We all drove up to Mom and Dad's today. First, though, I had to get my tags renewed-- because I am a loser and did not do it in October when I was supposed to. Traffic was terrible coming up here. Trucks everywhere, and Miss O had to go to the restroom three times.

We got our new heat and air system installed. It is really nice to have heat again ; )
Old houses certainly have quirks.

I seem to be having a gathering at my house in December, which means I have to throw out stuff. I cannot bear for my oldest friends to see the mess my house is. And Do is probably going to stop by on her way to Louisiana. So, yeah, I have to clean my house. And I need to paint my living room, dining room, and trim. Because I have nasty paneling in my living room and ugly knotty pine trim in both the living room and dining rooms. And my dining room is yellow. Which is fine, until I paint my living room, then they will clash. And they are only divided by columns. So, they have to match.

All this after my final paper is due on Dec. 8, grades are due a week after that. Then I am free for a week to clean my house.

I have discovered that I am broke. My debt to income ratio is too high.

How did I discover this wonderful piece of information? Our furnace went out. It just will not come on any more. And even when it did work, it was inefficient and obviously on its last legs.

So we have to buy a new one. A $6000 new one.

And my dad has to co-sign. I find this depressing. I try to pretend that I am enough of a grownup to not need my parents help all the time. And truthfully, we manage most of the time. We have bought two houses on our own. We have bought vehicles on our own. We paid for the transmission on our truck when it went out. We did, however, get help when the air conditioning went out on my van. They offered, though, because they thought that it was making me sick to go without air conditioning (and it was).

So that is where I am. In my mid-thirties and still not financially independent. I hate that. Hate that.

Home Improvement

Not the television show, but my life. Our toilet started hemorrhaging water last week, so we had to replace it. We wanted to replace the bathtub that had the big (filled) crack in it that felt like it was falling through the floor. We wanted to do that while the toilet was out.

So we did. The bathroom is still in pieces as we try to get a 60 in tub in a 60.5 in slot. That is what we have been doing all day. I cleaned (and bleached) the area under the tub because the old tub had been leaking so there was mold. Lots of mold. Dad came to help, which was a god-send. We really could not have done this without him (at least partially because Todd was temperamental and I was just mental by the end of the day.)

We got a lovely cast iron tub, but the problem, of course, is that it weighs 300 lbs.

My son just came dancing through the house singing, "It's in! It's in! It's in, in, in!" so I am guessing that is it in...

Just went and looked at the tub. The bathroom is shaping up to look really nice. We splurged a little on the fixtures (not that we went crazy, we bought like the second cheapest thing instead of the dead cheapest). Of course, the new fixtures look so pretty that I think we need new flooring... And new faucets would be nice, too.

Truthfully, I am just excited that the toilet will flush without having to hold the handle down. And that nothing leaks. I am not so excited about having to tile the surround. Anyway, there is still work to do, so I am off.


We have a quiet weekend planned. I am going to get some kids clothes ready for a consignment sale, so I can buy them more clothes. Or maybe purge a bit. We have too much stuff for our house. Or maybe we don't have enough house for our stuff? Either way, we have a mess. Right now, my entire house looks like a child's bedroom. Even to the clothes and toys strewn all over the living room floor. Part of it is my fault. I can admit that. I have my grad school stuff strung out. But that is everywhere. Maybe I should start by containing that.


Two classes are done. Done. Done. Done.

We looked at a house yesterday, in my favorite neighborhood in town. The price is really reasonable, and they put in a covenant so that no one is allowed to rent out home there. The house is big-- nearly 2000 sq. ft.-- but still only has three bedrooms/two bathrooms. But it has a nice living room, and a big den. The laundry is in a hall closet, which I hate, but it is really a lovely house. The price is a little more than we're comfortable with (more than twice what this one is), but depending on what this appraises for, may be a possibility. I just hope this appraises for more than we have put in it! It would be depressing for all our work to be worth nothing.

