Monday, September 29, 2014

31 Days of…STUFF

This will be my third year of linking up with The Nester’s 31 Days of writing series.

Two years ago I wrote 31 Days of Storytelling 

and last year 31 Days of Life.

Once again my 31 Days of…STUFF theme

leaves me all the open vagueness to write about any and everything I feel led to write.

I am not one to stay on topic.

Especially now that we have an addition going on to our house.

Two events at church to be planned.

A middle school musical to be rehearsed and performed.

Our family Halloween costumes to finish assembling.

Last year we were the characters from Gilligan’s Island.

And all while Monte continues to travel for work.

And Nigel refuses to accept that our den is gone 
and that our backyard is not something to be feared.


I have some STUFF to write about this October.

Come back starting Wednesday to read

or sign up in the left hand column of my blog page to get my posts sent right to your email.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Two years ago when McDaniel was in the 8th grade, she decided to try out for the girls golf team.

There was only one other girl on the 8th grade team so they had to combine with the 7th graders to make up a whopping 7-member golf team.

McDaniel had never even swung a club before.

She took to it right away and ended up playing quite well overall.

Not that she didn’t have her moments.

One match, she came home and announced that she managed to hit a goose with her golf ball.

One of those huge black and white Canadian geese.

A girl from the opposing team gasped in horror.

McDaniel watched the goose half-limp, half-fly away.

Fast forward to this week.

Ellie is currently on the 7th/8th grade girls golf team which is so large it is split into an A and a B team.

McDaniel rode with me one evening to pick Ellie up from a golf match. She recounted the exact location of the goose hit at the very course we were driving away from.

Ellie and her friend and teammate listened intently and laughed from the back seat.

I may have even hollered out a,

“Don’t hit a goose!”

the next time I dropped them off at that course.

Tuesday night, it was my girlfriend’s turn for golf carpool.

Ellie was filled with excitement when she got in her car explaining that she had hit NOT ONE,



With one golf ball.

I guess the golf ball ricocheted off of one goose and bonked the other one.

The rule in golf is that you have to play where the ball lands so Ellie had to 

“Shoo! Shoo!” 

the obviously honked off (pun intended) geese 

who were not interested AT ALL 
in quickly evacuating the scene.

They flapped their enormous wings and honked irritatedly at her and everything.

Not. Happy.

My friend said she would not have been that happy with a hole in one. Ellie ended up having a great round and got to one-up her sister’s single-goose hitting story.

Which is, you know, killing two birds with one stone.

I looked up the origin of that story and it is worth sharing:

In the Greek Mythology tale of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus is held captive by King Minos on Crete in a high tower. All he is able to see are high walls around him and large birds overhead awaiting his and his son, Icarus' demise. Daedalus devises a plan to throw stones at the birds in the hope of fashioning artificial wings to enable the pair to fly home. He finds, with his stone through a clever throwing motion, that he is able to strike one bird with the ricochet hitting a second bird, thus killing two birds with one stone. The rest is history.

The rest is history indeed.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Minutes after I hit the publish button on my last post, (No Machinery. No Hard Hats.) machinery showed up!!

We weren’t expecting digging to happen until Friday or Monday so when the doorbell rang and the guy asked me to move my car out of the driveway, I was WAY okay with it!!

The cutest little Tonka toy looking machine zoomed into the backyard super fast.

Within seconds the patio that Monte and my brother-in-law, Nate, (before he was our brother-in-law) built was sitting in the bottom of a dump truck.

And I was going to save a piece of the stone!

The entire house shook as the Little Machine That Could started picking up and dropping huge pieces of the concrete slab that our den once sat on.

Each drop broke the concrete into smaller, more manageable pieces to scoop into the dump truck.

And sent Nigel into a fit of barking, fear and more barking.

“Get off my lawn!" 
Nigel howling in disapproval.

I watched with the fascination of a 4-year-old boy.

I kept thinking of the kid’s show Ellie watched 
when she was little, Bob the Builder.

“Can he fix it? Yes he can!"

Minus the eyeballs and the blue cat, it was Scoop from the show!!

I really, really, REALLY wanted to go out and ask if I could drive Scoop,

just for a second.

But I was blocked in by the dump truck and the fact that Scoop never stopped for even a minute for me to ask.

Not even when its driver got a phone call.

I’m dead serious.
I watched him answer the phone, 
not once, 
while driving!!

Can you imagine that conversation?
(Of course I did.)

“Sure, honey, meat loaf will be fine. Gotta go, I’m working. Okay. Love you too!!”

I also watched Scoop pop a wheelie


at separate times, of course,

due to the weight of the concrete slabs.

I decided that maybe it would be just fine if I didn’t ask to drive.

I had to break away from all the excitement to take a quick shower.

Nigel let me know by barking and scratching at the bathroom door that this had arrived:

Oh, yeah, baby!
This episode of Bob the Builder just ramped up.

They were all in my backyard! Except Bob. 

This new piece of machinery dug into the earth like it was soft butter. 

I quickly forgot about Scoop and really, REALLY wanted to drive this new thing.

I started worrying about my beloved Sycamore when all these broken roots started getting exposed.

The hole took no time at all to dig!

Then the large scoop-like machine finished 
and cruised down our driveway. 

 Ignore the dead hanging plant. I have--since late July.

The neighbor and I decided this hole would make a fantastic pool 
and we should just go ahead and fill it with water.

Too bad they took the water spicket away the same day the AC went to live in the garage.

A form was built to hold the cement footer.

