Sunday, November 15, 2009
Beginning last Sunday, November 8, worries seem to overwhelm me. I'm just going to identify some of these worries since I can't tell too many details about some of these concerns.
1. My Job. Can I keep reading essays for the next 15 years? Is there something else I can do with my education, specialized training, and skills?
Even though these questions crop up frequently, and I have even investigated earning some kind of law degree, I can't imagine doing anything else other than teaching. Am I just in a rut? Or is teaching my life's calling?
2. My House. Will I stay here the rest of my life? Would I be able to sell this house now that I have a kitchen of my dreams? Will I end up living in Cedar City without my children close by? Would I move somewhere else if the "perfect job" became available?
3. My Children. Where will Julie and Corey go to further their education? Will they find jobs after they earn PhD degrees? Will Jason be deployed again if he reenlists in the National Guard? How will Rachel and Robbie get along without him? Will he be safe? How often will I see my grandchildren, whom I love so much? Will Kevin stay in Vernal or ever move back to Cedar City? How would he make a living if he does move back here?
4. My Finances. Why do I spend so much money and save so little? How can I ever afford to retire? Does it even make a difference to save for retirement?
5. My Weight. Why am I eating so much again? Am I doomed to be heavy for the rest of my life? Obviously, if I keep eating this way, I will be heavy! So why don't/can't I do something differently?
These are all the questions racing through my mind in the past week, since November 8. Can you imagine what I found to worry about before last Sunday? And for the next week?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday after school, Corey, Jared (one of our friends), and I picked up my appliances from Sears and took them home. What a comical silent movie that would have been. I had Corey drive around to the back of my house, via the walking trail, where we could just take the appliances through my new 6-foot sliding door. For construction purposes, Wayne has laid a plank on top of a dirt pile and a step ladder, leading into the kitchen. I laid another plank going up the dirt pile. So, Corey pulled each appliance up the planks (with the dolly we borrowed from Sears), while Jared pushed. This method worked great with the relatively lightweight dishwasher. The medium-weight stove required a bit more pushing, and the huge refrigerator created several problems.
First of all, Corey strapped the fridge to the appliance dolly while it was still in the truck, then Jared and I lowered it to the ground with Corey holding it back from crashing. The planks leading into the kitchen are not the thickest, sturdiest pieces of board, so we all jumped on them to see if they could hold the fridge's weight. Hopefully, the neighbors were all watching! Anyway, long story short . . . Corey and Jared pulled and pushed the monster up the plank, only to discover it wouldn't go through the door, so back down the plank it went. Corey took off the sliding door, and they tried again. It still wouldn't fit, -- a mere 1/2" too wide. Intead of going back down, Corey just wanted to take off the fridge doors off. Jared, however, had to leave to get CV's football field ready for that night's game, so Corey and I decided to wait until after the game when Kevin would be there help.
In the meantime, perhaps you're wondering where Wayne, the faithful contractor, was during all this. Well, so were we! You have to realize that once he finally began my kitchen project, he had something happening here every day. And he was the one who scheduled the appliance pick up after school, but he didn't show up. I called and called his cell phone, but he didn't answer and he didn't call me either. I was really worried -- what if he had absconded with my latest cash draft? -- until Corey listened to the operator's message on Wayne's phone that said it "had been disconnected and was not longer in service." When I came home after the game, Kevin told me Wayne had stopped by, seen the fridge stuck in the slider, and promised to return first thing Saturday morning. He had lost his phone at CV's gulf tournament in St. George on Thursday.
(And, you all have to know he would never take my money and run! That's how rumors are started!)
Anyway, Corey and Kevin finally worked the fridge into the house Friday night, and we agreed that we didn't want to do anything else until Saturday morning. Saturday was a busy day. Kevin and Wayne installed the microwave; Corey and Kevin hooked up the stove, and Wayne installed the water line to the fridge and had it cooling down quickly. Audree, the kids, and I went to Home Depot to pick up a new sink faucet, a little handy gadget that will allow me to turn my garbage disposal on at the sink, and all new outlets, switches, and plate covers.
When I came home from school on Friday, I was shocked to discover that the electrician had installed UGLY ivory outlets and switches. I realized that, even though I had left a note telling him which fixtures I wanted and had attached the note to my sample switch cover, I had used the word IVORY, and that's exactly the color he used. They were awful and were NOT the color I had wanted. When we went to Home Depot, I discovered that the color I wanted was not ivory but light almond. After the appliances were installed, Kevin taught Julie and I how to change out the outlets and switches. Thank heavens he shut off the power to the kitchen! Now I'm very happy with the electricals.
