Monday, April 14, 2014

Crazy

What does a 50 something, hot flash menopausal woman do with the first 80 degree day of the season?

That's right.  She runs back inside, turns on the AC and plops her red-faced, sweating self in front of a fan. 

I have fans everywhere. 
I even took one into work.  
This girl has got to have a cooling station available at all times.

Our house is North-South facing.  Front door North.  Back door South.  Most of our "living" is done on the backside of our house.  Even our bedroom and bathroom are South facing which means that things can heat up around here pretty quickly.

Now for the past fifteen years of living here, we've managed to survive the heat using mini-blinds, curtains and the AC.  But now that my personal heat-wave is going into it's 3rd Summer, I've started to look at other possible options to help keep this place a little cooler.

They make window film that does everything from just "shade/block" the heat to the heavy duty stuff they use in Arizona that actually reflects the heat.

Another option is separate awnings for the windows.  SM is not keen on this one.

Or we could replace the existing screen material for a Solar Screen that's darker and blocks the heat. 

If any of you out there have some experience with these products please share your thoughts with me.

In the meantime, I thought I'd try a little experiment of my own.

"Whatcha doing?"  SM asked me the other day as I stood in our bedroom with a roll of heavy duty tinfoil.

"I'm taping tinfoil to the windows to see how much cooler we can make the bedroom feel." 

"Uh...you know how that's going to make the house look?"

"Yeah I know." 

We've all heard the jokes about crack house trailers with tinfoil on the windows.





"When the law comes knocking on the door just explain to them that you're living with a 52 year old menopausal woman who can spontaneously combust on the spot.  And if that doesn't satisfy them than just say that you're living with a crazy lady and it's not got anything to do with you."

"Crazy....Uh huh."  SM shakes his head and wanders away.

That's right, Baby.  Go to the happy place.




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Fever

Spring has finally come to the Piedmont.  It feels almost like a combination of March with windy, windy days and then you have warm, gorgeous days like yesterday and today.  True April weather.





The strawberries and apple trees are starting to blossom.






I was so excited to finally have a nice weekend that I swung by the nursery on the way home from work Friday and blew a wad on a trunkful of annual flowers.  Just goes to show you how giddy I am now that Winter is finally gone.




Give me color.  Everywhere.  I'm starving for it. 






I spent the better part of Saturday morning pulling weeds and tidying up the front yard.  Everyone was out and about cleaning up and mowing. 

SM tried to mow our lawn the other day but the engine made a loud BANG noise and quit suddenly. 

Uh Oh. 

First mow of the season and we're dead in the water already.  SM called around to see if anyone could take a look at it but most of the engine repair guys are backed up a couple of weeks.  Sounds like we're not the only ones with Tall grass

So SM went out yesterday and got a temporary push mower that he'll sell after the riding mower is fixed.  It's always something isn't it?  Still cheaper than a lawn service. 

Which makes me wonder if they still make those old fashioned spinner push mowers.  I remember using one as a kid.




I poked around the internet and found that you can still buy them at Target of all places.  They're called Reel Mowers. 

Huh. 

Does anyone think I could talk SM into giving up the riding mower in favor of one of these babies?  It would give you a great work out, no doubt about it!





So what trouble are you getting yourself into this gorgeous Spring weekend?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tulips Together

Nothing says Easter and spring time to me more than tulips.  Look at those pretty Easter colors!



And every time I say "tulips" I think of a hand-clapping song that we used to sing as kids...Something like "Two lips together, twilight in heaven, bringing my love to you." 

Or something like that.




I also remember "Say, Say Oh playmate, come out and play with me..." But I can't remember the rest of the song.

Regardless...Happy Spring Everyone.  It's finally here in the Piedmont!

Go out and play!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Laid Back Guy and Twitchy Girl.

SM and I just got back from a quickie trip to Orlando Florida. 

I described it as a much needed "Break." 
A chance for something different. 
Warmer weather, new sights and sounds, eating out. 

What is it they say?
Eat, Drink and Be Merry?

