Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top 10 from 2006

Another year has passed. We continue to be amazed at how quickly the time passes. While rereading last year’s newsletter we noticed that we ended our newsletter stating that our lives revolved around remodeling our house. This past year has been a year-long extension of that process.

We have had our share of what we would call growing pains. These are pains in life that seem truly unbearable but as soon as you achieve your goal you cease to remember the pain it took you to get there.

We have laughed and cried and argued and debated and compromised. Sometimes our house has been a battle of wills and other times it has been a source of great creativity and problem solving. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other through this process and we are so blessed to have had this experience, even with all of the aches and pains that came with it.

We look to the new year with great hope and expectations of what our lives will bring us. We have been blessed with 4 amazing years of marriage. We continue to grow every day and count our blessings. Even when life isn’t what we expect, we are blessed with each other and with wonderful families and friends that are supportive in so many ways.

We would like to take this time to thank you for the contributions you have made to make our lives
richer and more purposeful. We hope that your lives have been touched by us as well.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Cheree and Daniel

Our Top 10 lessons learned in 2006
10) In the unlikely event that 3 huge trees fall down in your yard and one lands across your roof, you have 2 options: Either call someone and pay a lot of money to have it removed, or just look at it as another opportunity to use your climbing gear and you don’t even have to drive to the cliffs.
9) If you drive a stick shift and the e-brake doesn’t work, always park it in gear. More specifically, 1st gear or reverse, as Cheree learned on 3 different occasions. Any other gear will just hold the car still long enough for you to go inside blissfully ignorant of what’s about to happen. First time the fence fell, second time the fence got pushed down the hill, and the third time the Pathfinder got in a fight with a tree at the end of the driveway, and the tree won.

8) Forget what the package says, self-leveling floor compound does not level itself. Not even close.

7) When you climb a mountain it is common knowledge that if you can’t see the summit because of bad weather, you stop climbing because it is too dangerous. What’s not as clearly defined is: what to do if you are on the summit and the snowstorm has moved in below you?

6) If you go to ski school, always fall at least once so they can teach you how to get back up.

5) If you are visiting a church you haven’t been to in a year or so, don’t volunteer to carry around your friend’s baby carrier unless you’re prepared to answer a lot of questions.

4) When remodeling, you need, as a minimum, 4 semi-finished-looking, semi-clean areas at all times. A bedroom for sleeping, a sitting area for relaxing in and forgetting about how much of a disaster the rest of the house is, a bathroom for, well, yeah, and a kitchen so you don’t have to eat out all the time. We had only three out of those four for over a year. Eating out is only fun for the first week.

3) If you remove full tile from a bathroom, don’t fill a 34 gallon trash can to the top with the old tile. If you’re weak you’ll never be able to lift the garbage can. If you’re strong, and ignorant, when you do try to dump it into the big can it’s so heavy it will take you with it.

2) Ferry rides from one island to another, although quaint and relaxing, are not exactly the most efficient method of travel. 27 miles at 9 miles per hour, you do the math. Suddenly a 6 hour drive home turns into a 12 hour tour.

1) Before you renovate a house, rent Money Pit (Tom Hanks). Every time they say “two weeks” in reference to how long it will be before something is finished, substitute in “two years” if you are doing it yourself.
If you are interested, here are our Top 10 List from Years Past
2003 | 2004 | 2005 

Friday, November 10, 2006

Adventures at Sams

Daniel and I are probably the only people on the planet that go to Sams and walk out empty handed 98% of the time. However the other 2% of the time lends itself to some crazy adventures.

Our first adventure at Sams happened almost 2 years ago. We decided to buy our mattresses at Sams. I wasn't sure at first, but I heard somewhere that you should lay on a mattress for at least 15 min before you buy it. So we went to Sams, found the one we wanted and layed it down in the aisle where we proceeded to lay on it for 15 minutes. We had plenty of comments from other shoppers, but in the end we were happy and the price was good and so we strapped it to the top of our Pathfinder and drove home praying it wouldn't start raining. This was our tamest Sams experience.

