Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shining Moment... and forehead!

Yesterday the sea container arrived and was unloaded. By 9:00 last night, I was so sore and tired that I could barely move from going up and down the stairs to note placement of furniture and begin a bit of unpacking. We spent today doing some serious unpacking and put away enough stuff to furnish the whole neighborhood... or so it seemed. We donated eight boxes of books to the local library and have four more to take to them tomorrow. I've also collected several items to take to the local thrift shop. I swear I'm not going to buy another piece of home or Christmas decor unless a tornado wipes our property off the map. The husband overhead me and asked to get that in writing. But seriously - I look around at all of our stuff and am just flabbergasted. 

This morning, I had to go up to the district's administration office for new employee paperwork. It was all about making sure I've turned in my required documents and getting enrolled with medical, dental, AD&D, life insurance, etc. Since the girls and I are covered through my husband's work, it didn't take long to decline everything. However, the one thing that did happen which I wasn't expecting was getting my district ID badge. Of course, that involved taking my pic. I jokingly asked the badge lady if she had an edit button on her computer to help me out a bit.

Honestly, anything after that is going to be an improvement. I was wearing a bright pink exercise shirt and some black stretchy lycra workout shorts. Not one bit of makeup. And my hair pulled back into a ponytail because I knew I was coming straight home to wrangle boxes. It's a good thing my 6th graders don't know what a mugshot is - or most of them, anyway - because they would no doubt liken my employee pic to one. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Metal Mouth

This morning, the 7th grader spent 1.5 hrs at the orthodontist's office to kick off the process of straightening up her jack o' lantern grin. She put a lot of forethought into the selection of turquoise and purple bands, something we didn't get to do when I wore braces about the time Noah was building some big ship out in his backyard. We had no choice - just an ugly gray color. 

Our resident brace face was excited for the first couple hours after she emerged ready to set off the airport's metal detector, posting pics for her friends to see and running her tongue around her mouth to check out how they felt. We zipped over to the local Chinese restaurant to get her some wonton soup. This was more of an anticipatory move because she had taken some ibuprofen right before the appointment and felt fine.

It's almost 5:00 pm and she has piled up in front of the TV with a pillow and blanket after popping a couple more ibuprofen because her mouth is sore. No pain, no beautiful smiley gain. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Last Leg

I've about decided I'm getting too old for this moving business. And it's especially fun to do in Texas' July heat. Seriously - tired of toting and shifting and carting stuff either up or down the stairs. The new carpet was finally installed yesterday. The storage pod was unloaded today. The good news regarding the pod is that there were only two casualties - a barstool and floor lamp. The bad news is that the bulk of the pod's contents were just shifted to the garage since the sea container doesn't arrive until next Wednesday. I can't put out lamps, place decor and hang pictures until the furniture gets where it's supposed to be. I will be so terribly glad when the final leg of our repatriating is finished.

And on a totally separate note - today the husband and I celebrated 20 years of marital bliss, AKA the day he didn't run fast enough or far enough from the altar to escape my clutches. Some days it seems like we've been married a few months, while other times it seems like two centuries. I decided long ago he's a keeper and I'm danged lucky to have him. He's a great husband, father, son and all around good person. He loves me despite my many faults. And I adore him even though he thinks a 55" TV screen located a mere 8ish feet from the sofa looks just right and totally appropriate for the space. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tinkle Toes

Yesterday I took Ollie to the vet for his canine influenza booster. Dogs here in the US should never catch a thing because it seems there is a shot or pill for every possible malady. He was also getting a bath because the husband hasn't attached the hand sprayer to the tub spigot yet. And so the first time I bathed him here in Texas, it was a plastic cup affair that took forever, with me bent over the bath tub trying to get the beast's dense coat completely soap free.

I attended a little school get together early in the afternoon at a team member's house to meet some of the ladies at my new campus and didn't make it back into town to fetch Ollie until a bit after 4:00. When they brought him out to me in the reception area, he was dancing a jig and I knew why. He has this bad habit of not going potty in unfamiliar places. I figured his bladder was about to burst.

As soon as he cleared the vet clinic doors and walked onto the grassy area, he squatted to tinkle. And tinkle. And tinkle some more. And with such a strong stream that he hosed down his front paw with doggie pee-pee. Great... now his foot reeks of urine. Since I didn't have a towel in the car and refused to stand around until his tinkle soaked foot dried, I put him in the front passenger seat floor board. By the time I got around to the driver's door, he had hopped up onto the seat, walked across the console and had his pee paw on the driver door to look out at me through the glass.

