Goal Trackers

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The House Strikes Again!

It seems that I have purchased a certifiable Money Pit! As you all know, back in January my drain line got clogged and water backed up into my basement and created one hell of a mess. The plumber warned me that he thought it was tree roots and that it would probably happen again and if it did, he would need to put a camera down the pipe to confirm his suspiciouns and take it from there. Sure enough his predictions came to fruition last Friday. My line was clogged and I found water in my basement again.

Since it was Friday and I knew if I called the plumber for an after hours call or a weekend call it would be more expensive, I held off till Monday. He came out and did the camera thing and sure enough the pipe was infested with tree roots and the roots were catching all the toilet paper going down my drain which was blocking more of the pipe and causeing the water to back up into my basement. *sigh* You know what that means? Cha-CHING! Cha-CHING!

The main drain line of the house needed to be dug up and replaced. So, Tuesday Ms. Utility came out and marked up all the lines, and wouldn't you know it - the damn cable line was installed smack-dab in the middle of my yard!! I had never seen anything like it. I thought all utility lines were suppose to run along the perimeter of the property! So, needless to say - the crew tried really hard to avoid cutting that line, but because of how that line laid across my yard the way it did there was no way that big back hoe was going to be able to avoid it! They almost made it too, but the line got snagged when they were back filling the trench. I called Comcast immediately and there was someone out here mid-morning fixing it. That's the fastest Comcast service call I have ever had!!

Now, I don't know if I've shared with you all how I am convinced that Mickey Mouse wired my house and that Goofy did the drywall, but apparently they were not the only Disney characters to have a hand in building my house.


The back hoe finally arrived around 11 AM and the crew started digging. My friend Stacey came over to help me keep my sanity during this event. The plumber told me that I didn't need to be home for them to work because all the work was outside and when they had finished laying the new pipe they would call me to come home to run the water and test the pipes. I don't know what, but something told me to stay home anyway, so I did. Anyhoo, getting back to the story, the main drain line in the basement is right against the wall between my side and my duplex neightbor's side, so you would think that the drain line would come out pretty much in the same general spot in the outside. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo, that would be too easy.

The guy started diggin at about 11:30 AM, Stacey took me out to lunch and we returned home about an hour later and they had a good 8' deep trench dug. About 1: 30 PM we hear the guy on the machine - "Dude there's no pipe here."

Other dude - "Wha'dya means there no pipe?"

1st dude - "I'm about 10 feet down and there's no pipe here. I don't wanna keep digging here if there's no pipe!"

OK, so now I'm starting to panick. That's when the guys started to come in and out of my house to verify wehre the pipe was in the basement to judge were the pipe sould be on the outside of my house. Slowyl they started more to the left. And a little more till about 4 feet later they finally hit the pipe!! But inorder to get to the joint and replace the line they were going to have to take up a block of my walkway. So cha-CHINK more money out the door because now I need to find someone to repair the walkway.

Whe they finally had the whole pipe exposed the plumber was topside standing next to me and he was shaking his head because it apparently didn't make any sense to him as to why this pipe was so far off the mark. That's when I said to him "And you thought I was crazy when I told you that Mickey Mouse and Goofy build my house" and he retorted rigt back "Yeah, and it looks like Donald Duck put in the pumbing. You certianly do have the Disney House!"

*insert a little comic relief*

So, here you see the trench. It's a good 15' down and 4' across. See all the lovely tree roots that are crisscrossing across the top of the yard. Lovely aren't they. Now, there were only 3 tree on the front between my and my neightbor's lot. I had SIX trees removed from my back yard, can you image what the root system must look like back there?!? Holy shit, I don't even want to think about it! And my sister thinks a little sweat equity and a tiller is all I need. HA!

15 foot trench

When they had to dig inside my walkway and into the flower bed, they dug up my Hostas and got them out of the way. I laughed at that. Don't get me wrong, it was very nice of them to do that to save my planets, but my father has Hostas gallore at his house and he could bring me down a bow of them every fall.


Holy Crap that's a pile of dirt!

So there is the damn pipe that has been such the problem and see that lovely oragney thing next too it? That's a freakin' tree root almost as wide as the pipe!!

