Sunday, August 31, 2008

Movin' In, Hurricane Style

Hurricane Gustav is due to make landfall in Louisiana tomorrow. Because we KNOW our old roof leaks horribly, I have decided to ride out the storm with Morgan in the new house. Steve was dropped off at the hospital at 6 a.m. with five changes of clothes. He'll be there until an undetermined date. We just don't know what to expect from this storm.

Morgan has her mattress and I have an AeroBed. The cats and dogs have been moved, as have candles, water, and food. We have a gas stove and turned the a/c on 65° in preparation for losing power. This is what my kids remember most about hurricanes - me freezing the house the day before. :::grin:::

So we are moved. Kind of. Here's Morgan (freezing) sitting in our fine living room chair. Ha!

Poor Libby is sure missing her Mommy!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who's the Naughty Cat?

Morgan caught a little guilty someone, lying near the evidence.

They do say that criminals always return to the scene of the crime.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Carved in Stone

Well, not carved exactly. More like etched.

And it's not stone either.

It's concrete.

And we are DONE!!!

I was up at 5:30 a.m., wondering if that sound I was hearing was the pump truck over at the new house. It definitely was. We drove over at 6:02 on the way to bring Steve to work. I wanted to take some pre-dawn photos of the work being started, only to discover my camera battery was dead. Completely dead. So I could only get "finished" pictures.
Hurray and Praise God! I'm SO glad we are done. Although "done" is relative. Because, like all homeowners, the to-do list never ends.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gearing Up For Gustav

Hurricane Katrina was but three short years ago. The small city in which we live, and the larger city nearby, haven't been the same since. And now here comes Gustav, appearing like he is going to visit the same area. We are praying that this storm does not strength.

Today we prepared by finishing dirt work for the driveway. Yup, we are going to try our hardest to get the driveway poured before this weekend just in case.

But I did want to share some "wisdom" of hurricane preparedness. Truly, hurricanes are no laughing matter. But sometimes you just need a little levity.

"We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any day now, you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Gulf of Mexico and making two basic meteorological points:

(1) There is no need to panic.

(2) We could all be killed.

Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Louisiana . If you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by 'the big one.' Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:

STEP 1. Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.

STEP 2. Put these supplies into your car.

STEP 3. Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.

Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Louisiana .

We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:

HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements:

(1) It is reasonably well-built, and

(2) It is located in Nebraska .

Unfortunately, if your home is located in South Louisiana, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss. Since Hurricane Georges, I have had an estimated 27 different home-insurance companies. This week, I'm covered by the Bob and Big Stan Insurance Company, under a policy which states that, in addition to my premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys.

SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors, and -- if it's a major hurricane -- all the toilets. There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:

Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they're cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make them yourself, they will fall off.

Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.

Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them.

'Hurricane-proof' windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in Nebraska .

Hurricane Proofing Your Property: As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting relatives, etc. You should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles.

EVACUATION ROUTE: If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver's license; if it says ' Louisiana ,' you live in a low-lying area.) The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely.

HURRICANE SUPPLIES: If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Louisiana tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into fights with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:

23 flashlights.

At least $167 worth of batteries that turns out, when the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.

Bleach.(No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for, but it's traditional, so GET some!)

A 55-gallon drum of underarm deodorant.

A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)

A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who went through Camille or Katrina; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)

$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.

Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the Gulf and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the Gulf."

Dear Mommy...

Where did you go?

I meow at your bedroom door, but when the Servant opens it, you aren't there.

I watch out the window. Cars come to the house. But when the Servant answers the door, it's not you.

The Short Servant tries to hug me and snuggle with me, but it's just not the same.

So I will dream of you until you come back home to me. I love you, Mommy.

Yours truly, Libby

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Cat's Outta the Bag!

I was hearing noises and when I went to investigate, this is what I found.....

Kallie found a new toy AND a place to hide. She was having quite a ball with this bag.

She is thinking, "No one can see me!"

