Making the most of my "Dash"

Me and My Sweetheart

For many, many years, my birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries were not really celebrated.  I often heard, “Sorry, it came up so quick I forgot to get time off” or “Sorry, I didn’t have enough money.”  (or apparently any time to even do a handwritten card). I also had (and probably still do) a habit of replying, “It’s ok. I don’t mind.” to these sorts of comments.  I certainly didn’t want to make the other person feel bad.  Even though it made me feel bad, very bad, inside.

So, in order to compensate for the disappointed feeling that I would get when these holidays came around , I just decided that Mother’s Day wasn’t for me anyway.  It was for my mom.  Plus, it’s just another way for the card companies to make money.  And Valentine’s Day… Well, Valentine’s Day was a stupid holiday anyway.  Chocolates were too expensive, flowers were astronomical, restaurants were too busy, gifts were too expensive, and all the lovey-lovey people were just annoying.  So with my lowered expectations (that were met without fail), I was never disappointed around these holidays.

Well, turns out that was another life.

Mister is having no such attitude from me.  My vocal protests of the extra holidays that “don’t mean anything” can not withstand the determination of my “romantical” (to use his word) husband.  He refuses to let Valentine’s Day pass without some sort of token of our love expressed.  Preferably homemade.  He does not like the commercialization of the holidays either, but his determination comes from a desire to prove to me that I am worth thinking of on these days.  I am worth going to the store for a $2 (make that $5, nowadays) card.  I am worth a box of chocolates.  I am worth being taken out to dinner.  I am worth his thoughts and his time.

The only thing that makes his view of Valentine’s Day acceptable to me is the fact that it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for me to have these things.  I’ve come home countless times to fresh flowers on the entry table.  To a bag of snack size Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  To a card that says, “Just Because I Love You”.  I get taken out on a date-night almost every Tuesday evening.  Every day with Mister is Valentine’s Day.  I know without a doubt that I am his sweetheart, and he is mine.  So, when Valentine’s Day arrives tomorrow, Mister and I will spoil each other a little more usual.  And I will take this opportunity to tell Mister some of the things I love about him:

  • I love how you say, “Good Morning, Beautimus!” to me every morning when we wake up.
  • I love that you always want to hold my hand.
  • I love how you try to anticipate my every need and meet it, even before I know I have a need.
  • I love how you try to race me to fold the laundry… and how sometimes you’ll try to be sneaky and do it when I’m not paying attention.
  • I love that you like cooking our meals together.
  • I love that when something needs to be fixed in the house, or on the cars, that you take care of it…as soon as possible.
  • I love how I never worry about being broken down and stranded anymore.
  • I love how your eyes turn soft, and your mouth smiles, whenever you look at me.
  • I love how you like to snuggle on the couch in the evenings.
  • I love how you help the kids with their math homework (because we all know that I’m clueless).
  • I love how you help me be a more patient, kind, and loving parent to the kids.
  • I love how fair and kind you are to the kids, and because they know that is how you are, they respond so well to you.
  • I love when you kiss me on the forehead.
  • I love how you always give me time to work out issues when I’m upset, and that you never let me get away with shoving an issue aside rather than discussing it.
  • I love you for trying to always make my life calm, and as stress-free as possible.
  • I love you for knowing when something’s bothering me, and that you never ignore it in the hopes that it will just “go away”.
  • I love you for making me feel so beautiful, that I no longer criticize myself whenever I look in a mirror and see my body.
  • I love that when I look at you I *know*, without a doubt, that you love me too.
  • I love you for encouraging me; for reminding me that I am a smart, capable, strong, and brave woman.
  • I love you for being the kind, patient, giving, loving, sensitive, romantic, intelligent, capable, and wonderful man that you are.
  • I love you for seeing me.

The Love Shack

The Love Shack! (Notice the Love Bears?!)

