Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight.....

Yesterday I wrote about Oscar. He seems none the worse for wear as he stands barking at what he sees as an intruder. We call them customers. His bark is quite intimidating. It is low and gravely sounding, even though he has not smoked a day in his life.

The newest addition to my canine contingent is Toni Louise, the puppy we rescued from the animal shelter. We were told that the best guess about her lineage was part Dachshund, part Chihuahua. In her mug shot posted on the web she looked small and diminutive, and a little bit like Sweet Emmy Lou. Well, photos can be deceiving.

I feel quite confidant that there was no chihuahua or dachshund involved in the blood lines of Toni Louise. Her legs are freakishly long, making her appear gawky and uncoordinated. Her long hair is brindle in color and soft and shiny. Her face reminds me of my Collie. I think she is a Border Collie/Shepherd mix. She is not a large dog, but she is not a small dog either.

I suppose she is just right. For us she is, anyway. My daughter says she looks like a miniature moose. She does not look like a moose to me, although I have to admit that her legs do look too long for her body. I am hoping she will grow into them. She is not yet a year old ..... as far as we can tell.

She fit right in with the other dogs as soon as she came to live here. She plays with Wall-E endlessly, until he is forced to snap at her or hide. She has learned to defer to Emmy's fragility, although she does forget sometimes when she is overtaken with excitement. She pretty much ignores Oscar's attempts to put her in her place. He has to be very aggressive for her to leave him be.

I know she is still a puppy, but I don't think her personality will change too much. Her name may have something to do with that. Her name is Toni, because, we have an Oscar and an Emmy, so we needed a Toni. Her middle name is Louise because her unflappable curious nature is so much like that of my old Saint Bernard, Louise. Just like her namesake, she gets into trouble almost daily and just shrugs off the scoldings and punishment as if it is just part of what she expects.

It started to snow one evening and I did not realize it until I was taking out the dogs for the last trip of the evening. Oscar and Emmy trudged out resigned to get it over with. Wall-E had to be pushed out into the swirling snow. Toni was circling the yard on her hind legs looking up to the sky and trying to catch snowflakes. It was a little like the wonder of a small child's face as they see something for the first time. She has certainly seen snow before. She loves it. Louise loved snow, too. Like Louise she loves to escape. For no other reason, it would seem, than just to be able to do it. She loves people and loves to come into the store to see them. Louise did, too.

Louise was a chewer and a thief. She ate my coffee table and a lot of firewood. Toni loves to steal pieces of kindling and take them to bed at night to chew on. You know, in case she tires of sleeping. She is a big fan of the TV. The other dogs will sometimes respond to animals they hear on TV, but Toni actually watches TV. She seems to like Jay Leno for some reason. Animal Cops is another favorite.

Her latest escapade is unique. He who loves bubble gum has been known to come to bed with a mouthful. Rather than actually get up again to toss it in the trash, he will put it on his night table. The dogs can't reach the night table from the bed. I should say that most of them can't. Or won't. So, after discarding his wad of bubble gum the other night, he who also loves ice cream, decided he needed to eat daily requirement of Blue Bunny Homemade Vanilla topped with chocolate shell. I was watching Jon Stewart give his spin on the candidates and not paying attention to the dogs.

Upon finishing his dish (serving bowl) of frozen confection, he also placed that on his night table, secure in the knowledge that she who loves and takes care of him would remove it the next day. I could not understand why I could still hear lip smacking. I looked at him and he looked at me, apparently wondering the same thing. Then we both looked at Toni Louise who was watching TV and chewing bubblegum. Loudly! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Older

If you read this blog with any regularity, you are familiar with my canine children. My doxies are old. Twelve years old. Oscar has always been the alpha male of the pack of animals here at the kampground. No democracy here, he has ruled his kingdom as a tyrant. He can be exasperating and annoying. He has been called many names ....... spawn of Satan and Osama are among them. I am quite sure he must think his middle name is Dammit. In twelve years we have yet to break his annoying habit of marking his territory.

His little wife-dog, Emmy is his polar opposite. Her sweet disposition and gentle nature makes her a favorite among my grandchildren. She broke her back at a young age and in her later years has become somewhat of an invalid. She has to be lifted onto the couch to sit next to me. She tolerates the indignity with as much grace and dignity as any regal being. She will remind me that she has been left out and I will rush to remedy the situation. Her whines can be annoying, but it is so easy to forgive such a sweet and tiny girl.

