Friday, February 27, 2009

Last month, I accidentally paid too much on the water bill--I looked at the wrong column and paid the "amount due after due date" instead of the "amount due on or before due date". Rather than fix the check, I figured it wouldn't hurt to loan them the $.95 for one month.

Yesterday, I received the bill in the mail. It took me a couple of minutes to remember the overpayment. Apparently the computer system didn't appreciate the my gesture. I now owe the water district -$.95 "immediately!"

I wonder how I could write that check.

My Island Adventure

Thursday, February 26, 2009

(the before pic)

My dad left last Sunday, after more than 3 weeks of remodeling/fixing things around my house. It was an exhausting marathon for both of us, but I am very happy with the results. I'm blessed to have such a great dad who would tolerate my pickiness and let me basically tell him what to do the whole time!

His crowning achievement was definitely the kitchen island and lighting. As you can see from the top picture, it was a nice kitchen before (certainly more kitchen than I've ever had before), but I have always wanted an island with an eating bar.

This was my first experience with a significant home improvement project, and being just a little bit of
a control freak, it was hard to deal with wallboard dust (that stuff is evil) all over my house and all the other things that go with remodeling. During one low point, I came in to discover the spray paint Dad used to finish the wood had drifted all over the floor, well beyond the plastic tarp! (I'm still finding black paint in nooks and crannies--thank goodness it scrapes off without too much effort.) I broke out in hives on the day the installer told us they wouldn't install the quartz countertop they had already cut (and I had already paid for--nonrefundable!) due to "liability issues"--the island has wheels on it and isn't bolted to the floor. Dad told them to bring it anyway and he would install it himself. I so did not want my island to be his first experience installing countertop! After a sleepless night or two and lots of prayer and crossed fingers, the installers came, checked out the island (even complimented Dad on his workmanship), and installed it. I was doing a happy dance the entire day after that one.

The painting is my work. I have to give credit to my SIL Deri--her cupboards are the same color as mine, and over the holidays, I fell in love with her red kitchen. The dining area is still unfinished, but it took me 3 tries to find the perfect shade of yellow for it, so I have to show it off, too. In a year or so, I hope to replace the kitchen countertops with black quartz, install a tile backsplash, and I'm toying with the idea of painting my cabinets a cream color and then "aging" them with a dark stain.

My house is almost clean again, but we are still finding tools in odd places. Two days ago, CeCee brought me a miter saw she found in the closet, and last night Doodle found the missing flathead screwdriver wedged between the sofa cushions during bedtime stories. I'll be finding mementos of my dad's visit for a few more weeks, but we'll always be grateful for the help he gave me!

Lamest Interview Ever!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I wonder what Joaquin was on last night!

Ok, they pulled it off of YouTube, but you can still watch it here:

Understanding Parkinson's

Friday, February 6, 2009

My dad has suffered Parkinson's symptoms since 2001 and was diagnosed in 2003. Tonight, we watched the Frontline Documentary, "My Father, My Brother, and Me" and I highly recommend it. It was certainly an hour well spent.

You can watch it online at their website.

I learned a few things relevant to us.

First, researchers have discovered mutations in the LRRK2 gene have been associated with both familial and sporadic late-onset Parkinson's disease, particularly with people from the coast of Norway (where some of Dad's ancestors are from).

Second, researchers found (through tainted heroin of all things), a link between exposure to herbicides and the onset of Parkinson's. My dad was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam; he's convinced that was his trigger. My maternal grandmother also suffered from mild Parkinson's; I imagine her years farming exposed her to plenty of herbicides.

Dave Iverson also interviewed with Terry Gross on Fresh Air . I know at least one podcast junkie will want to listen to it:-)

The Home Improvement Binge

Thursday, February 5, 2009

While James sails the Pacific between Tonga and Fiji, my dad is here for three whole weeks!

I've lots to keep him busy. First thing he did when he arrived was to finish shoveling my long driveway so I could easily drive up it. He rebuilt a hopelessly clogged toilet, replaced a blue toilet with a new, white one, fixed my back door deadbolt so it can actually lock, and rebuilt the closets in the master bedroom and the toy room. Also on his list are: installing new lighting in my kitchen, building a custom kitchen island and bar (I'm so very excited about this), and repairing the burst pipe in the barn. My house is a giant home improvement project right now, with tools scattered in various places, and lots of odds and ends to pick up. I keep shutting doors behind him, turning off lights, and am constantly interrupted to find a tool, hold this in place, make another trip to Lowes or Home Depot, etc. IT IS SO WORTH IT!