Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 7) - Photo Version

Seven Quick Takes Photo Version! This is what I've been up to the last few weeks....

#1 - We have a shed! And we have moved much stuff out of the garage and into the shed! And it is happy. And pretty. And large. And it covers up the annoying view of our neighbours back porch.

In order to move stuff into the shed, Hillery came and helped me out as Chris was frantically doing several major, time-consuming homework projects the week the shed came. Her two kids came along and played as well. And her little boy was having a fun time with our tree. And digging in the dirt, thus adding to the size and number of holes in our backyard (thanks to the resident moles, dogs, and rabbits). Didn't get pictures of the dirt digging. But I did get pictures of the tree hanging.

and my favorite....



#2 - We have a freezer! Which is one of the reasons why we bought the shed and moved a ton of stuff out of the garage into the shed. And the freezer is happy. And pretty. And large. And soon to be full of tasty food including quick meals that I can make ahead of time and freeze and not have to make from scratch all the time! Going gluten free has provided many complications in my life. Not the least of which is not being able to go out to eat easily (at least not without risking getting sick).


#3 - We have a new dishwasher! (are we sensing a theme here?). And it is happy. And pretty. And, well, not really large. But it's quiet. And the door can be opened without having to be propped up on something to keep it from crashing to the ground. And the dishes are actually getting clean. The FIRST time! And it has a delay setting which means I can set the dishwasher to run and still manage to let my husband have a shower in the morning and also run a load of laundry. Such joy!


#4 - We have a screen (look carefully, you can kind of see it). This is something that I haven't really talked about much in our saga of broken things and desperate needs, but we've actually been trying to get a good screen door for quite awhile. And now we have one. And it successfully slides open and shut on a consistent basis without falling off its hinges. And that is also happy. Not really pretty--because you can't really see it unless you run into it. And as that is the reason we didn't have a screen door in the first place (Mara ran into it), I'd prefer that you don't run into it. So just enjoy the lack of flies in the house and be done with it!


#5 - It's been a few weeks in which many books have been obtained.

We recently had the opportunity to buy a slew of Bodie Thoene books for very cheap. I'm not much into Christian romance (with a few exceptions here and there), but I've read a few of the Zion series, and really liked them. And I've been told her other books are well worth reading. More historical than romance. We'll see. If I don't like them I can always sell them again and get something else!

Then I also had a few books I had to buy quickly from Borders. And since they were running a deal that if you bought $50 of books, you got a $10 gift card, and I had to spend $38 already, I went ahead and picked up a couple of books I've been eyeing for awhile. If I was going to buy them any ways, I might as well buy them when I could get something back for them!

And then today there was a book sale. A $1 book sale! So.....I wound up with a box of books. Yes, I'm a compulsive book buyer. And reader. And there went my allowance for the next month! Buy who needs an allowance with so many books to read?


#6 - Recently, I found green papaya in our local Asian market. And my sister and I had a glorious time of making it into somtam (green papaya salad--my favoritest Thai meal ever). Actually, we've made it twice now. And it was so good both time. I say "we". Technically, I haven't made it yet as she wanted the honors! Mum, I'll turn her into a cook yet!


#7 - One of the primary reasons I haven't written lately is that our usual slew of spring/summer guests has begun. My sister has moved in for the summer. And then we had a wedding last weekend which meant we wound up with various people coming and staying and going for about two weeks.

The wedding itself was a delightful, simple, fun, outdoors event (well, it was also freezing cold, which wasn't delightful or fun). However, we survived!

That's us (for those who were unclear on that topic!).

This is the happy bride and groom. Don't you just love her dress? She made it herself!

A cakey mess.
With a sweet make up kiss.

And a much needed wipe down with a towel to become presentable again!

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was actually an evening before the great event. The groom's mother was staying with us for a week, and at her request (and with great jealousy!) I helped her to purchase a Kitchen-Aid as a wedding present for the couple.

As she's a missionary and would not be around to see them open any of their gifts, she wanted to give it to them early. And so we did.

The bride-to-be (and the groom for that matter!) was, needless to say, delighted.

And we promptly made cookies. Because it obviously needed to be immediately tested out.

