Category Archives: Home improvement

Tour of the new house part 2

Part 1.

Okay, where were we? Ah yes. We just finished the kitchen and the ’80s wallpaper (some of it). Next is the livingroom. I like the livingroom. I mean, there’s work to be done in here, but it’s not so bad. For starters, I love the fireplace, which burns wood like a real fireplace. I love that–the smell and crackle of the wood fire. On the other hand, you can’t flip a switch and get the wood fire. That’s okay, though–that’s what husbands are for. I’m going to buy firewood this week so Frank can build me a fire, because we are apparently skipping fall and going right to winter after having a very hot September (it was in the 90s most of the month!). I might want to paint the mantel white or black, but I haven’t decided yet. And I’ve been inspired by sheila and have decided that the long wall there needs to be covered floor-to-ceiling in built-in bookshelves (except where the TV armoire will go in the center).

As you can imagine, I’ve already started ripping off the wallpaper.

Underneath the paper is a nicely textured wall (!!) and pale yellow paint.

Off the livingroom (and kitchen) is what is currently a reading cave and may have been a tiny dining room in the past.

All the bookcases are in there now, and I haven’t actually done any reading in there, but… you know. I could if I so wished. I’m pretty sure this fancy little decoration used to be a deadbolt, because this was the back door, and the gameroom is an extension.

What I do love about the door is that it’s pretty well soundproofed, since it used to be an external door. So sometimes Frank goes in the gameroom to write while I bang around in the kitchen with Buffy blaring on the TV so I can listen to slayage while I cook. And when Tarina visited, she went off to bed in the guest room one night, and Frank and I shut ourselves in the gameroom and karaoked for a while. Tarina never heard a peep. So that’s cool.

Oh, and this room, too, has wallpaper.

I sense a theme: Home is where the creepy heart wallpaper is.

Next is the gameroom, which I love.

Only… I don’t understand the color scheme. Blue trim, doors, moulding… white walls. Something a little backwards about that. I mean, I could understand if the walls were orange, because hey, BSU colors. But no, it’s white on country blue. Anyway, we have our office area when we first walk in, then the Wii/karaoke area, and then the other wing of the room is where the pool table will go once I’ve moved all the boxes out of that space.

The pantry is actually in the gameroom, and I’m glad it’s there. The house didn’t originally have one, so at least there’s one around the corner, even if it’s not in the kitchen. Do you love the valance on the back door? It’s blue/maroon with flowers and stuff. I might cover the walls in that fabric.

Here’s the powder room.

I’ll want to paint in here, replace the light fixture (not my style), and eventually replace the vanity, but it’s fine for now. Oh! And the floor–I don’t have a picture–is grey linoleum stick-on tiles with diagonal darker grey designs. The other bathrooms also have stick-on tiles, but they look fine. And the blue trim is all over the powder room, and the door is blue.

Next, we’ll tour the bedrooms.

Tour of the new house part 1

We’ve been here almost two months now, and it occurs to me that y’all haven’t even seen it! So I’ll take you on a little tour. I took all of these pics the day we closed and got keys, which is also the day before the movers brought all our stuff over from the rent house. I’ll also point out all the updates we’ll be doing (a little at a time so we can afford it). It’s a thirty-year-old house, and we think the extension and the wood laminate floors and the carpet are the only updates that were ever made.

This is the entryway. While I do feel a little old and wise with clouded eyes these days, I am not yet ready for the granny light. So that’ll be going away. Also, I want to either paint or replace the closet door (actually every door in the house) and paint the walls (actually, every wall in the house). But check out the peep hole. That is something I will be keeping in its as-is state. It’s like they always knew a really short person would live here, and it is perfectly SarahK-height.

Off the entryway, we have the ridiculously large dining room. It’s a great size, actually. Fits all the dining furniture my in-laws gave us and has a spot for the piano as well. I like the light fixture in here okay, but I’m going to move it elsewhere (either the guest room or the entryway) and put a chandelier over the table. Also, do you see the light switches and baseboards? They’re beige, and I hate that, so those will be going white soon, and the walls will be going NOT white. You can’t see the miniblinds, but they’re your basic metal, and they’re mauve. Mauve. At least we have a granny theme going, right?

Here’s the view from the kitchen, looking back toward the entryway.

The diningroom flows into the kitchen, which is workable for now. Which is to say that we’ll save for several years and then remodel the whole thing to get me my dream kitchen. There’s plenty of space in the dining room, so I can take over some of that to expand a little, or the little reading nook (which you can see at the other end of the kitchen) can become part of the kitchen. Lots of options. But for now, I have enough cabinet space, though I’d really love to have more counter space. The light fixture overhead is okay and has to be a hundred times better than the fluorescent lights they apparently replaced. The light over the sink is embossed with roses, so. Well. I’m not crazy about the ceramic stovetop–the one at our rent house was great, but this one scratches easily and isn’t easy to clean. The sink is insanely shallow, and I’m of two minds about that–on the one hand, I can’t let dishes stay in the sink, or I’m putting them on the counter after about three dishes, and on the other hand, I can’t wash anything without splashing water all over the floor and behind the sink. I would like new cabinet facing, or maybe just to paint what’s there.

Here you can see the small wall better.

I didn’t realize until I was baking something in the oven that the oven is pretty runty. I might later decide to replace the microwave with a second oven and put a microwave above the stove or something. We just got the deposits from our rent house back, so we’ll be getting a new refrigerator with that money. It kinda sucks, though, because I measured everything, and we’re going to have to get a counterdepth fridge, and those have less space and cost several hundreds more. But we will get to put the one that came with the house in the garage, and I can’t tell y’all how excited I am about having two fridges. TWO! After the apartment-sized fridge of the rent house, it’ll be like upgrading from the little Fisher Price house to the Barbie dream house. I can have an entire fridge devoted to pickles!

I love the brick behind the sink, and I think the thing hanging over it is a window from a very old door. Love that too.

And I’m sure y’all noticed this atrocity:

That’s right, peepies. The last remaining cottages-hearts-baskets-roses wallpaper is pasted to my kitchen walls. Maroon, mauve, beige, and country blue, mmm baby. I don’t know if I can get rid of something so current.

Next I’ll show you the livingroom, reading nook, and gameroom.

we fix things and then break other things

I’m making a list of things that *still* have to be done to the house. Mostly it’s just touchups, which I’ve decided are low priority right now. One that’s not quite urgent but still important is yet another faucet issue. Frank already fixed the Moen faucet in the guest bathroom (I was so proud of him!), but we seem to have created a new problem in the master bathtub. It took me a while to figure it out, because we never use that bathtub (it’s a garden tub and therefore extremely uncomfortable). But when I was cleaning it last weekend, I remembered that we couldn’t find one piece of the bathtub knob apparatus after we painted the wall behind it, so we just put it back together without that piece. Well, the knob now only turns about halfway in one direction and 1/4 of the way in the other direction. Cold is hot, hot is cold, and turning the water off is a pain, because you have to find the midnight position on the dial exactly.

I think I’ll put Frank on that today. That and bathing the stinky dog.

trend or foe?

One of the bathroom trends I love is the installation of vessel sinks (which I think is what you call the ones installed above the counter rather than sunken under the counter. Just a lovely bowl with a drain sitting atop the counter, a usually adorable faucet hovering overhead). One thing I don’t know, though, is whether this is one of those trends that will go away (and then everyone will look at vessel sinks the way I look at floral print couches — like they should be destroyed or re-covered, and fast before I throw up on them and my puke blends in with the way-too-busy fabric) or if they’re here to stay.

What say you? Because I’m a big fan.

do not want to know

We’ve been very careful with our spending these past few months (not so careful that I’m not drinking the black cherry soda anymore, and not so careful that Frank doesn’t have an overabundance of comic books on his nightstand, but careful-ish). I’ve also carefully tracked anything we’ve put on credit cards. We decided long ago that credit cards are for emergencies only (this emergency being that we must move). Still, even knowing that the spending on home improvements to get the house ready to sell was minimal, I’m afraid to look.

We have spent some money on improvements — it can’t have been that much, considering that we replaced all the light fixtures, painted every room and the garage floor, replaced all the blinds (which were torn up by the kitties), replaced the drip saucers and one burner on the stove, and did some landscaping. (If I were a buyer, I would not have even considered this house in its previous state, golf course view or not.) We didn’t replace the carpet, and it is worn and somewhat stained, but I’m trusting Spot Shot and my trusty steam cleaner to handle the stains this morning. We also didn’t replace the microwave, which makes such a loud clatter when it runs — the new owners can do that themselves.

The only other major expenses were staging expenses and storage for all of our clutter. We bought the new living room furniture, curtains for the den, valances for the kitchen and bathroom, and a few decorations, but we get to take all of those with us, so they don’t count, right?