SM knocked it out of the park with his selection of the hotel/resort that we stayed at.  The Hilton Grand Vacation Club was simply beautiful.  An oasis in the middle of a city. 

And I wish that BJ's Brew House had a location in Charlotte because their Asian Chopped Salad is my new addiction.  Seriously.  SM and I ate there 3 nights in a row and I ate that salad EVERY night.  SM swears the Crispy Jalapeno Burger was THE best thing he's eaten (besides my cooking) in months.

So our creature comforts were more than satisfied. 

But what about the "Be Merry" part of it. 

What did SM and I want   to do   with our short vacation?

Well...Here is where things kinda short circuited.

I assumed that being in Orlando meant going to the parks.  You know, Disney, Universal...We'd been there before but it had probably been 15-20 years ago.  I thought "Hey, we're not getting any younger." 

I tend to like to do things when I go on vacation.  Be active. Follow my nose.  Go.Go.Go. 

SM on the other hand wants to r e l a x when he goes on vacation.
 
As in get horizontal.
Sleep.
Hang out at the pool.
Soak in some sunshine.

And we both got our wish. 
Sort of.
But we each bored the other to tears.

Universal was a bust.  I thought we should check out the Harry Potter attraction (since we'd never been) and we waited an hour to get on the ride only to find out that older farts (who used to ride roller coasters in their youth) should really give it up after their fifth decade as motion sickness will ruin your day faster than a car wreck.





Blech.

So we were back at the resort by 1:00 and SM got horizontal for almost four hours. 

SM loves a good nap. 
I used too. 
Seems I can't sleep for long day or night anymore.
So I got up and hung out on the balcony.
Bored.

The next day, I thought we should do Epcot.  SM and I both loved it when we went there years ago so I thought it was a pretty safe bet. 

Turns out Epcot was just as old and as tired as we were.  Everything was pretty much the same.  Which kind of surprised us.  Again, I think we just assumed that over the years, things would change.  I like "The Worlds" area best, but I swear the films they showed us were from the 1970's.  I noticed SM's boredom and put an end to his misery by calling it quits around 5.

I told SM later that night that it was silly to try and "force" it for another day.  I hated the idea of wasting money for a trip that was getting off kilter. 

SM thought we should take the  next day and just hang out at the pool.  Sleep.  Relax.  Soak in some rays.  But hanging out at a pool is not my idea of relaxing.  Screaming kids don't compare to a walk on the beach. 

"Lets go to Hilton Head later in the month for a long weekend.  You can golf and I can walk the beach.  We always have a good time when we go there."  I offered as a compromise.

So we came home a day early. 
And I'm glad of it.  
Turns out there's no place like home. 

But it does make me wonder. 
Is that it? 
Is this all there is? 

I felt bad that the trip was kind of a dud and voiced this opinion to SM who wisely pointed out that "Yes" maybe some things are past. 

Over and done with. 

What interested us as kids just isn't the cats meow anymore.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't new roads to travel. 
New paths to explore.

We just need to figure out where they are.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Break

SM and I are running away for a long weekend. 





And even though we don't have snow on the ground, it has been a L O N G winter.  We thought it would be nice to head to The Sunshine State for a few days. 

See you when we get back!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easy Install...Yeah, Right!

Being a child of the northern states, I grew up with storm doors and windows.  Everyone had them and it wasn't until I moved South that I realized not everyone knew what these things were.

Fifteen years ago, I remember asking a fellow at Lowes where the storm doors were.  He chuckled and said "Ya'll are from up north aren't ya?" and went on to ask "why" we felt we needed a storm door. 

I personally feel a house is naked without one but went on to explain to the fellow how nice it is to have the front door open and have that "window" to the world.  It's also nice to have the screen in for air circulation.  Some of us actually like fresh air, you know.

We poked around and ended up buying a door that had a roll down half window/screen on the upper half.  Loved it.  One of the best things we ever bought.

The door served us well until early this February when I tried to walk out and discovered the door latch was froze up solid.  SM was gone so I went out another way and reported the malfunction to him later.

