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Showing posts from July, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 27

I finally made it to the halfway point of my 52 books for the year! I am a little behind, but I have no doubt that I will catch up in the weeks to come.

Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark is an extensively researched biographical novel about the love story of George Washington and his wife Martha Dandridge Curtis. It was originally published in 1969 as Aspire to the Heavens and rereleased in 2002 when a descendent of Washington found the novel.

Mary Higgins Clark is one of my favorite writers (from my youth) and she does a wonderful job of telling this love story. If history could always be told in the form of a novel, I think more people would be interested in the past (or at least I would). Within the love story Mary Higgins Clark touches on how George Washington became the first president of the United States of America.

Quotes of interest from the book:
“Get what you get honestly. Use what you have frugally. That’s the way to live comfortably and die honorably.” – Young …

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 26

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt is a terribly sad memoir of Frank’s childhood in Ireland during the depression and early years of WWII. The only redeeming part of this story is that Frank lived to tell of his ordeal. He endured extreme poverty, an alcoholic father and a controlling religious system, yet he still managed to grow up and make something of himself.

Quotes of interest from the book:
I know that big people don’t like questions from children. They can ask all the questions they like, How’s school? Are you a good boy? Did you say your prayers? but if you ask them did they say their prayers you might be hit on the head.

I sit on the seventh step a long time and I’m sure the angel is there. I tell him things you can’t tell your mother or father for fear of being hit on the head or told to go out and play.

The master says it’s a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says it’s a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there’s anyone in the world who would like us…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 25

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies takes place in Wales during the end of WWII. In the course of this story, several different stories take place. There is the Welsh girl who is coming to terms with carrying a baby after an English soldier rapes her. There is the German soldier in the POW camp in Wales who is coming to terms about what the war is really about. There is a connection between the girl and the soldier. And there are other perimeter stories that are happening as well.

I found the story lines intriguing but was disappointed by the ending. There were too many pieces left undone.

Quotes of interest from the book:
…What was it to be forced to do something she didn’t want to do? She’d been forced all her life by one circumstance or another – by poverty, by her mother’s death, by the needs of the flock. Being forced to do things is such a part of her daily life…

She tries to decide how she feels about the Germans now. It seems important. She ought to hate them, she thinks, and she s…

Before & After

The siding and roof are finished. It was quite the process to get this work completed. It can be a hassle working with contractors. The up side is that the work generally gets finished quickly {once they start}.
We are sad to be leaving our little house on Morganford Road. We learned a lot through renovating this home and our skill sets have grown tremendously.
I will miss drinking my morning coffee on the deck; sitting in our red rocking chairs on the front porch and chatting with the neighbors; laying in our hammock under the starry sky; taking showers in our AMAZING custom shower {I am always going to compare future showers to this one}; my kitchen {it was small, but I loved the openness and connectivity it had with the great room}; the huge garage made Daniel a happy man...
We really poured our hearts into this home and we are sad to leave. I am sure we will find new projects to take on in the future... maybe our next project will be to actually build a house...
The exterior BEFORE:

Keep Calm & Carry On

I need to:

but what I want to do is:

First was the problem with the insurance check for the roof/siding replacement {which I have mentioned before}. 
Then there was the porch repair, which we had completed on Monday. This actually was the only thing completed in a timely manner. BUT yesterday MY realtor came by and told me that since the cracks in the mortar were not filled, we still had a problem. So essentially, she only cared about the cosmetic side. We spent several thousand $$ to actually FIX the structure of the porch and then she wanted me to spend $150 to fill the cracks with mortar... had I known this, we might have just filled the gaps in the first placed, saved a lot of money and called it a day. We're not that kind of people though.
Then we had the window company tell us the WRONG day {they were off by a week}. So we are going to closing with windows that will be replaced AFTER the closing date - I think we are just forking out the money early to be held in escrow to pay t…

Moving Woes

Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you plan and orchestrate. You can't always make things go perfectly. In our case, we had to contend with an insurance company that 1) delayed sending us a check and then 2) sent us a check made out to the wrong  mortgage company. In addition we had to delay having the roof replaced because of rain. But all of that seemed to work itself out in a timely manner.
Last week, Daniel called the window replacement company and they said they would be here TODAY, July 22, at 8:30 to replace the windows. Daniel called them yesterday to confirm again and left a voice mail when they didn't answer the phone. He just called back this morning to find out they had made a mistake and they weren't coming by after all. The windows will not actually be in until NEXT week. This is very frustrating.
Daniel is going to touch base with our realtor, but in effect this means that money stays in escrow until the windows are replaced. I am not sure if we will sti…

59 Boxes

Everything is packed. It all fit into 59 boxes. The most boxes were used in the garage {Daniel's space} and kitchen {my space}. In addition to the boxes are couches, beds, armoires, shelves, a motorcycle, patio furniture, hammock... lots of stuff. 

