Monday, December 20, 2010

Little Gingerbread House

Neither one of us had ever made a gingerbread house.
Crazy, right?

We thought it was about time.

You know I don't have patience for things to dry.

I soon learned that cake decorating would not be in my professional future.
Mr. Z saved the whole thing.

If I had been doing it alone, I would have ended up busting up the crackers and making some sort of gingerbread-candy pie.  With ice cream on top. And walnuts. And snickers.
And I would have ate it out of the pan with a spoon. And watched Rudolph.

I might still do that...

It makes a nice festive center-piece though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Sink Unit

The kitchen at The Little House is beginning to look better than it ever has.

You know how when you make an improvement to one part of something, suddenly the other part that you thought was perfectly fine, doesn't seem to be so fine anymore?
The sink unit, we believe is vital to the structural integrity of the house, so it is not going any where.
But if I have to look at it, I would rather not mind looking at it.
Now, the sink part actually doesn't look too bad. The color is not my favorite, but it part of its DNA. So the color has held up and it hasn't stained.
The cabinet and drawer part is metal and hasn't held us as well. 
I thought I could clean it up with an SOS pad and maybe it would look better.
I thought I could get rid of those blackish areas and at least it would be uniform in color.
As I began to scrub, I noticed the suds were not white or even blue, they were rust orange.
No... It can't be. Oh, yes. Those black places are not dirt build-up, they are the metal underneath.
Even just dawn on a sponge starts to take the paint off.

Hmm.... now aren't we in a dilemma? Wouldn't it be such a shame if the next time I cleaned it, more and more of the paint came off and it looked so bad that we had to repaint it?
Oh no, what shall I do?

Growing up

If you were to walk into The Little House, you may notice that the inside of the door-frames leading in and out of the living room were not painted.
At first glance, you might think I did a shotty job at painting the trim, but if you looked closer, you would see little tick marks up and down them with dates written next to them. 

When we would visit Mawmaw and Pawpaw, which was more days than not, we would have her measure us.  We each had our own side of a door frame.  We had to take off our shoes, put our heels against the door frame, and stand as straight as we could.  If Mawmaw would have let us, we would have done it everyday.  She said we had to wait long enough to grow.

On occasion when we would step away from the door frame and take a look, we had grown at least an inch. I thought those days were just great and I would remember them always.
Now, I don't so much remember those particular days where it was apparent that I had grown, but what I remember is the in-between.  The growing part, I remember.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Not So Smartphone

About 2 weeks ago, we finally moved up in the world.
The technological world that is.
We got smartphones.

Since then, we have been trying to get them to stop notifying us of everything.
I'm surprised it hasn't beeped to tell me I have to pee.

Now neither one of us has ever had a phone that could do much more than make a call. And that was only when it felt like it.

With our new phones we can:
  • Check our email
  • Find directions to anywhere
  • Find restaurants
  • Find good bathrooms
  • Locate astrological constellations
  • Take 5 megapixal pictures
  • Browse the internet
  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Scan barcodes and find the best prices
And those are just the things I've learned in the past few weeks.
Almost every day one of us says to the other "Hey, did you know you could ____"

We are still trying to figure out how to make a call.
Just kidding.
We figured that out within the first 24 hours after we got them.

Now there is a feature where we can talk into our phones and it writes it in a text.
I wanted to send my aunt a text to tell her that I smelled like boudin.
Ok, maybe you need the backstory on that. I don't just send random texts textes text messages to my aunt to tell her what I smell like.
There is a convenience store, Chadeaux's, we usually stop at on the way home. They makes their own sausage, boudin, cracklins, and who knows what else. It is all amazing.  Once you go in the store, you smell like boudin for the rest of the day. Even the bathroom soap has soaked up the smell.
We told Aunt N and Uncle B about it when they came out to visit.  She sent me a text that said "We smell like boudin now" when they stopped there on their way home.
So, on my last trip home, I was going to send her a text. So I got my phone out, hit the microphone button and said " I - smell - like - boudin".
It 'thought' about that for a while and finally came up with "I have love to dance".

