My dolls….

After we were able to move back into our bedroom, Tom unpacked some of the things that had been on top of our old dresser. This little dish from Geri still had a pair of Barbie shoes in it that had once fallen out of a box from the dolls that were in the top of my “extra” bedroom closet. I always meant to find which little Cinderella was missing her shoes, but I never did and now those boxed dolls are with all my other dolls in storage.

I am acutely aware every day that my dolls and my two most precious stuffed animals (Dr. Neil and First) are NOT IN MY HOUSE. I’ll be glad when they’re back home. Things will be a lot more normal by that point.

One week later…

It’s been a week since my birthday, but I thought I’d post a few happy photos so I can remember it.

First off, I received an email from Charles The Boss that Monday morning telling me I needed to come to a mandatory meeting at the clinic. I was all, No! On my birthday? But the topic was one of my ongoing concerns so I dragged myself there. Charles’s door was closed, and he wasn’t back from an off-site meeting yet, so Morgan, our Rescue Team Lead, said we could start the meeting in his office without him. I AM SO CLUELESS.

There was no meeting. It was a set-up from the foster, rescue, and medical teams who were at work that day and even some people who came in on their days off with cake and birthday love for me. I WORK WITH THE BEST PEOPLE. But as I later told Charles, now I know that he and everyone else WILL LIE TO ME.

I forgot to take a photo of the cake before we all fell on it like starving lunatics, but it was SO GOOD.

Also a few little goodies from people who know me too well.

That night, Tom and I met Debby, Tim, Lynne, Rhonda, and Lindsey out for (at least in my case) a steak dinner at one of my favorite casual restaurants. After dinner, we split a couple of pieces of decadent chocolate cake (I was good and only took a small bite of my second cake of the day!), while I opened a few of my presents.

This is a super cool organizer Lindsey’s been giving her friends who like to color. It’s for those times you want to take your coloring book and colors out with you, but you don’t want to be burdened with your 5,023 pencils, pens, and markers (wait, maybe that’s just the number in my collection?). The ones in here now mysteriously showed up with my coloring supplies long after the flood, and I think they may have been some Lynne purged when she was moving. She’s very sneaky. (And no, Lynne, I have NOT put that one particular set of pencils back in that coloring book set in an OCD frenzy–unless it was Debby who forbade me to do that, but I think it was you).

Those cards for coloring came in a letter I received from Marika some time back. I LOVE MARIKA’S snail mail. Her letters are like getting creative little gifts full of thoughts and humor, tales of Mighty Monte and adventures in writing and St. Pete, and reminders of inside jokes that leave me cackling. They never make it home from the post office unread. As soon as I get to my car, I have to open and devour them.

Speaking of Lynne being sneaky, these dachshund sheets she gave me are a cool addition to Houndstooth Hall.

Unfortunately, they came with a price tucked among the folds.

Yep, the coasters are home. FORTUNATELY, Timothy cancelled them out with these he picked up while on a trip to Maine.

Thank you, Tim, and you’re welcome, world, for your daily cow.

This was one of the things I had wanted, and a little bird told Lynne, who delivered it.

Yes, we all know I’ve never been a big fan of Bush, but I admire his second act. He has devoted himself to learning a new creative passion and to honoring people whose Commander in Chief he was. I think often of those who serve. People who thrive on creating discord on the Internet love to “speak” for our service members and how they feel about the White House. But searching photos will show you many, many occasions under all administrations of our leaders surrounded by smiling members of the military. I can’t envision a world without the Internet anymore, but I can sure envision an Internet without comments.

On the matter of former presidents, one of my favorite things during Obama’s eight years in office was the Flickr White House account that featured Pete Souza’s photos. Thanks to Lindsey and Rhonda, I now have this book that I failed to get before it sold out before Christmas. So grateful for its success and its second printing, and for the trusting relationship between a president and his official photographer that provided unprecedented access to the executive branch and families.

Related to the executive branch families, I’m delighted to add these to my collection. I always follow the children of presidents with interest and hope they find fulfilling lives beyond the White House years. So many parents and teachers are using these books to encourage the aspirations of young girls.

In the Department of Shiny, here’s a brooch from Lynne.

And what do you see in my new crystal ball from Debby?

I’m hoping it’s more good things for all of you reading.

Thanks to all for many fantastic birthday wishes!

Transport Thursday!

“Hello, my name is Bubbler. Funny story. When I arrived at my foster mom’s home, my name was Bubbles. Bubbles! She figured out that I was a boy, and some crazy woman in records changed it to Bubbler. Seriously? Bubbler? Look at me. Do either of those names seem right? I should be a Churchill. Bismarck. Roosevelt. Cromwell. I wouldn’t even mind signing my John Hancock as, well, John Hancock. Bubbler. As the great philosopher Charles Schulz might have written, ‘Good grief, Charlie Brown.'”

Craft night-ready!

I don’t understand how a shopping trip for an umbrella stand turned into vintage chairs. But I like their quirky legs and the funky reupholstery fabric, all of which make me feel that I just time traveled back to the 1970s. Plus the dealer reduced their cost by a third. Can’t beat that!

When the kitchen is restored and I have a sink and a stove again, I think we may just need to have our first Craft Night in seven months so we can all test the comfort of the new chairs. It’ll still be quite a while before the craft room/office is back in use. It’s a big mess right now.

Every time there’s a hard rain, we are up again in the middle of the night dealing with water coming in at one side of the room. It’s kind of strange that during those times when Tom and I are mopping water out of our house, pulling up wet towels and replacing them with dry ones, we retain a weird sense of humor about it all. The new standard is, “It’s not like it’s fifty inches of rain. We’ll deal.”

Now he can watch all his shows in comfort

Here it is, the FIRST thing I promised I’d get Tom when we could start refurnishing the house. His replacement recliner.

