Sunday, April 17, 2011


And Poof!!! Another year has vanished!!!!! More joy, more sorrow, more work, more tomorrows. All gone, never to be seen again. No rewind button to review the best scenes. Gone. That's so final. And it blows my mind how fast it happens. That must be why journalers journal. Why bloggers blog. To hold on to the memories. By tapping out just a few lines, you can retrieve a few moments now and then. Reading where you've been allows you to multiply your memories, rather than just see that the time is gone forever, with nothing but a vague feeling that a lot of your life has just slipped through your fingers. On a whim, I checked my stats. Pitiful for anyone who is a real blogger. But I was astounded to see that there have been 187 pageviews! I know I didn't do that. That means that someone has been here, on this tiny little blog, in its tiny little corner of cyber-space, so neglected by its owner that literally years can pass between postings. Who? Who has been lurking? I'll never know. A very few (and most likely related to me) kind souls have left gentle remarks. For which I'm grateful, and sorry that I didn't find out until a year after they posted. *sigh* That's symbolic of life, somehow. Too little too late, too many times. Does that mean that if I were a more faithful Blogger I could be making friends that otherwise I'll never know? Unless I give this a try. So that's it! I'll make a date with the Universe. Same bat-place. Many, many bat-times. I'm in nowhere near the same place as I was when I began this journey. And in nowhere near the same place as I'll be in another year hence. And that's the point. To be moving along, hopefully growing . . . better in some way, and experiencing Joy in the Journey. And that's what I hope for you-- Joy in the Journey.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Time Flies

I don't know if I was exactly having fun, but in the mean time, more than two years blew by. I first took a job at our county library. Part of my duties included the story hour, which I put way much time into because I can't help myself. Then I took another job that didn't have evening hours so my daughters didn't have to be alone in the evenings. But I worked both jobs for eight months for long and drawn out blah, blah, blah reasons. And we got four more Grandbabies, one son came home from a two year mission for our church. Another son left for one. And poof! Two years were sucked into the black hole of time, never to come back again. Shall I come back to this? Hmmmmm, I'm thinking . . . .

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mirror, mirror, on the Wall....

After we finished the kitchen, we moved on to the bathrooms. My husband gutted them, pulling out the sinks, vanities, mirrors, tubs, showers, lights, doors, knobs, towel racks, the flooring and even the toilets. You can't get more remodeled than that.

This was not a cheap endeavor. There is no such thing as unfinished bathroom cabinetry, to save money on. So you've got to decide if you're going to save money and get some rickety, el cheapo cabinet that's going to fall apart before you finish getting it installed, or upgrade and get something nicer.

I soon realized that the sky is the limit when it comes to upgrading your bathroom! The least expensive is obviously the least desirable, but how to decide how much more do you want to spend? You can sell your soul to the devil for less than you can upgrade your bathroom.

I tried to adhere to a strict budget of buying what looked pretty nice without being ridiculously expensive. The bathroom is the nickel and dime place in household remodeling for sure. Make that the buck and quarter place.

Things to think about. If you're replacing your light fixtures, consider choosing your towel racks the same day, so it will occur to you whether they match or not. Some people will lose sleep if all their bathroom hardware isn't coordinated. I'm not one of the people, but since I was replacing the whole shebang, anyway, I might as well have matched it all up perfectly. afterall, I might be trying to sell the house to a woman who will decide it's a no deal because of this all important issue. *sigh*

Now, this is no brag, just fact, my husband did a bee-you-tea-full job installing tile. He transformed the bathrooms, and they truly are a work of art. But one last little thing to wonder, however, is about the decision to tile the floors. As lovely as they look, they are a huge pain to keep from cracking. Clunk goes the makeup bottle, crack goes the tile. Chip, chip, chip, out it comes, in goes the new tile..... clunk goes the......

Downstairs the floor is cement, and most definitely uneven. We put in some linoleum that doesn't require anything but rolling out. It was a little more expensive, but worth it. It's lovely, easy, and doesn't crack! I'd go for more of that, next time around.

But for the showers-- tile all the way, that is also worth it compared to the fiberglass inserts, and not as hard as you might think-- from the point of view of the watching wife! Ask my husband, if you wonder about his perspective. Did I tell you? He's the diy doctor himself! Check him out at !

Joy in the Journey

Friday, January 25, 2008

Step in Time

In the movie Groundhog Day, there's a scene where the main character steps off of a curb into a slushy puddle, while his nerdly companion says "Watch out for that first step, it's a doooooooozy," just in the nick of late.

Well, there's a step like that right in front of my house. Another in front of our library, and at the department store, and the . . . you get the idea-- our whole dang town is "dooooooozy" trapped!