Lovely - wet little piddle tracks all over my less than a month old leather seats in the first luxury vehicle I've ever owned, the one I'm afraid of getting dirty or dinged. One of the girls recently got a floor mat dirty and I just about lost it. So long new car smell. Once we were home, I busted out the premoistened bleach towelettes and wiped down the areas where he tracked pee in the car. From now on, I may have to borrow the husband's truck to get Mr. Shy Bladder home from the vet.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Fun Continues

It's hard to believe we've been back in Texas less than three weeks. Thus far we've visited the dentist and orthodontist. Tomorrow the 7th grader gets two permanent teeth pulled in preparation for her braces to go on July 25. She has never been one to suffer in silence and I imagine we won't get stoic from her over the course of the next couple weeks where her mouth is concerned.

The coed has spent her little bit of summer depleting our bank account. She has been busy registering for college classes, ordering a loft for her dorm room, purchasing her bedding and getting a new retainer since her old one no longer fits. She never wore it at night as instructed by her ortho, allowing her teeth to shift so that it no longer fits. That's 4K for a beautiful smile I refuse to see thrown down the drain and so I ponied up for a new one to keep her teeth from doing too much moving.

Around lunchtime today, I finished painting a third room in the house. The carpet should arrive later this week and I wanted to get all of the rooms painted before the new bedroom flooring gets installed. The husband's portable shed thingy he just HAD to have will be installed Friday. That means we get to spend our weekend loading up a trailer at the in-law's house where we have things stored and bring them over to our house. In the almost 100˚July heat. I'm thinking dehydrated with a capital DUH, as in why didn't we move home in the fall or winter to avoid this incredibly hot weather. 

This time two years ago, we were headed to Barcelona for a bit of touring with Texas friends before we set sail on a cruise in the Mediterranean. I could use a bit of European weather, culture and relaxation right about now. Below is a pic I took in La Boqueria, Barcelona's large public market that dates back to the middle ages. I would definitely enjoy a cool and refreshing fruit drink right about now.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chillaxin' in the Backyard

Yesterday afternoon when we arrived home from errands in the big city, we let Ollie out into the backyard for a potty break. The coed followed him out and flopped down onto the grass with him. Both the dog and older daughter have a negligible amount of body fat and thus never seem too bothered by the heat. I snapped this quick pic of them with the camera on my phone. In the background you can see Max, my mother's pug, trotting by with his tongue lolling out of his mouth. Max resembles a bowling ball with legs, so he gets hot and starts panting the minute his fat butt clears the door to go outside.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Furriest Member of the Family

Ollie, our Cairn Terrier, is adjusting well to life in Texas. He absolutely adores the back yard. His favorite thing is to throw himself down in the grass no matter what time of day it is so he can soak up the fresh air and sunshine. And then refuse to come back into the house unless we lure him with a treat or toy. We're all seeing the stubborn little soul he truly is when let off leash to roam at will in the yard.

This is a cute pic of Ollie, figuring out that he can do a lot of mooching in the car after we've been through the drive-thru window. After we picked him up at the Houston pet cargo facility, he seemed a bit shell shocked. He guzzled up a bunch of water and ate a bit of his dog food I had packed in my suitcase. On the drive from the airport to the west side of the city where we hit the interstate, he sat in my lap and stared out the window. We stopped on the city's outskirts for a potty break and some food, whereupon Ollie perked up at the smell of American beef. 

Then he became the same little spoiled toot we know and love, staring up at us with his chocolate brown eyes in search of a handout. Until today, the day our air shipment finally arrived with his kennel in it, he has been sleeping between me and my husband... in a double bed we borrowed from my in-laws. That's a whole lotta human and dog on a smallish mattress - to us, anyway - when we're accustomed to sleeping on a king bed with the dog tucked away in his kennel.

Last week, we took Ollie to meet his new vet and get a few shots. He also had an appointment with the groomer, and boy did she go to town on him. Shorn like a sheep, I tell ya. But I would swear he's glad to be rid of all that fur. He seems more confident and has a bit of pep in his doggie step these days.

Frustrating Friday

I ended last Friday with a few margaritas. It was either that or lose my mind. The day started out just fine when I took Ollie for his usual morning walk. I got dressed for the day, ran a load of clothes and was waiting around for the carpet measuring guy to arrive. He had called that morning to give me the window of 11:00-11:30, but didn't actually show up until noon. That's when the day headed south.

