Archive for May, 2013

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday, while walking may laps back and forth over the bridge, I saw:

a snake,

a great blue heron,

a HUGE, two-tone turtle,

another snake (or maybe it was the same one),

and a small, black, baby turtle.

Today, during the same laps, all I saw was lots deep, raging, muddy water (creek nearly out of its bank on our side), racing along at some 15-20 mph, and carrying large branches with it.

This scenario tempted Scott beyond his ability to resist, so he and his friend Steve floated Bear Creek in the flood.  It was an adventure, to be sure.  We’ve been knowing that our fiberglass canoe really needs to be patched, so it always takes on water.  Today, with the waves breaking into it, it took on lots of water.  A canoe is terribly hard to maneuver with water in its bottom, so they had some challenges.  They also tipped, probably on more than one occasion.

The cellar is still dry, though, so all is well.

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Master Plumber

Be it known to all, both far and near, that My Hero has, of his own volition, and being of sound mind and body, yea and verily replaced our kitchen faucet and sprayer and furthermore removed the remnants of the unbelievably nasty particle board shelf under the sink, and replaced said offensive matter with a truly lovely sheet of half-inch plywood.  (Pertaining to that plywood, it must further be noted that the cut-outs for the incoming water lines are perfectly sized and spaced.  Nothing was cut off twice, and nothing is still too short.)  We spousal units who value acts of service do officially feel deeply loved and cherished!

There was water on the floor

There was a small puddle in front of the stove sometime yesterday or early today.  I thought someone had just spilled or splashed and failed to clean it up.  No big deal.  A little water will evaporate.

Then this afternoon, we were about to play a game – the four of us – and Andrew went into the kitchen for something and commented, “Oh!  That floor is wet!”  This was a problem, because he was wearing only socks.  I glanced down, saw water on the floor in front of the stove, and thought it odd that someone spilled MORE water in exactly the SAME place.  Those boys really should be more careful.

Scott came in the kitchen and started looking around.  He was concerned that there might be a leak somewhere.  This, of course, would be totally illegal, as today is the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  He looked around the sink and opened the cabinet door below it.  Aha!  The particle board shelf under there was bowed and fully saturated.  We won’t go into the history of that particle board. . .

Anyway, there was indeed a leak.

Water was dripping from somewhere down onto the particle board and then running somewhere and flowing across the kitchen floor.  This was not what we wanted to have happen.

We determined that the leak was not the sink.  It was somewhere on the incoming line.  I wasn’t sure if that was better news or worse, but we proceeded to play our game.  (The game warrants its own post!)

Afterwards, Scott went into major detective mode.  He figured out that the leak was actually near the nozzle of the sprayer hose.  As long as we left the sprayer hose down in the rinse sink, instead of up in its little sink hole, there was no drip when we turned on the faucet.  Well, that would be inconvenient, but workable.  However, the faucet, sprayer, sink, dispose-all, and counter are all in nasty shape and have been for many years.  He decided that since the leak was related to the faucet, as opposed to the sink, he would take the old faucet out and replace it.

With MUCH effort – because the faucet is very old, very encrusted with lime, and (in my opinion) very cheap, when he tried to turn the little plastic “wings” to loosen it, they all broke off.  He had to pry and muscle and crack the thing out.  It was nasty, to say the very least.

At 8:10 PM, we left for Lowe’s (20 minutes away), which would be closing at 9:00 PM.  The long and short of it was that we decided to just buy a new faucet and put it in the old sink for now.  Some day, we know we will have to re-do the whole kitchen, but that is NOT a project we were planning to tackle this weekend!  Of course, I had not given more than 10 minutes’ thought to what kind of faucet I wanted.  Shiny finish or brushed?  High arch or low?  Pull-out or not?  One hole or two or three?  Etc.  Standing there, I was completely overwhelmed.  I finally told Scott to pick one he thought would be good and I’d be fine with it.  And we both knew full well that there was only a smattering of truth to that statement.

We came home with one we both liked, but I was concerned that it would be too high.

