Thursday, July 26, 2007

the toilet disaster

It all started with a running toilet. Fearful that this would jack my water bill up, I compared the "running" toilet with the toilet in the back bedroom. I could spot the problem, easily (i'm smart like that).

Not one to be daunted by household problems, I decided I would go to Home Depot and fix it myself. I can read, I can screw, I can assemble.

So, I decided to buy the ENTIRE inside toilet repair kit - I was feeling bold and adventurous - plus, at $20, I was feeling a little reckless.

I put on my latex gloves (no sense in getting icky water all over myself) and opened up the box. I turned off the water (step 1), and tried to figure out what the HECK the difference was between the shank washer and the cup washer (this stuff sound kinda nasty... course, it is generally a man's world, speak in their language, right?)

Step Four - take the toilet tank off. Unscrew the bolts. One on the right - easy as pie. One on the left...rusted on. Now after 45 minutes of using four different pairs of pliers and literally LAYING down under my toilet (squeezed in like no big man could possibly get) I realized that every time the nut moved, so did the screw. I collapsed in tears, frustrated and angry at the world and the fact that there is no ONE I could call to help me. PLUS - all I needed was ONE extra set of hands... not a brain. Definitely a job for a man.

So, I moved on to the pantry door that had fallen off it's slider. The slider has disappeared. And then I saw that the pantry door was actually cracked, which is why the slider thing had fallen out. Again, I can do this. I got my electric drill and started screwing a screw in. Which caused the door to come off the bottom hinge and fall on top of me...

sorry, no photos, broken camera.

Friday, July 13, 2007

First in War, first in Peace

George Washington... he's my FAVORITE! What a fella. I will try not to wax too eloquent (as in length, not eloquence - that is simply unstoppable)

His father died when he was thirteen. He knew there was not enough money for him to travel abroad and finish his education, so he dreamt of the Navy. That dream came crashing down at the age of 17 when his mama (a none-too-kind lady) told him to forget it, it was out of the question, and never mention it again.

He obeyed. A neighbor, Mr. Fairfax approached Mrs. Washington some time later, and asked her if George may accompany his son out into the back country to learn the skill of surveying. To this she agreed, and Geroge learned how to be a surveyor.

Thank GOD (literally) as when he was called upon to be an aide to General Braddock in the French and Indian War (we fought the Fench and the Indians, we were on the side of the British). Geroge KNEW the territory. Not only did he know the territory, he knew how the Indians fought, how they lived and how they thought. When General Braddock was killed in his bright Red COAT a top his horse, George literally saved the day and the battle. Because he was obedient to his mother, even though she was grouchy, and did what was set before him. This also came in very handy when he was asked to pick the actual location for the Federal City (D.C.) He chose where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers coincided, because they flowed into the Chesapeake which flowed into the Atlantic. Good for trade. (and it's ok to start a sentence with "because" ocassionally - look it up)

There's more, but this is where I will stop.

Except for one more thing: it was because of the HUGE expense of the French and Indian War that the British started taxing us so heavily. They had to re-fill the coffers - hence the outrageous taxes which led to the petitions, remonstrances and finally, the "rebellion" - the tea, the "massacre" and the shots at Lexington and Concord. Did you know the Declaration came 15 months after the first shots were fired?

ok - we will talk about the whole "slave deal" later - so don't get all uptight - there were many and varied and good thoughts going on, but as a nation we were too fragile to handle the issue - it was important that we actually make it as a tiny fledgling nation...

ALSO - have you ever heard of the bullet-proof George? it happened in the battle where General Braddock died and I'll tell you later.

(these are the stories I tell to my school children on tour)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eight things

Karen tagged me to write eight things that are random or that others probably don't know about me. I have never been tagged before (I'm just not that popular in the blogging world, although as a child I was always tagged because I wasn't all that fast... does that count as a fact?)

The rules are the same basic ones. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

So, here we go.

1) When I was in the eighth grade I did a backbend on top of the upright piano in my Choir class. The teacher was there. He is the one who reminded me of this fact many years later. I wonder what the classroom management was in that room? As usual, I was accompanying the Choir (life story)

2) I was the accompanist for our Elementary School choir when I was nine. Considering I have only let five students EVER play the piano for any of my choirs, I guess I was pretty good.

