Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a note

I am going to be busy for a bit.
I could go into all the things that went wrong, delays and headaches but you really don't want to read all that - and quite frankly, I just want to forget it all.
Yesterday (as in late yesterday) we finally signed papers on our new (to us) home.
Not the best picture - I'll get another one soon. It is a two story and I kinda cut off the top.

I was standing on the sidewalk - I meant to go back and take another from farther back before we left but I forgot. Debated on waiting for a better pic, but so many of you have asked how things were going I wanted to at least do a short post.
Lots to get done before movers come on Friday. I'll be back to post more pics soon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Better late than never

Yeah! I have internet access again. (don't want to jump too high - who knows how long it will last)
It has finally cooled off a bit here - of course everything is relative, if we don't hit at least 90 it seems cool! Had a bit of rain the past few days and that has kept the temps down. It was actually pretty nice when I was out walking the dog this morning.

I finally got around to getting the hubby his (belated) birthday cake! Not the usual (Italian Cream) because I don't know where my cake pans are - I know they are in a box in one of 3 storage buildings, but I'm not going looking for them! I had a disposable pan in the pantry along with a cake mix and a can of frosting so this will have to do until I have a real kitchen again!
Keep your fingers crossed (and toes and eyes and anything else you can cross) - I may have some house news soon!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm so confused

Internet has been screwed up since Friday - over the weekend I couldn't get any connection at all. Yesterday and this morning, sometimes I can get to the web, most times not. (even though it shows that I am online) Can't get email at all unless I can get directly to the provider page (most times not) It was supposedly fixed yesterday afternoon but that only lasted about long enough for me to say 'hey, I'm back online'. Can't just change providers since there seems to be some kind of contract with the apartment complex and the choices are take it or leave it. (hopefully we won't be here much longer!)
I'll be back if they (I really would like to put the name of the provider here but I won't - doubt you have ever heard of them anyway - I hadn't) ever get their act together. If you have sent me an email I'll get back to you - just don't know when!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Thanks for the emails and comments for my mother - she is home and doing well. Hubby told her she didn't have to go to such drastic measures to see him on his birthday and she promised not to do it again! LOL (and thanks for the b'day wishes for hubby - I still owe him a cake and a trip to eat wings)
Since I didn't think mother would appreciate me taking her picture fresh out of surgery yesterday, I'm pulling out this pic from the trip to Minnesota to use today. The Minnesota welcome center had some wonderful landscaping. I did manage to get a few pictures there even though by that time we were all tired and grouchy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The big five-o

Couldn't let the day pass (Tuesday) without saying happy birthday to the hubby. Yeppers - he is (will be) 50!

I had planned to make him a cake and take him out for dinner (after he spent the day playing golf) but those plans have been put on hold. He will still get his golf game, a cake and he will still get wings for dinner - just not tomorrow.

My mother is having surgery in the morning so we will be making a (very early) flying trip in the morning. (which is why I'm throwing this post up early and with a 5 year old pic - I thought I would have time to go through pics tomorrow and find just the right one!)

This pic is from the last night of the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary. Other than a few more gray hairs, he hasn't changed. (cleans up pretty good, huh?)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Minnesota - final post

So, the plan was to get up Friday morning and do a little sight seeing before we left Minneapolis.

Since we woke up to rain our sight seeing ended up being of the drive by variety. We stayed downtown (only a few blocks from the kids apartment)

We had planned to go in and have a look at where Ashley will be working but we settled for a pic from the car window.

Another 'drive by' pic.
And - the hardest part of the whole trip

Was driving off and leaving these two behind. Even with all the 'headaches' and I do mean that literally since I had the worst migraine in months while we were there, leaving baby boy and his bride behind as we headed back to Texas was the hardest part of the whole trip. Even though we didn't see them daily before they moved - they were only 60 miles away and we could see them pretty much anytime we wanted. Doesn't work that way when they are over 1,000 miles away.

