Saturday, December 04, 2021

Christmas party time

Keller Williams hosted their annual Christmas party last night.  It was pretty casual so we didn't get too dressed up.  







We had lots of food and a little bit of alcohol.  Well --- I had way too many of those pretty Jello shots!!  But we got to hang out with people and had a few laughs.  The DJ was terrible... really terrible!!!  I don't know why he played the songs he did but it was like a 1990s dance club 'booty music' flashback with a little country thrown in. By 9:30 we'd had enough of that and headed home.  

In other news...  earlier in the week Veronica recorded her honor choir audition.  For 9th grade, it's district senior high and all-state first round rolled into one audition.  If they don't make it, they can audition for junior high because 9th grade can go either way - junior high or high school honor choir.  I'd been stalking the website for the results all week!!  SHE MADE it!!  Both!!  It's a pretty big deal for a 9th grader to get in.  Veronica will perform with the high school district honor choir in January.  She also qualified for the second round of All-State honor choir, so she has to learn another song and go through a second round of auditions in January.  Valerie also did the same thing for band (clarinet).  Wouldn't it be great if both of them make All-State this year??  

And speaking of Val, my girl landed her first job!  She's been saying she wanted to find a job to make her own money.  She finally heard back from Five Below.  My poor girl was SO nervous and her anxiety was in high gear.  I get it - it's scary doing new things.  I'm glad I went with her for the interview because she had no idea where to go or what to do.  She has not started yet, but she did all the paperwork and just needs to set up her schedule.  They seem pretty flexible, which will work great with band practice and she's making pretty good money for a teenager.  

Hope you all have a great weekend!   




Friday, December 03, 2021

25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights


Please tell me y'all have seen Christmas Vacation.  PLEASE! We can't be the only ones who go around quoting movies. 

"Why is the carpet all wet, Todd??" 

"Is your house on fire, Clark?" 

"you-know-what's full."



You know this scene....  it's one of the iconic scenes in the movie, right????  "250 strands of lights! 100 individual bulbs per strand for a grand total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights."


If you've been around for a while, you know about our annual light show.  If you're new, well we put on a small-ish Light-o-Rama show (dancing lights show) every Halloween and Christmas.  We keep it light (pun intended) and funny, so one of our audio clips is the one from above.  It's pretty popular clip to sequence for light shows and there are a ton of them on YouTube - that's where we first saw it! 

This was my post on Facebook sharing the clip.  Don't miss our "25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights."  Ya know, quoting the movie and the sound bite in our show.





And here's the video: 


We had a newspaper reporter send us a Facebook message asking about writing an article about the show.  She did not do any research because she seemed to think we were a business for some reason.  Clint talked to her, answered a few questions, explained it was a hobby, and she published a short article later the same day.  I wondered how accurate it would be and sure enough my name is misspelled.  She also has "Rockin' Robin" as one of the featured songs when it is "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." (how???)  She took the liberty of pulling some of the info from our Facebook page and as Clark says ............... drumroll please..... 






Actual article here.

If you know, you know.  It's been a few days and I'm still laughing.



Thursday, December 02, 2021

Online shopping

 Did anyone venture out for Black Friday shopping this year? Or did you do it all online?

 It seems many of the stores had several rounds of sales, and some weren't anything spectacular.  It was confusing as to who had what going on which days. I usually like looking at the Black Friday ads just to see what kind of stuff is on sale. I barely glanced at them this year.  It just seemed to go on for too many days.  I did remember to logon and buy a $40 record player that I saw at Walmart. We have a stack of vinyl records and a half working bulky record player.  Who knows if we'll ever actually use it, but I thought it would be nice to have just in case we ever wanted to relive the "olden days" of record albums. It's in a small folding case so it won't take up much room.   

I pretty much did all my shopping online this year.  I'm sure I'll grab a few stocking stuffers in store, but the majority was done online. Teenagers are hard to buy for.  I had the kids make Amazon wish lists, so I just picked their gifts from that!  I do wish Amazon Prime would get back to two day delivery.  We had no mail or any deliveries for weeks after Hurricane Ida.  I'm not sure if it's everywhere or just here, but Prime shipping is now 7-12 days.  Almost doesn't make sense to pay for Amazon Prime at that pace.  Anyway, I'm just about done shopping and I'm just waiting on the Amazon boxes to show up at my door.  Let's hope they all arrive before Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Hello, December

 November has slipped quietly away so hello December.  Also, hello Holidailies.  I signed up to participate again this year in hopes it motivates me to get back to blogging.  It's old habit now so how can I not?  I've been on a bit of a blogging break dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. We had five weeks of blurry chaos and I don't know where the time has gone.  September truly is just a blur of trying to make sense of it all, debris cleanup, no running water, no electricity, and no Internet.  But here it is, ready or not, it's December 1st.  Christmas is coming.

