Friday, April 29, 2011

Renovation is Complete

I had to crawl under the plastic to get into the pantry and sink

The house renovations are complete for now. For the last two days I've had painters working on my ceilings and bathroom. Let me tell you I didn't think it would get done after the disaster that I saw when I arrived home on day one. Everything covered in plastic. I couldn't use my bathroom or get into my closet. Don't even think about watching tv or eating. The poor dog couldn't even get to the back door to go outside. I had to take down some plastic so we could function.

No tv for us that night

Closet completely blocked off

The bathroom looks so big with it being all one color

But when I got home last night it was almost done. They were just finishing up cleaning and touchups. The color we picked for the bathroom ended up being almost the same shade of blue we had done our bedroom in 10 years ago. I guess we liked that color. And the ceilings no longer have cracks.

Our living room celing no longer has settling cracks

Kitchen finally complete

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review of The Voice

I gave up on American Idol years ago. I hated listening to the bad singers and then it seemed too karaoke for me. But I thought I would try out The Voice last night. For those of you who haven't seen the gazillion commercials, four established musicians will have teams to try and find the new voice. The best part that I really liked is that they picked their teams blind. They couldn't see the singers, just hear their voices. This took care of the nasty problem of having people deemed "not attractive" kicked out just because they look normal. Look we all can't be a size 2 with perfect teeth. I'm interested to see once they have their teams, how things progress.

Best singers - Jeff Jenkins, who would never have gotten past Idol auditions because he is baby-faced and overweight. A beautiful heartfelt voice and everyone wanted him on their team.

Frenchie Davis, the one who got kicked off Idol years ago because she had "racy" photos from a big and beautiful website. She was definitely talented then and still has got it. You know you got it when Cee-Lo recognizes you.

I like the one-up gamesmanship these coaches have. And the positiveness that they are giving the singers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Patting myself on the back

I don't often pat myself on the back for a job well done, but today I'm going to. I won a big award at work for financial stewardship. They only give one out a year and there are a lot of financial managers at a university. Thanks to the dedication of my boss for writing nomination letters for years, I finally was recognized. There was a nice ceremony, had my picture taken with the university president and provost and received a nice check. After two years of no salary increases, it certainly is nice to get a little extra something

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another scholarship

Whitney got a letter saying she had won an Oklahoma heritage scholarship. You had to take a 100 question multiple choice test for this one. What is funny is that she is in Oklahoma history right now and they haven't even made it to statehood so the questions were all foreign to her. She came out of the test saying that it was the worst test ever. She must have guessed well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trying to understand Extreme Couponing

OK, my new tv show obsession is Extreme Couponing. I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

For those of you who don't know, this show is about "extreme couponers". The kind of people who spend 30-40 hours a week going through coupons, plotting grocery trips and making every room in their house a storage facility for everything they have bought. They are proud of the fact that they have 300 bottles of body wash, 1,000 toothbrushes, 3 gazillion paper towel rolls (ok a made up number but like 3 years worth). And everything has to be lined up facing forward so they can read the label. They rotate their stock so the old stuff doesn't go out of date. Really OCD.

One of the extreme couponers with part of her stash
My question is why does anyone need 3 years worth of paper towels? Are you that messy? And then if there is a good coupon/sale you will go out and buy more. I don't understand this concept. I don't want to look at all those products. If I did, I would GO TO A STORE.

These people have stacks of coupon inserts that they organize by date. Then they cross reference sales to the coupons. They call the stores to make sure coupon policies haven't changed. And then they feel the need to wipe out the entire shelf of sleep medicine. Too bad for some poor soul who really needed to go to sleep that night and the store was out.

I understand the concept of coupons. I use them myself, but only on products that I was going to buy already. And so many of the times the store brand is cheaper even with a coupon and tastes just the same.

If you feel the need to do this kind of shopping, why don't you donate the extra stuff to a food pantry or shelter? Some of these people buy as many products as they can because with the coupon/sale they actually are making money they can apply to something else. If you don't plan on using it, please give it to someone who would be happy to have a toothbrush. I'm sure that you could get a nice tax donation to charity if you did so.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rain Conspiracy

I have decided that the only way to deal with this drought is to continue to believe that it will never rain again. That way I'm not disappointed when it doesn't rain every day. Oh, the weather people keep showing 20% chance of rain. HAHA. What a joke. Then they show it raining on the state border. Its like teasing. Not any fun.

So when it rains (and yes I know someday, maybe ten years from now) I'll be pleasantly surprised. I'll look outside and wonder what that is. And then I'll remember, it is rain. A gift from nature. Something that will make the roads slick, make people cranky and gripe about getting wet. Maybe I'll run outside and take a rain shower.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Extreme Fire Danger

Oklahoma is in the middle of the worst drought since the dust bowl. Yes the dust bowl. You know that little thing that blew dirt from one side of the country to the other. That thing that was in the middle of the depression. Grapes of Wrath dust bowl. We need rain so desperately. I'd even take hail because it would melt and be some form of precipitation.

