Monday, June 25, 2012

Still Kickin'

Hey y'all! We're still up to our elbows, repairing the flood damage at the ranch. The good news is that the insurance will kick in after our deductible.  Whew!

The poopy pants hardwood crew are scheduled to come in a couple of weeks. Yes, we're having those guys back. Sometimes, it's better to know what kind of insanity lurks behind a corner than to face a brand new one.

In unrelated news, I won't have internet access for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, here is a photo of Little Mister Kitten (name still pending) helping the Mister paint the hall.

We need a couple hundred of those fantastic hall painting kittens! He's pretty good! 

Y'all take good care! And please take the time around the upcoming Boom! Boom! Pow! of a holiday to remind your neighbors, relatives, friends and utter and complete strangers to put their pets safely up during fireworks season. So many pets become scared and lost due to their fear of them and sadly, a whole lot of those never make it home. And if your neighborhood is anything like mine, people shoot them off for days. And sometimes even in broad daylight. Defying explanation. 

Yes, I know that I'm a bummer. And that living with me is like living inside of a public service announcement. I'm a mama hen. I worry so that you don't have to. 

Until next time!
x's and o's,

Monday, June 18, 2012

"That's how we ended up with eighteen cats and a squirrel"

Things are still spiraling out of control at Camp Stinky Flooding Water so I thought I'd leave y'all with this video that reader friend Christa sweetly left for us to see.  I'm always a sucker for stories about mama animals adopting babies of another species so this kitty cat and squirrel combo definitely gave me smiles.

I want a squirrel that purrs! And isn't that just the sweetest couple? I wish that they'd let me come live with them for a while.

From the home front: All of your well wishes, words of wisdom (and offers of libations) on my last post have been a bright spot in the storm. The insurance adjustor will be here in twenty minutes to tell us if any of our damage will be covered. Y'all send good thoughts and positive vibes. We just met with the flooring guys and learned that we're in for the long haul on getting that part fixed.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Water....Water Everywhere...and.....Meh

Pitiful times at the ranch. A couple of nights ago, we had a clogged sink so we put some stuff in it to clear it. The good news was that the next morning, the sink drain was clear. Three cheers! The bad news came in to play yesterday morning when we got up to find that water was coming out from under our living room, foyer and kitchen walls and the hardwood floors that we had put down recently had been water damaged overnight.

Whee! Apparently, whatever was blocking the bathroom sink moved on down the line but didn't leave the house. It just kinda set up residence somewhere else in the pipes and made any water that we were using go another route which happened to be the AC unit overflow pipe inside of our wall. We didn't realize it but all water was coming up that pipe and inside of our walls where it didn't become apparent until yesterday morning. You never want to wake up with your spouse saying, "Um...honey...I think you'd better come in here....I think that something horrible has happened." I should have known that he was too calm for it to be a cat emergency.

So now, we've got a couple of holes in our walls and a bunch of fans set up trying to get as much of the  moisture out as possible. And I won't even talk about our poor hardwood floors which are going to have to be replaced in spots. Those babies were so new and  And our hardwood guys were complete monsters that we swore we'd never let back into our house. You may or may not remember that one of them pooped his pants while laying our floors. Oh yes, church. He did indeed. And they were all chauvinistic boars. Chauvinistic boars who seemed to be the only hardwood installers in town who knew how to work with our concrete subfloors. The thought of them coming back into my house makes me just want to move away instead.

Now the house is completely upside down. The things that were in the closet are now in a huge pile in the Den. The kitchen is piled high with relocated stuff and we can't even use it because we can't get to any cabinets. We've got fans roaring and windows open and well, the house smells like a dank, hot cave. My lungs are screaming for mercy and I woke up this morning with Barry White's voice.

Yesterday while the plumber was trying to get our pipes working again, I found the Mister at the end of the hall, all alone. He was quietly painting more color splotches onto the wall. It was so poignant and sad. Chaos swirled all around us and he was still trying to find the perfect paint color for our foyer which now had floorboards like a wacky fun house. Poor guy. He'd gone to his safe place. I remember once when we had electricians crawling all over our house and the estimate for their work was going higher and higher by the minute. They had the power turned off and I found him at the end of that same hall, painting in the dark with a flashlight in his mouth. Quietly edging the hall with a sunshine yellow paint.