He took off the handle, sprayed lubricant, tried everything he could think of.  We even thought we could take the door off but couldn't get to the screws with the door in the closed position.  Finally SM took a hammer and screw driver and just pounded it out.

We then considered replacing just the door latch system for around $50.  The door trim was scratched up but we could spray paint that.  But I'd noticed that the lower panel of the door had been loose for the last few years so I made the command decision to just replace the door entirely.

Most stock doors are white and nothing on our house is white so we special ordered a Larsen door in a "sandstone" color that, in the daylight, is actually a lot more gray than I thought it would be.  SM picked the door up yesterday between rain showers and got home with it about noon.




"Do you wanna go ahead and do it now?"  I asked.  "The box says Easy Install so maybe it won't take too long."

"Sure."  SM was agreeable and it actually turned out to be a good day to do it.  The heavier rain held off and the 60 degree day kept things comfortable.

SM and I work pretty well as a team.  We bicker at first trying to get the other person to understand what the other one wants but then we usually settle down and emerge from these sorts of tasks with our pride intact and minimal blood having been shed.

Things went along pretty well with me reading off the instructions and SM being the muscle.  Then the drill battery crapped out and needed a recharge.  Then we couldn't find the 1/8" drill bit to drill pilot holes.  Then the special gizmo that was supposed to ensure that the interior and exterior latch holes matched didn't work as well as advertised. 

Yep...Pretty typical for us.  We always make it work but it ain't pretty. 

We finally got the door latch installed and started to work on the strike plate.  Then SM gave the door latch a pretty good yank and the freaken thing fell apart.

SM stood there looking at the door latch in his hand and said "Well, I guess I didn't tighten that down good enough."

I looked up at him and said "OK, that's it.  We're done for the day.  Let's finish up tomorrow." 

I was tired and frustrated and found out that it was already 4:30.

Really? 

We'd been working on this thing for over 4 hours?  What happened to "Easy Install"?

We used the deadbolt to hold the door closed for the night.  We'll finish it up today for sure.

But it makes me wonder if it just us? 
Do you all find projects like this take on a life of their own?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's a Trap!

The rain held off until the afternoon so I am happy to report that the "salad garden" is in. 

I hoed two of the raised beds to fluff up the soil.  One of the beds was infested with the long runners of Bermuda grass (Bastards!!!).  So I spent a fair amount of time dealing with that.  (Geez!  I can't even keep that stuff out of a raised bed!) 

The onion starts look like tiny little solders all in a row.  I planted 4 varieties of leaf lettuce and planted a patch of sugar peas.  I really like to grow carrots as a fall crop since it usually gets so hot here so quick the carrots just aren't as sweet but I went ahead and planted some too on the off chance that the cooler than normal weather sticks around this year. 

(Heck, maybe I should see if I can get my hands on some Brussel sprouts , broccoli and cauliflower.  You never know...@;)

By the time I was finished, I was beat.  I hadn't slept well the night before.  You know, one of those nights where you just never go down deep, not that I ever do THAT anymore anyway.  Plus I'd gotten up at 3am out of frustration with the fact that I couldn't sleep....

Anyhoo...I thought I deserved a nap so after cleaning up, I sacked out in the recliner for an on and off nap fest.  I had the TV on HGTV and finally woke up to someone pointing out that you should check your dryer vent for lint every once in a while since that is the number one cause of house fires.

Now this caught my attention not only because I'd been doing laundry all day but mostly because this was the THIRD time in as many days that I'd heard or read about this. 

Add to the fact that I was in that "tweener" state of dream vs reality. 

I sat there blinking for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that the universe was trying to tell me something. 

I didn't need to get "beaned" upside the head to know that this time I'd better do what I was told.

"Whatcha doing?"  I heard SM call from the other room as he hears me rootiling around in the laundry room, shoving the dryer over so I can squeeze in behind.

I brought SM up to speed with the situation.  "You know that's why I installed that flexible metal tubing.  It's supposed to be better that the other stuff." 

