update this time.

Kind of a mixed bag, if you ask me. That's good, I guess. It means that that there were some adventures, I had some productive spans, and could share some of what goes on in my life.

Here's to the start of another year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The end of the year, as we know it!

What a wild week this has been, weather-wise. On Monday, I was freezing my patootie off with temperatures in the teens, madly shoving electric heaters under the house in order to thaw frozen water pipes.

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See? That's me in the backyard!

Today, Saturday... yeah, it's 72 degrees and I'm running my errands in sandals, airing my toes out for the world to see.

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Like this, except I don't have this many feet. The wind is howling and we will probably get slapped by a tornado later this afternoon.

All I can say is...What the...?

Studly and I awoke to a news report out of Hawaii, that Oahu (the island where Honolulu is, and my home town) was without any electricity.

Photo by Okay, this is New York, but you get the point!

Excuse me?? Does the President-elect know about this?? Wake him up! Oh yeah, he's on Oahu, so give him a flashlight. I sure hope his plans for infrastructure rejuvenation extends all the way to Hawaii!

Christmas is over and the retailers are on heart bypass system. At least on my end, I tried to make as many gifts as possible. Of course, it would've been nice if I remembered to take pictures of them before I sent them out!!

But I can show a few things. Remember this project?

Well, it turned into a knitting/crocheting tote for Almost Grown, complete with matching needle/hook roll, a book on crocheting socks, and some skeins of yarn she left behind when she decided to go to college, get smart, and start a life out of my reach!

And these socks?? They were for her too. She picked out the yarn, but I bet she forgot all about it.

For Not Quite Grown (who turns 21 in February and is demanding a new blog name,) I made a felted wool hat and matching mittens with extra long cuffs to keep her little wrists warm. But no picture *sigh.*

Also no picture for the kitchen cloths that I crochet for her in colors to match her first apartment's color scheme.

There were also mommy-made pillowcases for each girl, a family tradition. Sadly, and repeatedly... no pictures!

Studly got nothing handmade by me, but he did get some new work shirts and shoes, plus some other things I wasn't aware "I" bought for him.

BTW, according to some retailer that was interviewed on the news last night, socks and underwear were the biggest sellers in his store!! Go figure. Talk about "the basics!"

I got a new camera that I am still learning how to use. I made a short video clip of Sassy, but either Blogger or my browser won't let me upload it. I'll keep working on it

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So the year is closing out, and as the ancient curse goes, "May you live in interesting times." I should say so! This past year has been more than interesting!! Freaky, weird, unbelievable, discouraging... all good words to describe this past year. And although I don't think we have hit the bottom of the financial fallout yet, there is (almost) nowhere to go but up!

Here's to a great New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas, y'all

If I don't talk to you (or visit your blog) in the next couple of days, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Or for Marmy, a Happy Christmas!

From my computer to yours!

We have water!!

Photo from

Ah! Things are back to normal!

At 4:55 PM, just after I updated the last post with more whining, the water started to trickle out of the open taps! A bit later, we really had water flowing and hot water too. Visions of a hot shower danced trough my head!

Well, now we know where the weak spot in the system is, and it only took all day to find it! But we did it all by ourselves.

In the end, it required an oscillating heater under the house, aimed at the area where the water main comes up for underground. Then we realized that the porch flooring had open spaces that allowed the heat to float away (and the frickin' cold to get to the pipes in the first place!) So we laid thick moving blankets on the porch floor and ran the heater for about 5 hours. That did the trick.

And if it doesn't start raining this morning (as predicted) I will be back under the house wrapping pipes in said handy moving blankets and draping plastic tarp over everything!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Uh oh!

It's 14 degrees out this morning. (I know this is toasty for many people right now, but for me... yikes!) No snow, but dang cold. In fact, somewhere, we have frozen water pipes!

Photo by Count to Three

No water in the house or Bill's shop. There is water to my studio, which is at the start of the water line, but nowhere else. No toilet flushing, no dish washing, no showers unless you want to run through the cold back into the house from the studio!

Frozen pipes are more than an inconvenience.

Logo by

Frozen pipes can cause real damage when they finally thaw and start gushing water. Water in the pipes expands as it freezes and can crack even metal pipes. When it thaws... look out!

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Thankfully, we are home to work on this problem. If you are stupid unlucky enough to have this happen when you aren't around to take care of it, things can get really expensive!

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Update: It's now 4:30 PM and still no water! I have been under the house with an oscillating heater, warmed up one side, then rewrapped the pipe with insulation wrap. The heater is now on the other side of the house (second pipe up from underground) with moving blankets on the porch over to keep the heat in. No Water. It will be a long night.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm sorry

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that I am so boring! I guess there really isn't anything exciting (or otherwise) to tell! I feel a bit like the gal in the picture... except she is young and blond, British, and apparently bored by a cooking magazine, and I'm none of those things!

