Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm so very far behind that I'll never catch up. Such is life in the fast lane. Picture how frustrating it looks from the slow lane - which is where I sit.

Luck is with me on the master bathroom re-do. A couple came to give an estimate this evening. One was telling me all that should be done and I was just about ready to run crying from the room. The other spoke up and said that he didn't agree. The area he believes needs to be replaced is relatively small given the size of the room as a whole. His suggestion was to replace the subfloor and install a new vanity and tile floor. He pointed out that the tub and marble surround are in perfect condition as is the lav and toilet. He suggested new faucets for both lav and tub/shower. I hope he is correct because I have a lot of $$$ in those fixtures and marble and I still like them. I don't have a bottom line cost yet but it will be less than a wall to wall re-do.

I guess this means the subway tile are on hold. (Subway tile are about the size of the face of a standard brick. They are used for walls and are laid edge to edge.) They might be an option for a kitchen back splash.

Other news. We are leaving on 3 September for a few days. Joe will be doing the honors of house/tank/cat sitting so we won't worry about anything here. We only have a direction we'll be traveling. Our first leg will be Charleston, SC, and from there up the coast. We'll move along as the mood strikes and just be vagabonds. An adventure, if you will. If a hurricane invades our path we'll just change our path - there are lots of mountains to explore in both North and South Carolina. My goal is to return home with a Pawley's Island hammock and a relaxed smile on my face. I think Harry's goal is just to manage not to have a nervous breakdown as he likes things on a cut and dried schedule. We'll have the laptop with us so Harry can conduct business as usual and I'll check email and blogs. I might even write and/or post pictures if time permits.

I have to brag - I have lost 35 pounds. It really hasn't been hard. I'd like to shed another 10-15 pounds but if I don't it'll be OK.

The clock struck three in the morning before I was asleep last night and I've had no nap today. I see an early night in my future - starting right about now. Tomorrow I'll have the boys after school. Have I mentioned that I love all my kids?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hello World

It's hard to believe we've had almost two days of rain. The remnants of Fay was kind enough to remember that we have a drought happening right here in Rocket City and is giving our world a wonderful gentle drink.

The initial work under the house is complete. Now I have to think about the master bath. Part of the sub floor will have to be replaced. It's also a great opportunity to replace the vanity and have a high performance potty installed. That bath was completely renovated almost exactly 25 years ago. Guess I can't complain - and I'm not. This re-do will be very simple - I love subway tile and intend to have them at long last. Old farts don't need fancy; we need practical and rugged.

I haven't posted or commented very much for a few days. I have read but have mostly lurked. A schedule (like the one I'm trying to work out now) that seems almost impossible to plan because so much depends on other people just uses me up. Given a couple of days to get my balance and take a deep breath all will fall into place.

Meantime I'll be reading and posting/commenting when I can get my mind clear enough to do so. Don't forget me - I think of each of my blog friends every day and wonder how their world is behaving.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Calm Weekend Ahead . .

The work being done at my house?
Long story made short: There were several phone calls, one really ticked old woman, a foreman who was/is in BIG trouble with his district manager, and one job finally completed. Foreman left my job unfinished and moved the crew to another job. There was only about three hours work left to finish my job so "we can finish up that job as a fill in," said the foreman. Wrong again hoss! Finish one job before you begin the next. Lesson: Keep your money completely in your control until ALL work is complete to your satisfaction. You won't necessarily make friends but you will earn respect. I'm so glad this job is over. Second phase will be done first of week and then it's on to whatever damage I have and - if I'm lucky - a new master bath. Don't tell Harry. He doesn't know yet.

Nationwide at Bristol is running and is about half way through. I'll be back in front of TV for the finish of the race. Tomorrow the cup cars run Bristol. I'd love to be there in person. Maybe next year.

James spent the afternoon with us. (Jesse had music class after school so he wasn't here.) James and I played Noggin on line, had a snack, and talked about school (pre-school) and "the big blue slide." Only the big kids get to go down the big blue slide because it goes through a tunnel. James' teacher said that maybe her class might get to go down the big blue slide after Christmas. I gotta check out that slide. . .

I re-read my last two posts. Sorry I turned into a "witch with a B" because of the needless holdups with this work. I should be more patient. I promise to try to do better.