Meanwhile, while we were gone, we had told the boys (even though it was officially Andrew’s clean up) to wash the supper dishes.  They were greasy and there were a bunch of them.  We had had grilled hot and spicy chicken and baked beans, so you can imagine the dishes.  Try doing that clean up with no faucet!  somehow they did it, though.  All the dishes were washed and draining when we got back.

And the faucet is too high.

And we think it will be smarter to replace the sink at the same time.

And the sink we think we liked best cost the most.

And we’ll need to replace the dispose-all (which won’t grind a whole long list of stuff and which I have to plunge excessively way too frequently), too.

And we’ll need to get a plumber.  And we assume we can’t do that until at least Tuesday.

And we’ll have to exchange the faucet, and pick out a sink.

And we’re hosting a birthday party here for Andrew on Monday.

With everything but the kitchen sink!

Mary, Mary, quite contrary. . .

I am so enjoying this year’s gardening.  I do have blossoms on several tomato plants, my cilantro (used to make Pioneer Woman DEE-licious Salsa) smells wonderful and is producing way more than I can use, and although my red pepper plants (started early in an attempt to have ripe fruit while Jessica’s here; although she’ll be here in July and last year they didn’t ripen till early October – sigh) are still for some reason tiny, my jalapeno peppers (also used in salsa) are growing rapidly.

Flower-wise, the big bed is going great guns.  My blanket flowers, which I started from seeds I scarfed  – with permission – from my neighbor Roaxanne’s yard are so very lovely.  They came back up this year in the big bed and in the watering can, and their orange/red/brown blooms are totally cheerful.

The delphiniums, which originally came from a packet of mixed flowering seeds some six or seven years ago, are tall and lacy and ready to produce great gobs of long, spiky purple flowers.  Several dahlias are pushing their way up, although they’re having to fight for sun among all the delphinium plants.  Three columbines are doing well; one has been blooming in soft pink for the past few weeks.  One of my hostas (which tend to get horribly chewed up by something or the other) is up, but it, too is buried under delphiniums and the leaves of our iris.  I always wonder if iris leaves should be cut back after the plants bloom.  Those big spikes tend to shade everything else all summer. . .

In the mailbox bed, I have been dutifully pulling HUNDREDS of tiny morning glory plants out of places where they don’t belong.  It only takes about ten plants right at the base of the mailboxes to totally cover them, and if I let those vines establish anywhere else in that bed, they totally strangle everything else!  I have plenty of four o’clocks coming up in both beds, and today I planted a small what I believe may be a azalea (dark green shiny leaves and small white flowers) in the mailbox bed.  It showed up at the Rendezvous – at least I think that’s where it came from.  I am thinking that one of our guests – was it you, Danette? – left it to bless us.  Anyway, we have it, and I decided I should put it in the ground somewhere.

In addition to all that, we now have a white dogwood tree planted beside the big bed, and yesterday Josiah obtained and planted a red maple back where the old zip line tree was.

I am enjoying growing things that will be delicious and/or beautiful!

Blossoms(?) and shells

I am pretty sure that the several little elongated, green things on a few of my tomato plants may actually be BLOSSOMS!  This is always an exciting part of the procedure, and  I am happy!

Also, beginning last Wednesday, May 15, I have seen a few TURTLES in the creek at the bridge.  These soft-shell turtles really make my day.  I haven’t seen them every day, but three or four times I have spied them – of varying sizes and colors, so there must be several around.  Turtles also make me very happy!

McDonald County scores well

Having decided that eight months has been quite long enough, Scott and I took a much-appreciated three days and two nights away this past weekend.  We tried to go to our favorite “Creek’s End” in Newton County, Arkansas, but they were already booked and we couldn’t flex on our dates.  Then Scott went into search and conquer mode to find us another place, and he came up with a house out in the boonies of McDonald County, Missouri.

Now, vacation rental homes are one thing about which we (especially Scott and Andrew) know a great deal, and while this home did include a couple of very nice water features – notably a Jacuzzi tub in the bedroom and a hot tub outside – and while it was located in a section of the country where the scenery does, we must admit, compare favorably with virtually-impossible-to-beat-outside-Colorado Newton County, we were significantly unimpressed with its layout and sundry lacks.

