Saturday, December 31, 2005

Goodbye to 2005

Well, adios 2005. It's been quite a year, both personally and globally, local, national, and even world-wide.

I started the year out, January 28th, Hilda, my cat, disappeared. She's Quincy's momma, and was such a cool little kitty. She had appeared about four years ago and more or less adopted me than the other way around, and had adjusted quite well into the family. It was her routine to go in and out but always come back in at suppertime - oh, how she loved to eat! She simply never showed up. I looked everywhere for her, put out fliers, notice on,
called vets -- Gosh, I still miss her.

On May 3rd, Robert and Ranya had their first child - Sarah Nourya. She is now 7 months old and just had her first Christmas. Unfortunately I haven't been able to see her in person; but that doesn't stop me from being so very proud of her and love her with all my heart.

Throughout the year were horrific weather conditions claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and causing untold misery and pain and suffering all over the world, fires, the results of the tsunami, multiple earthquakes, and of course the rash of hurricanes that devasted the whole Gulf Coast.

In the news was the unbelieveable fight for life and what I considered to be the nightmare of legislated homicide of Teri Schievo. I was gripped with the horror of what our country was doing and still can't understand how the other side doesn't see it as plain and simple murder. I'm nearly always on the left of issues, but this one I was having the uncomfortable aliance with some of the stauchest of the right.

Then there was the dying and death of Pope John Paul, who, to be honest, I had never paid much attention to; but somehow he got my attention and I became enamoured with the love and gentleness of the man and how well loved he was all over the world by all walks of life and realized I almost missed a saint among us. So few people in the public now to look up to, but he certainly was one.

As a backdrop of all this has been a horrible, unjustified war - so much death and suffering. And then there was the glorious witness of the realization that all has not been so well with our current administration. Eyes are finally beginning to open as to what has been happening, late as it is. Are people finally seeing the "Emperor has no clothes"? I was against the war from the beginning. I remember a sickness in the pit of my stomach when we watched them cross over the border out of Kuwait. "Oh, dear God. We have no business there!"

Heck, way before that, I was destraught and depressed over the 2000 election and wish even now that Al Gore would get back in the running. Now that my life has been so preoccupied with recovery from Hurricane Rita, I've wanted to be careful that I didn't miss a moment to relish in the almost self-destruct of the Right and even heard the "I" word (impeachment) on mainstream media!

So many stories this year that the news shows will be coving them all, but these were a few that affected me, personally, though I'm an avid news and politic addict and get interested in them all.

What will 2006 hold for any of us? How can we possibly know! But we can hope and pray that we will face our successes and challenges with dignity and pride and strength.

How did I spend the last day of the year? I was happily in Houston spending some precious time with John and Sheridan. Tonight at the bewitching hour, I'll be in my own home, snug and safe and warm and watch the Big Ball Drop in New York City.

Resolutions -- of course, I always make resolutions. Lose weight, get more exercise, eat healthy, be more tolerant of public officials' and businesses' incompetences, learn to like doing paperwork, never procrastinate or waste time -- right!!

Happy New Year, folks!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bedroom floor: Finished...

Wow, I am so tired! I was determined to finish my job, which I did; and checked to see if we have anything in the wings that would have come in this week -- nothing. So, the in-box is empty again. But it's expected to pick up after New Year's. So, I better make hay while I have the time off.

Anyway, it was about 5:30 when I got done with that; so, I went back to my flooring project. The last strip was pretty tricky because it goes under the door into the hallway, and the only way to do it was to take the door down, pull facing loose at the bottom, and cut some irregular boards. But I did it!! I finished off the closet, put the baseboards down everywhere, put the door back on (that's tricky!), carried all the tools and supplies to my back room, swept sawdust, picked up scrap boards, positioned the pieces that were already in the room. But I haven't started reloading the room yet because I want to go over the floor one more time with a damp mop and get some colored caulking to use to touch up a couple of places that will never show anyway, but I'll be happier if I do. Then I want to really go over the furniture with polish and maybe even some wood soap to bring it back to life again.

I had two full boxes left and a third box with only one board used out of it. My intention was to do the hallway, but after the trouble I had with the facings and the doors, I am having second thoughs. In fact, I think maybe it would accent the wood floors in the bedroom more if there was a transition from the hall. So, I've decided to do the middle bedroom, as well. I'll need a few more boxes, but not many, maybe only two or three.

So, my plan now for the hall is to find a real nifty looking vinyl flooring and pay to have it put down. Insurance calculated for that and also for flooring in my master bath. So, I can have that done at the same time. Neither floor is too big. So, it shouldn't be too much. And there's no hurry for that project. I'll wait till after the middle room is done and I'm in the mood to deal with contractors again -- speaking of which, I hope James is planning on finishing the patio and eaves shortly after New Year's.

Well, I'm pretty proud of the floor. It looks nice and fresh. And it's amazing how easy it is to slide the furniture on it! I pulled the chest of drawers over to its place with one hand! Woopie!!

Well, I am really tired, and sore from the bending and stooping and squatting and lifting. But it's a good tired. And I'll be happy to get the whole room all put together and get back in my own bed again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wednesday's report

Any of you bloggers sometimes have a trouble coming up with a snappy title? I know it should be something to catch the eye, generate interest -- "more of same" or "slight progress today" or -- how about "Wednesday's Report"!

Well, I was busy as the proverbial bee today. I touched up a few streaks on my newly painted wall, put the flooring down and baseboards to as far as I could, before shifting the furniture to thenewly laid floor side and put down the rest of the flooring, with the exception of the last strip, which will be the strip that will make the entrance to the hallway, which I bought enough flooring for, as well.

In between doing all that, I worked on my job. I want to get it finished by tomorrow because Friday I'm going to Houston to see John and my little granddaughter, Sheridan. I'd work on the job some, then go do some in the bedroom, get tired, come back and do some more on the computer.

Just as I left the room for one of my breaks, coincidentally, the cable guy was driving up. So, I was glad I saw him or I might not have heard him knocking. He got my Road Runner connection back in my front office. So, now that is done and the 50 feet of cable extension is now rolled up and put away for next time -- ugh - hope there won't be another next time.

Tommy has been maybe just a little better today. He did go in and out, but he's not jumping around for joy, that's for sure. I guess he'll be okay. He either scratched his nose or something, because I saw a little tiny drop of blood coming from his right nostril. He let me dab it with a damp cloth, and then he even cleaned at it with his paw. I've never heard of a cat with a nosebleed! It seems okay, though, and apparently no more problem from it.

I had walked outside to just get a breath of air and saw the sunset! Wow! What a sunset we had! It was almost 360 degrees around me! The sky was just magnificant! I took a few pictures. The "scenery" around here leaves much to be desired, so I tried to minimize all the distracting objects. While James was roofing my back room, I had a brainstorm of an idea that when all is done with my house, I'd like to make it a sun deck since it's almost flat. I told James I wanted him to build me some steps to get up there -- I'd call it my "stairway to heaven." Then I could watch and photograph the sunsets much less hampered by all the ugly stuff on the ground that I have to try to see over or through! Good idea, huh?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Not much to report today...

I like to feel like I've achieved at least something every day. Today is a day that my achievement levels are quite low, but not necessarily non-existant. I did put down one row of flooring. That's something, isn't it?

I'm at the place now that I will have to put the baseboards down across the back half of the room, then shift the furniture in there so I can lay the flooring on the other half of the room. It would have been much easier if I could have completely emptied the room, but doing this by myself, that furniture is just too heavy, and I'm doing good to shove it side to side, even with the drawers out. So, I did go to Sutherland's and bought the baseboards.

While there, I got a different kind of molding for my cabinets in my office that I think I can get by with blocking the corners since I cannot do the 45 degree cuts to make nifty corners. I even looked in the tools section for an electric miter saw, but didn't see one and there were no salesmen around to ask. Even if I did, I wouldn't know how to use it! I need lessons I guess.

While out, I went by and signed my lease. They finally had it ready. So, that's done for another year. I then picked up a few things at HEB, came back home and worked on a depo, took a nap, only to be awakened by a phone call -- thank God for caller I.D. 800 numbers don't get answered at this house! On a happier note, tomorrow the cable company should be out to move my Road Runner connection; that will be a tiny step forward, as well.

It was so warm today, up to about 72, but the wind was strong. I should get myself out there and put that siding up, but the mood hasn't bit me to do it yet. I can do it, I think. It isn't hard. I also need to put the skirting up, only a few feet to do, but it will have to be shortened.. Somewhere around the house I put some short ones where the longer ones go. The short ones work where they are, but the long won't without being cut. I may try to figure out where I've swapped the pieces. Then again, I may cut these and call it day. For now, it's a good excuse to procastinate that job.

I'm getting worried about Tommy. Tommy is feeling bad, and seems to have been under the weather two or three days now. He's laying around much more than usual, puts himself to bed and doesn't insist on going back outside. He is eating and drinking water, but just so lathargic. I hope he doesn't get as bad as he did one time a couple years or so ago where he didn't eat or anything. I thought he was dying. I took him to the vet and he got a good antibiotic shot that pulled him out of whatever it was. I don't know how old he is. I've had him about 12 years, and he was grown when I got him. So, it makes me nervous. He's so --- human, such a part of the family! If you think about it and choose to, maybe say a little prayer for Tommy. I'm sure he'd appreciate it, and I know I will, too.