Back to the race. My best to all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Day of Waiting

Workers were here this morning and began doing what the contract said they should do. Before long the inspector came to the door to be sure I was satisfied with the way the work was progressing. He told me that the district manager was having a "pop-in meeting" with the worker's superintendent on our front lawn. The inspector and I talked for a few minutes and then he went back outside to look at the work being done. That gave me the chance to sneak a peek out the living room window to see what was happening out there. I don't know what was being said but the district manager was NOT smiling and the super was just looking nervous and nodding his head. I really don't know what transpired but I do know that everything went smooth as silk so far as the work is concerned. They didn't finish today so will be back to finish up tomorrow morning. When they are done the inspector will check the work and he will install extra floor supports. (As you know we have some heavy stuff (tanks) in this house.) It will be good to be through with this!

I haven't done anything today except wait for the "other shoe" to fall but it didn't. We'll see how the last part of the work goes tomorrow.

By Monday life should be back to normal - well as normal as it ever is. Have a good evening. If you are facing heavy rains and flooding I hope you don't experience loss of property or injury.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is This Day Over Yet?

I last posted on Monday and here it is Wednesday. I haven't accomplished one thing during this time. The workers came this morning but due to "miscommunication" between the technical people and the worker bees nothing happened. The next start time is tomorrow between 8 and 9 AM. This job isn't rocket science I don't know what's so hard to understand about "remove the old insulation, treat the wood, replace vapor barrier, install power vent, clear all debris and get the thunder out of my face!" We'll see what happens in the morning. GRRR

I haven't had the chance to visit blogs for a couple of days - I've been spending my time worrying about getting this work done and completing a couple of projects. I don't want to be distracted while these workers are here. I think someone needs to watch them. I'm so glad that Harry cancelled his golf to be here to watch this process. Thanks Harry, I know I can count on you.

More on this later, I'm sure.

I'll try to read and comment tomorrow morning. Nite-nite!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tiger on the Wall

I had a couple of requests to post a large version of the picture that hung in my office. I'm going to do my best. Let's see how this goes.

Hmmmm. . . . Well, Harry will be embarrassed that I didn't straighten the picture and take steps to keep reflections off the glass. Sorry Babe, this is the best the old gal can do. To my readers I believe you can see several of the other big cats within the pic.

Yesterday, Sunday, was our usual gathering but Baby Hooper and parents were missing. We missed them. The boys asked why he wasn't here. I believe they have decided the baby is a keeper. Uncle Joe brought a computer program that allows kids to build cartoon monsters. They wanted Uncle Joe to demonstrate - or maybe it was Uncle Joe's decision to do so. He built the cutest monster with a monkey body, a unicorn head, one eye, and wings with a wide span. It was purple. He called me to come look at the critter. When I got to the computer there were two little guys standing there with big eyes and mouths ajar. Uncle Joe told them that I would recognize the monster and the boys had all eyes on me. I laughed and broke into the "Purple People Eater" song and the boys were so relieved to know he was "just a song" and not real. Uncle Joe likes to tease everyone and he surely had them in his clutches that time.

Harry's yearly physical was this morning. Kids, I'm happy to report that his report card was very good. I guess we'll keep him for another year. What da ya think?

We two old farts have just about worn this day out. In another hour we'll begin to settle in for the evening. I hope I can sleep tonight. Harry NEVER has trouble sleeping!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sentimental Me

Yesterday was a wonderful day. The trip up to Ooltewah was smooth and with no problems. My friend, Carolyn June, met me at the meeting site. She was all about doing whatever I wanted to do and would have taken me to visit any one that I wanted to. I really only wanted to spend the time with her.

Carolyn June and I were really close as children, through our teen years, and into adulthood. We shared every dream, disappointment, and thought. Then I moved away and distance and the pressures of everyday life separated us. Our children - her two girls and my two boys - took our time and attention. I know I thought of her often and we usually called each other on our birthdays. With time even that began to fail. Now that we have grandchildren, have retired from the busy work-a-day life, and have a little (not much) time on our hands I hope that we will return to that closeness. We're both much older - if I remember correctly I'm five years older. We need to spend time together while we can - of course we're both going to live to 100 and drive everyone crazy. We had many, many adventures as youngsters - not the least of which was breaking the ice on the wet weather creek at the bottom of our pasture to go swimming. I don't expect we'll repeat those adventures but I'm sure there are others waiting for us to discover them. Any suggestions? It was sad to see her SUV pull out of the parking lot - sad enough to put a tear in my eye. We just can't repeat the past.

In short, yesterday was a perfect day.

Today promises to be perfect, too. I always look forward to Sunday and seeing the kids - all of them.

Smoocha, you asked that I post a large pic of the tiger. I have to make the pic because I don't have a large one. I'll try to get that done on my next post. Time's run out this morning.

