Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Close but no cigar

I'm sure it's almost universal to get songs stuck in your head - a personal soundtrack of sorts that often is just one line of a song, over and over. Perhaps not so universal is getting a name stuck in your head. (Although maybe it's more universal than I think because it happens to both G and I.)

The kind of names that get stuck in my head are unusual ones - Jim Miklaszewski, for example. Or Ehud Olmert (that was this morning). The other day, I had the name Farad Jadaya in my head. I couldn't figure out who that was. An Iraqi government official? An Iranian? I had no idea, and G didn't either.

Then I heard it again - it's Farai Chideya, who hosts a program on NPR.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How 'bout them Gators!

We won!

This new color scheme is in tribute to the Gators, of course. I thought it might end up looking garish, but I kind of like it. Maybe I'll keep it for a while.

This morning, I led the visiting school group in a rousing round of "It's great. To be. A Florida Gator." disguising it as an exercise in following directions because they had to follow my gestures to know how loud to say it. I thought about parading them through the building, but I figured that went too far.

Go Gators!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh, and GO GATORS!!!

G and I enjoyed this weekend's unseasonably warm weather by doing some outside work on the house. The exterior of our house is a combination of cedar shingles and siding. However, part of the front porch was enclosed at some point, and the enclosers chose not to shingle that portion for whatever reason. Instead, they made it board and batten, using plywood as the "boards." And to make it match the rest of the house, they extended the board and batten across the rest of the front of the house.

A few weeks ago we pulled the board and batten off the front of the house to reveal very dirty shingles painted a different color than the rest of the house. We dubbed this the crack house phase. This weekend, we pulled the battens off the enclosed part and put shingles on top of the boards (plywood).

We used a nail gun to attach the shingles (if we hadn't, we'd be hammering shingles up until sometime next week), and because we're safety-conscious, we wore eye and ear protection. Evidently, working outside and wearing ear plugs makes everyone want to talk to you. Neighbors kept stopping by to see what we were up to. And they didn't just want to know what we were doing. They wanted to talk to us about it for long periods of time. And then they would leave, we would put our ear plugs back in, and they'd come back to add something else.

We're all about friendliness, etc., but all that visiting really takes a toll on productivity. If our neighbors had been even half as interested in our interior work, we'd still be working on room #1.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sidney would be proud*

I haven't written much about the house remodeling lately, but rest assured that we've been working hard. It's actually starting to look like a nice house now. What a journey.

Since we've been spending all our time putting up ceilings, drywalling, and painting, some lesser chores have slipped through the cracks. One of those neglected chores is the deadbolt on the front door - it's been getting harder and harder to unlock from the outside. My key is especially stubborn, and it often gets stuck halfway in or out of the lock. Usually, a gentle tug (or bone-wrenching yank) takes care of the problem. This information will be important later.

One of our chores over the weekend was pulling out the brown shag carpet in the living room. (Finally! Can you hear the chorus of angels?) When we did, we found a rectangle of plywood in the middle of the room where beautiful hard wood floor should be. Never fear. G removed the plywood (which was nailed every inch and half along the edges), pulled some boards up from the attic (those eight words do nothing to describe the difficulty or frustration of that task), and put them in place in the hole. He opted to not nail them in place until the floor refinisher comes this weekend so he could take a look at it before it became permanent. This information will also be important later.

Yesterday I needed to go run some errands for work, and over lunch I developed a nasty headache. I was about an hour from work and only 30 minutes from home, so I decided I would take the rest of the day off and take a little nap. I got home just as the mailman pulled up, so we made small talk as he dropped off our mail. I stuck my key in the lock and absolutely could not get it in all the way. So close, but just not quite. So I yanked it out and tried again. This time it would only go in about a quarter of an inch. Not even close. I had just about decided I was officially locked out when the mailman walked back by our house to get back in his truck. I tried to play it cool, but I'm sure he was wondering why I wasn't inside already.

I called G to tell him about the lock, and he suggested (as you might have guessed by now) going under the house and coming up through the floor. Excellent idea, but I decided that maybe the fates were telling me I should go to work. So I did.