I guess they need a "southern talk" app.

PS: I was just about to hit "publish" when Mr. Z asked if I knew you can type a text by dragging your finger across the screen instead of pecking at the letters.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Indestructable Baseboards

Thanks to Father-In-Law and his speedy work with the floor tiles, we had a whole day to work on something extra on our trip in last week.
Since we hadn't planned on having time to tackle baseboards and it was Black Friday and I didn't want to have to punch someone trying to get 1x4's and you know our loathing of crowds, we were left in a 1x4 situation.

Family, always there when you need them. Even when you just need 1x4's.
Big Brother offered to cut some 1 inch planks down for us.
In the stack, he had pine. Perfect.

At the bottom...

There was some nice oak close to the top. Big Brother said we would need to use screws instead of nails, not a problem. We just so happened to get Mr. Z a nice big drill before we left and he was itching to use it.

So, let the cutting begin.

And the painting.

And the measuring and re-cutting.

Now for the grand finale of putting them up!
...At least we thought...

That oak that we cut, painted, and cut again is apparantly indestructable.
The new 18v drill and the wood screws were no match for the wonderful hardwood.
Daddy told us to put WD-40 on the screws and that might help. Another wonder of WD-40!
He said that Pawpaw used to spit on nails to make them go through hardwood.

 If the WD-40 didn't work, then we would just have to drill the holes first then put in the screws. 
We did both just to cover our bases.

Hold the board in place, drill hole, change bits, spray the screw with WD-40, drill the screw in, change bits, and repeat. 
We were really on a roll.
At least until we ran out of studs to attach the baseboards to.
I'm not kidding.
They just aren't where they are supposed to be.
We tried the stud-finder, but it even got confused.

We think they didn't have enough long boards that would reach from floor to ceiling so in some places they used horizontal studs.

Since the floors and walls aren't really flat and level, I don't think wood glue will really hold them, especially against the card-board walls.
We may end up just propping them against the wall. We are going to have furniture that will hide most of them anyway, right? We will just put a sign up that says to please re-prop the baseboards when you knock them down. No biggie.

We only got part of the kitchen done.

Once they are screwed, taped, glued, and plastered up, I think they will look really nice.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Warm Chestnut Floors

Remember the sad floors in the bedroom and extra bedroom?

Well... They got a major facelift.
And a tan.

On our short trip in for Thanksgiving, we had our schedule planned out for visiting and working. My father-in-law (FIL) was going to help us with the oh so unlevel floors. He was going to put some sort of compound stuff down to fill in the low spots. Now, Father-In-Law is a real go-getter. Grass doesn't grow under his feet.
 While I was working on the trim, he was checking out the floor to get a game plan. Mr. Z was still at work and was going to drive home that night and we would finish the floors on Friday. Next thing I know, Father-In-Law has about 1/2 of the floor put down. I'm surprised he was still long enough for me to get a picture.

He said he thought he should at least do the tricky parts around the doors and corners because he thought Mr. Z's patience wouldn't last. And not to mention FIL said the room was at least off-square by 2 inches. Which that's nothing we didn't already know.

Friday, father and son finished up the bedrooms.

Thanks to FIL we got to start on another project on Saturday.

Because of the freezing weather and The Little House is always 10-20 degrees colder on the inside than outside, there also had to be constant heat circulated.

(Oh and that whole cooler in the house thing only works in the winter. During the summer the house decides to become an oven)

We had a beautiful frost though.

I could not get over what an improvement the new tile gave the rooms. Now I kind of want to do the rest of the house... Don't tell them. ; )

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brown Trim

Last week we made the trip home for Thanksgiving and worked in some Little House renovation time.
My project Wednesday was to re-paint the trim and cabinets.  Before we began the extensive renovation process, this is a peak of what it looked like.

A little spackle (my favorite!) and paint...

It was a MAJOR improvement...but being a girl someone who would like things to be the best they can be, I wasn't satisfied with the color I had picked out.
So, that's what I needed to take care of last Wednesday.
I found black bread color from Kilz, but just had it mixed up with latex semi-gloss paint instead of Kilz primer.
It took longer than I thought it would, but it turned out great!
Just a tip, dark paint is much less forgiving...