Thanks for listening to my sentimental trip. If you have someone in your life that you love but have lost contact with don't wait - CALL OR VISIT THEM TODAY!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Ending of a Good Day

Today started as a not-so-user-friendly day but ended very good. James was with us from around noon until just after 5 PM. That child is no trouble at all. He's happy to amuse himself, never gets into things he shouldn't, and is seldom without a smile on his face.

This afternoon I was happy to receive a phone call telling me that the loveseat I sent to be recovered was complete and ready to deliver. That was surely a welcome call. Below is a picture of the finished product. It isn't set in place yet - it's hanging off the edge of the rug but I'll adjust the rug when I clean it.

The picture over the loveseat is a picture that always hung in my office when I worked. It's a picture of a tiger but if you look for them there are 25 tigers to be found in the large drawing. I bought this rug when the boys were just babies. It's used as roadways, parking lots, and race tracks for matchbox cars. Maybe Baby Hooper will use it this way, too. Just a bit of trivia.

I sent two club chairs to be covered in a companion fabric to the loveseat. It will take a while to get them back because I wanted fabric that has to be ordered.

Tomorrow Harry and I are going to a little town in Tennessee. Ooltewah. Bet you never heard of it. It's the small little country town where I spent many childhood years. Located between Chattanooga and Cleveland Tennessee just off I-75 - if you blink you'll miss it. We're going to a coral frag swap and sale. Maybe we'll find a new colorful coral that isn't already in our (Harry's) collection. (It will be a 3.5 hour drive each way and a long day of meet and greet other reefers.)

I'll close with saying that I spoke with one of the ladies I consider a friend this evening. It was wonderful to hear her voice. I think she was surprised by my thick southern accent. I have to say that it was the high point of my day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Title?? What Title?

I need to let you know that even though I'm feeling stress it's self imposed. Everyone is happy with everyone else and no one is having health problems - not real ones anyway. My stress has to do with needing work done on this 40 year old house - work that could prove extensive. If my fears prove justified then I'll just make the changes I've wanted to make to this house since 1985. When faced with situations like this, I sit around and have a pity party for a few days then get up and move forward. I can move forward like a freight train when I need to.

Workers promised to be here next Wednesday morning to begin taking insulation from beneath the house. It is collecting moisture but caught early enough that there should be no big problem. Humidity here is so overpowering that moisture problems are big. The good news is that termites aren't involved. We'll just have to wait and see. I expect to be told that some of the under house plumbing needs to be replaced. If so what an excellent opportunity to make changes that are normally really hard to make. I just have to wait and see.

James had his first day at pre-school. He was so excited and wanting to "tell all." He loves playtime, circle time, and lunch. Everything else is OK, too. At least according to James. It is sad (to me) to see both boys going out in the world, but it's natural progression. We'll have Baby Mav for a while yet and Mattie, too. We just wish Mattie could be here so we could spoil her rotten.

So many of my blog friends are working through really rough situations right now. Some have personal concerns and others unbelievable health issues. My friends, I hope you have a comfortable evening with peaceful sleep. I pray tomorrow will be a better day for everyone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nothing New

Today is James' first day of pre-school. The boys were here for a little while last evening. Two boys in different schools and a "parents must attend" orientation meeting for both scheduled at the same time. Mommy and Daddy are about to enter into several years of frustration. The boys always have a place here while parents take care of these "must attend" meetings - or any other time, for that matter.

I did sleep Monday night but was a big groggy all day yesterday. I'd never taken a whole Ambient tablet before and I did a number on me. I think if - and when - I ever take another sleep aid it won't be Ambien.

Today is another busy day with me doing very little. Jesse will be here after school while Mommy takes James to music class. Jesse likes to be busy all the time so I need to sit down and think of something fun to do. He loves tic-tac-toe and will play for a long time but I'm not much of a game player. We may do a bit of gardening if weather isn't too hot. He enjoys that.

I'm dealing with a bit of stress - not related in anyway with the kids - but will get a handle on it. I'm so much more lucky than several of of my readers that I feel like a wus for even mentioning it.

Shirley and I had a good shopping trip looking for rugs. She is looking for an appropriate oriental - wool NOT silk - rug. It's easy to find these rugs but hard to find a pattern and color combination that fits. I'm glad that Shirley is cautious and slow to make these decisions. We will be looking again in a few days and bringing a couple home to try. I don't believe we've seen THE rug yet, but in time, we will.

Nothing exciting here. Just another day in the life of a couple of old farts. That's a good thing! My best to everyone.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Day "On the Go"

Is it Monday afternoon already? My, my how time does fly!! Maybe that's my problem - time flies and I just trudge along. It's no longer a puzzle as to why I'm so far behind.