But we have been in red flag fire danger for quite awhile. Every morning you turn on the tv and see the whole state covered in red flags. They always remind people we have an outside burn ban. Don't throw your cigarette butts outside. Don't do any outside welding. But of course, we still have stupid people doing all of the above.

So my advice to you is don't do anything stupid with fire outside. Don't think that oh I'm just grilling a steak. That little steak could wipe out a neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where were you on April 19?

Here in Oklahoma, you get this question a lot. Because life changed on April 19. Domestic terrorism struck Oklahoma City and made people feel unsafe in their own backyards. Timothy McVeigh drove a truck bomb in front of the Murrah building and let it explode killing 168 people. I didn't know anyone personally who was killed or injured but I did know a couple of people who had relatives killed. One was one of the babies in the daycare.

I remember hearing about it on the radio at work. People thought it was a gas explosion at first. Then the news helicopters flew over and people knew it was worse. One of the women I worked with had a sister who worked in a building near there and told her of the explosion. She wasn't hurt but was trying to get out of the area. I remember trying to track down Dan. At the time, I had no idea where the Murrah building was, just downtown OKC. I knew he had no reason to be there, but I didn't hear from him for at least two hours. He had Whitney with him and of course my mind went crazy. We didn't have any tv's at work so we couldn't see how bad it was.

Then I got home after work and watched the news. And couldn't look away. I stayed up for hours hoping that they would find more people alive. I woke up about 4am to hear about this person I went to college with who was looking for his baby (he died). My heart hurt for him.

The next few days a lot of work didn't get done. I think the whole state was numb. But the great thing about Oklahomans was the amount of help that came from people. Small amounts of help, food donations, cots, doggie booties, the list went on and on. And still we waited to hear about someone that they found alive. Unfortunately that didn't happen.

We went downtown before they took the building down all the way. The fences were up a few blocks away but as you walked closer you could see all the windows blown out of the buildings. You could feel the eery quietness of people. And then you got to the point where you could see the building. We took Whitney eventhough she was too young to understand because we felt it was one of those moments that you had to experience. We took pictures. And still seeing it in person, it was unbelievable. There were things blowing in the wind. A sense of sadness overtook us. I have the pictures somewhere but it is very painful to even think of looking at them.

A few years later I took graduate classes not too far from the site. They were building a beautiful memorial and I happened to have class the day it opened. So that night I went there. I had my camera. I took pictures, such moving scenes as the chairs covered in flowers and items. And I cried. I still cry when I go there. I can't go through the museum because it hurts too bad. Even thinking about it now makes me tear up. The memorial has an empty chair for each victim. They are in rows for which floor they died on. And they have little chairs for the victims from the daycare.

Just a few years later the World Trade Centers came down from terrorism. That was terrible. But the Oklahoma City bombing was closer to home, just 30 miles north of my home. To me this will be the one that upsets me the most.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

I haven't done this for awhile but the questions were good this week.

1. Caesar Salad or Garden Salad?
I do love a caesar salad but they always seem to have too much dressing. Which I used to not consider but then I started counting calories and dressing is always the culprit. So I'll make a garden salad at home and use the light dressing which I can then drench my lettuce in. There was a seafood restaurant that made an awesome spicy cajun caeser salad that was to die for. We recreated it at home but we haven't made that in forever.

2. Will you be watching the Royal Wedding on April 29th?
That would be a big no. I have better things to do with my time (namely sleep).

3. Last thing you spent lots of money on?
Recessed lighting for the kitchen. And we are about to spend a bunch on getting the ceilings and bathroom painted. Ask me in a few months and I'll say college.

4. Window seat or aisle seat?
Aisle seat. I'm not sure why. I hate having to get up when someone needs to go to the bathroom. But I do usually try and fly planes that only have two seats on one side so that limits the seatmate.

5. Do you know your blood type?
Yes I do. A+. Don't ask me to give blood however. The last time I tried (20+ years ago) I passed out and they told me to not come back.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Exciting News

This is the smile at our house now
Whitney got called yesterday to see if she was still interested in a big scholarship at Oklahoma City University. Of course she said yes! So all of her tuition is now covered by scholarships and all we have to pay is room and board and books. Needless to say our house is very, very happy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Fear of Dentists

I have to go to the dentist today for a teeth cleaning. I think people are 50/50 on whether they like going to the dentist or not. I used to be in the dread category. But lucky for me I have had really good teeth as an adult. It wasn't always the case.

When I was five years old, a family friend was our dentist. I guess that is good. My first tooth fell out (I was a late tooth loser) and the new one came in. With a CAVITY already in it. Who gets a permanent tooth with a cavity? I hadn't even had a chance to eat candy and not brush my teeth for weeks to get to that point. So I had to get a filling. Now back in the early 70's this wasn't quite the easy procedure that it is now. And a front tooth to a frightened five year old makes it more complicated. They didn't make compounds that the dentist could color to match your tooth. So you were left with mismatched color in an odd shape. Needless to say I wasn't happy. And then I had to get it changed out after about ten years because it had yellowed to the point of disgusting.