After the garages were finished, Mister and I got to work on turning some of the old garage (that’s what we named the garage that was existing before he added the other two garages) into a temporary hobby room.  It   is the perfect place for Mister’s Amateur Radio and my scrapbooking and miscellaneous hobby stuff.  It is a 32′ garage, so we took the last 10 feet and made that into our room.  We’ve still got plenty of room for the parked cars, and Mister’s toolboxes and work bench.  Mister told me to plan on two weeks for us to just get the wall framed and up. Sounded perfect to me!   Turns out, we got it up in 24 hours’ time.

We weren’t looking for anything fancy, just something temporary until the kids move out (the last kid leaves in 7 years, 3 months and 2 weeks… but who’s counting?!), and then we can reclaim the two other bedrooms in the house.  I told Mister I was perfectly fine with paneled walls.  I was impatient for it to be done, it’s temporary anyway, and I didn’t want to deal with the messiness of the drywalling, mud, tape, & texturing process.  So, in one weeks’ time we had the room completed.  We didn’t get a big carpet remnant as we had planned, but that is no big deal to me.  There is a fairly good sized scrap of carpet in there where I have my space, and that’s works out nicely.

Mister had been storing an unassembled day bed in the garage, so I told him he should set it up in the room.  It’s a great little place to sit and work on embroidery.  I also told him if he ever wanted to escape from the craziness of the house, it would be a perfect nap spot.  It ended up being the first thing he set up in the room.  I’m not sure what he’s trying to say with that…

When we were moving our things into the room I made a comment about having the perfect spot in “my scrapbook room” for an item.  Mister looked at me, smiled hugely and started cracking up.  He just pointed a finger at me and said, “YOUR scrapbooking room, huh?!  I KNEW you were going to try and claim the whole place for yourself!!”  Against such a Freudian slip, I had no defense.  We are very playful and tease each other a lot, so he wasn’t being mean and I wasn’t really trying to claim the room for my own.  I am thrilled with being able to share a space with him, as I enjoy being in his presence as much as possible.  However, to cover my little error in speech, I told him that we must rename the room and I jokingly called it “The Love Shack”.  It was just a joke, but the name has stuck… Oh well, it’s cute, and I love it!

Here are some images of us getting the room done from start to finish:

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Mister in his new garage with The Beast and his Honda Magna

The Garage has been finished for about a month, but I have been so busy I haven’t had time to post about it.  Oops!

We had a wonderful experience with this garage.  We happened to stumble into the perfect contractor, Rick Foster of Trophy Homes, quite by accident.   If you need to get any work done around Lake Havasu City/Parker area of Arizona, he is your man!  Whenever we had questions or concerns, he would answer them immediately.  He constantly kept us up-to-date on the status of the project.  We couldn’t have had a better experience!

So, THANK YOU, to Rick and crew… You did a wonderful job and couldn’t be more thrilled with how beautiful it turned out!

Life getting in the way?

Mister and I, happily living life!

Today Deborah from The Monster In Your Closet posed a question on her facebook page asking, “If you could choose ONE of your blog posts you’d want to be read far and wide, which would it be?”  The first post that jumped to mind was the “Letter to my Daughter…” that I wrote to Megan.  Deb asked for us to link our posts under her question, and after I did I realized that I haven’t written anything for the blog in quite some time… Yikes!  Not only has Deb prompted me to repost the blog I wrote to Megan on my own facebook page, but also to blog for a bit today. Thanks for the motivation, Deb!

I haven’t been blogging lately, but that’s simply because I’ve been living.  I used to say that “life gets in the way”, but until recently I didn’t realize how horribly wrong that statement is.  I love my life, and it’s certainly not in the way of anything!!  I find myself annoyed at times because I can’t get to the computer to check email, facebook notifications, or blog.  I’m too busy helping Mister build our HAM shack/Hobby room.  We’ve been too busy reorganizing the garage, and I have a special project  that I’m working on for Mister, and those things have had to take priority.

Wait, what?!  I’m annoyed that I’m living life and its keeping me from sitting in front of a computer for hours?! Oh. My. Goodness.  Last week this thought snuck up one me, and I felt like DiNozzo getting hit upside the head by Jethro Gibbs.  Doing these projects and things around the house is me living my life.  And I’m enjoying it fully!  Blogging about it is just a bonus, and something I do purely for myself.  I’ve no right to put pressure on myself, and beat myself up for not getting to blogging in what I consider a timely manner.  What a silly thought, and yet something that I was allowing to make me feel very badly.