"Yeah well...When was the last time we actually LOOKED?"  I asked. 

(insert crickets chirping)

I am happy to report that there really wasn't any lint in the vent.  Just dust.  There was more dust and lint and spiderwebs around the backside of the dryer space than anything actually in the tube.  So it was a good thing just from the point of view that it needed cleaning back there.

So there you are.
Consider this a hint.
Take a moment and check your dryer vent trap. 



Friday, March 28, 2014

Squeaking One In

Yesterday morning it was 25 degrees as I walked the hood.  My face was stinging by the time I'd completed my 3 mile hike. 

"Goodbye Winter."  I said to SM as I entered the house. 

"Isn't it freezing out?"  SM asked, confused.

"Oh yeah.  Wanna kiss?"  I asked, offering up my red, frozen face.

"I'll pass."  SM said.  "So why Goodbye Winter?"

"Cause this should be the last frozen morning from here on out." I crowed.  "If you can believe the long term weather forecast that is."  I amended.

"Call me a fool, but I believe it."  I continued.  "Lows above freezing from now on.  Heck, our last freeze date is April 15th.  That's only two weeks away!"

I have today off from work. 
My onion starts came in yesterdays mail.
The daylily bulbs are still on the table.
My spring seeds are in their packets.




It's supposed to rain here for the next two days.  But I might be able to squeak one in and get all this stuff planted before it rains this morning. 

Yeah Me!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On Your Mark, Get Set...GO!

As you can see from my lack of posts, there hasn't been much going on around here to tell you about. 

We've all been in a rinse-repeat cycle lately, I think.

I've been watching the forecast lows which seem to be stuck in a 25-35 degree rut.  The highs have been bouncing around sure but it's the lows I'm concerned about when it comes to starting the Spring garden. 

And it appears that this coming week might, just might, be the last of really cold stuff.  Which means that I'll be playing in the dirt next weekend!  Yeah me!

Beside my computer I have a pile of daylily bulbs that need planting out front.  Since we took out the birch tree, I told SM that I think I'd like to do a mass planting of daylilies and other flowering perennials in that spot.  (BTW, the tulips I planted inside failed but the ones outside are starting to come up.)

I started some tomato and pepper seeds last week and the tomatoes popped up yesterday.  SM told me he wanted to try buying tomatoes and peppers from the local nursery.  That's fine.  I'll grow mine and he can plant his store bought ones and we'll see how they compare.

I've got a sticky note beside the computer to order my onion starts (Copra) this week from Dixondale and my sweet potato slips from Sand Hill Preservation.  They'll ship the slips closer to June. 

Try as I might, I haven't been able to start slips here at the house and none of my local nurseries have them and the ones that do sell out so fast that I've been skunked.  So this year I'll be ordering online to guarantee that I'll actually get some plants in my hands and into my garden.

I've got my lettuce, carrots and pea seed packets on the table just waiting to direct sow next weekend.

Yep.  It's almost here.  One month later for the onions than my usual time but only two weeks off for everything else.

Are you starting to gear up too?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weebels Wobble...

Do you remember Weebels?





"Weebels wobble but they don't fall down?"

For some reason that phrase popped into my head as I stomped around the neighborhood this morning trying to get in my 3 miles before heading into work.

You see, I wobble as I walk. 

I'm not sure when it happened but I can't seem to walk in a straight line anymore. 

Relatively straight?  Yes. 

But if I'm walking with someone else, side by side, I invariably wander into them. 

If I'm on my own, in the office or at home, I run into corners of walls, desks, chairs...

Consequently, I have bruises on both sides of my arms, hips and legs. 

You could say that I'm careless, maybe in too much of a hurry, maybe my depth perception is off. 

I have a different theory.

Over the last few years my center of gravity has shifted. 

Lower.

I used to be "Toothpick Tami".  That's what the kids used to called me when I was a kid. 

Stick straight I was. 

Now I'm shaped like a Weeble. 

No wonder I wobble.

Can falling down be far behind?