Home ownership is not for the faint of heart.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Airport: What Remains

A couple of weeks ago, the Mister and I got to go ramble about in our old local airport, the Cornelia Fort Airport. The airport was established in 1944 and although there were financial issues in it's final years, it was still going in 2010 when a devastating flood hit our area. Note: For the most part, the national media ignored the flooding that killed over thirty people in Tennessee and caused over a billion dollars in damage. So many people that aren't local don't even know that we had a flood here. It came fast and without any warning. It's been two years now and many people are still trying to pick up the pieces and have lost homes, businesses, family members and pets that can never be replaced. It was the largest rainfall on record in 140 years. We'll never forget the two straight days and nights of rain that came and didn't seem to want to stop.

Sadly, the Cornelia Fort Airport was one of the casualties. The flood destroyed any hope that was left for it. Over twenty planes were left under water and the aircraft parts warehouse with more than $1 million of inventory was flattened by a landslide from a hill behind it. The flood tragically sealed the fate of Cornelia Fort Airport.


What is left will soon be razed and the land will be added to our local park next door.

Fascinating History: The airport was named after Cornelia Fort, who belonged to a prominent Nashville family and was the first female pilot in American history to die on active duty. She died in 1943 at the young age of twenty four while serving as an aviator in the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. She is also said to be one of the first witnesses to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and consequentially, the start of World War II while she was acting as a pilot trainer. And since I always love to have my Patsy tie-in, this airport is where Patsy Cline and her fellow passengers were headed the night that their plane went down in a storm, killing everyone inside. Oh, sweet Patsy....

What the heck were we doing in this place? An art show is being curated which will include pieces made from items found in the flooded airport. Many local artists were invited inside to glean supplies for their pieces for the show. Our friend Don (who is an amazing artist, all-around great guy and secretly a magical wizard, I think) kindly let the Mister and I come along with him and our other friend, Stacey as they picked the buildings for their art pieces. It was absolutely fascinating and I was wishing that all of you could be there too. I did take a ton of pictures so that you can peek inside of the buildings and hangars. 

It was really jarring at first, seeing how everything had been destroyed by water and mud. Most things were tossed around and piled in heavy metal drifts.

You know me. I was reading all of the paperwork.  <---dork

Look at this cool old metal working machine.

The buildings alone were really beautiful.

I couldn't help but think about the people who used to work there.

There was a lot of really cool things everywhere but unfortunately, they were too covered in mud and mold to be reused. This stuff sat under water for quite some time and has been sitting for two years so the rust and mold was pretty overwhelming in some areas.  Some places were really hard to breathe in.

It was fascinating to see all of the electronic equipment and parts scattered around, though I had no idea what most of them were used for. I kept wishing that I knew how to make my own house cleaning, foot rubbing robot as I think this would have been the day to gather parts for it.

Thousands of pencils spilled across the floor. All ruined from the water.

Though terribly fascinating, it all felt so sad - seeing such a historic place and it's contents ruined. The City will sell as much of the larger things as it can and of course, recycle the metal. I can't wait to see the pieces in the show and how a lot of the items and materials have been used. It's good that they'll get to live and function again through art.

Oh! And Don got an entire airplane wing! Hee!

And there was a beautiful airplane from the 1960's! This one has an interesting story. A couple of months ago, in the dead of night, this plane belly-landed at the closed airport. The next morning, the authorities found the plane sitting on the runway which is now waist high with weeds and unfit for landings. It was a huge mystery. Nobody knew who the amazing old plane belonged to and neighbors hadn't seen the pilot who for all intents and purposes had disappeared into thin air. 

Personally, I wanted to believe that the plane and pilot had come straight out of 1961 as in a time machine into the future and now, the pilot was walking around East Nashville, amazed at the modern world. My hopes were dashed a couple of days later when the authorities found the pilot who claimed that he was having mechanical issues and had to land in the abandoned airport in the middle of the night - but as he has a sordid past that includes drug smuggling, money laundering and holding an airplane hostage (no joke), the issue is still up in the air! Pun completely intended. It was still so cool to get to see the plane up close and to imagine if I had indeed been able to find the time traveling pilot and convince him to take him back with him into the 1960's.

I hope that you enjoyed the tour of what's left of the historic airport. Hopefully, I'll get to show you some photos of the pieces that are made from the ruins - especially what Don makes out of that airplane wing! Of course, I not-so-secretly hope that it's a time machine.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The New Folks

I found two more big portraits today. Which I needed like a hole in the head...but I can't resist. Especially if they have animals in them.

This is Elaine.

There was no mention of who the following family is but it is just so 1970's to me.
And hello, collie!

