Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fleeting Freshman

We just put Katie back on the MegaBus this afternoon. Her friend Ji from South Korea was on the bus from Columbia to here as she attends Mizzou, and is traveling to Chicago to spend a few days with Katie. Unfortunately Katie's schedule Mondays through Wednesdays is jam-packed, but other friends from Webster Groves will hook up with Ji as their time allows.

Katie now has only 45 days left in her freshman year. That includes weekends and the fact that she doesn't have school on Thursdays or Fridays, so her actual classroom time is much less than that. It seems like only a couple months ago that we headed off to Chicago for orientation. The time has truly blown by for us, and for her as well I think. If she did not have such a bizarre roommate, she would have loved every minute of it. She enjoys the excitement of Chicago and the challenge of her classes. And I'll brag for a moment and mention that Columbia College nominated her for membership in the National Honor Society, which is reserved for students in the top 20% of the school possessing a 3.4 GPA or greater. For the first semester she received a 3.9 as she got an A- in one of her classes.

She is taking a few classes at Meramec Community College this summer as she wants to free up her schedule at Columbia to take more classes in her major of Marketing Communications. She is working with the different department heads to see if she can minor in Asian Studies, but since that is not a designated minor (or major, for that matter) they are trying to determine if that is possible. I give her props for pushing for it as she very much would like to work in China when she graduates, which is why she is taking Mandarin Chinese. She is already considered a sophomore due to the classes she took in high school, and she is set to graduate in three years. That is awesome, and one of the many reasons we are willing to help her study in China in 2011.

Last night we took Katie and her best friend from high school to Tucker's for supper. Maggie is studying pre-med at St. Louis University and working at the hospital as well. She is a bright, motivated young lady and very much like a second daughter to me. It was a fun meal, listening as they talked about what they have liked about college so far and their plans for the future. They have grown so much since high school graduation!

Next weekend Jim and I will go over to Chicago and look at apartments with Katie for next year. She is done with the dorm and all the shenanigans that go on there. I believe she will have two roommates; one is a friend from high school and the the other is her Chinese tutor. We will be looking at three bedroom units, if we can find one within the budget. An added bonus is that we will get to spend Easter with Katie. I'll be taking over an Easter basket for her as this is something I've done for her since she was a baby. Some things shouldn't have to change...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My First Shower

So I had my first shower the night before last. The only problem? I was taking a bath at the time. My contractor has been bummed that no one has used the jetted tub yet - or the shower, for that matter. I had been trying to decide what to put over the window to protect the wood, and I didn't want to shower until I had that figured out. With Katie's helpful eye the other day, I selected a pretty cloth shower curtain with a cool texture and some brushed chrome shower curtain rings to tie in with all the hardware in the new bathroom. I hung it up and decided it looks really nice with the paint color and tiles. It just needs to be shortened so it isn't hanging in the tub.

Back to the bath...I began to fill the tub and climbed in, waiting until after the water had covered the side jets before turning on the power switch. Jim and Kirby came in to see how I liked the new tub, so we caught up on the day's events as the tub filled. I'm really not one to enjoy too powerful of a spray on my back, and sure enough one of the jets hit a sore spot. As I sprang forward the back jets began a fair imitation of Old Faithful, quickly drenching the back of my head, the floor (why would I shut the shower doors for a bath, right?) and the window that I had been so carefully keeping dry. Jim and Kirby got nailed with a bit of water as well. Apparently the back jets had not been under water when I turned on the power. Okay, lesson learned.

I added more water before engaging the jets again. I had myself a little soak, and as the water cooled I turned the handle to add more hot water. Only I turned it the wrong way and on came the shower. Now the front of my head was as drenched as the back. As it was already 10:00 at night, I was not amused. Jim was pretty tickled though, and he made a mad dash out the door before I could throw something at him. I guess I should be grateful he didn't have a camera with him. Definitely the picture would be worth a thousand words. Or a thousand hits on the Internet!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Potty Talk

Well, it's time for a bathroom update. As we all know by now, the vanity top will not be here until Monday morning. Despite Jim calling the company we ordered it from and yelling at them. He thought I was too nice when I received the information that it would be another week to receive it. Did it change anything when he got ugly? what's the point? In the meantime the plumbers came on Wednesday and hooked up the tub and shower and installed my toilet. Yay! I once again have a pot to pee in! I just can't wash my hands afterwards... Needless to say, I haven't used it yet.

Today the carpenter installed the apron on the tub, as we decided to put a tile panel on it to give it more of a spa look. Then he caulked everything that needed caulking and sealed all the tile and grout on the shower wall and floor. It is now safe to take a bath or shower in there, should I so desire. Since I haven't figured out how I am going to protect the window in the shower yet, I won't be using it tonight. I also cleaned the three mirrored medicine cabinet doors and found a chip in one of the mirrors. It is not that noticeable, but I am concerned about cutting myself when I clean it as it is sharp. A call to the company we ordered it from (yep, same one who sold us the tub and every other blasted thing in the bathroom) elicited the reply that I need to call the manufacturer directly. Customer service at it's finest.

The good news is that I will not have any workmen in the house tomorrow, so that will be nice. Katie just got home today for spring break, so it will be nice for her not to hear hammering or drilling at 7:00 a.m. After Monday everything should be totally done. I hope. Fingers crossed...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weird Weekend

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you feel like you are in another dimension? First of all, I picked up my husband's cold last week, and it seemed to crest over the weekend. Both of us took afternoon naps on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday afternoon we attended a visitation for a friend who died on Thursday. We came to know Bill through his sister, Judy. We hired Judy when Katie was six weeks old and I returned to work from maternity leave. She took care of Katie and Andy until Katie entered first grade.At that point I quit my 15 year job as vice president in an insurance company and went to work for our composting company.