The dreaded problem

The crew managed to back fill the hole that night and then someone came out the next day to do some hand grading. We are expecting rain over the next few days so I went ahead and spread some grass seed down. Now, Home Depot didn't have any straw to put down but they had this other stuff that claimed it was better then straw. So I went ahead about bought several bags of that and spread it all over the lawn. Hopefully grass will start growing!


The day after

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Maya's Christening

As you all know, or most of you know, my newest niece had her Christening two weekends ago. *I know, I know - what the hell took me so long to get the pictures up* Most of you also know that I made the whole Christening outfit for her - dress, bonnet, booties and blanket.

Dress: We decided to add the ribbon at the last minute and luckily JoAnn's still had the same ribbon that I bought for the bonnet!!


The whole kit-'n-kaboodle:

Christening Outfit

Of course Maya was the best dressed baby in church that day. There were two other Christenings during mass that day and I swear the other babies were jealous of Maya's outfit *laugh* Anyway, the service was beautiful, unfortunately we weren't able to get great pictures inside the church because there were three babies, three sets of parents AND three sets of Godparents crowded around. That ok, we got plenty of pictures before and after :)

My cousins Cesidio and Felicia were chosen as the Godparents. For years I had know that when I had children those two would have been my first child's Godparents. I'm still hoping for this one day. Felica and I were very close growing up even though she is four years younger than me. We had some of the same struggles with our fathers and we were such a support for each other.

As for my cousin Cesidio, we were inseperable when we were growing up. We were born two days apart, me being the older, but boy we were cut from the same cloth. We were tit-for-tat and thich-as-thieves and always got in trouble together. When we were 13 his mother up and decided that she was moving her family back to Italy. We were devistated! I didn't see Cesidio or his brother Domenico for the next 14 years. Not till I asked them both to be in my wedding. They both came back over to the states in September of '97 and Cesidio decided he wasn't going back. I think my aunt still blames me for that, but Cesidio just never felt at home over there. I'm glad that he's back over here and he's worked his ass off to make a life for himself sinces he's been back.

Cesidio is the kindest, most selfless, most generous man I know. He would literally give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I've always thought that we were cut from the same cloth, but I felt that he has always outshined me in those areas. I've always been awed by how we were so intuned to each other and how we were always able to be a comfort to each other during trying times. Just a couple of years ago we were once again coming to the same crossroads and came together - I was dealing with my break-up and reconnection with Mr. X and he was dealing with a similar situation with his girlfriend. Different circumstances as his gf was ten years his juniors and immature and my Mr. X was just plain stupid and running from committement. Circumstances didn't matter - we both understood were each others hearts were and why they were where they were. Him and that connection is what I turn to when it gets really tough to deal with - still to this day. Felicia and I always joke that it's a shame Cesidio is our cousin. We now say that we "need to find our own Cesidio" and I thought I had, but I guess there really can only be one. I pray that one day he will find a woman worthy enought for him, because he certainly deserves one very special woman.

And it looks like Maya already has him wrapped around her little finger.


Here are a few other pictures from the Christening Day. She was such a good baby the whole day!!

Maya's Christening

1. 07, 2. 14, 3. 18, 4. 19, 5. 20, 6. 21, 7. 22, 8. 23, 9. 24, 10. 25, 11. 26, 12. 28, 13. 31, 14. 32, 15. 37, 16. 40, 17. 43, 18. 46, 19. 47, 20. 49, 21. 51, 22. 52, 23. 54, 24. 55, 25. 85, 26. 87, 27. 88, 28. 86, 29. 89, 30. 90

Monday, April 13, 2009


to Mr. X

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Bunny Dance

Happy Easter !!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Break: Day 4

OK, finished painting the porch today!! I also painted these two small wooden benches that I usually put my house plants on over the summer (if I take them home from work that is). I didn't want to paint the railing because they are aluminum and it never looks good painted unless you have a spray painter. I also didn't want to be spray paint on the front porch (just ignor the little spill of paint on the porch - I'm working on getting that out now). So instead, I got me some hot water, a little Greased Lightening (this stuff is AWESOME) and cleaned the railings and my screen door. I think it looks pretty damn good!! I sort of keep going back and forth on whether or not I should paint the gutter.