I'm sure that when I'm an old lady one day with no children to correct me, I'll be absolutely convinced that all of these anonymous people that I pick up are actual family members. I'll wander around and around the ranch, up and down the portrait hall while lamenting about how they never come to visit me. 

Wow, that was depressing! Hope that y'all are having a great weekend so far!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Not Since Wilfred Brimley Has Oatmeal Been Loved So Much

Because it's a tiny pig. A tiny pig named Hamlet. Which is the best pig name ever. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and there you have the facts of life.

Yes, I totally reeled you in with promises of reflections on Tootie and Natalie and the gang - but today's word isn't about those lovable scamps.  It's about painting (I wish that I had funky backup singers who could repeat key words after me to give them more impact. Let's pretend that I do.) This post is about painting (painting!) and junkin' (junkin! aww yeah! )

First the painting. Oh boy howdy. We got the walls in the foyer and hall redone and the horrible painted-over, peeling wallpaper is buried for nobody to shudder at again. We even got the dust cleaned up. Hallelujah. Now we're on week two of paint picking. Somebody just shoot me now.

This little slice of Mondrian madness is the foyer.
There are three more colors on the other wall that you can't see. 

And this little road to nowhere is our hall...

where we currently have no less than twelve paint splotches painted. 
Because thirteen would be overkill. 

There is a certain madness in an artist (the Mister) being married to a picky person (me). You know what that madness makes me want to do? That's right! Escape! Let's talk about some really happy stuff.

First, my friend Dawn kindly clued me in that one of our audio crushes at the ranch, Mr. JD McPherson was playing on Conan last night.  I think he and the boys did a pretty smashing job:

I probably should have warned those of you down front about the virtual granny underpants flying towards the stage.  

Know what else makes me happy? I promise that it does not include me stripping off my skivvies.  It's  estate sales with the girls! Last weekend, I went to a couple of awesome estate sales with Rae and Lisa and had such a great time. It's really fun that we all share the same love for the sales. I think that Mister Kitsch paid them to be friends with me so that he doesn't have to spend hours with me in strangers' houses but hey, whatever works!  Here they are in the basement of our first house:

Ain't they sweet? They kept me laughing all morning. I think that the best quote of the day came when Rae told Lisa that her bouffant was blocking the light in this shot. That sign about clothing being mandatory? Totally aimed at me.  See that golden glow about them? That's none other than a paneled basement. I always give houses bonus points if they have them. Who needs windows when you've got the glow from some sweet faux wood? (faux wood! aww yeah!)

This basement also had a monkey cage! (monkey cage! awww yeaaaah!) Yes, a monkey cage. We were all intrigued by it, I'll admit. Luckily, Jamie stopped by the sale earlier and smartly got the scoop on what happened to the monkey. It turns out that one time, the monkey got loose and the father (or grandfather?) tried to fire a shot up into the air to scare the monkey out of a tree that he'd climbed. Unfortunately, the shot hit the monkey and well, the monkey was no more. If that isn't the stuff of family legend, then I don't know what is! See...that's why it pays to talk to the people whose sales you go to. Because we did, Rae got to meet the lady that wore this amazing skiing squirrel dress as a child. Also the co-owner of the monkey. This is all getting confusing, isn't it? Anyway....

We found tons of amazing stuff at that sale. Here is a trunk shot as we were leaving:

There seems to be a dog theme running through our finds, huh?

The next house was pretty interesting. I talked to a neighbor who told me that it has been closed up for many years and it was easy to tell as it was in pretty bad disrepair. The most intriguing things about that particular house were:

1. This fantastic duck

2. The QVC Room. There was an entire room stacked full of boxes of sealed QVC purchases. The owner of this home really loved to shop! You should have seen the women in that room, ripping open boxes in a foamy frenzy, trying to find treasures. Rae and I briefly visited before realizing that new crap ain't our bag.

3. Vintage Sequined Dresses. Lisa found the most amazing dresses with the tags still on them that fit her perfectly. It was a fate moment. And a real sweaty bathroom moment. She'll tell you about it here

Here's are some of my favorite finds of the day:

Oh, Marshall Matt Dillon with your beautiful, piercing eyes.

(No need to duck again, buckaroos!  My passion is squelched by remembering his years in that sad Jake and the Fat Man TV show. Underpants firmly in place. )

Lassie (fake well not included)

Vintage packaging. One of my biggest weaknesses. It confuses people. It confounds people. Poor Rae gets brownie points for listening to me prattle on about a 1980's bottle of lemon Joy detergent. And for finding me that A&P tomato juice can! Whoot! 

