Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Prep for Thanksgiving

This last week has been busy with preparation for Thanksgiving, which will be at my house. Finishing the house has been the priority. Tiling the bathroom shower was my focus, while Toby's was more with stuccoing the new gables.  We would have had the tiling finished, but we miscounted the number of tiles we needed. We needed more of some and less of others.When Jesse came home for the weekend, she brought us more tile from the store in WF. We put those tiles down, but then we were short two pieces of chair-rail tile to finish it. Good grief!

Toby had planned on stuccoing on Saturday, but we got a huge rain. I can't complain about the rain, since it was SO needed. In the midst of the work last week, I got sick with some sort of tummy bug or bad food. Not fun, but helpful in my weight loss goals. I had tiled on Wednesday and was sick that night. The sick part did not last long, but it wore me out for Thursday. By Friday, I was better. Saturday was the rain. If our house is not quite ready by Thanksgiving, it will just have to do.
Here is a picture of the rain on Saturday. It continued to rain hard and steady all day. The water you see is the ruts of our road. My neighbor said her rain gauge overflowed - I'm thinking we got about 5 to 6 inches of rain.
Here is a photo taken Sunday morning. You can see the pond again from the house. Yay!  Notice the color difference in the two photos. Saturday's pic was overcast and wet making the grass very dark. Sunday the sun came out and the wind blew drying things up.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to WF to get the last two pieces of tile and take back the not-needed tile.  I also did major Thanksgiving shopping. I bought over $200.00 worth of groceries and didn't have a clue what I would fix for supper that night.  The United store in WF was crazy - packed with shoppers at 2 PM on a Monday. Many of the people seemed to not have a clue what they needed and were standing around taking up the narrow aisles - like they had never done Thanksgiving before. I had downloaded a grocery list app on my phone, which was very helpful. So many times I get to the store and have forgotten my list or lost it. I'm hoping the phone list will work well for me. It did yesterday. When I got home,it took me several trips carrying a bag in each hand (I'm a serious dead-lift contender) to get all the groceries in the house. When Toby got home, our priority was getting the second fridge back into the old part of the house so that I could fill it up with food.  Since I needed to make cornbread for the stuffing, I made white chili (using my NM green chilies) for supper. Pretty yummy!

Today is my cleaning day. No, I'm serious. It is a serious cleaning day. We have been living with piles of furniture and stuff from the old part of the house in our new part. One of Toby's priorities was to get the closet doors back on the big closet in the old part - now I can fill that closet up with stuff! Yay! One of the funny things about the closet doors is that they had to be cut down a bit to fit back into the door frame (two bi-fold doors). They had been painted orange - so when Toby trimmed them, the edges needed repainting.  My attitude was "just leave it - no one will notice - we will paint it some other time - just put the doors up." Toby's attitude was "trim the doors, find the matching paint in the barn, paint, and replace." So I found some orange paint, which I thought was the same orange. Turned out it was not the same orange. Still, I thought it would not be so bad since Toby only painted the edges. Turned out that Toby did a bit of touch up on the doors here and there. Now they look like they have been shot with a paintball gun. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but it is funny. No one will notice :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Little More Good News

We have more exciting news. Last week when Jesse was interviewing for a teaching position, our son was interviewing for a new job also. Right now he is a CPA and works for a private accounting firm. He has enjoyed working for his buddy, Bodie.  It has been a wonderful job for his little family, but now his little family is growing.  You heard me right! His little family will be growing some more. I will have a new grand-baby come May. The new job will have lots of benefits and pay more with lots of room to move up the corporate ladder. I know Bo hates to leave Bodie, but it will be a good career move for him. I'm pretty excited about the whole thang - especially the grand-baby part!

Last week when we were in WF, we were there to take my mom-in-law to the doctor. The appointment card was written poorly and the date was confused. So, yesterday I went back to WF to take her back to the doctor. Her appointment was at 2 PM. We did not see the doc until 3:30 due to some sort of emergency at the hospital. Now, I understand emergencies and fully expect the doc to have to take care of his patients. But we had waited for an hour when finally I went and asked the young girls in the office what was going on. Geeze, couldn't you just tell us upfront that it was going to be a wait? Why wait to tell us until we are all pissed. Actually, we did fine. Got 'er done. It made for a long day.