I think this is my eleventh year being a Holidailies participant.  I'd have to go back and look but I'm certain I started in 2008, the year my Mom died.  A fellow blogger suggested it to me and I was all in that year.  It was good therapy at that time having something to help navigate through the holidays without Mom.  

Anyway, welcome new and old Holidailies friends!  I'm Melanie, wife, Mom of two teenage girls.  We live way down in South Louisiana.  Any further South and you'd be swimming!  I mostly write about our family's adventures.  I look forward to reading along with all of you this month.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Ack ~ I'm so behind!!  I've really been slacking on the blogger front.  I will be around to check in with all of you soon. We have been SO busy, which I guess is a good thing.  

Marching band season ended with a bang.  Their final performance at District Marching Festival was one of the best yet. Check out the coolest 'wave effect' ever.  Wind prevented them from doing it at all the other marching events, so it was their last chance and the weather was finally perfect. The show was entitled "Voices of Atlantis" so they were underwater.  


Valerie also auditioned for Senior High Honor band and got 6th chair!  Not bad over all. She also made it through and qualified for the second round of All-State Honor band auditions.  The second round is in January and I think she has a good shot at finally making it this year.  Fingers crossed.  

Meanwhile, Veronica is auditioning for the same in choir next week.  I'm sure she will make District Honor choir, but All-State Honor Choir is tough to get in to.  The audition song is in latin and is SO hard!  Her whole choir class is such chaos.  The long time choir director just up and quit, so the replacement is a general music teacher and cannot sing.  She's doing the best she can teaching music theory, but she is totally lost on anything vocal related. 

In a crazy series of back to back events...   my dryer went out.  The water heater went out.  Clint's truck battery exploded under the hood.  Then his transmission went out.  It took weeks to fix because the Ford dealership couldn't get the part with the microchip in it.  Hoping that's the end of the broken stuff for a while.  

Hurricane recovery is on-going.  There's still a lot of places closed and some just aren't coming back at all.  It would have been a good time to go dumpster diving with all the stores that threw everything away!!  Even one off the Walmarts threw their ENTIRE inventory in dumpsters.  FEMA has finally showed up and there are FEMA trailers everywhere.  Debris trucks are making the rounds but it's slow going.  I still have my fence and a tree sitting by the road in front of my house.  This is what the trucks look like.  The driver sits in the chair in the middle and operates the claw and drops the debris in the truck.  They're like giant 'claw' games.  They are huge!




And Y'ALL!!!!!  I SAVED MOST OF MY CEILINGS!!!!  I was looking at painting them since the sheetrock was just stained with water marks and not sagging or anything.  I really didn't want to rip all of that out if there was another way.  I ran across some suggestions - kiltz, then paint, etc.  A suggestion to try before painting if you had white ceilings was to mix bleach and water and to lightly mist the water spots.  It worked!!!!!!!!   My bedroom ceiling is likely too far gone, but I saved us so much time, aggravation, and money in the rest of the house. Y'all have no idea how excited I was when this worked.  

before: 
  


Sprayed with bleach/water:

It dried and the spot disappeared!!!  


Let there be lights!  Our Christmas light show is definitely happening.  We could not do Halloween because we were waiting on our roof replacement.  So many people asked about Christmas, so we've spent the last couple of weeks setting everything up. We left the lights off the gables because of the missing siding, but the rest of the lights are set up and almost ready to go.  


Time has just passed me by and it doesn't feel like November at all.  Thanksgiving is going to be just the four of us and pretty low key.  I'm cooking a ham, turkey, and all the trimmings because that's what you're supposed to do, right?  It definitely doesn't feel like a holiday.  The kids are helping me a little bit in the kitchen today.  School's break was cut short due to all the time they missed, so they only have 3 days off instead of the whole week. 

 Enjoy your day and make lots of memories with your families.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!  

Monday, November 01, 2021

Trick-or-treat!

I don't know where September or October went.  It's usually one of my favorite times of year but these past months are just a blur.  Halloween was really low key.  I barely set out any of my inside decorations.  Clint managed to put up a last minute small light show just for Trick-or-treating.  None of us had a real costume for the first time in years!  We did squeeze in several spooky movie nights throughout the month so there's that.  (And yes, my kids might be too old for trick or treating but they went anyway!)









On a different note:







Progress!!!  We had a new roof installed on October 18.  That's as far as we have gotten with repairs.  Most contractors are so busy and have months long waiting lists.  I don't want just anyone to do it because I want it done right the first time. We will get to the sheetrock and fence eventually.  We don't have to worry about the roof leaking any longer so the rest can wait.