Tomorrow morning another crew will be back to load up the truck. Moving is so much easier when someone else does it for you :)

Project 52 Date Nights: Big Daddy's

Photo via Charlotte Magazine
Friday night Daniel and I headed out to Big Daddy's to celebrate our last weekend together in Charlotte. We have been making an effort to eat at the places we love the most and it seemed like a good time to squeeze in a last trip to Big Daddy's.
We waited a little extra so that we could sit outside. Daniel had his favorite Cantina 1511 Burger with onions straws while I opted for the special burger of the evening with sweet potato fries. It was all yummy. We will miss all of our favorite local eateries, though we know we will find new ones in Chattanooga. 
This was Daniel's last trip back to Charlotte. It is sad that he won't be back. I am here to handle the last-minute work that is being completed before the sale of our house and then will be flying solo on closing day. I am anxious to get to Chattanooga to be with Daniel full time again.

Porch Repair

Today we had a crew come by to take care of our porch foundation. It need to be reinforced as it has slowly been sinking and there were visible cracks in the porch. It is a 30+year old house, but as part of the sale, we agreed to have it fixed.
The crew from Carolina Foundation Solutions was great. They let me watch and photograph their process - not to mention answered my questions about how it all works. It rained part way through the afternoon, but they were able to get the work done.
 Prepping to dig three holes to insert three piers under the porch  to stabilize it from sinking further.
Bush #1 out.
Bush #2 out.
Piers ready to insert.
Base of pier screws into the ground.
Pier #1 was 14 feet. Piers #2 and #3 were 21 feet.
An auger is connected to the track hoe and used to drill the pier into the ground.
Top of the pier is cut off with a band saw.
Heavy-duty L-Bracket that is attached to the top of the pier.  This clamps underneath the porch and then a {hand-pump} 
hydraulic system is used to r…

We own a lot of stuff...

Of course Daniel and I procrastinated sorting our stuff for camper living. It was just too easy to put off. Not that we were doing fun things, but camper sorting seemed to be last on our minds.
Sunday, virtually out of time, we woke up at 7 a.m. and {after eating breakfast} began our sorting process. We had a list to work from, but it was easier to go room by room and gather items we thought we would need. We are tentatively planning on being prepared to live in the camper for 3-5 months. This will cover multiple seasons which makes it more pertinent to make sure we have everything we need. It also helps to know that we can store stuff with family {if needed}.
Halfway through our sorting process, we had the thought that it would be nice to take all of our backpacking and mountain biking gear. We are excited to have time for this stuff again, but we have a LOT of gear. I think 1/3 of the stuff we packed was outdoor gear.
It took us until 5 p.m. to sort, pack and load the Subaru and traile…

Bittersweet cont.

Last night we attended a goodbye party hosted by our church life group. We are definitely sad to be leaving this group of wonderful people. It is amazing how you can move to a town and not know a soul and then attend a church and find community through a small group of complete strangers. Our weekly Sunday get togethers have been so encouraging and have seen us through many ups and downs.
We have so many fond memories with this group. We will always remember the ski trip to Snow Shoe where I skied for the first time. Attending Melissa and David's wedding in Charleston. The backpacking trip to Linville Gorge where so many trees were down that the trail was almost impossible to traverse {and then having to hike almost vertically out of the gorge on day two, in the rain}. The weird fact that EVERY TIME Tim asked us to go backpacking with him {after the Linville Gorge trip}, something terrible would happen that would prevent us from going (example 1: Daniel cutting his leg with a chai…


Today was my last day at work. It is always a little sad to leave a place that you know so well. Walking through the doors of 520 Elliot Street has had a certain measure of comfort to it that I will miss. The brick walls. The wooden floors. The leaky roof. I love all of it.
Things have changed a lot in the last two-and-a-half years... the creative department went from a team of ten to a team of three. There has been an ebb and flow that happens in every company {especially in a recession}. But through it all I have grown tremendously. The good and the bad have been a part of molding me into who I am today and I am thankful for that.
I have been able to take a magazine and make it my own. I have had the opportunity to be a part of a television show. And most importantly, I have made good friends and have found wonderful mentors who have encouraged to pursue my personal dreams and to value my professional worth.
Thank you all. I will miss you.
Around the office.  Photos from

Cell Phones, Driver's License Renewal and Power of Attorney.

Is it possible that my cell phone service has gotten worse since Daniel moved to Chattanooga four months ago? Maybe I just notice now that he is gone.
It has been ridiculously frustrating to try to have conversations when half of the time it sounds like this: "Can you hear me now?" "How about now?" "Hello." "Are you there?" "What about now?" Arrrrgggghhhhh!!!!
We actually had a conversation earlier where I was able to hear every bit of his order at the drive through of Chick-Fil-A, but as soon as he started talking to me again, it cut out!
Our patience on the cell phone issue is seriously wearing thin. Thank goodness we will be together soon.
I received a notice in the mail today saying my driver's license expires this year. I guess that makes it a good time to move...
Daniel set up power of attorney for me today so that he can skip out on the official closing of the house. Not sure how things are actually going to pan out with that. 
We have …

the good. the bad. the random.