For about a year now Oscar has had trouble jumping up on the couch. He will whine loudly, but refuses to be picked up. His whine has to be the most annoying sound in the world. He is loud and obnoxious. He will approach and try and whine and cry. If I attempt to lean down and give him a hand up he will back off, out of my reach. If I get up and chase him (even Oscar will go only so far, as it will not end pleasantly should one run from me) and pick him up he will protest and wiggle the entire time. He has even jumped down to make another attempt to jump up. Like a recalcitrant toddler.

Oscar is as protective and loyal as he is annoying. He is fearless and will try to attack the largest of men or animal if he thinks his family to be in danger. He is a very handsome specimen and I love that dog. He is a one person dog and he chose me. Emmy is happy to accept the affection of all those who want to give it.

Just lately, I have noticed Oscar relinquishing his kingdom. He doesn't play catch with the same vigor. He was quite the canine athlete in his time and could not be outdone. I have heard the younger male dog give him a warning growl and have witnessed him backing down. It made me sad. He is now allowing the other dogs to dine along side him. Not too long ago, he would insist they all wait until he had culled all the chosen morsels before allowing the others to eat.

This morning when I brought my coffee to the couch to sit and man the laptop, he approached and made his presence known. Then waited patiently to be lifted to the couch. He has succumbed. He is old and he recognizes it. I picked him up and held him in my arms for a time. We had a talk while he licked the tears from face. I know what comes next and it makes me so sad.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wishing Wells and Sinks

 The bathroom has had more delays ....... so I sew. The little dress above is made from a piece of remnant fabric I bought. I bought it because it was half off. It was one of those stretchy tops with the long skirt. Adult length and yellow. I would never make anything like that for myself. I wore similar dresses during my last pregnancy, but I lived on the beach and I was a lot younger; over 30 years younger. Oh, and yellow is not a color I would wear.

So, why did I but it? Because I knew that one day I would be fondling my fabric and inspiration would hit me. I had this small scrap of the print with kitties. It had this small line of yellow in it and as I looked for something that would enhance the yellow. I pulled all my solids out and dug and looked, but could not find the right shade. Then my eyes landed on that sundress remnant and I had my inspiration. I cut the skirt off and will use it on something else. It is eyelet with a nice sculpted hemline. I added a piece of white trim where the two fabrics meet. It has little crocheted flowers with a rhinestone in the center of each one. A little lace on the hem. It is size 4/5.
 Bugs Bunny playing basketball. Another sale. I was plundering through my good deals while on the phone with my daughter-in-law. I described it to her and commented that it was masculine. She reminded me that girls play basketball, too. I plan to make some shorts for her girls. In the meantime, I had a new pattern I wanted to try out. I liked it. This is a size 4.

 What can I say, but I do love a bargain. I will purchase the entire bolt at times. All of my grands have sported the bug fabric, but some are getting too old to appreciate the cuteness and the fact that Gramma can work with this endlessly since there are so many colors to contrast with. Size 2/3.

 Size 4/5 picking up on the pink, orange and yellow.

 Another 2/3 with green, but the yoke on this one is made from the bottom of a tank top.

 This is the top of that tank top. I made dresses last year with tanks by adding a long waisted shirt. But nothing is cuter than a little girl in rows of ruffles that she can swirl in. Size 4/5.

 Size 6/6X. Easy to pull on over a swimsuit and then swirl around.

Size 7. Just some scraps I had.

When I wasn't sewing yesterday I was outside enjoying the spring like weather. I saw daffodils and tulips peeking up through the soil, along with my ever present day lilies and sedum. The apple trees and peach trees are reaching to the sun as the ends of the limbs are turning that deep color that means they want to bud out.

Last night, as the cold front was heading in, the wind picked up. As I was safe in my sewing lair I could hear it whistle at the window. It sounded mournful, almost like an owl.

This morning it was cold and dreary again. The wind blew my wishing well over! It is still blowing, so until I have time to weight the bottom, it can lay on it's side. I had to venture out to get fire wood.

The bathroom? In defense of he who remodels, he has been working a lot lately. I straighten and clean behind him and paint up to a point ....... and sew. Yesterday he was going to re-stall the old toilet. He took it up again two days before because it was listing to one side. Not as much as the cruise ship that hit the rocks, but it is disconcerting to sit lop-sided in the wee hours of the night and wonder about your equilibrium. I took advantage of the opportunity to paint the wall behind the toilet. You will recall that he violated my sequence of remodeling events and put the toilet in as soon as the bead board was up without alerting me to paint.

So, I painted and we were inconvenienced another night as the paint dried. I pondered ways to eliminate the silt and rust from the tank (we have extremely hard well water). Upon closer inspection of said tank we made a discovery. The tank was cracked. It was barely visible and as we cleaned, we saw it. I have been saying for at least five years that it was leaking slowly. I was told time and again that the tank was sweating and the moisture I kept mopping up was a result of the sweating.

