What have you been doing between holidays?
Did you have a highlight and a 'lowlight' of this past year? My highlight was our family trip to the Pacific Northwest. My lowlight was of my mother's illness and ultimate death from Lou Gehrig's disease.
If there was one good thing that came out of my mother's death, it was that I got to spend so much time with my sister. She was able to relocate here last December, when my mother's illness was beginning to get the best of her. Jean wanted to be here when my mom passed away. After my mom's death, she came and went several times---each time returning to work on a remodel of a home on one of our local rivers. She was able to hang out with the family and do cool "Aunt" stuff with our youngest, James. She took him to movies, to a BB King concert, zip-lining, and came to every one of his soccer games. She said, "It's not that I care one bit about soccer, but the kiss I get from him at the end of the game makes it all worth it."
This week, almost a year later, she has moved on for good. She is headed for North Carolina to put down roots with some friends in a shared house. Her first order of business will be to buy a surfboard. She is an ocean person, and has missed living near one badly.
Now to some truly random thoughts from this week.
I'm always up for meeting new animals, especially ones I haven't been up close to in years. As a little girl, I had a second cousin that had a sow with piglets. I learned two things. First, Sows will kill you as quick as they can, so stay out of the pen. Second, piglets are so cute that I couldn't hardly stand it. This batch of piglets found an escape route from the pen, and when they did, we'd snatch them up and snuggle them. Oh, I also learned they can squeal loud enough to deafen you.
This week, I went with a friend to feed a 4-H piglet. His owners were out of town. He was still pretty cute, even though he wasn't tiny anymore. I guess since pigs aren't limber as they'd like to be, it's a universal fact that they like to be scratched behind their ears. Speaking of ears, does anyone know what's with all the notching of pigs ears?? This poor guy had one ear that looked like a Christmas tree.
When I wasn't cleaning, or cooking, or doing laundry, I was redoing James' bedroom. He had green walls, wallpaper on the bottom half, and a Monster Truck border in the middle.
Let me just say that wallpaper should be banned, unless you know you'll love it forever and never plan on moving. Taking the stuff down took me two days. First to pull the vinyl picture off the paper backing, and then to get the paper backing off the wall. Luckily, I tried warm water on it before breaking out the "wear gloves, don't get it on anything, have all windows and doors open" wallpaper stripper. Just so you know, warm water works great. I then washed the remaining adhesive off the walls.
Next came the taping and taking down of posters. I was then able to break out the yellow paint James had chosen. The Cliff's Notes versions of painting involves 2.5 gallons of paint for a 12 x 12 room, that includes 3 doors and a large window. It was a thirsty wall and more importantly, I was covering green with yellow. Three coats!! Can you say, AAaaarrrgghh?!
Lessons learned--1. Paint all colored walls with a coat of white, before trying to cover it with another color. 2. Use wider tape to tape the ceiling if you no longer have the can of white ceiling paint to touch up mistakes. There are many yellow spots on his ceiling.
This is the border James has chosen as a replacement. There will be no lower wallpaper. I hope he likes it. He has to live with it for another 8 years until he goes off to college. Then I'll rent his room out to a rock star or something.