New Horizons.

So, today is the last day of my vacation. Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m on my way home, begin work on Monday, and fall back into the basic routine of my everyday life.

But today is one of the most memorable for me.  I just completed a vacation where I got uninterrupted time with both my mother and my neice. 

I spent 3 days, 2 nights with my mother, who told me stories about she and my father, about their parents, and their grandparents.  It was fascinating to learn more about my parents NOT as parents, but as people; as children, teenagers, and young folks; to hear about their lives, growing up, and the history that has influenced who I am.  I will share some of these stories as I process them.

I also  spent 3  nights, 3 days with my niece, who I feel as close to as a daughter (I imagine).  We talked about anything and everything; her children (3 and 1, the darlingist little ladies in the world!!), our family, our relationship, our past, her future….   I am so incredibly proud of her.   You see, I had custody of her years ago, during her teenage years.  Unfortunately for all of us, we needed to place her in a girls school for  a year.  We chose a school in Hurricane, UT because of its program to counsel vs. punish…  Today, 5 years later, my neice and I went to the school, drove thu Hurricane, and relived that difficult time.   The experience feels both like it happened yesterday AND forever ago.

The reason that today was so special for me is because of how much my niece has matured and what a great person she has become.  I knew this day would come, I had confidence in her, I believed in her… and today, her plans for herself and her girls, proved to me that the difficult experience we had was all worth it.   Its hard to believe that the 2 year old I fell head over heals in love with is now 21, a mother of 2 very happy and healthy girls, and a  college student.  She amazes me.

I have a few pictures of us, with town of Hurricane, UT behind us (so fitting).  What I’ve shared here is a view of Hurricane without us as to not blow my cover.  BTW, the pictures of us turned out fabulously – we are absolutely gorgeous!!  🙂

On Vacation.

I’m a bit slow to update my blog in general, but I’m even more slow now because I’m on vacation!  I’m in St. George Utah, a gorgeous, hidden gem of a place.  It’s still in Utah, so it is hard to get a cocktail around here, but its just so incredible here nature wise.  Take a look at the red rock views below…  and the weather is great – hot and dry. 

I’m working on my bikini-clad beach body tan, and 4 days into it, I still DO NOT have tan lines.  I’ve been careful not to burn myself by using SPF 8, but lordy, I would think my skin would be a bit more bronze given the amount of time of been out in the sun (about 8-10 hours).  Tomorrow, Friday is my last day to get some sun, so I may go without any sunscreen ….  we shall see.  Wish me luck – I’d like to go home witih dark skin and some deep tan lines.

Lastly, this place brings back a lot of memories, good and not so good.  I will share a few of these stories with you at a later date – when I have time and am ready to reminisce about a few of the hardest years of my life.

Found the Mouse.

This is an update to a previous post, Mouse in Hiding. 

The mice were found by a GE repairman, named Willy, when he came to replace the washing machine control board. 

After I escorted Willy to the laundry room, I went to the dining room to get back to work.   I could hear his electric screwdriver taking out screws to the top and front panels.  I heard a few moving around noises,  then an “Ugghhh”, then a “Ms.”….. ” “Ms…?”  I went into the laundry room, and here is what I found:

It became instantly clear why a) the laundry room smelled so bad, b)  I couldn’t find the mouse, and c) the washing machine broke.  The mice had short circuited the master control panel of the washing machine.  They literally, had fried, were electricuted by the washer.  😦

I was mortified.  The only thing I could think to do is take a picture (the one you see here), take a video (which I cannot get working), and avoid eye contact with Willy.  I asked him if he had ever seen anything like this.  His response:   “No.  Never.”.    He took off the control board and replaced it with a new one. However,  the new one he brought with him was defective so he needed to put the original one back in.  He then asked me to do something I never thought I would ever have to do – He asked me to clean up the original control board. 

I had to scrape the mice off the control board, pick off all the fried hair and skin, then brush the board with a toothbush, gently, so I did not destroy the pieces and gadgets on the control board.  It was SO GROSS and it smelled really bad.  Really bad.  Really really bad.  It took me about 20 minutes to clean the control panel.  I worked in silence, both of us not knowing what to say to one another.   Willy finally said it was clean enough to put it back into the washer.  He took it from me,  re-installed the control panel, put the top and front panels back on, then gave me a bit of advice on how to work with GE to get the part (on backorder) and installed BEFORE the warranty expired.

This story goes on and on, dealing with GE’s customer service folks is a story all in of itself.   I will write about this later. There seem to be a lot of very bad Customer Service Reps out there.. but there are a few good ones.    I have stories of both.

A New Beginning.

I have some great news to share with you.  I am almost the proud owner of a newly rennovated old (1905 to be exact) home.  Honestly, after my divorce I did not think I would be able to afford a home in the Bay Area in the neighborhoods that I wanted to live in.

With the housing crash and a bit of good luck, its going to happen for me.  I’ve known for about 4 weeks now, but I’ve not wanted to jinx myself – so I’ve not shared the news with many folks.

