Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

We have had three different episodes of rain over the last two weeks that have left Houston under water! We are talking 8-12 inches or more of rainfall at a time all over the area. I'm not sure why a city this size doesn't have better drainage but flooding is a fact of life for lots of places. But thank goodness not where we are north of the city. Gloria, Gail and I were heading to Harwin today but canceled because Beltway 8 and Westpark where we would exit was on the news last night with the rescue of a lady from her truck. She was up to her neck in water. More showers are predicted for this afternoon. Better safe than sorry. We'll go another time.

Roman finished refacing all the cabinets in both bathrooms. We have gone from painted white ones to a medium brown stain more like my kitchen cabinets. I'm just not big on white cabinets but have lived with them in both houses here for eight years. We had a frame put around the guest bath mirror and beveled mirror edges on the master mirrors and changed out the lights. We're just trying to keep the house a little updated as time passes.

Yesterday was a large funeral at church, well over 100 people. He was a younger man, 54, so many of his colleagues attended and stayed for lunch. They told us 75 people so we were a bit nervous about the quantity of food when we saw the size of the crowd. However, we had enough and were able to send some food home with the family. Trying to get my two dishes into the hall in the driving rain was not easy. We certainly appreciate all the ladies who didn't let that stop them from bringing what they had promised. I was gone for over four hours and brought eight tablecloths home to launder. When we leave for the summer I won't be here to help so I try to do what I can when I am here.

We've made some progress on our summer trip. Trying to get RV full timers to make a reservation is like pulling teeth. After checking with campgrounds in the area where we will be in July (Black Hills, Badlands, Mt. Rushmore) I felt we needed to make some reservations since there are three rigs traveling together. The e-mails flew back and forth and eventually we settled on reservations in Interior and Custer, SD and Island Park, ID (outside Yellowstone). We have some wiggle room before arriving in that area and traveling from South Dakota to Idaho. We're spending a week at each of the first two cities and two weeks at the latter so there's plenty time for exploring and kicking back.

We are headed in different directions the second week in August. Ted and I plan to hit Arches and Canyonland National Parks; Durango and Pagosa Springs, CO; Santa Fe, White Sand Dunes and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and then the Big Bend area of west Texas as we make our way home in September. But that's just a blueprint. We make changes along the way to fit our needs and wants.

Let's hope our showers predicted for this afternoon are just that - showers, not downpours. We need some time for this city to dry out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It Was and Wasn't Quiet

Much to Rebecca's relief, Roman and entourage had to leave to redo some facias that I said just wouldn't do. They were too different from the cabinet doors. So she was able to finish cleaning without dodging them or trying to keep clean what she had done.

Everything was torn up in the bathrooms but Ted wanted to take me out to dinner for our anniversary. We weren't supposed to turn the shower on because of humidity and the stain curing so I told him to just order a pizza. Instead we went to Luby's Cafeteria and luckily I didn't run into anyone I know!

On Saturday the work crew was back. Ted & Terry went downtown to pick up Connie at 12:30 and brought her out to The Woodlands. They stopped at Terry's new house first and then they all took her to the house that is for sale. Roman had two doors a quarter inch too wide and had to leave to fix them. I told him I was leaving for lunch and would let him know when I got back. Barely running a comb through my hair because all the drawers and cabinet contents were all over the countertops, I was picked up for lunch at the country club.

We dropped Terry & Carol off because they were going to church and to play bunco so we were taking Connie to the airport. Roman came back so I stayed and Ted took her and she got home safely. We spent the rest of the evening at home.

Sunday was church (one and a half hours long ... serious overtime!) and Ted went shooting and I went to the grocery. I was glad the weekend was over. I felt like we accomplished a lot and accomplished nothing. Today I got to put everything away and I cleaned the inside of all the drawers and cabinets in the bathrooms. It's raining again so we stayed in.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Slow Week

It's been a very slow week with not much going on. The highlight of Tuesday was the dentist. How lame is that? But now that's over for six months. I did see my next door neighbor Barbara there and also my hairdresser coming out of the boutique next door. It was like old home week.

Wednesday I met Ann at 3 o'clock for coffee (except I drank iced tea). From there I went on to the country club for Happy Hour. Just four of us showed up but that makes for a nice conversation. It's hard to hear or talk when 16 people or so gather. Ted took the opportunity to go to the Houston Gun Club since I was going to be gone for several hours.

