Friday, September 27, 2013

Retail Therapy?!

Yesterday I found myself with a few hours to spare and in the general vicinity of the Houston Galleria.  I decided to treat myself to a little retail therapy after my long hiatus from shopping.  I don't get to the Galleria very often, it is not near my house and the traffic surrounding the mall is insane!  Anyway, I braved the traffic and the snooty people and tourists who usually shop there and headed into the retail mecca.

Since my daughter is getting married in seven months I figured I would start the job of finding that elusive mother-of-the-bride dress.  You know the one.... not too matronly, not too risque, not too big, not too small, not too bright, not too drab, not too cheap, not too expensive, the dress that makes you look like a million bucks but doesn't cost a million know...the perfect dress!   They should have dresses I would not normally find in suburbia, right?  I ended up at one of the high end department stores that begins with "N" in their bridal/formal department.  I am sure I looked a bit like a deer in the headlights.  So many pretty dresses!  I began my search and noticed when I picked up my normal size dress they looked a bit small.  I would hold the dress up to my body and think, "there is now way this is going to fit!".  I chose about 20 dresses in "my" size and the next size up, because they really did look a bit small to me. Apparently in the designer section, size 6 is the new size 2 and size 12 is the new size 6!  Who are these dresses made for?!  When I say they were small I mean...tiny!  I am not a tiny person but I am not a Neanderthal either!  Keep your opinions to yourself here.

I know we are not supposed to worry about the number, just the fit.  But seriously?  I was forced into choosing sizes I have never brought into a dressing room before. I don't remember gaining ten pounds over the summer. I want to see the skeleton who fits into their size 0....of which there were at least four on the rack in each dress style...because 8 year olds do not shop in this department!  There were very few Neanderthal size dresses available...possibly because they had all been bought up by all the normal size women.

I left my retail therapy session needing some serious mental therapy, my ego had taken a huge blow. At this rate it will take me every one of the seven months between now and the wedding to find a dress.  I'm going on a diet....tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Here and There

I'm finally home.  The home that I live in for 9 months a year.  I got my welcome home gift when my 3 month old computer sat on my kitchen table, started clicking like a cricket and then rolled over and died.  Just died, "no operating system found".  The great Geek Squad diagnosed a dead hard drive, so she has been sent away for warranty repairs.  Along with her went lots of pictures and my ability to surf and write with ease.  I am now using a rejected work computer of TJ's.  I can totally see why it was rejected.  Like using an iPhone 2 instead of the new iPhone 5c, not that I'd know anything about iPhones, but apparently lots of people out there are addicted.  I'm so uncool!  So, I'll have to rely on my wit and writing skills to bring this post to life, no pictures.

It's time for a few here and there comparisons, because who doesn't get home from any trip and compare life at home to life....away?

Here, I can drive 2 miles and play golf with any number of friends...or my husband, in the comfort of a golf cart in the sweltering heat.
There, I drive 25 miles to play golf with some good friends...and my husband, walking and pushing my golf bag on a cart in the velvet air while I'm sure I must be burning hundreds of ill gotten calories.

Here, I have an awesome bathroom.  It is very large with walk-in closets and a shower that has amazing water pressure and a floor big enough to do those morning or evening exercises that keep old people in shape, or at least able to move the next day.
There, I have an awesome farmhouse/cottage standards.  I have an awesome shower with slightly more than a trickle of water pressure.  Washing this mop of hair is a challenge unless you have fire hose pressure coming out of the shower head.  I do have a view out of my bathroom window that is unmatched!

Here, I can get a pedicure any time I want at any number of salons for cheap!
There, I go 3 months without a poor feet!

Here, I have to buy my vegetables at the grocery store...and they taste like nothing.  I hope they have some nutritional value.
There, all I have to do is walk outside and I have my choice of delicious, nutritious vegetables in mass quantities.

Here, I drive on the roads with thousands of other people, all in a hurry to get somewhere important.
There, I drive with a few other people on the road in no big hurry to get anywhere.

Here, I have to walk my dog on a leash if I want her to get any exercise and not get run over by a car.
There, all I have to do is open the back door if I want my dog to get exercise.

Here, I can watch any of over 600 channels of television....and still sometimes there is nothing to watch.
There, if I want to watch a TV program I have to wait until the next day and watch it on my computer with variable feed success.

Here, I walk the same roads day after day and no one talks to me...some people wave which is nice.  I've been walking the same roads for over 3 years now and know a handful of people on my path.
There, I walk the same road day after day and can barely go 5 minutes without seeing someone I know or stopping for a visit.

Here, I sometimes find myself getting bored and have to figure out ways to fill time.
There, I don't think I've ever been bored...maybe once...why is that?

Here, I can go shopping any time I want!
There, not so much.

Here, we eat out at restaurants two or three times a week.
There, we have people over to eat two or three times a week and go to someone else's house to eat two or three times a week.  No restaurants!

Here, I sweat more than humanly possible between June and October.
There, I sweat a little in July.

Here, I love my house.
There, I love my house.

Here, I am close to some family and very far from other family.
There, I am close to some family and very far from other family.

Here, I feel like I belong.
There, I feel like I belong.

I could go on for much longer but you get the picture.  There is something to love about both places, the things are just different.  I enjoy being here or there!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We Bought A

Seven years ago we bought a dream or a nightmare depending on your perspective.  We were younger then and we both had plenty of energy.  Many said it was a foolish purchase.  Some said we should tear it down and start fresh.  They may have been right...but we did not listen.  We thought we had found a diamond in the rough... it was definitely rough!