I am happy to report that I got a brand new ADA approved high rise toilet!!!!!!!!! It has been duly christened. It is so shiny and new! And now we know where the leak was coming from. Tonight the sink goes in. Well, maybe. With the wind comes accidents on the road, so it all depends on how tired my guy is when he comes home. I am hopeful.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here I sit, so annoyed. I was  having a good day. The sun is shining and I have had a nice hot shower (no, not in my shower)and I was about the business of touching up the wall paint job in the bathroom, awaiting the reservations for two sites that will be in residence for two months.

When the canine contingent gave the alert that there was a stranger among us, I put the lid on the paint and carefully stowed the brush. As I walked through to the store I saw that there was indeed a travel trailer being pulled by a truck and I saw the front end of anther truck. I assumed that my reservations had arrived. I opened the door and looked out to see that both trucks were minus drivers. Figured they may have gone straight to the restroom. I swept the store floor while I waited. Then I straightened up a bit and waited some more. Then I wondered if I had put the lid on the paint and went to check. On my way back I saw the men getting into the trucks and I rushed into the store and opened the storm door to let them know that the store was open. That is when they put on some speed and took off. The truck that had been blocked from my view had no trailer attached.

Then I remembered ............. I checked in a nice couple yesterday and put the in site 72. It was early evening and I was finishing a garment, then went in to cook supper. We ate and while watching TV, he, who was building a set of shelves all day, asked how many I had checked in. I told him just the one that I put on 72. "So, you didn't put anyone on 30?" I didn't respond, just gave him a meaningful look. I suggested that he take himself to the site and bang on the door and ask to see the registration. He left and I assumed that he did just what I said. He didn't. There was no-one there. The truck was unhooked and gone. He assumed that it was one of the reservations I was expecting today.

See a pattern emerge? You know what they say about assumptions .......... to assume is to make an 'ass' of 'u' and 'me'. The party making their hasty retreat was the party that was on site 30. I called he who was helping a stranded motorist. He assured me that he had recorded the licence plate number. I feel so much better knowing this. Wow, I have this information and I can obtain the address of the low-life that stole an evening's stay. I can send them a bill!! I just know they will be prompt and send me payment right away!

To add insult to injury, upon investigation, I found that they did make use of the men's room. They left a special calling card in the toilet bowl. Also left the light on. To further annoy me. It worked.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Little Boy Gone

Listening to the news the other morning, I heard about a hit and run accident involving the death of a 3 year old little boy. The news was on, but I wasn't really paying attention until I heard that. I backed it up, not knowing if I had missed part of the story.

I had heard what they knew at that point. A little boy had been pronounced dead after having been hit by a vehicle. No information was available about the vehicle or driver, since there were no witnesses. It happened at 5:15 AM. The story went on to say the child had been playing in the ditch along side the road, when a vehicle swerved into the ditch striking the child.

My mind said, "WHAT?" If there were no witnesses, where did the details come from? And, more to the point, why was a child playing outside, near a road at that hour of the morning and where were his parents when this happened? This was a "breaking" story, hence the sketchy report.

Like most everyone does when a child is involved in such, my heart felt a stab of pain that such a thing had happened. I listened throughout the day as the story unfolded. The state patrol were looking for the hit and run driver, but they had little information to go on. The story came from the mother's boyfriend. There was very little traffic that time of day and no other motorists had come forward.

Today I heard that the boyfriend and the mother had been arrested and charged with murder. There was no accident in the ditch. He had beaten the little boy to death and then made the false statement. The mother was arrested because she admitted that she knew he was making a false statement to the police.

I can't get that little boy out of my mind. The beating was because he wet his pants. How terrified he must have been. Where was his mother when the boyfriend beat her child to death because he wet his pants? The news story did not say. Was she at work? Did she come home to find her baby dead at the hand of someone she thought she loved? Or was she right there, watching, but not intervening on behalf of her little boy who had had an accident.

Either way, why would you help invent a story with this man who hurt your baby? How do you do this? Do you hold your lifeless baby in your arms while you concoct this tale? I cannot imagine. Maybe she was not participating in the manufacturing of the story, maybe she sat there in shock.

Since I am a grandmother, I wonder about the grandmothers of this little boy, now gone forever. About the mother of the young man who beat the child to death. How do you wrap your mind around the horror of the evil thing your child has done? How does any mother come to grips  with horrible acts their children commit? I do not know the answer .......

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sweet Emmy Lou

Yesterday was one of those days. You have all had them. Everything I touched went wrong. The paint did not dry fast enough and to top it off, I painted some of the bead board in the bathroom and then realized I needed to do some sanding on the drywall. As long as there was wet paint in the room, that had to be delayed.