Monday, December 26, 2005

364 Days Till Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great day! I did. Mom outdid herself on Christmas dinner and it was wonderful seeing John here instead of Houston, as when we visit, the largest percentage of the time I go to Houston as opposed to him coming here - which is fine, but it was nice to see him in "home for Christmas" environment. It was also nice to see my aunt. She lives in town and there's absolutely no reason that we don't see each other more often than we do. Of course, my visit with Robert was via telephone, which is unfortunate that he lives so far away. But I totally enjoyed the day.

One of my gifts was the movie "Kingdom of Heaven" which I had made mental note when I saw previews when it came out that it looked like a top-notch movie, but never saw it. So, for my Christmas night entertainment, I pains-takingly, and patiently opened the DVD wrapper (don't you just hate those!); fixed myself a nice cup of hot chocolate and thoroughly enjoyed the movie!

Today has been multifaceted - did some paperwork and started laying out that bloomin' spreadsheet for my Rita expenses, put down a few more boards on my floor, and started working on a little depo. I picked up three little ones; so that will give me something to be working on.

Darndest thing happened today, and it's going to be hard to explain; but I'll try. I was working at my computer. House was quiet, kitties were all taking their naps, Molly on my desk, Quincy in the hall where I have my matresses leaning up against the wall while my bedroom is in disarray. He has chosen to lay on the "top" - literally the sides of them. It's a pretty good jump up, but that's where he has chosen to curl up for now. Anyway, all is quiet and peaceful and all of a sudden I hear water running. I get up to investigate where it's coming from, and my washing machine had turned itself on and was beginning to fill the tub. The last time I used the washing machine was Christmas Eve. The tub was empty, lid up. Nobody was in the wash room. Like most washing machines, you pull out on the knob to start the water to fill, and push in to make it stop. So, I pushed it in and turned it off.

Since I was stopped, I poured myself a cup of coffee and called Mom to tell her about the little "ghost" fixing to do laundry and I'm standing at the kitchen sink. Quincy, my youngest cat - he's 4 - comes from the hall, across the living room, through the kitchen, not hurriedly, almost sleepily but what seemed to be a determined mission, goes straight to the utility room, stops in front of the washing machine, looks up at it, perks his ears, tries to see what's on it. Realizing he can't see from all fours he raises up on his haunches, like a squirrel and tries to see what is on the washing machine, holds that position a couple of seconds or so. He repositions himself almost carefully and then jumps up to the edge (remember, the lid is up). He doesn't look around on the dryer, or the shelf behind the washer, but as soon as he is balanced, he looks down, lowering his head almost into the tub. Satisfied that nothing is there, he turns, hops down, and mosies himself back to I suppose conclude his nap.

Now, I will never know what that was all about! It was just plenty strange. It's not like the washing machine is not one of his hangouts. Animals have a sense we don't have! What in Heaven's name was he looking for! Strange indeed!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Eve!

Molly '03

Sure doesn't seem like Christmas Eve with the warm weather, but what a beautiful day! I did some house cleaning and pulled out my Elvis Christmas album (yes, the plastic album!) and then worked some on my floor. Gosh, it's hard to do. Speedy Gonzales I'm not! I'm definitely get some exercise; but for an old lady who has trouble getting up and down, I would imagine it's a bit comical if anybody could see! Thank God they can't.

I'm quitting now and fixing my supper (sigh, I'm old-fashioned - or perhaps southern or both - I still say 'supper' instead of 'dinner') and going to watch some little Christmas show on the Walt Disney channel at 7:00. The children are what really makes Christmas magic. If I can stay awake, I'd like to see the Pope Benedict's midnight mass - well, it starts at 11:30 on NBC.

I do wish each and everyone a joyous, happy and fun-filled Christmas, and don't forget to tell Baby Jesus "Happy Birthday!"
And don't forget to leave out milk and cookies for Santa!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Miscellaneous achievements

Since I'm all ready for Christmas, less watching some Christmas show and going out to see Christmas lights, I delighted in the day off to do what I wanted to do. Anxious to get my bedroom back together, the first thing I did was paint the wall, primer first, then the paint. If the color was wrong, I'd take it back when I go get my picture - but no, it seems just right.

When I checked my e-mail, I had a note from Video Professor simply saying to call their 800 number. So, I did. And asked if they would replace the missing CDs. The girl asked her supervisor - no! It's been over six months. Wonder what six months has to do with it! Ticked me off. I paid something like $70 for those three lessons, and they won't replace them. Shoot!

Annoyed at the slope on my desk, I got a little small level to see how badly out off level my desk and cabinets are. A lot! So, I got an ingenious idea of leveling them since I'll never the get floor right. So, I put some shims under them all. The desk is 30 inches wide from front to back and I had to raise the front by 7/8 of an inch. That's a lot! The cabinets had to be raised about a half inch on one side, and they're only 24 inches. But so be it. Now they're level and it's not as noticeable. At least I can lay a pencil down and not have to chase it before it rolls off onto the floor.

I called Michael's, and no, he hadn't done my picture yet, but he would and it would only take him five minutes. "Okay. I have a couple errands, and I'll be there in about an hour." So, I picked up Mom to ride with me. I remembered I was supposed to go sign my lease with Parigi's. They had said come after the 15th. Did they have it ready? No! So, I'll have to go next week. Also next week, the 28th, TCI will come out and move my Road Runner and I can retire the 50 foot extension cord!

We get to Michael's, not without noticing the extreme traffic on all the roads. The young man said he had a couple more things to do to it, so we waited a bit and then he brought it out. Oh, it looks good! It had gotten so much moisture around it that it was getting wavy and very nearly ruined; so I had it dry mounted (glued) and a new mat. The original mat was gray, but I swiched to black, and it helped set off the drawing better I think. I bought this for myself for a birthday maybe 10 or 15 years ago. I like to imagine this handsome brave is always on guard protecting my home -- :)

Michael's only had a few wreaths at the front, and that was it. Nothing Christmas! Why are people letting this happen! We saw no hit of Christmas in the whole route out there or anywhere around the shops. Maybe two houses had a few decorations. It's so dang sad! Granted I didn't put anything out myself, but that's different. I want Christmas around town.

But they did have some awsome orange tiger lillies. My absolute favorite flower and favorite color! If you noticed the orange bedspread on the daybed in the other picture, I knew these would be perfect with it. That bedspread, by the way, was one my dad crocheted for Robert when he was about 10 or 12. I decided to use it. Sorry, Robert. It's mine now!

We grabbed a hamburger at Burger King, and I stopped at Sutherland's and got a piece of Styrene and used it to put on the back of the knee hole to hide all the cords. I may do something different later. It depends on how well this holds up, I guess. But it's better for now.

It was amazing how few people were at Sutherland's today. It seemed weird.

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I hope everyone is happy and enjoying family and food and children, and the magic of the season.

Merry Christmas! (turn up your speakers for this!)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Low-key day.

But that's not to say it was uneventful. When I woke this morning I realized there were no scheduled contractors, no pressing phone calls to make. So, how nice is that!

I did need to get Robert and his little family's Christmas in the mail. He lives in Virginia, and they have a baby girl to really make Christmas an extra joy this year!! I haven't been able to see her in person, which is depressing, but that doesn't stop me from being a proud maw-maw of a precious and beautiful little girl. Anyway, I went to the post office this morning, and traffic was horrific. Where are all these people coming from! The "out of town stamped" box was running over the brim. So, I guess I wasn't the only one who probably waited too long.

I came back and determined to finish my job before I did any house things. I did, I finished; but it took all day. Of course, I would stop and putter on the Internet or talk on the phone or pet Molly. But I finished it. The girl I work for was supposed to get some other jobs to me so I would have them when I finished this one, but she's tied up with Christmas stuff, too, and didn't get them to me. So, my in-box is empty for the time being. I guess that's best because when I have a job here to work on, it's very hard to really get into anything else until it's done. So, I won't have that hanging over my head.

John called, and we made our plans for Christmas Day. He will be coming to Beaumont and we'll have dinner at Mom's. Bless Momma's heart for cooking! Neither one of us cook much anymore. My aunt will be coming, too. So, it will be a pretty small gathering, but nice.

While in the course of that conversation, the subject of Family Tree Maker came up; and I told him I had Version 11, but I had bought a newer version that I never did install because they changed the format and I didn't like the new one. But it made me start looking for the new one. I remember seeing it when I was packing for evacuation. I remember it was on top of my microwave. I remember gathering all the loose CDs around and putting them all in a box and packing them and my computers to take with me to evacuate. It's nowhere to be found.

So, that made me think of some Video Professor CDs that I also wanted to locate since I don't remember seeing them, either. Well, they must be with the Family Tree Maker. They're gone!

A while back I took the "free" offer and found out they're rather expensive. So, I called them to return it, and they offered me three lessons for the price of one. Well, okay. I'm too easy sometimes. So, I bought Word and HTML and Front Page. I let Mom have Word to go through since I was more interested in learning HTML. Granted, there has been a lot of procrastination, but I did go through some of it. I never even put Front Page in the computer.