I’ve been keeping track of the credit cards we used and their balances, but I haven’t yet run the reports to see how much of the expenditures (listen to the former CPA use her big words!) were on furniture and decorations, moving boxes (a necessary expense anyway), storage (the rooms look so much bigger now, and having the house so un-cluttered makes it so much easier to keep clean), and actual home improvement expenses. I think the home improvement will end up being just a small portion of what we’ve spent… but I still don’t want to look. If I don’t look, I can’t prove myself wrong, right?

I’m so ready to be out from under all credit card debt that I’m considering designating them “not even in case of emergencies.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to mulch the gardens.

because i know yall are as excited about the house as we are

Everything is back in place in the garage. I cut the lantana in the front back to the ground, because when I trimmed it back to where it belongs, there was a small layer of green and purple but a giant layer of twiggy undergrowth. Best to just start over. I also gave the fiery bush a haircut — I still need to take a little off the top, but it looks better. Even with the giant hole facing the street (not part of the haircut, that happened when we were straightening the bush; giant branch just snapped right off). Frank did the weeds.

Oh, and somehow, by getting all the garage items back in place, my kitchen floor cleaned itself. Not clean, but all those tools, garden supplies, and paint supplies are in the Grey Monster where they belong now, instead of causing a rather scary mess on the tile.

Gotta go wallpaper and paint the island now (paintable wallpaper). Since the crappy laminate they installed peeled off, it’s the only way we can fix it without taking the whole thing apart, messing with the tile, etc.

Later, dudes.

light at the end…

Frank painted the garage this weekend. That was the last major project. The floor looks great. I have… cleaned out and organized the pantry, packed about a million boxes, done a ton of laundry, cleaned half the kitchen… Tomorrow: landscaping and cleaning. And we’re done after tomorrow (well, there will be daily cleaning to keep it like this, but y’all know what I mean). Yay!


Wow, so I put us on a schedule that started Monday. Every day is mapped out in the extreme. What each of us is doing at each set time. We have gotten so much done. Packing, last bit of staging, applying for jobs, cleaning ceiling fans, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning up and cleaning out the garage, cleaning various parts of the house… Frank painted the first half of the garage today. Tomorrow, the other half.

We were sad Fred Thompson came to Florida today. If only it were next week. We hope he’ll wait to go to Idaho after we move.

What else. I saw the gastro, Dr. Awesome. My BP was 90/70. Weight? 159. So I gained three pounds from when I weighed at Publix, and I’ve only lost three total since going off gluten. BUT. Alice did show up today, and I already look less swollen and bloated in my face. Should I start expecting that now? Off gluten, I have cramps for a whole day instead of thirty seconds on gluten. Not a fan of that side-effect. And I bloat up horribly for about a week ahead of time. Never had that problem before. Ugh.

So. I told Dr. Awesome that all of my symptoms have drastically improved (migraines, hand pain, foot pain, nosebleeds, easy bruising, and more after getting off gluten, muscle aches and nerve pain and seizures after getting off all dairy and starting probiotics). But I still am constantly bloated, TMI ALERT!!!, have clinical diarrhea at LEAST 75% of the time, and spend twenty-four hours a day discomforted to the point of misery from the bloating and gas pains. Fun fun stuff. Dr. Awesome slipped to Dr. Awesome Minus (A- for short) because he said he’s completely satisfied with my improvement and doesn’t think I need to do anything else except maybe Immodium (I’ve been quite clear with him that bandaids are NOT okay). Dude, you heard the part about all that diarrhea, right? Because I can’t do overnight hikes in that condition. I’ll never be able to hike the Grand Canyon again if I’m just satisfied with the status quo. He was perfectly happy with everything though. Drs. amaze me. Anyway, the probiotics seem to be working their magic. I found gluten-free, dairy-free ones. So there you go.

I’ve put in several short breaks each day (funny, I barely have time to read blogs in that time, much less blog myself). Also Bible study every day, which we actually have to schedule in, because otherwise we keep saying, “We really should do that,” and we never do. Sad. And we have half an hour of playing games and drinking hot tea after 9:30 p.m., because no one is supposed to call after 9:00 p.m. (it really annoys us, we’re like, “Who died?”), and certainly not after 9:30 p.m. The first night we played Scattergories. The past two nights, we played one game of Phase 10. I used to be so addicted to Phase 10. And the last two nights, I had so much fun playing (though, admittedly, it’s more fun when there are three or four people playing). Tonight before dinner, Frank asked, “Can we play Phase 10 again tonight?” “I told you it’s addicting,” was my response.

Have had no time for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Monday I will be able to get back on it. Am reading Goblet of Fire at bedtime every night. We have half an hour scheduled for reading in bed. I usually fall asleep after ten minutes, and Frank can spend twenty or thirty on his comic books. Today I said, “Hey, maybe you should try reading books that have words.” “Comic books have words. They just have pictures, too.” Yeah, pictures that take about ten minutes to interpret. “What is happening in that picture?” “I think he’s falling off a building.” “Are you sure?” “Oh. Yeah. Because four frames later, someone mentions him falling off the building.” Then why didn’t they just say that??

Frank, a lifetime insomniac, has slept very well this week. I’m convinced it’s the hot tea. He isn’t sure.

Rowdi is scratching one of her n!ppl3s so hard that it has bled, scabbed over, and bled some more. I don’t know what to do for her. Watch this be the only part of the post that gets comments.

When we move to Idaho (Lord willing), we will become huge Boise State fans. It’s pretty much a requirement, especially if I want to stay in my in-laws’ good graces. Plus, they’re an easy team to like. I once knew a guy who was so obsessed with Tennessee football (because he went there) that he tried to recruit people. This was in the Texas Metroplex. I don’t think he converted many. But considering that Texas Tech and Boise State are the only college football games I’ve been to and bothered watching on TV (I’m a Cowboys fan, and it’s pro sports all the way for me, yo), those are the only teams in which I’m interested, and… BSU is much closer to Boise than Tech… yeah, I will actually become a big BSU fan. Once upon a time, my dear friend Scott told me that I would be a fan of the teams located in the city I live. That it was a requirement. No. I assured him, I will always root for the Metroplex teams. I suppose I’ve picked up a couple of college teams, but it’s still Stars, Cowboys, and bless my heart, the Texas Rangers. I liked the Mavericks when Mark Cuban wasn’t financing Loose Change the movie (which I think fell through), but now I can hardly stand to think about where all that Mavs money is going. I can’t wait to snark his Dancing with the Stars performances. Oh, and yes, the Metroplex still has metric football in the form of the Dallas Sidekicks, but… it’s so… metric.

I wrote my awesome Gloatation Boo-Bye Super-Fantastical Speech today. Finally. Go read it, it’s some of my best work ever!

Anyway. I’m late for game time. Ta!


I am whipped. We are officially on a schedule; as such, we’ve done so much today. I didn’t even have time to write up my much-anticipated smack talk that PostSecret will be receiving… Why, you ask? Because my beautiful boy band won the tournament. Best Thing Ever: America is *NSYNC. Hahahaha. That’s right, baby. I’ve been writing the speech in my head all day while listening to my winners on my iPod. But I’m too tired to write it now.

My feet hurt. That doesn’t affect my ability to type, but it does make me want to lie horizontal with my ankles and heels on ice. Ooh. I could wrap them up in Tiger Balm patches for the night.

Anyway. We had talked about going to Disney when we finished here… but there’s so much walking at Disney. That sounds like the opposite of fun. I’m not opposed to the Kennedy Space Center, because at least there, you get to ride the bus now and then — plus we need to use our passes some more. We’ve already gotten our money’s worth, but it’s one of the best places in Florida, and we’ve been so many times and still not seen everything.

After KSC, take me to the mountains. In Idaho, on the way to Idaho… shoot, take me for the weekend to one of those Pigeon Forge vacation rentals in Tennessee. A weekend in a log cabin looking over the mountains? Yes please.