Thursday I had my hair cut and we went downtown with Terry & Carol to pick up Ted's cousin's wife who was in Houston for a convention. We drove her around downtown, the Galleria area and River Oaks. She was amazed at how big Houston is and admired all the lovely parks and trees we have in those areas. We had dinner at Table 7 Bistro which turned out to be smaller and more casual than we were aiming for but the food was very good. We may pick up Connie downtown tomorrow, bring her to The Woodlands for awhile and then take her to the airport. We need to see what time she will be finished tomorrow.

Today is our 44th wedding anniversary. It's hard to comprehend all that time passing by. Our girls will be 43, 40 and 36 this year. I always told them I was 23 when they were little so now they are all way older than me.

Right now Rebecca is trying to clean the house while Roman is trying to reface the bathroom cabinets. This should be a fun day when all is said and done.

We have absolutely no plans for this weekend. We passed on Dining Out with Newcomers on Sunday. Perhaps we'll go to the Texas Opry in Magnolia Saturday night. Things have a way of popping up but if they don't, a quiet weekend at home works fine too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Unexpected Company

It FINALLY quit raining late Saturday afternoon so we didn't have to go to church, the restaurant and Terry & Carol's in the rain. We opted for Rico's Mexican and by the time we came out the sky was blue and we were back in the business of nice weather. I enjoyed the HBO movie of Grey Gardens and Carol is ordering the 1975 documentary from Netflix so we can see the actual people that Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange portrayed.

We were just hanging out on Sunday when my phone rang. It was Brenda who I knew had a layover in Houston on her way home from Seattle to Memphis. She was still in Seattle and was going to need a place to stay in Houston. The storms had all the flights backed up and her flight was taking off 5.5 hours late thus making the next available connection at 4 pm on Monday. Oh ... and can you come pick me up. Of course we could and I took ribs out of the freezer for dinner.

Ted picked her up at 7 pm while I stayed home to tend to dinner. She had booked a flight from Little Rock because it was quite a bit cheaper and Rick had driven her there last week to catch the flight to Seattle. After dinner Ted got on the phone and changed her to a 10:40 flight this morning directly to Memphis and canceled her rental car. She was elated and so was Rick waiting on the other end.

This morning Ted took Brenda back to the airport and I got ready for bunco. This is the first time I've been to Elaine's house and it is so very nice. We made all the decisions for next year so I can get my "paperwork" clear through 9/2010 ready for the bunco bag. This group is great in that once we establish our hostesses, it runs itself. Any switching is done between people and then I send an announcement via e-mail. Anyone not attending finds their own sub and lets the hostess know. As long as everyone does their part, there's no problem. I've had this group going on 8 years and it's still going strong.

A fellow is here refinishing our front door. Barbara next door was having hers done and he came to look at ours. We don't get direct sun or water on ours but it is over six years old so we thought it wouldn't hurt to have him do it. Your front door makes a statement and should always be in good repair (Real Estate 101 according to Donna).

Not much else going on this week. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow for my regular check-up. Not too exciting.

Spring is stirring across the country. Enjoy the weather wherever you are. Travel safely. Enjoy the journey.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

The neighbor ladies and I, ten in all, had a lovely lunch and day in Montgomery, TX on Thursday. I took them the back way instead of the interstate because it's a much nicer drive. I'm amazed when people don't know about things right in their own area. But then, we've always ventured out and about more than most. Ted stayed over in Austin so I had the remote all to myself for my viewing pleasure in the evening.

Friday the rains came. Ted stopped three different times on his way home from Austin because he simply couldn't see. The golf tournament here and Earth Day celebration have both been cancelled because it is predicted to be bad all weekend.

I made Skyline chili dip to take to Wind Down at Terry & Carol's. There is always an abundance of food but they did everything but lick the dish I brought it in. There were 59 people in attendance, a big crowd for any house. It was pretty late when we got home.

It's raining cats and dogs again today and I have every light in the house on because it is so dark. We are meeting Terry & Carol at church at 5 pm, going for a bite to eat and then back to their house to watch HBOs Grey Gardens with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. This is the play we are going to see in May with Karen and Dave downtown. It's about an aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy who let their Hampton estate go into ruins and live as recluses.

