Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year?

It seems I've made a full recovery from Wednesday evening's celebrations. Apparently pepperjack cheese and I are not totally compatible. Oh well, it gave me an excuse yesterday to be a recliner potato and watch all the new show previews on HGTV. Even DH got into one of the programs, which was Income Property. In this program, a renovator comes in and does a legal conversion of a portion of your home - in this case a basement - into an income property.

Our conversation later was something on the order of building an income property on our lower level. After laughing hysterically for a few minutes on contemplation of a builder coming out and saying "BUT you have a crawl space." And our reply of "It has a separate entrance." We killed that idea.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's

Older daughter, DH and I experienced some of the craziness this state has to offer. We drove the 18.5 miles (one way) to buy booze. Now, DH and I were thinking ahead when we went on Monday. Beath the New Year's Eve rush and all that. Well, later that evening OD called to ask when we were going to make the booze run again. I told her we were just there but we would go with her if she wanted. So we arranged to go with OD on her day off.

When you are in a semi-dry county, which means you can buy beer in stores and can have and buy wine at the in-county winery, and you can buy liquor by the glass at restaurants, you make sure your booze run is complete. There is no running out of Vodka or in our case Bourbon and then making a run to the drug store or party store on the corner.

One of the stipulations I made, was we weren't going late in the afternoon. It gets dark before 5 p.m. here and I do not want to be on the road to Gainesboro or on the way back when it is dark. Too easy to miss turns and boy it gets dark out there.

Needless to say, the place was a madhouse! People lined up and three registers open. Very efficient though. Unfortunately for OD, they did not have her Vanilla Vodka in stock. My suggestion, since she was going to mix with coke anyway, was to buy Vanilla coke. Hope it was good, kid!

As for DH and I? Staying home and chilling with the bourbon. Yum!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Retrospective

January - Instead of the post New Year's let down, 2008 started with a bang, er .. make that a rumble. On January 3rd, construction commenced on our home here in Tennessee. It was such a great feeling to get started on a project two and a half years in the planning.

February - Despite being the first birthday my mom did not call me and sing to me, February started slow and cold and finished with a visit from a friend in Michigan (Hi, Chuck!) and a belated birthday visit from younger daughter. Both were treated to very chilly tours of our under construction home!

March - I hate when Easter falls in April. In addition to it being unseasonably cold for Easter, March was alternately too cold to lay brick or too wet to lay brick or bricklayers were too far behind to lay our brick. They did manage to get out on Easter Sunday to brick though!

April - Older daughter celebrated her 28th birthday by becoming my twin! Way back when my kids were little and when I turned 32, I decided 28 was better. When my girls were old enough to question me about my age, I told them 28 was better. Older daughter wanted to know what she should tell people when they asked my age. I told her "Tell them I'm 28 and leave it at that!" So she would say "She's 28 and leave it at that!" Such an entertaining kid! Oh, and the house finally got bricked by the end of April.

May - The monster and the beast. The monster is what I call our gigantic heating and cooling units which sit outside on a pad. It's actually two furnaces - one is the conventional heat pump and the other is a gas furnace. Also installed is the A/C unit. The gas furnace was tested on walk through - haven't used it since. If it gets really cold though, It's going on backup. Our thermostat allows us to set it up to switch to gas when it gets below a certain temp. We've arbitrarily said below 30 outside for any length of time and we will switch over to gas. We'll see. The beast is our grinder pump that allows our sewage to be sent out to the sewer line that runs under the street. Due to our weird grade here, we are a few inches above the sewer depth where the pipe comes out of the house. So now the flushed stuff gets sent to the grinder pump which shreds it and shoots it down to street level. All that installed in May. More than anyone wants to know. Our builder insists it will grind up jeans and send them too. On the 27th we closed on our house. On the 28th had our new bedroom set delivered. This is the first bedroom set we've bought for ourselves. I love it. Previously we had a queen size bed with footboard and headboard, a small dresser, a chest, and one nightstand. Now we have a queen size bed with footboard and headboard, two nightstands and a large dresser big enough for his clothing and mine.

June - Official move in day was June 12th. Unofficially, we were living there since closing. I swore I would not go back to the condo and sleep and hassle with parking. It took about 3 hours for the movers to load up truck, drive truck a mile and then unload truck. For Father's Day, DH got a big screen TV. On June 29th, 6 of our friends drove down for a surprise visit from Michigan. DH and I still talk about how dumbstruck we were. Good going Wild Ones for keeping it a secret!