notes about nothing

  • So… I’m almost done with all the filing, and then I’ll be caught up and never get behind forever. Seriously, I’ve been behind on my filing since about… oh… 1998? So yeah. This will be a good thing.
  • What else… Frank is finished painting all the doors. As soon as I’m finished packing up everything in the livingroom (the last room with *stuff* in it), Frank can paint the livingroom trim, and I can pack away the last few things in the garage.
  • I love Super-Fantastic Ultra Wish Time on “The Soup”. The little head that goes, “Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ehhhhhh”? Makes me laugh out loud every single time.
  • I found my poetry. Even my big poetry notebook from high school. Ech, I used to be so maudlin. But the stuff from when I was going through my ugly divorce doesn’t suck. I also found a concept for a novel that I kind of… er… backgrounded. I don’t even have a full concept. But I do have main characters, setting, etc. I might go back to it someday. I’ve started several over the years. I think I lost a few when my computer crashed. I have one on Frank’s laptop… The thing is, I’m ready for our lives to settle down so I can write earnestly. Write my novels. I’m a good story teller. Terrible at coming up with the story, but good at the narrative and dialogue.
  • Moving… we’ll go wherever the road leads. We’ve looked at several places. Amarillo — not gonna happen, though it is my favorite place ever to have lived. Phoenix real estate is tempting — decent prices, close to the Canyon and other hiking… but… no grass, no four seasons. Austin is great but still humid, and I fear we won’t do outdoorsy things once we get there because of the humidity and distance from the desert. Idaho… the only drawback I see is that we’re not close to my family and friends. But close to Frank’s family, in the desert, hiking everywhere, parks everywhere, so close to a ton of national parks, four seasons… It will all depend on a couple of factors, but I guess y’all can tell where I’m leaning.
  • Tonight I was burning candles on the wall sconces in the bedroom. I decided they’d been burning long enough (I could see them from my position in the sitting area), so I went into the bedroom to put them out. I heard a drip, drip, drip. Put out both candles. Still, drip, drip, drip. I knew where this was going… Sure enough, there was a massive pile of wax on the carpet, drips on the wall, splatters on the back of the bed frame. Thank goodness for irons and goof-off. We’ll see if the iron works before I try the goof-off (which could potentially bleach the carpet). Good thing I haven’t thrown out the iron. I’ve considered it. I never use it….
  • I’ve been making decent meals lately, and one of the best ones I’ve made recently? Gave us both heartburn. Too bad, that. Oh well. It was particularly inspired, too.
  • We’ve finished BSG, seasons one and two. Watched season five of
    “Friends” (BJ’s had it for $17). Now we’ve moved on to season one of LOST. So. We either have to buy more TV DVDs or move on to the movies.
  • I’m almost done with the next chapter of Harry Potter. Sorry I’ve gone down to posting one at a time, but we’re so busy. And ready to get out of here.
  • Ya know, I love Pier 1 candles — they smell so yummy — but they sure don’t burn well. My Tar-zhay candle that I bought on clearance for $3.88 burns so much prettier. And there is nothing more frustrating (in the candle world) than a pack of Party-Lite tealights that have off-center wicks and therefore only burn for about half an hour instead of six hours. Brutally disappointing. Ta, musees. I’m internetted out for the day.

Stop the madness!

Agh. We’re almost done with the house. Almost, almost, almost. I keep saying that. But it’s really true. I can see nearly all of the livingroom floor now! Rowdi just doesn’t know where to sleep, she has so many options.

It has taken a while, but we’ve done so much work (y’all will not recognize the house when I finally post before and after pics – I know I have before pics somewhere on the computer), not to mention that gluten challenge that slowed us down significantly for the first three months. And believe me, there were things I wanted to do to make this *the* perfect house, so all the humidity-loving people of the world would fight over it. But at some point we just had to stop the madness. Some of the improvements we decided not to do because they were complex, and we decided to save those for the next house. The one in which *we* get to live. Other improvements were just overboard, so we nixed them (the next owners can feel free to replace the porch light and lights on the front of the garage themselves, but really, I don’t think those things are necessary to sell our house for a good price).

One of the complex improvements that I really would love to have done is replace all the countertops in the house with marble or granite. Oh yes. (I’m proud to say I didn’t once consider stone floors in the kitchen, because I can’t imagine putting in a stone floor that I won’t get to live on, walk on, sleep on, eat off of – just kidding – etc. for many years.)

But our next house? Yes, please. Especially now that I’ve found All Granite and Marble Corp. I’m drooling over their website. They actually import their own stones out of which they fabricate the countertops, and because they have their own stone inventory (unlike small fabricators, which usually have to contract out for the slabs if you want a better selection than what they keep on hand) and computer numerically controlled (CNC) cutting machines, they fabricate countertops within three days of making templates of your countertops. But what I love the most is their selection of granite colors. I love the feel of granite countertops, but I’m not a big fan of the darker colors of granite. Some of the greens are okay, but the black and grey marble countertops I usually see installed? Not so much. I just feel like a kitchen should be light and welcoming, not dark and standoffish. And this company has a huge selection of the lighter colors that I would prefer.

Come prep your food on me! I make you feel happy!

I am anxious for the next house so we can pick our countertops and let the professionals worry about the rest.


We’ve gone back and forth (regarding our next house) between building and buying. Of course, the ideal situation for us would be to rent until we either find what we’re looking for in either an already-built house or new construction.

A while back, I wanted our next house to be the one we’re in until our kids are all grown up (Lord willing), so I wanted us to build the perfect house for that. I would still like to do that – settle down in the house we’ll be in for decades, pay it off in fifteen years, and be mortgage-free – but it doesn’t have to be perfect anymore. I guess after all the improvements we’ve done to this one (pictures soon, yes), we figure that we can buy a fixer-upper and make it into the house we want. Unless we find something we love that needs little work or can be built for us for a good price – we’re all for making it easier on ourselves.

Back when I wanted to build the perfect house, I was fairly silly about the whole thing. In addition to the giant kitchen (still on the list) and the good-sized laundry room, I wanted ridiculous things. Once upon a time, I went to a fundraiser at a 15,000 square foot mansion, and that house had a theater. Not just a media room – a soundproof theater complete with remote-controlled door, emergency lighting, projection screen, fancy projector, ten or more cushy leather chairs in a graded movie theater-style room, tables (for dinner theater, I guess), and – I’m not kidding – exit signs. I don’t remember if they went the whole nine yards and put in Braille exit signs or not, but they did have scarlet curtains drawn over the screen, so it truly wouldn’t have surprised me. So… way back before I ever finished painting the master bathroom, I was thinking we should have one of those. Aisles, emergency lights, and all.

I know, crazy. I know we don’t need a room like that (unless it also doubles as a safe room – because you know, then we wouldn’t have to build a storm cellar – haha), and now when I look at house plans (very infrequently), I don’t require that they have large theaters. As long as I can find a symmetrical entertainment center that will go around our otherwise clunky widescreen TV, I think that will suffice.

Queen of Home Improvements

Why don’t we just start calling me that? Ha. Is it all I ever blog about anymore? This and Harry Potter, right? I promise to get back to those wonderful cat and dog pictures soon. I know you miss them.

You’d think I’d be over the whole home improvements hobby by now, but I’m not. It is probably that we’re doing this one for the money, and I know that the next house we improve will be for us, because we plan to stay for a while (if we have our way).

As y’all know, I had not seen many screened porches (if any) before I arrived in Florida. In Texas, a ton of people have sunrooms (or conservatories), but there aren’t an abundance of screened porches, even though I remember the mosquito problems there being just as bad. I don’t know if it’s that the wonderful screened porch phenomenon hasn’t made it to Texas, or if the bug-zapper-and-citronella-candles phenomenon hasn’t made it to Florida (the screens work better, in my experience).

Given the opportunity to choose, it will be hard to decide. Sun room or screened porch. Each has its advantages. Ack! Maybe both. That way I don’t have to choose. :-)

if we were keeping it…

We’ve done so much to this house (and the light at the end of the tunnel is near!) that it’s hard to believe that there is still more I’d like to do to it… if we were keeping it. Frank has told me no on a couple of things that would be nice little staging touches (like replacing the shower faucets and knobs). If the house doesn’t sell right away, I might save my pennies for those anyway. The standard ones aren’t as fun to look at.

DOs and DON’Ts for realtors

Ok, more like DON’Ts and DON’Ts that I’m framing as DOs.

And this isn’t addressed to all realtors… mainly just the one we met with about a month ago.

1) Do smile. It helps if you smile, ever, during the tour of the house. Don’t walk around the house and say, “Oh yes, white appliances sell just fine!” with a big huge grimace on your face. “Yes, the walls are painted lovely!” while you glare at them with scorn and contempt. Your voice sounds reassuring, but your eyes say you’re a liar.
2) Do dial back the gloom and doom. Don’t tell potential clients, who have not looked at paperwork, who have not signed paperwork, who have not made a decision that you are the realtor for them, that you see doom, DOOOOOOM in their future. Dude. We watch the news. We know the real estate market is low. We know that if we want to maximize our profit, our house will be on the market for a while (though all this staging work and the golf course thing will help a lot).
3) Do meet the dog. Otherwise she’s just gonna whine in her crate the whole time. It’s good you met the dog and weren’t afraid of her puppy butt making her entire body wag in excitement.
4) Do compliment my mad decorating skillz. Seriously, you should have offered me a job staging your listings after seeing just what was finished of the house, and you couldn’t have been less interested? This also goes along with #1. I am a girl, and my ego needs stroking. Hmm. Maybe I need a girl realtor.
5) Don’t tell me my husband has the option of offing me if he wants to sell the house without me. I thought it was kinda funny, though. “The house is only in his name, but you’re married, so now he can’t legally sell it without your signature.” “SCORE!” “Well, don’t be too excited, because now his only option for getting rid of it without your permission is to kill you.” “He’s given me guns on two separate Christmases. It wouldn’t be smart of him to try.”
6) Do look surprised if I say that. He didn’t. Like he was not surprised at all that I would kill the man I love. I adore him!
7) Do know what faux wood blinds are. At the very least, pretend to know what faux wood blinds are. I told this guy that we were replacing all of our miniblinds with faux wood blinds. He barely nodded. When we got to the master bath during the tour, I motioned to the window and noted that we would be putting up the faux wood blinds in there as well… and when we got to the den, and he saw a set of faux wood blinds sitting out (preparing for installation)? He reached out and stroked them and said, “Are these the kind of blinds you were talking about?” And y’all, he’s been in the business for AGES and owns his own branch.
8) Don’t show me every house in the neighborhood that sold for way too cheap and NOT show me the ones that sold for decent prices. I already did some research before you came, so I’m onto your act. You want to sell the house at a major discount so you can get a quick commission. We’re willing to stay here longer if we have to in order to get what the house is worth. It might mean Florida for a little longer, and it’s not exactly a luxury home, but it sure is nice enough to stay in now that we’ve fixed it up.
9) Don’t try to tell me we’re not on a premium lot. I know that having a house on the golf course is going to get us more than $3K to $5K over what’s across the street. If the lot premium was $10K five years ago, I’m not going to buy your ocean-front property in the Painted Desert.

