Monday, September 30, 2013

Frustrating Conversations

One of the very difficult things I face on a regular basis is answering Bobby’s many questions. They are not the usual questions that you might expect from a child whose father died – “Why did Daddy die?” or “Is Daddy in Heaven?” I think I could answer those. I could probably even answer “Why is the sky blue?”
Lately though, his questions have to be answered with a firm response. And when I say firm, I mean almost mean! He constantly questions my rules. He always seems to think his plan is better.
At what point does it become okay to say “Because I said so!”? That’s one of those answers you never want to give your child because you should always have a reason but there are times where I’m questioned and shouldn’t be questioned on my reasons – it should just be “Because I said so!”

I don’t know that I want to become that Mother who demands complete obedience without questions. I mean aren’t there times where it should be a “teachable moment?” For example, don’t touch the hot stove because you will get burned. Or you need to take a shower everyday so that you don’t stink up to high heaven and your friends refuse to even talk to you because you smell so bad. However, some rules are rules because they are rules, right? For example, clean up your room or turn off the TV.
Sometimes I do want to explain to him my reasons. Sometimes I want things done because I want them done and that should be good enough. Sometimes I am the parent and that’s why. But maybe sometimes I could just say “Because I said so!”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

WHAT?!?! I don't owe you any money!

Sometimes you get a bill in the mail and you think to yourself "WHAT?!?! I don't owe you any money!"

Yesterday, I got that bill. Last October I was fighting a credit union to get a small amount of money out of an account that was only in Michael's name. I called a lawyer that deals with probate law to find out what to do. I filled out the paperwork and mailed it back and that was the last I heard from this lawyer until yesterday when I received a $260 bill in the mail!

I was mad at first but decided I always pay my bills and I would pay this one. After all the items in the bill were done for me. But with my new backbone that was installed December 19, 2011 when Michael died, I decided I would call the lawyer and complain first. (Definitely, a new thing for me!)

I'm happy to report that the lawyer was embarrassed that nothing had been done for me and that I had taken care of the situation on my own. He told me to tear up that bill and to not worry about it anymore. There was no reason why I should have to pay for his lack of follow-through. (Those were not his exact words but I was so shocked I can't quote what he said.)

With tears in my eyes, I'm grateful that God's love is always close to me when I need it the most! This is such a small thing in the grand scheme of life but I cried out in distress and he heard my voice. He rescued me unharmed from the battle I waged against the lawyer! (Psalm 55: 17-18, paraphrased by ME!)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Retire the Weekend Warrior?

     I'm starting to think it might be time to pay someone to mow my yard!
     The first problem you will discover is starting the riding mower. In order to make the silly thing start, you have to connect it to the battery charger. Almost from the time we bought the mower, Michael has had Use the charger to start the mower. As time has gone on, the battery won’t work without charging it for several hours first. This means you have to plan ahead for mowing – no spontaneous “I’d better get the mowing done before the rain hits tonight!” (Not that we have much rain in Texas)
     If you are lucky enough to get the mower running, the actual mowing has never been an easy job. Our house is up on a little hill and the incline is very steep. The riding mower works if you start on the top and go down which means you have to make lots of round trips. A riding can’t go up the hill. Of course there is always the push mower but that gets tiring very, very quickly and in the heat of summer over heating is even more of a possibility with the push mower. I do have a self-propelled mower but it’s still a lot of work!
     This is my second summer to take care of my yard. Over that time, I’ve had problems.
  • Got the mower stuck and couldn’t get it out. Luckily, a friend happened to drive by and helped me get it out.
  • Mower has completely stopped because the blades were so bogged down from grass. Smoke was coming out of the engine (called the neighbor to help that time)
  • Couldn’t get the self-propelled mower to start (Dad took it home and worked his “magic.”)
  • Couldn’t get the gas trimmer to start (Dad bought a new filter)
  • Couldn’t get any of the grass mowing devices to work – riding mower not charged & bad gas
     Today might be the straw that broke the camel's back for me. As I have found dead limbs, I have either put them on my car hauler trailer or on top of the cellar. As I was mowing past the cellar, a limb was sticking out and I needed to move it. Not a problem! I got off the mower after setting the brake so that the engine wouldn’t die. The limb wouldn’t move so I started to attempt to break it. As soon as it broke though, another limb popped up into my face! It hurt but the next thing I knew, blood was gushing from my nose and I thought it was broken. While applying pressure to my nose, I drove the stupid riding mower back into the carport before I killed the engine.
     The good news is that I didn’t break my nose. I now look like there’s a tick on the end of my nose. There’s a scratch down the right jawline and another scratch down my upper lip
The next several days should be interesting. I’m not sure there’s enough makeup in my house to cover this up. And really, is it worth trying to cover it up? I don’t think it’s worth trying to cover it up. Oh well, another lesson learned! At least, I hope I’ve learned something from this recent adventure of the “Weekend Warrior!”

(By the way – anybody want to volunteer to mow my yard?)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Happened to the Bathroom Rehab?