3) I have been to 37 foreign countries. Favorite places: Calcutta, India; New Zealand, MOROCCO!!!!!, Israel, Turkey, Spain, Prague! Bolivia

4) I am REALLY bad at recognizing any kind of "pop" music - from the 70s, 80s, 90s or now. I never know "who sang that", and don't really care.

5) I consider myself an introvert although I love people deeply and love hearing their stories. I am GREAT at putting myself out there for others, therefore people think I am an extrovert, but I HATE the thought of going to a party with lots of people.

6) I HATE it when people say, "Can I just call you Sue?"

7) Carrying heavy luggage is one of the top three things I hate to do most in life (along with making my bed and folding clothes)

8) I didn't always hate football. Teaching Choir in Oklahoma and dealing with the "good Ole Boys Club" did that to me (Where football is God). I grew up avidly watching football and remember many a Sunday afternoon napping in front of the game, and impressing many fellows with my knowledge of the game and stats.

And now I get to tag people (can't remember who Karen tagged, sorry if I choose you again)... Corinne, Gayla, Renee, Ginger, Aisha, Beth

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thomas Jefferson

Now, a lot of people get bent out of shape about old TJ - "he's not a Christian, he was a deist..." or about his alleged children with Sally Hemings. BUT... I DO have some thoughts on that. First off, we are in GREAT DANGER when we put today's social/cultural standards on the past. For example... a deist today means God created the Universe and has left it to chance. Not so 200 years ago. And READ his writings. TJ said, "I tremble when I think that God is just and will not lie sleeping dormant forever." Also, he gave $50 to the American Bible Society with the following attached note: "It has just come to my attention taht there are families in this country who do not own a Bible. Please use this money to provide Bibles for them. Reading the Bible makes a man a better father, a better citizen and a better husband."

What about the Bible he "re-wrote", you say? SO glad you asked. What I have read and heard is that he did that for the Native Indians because he wanted them to only hear the words of Jesus, NOT because he didn't believe the miracles, but because he didn't want them to consider Jesus another "witch doctor".

Did he have a crisis of faith when his wife, the love of his life, died suddenly? Most certainly. AS many people have.

ANYhow - I actually just wanted to tell a couple of fun stories about him. But, now I'm worn out from defending him. But here's one:

President Kennedy had all of the Nobel Prize winners dining in the State Dining Room in the White House. He said to them, "This is perhaps the largest group of intelligence ever assembled to dine in this room. Except for when Thomas Jefferson dined here alone."

And - he and John Adams were quite the politcal rivals throughout their careers. However, they ended their lives GREAT friends. AND... they died on the same day: July 4, 1826(yes, exactly 50 years after the reading of the Declaration)

that's all for now. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

stories from the road

I am on a respite - on Long Island. with the hochstedler fam. it's been really nice. although they roped me into painting - and seriously - they are SERIOUS about it.

I just finished three tours in a row - and i loved the second one. The first one of the three I liked because I liked the lady who organized it, although they had serious punctuality problems. The second one I LOVED because the Principal doesn't let the kids mess around. And then there was the third one... you KNOW you're in for it when the PRESIDENT of the company you work for says, "We're sorry. Really we are. Everyone has to do them once."

Generally, on a 7 day trip, I MAY call the office once - just to check in and let them know I'm ok. I called the office a MINIMUM of three times a day... everytime with another hassle... beyond exhausting. And the office was secretly LAUGHING... I KNOW they were... actually, they are what got me through it. Because they were fully sharing my pain - as best as can. But every morning I KNOW they were waiting for the heinous stories from the day before.

So, here's a VERY SMALL example of this trip. The teacher(s) have decided that their students CANNOT drink soda on the trip - so for every dinner the office was instructed to have the restaurants serve water or milk to our kids. Day Four this cute kid, Marcel, (and the kids were absolutely DARLING) is asked by someone else what's for dinner. He says, "Cheese. And butter. And milk." And I said, "Marcel, you like a nice big glass of MILK for dinner?" And he says, "Drinking milk straight makes me throw up."... poor thing...