Having shared this little revelation, something that I’m sure most people are already aware of and face-palming themselves on my behalf, let me just say that I do have some blog posts to catch up on.  And, they aren’t deeply profound. (Another pressure I add to myself.)  They’re just posts about me, and Mister, and the kids, as we go about our simple life.  And, when I have a moment, I’ll get to writing them.  I can’t wait to share the project I’m working on for Mister, but that’s been incredibly time-consuming and will not be done for  awhile.  I also need to do the last Garage post, because that has been completely finished for a couple of weeks now.  And it’s beautiful!!

Until then, I hope that you, too, are living your life and enjoying it!  It’s our Dash, we have to make the most of it!!

SOPA/PIPA

Tomorrow, January 18th, I will be joining many websites that will be going black from 8am to 8pm in protest of the SOPA/PIPA (internet censorship Bills).

Please visit http://fightforthefuture.org/pipahttp://sopastrike.com/, and americancensorship.org for more details and to see how you can help!

That's paralyzingly high up for me...

Today was supposed to be a good day. No, a GREAT day.  Instead, it turned out to be a day reminiscent of Tim “The Toolman” Taylor.

We were excited because we were finally going to get to move The Beast into her new home.  We needed her assistance, because she’s 11.5 feet tall… and we needed to get the lights installed and wired in her fancy-schmancy new home.  That happens to be 15.5 feet tall.  She seemed to be exactly what we needed to Do It Ourselves.

Mister got in to the Beast and fired her up, and was able to wriggle her around at the side of the house, avoiding THREE sewer valves the city installed within 20 feet of each other.  And not in a straight line either.  Which seems so random and weird, but… it’s the city.  I did my part in making sure Mister did not take out the eave on the side of the house, smash into the stucco wall with the motorcycle lift, and made sure he avoided all three sewer valves.  I was very carefully watching as he came down near the drive way, to ensure the front left-hand corner of The Beast did not get too close to the ground (since it was coming down at a sharp angle).  It looked questionable there for a minute.  And as I breathed a sigh of relief that all seemed to be fine and in the clear, I heard a nice, long, LOUD…. “CRACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK… CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRACK”.

As I looked down, and gasped, Mister slammed on the air brakes (as he was crawling out of the driveway at a speedy 3mph) and gave me this “WHAT?!?!?!!!!” look.  I had watched as his front left tire ran over the rather thick looking plastic water meter cover.  Nothing seemed to be wrong, so I told him nevermind, all was well and to go on ahead.  He eased the Beast out of the driveway, and headed down the street to make a u-turn in the intersection at the end of our block.  It’s a big, and very quiet street, so I was watching as he carefully made his 3-point Y-turn.  And then there was a gurgle.  I looked down at the water meter box just as a huge gush of brownish water came surging out of it.  For a moment I thought it was a sewer connection, and I said a few lot of bad words in my head, and I think possibly out loud, as I wondered what on earth I should do while waiting for Mister to come back up the street.  My first instinct was to stop the yucky brown water from gushing out, but there was no way was I going to stick my hand in it.  I waited for the foul odor that I was sure would hit my sniffer at any moment… but that never came because it really was just WATER.   It felt like forever before Mister drove back up the street, and when he did all I could do was point at the water rushing up from the ground.  He just shook his head, raised his hands and gave me an “I can’t do anything about it right now” irritated gesture.

As quickly as we could, we got the Beast into her home, and ran out to look at the damage.  I called the Public Works department, and told them what we had done and that it seemed to be broke on their side.  They said they would send an emergency crew out.  Mister somehow managed to get our side of the water shut off, and we got to work on getting the lights done.  About 45 minutes later the city was there working on the problem.  About 20 minutes after that, another city truck was out.  They had about 5 guys working on it, and at one point I saw one guy had dug a hole so deep just his head was sticking out of it.  And then…. The Motorcycle Police man showed up.