I had them laying on a table in my then computer room, which was my back room that flooded. But I know they were among the CDs that I was throwing into the box. They weren't inside the box they came in. You might know, I still have the HTML box, but nothing in it! Where are the CDs!

Sometimes I really absolutely hate myself! I put things "up where they won't get lost" and hardly ever throw anything away, and still, I lose stuff like crazy. I wrote a note to Video Professor and told them I lost Front Page and HTML during Hurricane Rita and could they please send me replacements -- horse laugh if you will. Well, it don't hurt to ask! Worse thing that happen is they say "No." Maybe they'll feel sorry for me and send them out of the goodness of their heart!

It's been really nice to be back in my office to work. Before I had my office set up in the back room, I had had it in this room I'm in now. It was only last year that I moved it to the back. I had laid the laminiated floors and had it looking really nice back there. But it was a bit expensive to have it set up in that room because there is no central heat/air; and I would run the window unit or a space heater, being pretty wasteful on my utility bills. So, being back in this room is nice, and I'm enjoying my desk. It's more comfortable than what I had even before the storm.

But the problem I'm having now is the blasted floor. It's too unlevel. It drops to the front. My chair is a regular computer chair with rollers, and I feel like I'm having to hold on to keep from rolling back to the wall! Like I need a lanyard to tie off to to work! It's tiring! Then if I lay a pen on the desk the wrong way, it rolls right off! I'll have to adjust the legs to make the top level at least. I bet the front legs will have to be raised 1/2 inch or so higher than the back to get the top level!

I'm also concerned about my plate collection on the wall. The arrangement is low on the wall and once the chair rolled back and almost knocked one off, but I caught it. So, I have to be careful. After the new year, I'll call somebody - dare I try Curtis Wright again! Or Larry Layfield!
(for reference, I paid Larry $750 to level my house. Granted he put some blocks under there, but it's still not level. He had told me he was subbing for Curtis Wright Mobile Homes; so I called them to try to get it level. Come to find out Larry had been a salesman for Curtis and had quit and stolen the customer contacts! It's all told throughout my blog through the whole month of November and I finally gave up Dec 6. It was a most frustrating process.)

Nevertheless, I will try! But first I need to check with James to see if he thinks it would bust up the roof joint and the whole assembly he did to cover the adjoining seam of the room to the house. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to buy some brakes for this bloomin' chair!

Tomorrow I'll try to put my living room back in order where I had my temporary office and call Time Warner to come change my Road Runner location. Also, hopefully, Michael's Crafts will have my Indian print remounted and ready. They had promised it the 23rd. I did call them today in case it was ready early; and they said they'd try to get it done tonight. Whatever. Maybe I can get my wall painted tomorrow and then find something Christmassy to watch on TV.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Glass status: Complete!

Yes! Yes! They came this afternoon! I can now scratch that project off my list! He told me I was lucky to get them out this quick, that they had people booked months ahead! The young man who came was very nice and understood my frustration for being told they would come and not come. Well, it's done now! So, I'm thankful!

After he left, I went to Sherwin Williams and bought the paint for the one wall behind the bed. I got a quart. I hope that will be enough.
After I got back home I debated on whether to continue working on my job, start painting, or move into my office now that I have my glass top. By the way, it fits perfect! I opted to tear down the computers and move them. I have a somewhat complicated computer system; so it's not like just moving a monitor and a tower and a keyboard. My inventory of what I'm currently using is:

one CPU - XP
one CPU - Win 95 (have to have DOS base for my job software)
one CPU - ME (bought used as a backup when the 95 broke)
one monitor
one keyboard and mouse
one 4-way switch box, with cables for three computers
one external drive
three sets of speakers, one for each CPU (one is a 3 part type speaker)
one printer/scanner combined unit
one scanner that will scan slides
one transcriber
one Road Runner box
two modem phone lines
two power strips

So, the cords are intimidating to the best of us! But I've done it so many times, I know how; it's just time consuming, and you always start out trying to make it neat and it won't happen because there's just too many. Then the cords are never the right length. They're either too short and won't reach what you want to do or they're so long you have to find something to do with the excess. But it's done, and I am happily blogging from my office, from my brand new desk I made myself, and everything seems to work.
The only thing I need to do now is find something to put across the back of the knee hole to hide all that ugly equipment and cords. I'll have to get something that will be easy to take off and put back because it seems like it's always some reason you have to plug something in or get to the backs of these things. I'll have to think about what to use.

So, it was a successful day! I did get a shot of the house, all cleaned up (in the front, anyway). I deliberately took it at the angle that doesn't show the mess on the sides which is still undone. But the roof looks nice!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Roof status: Complete!

It was a bit more than two hours, but it's done!! Look,it's Santa Claus on my roof!! No wonder they finished!!!

They got here about 10:00 and finished up about 4:30. He bought two new vents and put them up. I had four in total, but two of mine were good enough to reuse. He also redid the hot water heater vent. So, it is done properly now, not with duct tape quick fix! They cleaned up very nicely; though I'm sure I'll be seeing nails in my yard forever. I will have to get a picture of my cleaned front yard tomorrow, but for now, adios old roof!
I wish I could say this was the end of it, but the eave work and the patio cover framing still need to be done, but they will have to wait till after Christmas.

I wasn't able to work on my bedroom today at all. I want to get through with this depo first, and it's pretty long. Since all this reconstruction and doing some physical work, sitting at the computer all day is pretty darn tiring! Like I knew that before, but I guess I was conditioned to it. Part of my problem is this computer set-up is really not urgonomically beneficial; but I have to make do. If San Jacinto will ever get out here with my glass, I can move to my office. Uh, that's right - no, they didn't come today either!

I saw my neighbor today who had said I could have the shed on the now almost empty lot. I told her that maybe she could sell it or barter it, or give it to Scott, that he could use it, the one who was taking the deck apart. I also told her it would make a really cute little greenhouse, and she agreed, that she hadn't thought of that. So, I pretty much declined on taking it. I really don't want to fool with it. There's plenty to think about as it is.

I do hope I can get a little time to think about Christmas and enjoy the season before it's gone!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Two hours left...

... and I should have a completed roof, both house and back room! Man, talk about reason to celebrate! James and his helper got here fairly early. I think about 10:00. He's quite cautious not to work before it warms over 45, reason being because the shingles get stiffer when it's cold and don't apply properly. He does pay attention to detail. He had mentioned to me I think yesterday that he saw some roofers out in his neighborhood early, and the temperature was still under 40 and he was concerned that the people were being done a disservice because of it. Well, I would rather have this drawn out than not have a good roof, that's for sure.

Anyway, I had errands to do, had called San Jacinto Glass -- AGAIN -- and "Yes, ma'am. They will be out today, but it will be after 3:00." James was just getting here as I was leaving, so I told him about their expected arrival and made sure he had my cell phone number. I also alerted him to my J.C. Penney order that was due today.

Among a few other things, I had to make a Wal-Mart run, basic stuff, including, of course, another bottle of Tilex! Which, by the way, I got an email from them today thanking me for my generous and kind words and letting me know they would be forwarding my email to their production and advertising department who would be very happy to hear what I had had to say!

Anyway, I first stopped by Sherwin-Williams to get some paint colors because I'm going to paint one wall in my bedroom, the wall behind the bed. Traffic was horrendous. I-10 going east toward the river was backed up as far as you could see. Thank goodness I wasn't headed that way! Seemed like it took forever to get out to Walmart. It was hectic there, too - lines were long. And even though I know it was daytime, I didn't see any -- I mean ANY Christmas decorations! Did Beaumont ban Christmas, too? I haven't been in the mall. I do hope they put up Christmas decorations!! I will have to make myself get out after dark and look for some Christmas lights somewhere!

I got back before the bewitching hour of 3:00 and James reported that my package from Penney's came and he put it inside for me. That was nice. So, I put away all my items and started working on my depo while waiting for San Jacinto Glass. Did they ever show up? No. Did they ever call and say "We can't make it"? No. Are they going to hear from me tomorrow? YES!

James and his friend worked till amost dark, and he said he only has about two more hours to be completely finished. He said he had to stop to get two more bundles of shingles, which scared me because roofing materials are getting quite scarce. There was even an article in the Beaumont Enterprise about how bad it's getting. Somebody said it's easier to find an X Box than roofing materials! But he assured me last night they had plenty of my color, and he even has some in his own supply he can use if he has to. I really like the color, Driftwood, but I'm waiting for it to be finished to take a picture. I had black, but this is softer.
(Wow, I just looked back on my blog and the materials were delivered the night of Nov 11th! Geez!)

Of course, the patio and probably the soffitt and all that will still be in disarray, and I'll still have the stupid blue plastic over my back door for Christmas and probably till after New Year's. He doesn't want to work again until then, and I don't blame him. Neither will anybody else, I'm sure. So, I'll have to be focusing on what I can do myself in the meantime.