I currently live in a transitional neighborhood – not many folks are like me, in both ethnicity or family size.  I live in a largely spanish and very family oriented neighborhood.  I see a lot of families out, talking walks with their kids, their pets, heading/returning to/from work..  Its a great blue collar neighborhood.   I’m not like them, but the neighborhood is safe, close to the freeways, close to all my friends, and the cats love it. 

Here is how it happened:  A few months back I asked my landlord if I could purchase the house I live in – its a beautiful, rennovated craftsman style home.  It has a lot of its original character… I just love it.  But alas, the owner said no. Given the market conditions, I started looking around… homes were starting to come around in my price range but not in the neighborhoods I wanted to live….

BUT, then the luck happened to me.  My landlord has another house TWO doors down that he is interested in selling.  It’s in terrible condition… but has good bones.  We walked thru it with him, and I could see it – I could see the perfect house… the perfect house for me.  I was sold.  We negotiated a price (which includes rennovations), and woaalaa, the process has started.

So today, it became very real.  I went to Home Depot with the project manager/contractor and designed and PURCHASED my Kitchen.  My new Kitchen will arrive in approximately 4 weeks and will be installed shortly thereafter.   Spending a lot of money sure makes it all become reality.

There is so much I’m getting with this, which is why it feels so surreal….   The plan is for me to move into the new home sometime in October.  That a little less than 2 months away!!  Here are the items that I get really excited about:

  • Working with the team to design the house…  moving walls, designing kitchens and bathrooms, picking materials, its so much fun.  The house is going to be me…..
  • The house has soooo much character.  I do love the older homes and the quality/character that was put into them.  This home was built in 1905… the main rooms have coved ceilings, and the entire house has 9 foot ceilings..
  • A patio/deck off of the kitchen.   I’ve wanted this since 201 Chester (10 years ago).   I have designed the new kitchen with a six foot slider that leads onto a large deck… just dreamy!
  • Three bedrooms AND two bathrooms, one of them a master bathroom.  My own bathroom… sooooo nice!
  • A laundry room with a counter and shelves… places to store laundry room stuff and a counter to fold my dried goods….. so luxurious!

So, when I get a chance I will post pictures. The house looks like nothing now, a shell of its to-be fabulous self.   I will post the pictures as I take them and we can watch the transformation together.

Friends, Coons, and Cats.

Hello friends.

Last week was just absolutely crazy.  There was something going on every single day/evening..  I usually keep to myself, would be considered a shut-in if I didn’t have to go to work everyday….

My dearest friend from Paris was in town with her boyfriend and his daughters.  I had so much fun with them, but boy my friend runs a tight ship.  She had the family doing something every day – it reminded me of my family trips way back when…   a story for another time.    They family left on Wednesday, heading for Southern California (where you can actually get in the water without a wetsuit) and good ol’ Las Vegas (you have to see it at least once!).

In addition, Zoey cut her foot really badly and had to go to the hopital on Monday.  I woke up on Monday with blood all over the bed, and it wasn’t from me. Zoey was curled up next to my head, which is unusual…  when I got out of bed I saw all the blood.  I checked her out, and sure enough, she had a deep gash/cut on the back of her bony little foot.  She was so sad, the vet said it was very painful and they had to put her down, give her some anesthesia to fix her up.  She was a bit out of it last week, but she is back to her funny furry self now.

We also had a ‘coon problem ’round these parts.   A mother and baby pair of raccoons settled themselves into my attic – which would be fine with me if they weren’t so mean and hated cats so much.  The bad news is the mom raccoon was trapped and euthenized, the good news is the baby raccoon is being domesticated by a friend of the trapper.  I’ve just received an update, the baby is being hand fed and is eating everything that he/she is given.  Next step is to ‘get cuddly’ with the raccoon…   I can’t wait to get another progress report.

Almost There – 9 Pounds Down.

I have two weeks to go until my vacation with my mom – the one where we reveal our new beach bodies.  My goal was to lose 10 lbs before this vacation.  Seemed like it would be easy to shake the 10 lbs, but it has NOT been.  BUT, the good news is that I am now officially down 9 lbs. 9 lbs!!  I have broken the 120 mark (finally consistently below it).  I have exactly one more pound to go ….   but with a lot of veggies and water, I feel confident that I will be down the full 10 pounds by August 23rd.

I am so excited about it – last weekend I unpacked all my “skinny clothes” and tried them on.  To my delight,  most of them fit!   I kept the ones that were in style and got rid of the rest.  I NEVER plan to go back to the heavier weight again.  I feel so much better,  more confident now. I can only imagine I how I will feel when I loose another 10 pounds!!

As I lose the weight, I do feel better, mybody feels better, and I have more energy. However, its my thoughts that have to change most … I do still feel like “the fat kid”…  and I am very conscious NOW of how my weight effected me.  And it is not how people treated me, its how I treated myeslf; the way I feel about myself.

I’m working on it, changing my mental thoughts will take a while.  In the meantime, I am making progess by wearing clothes that fit me better, more slender/slimming clothes vs. the clothing that I was wearing to “hide” my body.   I will also work on walking a bit straigher, more upright, and with more confidence.    My lesson learned so far is that weight loss is as much of a mental shift as it is a weight shift…