She kept attacking the handles of the bag. This kept her occupied for quite some time.

So sorry to disturb your fun, Kallie. Carry on.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Arachnophobes, Beware!

We had a LOT of rain from Tropical Depression Fay on Sunday. Right at three inches. Which is definitely NOT what our poor driveway needed.

We also had quite a bit of wind. During a particularly windy and rainy period, Steve went outside for something or other and called Morgan and me to "come look, quick!"

Near our door, swaying precariously in the wind, was an enormous banana spider, spinning her web.

Okay, in researching this spider I found that what we call a banana spider is scientifically known as an Argiope aurantia. There are quite a few other spiders commonly known as banana spiders, some poisonous. My little lady is quite harmless.

Supposedly, her mate will be nearby. He should be significantly smaller with no markings. I'll have to look for him tomorrow.

Our lovely spider's zigzag in the center of her web (the stabilimenta, which, oddly enough, does NOT add stability to the web) is not nearly as neat as generally seen. I think that's because she was doing her spinning during a wind storm. I believe we can overlook her messy web this one time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Birthday Celebrating Continues...

Today was another meeting of the Birthday Club. We celebrated the three May birthdays (mine included) and one for August.

We had a blast, but unfortunately I forgot my camera and don't have any pictures. Ashley took some, but hasn't shared them yet. I'll add one here when she does.

I did, however, take a few pictures when I got home. Here's one:

My sister-in-law made cookies for each of the birthday girls in their favorite animal shape and color. Ashley had blue-iced cats, purple elephants for Elen, green froggies for my froggy friend Janet, and pink poodles for moi!

Connie also gave us the cookie cutter with our little package of cookies. Very cute!

SOMEONE decided to be a little smart-aleck in her gift-giving.

Hmm....they don't LOOK like geckos!

Didn't taste like geckos either! NOT that I'd know what a gecko would taste like, for goodness sakes!

(And I was just teasing about the "smart-aleck" part - Elen gives wonderful gifts! A great smelling candle and a puppy dog magnetic frame went along with the yummy chocolates.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Brooke has wanted to darken her hair for quite a while now. I have been very resistant because (a.) I think she is too young to start coloring her hair and (b.) I really LIKE her natural hair color. I tell her it looks like molten honey. My verbosity is rewarded with an eye roll, an "Oh, Mom," and a deep sigh that can be best interpreted as "My mother is so weird."

However, all things considered, hair color is a fairly minor thing. When I was her age, I used lemon juice and, later, Sun-In to change my hair color. So we decided to let her do a color that will wash out in a few shampooings.

The process......

The results. Not bad. But I still like her molten honey hair.


And tomorrow she leaves with my mother-in-law to visit relatives in Illinois for a few weeks. Good-bye, oh dark haired stranger! Good-bye!

(Okay, so it is really not THAT different from her natural hair color. For that, I am grateful.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


There is usually a chair sitting next to my computer desk. It was generally KitKat's favorite place to nap.

It has recently become someone else's favorite place to nap.

I also found little Miss Kallie stretched out in KitKat's special square of sunshine the other day. It was very disconcerting to walk into my bedroom and see another tortishell cat in KitKat's old spot.

Very strange, indeed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's a Lake!

No. :::sigh::: It's just my driveway. Or where my driveway is supposed to be, if it EVER stops raining.

Forecast for the next 10 days? Rain, every single stinkin' day. :::sigh:::

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Friend!

Today is my friend Elen's birthday!
She is such a great person, fun to be around, sweet, honest, loyal. All the best qualities. And she scrapbooks! What else could I ask for in a friend? :::giggle:::

Hope your birthday is wonderful, Miss Elen! We love you!

This IS My Coffee!!!

I don't drink cokes (which means any fizzy, carbonated beverage to all you non-Louisianians), but I do have a vice. I love coffee. And my favorite coffee is NOT McDonald's iced coffee that I had on Saturday. Yuck.