So the downfall of all of this was that I was afraid to go to the dentist. I had to have laughing gas just to get my teeth cleaned. Even as an adult. I had dental insurance and still wouldn't get my teeth cleaned. But I finally sucked it up and went. And you know what, I could make it through a cleaning without the gas. The chair arms probably didn't recover from the first two times from my grip, but I did it.  And now I can go without any problems and get my teeth cleaned.

I even got my front tooth filling changed out a couple of years ago and it now matches my teeth pretty well. So I feel like I've conquered my fear of the dentist.

Of course just ask me if I ever have to have a root canal and then I'll be back to being a fraidy cat.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Joy of Not Sleeping

I have been dealing with insomnia for a couple of years and it really sucks. I've gone through all the over the counter and prescription medicines and nothing works like it is supposed to. I finally have one that is cheap and gets me 4-5 hours of sleep pretty consistently. But for someone who is used to sleeping 8 hours, I know it still isn't right.

Last week I had a couple of nights that I slept all night and I made the mistake of telling Dan I slept good. JINX.  So now I'm back to waking up at 3:30 and not falling back asleep. The question is what do I do with those three hours before I have to get up?

Some would use that time productively. Maybe some would exercise. I just lay in bed keepint quiet so I don't wake up anyone else. I toss and turn (quietly). I pray some which is probably a good use of my time. The one thing that I don't do is worry. I used to worry about a lot of things. But I don't use that time to worry. And I don't seem to be exhausted either with the lack of sleep.

So my question is what should I do with that time? I don't have any housework or laundry to do. Television is not really something I want to watch at 4am. Maybe I should start reading books again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kitchen Renovation Part 2

The old yucky lights

We finally decided on what to do with the lighting in the kitchen. Really the only option was going to be recessed lighting. So by deciding to paint the bathroom ourselves, that cost plus what we would have spent on light fixtures hired us an electrician to put in the recessed lights. We picked them out Tuesday and they were in on Wednesday. That was speedy.

The new lights (plus a hole that needs to be patched)

We have an appointment with the painter to show us paint samples to paint the ceiling. The kitchen still will need to have new countertops but that one will be put on the back burner probably for a year or two so we can get some college costs paid for.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Anatomy Lesson

I learned about tear duct anatomy yesterday. Not a subject that I wanted to but Whitney is going to need surgery to fix her eye. She has had a blocked tear duct for years and always has tears running out her right eye. So she finally had enough and said lets do this because we knew it was going to have to be surgery. She is going to have dacryocystorhynostomy (don't you love how they make the words so long). After reading about it, it is a common procedure that is outpatient and is supposed to have immediate results. Basically her tear duct won't allow any moisture through it and this will open up the passage. She has to have a tiny tube inserted that will stay there for awhile to hopefully train the duct to stay open. We are crossing our fingers that this fixes the problem and they don't have to go to more aggressive surgery options.

And they got us scheduled for next week. Wow, we were ready for summer and they said how about the 14th and I was like what month and they said April. So miss one day of school and then back the next. We have to be at the hospital at 6am but we are the first one scheduled so should be home by noon. I love my girl, she is a big trooper when they started digging around trying to open her duct. Did you know they actually use real cocaine to numb the eye? We thought they were joking and they said it works great on mucus areas. I told her not to broadcast around school so she doesn't get a druggie reputation.

Monday, April 4, 2011

House Renovation

Single knobs on drawers
We built our house 18 years ago. Over the last few years we have slowly been renovating parts of it. Simple things like getting the outside painted, new carpet, painting. But yesterday was a big day. I got cabinet knobs in my kitchen. I know quite a small thing, but for 18 years there have been no knobs. You always had to grab the cabinet door. I've liked the color of the cabinets but no knobs makes it tough sometimes. I've broken many fingernails on the doors. And the best part is we did it ourselves for around $60.

So easy to open

Friday, April 1, 2011

Super Stars Dinner

Last night I had the opportunity to accompany Whitney to the Super Stars dinner at Oklahoma City University. We really had no idea what it was going to be, just that it was for students who were thinking of attending. Boy were we wrong and in a good way. It was for students who were high achievers. You had to be above a 26 on the ACT. And it was very limited in numbers. The President, Provost, Deans of the colleges and other faculty were there. We sat a table with both the Associate Dean and Assistant Dean of the Meinders College of Business. One of them was even on the committee that gives out the big business scholarship that Whitney just applied for. The kids in this room were so smart and active in school.

The administrators were selling the school BIG TIME! How great the small classes are. How you really are a name not a number. It was the most wonderful experience. Whitney felt recruited and wanted. We told everyone that it certainly was her first choice but she needed more scholarship money. I hope that this works out because it is the perfect place for her.