And the really classy 55 year old female founder of the school walked up to me and YELLED in my face that "You and me are gonna get into it!" ... because I was walking her kids UP the gangplank away from the water before she TOLD me I could...

ok - deep breath... :)

I can't tell any more of the stories - there's no chiropractor near to take away the stress, and it's too early for a drink.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

On the Dash

We're back... too bad, really, as vacation is so much more enjoyable than everyday life. It was a great time.
Karen started the trip with a gift for me... Dashboard Jesus... what a blessing and a treasure. She thought it would be good to use in the rental car even before I got home, but then we realized that truly, sitting Him on my tray table would be a VERY wise way to start the trip.

Fortunately, the police officer from PA who was sitting in the seat next to us agreed. I wondered if PERHAPS I would be allowed to keep my tray table down during take-off, as it was the throne for DJ, and indeed, it seemed almost possible that the Flight Attendants were NOT going to even SEE the tray table in the down position - this may be due to the fact that the Holy Spirit was blinding their eyes to keep us safe (although the 7 year old girl across the aisle and ONE ROW UP kept giving me dirty looks - she must be a first born - the Rules Follower!)... I thought if the Flight Attendant realized that it was actually JESUS who was sitting on the tray table, they may give me permission ... but his very forceful strut up the aisle at the last minute frightened even ME, and the 7 year old got her wish.

However, this did not stop DJ from protecting us. And he continued to speak to me in a very real way about the sins of Karen - sitting in the back of her father's truck without her seatbelt... I feel this is a real sin... testing the grace of God AND requiring the angels to have to pay extra close attention to her ... and I kept TELLING her that this was what DJ was telling me... she kept rebelling.

Honestly, it was a great trip - so thankful for a friend with a husband who not only said yes take the time off, but helped us make the arangements. And what fun to get to know her parents better. Her DAD is a Naval Academy Grad! (yes, I am very impressed) For a wonderful re-cap, you can check Karen's blog - she wrote it true, AND has a slide show!

Friday, March 23, 2007

the chore of living in a hotel

I am paying SERIOUS money to come down to the lobby EARLY this morning and to catch up with my friends - YOU GUYS! Although, no one will probably even think to check my blog since its BEEN SO LONG! I took REALLY good pictures for Karen's contest, and then was gone before I could down load them. Those canceled flights in NYC last weekend? Yeah - that was MY GROUP! The good news is that my groups have been amazing since the first one and I CAN'T WAIT to go to Orlando!

Hey - any stories or photos with me that are not on MY BLOG are NOT TRUE! There are some BAD false stories going on out there - and ANYONE can photo shop, these days.

Just remember, all day every day, I lead little darlings through our nation's capital and NYC... ahhhhh.

Love you all and I will be home for ten days in a little while.

Monday, January 29, 2007

kitchen woes

There I was, standing at my kitchen sink, still a little teary from my last round with God about broken dreams and hearts, when I heard this suspicious dripping... and there it was - EASY to locate - water pouring out from under my sink - oh look ! My kitchen pipes seem to be falling apart.

Now - I am SMART enough and well-equipped enough to know HOW to handle this - but PLEASE LORD! throw me a bone! as if it's not enough that I am STILL single at 40, HOME repairs - again - not that a man would do this for me, even if there WERE one, but the timing... the pain... the WISH that I at least could call Pedro the Maintenance supervisor back at my old apartments....

This is the faulty piece of PVC, with the worn out something that is like a washer, maybe? The very young, barely able to shave, married male child at Lowes assured me replacing this woudl fix the problem. I was more than happy but still a little wary - especially since he couldn't find the right parts - but after searching high and low we DID locate the replacements, and for $2.08 I set off with my new purchases...

here it is, all fixed - and WORKING! Please ignore how filthy the rest of the pipes look - I don't know HOW they get like that.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Christmas in New Mexico

So I spent the past few days in New Mexico with my family. That's where my brother and his family live. We went on the train ride from Durango up about two hours and then back. It was a great day and I thought I would attach a few pictures.

It was great to see my family. We had a gift-opening session, but without the pressure of dinner, and timing and not many days together - which seems to be the best way to do it. If my parents lived nearby me, I think that would be amazing. I would love to be able to see them frequently. They are terrific people.

I hope you are all well. I am okay. Not great, but it IS January - my least favorite time of year, and we DO have a TON of ice, and I haven't worked in two weeks, and if I don't work I don't get paid, so all things considered, I am just fine.