Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lovely day.... not.

Something woke me up during the night, and I opened my eyes to find everything very silent and very dark.  No power.  I picked up my phone to see what time it was, and noticed someone had posted in our neighborhood's Facebook group that the feed to the entire town had been lost.  Lovely.  I figured it would be hours before it was fixed.  I dozed off and on until it finally came back on about 3am. 

My alarm went off too early at 5:45, and I discovered we had no internet. No cable TV.  No home phone.  All of Comcast's services were down.  Another lovely.  I did a quick look on my phone and found a notice from Comcast saying there was an outage in our area and it would be three hours before it was restored.  Lovely for the third time. 

Valerie came into the kitchen yelling at me about her school shirt.  All she could find was a size large shirt.  She wanted a medium.  The larges are too big and the collar hangs too low.  All her clothes are washed and put into her room, but she never and I mean never puts them away.  She has a big pile of clean clothes at all times.  I totally lost my cool and threw the attitude right back at her because I was so not in the mood to be bitched at because of a missing shirt!!  She has several and all of them are clean and just hidden under the mess in her room.  I then felt bad so I looked and it took all of 10 seconds to dig a medium shirt out of Val's clean clothes pile.  Drama for nothing.

We weren't late for school but we were behind schedule and traffic was just awful. 

Once back home, I got myself ready to head to the gym and run some errands.  I really need to go to Target and finish my Christmas shopping.  I was about to grab my keys, and bam... out go the lights again.  No electricity in our town or a few towns over.  Major equipment failure.  JUST LOVELY.  You know the traffic lights are out and the stores are out of power, so here I sit.  The power has come back on and gone off again, repeatedly over the last two hours. 

It's back on now.... so I debate on should I stay or should I go??  I'm thinking I will just wait until tomorrow at this point.

Did I mention it's not even 11am?? 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Today's joke

Val:  Why can't you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom?

Roni:  Because it's "P" is silent.

Val:  No.  Because it's dead.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Taking of the Christmas pictures

Every year, we take family Christmas pictures for cards.  I debated on not even bothering with cards this year as our list has dwindled greatly.  Long ago I would send out about 40 cards, and this year I have maybe 6 addresses on my card list!!  In the end, I decided we had to do it since it's our yearly family picture.  

I set up my good camera on a tripod in the backyard and used the timer feature.  Surprisingly, everyone (akaVeronica) cooperated fairly well.  We had just a little bit of drama... but not as much as previous years. 

These are a few of my favorites.  

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Sneaux Day!!

Yesterday we had an awesome but very rare weather event!!!!

Snow is so rare on the Gulf Coast that the last time I saw anything comparable was in 1989.  We had a bit more than a dusting on Christmas Day in 2004 when Valerie was just 4 days old.  In my 45 years, it has snowed twice.  Honestly I didn't pay any attention to the snow forecast figuring nothing was going to happen.  It had been 80 degrees on Tuesday, and an arctic blast was heading our way on Wednesday.  Countless times, there has been a chance of the white stuff and we eagerly watch and get none.  I was almost certain this was another false alarm.  Joke's on me!!

It wasn't just me though because school continued as usual.  Normally school is cancelled at the threat of freezing precipitation.  Roads and bridges ice over and driving becomes a hazard.  I guess the school officials didn't believe it would happen either. 

Literally minutes after I dropped Valerie and Veronica off in front of school yesterday morning, it started sleeting.  It was pretty heavy and went on for a few hours.  I heard reports of snow in towns all around us, so again, I figured it would miss us completely.  Wrong!  I started seeing snow flakes mixed in with the sleet, then more and more snow, and eventually it was all snow!!  Holy moly - it snowed off and on for hours!!!!   I've never seen anything like it.  Simply beautiful and amazing.  I know people up north think it's funny how we get so excited over a little snow.  It never snows here though.  NEVER.  We don't have much of a winter at all, so getting any snow is quite an experience.  Thankfully school pretty much scrapped all their classroom work and the teachers and kids played outside most of the day to enjoy this rare event! 