This morning Kevin raised the two ceiling fans which the electrician had hung from 3" extension rods. Now the fans are closer to the ceiling and don't look as gigantic as they did before.
When I began this project, I told Wayne that I didn't want to impose on my children so he needed to have workers here to do everything. But then I realized I needed/wanted more lights, more drawers, more other little things not included in the budget, and I needed to provide quite a bit of the labor. My kids have willingly pitched in and done everything we needed them to, and they have never complained. Kevin spent his week's vacation down here, and he returned this weekend to help. Corey, Audree, and Julie have painted, hauled, advised, and done electrical work. Brook and Porter have helped me carry things from the car and garage into the kitchen, have emptied trash, and have taken care of themselve while everyone else was too busy to play with them. Jason and Rachel have cheered us on from Salt Lake and wished they could be here to help. I realized yesterday that, with all of us working together on my kitchen, my house is indeed becoming the "family home," the place they'll think of when they think of as home.
Tomorrow: Cabinets will be finished (if drawer pulls and knobs came in on Friday). Electrician will finish installing outside lights, two more lights in the kitchen, and hopefully the phone connection under the desk. Plumber will hook up the water to the sink and dishwasher and install the dishwasher and garbage disposal.
Sometime next week, Wayne will do the remaining trim work. I think I can say that the kitchen will be finished by next weekend -- I hope!
Monday, September 7, 2009
Okay, the electrician returns Wednesday or Thursday to finish up. Now I need to decide what color outlets and switches to use -- chocolate brown or ivory. As you can see, the chocolate brings out the colors in the counter very nicely. On the other hand, the ivory is more neutral. Neither blends invisibly into the wall, so they'll both be fairly visible. Another factor is that the drawer pulls and door handles have a blackish, burnt ironized finish, so they're quite dark.
Please let me know what you think by taking the poll off to the right. Just think, you get to have a small say in finishing my kitchen! And thanks!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
As the end of the 2009 school year came to an end, I assumed the project would begin immediately and be finished by the end of July with plenty of time for me to get everything back in order again. That did not happen! The rear of my house looked the same way it had for the last 6-7 years. Notice the beautiful Linden tree that has provided very nice shade this summer.
On July 27 the contractor finally showed up in my back yard, followed by a little back hoe and driver. Within two hours a trench was dug for concrete footings, but unfortunately, my beautiful Linden tree had to be demolished and discarded.
On August 4, the concrete was set and the contractor showed up ready to work. By the following Tuesday, August 11, the addition was framed in and tresses were in place. One of the biggest challenges was how to connect the new roof into the existing roof because of the steep, angled slope of the old roof. Luckily, my contractor is also a genius math teacher, so the new roof seems just like a natural addition of the former. Today, while we were enjoying our first back-to-school meeting, the roofers came and finished roofing.
Even as I write, a new kitchen window and nice 6-foot sliding door are being installed and the old ones inside removed. On Saturday, we're knocking down the inside back wall of my kitchen and a friend and her husband will remove my cabinets and take my old stove.
Projected construction schedule:
- Electrician comes Monday morning to run wiring.
- Also on Monday, the rest of my windows will be replaced. Not as overwhelming as it sounds since I only have 3 bedroom windows and the big picture window in front to replace.
- And still on Monday, new siding will begin on the entire house. Can't wait to show those pictures!
- Sheet rock and plaster will be completed by the end of this week or next, and I will start priming the walls and ceilings.
- The old laminate flooring will be taken out, hopefully to be resold at my garage sale in a few weeks.
- On Saturday, August 29, my kids and friends are coming to paint and lay new flooring.
- Finally, the following week, the cabinets will be installed and my new appliances will arrive.
What a learning experience and exciting process! I can't believe what it takes to remodel. This remodeling project seem to have taken on a life of its own and has become much more than the I ever imagined.
One last reflection before I close. The night after the trenches had been dug and my wonderful shade tree destroyed, I woke up in a cold sweat, wondering if I was doing the right thing or if I was simply throwing all this money away. Good thing I didn't have that nightmare a week earlier!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
At least two events prompted my starting over again (for the second time). First, my daughter Julie and I went to see Julie and Julia, the movie about a modern wannabee writer who blogs about making all 574 of Julia Child's recipes in one year. I have felt like the character Julie did about blogging -- that she needed a central theme around which to base her blog. My daughter Julie, however, told me today that I don't necessarily need to write about the same thing, which is what I had thought I should do in my previous blog about walking. After Julie turned down my request for her to think of a new name for my blog, I told her, "What the heck (paraphrased for my mother's sake)! I am just going to do it!" And, voila, I came up with my new title. And this title allows me to cover anything. I must admit I am feeling quite optimistic about my blogging future.