Then, the long drive home begins. Apparently they are doing construction all over Minneapolis so we had traffic backups along with the rain (and the gps was not picking up the backups for some reason)

Out of Minnesota and into another traffic backup - still don't know what was causing this one but we were basically stopped - only moving inches at a time until we took a detour

We saw lots of wind farms - I don't remember seeing any of these the last time we went to Iowa, but that was nearly 20 years ago -

and lots of corn - there is always corn to be found in Iowa! (I do remember lots of corn from last time - lots and lots of corn!) If you notice in the wind farm pic, there is corn there too!
Our detour took us by here

One of the 'Bridges of Maddison County'

Looking through the bridge

Bridge #2

inside bridge #2

there are 6 bridges in all (I think - I've slept since then!)

but after bridge #2 we headed back for the main roads and before long it started to get dark. Our plan had been to stop somewhere and spend the night but after trying three hotels that were all booked, we just kept on driving and ended up back in our driveway early Saturday morning. (we still owned that driveway at that point!) Yep - to Minnesota and back in 4 days. One long trip. It was really hard to turn around and get back in that car the next day to drive another 150 miles back to Houston!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So, if you had only one day to spend in Minnesota, what would you do?

We went to Mall of America!
And what do two twenty-two year olds and one twenty-nine year old do at Mall of America?

They are on there - somewhere! It goes too fast to get a good pic!

They ride the (Sponge Bob) roller coaster of course!
Ashley was actually too tall to get in the bouncy house or ride the bumper cars.

They go to Lego Land

and play putt-putt! Hubby and I joined in on the putt-putt. Ashley had never played before and was the only one to get a hole-in-one!
Not sure exactly what all they did while hubby and I went (window) shopping. Over all, it is kind of one of those places that fall into the category of 'been there, done that'. Yes, there are lots of fun facts about how big it is and there are lots of stores - many of which can be found in any mall across America, but if you take out the amusement park and putt-putt course, it really is just another (really big!) mall. But hey, now I can say I've been to Mall of America.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baby Boy's Big Adventure

Before we get into baby boy's big adventure, I want to say thanks for all the comments and emails about the sale of our home. Next - I was reminded that I left out the part about all the outdoor furniture (and the big pile of rock) that is stored at my 'dear baby sister's' house. Love ya sis!

Remember I said we cut a trip short. Where did we go? Well baby boy and his bride are off on an adventure and we helped out with getting them there.

Monday evening - First you have dad load up everything you have stored in Nac - then you send dad home to J'ville to re-pack it while you go to film (he worked on an internet video series all summer - can be found at maddisonatkins.com if you are interested). DIL was still finishing up work in Kilgore.

Unload everything

ask the 'expert' for help (middle son - trust me, this kid can pack it in!)

figuring out the puzzle

Every job needs a supervisor. (It's August, it's Texas, time to drag out the fan!)

Tuesday morning - more re-arranging to accommodate the stuff that DIL had in the car the day before.

All loaded! I should have taken a picture of the car too - trust me, it was packed as tight as the U-haul.

First stop. Big brother came along to help with the driving.
Yes, we are traveling with two dogs - and one very drugged up cat.

Baby boy's bride

When you go through Oklahoma you have to stop at the 'World's largest McDonalds'

On the road again

Wednesday morning. Lost track of how many 'pit stops' we made along the way but here is a tip for ya - if you are traveling through the night and will be in Iowa after dark, fill the gas tank before you cross the state line.

Made it to Minnesota - now what?

Parked on the corner waiting for a spot to open up in front of the apartment so we can unload the U-haul. Oh - we are now in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 24 hours after leaving Texas and yes, we are tired!

The new place
Don't you love those wood floors?

They are in the bedroom too!

After over 1000 miles and over 24 hours on the road - finally getting rid of the U-haul!
Jason and Ashley have moved to Minnesota. Ashley is the stage manager intern at The Gutherie for this year. When she finishes the internship she will receive her BFA in stage management from SFA.
We had planned to stay several days in Minneapolis but since our house was scheduled to close on the 18th (you already know that story) we cut our stay to one day. I'll show you how we spent our day in the next post!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

August - long, picture heavy post

August was a long, stressful, frustrating month. That's the short story.

If you have been here before, you know we have had our house on the market. Our house we lived in and worked on for 24 years.

The boys (now 29 & 25) brought these pine trees home from kindergarten as seedlings. (baby boy's didn't survive)

There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears here. It took 20 years to get this porch. I love this porch.

When we bought this house it had green carpet everywhere except the kitchen - it was even in the bathrooms! The floors under the carpet were oak in the living room and master bedroom (the others were pine) The side windows in the living room were single hung windows and the right one had a huge a/c unit in it. When it quit working and we went to take it out, we discovered that it was larger than the opening and they had cut into the frame to install it. We lived with foam stuck in the cracks for several years, then I spotted these stained glass windows at an antique store and they were a perfect fit! (we added central air and heat)

I wish I had before pictures - from when we bought the house. The walls were all flat white paint (sheetrock - or if you aren't from the south, drywall) The trim and doors looked really good but it didn't take long to discover they had painted latex over oil and we soon had peeling paint everywhere. (on the floor - our beds for Sunday night) Hard to tell in this pic, but that is bead board paneling - I love that stuff!)