Sunday was a lot of fun. The boys each brought a friend to Sunday gathering with them. The children were really well behaved. Not one problem. The youngest was almost 3 1/2 and the oldest 6. They watched the reefs, played in the bubbles from the bubble machine (outside), had snacks, played Legos and another little game that they made up. The grown-ups talked and/or watched the race. During that race there was a terrible wreck. I don't believe there were any serious injuries though. Baby Hooper decided to stay home. We missed them but soon they will be joining us for gathering on a regular basis.

This morning my friend, Shirley, and I shopped for new rugs for her home. She is doing a bit of redecorating and rugs are on the menu. We saw a L-O-T of rugs but only two or three that are candidates. Because this is a major purchase she's waiting to think about her selection. It's not a good idea to buy when you're on the crest of excitement. She's doing so well following her major surgery a few months ago.

Harry and I drove out to Baby Hooper's house this afternoon. We were only there for a short time but it was fun to see him - and Mommy, too, of course. He is growing like a little weed and Mommy is getting smaller. Her weight is beginning to settle into pre-preg mode. Daddy was at work so we just had to leave a "Hello" for him.

Well, folks that's what has been happenin' in my world. How about yours? I haven't been sleeping again for the last four or five nights. Tonight I'm going to get into bed, take Ambien, and hope to sleep through the night and maybe part of tomorrow morning. I'm so tired and sluggish that you'd think I'm old.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Could Fall be Knocking on Our Door?

It's a wonderful bright cool morning in my little corner of the world. It may rain later but for now it's perfect.

Yesterday Harry and I drove to two or three stores which are in the part of town where my office was located. I was shocked to see several stores on the main street out there were closed. Not little stores but large, previously busy businesses. As a matter of fact, I was planning on stopping to shop at one of them on the way home. We are in a period of growing because of the jobs moving here from various places, but still important stores are closing. Not a happy note! I can only imagine what's happening in areas not in expansion mode. Let's not dwell on the negative, though. This is just an observation not a prediction of doom and gloom.

I haven't done anything constructive so far today and I'll probably continue the trend. I'm looking forward to having the kids here later in the day. Feeding them won't be a problem. I'll just do easy stuff that doesn't require a lot of work. Can you say slow cooker and salad?

I only slept a little over 4 hours last night. I don't intend to take a nap today. Maybe that will help me sleep better tonight.

Let's have a fun day even if we have to dream our fun. Come on, we can do it. What would your dream be? Mine will be spending a long lazy day in the mountains beside a cool stream. I think I'll go there now.

Thanks for dropping in. Please come back whenever you can.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lazy Saturday

It's a bright, cooler Saturday morning. I almost slept through it much to my disappointment. I couldn't get to sleep last night - I saw 2 AM on the clock through wide-awake eyes. Once I get to sleep I can sleep for awhile it's just hard to shut off the brain and relax.

I feel much more settled than I did when I wrote my last post. Thanks again for the kind words. There's nothing more healing than kind words and good wishes from friends.

There are a couple of must-do chores for today and I think I'll just let the rest of the list slide. I want to find something to do outside today. Not work - fun. I may just take a book and my comfy-outside chair to the shade and read.

There's not much to write about this morning. I think it's time to send wishes for a happy day to you and sign off. Later, my friends.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Highs and Lows

Yesterday was Jesse's first school day. He had mixed emotions about the whole deal. First, he didn't get to go on the playground. Why? Too hot - bummer!! The teacher was teaching them to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle" Jesse's been tinkling (on the piano) that "Twinkle" for almost two years. BORING!! He only knew one other kid in his class and that kid was too shy to talk among mostly strangers. Just the usual stuff, folks. I asked him if he would be ready to go back for the second day. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said, "Of course I will, Nana."

James has his first experience in half-day preschool next Wednesday. That'll be another story for another day.

It's really good to be Nana and let the young folks be Mommy and Daddy. Oh me, oh my, they have a lot of years ahead of them - it makes me tired just to think about it.

Harry is playing golf today in this sweltering heat and humidity. He's a hardy soul. I just wouldn't be able to handle golf today. I have to wait until cooler weather and by that time he'll be so much better than me that he won't want to have me tagging along. I'll just slow his game down.