Needless to say, if I still had family at home, I would be putting the home repairs aside for Christmas, too; but with the kids gone, there's no hustling and bustling to get decorations out or frenzied shopping. So, short of a small Christmas Day gathering, it will be pretty much status quo, working on jobs as they come in and working on projects - which will consist tomorrow of either touching up the white ceiling in the bedroom or painting the whole thing. I'll decide tomorrow and then go buy paint and hopefully start the floor -- and work, too, of course!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover - it works! (an update)

After blogging awhile ago I decided to do a little work on the mildew in the bedroom before going to bed. Well, look at this before and after!

If a product can do this, then people need to know about it before they let people like Eagle Restoration begin ripping and tearing out everything in sight and charging insane prices to do it. In all honesty, they say on their website "4. Do not use on painted or paper surfaces, or on fabric," which I suppose sheetrock classifies as painted and paper" -- but it worked!
I was so pleased that I actually found Tilex website and wrote them a note of my experience with their product.

My hometown played host to Hurricane Rita and after I returned from evacuation there were some ugly mold/mildew blotches on my ceilings and one closet was completely infested. My insurance adjuster calculated for some sheetrock and insulation to be removed and a mold remediation company was consulted. Since Southeast Texas is notorious for mold and mildew, I opted to try cleaning it before tearing up my house. This was my first purchase of Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover. The closet wiped down fine, but the wall surface was virtually a slick sheetrock type material with a paper outer layer. But that wasn't the real test. The worst was a nasty spot on a stipled ceiling that has been there for years, though not growing. I sprayed it down generously with the Tilex and left the room for a minute. When I returned, the spot had almost disappeared! I was so amazed! Thank you for such a great product, Tilex. Nowadays products rarely deliver their promises, but yours most certainly does, and it saved me a great deal of expense and stress of contractors demolishing my home.

I see on the web your new product Root Penetrator, which I did not see in the store when I bought the Mold & Mildew Remover. So, I'll be making a specific trip for it to treat over these troubled places; however I'm confident the Mold & Mildrew Remover will be sufficient. `
Let me say, too, that the smell is fresh, but when applied in an enclosed room or closet, and used generously, it became quite overpowering and generated a headache quite quickly, but it was nothing a little fresh air didn['t eliminate in a short time.

Thank you again for a terrific product!

Roof advancements today - yea!

What do you know! Without begging or threatening or even asking, James showed up early this afternoon and put in a few good hours of labor on my roof. I had resigned myself to the fact that he doesn't work on Sundays; so I was really pleasantly surprised! I asked him if that was Santa I heard on my roof!

As much as he has driven me slap dab crazy over his timing and delays and total lack of punctuality, I am glad I didn't make a big stink to him about it. We never know what is going on in other people's lives, and he is trying to do my roof properly and, good or bad, will not rush himself through it to get it done. I'm convinced he is honorable in his workmanship and dependable -- well, maybe that's not exactly the right word -- trustworthy -- I have confidence that he will eventually get it done, and it will be done right. So, I've decided, and told him, I do want him to do all my outside work. He wins on the time table, though I will certainly try to coax things along. Really the rest isn't that time consuming as the roof has been. And the earth won't come to an end if it isn't done before summer -- yee-gads!! (gasp and deep breath exhaled!) Hearing what some people are dealing with on their contractors, my problems are minor.

We discussed getting the material needed to finish the facia, and I told him he was the carpenter, I did not know what to buy. He was thinking of some certain material that I would have to buy way more than I needed; but with the shortages on all building materials now, I told him just get something.

I did make some good headway on my depo today, tried to be dilligent to stick with it. However, I did get my screwdriver and go take off that panel in the bedroom that is behind the plumbing to the bathroom. When the paneling was put up, I had them make an easy access to the plumbing so in case of, as it turns out, today -- it could be gotten to without tearing up the entire wall. On the ceiling is the black mold/mildrew (I don't know one from the other.) And the bathroom side is pretty bad, as well. So, I knew it had to be something lurking behind that wall. Well, here it is. Looks pretty bad --- but not too bad. This will clean up. It's not any different than what was in the closet I just did. I did get James to look at it, and he agrees it's not that bad. And to think that restoration company was going to charge me $7,000 to tear all this out!

There is enough of it on the ceiling though, (over the window not shown in the photo) that I think washing it will proably mess up the stipling ; so, I've pretty well resigned myself to the fact I will be painting the whole ceiling, but I'm leaning toward not repainting it white, but some cream color. When time permits, I'll get some paint samples to match to the fabrics which should be here tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, so should San Jacinto Glass be here to fix my windows and bring my desktop glass! They're bound to come sooner or later. Also James said he would be back tomorrow, hoping his helper will come also; and he can get totqally finished. He said he is 3/4 finished with the shingles. He still needs to do two vents and redo the hot water vent. It's too dark outside now to go out and see the top of the house to see how it's looking.

All this is great except I need to run some errands and everything is happening at once. I hope my package from J.C. Penney will come early and San Jacinto will be here early so I can get my errands done, then work on my job, and if any time and energy is left, start scrubbing walls and ceilings! I'm getting excited to get it put it together.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Low-key Saturday, as it should be

No big excitements, irritations, anxieties, or hard labor. My innovative back door fix seemed to work against the cold drizzling rain. Of course, there wasn't any big winds to disrupt it, but my house stayed dry for the first time since Hurricane Rita and I got through a rain without needing a mop somewhere! It would be nice if it was because it was fixed properly, but I'll take what I can get.

Lucy was a riot today, and Tommy, too. They both like to go outside, in and out all day long; but when I let Lucy out, she took a couple steps onto the porch, abruptly stopped when she realized it was raining and cold, pulled up her left rear foot and shook it, like she had stepped in a puddle or something (no, she didn't. She was still on a dry porch) - she turned her head back and looked to see if I was still holding the door open, looked back at the weather, and then did an abrupt about face and back in the house she came! "Huh-uh, no, I"m not going out in that!"

Tommy at the same time also went out. While Lucy was deciding what she wanted to do, Tommy went to the steps, stopped - contemplated the situation, turned around and started to the opposite end of the porch, stopping to tell me he was none too happy. When he reached that destination and saw it was no better on that end, he went back to the steps. You could see a frown quickly developing on his brow. Then back to the opposite end of the porch again, I suppose hoping it was better than he had thought, then back to the steps once more! Realizing he was trapped, he made one or two more paces back and forth, looking at me as if to say, "I am not liking this!" He was a bit braver than Lucy, though. He finally decided to make a run for it and hurried to get under James' trailer, then over to the neighbor's house. They were funny.

My achievements for today consisted of finishing a depo and getting all the tacking strips pulled up and the staples out from where the carpet padding had been stabled down, swept up all the trash into an old newspaper because of the tacks and nails and splinters, and then threw it in James' trailer with the carpet. Wish I could put a whole lot of other stuff in that trailer while it's here!

A friend of my boys' who had also become a friend of mine and would come by to visit even after they had moved off called today. He lives in Austin now. When Billy came by around Thanksgiving, he had left my phone number on Clay's answering machine, and today Clay called. I hadn't talked to him either in probably three or four years. Such a pleasant surprise. We had a good conversation catching up. I sure miss all the kids coming around. It always makes me feel good for them to get in touch from time to time!

Otherwise, I was pretty lazy today. I should have started on the other depo, but I will give it full attention tomorrow, even if it is Sunday.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Back door shouldn't leak now...

Why didn't I think of this before! See, what happens is the top step is the same height as the floor. So, when it rains, the water runs under the door. Since they are the same height, a regular threshhold isn't working. As long as I had my patio cover, it was never a problem. Now it has been a huge problem! The door is ruining, and the water runs into the washroom, into the kitchen, and even beginning to get under my wood floors in my office. So, it's serious. But I can't get anybody to fix it. I was told to get a door sweep type threshold, which I did, and couldn't figure out how to put it on. But James said it was totally the wrong thing. But he seems to want to keep it a secret what kind I do need. So, after stuffing rubber strips, plastic bags, and everything else under the door and it not working, I did this. Will things ever be the same again??? No, I don't think so.

I had moved quite a bit of my bedroom furnishings into the middle room, and had closed the door. That door has a regular external doorknob on it from days when John was still home and wanted his door locked with a key. One of those ongoing sibling feuds at the time. Well, I have gotten in the habit of locking my external doors when I go out; so -- do you see it coming -- yes, I locked the door on my way out. After a frantic search for my keys, which I had laid on the table but was searching feverishly on the desk and in my purse and everywhere but the table -- I found them; but none of the keys worked. OH, I know! It was on the set of keys I lost awhile back.

See, one time coming back from Houston -- a short digression to tell this story -- Mom and I had stopped at the Bird Sanctuary at Wallisville because I wanted to take pictures there. I was adjusting the camera to do a panorama of the scene across the swamp, leaning on the banister, and plop, there went my keys! Oops!! All I could think of was how glad I was it wasn't my camera! I've often wondered if the allegator got heartburn from them! Needless to say, we were locked out of the van, but we did get ahold of Geico who sent a wrecker and pryed the door open where my purse that contained a spare set was locked safely inside. On that ring was the only key to that room.

