Interstellar Adventures

December 15, 2008

Nothing like a party to make a house a home

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,Mr. Wonderful,Texas Life,Uncategorized — by InterstellarLass @ 12:40 am

I finally got around to having a “Housewarming Party” nearly six months after we moved in. Which is exactly what I needed to get touch-ups done and pictures hung on the wall. I’m not proclaiming that all boxes are unpacked. No, in fact, quite a few got stuffed into closets. But the walls have less spackle-patches and paint splotches, and there are pictures on the walls.

Nick let out his inner decorating diva and made the place all Christmassy. Except for the tree, the majority of the decorating was done by him, with some suggestions (and some nixing of ideas) from me. His favorite idea took a while to come by, and also conquered one of our decorating challenges – the stairwell landing wall. Going through a bunch of crap at my mom’s house this fall, I came upon a bunch of old LPs. Which I greedily took and didn’t offer to share with my sibs. I’ve picked up a few more LPs at a discount book store, and bought a turn table. So we picked our favorites of some album artwork and used LP frames to make art!

Saturday I roasted and turkey and warmed up a ham, and my friends brought over side-dishes and desserts, and we had an in-law-less Christmas dinner. ALL contributions to the dinner were excellent, including some perfectly spicy jalapeno au gratin potatoes, and some beyond delicious creamed brussel sprouts. My friend Steph also brought me some beautiful flowers and champagne, which I will soon enjoy in some mimosas.

I also made Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing. Not something I will sanely choose to do again. It took me forever to get the cookies rolled out and cut. The recipe I found called for the dough to be chilled. My friend that makes the most beautiful decorated cookies told me I had the wrong recipe – hers don’t get chilled. Then, the icing. Everywhere. What a mess! I didn’t even decorate all the ones I baked, and I was exhausted. So much so that I forgot to make my cranberry sauce and only had jellied sauce. So now I have two bags of cranberries. They’ll get used though, so no worries. No one stayed too late. Mostly because I now live in BFE, and I know that it took some people about 45 minutes at least to get home.

I love my house. Just sometimes I wish I could pick it up and land, Dorothy-style, somewhere else. Except I love driving up the two-lane, tree-lined asphalt road to get home some days. For about 45 seconds I don’t feel like I live in one of the largets metropolitain areas in the nation. I like the ranch that I drive by on my way to work every day. And it tickled me to no end to see them harvesting crops at the end of the summer. But all around are new subdivisions (yes, the builders are actually still building, though not as fast), and the roads are scheduled to be widened, and then I will have to move somewhere else in 10 years to get away from it.

I can’t wait to have more parties at my house. Good thing I have so many beds! My friends can all stay the night if they decide they don’t want to drive all those miles back home.

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June 5, 2008

Out of One Option, Into Another

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:01 pm

We and our buyer finally came to terms on her 11th hour laundry list of repairs. Mostly piddly things, but a few that could have been significant. She got another few dollars out of our wallet, but it could have been worse. I’ve got a couple of shingles to replace, some flashing to add to eaves, and several GFCI outlets to install. No biggie.

We had our inspection today on the house we made an offer on. The inspection took FOR.EVER. Thankfully the inspector was a really nice guy, dealt with me following him around a lot, asking questions. But heck, I was paying him $400 for the afternoon. (That could be read the wrong way I suppose, but it was kind of fun to say.) Part of the reason it took so long is that the house is either a 5BR/4BA/3LA/2DA/study or a 6BR/4BA/3LA/2DA. Glass half-full, glass half-empty kind of view. Either way, we are more than doubling our square footage. Seriously. If I don’t want to see Nick for a whole week, I just send him to the Gameroom/Media Room/Man Room thingy upstairs and say ‘stay there’. Because there is a full bath for him to use up there. The kids will have their own living room upstairs too. Pop will have his own room and bathroom, and that’s downstairs. But I never get mad at him, so he can be downstairs with me.

Wrigley & Tori will love the large back yard. And they can be downstairs with me too. Because Nick will be upstairs, and he won’t get to complain that Wrigley has just stunk up the living room with one of her atrocious farts. Or that Tori is sitting too close to him and staring.

One of the things we love about the house is, that except for the master bed room, all the colors used on the walls are colors we like. We aren’t likely to change any color except for the baby poop brown and faux finished (yes, two different colors/finishes on 2 each of the 4 walls) master walls. And touching up the ceiling line in the bathroom where the tiny people (at least that’s how I imagine them) couldn’t reach, even on the tallest ladder, to get to the ceiling line to finish painting. And you know what is funny about the fact that we like all the colors they used? They left all the paint cans in the garage (fortunately) and they were all $5.00 ‘Oops’ cans from Home Depot. Not one was a color they ‘chose’. They just went through the $5 pile and took a rainbow home. And it looks great!