The company Ted retired from in 2000 and who carries our medical insurance has filed for bankruptcy. We don't know if we'll be affected or not. He has 4 months to Medicare and I have 17 months. All we can do is research options and keep our fingers crossed. We also learned that Delta/Northwest/Continental are breaking up their SkyTeam so we can no longer put Continental flights into our Northwest frequent flyer account. We both have Continental numbers but didn't use them. I dug them out, updated the info, and we'll have to start using them after October. Ted racked up 3 million miles on Northwest and because he could fly Continental out of here, he just kept using his Northwest number, but not anymore.

If the weather doesn't clear, we'll probably be inside again tomorrow. We need the rain but it seems we always get it all at once. Not a big weekend on the excitement meter but a pleasant one none the less, the bad weather not withstanding!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Went To a "Tea Party"

Ted left on a flight to Tampa early Monday morning. He was able to take my Dad and Edna to dinner Monday night before he started his pressroom rounds. My Dad LOVES Ted and is always so happy when someone comes to visit. I went to Canasta in the afternoon and later met Jacque for four laps around the walking trail in the park near our house. Tuesday evening I played bunco and won my $5 back for having the most Wipe Outs, and I only had two! But I'll take it.

Terry and Carol asked me to join them at The Woodlands Tea Party on Wednesday evening. There were 2-3 thousand people there and the traffic jam was of monumental proportions. There were some great signs and I wish I could remember them all. Our representative was booed when he took the podium because he voted for the bank bailout. Both Ted and I had called his office to complain about that. In fact Ted calls him, Cornyn and Hutchinson all the time. I think he has them on speed dial! I was sorry no one (at least while we were there) pressed home the issue of what we all can realistically do - vote the bums out! Everyone wants "your bum" gone but they keep their own. Ted told them they were poster children for term limits.

After a couple hours the three of us left and went to Mel's Country Cafe for dinner. It was Wednesday and that's chicken and dumplings night, Terry's favorite. I pulled into our driveway about 8:30 and Ted pulled in right behind me.

He has left already this morning for Austin and will be back home tomorrow. I have my neighborhood ladies' luncheon today. I have to pick up three neighbors and drive to Montgomery, Texas to Phil's Roadhouse. There are some antique shops and stores in that area so I'm sure we'll meander around a bit before coming back. I'm familiar with the area because it is west of Haven's Landing Campground and we go to Phil's when we camp up there.

Other than Wind Down tomorrow night we don't have any plans for the weekend. But that could change. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Scary Start to Easter

Aside from Ted shooting, we spent Saturday at home. A company came to power wash our deck, furniture, walkways and driveway. Ever since Ike, the black mold has been more evident. They did a great job and it looks good.

I prepared my food for Easter breakfast (sausage/egg strata and baked french toast) and set the table. I had the coffee ready to brew, the fruit cut up and the champagne chilled for Mimosas. They were predicting really bad storms and we were glad we had no outside activities planned. Ted took a decorated azalea plant to our neighbors who had given us the theater tickets as a small thank you.

We arrived at church in a drizzle for 8 am Mass and Terry, Carol, Rachel and Jeff were seated in the front row in the right wing and saved us seats. Everything was fine until after the gospel and the deacon (age 81) who had left the altar went around to go back up. I thought he was going to use the ramp along the back but he started up the three steps. I thought to myself, he just needs the handrail. That quickly he lost his grip and went down face first onto the floor which is concrete. He didn't move. Since Ted was on the end he was first on the altar to help him. He was joined by a few others who slowly assessed his condition. He was conscious and they were able to turn him over and prop him up against Ted. He had two cuts on his face and Ted used his handkerchief on them.

It took the EMTs a long time to come. Apparently there was a delay in reaching 911 and then the crowded parking lot may have slowed them down. The fire station is right across the street and I couldn't imagine what was taking so long. They arrived and Ted continued to prop him up. They asked Ted if he was OK in that position and he said yes. Eventually they took him out but the whole time Father George had continued with Mass. A nurse sitting behind us sent Purell up to Ted for his hands so he could receive Communion. I'm sure she was concerned that perhaps he got blood on his hands. After Mass Ted stopped to tell Father George that he thought everything was going to be OK. Deacon was talking and walked out with assistance and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

We came home and had our breakfast and it poured down rain. Then while I cleaned up, the TV was turned on for The Masters. Pretty soon both Carol and Terry were napping! We left a while later for downtown. The rain had stopped and we arrived in plenty of time. Hobby Center is a gorgeous theater. We've been there a couple times before.