Our second adventure at Sams happened last year right before Christmas. We were in desperate need of a piece of furniture to accommodate people for sitting and sleeping. We found a futon that we loved - which was surprising b/c normally I don't love futons, but this one has a thick mattress and Daniel & I actually agreed on how it looked and functioned. We had looked at it over the course of several weeks, but put off purchasing b/c we weren't quite ready to put it in our house. Well, with the holidays upon us and my family planning on coming to visit right after Christmas we decided to go ahead and buy. So we went to the Sams closest to our house. Up until this point there had been an excessive amount of these futons in the stores. Well, we got there and they had just sold their last futon. So we called another Sams in the area and they had 2 left. So we drove across town and by the time we got there they had sold both futons. Starting to get frustrated, we called the last Sams in Charlotte and tried to convince them to let us buy over the phone. This is against Sams policy. So we drove across town again, fighting Christmas traffic the entire way and were relieved to get there and find they had one futon left in stock. So we breathed a sigh of relief, paid for the thing and sat in Christmas traffic some more.

A few weeks later, we decided we were ready to buy a real, grown up bed. Up until this point, our mattresses had been on a metal frame, not a real bed. During Thanksgiving we had found the bed we liked, you guessed it at Sams. We had been in Murfreesboro at the time visiting family and we found a leather sleigh bed that we loved. Well at New Years when we were back in Mboro we went to Sams to buy it. Well, just our luck, they had not only sold out, but they had discontinued the product! We went home disappointed, but Daniel did some calling around (actually he called ALL of the Sams within a 300 mile radius of Charlotte) and finally found the bed in Asheville, NC. So we rented a uhaul trailer and got up bright and early one Saturday morning and drove to Asheville in time for the store to open. Thankfully it was still in stock and we were able to buy our bed - granted we had to spend over 3 hours driving to buy it.

Now to our most recent adventure with Sams. A few weeks ago we found a leather sofa set that we really loved. We decided that we both really liked it and the price was right. The problem is that we do not have a place for it. The good news was that we are planning to finish our floors in time for Thanksgiving and ideally we could buy the furniture the weekend before Thanksgiving. Earlier this week, we decided to go take one last look and to our disappointment, Sams had already sold out of the love seat. We figured a worst case scenario would be that we buy one couch and 2 chairs (no love seat). Well we must be morons or just forgetful b/c Daniel started calling all of the Sams today to locate a love seat only to find out that all 3 local stores had also sold out of chairs and only had one or 2 couches left. We decided we better jump on it. So Daniel went and rented a uhaul and went and bought the couch. The good news is that we got it for $200+ less than the original price. The other good news is that he discovered they had a chair and a love seat at the Hickory store. So in true Cheree & Daniel fashion, we are driving to Hickory tomorrow to buy the rest of our furniture. We would have gone tonight, but we discovered that uhaul gave us a trailer without working tail lights...

Somehow we always manage to get the stuff we want, it just takes a little extra effort. The lesson we should have learned by now is that if we find something at Sams that we really want, we need to follow the American Way and BUY IT NOW!

Friday, November 03, 2006

What do you need a 30 pack of drill bits, wax toilet bowl rings & 25 gallons of screws for?

This is the question Daniel posed as a riddle to the helpful Home Depot guy. After the HD guy scratched his head and couldn't come up with an answer, Daniel gave the answer to the riddle (my dad knows the answer)...

The screws are for screwing down the subfloor in our living room to prevent current and future squeeks before we install the new floor.

The drill bits are to pre-drill the holes for the screws. The floor is 20+ years old and the wood is extra hard and prone to break the drill bits (thus the 30 pack of drill bits).

The wax toilet bowl rings (this is the brilliant part from my dad) is to put the tips of the screws into to help them enter the floor in a quicker, smoother manner.