So after we figure out how to take care of the 2 Big Things that showed up on the inspection (no hot water in the showers of two bathrooms – but hot water in the sinks of said bathrooms – and a freon leak upstairs that didn’t allow the upstairs to cool below 80o) we will be out of our option. I’m ready to move. NOW. Forget waiting on loan approval and clear title and surveys and all that crap. Just give me the house already! I’m antsy. Two weeks from today is closing. I wish I could wake up two weeks from now and have it all go fine. Perfectly fine with no issues.

Except this is my life. I have to have issues. It’s just me. Like, for instance, such as, my motor burning out on my A/C compressor Tuesday night. (For those of you counting, it is now Thursday night.) I have no A/C. It’s been in the 90s all week. Nick is about to murder someone, and I’m pretty damn grumpy. At least I get to go to an air conditioned workplace during the day. Nick, the kids and Pop are home. We have all fans running, and have bought two oscillating fans, two box fans, and a personal portable evap cooler unit. On the bright side (yes, there is one) the A/C outage is covered by the home warranty contract we have on our home during the listing period. The whole fixing up thing is going to only cost me $60. That is, if the guy shows up at 10 tomorrow like he said. Otherwise it will cost me my husband, because he will hunt down the technician that has been dodging our calls since yesterday morning and rip the guy a new one.

Happy end-of-school to all you moms out there. Bring on the summer and the insanity.

May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Filed under: Interstellar Travel,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 10:36 am

January 23, 2008

Brrr…

Filed under: Texas Life,Training — by InterstellarLass @ 8:49 pm

So it seems like we’re all in a deep freeze. I think it’s been in the 30’s or below every night for the past week or more. My lips are chapped. Elle’s face is chapped. I mean, I’m not complaining or anything. We don’t have snow or anything…yet. Friday is supposed to be icy. I hope not. People around here get crazy. Especially people in trucks.

I’m still working out. I mean, I slacked a bit between last Thursday and this Tuesday. But I’m not quitting. I’m still on it. Go me.

November 2, 2007

Put Up Your Feet and Sit a Spell

Filed under: Adventures,Memes & Quizzes,Real Good Food,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:46 am

I was tagged by Mr. Sparky Duck for a weekend-in-your-city meme. Check out his suggestions for the City of Brotherly Love! I think we all need to go for a tour! I did a Dallas City tour last year with lots of photos of some of the more famous landmarks in the city. But, I didn’t consider some of these other Bests of my fair city. Also, next weekend I’ll be spending some time in Fort Worth, so be prepared for more photos and tidbits about our sister-city that makes up the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Best Place to Eat: Wow, this is a toughie. It all depends on the kind of food you want to eat. I once heard that Dallas is one of the toughest places in the US to open and have a successful restaurant. Of course we have the chains, but who really cares about those. If one of you were to come to Dallas (well, except Carn – I’d have to find us a good vegetarian spot), I would probably take you for some of the best damn fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life. Babe’s and Bubba’s is where we took Nick’s sister when she came to town from Michigan, and where we took my uncle and his fiance when they came to town from Cape Cod. We also celebrated Elle’s birthday there. Family style chicken with all-you-can-eat mashed potatoes, creamed corn, green beans, and biscuits. Better wear your buffet pants!

Best Shopping Mall: Another toss up. This one depends…do you want to see where the Old Dallas money shops? Then Northpark Center is your place. But you’d better bring your Platinum card. Or would you prefer more plastic surgery and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere? If so, head to the Dallas Galleria. Want to laugh at the nouveau-riche as they sip lattes and meet for play-dates? We’ll head north and play around at the Stonebriar Centre.

Famous Landmark: Besides the Cowboys and JR Ewing, for what else is Dallas internationally famous? That’s right. Sadly, the assassination of our President Kennedy. Dealy Plaza attracts millions that come play in traffic and figure out for themselves just who shot JFK.

Best Tourism Attraction: Second to above? I honestly don’t know. Is Dallas a tourism hot-spot? Why would anyone come here except to visit with family and friends? I don’t really think of it in terms of being a place people go for vacation. Maybe our sports teams. We have the Dallas Mavericks (basketball), Dallas Stars (hockey), Dallas Cowboys (football, and also, related, the World Famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders), Texas Rangers (baseball), FC Dallas (soccer – yes, it’s a sport!), Texas Motor Speedway (NASCAR), Lone Star Park (horse racing), and even a championship golf tournament, the Byron Nelson. Whatever your addiction, we’ve got it!