The mail man keeps churning out textbooks with scary looking exercises for me. Yesterday, I got the lab manual for my Anatomy class. I see that I will have to do rude things with sheep hearts and brains. Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!

I had to take a blood test (yeah! I passed!) to prove that I am immune to Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, otherwise the school won't let me in (or finish registering for classes.) I had Mumps as a kid, and was exposed to Rubella, but who has medical records from childhood?? Certainly not me. Did they even keep records of such things back when dinosaurs walked the Earth??

Anyway, I got the report today and took it up to them. Got registered for my final online class, Physical Science. Now, I come up with the cash for tuition, finish getting my books and get a school ID. How about this one?

Courtesy of

I could blend in and hang with the cool kids!

Stud Muffin hurt his back on Monday, so I have been taking care of him. The injection the nurse gave him had steroids in it, and that made his eyes swell up! Since he can't drive while on the pain meds, I have taken him into work when he needed to get something or meet a client. Meanwhile, I'm just sure that the beavers are building a high rise and hosting loud raucous parties in our absence.

What few Christmas gifts were prepared this year have all been mailed. Studly and I are having a very quiet holiday without either of the girls. They have to work the next day so they can't come home. This will be the first Christmas without them, so it is taking some getting use to.

The weather here has been funky, as suits my mood. We've had rain, some ice, lots of wind and temperatures that can't make up their mind! Today was near 70 degrees, but Sunday night will fall to 8. What's that all about?!?

See? I told you I was boring. And I do apologize. I will try to get into some trouble soon and post about it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Look what the postman brought me! Here I was, expecting some fabulous Christmas gift, even though I totally suck at giving this year and don't deserve anything, and this is what arrived.

My first textbook ordered (used) from This one is for a science survey course that I am taking online. There are lots of little words on these many pages.

And there are funny looking diagrams of molecules or atoms or something small.


This is only the first of 4 classes I'll be taking this semester... included the much-feared Human Anatomy and Physiology and starting in... 4 weeks!

Like I said...Yikes!

Also, "Holy Sh*t, where's the Tylenol?" (Name that movie!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

We woof you a Merry Christmas...

But we are not going to exert ourselves doing it!


I think I like this one! Easy on the eyes, not so boring.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Background, Take 2

How about this? Plainer (like me) and blockier (like me!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Background

Too much thinking about school is interfering with my required 20+ hours of sleep a night. So, I'm playing with my blog.

Tiny Silly Mouse Animated Avatars

Whadda ya think? Tastes shiny!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things are afoot

There is something in the wind. (Oh, Nick!! What have you been eating!! Never mind.)

Change is a-comin.

I can't believe it, but soon I will return to the world of...

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my youth?!? No! A student!

Can you believe it?!? The local community college has agreed to take me on, starting next month. Which makes me seriously doubt their sanity, not to mention their intelligence!

It has only been... ahem... 27 years since I went to school. I had to brush the cobwebs and dust off of my transcript. I couldn't even remember some of the classes I took. Made for pretty interesting reading!

{Edit: Stud Muffin wanted me to pop back in and clarify that I do have a college degree, just a dusty one! He's very proud of me! He doesn't have an undergraduate degree, but he got a Master's without it! I'm so proud of him! What a Stud Muffin!}

I'm rather terrified about the whole prospect. I'm pretty sure my math work will look something like this:

Found at

And I will have to take math and science.

Found at

Because I am trying to get into a very competitive program to do this...

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No, no! Not play basketball, silly!! Learn to take X-Rays!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Preparing for Winter

Well, winter is making itself known around these parts. Most days eventually get to a decent temperature, but then there are ones like yesterday that barely break the freezing mark. No snow yet, but a couple of hard frosts.

I thought, since yesterday had weak sun and a bit of a breeze, that I could still hang my wash on the line and get most of the moisture out of it before I tumbled it in the dryer. I about froze my digits off getting it up there and sadly, the temperature started to plummet as soon as I retreated into the warm house!

Hours later, as the sun was setting I retrieved the laundry, only to find that it had frozen on the line! I had to pry the clothes pins off of the fabric and try to fold the stiff, cold, not-at-all-dry clothes back into the basket! It was too cold to stand about taking pictures, but it wasn't unlike this, except we didn't have snow, and that's not me!

Photo by

It also reminds me of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, "The Long Winter," when Ma hung the laundry out and then ran it back inside stiff as a board to finish drying!