I mention this because I am fully aware of their existence, and yet, time after time, I step, Plop! Right smack into the puddle, filling my shoe with ice and my spine with chills. It's not like it's rocket science to take a little extra distance in my stride to miss out on all that fun, but time after time, I step, Plop! . . . .

You have to remember that this is me, the cold wimp. I hate being cold, and it seems like I would hate it enough to remember to watch my step the instant before instead of the instant after I step, but time after time . . . .

My son who is into extra features on DVD's, told me that they said the guy in Groundhog Day gets ten years of practice on that one day, to get it right.

As much as one day is like another, I've had a total of fifty years practice, and still I manage to muddle into puddles. It probably would take me ten years of doing just one single day, over and over, to remember before I stepped, to pass over the puddle.

So where is the twist on this that can make it a good thing? If I play Pollyanna's Glad Game, I can be glad when I feel my foot freeze, because it tells me that I'm alive. I don't have Diabetes, and I can feel my foot! I have legs to walk with and can get around. Believe me, on this side of my centruy of living, you really do reach a point of being able to be grateful for these things.

You can imagine that in some thirty years of mothering I've listened to certain Disney movies a thousand times, and besides Pollyanna, that includes Mary Poppins. (I say listen to them, because while the kiddies were watching, I was often nearby working on dishes or whatever, and only listened-- so much so, that one of my famous lines is "Hey, I've never seen this scene before!") I'm thinking if I were to take that "Spoonful of sugar," and remember to "Dance to the Music, Step in Time," more often, maybe I could remember to stretch that stride and step-- Hop! Like Dick van Dyke stepping around the ottoman, and miss that puddle!

So, for whatever it's worth, I bid you Joy in the Journey-- and hey, watch out for that first step.....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

To Beef or Not to Beef

I was thinking more about my primary role in the project of remodeling. First, I dreamed up the plans to a high degree. My husband and son were also instrumental in that part of it, and it was often my son who helped us get out of the box of what my husband and I thought was possible. We explored wild thoughts of moving the stairway, and taking plumbing to new places. Then reason would prevail, and we would find something more practical that would work. I would have the last word, because, let's be honest, I'm the fussiest.

My son pretty much designed the kitchen, which turned out beautifully. My husband made the plan for our bedroom/bathroom remodel, but the details of the finished look came from me. It is the details that I’m going to talk about now.

If you are proactive about what you want, your menfolk will be much more cheerful about accommodating your preferences. It’s when you don’t say anything, and they (invariably) do it “wrong,” and then you protest, that tempers grow thin. At that point, you’ve got a decision to make:

A) To Beef. It is either really a bad enough “mistake” that it has to be redone, and
you need to say something immediately.

B) Not to Beef. It does bother you, but not enough to require redoing the job. Sister,
this is a time to hold your tongue. If you aren’t going to have the job redone,

Men work so hard for us, and it’s very discouraging to never have anything they do be “right.” Take responsibility for the fact that you didn’t think it through ahead of time, you didn’t say anything, and now you’re going to live with it. So do it graciously. If you complain when there is nothing to be done about it, you sap the energy force in your universe needlessly. I’m here to tell you I did way too much after the fact complaining. The reason I’m telling you, is in the hopes that it will help you to be more proactive about your project.

To a high degree, you don’t know what you don’t know (a saying I got from my dear sister). Meaning, until the moment you see that it’s done “wrong,” you didn’t know that it had to be done “right.” That’s hard to avoid. But whatever you can think through, and talk about ahead of time will help.

For instance, if you’re installing a light in a new closet space, you might say “Please center the light in the ceiling space. It might not occur to you that they might not center it, but if they don’t, and you didn’t say anything......... you see where this is going. This is incredible detail that we’re talking about. But once done is done, it is physically and emotionally very draining, for everything to be met with criticism.

So when you are in the planning stages, describe EVERYTHING in your vision. Right down to “I think the sink needs a new faucet, the kind with just one handle, and with a pull out nozzle that’s also a spray hose, and I think it should sit squarely and snugly on the sink.” Otherwise, when the faucet is replaced with two knobs and sits cockeyed on the sink, jiggling a little when you push on it, you’re left with the unpleasant task of saying “This won’t do.” And whoever did the work is going to resent being told to do it over. I’m telling you that what seems obvious to you isn’t necessarily obvious to them. Create your vision in all its infinite detail. Think it, say it, describe every single thing you see in your minds eye, and do it AHEAD of time!!!!!