The good news is that I was able to meet up with Jesse after her first day with her new students. Jesse and I had a bite to eat. She drank a beer to relax. I had to drive home before I got to relax.  She said her first day went well, but the kids, who have had a sub all year and little to no discipline or art) were very loud. Jesse is pretty quiet. In the past, she has often made fun of me for using my "teacher voice." Now she needs to develop a teacher voice.  She will do great.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

An Art Teacher

This semester Jesse has been doing her student teaching at Rider High School in Wichita Falls. She had specifically chosen Rider and the art teacher there because of the professionalism of the teacher. It was a wise choice. Jesse has enjoyed her teacher and learned lots. A little way into the semester, the principal asked Jesse to take over the art history class, because the regular art teacher was out with a serious illness. It was a difficult situation for several reasons. Students who have had a sub all year (allowed to run wild) and lack of curriculum caused Jesse a heavy workload. There were some other problems that I won't go into, but Jesse hung in there. Friday was her last day of student teaching - her last day of college. Yay! She is finished!

Turns out the teacher that Jesse took over his art history class retired a couple of weeks ago. On Monday, Jesse had an official job interview with the principal, the assistant principals, and her art teacher. If you know Jesse, you know she did well in the interview. But on Tuesday, she got an email that said she was not qualified for the job. She had not taken the teacher exams, but was taking the test on Wed. Jesse was not upset, but her art teacher was. She wanted Jesse hired. Turns out the email was sort of a generic email. Anyway, on Wed, she took her big teacher exam. Toby and I were in WF to take his mom to the doctor. When Jes got out of the test, we met her for a beer. She said the test was tough and she was worried that she had not passed ( have to make an 80). Also, a parent had sent an email to the principal to complain that Jesse was making the students do research and not lecturing enough. I blew a gasket on this one and went into a big rant. Apparently Jesse's art teacher did a pretty good rant too (I like this lady).  Anyway, the principal was not concerned. After all, the class had been doing nothing and now they were learning - duh. On Thursday Jesse was called into the principal's office. He asked her to call the central office to give her personal info and become a long term sub until she gets her teacher tests all done (she has an art test in January). This was his way of saying that she had been hired and will sub until she is officially a teacher. On Friday, she found out that she passed her teacher exam. Now I can say that she is a high school art teacher.

Here is a photo taken at the beginning of the year with Jesse and my nephew, Luke, who is a senior at Rider.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Duty Head

Last Thursday, I picked up my mom and took her to Amarillo to see my nephew, her grandson, play football.  Although I mentioned that he played for the JV Amarillo Sandies, I got his position wrong. He plays corner (?). You know, that guy out there on the far side of the field following the receiver. It was great fun to see him play.  He did not make any great plays, but he did play and that is more than my brother ever got to do. Dad would have loved it. The day was perfect football weather - clear and cool. They won their game, but it was close, which was exciting. My sister and I sat together and laughed throughout the game - 'cause we are silly like that. She told me a story about her third grade class. A little girl had written "doodie head" on another girl's paper. Kathy said she had a difficult time keeping a straight face when dealing with the problem. Doodie head became the word for the evening. Nephew with grandmas.
 After the game we went and ate Mexican food down on the old Route 66. What better way to end a great day than to eat and drink with friends! Mom and I only had a few spats - mostly over driving directions. At one point she said, "You are just like your father!" Yep, I am sometimes.
We stopped in Chillecothe to see my great-Aunt Mildred. She and Mom have always been big buddies although she is Mom's aunt, but only nine years older. That makes Aunt Mildred 92 and still living on her own. I sent this picture to my cousin. My cousin reported back that they had celebrated her dad's (my great uncle; Aunt Mildred's big brother) 94th birthday.  My cousin said it was a good day - her dad won $7.00 at bingo in the veteran's retirement center. Those Matney's always like to win!

I got home from Amarillo on Friday evening in time to make four gallons of chili for the GOP chili cook-off.  On Saturday, we set up our booth. My friends wanted to use my "Southwest" stuff to decorate the booth. Personally, I don't consider my decor to be Southwest. I consider it South - like across the border decor. Anyway, the chili cook-off was Saturday night and was fun, but tiring. We won second place in the People's Choice category.  I only had to break a few arms to get the award. My friend Laura who was a major worker in the campaign. Do I look tired in this pic?

Monday morning I was up and driving to Lawton to stand on the street corner with a sign for my candidate.  Tuesday I did the sign thing again in Duncan in the rain and cold. Being with fun friends made it all good. Then last night we went to the watch and wait party. I felt like I had done my duty. Yep, I'm a duty head.

My candidate lost. Actually he won Stephens and Jefferson Counties where he would preside as judge. Unfortunately the law right now allows Comanche Co to vote on our judge since he could be required to take cases there sometimes. The other candidate was from Comanche County and that county is more populated than ours. It is a stupid law and one that will probably be changed in the next four years. Then we will do this again. When doodie calls...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall Stuff

Yesterday morning when I started my car to go to my exercise class at 7:00 AM, I had to scrape frost off my windshield. It seems so crazy that the temps over the weekend and Monday were in the 90's and now frost. I should mention that one of the reasons there was frost on the windshield is that the carport is full of construction stuff and our car is in the yard.