When I got home the second time, I crawled under the house (without a light, and it was pretty dark under there), identified the approximate location of the hole, felt around for loose boards (in the dark, remember), slid and removed boards one at a time, and, finally, hoisted myself into the living room. What an adventure.

We bought a new deadbolt last night. We haven't installed it yet. But the backdoor key is now hidden outside.

*When Alias was on Sunday nights, I was a huge fan. I even had dreams that I was Sidney Bristow. Like I actually was her. People would say, "Sidney!" and I would answer (in my dreams, that is, not real life).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Potato, Potahto

A month or so ago, I felt like I might be coming down with a cold, so I started taking Zicam. I took it as directed, every three hours, even at night (one of the benefits of being a really good sleeper). I think it really worked. I had some congestion, but that was it, and it only lasted several days instead of a week or two.

One of G's coworkers was coming down with a cold on Tuesday, so G mentioned that I swore by Zicam. The coworker then told G Zicam was being recalled.* G told me this last night, and mentioned that I might want to look into it. I agreed, but evidently for different reasons.

G - So you'll know why you shouldn't take it again.
me - So I can stock up before they take it off the shelves.

* It seems that nasal application of zinc can cause you to lose your sense of smell. I used the quick-dissove tablets, so no problem there. Also, the lawsuit that I found was back in 2003, so I think if it was that big of a problem, something would have happened by now. The moral of this blog - Feel free to stock up on Zicam, but steer clear of the nasal swabs and sprays.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kids these days

(I told G this story the other night, and he enjoyed it so much he suggested I put it in my blog.)

Part of my job involves working with kids. I lead a discussion with them at the beginning and the end of their day with us (if you don't know where I work or what my job is, I'm sure this doesn't make much sense). I ask a lot of questions of the kids and encourage their participation. They are usually very enthusiastic. The group this week made me laugh with their over-the-top enthusiasm.

I wanted to get a vote on which of the five stations they had visited during the day was their favorite.

OK. I'm going to ask you to think of something in your head and then raise your hand. (Hands go up) Not yet. I want you to think about which of the stations was your favor(Hands go up)ite. Not yet. Don't raise your hand until I ask you to. Does everyone have their favorite in their head? (Hands go up) Not yet. Don't raise your hand until I ask you to. OK. (Hands go up) Everyone put their hand down. Don't raise your hand until I ask you to. Now, I want you to raise your hand (Hands go up) IF (Hands back down) station 1 was your favorite. (Selective hands go up) blah, blah, blah.

They were just so ready to raise their hands they didn't care what it was for or if they knew the answer or anything. I should have told them they were volunteering for clean-up duty.

I really enjoy working with the kids, and I think I might be doing a good job because one of the kids from the enthusiastic class said to me, "You're good!" That's high praise from a fifth grader.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Better than a car wash

My windshield developed a crack in the upper left corner a couple of weeks ago. I noticed it right after G had driven it, so I naturally blamed it on him. The crack wasn't growing, so it wasn't at the top of my list of things to take care of.

I happened to be sitting in the passenger's seat last week and noticed that a second crack was developing in the upper right corner. Replacing the windshield moved up the list, but it still wasn't at the top.

I drove to lunch earlier this week, watching the right crack, which was slowly getting larger. I was gauging its progress in relation to a spot on the glass, and I realized it was growing by the minute. The next time I looked over (mere seconds later), it had jumped about 10 inches! Now, I was in panic mode. I had visions of the windshield breaking into pieces and falling into my lap as I was driving. Of course, the pieces would be sharp shards, not harmless rounded safety glass pieces. They would cut my face and hands and cause me to crash the car, and it would be terrible.

So when I returned to work, I called to set up an appointment for the replacement of my windshield. I asked about the mobile service they advertise in their ad, expecting it to be difficult to actually get that service. She said she could schedule mobile service for the next day (perfect so far), but I knew I'd catch her on the extra fee. But guess what? There is no fee for mobile service. Even though my car was about 30 minutes away from their shop. Great! I'll take it. In fact, why wouldn't everyone take it? Who are the suckers who go to the trouble to bring their car to them?

I now have a brand spanking new windshield, and the best part is that it's totally clean, inside and out. I also recently replaced by wiper blades, so I feel like I'm driving a new car. And for a fraction of the cost!