I have many things I need to do today but may just sit and think about doing them. I wouldn't want to rush into anything that can wait until tomorrow. I guess I'm feeling a little low today. I found out that the last member of my mother's circle friends was killed when her tour bus crashed on Mother's Day, 2008. She was 74 according to the news report I found on utube. I counted and I think she was closer to 84, but you know how ladies of a certain age never want to admit it. I was also surprised to know that she was so well known. I remember her as the nicest member of (what Mother called) "The Special Six" (Six women who met once a year for a weekend of bonding.) They are all gone now and somehow it's the final note in their almost life long song. I feel a big hole in my heart even though the Special Six, as a group, didn't include me. Last evening I tried to tell Harry how I feel and - like most men - he just didn't want to take time to listen to me and wouldn't have understood even is he did listen. I love him but after all he's just a man and men don't have the same deep emotions we, as women, do.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I'm going to shake it off and have a good day. I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Busy and Late

I haven't a lot of time this evening. It's been a long, busy day as was yesterday. Yesterday, we had the grandsons with us for the last time before school starts and we enjoyed the day. Today was tank maintenance day and we also went to a local high-end camera shop to ask questions and get direction on the best lens to use of various photography. I'm too confused to even think about the mechanics and really don't intend to do fancy stuff - that's Harry's department. It's all personal photography - nothing commercial. Heck, a crayon drawing is fine with me - I'm easy.

Need to get on with the things I need to do before going nite-nite.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. BOO HOO!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Party's Over

Do you remember how it felt when you were a kid at Christmas, your birthday party, or some really exciting, happy occasion? Do you remember how you felt when the presents were opened, your tummy full of all the food - and treats - you love most, and everyone has gone home? It's sort of a mixture of happy and sad - happy to see everyone and sad the party's over. That's were I am tonight.

We had a really good weekend beginning Friday evening and ending around 2 PM this afternoon when Judy left to drive back to Atlanta for her second week of class. I know she'll be happy to get back to Phoenix to her little family. At Thanksgiving the three of them will be here. We'll have all - absolutely all - of our gang together. Again I say, Harry and I are two lucky old farts. In Harry's words, we have a gold mine here. No money, but who needs it! We have the kids.

We ate; we laughed; we told about what we've been doing. Parents told the older kids about some of the cute things they said and did when they were little. Lots of laughs in that session. The grandsons broke out the bubble machine and had a romp in the yard following a small hail/rain storm on Saturday night. Their club house is under the contorted hazel tree. The bubbles don't show up very much (the bubble machine is the yellow thingie) but there were more bubbles than Lawrence Welk could have ever managed.

The girls played with Legos on Friday evening. Late on Saturday afternoon I went out to the screen porch to see what the girls were doing - would you believe it if I told you they were playing with Play Dough? Yep, it's true - they were happily talking about their babies, planning activities for Thanksgiving and playing with Play Dough.

This morning Judy did a little laundry, spent a bit of time talking with her Dad. He was telling her about life and the pile of sh*t you find in your path every once in a while. He explained that you can choose to go around it, step over it, or fall in the middle of it - you have to recognize it and make your own decision. Good advice but I haven't seen or heard of anyone in our gang facing this kind of decision. I think he was just passing on his philosophy of life. Judy's favorite food is Harry's version of grilled marinated steak and that's what he made for her late lunch before she had to leave. She called when she was back at her hotel in Atlanta getting ready for her last week of class.

That's pretty much the story of our big weekend. It probably sounds corny and boring to most of you but, believe me, the Hooper family had a wonderful, blessed weekend.

I'll try to catch up on visiting your blogs late tomorrow if not before. I've missed all of you and hope everyone is doing well.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Big Party - Day 1

It's been a busy day but a happy one. The boys and I had our usual play day. Judy was here just after 5 PM. Harry made a big beef pot pie and curried fruit for dinner. All the kids were here. The only thing missing was our little granddaughter and her dad. I think I told you that Judy is able to spend the weekend with us while she's in a two week training class being held in Atlanta.

I'll post more pictures when things are calmer - rest assured we are taking many. You have all seen pics of the local kids and grand kids - I wanted to post a picture of our grown up little girl. Here she is:
There was a Lego building party tonight. At least two moms were deep into the action. If you don't believe it just look how intent on the project they are.

Yep, that's my steam cleaner in the background. Ya just never know when ya might need it.

Our oldest son, Joe, stopped in to say hello and visit for a bit before he left for his evening plans. You know how single guys are - I just don't ask.
The boys were being best buds.
Baby Hooper and Dad were watching the action
Mommy was watching, too.

Hmmm . . I must have missed the joke. Looks like it was a good one. (You already know Mary)
Just enjoying the time with family. This is Keith.Harry and I are just about the luckiest two old farts around. Just think tomorrow is the real party. It is past midnight - gotta get to bed.

I hope each and every one of you is as happy as we are tonight.