So, off to my sewing room I went. After picking out three seams, I decided to quit. Sighing deeply, I sat for a moment and all four dogs crowded to be next to me. They all smelled like dogs. Their monthly bath had been postponed for nearly three months. It is, after all, winter. Things go slow in winter. We watched a LMN movie and I removed myself from the blanket of dogs and headed to the kitchen to prepare a culinary masterpiece involving left-over chicken and rice and some other ingredients topped with crushed Lay's sour cream cheddar potato chips. These were out-dated from our store of items not sold during the season and we were out of cheese.

Dinner prep out of the way, I decided to tackle the canine bathing marathon. Usually, I put them all in the tub together and then bathe them and rinse them. That was before the big bath re-do. There were shower doors and I could close them as I removed one dog at a time to dry them.

No doors meant I would be bathing one dog at a time. Oscar went first. No complaints from him. He enjoyed the one on one as I lathered him and massaged his muscles. He almost purred. I sat holding him wrapped in his towel and rubbed him dry. He could not stop kissing me. Maybe it was the group part of the bath he hated so much.

As I was toweling Oscar, Wall-E was hiding under the table and carefully stealing peeks, no doubt wondering who would be next. Toni Louise was leaping up and down, sniffing Oscar and wondering about the possibility of treats with this activity. She went next and tried to bolt as soon as I got her wet. She seemed to enjoy the lathering and the warm water rinse, but sitting still to be dried was not on her agenda. She ran and shook and tried to engage Wall-E in her romp, but he was adamant about not getting caught.

You would think he would know better. I always catch him. Actually, I make him come to me. He slinks across the floor on his belly and submits to the bath. He clings to me as I dry him, mournful about the indignation he thinks he has suffered.

While watching the movie, Emmy sat in my lap. I noticed that her long hair on her ears was tangled. I can usually detangle it and finger comb it, but it was bad, so she got a little trim. I trimmed her "skirt" around her back end, too. I think she looks younger. That long hair was pulling her down and aging her. That's what I told her, anyway. Emmy loves the whole bathing and grooming process. She likes the warm water and the massage. She makes these little grunting noises  as I rub her little muscles. She likes her water a little warmer as she rinses and then a nice long rub down with towels. Yes, towels, as in the first one to soak up all the excess water and then a nice dry one for the final rub ..... she actually prefers one still warm from the dryer. Then she sits under the warm blast from the blow dryer. 

No, she is not spoiled at all. Emmy is such a sweet old lady.
She will soon be 12 years old and I regret none of the pampering I have given her over the years. She repays me daily with unconditional love and adoration. And look at her .... who could not love that face?

My day was not so bad, after all. Even Wall-E sidled next to me and offered a forgiving kiss. And ........ unlike the AAA lady from yesterday, I have a vehicle in running order right outside my door. Her vehicle still sits at the shop. Hmmmm, I guess AAA didn't see things her way after all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Special Painter, That's Me

I am taking a break. I have been painting all week. Almost ready to put this bathroom together. My house no longer smells of wood smoke, but paint. I am using oil-based rustoleum. It was cheaper than high-gloss latex and will provide better protection from moisture in the air. The toilet has to be reset and I am going to paint behind it while he has it up and out of my way. The trim pieces are all cut and just need one more coat of paint tomorrow morning.

I am giddy with excitement. Even sleep deprivation cannot put a damper on my good mood. Last night I tossed and turned. I was so restless that the dogs got annoyed with me. At 2:30 I heard my husband's cell phone. I actually thought that it was maybe 6 and I got up, since I had been just laying there waiting for morning to come. He, who tows, had to go rescue a stranded traveler and I took my furry kids out; well, except for Oscar. He growled and gave me a dirty look when I tried to convince to go out and pee. He was letting  me know that it was sleep time in his own special way.

I gathered them back to bed and tried, in vain, to go to sleep. Toni, the eye sniffer, tired of my changing positions and actually joined Wall-E under the covers. I was still awake 2 hours later when he, who tows, returned. I finally dozed til 8:30. I watched the coffee brew and shuffled through my morning chores of feeding my four-legged crew and taking them out.

With one cup of coffee in me I was ready to paint. I finished as much as I could and am now waiting for the paint to dry. It is a lot like that watched pot that never boils. It will need a full 24 hours. He, who rescues the stranded, came home for his peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich and told me about his night-time excursion.