And the boys demonstrated their maturity levels by playing with the bread hook and pretending to be pirates.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Tale of the Garage Door: A Comedy of Errors

Oh yes, the tale of the garage door continues....

For those of you who have not been privy to the dramatic and sometimes frighteningly desperate story of our garage door, allow me to catch you up.

In the fall of 2007 we underwent a horrific slew of problems related to our house (things falling apart, floods, poisons ivy taking over the back yard, etc.), health (emotional and physical), and lives in general. One of the culminating problems directly related to the house was the day our garage door quit opening. It wasn't the worst problem. Just the proverbial straw.

In a desperate attempt to stop the madness (and recognizing, at that point, that financially we were beginning to have issues paying for everything and that something was going to have give somewhere), we decided to just leave it broken for awhile. We could still lift it and lower it manually, we just couldn't magically press a button and have it move by itself. Not a huge problem other than the fact that I have a really hard time opening the door, so I was somewhat stuck unless my husband was around to open it. But we dealt with it.

Well, "awhile" turned into about eight months. In August, as we had originally been told that the whole motor needed replacing, we finally went out and bought a new motor and asked my brother to help install it. Well, about two months goes by, and he finally gets a break in his schedule and comes over to install the engine. Except that it turns out we don't need a new motor. Just a few smaller parts which he ordered for us online.

So, we return the new motor (yay less moneys!) and then wait for the new parts to come in and my brother to have time to come back in. Two months later (now a full year from the original time it broke down) he comes back. Installs the parts. Something is still wrong. He goes to do research on it. Orders another part.

We carry on this way until April of this year. At which time he finally came in, got the motor working beautifully............................................and the spring on the door broke. You know, the HUGE springs that are in the middle of a garage door that help someone (or a machine) lift the door without breaking their back? Yeah, those ones. Broke in half! So now the motor worked but it was impossible to get the door open!

Fortunately, the next day, someone was able to come out and fix the springs.

Well, the next piece of the saga began as we realized that somewhere in the past year when we've been automatic-garage-doorless, one of our garage door openers disappeared. So, as we have become desperate now to mark "fix garage door problem" off of the general To-Do list, we went out to buy a universal remote.

First stop - Walmart. "Sorry, we don't carry those. Go to O'Reilly's."

Second stop - O'Reilly's: "Sorry, we don't carry those. Best place we know is the Overhead Door company just down the street."

Third stop - Overhear Door Company: they're closed and because of the time they closed, the easiest time for us to get an opener from them would be on a Saturday morning (they were open from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. Very important detail).

So this Saturday, we ventured out to get an opener. Originally, since we had a bunch of errands to run, we were planning on getting up in a sensible, relatively early fashion, have a leisurely morning, and pop out late morning to start our errands--beginning with the garage door opener.

Well, we kind of slept in. So we leave at a little after 12:30. Not a big deal. It's just a few minutes away.

Except that Chris was slightly zombyish and I had no excuse other than blindness (which I suppose was bad because I was driving), and we drive right by the place. Turning around on busy, main roads comes into play.

We finally park at their store at 12:55.

We walk in the front door. The lights go out as the guy behind the counter was just closing up shop.

"Wait, wait! We just need an opener!" we cry frantically.

He, graciously, says that's fine.

"What kind of opener do you need?"

"A Universal remote," we reply confidently.

He laughs.

"There isn't actually such a thing."

We look worriedly at each other.

"But that's what we were told to get!"

"Well, do you have any information on the motor?"

"'s blue?" is our pathetic reply.

He starts naming types of garage motors. None of them ring a bell. "Oh wait!" I cry triumphantly. "We have our other opener in the car. Maybe that will show what we need."

So I run out to the car to get the remote.

Guys holds remote. Looks remotely (sorry, I couldn't resist!) puzzled. Begins fiddling with fancy gadgets and comes up with what he thinks might be an option. Warns us that it may not work because he's not exactly sure what some of the switches are on the remote we have.

We decide to go ahead and buy it, try it, and bring it back and exchange it if it doesn't work (and this time bring the information on the motor).

He then proceeds to type in our information into his computer.

I pull out my wallet. "Do you take American Express?"