Well, anyway, with no key I had to figure out how to get the door open. So, the idea came to me to pry off the door jamb strip and then use a credit card to pry the plunger out of the hole. Ah, I did it! Houdini, eat your heart out! Thankfully the strip of wood wasn't glued, so it was easy enough to put back and basically no harm done.
But speaking of doors, I've noticed a couple of my interior doors don't close like they did. So, now I'm worried I have settled again. Well, at least I did get some concrete blocks under the house. That's about all I can say for that $750 expenditure!

A while ago I thought I should pull up some tacking strips; but I'm just too tired today. It's somewhat hard to get them up, but I did do a few feet, but not much. Other than some laundry and working on a depo, that was the extent of my day. I called Penney's to check on my order of the bedspead and curtains for my room, and they said it's en route - will be here the 19th. Wish I could think I would be ready for them in three days, but that's sheer fantasy.
I did not even bother to call San Jacinto Glass. They would tell me yes, they were coming; and no, they wouldn't -- didn't. No show again today! What a silly idea that they would come fix my windows. They were supposed to be here Thursday last week. Now it will be well into next week. Anyway, James' utility trailer is still under the window, so they might not would have done it anyway.
James sent an email saying "maybe later in the day" so I knew what that meant. I didn't even argue with him. It was cold today - maybe 45 I guess all day, but still cold. I've just about resigned myself that maybe I should put some Christmas lights out on his trailer in my front yard because it will still be here long after Christmas. Any bets?

Oh, I did achieve one other thing! If you will scroll down to the end of my blog, you will see a Weather Underground weather report. It was a challenge figuring out how to get it there, but through trial and error, success - I did it!

I also noticed that Megadump has put a link to Lumoto's Woes on his web page! Wow, I'm very flattered. Thank you, Mr. Sluggo! And if you'll look to My Favorite Blogs and Forums, I have added his link to mine. He has a very cool site; so check it out.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Demolition Derby

At least that's what it felt like! My bedroom is now destroyed, and I sure hope I can put it back together again.

As much as I complain about strength in my legs, which really is not good, I was still able to do some pretty heavy work. I had to move books off the bookshelves, and then the bookshelves, carry a drawer at a time into another room, pull the mattress and box springs off and out, take the bed apart, empty the closet floor and move those items, move out the suitcase and box of Star Trek tapes that were under the bed and put them elsewhere. My bed is now in the hall; drawers, end tables, lamps are in the middle bedroom, bookcase is in my office, as are my pillows and my beloved electric blanket are now on my daybed. I opted to leave the chest of drawers, dresser, table and TV in the room and will move them from side to side as necessary. But I did it, and I did it all by myself! Well, I did rest quite a bit, but I did it!

Next came the carpet. With my little red box cutter, I made the first slit in my carpet. Well, it's thick and doesn't cut too easy. This will take some work. But I got a section cut out of it, then another, then it was time to move the dresser. Oh, dear, it's heavy! And it doesn't slide on the carpet. But I managed. I got the carpet and padding all up, and drug it out to the front porch. James had got here about 1:30 to work on the roof, so I asked him if I could put it in the trailer that he's putting the roofing in. Yes, he said I could, but keep it to the front. So, I managed to drag it all and get it loaded! Success! Poor Lucy, another of my little kitties, loves to nap on my bed. So, she was quite disconcerted that it was no longer there.

Before I started on the bedroom, I did put my things back in my broom closet. This is what it looked like when I got home October 15 from evacuation and how it looks now.

The insurance had allotted $480 for that closet and I did it with a little elbow grease and a gallon of paint, and a whole lot less headache not having to deal with contractors. I'll keep an eye out for the mildew to reappear, but it had been cleaned for a while and was still looking fine. So, I really think it will be okay, especially since I'm getting the sources of moisture fixed.

San Jacinto Glass never showed up. I called this morning, and the girl said yes, they would be here today, but it would be this afternoon. Well, no, it wasn't!

My worries about my job are over. I got in two depos this afternoon -- just as I had really gotten started on tearing my room apart, no less. One is quite lengthy and will keep me busy for a while. So, I'll have to schedule my time now.

The next stage for my room will be to remove the tacking strips and staples and clean the ceiling before I start on the flooring. This is a huge undertaking. I hope I can do it! There's no going back now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Test run for roof -- it passed...

Well, the half of it that has been replaced passed! What a gully-washer we got today! No signs of a leak -- well, except under the door. That still isn't fixed. But the roof did great. Mind you, I only have the back half done and my back room. The water heater vent pipe needs some piece; so at the moment it has duct tape on it. The door on the hot water heater compartment is also duct taped. The remaining shingles yet to be installed got good and wet since they're already carried up on the roof. I hope the rain didn't dilute the glue on them.

James was thoughtful to call and check. So, that was nice of him. I can understand that they can't be put on tomorrow because everything is saturated; but rain will be coming again, so, I'm afraid it will indeed be after Christmas before this is ever finished. Then the excuses of end of year business - et cetera. Somehow I've got to be patient. Hearing people talk, I'm fortunate I'm as far along as I am. And at least what he's done so far has been good -- well, with the exception of the duct tape; but that was an emergency type fix to get through this rain. He better have plans of fixing it right!! Gosh, who would have dreamed when I signed that contract in middle November I would still be waiting on a finished job! Oh, well...

My achievement for today wasn't too much. I did paint the closet. I had scrubbed it down a while back with some commercial type mildrew remover, and it hadn't come back. So, I did wipe it down with clorox just in case first. I had forgotten how much work painting is. You see them on these fix-up a room shows, and it looks so easy and goes so fast -- NOT! It took three coats, and I'm not sure that it might still be blotchy in places; but I think it will be okay. I'll let it dry good tonight and reload the contents I guess tomorrow unless the paint still feels tacky. The dampness of the weather might slow down the drying time. I use this closet as a broom closet, vaccuum cleaner, cleaning supplies cart, that kind of stuff.

I also touched up the ceiling in the bathroom that I had scrubbed the pink mold off of and also touched up some of the woodwork that had little nicks - not all of them, but some. My intention was to repaint the back room ceiling, as well, but I tried washing a few of the water spots, and it might be sufficient to just give it a good washing. I only did a few spots, more seeing what it was going to need. There were still a couple of spaces between the flooring planks that I didn't get last time and they were annoying me. So, I took off a baseboard again and got those shimmed better so hopefully they won't separate again.

I'm just about finished with my office room. Only real thing left undone is the tops of the cabinet I stained and made tops for. I'll have to look for a trim that I can give a square cut since I'm brain dead to try to do a 45 angle.
I know how to use the miter box; but the saw just chews the cut rather than a nice, clean cut. And it's a new miter box and saw. So, I don't know.
Once I get the glass for the desktop then I can move the computers in and get TCI out to move my RoadRunner service to that room. At present I have an extension cord running from the back of the back room, through the door on the opposite side, through my office, across my kitchen, and finally to my writing desk in the living room! Obviously with the rain and tornado warnings and all that, the glass people didn't show up to replace windowpanes. They didn't bother to call either. Guess they figured I could deduce they wouldn't be coming. So, I have no idea if they plan to come tomorrow or when. I'll call them in the morning and see.

I'm trying to decide how to tackle the mildew/mold in my bedroom. It's a few really dark spots on the ceiling, and the insurance had figured for about half the Sheetrock ceiling to be cut out and replaced and refloated.

I don't want to deal with a contractor to do that, not to mention the fact that the ceiling is all one big piece and I'm extremely reluctant to cut into it. So, I'll see what Clorox and a scrub brush will do. Maybe even scrape it off and then paint. But that will have to be done first before I begin my new floor. At least I won't have to worry about the Clorox water getting on the carpet! So, I guess tomorrow will be the day to do something with that, even if it's wrong.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Irritations abound

With today the last day of decent weather and promises by James that he would be back today -- well, no, it didn't happen - at least not till after 1:00 p.m, maybe 2:00. Emails this morning consisted of "I'll be there" and "What jobs will we do next?"

Well, I had already sent him an overview of what was next - siding, patio, porch. We've talked about it. I told him before it was up to his discretion to expedite as he saw fit -- but it's like he wants me to take him by the hand and say, "Do this. Then do this." But with him not showing up for the roof, and saying in his email that he will be not working right up to Christmas - oh, I went in orbit over that one!
"I'll have to wait now till after Christmas for you to finish!! We won't discuss any other jobs till the roof is done!"

"Oh, no," he writes back. He didn't make himself clear. The roof was to be done ASAP. Well, then why was he still writing emails at 10:30 in the morning! Time's a wasting!

I had to leave to pick up my mom, go look at flooring, get my paint, and see about the siding pieces I needed. So, still in a pretty foul mood, we headed out to ABC Building Materials where American Siding told me I could get a match to my siding. It's in Nederland. The address said Beauxart Gardens. So, I went out Twin City Highway till I saw it, went in. "You're in the wrong place. Go to the caution light. Turn right, keep going till you get to Hwy 69."

So, I did that. The place was busy as the proverbial bees with cars and trucks and people. I asked some dude in the parking lot where to go, and he told me. I went in. "I need to know if you still have Adobe Pebble Stone Clay. I only need a couple of pieces."

"We have that color. Are you a contractor?"

