Saturday, January 31, 2015

So Long January!

Dear January,

You've been a good month. Although you were supposed to be the month that I started doing the right stuff, we just didn't quite get it together. It's not you, it's me. You were full of possibility - I just sort of dropped the ball.

Not to worry, though, because I will eventually get it together. Not in your month, but hopefully in one of your sister months. And next January, when we meet again, I hope things are different. Or at least I am!
Today is a gift because: Steve and GDizzle's safe travel to Nashville; Lindley and Everley time; Miranda time; beef roast and potatoes for dinner

Friday, January 30, 2015

Let's Move The Refrigerator!

A few years ago, I decided that I was tired of dealing with the ice maker in our refrigerator. The problem was that every time you pulled out the freezer door, the ice would sling all over the floor (perhaps this is a little exaggerated, but it's close). After careful consideration and advice (not always solicited), I chose a new fancy model. When it was delivered, the very kind delivery/installer people disassembled the old refrigerator and installed it in the sunroom (just a short hallway from the kitchen).

Now, it was never my dream to have a refrigerator in my sunroom. My ideal was to sit in the sunroom and enjoy the sun. However in the past year, due to yard sales and general junk deposits from the family, the sunroom has become a junk room. Adding the cast-off refrigerator did not help the ambiance of the sunroom.

Now that my laundry room has been cleared of the old hot water heater, there is room for the old refrigerator to be installed there. There is only one small problem - I shall be doing this myself. And as in most projects I decide to undertake, this one may prove perilous.

Currently there is only a washer and dryer in the laundry room. I took out the large cabinet on which I fold clothes and that holds the kitty litter box. So clearly I have plenty of room in which to put the old refrigerator. There is only one small problem - the refrigerator will not fit through the door.

I know my plan of action. First I shall have to remove the door from the hinges. Usually one can just pop out the pin of the hinge and off comes the door. However, this door (of course) does not permit one to do that. So instead, I have to unscrew the hinges from the door frame, thus freeing the door from the frame, and making a larger opening for the refrigerator to go through.

However, it is still not big enough for the refrigerator. So next I  have to take off the doors to the refrigerator. It has three because it's a french door model. I manage to complete this task, but find that the refrigerator is a bit heavy, so I have to empty the refrigerator and freezer compartments. This is actually a blessing because it gives me the chance to (a) purge all the yucky food and (b) thoroughly clean the refrigerator (a job that didn't get done when it was moved to the sunroom because it didn't get turned off).

So, the door to the laundry room is off. The doors to the refrigerator is off. The refrigerator is emptied and cleaned. And the refrigerator is now easily moved up the one step to the laundry room. I put it in it's new location and reattached all the doors (thank goodness for my battery-operated screwdriver).

Although the room still has some issues, it's nice to see the laundry room is coming together.  You can see all the new pipes in the background. You can't see that lack of tiles. But it's coming together. Sort of like me ...
Today is a gift because: moving the refrigerator; Lindley and Everley time; safe travel for Steve to Columbus

Thursday, January 29, 2015

And We're (Technically They're) Back!!

Today the plumbers returned to finish the Great Tankless Installation of 2015. The roofer dude showed up and got the roof holes done/repaired - after I retrieved some shingles leftover from Maribeth and Mathieu's garage roof repair. The plumbers attached everything to the new system, took out the old relic known as the hot water heater, relocated the water pipes for the washing machine to the other wall, and replaced the last of the cast iron pipes under the house.  Head Plumber Dude showed me the new system and explained it to me (not sure how much I actually retained), took my check, and then left (leaving his DeWalt charger, which he would call about later that evening).

While all this work was going on, the pedestals for the washer/dryer were delivered. Delivery dude came in and asked to see the machines. I had read reviews that said that the delivery dudes WOULD NOT install the pedestals, which did cause me some concern, but figured I would figure a way around that - like Scarlett, on another day. However, this dude acted like he would be installing them - until he saw my machines. To make a long, sad story short, because they were not brand new and did not have the stabilizer (or something like it) screws still screwed in, he could not guarantee that the pedestals could be installed without mortal injuries to the machines (because apparently he would have to lay the machines down, or upside down, or flippity-floppity all around). I agreed that such an action would not be desired. He said I could refuse the delivery and they pedestals would return to the store and my money would be refunded. So much for my pedestal dreams ...

Back to the plumbers. Although they cleaned up very nicely once they were finished, I was not prepared for one part that was no fault of theirs. Apparently when we spruced up the laundry room several years ago, the people who put down the tile did not tile under the water heater. Which means the washing machine is semi-level because there are tiles missing. Which, if I had pedestals, perhaps they would compensate for the gaps. But I don't. So clearly I am going to have to figure out something.

I had some tiles leftover from our den, so I sort of placed them in the gaps. But clearly this was not going to be a good solution, so I was going to have to figure something else out. The good news is that we have a new hot water system and my laundry room can return to doing laundry.

I didn't want this adventure to be over yet, anyhow ...
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; new hot water system installed; roof dude

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Maybe Tomorrow ...

So the plumbers have more work to finish at the other tankless job, so they won't be back today. But they will be back tomorrow to finish the job. Which will actually work out better, because that's when my washing machine and dryer pedestals should be delivered. And I'm hoping that we can put the machines on the pedestals and all will be right with the world - at least in my laundry room.

Meanwhile, I shall get busy preparing my house for my incoming guests. Lindley will be staying with us starting tomorrow because her parents are both going out of town for work. I'm sure Everley will be over too, since I am taking her to school this week. Steve will be travelling to Columbus on Friday to pick up GDizzle and bring him back for a week in Nashville. So it looks like we're going to have a pretty full house this weekend!

As long as we have hot water, I think we'll be okay ...
Today is a gift because: Everley time; quiet day with no workers; getting beds and food ready for the weekend

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let's Call In A Sick Day

There's a baby attached to that arm ...
This week I'm taking Everley to school because Maribeth has to be at work early. However, this morning when I got to their house, Everley was having none of this. After chatting (on my part) and screaming (on her part), Everley decided to burrow into the bed (you might be able to see her arm under the pillow). There was no cajoling her into getting out of bed. And yes, I considered strong-arming her out of the bed and into daytime clothes and force-feeding her some breakfast before shoving her into her car seat and dragging her into school. Instead, I decided life is short and to let her stay burrowed, hoping that perhaps a little quiet time would cause her to change her thoughts about school for today.

