Saturday, April 22, 2006

Curb Appeal

Griff is a This Old House junkie. He watches This Old House, This Old House Classics, Inside This Old House, and Ask This Old House. It's given him all kinds of grand ideas for things to do with our 25-year old fixer-upper. (Don't get me started on his kitchen renovation plans.)

A couple of years ago, we saw an episode where they did patterned concrete. Griff fell in love with it. Our driveway was broken and cracked and he dreamed of replacing our with patterned concrete. It was all a "someday" dream until we got "The Letter".

"The Letter" came from our home owner's association. They told us we needed to repair our driveway. After a letter telling them exactly how much money we've put into this house in the last 3 years, they backed off. For awhile. Last fall, we got another letter. After fuming over it for a few days, Griff decided maybe we should go ahead and fix it. (I think all the tuition we're no longer paying is making us feel rich. ) Of course, the way we do things, that doesn't mean a patch. That means a completely new driveway. And, while we're at it, a new back patio because of our drainage problem. And then the front walk will look old and shabby, so we need to replace that, too.

So, we did it. The last week and a half has been taken up with this project. From the teeth-rattling jackhammers to the stress of picking just the right colors, it's been quite a ride. But totally worth it. It looks fabulous, if I may say so myself.

I'm including some before and after pictures so you can ooohhh and aahhh yourself. Click on the images if you want to see them larger.


After (the walkway is dirty, so it's not the best picture):

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This One's For You, Linda

by A. A. Milne

Has anybody seen my mouse?

I opened his box for half a minute,
Just to make sure he was really in it,
And while I was looking, he jumped outside!
I tried to catch him, I tried, I tried ...
I think he's somewhere about the house.
Has anyone seen my mouse?

Uncle John, have you seen my mouse?

Just a small sort of mouse, a dear little brown one,
He came from the country, he wasn't a town one,
So he'll feel all lonely in a London Street;
Why, what could he possibly find to eat?

He must be somewhere. I'll ask Aunt Rose:
Have you seen a mouse with a woffelly nose?
Oh, somewhere about -
He's just got out ...

Hasn't anybody seen my mouse?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Future Plans

The other day, while riding in the car, Robert was reading his Bible. All of a sudden, he said, "Mom, you know what I want to be when I grow up?" No, sweetie, what? "I want to be a preacher." Why do you want to be a preacher? "Because I want to tell people about God."

It put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. My sweet, sweet boy.

I'm Not So Sure About the Energetic Part

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Ruthie and I spent time Friday afternoon and Saturday going through everything in her room. Every shelf, every drawer, every basket. Everything. The kids have gotten to the point that it is honestly difficult to keep their rooms clean because they have so much stuff. So, I decided it is time to pare it down. Ruthie did a great job. She is really good at letting go of things for the most part. There were a few things I had to talk her into getting rid of, but overall it went very easily. Her room looks wonderful. We were able to get rid of her toy box and fit most of her other toys into her closet. Her room looks empty!

Next, Robert's room. I walked into it late Saturday afternoon and immediately turned around and walked out again. Goodness. The Legos, the Bionicles, the Transformers, the Hot Wheels. All those little bitty pieces are overwhelming. Plus, he is NOT good at getting rid of things. I am pretty much on my own for this job if I want to actually get rid of anything. I will, though. By the end of this week, he'll be pared down as well.

It is so liberating to let go of these things. For me, anyway. I'm not sure how liberated Robert will feel. :)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Did I Hear That Right?

Griff: Did Robert just say 'ziggurat'?

Me: Yes. We studied them a couple of weeks ago as part of ancient Mesopotamia. I have lots of pictures. Want to see them?

Griff: No, I know what they are. I was just surprised to hear it come from him.

(Griff walks away, shaking his head and laughing)

I love it. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Health Insurance (ARGH!)

Griff recently received the option to refuse health insurance through the company he works for. We pay over $600/month for a family of 4. In looking at ways to cut expenses, we looked at our health insurance. We decided we wanted to look into private insurance with a health savings account. That would mean a high deductible, but we are very healthy and once we had enough money in the HSA to cover the deductible, we would be okay.

Imagine my shock when Robert was refused coverage because of his Asperger's. I couldn't believe it! I fully expected them to refuse to cover any AS-related expenses (of which there have been NONE since we took him off of Stattera in the summer of 2003). I did not expect them to refuse coverage for him completely. He is no more likely to get sick than any other child.

I'm part of an AS email list and I asked about this. Someone replied that this is typical. Private insurance does not have to cover anybody, so they don't cover AS. What a crock.

I'm grateful that we still have that company insurance, but what about those people who don't? What do they do? What about Griff's dream to be self-employed? What do we do about that?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I love libraries. I have for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a small-ish town that had one library. As soon as I was old enough (which was much younger than what would be old enough now!), I would ride my bike down there several times a week during the summer. I loved it there. Really, really loved it. It was so quiet. Remember that? When you had to actually whisper in a library or risk being scolded by the librarian? The card catalog was actual cards that you flipped through to find what you wanted. I would fill out the pocket card and take it to the front desk where they would stamp the due date with one of those date stampers that have all the numbers and months that roll around. (not a good description, I know) I was so impressed when they got a machine they could stick the card into and, ka-chunk, have the date stamped on it automatically.

After I married, I discovered the library closest to our home and started visiting it. If they didn't have the book I wanted, I filled out a little slip of paper and put it in a box. When it was available, I would get a letter in the mail telling me it was waiting for me. One day, I asked Griff to stop and pick up a book for me. The librarian at the desk handed him some sort of modern economics book. Griff said, "I don't think this is right." One of the other librarians came up and said, "Oh, no. Rhonda doesn't read that type of book." She then went to the shelf and found the right one.

I tell you that story to make a point. I went to the library tonight. I had reserved several books online (after searching the online catalog) and received an e-mail that they were waiting for me. I went into the library and pulled my books off the alphabetically-sorted-by-name reserve shelves. I then went to the self-service check out. I put my library card in the scanner and scanned my own books. It printed out a due date slip and I left. I didn't once speak to, or even make eye contact with, a librarian.

While this way is definitely more efficient, I don't think it's better, and I've decided I don't like it. I believe we will start checking out at least some of our books with the librarian at the desk. I wonder what things are like now at my hometown library? I think I'll stop in next time I'm home.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Searching for a Church Home

We have been without a church home for several months now. We left our former congregation because of its ties with the school the children were at. When the elementary principal's daughter is in your son's class at church... Well, you can see the problem.

We have been visiting a church close to our home for a couple of months now. To be honest, the only thing it has going for it is that it's close to our home and there are a lot of girls Ruth's age. We just cannot get enthused about it. To me, that's a sign that we shouldn't be there.

Every other place we would consider going to church is 20-30 minutes away on a Sunday morning. That means that for Wednesday nights and special week-night events, it would take us close to an hour to get there with traffic.

I'm feeling lost and depressed and frustrated.

Please pray for us as we go through this.