Yesterday warmed up.  Toby took a half day and we worked around the house and in the yard. From all the construction work, the yard was full of piles of lumber and metal from the roof. Toby hauled trash off, stacked the useful metal and wood, and took the old metal to the junk yard. Yeehaw! I mowed the grass - hopefully for the last time this fall/winter. With the warm temps, the blue stem grass was tall, but mowing has been difficult with the piles of construction stuff in the yard. And then there as has been the problem with my allergies. Anyway, we gotter' done yesterday.

We have also been working to get the house back in order. Last week we bought the tiles to redo the old bathroom. The construction guys were suppose to redo the shower and get it ready to tile. They did most of it, but need to do one more little thing...That seems to be the way of things in finishing the house. Jesse's bedroom is done. Yesterday I got the guest bedroom ready to move furniture back into, but there are several little things that still need doing in the main room. Sigh.

Time is the other problem. I'm taking my mom to Amarillo today to see my nephew (her grandson) play football. He is on the JV team and doing quite well. My dad would be so proud to finally have a grandchild who could play football. Don't get me wrong, my family is very athletic, but we are not big people. My nephew is not big, but he is tall - tall enough to play quarterback. My other nephews were soccer players. I always enjoyed watching them play soccer, since soccer is one of my favorite games. But soccer was not my dad's thing. Anyway, I thought Mom would like to see her grandson play football. Who knows what next year has in store. He may very well be playing varsity, and we will get lots of chances to see him play. But then again, Mom is 83. So I am looking forward to our little road trip to Amarillo and the big game.

The other time-sucker is my campaigning for Josh. We are making the big push before the election next week. There is a chili cook-off this weekend. I'm making three gallons of chili. Then Monday and Tuesday I will be standing on a street corner with campaign signs. It is actually lots of fun to be with the other campaigners, but I'm glad it is almost over.

I'm really ready to have my house back and my time back. And I would really like to have my art classes back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hot Camp Days

Every October I post about camp in the Wichita Mountains (you can look back on my Oct posts thru the years). This year we took the new tent and camped with the GGs. The temperatures were the hottest on record - in the 90's. That is just not right for the end of October. Usually there are people playing softball or soccer in the big open field at camp, but this year it was too hot. Most of the kids stayed in the shade on the basketball courts or played volleyball in the shade of the huge oak trees. All hikes were canceled when a rattlesnake was found under a vehicle in the midst of camp. Thanks to the warm temps, the snakes had not gone away, but were out and about. Toby killed a little snake of some sort while out walking with Mr T. When I asked him what kind of snake it was, he said "a dead snake." Since there was no hiking, Shay, Toby, and Jesse took a few carloads of kids up to the top of Mt. Scott, which is the tallest mountain in the Wichitas. By mountain standards it is not that big of a mountain, but it is pretty amazing for the flat-lands. The views are great and there are lots of boulders to climb on - the kids had a good time. There is also a little path up and around the camp area where we went for an early morning walk with GBN1. Isn't she beautiful!

We bought the GGs cheap little flashlight/headbands. They were a big hit. The GGs could not wait until dark when they could wear their headlamps. Of course they had to get up twice in the night to go to the bathroom - I think it was just to wear and use the headlamps.

After carting all sorts of sleeping bags to camp, we ended up sleeping on top of them rather than in them. It was that warm. Fortunately (or not) the wind blew all night keeping a nice breeze on us, but causing lots of noise with the tent flapping. We made it through the night and got up at 5:30 (forced the GGs to stay put until 6:30) for coffee and breakfast. It made for a long day. By Saturday afternoon, we were all wearing down. Toby and I thought we were sneaking off to the tent to take a nap, but this is what we found Jesse, Lindz, Shay, Kat, Bo, GBN1 and Mr. T. sharing the air mattress, which they pulled out of the tent and put in the shade. They were having a grand time. We did rest for a bit before getting everyone to help with the breakdown of the tent. Then we left camp early to get home and rest.

We just spent one night and two days at camp. Some people camp for four days and three nights. I don't know how they do it. I borrowed this photo that a friend took of her kids on the way home from camp. It reminded me of when Jesse was a teen-ager and looked very similar after camp.

Here are a few other photos Mr T in his shorts and cowboy boots. It was really too hot for boots, but he insists on wearing them. 
Mr T and GBN1
 I did not get any good photos of GBN2, because she was much too busy off playing with the other kids.

Sunday and Monday were also hot - in the 90's. I spent Monday in Lawton campaigning - hanging flyers on doors. According to my pedometer we walked about six miles going from house to house. It was just a bit cooler on Monday with a stiff breeze. I'm really ready for a break.