Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Empty House Tour

Well today we officially take possession of our new house!  The hubbs is meeting with an attic insulation guy today, but tomorrow starts the real stuff.  Per my itinerary, Friday will include: lots of cleaning by us, moving one car load of china and stemware, meeting with Ackerman Security, HVAC tune up from Shumate, HVAC duct cleaning from Shumate, spraying the yard to kill mosquitoes, re-keying the locks, taping to get ready for paint, and one heck of a trip to Home Depot.  Saturday - Monday will full of painting and installing trim work, and then Tuesday the movers come for all the big stuff.  Whoopee!

Want to see some empty house "before the storm" photos?  We are fortunate that there is not a lot of necessary work to be done, and we can focus on adding character and making it our own rather than trying to just make it livable.  We are relieved that we did not go through with that foreclosure back in December {The House that Never Was}, and we are glad we did not spend an additional $20,000 for the heartbreaker {Loosing a Bidding War}.  We knew it would all work out, and so far we feel this house will turn out to be the right choice.

Front - Good Start for the Landscaping
View of Foyer and Formal Living
Formal Dining
Formal Dining
Kitchen - Open to Family Room
Whoa! Half Bath from the early 90's
So Much Pantry Space! (There's another one  just like this!)
View to Breakfast Room - Overlooks Backyard
Previous Owners Left us a Card and Champagne {How Sweet!}
View to Kitchen from Family Room - With our 4-legged Kiddos
Family Room {I'm thinking  BUILT-INS, aren't you?}
Master with Vaulted Ceiling
Master Bath {this reno is on the 5-year plan, but those sconces may be ASAP}
Big Walk-in Closet
Upstairs Hallway
Bedroom #2 {a nursery maybe next year?}
Bedroom #3 {for kid #2}
Bedroom #4 - Guest Bedroom
Bedroom #5 - My Office
Upstairs Hall Bath {On the repaint list}
Downstairs Bath
Backyard with a House for Jackson

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May is Skin Cancer and Brain Tumor Awareness Month {Part III}

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  That being said, here's a little note from The Skin Cancer Foundation:

"Those tempted to kick off summer by getting a “base tan” should be aware that there is no such thing as a safe, healthy or protective tan. The misconception that a base tan will protect the skin is dangerous; even for those who never burn, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can lead to skin aging (including wrinkles, lines and age spots) as well as skin cancer. In fact, about 65 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with sun exposure." -

Part III
{ Go to Part I  or Part II}
ReconstructionI've had a hard time finishing this series up.  Hence the nearly two week gap.  It has been difficult focusing in on a way to sum up a seven year journey of reconstruction and healing in a few short paragraphs.

While losing a parent is different than losing a spouse, or what I imagine must be the unbearable pain of losing a child, the stages of grief are the same.  And eventually a person hits that upward turn and begins reconstruction.  Having been a designer on several hotel renovations, I see a resemblance between the reconstruction of a building and that of a life.  Once all the demolition is complete, there is always something uncovered that was unexpected.  Sometimes small, often times large, something ugly is always found.  With a hotel renovation it could be mold, electrical wiring issues, plumbing problems, rotted subfloor, and a plethora of other un-pleasantries. 

We all have a tendency to blame someone for our problems, and generally if we have a "character flaw" we, with the help of secular psychologists, point the finger at our parents.  {Of course our character and personality are created by the experiences we have growing up and help define what we eventually begin to believe about other people, ourselves and God.  However, we are not helpless.  We have a choice to let those things impact us positively or negatively.}  Well I have my fair share of character flaws, so I went along with society and blamed my mother.  Surely she's the reason for my irrational temper, unreasonable expectations {of myself and others}, and intense perfectionism. Sure, I'll blame the mother who every morning prepared me breakfast before going to school, who read a devotion to me while I ate, would bring forgotten school assignments to me in class, who drove me all around town for a thousand activities, who took side decorating jobs and substitute teaching to pay for my thousand activities, and who took a job as a full time teacher when I graduated high school just so she could buy me a newer car to take to off to college that my dad didn't think was necessary.  I suppose it was easier to focus on a few bad things then the endless good things, and of course it's always easier to blame someone.  However, God, even after I yelled and cursed at Him, allowed me the opportunity to reconcile that relationship. I will never be able to grasp how lucky I am that I did not loose my mom before I could begin a good relationship with her.  {Mom is still here in this world - she will be about 40 minutes down the road from our new house, and I can't wait to enlist her help in landscaping and DIY adventures!}

Oh, and yes, I said I yelled and cursed at God.  I could write a whole post on that, but most people wouldn't care for it.

As I said at the beginning, it has been difficult writing about reconstruction because there is an incredible amount to say.  Instead of boring you, I have decided to keep it short and bring back the question "why do bad things happen?"  Plenty of people have spent a whole book or series of books to try to answer this question, but I'm going to sum it up to the core of what I believe.  First, it's a fallen world; when Adam sinned, we all sinned.  Second, we are not the center of universe.  Sometimes when someone close to us dies, it's not about us.  It could be about that person, or someone else involved - so stop trying to make it about you (sorry to be blunt, but it's just the reality of it).  Third, "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."  We may never see the result of that in our time here on earth, but Paul taught us that in Romans, so I'm clinging to it.  Not to mention I have truly seen the truth in that.  It's amazing to reflect through how that verse has held so true in my life.  Finally, speaking of our time here on earth, our time here is like two pixels of an incomprehensibly large image.  This earth, this world we get so caught up in, is simply not our home.