The next morning, as I drank my coffee and worked on my bible study homework, I stared at the makeshift ladder that had been built to get the workers in and out of the hole.

I think I know how Alice from Alice in Wonderland felt when she saw the bottle with the little tag that read, “Drink Me”.

It was FAR too tempting. 

I decided that it was my hole and I could stand in it if I wanted to.

I roped Carisa into photographing it.

I didn’t realize that she just kept snapping the pictures.

Me inspecting the extension cord that was running
from the basement window, through the hole, to the
garage refrigerator since the power to the garage had
been cut. I’d just been to Trader Joe’s for crying
out loud. Priorities.
 She managed to catch me recovering after I tripped over the extension cord.

As she pointed out, there was only ONE THING in the ENTIRE HOLE that I could possibly trip over. AND I FOUND IT.

Then I discovered ALL THE WETNESS around what used to be our garden hose spicket. Our builder keeps saying to us, 

“I’m so glad we are doing this now.”

Translated:  “Your house was about to cave right in from 
carpenter ants and wetness."

After my spectacular extension cord trip, Carisa must’ve thought my ascent from the hole on the makeshift ladder was going to be quite the show.

I love her shadow taking the pictures.

Because she recorded just about every step.

Even Nigel was afraid he was going to miss something.

Peeking over the edge of the window.

I had to go get my hair cut colored. And I missed this while I was gone!

They poured the cement without me! Which meant a CEMENT TRUCK with the spinning tank and everything was here and I didn’t get the chance to want to drive it.

I wasn’t the only one fascinated with our backyard hole.

Julie and her daughter Robyn stopped by:

Falling in the hole!!! 
McDaniel’s Young Life leader came by before the Homecoming Dance Saturday.

Trying to recreate Julie and Robyn’s picture.
Our neighbor came by before her date picked her up.

And numerous other friends and neighbors have been by to look at the hole.

Yesterday, Monte decided that he would regret it if he didn’t stand in the hole.

This morning these were delivered. 

I’m hoping that means a cement truck will be pulling into our driveway any minute.

I will keep you posted.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No Machinery. No Hard Hats.

The den came down on Monday.

When the word “demolition” was first mentioned I had “move that bus!” TV reality show like thoughts in my head.

I certainly expected machinery. 

And hard hats.

I watched said machinery take down Carisa’s house.

So I didn’t dream it up.

I realize now that our builder never actually mentioned a word about machinery in the same sentence as “demolition”.

Or hard hats.

 I just naturally filled in the blanks 
and fully planned to have a picture taken 
with me ON the machinery.

Possibly wearing a hard hat.

But early Monday morning the only thing that rolled into my driveway was a normal size truck and a man on a bicycle.

Yes! He rode his bike to my house.

To tear it down.

I love that and find it incredibly funny 
at the same time.

Two men went to work on the den with a hammer and a crow bar.

They took down each wooden plank, board by board.

No sledge hammers.

No crashing.

No smashing.

HGTV has really ruined me on the 
expectations of home improvement.

Thanks a lot, Property Brothers!

As one man started on the wood siding, another was on the roof taking off the shingles.

After a few hours and my view still looked like this:

I wanted to go out and grab his hammer 
and start knocking down the den myself.

A dumpster was delivered later in the morning and I snapped this picture for Monte.

Nothing excites that man quite like an empty dumpster.

It’s like a blank canvas to an artist. 

Monte had ALL KINDS of ideas of how to fill it 
with 15-year-old paint cans and old yard chemicals.

Monte and I were absolutely convinced (with all the leaks this room has had in the past) that this part of the house was completely rotten and could be pushed over by hand.

Not so! By the looks of all the tugging and pulling and pushing and hammering, it was remarkably solid!

Monte and I were also preparing ourselves for the discovery of termites because

1) The number of dead stink bugs I found in the den cabinets.

2) Last winter's lice infestation.

3) Our neighbor found termites in her house a few years ago when she added on. (They probably just shooed them right on out of her yard to ours, right?)


Praise God, we didn’t have termites! 

We had carpenter ants.

There were tunnels and street corners and intersections 
and apparently a mayor and city council 
because they had been there for some time.

The builder showed me what one looked like and I was like, 

Oh hey, I’ve seen him before. INSIDE the house.


Our interior French Doors have now become our exterior doors.

And not to brag, but I get this sweet view every day right from my living room.

Our dog Nigel is just beside himself. 

The den is where his food and water used to be.

His bed.

His toys. 

His best view of the squirrels and birds from the top of my red chair.

He can’t quite get used to the change.

We put his bed in our room upstairs.

His toys in the living room.

His food and water in the kitchen.

He walks around sighing loudly with his nub of a tail down and his head hanging low because no one asked him and NONE OF THIS WILL DO.

Yesterday, I caught him banging his head on the French doors MORE THAN ONCE trying to open them to see what in the world has happened to life as he once knew it.

He’s also afraid of the backyard.

Maybe because he doesn’t recognize it anymore.

Or maybe because it’s just a painful reminder of what once was.

As Monte put it this morning,

“You are a dog. Get over it and poop in the backyard!”

Can you hear the sighing?

Interesting lack of compassion coming from the man deeply disappointed that the dumpster was filled to capacity (and there are still gutters behind the Sycamore) and he could not toss in paint cans and chemicals to his heart content.

In preparation to start digging, the air conditioner was dismantled 
and put into our garage this morning.

Good thing it’s going to warm up again this weekend.

And McDaniel will be primping to go to the Homecoming Dance.

I think Nigel won’t be the only one banging his head on the doors 
and walking around sighing.

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