Painted Porch

Untill I tackle the yard situation, I think I'm done with the outside of my house for now. Now to move indoors!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break: Day 3

Took a much needed break today! Spend most of the day knitting with friends and had a few people come out to my house and give me some estimates about my back yard.

Spring Break: Day 2

So, here it is the day after I power washed my house and I have muscles aching in placed I didn't even know I had muscles!! I never realized just how much you used your stomach muscles to keep your balance on a ladder! I hurt!!

But I was on a mission to get work done over break so there was no resting for me. Sunday I had to make a quick trip to the Home Depot to pick up a good stiff bristled brush to clean my deck and some paint for the porch. I forgot to take a before picture of my deck, but I found this from back when I was having the trees cut down in my back yard. See all the icky black and green on the wood.


I filled a pail with some hot water, bleach and a little dish soap and got to scrubbin'! Then I used the power washer to remove all the soap and can you believe I found some wood under neither it all?! There are still black spots, but it's certainly not from mold. I purchased a nice indoor/outdoor rug for the porch. As soon as I get it out there, I'll take another photo.

Scrubbed Deck

You would think "Ahhhh a major task accomplished. Now I can rest." Nope, I apparently don't know when to quit. I went right around to the porch and started scrapping off the paint that was peeling off the ceiling, sanded it down, and primed the porch. My arms were screaming at me for the brutality I was inflicting upon them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Break Day 1

Day One of Spring Break I went right to work on my house! I borrow a power washer from my friend Tulabug. I also stopped off at Home Depot to pick up some bleach solvent to help break down all that ugly green mold that was on the side of the house. I borrowed a ladder from my neighbor KnitRedSox, the ladder her DH dropped off wasn't going to get my anywhere near the top of my house. So, Tulabug went back home and picked up her 16' ladder and we went to work. For a while there Tulabug and I traded off the washing wand cause niether of our arms was prepared for this. Then my older sister came by to "help." She is an architectural engineer and is use to giving out the orders and supervising and that is exactly what she did. She also know more about safety on ladders then I do, so I was happy she was there. She gave the encouragement I need to go higher up on the ladder then I ever would have gone on my own. There is also a stronger sense of saftey knowing that two women are holding the ladder that is propped up against the house than one. And so, with the two of them holding the ladder I did manage to go up high enough to get rid of most of the glaring mold that was up there. There is still some stubborn molding that is sticking deep inthe the lines etched on the siding, but it should pass the damn HOA inspection. I might consider going to get another bottle of the outdoor bleach cleaner and getting back up on the ladder to spray and let it soak in a few miinutes before attempting to powerwash again. Depends on how anal I am about letting it go. You have to understand, I tend to be a perfectionist and see all the things that are "wrong" or "not-quite-right" in my own work. I can thank my fahter for that crazy fault of mine. It drove my ex-husband crazy sometimes.

Dirty Siding

Moldy Siding

Dirty Porch

Anyhoo, sometime around 6:30 ish PM I called it quits. I managed to powerwash the siding on the back, the side, and the front porch. I still need to do the siding around the windows of the second level on the front, but that will need ot wait till I have someone here to help me again.

All clean!!

Clean and ready for Paint!

What on the agenda for day 2?? Scraping, priming and painting the front porch!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Won't Let Daddy Nap!

My BIL is just too funny sometimes. My baby sister had her 1st child back in November and in February my BIL lost his job :( On the up side, he is now a stay-@-home Dad and has re-enrolled in college courses. I think he's lovin' the Daddy part more then the studying.

So today my sister gets this email:

Hi Mommy,
I woke up in my crib and decided it was so fun I couldn't go back to sleep. I usually nap with Daddy this early. Boy he must be upset!

Anyway thought you would think this was cool HA HA No NAP For DADDY!!!




They start getting tech savvy younger and younger!!! *giggle*

Spring Break!!