For one thing, you enter on the ground level into a hallway with a bedroom to the left (two double beds, plus two large closets housing a washer/dryer combo and the furnace and water heater) and a bathroom to the right (sink, toilet, and the world’s smallest shower stall; do NOT drop the soap!).  The rest of the house is all up a steep flight of stairs.  It’s nice to have a husband to haul luggage, various equipment, and groceries up those stairs while you scope the place, put things away, and generally act helpless and beautiful.

Upstairs, everything is open.  Ahead of you is a tiny round high table with four high chairs.  Behind you is the kitchen area (sink, fridge, stove, oven, and no cabinets).  To your left is a love seat and comfy chair facing a flat screen TV with DVD player.  Behind the TV is the queen bed, and across from that is the jacuzzi tub.  Note:  Many years ago I went to church with some Jacuzzis, who were actually close kin to THE Jacuzzis of jetted tub fame.

Anyway, it’s all just one open room with no dividing walls or doors.  Furthermore, throughout the house there are several large, low windows, and there is not one stitch of any type of window covering anywhere in the entire house!!!  It will be noted that in mid-May, the sun shines directly into the eyes of the person on the right side of the bed at approximately 8:18 AM – no alarm clock needed.

I am not an immaculate housekeeper by any stretch of the imagination, and my house is at some level perpetually dirty and dusty, but it’s not a vacation rental!!  We LIVE here.  Our vacation rentals are not dirty and never dusty.  This house would’ve kept Tara and Andrew busy all day.  The other odd thing was that nothing was supplied.  There was no salt and pepper, leftover dishes, ziplocs, foil, plastic wrap, drinking glasses, laundry soap, napkins flame thrower; in short, none of those nice little touches that make things easier and help you feel comfortable and welcome.

All that said, we enjoyed the area very much and we had a fun time.

Oddities of McDonald County that are yet to be fully understood include:

~ Mounted on numerous homes, there are large (several feet high) wooden cut-outs that resemble flying angels.  We don’t know what they mean or why they are there, but lots of people have them.

~ All land is privately owned and posted no trespassing.

~ Everyone and his dog owns a PRIVATE (no trespassing) campground and canoe rental service for either Big Sugar Creek or Elk River, or maybe both.

~ The sheriff’s office is inside Wal-Mart in Jane!  No joke.

A bonus for this trip was that we were able to drive around not one, not two, but THREE town squares:  Pineville in McDonald County, Cassville in Barry County, and Galena in Stone County.  Pineville was the best.

The former rain and the latter rain

We think this is the 14th year that Scott has played softball on Thursday nights.  Going to his games and cheering on the Promise Keepers is a Thursday night family tradition.  Now for the first time in 14 years, I am sad to say that I have not been able to be a regular fan at his games, because the Branson Chamber Singers (BCS) are rehearsing on Thursday nights through June 20th, and the softball season runs April 11 – June 13.

Not to worry; at least Andrew could still go to the games.  This is, until a couple of his teen friends from the homeschool choir joined BCS and urged him to do the same. . . which he did.  That’s really neat to me.  We’re working on Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, an almost 30-page, beautiful work, in Latin.  I’m thrilled that Andrew gets to work with an outstanding director and a bunch of great adults who are enjoying singing serious music.  That’s a rare and valuable opportunity for a 13 year-old!

But it means no one can fully attend any of his games.  Scott’s games are at 6:30, 7:30, or 8:30, lasting about an hour.  Choir rehearsal is 7:00 – 9:00.  The only way we can see him play is to try catch the first few minutes of a 6:30 game, or the last few of an 8:30 game.  = (

However, if weather prevents a game from being played, that game gets added on to the end of the season.  So far, it has rained hard enough and long enough on FOUR of the past six Thursdays to cause those games to be canceled.  This means that those games will be added on to the season, beginning June 20, which means there will be softball games during July. . . when ALL THE KIDS ARE HOME!!!

Scott is bummed about the rain keeping them from playing, but I choose to view it as God’s mercy for the most loyal PK fans.   = )