This is her "sick face."
Well, after an hour or so of burrowing, more chatting, and more screaming, accompanied by some weeping (not saying by whom), I texted Maribeth and called an audible. I suggested that perhaps today was not the best day for Everley to go to school, and perhaps a day with LaLa would be better for everyone (particulary LaLa). Maribeth concurred with my diagnosis. When Everley was informed of this new outcome for the day, her attitude miraculously changed as did her outfit. She got dressed, we ran errands, and we went to LaLa's to finish out the day.

I guess on some days, a day of LaLa is all you need to feel better!
Today is a gift because: spending the day with Everley; still getting tasks complete

Monday, January 26, 2015

D-Day - Let's Tankless It!!

So today was the day that we were going to move into modern times. Our ginormous old water heater was going to be replaced by a new little tankless one (which I still don't fully understand how it works, and Steve is still on the fence as to whether he will have enough hot water for a shower). The plumber dudes showed up early and got to work.

After a few hours, the head plumber dude found me and asked if I knew when the gas dudes would be there (remember, the gas dudes came to the house, decided they wanted to party with the plumber dudes when they were here, and "rescheduled" for Monday, which would be today). I told the plumber I would call the gas company and ask. Which I did, and after several calls and transfers and explanations to new people, I found out that the dudes that came did NOT reschedule - they put a note on my paperwork to return when the hot water heater was put in.

NOT ACCEPTABLE!!  The plumbers said they didn't want to hook up to the old meter/doohickey because then when the new meter/doohickey was installed, they would have to re-do all they had done. So I explained this to some very nice, very competent person at the gas company (who was actually working in the Arkansas office), who sent a note (it must have been a tersely worded doozie note) to somebody in Nashville. The Nashville dude called me back in just a few minutes, and soon I had two new gas dudes at my house, meeting up with the plumber dudes, and soon a meter/doohickey party was on. Once finished, the gas dudes left and plumber dudes kept working on piping and assembling and drilling and hammering. At quittin' time, the head plumber dude said the old water heater was still hooked up, because he couldn't hook up the new one until a new exhaust pipe thingy was installed through the roof, because you have to have a straight shot and our existing one was a twisty turny thing.

They cannot come back tomorrow, because they have to go finish up somebody's else's new tankless, but they will be back on Thursday. Which will hopefully also be when the roofer dude will be able to come and put a new hole in the roof and patch the old hole.

I hope the roofer dude has it on his schedule ...
Today is a gift because: taking Everley to school; nice workers of all kinds at my house; helpful people at the gas company

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fifty Shades of What???

There seems to be a lot of buzz about the upcoming movie, "Fifty Shades of Grey." And frankly, like I felt about the book, I don't get it.

I admit it - I actually did not read the book. I became aware of the hubbub surrounding the book when it came out. At first, I thought it was a humorous book (like Erma Bombeck-ish) about women in their 50s. And then I got word that it was about something else - something else entirely.

I was still not intrigued to go out and read the book (or books - apparently there's more than one). So I did the next best thing - I wikipedia-ed it. And frankly, I read all I need to about those fifty shades. In fact, I think I read more than I needed to about those fifty shades.

Anyhow, I think my original thought of fifty shades of old ladies would have been more entertaining. At least to this 50+ old lady. At least I think I would have understood it more ...
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; lovely Sunday; wogging with KB; breakfast with KB and Molly

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sometimes It Snows In Nashville ...

Nope, it's not anything like the snows up North. Nope, we didn't have to call out the snowplows. Nope, we didn't have to shovel snow nor was school cancelled. It was just enough snow to be pretty until it had all melted away by noon. But it was pretty and nice to see. 

Wanna build a snowman?

Today is a gift because: snow for Anne

Friday, January 23, 2015

Apple, Meet Tree

I'm not sure what's in the DNA - the choice of slippers, the choice of pjs, or the snoozing pose. But clearly, they're mother and daughter!!
Maribeth - back in the day ...
Everley - now in this day ..

Today is a gift because: Cheesecake Factory dinner treated and picked up by John and Anne; Lindley and Everley time

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Heart Junk People

Because I like a lot of stuff going on at the same time, now is a particularly thrilling time. Not only am I attempting to get a new hot water system going on, but I am also trying to help the people repairing Maribeth and Mathieu's garage repair that happened when a tree came crashing down through the roof. Today's task? Meeting the junk removal people to clear out rocks and stuff from around their garage.

Actually the task needed was to clear out a small shed full of lumber and limbs at the back of the garage so it would be clear for the siding to be replaced (and the shed would go, too). I called a couple of junk people, but Junk King said they could be out today, so we set a date. Of course they asked me questions like how much was it, what kind of stuff was it, and how many trucks would be needed. My answers were, I don't know, rocks and lumber and stuff, and maybe one? They quit asking me questions and gave me an appointment time.

Maribeth was having a new thermostat put in today also, and then was called into work, so I sat with the electrical dudes until they decided the thermostat wasn't going to work and left. Not too long after the junk dudes showed up. First they loaded up a bunch of rocks and stuff that were left over from when Mathieu cleared out a sorry-looking rock garden/fountain thing left by the previous owner. Then they headed to the back and cleared out the lumber and sticks and took down the shed. They were nice and efficient and did a great job.


Wonder if they do inside houses too ...
Today is a gift because: taking Everley to school; Maribeth and Everley making an airport run for Steve; electrical dudes; junk dudes

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Gas Dudes

Today's Saga of the Hot Water Heater continues. Yesterday when the plumber people were telling me about the new tankless system, they informed me that I would need to contact the gas people, because I am the homeowner and I need a different meter because the tankless needs a different flow/valve/doohickey in order to produce hot water. I said okay, and called the gas people who said they would be out today.