Joy in the Journey

The Particulars on being Particular

As I mentioned the other day, I participated in the kitchen’s remodel by choosing the tile and being the gofer girl, and fussing. I mention this, because mostly I looked the other way until it was too late. I highly recommend being more proactive, and ahead of the game. Anticipate how things will be done. If they are installing cupboards for you, walk through it ahead of time and discuss with them the direction the doors are going to open. A guy is going to hang cupboards in this fashion: the way he picks it up when it’s time to install that cupboard is going to be the way that cupboard is going to hang. In some cases there is only one way it can go, but sometimes they can go either way, and one way is going to be more convenient to you as you cook in the kitchen. That will NOT be the way it will go if left to chance (and Murphy’s Law).

The ones who usually do remodeling and installation are men, who are not usually the ones who use kitchens in the same way women do. They just grab and go. Women constantly work in the kitchen and do the same things over and over. There is a flow to what we do, and things that are installed “backwards” break up that flow, and cause a constant interruption to the process of cooking. If a man could see this as the same as a break in the flow to his golf swing, or his basketball game, maybe he would sympathize. But instead they perceive women as being fussy and obsessed about detail. Whatever.

I didn’t think fast enough, and left way too much to chance. Partly as a feature of being in a hurry, being distracted, and not being a terribly detail oriented person. So I let a lot go. But NEXT time, I’ll know that you need to think your whole kitchen through on paper, visualize and virtualize every aspect of your motion and flow of activity. Decide which way you want cupboards to open, how far you want counter edges to stick out, how many steps you want to take to reach your island–everything!  

Speaking of an island, I felt like my little kitchen was too small for an island, so I bought a rolling cart with a butcher block top. This was perfect! I put a wastebasket under the butcher block, and I could have it with me at the sink, then take it over to the stove, then put it away under the edge of the counter. I had my son extend the end of the bar counter so that most of the cart was under that. This was so handy, and became my right hand. I spent extra money getting a butcher block top cart. I needn’t have bothered. Any cart would do, and then you can set a wooden chopping board on top of it, which easily removes to the sink for cleaning.

Anyhow, what I’m saying is think ahead. As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the End in Mind.” Or, learn to live with it.

Joy in the Journey

Or You Could Eat Out Every Night For A Month

I was regaling you with the saga of remodeling our house, which I’ll intermittently insert between ramblings on current events in my life. I described remodeling our kitchen, which truthfully, I had very little to do with. Except for saying “That edge sticks out too far, can’t we take it back some?” Or “Shouldn’t that cupboard door open the other way?” This of course, after the cupboard is installed.

So today’s little piece is about how I coped while the kitchen was being redone. The whole reason we never got around to remodeling before was that I dreaded the huge inconvenience it would be to remodel while you are living in the house. And it was true. It IS a HUGE inconvenience, to remodel in the midst of life.

So here’s how we did it, and dreadful as it was, it was doable. And it’s worth it! (Not to forget I’m writing this a full year later– not on the delivery table, as it were ).

Assuming that you are like me, and can’t afford to eat out every night for a month, here is what worked for us:

First, and most obvious, disposable dishes, cutlery, etc. are the way to go. Second, the greatest gift my husband gave me was a utility sink in my laundry room, just before all this remodeling thing began. I could throw whatever dishes we dirtied into a Rough Tote plastic tub, haul it downstairs, and wash them in the utility tub. This beats bending down low over a bathtub, any day.

We set up the microwave in the family area, and it’s truly amazing how you can live off food from a microwave almost indefinitely. I did also have a burner plate that we used a few times. So we had everything but an oven.

We used a lot of canned food, and I didn’t make anything that called for ingredients, if you know what I mean. It was all open up the can, dump and zap type of foods. We’re talking chili and crackers, canned stew and crackers, canned chop suey, canned spaghetti sauce (burner plate to cook noodles), bagged salads, frozen and zapped vegetables, and sandwiches. For about a month. You can do it.

When we finally got the kitchen back, it was great to have an oven again, to have a truly baked potato (as opposed to rubberized nuked spuds), and homemade bread again. Actually, we have a bread maker, so we could have had bread earlier, but I was unwilling to handle ingredients during that phase.  Besides, I use my breadmaker to make dough, because the machine’s loaf is too big. I prefer to make two smaller loaves than one big one.

With the utility sink and the microwave, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Really.  So if you're dragging your feet in fear of inconvenience, let me cast my vote for going ahead and taking it on. If you're going to have to make improvements before you can ever sell (and even if you think you aren't ever going to sell-- never say never!), you might as well make the changes and get the benefit of enjoying them for awhile, since you have to pay for them anyway!

Joy in the Journey