We also added a piece of painted trim to the back of the countertop.

I found a strip under the cabinets that had gotten missed during our painting before...

Perhaps leaving it 'sun-burst' yellow wouldn't have been so bad...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I like about Texas Part 2

One Sunday morning about 6 months or so after we moved in, Mr. Z and I got ready to go to church.

We were dressed in our Sunday best and headed down stairs.

We walked to the Ranger and found this.

What do you do?

All we knew was that Mr. Z could not drive around with a swastika on the hood of his truck.
Just driving it to the car wash was stressful.

After scoping out the perimeter we discovered we were not the only victims of vandalism.
I don't know which one was more offensive.
Poor girl, she had giant genatalia on the side of her lime green VW Beetle.
We did not discover the culprits but at least we had a better idea that it was a prank and not a threat.

For the record, WD40 will remove spray paint as well as the top layer of exterior paint.
But, hey, if you are in a pinch, that doesn't really matter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

These boots were made for chicken hockey?

One of the top priorities for Momma on The Crew's visit was to find boots.
Not just any boots.
Rubber boots.
Rubber boots with zebra print.
Rubber boots with zebra print to wear on muddy days to the chicken pen.
Because you know how judgemental those hens can be.  If she doesn't look good, she will be the talk of the hen-house.

We searched high and low, near and far for such boots.
Finally, at our last stop, our quest was over.

There they were. Perfect. And perfectly priced.
We searched madly for a size 9. There were none.
We asked a sales-lady to get the last pair off the top shelf.
Size 7.
In manic desperation we sorted through the ones we had already deemed too small or too large. Just as we had given up hope, the first pair we had looked at had transformed into the perfect size.
It was just like Cinderella.

And because I was shopping with my Momma, of course I got to pick a pair too.

This is not the only time Momma and I have been on a quest for boots. Oh, no.
Several years ago I was determined to find Momma a pair of go-go boots.  We found many boots that were were stylish enough.  That was not the problem. 
The problem was the loss of vascular circulation.
These boots were like putting on control top panty hose that were 2 sizes too small. Made of leather.
At that point in my life, young and naive as I was, I was certain that somewhere in this giant supply-and-demand world we could find boots that would fit the legs wearing them.
Poor Momma.
She had zipper indentions on the side of her legs for weeks.
Every store.
Every boot.
Momma was surrounded in a sea of boxes and tissue paper.

Do you know what does not help squeezing a calf into a boot?
Do you know what does not help squeezing a calf out of a boot?
There we were, in the middle of a department store, our size 2 sales-lady gone to find us another pair of boots and we are stuck.
Not figuratively.
As Momma's pinkie toe is turning blue, we can't get her loose from the non-zippered boot I made her try.
It was stretchy. It was logical at the time.
Now it was comical.
Two women playing tug of war with a foot. I was holding her foot while Momma held on the the bench lest she was to go flying across the floor.
After a few minutes of hysterical laughter and a few seconds of panic *SLURP*
Her foot was free of the leather death-grip. 
Her toes lost their cyanosis and regained their pink appearance.
Eventually she did find a pair but I think it was only to satisfy me and to save her abused legs.


Monday, November 15, 2010


Last Wednesday night, Mr. Z and I went to see Cirque du Soleil: Alegria.

From experience we learned we do not need to risk our lives to get to an event, because inevitably it always starts late. This particular event did not. And we wrote the time down wrong. We were 20 minutes late.

We didn't miss too much.  Cameras and camera phones were not allowed, so do not ask where I got the pictures. I have my sources and they will not be revealed.

That is a metal hula hoop. He's pretending to be spokes in a wheel. Don't get any ideas Momma.

I couldn't help but think about the integrity of their ligaments. And the position of their organs. And if I had to adjust them, would I be able to?

All of the music and singing was live. So much talent.

Alegria means jubilation in Spanish. It was quite incredible.