This room was originally a closet. We converted it to a bedroom when it became clear the middle and youngest could no longer share a room. Baby boy 'lived' here until we took in the attic and then this became my little office.

More oak flooring that had been covered with ugly green carpet.

These two pictures are what was once the unfinished attic.

We gutted the kitchen (the old upper cabinets went to the garage - I'll show those in a minute)

Dining room - the stairs are where there was once a pull down stair for the attic. Where the door is (should have taken a better picture) there used to be 4 windows. We took those out and put in the French doors. This floor was pine (covered with ugly green carpet) It had places that needed to be completely sanded and refinished - I painted it instead.

See those ugly cabinets - they were in the kitchen (except for the tall one - it was in the bathroom - it didn't have the yellow drawer when it was in the house. The drawer was used on a play set when baby boy was in high school and they painted it yellow)
Why am I showing all these pictures? Believe it or not - out house finally

I could go on and on here about what a nightmare it was. I resisted all month about coming here to post about how inefficient these people were. It was never just one person, but the combination of all parties involved. (I'm not naming names but boy would I like to) If I could go back and change some things I would - starting with when the buyers went on vacation without signing the papers - they were first time buyers and their agent new they were going on vacation but she didn't make it clear to them that it wasn't a legal contract until they signed it. They thought a verbal was good enough. We should have stopped it right there and let them present another contract when they got back if it was still available (of course since they had a contract working, if someone else called to look at the house that is what they were told - that it had a contract working, which basically meant our house was 'off the market' since no agents wanted to show it then) We got the contract in early July (although by the time everything was signed, it wasn't dated until July 15) and it was set to close on Aug 18. We already had a trip planned for the first week of August (that is another post or three) We couldn't change the date of the trip so we cut it short by 3 days to get back and get everything done in a timely manner for the closing on the 18th. Apparently we were the only ones interested in doing things in a timely manner. By the time we got back from our trip there had been so many delays I was only willing to do so much without a firm closing date, but we started moving stuff out. Oldest had already secured an apartment so we moved him on the 21st (the day we would have had to be out of the house had it closed on time)
If I had a dollar for every excuse or every time I heard 'it's out of my hands' I could pay cash for a new house. I swear sometimes I thought we were dealing with Donald Duck and Goofy. (I'm sure they could have done a more efficient job) We also heard a lot of 'we just need one more thing', of course when they got that one thing, they needed one more thing. We ended up signing 3 extensions on the contract. We finally had a closing date of Friday (the 28th) at 10:00am. At 9:50am they were still waiting on 'one more thing'. I was pretty much done with this contract by now - the last extension expired on Friday and I was ready to put the house back on the market on Saturday. They finally got the last 'thing' at 10:10 am on Friday and set the closing for 2:00. By the time we got out of there it was 4:30. On Friday. We had 3 days to vacate - that was not so much the problem since we had already moved so much, but how do you contact utilities on the weekend? I could keep going. I still have a lot of pent up frustration over the whole thing - and trust me no one had any doubt about how frustrated I was . (Hubby says I don't handle stress well)
I thought when all of my things were out it wouldn't seem like 'my' house anymore, but as I walked through taking pictures, I still love every inch of that house. I wonder if she will miss me as much as I will miss her.
Anyway - after filling 3 storage buildings and Brian's apartment, not to mention all the stuff we already have in our apartment (in 7 months we never came back from a trip with an empty car - and we went 'home' at least twice a month!) plus all the stuff we hauled to Goodwill and who knows how many trash bags went out, we came back to Houston Monday completely loaded

See that blue thing in the bottom corner

that is all the space Autumn had to ride!
We have a contract working here on a house, but after all the crap that we went through the past 6 weeks, I'm not counting any chickens until the eggs hatch. (and getting this far on that wasn't a piece of cake either) I'll tell you about that when it is a done deal. Keep your fingers crossed!
Things here are still a mess - boxes everywhere and no place to put them. I'll post about our trip sometime in the next few days.
Hope you are all having a great week. Me - I'm just a little tired!