Two dudes arrive and I explain what is needed. Actually, I read what the plumber people wrote down for me to say (because I knew when push came to shove, I would sound like to goofball when attempting to explain what I heard from the plumbers). The gas dudes still looked a little perplexed, so I read it again. I then did my best impression of, "I dunno, but you're supposed to know," in hopes that they would get cracking. Instead, they asked when the plumbers would be here to install the tankless. I told them Monday, to which they responded that they preferred to do the work then, so we could all be on the same page. So the gas dudes left, telling me they would reschedule the work for Monday. The day we will all be on the same page.

Like that's really going happen ...
Today is a gift because: taking and picking up Everley from school; gas dudes

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Twilight Zone - aka Luanne's Sense of Time

There are people who live in the future. They dream about what they will be doing and will make endless plans to get there. There are people who live in the past. They dream about what was and how good it was and how it was better. There are people who live in the present. They dream about nothing and just try to get by for today, because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised. And then there's me ...

For instance, for me, in many ways, today is January 20. For most of the rest of you, today is not January 20, but some day several weeks into the future. And we all know why so we needn't go down that road. But isn't it kind of interesting to live in both the past and the present and the future?

Anyhow, now that I've finished my first race of the year, I've been on my first cruise of the year, I've had my party of the decade (or perhaps the millennium), and I've managed to conquer the threat of takeover by rogue smoke detectors, what else could I wish to do this year?

Well, the next big thing is to replace the traditional hot water heater with a tankless system. Yes, the plumber dudes who came yesterday to do the annual plumbing inspection noticed that our big humongous tank is old. And needs replacing. So, I have the opportunity that I've been waiting for - to switch to tankless! I've been considering this for years, only to have various workers/people/strangers tell me what a bad idea it is. Of course, the people I know with tankless systems like them. So, I decided to take the plunge (and spend the $$$) to get it done.

It means that the gigantic water heater in my laundry room will be gone, thus clearing up a spot in there for the refrigerator that I cast out into the sunroom because it was a horrible ice-making machine. Which means we will no longer have to go into the freezing sunroom to get a coca-cola (well, for those who drink them).

This new direction is scheduled for next Monday, which gives me some time to move out the two cabinets that need moving and unhook the dryer to move it around. Because while they're redoing pipes and such (they also are going to replace the remaining cast iron pipes under the house since they are beginning to leak and sag - sort of like my old lady body), they are also going to relocate the laundry pipes so the washer/dryer can be side by side again. And I'm planning to put them on pedestals, well, because I think that will be cool.

So, while you are off dreaming about the future (maybe because that's where you are right now), I am dreaming about my future laundry/hot water heater. It's amazing how quickly this is going to happen!!
Today is a gift because: Everley time

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Story Of The Little Smoke Detector That Had Issues

So on last Friday, when I returned home from Disney this-n-that, I decided to sit a spell in the den. And that's when I started hearing it - the beep that signals that a new battery is needed in a smoke detector. Now don't think that I had that figured out all of a sudden. First I had to listen to ascertain what kind of sound I was hearing. Then I had to figure out where the sound was coming from - the television or my actual surroundings. Then I had to figure out that since the beep (every minute or so) was indeed coming from my actual surroundings, what the beep was, as in an alarm of some sort or who knows what. Finally I figured it out, that it was a smoke detector detecting an inferior battery. And I even figured out which smoke detector it was - the one in the mechanical room, aka the den hvac room, aka "the factory" where Lynnette and Maribeth put items they deem should no longer be in Lindley and Everley's immediate vicinity (aka Lala's house).

Anyhow, back to batterygate. Once I had ascertained which smoke detector it was, I knew I probably I did not have the correct batteries. This was because several years ago, there was a smoke detector/battery incident that was quite traumatic since (a) I was out of town, (b) the smoke detector was hooked up to the alarm system and there was the issue that changing the batteries would send the fire department to my house but only if the family members who were at my house could remember or find the password to the security system which they would never be able to do since I possibly couldn't remember it either. And if all that weren't traumatic enough, that smoke detector used batteries that were (a) only available on select days during select hours and (b) were only sold out of someone's trunk in the alley behind Wal Mart. I'm not sure how it all turned out - I think the alarm people turned off the alarm until I could get home. And they probably never turned it back on. Oh well, at least it kept the hook and ladder trucks away.

Anyhow, back to the current smoke alarm saga. Since it was at night and I had been out of town for several, several days, and since I was tired, and since it was dark, I decided not to go in search of the needed batteries. Did I mention that this smoke detector is actually hard-wired into the electrical system? And did I mention that we had our electrical system inspected the week before we left for Disney? Anyhow, the good news is that the bleeping (in every sense of the word) smoke detector is located in one end of our ranch-style house, and I sleep in the other, so we were simpatico for the night.

Saturday I got up, inspected the smoke detector, and discovered that is used the regular 9V batteries. This is something I could replace - if I only had some in the house (by the way, did you know that 9V batteries can burn down your house if they're not stored correctly? Google it and find out! That's the end of my public service announcement). Since it was daylight, I went to Wal Mart for some stuff and bought a four pack of Everyready (or something) 9Vs. I came home, replaced the battery, and everyone was happy.  For about 12 hours when the beeping started again.

I decided that perhaps (a) I had a bad battery in the pack, or (b) the smoke detector was using up battery juice like I devour cranberry juice. So I replaced the battery with its brother battery from the pack. And we were happy again. For about 12 more hours.

By this time it was Sunday morning and the day of Lindley's birthday party. I did not think that a beeping smoke detector would add to the ambiance of a "Frozen" party, so when I made my Kroger run, I bought an expensive Whatever Battery than came one to a pack. I had decided that the reason the other batteries are sold in pack of four is because they are crummy. Certainly a battery that is sold by itself must be stupendous. And it was, because the beeping stopped. For another 12 hours.

By this time, the party was over and we were enjoying a take-out dinner with all the family. Lynnette's parents were there, and her dad Melvin volunteered to check out the smoke detector. He replaced the battery with another brother from the four pack. He also tested (we are so cool that we have a battery tester) the used batteries and found them to be perfectly fine. Whatever. The smoke detector was quiet. For another 12 hours.