I told Mister, who was struggling with the lights on top of the Beast, that the cops were at the house.  He was really surprised by that, but we kept working away.  Until the cop came to talk to us.  Turns out the city had called them and told them we had a hit-and-run on our property.  We told the officer exactly what had happened, and that we had NOT performed a hit-and-run on our own property. (WE called it in for crying out loud.)  He took a report and so now we’ll have to deal with the City on this issue next week.  Just LOVELY.

Mister was having to hold the light, screw it in, while balancing himself against the ceiling. Which means he had to do it all by touch, rather than sight.

Along with the stress of the water issue, we had to deal with the lighting situation.  Mister is 6’1″, so the four feet clearance he had while on top of the motor home kept him stooped over.  Not to mention, he was in a deep knee bend pretty much every time he had to try and get the lights installed.  Which was no easy feat, given that each light was to be installed about a foot and a half from the edge of the motor home.  It was too difficult to get the motor home to one side or the other of the garage, so he pretty much had to lean over the edge.

After almost dropping the first light while trying to screw it in, I told him I would help him.  I figured it would not be anything like being on the roof of the house, since the ceiling was there, as well as the garage door being partially opened (and something I could hold on to for balance).  It also didn’t look like Mister was having to lean over very far either, so I figured it would be easy-peasy.  And I was SO VERY WRONG about that.

I know I have a fear of heights.  What I didn’t realize was how paralyzing and panic-inducing that fear was.  Certainly anyone who is scared of heights could be very frightened by being on the roof of a house. Especially trying to get down a ladder that is not permanently attached.  But being on top of a sturdy motor home with a screwed on ladder?  I didn’t think that would be a problem.  Until I tried to help him hold the light.  I inched as close to the edge of the Beast as I could (it has a curved top;  NOT helpful to those who are afraid they’ll lose their footing and slip).  I was actually behind Mister, with my head and neck firmly planted against the ceiling, left arm gripping the top of the opened garage door, and right hand extended over the edge and holding up the light.  I told myself not to look down, and I didn’t.  Then I felt all the blood drain from my face, my entire body went as cold as ice, my knees started shaking, and the arm holding the light fixture started trembling.  My eyes were shut tight, and I think I even whimpered a time or two, trying to hold the tears back.  Mister was telling me I was doing exactly what he needed me to do and he was able to get the light installed. Which helped me from losing it completely up there.

When he told me I could let go, I went straight to the middle of the coach and sat down.  I was very close to a real panic-attack, and had to focus on becoming calm.  I told Mister I could not do that again, and offered instead to just be the “gopher”.  I was terrified of losing my balance, grabbing him, knocking us both off-balance and sending us tumbling to the floor.  He agreed that my “gopher-ing” would be more helpful, and on the ground is where I spent the rest of the day.  Except for climbing halfway up the ladder to hand him things, which was very manageable.

View from the stairs at the far back of the garage

Mister managed to get all four lights installed (one near each corner of the garage) without falling off.  It was very difficult to watch him straining to hold up the light, drill the holes, get the lag bolts in, and firmly screw the lights up while hunched over and in a partial squat.  His neck, back, and legs were very tired at the end of the day, but he’s been able to rest.  Even though our electrician did not get the electricity hooked up to the garage yet (like he was supposed to by YESTERDAY), Mister was still able to test his lights and outlet work.  So we know we are set for our part of the final inspection.  Which was supposed to be done Monday, but thanks to our dear electrician is now rescheduled for Tuesday.

To say that we are glad this particular day in our Dash is over would be an understatement.  Life happens, obstacles pop up, and you just have to deal with them and move on.  I am grateful for no trips to the E.R. and that Mister resisted the very strong temptation to get all smart-assy when the police officer patronizingly asked him, “So, what did you LEARN today??”  That could have made this day a bit more worse.

Garage: Almost there!

Looks like I was a bit too optimistic about the garage being done by Christmas.  I’m sure everyone but me knew it too!  If I would have thought about all the things still needing to be done, I would have realized being done before 2012 came was not a realistic expectation.  No matter, it really is still SO close to being done!

Beast's garage all painted!