My favorite place for coffee is Starbucks. But because it's not cheap, and because we are still paying construction loan financing instead of a regular mortgage, I haven't had Starbucks in more than a month. But today I decided to treat myself.

THIS is MY coffee! Starbucks Venti Coffee Frappucino. Yum!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Morning

I don't do mornings well. I'm more of a night owl and prefer to start my day at a decent hour. Like 9.

Unfortunately, Steve's truck is dead. And I need to be able to feed horses while he is at work. This means I get to wake up and bring him to work. (And pick him up, but we do that after feeding horses.)

Do you know that nurses' shifts start at unholy hours like 7 a.m.? And because Steve is a conscientious employee, that means he wants to get there early. We live about 15 minutes or less from his hospital, but he leaves the house at 6 a.m. Yes, one solid hour early. "Because you never know when there may be a wreck or something." :::sigh:::

So I have been awakened at 6 a.m. to bring him to work. This morning I also received news from Brooke (who takes after her dad and gets up early enough to rouse the roosters) that I needed to bring HER somewhere at this ridiculous hour.

Across the street from the hospital and medical office buildings is a large pond with a walking track. There are LOTS of ducks in this pond. And they waddle everywhere, including across the street to the hospital. The ducks have the right-of-way, obviously. But lately, the ducks have had some visitors.

This morning we saw an enormous number of Canada geese in the parking lot and crossing the street to the pond. There were so many that they stopped traffic (not that there really was much at 6 a.m.) in both directions. Fortunately I had my camera and Brooke (who was NOT bleary-eyed and attempting to drive) jumped out of the car for some photos.

You can see that the sun was not quite awake in these pictures. I understand how it was feeling. I wasn't quite awake either.

After dropping Steve off, Brooke asked me to take her through McDonald's for some breakfast. She has been working for a neighbor doing yard work and wanted to buy something quick. She knows better than to ask me to spend my money at McDonald's. I just don't. But it was her money. And since I was suffering this early morning hour and had to drive her even deeper into Baton Rouge, I decided I deserved a coffee. I ordered one of these. Courtesy of Brooke. :^D

Not my hand. Not my car. And not my iced coffee.

Yuck! I think they dropped the grounds on the floor, swept them up, and used them anyway. It was the worst stuff I have ever tasted. So I came home and rewarded myself with a nap. And a GOOD cup of coffee!

Here's Your Sign!

We are not the only house under construction in the neighborhood. There is this house across the street:

Last year for Christmas, the husband had one log left over and wanted to carve it into a bear for his wife as a surprise. She was surprised alright. With a hospital bill after a trip to the emergency room. The chainsaw slipped and almost cut his fingers off. He had quite a number of stitches. He was very fortunate tendon and muscle damage didn't occur.

Since The Accident, the bear has been hidden under a blue tarp. Until recently. I don't know why he was "unveiled," but the blue tarp disappeared a few weeks ago. I think the new neighbor needed it to cover construction materials.

Another neighbor, whom we'll call Jokester, asked Steve about the bear. Steve told Jokester the story and Jokester said, "Oh! The bear needs a sign! I think I'll make one!" Steve chuckled at that and went back to work on our new house.

This morning when I drove over to the house, I saw the bear. And the sign. Can you read it?

It says, "I fought the law saw and the law saw won."

The new neighbor saw it this morning, too. And thinks his coworkers did it. :::giggle::: Now THAT'S funny!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's Working!

The a/c guys came and it's working! Hurray! Cooler temperatures are on the way!

Steve has also fixed all the electrical glitches, so we also have a fridge!

Oh - and my tub works GREAT! Two days with electricity and two days of a long soak in the whirlpool tub! If anyone wants to find me, I think you'll know where to look.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Look What I Can Do!

I can turn on the lights! And the fan!

I have a clock on my oven!

And I can make tea in the microwave!

"So what?" you say. It's not the "what," it's the "where." And the "where" is my new house! We have electricity! Hurray!!!