By now it's Monday morning. I call the people who did the electrical inspection to come out and check the stupid smoke detector. They tell me they can get someone out this afternoon. I let the stupid smoke detector keep beeping until the dude gets there (this would be all-day beeping, which meant I avoided the den at all costs, even thought the plumbing was getting its inspection today, and I'm sure the dudes for that were wondering why the he** I didn't do something about the beeping). Anyhow, the electrical dude looks at the smoke detector, resets something, looks at the battery, pushes something and puts it back in place.  He says the detector is being triggered by a combustion. Which is interesting since I must be having a lot of combustions. He said that if it kept happening, to call them back and they would replace it - for around $85. Anyhow, the beeping did stop - do you think he fixed it? He did - for about 12 hours.

I got up to let the cat out and guess what - the beeping was going again. By this time I was channeling Phoebe from "Friends":

So, yes, I took out the battery. And unhooked it from the wall. Tomorrow I will throw it in the trash and go in search of a new smoke detector to replace this crazy one. And I'm sure I can find one for less than $85.

I just hope it's not the 12-hour smoke detector kind ...
Today is a gift because: Plumbing dudes and planning new plumbing; Electrical dude and his sorta-help; Molly's and Steve's safe flight home

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Lindley!!

Today the party guests descended on The Doik (my house's name) for Lindley's Frozen birthday party (and the health department did not have to be called). The party was at 2pm, and Lynnette and Sarah (Lynnette's mom) came over in the morning to get things together. There was quite a lot to get together. Lynnette had been working and creating and making before she left for the Disney Vacation Extravaganza, so there was a lot to put up and arrange and organize. But with everyone's help, and with Maribeth's offer to bring lunch, we got it all together in time for the big party.

Everyone who came had a great time and Lindley was super pleased. It was a great way to close out her 5th Birthday Celebration!!

A new dress for the birthday girl!
One of the craft tables - there was also snowflake painting and crown decorating.
Oh, and Lynnette made everyone an Elsa braid.
Lynnette made the cake. We also had Olaf ears (carrots) and Sven's antlers (pretzels) among other things.

Pin the nose on Olaf. Lynnette made Olaf. Free-handed.

Lynnette made the signs. Free handed. Wish she was more artistic.
Today is a gift because: Lindley's birthday success; meeting her friends and their moms/grandmom

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Okay, So Now What??

So, Luanne, you've just been at Disney World and on a Disney Cruise. So what are you going to do next??

Umm, would you like a list? First there's the unpacking and washing and drying and putting away. Then there's the going through the mail and paying bills. Then there's the petting and loving on the attention-starved cats. Then there's the trip to the grocery store to buy stuff to eat. Then there's putting Lindley's birthday scrapbook together. Then there's the cleaning of the house because why?  Oh yes - Lindley's fifth birthday party with her friends is on Sunday!  At my house! Where five friends and their mothers will be in attendance and I don't want them to think that LaLa's house is a health hazard.

So, I have plenty to do today. And I should probably get busy. Just as soon as I take a nap. And watch this episode of "Law and Order" because I've only seen it six times.

At least I know there's stuff to do ...
Today's a gift because: I actually got several of my tasks completed!

Friday, January 16, 2015

And Then We Had To Leave

Because Steve and Molly had an early flight to LAX (to do the Star Wars half marathon at Disneyland) and the rest of us had a flight not too long after, we decided to all leave the ship at the same time. That time would be as soon as they let the passengers off, around 7:30am. We all got off with our luggage, through customs, and out onto the sidewalk to await our shuttle to the airport. Of course the weather was much colder than it had been for the past several days, and of course it was spitting a little rain, and of course the shuttle was late (even after two calls to the company). However, eventually the driver and his bus showed up, we boarded, and headed to the airport.

On the ride to the airport - I think this sums up our feelings at this point ...
We arrived at the airport and Steve/Molly went to the American concourse while the rest of us headed to Southwest. Steve/Molly's flight went off as scheduled while we waited for ours. And then we were told to go to another gate. And then we were told that our flight would be delayed for several hours. Which it was. With no real explanation. Until Adam went and asked about it, and found out that our plane had indeed come in on time, but because a flight to Chicago had mechanical problems, they took our plane and we had to wait for a substitute.

So we waited and snacked and took naps and waited some more. Eventually our plane came in and we boarded and soon we were back home. It was a great trip, from races to cruise, but I'm glad to be home!
Today is a gift because: great van ride to the airport; new plane for our ride home; Adam finding out our flight's delay story; Steve and Molly's safe flight to LAX; safe, smooth flight home

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sea Day!!

Today was a pretty slow sea day. Unless you count packing up your stuff (which I did not do well, as I left a purchase somewhere in my room, that was meant for someone in Nashville). Anyhow, there was the usual eating, napping, eating some more, and so on, while just floating around on the ocean. And this this happened ...

We had asked Lindley several times during the cruise if she wanted to hair her hair braided, to which she replied either "no" or "maybe later." Everley voted for no every time. Anyhow, at some point Lindley decided that it was indeed hair-braiding time. And so she and Lynnette headed for the hair-braiding station. At some point after the first or second row, we got a text from Lynnette telling us the procedure was indeed happening, and Molly and I headed to observe. As we arrived, we noticed that Lindley was perhaps not enjoying it - the hair is pulled rather tightly and rubber bands and beads are woven rather securely. But she mustered through, and ended up with quite a lovely new 'do.  A great way to end a great birthday cruise!!
Today is a gift because: lovely day at sea; Lindley's hair braiding success; getting dissed at Palo

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Castaway Cay!

Today we docked in Castaway Cay to a beautiful sunrise. Yes, for those of you who have been on a cruise to Castaway Cay, today we docked in the dark. Why? Because the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K was going to start at 7am, that's why!