I opened the door for the carpet guy and Ollie shot past me out into the yard, an area with a car width wide gate that was wide open. I knew exactly where he was headed - freedom and the open road full of cars that would run right over him - so I dashed to the fridge for some bait in the form of lunch meat. By the time I raced back out the front door, Ollie was nowhere in sight. I told the carpet dude he was late and to just get started already since I had to catch the escaped dog.

I spent the next five minutes walking down our street towards the big road at the end, shaking the lunch meat bag and calling Ollie's name. He's such a little stinker with no common sense and beneath the panic of him getting hit by a car, I was filled with anger. There I was in meeting-my-friend-for-lunch mode, looking presentable, while our precious little pain in the ass pet had me worried sick. As I jogged up and down the road in my cute little sandals with sweat sliding down my face and trickling between my shoulder blades in the noon sun with temps set to break records that day, I wanted to strangle our beloved dog.

Giving up on that direction, I turned back towards the cul-de-sac end of our street and spied the little devil sniffing around on the neighbor's porch. Dashing over there, I know I looked as if I had just escaped from the nearest insane asylum, calling Ollie's name in a sing song voice while promising bits of tasty treats as my makeup ran off my face in rivers of perspiration.

After a whole lotta coaxing, I finally pounced on the little SOB and grabbed him by the collar. I can only hope the neighbors weren't at home and missed being witness to me spanking and calling Ollie every bad name in the great cursing book. After I got our resident pea brain back into the house, I caught up with the carpet measuring guy. He was taking his sweet old time while I tapped my foot in aggravation since he was a half hour late and I was supposed to be meeting my friend for lunch right about then. 

My mobile phone rang and I dashed downstairs to answer it. Once finished, the carpet guy yelled downstairs to ask me if he could use the toilet. I said sure and then flopped onto the couch, beneath the family room fan, to cool off before heading to lunch. I heard one of the toilets upstairs flush a few times, but thought nothing of it. About that time, though, the poo smell wafted downstairs. It was painfully obvious, in the stinkiest sort of way, that the carpet measuring twit had taken a big ol' dump in our toilet that was perfuming all 3400 sf with eau de outhouse.

It figures - about that time my friend arrived at Stinkville our house to pick me up for lunch. Carpet guy with the obvious stomach issues finally shuffled outta here, whereupon I immediately wielded the can of room spray and apologized to my friend. The next time some blue collar workman asks to use our toilet, I'm gonna tell them it's family policy that they use the one at the nearby convenience store or fast food restaurant chain.

Thus far this Friday has been an immense improvement over last Friday - shopping with the coed for some pj's to take to college, lunch at Pappadeaux's with the husband, girls and my mother, mailing off graduation gift thank you cards the coed wrote and having a variety of things delivered. The new bar stools for the counter height island look great, as does the 7th grader's new bedding. Plus the air shipment from England was finally brought out to the house after languishing at the moving company's storage facility for the last week. This is just a taste of what we'll be faced with when the sea container and storage pod arrive later this month. Even though we're busy seeing doctors, dentists and orthodontists while getting the house into better shape, I realize it's the calm before the packing paper storm arrives.

Party in the USA

For the past two summers, we've been in the UK for the 4th of July. We kicked off our first Independence Day back in Texas by celebrating with some friends at their ranch, located in Medina County about an hour's drive from our house. 

In case you're looking for a place to host a family reunion or to do a bit of hunting, you can't beat this location. If you go for no other reason than the outdoor pavilion, then it was money well spent.

In case you want to check out out this hill country escape - Still Fox Ranch - here is a link you can follow to see what it's all about.  Still Fox Ranch website

It was a stress free holiday for us. The kids entertained themselves on the golf cart, riding across part of the 400+ acres under high fencing. With exotic hoofed critters, it's like having the set of "Wild Kingdom" on your doorstep. When the two-legged varmints got tired of cruising around, they had the chance to fish from the dock of the stocked pond, relax in one of several hammocks under the shade trees, do a little archery practice or swim in the pool.

In the pic above, you can see the covered rock cooking pit in the foreground, with a precious little stone chapel on the other side of the pool. We feasted on barbecued sausage, ribs and chicken with all the fixin's as the sun started its descent into the tops of the trees. 

Once it got full-on dark, the kids were busy setting off all the fireworks their dads were conned into purchasing the day before at the local stand. While the middle school crowd set off the tamer fireworks from the dock, the older crowd set off the big, showy ones. This time of year, the hill country is usually suffering drought conditions. Luckily, the burn ban was temporarily lifted so that individuals were allowed to shoot fireworks without fear of setting off a massive blaze.

Here are a few little videos I made of the display put on for the adults. Check out how the first little clip looks like a smiley face when it initially explodes. Happy Birthday, America!