Last week they painted the Beast’s garage, but they still need to paint the window opening on the existing garage’s side.  Turns out they used a semi-gloss in the new garages, and the existing garage has flat paint in it.  So the painter has to run out and get some flat paint to finish it.   They are also painting the man-doors in the garages today.

The garage doors were installed on Thursday, as we were taking the day trip to drop off the kids with their Dad.  The doors look AWESOME.  They’re a newer design that have wide rectangles on them, rather than the standard smaller ones (you’ll see in the pictures at the bottom of this post).  We are going to have them replace the existing garage door to match the new ones, but they weren’t able to do it when we were gone.  It’s been a bit disconcerting to have the garages so open, especially with the window opening between the existing garage and the Beast’s garage.  Anyone could grab a ladder and get into the house, if they were determined.  We were relieved to come back from our daytrip and see that the garage doors had been installed.  The garage electrical isn’t hooked up to the main yet, so Mister ran an extension cord to the little garage’s opener and closed the doors.

Mister's Death-Trap Ladder

A SANER idea

The Beast’s garage door opener was a bit more difficult to get to, since it’s 15 feet up.  So Mister had to leave that alone.  For a few days.   He got to the point of it driving him nuts that he couldn’t get an extension cord ran to the Beast’s opener. Then he decided to get creative with ladders.  This was NOT a good plan, and as I’m terrified of heights and something bad happening to him, I was not pleased to see him working at his “plan”.  I refused to help him set up the ladders, until he asked me to help.  I struggled with whether I should offer up a good idea I had for getting him up on a ladder and close to that stupid opener.  I decided to go ahead and tell him, and it turned out to work for him.  He got the door closed, and we were able to secure the house.  So, no E.R. trip with his death-ladder trap, and a safe house for us.  I can’t complain about that!

Taz Concrete hard at work!

On Friday Taz Concrete came out and poured both of the driveways.  They look fantastic!  As always, Taz does a fantastic job.  While they were doing that, Mister and I went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and then back to Lowe’s.  We spent HOURS in man-heaven.  Mister had made an arrangement with the electrician: The electrician would run the wires, get the panel in, and run the main to the garage panel.  Mister was going to do the finish work, installing the outlets and lights. We found all the outlets, switches, and covers we needed to finish the electrical.  We also got the lights for the garages, and the door hardware.  Mister was so excited to get to work that on Friday we both installed almost all of the electrical outlets.  We couldn’t get to the garage door outlet on the Beast’s 15-foot ceiling though.  On Saturday he installed the four-foot flourescent light fixture in the little garage, and most of the door hardware.

We won’t be able to finish the Beast’s electrical stuff yet, because of the high ceiling.  Since I obviously hate ladders and heights, and this seem so dangerous, we’re going to wait until the concrete cures and then pull the Beast into the garage.  That way we can get on top of it and Mister can more easily install the lights, and the outlets for the garage door opener.  That should be scary for me, and fun for him.

At this point, we don’t have too much left to get done.  They need to finish the stucco, and they’re waiting for the concrete to cure before they put their scaffolding on it.  They also will be stuccoing the cinderblock approach walls on the Beast’s garage. The electrician has got to dig his trench and get the electrical hooked up.  Mister finishing the electric in the Beast’s garage, install the outside porch light and electric outlet.  Painting the new garage doors and scuppers.  After all that they’ll get the landscaping done, and then I can post the before and after pictures!! Until then, here’s the recent photos:

Little garage is ready for the concrete pour!

Street side view of the little garage forms set up

Mister was relieved to see the sewer clean-out just on the other side of the little garage's driveway. Even if it was busted up on accident.

Mister, in his supervisory role

Nicely done, Taz!!

Little garage's driveway, all finished!

Little garage, streetside

Pretty garage door!

Other side of the little garage (SO nice having it be a drive-through garage!)

Mister wanted a picture of the Beast's toilet... all nicely installed. I won't be spending anymore time taking pictures of it, though.

The Beast's driveway... Nice!!

Street side view of the Beast's Driveway...

New garage door! Still need to replace existing garage door to match...

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