The Good. Two days left of work.
The Bad.
I don't have a new job lined up.
The Random.
I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am looking forward to chilling pool side, while living in an RV. I realize it might get old, but at least in the beginning it will feel like a much-needed vacation.

The Good.
The check from the insurance company {for our roof/siding} FINALLY came in... after they sent us a check made out to the WRONG mortgage company!
The Bad.
We are seriously cutting it close with having the roof/siding work done before our closing of July 26.
The Random.
Monday a crew is coming to fix our porch. Wednesday the movers are coming to pack up our crap. Thursday a crew is coming to replace our windows AND the movers are coming back to load the moving truck. Sometime in there the roof and siding is {hopefully} being replaced. We close the following Monday... hope everything gets done in time.

The Good.
Getting ready to read lots of books.
The Bad.
I am waaaaaaayyyyyy behind on my readin…

Project 52 Date Nights: Unplugged

Daniel and I were able to spend 10 days together last week. Our time together had some real-life hiccups, but was rejuvenating none-the-less. Saying goodbye this past Sunday was one of the hardest things I have had to do. My stress levels over the past several months have been off the charts. I can't wait until we are back together for good.
Unplugging really gave us a chance to just let everything go. We need to do this more often. Hopefully it will be easier to do once we are living in the same place again.
Our cabin. No cell phone service. No television. No internet. No worries.
The New River in Prince, WV where we stayed.
Sophie is still not a huge fan of getting wet.
Class V Rapid on the New River.
Sophie travels in comfort. I think we wore her out...
She has now been to 8 states and Canada. Thank goodness she travels well and that you don't need a doggie passport to go to Canada. Though you do need paperwork that verifies shots.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 24

There's No Toilet Paper... on the Road Less Taken is a compilation of short stories edited by Doug Lansky. Among the contributors is Bill Bryson, author of A Walk in the Woods. These short stories are full of humor and misadventure that come when you leave home. It was a decent read. Some of the stories were so so, while some had me cracking up. It was the perfect book to read in the car on our recent road trip to Canada.
Some excerpts from the book: The fact that I brought luggage to a nudist resort is, in itself, worthy of some discussion. But how I felt carrying three suitcases and a hanging garment bag through a maze of lounging naked people... is a topic Talmudic rabbis could debate for centuries.Proper German has that "chainsaw cutting through a backed-up septic tank" sound to it, much like Nirvana without the long hair.
There's no such thing as cholesterol on the road. In a week in West Texas, I ate three chicken-fried steaks, one fillet mignon, a couple of burge…

The List

The internet is supposed to be the gateway to every possible subject matter you could conjure up, right? Well try googling something like "what to pack when moving into a camper full time."

As a newbie to RV living, I am looking for a specific list of items that seasoned RV dwellers would consider important to everyday living in a 27-foot long camper {with one slide out}. I am sure that such a list exists somewhere in the realm of all things internet related, but I have yet to find it. There is info on how to pack your camper and suggestions for not overloading your rig. But no concrete list that gives a rundown of what is necessary and what is going to take up space and make wish you never insisted on bringing such an item in the first place.

Given the lack of internet information, we are working on our own list. Everything that we own will be packed up and moved into storage {in Tupelo, Mississippi} by the end of next week. In effect, we have one-and-a-half weeks to determ…

Pop Quiz

Is this a 4-lug tire or a 5-lug tire?
If you said 4 lugs, you are smarter than the guy working at Harbor Freight. 
Daniel is traveling to Nashville today with a loaded trailer of things that the moving company cannot move. As he was packing up, he realized he didn't have a spare tire for the trailer. He called around to see what stores were open and if they had the tire on hand.
Harbor Freight seemed to be our best bet. So I went to get the tire. Before I left the store, I opened the box to make sure it had 5 lugs. Unfortunately the worker could not count and they only had 4-lug versions on hand. So score 1 for a wasted trip out for me.
Once the trailer was fully loaded, we tested all of the trailer lights and realized that the battery on the Subaru was dead. This meant I ran to AutoZone for a battery {I also picked up an alternator just in case}. Then I ran to Northern Tools where I was able to get a 5-lug tire {evidently their staff can actually count to 5}.
It's been a heck of a…

Wild Wonderful West Virginia

I hadn't planned on a technology hiatus, but that is just what I needed. Unplugging is detox for my overly connected soul. 
We headed up to Canada last Friday to visit family. Then returned to Charlotte with a stop off in West Virginia. We rented a little cabin on the New River and survived two days with no cell phone reception, no television and no internet. It was a much needed break from the real world.
Thursday we opted to run the lower section of the New River with the Songer White Water rafting company. I would highly recommend this outfitter if you plan on rafting the New River or the Gauley {which my brother has done and encouraged us to do}. Our guides were awesome and gave us the "big" trip that we requested. My philosophy is "you go big, or you go home."
We started our trip by purposefully flipping the raft over in calm water. Daniel and I have run several rivers together and this is the first time I have flipped over - purposefully or otherwise. Someti…