In case it’s not clear, we are most definitely NOT letting this guy put a sign in our yard. We’re going to put our own sign in the yard for a couple of weeks, and if we don’t sell the house quickly, we’ll talk to a different company. Not the man who hasn’t seen the inside of a house in fifty years.

The last major project

Once we get the house cleaned, the rest of the unnecessary items to storage, and the landscaping finished, we will have one big item left. The garage floor. At minimum it must be cleaned with strong cleaners, and I’d really like to floor it with epoxy (it was a big selling point with the last house). The problem with that is moving things out and in while the epoxy sets. Usually epoxy takes three days before you can move furniture back in (and we do have a tool bench and two cabinets) and a week before you can park a car on the new garage flooring. We might be able to move some things into the kitchen while we wait, but the kitchen will get a tad crowded…

One of the craziest garages I ever saw was attached to this 15,000 square foot mansion. I was there for a charity event for one of my clients, and the garage floor was actually tile. It was the first time I ever saw such a thing. I don’t think I’d want the same thing for my own 15K square foot mansion (haha), but I have to admit it was pretty cool.

ready to start the next one

All this work we’re doing on the house… if it were in a different location and a little bigger, I would want to keep it. But I’m getting excited about settling in somewhere new and buying a house that we plan to keep for a long time. Frank insists that we will at maximum handle one room per month; I keep telling him maybe, but really, I’ll want to actually work on it and get it done right away (once we’re unpacked, of course). Honestly, a little at a time is more affordable, so I know he’s right.

Part of me wants to have a house built to our specs, complete with a giant kitchen (with island), screened-in patio (yes, I’m hooked), rear- or side-entry garage, faux-wood window blinds, a NON-garden tub in the master bath… oh, I could go on.

The other part of me wants to buy an old fixer-upper. Ok, not too old, because it seems like all-electric old homes are hard to find (the expense is worth the peace of mind – I don’t want to blow up simply because I want “more even cooking” and cheaper utilities). I’d probably prefer an older house, because the new ones they build all have garages that overpower the house and teeny kitchens. I do not do well in teeny kitchens.

Fixing up this one has been a little stressful, mostly because of my gluten challenge and the fact that we’re having a lovely, hot, humid summer (humidity makes me cranky). But in a location that we both like, in a house that we get to keep so we can paint it any color we want, I think it would be a lot of fun. We have learned a LOT improving this house. First order of business would be to find a place that sells discount window blinds, because the faux wood actually keeps your house a lot cooler than the heat-conducting aluminum blinds. And because the cats like to tear up the cheap blinds not made of PVC (or wood), etc. After that, I want to paint. I will have a red room and a clay blue room – and we will be using the beiges that we used in this house… they’ve turned out really well.

Look at me, home improving an imaginary house. That’s because I’m stone-cold crazy.

I should have pictures up soon of the inside of the house. I have to clean up before I post anything, though. :)

curtains done

Well, not completely, I still have to hang up all the ones that we took down for painting, and I have to get a curtain rod for the curtains in the den. But I finally bought the last of the curtains yesterday (the ones for the den). They’re kinda masculinish (new word!) in color, but they’re sheers, so they’re not too manly. They’re tan, navy, green (kind of a dark chartreuse), and cream (or white, I don’t remember which, and it would just be too much for me to get up and look). I think they’ll go great with the clay blue walls.

Thing is, when we leave, I want to take all the curtains with us. None of them are custom drapes, and they’re all panels (except the valances in the kitchen, which I don’t mind leaving behind), so I think we’ll just tell the lookers that we’ll leave the curtain rods (unless they don’t want them) but take the curtains. That’s ok, right?

new lights!

These are the new light fixtures we installed over both bathroom vanities. Actually, Frank did most of the work, I just helped. The one in the master bath (pictured below) has four globes, and the front bath fixture has three globes. All bulbs are incandescent, of course (don’t y’all want to know what kind of lightbulbs the Js use? Yes, you do.). Those fluorescent bulbs aren’t so good for people with epilepsy (me included!), not to mention that I drop stuff all the time, and if you break a fluorescent bulb, a HazMat team has to come clean up the spill for you. Oh, and if global warming is real (it’s not — you know, in the ’70s, “they” were convinced we were heading for an ice age), we’re not going to fix it by running our cars on corn and putting ugly fluorescents in our houses. I’m convinced that anything we do to try to fix it will just make it worse — did y’all know that whatever it is that replaced CFCs in aerosol sprays is so much worse for the ozone layer than the CFCs were? Yeah.

Wait, how did my light fixture post go from there to global warming? I just want to show y’all a picture. Here it is.

UPDATE: I’m stupid. But I was really tired when I wrote this. Thanks Rod!

house progress

Well. The kitchen floor is clean (I just need to mop it, but I swept it really well and cleaned the baseboards, and Frank cleaned all the paint off the tile). Frank has been supportive in keeping the dishes done, and I got the countertops all cleaned off. Once Frank is done painting the trim (he’s doing that now) and I’m done painting the doors, we’ll be pretty much ready to put the finishing touches on the kitchen. Decorations back up on the plant ledges, rehang the other valance, and then… I’m ready to bring in the table from the back patio. It’s the table I bought when I lived in Amarillo, but Frank already had a table for the nook. That’s in storage now, because I’m gonna put the wrought-iron and glass table in the nook (it goes with the decorations) and get a couple of chairs for the patio. I’m not gonna go all out and by fancy stuff like teak outdoor furniture just yet… I think I’ll wait until we move wherever it is we’re moving before I do that. But I can’t wait to get the table inside and finish off this kitchen.

Almost there…

the den is almost completed

Well, the den and the hall are almost done done. And actually, we just need to hang blinds and the valance in the master bath, and it’s ready to roll. All rooms, of course, are in need of my cleaning efforts. In the den, the walls are painted, the trim is painted, the new blinds are installed, the bookcases are in place, I’ve installed the final shelf in the closet, and the closet is nice and organized. Also, the keyboard is finally set up on its stand, and the chair is back in there. For completion of that room, I just need to get all the books, DVDs, and decorations on the shelves, steam the carpet, and paint the doors. In the hall, I just need to paint the closet door and steam the carpet.

Ok, gotta go. I have to tape off the trim in the master bedroom so Frank can paint that today. And then I’m cleaning up the livingroom so we have a nice, clean sitting area in which to read our books tomorrow.

getting really close

We’re almost there with the house. By the end of the week, my plan is to have only the garage to finish (and a little bit of landscaping and cleanup of the back patio). And by the end of the month, all of that.

See, we have goals. Spend a little time at Disney when we’re done, just relax for a few days. We have leftover days on our passes from when the evil fake sarahk came to visit, and we intend to use them before they expire in August. Also, I’m anxious to go shooting. We haven’t been in a while, so there is ammo just waiting waiting waiting for us to explode it. And targets just waiting for me to shoot the centers out of them.

And my truck is waiting to be fixed or sold. We can have it in really good shape for about $550 (the Ford dealership near us keeps sending me these coupons — replace all of my tires for $175 total!), or we can sell it and start a car fund for my next car. I have driven it maybe five times in four months, and I’m thinking we could be a one-car family at least until we’re in Texas and maybe longer. Then again, $550 isn’t bad… and Pinky’s had remarkably few problems for a domestic car with 125K miles on her. Replace a battery, replace struts, replace thermostat, replace tires, oil changes, and a tune-up… that’s all I think she’s needed. And now she needs a windshield (which I can get for $175), tires ($175), a starter (roughly $75), and my transmission needs servicing ($80). Throw in an oil change, and she’s running very nicely for a couple of years. Ack. Don’t know what to do there.

And then we sell this house. And it’s really looking great these days. One day I’ll show y’all pictures. For reals. (I have to clean everything first.)