So, anyway, I have been doing a few small DIY projects around the house to prepare it for winter. First up was replacing our cheap thermostat with a programable one. This will help save energy because we won't forget to lower the temperature when we leave the house. Also, it is programmed to start heating about 1/2 hour before we get up, so the house is toasty in the morning!

It was really easy to do, after I got over myself and read the instructions. Very. Carefully. See the Energy Star logo in blue? I'm so proud!!

Next up, and still in progress, are some traverse rods to FINALLY get around to hanging drapes in the living room. This is on the north side of the house, so it really could use some window insulation, but we never use the room, so it wasn't on the top of the list. Besides, privacy isn't an issue, unless one is worried about squirrels peeping in and I am not one.

The drapes themselves will be in at the store on Tuesday. They never seem to have the size I am looking for, but it was worth the wait, because the saleslady gave me 50% off instead of the published 30%! The smaller sizes were priced at the higher discount and she didn't feel that it was right to charge me more. Gotta love it!

I have also been inspecting door and window frames, and calking where necessary. (No Angie, not cocking, caulking to seal joints!) I found quite a leak while working on the curtain rods and am sad at all the heat and air conditioning that has flown out of it!

Other little changes we have made include closing all the drapes and blinds at night to keep the cold at bay. We will see if it has an impact on the electric bill. After being so frickin' smug proud of our energy savings in the fall, the bill jumped way up once the temps dropped. Of course, a recent rate increase hasn't helped!

Thank you all for making gift suggestions for my MIL. So far the list looks like this: Hot 20-year old (guy, I'm assuming,) possibly wearing days-of-the-week thong underpants, and holding dollar bills for the strip club and a bottle of poison in case Marmy's ex-MIL shows up! Way to go guys! You're a big help!!

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Surely, one of these guys would do it, right?? MIL, do you have a preference?!?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Help Wanted!

We have once again reached That time of year when I struggle with... oh so many things! I worry all day and wake up in a panic at night (and worse, during naptime!) My stomach churns and I sweat profusely. It's really charming.

Yes folks, it is the annual "What to get MIL for Christmas" season!! Seriously, why is choosing a gift for one sweet old lady such a problem??

Last year, if you recall, I gave her these:

Felt green beans with a pat of butter to replace the real ones she spit out at my house. Not grey and mushy enough for her. And she didn't even "spit" them out! Just let them fall from her mouth with a horrified look like they were mouse droppings!!

So I need a new idea for this year.

I thought about getting her "Days of the Week" underpants, but she keeps losing Sunday!

Photo by

Personally, I think she leaves them in the collections plate at church. I know this photo looks like diaper covers, which they are but they are really granny-panties.

Maybe a book... she loves to read. I especially like the first book. That character up front bears a striking resemblance to her! The second book is more of a self-help thing and I'm not sure she go for it.

Photo by

Photo by rarebirdfinds.typepad,com

I thought maybe a clock, but when you are retired time has little meaning, except when to tune in your favorite television shows, and the VCR can tell you that!

Photo by

So, come on people, I need ideas. Pronto! Something I can make or get in this podunk town of mine (I love you little town!) I am very open to suggestions at this juncture. {Bonus points for identifying the movie I stole this quote from!}

One little old lady who hates my green beans, loves to read, loses her unmentionables, and has no concept of time!

Ready, set, suggest!

Edit: If you are wondering why I don't just ask MIL, I can't. If I do, she will ask what I want, and I don't know!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tis the Season

There is no beaver update this time. Since I hauled the tools down to the creek, it has rained, snuzzed, and generally been too cold to even think about climbing into the creek to annoy rodents. However, since it is December already, I thought we should start with the holiday merry-making!

Vegas Angie sent this to me and insisted that I must put it up here. How well she knows me! In the interest of reuse/recycle, and because I love a good "redneck" picture, here is a pictorial on building the Redneck Christmas Tree!

All photos stolen from

Makes you feel all festive inside, doesn't it?? Wish I could make this out of Diet Coke cans, but the colors aren't right. Also, you'll need about 400 cans, so I'll have to invite Celtic Spirit to help me out with the cans, even though she'll deny that she still drinks Diet Coke!

And speaking of Vegas Angie, (well, we were earlier!) she received and opened with my permission, her Christmas gift from me. I made her a covered note pad using this fabric!

Image from

We know how Angie feels about firemen!! The fabric is called "Ready for Action!" Perfect!

I didn't realize when I ordered the fabric that these guys are HUGE... I mean the images are really tall, like 12 inches each, oh, never mind!! Anyway, I had to come up with a project that would show the entire image, but I forgot to take a picture before I sent it!

Glad you like it, Ang. Try not to drool on it!