Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finally... It Starts

Ever since we remodeled the kitchen, I've been anxiously awaiting remodeling the bathroom. Well, we've finally started the process! Last month, Ace sold off some Intel stock; that money went into our "high-yield savings account" (our choice for, as Suze Orman says, our 8-month emergency fund), since it earns a good percentage of interest (although, it's a lot more than 8-months worth), to be used to pay off the rewards credit card we'll be using to fund the project (Ace is saving his points for a new, fancy, camera!).

Our next step was to replace our crappy, probably original to the house, toilet with an $80 model we saw at Costco. After reading the reviews, we realized that we'd eventually have to replace it again, because this is considered a "throw away" toilet; there are no replacement parts available. For now, though, it works great. It's a dual-flush, mid-height model with an elongated seat.

After using this toilet for the last month, though, we've decided we like the dual-flush & the mid-height... but not the elongated seat; we want round! The problem was finding all three features we wanted, plus it has to be a white toilet. Ace tracked down a few models on the American Standard site that fits all of our requirements. Then he asked, "sealed tank or no?" I'm like, "Huh?" He said, "So it doesn't sweat." "Um, how much extra?" That's roughly another $100, so we'll go with no. His chosen model numbers & prices were written down...

Yesterday, we started researching tubs. We currently have a 60" X 30" X 18", three-sided, standard 1981's model tub. We most likely can fit a 60" X 32" X 20" (or a little taller), three-sided 2012's model tub. IF we can do this, there are quite a few models available, with or without jets. I'm leaning toward without jets for two reasons -- (1) some of the reviews I've read on other sites (Jacuzzi, specifically; not necessarily the models we're looking at) has mentioned cracking, broken, &/or leaking jets. (2) A jetted tub would have absolutely zero ROI in this area. It would simply be a nicer thing to have. If any of you have a jetted tub, I'd like some feedback from you -- pros & cons, please.

Ace also has a cool idea for the glass opening (not a door; more like a wall with an opening to get in & out of the shower... does that make sense?), so we have to find someone willing & able to do that. The shower walls will be tiled, as will the floor (different size, but similar in color -- black/grey slate). The toilet, tub, as well as the sink (I want vessel...) will all be white -- classic.

He has agreed, as well, that the cabinets/vanity will be the same wood/finish/counters as those in the kitchen (I think this is important for "flow", since we only have one bathroom), and the walls will be the same shade as, or one shade lighter than, the walls in the rest of the common areas of our home (light grey). I've already bought towels & rugs in two shades of grey, as well as black. I will be getting burgundy ones later (coordinating with the accents in the rest of the house, of course).

Now, lighting is one of those hard areas... The bathroom obviously needs more lighting. We're definitely getting a different mirror -- the current one is a bit on the "girly" side for us. I'd like to do a slightly different fixture directly above the vanity (or maybe just change out the glass covers), a main area overhead, and a light/fan/"sun tube" over the bath. We're still researching these. Thoughts?

Oh, and as much as I do not want to work with the contractor who "ran" (and I use the term lightly -- he's an ass who obviously thinks less of women, especially when that woman actually knows what she's doing & calls him on mistakes!) our kitchen job, we just may have to... at least to get the cabinetry made. I'm pretty sure they're the only ones who can use the company we chose for cabinetry (through Home Depot).

Regardless, we'll need a good contractor... I already have a couple names from friends. We'll need to finalize who we're using soon so that we can start planning on timing (& time off from our jobs, if necessary). Hoping to get this done this summer.

Monday, February 20, 2012


A few months ago, Princess went over 2000 text (outgoing, only, mind you)... She was warned that, although we have an unlimited texting plan shared among our phones, that is unacceptable. She needed to tone it down, or she would have her phone taken away from her. For comparison, mine comes in at 700-850 every month; that's personal and professional (yes, my clients text me; I love it), and Ace (who rarely uses his cell, especially while at work) comes in around 200.

Last month's bill came on February 12th... and Princess was over 3000 texts. That's more than 100 outgoing messages EVERY DAY! I told her she had an hour (to give them time to respond with their home numbers, if she didn't have it) to send all her contacts -- including Grandma, Grandpa, Mimi, Aunt S, & Uncle G -- a text, letting them all know she was grounded until the end of the month. My dad (Grandpa) replied, "Grounded? That's not good..."

I then posted a message on my FB page, "She's grounded from her cell phone until March 1st because she went over the agreed upon number of texts. Regardless of the fact that we have unlimited texting, and I fully understand that "this is how pre-teens & teenagers communicate", she agreed to this rule when we gave her the phone. If you want to reach her, call our house. If you need that number, PM me. *With the exception of to & from school, and during babysitting jobs. If you are a babysitting parent, please call the house or text me."

Since then, she has used her phone during ONE babysitting job (and only for communicating with me & the mother of her wards), and to & from school (me, only); no music, no chatting, no texting her friends (no games, either, but that wasn't something she did on her phone before this).

When she gets home from school, she turns off her phone & places it on my dresser. She moves it to her desk to charge it every couple of days. She hasn't even complained about not having it! So, now I am considering "letting her off early for good behavior". I think she's earned it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Is Stupid

There is quite a bit of information out in the "interwebs", if you care to look for it, regarding St. Valentine (there were multiple saints with this name, btw). The ONLY thing that even remotely attaches St. Valentine's history to today's version of Valentine's Day is the fact that one of them performed secret marriages (apparently, Claudius the emperor believed single men made better warriors) -- in some people's eyes, this is "so romantic" -- and when he was set to be executed, he sent his love a letter signed, "Your Valentine".