     So, the last time I updated on the bathroom progress, it was January 8, 2013 and it was Part 1! If you were to judge the progress by the postings alone, it would appear that no work has been done since then. Well, I’m here to tell you that, thankfully, that it was not the case at all! My dad and I have been working on the bathroom. During the time of the bathroom rehab, Bobby and I had something almost every night and most weekends. By the time I would sit down in the evenings, there was no energy left for blogging. The good news is that we did take lots of pictures throughout the process. I promise not to post them all at one time!

    For this post, I will start simply with the shower area! The first post showed the removal of the original tub.

    Now for the next step:

    We began removing the original flooring from under the tub because it was rotting in some places and had mold in other places. I got to use the skill saw for the first time! (Love learning how to use new/different tools!)

    Between the two floors was a paper very similar to tar paper that we removed to reveal the subfloor which was in excellent condition.

    We placed a liner between the subfloor and the new marine plywood to protect the subfloor from any possible water damage in the future but unfortunately, we have no pictures except this one showing a cutout from the drain hole.

    On to the walls surrounding the shower stall – We ended up removing the drywall completely in that area because of the mold. I even got to use the sledge hammer to destroy some of the dry wall! That’s an awesome feeling if you ever get to do that!

    The old plumbing was removed and instead we used a product called PEX which allows for expansion due to frozen pipes and also uses a crimping tool to join the pipes to joints. It allows for easy pipe repair also!

    The new green drywall is installed:

    Now, to install the shower:

    Pieces of 2x4” were used to brace the shower walls to the wall while the Liquid Nails dried.


    The completed shower!

    So, there you have it - part 2 of the rehab! Hopefully, it won’t be such a long time before I post the next part of our bathroom rehab project!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Day of Celebration!

Nine years ago today, a woman on the other side of the world gave the most wonderful blessing anyone can get! She gave birth to a baby boy and gave him up for adoption. If not for her sacrifice, I wouldn't have the privilege of being the mother to one of the most wonderful boy! He's an absolute joy in my life!! He makes every day special! So, today I celebrate that woman and thank her for sharing him with a family she would never know. She trusted that God would take care of him until his daddy and I could get there.
One of the many amazing parts of our story is the timing of our adventure. Michael and I tried for many years using many methods to get pregnant without any success. We were unwilling to give up and knew that we wanted to be parents. You see about the time we decided to adopt is just about the same time that Bobby’s biological mother became pregnant. The process of adoption is lengthy whether you are doing domestic or international. Our process took around two years from the time we started our adoption process to the time we got our baby. Our little boy turned two shortly before we arrived in Kazakhstan. Now that’s a God thing!
Of course, that’s not the only amazing part of our story. There are so many that I can’t name them all in one entry. I promise to come back and share more of this amazing child that God sent us.
I thought it was appropriate to include pictures from our first visit with Bobby

First photo with Daddy

First photo with Mommy

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bathroom Rehab: Step One

When we first moved into our house, neither one of our bathrooms had a shower. So at first we had to take baths (which strange as it may be to most people, I don’t like). Until Michael changed the faucet to allow a hand held shower head hose to be attached under the spout. I was so excited that finally I was able to stand up and get CLEAN!

Through the years, there were a few tiles that would come loose and Michael would put them back up with caulk. A couple of tiles he even used the mortar from Bobby’s bathroom which was a reddish brown color. After each shower, we would wipe the water off the tiles off with our hands. We knew the water was beginning to leak through but were not aware of how much damage was really happening under there.

Fast forward 5 years

The tiles around the tub were getting looser and looser. I would do the same thing Michael had and use caulk to reattach them. But eventually it became apparent that the current method was no longer sufficient. It turns out the wood and the dry wall under the tiles was rotting. I kept an old hand towel and a washcloth on a towel rack in the shower that I would place on the shelf surrounding the tub area. I also had a large cup to catch any extra dripping water from the shower head. In order to reduce the possibility of water seeping through the tiles any more, I covered the tiles with plastic wrap. What a joke that is! But I was grateful to have my shower and I have been making it work.
In this picture you can see where the tiles had come off.

January 4th & 5th – Dad and I began removing tiles from the wall. Most of them came off without any problem because of the state of the drywall. After removing the tiles and some of the drywall, the ‘wood’ used became visible – WOOD PANELING! Why in the world would someone use wood paneling for that?

This is a picture of the P-trap. Evidently, our tub had been watering the dirt under the house for quite some time!

Some of the wood structures had to be cut with the sawzall but it’s all out now! Taking the tub out of the house was interesting but with the help of a two-wheel dolly and lots of talk about every step and turn, we did it!

One of the boards that was cut off by a sawzall

It’s interesting the things you find in the crawl space of your house!

A random piece of 4 inch PVC piece of pipe found under the floor unattached from anything!
So for now the tub can be found in the carport and I will have to use Bobby’s bathroom for my showers. But that’s a small sacrifice for a new non-leaking shower!

I always knew the tub was small but now I have proof! It was a 4 ½ foot tub that was made November 7, 1966.

We have some planning to do from this point but I’m excited about the first step.  

Here are a couple of random pictures:

Yes, that's mold that you see from leaking tiles!

The hole for the drain that was open like this under the tub!