His reply combined with an apologetic looking grimace (and I swear, this is what both Chris and I heard), "No. We don't take any cards."

(Thought runs through my head - who doesn't take a credit card in this day and age!)

I look in my wallet for cash. I have $5. Chris finds $1 in his wallet. We need $52 more dollars.

We look at each other in despair.

"Wait!" I cry triumphantly again. "I have cash in the car because I got refunded for my business trip and forgot to bring the cash in yesterday."

So I run out to the car to get the cash.

Return to the store (by this time I'm beginning to giggle).

I look in the envelope. Twenty and Fifty dollar bills. We have enough cash to make......$56. We still need TWO dollars!

"No problem" guys says. "I have change."

I pull out a $20 bill to add to the pile meaning we need $12 in change.

He opens change drawer. Has $5 in change.

Giggling begins to commence all around at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.

Chris and I look blankly at each what?

Guy looks at my wallet, which I had opened again on the off chance that it had suddenly turned into an ATM and would magically produce more money.

He looks confused.

"I can take a credit card, you know."

I stare at him. Chris stares at him. We look at each other in bewilderment.

"But you said you couldn't"

Guy says, "I thought I said we can take any kind."

I shake my head, pull out the card, and hand it to him.

Giggling has changed into outright snorting laughter at the sheer lunacy of the situation (please keep in mind, at this point we don't even know if the garage door opener will even work!).

He finally runs the card, prints out a receipt, I sign it (rather shakily because I'm laughing so hard), and we leave triumphantly with our opener.

Several hours later, we return home from the rest of our errands (which, surprisingly, actually went well!). We press the button as we drive up to the door. be continued.

Just kidding.

It didn't work!

Will the nightmare never end?

Find out next time on "Will they ever have a fully functional garage door complete with two openers so that one person isn't stuck getting out and pushing buttons manually and getting soaked in the rain in the process?" (It's a working title. Go with it).

Friday, May 1, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 6)

#1 - I'm back. I guess I should have updated that a few days ago. Regardless...I survived my venture into the world of grown-up business trips. And made it the whole trip without getting glutinated! I've decided I love cities that have GF restaurants, I wish we had one, and I'm not a big fan of driving in crazy traffic. Of course Dallas is nothing compared to driving, oh, say Bangkok, but even at their comparative level of tame--didn't like it much. However, I did not ever get severely lost (only minorly lost a couple of times), and I LOVED having warm weather!


#2 - I just love UPS. I guess it probably is a direct correlation with my love of getting mail. And I just love how UPS tries so hard to conceal our packages and make sure that our stuff remains safe until we get home to bring it inside the house. For example....

Brilliantly done. No one would ever have guessed there was a box under that bump in the mat!

#3 - Brief political discussion--want to know about how I'm feeling right now with our government's theory on getting us out of a recessions? Go check out this post on my husband's blog.


#4 - What is wrong with today's world? No it's not swine flue (although that could be a problem too). Check out this movie preview (don't worry, no language/sex/violence in it, just sheer sadness of mind).

#5 - I just have to say that one of my favorite features on blogs is the "Post Options" button where I get to set the time and date that I want any given post to actually be published. I've had a few people recently ask how I find the time to write blogs. It's the dirty, little secret of the can write posts ahead of time and then just set them to actually be published when you want it to happen. End result, though, is that if I don't take some quiet time on a Saturday morning, a lot of my mid-week posts don't get written. And so you get some less frequent posting weeks!
Like the last......month........................

#6 - I wanted to share a new great blog I ran across recently in my never-ending hunt for gluten free recipes. It's very exciting because of it's international recipes slant! I give you: Book of Yum!


#7 - And now for your evening weather report....the midwest has apparently decided to turn into a more tropical country and start hosting the monsoon season. It's wet. And it's been wet. And it's supposed got it...stay wet. While it's doing great things for my plants (which once again have amazed me by their sheer perseverence in coming back every year!), it's really putting a stop to bike-riding, disc-golfing, or any other outdoor activities. Not to mention the muddy mess that my floors are consistently in from two puppy dogs who just won't learn to wipe their feet before coming inside!

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...