Luther. (Luther! Aww! Yeah!) Oh let me count the ways that I love Luther. He was in the basement and Rae revealed his glory to me. I couldn't leave without him and promised that I'd leave him to her in my will. Isn't he beautiful? I can not resist his smile. The lady who wore the skiing squirrel dress and her family owned Luther when she was a kid. They also owned the monkey. Gah, I'm suddenly realizing how that lady was the luckiest kid on the planet!

She told us his name and about how he was such a sweet dog. I always feel like a bit of a freak show when I buy other peoples' family portraits in front of them but she seemed pleased when I promised that I'd treasure him. Or maybe she just wanted me off of her porch. You know how sometimes it's hard to tell? Thank goodness I didn't prattle on about how I'd treasure the vintage litter box that I bought.

However, in retrospect, I do wish I'd asked her if she could show us some pictures of the monkey.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Kissing Man Will Be Missed

I was so sad to hear this morning of Richard Dawson's passing. Depending on where our age puts us (or how strongly inclined we are to watch old reruns), most of us remember him well from Match Game, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laugh In and Hogan's Heroes - and definitely from his long run on Family Feud. 

My grandmother just adored him on Family Feud and planned her days around making sure that she didn't miss the show. She got so tickled at how he kissed all of the ladies and called him "The Kissing Man". "The Kissing Man is on!" she'd chirp and ask me to turn the volume up on her floor model Curtis Mathis TV. Year after year, she'd watch him and I'll always associate him with her and remember how we'd yell out answers to the survey questions, stopping from time to time to congratulate each other on how smart we were.

 I often like to picture Heaven like a great big party where everyone is having a fantastic time in a swank pad on a hill overlooking the most beautiful setting that we can imagine. Glasses clinking and the whole place just bubbling over with genuine laughter. Every now and then, a new guest will arrive at the party and someone will say, "Well look who's here! It's..." and introduce the rest of the party guests to the most recent invite. Everyone then welcomes them with handshakes and cheerful slaps to the back before someone hands them a drink and a plate of tiny sandwiches and the best seat in the house - which is every seat, well...because it's Heaven.

Today, I'm picturing Richard smiling and waving as he comes through the door and my grandmother finally getting a kiss on the cheek from him. She greets him with a shuffle and a swish in her party dress and the house shoes that she always brings with her for the end of the evening's wind-down. Maybe she has her beloved black and white cat, Porkchop on her shoulder. It's a good scene. They're both grinning widely like old friends. Somewhere in the background, the needle drops on a record that they both remember and they bob their heads with the beat.

 I was mulling over which video to share of Richard today. There were so many hilarious ones of him, cracking jokes and full of laughter and wit - but when I found this one, I knew. This is from his very last show and never made it to TV. The message is clear and timeless and I can't think of a better legacy for him to have left with us here as we prepare for our own party invite one day.

Richard Dawson. He will be missed.

Until next time, 
x's and o's, 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Squirrel Party!

Yep, there is no doubt about it. I love squirrels. Real ones. Fake ones. Oh my gosh, do I. Recently, I was telling you all about how I also love crafts made out of nuts. Still with me? I got the cutest little guy in the mail this week from the fabulous Betty Crafter.

Isn't he sweet? He's made out of walnuts. I bet his little log is meant to hold toothpicks.

Thanks to Betty's kindness, now I have three nut squirrels and from what I hear, three of anything starts a collection. Look out world!

In celebration of taking this new guy into the fold and cementing a new collection, I thought we'd have a squirrel party today. And what do we need for a party? Food! How about acorns?

With the help of a couple of friends, let's gather the ingredients.

We'll need pretzel sticks, donut holes, nuts or chocolate sprinkles, and milk chocolate chips.

And since it's a party, we'll just skip to the finished product!

These were so easy. You just melt the chocolate of your choice (I've also heard that you can use Nutella unmelted) and dip the tops of the donut holes into it. Then you dip in chopped nuts or chocolate sprinkles. Insert a half of a pretzel stick and voila! acorns! These are only meant for human consumption but I did toss out some peanuts on the patio for our squirrel friends in their honor.

For our party entertainment, how about an adorable little video? Everyone knows that the late, great Bob Ross was as sweet as those happy little clouds that he painted but what could be even better? Why, Bob Ross bottle feeding a baby squirrel - that's what. Bring it!

Was that adorable or what?? Thanks for coming to my impromptu Squirrel Party! I hope that you all have a great weekend!

Until next time,
x's and o's,