July 30, 2006


Halfway is the word of the moment, here... things are unsettled in our apartment, and at the house, and I hate having things unfinished- being in the midst of chaos makes me feel chaotic inside, and makes it that much harder to get through it all. I told Tom I'll most likely be irritable and cranky for the next two weeks, just so he's prepared, and he understands- he's in the middle of his own irritableness and crankiness about all of it, too. The big thing to remember is that it's temporary, and there's a big payoff at the end of it, in terms of having a comfortable house, our own space to do our hobbies, and starting to finally feel "settled" in our new life here in AZ.

Here's what makes up the "Halfway" about things:

the painting at the new house is halfway done... only a bedroom, the hallways, and the accent walls to go yet- it should be done Monday.

the builder's repairs at the new house are halfway done (they should have been done Friday)

our street of houses in the new subdivision is halfway built...

half of what is already packed is at the new house (in piles and closets, where it is hopefully out of the painter's way)

Tom is halfway across the country to Baltimore, where he will be working till late Thursday night...

the apartment is halfway packed up, and needs to be mostly done by Friday night...

We are both more than halfway frazzled at how much there is to do yet-

pick up the truck Friday by 5 pm

empty out the storage unit into the truck Friday evening to avoid paying full August rent

drop Sedona off at the doggie day care/kennel by 7 am where she will stay till Sunday morning

pack the rest of the apartment into the truck Saturday and get it to Maricopa in one trip (with the help of our good friends Dean, Dennis, and Mike, also using Dean's and Mike's pickups if necessary) So much is encompassed into this one sentence, it's almost incomprehensible!

get the truck back to the Penske place by 5 pm Saturday evening

On the up side:

we (Tom, actually- he's super organized about these things) did get the utilities straightened out and in our names, decided on cable TV and internet service, and got a phone number (no, I don't remember what it is, yet- it has a lot of 5's and 8's in it, and the area code is 520, but that's all I remember)

we made a good decision when we chose to include blinds in with the purchase price of the house- one less thing to worry about picking out, they're already installed, and they really look sharp.

we also made a good decision when we decided to get the whole place painted, and having someone else do it is definitely a plus!

the refrigerator, washer, and dryer were delivered yesterday, and we like them all!

in less than two weeks, we will be out of our apartment, and well on our way to being settled in our house- then we can start to focus on turning it into a comfortable "home" to relax in.

July 23, 2006

one last craft project

It's safe to post this now, since I know the package got to its destination... I made this for Judy's birthday (the card, not the metal frame). I bought the shabby chic metal picture frame at a store here in Gilbert called Rustic Hutch. I thought it was just a small memo board till I saw it in a display labeled "picture frame." So, I made a piece of art to hang on it before wrapping it up... a dry-embossed, chalked flower and garden tools, some ki memories paper, and brown rickrack (never used!). I got the layout idea from the latest issue of Stamper's Sampler magazine, and just enlarged it to 5 x 7 inches. This issue is one of those ones that has tons of great ideas in... some issues don't have anything I like in- that's so annoying, when it happens, but not this time!

This was my last gasp of crafting, till I get my craft room set up in the new house (I must remember to leave enough room for the pull-out couch, since it's also going to be the guest room- LOL!)... and, once I finished it, I really wanted to keep crafting, but I knew I had to pack. Most of my stuff is packed up now, waiting to be moved- it's so sad, looking at all those empty shelves! But, also a good thing- maybe I can keep it a little more organized in the new space?!? (not hardly, but I'll try!)

July 20, 2006

packing... but where???

So, today is Thursday, but it is our "Friday" because both Tom and I are off tomorrow, for the final walk-through. It is scheduled for 10:00, will probably take a couple hours, and the appt to sign the papers is set for 1:30 pm. We don't get the keys tomorrow, though- in AZ, you sign all the papers and the title company has a few days to make sure everything is in order. Also, the lag gives the builder time to fix any issues before we do take posession, which is scheduled for Wednesday the 26th after 4 pm. Anything needing repairs after that will have to be fit into our schedule... so, let's hope the fixes required are minor, and can be taken care of in just a couple days.

