Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rub a Dub Dub

There's no one in the tub, but at least I now have one in my bathroom. The guys picked it up this morning and it sat on the front porch in all its porcelain glory until this afternoon. I'm sure the neighbors loved it. Oh wait - our streets been torn up since August, so a tub on the porch? No biggie... The plumber was here this afternoon to hook the tub up and set my spray jets, but apparently there is something he didn't like with the overflow valve so he has to come back tomorrow after lunch. I'm not sure if the contractor will begin to drywall in the morning or not since the plumber isn't done.

Also in the afternoon, Henry Plumbing is delivering everything else we purchased for the project, with the exception of the vanity top which will not be ready until next week. I guess all the items will sit in the entry foyer until they are ready for them upstairs. Good thing we weren't planning a party anytime soon!

I have been working on Jim's quilt commemorating his Route 66 motorcycle trip last year. It is all done except for the binding, which needs to be hand sewn to the back of the quilt. I can sit and do that while I channel surf between American Idol and the Olympics tonight.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shop 'til You Drop!

Jim is in Chicago with wife number 4 (I have all of his motorcycle buddies numbered. I, of course, remain wife number 1) attending a motorcycle show. They went over yesterday and closed the exhibit hall down last night, and will be there all day today and tonight. They did squeeze in time this morning to have breakfast with Katie, delivering to her the chocolate orange cookies I made for her and the quesadilla maker she got for Christmas but couldn't fit in her suitcase when she returned from break. Somehow she convinced them to take her to Target so she could buy some things that are too heavy for her to carry back from the store. That's my girl! I would have loved to have seen those two guys traipsing through the store with her. I have to admit that it is a pretty cool Target. It is huge - two stories with a parking garage attached to it. As my husband told wife number 4, who is from Lawrence, "You're not in Kansas any more Jimmy!"

I decided to do a little shopping myself today. I headed off to the Galleria with my list in hand. Had a new battery put in my Seiko watch, which was a Christmas gift from Jim many, many years ago. Picked up a new tube of my lipstick at Sephora. I buy all my other makeup at Target, but for some reason most tubes of lipstick make my lips crack. Katie turned me on to Dior lipstick and it works well for me, I guess making it worth the King's ransom they charge for it. My daughter, of course, is a frequent shopper at Sephora. She wears much better makeup and underwear than me. Sigh...

After I checked those two things off my list I headed to Macy's. The guys at ORMI got me a gift card for Christmas, so I wanted to use it before I lose it. I don't have as much luck shopping at Macy's as I did at Famous Barr. They don't carry the petite line of clothing that fit me so well. Since I had no one waiting for me I took my time trying on lots of clothes. And might I just interject that one could do a whole blog posting on conversations overhead while in a dressing room. Here is just a taste...a man followed his girlfriend into the dressing room so he could give his opinion on the dresses she was trying on. They went back and forth on whether she liked the first dress. She hated the bow, and he said he would just cut it off. The second dress she really liked, and when she asked his opinion he said he REALLY liked it. She told him he was supposed to be looking at the dress. I can only assume the girls were popping out of it and that is what captured his attention. Oh to have been in a dressing room that had slats I could peer through!

Anyway, I particularly wanted to get a winter pants suit, and I thought I would have luck on the clearance rack this time of year. Apparently I waited too long, as all the suits were more of a spring weight. So I settled for a classic grey herringbone, and the pants are lined so they will work most of the winter. I also had a few tops I had selected to go under a couple of jackets I already own. When I went to pay, I handed the clerk the gift card and a discount card I had received in the mail. "You can't use the gift card and the discount card", she told me. Apparently the only way to get the discount was to use your Macy's card. No problem - the suit was a little more than the gift card anyway. Nope - the computer wouldn't accept it. So I told her to ring up the suit separately, using the gift card. Then I used the coupon on the blouses. Ridiculous! But a good shopping trip nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If Tomorrow Never Comes

We learned today of the death of Paul Gassman. Gus, as he was called by the Alph Sigs, was a fraternity brother of Jim's at Iowa State. They were in the same pledge class, and I became a Little Sister of the house the same year. Paul was always full of life and fun, with joy bursting from within every time he opened his mouth. A deeply religious man, he was a great student despite majoring in the tough curriculum of mechanical engineering. He married a girl from the pom pom squad immediately following graduation, and they had a son nine months later. When she inexplicably left him two years later, we were all stunned. He was handsome, built, had a great job and was truly the nicest person I have ever known. What's not to love?