The second event that prompted my blogging reconfirmation was reading a chapter in a book Jean, our media specialist, loaned me about using modern technology in the classroom, including blogging. So far I've only read the chapter about blogging, which, naturally, says that if a teacher expects her students to blog, she must blog herself. Since school starts next week, I'd better get on the ball and start blogging.
As I've thought about blogging today, I realized I really have quite a bit to write about and can't wait to start. But I think I'll start tomorrow. In closing, like the character Julie, I have thought of writing a book but haven't even dreamed of starting. As a recently divorced woman many years ago, I learned how to change the oil in my car out of sheer necessity because I was too poor to pay to have it done. Within three months of my divorce, I had to move my family to a dumpy apartment which continually had a clogged kitchen sink and which I continually had to unclog. Over the course of time, I realized I could do anything a man could do even though it always took me quite a bit longer, so my book would have been titled something like Anything a Man Can Do, A Woman Can Do and would contain stories of things women had accomplished as they lived on their own.
Obviously I have never written the book, but I still amaze myself at what I do on my own. Granted I get a great deal of help and advise from my adult children, thank Heavens. My blog, I hope, will reflect the fact that I, like everyone else, just keep doin' it because, what the heck! most of us don't have any other choice.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Even though I haven't been walking, I have maintained my 3-times-a-week routine at Curves, albeit not at 5:30 a.m. like when I'm in school. This morning I went to Curves and only did the weight machines because I planned to walk, and that's what I did. My word! My legs felt like logs, and my hips like unoiled gears. When I had about 1/4 mile left to go, both legs and hips stopped aching and began moving more smoothly. Let this be a lesson to me--don't take two weeks off from walking!
The reasons I haven't been walking include finishing one audio book and taking care of Julie after her surgery. You can read about Julie's surgery if you haven't already on her blog "Julie's Losing It." Since I have many audio books on my ipod, I picked a Dean Koontz, whose books are usually great for walking. I'll be darned if I could concentrate on the book; all I could think of was what I could write about in my blog! I'm sure the newness will wear off and I'll realize one day that I haven't written anything for weeks, but for now the ideas are flooding through my mind.
Like many of you, I'm the type that tries something new and that's all I want to do until something else comes along. On Wednesday, I thought I'd try online scrapbooking for the first time by quickly putting together some pictures from any trip I could find the pictures for. I was actually hoping to scrapbook the fantastic pictures I have of our Seattle trip, but ended up finding the San Francisco pictures of when Shaneen, Mother, and I visited Jason in Monterey in 2003. And, you guessed it, we didn't have digital cameras in 2003, so I scanned all the pictures. Six hours later, I had produced a scrapbook--my first one of any kind ever! Considering that it was my first online scrapbook and a quickie at that, I'm quite pleased with the effort. Now, however, I can imagine collecting all these scrapbooks online and never getting those printed off. At least I'm one step closer to doing something with all my fantastic photos. But, since I decided to start blogging today, scrapbooking may take a back seat with reading the required material for my reading endorsement class, watching HGTV and game shows nonstop, attending boys' and girls' basketball games, and believe it or not, grading Sophomore English essays!
A required novel and scoring students' essays should have been enough of a reason to get out of my rocking chair and go for a walk every day this Christmas break, but HGTV and game shows won out. Today I walked right after Jeopardy and before Match Game at 11:30 a.m. Not quite sure what I'll do when school starts again and all-day television is no longer an option.
After coming up with a name last night, my mind went wild thinking of all the things I could write about, all of them in some way connected to walking. I plan to write about my favorite walking places, where I walk when I travel, excitements and scares I encounter while walking, books I listen on my walks, things I think about, . . . and so on and so on. As you can see, walking is just the excuse I've given myself to write.
I hope some of what I write can be as entertaining as Julie's adventures and as clever as Shaneen's and Cheya's discourses on books and other topics. Most of all, I think, I hope I can get back into a writing mode. After teaching so many students how to write, sometimes I wonder if I can even write myself.
Well, with that being said, I'm going to go watch a 10 a.m. rerun of Jeopardy (one blessing of having two weeks off for Christmas!), lace up my walking shoes, and take off along the trail in back of my house.
P.S. This will be only my second walk during Christmas break. Something happened to my motivation this year.