July - Hot and humid in Tennessee. The highlight was driving up to Michigan mid month to help younger daughter celebrate her 26th birthday. We had a great time with her, family and friends while in the Great Lakes state. On return from our trip to Michigan, I started this blog. Older daughter had long encouraged me. Thanks!

August - The dog days. By August, DH and I had decided we were going to kill all our grass/crabgrass and have it reseeded. We spent a couple of enjoyable evenings at the University of Tennessee Extension service learning how to grow grass in Tennessee and what kind to grow. Hey, I'm from Michigan, we plant sod there! We now have grass rather than crab grass and are very happy with it.

September - DH and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary at the end of the month. I started hassling him about hanging pictures. Slowly but surely, they've been getting hung up.

October - Yet another trip to Michigan - this one for niece's wedding. It was a great wedding, but a short trip. DH came another year closer to a major milestone age!!

November - Lots of picture hanging, re-arranging of guest room stuff and preparations for our first overnight guest. Menu planning began for Thanksgiving when younger daughter would come for a week's visit. Unfortunately, younger daughter mangled the front end of her car and missed the trip here. Wah! Thanksgiving was a gorgeous day - so they tell me. I was busy cooking.

December - Christmas preparations begun. The tree actually went up the weekend of Thanksgiving, with most of the decorations the next day. Now the tree is up, snowbuddy ornaments on the tree, and my Snow Village (the home of the Snow Buddies) is displayed. Most shopping is done. Menu planning is in its early stages. Prepping gifts for Michigan to be mailed.
Husband spent one Sunday at the hospital with his dad an 89 year old with emphysema. Hospital sent him back home with some respiratory therapy follow-up. Wouldn't be the Christmas season without someone in the hospital! Christmas day was fun, with all but our Younger daughter present. Older daughter brought a friend from school and she was a lot of fun and added that extra cheer we needed from missing our younger daughter.

As the year winds up, plans in place to de-Christmas the inside and outside of the house. I will especially miss the exterior Christmas lights as our street is so dark. Only our neighbors across the street put up exterior lights - two lighted fake trees on their porch. Our wonderful neighbor, Mrs. A. had candle lights in all her front windows and that was it for our street.

I am reminded how fleeting good health is with updates from family and friends about their loved ones. Our family wishes yours the best for 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Raise Dust Bunnies as Pets

As I've been trying to get anything worthwhile off the old, unreliable HP laptop, I've found a lot of old photos, documents, etc. that I've taken, scanned, written over the last twenty years. Hard to believe that DH and I got our first home computer 21 years ago. And it was around that time that I really got interested in tracking my family's history and keeping it in a somewhat organized manner. Someone introduced me to my first genealogy program at a user's group meeting and it created a monster.

That initial database of immediate family grew to 308 people. I don't know why I remember that number so vividly, but there was a time when some programs were not compatible with GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunication) standards, so I had to retype all the information in a second time when I changed programs from Genealogy on Display to Brother's Keeper. Brother's Keeper was the first program that I used that allowed simple source keeping. Sourcing was something I was sort of lax on when I first started, now I am fanatical about it.

Somewhere along the way, I got the idea to interview my parents. That was such a great idea. I now have some idea what it was like for my parents when they were growing up. I still have them on tape and transcriptions of the interviews.

As computer technology grew, so did the genealogy programs. From Brother's Keeper, I moved to Family Origins, and the on to Rootsmagic. Current programs allow you to "write" your family history, and will also print photos, sources, footnotes, just about anything you want.

When we bought our first modem, I installed it. I can't believe I did it, but I did. It was a 14400 modem. I thought it was so fast! Internet access was by dial-up! And we did this with one phone line. Email lists began correspondence with other people researching family names like Percival, Maitland, Chinn and Kirtley. And I so remember finding a piece of key information on Ancestry for the first time. I was so totally hooked on internet research. It may not ever totally replace on site research, but it has enabled me to find online death certificates for a few states where family resided. And saved me a bundle of dough too!

As my genealogical database grew, so did my stack of paper. I started with one small two drawer cabinet. I outgrew that years ago. It later years, I took to scanning important stuff like birth, marriage, death certificates, discharge papers, obituaries, so that someday I could chuck all the paper. I don't really think that will ever happen, but I can hope.

So this passing hobby has turned into an obsession to get that next piece of information. And the next. I think the dust bunnies are busy multiplying.