• 25Apr

    I’m just gonna leave these here. Both of these came across my Twitter feed this morning.

    7 reasons why being childfree isn’t selfish

    Would you help save the Earth by being childfree?

    #childfree

  • 07Apr

    The last of the rocks have been hauled and placed into the beds. It looks so much better back there, now.

    Next steps include planting some seeds, arranging some of the groups of larger stones, and a gutter for the patio cover (and eventually, a rain barrel).

  • 04Apr

    We needed to get away. After our best-laid plans to go to Paris for the “paperwork trip” failed, we made plans for another MicroVacay. (If a vacation is a few days, and a mini vacation is a weekend, then we consider a day trip without an overnight stay to be a micro vacation.) We went to Marble Falls where we found even more stuff to do than on our previous visits.


    our view

    bluebonnets were thick along the roadsides…

    …and out in the fields, too.

    Marble Falls has a dalmation-painted fire hydrant.




    99 bottles of beer on the wall.

    This was my dream car in ~1993. I even wanted this color.

    This view is atop a hill in Marble Falls next to a restaurant and event center.

    “Stonehenge”

    “Stonehenge II” down below.

    Moar! Blue! Bonnets!

    Desserts: sundae for E, key lime pie for L

    And, we did all of this in our new car (our 4th Mazda, zoom zoom!)! We went in for an oil change and they worked a miracle for us for a new one. We upgraded features for just a tiny bit more than we were already paying. Plus, we got a color this time (blue). The gray one just never worked right after its accident.

    I’m calling her Bonnie (and did pictures early) in hopes of warding off any bad luck we had with Stormy (who never really got a name and who never got photographed until that chick ran into us at the red light and did $8500 in damages).

    The drives were pretty. The patio enjoying was fabulous. The little shops/boutiques were wonderful. The walks/hikes were great. And we plan to go back in June for their adult soap-box derby.

  • 02Apr
    IMG_2965-0.JPG

    Last Sunday,, we took advantage of the gorgeous day to drive through part of the hill country. 

       

                  

    The views from atop a hill (near the build site of a $550+K home) were spectacular. Even the low lake looked pretty. The bright green young leaves gave the hills an interesting color pattern.

  • 01Apr

    For two years, we went with college kids to the Gila National Forest to do trail construction. We worked on the Continental Divide Trail which goes from Mexico to Canada. It was a great way to spend a few days of work advising students. We hauled a lot of flat rocks to build the trail. One year, the students gave us a flat rock they had all signed. And, the year we got married, they gave us a rock that says “Okay” on it. (Because in the cliff dwellings, places you aren’t supposed to go are marked with a rock that simply says “Don’t” and at a high altitude, we all found that hilarious.)

    These last ~2 weeks have felt like those trips. We saw an ad on Craigslist: a guy in our neighborhood was giving away rocks. The only catch is you had to come get them. These aren’t the flat rocks like we used for the trails, but are almost like river rocks. His large lot has them in corners of the front yard, across the front edge (super nice when guests visit and have rocks instead of grass when getting out of the car). They also run all the way down the left side, all the way across the back, and half way up the right side. In most places the rock beds are 12-15′ wide, but in some places they are closer to 20′. He’s been babysitting people right and left who will come take the rocks. He’s been kind enough to let us come multiple times since we don’t have a truck. Well, this week might be our last trip. The beds I planned and the “gap” past our patio are looking great.

    2015-04-01 09.25.54

    Tubs of rocks. We can fit four in the trunk. We hauled 7 of them on Tuesday.

    2015-04-01 12.49.20

    It’s a slow process. It takes me all 4-5 hours to unload all the rocks.

    2015-04-01 14.56.49

    The big side is almost done!

    2015-04-01 14.56.58

    From this angle, it looks almost finished.

    2015-04-01 14.57.18

    But up close, you can see there is much left to do. I think it will take one more trip.

    2015-04-01 14.57.49

    The little side is all done. The patch of discolored ones against the fence on the right are all “flat” rocks that will fit under the gate when it swings open.

    We’ve had tons of compliments from curious neighbors. I’ve gotten free rocks (the big stacked ones), free hyacinth seeds (which will climb the chimney), free tools (two sanders, a caulk gun, a vise, and even a croquet set), and met so many of our neighbors. We’re going to put a wisteria in the pot, since it’s “against the rules” to plant it in the ground.

    There will be more pics when it’s finished!

  • 01Apr

    Emil’s coworker ended up having to go out of state for family stuff. So, Emil has to work at least part of the day on Thursday.

    The bank (where we’d get the notary and another witness, and where there is a safe deposit box for the Will) is closed on Good Friday. So, we’ll have to make the Paris trip another time. I did spend some time yesterday tweaking the Will (formatting, really). It’s a neat two-pager, now with plenty of room for the blanks that can/might get filled in.

    New holiday weekend plan: Emil works part of Thursday, Friday we find an adventure, Saturday we will go downtown, Sunday we will hide from the craziness of Easter.

