Friday, February 27, 2009

Let the REAL fun begin!

We've been waiting for days. Weeks even. The appliances have been here since January 6th - patiently waiting in the garage (in my parking space by the way!). The whole process has been one big game of hurry up and wait.
And now the waiting is officially over. Wednesday was the day! The kitchen demolition officially began! It's amazing - one morning you wake up and everything looks normal. Then a few short hours later, your kitchen sink is laying in the middle of the floor, the counter top is laying on the garage floor, the cabinets are in varying states of disarray throughout the garage, and two guys are standing in your "kitchen" with pry bars getting ready to rip down your drywall.

Woo Hoo!!! What fun it is!!!

That was the first day. The second day (yesterday) was less "visually" drastic - but no less messy. It was time to rip up the old floor tile! Unless you have done this before, you have absolutely no idea how much dust the old mortar makes. There is not a nook or cranny anywhere in the house, downstairs or up, that doesn't have dust in it! And that was after they hung plastic sheeting from floor to ceiling to try and keep the dust in the kitchen! And then they had to take up the second layer of plywood. It was screwed AND glued on top of the original plywood sub floor. That actually took longer then getting the tile up.

Our original and inferior kitchen

The first step. How is this for improvement!?!?!?

Today was electrical re-wiring day. There were some interesting electrical discoveries. One was a little mouse that found its way into the wall behind the old lazy susan. It was old enough that it wasn't even recognizable - but I remember it well. It was about 8 years ago. We never did catch it. We assumed that it found its way out the same way it found its way in. But we were wrong! Instead of finding its way out, he found some electrical wire to chew on! Yummy! But not so good for your health...

At any rate, all of the new electrical wire was ran today (including re-running the mouse snack). With any luck, the plumber will get his part done Monday and the drywall can start going up Tuesday. We'll be sure to keep everyone posted!

Look at that pretty new wiring!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Weekend That Had It All...

Our weekend getaway turned out to be fantastic! And it had a little bit of everything. Some playing with the dogs. Some sitting in the hot tub. Some alone time. Some "playing tourist in Pigeon Forge" time. Some spring time. Some winter time.

But it was all a good time!

First - the playing with the dogs. Izzy has always loved going "bye-bye" and Foxy has always loved an adventure of any kind. So they were excited before we left the driveway! Once we got there, it was their goal to sniff every square corner of the place.

Foxy gets settled in...

And, of course, they got plenty of play time to go along with their ample amounts relaxing...

Izzy and Foxy play hide-and-go-seek with their mom!

Foxy naps while her mom reads

Izzy still needs her lovin'!

Izzy plays with her football duck!

The first night was cold (somewhere in the 20's). What a perfect time to sit in the hot tub out on the deck! So we jacked the water temp up to 104 - changed clothes - and jumped in! It was chilly for the three steps it took to get to the hot tub - but once we were in, it was great! We sat in the water so long that we both turned to prunes...

The next day, the weather was fantastic! A beautiful, sunny, east Tennessee day with the temperature getting to a balmy 65! What a perfect day to sit around and enjoy the weather.

"This weather is great! How did I get way up here?"

We had to drive back to Knoxville late that afternoon and our neighbors offered to watch the dogs for us when we went back. We took them up on the offer so they wouldn't be able to wake up their mom at 3am! She actually got to sleep in!!!

So we drove back and had dinner at the Apple Barn. Talk about good ol' fashion country cooking! You wouldn't believe the amount of food that we got. And it was all delicious! Come and visit us - we'll take you there!

That evening we were alone. We sat in the hot tub again, although the outside temperature was still around 45. We played a little pool. Mostly, we were waiting around for our food to digest a little before we went to bed.

The next morning was a surprise. It snowed! It was a winter wonderland! Let's crank up that fireplace on HIGH! There really is nothing prettier than being in the mountains with snow all around. We were a little worried about how we were going to get out - you should have seen some of those roads! But it turns out that we had no problem at all...

The cabin - before the snow...

The cabin - AFTER the snow!

It's a winter wonderland!

We spent the rest of that afternoon playing "tourists" in Pigeon Forge. Lot's of outlet mall shopping. We even made a few purchases! Just doing our part to keep the local economy going!

So, it was a very successful weekend. We came back refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to face the world again! Now - if those 60 degree days would come back...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekend Getaway

Ahhhhhhh - it's time for the weekend! And things have been really crazy around here during the last two weeks. We've both picked up some classes to teach at Kaplan - and along with RCIA, there's only been one evening where we didn't have to work until 9. Those 13 hour days are killer!

So - this weekend is the getaway weekend. We get to take the dogs, Valentines day was just last weekend, somebody is celebrating the big "4-0" on Monday, and we all (dogs included) need a couple of days to kick back and relax. It should be a great time!

Hopefully we'll come back rested and refreshed. Because bright and early Wednesday morning, the kitchen gets torn out...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ken Lee

Ken Lee. Who is this person? A long lost relative perhaps?

Or perhaps not! It's actually a Mariah Carey song.

Or at least it's supposed to be. If you want a good laugh - read on!

Most of you have certainly heard about "American Idol". As with most things - it's a show that has been exported to other countries - including Bulgaria.