Still plenty of work to do in the living room, but we’ll get there. Just around the corner from the couch (which desperately needs its leather rubbed down), we have decided to move the smaller table that had been in the library into the dining room. Those are our old dining room chairs. We haven’t decided yet whether to use them or use the chairs that go with this table (the table and chairs were my parents’, and we’re lucky we could save them). This table can be expanded–it has two leafs–but we like the feeling of space in there.

Because the OTHER table that had previously been in the dining room is larger and so are the new-to-me chairs I told you about. Next blog post…

Last night we had my birthday dinner out (remember? no stove? no sink? no kitchen?) with Tim, Debby, Lynne, Rhonda, and Lindsey. We had so much fun. I got lots of good stuff (now that I allow people to give me stuff again, BUT NOT TOO MUCH–still on the purging kick that will resume when we start pulling stuff out of storage). It was mostly books. There’s always room for books.

And Debby gave me the beautiful flowers. It was a lovely birthday.

Best birthday morning that could be

Today I dreamed I woke up in my bedroom. It was right for the first time in seven months. It had walls with fresh paint. It had new floors. The ruined furniture had been replaced. My clothes had been neatly folded into my new chest of drawers, and Tom had a matching chest of drawers. My clothes hung in the closet, and the shoes I still owned were in shoeboxes. I had an interesting new dresser. All that was missing was the art that should be hanging on the walls.


Our bed is back where it belongs. It survived and so did my nightstand. Tom’s nightstand did not, but Debby gave him a new one for his birthday in December.

We lost our dresser and armoire in the flood. If our replacement chests of drawers look familiar, it’s because they are the same as the ones Tim bought after he had to refurnish his apartment. I never found any that I liked as much, and he said it was okay if I chose the same ones. I purged a TON of clothes (all donated), and now everything fits into my chest of drawers and one closet.

A closet! I have a closet again! I’m not pulling my clothes out of cardboard boxes. And I have a deal with myself. Every time I buy an article of clothing, an article of clothing must be donated.

This is my new dresser. It used to be Lynne’s TV stand, and when she sold her house and was downsizing furniture, I told her I wanted it and she gave it to me! I haven’t decided exactly how to use it yet, and I need to buy a mirror to hang over it. But we love the metal and wood look–Tom’s nightstand is also metal, and the legs of the chests of drawers are metal. I told you after Debby and Tim began refurnishing there would be a post-Harvey theme: lots of metal because it is not a happy thing to see your ruined wood furniture being carried from your house to the curb.

Eventually the art will return from storage and the bedroom will be as it should be. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

More progress

The contractors have finally pulled our kitchen cabinets in preparation for a lot of things. First, everything behind and under the cabinets has to be treated for mold. There really isn’t much mold, considering the flood happened seven months ago, but now it’s being dealt with.

Second, we think the flooding shorted out parts of the electrical system on the dishwasher. It will still work, but only on one setting which is like three hours long. I may be exaggerating. But still, insanely long. The guy who came and inspected the dishwasher for the insurance company said it was okay, and it was only afterward that we realized it wasn’t working right. Nobody liked this dishwasher anyway. So it’s gone, and a new one will be delivered in the next week or so that’s better suited to our smaller loads and infrequent use of a dishwasher (usually only after dinners here with friends).

Third, I never liked the stove that was here when we moved in. It was electric, which was fine, but the range top was glass, and I was warned not to use my iron skillets on it. NEVER TELL A SOUTHERN WOMAN WHO COOKS THAT SHE CAN’T USE HER IRON SKILLETS. So they’ve only been used in the oven for cornbread and such since we moved into the house. Now that they pulled the cabinets (and this is tricky with granite, but they did a great job), the plumber will install a gas line to the stove area, so I’ll be getting a new gas stove with a regular stovetop. BACK TO IRON SKILLETS, BITCHES. Also, it’s oddly hard to keep those glass tops clean. Maybe with the gas stove, I’ll cook more AND have a cleaner kitchen. HA HA HA HA HA.

When the new cabinets come, they’ll be a surprise. Tom and I made a bold decision we hope works out. I’m saving the reveal for their installation. =)

Meanwhile, here are the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and pull out shelves from the old cabinets.

Today the quarter round is down throughout the house and tomorrow we can start seriously moving various pieces of furniture back into their rightful places. In fact, we’re going to get a very important piece of furniture today. Stay tuned!

Please share my umbrella*

For our Christmas photo, I wanted to buy umbrellas that represented Houston’s sports teams, several of whom–Rockets, Astros, and Texans–had feature roles in making 2017 meaningful for us. Alas, I couldn’t find any, so instead I bought the three oversized black umbrellas that are in the photo.

Before the flood, my walking stick I’d gotten one year at the Renaissance Festival, and my father’s cane were propped in a corner of the library. Then after the new umbrellas came, I decided I’d like an umbrella stand, so Debby and I went shopping yesterday to find one. And I lost my mind and bought six dining room chairs at my favorite antique/retro store. I’ll share photos later when they are delivered.

Debby did find an umbrella stand for me to purchase, too. Mission successful!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day has nothing to do with why I’m celebrating (though I am wearing green).

Today, FINALLY, every room (for now–this is about to change in the kitchen) has walls, and every room except the office (still to come) and kitchen and bathrooms (don’t need) has new flooring. Our tile people officially finished Phase I today.


Below is some natural stone tile that Kimberly at The Tile Shop helped us pick out for transitions between the new floor tile and the old kitchen tile (which didn’t need replacing). We love it.

Going from kitchen to library.
Going from dining room to kitchen.

As you can see, Tom and I now have to clean grout haze and just plain dirty floors. Although it’s a bit pointless until all the work is done, I’m so excited to have floors again that I want to make the attempt.