"No." Do I look like a contractor?

"Then we can't sell it to you. You have to be a contractor to buy here."

"I only need two pieces. Can't one of these contractors standing around get it for me?" I asked the man standing closest to me. "Are you a contractor?"


"Will you ask for these two pieces so I can get it?"

"No, I can't do that. It would have to go to my jobsite."

Now talking to the employee, I said, maybe not real sweetly -- "You mean to tell me I have to hire a contractor to do this measley job for me and to come back out here to get the pieces?"

"Yes, that's what I'm saying. This is how we make our living. You have to have a contractor!"

Well, I stayed a lady, but my tongue was almost bleeding from biting it!

So, we left, went to Sutherland's, but first circled to see if James had showed up - no. I picked up a piece of my siding for a color match - probably about 5 feet long - and hauled it into Sutherlands and found the siding and found one piece that was close enough in color. That was the last piece they had that color! The closest to it was about a shade or two lighter, but after looking through several pieces, I was convinced there were no more of the darker. So, fine! This will do! There was a man there who was very nice and helped me - not a clerk, but a customer who was just a nice man. Then I got my paint, looked at the laminated flooring for my hall and bedroom, saw a style I liked, Vitality Standard Classic Maple; made mental note, and we checked out. The vinyl pieces are 12 feet long, so I had to drive home with the hatch fully up, but it's not far.

Still no James. I put the pieces beside the house and we went back to Sutherland's to get the flooring. That link is not a good illustration of the floor. It's too white to show up in a photograph. But because I have very busy wood paneling walls, I wanted the flooring very simple and light. Anyway, this time a clerk helped me -- yeah! He loaded it up on the carrier for me and pulled it up to the check-out stand. The cashier announced she gave me the over 55 discount of 10%. I said, "Good! I'm glad my gray hair is working!" The young man laughed, even carried it out to the van and put it in for me. Again, circled the house -- still no James.

We rode out to Casa Ole and ate lunch, then were going to stop at Walmart, but the parking lot was so full. We were tired, not in the mood for a huge ordeal; so we went back to HEB. Again, en route, circled the house -- well, what do you know, James was here! Must have gotten here around 2:00. I asked him about the hot water heater vent and a couple of other things, told him I still had to go get groceries and take mom home - which I did; and he was still here when I got back. I unloaded groceries and began unloading the flooring. There were nine boxes, and they're quite heavy - at least for me. So, I was taking them one at a time to the porch, with the plan of then getting them in the house. He was finishing up what he was doing and helped me finish that process; then I helped him pick some of the shingle pieces laying around and also to put back the hot water heater door on the side of the house that was down. He said he would not be back tomorrow and we'll go from there, depending on weather. I told him about the way they acted at ABC, and he was apalled at the racquet they've got going!

Tomorrow San Jacinto Glass is supposed to be here to install two glass panes and bring my table glass for my desk I made. It dawned on me that James' trailer that he is throwing all the old shingles into is right in front of the window that needs to be replaced and there is a pile of shingles directly under the window. Any bets San Jacinto will say, "Sorry. We can't do your window with all that junk there. We'll come back when you have this out of the way!" And I'll say, "Well, it wasn't here when you said you would come last week and didn't show up!" We shall see what happens with that.

Of course during all the in and out of getting the flooring in the house and stacked in the middle bedroom, my cat Molly got out. She's the one that it's not a good thing for her to get out because she's very hard to get back in. But I let her run around some - like I had a choice in the matter. Tommy was following me around. I had some pasteboard boxes stacked in the hall that needed to be carried out to the shed; so I did that, resting between trips - lol -- and continued picking up some of the shingles and paper in the yard. Molly would scamper here and there. It was dark, but the street light and porch lights were enough, and it was cool.

I came in, hoping Molly would do as she had done before and meow at the door when she was ready; however, I heard a cat yowling - or whatever they do in a fight! Sure enough, it was the same cat that Tommy had tangled with the other day, meandering off like he knew I would be chasing him off. Molly was on the porch and she crouched behind a plant and I was able to get her. Quite angry at the whole situation, she told me what for in no uncertain terms; but I prevailed and
did get her in. She's back in her little area she stays in.

Tommy is resting on the desk right in front of my monitor; and all is right with the world again - till tomorrow.

(note: archived photos)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday - back to work...

Well, not work - work - no depos to do. It's starting to get a little scary that work is so slow. We've had droughts before, and it always picks up. So, I'm not too worried. It's just getting my attention a little bit.

But by "work" I mean my roof! Well, it wasn't four men, it was only two. And he didn't get here at 9:00, but after 10:00. Eventually one other guy showed up and they worked till after dark. They came very close to finishing the back side of the house. The lighter color looks really good! I'm glad I didn't get black again. It doesn't show up here; but I'll post it when it's all done. That bent up aluminum is part of the patio and will be fixed during that stage of repairs. Anyway, tomorrow, depending on his help, will be basically finishing up the back and cleaning up all the shingles. I don't know if he'll chance taking off the front shingles because there is some rain coming Wednesday. I'm afraid it will be several days of unacceptable weather after Wednesday.

The whole day I played catch-up on my paperwork. I had changed my address to Houston with the bank while I was evacuated and forgot to change it back; so I didn't get the last two bank statements. I've been writing checks, paying bills, making deposits -- and not posting anything to my Quicken account, which by now is almost three months behind in posting! Yuk! I love the Internet! I was able to get my statements printed and did call the bank to change my address back. Now I'm all caught up -- well, except I want to get some order to these expenditures so that I will stay within the insurance guidelines in the settlement. Bookkeeping is definitely not my favorite passtime!

I've been thinking about that shed. I have two already; and I really don't have a need for it. It's one of those things where if something is free, you hate to turn it down. But it needs some work and I don't have a place to put it other than where it is, and it's an eye-sore. A little TLC and it would make a really nice little greenhouse, but I'm not into plants that much. So, if James wants it, maybe I'll go ahead and accept it and then barter it away. That's just a thought. Then again, I might just tell them I don't want it at all. Big decision.

Last night I did something I haven't done in a while and that's catalog order from the J.C. Penney catalog! My bedroom needs some freshening up with new fabrics and maybe some paint. My carpet doesn't look good anymore. So, you know, you get the catalog out and start looking at the pictures and imagining things in your own house and deciding if you like this or hate that.

This set caught my eye over the rest; but it was a bit higher than I wanted to pay. The bedspread (full) is $125. I looked on line to see if they had any sales; and lo and behold, this set was on a weekend sale! The bedspread was marked down to $79.95, and all the other items in the collection, as well. So, I made my selections; but for some reason the tally said "item: 79.95 - price 99.99"

I decided to call the 1-800 and the girl gave me the 99.99 price; but I told her about the $79.95. So, she did something or other and let me have that price. So, between the curtain, shams, bedspread, and pillow forms, I saved about $150 and they will be shipped to my house in a few days!

Tomorrow I'll look at some laminated flooring to put down. I have developed a dislike for carpet because with animals in the house, it just doesn't seem to be as clean as something not fabric. Besides, I like the hardwood floor look. Maybe I'll look at lamps, too; but I'll probably wait on those till I see the effects in the room. Looks like my bedroom will be my next project -- well, that is after I paint the closet and touch up the water spots on the back room ceiling. So, I'll pick up a gallon of white paint tomorrow, as well. Hope - I hope - I hope - when I get back James will be making substantial progress with the roof!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Boring Sunday

As to be expected, I waited around for James and/or his guys to come work on the roof. And, as to be expected, nobody showed up. I sent an email to James asking him about a 3D Architecture software about 9:00, and he answered it around 11:30, adding that he would not be coming today, that he would be here Monday with three guys and was preparing to finish it all up Monday! HA! HA! Well, that's fine. The weather is okay, just a bit breezy. A few of the torn up shingles that are all over the roof blew to the ground, but nothing catastrophic.

I decided to fix my floor in my office. It has the laminate flooring that I had put down last year, and after all the movements of the house from trying to level it and Hurricane Rita rocking the house around, some of the joints weren't butted up right and had some unsightly gaps. So, I moved the office furniture over to the daybed side, took off the molding around the floor, and took my trusty crowbar and shoved the boards back together. I tried to cut some fraction of an inch shims to fill in the spaces between the wall and the end of the boards so they won't shift again. Some I could get and some I just couldn't get to work. So I put the molding back; put the furniture back, and then moved the daybed to the office side and repeated the process. The floor does look much better without those awful gaps.

While I was at it, I took the blinds down and washed them and windexed the windows. I tried cutting some molding to fit around a window that needed it, but I just cannot cut nice smooth edges. I got two pieces up, the long sides of the window, and didn't do the top and bottom parts. I gave up! It's so amaturish looking! I need lessons on trim work!! Thank goodness the blinds cover it!

My intentions were to also paint the closet and touch up the ceiling in the back room, which is now my work room. I thought I still had white enamel paint left from when I did painting last year, but evidently I don't. So much for that project. I didn't feel like fighting the contractors and everybody else at the hardware store to get paint; so, I quit for the day. I should have gotten more accomplished today, but I just didn't feel like doing anything else.