Luckily he met Crystal some years later, and they married and had two little girls, who I think are now about 9 and 11. My brother's wife died when their children were 3, 6 and 9 so I know what a tough road Crystal has ahead of her. I don't understand why the truly beautiful people of the world have to die and the people that are ugly inside and out go on existing. My thoughts and prayers are with the Gassman family as they try to make sense of something that clearly seems nonsensical.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blinded by the Margarita

Jim and I went to see "Blindside" last night with another couple. We were trying to remember the last time that we went to a movie together, and we think it was a "Star Wars" movie out in Chesterfield Valley with Katie about 5 or 6 years ago. Obviously we see a lot more plays than movies, though I have gone to see a few chick-flicks with female friends. And most recently Katie and I went to see the new Disney princess movie, which was fun.

Because we wanted to go to a showing in late afternoon and then go out to eat afterwords, we decided to go to Dead Mall, errrr....I mean Crestwood Mall. As we arrived early, we purchased our tickets and then strolled through the once-upon-a-time popular shopping center. I haven't been in it since they closed Pac Sun, where Katie used to work. I was amazed to see all the different storefronts in there. Hand-made jewelry, a consignment shop, an upscale garage sale, an antique store, a couple of dance studios, two theater companies and a few museums make up the new "art center" complex. It was quite interesting and I would like to go back when I have more time to look around.

Back to the movie..."Blindside" is based on a true story about a homeless black teenager in Memphis and the white family who first offered him housing and then a place in their hearts. I thought it was excellent. What an amazing story! It was a nice feel-good movie for Valentine's Day. I know, the obvious movie choice for this weekend was "Valentine's Day", but there was no way the guys wanted to see that. "Blindside" was a film we could all agree on. I'll have to grab one of the girls for the chick-flick.

After we saw the movie we decided to try the new Mexican restaurant in Crestwood near the Shop 'n Save. I'm embarrassed that I did not catch the name. I'm blaming it on the margarita. In honor of Valentine's Day, they had the medium size margarita for $4.75. Let me just say that it was a good thing I didn't order the large! It was yummy and went down easy with my chicken quesadilla. And the requisite chips and salsa, of course. Everyone enjoyed the food and agreed we definitely would go back again. At least I know the location, if not the name!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who's on First?

Yesterday I went to the local grocery store, and this is how the conversation between the checker and the bagger went:

bagger - "Did you get the coke?"

checker - "No, I'm not cold."

bagger - "I'm sorry you're cold."

checker - "I'm not cold."

bagger - "Do you want my coat?"

checker - "I said I'm not cold."

befuddled customer (me) - "He asked if you got my coke!"

checker - "Coke?"

befuddled customer - "It was the first thing you rang up."

I felt like I was in the middle of an Abbott and Costello routine. Tell me again - who's on first? I think we might be a couple bases shy of a full playing field.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Girl Talk

My sister returned from a month in Belize last Wednesday night. Because she lives out on a difficult country road and snow was predicted, she stayed at her daughter's house until Sunday. With another storm on the way on Sunday she came and stayed with me since Jim is up in Iowa. We had fun catching up on all that has happened since she was gone, and cooking with another woman was a treat. Other than that, one day we went and ran some errands, but we pretty much stayed close to home. She thinks her road is passable today, so she took off this morning.

Jim is expected back today. In fact he was supposed to come home yesterday but Iowa got a lot more snow than we did and the winds pretty much made for blizzard conditions up north. He wanted to get on the road about 7 this morning, but his mom needs to have fluid drained off her lung at noon. She begged him to stay until that is done. Now he hopes to leave by 1:30 or so. Because he is leaving from Mason City where the hospital is located, that will add on to his drive time. The doctors are now pushing to do Lorraine's carotid artery surgery in about 6 weeks, so this will all start up again a lot sooner than anyone expected. Oh dear...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oh Deer!

Jim left this morning to go up to Charles City and check on his mom. She has multiple doctors appointments on Monday, so he thought he could help out by driving her and his dad over to Mason City. Because it is a payroll week, I stayed home with Kirby so I can take care of business. On his way up Highway 61, he visited a store on the south side of Hannibal. We have often commented on it, as it looks like a mini Bass Pro wannabe. Jim took a break and stopped in. A little Italian man owns the place, which basically is a bow hunters store. Jim told me that he has deer in the back. I was thinking that he meant he sells the bows to the hunters, then they bring the deer back to him and he processes the meat. Nope. He actually has deer fenced in out back. He collects the urine from the deer and sells it. A pee farmer.

First of all, how in the world does he collect the urine? Are they catheterized? Second, who buys the urine and what are they doing with it? Apparently he shovels up the urine of does in heat. It is a strong buck attractant. Which answers question 2, as he sells it to hunters to get the attention of the bucks. Hmmmm....and I thought we had an interesting business. As I say, only in America.