Last night I did actually pack 4, count them, 4, boxes of craft stuff. There are at least 5 or 6 more boxes to go, but I couldn't bring myself to do any more last night- there's no place to put them! (The final number of boxes will probably be more- most of what's left is books, which get heavy really quick.) Plus, I had been crafting earlier, for Judy's b-day present (no looks at it till I know she got it in the mail), so I was in the crafting mood... it absolutely pained me to start packing it away, with no prospect of using it at all until the new room is set up. It's not like I've been doing much crafting before, but faced with the prospect of not having the possibility of doing it at all gave me withdrawl pains, I think. I will definitely have to make more time for crafting and scrapping in the new house!!! So, to console myself, I've been doing a lot of surfing on the internet, on message forums, galleries, and crafter's blogs. This is good and bad- good, because it's eye candy, but bad because it gives me the crafting itch! Last evening I found a new technique that I immediately tried (using crinkled up saran wrap to apply ink to the paper, to make a textured background- cool!), and started to make a card with it- then, I came to my senses and realized I was only doing it to delay the packing. Sadly, I put everything away, and forced myself to pack. Hopefully I can find those pieces of paper when I unpack, so I can finish the cards!

Well, back to surfing craft blogs for consolation... (and maybe pack a couple boxes!)

and, last but not least, Tom got an earlier flight home from Baltimore (this last trip was Philadelphia, drive to Falls Church, VA, then drive to Baltimore to the airport) so he should be home at the usual time tonight!

July 17, 2006

house and home update

So, this Friday at 10:00 am is the final walkthrough. We went down on Sunday and looked through the place...

there was some progress- outside painting was done, the roof was done, the countertops were installed, the dishwasher was installed, all outlets and switches, but there were also some things that really need some help...

the doors and trim are semi-gloss paint, and it looks like they really rushed when they painted- they didn't mask off the hinges, etc. very well, and some of the paint is peeling around the edges...

the vanity in the 2nd bath was installed crooked! Not sure how that happened, but there's a gap at one edge of more than an inch, and it slopes down to the other edge of the cabinet, where it's flush... the mirror was installed in line with the vanity, so it's crooked, too-

some of the outlets (the boxes themselves) were installed crooked, and as yet haven't been straightened out (they will be before we move in, though!); a couple of the drawers in the kitchen don't line up with the cabinets below them...

So, it's hard to see how it will all be ready by the 26th, when we're supposed to take occupancy, but that's why they have the walkthrough, to point out the issues... we're keeping an open mind, and waiting to see how accomodating they are.

It sounds mostly negative, but really, it's not- they're mostly small things, that should be able to be fixed easily... we are getting excited, though! Yesterday, I even started packing! (I can just hear you, Mom- I probably should be packing right now, rather than typing this post!) So far, I'm up to 9 boxes, and have packed most of my non-scrapbooking books, CDs, and most of the kitchen- not much, but it's progress!

Check out the picturetrail site for the newest pics! (once I finish posting them, that is...)

The pets are holding up pretty well in the heat, and with all the ruckus going on at home- Sedona went to the Dr on Friday, to get her shots updated- she acted like quite the little lady in the reception area, and only barked a couple times- no small feat, considering there was a lady with 3 little kids and a chiohaua (sp??) on the bench next to us in the waiting room, and other dogs coming and going all the time. She got two shots, and had blood drawn... the vet said she might be groggy after the shots, but no such luck!

Tom is on his way to Philadelphia right now, to the site with lightning strike problems- there was a storm over the weekend, and you guessed it, now they have problems with their equipment! On a similar note, we actually had rain here twice over the weekend! Not much, but enough to make things humid and hazy... it's amazing how much of an event rain is, here in AZ. I'm really wanting to see one of the spectacular monsoon storms that I've heard about, but I'll have to keep waiting a little while longer.

photo update- Tom's travels in Seattle

So Blogger puts the pictures in here backwards, and it is so irritating, but I'm disinclined to try and re-post them, so you'll just have to look at them out of order.

Mt. Ranier from the plane on the way home

The Space Needle

the view from the Space Needle observation deck.

the Pike Place Fish Company, in the Pike Street Market. They are known for "throwing" the fish from the back to the front when someone orders it- can you imagine watching them throw whole salmon back and forth???

the first vegetable stand Tom came to- he thought, "oh, cool- fresh vegetables, how picturesque" and took a picture, not realizing what else was there.

this is some more of what was there...

and this, too...

he really liked Seattle, even though he was "stuck" there over the weekend because of work. He said he would definitely want to go back sometime, which is good, because Seattle is one place that I really want to go sometime- the Pike Place Market, the climate, the flowers and gardens, the ocean...