The play was outstanding. We all know the story and the score of The Wizard of Oz but the technology they used was fascinating. We really enjoyed it. When we came out of the theater the weather was gorgeous. Terry & Carol haven't spent much time in downtown Houston so they were interested in where we were and how we got there. We went to Birroporreti's for dinner which is in the theater district. It was a nice meal and we were able to keep on eye on the TV.

Since The Masters went into sudden death I was home in time to watch The Amazing Race. I love watching the countries they go to and wonder how they can keep their mind focused. I would be stopping to look at everything. I'm rooting for the deaf boy and his mother. They have done superbly despite his handicap.

Ted is off this morning to Florida until Wednesday. He'll take my Dad and Edna to dinner tonight in Port Charlotte. Thursday morning he has to drive to Austin. It's been a long, long time since he's done this much traveling in one week. He usually is gone one or two days a month, if that. He considered giving up the consulting but seemed reluctant to do so. He talked to "the powers that be" and has decided to stay on. They take good care of him and his duties seldom interfere with our lifestyle or travels. And I have to admit that I enjoy some time alone on occasion. I agreed to play Canasta and bunco this week while he is gone. Also our neighborhood ladies' luncheon is Thursday. He'll be home on Friday in time to go to Wind Down (Newcomers' cocktail party) that is being held at Terry and Carol's.

And so it goes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Time is Flying By Again

We had a great dinner Monday night at Terry & Carol's. Everyone brought something so it wasn't a burden on any one person except for Carol who set the beautiful table. Ann had stopped by our house for a visit a couple hours before we left so the day worked out all right.

Tuesday was my first appearance at Continental Breakfast Club. This is a new drop-in group for Newcomers. Different ladies open their homes for coffee and pastries once a month. It is a great way for new ladies to come and meet people. There are no obligations and you can stay as long or short a time as you would like. I'm supposedly one of the activity chairs in charge of this but I haven't been around for any of the meetings and Ann has been running it on her own. I should be able to make May before we head out for the summer.

Ted was in charge of the neighborhood men's luncheon selection on Wednesday and he chose Guadalajara Mexican restaurant. It's really hard to find something besides Mexican or BBQ unless it's a chain. Everyone enjoyed it and I think it's great that the guys all get together once a month.

We were invited to a French wine tasting Thursday night at the country club. We met Terry & Carol's new neighbors who moved in across the street from them. Ironically they are also from Zionsville, IN. Small world. The wines and appetizer presentations were all excellent and it was an enjoyable evening. I saw a few people I hadn't seen in awhile and that's always fun.

Tonight we went to Mel's in Tomball for dinner with Gail & Wilson and Gloria & Al, neighbors of ours. The place was packed because it is Friday and they had their All You Can Eat Catfish and Shrimp dinner on all day instead of just at dinner because it is Good Friday. We had to wait about a half hour for a table but the food came out quickly. Afterwards they came back to our house and we visited for a few hours.

Tomorrow I will be getting ready for Easter breakfast here after Mass on Sunday. Just Terry & Carol are coming but then we are going downtown to the Hobby Center to see The Wizard of Oz live on stage and will have dinner at Birroperriti's close to the theater. Our neighbor Gracie gave us the tickets along with a parking pass and four drink coupons. What a wonderful gesture. The tickets are part of their theater series but because it is Easter they couldn't use them. It worked perfect for the four of us since none of our kids are coming in.

Happy Easter to all. May the promise of the risen Christ touch your life this season.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tah Dah! The Cornices

Here I am, no make-up, old work clothes, stapling the fabric to the cornice form that Kristin made out of plywood and furring strips. We covered the form with muslin covered batting and then added the fabric. We put solid gold material on the back and covered the edges with gold ribbon to hide those staples so it looked good from any angle. Then Eileen and I hung them on four L-brackets. There are sets of windows on either side of the living room door and we were careful to make sure the fabric was exactly the same on both. We think we "done good!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

We Got Busted!

I spent Thursday doing mail, phone and e-mail catch up and Friday was spent doing laundry. Then we left to meet Jim and Leanne in Hempstead for the Knights of Columbus fish fry. Their daughter's mother-in-law Angie was with them. She was soon joined by her daughter and family and then a brother and sister-in-law. It turned into quite a group.

Afterwards, we had to follow them while they took Angie home. We turned south off 290 down a gravel road and the fields on either side were blanketed in bluebonnets. They were spectacular and the trip out there was worth that drive alone. Angie invited us into her "spread" as I will call it. They have 15 acres with a pond and keep several horses, cattle, chickens and turkeys. There is a huge metal barn with a tack room, chicken coop, hay storage and a living area. Her granddaughters were spending the night and wanted to sleep in "the barn" but Grandma said they were sleeping up in the house.