I spent all of today cleaning the house to try to get rid of some of the plaster dust. The downstairs is 100% done, and part of the upstairs is finished. My sister is coming over tomorrow to spend a couple nights with me, so I still need to dust the guest bedroom and then clean the attached bath before she gets here. Dusting in my office and the master bedroom can wait, if need be. I'm not sure if any workers will be back on Monday or not. God forbid they should keep me in the loop. With the forecast, it is likely they will stay home. Then my house can stay clean for a couple days.

Friday, February 5, 2010

It IS a Small World After All

Now that I've gotten that song stuck in your head, I'll tell you why that is particularly true today. I was chatting with my carpenter about a story in our local newspaper, and he happened to mention something about his high school. This being St. Louis and all, of course I had to ask him "Where did you go to school?" He replied that it was a school in Des Moines. "Did I know you were from Des Moines?", I asked. He said Jim knew but that he didn't think he and I had discussed it. I told him I am from Des Moines as well. He was sure we didn't go to the same school, so when he said he graduated from Hoover High, I about fell off my chair. I also graduated from Hoover. As it turns out, he graduated a year ahead of me, and his sister Vicki graduated with me.

We are the Huskies, couldn't be prouder! If you don't believe it, we'll yell a little louder! small world is that? I'm off to drag out my yearbook.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's That Again?

Last night Jim and I went to see [title of show] in the Studio at the Repertory Theater. I admit to being a little confused when we first got the tickets in the mail. I should explain here that a friend of ours has great season tickets (second row, center) at the Fox and (fourth row center) at the Repertory Theater. He and his partner also own a condo in Hawaii, so when they are out of town we get first dibs on their tickets. This year for whatever reason the Rep had assigned them tickets to Rep and Studio shows for the same night, January 31st. Luckily they asked no questions when I called to exchange tickets, and we saw "39 Steps" Sunday night and the other show last night.

Anyway, when I saw that the tickets said [title of show], I assumed that the play had not yet been selected. Wrong - that is the name of the play. It turns out that it is a play within a play within a play. Mind boggling, I know. It is actually based on a true story of a couple of friends who wanted to write a play and enter it into a competition, where the winning play would be performed in a theater in New York. They just made the play up as they went along. It is a musical and a comedy as well, and we very much enjoyed it. Evidently we aren't the only ones as they added a second week to the production.

We are through with plays for the rest of this month, which is fine with me. I like them spread out a bit so I can anticipate date night with my hubbie. In the meantime, I now have construction dust from one end of the house to the other, so I have plenty of work to keep me busy. Yuck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Musings from the Toilet Bowl

Last night I finished clearing out the bathroom so that the workmen could begin today. As I did a final cleaning of the tub, sink and toilet prior to their removal, I thought back to when we purchased the house in 1987. Andy was two years old when we moved in the end of June. While the house was pretty well emptied out when we arrived, it had not been cleaned. At all. Before we could give Andy a bath that night, I practically had to sandblast the tub. Ancient non-skip strips refused to be budged, clinging on for dear life to the bottom of the tub and God knows what other various substances. Mountains of old lady hair clogged the drain. Yek!!!

Wielding my toilet bowl brush last night, I reminisced about potty training Andy in that bathroom, and his sister after him. Both of them swam in that tub, then graduated to using the shower like a "grown-up". Is it weird to be sentimental about a toilet?

Well, no matter. The guys came today, and the bathroom is now just a shell. Interesting that they found hot and cold water pipes on the opposite wall, leading us to speculate that at one time there may have been a claw foot tub in the room. There is also some framing indicating that in the past the back of my closet did enter into that space. I'm thinking that before indoor plumbing was available, they probably used all the space for storage. Just a guess.

Apparently the fact that the tub will take two weeks to get here is an issue. Only the electrical can be handled in the interim. They can't do the drywall or the cement board, which means no tile can go up (or down, for that matter). This will put the whole project behind two weeks. Yippee! I tried to tell Jim that we shouldn't start tearing out until all the parts were in, but nooooooo...he just had to get them going. Men!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Step by Step

Last night Jim and I went to see the play "39 Steps" at the Repertory Theater. The play is based on the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name, which apparently was originally based on a novel. The play, however, has been turned into somewhat of a comedy. I imagine Alfred Hitchcock is doing a little turning of his own. Three men and one woman made up the cast, with each playing several different roles, sometimes at the same time. It was cleverly done, and the cast was exceptional. I'm not a big fan of British humor, so I probably didn't enjoy the play as much as some of the audience. The props were funny though, with ladders turned horizontally to be held by the actors as if in a plane, dust mops trimmed creatively representing dogs on the hunt (though they could have left out the "humping" activity), and doors being swung to and fro to show the actors entering and leaving a room.

There was a little extra step action going on during intermission when an elderly patron took a tumble down the stairs on the way back to her seat. Intermission was a bit longer as we waited for the paramedics to check her out and remove her from the theater. Watch that 39th step - it's a doozy!