Our dream house!  Circa 2007
I had always wanted to buy an old fixer upper and fix it up.  I had no idea what renovating involved but in my mind it was going to be a creative, fun process.  That would be the upside... watching the bank balance constantly spiral downward would be one of the downsides.  All the job would take was a good imagination, time, money, energy, patience and a few good men.  Not to mention a strong back and good knees, which we both had seven years ago....not so much these days!

One of the first things on the list was to properly insulate the house, put in new windows and put up vinyl siding  (there is no way we were ever going to paint this place!).  We have met many people who lived in this house throughout the years and their one consistent comment was that the house was always freezing.  The lack of insulation and good windows may explain.  Who insulated 150 years ago?  We are such wimps!

The same dream house, circa 2013!

We took on the project with the understanding that we would take as long as we needed in order to be able to afford to do the job right.  We figured we were somewhere between a five and ten year plan.  This is where the patience comes into play.  Imagination came into play way back in 2007 when we walked into the house for the first time.  It was nothing short of a total disaster!  The kitchen alone would have sent weaker souls running for the hills!

A stove and some firewood, that's it!  No sink, no counters or cabinets!

After completely gutting the house, the kitchen was one of the first projects along with the upstairs bathroom.  They were also two of the most dramatic changes.  We have our priorities....we wanted to be able to cook and use the bathroom!   After the kitchen, the bathroom was probably the ugliest room in the house.  It was a mish-mash of colors and textures!  I am sure every part of it was bought "on the cheap".  You be the judge.

Gotta love pink and green!
Maybe we could have kept the pink tub and toilet but instead we went with neutral colors.  The pink toilet still  lives though, next to our back porch as a flower pot!  We will never forget where we started!

The best view in the house is out of this window!
Hard to believe this is the same room!  We love our kitchen!
Renovations are such a leap of faith!  Choosing cabinet color, counter top, flooring, and paint color are somewhat daunting choices.  There are so many choices and then will they look good together?  Sometimes you just have to make your best decision and then throw it out there and take that leap of faith.  There are detail decisions too, drawer pulls, light fixtures, and molding.  They say the devil is in the details...they could be right!

Once the bathroom and kitchen were finished or at least well under way, we needed someplace to sleep!  The walls in the entire house had been torn down and we were down to the bare studs.  Turns out walls are easier than kitchens and bathrooms!  Our awesome contractor put up the walls and the ceilings all we had to do was paint them...all of them!

Wearing these clothes....
either standing on these lovely retro chairs or between them on a very long and heavy piece of wood...
my homemade scaffolding!

May 2009!  I also wore these yesterday....
 September 2013, they have served me well!

This summer I have been very motivated to "finish" the farmhouse.  The main motivator is that our family, all 12 of us, will be spending Christmas here this year.  I want the place to be as livable as it possibly can by then.  So, instead of packing and cleaning today, I am working on this post.  (I'll  do anything to avoid packing and cleaning!)  This is mostly for me to prove to myself how far we have come and that it will be very livable in December.  Looking back through the years, we have come a long way!

So....a little tour of before and after!  Finally!

Dining room and den....before
After.... still need to get those beams covered.
Master bedroom- before
Another view
Guest room-  before
Guest room-same wall-after
Retro room - before
Retro room - after

Another bedroom - before

And after

The floors....before!

And after!!!

Last, but not least.....the stairs...before

And after!!!

Yes, it was a happy day when these were finished!

And so on my last night here for the summer, I leave the farmhouse in a much better state than when we arrived back in June.  The big difference this year is that when I leave I don't expect to come back to any major changes or any massive dust producing renovations that require me to clean up after and then paint.  I finally feel like we are almost....almost....there.  The big question is, " whatever will I do next summer when I get here?".   Hahahaha!  I just crack myself up sometimes!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day?

Labor Day weekend is upon us.  We are at the end of the summer, unless you live in the deep south and even though the calendar says it is fall, the weather says otherwise.  Life at the shore is winding down and will feel eerily quiet after Labor Day.  The days are getting shorter and tomorrow the school buses will start making their daily runs up and down the road.  Everyone headed home this weekend for their real lives, except me...and a few others.
The end of summer....sunset over trees instead of water.

This time of the summer leaves me feeling the same way each year, kinda like the week after New Year's.  The excitement of Christmas and New Year's is over and it is just January or in this case, it is September.  The summer long party is over!  We had plenty of fun things happening every day and there were always lots of people around.  Now that it is all over, I need to figure out what to do.  I'll have to figure out how to be still again.

I looked back at my "end of the summer" posts from the last 5 years and they all seem to say the same thing.  It was great... they are all gone... and it's time to move on.  This is the second year I have stayed into September.  I still have mixed feelings about staying this long.  I know it is still too hot to be pleasant back in Houston but when everyone else heads home I start to feel like I should be doing the same thing.  I start letting myself miss the things back at home.  Maybe it is because there isn't as much going on here and the grass is always greener....somewhere else.  Maybe I have just reached my saturation point of farm living and am ready for my city life again.  Three months is a very long time for this girl to stay away from my favorite retail establishments!

I have no doubt that the next two weeks will be enjoyable.  I just have a hard time realizing it while I say goodbye to all of the people I have spent countless hours with over the last two months.  There is something special about this time too.   There are still some very nice days to come (even though it has been raining for 3 days!) and the pace of life affords us to spend quality time together.  Plus, TJ is always full of projects, lest I consider sitting down and relaxing any time!

So... happy Labor Day!  Goodbye to my summer friends!  I'll try not to fall into a post holiday depression.  After all...I have baseboards to paint and tomato sauce to make!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...