After the explanation, the HD guy scratched his head again and said that he had heard of screwing down floors but never of using a wax ring to help with the process.

You have now learned something that you probably did not know before - unless you are my dad...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Most Recent Embarrassing Moment

I take step aerobics. I have been doing step for about 3 years now so I should be adept at the class. Step aerobics involve a 6-12 inch high, 3 foot long, 1 foot wide step that you do a pattern of steps on and around.

Well in all of my great ability and gracefulness, last night at step class we were doing a more complex pattern of steps that involved stepping over and across the step and then turning around. I cannot adequately describe what happened, but basically my feet missed a step or two and I found myself laying on the ground on my back.

The instructor stopped instructing to ask me if I was ok. I promptly jumped back on my feet, gave her a thumbs up and finished the class.

The whole thing would not have been quite so embarrassing if it were a class full of strangers. However in this case, there is a girl from work that takes the class with me. After class I broke the ice and asked her if she had seen me fall and I made a wise crack about my clumsiness. Thankfully I do not hurt, but that could be coming...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Men Are Just Happier - sent to me in an email...

Men Are Just Happier People - What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put.

The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can be President.

You can never be pregnant.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal.

You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Same work, more pay.

Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress - $5000. Tux rental - $100.

People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.

New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life.

Your belly usually hides your big hips.

One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can "do" your nails with a pocket knife.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stuck Keys

This morning I went to D&D as usual to get my morning fix (coffee & a muffin) and when I came out I tried using my clicker to unlock the Pathfinder doors. Well it beeped at me but it didn't unlock the doors. My hands were full so I kept pressing the button and it kept beeping.

Finally out of frustration, I put my coffee and muffin on the hood of the Pathfinder and stuck the key in the door to unlock it. Well after I unlocked the door the key seemed to be stuck. After much prying and jiggling on the key and the door I called Daniel to get advice.

Daniel told me where a spare key was and we decided that I should just drive on to work but to park where no one would be able to see the key hanging out of the door.

When I got to work I jiggled the lock and the key finally fell out of the door!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I would love to be optimistic and say that I am done with tiling and that I will never in my lifetime have to get on my hands and knees with mortar and a trowel but I would be lieing to myself.

We just finished laying the final tile in our entry & kitchen area however we still have to grout and then seal the tiles. And then some time down the road there will be bathrooms to tile and who knows what else to tile.

So for now I will be happy for the evening knowing we finally accomplished our first tiling goal and I will try not to think too much about future tiling projects.

I am learning as I go. This time BEFORE I started laying the tile down I took 2 extra-strength Tylenol. About 10 minutes into being on my hands and knees I started to get extreme lower back pain but within another 10 minutes it was gone. Hopefully I won't be in extreme pain tomorrow from my efforts today.

If the nice weather holds and it we feel up to it, tomorrow we are going to reward ourselves to mountain biking. The leaves are changing and the weather is the perfect temp and it will be perfect to be out riding in the woods!

Saturday, October 14, 2006



We are finally in the process of tiling. Actually I am taking a break because my back hurts and Daniel is making a difficult cut that I am waiting on (and soon Dominos will be here for dinner). I am so excited that this project is finally under way! I can't wait to see it fiinshed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

floor leveling cont...

It is 12:13 a.m. and we just finished a 2nd go-round with leveling the floor (with the "self-leveling" compound), hopefully this is the last time we have to go through this process.

My wonderful husband got home from work at 9 p.m. and then started the process in order for it to cure by Friday so that we can definitely tile this weekend. He is really swamped at work right now but I suppose he also realizes that we have been trying to tile for some time now and he is making every effort to make that happen (mostly to make me happy).

So if nothing else goes wrong, we should be tiling, grouting and if we are lucky, sealing this weekend. After all of those things are done, the fridge and stove can be moved out of the living area and back into the kitchen and then we can start thinking about the rest of the floors....

