Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflecting on the Year of Change

2014 was a year of great change for me. It is the year that my oldest graduated college and struck out on his own. It was the year that I started thinking about turning the house into my own house - not one that I share with teenagers and 20 somethings. 

As I reflect on the changes, I see how much I have grown and how much growing I have yet to do. I can now think about my dad most of the time without feeling like my heart is being slowly ripped out. I can tell stories without crying and can now make potato candy (his favorite) while thinking of fond and pleasant memories.

During 2014, I have watched BOTH my children grow into the fascinating people that they are meant to be. I have watched my husband, who is now the only male in the house of 3,  deal with living in a house full of estrogen. Poor guy...

Professionally, the fall semester of 2014 was one of the hardest I have ever had to endure. I had a terrible schedule, a terrible calendar, and I had to learn one unit ahead of the kids for yet one more new subject.  For a time, I actually dreaded reading and studying history - which is one of my favorite things to do. I was moving quickly towards burn out and have never been so grateful to see a semester end.

I also had to deal with the new budget that the North Carolina General Assembly created to punish the older teachers. I have now maxed out and less than I would be making back home and will basically be paying the state $220 per month next year for the privilege of working in their system. (Can't help but feel bitter about this.)  They took my bonus away - which is how I pay for Christmas. Oh...I could go on forever about the budget! (I won't though)

2015 looks to be more promising. My daughter and I have a couple of colleges still to visit before she makes up her mind. Those should be nice girls day out type trips. We still have until August until she leaves. I plan to make the most of that time.

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Addition to my Room

Remember the room that I have been working on? Today I finished the lights and tulle over the bed. I think it looks really nice. I just thought I would share a photo.
The curtains will be in on Friday! This room is coming right along!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Artic Blast of the Year

Like most of the country, here in North Carolina we are experiencing a dramatic drop in temperatures. On Wednesday, we had a beautiful Carolina blue sunny day with warm temperatures in the 70's. Today (Saturday), I woke up to a frigid 22 degree morning. I am even contemplating starting a fire to stave off the cold!

Unfortunately, on cold mornings, my joints hurt. I mean they really hurt. I feel like the Tin Man in need of a good oiling. (Where are Dorothy and the Scarecrow when I need them?) I creak and pop and move very slowly on days like this.

Sometimes, I forget that I am getting older. In my head, I don't feel 50ish. My body on the other hand, likes to remind me at least once a day. For instance, when my husband was out of town, I let my daughter determine our menu plan for the week. I definitely can't eat like a teenager any more! First of all, I gained 2 pounds! (She didn't gain an ounce!) Secondly, I had tummy issues after about the third meal!

Part of coping with the almost empty nest is coping with getting older. Sometimes I want to just give in and get old...other times, I want to fight every step of the way! Today, its cold....can I just roll up in a blanket please? 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thanksgiving Rant

I am going to admit this publicly. I absolutely HATE Thanksgiving. I just do. Its a made up holiday to commemorate a group of people who, after I have learned more about them, really shouldn't be commemorated. At all! Period! End of Story!

I truly believe that Thanksgiving was created by males in order to hoodwink women into doing all the work in order to allow them to stuff their bellies and watch football. I just hate this holiday. I just do. I would rather be at work and have some days added to my Christmas break. Better yet, add it to my nonexistent spring break this year.

What is so great about Turkey anyway? Have you really ever had GOOD turkey? And what about that nasty green bean casserole? Green beans taste like clippings from your front yard. Oh, and really, are they any better with the added cream of mushroom soup and those nasty crunchy onion things? Come on.....

At my house, my family always has to critique the meal like we have just finished a major sporting event. My husband has never learned how to compliment any food that he eats - ever.  At best I will get, "It's edible." What the heck am I supposed to gain from a comment like that? Even after spending weeks planning a Thanksgiving meal and hours preparing it...the best I will get is "It was edible, but...." After that, I will get a play by play listing of what I did wrong. It's not the freakin' Super Bowl! You are NOT a sports analyst! It's a complicated and difficult meal to prepare! Enjoy it and give your wife a compliment!

Of course the alternative is to drag ourselves up north to visit family. Up the late fall. I live in the south for a reason folks! Why do I want to spend my hard earned vacation where it is cold, gray, and nasty? At best, I will get a 40 degree day. Oh boy...(can you see my eyes rolling?)  Do I really want a vacation that means I have to dig out my winter coat in November? Honestly? No. Just No.

So, here we go again, up north to visit relatives and eat until we can't move, watch football, cook, clean....yep...that's what I call a vacation....