I did call to tell my little granddaughter happy birthday, and she was all bubbly, had been enjoying the day and still had fun activities she would be doing. She did get to have her sleep-over she wanted and said that it was a lot of fun. I'm so glad she had a good day! May all her days always be as happy!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

At last -- roof started today! Yeah!

Is that a fabulous site or what! Three guys working on my roof!!
By 9:15 the two guys who James enlisted to help him showed up and got up on the roof and started scraping off the old shingles. James got here about 10:30 or so. The weather stayed in the 40s and it was cloudy.

Unfortunately, there was some light rain, just some sprinkling, but the only harm that was done was it held them up from laying the shingles. They got the back of the house scraped off and the tar paper put on. He also redid my hot water heater vent that needed to be taller. I had been forewarned had had bought that assembly already. He said something about needing one more piece or maybe caulking -- hope that won't be a potential leak, but he seems to be on top of whatever is the problem. Since the roof was left with only the felt paper, he said he will come back out tomorrow, Sunday, and put the shingles on the back, then Monday they will do the front and do clean-up! Oh, how I hope so! I'm so ready to move on to the next project - which I suppose will the be patio cover and vinyl.

A guy who lives a few houses down started disassembing the deck that was left when the house next door was moved out. I walked over to visit a minute with him, and he told me they just gave it to him. I'm really happy for him because it's a really nice deck and has lots of expensive lumber in it. But taking it apart and moving it is going to be one big job!

There is a shed also that was left. We looked in it and it looks like a decent shed. It's almost on my property, or maybe partially. So, I need to ask about that. Maybe I can claim the spoils on that! I have two sheds, but if it's free! I'd probably have to get James to drag it forward just a bit to be completely on my property. That's something else I'll have to check on.

While they were doing the roof, I spent most of the day trying to come up with a design for my kitchen. I won't go into the details now, but I absolutely hate hate hate my kitchen, and besides that, the cabinets are particle board and beginning to need serious attention. So, with the blessing of my insurance money, I'm hoping I can save from some other areas to allow me to remodel my kitchen. I have some basic plans, but putting it on paper or tweaking it where the measuements will be right is giving me a hard time. On top of that, I have a hard time visualizing spacially, and so I really need some design help - but not for $50 an hour! Well, I'm only at the initial stages for this one; but it's a tiny step forward and beginning to seem like it could feasibly, eventually become a reality. Obviously all the outside work will take precidence.

Tomorrow is my precious little granddaughter's birthday! She'll be 10! When we were in Houston after Thanksgiving, we let her pick out her birthday presents; but it would be nice to be able to see her. She said she wanted to have a sleep-over with some of her friends in lieu of a typical party, so I do hope she'll have it! I know her daddy, and her mamma, too, will both do the best they can to make her day really special for her!

Edited at 11:30 to add: I can have the shed! I'll have to have to wait till some things are taken out of it, but it's mine!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Another nothing day - oops- Update: Good news!!

An email from James saying basically, "Ah, it's too cold. Will be out Saturday! " Unbelieveable!

San Jacinto Glass had said they would be out today, would call before they came. I called early afternoon. Well???
"Well," she says, "I'll call them on the truck and call you RIGHT BACK!" Liar.

So, I called about three hours later. A man answered: "No, they're still on a job they've been on. They won't get to you today."

"I was told you would be here today. I've been waiting all day."

"So, do you want to reschedule? It will be the middle of next week."

"Of course I have to reschedule. When?"


"Wednesday? I was scheduled for Thursday and then you said Friday. Now It's Wednesday?"

"Look, we have had people waiting for us since October."

"Fine! Will you be here Wednesday?"


Um, all it would have taken was tell me Wednesday in the first place! Don't talk down to me like I'm some kind of moron because I expected you to be here when you said you would! Well, maybe I am the moron for believing these people!

On the local news tonight they made the announcement that people who needed to get trash picked up better have it all out by the end of the month because they will stop picking it up after January 2 (I think they said the 2nd.) What nerve!!! They haven't BEEN picking up trash! And they threaten the poor folks! There's trash everywhere, every street! Not only trees, but household items, like couches and mattresses and all kinds of stuff. How dare they act like the people are being lazy about getting their trash out, like they are all caught up and might have to make another round! What arrogance! I don't know who the City contracted to do all this; but it also seems like maybe the City could be picking up some of these piles laying everywhere. (I found the article in the TV News webpage, and it's apparently the Army Corps of Engineers! - link above)

Here's a real kicker for this city. They won't clean anything up. They've got road construction everywhere, rarely finishing anything. And now they're talking about redoing the River Front Park - which was a pathetic attempt to help revive a dead downtown. I mean, you can't get to the park without having to park your vehicle in the Civic Center parking lot and walking over to it, crossing over the railroad track. And all that's there is basically some picnic tables and the Neches River. Now they're thinking about even tearing down the Civic Center, which was built -- I don't know when but I was an adult, so it's not that old -- and who knows what else, and doing something else with the whole thing! What a waste! Please, City, fix what we have. Clean up what we have! I don't think I have the stomach to start following City politics and planning right now.

I'm trying to think of something happy to end my entry on, but I can't think of anything cheery - well, I'm toasty warm, had a full meal, and have my Internet; me and my loved ones and my kitties are all healthy and we all love each other. The weather won't be freezing tonight, and my water line didn't break. Now I feel better. :)

It is now 7:53 and I just got the following email:
3 of us today stocked one half of the roof for roof work tomorrow at 9 am............4 man crew....(myself included)..............hold Tommy in or let him run some tonight........the back will be torn off first and a trailer will be in the front yard for haul off.

Late this afternoon I noticed that the stack of roofing materials seemed to be "tampered" with because the box of roofing tins was no longer on the stack but on the ground and the rope that had tied down the blue tarp was loose. So I wrote to James and said I was concerned that somebody had gotten into it. Thus, this was the response! Wow! He was out here and didn't tell me! How did I miss it!

In last night's email when I told him I didn't want to miss a moment of roofing, I also joked a bit, and said "Will bribery help?" and sent him a bunch of really cutsie little animal pictures that are going around in emails. So, I just answered him back and said, "Bribery works!!"

Woooppiiii!! I'm getting a roof!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Progress today - zero

Nothing scheduled today except for maybe the glass; so I called them to see if they would be coming out. No, will be tomorrow, she said. Great. I'm outta here. Cabin fever is getting pretty bad.

Today is my mom and dad's anniversary. If Daddy were still living (he passed in 2000) they would be celebrating 60 years. So, I know this will sound depressing to some of you, but Mom and I took some poinsettas out to the cemetery. They weren't easy to find, surprisingly. We had to go to three different places before we could find some. Of course we bought for my grandparents, too, my mom's parents. Today was also the anniversary date of Grandma's burial. She's been gone since 1977, but she's still very much with us. We joke that we have more family "reunion" out at Forest Lawn than we do in real life! Well, anyway, the cemetery has done a good job of cleaning up all the fallen trees and have things looking nice and in order now, much better than we were out there before. I sure can't say that for the city! We didn't see one truck on the streets working at picking up anything anywhere!

We also had lunch; and since we were going to Michael's Craft store, I took a drawing print to their frame shop because the water damage from the hurricane had made the paper begin to get wavy and I wanted to get it dry mounted and the mat replaced. The mat was gray, but I changed it to black, hoping it will make it stand out more. The frame is also, gray, so I may wind up having to do something to darken the frame. We shall see.

I just looked to see if I had a photo of it to show you; but I don't, which surprises me. Well, it's a drawing of an Indian warrior, about 25x30. I actually bought it for myself about 12 years ago on my own birthday - lol. Something about it screamed "buy me" and I still like it. So, I guess it's worth it to save it. It won't be ready till Dec 23rd! Whatever.

The guy from Parigi's came back and only half covered up my water line. There wasn't enough dirt to fill the hole and with a light freeze coming, I had to do something. So, I used some potting soil, then covered the pipes with some old towels and put a plastic bag over that. All I need is that line to freeze!

James sent me an email tonight -- woo-hooo! -- saying -- are you ready for this -- he thinks maybe Friday will be too cold and he will be coming Saturday! He said I didn't have to be home for him to work on the roof. I wrote him back and said, "I will make it a point to be home! I don't want to miss a minute of it! I'm beginning to think I will never get my roof put on!"
Think he'll get the message? No. What a silly thought.
For some reason, this cartoon reminded me of -- guess who!

These two cracked me up, too! Umm, wonder if there's a little bit of hostility beginning to evidence itself in my "sense of humor"! lol

Ho, ho, ho, folks! Merry Christmas! :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

More of the same

First, before I take off on my daily events, I want to pay tribute to those who died and were injured in Pearl Harbor. I have the movie, "Pearl Harbor," the one with Ben Affleck, which I've seen, but I think I'll watch tonight instead of my usual news shows. So many of our World War II veterans are gone now, but we should always remember!