School opened back up October 4.  The kids have so much time to make up after being out for five weeks.  The calendar was adjusted, so most holiday breaks will be very short. School will go into the summer also.  It is what it is at this point and at least our high school was able to open.

Marching band!!!  Yay band!!  Valerie has been working super hard.  The entire marching show had to be re-written once again due to time constraints. It was paired down to the bare minimum because there was just no time to learn it.  Plus, a lot of families are displaced or have left the area so the band lost a few members.  This past weekend they travelled to McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA for their first marching competition in two years.  They stole the show.  Even with all the setbacks and everything that has happened here, they took home Grand Champions and "best of" in a whole bunch of other categories.  Maybe they got the sympathy vote - who knows!  But these kids have lost so much and needed something good to happen. 



   


 

Veronica's just as busy and keeping me busy.  Her dancing school opened back up last week.  She's rehearsing after school to audition for All-State Honor Choir. She also signed up for Performing Arts Club (drama club) and should find out what part she will get in the spring play any day now. 

So it will still be a long while before things are completely normal again, BUT I am so happy we have a good bit of "normal life" happening!!   

Hope you all are doing well....  I'll be around to catch up soon.  

Friday, October 01, 2021

Day 34

That's how time is measured these days.  Today is 34 days since Hurricane Ida turned our world upside down. I could probably write a short novel on everything that has happened here.  I have so many pictures and so many stories forever burned into memory.  It's been an unreal experience.  I wish I could say things were back to normal, but that won't be the case for a long while.  Some areas still do not have electricity or running water.  Can you imagine 34 days with no utilities??  We went 6 days with no water.  13 days with no power.  33 days without Internet.  

I'm not sure what was/is shown on the national news since we were off the grid for a while.  It seems New Orleans got a lot of attention??  Believe me when I say New Orleans is FINE.  I don't know if people realize the scale of what happened here. This was our Katrina. It's here, the bayou parishes, that took the hit. During those first few weeks, our basic infrastructure was zero.  No power anywhere, no running water.  No way to wash clothes or dishes. No stores open, no restaurants, no medical services at all.  No where to buy food.  No pharmacies, no gas stations, etc.  With one hundred percent of the area on generators, gas was extremely scarce.  (Kudos to the businesses that opened out of dire necessity.)  No internet means cash only, no ATMs working because of the same reasons. Banks closed. No access to money.  Not a single working traffic light. That cell phone we all love - useless with collapsed towers.  It's just an endless domino effect that you don't think about until it's all gone. 

Things are not okay for many here in Lafourche and Terrebonne.  The further south you travel the worse it is.  Currently, here in Houma, LA, everywhere you go there's just piles and piles of debris.  Endless blue rooftops.  Broken trees and and collapsed buildings.  Pictures just don't capture the feeling of seeing it all around you.  It just sends my anxiety into high gear so I mostly just stay home. 









Just around my small neighborhood: 









School is supposed to resume October 4 after being closed for 5 weeks. Hoping for a sense of normalcy!!!  Please!!!  Thankfully our high school is mostly okay but several schools in the area are not.  Some cannot reopen at all.  This is the elementary school my kids went to a short 3 minute drive away: 



 

We are doing okay.  I'm so thankful we still have a home and are able to stay in it.  Our house took a beating but it's still standing.  I'm so thankful for all the help we had!!  I'm so thankful we had a generator.  So thankful we thought ahead to buy a window unit air conditioner and a dehumidifier!!  Thankful for donations of food and water!!  And MREs!  I'm so glad my bedroom ceiling held and didn't cave!!  Even though it's ruined and will have to be gutted, it didn't cave in on my bed. I was able to save my mattress because it was covered with a mattress protector.  The rest of the water spots all over the house can be fixed.  We were able to get our roof covered fairly quickly.  Clint went into the attic and scraped out all the insulation.  Thankful for blown in insulation and not the rolled pink stuff because that would have stayed wet and heavy and the ceiling would have fell.  We ran the dehumidifer and dried everything out so there's no mold.  Now our first priority is a new roof, which we are leaning towards just paying out of pocket to get it done.  We still have small leaks. Insurance companies are overwhelmed and backlogged with thousands of claims so it's going to be quite a while before ours is handled.  As for the inside repairs, well... no one shows or they don't call back.  Everybody local is booked for months. 5-6 months and longer.  All you can do is get on as many contractor's lists as possible and wait for one of them to get to you.  Nothing anyone can do but wait....  

August 28, 2021.  The day before: 





September 1, 2021.  After: 













all my landscaping/trees were stripped to nothing