I'm done....just done....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

First Acceptance Letter

Our daughter received her first acceptance letter today. She was offered a very nice scholarship to a school she has wanted to attend ever since the 8th grade. I am very proud of her!

Now we have to make an appointment to go over and meet with the counselors to see what other scholarships and grants are available for her. This is exciting! I had forgotten how exciting it is to get the letters and watch your child begin to plan the next phase of their life. I want to hang on to that excitement! I don't want to think about the empty quiet house next fall...So for now...I am living in the moment!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Last 5K

My husband and I are very active in the parent organization at the magnet high school my daughter attends. In fact, I teach there. The parent organization always has a teacher liason, so since my daughter is a student, guess who fills that role?

Four years ago, the parents decided that they wanted to begin an annual fundraising event that would become synonymous with our school. In honor of the mascot - the Golden Knight - we decided to hold an annual 5K race in the evening. A play on words, the KNIGHT RUN. The first run netted us a small profit, but we had so much fun, we decided to try it again. Last year, we added a short fun walk. We earned double what we earned the first year. This year, we have already earned about triple that  -  even though the race is not until this evening.

This evening is my farewell as the 5K coordinator. I am both a little anxious and a little glad. Coordinating this event is not easy, but I must say, that after the first one, the 5K rather runs itself. (no pun intended.)  The parents this year have been wonderful! They jumped right on board and have really worked hard. We had plenty of sponsors, we were able to cut expenses,  and we were able to get some good publicity. I truly think that this race will continue to grow.

As I  wind down my tenure as the race coordinator, I can't help but feel as though I have helped to create a lasting legacy that can continue.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Coming Along Nicely

Now that I have gone back to school, home improvement projects are slowing down.  We aren't home very much on the weekends, so I don't have as much time as before. On top of that, we have several weekend trips planned over the course of the next two months. I probably won't get to work on the room again for at least several weeks.

However, I did want you to see what I have accomplished thus far.   Last weekend, we were able to get the walls painted just before the second hand day bed I bought was delivered. Yesterday, I put some finials on the day bed t and covered the mattresses with fitted sheets to match a quilt that we once used on my daughter's bed. I found a pretty box at Hobby Lobby (50% off!) that I placed on the dressing table to hold my makeup. It looks very nice with the mirror that hangs above.

I'll post pictures of the dressing tables after I get the sconces hung up. Then you can get the whole effect. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another completed project

Just a quick post to show what I finally got to finish this evening. I have waiting for what seems to be FOREVER for a rain free weekend!

This table had been upstairs in the hallway. Poor thing had been totally beaten up by the kids. So, I decided to give it a good coat of paint and move it downstairs where it would be safe from abuse!
The wall where I had this painting just didn't do it justice. So, I moved it to the larger wall just inside the front door.
I added a couple of baskets and a couple of painted items from the thrift store
and VOILA! here is the final project....

What do you think?

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Finally, I got through everything in that back room...I went through it piece by piece. Every last inch of that nasty room! (Here's a reminder.)

I sold some items online, donated a few and then had a yard sale to take care of the rest. I priced things to get rid of them. I didn't make a lot of money, but that wasn't the point. The point was to get it out of the house!

I have to admit that the yard sale was fun. It has done nothing but rain here for days and days. Saturday was the first really nice day we have had in awhile. All the neighbors were out which allowed us all time to chat and get to know each other a bit. Other families had planned yard sales over the past couple of weeks that had to be rescheduled because of weather, so it turned out that we had several families holding sales. That helped to draw people into the neighborhood. 

Anyway, back to my point. I have the room totally cleaned out now. I even had the ceiling repaired and repainted. I painted our old dining room table and have created a little dressing table for myself. All that is left to do is paint the room (which I plan to do Labor Day weekend) and bring in the new day bed.

Here is a picture of the table just after I got it upstairs. You really can't see, but it is a two toned cream color. I like how it turned out. The top is a winter white. The legs are ivory. Just enough of a difference in color to make it interesting.
Purging and creating a nice little space for myself is something that I really needed to do. I am very glad that I did all that work over the summer. I promise to post pics as it gets finished up.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving The Oldest Out of the House

Well, it's done. My oldest baby, R,  is now out and on his own. He should start classes on July 14th and graduate on August 15th. He isn't walking or anything - he will just be finished with his classes.

I gotta say that it was difficult to leave him there on Saturday. I had forgotten how nasty a first place can be - especially one with three twenty something guys in it! YUCK! After we left, I felt like I needed a scrub down. R is very proud of his new house, though. He loves the location and his new bedroom. He loves that it has been remodeled (I would HATE to see what it looked like before!). BUT, I gotta say, if I could have given it a good cleaning - it might not have been so bad.