After school, both girls came running off the bus bursting with excitement.  They have never seen snow before at all.  We all went outside to play for a few hours. What an awesome day it was!!!   I took so many videos and pictures.  Valerie said she wishes for a time machine so she could go back and do the day all over again.  It was so wet and cold, but so much fun and memories that will last forever -  December 8, 2017 will forever be known as the day it snowed in South Louisiana!!

Friday, December 08, 2017

For the love of lights

One of the best things about Christmas was my Dad driving me around town to look at the lights.  It made me happy and I was always so excited to go.  My Dad would take me all over town looking down every street for houses decked out for Christmas.  Blow molds were all the rage, and seeing Santa and his sleigh on rooftops was my favorite.  For some reason, we never decorated though.  I wanted to more than anything.  I wanted pretty lights on my house like the ones we drove around, so that people would drive past our house like we did theirs!!  It wasn't until I was much older (in my 20s) and had a real job and my own money that we put lights on our house.  My boyfriend and I bought a crazy amount of white lights and my boyfriend put them up for us.  He even climbed up on the house to do the roof line.  It wasn't fancy but we finally had lights!

We more than make up for the lack of lights now.  Clint spends days, weeks, and even months working on our light show.  This is our third year with a Light-o-rama show.  We've already been mentioned in the newspaper twice this holiday season!!  Every year we try to make it a little bigger and a little better.  This year he built two dancing arches.  They need some improving, but for now they work. 

Everybody seems to know about "that house in Bayou Blue."  We definitely have people driving by to see us now!


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Oh Chippy

We've been doing the Elf on the Shelf bit for a few years now.  Chippy usually shows up around Thanksgiving and leaves with Santa on Christmas Eve.  When it was the new thing, I did some looking around and decided I was not about to shell out $30 for that stupid little elf and book.  Thrifty me found the bigger elf plush on eBay for under ten bucks.  Sure, he's much bigger but he works just the same.

For a twist, if the girls are good, our elf leaves candy in our Christmas advent countdown house.  Every morning, the girls run to open the wooden door for that day and find two Hershey Kisses inside.  Sometimes Chippy forgot (oops) so the candy was late in appearing.

Valerie lost interest in Chippy a few years ago.  I suspect she no longer Believes, although we have never had such a conversation.  Feeling tired and un-creative, Chippy mostly just moves from hiding place to hiding place, occasionally being a tad bit mischievous.  Veronica still pops out of bed grabs her candy, and will glance around for Chippy.  We all know she is a smart, smart girl.  Apparently she has a theory.

She said those elves we see in the store, like the ones Books-a-million....  The small elves that come with the book.  Those are fake.  They aren't real and are moved around at night by --- parents!!!  Ours is different because he's the bigger one and that makes him a REAL elf.

Me:  Blank look.  "Uh, sure, okay.  Mmhmm. That must be it."

Something tells me, Chippy, that your days are numbered.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Joke of the day

Valerie:  "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Me:  "Uh, to get to the other side."

Valerie:  "No.  To go to the idiot's house."

Me:  "Okaaaay."

Valerie:  "Knock knock."

Me:  (giving her a look)  "Who's there?"

wait for it.....

Valerie:  "The chicken."

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

This old house....

We had been toying with the idea of picking up a second rental property for a while, but nothing we found seemed to be the right fit.  They were either too much money, needed too much work, or were in an undesirable location.  One Sunday in April, Clint spied this gem.  A 4 bedroom, 1 bath, brick house.