Best Place for the Kids: Except for it’s location, I’d say the Museum of Nature and Science. It has lots of hands-on exhibits, and a first-class IMAX theater.

Popular Outdoor Activity: Um. This is Texas. Our popular outdoor activity is sweating. You’ll only find us outside between October and April. Otherwise it’s just too damned hot. OK, I jest. A little. It is HOT here in the summer, and so you have to plan for the weather. Heck, it was 80 degrees here on Halloween. So, that’s why you’ll find a lot of Texans in the water. At our lakes, water parks, pools, sprinklers, or even in fountains. Wherever it’s cool. Another hot-bed (har har) of outdoor activity is around White Rock Lake. It’s nine-mile paved trail is popular with walkers, runners, bikers, fishers, sailors and about anyone that’s looking for a place to relax.

Breath-taking Views: It’s flat here. So, besides the High Five Overpass, or the President George Bush Tollway fly-over, your best bet for a view is from a seat in the Antares Restaurant atop Reunion Tower. During your meal, you’ll get a 360-degree view of Dallas and surrounding areas, as the restaurant turns slowly over an hour. But you’d better hurry up. Starting November 16, the entire tower will be closed for about a year due to renovations.

Only Found In: The State Fair of Texas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything else quite like it. For just three weeks each year, Fair Park lights up and millions flock to the Midway, Car Show, Stock Show, and Exhibits. There are sights to see, some familiar every year, and others new and exciting. The Texas vs. OU football game is held during the fair each year, and there are concerts and contests for everyone.

So, your best bet would be to request off now for vacation at the beginning of next October. The Fair will be on and the temps will have cooled down. Except for the Rangers – I can’t recall when they were last even in the playoffs, most of our sports teams will have action going on, Antares will be open for dinner, and we can eat fried chicken and mall-walk our way through the days. I’ll start taking reservations now, so get in on the action early. And don’t forget your boots!

After we party it up here in Dallas, I’d like to have visits with these five people in their home towns!

1. Carnealian
2. Bone
3. ~M
4. Nancy @ Live Love Read
5. Laura @ Vitamin Sea

October 17, 2007

The Kinkster

Filed under: Mr. Wonderful,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 7:26 am

 I let Nick out of the house last night on a special dispensation, and look at the riff raff* he goes to hang out with. Last kitchen pass I give him for a while… 😉

*Just for those of you that live outside of Texas, this is Kinky Friedman, Texas Jewboy and former (and future) candidate for the governorship of the great Republic of Texas. Nick went and had a stogie with him, bought his book and had it signed. Our Kinky Library is now complete.

August 5, 2007

Remember, Ya’ll are City Kids…Be Careful

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Interstellar Travel,It's Me, Lass,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 8:55 pm

I had to remind my kids of that before they disembarked from the suburban mom-mobile. We’d just made our way 10 miles down a farm road, then worked our way down a gravel road, and then down a narrow, pot-holed dirt road. Thankfully the rains had stopped recently, because the pond by the house was precariously close to the drive leading up to my cousin’s house.

Saturday we made a day-trip down to Huntsville to visit with my cousins from my dad’s side of the family. I don’t see them much, but I’d received an email from my uncle that my cousin Samuel had passed his orals and was receiving his Masters in Literature. So, I figured that was a good reason to pay a visit.

I’ve mentioned my dad’s brother John before. He’s the one with the big bushy mountain-man beard that live out in the country, and he and my cousin have houses on the same property. I affectionately refer to them as my ‘hillbilly family’. When my uncle and aunt first moved out there, they built their own house. When my cousin got married, my aunt & uncle built a new house and my cousin and his wife moved into the old one. And they got air conditioning. My aunt & uncle still don’t have air conditioning. I was glad the party was at my cousin’s house.

Elle was right at home. First thing off she noticed the tire swing. After my cousin checked it for wasps, she jumped right on. Zed found his way to the hammock, and except when my cousin showed him their rabbit hutch and a large spider web with a big hairy spider, he didn’t much move from there. There were a few other girls around Elle’s age there, and they played nicely together. Elle didn’t see much use for the stairs going down…she just jumped off the porch. It was funny to see how she fit in and played rough and tumble like my cousins and I used to do.