Judy, however, very much remained a part of our lives. She continued to come and stay with the kids when Jim and I traveled, and later took care of our final baby, Kirby the cockapoo. She had moved in with her brother after their mom died 13 years ago, and they were best friends as well as siblings. And they were very much surrogate grandparents to our children as neither my folks or Jim's lived in St. Louis.

Bill was a sweet, gentle man who always had a twinkle in his eye. He loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had a special place in his heart for my Katie. I think he may have more video footage of her than we do. She is just sick that she couldn't be here for the funeral, but she has mid-terms this week and will be heading home on Thursday for spring break. One of the first things she'll do when she gets home is go and see Judy.

I'm very worried about what will happen to Judy. They have her medicated since she was having panic attacks when told that Bill's cancer was terminal. She cannot afford the house they lived in, and I'm not even sure that her name is on the deed along with Bill's. While she does have a husband, they have been estranged for 15 years and they never had any children. She only gets $400 a month from social security. Who can live on that? Hopefully one of her sisters or nieces/nephews will offer to take her in. Losing her brother/best friend and losing her house - that sucks!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not Exactly a Hole in One

The bathroom is coming along nicely, or at least it was. The tile is on the floor and the shower walls, and all the grout was completed today. After a mix-up on the vanity top (it was done last Wednesday-they thought I was picking it up, I thought they were delivering it) it was finally delivered at noon today. (Don't mess with me!) The contractor decided to go ahead and bring the cabinet up from the basement where it has been stored and set it in the bathroom so they could get the vanity top out of our carport. I could tell immediately that there was a problem. "Did the supply store mention to me that I would lose a drawer in the cabinet?", he asked. I couldn't quite figure out what he was referring to until I saw the vanity top. The hole had been cut and the under counter sink mounted to the left hand side of the 60" top, where the sink would now sit in the top drawer of the cabinet. The was supposed to be centered. Crap!

I know exactly how the error occurred as originally we were going to have a cabinet under the sink on the left and no cabinet under the vanity top on the right, creating a knee hole so I could sit and apply my makeup in the morning. We changed our minds on that option and ordered a full 60" cabinet. But the designer did not change the order to reflect centering the sink, even though we had discussed its placement. It took three weeks to get this vanity top, and if all goes well my bathroom will be completed by Friday. I called the supply store, fully expecting to be told that it was my fault that I didn't make it clear when we changed the order. Surprisingly, they took full responsibility and said they would have another one made for me at their expense (not an insignificant amount of money, I might add.) How long would this take? She placed a call to the manufacturer, and then called me back. Best surprise of all? It should only take a couple of days. Ahhh...all is well again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Rep Does It Again

"The Diary of Anne Frank" finished off our weekend of plays. Sunday night we were at the Repertory Theater for the last night of this production. As previously hinted at by a friend of mine, the set was amazing, completely filling the stage with two plus stories of the building where the Franks took refuge. Every play we have seen at the Rep this season has had a creative set.

The cast was great, particularly Lauren Orkus in the role of Anne Frank. The new adaptation of the story moved at a nice pace, yet managed to still capture the essence of the two years the families spent hiding in the annex. Bravo, Rep!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not So Fabulous Night at the Fox

Friday night we saw "August, Osage County" at the Fox. I knew nothing about the play, and I try not to read reviews because I so seldom agree with the critics anyway. I had heard that it had won lots of awards on Broadway though. The first thing we noticed is that the theater was not even half full, which is strange in and of itself. The lady who has the seats next to us asked if we knew that the production had two intermissions, and we admitted that we were not aware of this. She said her friend had seen the play and didn't get home until after midnight. By now I'm thinking that it better be a great play because I would be nodding off that much after my bedtime on a Friday night.

The set was awesome, as always, depicting the inside of a three story house. Sadly, that is all that was awesome about the production. The play begins with an obviously drunk man attempting to hire a native American woman to live in the house to help care for his mouth cancer stricken, drug addicted wife (played by the actress who was Roseanne Barr's mother on her show) so that he can continue to drink without having to worry about the little woman. His speech was so labored and hard to follow that I found myself silently cheering when he committed suicide early on in the play. The rest of the story consists of various relatives coming to the house for the funeral, all of whom are angry, bitter, and/or heavy drug or alcohol users. From pot smoking and sexual advances between a 30 something man and his fiances 14 year old niece to a relationship between what initially appeared to be first cousins but ended up to be half-siblings, the play trotted steadily downhill. There was a lot of screaming, dropping of the F bomb left and right and a small amount of humor dispersed.

I would have left at the first intermission (earlier were it not been for the fact that our seats are in the center of the row and we would have had to climb over people), but Jim wanted to tough it out. A good number of people did leave, including the two elderly couples behind us. I had to agree with the one man who said, "I come out at night to be entertained. This is not entertainment." I suppose I sadistically wanted to see if it could get any worse - it did. We pulled into our drive at midnight, and I was wondering if I could sum the play up in two words. I found that I only needed two letters - P U!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Facebook Friends

Yesterday I got an email from a high school classmate who had found me on the Hoover High School Class of '74 fan page on Facebook. Curious about whether I was the person she remembered, she read my personal blog as well as searched through the website I started for my book. As it turns out, Chris actually spent the first part of her life in Charles City, Iowa where my husband is from. What's the latest train of thought? Three degrees of separation? I am finding that to be more and more true. I really love that through this new form of social networking we can reconnect with people from our past as well as establish relationships with new people from all over.