We may STILL not have a driveway because of continuing rains, but we do have electricity. Okay, so there are a few bugs. But they'll get worked out. The biggest bug - our a/c isn't working. So the a/c guys come out tomorrow to see if they can fix t he problem.

Some of the other electrical issues stem from the sheetrock hangers covering up boxes that we didn't realize. Thankfully we took pictures before the 'rock went up and Steve has looked them over and found two more that he didn't know about. This puts the count for covered electrical boxes up to 14. He was so mad! But at least that will be a fairly easy fix.

Man Made Breakfast

This photo is from a week ago. I took it for a blog post and never posted it. So here it is, one week late.

A simple breakfast, yes, but it was completely "man made." My brother-in-law made the French baguette, which was delicious lightly toasted with a little butter. It even tasted great without being toasted. I'm so glad he made two loaves, but could only eat one!

The plum jelly was made by my friend's husband. And it was exquisite! And, unfortunately, almost gone. (He also gave us some of his pear preserves, which were also delicious on my waffles and are also, unfortunately, gone.)

I just love it when men cook. And bless me with the results!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And the Kill Goes to......


My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Libby for killing the ferocious gecko. Brooke found her wrestling it in Brooke's bedroom! I'm SO relieved to know it wasn't in MY bedroom!

Whew! A gecko free house again. I'll sleep much better tonight!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sad Day

Tonight we lost our sweet Ferris. He was old and had been getting slow and was losing his hair. The last few days, it was obvious he was at the end of his days. We had moved his little hammock bed and his food and water to the bottom of the cage, as his balance was pretty poor. He hadn't been eating much and wouldn't even lick his ferret vitamins, which he adored.

In his younger days, he would "hee hee hee" and bounce all around. He loved chasing the cats up and down the hall, which was very funny, as he was so much smaller than the cats. He and our toy poodle cousin, Chloe, used to play until he got older. He could open the cabinet doors and would get crackly food packages out and hide them under Morgan's bed. He loved stealing chip bags or WalMart bags. Those went under the sofa. He gnawed the buttons off quite a few remotes trying to carry them around (and hide them under the sofa). He always hid Delilah's favorite pick squeaky bone and my hair brushes. He was quite a character and helped us understand the meaning of the phrase "to ferret out."

We had eight great years with this little guy. We will miss him.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Today's "Most Beautiful Thing"

Today the parish inspector came for our final. He had me worried because he started complaining before he even got up to the house. ("Your building permit card is the wrong color. This is a copy. Where is the original?" That WAS the original. :::sigh:::)

So when he handed me THIS, I almost fell out.

We passed our final inspection with the parish and received our occupancy permit. Whew! I was so relieved, as soon as he left, I just broke down and cried. This has been so incredibly stressful and I'll be glad when we are finished.

Now if the RAIN would stop so we can get our driveway concrete poured.

Time to Move

Is our house finished? Yes. Can we move in? No. Why not? We need to pour the concrete driveway before our final inspection. But first it must STOP RAINING so the enormous lakes in the yard can dry up. The driveway and walks are framed, with the exception of the last few feet right by the road where Steve needs to move some dirt. When it dries up. :::sigh:::

But I need to move SOMEWHERE right now. Today. This minute. Why?

This is OBVIOUSLY not a photo I took myself.

Because last night when I went to put the trash out, a little pink gecko ran inside my house. And, being the herpetophobe and batrachophobe that I am, I freaked out. Truly. And slept with my door closed and a towel stuffed under the door. With both cats left out so perhaps they would catch it. But then I was afraid they'd leave the carcass somewhere for me to find. Which would still freak me out.

This morning, I did not find a gecko carcass. But I did discover online that some geckos are parthenogenic - meaning the females can reproduce without a male. My luck the gecko in my house is a girl. Breeding more little geckos to terrorize me in my sleep.

Anyone with a spare room to rent?