Pursuit of Happiness...

Thank you so much for sharing with us. I think it is awesome that you are quitting your job in order to follow your goals. I know you will be a happier person for doing that. I think my husband would let me do a similar thing, but I would have to have some kind of plan in place – he knows that I am the kind of person who needs a plan. I also come from a family of dreamers – we dream big but sometimes have problems following through. This may be why I am still where I am, there is a fear that if I try to pursue my big dreams I will fall short. I guess you never know until you try. Best wishes.


You can do whatever you put your mind too, as long as you have FAITH! You have to take care of yourself, your family & all the people that are near and dear to you. This will make you a Happier person. Dreamers are the BEST! Just follow through!!!!! I will keep in touch with you, so follow your dreams make those plans and Be Happy! Life is way to short.

Best wishes,

Mary Beth

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

To the people in my life who remain nameless.

There are a lot of people I interact with on a daily basis who remain faces without names to me. The odd thing is that I have a strange relationship with these people and I know they have names. These people know all sorts of little details about me that a lot of people wouldn't know. True it may be their job to know these details, but in their own way they make my every day life better. Here is to the people in my life without names.

To the 2 girls and a guy at Dean & Deluca that know I want a alto cafe au lait with skim milk and a blueberry bagel.

To the various servers at the Original Pancake House that can almost write the order before we sit down: chocolate chip pancakes for Daniel and eggs, bacon, pancakes and sometimes a coffee for me.

To the crew that works at the YMCA deli that knows I like the BLT on honey wheat and gives me a hard time if I don't come in for a while.

To the teenager at McCallister's Deli who shamelessly flirts when I go to lunch with my co-workers and gives everyone a hard time.

To the guy with the funny bow-tie at Lowe's that knows that Daniel is going to hunt him down and ask him 500 questions about plumbing or electrical or any number of things (and then has sympathy on me for having to listen to their long dialogue). To the guys at the paint counter who answered my every question and also made me 10+ different kinds of paint.

To the girl at O'Charleys who is FINALLY figuring out that we are NOT going to order margarhitas or dessert. She probably thinks we are cheap, what she doesn't know is that we eat out for almost every meal.

To the older gentleman at Harris Teeter sandwich line who knows I like Philly Cheese Steak on wheat with cheese and onions only.

I could probably go on and on, but you get the picture. These are the people that I appreciate and that make me feel special b/c they notice when I haven't been around, they give me a hard time when I change it up and they are always happy to see me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Self-Leveling Shenanigan

So why would something be advertised as being "self-leveling" when it does not level itself? It would seem that you actually have to level your floor first and then the compound finishes leveling itself.

As you can probably tell, our floor is still not completely level and we are going to have to level it AGAIN!

So the new plan is to level the floor again one night this week and then hopefully we will be dry laying the tile and officially tiling this weekend.

I think this is a bit of false advertising...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Never Ending House Remodeling Saga

So I keep thinking the house will get finished sooner or later, but things always seem to happen to prevent completion. There are have been car problems, trees that have been blown down, cold weather, hot weather, weekend trips, too much too do during the week and not enough time on the weekends and most recently Daniel isn't felling well. All I want are floors - is this too much to ask? I just want one weekend where things go right and we finish the floors. I want the dust to go away. I want to be able to unpack everything I own. I want weekends where we can once again go backpacking. I want to start cooking again...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

No Mountain Biking Today...

Last night I was really excited because I knew that we had to wait 24 hours for our floor to cure so I figured today would be a great day to go mountain biking. Unfortunately it was cold and rainy and Daniel hasn't been feeling well so instead we went to the movies and were kind of lazy. 