We are making a full-out press to get the house ready for the appraiser tomorrow. I think we have every surface painted, which is the biggest thing. Everything has to be "finished" and I think we have managed to coat every surface with paint and to fill every hole. Todd wants to paint the living room next week. I am ambivalent about that. On the one hand, the house will be in order tomorrow, and I hate to take it apart again. On the other hand, my life will only get busier after next week.

I had coffee today with Becky. Really, it was more of a mad dash through Target while we drank our coffee. I found some cool toys on sale, that I put up for W's Christmas, along with a few assorted birthday gifts to put away.

My cousin asked me how I was doing today. Here was my response...

Slowly losing my will to live...
Our house had to appraised next week or the week after.
It needs to appraise for 20% more than we pd for it.
We had to buy a new truck last week 'cause our old one died.
We traded in our old one, but have to come up with sales tax
Groceries are more expensive, suddenly.
And I somehow have to sort out semiotics (no I don't know what that means) so I can write a paper on them.
How are you?


I.Hate.Math. Especially when a checkbook is involved. On the bright side, I have Moneydance, which does everything that Quicken does, except expire. (If I am content to use an old version of a piece of software, the company should not determine for me that it is too old, and disable downloads from my bank.) I fed in all my expenses (except February from US Bank, because they only keep 90 days of record online) into Moneydance and found out where my money went. This is what I found:

I spend more in clothes that I believed that I did.
Our grocery bill is out of control.
And we eat out too much.
We need a lot of entertaining.
We need to use the library more.

It is all very horrifying really. Essentially I have nice sum each month that I really have no idea where goes. Well, I know *where* it goes: Wal-Mart, Taget, Walgreens, the Dollar Store, Freds... So I *know* some of it is cleaning supplies. And some is clothing. And some is groceries. But what is what? I am clueless.

Then, I started poking around and found the USDA's estimated costs to feed a family. Turns out the federal government figures that we should be expected to spend $983 a month to feed our family of five. Now, all we need to do is cut down what we spend eating out...


Tonight, in the midst for cooking supper for my bunch and my dad who is visiting, I decided to do "something" about the open shelves in my kitchen. And what I decided to do was eradicate the plastic. So I put my baking supplies into glass jars, and put my metal canisters on the shelf and it looks really great. I did have to paint above the stove-- evidently I forgot to do that before. But it is done, for the moment. Now I just have to decide what to put on the open shelf above the stove. It gets hot enough that I am worried about putting just anything up there...


We gave away some furniture today. It was lovely furniture. Nice dresser and chest of drawers. But we simply did not have room. The furniture was seventies-era boxy furniture and we live in a 1920's bungalow. The house really has only 1460 square feet. Related to this give-away is my decluttering. Christopher Lowell says 7 out of 10 people have too much clutter. (I would like to know where that statistic came from, btw.) I *know* that I have too much clutter.

Clothing is my nemesis. I cleared out Olivia's 4T clothes today-- at least most of them. I am not even trying most of it on her to see if she *could* wear it one more season. I am just taking it to Katie. I have a kitchen trash sack half-full of clothes that just do not make me feel happy when I wear them. And I am giving myself til when school starts to get my weight back down or I am going to start getting rid of everything that does not fit well. Or that I just do not wear. I love clothes. Really. Love. Clothes. But right now, I have too much of a good thing...

My house continues to cause me stress. I would *love* to have a tidy house. I don't see ever having a home like my aunt, that always looks company ready. I do need, though, for it to not look like one of my children exploded in my living room. I do need to have enough of the mess contained that "finding the floor" can cease to be one of my hobbies. I need to be able to sweep without being a major production.

I made W clean up his room today. That was mildly painful. And he will need to clean his room again tomorrow. Finding the floor is a major part of what he will be doing. Next I need to nag Meleah. Her room is bad as well. She has no floor. Only clothing. Like her mother, she also likes clothes. Also like her mother, she has *way* too many of them.

New toy

We have a new toy. Rather, Todd has a new toy. We bought a second-hand eMac today from a co-worker who is retiring. This will be *his* computer, since I swiped the desktop that I built in the fall. (I needed it for class ; >) He is ooing and awing overing it right now. It is beautiful.