    The best laid plans….

     

     

  • 31Mar

    Happy 14th Anniversary

    to us!

    I say it all the time and still mean it…every day really is better than the last.

    We celebrated a little on Saturday with a trip to Shoal Creek Saloon for crawfish (for me) and pork chops (for E). Tonight, we’re going to get more rocks and then for tacos and beer. yum!

  • 31Mar

  • 30Mar

    We found a “steal” of a deal on Craigslist. All the rocks you can carry if you’ll just come get them. They are perfect for our landscaping ideas for our tiny space of yard. The project already looks amazing and we have at least 3 more trips of rocks to go get. We weren’t planning on doing this one right now, but when the free rocks popped up, we just couldn’t pass it up. It’s been a lot of work, has burned a lot of calories, and has caused a few scrapes and bruises, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end.

    I’m terrible and never do before pics, but here is some of the progress during and the after pics.

    2015-03-26 15.43.18  2015-03-26 15.43.24

    during

    2015-03-26 17.23.45 2015-03-26 17.23.55

    after

    These “beds” are just inside our gate between the fence and the slab foundation. The rocks that were there were stepping stones seated into the concrete sludgey stuff left at the end of a concrete pour. They worked fine for ~20 years, but they were starting to break and become a trip hazard. They came up very easily. I wasn’t even planning on taking them up with this project, but it was so easy, I just couldn’t stop. I have also “outlined” two beds out back (past the fence, not in these pictures). Those have a tree and a birdbath. There are also groups of rocks. A large planter will hold hyacinth. And, we plan to get a wisteria to climb the chimney. Those two should bring in the butterflies and hummingbirds.

    So, then, after all our hard work, of course, Murphy has to come visit. There is a plumbing problem. For the second time since we’ve owned this house, it “rained” from the upstairs to the down. (And created a big puddle in the kitchen for the third time, we had a big puddle in the kitchen.) We have a toilet that hasn’t been flushing well, but draining the tub after a bath seems to be more than it could handle; the toilet “belched”. So, tonight, we will seek out a snake and see if we can learn to snake a drain. It’s a very busy week: we need to wrap up the rocks project so we can stop bothering the nice man who lets us come get them for free. We need to go home and deal with my mom and her stuff. We need to do our usual end-of-month stuff.

    So, we decided last night to skip the Luza trip to Dime Box again. Hopefully (still pending Emil’s co-worker’s dad’s condition/status), we’ll be coming back from Paris on that day and would have to get up super early (5:30am?) to leave my grandmother’s in time to make Dime Box by lunch. That’s not fair to us or her.

    Here. We. Go!

  • 13Feb

    About a year ago, we got an AmEx card only because we got a Costco membership. At least one of these is getting out of our life this week. In a hasty moment of anger, I Tweeted we’d be quitting Costco too, over this AmEx fubar. And we might. It’s their fault we even had the card(s).

    • In October, AmEx “gave” us a “blue” card to go with the Costco one. Except we never got the card. Or a statement. Or a letter or anything. (And since we have a PO Box, we know it didn’t get stolen from our mail box or any other excuse.)
    • Also in October, AmEx moved money owed (or allowed a charge) to the blue card that we do not have possession of.
    • In January, we got a letter saying our AmEx was overdue. huh? How? We pay it every month.
    • When Emil called to get it resolved, he paid the bill. He also asked why they moved us to blue; they couldn’t identify a reason.
    • A week later, we got a letter saying our blue card–again, one we don’t have physical possession of–was being cancelled. Yay, cancel the thing we aren’t using.
    • I call to make sure they haven’t dinged our credit. She says they did because the bill was 90 days past due. Cue fire shooting from my eyeballs.
    • I hear from Seth via Twitter; he says AmEx and Costco are parting ways. Oh! So this is the reason it’s all messed up! AmEx is trying to “encourage” us to stay with them eventhough the only reason we had them at all was for Costco. And, so that we wouldn’t bail immediately, they hid it?
    • I finally get to talk to someone from AmEx who can do something. He’s nice, but creepy (over Americanized foreign dude I could barely understand). He updates the credit report, gives me his name/number, and is sending us an additional set of statement so we can see what the hell happened.
    • To be clear that it’s all fine, I also call Costco. Of course, I get re-routed back to AmEx. I guess they are going to break up but haven’t yet.
    • Costco guy tells me that the AmEx partnership runs out April 1, 2016. Until then, you can use AmEx (or cash/debit/check) at Costco for shopping. After that, they may or may not have a Costco card that can be used. I explain to him that we might quit Costco over this. Their only saving grace is that if AmEx did this to us, we can only imagine what they did to Costco and maybe they are victims, too.

    Ain’t nobody got time for dis.

    GTFO, AmEx. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

    Update: We got the statements. Every charge is legitimate and paid for. There are no fees (Emil took care of that when he called them). I’ve since checked my credit and there is no report on it from Costco or Amex. We just need to check Emil’s credit for the same.