There is always a 5K on the island. However, this one was different. If you had completed any of the races during the past Marathon Weekend at Disney World, then you could register for this special 5K (the regular Castaway Cay would be held at the traditional time of 9am, and yes, there were goofballs people who did both). Anyhow, Steve, Lynnette, Molly, and I got up in time to meet with the other participants in the theatre at 5:45am, walk off the boat, and do the 5K. Steve, of course, jogged ahead and finished well ahead of the three of us. We decided to just walk it. And so we did, earning our fancy schmancy Challenge medal, as well as the usual Castaway Cay medal (a definite upgrade from the old generic DCL "winner" medal).

What? There's nobody behind us? Well, that's odd ... Well, maybe not ...
Anyhow, once we were done, and got our medals, and got our snack box, and sat on the ground to eat our snack box, and some people went back for another snack box, we headed to the tram stop. See, the deal was that if you finished before 8:30am, you were to return to the boat and wait for everyone else to be allowed off the boat. We did not wish to make that trek, and instead planned to waste time until we could occupy our cabana.

Molly decided to take a ride on the tram while Lynnette and I decided to see if anyone was at the cabana desk. There was, and she checked us in, and we were off to our cabana!! Sure, we should could have waited for Molly, but we didn't. Instead, we found the hammock. And eventually Molly showed up, as did the rest of the family. And it would seem that everyone enjoyed the day!!

Today is a gift because: Castaway Cay 5K Challenge and medals; cabana ready; fun in the water 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

And Then I Became A LaLa

Well, five years ago, anyway. On that day I was in boot camp (oh, the good old days) and didn't get the call until I was back in my car. Nobody else in the family answered their phones that early in the morning, either. You would think that we weren't expecting the first grandchild in the family, particularly on this day, the day she was due. She was born, and everyone finally answered their phones, and life has never been the same.

Today we celebrated Lindley's birthday, since this is her birthday cruise. We were docked in Nassau but only Adam got off the boat. We celebrated at lunch with gifts and then at dinner with the wait staff singing happy birthday. All in all, it was a good day, as has been every day since January 13, 2010. Happy Birthday Lindley!!

Because when you're five, you can drink two at once!!

Happy Birthday To You!!
Today is a gift because: Lindley's birthday celebrations on the boat; beautiful day in Nassau; Adam's scooter stories

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's Monday - Why Don't We Go On A Cruise?!

With Sam's and Adam's arrival at Disney World, the family was almost complete - Mathieu had to stay behind to start classes. We were all together (almost) for Part Deux of this vacation - Lindley's 5th Birthday Disney Cruise!!  We had originally booked this cruise about a year ago, and had planned it for last Thanksgiving. But things didn't work out, so we changed it for the week of Lindley's birthday, which was certainly okay by her!

So around 9am we all assembled in front of Boardwalk to wait for our van to take us to the port.  Lynnette and Molly had regained use of their legs after their trek yesterday, so it looked like we were all good to go. We had an uneventful trip to the port, checked in with little effort, and sat down to wait to board the ship. Which we soon did. We ate lunch (coincidentally our lunch server would end up being our dining server for the week) and then everyone went their separate ways to do whatever they wished - play, nap, unpack, whatevs.

This cruise goes to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay and is only four days long. But it will be a fun rest from the weekend. Bon Voyage!! (to me, anyway!)
Today is a gift because: great van and driver to port (although the a/c was on overdrive); getting our key cards fixed; great concierge team members; rooms ready early; meeting our serving team

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Marathon Sunday - For Some, Anyway

Nope, I am not doing this race. Been there, done that, no plans for a repeat. Nevertheless, there are those that I love who are doing this, and so I will participate - as race support. And that's where our story begins ...

Lynnette and Molly are doing this 26.2 miles of madness. The plan is for me to meet them at certain pre-arranged spots to provide things like chips, snacks, and drinks if needed. And to provide encouragement if needed. Of course, if I am to do this to the best of my abilities, I must go with the troops, even if it means getting up at the even earlier hour of buttiest-crack-o-dawn. And so I did.

I think we met in the lobby at 3:45am to catch the 4am bus. Lynnette and Molly were in their race attire, complete with sock gloves (we got a value pack) and I was in my warmish clothes and my bag-o-goodies. We boarded the bus and headed to the start line at Epcot. Lynnette and Molly headed to the start corrals and I headed to the monorail to get to my first stop - Mile 4 at the ticket center at the Magic Kingdom.

I arrived at my location about two eons before they (or any other runners) would be there. I had gotten warm on the bus to Epcot, but it wasn't long before I was cold again, waiting outside. I met new friends and we chatted while waiting for the race to start. I even saw Volunteer Aisling in her volunteer position across the way!! Eventually the race started. First the wheelchair races came by and in a bit were followed by the lead runners. It's amazing how fast they go, and look like they're just taking a stroll in the park!

Soon, as I was cheering runners along, I see Lynnette. She sees me and makes her obvious victory pictorial, and then starts yelling, "Applesauce!" Of course, I am trying to make sense of this, wondering if (a) it's some sort of code that I don't understand because I missed a planning meeting, or (b) Lynnette has already gone crazy at mile 4, or (c) she is saying words that neither of us understand. One reason I am so confused is because this is Mile 4 - nobody was supposed to need anything at Mile 4!! Anyhow, at some point, I regain some brain cells and realize that she wants a pouch of applesauce that I have in my bag-o-goodies (because she had somehow dropped her somewhere in the previous four miles). I rummage around, find the desired applesauce, and off she goes.

Next came Molly, whom I almost missed. Luckily she shouted and waved and I caught a picture of her as she zoomed past. Luckily she didn't (a) lose her applesauce (mainly because she didn't pack any), (b) and didn't need anything from my bag.

My next planned stop would be in front of the Polynesian Resort, seemingly a short walk from my present station. However, once I started on this "short" walk, it kept getting longer and longer until I decided that I needed to skip this stop so I could get to the next stop - Animal Kingdom. I texted the girls that I would be skipping this one, just in case they read their messages, so that they would not be looking for me.

A bus was at the ticket center that went directly to the Animal Kingdom, so I boarded it with other spectators and off we went. I arrived in plenty of time to see Lynnette (this was just after mile 13), who needed pretzels. I had just enough time to go into the park to get more pretzels in case Molly needed them and then see Molly (but forgot to take a picture).