July 10, 2006

some notes

this isn't really about any new happenings... I wanted to write down some notes about the Flashlight Tour of the Botanical Gardens before I forgot them- so, when I finally get around to scrapping the pictures (! insert snide comment of your choice here, I haven't scrapped a picture in MONTHS), I'll have the info.

saguaro cactus get their first arm at around 50-75 years... the oldest ones in the garden are 250-300 years old, they think- there's no real way to age them, like the rings on a tree...

desert plants adapt to the hot conditions... the green palo verde tree has tiny leaves- when it gets hot, the leaves fall off the tree to conserve water, but the tree's green bark still allows photosynthesis to occur.

the ocotillo isn't really a cactus- the limbs have spines, but they also have tiny rounded leaves, which also fall off when it gets hot- so is it a succulent, then?? I'll need to check this out.

the Sonoran desert actually has 5 seasons, not 4- fall, winter, spring, dry summer, and a wet summer. the monsoon is the wet summer, which has different conditions from the dry summer.

native peoples used the mesquite beans for flour- the catkins ripen into bean pods, sort of like locust pods- the beans were ground into flour- we actually got to taste some- it was sort of sweet, with a bitter aftertaste

you can use mesquite beans for adding that flavor to your barbeque- soak the beans in water, wrap them in foil, poke some holes in it, and add it to the grill- same flavor, but save a tree!

spade-foot toads came across the prairie with the settlers (are they the same ones we had in Illinois?)... they were in the pond during our tour... they sounded like a woman screaming! apparently, a volunteer thought so once, too, and called 911.

July 06, 2006

finally, some pictures!

Uploading pictures directly to Blogger is a pain in the neck... for some reason they're never in the order I want them to be. So, here is the link to my picturetrail account: http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?username=jenn0504&x=11&y=14

I've added an album (July 4th weekend), which is pics from the Botanical Garden flashlight tour we went on, as well as pics from a day trip we took through the mountains- We headed East on Hwy 60 from Gilbert, through Miami and Globe, AZ, northeast on Hwy 60 to Show Low... then we headed east on Hwy 260 to Payson, south on Hwy 87 to Hwy 188, which took us along Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, and Canyon Lake. We saw some majestic and awesome scenery, driven along some hair-raising narrow roads through the mountains, and had a really nice time.

I also added some pics to the Pet Album (Sedona got a bath on July 4th!), and to the New House album... we went down last weekend- the doors and trim are up, and the first coat of paint was on. The kitchen cabinets were also there, and the uppers were already up. They're making some progress! They really don't have too much more time- our final walkthrough is on the 21st, and we get the keys at 4 pm on July 26th. Then, the work for us starts! We want to do a little painting, and will be moving, hopefully, on August 5th.

July 01, 2006

okay, so it's been a while-

and we really haven't been TOO busy...

Tom has been in town all week, and off since Tuesday, using up some comp time and trying to get rid over a bout of bronchitis, or something. He has off next Monday and Tuesday, so will have had a nice break.

Baxter is also off on Monday and Tuesday, so I'll have a 4-day weekend, myself... speaking of Baxter, they're in the midst of working out a consent decree with the FDA related to their IV pumps- once it gets worked out, we'll be installing new hardware in all of them, which will mean more work. It almost meant a second shift, because we're so hard up for space, but thankfully, management decided against it. 3 pm to 11:30 pm is definitely NOT a shift I want to work, ever!

Today we drove to the house, and checked things out- hopefully Blogger will cooperate, and I'll put pictures in a separate post. We also drove up to Scottsdale, and visited Penzey's Spice store. I found recipes for a couple seasoning mixes that call for "Smoked Paprika" and that's not something you can get at your local grocery- boy, is it different- the smoky aroma is wonderful! I hope it tastes as good as it smells! I made taco seasoning, and a grill seasoning mixture that both use it. The Penzey's was fun; lots of jars of chili peppers, 4 different kinds of cinnamon, and all sorts of seasoning mixes- it was in a strip mall, more open, and not so intimate as the ones Jude and I visited in Wisconsin, though... those definitely have more atmosphere!

Tonight we're going to the Botanic Garden for a "Flashlight Tour" which is something they do a couple times a week through the early summer- walk through the garden in the late evening, to see (and hear) different birds, see night-blooming flowers, that kind of thing- we're looking forward to it!