In an old Cosby Show episode, Cliff and Claire go to have dinner with newly weds Sondra and Elvin. The couple live in a terrible apartment with awful furniture. Of course this is all dealt with in a comedic manner. I gotta say, I was thinking about that episode on Saturday and wishing for something comedic. Thinking about the episode did help me get through watching them put together the futon and unpacking the boxes. After we got out of there, I just lost it.

"We have moved him into a hell hole!" I said as I cried and cried. My husband assured me that our son was going to be okay. He reminded me that R was very proud of his new digs.

I guess I am just going to have to remember that there will be no place for R to go but up from here. 

The Cleaning Out is Done for Now

The room itself is as clean as it is going to get until after the painters come next week. The ceiling needs repaired and painted before I start redecorating. Our son's things from that room have been carted up to West Virginia and have been deposited into his new home. There are still a few odds and ends lying about, but I'll take care of that after the painters are finished. I plan to get my husband to help me move those cubbies sometime tonight or tomorrow night.

My daughter's actual bedroom is a nightmare, but she is coming home today, so the goal for this morning was to get the back bedroom and bathroom finished before she hits her own bedroom and crashes. Since she slept 20 hours after her trip to Kansas City, I figure she will be just as jet lagged tonight and into tomorrow. I don't want to have to work around her while she rests for the next couple of days. There are still a couple of boxes of her things in the back closet, but she and I go through them this weekend.
I moved the hall table into the living room to create more of an entry way type space. I have a couple of paint chips there on top to help me pick out which shade of yellow I want to choose. I have learned to bring home a couple of paint chips and then attach them to the walls or furniture and observe the colors in different lighting for a few days. This little trick helps me choose the perfect shade of paint. After a day or two of observing the paint chips, I almost always end up choosing a different shade than I had originally planned.

All in all, it has been a productive few weeks. The most important lesson I have learned is that once the kids are gone, I will have all kinds of time...will I have the inkling? Well, that's a whole different story.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Oh my....who knew it was going to be this hard!

I have worked just about every morning this week on cleaning out that upper back bedroom. I can only handle it for about 30 minutes at a clip and then I just have to go and do something else. (I'm a little ADD that way.) 

It gets hot up there after lunch, so that is when I deal with whatever got yanked out of the closet, out from under the bed, or out of a basket etc...Because the room was my daughters when she was little, today, I actually started to run into my son's old things. Old collectibles, sports balls, shoes...and YUCK, a jock strap...YUCK! 

I have managed to sell a few things online and have a great big box ready for our upcoming yard sale. I post pictures online of the things I want to sell and see who bites. Anything that is not sold by the weekend will go into the outdoor Yard Sale we will have next month. (I hope) 

I also have a box ready for donations. I will need to get it out of here before the daughter gets back from her trip, or I won't be able to get rid of any of it....

Here's some pics of the progress thus far...


I probably should have taken a picture of the HUGE pile of trash that was put out by the curb for yesterday's pick up, but I was just too embarrassed.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cleaning Out

Today I begin the sad and daunting task of cleaning out my son's old room. This is rather bittersweet for me. I have to finally admit that he will not be coming back here to live when he graduates in August. I wonder if every parent goes through this or is it just me?

I have decided to turn the room into a retreat for me. I want a place that is cozy and cute that I can enjoy.  We have been using that little room as a dumping ground for anything we didn't want to deal with. The attic is full of who knows what, the closets have clothes that haven't been worn since 1978 and we won't even talk about the floors! This room has become the giant vacuum cleaner of the house! If it is lost, it is probably hidden up there behind or under something.

I will blog about my progress as I go along. I hope this keeps me motivated enough to get it done. Please don't judge me...but here are the before pics.

If I am not out by lunch time, someone send in a search party!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The ALMOST empty nest.

This is officially the beginning of our youngest child's summer between her junior and senior year of high school. I find that I have mixed feelings about this. One part of me is excited that I have one more year until I get my life back while the other part of me is devastated that I only have one more year with a child at home.

The last baby bird (our second) to leave the nest is so much different than the first. This time, I know what to expect. This time, I know that I am going to grieve.  This time, I have an understanding of what I am going to go through. This time, the dread is much worse.

I am determined to enjoy this last year. I am determined to prepare for the loss and to embrace my new found freedom as an aging Yuppy. (Is there such thing as an aging Yuppy?) Maybe I should make up a new term?

Fiftyish Empty Nesters FENS???? I love it...We will be FENS!! Just like a Jimmy Buffett tune!