My next stop was supposed to be the Wide World of Sports, but after an everlasting wait for a bus and then an even longer everlasting bus ride, I decided to head for Hollywood Studios (and texted the girls of my plans). I ended up at Mile 23, right as they entered the back of the park.

First came Lynnette, which gave me time to call Maribeth to get Lindley, Everley, and Steve on the Boardwalk to cheer Lynnette on. And guess who was the biggest cheerleader of all?!

It wasn't long before Molly arrived at Mile 23, and I had just enough time to catch a bus to the finish line so I could see her finish (helped by her stop in France for a glass of vino with Katie, also not doing this race). I got a stranger to yell her name, which sort of startled her, but kept her going to the finish. And finish she did, all 48.6 miles of the Dopey Challenge this weekend.

So in the end, everyone completed their agenda. Some ran, some walked, some sat. It was a good day!!

Today is a gift because: Molly and Lynnette finishing the marathon; chatting with fellow spectators/supporters; seeing Aisling at Mile 4; Steve and Adam arriving at Boardwalk

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Woo Hoo! It's Saturday!!

It's just amazing, isn't it, how sometimes days just seem to fly by! Anyhoo, in case you've missed it, today is half-marathon Saturday!!

For today's race, it's Steve, Molly, Katie, and me. Since Steve is participating, we were able to take the car. The fun part was that we had to walk past a very long line of runners waiting for the bus to the start of the race. Several gave us the stink-eye, perhaps thinking that we were headed in front of them to break line. But no, we were just headed to our car! That was the easy part. Once we got in the car, we got into race traffic, which moved at a snail's pace - sort of like I do in races. We plodded along (again, like I do in races) until finally reaching Epcot and the parking lot.

Once there, we sat a bit before going to our corrals. Then once we got into our corrals, we sat a bit more until our corral was eventually called and off we were! Today was still a little cool, and we shared our fancy sock gloves with Katie. And yet there were still the fast runners with their itsy bitsy race clothes!

Once we started, Steve, Katie and Molly headed off. I kept my usual pace - slow - and eased up a bit as the miles wore on.  There are many special moments in a Disney race. There are those moments when you meet certain mile markers (for me, it's sort of like every one), there are those moments when you know you're headed home (when you round the bend and pass the Grand Floridian), and there are those moments when you know you're going to make it (Mile 12 when you're headed into Epcot). And then there are those unexpected moments, like the one I had today. Here's how it went ...

Just after you pass the Contemporary Resort, you pass Mile Marker 5.  You make a sharp left and head into the back/cast member entrance to the Magic Kingdom. You're actually backstage until you enter the park right between Tony's Town Square and the hat shop. As I as wogging along in the backstage area, I happen to pass a lady who was looking up and around with a huge smile on her face. I heard her say, "This is my first time here." I wasn't sure if she meant her first time ever, or just her first race, but I could fully appreciate her joy and sense of wonder. I said to her, "Just wait until we get into the park and make that first right turn." I knew that the castle would still be lit up and that the view was amazing. I then said to her, "There are volunteers all around - be sure to stop and get your picture!" We got separted with the narrowed course and many runners, but I saw her again one last time. She had indeed stopped to ask a volunteer for a photo - truly one she will never forget.

And that's why I do Disney races. I try to ignore the haters who think we woggers are pond scum and somehow demean their own personal runs. I try to forgive the runners who want to shove past me without a word. Instead I cherish those moments when I see a first-time racer who is so excited to be here and so excited to finish and receive that medal. I cherish it because I know how they feel - I still feel it every time I lace up my shoes and head to the start line!
Today is a gift because: starting and finishing the half; first-time lady at MK

Friday, January 9, 2015

And Now It's Friday!!

Today's race? The 10K, of course! Our race friend Katie and her mom got into town yesterday, so Katie joined us for this race. Nancy (Katie's mom) will hopefully be in her cheering position on the Boardwalk (she was).

While today wasn't as chilly and windy as yesterday, it was still pretty cold. We huddled together waiting for the start (since Steve needed the car for work this morning, we had to bus it with the rest of the crowd). It was amazing to see runners (and I mean real runners) in their shorts and singlets. And goose bumps and shivers. Nevertheless, eventually our corral was called and off we went.

And of course, Katie and Molly took off and I didn't see sight of them after Mile 1. Eventually I rounded Epcot and through the Boardwalk, and saw Nancy, who told me that Katie and Molly weren't "that much" ahead of me. Wasn't she sweet to say that? No matter, eventually I ended up at the finish, and guess who was giving out medals - Aisling, of course!! It's always so fun to see her, although I'm not sure if she was trying to strangle me or eat my medal .. Molly and Katie waited for me at the finish line, so we all got on the bus together and headed back to our hotels.

Molly and I showered and changed clothes and met Lindley and Lynnette for a ride to the MK to get to the Grand Floridian. They had a date there to go the the Princess Tea Party. Molly and I were going to spy on them until they actually got into the tea party, which we did. Of course Lindley was adorable in her Merida outfit, and it looks like the tea party was a success. Once Lindley and Lynnette left us, Molly and I headed for the Magic Kingdom to join Nancy and Katie for some roast beef mac and cheese (and yes, it's just as tasty as it sounds). I'm sure it's not as fancy as tea and crumpets with Sleeping Beauty, but we forgot our ball gowns anyway.

Once we were done with the MK, we headed back to our hotel. Tonight Maribeth and Everley arrive. And some of us have a half-marathon tomorrow. That begins at 5:30am. Oh well, at least I carbo-loaded with mac and cheese!
Today was a gift because: 10K with Katie and Molly (sort of) and seeing Nancy on the course; watching Lindley and the other princesses at the tea; Maribeth and Everley's arrival

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Moving Right Along ...

Today was the 5K. And it was soooo cold!  Especially for Orlando, and for those of us who were not prepared for the cold. Yesterday Steve and Molly made a Wal-Mart run and bought tube socks for us to wear on our hands (apparently gloves were nonexistent). Molly and I were so grateful for those socks, as the temperature was in the 30s and the winds were blowing like crazy!