I remember when those two words use to cause such excitement in me. It used to be a week of being lazy, hanging with friends or someone special. This year though, "Spring Break" translate into "getting shit done around the house" and I'm not talking about a normal spring clean where we pack away our winter stuff and bring our the spring/summer items. I'm talked about an overhaul to the house. *sigh*

Here's what I have on my ever growing list of what needs to be done to/in my house that I know will not all get done this week, but I have to start somewhere -

  • power wash the siding, porch and maybe my deck (big maybe there since the former owners really didn't maintain the deck very well and it really needs to be torn down and replaced, but that's more money that I don't have right now)
  • paint my front porch
  • have a landscaper till up my back yard (cost pending of course)
  • replace fence posts in by backyard
  • plant grass - front and back
  • replace the current rotting wood retaining wall with stone (cost pending) and around the flower garden patch in the front
  • paint all the interior doors of my house
  • replace handles on all interior doors
  • replace the handrail for the stairs inside
  • touch-up paint some walls inside
  • replace all the electrical outlets upstairs
  • clean out and organize the basement (haven't touched it since the cleaning crew came in to take care of the water damage back in January!)

Yeah, just a few things on my list.

My parents want to come down and help - actually my mother offered my father's help. Although my father is very good with things around the house and especially so in the yard, his temper fuse is minuscule and his patience is even less. I'm not sure my stress level can deal with that right now. My BIL had offered to come down and help out with some stuff, but his request is that my father be working on something far away from him, so you see, it's not just me :) Anyhoo, I don't think BIL is coming down and Dad is currently battling a bout of Shingles he got down in Florida last week.

Oh, and somewhere in there I need to do my regular house cleaning, laundry and of course knitting! Can't forget knitting - especially since I have a Christening blanket that I need to get finished before April 19! Although that is being crocheted, so that will be done a lot quicker!

Now, ask me what I would RATHER be doing on my Spring Break??? Well DUH! I'dather be spending it with two certain someones, but that's neither here nor there.

Still Here

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Found Big Bird!!



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Severe Weather Testing Protocols During HSA Testing

Please read, sign and return to Ms. _____________ asap

Severe Weather Testing Protocols During HSA Testing (HSA = High School Assessments)

  • Should a severe weather situation occur during testing, please remain calm. To display any kind of anxiety would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.
  • Please do not look out the window to watch for approaching tornadoes. You must monitor the students at all times. To do otherwise would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.
  • Should students notice an approaching tornado and begin to cry, please make every effort to protect their testing materials from the flow of tears and sinus drainage.
  • Should a flying object come through your window during testing, please make every effort to ensure to ensure that it does not land on a testing booklet or an answer sheet. Please make sure to soften the landing of the flying object so that it will not disturb the students while testing.
  • Should shards of glass from a broken window come flying into the room, have students use their bodies to shield their testing materials so that they will not be damaged. Have plenty of gauze on hand to ensure that no one accidentally bleeds on the answer documents. Damaged answer sheets will not scan properly.
  • Should gale force winds ensue, please have everyone stuff their test booklets and answer sheets into their shirts being very careful not to bend them because bent answer sheets will not scan properly.
  • If any student gets sucked into the vortex of the funnel cloud, please make sure they mark at least one answer before departing and of course make sure they leave their answer sheets and test booklets behind. You will have to account for those.
  • Should a funnel cloud pick you, the test administrator, up and take you flying over the rainbow, you will still be required to account for all of your testing materials when you land so please take extra precautions. Remember, once you have checked them out, they should never leave your hands.
  • When rescue workers arrive to dig you out of the rubble, please make sure that they do not, at any time, look at or handle the testing materials.Once you have been treated for your injuries, you will still be responsible for checking your materials back in. Search dogs will not be allowed to sift through the rubble for lost tests. Unless of course they have been through standardized test training.

Ok, anyone want to take a guess at how many teachers saw the dreaded "HSA testing" and went ahead to sign and return this document without even reading it?? *laugh*

My doll of an assistant actually DID read the whole thing and signed it and when I asked her if she got the HSA form she says, "Yes and I can't believe it. These folks are more worried about these darn tests then the kids!" I completely lost it and howled with laughter.

Happy April Fools Everyone!!