The call was for a traveler in need of fuel. He stopped and got the requisite gasoline and went to the location. He put the fuel in the vehicle and it still failed to start up. All the while the woman was dissatisfied with his efforts. Two gallons of gasoline is the amount recommended to deliver to the motorist. He will usually fill to a point that is an even amount, since they need to pay for it upon delivery. She was mad that she didn't get the full 2 gallons. He tried to tell her that he wasn't charging her for any more than she was getting. He tried jumper cables to get her vehicle moving and that failed as well. There was nothing left to do, and the car had to be towed. She was from St. Louis and she was on her way to Kansas City and wanted to be towed there. Basic AAA will only pay for a 3 mile tow. He towed her to the location of the shop and then drove her to a near-by hotel.

She arrived at the shop this morning to tell them that she was going to change her AAA from basic to premium and  after this was done, they could tow her to Kansas City. Now, we all know that it doesn't work that way. It would be like going to the hospital with appendicitis and finding out your insurance won't cover the surgery, then changing policies to proceed. She was not receptive to any advice concerning her plan, just insisted that they would indeed do it for her.

Because she is special. I pointed out the obvious, though. If her vehicle won't run ......... she still won't have a means of transportation in Kansas City. Oh, I forgot, she will upgrade and they will get a rental car. Wish I was special like that.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Casseroles and Dresses

 When I "dreamed" this up ..... this Corndog Casserole .... I was half joking. But, here it is. The hash browns are not the shreddy kind, but look more like diced potatoes, but that is what happens when I send he, who loves to run errands, to the store. I threw them in a skillet and browned them a little first. I should have melted the cheese first for more even coverage. The corndogs look like some kind of bizarre alien eyes staring up in their bed of potatoes. They were only partially thawed and that made it hard to get the stick out. The breading was nice and crisp, though. It did take 25 minutes in the oven and I was glad I had added a little salt and pepper to the potatoes while they were in the skillet.

 The best part of the meal (for me) was the salad. I topped mine with a little blue cheese dressing. My mate piled croutons and lots of blue cheese on his. He was enthusiastic about the casserole, too. He concocted some mustard and ketchup to dip forkfuls into. I am not a big condiment person, preferring to let the flavor of my food speak for itself.

I don't know that I would make this again. Maybe if the grandchildren were here and I needed a quick solution for a meal. But, I have concocted stranger menus, so who knows?

 While he , who runs errands, was on his mission for hash browns and Blue Bunny home made vanilla ice cream (his fave), I was in my ensconced in my sewing room surrounded by my favorite things. I have been trolling Zulily to see what sells and the pricing. Knot dresses seem to be a good idea for summer. This one is a size 6 with a red contrast yoke and contrast trim ruffling at the hem. I love the knot idea. This allows for longer wear time, as the length can be adjusted just by lowering the knot in the shoulder strap.

 I realize that these aren't the best pictures, but my choices are limited. Remember that almost every surface is cluttered with various tools and materials for the bathroom re-do. Size 4 and size 6 pink flowers on a black background. I had some black gingham (remember, I save everything ), so I cut some strips on the bias and made some trim to enhance the hemline. I like these a lot, but every time I finish one, it becomes my favorite.

 I love the colors in these dresses. Size 2 and 5. I know some sisters these would look so cute on.

 This little shirt is sized at 18 months, I added the skirt and the trim. So feminine and sweet.

This trio gets lost in each other. Size 2-3 and 5 and 6. I love the print. Perfect for slipping on top a swimsuit.

I will need to stage a better background for pictures. I made a total of 19 dresses and 12 skirts in the past couple of weeks. I have seen a wide price range on Zulily for similar items. Prices that I would not pay and some I would consider if I didn't sew. I try to keep in mind that children outgrow clothes quickly and that they can be pretty rough on them.

The last two seasons have found tank-top dresses in my kampstore. I purchased the tanks and sewed skirts to the hemline for a long-waisted dress. They sold well and I will be adding the knot dresses this year, as well as the skirts. They will all sell for $12.50 ...... or 2 for $20. I am using my stockpile of fabric and when it is gone ...... well, it's gone. Meaning I probably can't duplicate at a later date. The sizes will range from 2 - 12. I will post better pictures later this week.

So, in response to some comments, yes, I do sell my creations. On that note I shall excuse myself and slink off to my sweat shop and get busy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Smoke Gets In My Eyes

The bathroom is on the back burner again. I was right, though, he did re-think his trim and is now doing it my way. It is more labor intensive on the router, but will be so much easier to install. The medicine cabinet is in the way. I told him to simply reverse his thinking on the trim that will top the bead board and have only one inch above it, instead of three, making it fit neatly under the obstacle. He has routed a three inch lip that would sit upon the bead board since the boards are level at the top (well, now they are, after a little wife induced re-do). He put it all up and then tried to cut out the area to fit under the medicine cabinet. The results were ...... I really can't find the words to describe it. If you are sitting there reading this and wondering why we don't just move the cabinet up three inches.....