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Laura Story, "Blessings" (only second half of song above)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Worst Client Ever {me!}

It's almost moving time.  Amidst my organized packing schedule (and of course color coordinated box labels) I am also focusing on the design of our soon-to-be family room.  Design, in theory, is second nature for me.  My mother has her degree in graphic design and did a lot of decorating on the side when I was growing up.  Her father built furniture and her grandfather was an architect.  My mother always had some project going on while I was young; I lived alongside drop cloths, ladders and paint rollers year round..maybe breathing all those paint fumes as a kid are my problem...anywho.  For the past 5 years I have been designing hotels, yet if you walk into my apartment you would never know!  I love entertaining, but everyone knows what I do for a living and I can't help but know they are quite disappointed when they walk through my door.  Heck, I'm disappointed every time I walk in my door.  What can I say?  The cobbler's children have no shoes...{most designers are not exactly rollin' in the dough}.  Apartment living is just not for me, and I've been living in apartments since freshman year in college.  It has been 11 years of beige walls, beige carpet, beige trim, beige tile, beige countertops.  It has been a beige nightmare!  No wonder I feel so uninspired.  Plus, when you move every year or two it just doesn't seem worth it to exert the effort of designing anything, and it certainly is not worth spending the little money I make on anything that may or may not work in the next place I live.  I am unable to contain the thrill of doing whatever my heart desires...oh, and manages to fit my cheap budget obsessed alter-ego.  

So design development beings.  Or so I thought.  Note that early I stated design "in theory" is second nature...turns out I may be the hardest client I've ever known.  Seriously, nothing is really lighting my fire.  AND to make it worse I may be having an identity crisis.  Am I classic modern?  Industrial chic?  Modern glamour?  Traditional elegance?  I DON'T KNOW!!  I like them all.  Does that make me...I am not sure if I can even say it...eclectic?!?  I think I just gagged a lil' bit.  Not that there is anything wrong with eclectic - it works well in other people's houses - it's just not me! That is probably the last word anyone who knows me would ever use to describe me. Perhaps I'm just having commitment issues.  Or I just have a death grip on the money and trying to find a reason not to spend it.

I know the sofa I want, so I guess that is something.  However I'm a little annoyed about the tufting in the seat cushions.  Stupid crumb collectors.  However, the seat cushions are welt-less which is much more important to me than anything else.  I found a similar sofa through Thrive without the seat tufting, but the welting was a deal breaker.
Crate and Barrel Petrie Sofa
Actually I would take that chair as well if it was not almost as much as the sofa!  Again, Thrive has a similar one for $300 less, so maybe.  Since I want the family room to feel comfortable then I think classic modern with a little industrial edge could be the right design direction.  I'll save the modern glamour meets traditional elegance for the formal living and dining rooms.  {Speaking of the dining room - think I may DIY the above pictured art above for above the dining storage credenza.}

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May is Skin Cancer and Brain Tumor Awareness Month {Post Part II}

As mentioned last week (and shown with the links to the right) I am sharing "my story" to bring awareness to Skin Cancer and Brain Tumors this month to correspond with The Skin Cancer Foundation and The National Brain Tumor Society.

Learn the FACTS about skin cancer, like "One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life" and "Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors" and "The survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the skin, is about 99 percent. The survival rate falls to 15 percent for those with advanced disease."

Part II
{ Go to Part I }

As February approached the 6-9 month window the doctor projected had come and gone.  My father was still alive, but he was nothing like he used to be.  He tried to maintain his joyful personality, but he became weaker each day.  A black eye patch hid the cavity that once held his bright blue eye.  The grandsons called him papa-the-pirate; lovingly of course.  Between the cancer treatments and the medications, my brother-in-law's once slender figure became bulky, and his lean face swollen.  He seldom  talked, in part from the inability to recollect the words to express what he desired to say.  Most of the things we all take for granted he now needed assistance in doing.  Fortunately his family is amazing, or I do not know how my sister could have taken care of him as well as 3 boys under the age of 6.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May is Skin Cancer and Brain Tumor Awareness Month

I recently discovered this (above post title), and found it very odd that the two cancers that have drastically changed my family share this month in the cancer awareness cycle.  So, to bring awareness to these I thought I would share my perspective on how these diseases affected me and my family forever.  While brain tumors aren't necessarily preventable, skin cancer is most definitely preventable.  There are a plethora of misconceptions about skin cancer that hopefully I can shed some light on when sharing my story.  The biggest one being is that "it's no big deal."  However, melanoma is a BIG DEAL.  Melanoma is deadly.

This may take a while...

Part I
It has been eight years since my family buried my father and my brother-in-law.  They each fought and lost their battles to cancer and died five months apart. 

I suppose the best place to start is April 2003.  Unfortunately at 20 years old, and the youngest in the family I do not know too many details of the beginning of my father's diagnosis.  I was a college student, I was a self-absorbed spoiled brat, and my parents and sisters treated me like a child - continuing to enable my bratty behavior.  What I do know is that my father wore hard contact lenses, and took very good care of his lenses.  Such good care that he could go a few years between ophthalmologist appointments.  What he did not know, and what most people do not know, is that melanoma can begin in the eye.  When an ophthalmologist dilates your eyes and shines that bright light, one of the things he is looking for is ocular melanoma.  My father spent a lot of time outdoors.  He served as a naval officer in Vietnam - long before UV tinted sunglasses that wrap around the periphery of your eye and good old SPF 50.  He had fair skin, light blue eyes, sunburned easily.  The perfect combination for melanoma.