Anyway, it’s all coming together. Not bad, considering I was operating at about 25% capacity (if that) for the first three months of this project on a nasty gluten challenge (it’s been going on four months), and Frank has spent a lot of his time working hard for the sweet, sweet blog money so we can pay the bills (and then picking up my slack when he’s not blogging). And especially considering all the repairs and other things we had to learn to do.

you may have noticed…

the light blogging this week. Sorry about that. A few things. Muscle aches are keeping me down, though they are waning a bit (more on that in my medical update, coming soon). Also, I’m linking over at Conservative Grapevine this week, so I’m spending a lot of time actually trolling sites other than those I normally read looking for news. You know, I really enjoy the diary blogs. News isn’t as fun, is it (except when served with a helping of SarahK pith, of course)?

Also, I’ve been adding a few things. Advertising disclosure policy, etc, I’m sure you picked up on that. I do not intend to turn this blog into a sponsors-only blog, don’t worry. It will still be as awesome as it always was, just with a few extra posts inserted between my regular blogging. What does this mean? I’ll tell you more later (always later, right?), but it means I will be blogging much more. More of my “normal” posts, and extra content I’ll be paid to write. That’s the plan, anyway; I haven’t been approved by the services yet. But the thing is, our only income right now is blog money. Sweet, sweet blog money. And Venomous Kate wrote this doozy of a post about sponsored blogging that convinced me I need to be more proactive in getting my blog in order and going out and getting some of that sweet blog money for myself.

T-shirts, sponsored blogging, the new text link ads I’ve signed up for… we could make a living wage off blogging after all. And if we get ourselves on a daily work schedule, we could get everything working well.

Speaking of that… Frank made lunch today and is working on laundry. He’s painted all the walls, and I’m working on the finishing touches now, so he’s starting to do the daily chores so I’m not constantly interrupted by them. Can you say “SCORE”?

Question for you decoratey types

Our bedroom isn’t that big, based on today’s master-suite standards. We’ve moved out all of the furniture except the bed, 2 nightstands, and chest of drawers. Still, once we move all the furniture back into place (the room was just painted), it won’t look that big. So here’s my question:  Would it look completely retarded to turn the bed sideways and put it up against the wall like a daybed? It’s a queen-size mission-style sleigh-ish bed with headboard and footrails. I would think it would look fine if it weren’t for the headboard being taller than the footrails. We do have a nice comforter and all the decorative pillows to make it look nice when it’s made.

A follow-up question: If we do that, the day-bed type thing (which would make the room look a lot bigger), where do we put the end tables? Put them together along a blank wall like a small chest? Still put them on either end of the bed, just inaccessible so they look a little silly? Separate them but don’t put them next to the bed? What say you?

a couple of things
ten days

A’ight. So I’ve got ten days until my biopsy. YAY! All I’ll say about my health is that it is poor, and I am so over this. Moving on.


Can you handle it?

I’m not sure you can.

Take a deep breath kids. Maybe I should put it below the fold. No, I’ll wait till the end of the post.

The other thing is that Frank is painting our bedroom right now. The color is vanilla ice cream. No lie. We’ll see how that turns out.

Ok. Are y’all ready? Prepare yourselves. Alright. Bravo is doing a reality show called…
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four miles

too long. we’re tired. we’re rewarding ourselves with unveiling the couch and ottoman (oh so comfy the couch and ottoman! Pieras, you really should come for dinner and karaoke this weekend!), Indian food for tonight’s House season finale, and a quiet day of rest.

and if that dumb dog ever chases a cat again, i’ll make her walk four miles every day for the rest of her life. that bad dog will fear the walk. she already fears Minerva. i’m gonna change Minerva’s name to The Enforcer. “i’m right behind you, ma! i’ve got your back! you just say the word, and i will keeeeeel that slobbery cow! spit! spit! hiss! pitchawwww!”

by the way, the livingroom and entryway are painted. i’ve done touchups on some of the ceiling edges. just a few touchups to go, the miniblinds to hang, the decorations to put back in place, and we’re in business. oh yeah, and the ever-elusive decorative tables. maybe i’ll find those online today while we rest.

that Florida humidity kicked our pinkytoes up and down the flat streets today.

did i mention how much i love the couch? oh wait. i think in Florida they call this a “sofa”. weirdos!

new furniture!

The first one is a picture of the chair and loveseat. The second is a picture of the ottoman, which the kitties have already claimed as their new sleeping spot. No picture of the couch yet.
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It is now 6 a.m. (I know it’s not, but when you get to point 7, you’ll understand.)

And I have come to some realizations. I will share them with you before I go to bed (yes, Frank and I are just now hitting the sack), so we can grow together.

1. If you step off a ladder and do not watch where you’re going, there is a possiblity you will step in your edging tray, turn it upside down with your foot, and pour a giant glop of paint all over the floor (thank goodness it was the tile, right?). Furthermore, this giant glop takes many hours to dry. I learned when I poured a giant glop on the bathroom tile right after I walked under the ladder that smearing it all around with paper towels leaves smudgy paint remnants everywhere. So we’re letting this one dry into one big glop to see if we can peel it off. It’s still drying.

2. I become irrationally angry when I listen to Fox News from 6 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. I yell at the TV *a lot* (most especially during Hannity & Colmes–how do people watch that shoutfest?). And when they all start talking over each other so no one can actually complete one sentence (even when they’re not disagreeing, NO ONE! can finish a sentence!), I just start talking over them. I say, “Yes. Let’s all start talking at once. Let’s yammer yammer yammer. Talk talk talk. No one can complete a sentence.” And then Frank starts saying, “Now we can’t hear them, because you’re talking over them.” And I say, “Yeah, well you couldn’t hear them anyway, so what’s the point?” At least we can hear people talk on Red Eye. If it turns into one of those lets-all-talk-at-the-same-time-so-we-can-spout-our prefabricated-talking points-together shows, I’ll just stop watching so I don’t destroy the TV. I like the TV.

3. I really miss podcasting. Especially when we watch Red Eye. There are so many commercials I want to parody that come on during Red Eye. I also miss it when I think about movies and books. I want to review stuff.

4. I really want to learn the guitar and the piano.

5. Cats can play with the smallest things and make the loudest and scariest noises.

6. The disconnect between the COBRA company and the health insurance company makes me want to pull my hair out plus the hair of anyone standing near me (I think about these things in the middle of the night). I’ve now paid over $700 for prescriptions in the last month on top of the $1500 + that we’ve paid for the health insurance. Yes, we’ll get reimbursed on the prescriptions, but here’s what I don’t get: If you’ve received our payment and are able to get out that next bill immediately, you should be able to contact the insurance company to let them know that I have the hook up. Otherwise, you’re just being a bunch of thieves, and I want to kick you in the shins until your tibias break in half.

7. If I never have 12 ft. ceilings in my house again, it will be too soonllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

Uh… Fell asleep there. Ok, so now it’s 2:28 p.m. UPDATE: Now it’s 5:37. Anyway, moving along. Around 6:30, Frank woke me up, I was asleep in my chair. He told me to put away my Helluva Good French Onion Dip and come to bed. We were awakened by a delivery of season five of Scrubs just now. Man. I have a killer headache. As I was saying, 12 ft. walls are a gritch to paint. By Grabthar’s Hammer, I hate them. Last night when I was done painting one 12 ft. wall, my body hurt so much that I just through threw away the $15 paint stick so I wouldn’t have to clean it. Wasteful, I know! But it was after 4, we wanted to watch LOST, and I had a paintbrush to clean, too. The paint stick takes a good half hour to clean, and I was just over it. Goodbye, paint stick. Enjoy neverland.

8. My Werner Multi-Ladder is still the best thing since ALIAS. Y’all thought I was gonna say sliced bread, right? Yeah, well, celiacs feel like poopy after having sliced bread, so I decided to go with something that doesn’t make me think agonizing thoughts.

9. That American Idol song “This is My Cow”? Great for Clay Aiken. But really, Jordin shouldn’t record it. She should leave it for the next 2nd-best boy band that comes around, because it is truly a boy band song. Like I said in my AI recap on Finale Eve night, it’s not ‘NSYNC-worthy, but it would have been perfect for the Backstreet Boys. OH! Almost forgot. When I was looking for video of the last segment of the Finale, Tool of the Week who was interviewing all the top ten or twelve (this is the same guy who asked The Doo if she was gonna go back to being a backup singer now, yeah) asked Blake if he was upset about not getting to beatbox on the ballad song that won the contest. Blake’s response started with, “That was a ballad?” It was quick, and he moved on fast so no one would catch it, but your lovely muser caught it. It’s what I do. True. Not a ballad. Just had a ballady tune. There’s no story in there. A ballad is something like “Papa loved Mama, Mama loved men… Mama’s in the graveyard, Papa’s in the pen.” or “Brender & Eddie were the popular steadies and the king and the queen of the prom…” and “Scenes from and Italian Restaurant” is a stinking long song, so y’all don’t want me to write that out for y’all. Anyway, ballads have stories, interviewy dude.

10. One Tuff Drop Cloths are great. I’m so over the thin clear plastic ones.

11. My paint-color-picking ability is none to be trifled with. I’m gonna call it the bomb, baby.

12. My husband is becoming cooler every day. It used to be if we finished painting at 4 a.m., he’d be like, “Ok, let’s go to bed.” Last night, I said, “My body is so tired, but my brain is wide awake.” He said, “Yeah, I’m actually in the mood to watch LOST when you’re finished if you can stay awake for it.” I LOVE THIS MAN! We had to rewind scenes three times during LOST after I fell asleep.