Well, it is already there and inset into the wall. It looked like a bigger project than simply changing the trim. I already have one big opening in the adjacent wall for some shelves that have yet to be installed. He made one set, then he used them to draw the lines to cut out wall. He cut the hole and then decided he did not like the way his shelf unit looked. He then made another that I agree looks nicer and is sturdier. But ........... (you knew there had to be a "but"), he did not allow for the width of the boards when he cut them and it will have to be rebuilt to fit. Actually, he wants to just cut the opening bigger ...... It sits all lonely and dusty next to his side of the bed. I put it there hoping that seeing it everytime he was bedside. Instead, like all men, he no longer sees it, This is why I didn't want to move the medicine cabinet. I can at least have some toiletries like deodorant in its proper place for the duration of the re-do.

Speaking of deodorant. I have been forgetting to apply it. My routine of personal hygiene is out of kilter. Bad enough that I have to take all the necessities of showering out to the bathhouse. I try to stream-line it as much as possible and have finally just been leaving body wash, shampoo and pouf in the ladies shower room. I even took some rugs out there. We are using the same shower, so I have all of his stuff in there, too. Only problem is that I have to go gather it all up if I have a camper come through. But, back to applying my Secret anti-persperant. I leave everything I can in the house. After showering and remembering a towel, I put clothes on. You can see the problem, can't you? When I re-enter my house with my clothes on, I forget to apply my Secret, because I am dressed and that is just backwards. Given the roaring fires that he, who plays with fire, likes to build in the wood stove and pushing the temp up to 80 .......... my lack of Secret is no secret.

The fires in the wood stove are fueled with the wood from downed trees here in the kampground. This makes for some economical heating if you don't mind the smell of wood smoke. Most of the wood is hickory and oak, so it always smells like we are big BBQ fans. The smell gets in your clothes and hair and in your dogs fur. After awhile you no longer notice it until your children tell you that they found you by following the smell of wood smoke, but that is another story.

I had trouble getting the fire started yesterday morning and mentioned it to he, who plays with fire. He pushed his woman aside and grabbed his trusty propane torch and proceeded to light my fire. Literally. I complained that it was extra smoky in here. He mumbled something about having to hold the door open to apply the torch to the logs and the smoke escaping. Since this is his usual method of firestarting, his explanation did not ring true, but I was off to my sewing lair and didn't care.

After I had sucked all the creativity I could out of my cold footed self I meandered back to the living quarters (my sewing room is on the far side of the office/store. I have a small electric heater in there, but the temperature seemed to be dropping rapidly. It seemed too smokey to me and my throat was raw. I am blessed with a sensitive nose and at some point in the night when the temperature dropped to single digits, I awoke he, who plays with fire, and told him that it was too smokey in here and that I had dreamt that the chimney pipe was clogged with a birds nest. He dutifully, if reluctantly, got up to check it out. He said it was just fine and added more logs. Yes, you read that right. So, it just got smokier. He slept on. I lay there remembering the time our house burned years ago.

No, the house has not burned. What a great tragedy that would be, he would never have to finish the bathroom. I wonder if the addition of those logs was a sub-conscious act of defiance about the bathroom? Anyway, the flue is indeed clogged with something. He, who plays with fire, went into town to the local builders supply to get a pipe cleaning brush to remedy the situation. They were too proud to part with the one they had, it being $80. He is now on his way to Lowes to buy the same model for $20.

I just hope he gets back before Smokey the Bear shows looking to see what is smoldering in our house.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Corndog Casserole

As I sit here bleary eyed sipping the magic elixir of caffeine and review the week in my mind, I am seriously considering going back to bed.

The skies are gray, I slept fitfully, having pulled my nightshirt on backwards in the chilly air last night. That alone deserves a re-do. I tugged at the neckline all through the night as it was trying to choke me. I knew it would not be a good night when fat old doxie, Oscar, sidled up to my head last night. I could hear his tummy churning, and like all children, Oscar wants his mommy when he does not feel so good. In his younger days he would insist that I sit up in bed and hold him in my arms and gently pat the gas bubble out of his body. Now that he is old and fat, he is content to lie as close as he can get to me and I am compelled to keep my hand on his belly, lest he wiggle and whine.

So, with my shirt choking me, the hotdog burning my side, and the husband snoring I don't think I ever reached that level of sleep that actually refreshes the mind and body.