Later in the afternoon (before we went to get supper) Daniel had be help him to pull some dents out of the Pathfinder. You might be wondering how we would do such a thing... I was in the drivers seat and Daniel used a board sandwiched between a tree and the vehicle while I backed the vehicle up slowly to force the dent out. As I am sure my sister will comment, this is not a normal married people activity, but it is a somewhat normal Cheree & Daniel activity. The good news is that the Pathfinder has head lights again!

We have to use the make-shift ladder to get from our hallway over to the living area for 24 hours while everything cures. I am disappointed about no MB but there will be other weekends (I hope).

Sunday, Lord willing, we will FINALLY be tiling the kitchen. That is something to be excited about - I have been waiting for 6+ months to do this.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Oregon 2006

We are back from our much needed vacation to Oregon. We had a wonderful time and were able to see a good portion of the state of Oregon.   

We spent our first couple of day's with Lisa & Erik Granberg (Lisa was one of my college roommates). We met their little guy, David, who seemed to be instantly attached to Daniel. Our time there we constantly heard David calling out: Where's Daniel?

Day 1 of sightseeing included a trip to Multnomah Falls, followed by a drive around Mt Hood and camping at Lost Lake.   

Day 2 of sightseeing involved driving to Bend and then out to Elk Lake. Attempting a hike to the Six Lakes Area and turning back after a mosquito feeding fest. Staying at a rustic cabin at Elk Lake.   

Day 3 of sightseeing was spent hiking on the South Sister Moutain - we made it to the lip of the crater of this extinct volcano but decided that we could not endure the hiking on scree to the actual summit. We rewarded ourselves to a nice hotel with a soft bed and hot shower after this long day of hiking.   

Day 4 we explored Bend, OR and then tried to find a wild Lava Cave. It was blocked. We then went to an Ice Cave that is now full of water instead of ice. We then paid to go to the National Forest Lava River Cave. Due to time restraints we only saw a portion - this type of cave is definitely different from the limestone caves we are used to. We the drove on to Crater Lake where we camped.   

Day 5 we headed for the coast and experienced riding 4-wheelers on 200 ft sand dunes at the Oregon Dunes Recreational Area. We drove up the coast and camped at Cape Perpetua where we were rewarded to an awesome sunset over the Pacific Ocean.   

Day 6 we continued up the coast in the fog, taking time to see the Haceeta Head Lighthouse and then the fishing town of Newport before heading back to the Granbergs in Salem, OR.   

We had a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends as well as spending time doing the things we love. 

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Paper Plate Award

Today I received a paper plate award at work. This is the second one I have received.

The first was for being the fastest email responder ever.

Today I received one entitled "Miss InDesign Know-It All, You've Got Questions, She's Got Answers."

I am glad that someone at work appreciates me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Altima

Daniel had a car wreck a couple of weeks ago in our Altima. We are saddened that it is smashed up, but Daniel is hopeful that he can fix it as long as we can find someone who will be willing to straighten out the frame. I am just thankful he is ok. The hardest thing right now is that Daniel will have to spend more time working on the car and less time working on our house. At least we have a garage he can work in!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ski Trip 2006

Top 10 Things We Learned Skiing

  1. If you do not have a baby, there is no reason for your SUV to be completely FULL of gear for a 3 day ski trip.
  2. When driving up a winding mountain road, do not let yourself get stuck behind the SAME bus on 3 different occasions.
  3. You should not park your vehicle with the front end in a 4 foot snow drift and then proceed to leave the lights on in your vehicle (for 5 hours).
  4. You should make sure you learn how to get up after a fall when you take a ski class.
  5. 12 inches of fresh snow makes your falls deceivingly soft.
  6. A Yard Sale is when you fall down and leave your gear strewn all over the slopes.
  7. When exiting the ski lift, you should make every effort not to fall on your face.
  8. Doing back flips down a black diamond is a good way to entertain people on the ski lift.
  9. Skiing with friends is more fun than skiing by yourself.
  10. IF you are going to learn to ski in the east, choosing the weekend that happens to get the most snowfall for the year is a good decision.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...