13. *This next bullet point not suitable for children.* HeadOn is just mocking us now. PreferOn? Are you kidding me? This is the main reason I miss podcasting. I want to make a commercial for… come on… you know where I’m going with it… works like Viagra… apply directly to the penis… apply directly where it limps. Yes. HardOn. I’m sorry. It’s been in my head ever since they came out with PreferOn, apply directly to your scar, and now every time I see the commercials, I think of it. And so will you. You’re welcome.

14. I want to do a show for the Travel Channel. Me and Frank and the animals. I already have the show planned out, I have the concept for it, know what I want it to be. It would be the wackiest, funniest, crankiest show on the Travel Channel. They’d probably cancel it after the pilot. But I don’t know. That Samantha Brown keeps getting shows, and she’s just one woman talking to the camera by herself. I wish they’d put someone else on screen with her, you know? It looks stupid. “Here I am, having the most wonderful time in Scotland, all by myself! What a great place to be… by yourself!” What? In one commercial for the upcoming Latin America show (no thanks), she mentions her husband. Unless he’s completely face-for-radio, maybe they should send him with her. I mean she’s likeable enough, but by herself, there are so many awkward moments.

15. Limestone is eroded by fresh water but not salt water. I had no idea! Thank you, Planet Earth. I’m guessing it has something to do with chemical properties of limestone? I know it’s made mainly of calcium carbonate (but it’s sedimentary, so other stuff is in there, and that’s what makes all the pretty designs), but that’s as far as I’m going into the world of geochemistry, if there is such a thing, with this raging headache.

16. Cats get really angry and BANG on the door if you lock them on the patio or in the garage to keep them from stepping in paint.

17. Frank and I are both somewhat worried about Big Ro’s mental stability. We’re praying for her. Y’all know she’s not returning for her final three weeks on The View, right? Anyway, other than being worried that she might kinda hit rock bottom and do bad things to herself, I’m also wondering who will replace her, and I hope it’s Kathy Griffin. She’s lefty to the max, but she’s hilarious, and she bags on celebrities, and on morning network TV, she would have to watch her language. Must View TV indeed. I’d watch that.

18. I cannot wait for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

19. I want to duet onstage at the Kodak Theater on American Idol with Simon Cowell. I am truly a sick freak. I know. You don’t need to tell me.

There were more realizations. I’ve forgotten them. That should be enough for you to soak in for now, though.

ok, so wow

Regarding last night… huh.

Yeah. I went back and read what I wrote at 1:30 or so this morning. Koo-koo! Sorry about that. If I were a post deleter, this is one of those posts I would either delete or revise to make myself look less insane. Unfortunate thing (for you folks) is that I am a yeah-I-wrote-that-crapper, not a deleter. I’ve deleted one or two posts over the three plus years I’ve blogged, but I had good reason each time, and other people were involved. I’ve never deleted a post that embarrassed only me. At least I can’t remember doing such.

Even my mom thinks I’m Britney or Whitney.

So. Bikermommy called me this morning.

BIKERMOMMY: How are you? [You know. Like when people ask in that tone because they know you're to the point of using skillets for mirrors instead of the real thing because you just can't bear to see the true visage because wow, check out that stress acne you're sporting!]
SARAHK: Oh, I’m good, how are you? [all casual-like]
BIKERMOMMY: I’m good. I… read your blog this morning.
SARAHK: Oh. Yeah, I read that too. [Very fast] I didn’t sleep night before last, and yesterday I only got a 2-hour nap, and on gluten, power naps just don’t work for me the way they do off-gluten [no, I'm not crazy, that's true], so yeah, I was just rambling. I’m fine. Seriously. Every part of my body hurts, but I’m totally ok. I’m not even stressed or anything.
BIKERMOMMY: And you shouldn’t be. Did you get the livingroom painted?
SARAHK: Most of it is primed. But it’s fine, it’s totally fine. Right now I’m making sure the room is cleared out so the furniture people will have a place to put the new furniture.
BIKERMOMMY: And yeah, just put plastic over the furniture when you paint, no big deal.
SARAHK: Yep. Not worried about it.

So yeah. I think Bikermommy was a tad worried that I was going a little bonkers. I’m totally fine, I was just rambling and so stinking tired. And Rowdi was so bad yesterday, that stupid dumb escaping dog; that just added to the tiresomeness of painting. More on that later. Bad dog. But when I was talking to Bikermommy, she asked about the drug that makes me dopey and incoherent at times, though I only notice that side effect when I’m completely exhausted.

SARAHK: [long, incoherent, rambling sentence with a lot of words only half-finished]
BIKERMOMMY: Are you still on the Topamax?
SARAHK: Yes. But you know what? It’s because I have hardly slept. When I am this tired and on the Topamax, yes, I am completely incoherent. But right now I am on gluten and not having migraines, so I’m not getting off the Topamax. After my biopsy, I’ll start getting off Topamax, but for now, I’m staying on.
BIKERMOMMY: No, that’s not what I meant.
SARAHK: Uh-huh. It’s because I sound completely crazy and can’t talk. I know.
BIKERMOMMY: No, I mean because you don’t feel well. [Suuuure.]
SARAHK: Well, I’m not having headaches, it’s just my whole body hurts. We’re doing a lot of physical work. A lot of moving, a lot of painting, a lot of [incoherent who knows].
BIKEY: Oh, I thought you were having headaches.
SARAHK: Not that many. I get twinges, and they are migraines, but the Topamax keeps them from going full-blown and lasting for days.
BIKEY: Oh, I thought maybe you were off the Topamax because you didn’t feel well.
SARAHK: [Very fast] No, I feel awful because I’m eating gluten and we’re doing all this work, and I’m so tired, and I’ll be so glad when we get notified that the COBRA payment has been received so I can call the doctor and ask him if we can please move the biopsy up any earlier, because I’ll be so glad to be done with this evil crap forever, but then again, I feel like I should give it the full three months to work, because what if the biopsy is negative, and then I’ll always wonder if maybe I should have waited just two or three more weeks.
BIKEY: Yeah, that’s true. When is it?
SARAHK: June 15th, and I can’t wait, and oh. [New subject.]

I was all over the place. I’m sure she felt so much better about my mental status after we hung up. By the end she was all, “Well, um, ok, love you, talk to you later, go take a nap, don’t worry about anything!”

What a perfect day to have a talk with your son about the rest of his life.

Here’s what happened with Rowdi yesterday, whom we should have dubbed Bullet McSprinty when we got her from the shelter 15 months ago. Not that I’m counting the months. 15.5 months. Frank took Rowdi for a very long walk, because the preacher’s son was coming over to help with everything. Oh, and this is funny. We had made arrangements on Sunday with Alcazar the preacher’s son (more on the name later, that’s not his real name) to come yesterday morning. Told his mom, told his dad, they all knew he was coming to work and to learn; by the way, we decided to pay him $12 an hour plus a little extra for gas since he’s driving 45 minutes each way. Well, he drops off his sisters at school, so he could be leaving his area of town at 8:30, and he said he’d come right after that and stay until around 3 when he needed to leave for his other official job, which was good for Frank and me, because that made us be on a schedule and set goals and me stay up all night. Ok, so Alcazar called at 9 to tell us that he was going to have breakfast with his dad and would be here a little later. That’s fine, we’ll be here all day. He got to our house at 11:25; it turns out that the preacher, we’ll call him Brother A for anonymity’s sake, picked yesterday morning to have the come-to-Jesus talk with Alcazar about how he really needs to be serious about college and not just chase chicks. Hahaha. I thought it was funny that Alcazar totally got one of the big life talks, because those are so uncomfortable, and don’t we all delight when kids get those talks? But at the same time I was like, he doesn’t start school until September, and our furniture gets delivered tomorrow. But I still thought it was stinking funny, all the dadding that his dad did yesterday. So yeah, Alcazar was only here for 3.5 hours. Oh, and I fed him lunch before he left, and I was listing off quick stuff I could make (daylight was a-wasting), and Alcazar gasped in delight when I said Totino’s pizza. Ha! Good kid.