I finally got an email response from James this morning saying he would come out and replace the tarp, which he did. I didn't say anything else to him except that when he said he would work Friday and Saturday on my roof, I said to please let me know if he can't come. He started to explain why he didn't come yesterday, and I told him I really did not care at all, just let me know what to expect. So, I guess things are okay for now. He was good to come out and be sure the roof is protected from impending rain -- which it was supposed to start this afternoon and still has not rained yet. He'll be okay, and I guess I'll still have him do my other jobs. I have confidence in his abilities. It's just this awful undependable timing that drives me totally nuts!

Right after he left, knowing that we have a freeze coming in a day or two, I decided I better cover my water lines. A mobile home is fed water from one main line, and there is a shutoff valve and also a regular outside faucet. Well, as soon as I just touched the plastic pipes, the main pipe started spraying water -- below the cutoff. There was no stopping it and it was gushing out. I called Parigi's, told her it was an emergency, and she assured me someone would be right out.

45 minutes later, no one was here yet, so I called back. Well, she said, he had a problem -- he had locked his keys in his truck -- oh, boy -- but he was on his way now. Sure enough, he shows up, assesses the situation, and leaves, apparently back to the main shutoff -- for the whole park no less! Sorry, folks! He returns and begins trying to fix the broken pipe.

While he was working, I went to the store and to get my oil changed, which I've been needing to do ever since I got back from evacuation from Hurricane Rita. He was still here when I got back.

Well, this pipe had broken before, and they fixed it. But it came loose. I'm worried now that it will be so flimsy that the least movement will bust it loose again. But this is the park's property - not mine. He said if it does break again, they'll have to replace the whole line. Anyway, he said he would be back out tomorrow to check it and be sure it's holding and then cover it back up.

After he left when I went to the front door to let Tommy in, I heard water coming from somewhere. It wasn't raining. Where? Then I noticed the faucet/water line on the lot of the house that was just moved out was wide open, full force; so I called them back. She said she'd send him back out. I have no idea why that line was involved, and frankly didn't care. I went and laid down and tried to take a nap, watched some of the Breaking News about the poor soul who got shot on the plane in Miami. So tragic!

My windowpanes and glass top should be delivered tomorrow, so I thought I'd try the Clorox solution on the ceiling in my office. I had bought a Clorox BathWand, assembled it, put on rubber gloves, mixed my solution of 20% clorox into a spray bottle, and laid out some plastic over the floor. Well, it's working! The mildew spots are coming off the ceiling. The stippling is staying intact, and I think it's going to be just fine, even without painting it. Even the mildew spots on the barn plank paneling is coming off. So, finally, something going my way. I do think I'll paint the closet after I wash it down. It will look nicer - but not tonight!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The day isn't great so far...

Have you ever noticed that if you start the day off in a bad mood, it seems to be downhill the rest of the day. At least that's how it is for me. So, I at least give it effort to face a new day with optimism that it will be hopefully at best a decent day. The roofer is scheduled to start on my house roof today, a long-awaited for event!

Expecting he will be here in the 10:00 o'clock range, I decided to go earlier than that to pay my rent as I had forgotten to set it up on electronic transfer and today is the last day before late charges. Not to mention that I paid an extra month years ago to avoid this problem, but Parigi Investment bookkeeping can't manage to handle that scenario; so they will still say, "You're late! Pay $40 late fee." Then they have to go back and trace every month for how many years before they find I made two payments in one month. Well, I digress.

They renew my lease every year in December, and I have to call them and tell them, yes, I want to renew it, I want to renew it for a whole year, no, not 6 months -- and then they will prepare the lease for signing, usually about 2 weeks later. So, yesterday I called, put a message on the voice mail that I wanted it renewed. While there dropping off my check, "Did you get my message to renew?" So, she starts looking, asks another girl, did she get the message, she stammers and starts rummaging through papers -- getting tired of waiting, I said, "Well, if you didn't get the message, do you have it now that I want to renew?" Geez.

Now, this will be hard to explain in writing, so to shorten a lengthy description, McDonald's is on the freeway one block before the turn to Parigi's. Because of one-ways, you can't do this simply. The whole process of getting to McDonald's from Parigi's was worse than a rat in a maze. Almost everytime I go anywhere in Beaumont, the road layouts make me wonder if the engineers who designs the street layouts are on drugs or just what is their problem. Used to be, our streets were pretty much square blocks, and common sense to go around a block would get you there. Not anymore. Trying to give directions to a stranger would be impossible. "It's like well, it's in this general direction. If you have to use a parking lot to drive through, then do it."

Having my taste buds set on the delux breakfast, I chose to navigate back to McDonald's. There's probably six or so pickup trucks in line at the drive-through, and the parking lot is full of -- pickup trucks! E-gads. Okay. I wait in line. All that maneuvering around to get here, I'll wait. Thankfully the line moved quickly. I noticed as I came out even more hodge-podge of the street layout that I had to shake my head.

As I headed back home, I passed IHOP. Parking lot FULL of -- yes, pickup trucks. I was waiting for a light and beside me was -- yes, a pickup truck. This one had a sticker "Army of one" and then it had a little boy peeing on something. What is it? I inched up a little closer to see, and it was a map of Iraq. What a redneck! I hate rednecks! Then I pass Sutherland's and M&D Hardware and Lumber - more pickup trucks! The contractors are out in swarms! It's unbelieveable! Before I even left the house, Mom said her roofers were there, sharply at 8:00 a.m. to get started on her roof. Home Depot is doing her roof. They sent four workers, albeit, none of them speak English.

Well, it is now 11:40 and where is my roofer who is supposed to be here today? Every other contractor in the city was out and about early! Did I call? Yes. His answering machine tries to make it sound like he's some big company, "enter the extension" -- please! Called another number I have for him -- no answer. Grrrr....

So, I'm not happy. I'm not in a good mood. I'm trying to not let it get to me, so I'm currently "venting" on my blog. I don't think it's helping.

The blog server seemed to be down yesterday so I didn't make my daily log. But suffice it to say, it was basically uneventful with a couple of exceptions. The weather was nice, rain is predicted Wednesday and Thursday, so I emailed James to see if he would come out Monday and Tuesday to get my roof done before the rain starts again. No, he had computer work and real estate work to do. Whatever.

I called Curtis Wright, Wright's Mobil Home in Vidor -- again, talked to the "mom." She informs me Larry Layfield didn't work for them anymore. "I know that! I don't care. I want my house level."
"Maybe Curtis will call later." I waited a little bit.

I called back. "Forget it," I said. "My back room roof is on. The joint is now covered with tin and roofing materials. If they level it now it will bend all that up. It's just too late." So, I've decided not going to worry about that anymore. Another job screwed up that I'll just have to live with.

Since that decision was made, I called San Jacinto Glass to come fix two broken windows. I had wanted to be level before I had glass put in, but so be it. Also I'm having them cut me a 1/4" glass for my desktop I made. They charge $65 a windowpane and $100 for my tabletop glass. I think insurance allowed $30 a window. But whatever. They will be here probably Thursday. To have the glass delivered without the windowpanes replaced would have been another $80, but because they'll fix a couple windowpanes, they will bring the glass for an extra $20. That is worth it because the glass will be 80 3/4 x 30 3/4 inches; and I was scared to take a chance hauling it home in my van and then trying to get it in the house.

Next for my office will be to wash the ceiling and closet with clorox, and paint. The floors in that room are laminated wood flooring. With all the jacking around on the level of the house, they have come unbutted up next to each other on the ends. So I have to now take off the baseboards and try to knock them back up to a nice tight fit. Needless to say, I'll probably have to buy new baseboards. Moving back into my office will be really nice, as the location I'm using now is really uncomfortable and not functional.

Well, it's now noon. James Callas is still not here! And no, he hasn't called to say when he thinks he might decide show up.

UPDATE: 5:55 P.M. -- Still no phone call, no email, no show! I left a message for him at 1:30 letting him know I was annoyed, that I had to leave and that he could work on the roof without me being here if he decided to come. I went to Home Depot and looked for the tool for the siding. Obviously they didn't have it and had never heard of it. Then I went to my mom's and saw how they were progressing on her roof. She got hers today!
Back home now, and no sign of James. I wonder if he plans on skipping town on my 1/2 payment on my roof! His ladder and sawhorses are here. I'll hold them ransom!

Rain tomorrow and Thursday. I have a good mind to call a contractor who did work for me a few years ago and ask him how much he would charge to put the roof on since I have all the materials here and he wouldn't have to go pick up any. I will keep this option in mind! I'll give this till Monday. If he will do it for less than the 1/2 I still owe James, then I'll do it! Even if James does finish the roof now - ha, I mean start the roof and finish it -- I have decided I will tell him I do not want him doing the other jobs I had for him to do. He's too unreliable and not considerate enough to even call me and tell me anything. My nerves and patience won't hold out for these other projects -- i.e., the patio cover, siding pieces, and front porch.

He had promised me he would make me some steps on my porch for free if I would get the materials. I will try to hold him to that promise, but I certainly won't hold my breath. I am really fed up with this. There is no excuse for at least not calling! He has my home and cell number. He has never given me his cell number. And I have a strong hunch he sees my I.D. and does not answer - but of course, that's speculation on my part. However, when I called earlier today, at first the phone was busy. I called back a few minutes later and still busy, then when I called a 3rd time, I got the stupid answering machine. Sound suspicious to you?