Oscar woke me at 3 am and we made the pilgrimage to the back door with the other 3 dogs in tow. I was in a warm and fuzzy state and anxious to crawl between the sheets before that feeling escaped me. The dash out the back door to retrieve the near-blind and hearing-challenged Emmy took care of that. The bitter wind that billowed up my backwards night shirt brought me fully awake as I dodged dog leavings to reach Emmy on the other side of the yard as she wandered aimlessly in search of my voice and what must be a big blob to her cataract covered eyes.

You would think I would have noticed the choke collar my backwards night shirt had created and remedied the situation, but I was on task getting 4 dogs back to bed and settled. Toni, the dog pound dog, took advantage of the opportunity to snag a kindling stick out of the firewood to take to bed to chew on and Wall-E, the wonder dog, decided to cower just out of reach under the table when I scolded Toni. Wall-E is a sensitive little fellow and takes all my scoldings to heart, whether they are directed at him or not.

When finally climbing back into the bed, I found that sleep had entirely escaped me. So I lay there, counting dogs and thinking, my mind seeming to be in high gear. I pondered the problems of the world in this state. Okay, the problems of my world ......... You know, things like the current status of my still undone bathroom.

I have noticed a trend. I will point out an obstacle that will prevent the ease of installation in a pending step of completion; he who fancies himself to be a carpenter will appear to be listening, but will subsequently disregard my advice and continue on to do it his way. This produces unsatisfactory results and will stay that way for a day or two. Some times I don't even have to comment on it. He will halt all progress and busy himself with other things. Then I will see the offensive results of his way leave the building and he will then go back and do it the way I said to do it in the first place. It will at that point have become his idea. Right now we are in a holding pattern and another week has passed as he is reconsidering a piece of trim.

At some point I decide that these thoughts are causing anxiety and decide to think other thoughts. I review the contents of our freezer in my head. He,who would bring home the bacon, bought a hog two years ago. He helped with the processing of the meat. There was no bacon or ham involved when he found out the cost of that process. Pork steak, pork chops, ribs and sausage was what came home with him. No pork roast, he didn't think about that. The sausage was seasoned by him and he didn't want to over-season it, so it was really ground pork. We have been eating this for two years and are now sick of it. My job is to find creative ways to prepare it so that he does not recognize it. Last night we had lasagna. I made the meat sauce with ground pork, but after a couple of bites he identified the meat and voiced his preference for beef in this dish. I wanted to tell him that we could celebrate with a beef dish when he completed my bathroom, but I am sick of my pork diet, too.

So, I am left with some chicken thighs and corn dogs. At the end of the "season" we are always left with whatever doesn't sell. Some years the corndogs are a big hit, some times it is the individual pizzas. The burgers are always a hit, so, there are usually only a few of those left. This year, we were left with a nearly full case of corndogs. As I lay, sleepless in the kampground, I pondered the lowly corndog. They can be fried or baked. They can be eaten on a stick or pulled free and eaten with a fork. You can eat them plain or you can add condiments. What goes with corndogs? French fries? Mac and cheese? Beans?

In my sleep deprived state I conjured up a new dish. Corndog Casserole. In Minnesota this would be called Corndog Hotdish. Casseroles and Hotdish both have one thing in common ......... cheese. And this one thing I am sure of .... my husband will eat anything slathered in cheese. In my mind I concocted tonight's dinner. I will spray my dish with non-stick spray, then put a layer of hashbrowns, a layer of velveeta (what my mother referred to as "real cheese"), topped by a layer of sliced corndogs. Pop into a 350 degree oven and cook for about 25 minutes until the corndogs have browned and the breading is nice and crisp. This will allow the cheese to be melted into the hash browns and hopefully be a little crispy on the bottom. This will be served with a side of baked beans (also from the kampstore). Nutritious? Probably not, but it will use up some of the stuff I already have.

Having planned tonight's dinner and still awake, I decided to save the world and fell into another fitful sleep that was interrupted by the alarm and the sounds of my husband bumbling around as he dresses himself. The dogs clamber to the end of the bed and beg for his attention, he ignores them and goes on about the business of readying himself to head out to hang out with his buddies and contemplate what is on the schedule for his day.

The dogs persisted and I got up and took them out and fed them and here I sit with my coffee cup drained and little ambition to move from this spot.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Nothing like the power of the pen ..... or blog, in this case. He, who does indeed read my blog (okay, I confess, I read it to him .....), has started working on the bathroom with a vengeance.

Maybe I can't take all the credit. Could be the forecast for snow and colder weather. He is tiring of the trip to the showers as much as I am. The weather has been mild of late and the inconvenience is not so bad. But, when there is ice on the sidewalk and the wicked cold wind blows, then the trip to shower blows, too.

He is getting all the trim pieces ready for me to paint and my job today is to get the wood-puttied and ready to prime. The sweet smell of progress will soon fill the house as I wield my trusty paint brush.