Winner: Bad Dog of the Year

Back to Rowdi. Frank tired out Rowdi good, because she was going to meet a new guest, and she was pretty good when Alcazar arrived. She greeted him and sniffed all over him, and she only tried to jump up to about his hip level, and that only twice or thrice before she finally got the point that mommy is not ok with that. He petted her, and then she totally leaned up against his legs and rolled over on her back and asked impolitely for him to please rub her belly forever and ever amen. (Later he asked what kind of dog she is. “Oh, she’s a shepherd / pit bull / lab mix or something. We don’t really know.” His eyes got huge like “oh crap! she’s a pit bull!” when we said pit bull, but then he remembered that he’d already met her and was totally cool with her.) Well. Rowdi decided she wanted to show off her mad sprinting powers to her new friend. Frank and Alcazar carried my cedar chest out to my car, and I called her to me, and she came and stood calmly on the carpet until we were all out the door, never once went onto the tile of the entryway. Very good dog, very sneaky dog who just wanted to catch us off guard. Next item of furniture: Queen Anne chair. She went to the door, and I called her to me on the carpet. She did not come, and I said, like I always do, “No, Rowdi, you have to stay inside.” Normally my saying this is enough. She knows that this means she is not going outside, so she doesn’t even try to escape. But she was like, “Forget y’all! I want Alcazar to see how fast I can run!” So the first chance she had to get between the chair, Alcazar, and the door, her sprinty little butt was wriggling past, and all I saw was muscles and that dumb little stub she has where her tail should be.

Retrieval: Closing the door and pretending we didn’t want her back didn’t work. I watched out the window, and she was like, “I just sprinted, so I need to poo!” Totally disinterested in the fact that we were disinterested in her. Dangit. Frank never could find the poo next to that neighbor’s mailbox. I hope they don’t find it on their shoes. Next trick: Bag of biscuits. She never gets biscuits anymore, because of the food allergies thing, so I shook the biscuits loud and proud, good bait, embarrassed though I was. Not interested. I hate that female dog sometimes. So Frank started walking down the street, calling her. She was just soooo happily sniffing everything she could get that stupid sniffer on. She’d be the world’s best drug dog, I swear. I walked around the back of the houses toward the gator pond, because I figured the last time it took this long to get her back, she went for a swim. I was all calm, just waiting for her to come my way so I could calmly entice her with biscuits and then ground her sorry butt. Talk to me all you want about “you never want to punish them when they come back to you, because then they think they’re being punished for coming to you and it makes them less likely to come when you call in the future.” Bullcrap. Maybe with your dog, not with this princess. She always knows exactly what she’s being grounded for. She does something bad, and if I can’t catch her and then finally just give up and call her and wait for her to come to me? I ground her. She comes to me now more than ever. Unless she’s outside, because y’all, she’s only ever been off-leash outside of the house four times now, and they were not planned excursions. Dog spa doesn’t count. No back yard, nowhere to train her, and we have nosy neighbors that would have her impounded by animal control in five seconds if we regularly practiced offleashiness with her. These people have nothing better to do. Ok, so every single yip-yap dog in the neighborhood (besides Rowdi, the dogs next door, and the lab across the street, they’re pretty much all yippers and yappers) was screaming “Mommy!” at the sight of her. Over and over, too, like the seagulls screaming “Mine! Mine! Mine!” on Finding Nemo. So now we had a quietly sniffing mutt running all over the place and a bunch of attack-watch-yippers interrupting The View and Fox News. Rowdi ran right into the garage of some of the yippy dogs, and Frank was able to corner her there. She didn’t actually run to the yippy dogs, she just ran over and started sniffing one of their dog beds. The dogs themselves were behind a gated-off section in the garage with their owner, barking mad, and Rowdi was completely ignoring them so she could sniff their sleeping spots. Frank and Alcazar walked into the garage to grab the dog, and the owner jumped out from behind the gate and started walking toward Frank, Alcazar, and Rowdi, glaring at Frank. Frank said, “Sorry. Dog got away from us,” grabbed Rowdi by the collar, and started walking her out of the garage and back home. The owner of the house didn’t even respond. He didn’t say, “KEEP YOUR EVIL VICIOUS DOG OUT OF MY GARAGE!” or “No problem, dogs are hard to catch when they get away from you, especially when they are faster than a speeding bullet. Dogs will be dogs, and she obviously didn’t want to hurt me or my dogs,” or “I’M REPORTING YOU AND YOUR DOG TO THE HOA, AND THEN I’M CALLING ANIMAL CONTROL!” Just continued to glare at Frank without acknowledging that Frank had spoken. I asked Frank if it was Neighbor Bill, and he said it was quite possible, because the guy was just weird and totally could have been Neighbor Bill.

Whatever. Anyway, I was about a block behind the guys and the female dog, so I was yelling, “As soon as you get her in the house, you GROUND HER!” And he did, and when I got inside the house, she knew exactly what she had done wrong. And today, when Frank and I were taking boxes and things to the car, we had the door open to get the boxes out, and Rowdi looked hopeful, and I looked at the dog, and I said, “Don’t even think about it, or you are so grounded.” She hung her head so low that her nose was almost on the tile, and she did not even think about trying to escape the pit of despair. Maybe the dog spa should have tried alpha rolling her. I’m thinking it would have taken about four times before she finally got it.

Renaming Alcazar.

Alcazar’s name: No sleep + Topamax, right? Ok, so Alcazar’s name is really Alister. And every time I said his name before he got to the house, I would cycle through the names. And here’s how it went yesterday when I told Alister why I am officially changing his name to Alcazar.

SARAHK: Hey, I can’t remember your name today. You know I know your name. But every time I try to come up with it today, first I think Alcatraz. No idea why.
ALISTER: Alcatraz? What?
SARAHK: I know! I’m insane. Then I go to Alcazar. That’s because he’s on my soap opera, not that I watch soap operas [you can't tell a PK that you watch soap operas, because PKs tell their mamas or their sisters, and then the whole church knows!]. Anyway.
FRANK J.: Alcazar. [He says that in a sinister way every time he hears it, because he thinks it's hilarious and would make a good alien name, just like Lipitor.]
SARAHK: And then finally I get to Alister. But you know how when your grama is trying to say your name, she cycles through all the names of your aunts and uncles first and then finally gets to your name? [Not necessarily his grama, but both of mine are like that. I'm always Karen, Sandra, Terry, Wanda, Carol, Linda, and Kyle.]
ALCAZAR: [laughing at how truly craaaazy I am] Yeah.
SARAHK: Yeah, that’s how I feel today. So I’m sorry, but you’re now Alcazar.
ALCAZAR: Wh… That’s… um… Ok.

You know he was thinking, “White people are crazy. Alcazar? What the heck?”

More of that stupid bad dog.

So Rowdi also chewed a hole in one of my kickboxing gloves. Yep, she’s never chewed up anything that wasn’t one of her toys or Sydney’s mice, but she picked yesterday to decide to be bad bad bad. And she decided that in order to eat one of Sydney’s new mice, she would have to be super-secretive about it, because if we catch her, she gets grounded and rolled, and I will crank those pit bull jaws open, stick my fist in her mouth, and pull out that mouse if she doesn’t swallow it before I get to her. Of course, usually she just knows what’s best and drops it as soon as I say to. But I accidentally bought catnip-filled mice (I try not to, because I don’t want my cats any wackier than normal–they’re crazy enough), and Rowdi wants them badly. So badly. So she’s been finding them, slinking off with them, holding them between her paws, and quietly licking / nibbling them so that we don’t catch her. She got two of them yesterday, but I totally caught her the second time when she had barely gotten started.

Yeah, she spent about eight hours in her crate yesterday. I’m starting to feel a lot better about leaving her crated up in the house for an entire day when we go to Disney or the Space Center. Not joking. She stays in there 12 hours at night anyway. As long as we give her a long walk beforehand, yeah, why should she keep us from having fun?

I’m mean to Brian the Sailor because I’m SICK IN THE HEAD!

Then at the end of a very looooooong day, I got an awesome comment from Brian the Sailor, nice guy, Navy man himself, friend, etc. Oh, and he’s blogging at Pereiraville because this one time, wRitErsbLock made a comment on one of my posts, and Brian thought she was insulting me, and he came back at her in the comments to my defense, and I emailed him to tell him that she is my friend and was not insulting me… long story short, they became friends, and he blogs with her now. Isn’t that cute? Yes. So Brian left this comment at IMAO on my post about how I accidentally hung up on the Navy vet calling for money.

I’m drying my eyes, here.

I read that: “Wah, wah, wah. SarahK is always whining. What a crybaby.”

I’m surprised Frank lets you crosspost here. He’s supposed to be the funny one.

I read that: “I’m surprised Frank lets you crosspost here. You’re not even funny. He’s the funny one.”

Girl, you’re getting your comic chops down!

I read that: “Girl, you’re not funny, and you’re bringing the readers down. You get less funny by the day.”

I wouldn’t worry so much about the Navy call. They’ll call back.

I read that: “Quit your worrying about the Navy call, Miss Worrypants. They’ll call back.”

Yes, I’m a complete dimwit. So I sent Brian a very ugly email. Boy, am I glad I didn’t fully embarrass myself by responding in the IMAO comments where everyone would see what I wrote. So I’ll post it here.

um, if you didn’t enjoy the post, which i thought was hilarious and was really meant to highlight our funny bickering and my bad timing (and didn’t i say at the very beginning that i was still going to say NO? we’re not donating right now to any charities other than church, and if we were, we would research and pick out our own charities to donate to, we wouldn’t be donating based on a phone call.), you feel free to refrain from commenting. i don’t understand the purpose of negative comments. and he lets me crosspost at IMAO because last TV season proved that my AI and 24 blogging generated an extra 1500 hits a day in traffic. and there’s no LETTING me crosspost. i read him something that i’m writing, or he reads it on my blog after i’ve posted it, and he says, “hey, you should put that on IMAO.” there have also been times when i’ve tried only posting my TV stuff on my own blog, and he’s like, what’s going on? why didn’t you post that on IMAO?

any questions?