I primed our cabinets in our kitchen so I can paint them. Then I need to paint the walls. I am pretty sick of renovation at this point. We are getting the house appraised next month so that we can start making payments (oh, joy of joys), but also so we can also quit buying building materials. So that will actually come out to be close to a wash. I love the way old houses look, but I am so sick of repairs that I could cry right now. When we get our closet project done, then we have to fix our bathroom. Fix is not a strong enough word, I am afraid "gut" is probably the more accurate word. We *have* to have a new bathtub and toilet. The old ones are just not salvageable, since they leak. Then of course, the new tub needs a shower surround tiled, and the floor replaced. All before the appraiser comes. *sigh*

The house needs new siding and a new furnace and air conditioner. But those are not on the top of the triage list, at the moment.

Short Update

Found the cord and the resume. Todd has a job interview tomorrow at a different school in the same district.

We have bead board paneling in half of the closet. Which I have painted. And painted. No exaggeration; I have painted four coats of the same color on parts of it. And after I painted the dark green paint on, I decided there was too much green, so I repainted the part above the trim white again (hard to explain without a picture...)

The Vintage is done and as we speak being printed to be mailed out. That was more work that I thought it would be. And I have signed myself up to do it again, next fall. Aarg.

I am sewing this week when I am not painting. I made myself a wrap top and a pair of capris. I made Olivia a dress and a doll dress to match. I like sewing. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I should, however, have been cleaning out my office. That activity, on the other hand, fills me with dread.

Well, it is about time to go pick up my children, so I am off.

Closet remake

I need to find the cord for my external hard drive. Then I need to go to Home Depot and get some paint so I can paint the inside of my closet and my bedroom. I have a scrap of wall paper that Walker excavated from the wall during the demolition that is has a beautiful dusky green background that I love.

This weekend, Dad came down and helped us with our project to finish the second bathroom. In the meantime, I worked on getting the closet ready. We removed everything from our closet. All the clothes, shelves, everything. Now what was in my closet has exploded all over my house. It kind of looks like I am having a garage sale in my living room. This will get better soon, I am sure. Todd has promised tonight to get the sheetrock and paneling that we need to finish out the closet so we can get hanging bars back up and have a closet again. And I may have a garage sale as well, next week.

I think I am going to go eat lunch now. Maybe better blood sugar will help my outlook on life.

Speaking of home improvement... http://www.raisetheranch.com/blog.html


I have been to Lowe's or Home Depot four times today. I have bought and returned and bought and returned.

Long day.


Love the three day weekend.

I started tiling the kitchen counter-top. Twelve inch tiles with one inch accents. Lovely. Now if I could only get the dishwasher installed so I could finish installing the tile and grout and so forth. Cutting the cement board was honestly the hardest part. Stumbling on the John Bridge tile forum was a godsend. There I learned about carbide blades and learned that no one really can cut cement backer board with a utility knife. If you see it done on television, it is evidently a special knife or a camera trick.

I really should be reading for my assignment tomorrow. At least I have the class I am teaching tomorrow planned out.

I have almost finished adding the affiliate ads to the website that I have been building. I did the style sheet, the graphics and everything.

Catch up

Today has been a catch up day. Yesterday we were without water. Not because I forgot to pay the bill this time, either. We were installing the new cabinet and nicked the water line and it was the next day before our plumber could get here. That was fun (not). All three kids and no water. And it was a wasted day because we couldn't do any more work on the cabinets. And I could not do laundry.

I did, however, work on my web portfolio. It looks kind of nice now, and needs to be translated to a brochure. A guy at one of the computer shops in town was asking me if I had one...

My cousin Joshua gave me the address of his Myspace where he has a couple of awesome songs that he has been working on. It always shocks me when someone I have known forever does something so cool...

I did get the Christmas tree taken down before we ripped up the kitchen. I guess that is something. And I did get Olivia's defective FurReal pet returned. She spent the money on a bike helmet and elbow and knee pads. She is a happy as she can be. She *loves* riding her bike. And Todd loves riding with her. He has so much fun with that.


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