So there is one sweet, young lady trying out to be a contestant on "Bulgarian Idol". There is not a person alive who could put the performance into words. You will just have to click here to watch it.

To liboo diboo douch you!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's day. The holiday of Hallmark. It's always the day after all of the husbands of the world grudgingly make the trek to the card shop to pick out the card and buy some flowers or chocolate.

But we are still newly-weds. Hey - Stop laughing! We've really only been married for three years!!! All of those "engaged" years don't count!

So for us, Valentine's day still has that little bit of magic. It's that day when you get to think back and say "Wow. I really am lucky"

So, on this Valentine's day, I woke up and padded my way to the bathroom. And through my squinty, morning eyes I saw this message on the mirror...

...and I smiled and kissed my lovely spouse. A simple little note. But it's the fact that my "significant other" actually snuck out of bed just to stick all of those squishy little gel letters on the mirror (they really were fun to poke) just so that my day would be a little better. It was the beginning of a fantastic day!

We hope all of our family and friends had a day that was as spectacular as ours!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One decision after another...

First off - WOW! It's been over a week since the last post! I guess we should start off with an apology. With RCIA, Kaplan (those classes have started up again - I'm sure there will be a post on that), basketball, and getting ready for the kitchen remodel - we've been busier than one legged people in a butt kissing contest!

So some of this may be duplicated, but for anyone who may not be up to speed on our kitchen saga...

The post is about more kitchen stuff. It's funny - in the beginning (which was sometime in the middle of November) - we started getting serious about this kitchen stuff. It all stemmed from the tile problems we've been having. And we were wanting to change the layout of the kitchen anyway (although we were wanting to wait until the end of 2009...). But it didn't make sense to redo the floor now, only to have to redo the floor again when we changed the kitchen layout. And we had close to a dozen loose tiles and 4 or 5 cracked ones. The tile simply wasn't going to make it until the end of the year.

So - let's go ahead with the kitchen remodel. We'll just run to a couple of cabinet places and pick out what we like and get a couple of prices from each. Then we'll run to a tile store and pick out what we like and get a couple of prices from each of those too. We should have everything lined up and ready to pull the trigger once we get the construction items worked out.

One or two decisions and we will be good to go - right?

Fat chance. And anyone who has gone through a kitchen remodel must surely be laughing right now.

Now, it's several months later. We've worked with two kitchen designers, and a tile designer (who knew that you could walk in to a place and a designer would work with you and not charge a nickle - all in the hope that you might buy something?), somewhere between 10 to 15 kitchen layouts, 3 or 4 tile layouts - and countless other little nitpick things ("do you like the copper oil rub or the bronze oil rub?" - yes, that was a real decision we had to make and we went with the bronze) we've made somewhere in the neighborhood of to kabillion decisions. And what we thought would take a few days has ended up taking many weeks.

And I think we (hopefully) made the final decision this afternoon (we had to pick out the style glass panel for the doors over the sink - and there were about 40 different styles to choose from!).

The new appliances are sitting in the garage (FYI - when Whirlpool says it's 4 to 6 weeks, mine only took 4 days). The last pieces of tile were delivered today. The cabinets are going to be delivered tomorrow. And construction should be starting Monday. It will be interesting living without a kitchen for the next 2 or 3 weeks. At least we have the camper!

So stay tuned. The fun is just beginning...

(Special side note from Bryon - did you notice that the Tennessee men's basketball team put another whipping on Florida? 79 to 63 and Florida was never in the game. That makes Tennessee 10 and 1 against Florida since Bruce has taken the helm - that's 10 and 1 in the last 3 1/2 years. And two of those 3 1/2 years, Florida won the national championship. 10 and 1. That's something to be proud of! And with last nights 79 - 48 pounding on Georgia that puts us tied for first place in SEC East. Not too bad for a team with only 1 senior - and he hasn't played because he blew his knew out last fall... Go Vols!)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Good luck from Bobby?

OK - I know that I've already written about this once already. Sure - it was a big deal that ESPN College Game Day came to Knoxville. With that comes the winningest NCAA men's basketball coach of all time Bobby Knight.

And sure - they did the show live from "the Summit" in Thompson Boiling Arena. And there were a lot of folks who braved the craziness just to go down and be a part of the show.

And, of course, we had tickets to the game that night (against Florida). But who would have thought that when we got to the game, there would be Bobby (and the rest of the game day crew) just a few short feet away from our seats!

Some of you may say "big deal". So was it a big deal for the Vols? You bet! Florida (the only SEC team in the top 25) never led. As a matter of fact, they were never in the game. The only time that the lead was less than 10 points was when the score was 8 to zilch! It was really good to see - especially after the embarrassing loss to LSU last Wednesday. During that game, we didn't play well - and our favorite official (Teddy Valentine) made extra sure that LSU won the game. It's bad when even the TV announcers (is it a coincidence that Teddy's initials are "TV"?) are commenting about how bad the calls are.

So did Bobby really bring us the good mojo? I think so. And if not - I'm sure there is a long term restraining order between Bobby and Teddy which insured that Teddy would not officiate the Florida game!

I wonder if I should try and find some red plaid pants and a sweater...