Regardless of your religious or personal beliefs, Valentine's Day today has completely disintegrated into a consumerist frenzy. Chocolates, jewelry, flowers, dinner... What happened to showing your love every other day of the year?

In our home, love & respect is shown every day; chores done without being asked, grabbing something to eat or drink & getting one for someone else while you're up, making a dinner you know your partner loves, getting that to-do list taken care of, taking a ride on the motorcycle, a kiss before bed or before leaving for the day, ending phone calls with "I love you."...

Those things & so much more make up our daily lives; feeling like you *have* to do something over the top/extra nice for your significant other on that one day every year is akin to detailing your car once a year... If that's all you're doing, it WILL break down on you.

I don't need any of those things listed above... or any other over-the-top expression of Ace's love. Flowers die, candy gets eaten, jewelry is a complete waste of money, and dinner can be made at home. I'd rather spend my life playing with my husband, shopping together, finishing fixing up our home together (bathroom's coming up soon), taking rides on the bike, finishing raising the two remaining children, hanging with our dogs, and so much more.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

RIP Roxie

Just over 10 years ago, about a week before Ace moved in to my home, I went to our local animal shelter. My original intention was just to look at, and maybe hold, a few of the animals. I knew Ace wanted a dog, but didn't like cats all that much... more "tolerated" than anything. But, as a long-time animal lover, I came home with a cat.

Roxie, obviously Himalayan (mix, perhaps) was estimated at somewhere between 7yo & 10yo; she was not fixed (shame on the previous owners) and she had only been fed wet food (again - SHAME!). Within a week, I took care of everything -- shots, spay, proper food (she weighed 12 pounds and had obviously had multiple litters -- I wonder at what cost?)... I bought her some toys, as well; she was a happy kitty.

Ace was slightly annoyed at me, but grew to love her almost as much as I did. She was talkative, and liked to jump from the floor straight up into the nearest person's arms; usually without warning. She purred loudly, and when she wanted to be petted, she rubbed herself on your leg or jumped into your lap.

A couple of years ago, I had her on my lap when I realized she had blood on her fur near her mouth. When I went to check it out a little closer, I saw that she had lost a tooth. We took her to the vet for some tests, and they basically said she was fine; it was probably due to the soft food of her earlier life.

Since then, she lost most of the rest of her teeth (we had to put her back on wet food -- ugh), and started having trouble getting around as well as holding her bladder. When we put the new floors in, we moved her into the garage. We bought her a little doggie bed, which we put on top of a small plastic bin, and set up her litter & food/water dishes. We also made the decision to have her put down if ever she seemed to be in too much pain or discomfort.

She was content in the garage; talking up a storm when any of us went out there. Sometimes, we'd leave the back door open (while home, of course) so that she could go outside if she wanted. During the colder months, we bundled her in extra towels (she started "yowling" when she wanted to be tucked in), and she grew thicker fur.

A few weeks ago, I decided that washing her bed every time she peed in it was becoming a huge hassle; she was without a bed while it washed and dried. So, I covered it with a kitchen garbage bag, sealed it off, then covered in towels. I was still washing towels a couple times a day, so I told Ace that I thought she was "getting to that point".

Last week, she stopped eating. We tried giving her a different flavor (she's refused to eat certain kinds of wet food before; we thought perhaps this was the same kind of thing...?), but that didn't work. For five days, she ate nothing, drank barely anything, and stopped being able to even get out of her bed at all. It was time.

Friday, I called Companion Pet Clinic (where we take all our animals) to ask about the process of euthanasia (I've never had an animal put down before, although I have had them die on me). They gave me a run down, and the cost. When Princess got home from school, I told her what was going on, & had her get a snack. We bundled Roxie into her pet carrier, put a couple of towels in there, and took her to the clinic.

In the exam room, our regular vet (Brian) gave her a quick exam & asked me about her health issues. I gave him all the details I could remember. He then pulled up at her scruff to check for dehydration; sure enough, she was. He asked if I wanted to stay; I said, "No... just take her." I gave her one last hug & kiss, said goodbye, and watched him take her.

I spent the next ten minutes crying in that little office... interestingly enough, Princess consoled me (she seemed ok). I left the carrier & towels there. After paying our bill, I asked Princess to text her Papa the exact cost, while I drove home. He texted back, "Ok. It's done then? How's M*?" She texted back, "I'm better than mom. -M*" He said, "Understood."

When we got back to the house, I let the dogs out & was going to start a load of laundry... but I couldn't bring myself to even go into the garage. I let the dogs out & back in through the slider, instead. I kept my plan to go to Bunco, as well... thinking it would take my mind off of it. It didn't, but it did help to be around friends. I also won a little money.

We got home around 845p, and Ace told me that he started to pick up Roxie's things, but only got as far as putting her last two dirty towels in the basket to wash... "It's too quiet in there now." Even the dogs were more mellow & lovey than usual. We both posted on our FB pages what happened; the kids are devastated.

Yesterday, I had two clients in the morning & Princess went to a friend's for the whole day (they hung out, went swimming, to the park, & to the library), and Ace was home for lunch when I returned... both of us avoided the garage except to let the dogs back in from their backyard running around. It was, for me, a day of "chill".

Today, I am bound & determined to gather all her things because tomorrow, I will be donating them to the shelter from where I got her. We do not plan on getting another cat (two dogs is enough), and at some point (soon-ish), we'll get a small deep freezer to put into that space (I've wanted one for years; friends/family want to give us bison & elk).

Roxie --- unknown DOB, adopted 1/2002, humanely euthanized 2/10/2012.