If this keeps up, I might just post some "after" pictures soon.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week Five ....... No Way In How

Five weeks invested in the bathroom re-do. Still not to the point where the finishing work starts. The tiling is done and sealed. Still no sink, but this makes me keep all the dishes clean and put up, lest toothpaste spit should find it's way onto the dishes I usually just leave in the rack to dry.

Yesterday found he who is annoyed with his wife moving the electrical box that houses the light switch and outlet to where I had originally wanted it. It will make the installation of the chair rail so much simpler. I could not resist telling him that had it done it the way I said to the first time ....... This is what he refers to as beating a dead horse.

This morning I decided to move all the excess tile that I was going to re-use out of the hall and clean that area up. Hoping this will inspire him to finish the last two pieces of bead board today. I had used some plastic milk crates to carefully stack the whole pieces of tile in. Needless to say, I could not lift the fullest one. Made me think of my youngest daughter. She used to say, "Mommy, there is no way in how ......"  There really was no way in how, other than to unload and reload all that tile.

I am beginning to think there is no way in how I will ever have a bathroom.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I have no pictures of the new bathroom. Because, I don't have one. Not a picture, a bathroom. While it may be true that Rome was not built in a day, I am confident that it would never have been finished if my husband had been in charge.

Now, when he announced his intention to "knock this project out this weekend"; I had no illusions of it happening. I knew it would take maybe two weeks. But, it has now been one month. A month of taking showers in the kampground bath house. It was only a week of hovering over a bucket in the middle of the night. I do have a place to go now, but, no window ........

I can live without the window. The tile was purchased on the way home from visiting the kids. He wasn't through with the walls, but had to get that tile up. When the grouting started I said I would go behind him and clean the tiles as It started to dry. Probably would have gone a little smoother had he started on one end and worked his way around. He started at the top in the middle, didn't go all the way to the bottom, then moved on to an end. So, when I tried to sponge the areas as they dried, I was in his way. He finished applying the grout and pretty much took my sponge away.

Since I was in the midst of sewing inspiration, I retreated to my sewing room, where the fake sun shines on me and finished the garment I was working on. I came back into the living room to find him watching TV. I assumed he had finished. You know what they say about assuming ....... making an ass of you and me.

This was Monday night. Tuesday morning, after my trip to the showers, I went into the bathroom to raid the medicine cabinet for deodorant and that is when I saw that the grout had dried to the tile. I was on my way out and thought to myself that someone was going to have a good time scrubbing that grout off.

That someone was most definitely not going to be me. No way was I going to tackle that mess. Not me, I had no intention of scrubbing that mess out of the tub either. There is also a saying about good intentions, too.

Arriving home yesterday I went into the bathroom to see what progress has been made. Very little, not really even noticeable. But I did notice that the floor around the toilet was wet. I later mentioned this to he who was trying to scrape the grout off the tile and making little progress. He said it was because he had been working in the bathroom. Later when I was getting ready for bed I noticed that the floor was wet again. The tile is on the wall in the shower area. Any water would run into the tub, wouldn't it?

This morning he went and acquired the trim. Whoa, he who has attention deficit disorder! Let's finish the grouting job first ....... not to mention the bead board on the wall ..... before we trim anything. So with a resigned look he heads to the tub to try and take over the job I was finishing. I sent him on his way to do whatever it is he was doing with the trim boards. It took a lot of elbow grease and several buckets of hot water, along with a good scrub brush. Not to mention the determination of one irritated woman. I worked for about 90 minutes and not only did I get the tile cleaned up, but the tub, too. Big globs of tile glue and grout decorated the tub. It looks like someone tried to scrape the goo off with something that scratched the finish of the tub. I was really not happy.

I decided to clean up the mess of construction attempts that littered the bathroom and the hall way. In doing this I discover that the floor around the toilet is wet again. Okay, I know I did not splash water on the floor while I was about the business of scrubbing.

When he who loves to get the mail out of the box comes in, I drag him to the water and tell him that the new floor we put in will not continue to hold up to what I think is a slow leak. He thinks the leak is the tub drain. I am not so sure it isn't the toilet ...... but I am not a plumber.

Obviously, the water has to be dealt with.The tub is not coming out ........ the wall behind the tub is shared with what used to be the kitchen and is now the dining room. The wood stove is next to that wall. That wall that is no longer there. Yes, he had to rip part of that wall out. More construction debris.

Turns out the faucets were leaking. Took most of the day to fix them. I was hoping it was the toilet. No ripping out of walls and I could have the new toilet I wanted anyway. Instead we seem to have taken one step forward and ten steps back. In the game of bathroom remodeling ....... I am not winning!