Molly and I drove to the start, so we were able to stay in the car for an extra 30 minutes before heading to the corrals. It was sort of a madhouse, as everyone was cold and huddling together. We managed to get into our corral just as the dude was beginning the national anthem. Since we were in Corral E, we had time before we started and had a fun conversation with some lady who was wearing the same Alaska Disney Cruise jacket that I was. Except that I had actually gone on the cruise and she had bought hers at the Disney outlet.

Anyhow, finally it was our corral's turn, and as we headed to the start line, who did I see but my friend Aisling. Of course, we were both too cold to do anything but yell a "Hiya!" and keep moving before our extremities turned to ice. The really fun part was that the course passed the stop for the buses, and of course there were several runners there waiting for their hotel bus - runners who had already finished the race, and we weren't even at Mile 1!!  I guess there's a penalty for being fast!!

Eventually we finished and headed back to the car which would take us back to the hotel for a warm shower and a nap. Lynnette and Lindley will be arriving this afternoon, so we certainly want to be ready for them! Oh yeah, and there's that 10K tomorrow ...
Today is a gift because: Doing with 5K in the freezing weather with Molly; seeing Aisling at the start; Lindley and Lynnette's arrival at Disney

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Wednesday ...

Ignoring the obvious, let's just say that this morning Steve, Molly, and I got up at the butt crack of dawn (as did Maribeth, who gave us a ride to the airport) for our 5:50am flight to Orlando. We will be participating in the Disney Marathon Weekend, which will be this weekend. As in January 8-11. Are you following along?

Anyhow, I supposed it's a good thing, since the races (and there are four of them) will all be starting at the same butt-crack of dawn each morning. I really didn't need any sleep or to sleep in to the late hour of 7am.

Anyhow, we had a nice flight down, and I even got to see Disney World from up above. It's always a nice sight to see, almost as nice as seeing the landing strip beneath the plane's wheels when we land, which is almost as nice as pulling up to the terminal once the flight is over.

We obtained the rental car without a problem and headed to the race expo, joining the millions of others who were on the same mission. Nevertheless, we managed to get our bibs and race shirts and mill around the expo and shop at the vendors (not really purchasing anything). We then headed to Boardwalk, our home for the next several days, and checked in. We then proceeded to eat lunch, shop around Epcot, and eventually find our room.

There wasn't much more to do, except unpack and get ready for the upcoming races. Tomorrow is the 5K with the latest start of the weekend, at 6:15am. Which means we only need to leave the hotel before 5am.  And remind me why I do these?
Today is a gift because: safe, smooth ride to Orlando; great room location at hotel; lunch with Steve and Molly; short lines at expo

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Would You Do If You Could?

There’s a phrase that I like that goes like this: “What would you do if you knew you absolutely could not fail?” I like it because it inspires me to move forward and do stuff. But as I think about it a little more deeply, I find that maybe it means even more.

To start with, what does “fail” even mean? Does it mean that you don’t perform whatever it is to perfection? And what is perfection, anyway? Of course, for me, yes it means perform to perfection, at expertise level with no mistakes. But what if I took “fail” to mean “never start”? What if I decided that never starting and never trying, even once, was the only failure?  What if I decided that starting and trying something, no matter how it turned out, would be considered a success? How many things (and therefore successes) could and would I accomplish?

For instance, let’s talk sewing. I can sew and can operate a sewing machine. I can put together something that resembles a quilt. But I do not produce the quality work that my friends Denise and Kat complete (usually while they are also completing about 10 other tasks at the same time). I could give up and decide that I am a failure because my stuff does not look like theirs, or I can decide that my raggity-taggity stuff is lovely. And so I do (relieved that Kat and Denise live far, far away and will never see my stuff in real life). And so I keep at it.

Let’s talking running (or wogging or walking – take your pick). Currently I do not perform these activities quickly (and may never). Do I let my speed stop me from entering a race? Apparently not. I see the runners that take off like a bullet when the starter begins the race. Those runners are already at home and back in bed by the time I finish the race. But I keep at it, I am determined that one day I will indeed be faster – if only by a little bit.

There are a great many things that I am not very good at. But I’m not a failure. I may try something and decide not to do it again, based on the outcome. But how else will I ever know what I could possibly be really good at, unless I try it?

So maybe I’ll change that saying that I like so much. Maybe now I’ll think about it and say, “What will you try just to see how good you can be at it?” After all, you really never can or will know unless you try. At least once. Or twice. Here’s to trying new things - or anything, for that matter!
Today is a gift because: Hillder hvac and electrical check-up dudes; picking up Lindley and Everley at school; Lindley and Everley time

Monday, January 5, 2015


Last year I traveled quite a bit. I traveled enough to know I didn’t want to travel as much this year. I’m not planning to do as much. The only glitch in that plan is than I’m travelling again on Wednesday, which seems like a continuation of last year. The good news is that once I’m back from that trip, I’ll be home for awhile. 

But let’s get back to this trip. Of course it’s to Disney World. Of course it’s two trips in one. The first trip is for Disney World Marathon Weekend. And no, I am not doing all the Run Disney races this year – that was soooo last year! I am doing the 5K, the 10K, and the half marathon. Molly is doing the Dopey again (all those I am doing plus a full marathon – she’s young so she can do it all again). Steve is doing the half marathon, and Lynnette is doing the full marathon (I am providing marathon support for Lynnette and Molly). So the first part of the trip involves running (or some form of ambulatory progress in a forward direction).

Steve, Molly, and I will fly down at the crack-o-dawn on Wednesday. On Thursday, Molly and I will do the 5K and Lynnette and Lindley will fly down that afternoon. On Friday, Molly and I (and Katie, our cruise/race co-enthusiast) will do the 10K and Maribeth and Everley will fly down that night. On Saturday, Steve, Molly, and I (and Katie) will do the half marathon. And on Sunday, Molly and Lynnette will do the full marathon and Sam and Adam will fly down.

On Monday, we will board the Disney Dream for a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas. It’s Lindley’s 5th birthday, so technically it’s her birthday cruise (I can justify going on any cruise – just let me know when your birthday is!).