And he’s still speaking to me! Editor’s note: I think it was actually more like 1000 hits last TV season, and I don’t think I’m bringing in anything this season. Brian responded.

“any questions?” Yes, Sarah. Did you actually read what I said? That post was absolutely hilarious. The only reason I was wondering why Frank was letting you post is because you generate more belly laughs than him. Hence the compliment which was posted. Love, Brian

I still got LOVE from him after being a total gritch like that! What is wrong with that guy? I emailed him again and again explaining how I’m such a terd, and Frank’s response to the whole situation.

Frank and I had a giant laugh at this and hope you are laughing at how stupid I am too. Of course Frank’s like, “He bought 6 books! You can’t be mean to him!” Actually, you bought 7, but I didn’t correct him. I said, “I know who Brian the Sailor is! He blogs on Rachel’s blog now! We’re friends! So when I got this mean, nasty comment, I was just like, what the heck? Why so mean?” And I am crying laughing so hard at how I took absolutely every sentence exactly the opposite of the way you meant it. I chalk it up to being a woman on no sleep… Actually, the first thing Frank said was, “You have to blog that.” And when I read everything that you wrote in your comment and then my response, he was laughing so much by the end of it. He’s like, “You’re CRAZY!”

Brian told me it’s just one of those things to write off and laugh about, but I corrected him and told him it’s one of those things to write about and laugh off. Pretty good, huh?

Furniture delivery: Some men are dense.

Oh. The furniture people came today, and when the guy walked in and saw the ladder and the primed walls, he asked if we were painting. Why, yes we are. We wanted to have it all done before the furniture got here, but whatever. Then he told us if we would like for them to leave the plastic on the furniture, because it is all kinds of covered in heavy, thick plastic and cardboard for shipping, and they can just leave that on for us. “Oh yes, that would be awesome!” And it is way better than paper-thin plastic dropcloths, and the cats can’t scratch through these plastic covers without significant effort. I was so happy with the furniture delivery people. And so sad for the one guy who twice hit his head on the chandelier over the new sitting area.

Now we have motivation, because we can’t uncover and sit on our new couches until we finish painting this room. Not that we weren’t motivated before, but yay! I can’t wait to use the furniture! And the color looks awesome in here and with the decorations! Score! One thing about the delivery guys though. They picked the wrong person to ask about age.

SARAHK: [to Frank] We’re clear that the ottoman is mine, right?
FRANK J.: Yeah, sure, whatever.
FURNITURE GUY: Are y’all married?
SARAHK: Yeah. I just wanted him to know that I claim it for purposes of use.
FG: Yeah, usually the boss does that. [HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That is not how things are!]
SARAHK: Oh, he’s totally the head of the household. I just want that ottoman.
FG: How long have y’all been married?
SARAHK: Almost two years.
FG: Really? Wow. He looks like a little kid! [Frank hates it when people say that. Hates it.]
SARAHK: He’s almost 28. [And totally in the room!]
FG: Yeah, you just look way too young to be married. You look like you’re 17 or something. [Frank looked utterly unamused and went into the kitchen to pour more coffee.]
FRANK J.: Yeah, add 11 years to that.
SARAHK: Um, I’ll have you know that when I haven’t just gotten out of bed and, you know, I’ve showered [in the last month], I look about 22. So it’s not just him. I look young too.
FG: Nah, you look old enough to get married, but he looks like a little kid. [It's pathetic when you are begging people to tell you how young you look, and then they still just deny it to your face. Ratface.]
SARAHK: Yeah, you know, guys don’t really love hearing that. Women do, though.
FG: [Now there's that look of comprehension I've been waiting for. You're lucky y'all got a tip after all.] Oh, yeah, I see. You’re right, you look young too. [And I can tell you mean it.]


Prepare yourselves, people. We have some of the most adorable animal pictures coming your way soon. I found the camera.

TMI below the fold.
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believe me, you’ll want the money

The preacher’s son graduates high school Friday. We were congratulating him and hugging him after church last night. I asked him, “So… you’ll be available then…”

“Oh, yeah! I’m not starting college until September!”

“What’s your hourly rate?”

“$7.25. Oh, no. Y’all need help with your house? I’ll come over and help for free, absolutely! I thought you meant what do I make at my job. I wouldn’t charge you. When do you want me to come? Starting Friday, I’m out of school. I graduate Friday night, but I’m off all day Friday and Saturday.”

Score! I was definitely against the idea of hiring college kids to help us with the house, but A is such a good kid, we know him, we know his parents, and I’m pretty sure he’d train easily. If Frank can be trained to paint (he tunes me out when I’m giving instructions), A can be trained to paint.

“Oh, no. We would definitely pay you. And we’d pay you more than $7.25.” They live far from here, and I’m a nagger, a perfectionist, and not fun to work for. Just ask Frank. “A, you’ll definitely want us to pay you.”

“No, seriously, I’ll come help y’all out for free. I’m off all summer.”

“We’ll pay you for sure. Do you like dogs?”

“I love dogs.”

“Ahhhhh. You like walking them? (Nods.) We have a lovely dog who loves to walk. Are you a good painter?”

(Blank stare)

“You can be taught?”

“Definitely. I can learn how to do anything. You want my cell number? My sister is always on the phone, so you should take my cell number.”

Kids with cell phones. Ayiyay.

So. Whatever isn’t done by the weekend, A will be helping us out. What’s a good hourly rate? We have something in mind, but I want to know if it’s a good rate.

BTW, y’all should see the house. It’s shaping up so nicely. Yay yay yay.

things we do when we’re not working on the house 24 hours a day

*Eat. We watch our shows while we eat. We also blog a little while we eat. See the second bullet point as to why we do that. Back to eating. Eating is good for you (well, it’s actually bad for me right now, but it is a necessary evil, because we can only survive for roughly three weeks without eating, and if I don’t eat for three weeks, I don’t think my medical tests are going to be accurate). Eating nourishes the body (well, most people’s bodies). Science and doctors say it does, anyway. Eating also keeps the blood sugar and energy up so we can work on the house.
*Blog. This is a hard one for some people to grasp. See, blogging brings us traffic. Traffic at IMAO directly makes us money, because each hit directly increases the amount of money we make. Also, increased traffic means increased publicity for those wonderful IMAO tshirts (get your Fred Thompson Facts tshirt now!). Those make us money, too. Also, every time someone sees the Dubya book cover in the sidebars, he/she is tempted to buy the Dubya book. Every time we sell a Dubya book, that makes us money, too. Money is good! Only the love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself. Money buys us food. See the first bullet point. Money also buys more paint and moving boxes.
*Sleep. Many scientists have studied the rejuvenating effects of sleep over the years, and most of them agree that sleep is good and necessary. We usually sleep seven to eight hours. Sometimes six, but then we’re worthless for the first three hours, so it’s better to go with seven.
*Frank drinks coffee two to three times a day. While he does that, he also reads or watches the news and/or news blogs to get fodder for funny blog posts. See the second bullet point as to why he does that.
*While Frank drinks coffee, I ice my feet. One of my worst celiac symptoms is awful pain in my hands and feet when I use them for more than a couple of hours a day. I’m careful how I hold my wrists so that I don’t bend them too much — was starting to feel the awful tendonitis-like feelings I had that previously prompted my neuro to test me for carpal tunnel syndrom and led his wife to run nerve tests with dreadful needles punched all over my body. This was after painting half of the kitchen. So I took a few days off from painting and packed boxes, organized for future painting, cleaned stuff out, kept my wrists straight. They seem to be okay now. My feet, though. I’m to the point that now I start off the day with my heels hurting, and the sides of my heels. I sleep with an ice pack under my feet. I ice during coffee breaks. I Tiger Balm my ankles and feet. Sometimes I lie on the floor on my back and prop my feet on the wall or a chair or an ottoman so my feet are elevated above my heart, like we do when we’re hiking.
*While I ice my feet, I blog or veg. Or eat chips and french onion dip, the breakfast of champions.
*We make runs to Lowe’s or Home Depot. If there is paint involved, we go to Lowe’s. Lowe’s is a half hour away. So it’s an hour round trip, plus the time spent inside the store. Home Depot is closer, but still a half hour round trip, plus the time spent inside the store. We are big on efficiency, so we try to run our other errands while we’re making our runs to Lowe’s and Home Depot. Taking Rowdi to the dog spa, going to the post office, grocery shopping, etc.
*We go to the church building for worship. Yep, that’s the most important thing we do.
*Occasionally, we DO IT. We would DO IT all the time but we’re just too tired from all this work.

I’ll update later if I think of other things that we do when we’re obviously not working on the house 24 hours a day.