It had been listed for $122,000 and was suddenly drastically reduced.  I mean drastically.  So we decided to give it a shot and looked at it the same afternoon.  The exterior had been updated with siding and new windows, but the inside was 1960 all over again.  Faded, dirty, flowery wallpaper all over the kitchen. The closed in carport was not quite finished all the way.  The floors were torn up linoleum.  Two rooms had no floor at all. The walls were dark paneling.  Doors were missing or broken.  Looking past all of that, it had potential.  The floor plan was nice.  It had custom kitchen cabinets (in dire need of TLC) and custom book cases.  The bathroom had been updated with marble.  It had lots and lots of storage space.  It was in a decent neighborhood and the price was so low.  The yard was huge with an awesome oak tree.  Clint put in a really low offer and the sellers accepted -- it belonged to NINE children who inherited it. We did all the inspections and found out the central a/c unit was shot.  It also needed a bit of electrical work.  Everything else looked good, so we bargained for a few more thousand off, and got it for a real steal.

Then came the 'fun' part.  The renovations.  Clint got bids - for just labor - and let's just say some of them were just ridiculous.  Perhaps they just didn't want the job so they purposely overbid.  Some of them came in more than double the lower end bids, for the same amount of work.  Crazy.

We ended up hiring someone to do the things we couldn't and did a lot of the work ourselves.  Never again.  Never.  It wasn't that hard, but it was slow and tedious.  Our entire summer was spent working in this house.  We re-did everything.  Painted everything.  Replaced everything.  It did turn out rather nice.  We learned a lot and managed to stay well with in our budget.  It then took a while to find the right tenants, but it's been a couple of months and so far so good.

Here's a few before and after pics of what occupied many many months of our time.  How did we do?

Monday, December 04, 2017

Get your bake on

Apparently today is National Cookie Day.  Who knew?  I figured it would make for a good excuse to bake some cookies.

Who am I kidding?  Like I need an excuse to bake!!  I bake stuff several times a week for the kids.  Usually it's simple stuff for their after school snack.  They walk in every afternoon and head to the kitchen to see what I've made for them.

Just yesterday I made a batch of jam filled thumbprint cookies.  So good.  The empty container proves it.  Ha.

Today I made Val's favorite - chocolate chip cookies.  If I ask her what she wants, it's always chocolate chip cookies.  She's even made them herself a few times.  Sometimes I'll cheat and use a mix, but usually I make them from scratch.  I'll often bake one pan and put the remaining dough in the freezer.  That way later in the week when we're out of goodies, I can just pull out the container of dough and with little effort we have homemade cookies once again.

Do any of you bake?  What's your favorite cookie??

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Band girl

This is Valerie's third year playing clarinet in her middle school's band.  It is a lot of work with many after school practices, football games, concerts, festivals, etc.  We often have band after school 2-3 days a week, on top of other club meetings and dance classes.  She is busy.  This is only 7th grade y'all, so I can only imagine what marching band in high school is going to entail!

Val took to her instrument right away and has been a fast learner.  We discovered not long ago that she has perfect pitch.  I can play a random note on the piano, and she can identify it.  Ask her to sing a "B" and she can!  Perfect pitch!!! That is truly impressive for a twelve (almost thirteen) year old!!!

Anyway, Val has been practicing for months for District Honor Band auditions. They were given the music way back when school began in August, and began practicing after school.  She knew it frontwards and backwards.  Yesterday was The Day - audition day.  We had to be at the location bright and early for her scheduled time.  She was in full panic mode by the time we were in line.  There were two girls ahead of her, then one of them bowed out of line, so that left only one.  Then the door opened and it was Val's turn.  She did good over all.  I heard a few squeaks during the chromatic scale.  Nerves no doubt. She nailed the performance piece and her sight reading was perfect. 

No pictures she said!!!

We waited allllll day for the results to be posted online.  Val and her friends were literally refreshing the website every five minutes - hahaha!  (I admit I was checking off and on along with them!)   At about 10:30 last night, we hear screams and she came running out. 

The list was up.  Valerie had not only made it, but had gotten third chair.  There is only 16 spots, so third chair is awesome. 

Last year she was 13th chair, so she moved up 10 spots!!! 

I'm so proud of my ValGal.  Now let the band madness continue on into the new year!!