We’ll party and celebrate until Friday, when the majority of us will fly back to Nashville. Except Steve and Molly, who will be flying to California to run in the Star Wars half marathon weekend at Disneyland. I am not going there, which makes me very happy – not only for not having to do another half marathon so soon, but also not having to fly cross-country!

Anyhow, once I’m back home after this trip, I plan to stay put until February, when the Donna and Princess half marathons are scheduled. I hope to train a bit, clean up my house a bit, get rid of a whole lot of clutter in both my house and my life, and just generally do the stuff that I need to do at home.

Yup, travelling is great and a great blessing. But mostly, it gives you the opportunity to realize and appreciate how great it is to stay home. And I have to admit, even as much as I have to accomplish at home, I’m looking forward to having the time to do it!
Today is a gift because: getting stuff packed for vacation

Sunday, January 4, 2015

And Then It's January 4 ...

Okay, so maybe you don’t have a January 4. Maybe you don’t have that day when the reality of a new year whacks you in the face. Maybe you don’t have that day when all that enthusiasm and all those intentions (notice I did not say resolutions) for the new year seem to go up in flames. Maybe you don’t. But I do.

Unless you are absolutely amazing (okay, so yes, some of you are), there’s got to be that day when you realize that all of those great hopes and dreams of smarter eating and daily exercising and consistently reading the Bible (and okay, daily blogging) are not materializing. The crushing blow is when you realize that day is about four days into the new year. You realize that not only are you not doing any of those brilliant plans for having an unbelievable year, but you have yet to begin any of those great plans. And so you sink into a funk. Happy New Year, indeed.

And so this is where I find myself today (or whatever day you and I both really know it is). Have I already failed myself and 2015? Is this year really going to be no different than last? Am I really never going to change my life like I want to?

So I have to start over. Again. I have to recall that old saying of “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I have to convince myself that 2015 may have started a few days ago, but my new life can start today. Or tomorrow. Or whichever day I choose, if I make that day the day I want it to be.

I have to convince myself that change does not mean that every day is perfect. Every day will not look like the ideal day I have in my head. Every day will not proceed exactly as I believe it should, as I want it to be, or as I imagine it could be. At least not in my world of uncertainties.

But there will be a day that I will do the things I want to do, in order to make changes in my life. And maybe if I do them on that day, then maybe I can do them the next day. All I can do is one day at a time, because that’s really all I have to work with.

Happy to 2015, The Year of Change – whenever it begins!

Today is a gift because:  CF brunch with Udderly Pinkers  Bruce, Sharon, KB, and Molly; Lindley time

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Party Planning - Take Two

After our very productive meeting yesterday, Lynnette came up with a three-page document listing everything we have, everything we want to do, and everything that is listed on the internet for us to study and duplicate. Today became a very busy, and thus very productive day. Here are some of the highlights ...

Lynnette found instructions on making an Elsa braid using yard and ribbon. She's going to make one for every guest attending the party (thank goodness there will be only five - wait ONLY FIVE TO MAKE, PLUS LINDLEY AND EVERLEY - THAT'S SEVEN TO MAKE?!). As you can see, it's perfectly adorable, as is the wearer of the braid.
Lynnette also found pictures of Olaf and Wandering Oaken's sign that she duplicated on cardboard (technically cut from large boxes) that she did freehand. My contribution was to cut them out using a box cutter (hey, we all have our talents - I'm just wondering if I cut through my rug). Olaf will be used for a "pin the nose on Olaf" and the sign will be a part of the photo booth, which should be a hoot.

Molly spent most of the morning making copies of signs, labels, tags, coloring sheets, photo booth props, and various other printables that were suggested by Lynnette. And then cutting them all out.

And my contribution, other than cutting with a box cutter? I filled the treat bags for the guests to take home (with five guests, that didn't take long). I found supplies like glue and paper and scissors and box cutters. And I went out and got lunch. And got Everley and Lindley down for a nap. And got out my trusty legal pad and make some more lists. As I've said before, everyone has a talent.

Anyhow, the party is going to be a blast - bet you wish you were invited!!
Today is a gift because: party planning fun; Lindley and Everley time; McAllisters lunch and Papa Johns dinner; finding a solution for the gutter leak

Friday, January 2, 2015

Party Planning

Lindley's birthday is coming up, and she decided she wants a "Frozen" birthday party. She will be five, and since that's a pretty important birthday (kindergarten looms), her mom decided to grant her request.

So, the Davidson Party Planning Committee has started planning. Technically, the party will not be until January 18. But we have to get it all planned because the family is going to Disney World for the January Disney races and then on Lindley's birthday cruise. We will get back to Nashville on Friday before her party on that Sunday. In other words, it's now or never to get this stuff together.

As you can see, we have lots of supplies. We're just not sure what we're going to do with them. Which is pretty typical for a Davidson shindig. Since this is the first meeting ever of the Davidson Party Planning Committee, we are busy making lists. Molly and Lynnette are busy studying Pinterest. Or Etsy. Or a combination of both. Plus Amazon. And probably a bunch of other websites. I am attempting to make lists on a legal pad (the other two are using their computers for list-making, but I am old-school). Anyhow, we (actually they) are getting lots of great ideas - we'll just see how they come to fruition.

In the end, as long as we have food and games and a cake, I think the guests and the honoree will be happy. We'll just have to figure out who's going to return all this extra stuff to Target!!
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; sloppy joes for dinner; lots of party planning

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!

Yes, I cooked. Hoppin' John, to be exact. I studied several different versions before settling on this one. And I didn't even use canned black-eyed peas. I used dried peas, which meant soaking them forever before cooking them forever more in the crock pot. But in the end, they were delicious, accompanied by some cornbread (made from a mix, thank you).

Anyhow, at some point during the day we looked up all the meaning behind the dish and all the good luck monetary symbolism. And we also found out that if you eat the leftovers on January 2, it's called Skinny Jenny. Which I plan to do, because I'm hoping that will mean  that not only will 2015 be a good year for me money-wise, but also perhaps skinny-wise! Hey - it's a new year, ready for new dreams!!

Happy New Year's Y'all!!
Today is a gift because: Hoppin John for lunch; Lindley and Everley time