What had started as a 3000 sq. ft. older home has been added on to, remodeled, decorated, etc. until it is just stunning. I was totally lost during our tour. Her husband is a hunter and fisherman and Ted was very interested in all the trophies and pictures hanging on the walls. She was the most gracious, down to earth lady I've met in quite some time and I liked her immediately. She gave us two dozen "farm fresh" eggs when we departed. I'll use them for Easter breakfast. We drove on to our friends' home and spent the rest of the evening there. It was quite late when we got back.

Saturday Ted went shooting in the morning and then at noon we met Dave and Karen, who now live down in Houston, for lunch and the Art Fair on the Waterway. We hadn't seen them in quite some time and had a great time catching up. Karen and I decided the guys couldn't walk and talk at the same time because we would look back to see if they were still following us and they would be standing still talking! By 4:30 we needed to get home and we finished up the fair right on time.

Saturday night was Wine Tasting and we had purchased three pounds of brisket to take for the meal. It had been in the crock pot on warm since noon. So into the shower, get dressed, and off we went again. The basketball games were on so lots of people congregated in front of the TV. There was a table for 8 set out in the courtyard in the front of the house and I was out there with seven others drinking and eating.

First we saw a flashlight and then the gate to the courtyard opened and a patrolman came in. We were all shocked and assumed we were making too much noise. Paula told him we were all over 21 but if we were making too much noise we would keep it down. He said he had a call there was a fight going on. It was determined there was a party going on behind the house on the next street so he said he would try there. It's been a long time since the cops came to a party I was at!! It was good for a few laughs.

Sunday was Palm Sunday so church took over an hour and a half. It was after 1:00 when we got home. We spent the day watching the Shell Houston Open and then grilling out for dinner.

Today Ann is stopping by for coffee and to catch up. Then we are invited to Terry & Carol's for Terry's birthday dinner. I have to make potato casserole for that and will also make sweet potatoes because Ted likes those. Trying to watch your weight is almost impossible with the social schedule we keep but I'll keep trying.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Revelation, Irony and Lowe's

My revelation is that it is easier to camp without electricity in an RV than it is to live in a house without a kitchen sink and countertops! There's nowhere to set anything down and no water. You have to go to the bathroom sink.

The irony is that I left a check with Ted to pay for my cleaning lady so I could go to Florida and do all sorts of things at Kristin's.

And we made a trip to Lowe's everyday, sometimes twice a day. That's what happens when you are redoing a kitchen.

By the time I arrived, the new kitchen cabinets had been installed (George), the tile floor had been removed down to the original terrazzo (Eileen and Kristin), the microwave was installed (George) as well as the new flurescent light in the kitchen (Jerome) and the plumber had done some preparation work.

On Thursday the electrician (Jerome) installed a plug for the microwave, one for the new range, a doorbell, a smoke detector, a fluorescent light in the master closet and hung the new chandelier over the table. The granite guy also came and made a template for the countertops and told us to buy a faucet for the stainless sink that was to be installed in the granite.

Over the week we spackled some nail holes (Eileen), made two cornices 7.5 feet by 15 inches from wood and covered them (Kristin and me) and then hung them (Eileen and me). Hung two new lights in the living room ceiling (Eileen and me), covered the dining room chairs (Eileen and me), cleaned the refrigerator (me), cut the grass (Eileen), did laundry (me), swept out the garage (Eileen and I took turns as trash was taken out) and picked out a range, floor tile, back splash tile, granite and faucet (Kristin and me).

Despite all the chores it was a really fun week and we all had a great sense of accomplishment. Kristin and I went to dinner two nights with Tom and Eileen. She and I also found time to shop a little. I bought a dress, capris and a sweater plus a baby gift. So it was not all work and no play.

This weekend Kristin will go to Lowe's (where else?) to buy the floor tiles and back splash tiles so George can start installing them. I'm sure the back splash has to wait for the countertops to be installed but he can start on the floor. Then Kristin will be down to having one bath left to do. That will have to wait until the well that has run dry fills up again!

I forgot my camera but Kristin will send me some pictures soon and I'll show you our handiwork. The cornices turned out beautifully and Eileen was impressed that I knew to place the fabric so both cornices were exactly the same and how to hang electrical lights! Just two of my talents I've kept hidden from my best friend!!!