We had a good visit. Got caught up on family events. I was hoping to see my grandaddy, but he and my uncle weren’t able to make the trip up from Houston. My uncle says that his memory is failing significantly now. He isn’t able to tell his stories like he used to. Gets them confused and speaks of Marseilles and Maracaibo in the same tale. His physical health is supposedly holding up. He doesn’t wander at night, and my uncles took his keys away some time ago. He’s still able to get around the house and although he requires help in cooking and whatnot, as long as my Uncle Dan holds up and my grandaddy is able to get around the house, they don’t plan to change his environment.

I also got some good family history. My great-grandmother was called Nona, and she kept a scrap book. My uncle found it while cleaning my grandaddy’s house recently. Nona was originally from Alabama. She taught in Selma for some time before making her way to Texas. She was one of 9 children! One of the interesting things in her scrapbook were two letters from her grandfather to her grandmother while he was in battle in the Confederate Army, along with $1.55 in Confederate money. Also, Nona was married 3 times. Once to my great-grandaddy. He was from Tchula, Mississippi. That’s where my grandaddy was born. His dad died when my grandaddy was 2. That’s when they came to Texas. One of her brothers was working the oil fields in Midland, and she moved my grandaddy and his sister out there. Then she married a doctor from Dallas. Not much is known about him. And then to a oilman in Houston from Standard Oil. He was a real jerk supposedly and was quite a bit older than her. They weren’t married long.

My uncle is still doing more research on things in the scrap book. One thing I did learn was that my great-grandaddy was something of a poet. There were two poems in the scrap book from when he was overseas during WWI. My grandaddy also looked remarkably like his dad. I’ll look forward to my uncle doing more research and finding out more about my family history!

July 2, 2007

It’s Quiet…Too Quiet

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:39 pm

Yesterday, being the 1st of July, means that it’s going to be rather quiet around here for a bit. Elle & Zed have gone to their dad’s for the month. I won’t see them for a week Thursday at the earliest. I made a schedule for the Ex with Zed’s timekeeper duties and Elle’s practices and games. I hope he manages to stick to it remember it. The kids are pretty smart though. They’ll remind him.

Nick and I both work tomorrow, then we’re off for the rest of the week. It’ll be a good five days to get things done around here. It’s actually a bit like deja vu. Last July we re-did both of the kids’ rooms while they were gone, and painted the front room. This July, we’ll paint bathrooms, Elle’s room (while we love it, we’re not sure buyers will like the sea-green and pink stripe), the living room, possibly the kitchen, install French Doors, and take down the ugly 70’s wood paneling and put up beadboard. And that’s the short list.

We’ve been looking at houses. There are quite a few that are potential candidates that would work for us. Only one is in our school zone where neither kid would have to switch schools. We’ve looked at a few areas outside of our city, but in the one area we looked this weekend, NONE of the houses had yards. What do builders have against grass? And there was one house in this really strange neighborhood. The street seemed normal, but then off the street there were five little mini-cul-de-sacs on each side of the street. On each of the mini-cul-de-sacs were six houses, crammed wall to wall and door to door. In my cross-over SUV, I felt like a giant driving down the streets of Safety Town. I’m not too keen on my next door neighbor being able to watch me eat breakfast from their own kitchen. There were a couple of homes that didn’t immediately get flushed, so we’ll see.

We had thought that Pop’s house would be sold by now. The neighbor was going to buy it. But, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. We were going to sell waaay under-market and at a reduced realtor commission. But they held out and stalled and we couldn’t figure out why. Turns out the neighbor didn’t qualify, and he was stalling to a) get his brother to buy the house and b) to start work on the house before even buying it so as to not have a mortgage to pay and have the ability to turn it around more quickly on their own and resell it. Pop has been sending this neighbor money each month to compensate him for looking after the house and watering the lawn. Turns out he hasn’t been watering the lawn at all, and when the realtor went by to confiscate the neighbor’s key, the thermostat at Pop’s house was set on 50 and the AC was running full blast. Explains how his electric bill was so high last month – higher than when he ever lived there. So, now the house is listed for a fair market value and if the neighbor’s brother is still interested, he’ll have to pay the same price as the general public. A complete waste of three weeks worth of our time.

I hope you all have a great Fourth. I doubt we’ll have fireworks here, and if we do, they’ll be scattered and abbreviated. Rather like the thunderstorms forecast from now until next Tuesday. My yard is no longer draining. The ground is saturated. So far we haven’t been affected by any flooding. But a few more days of rain and a heavy deluge may just do us in. Nothing is able to dry out, and so our plans for Shakespeare in the Park aren’t sounding too appealing. Unless you like a wet butt and sinking your lawn chair into the muck. I think I’ll opt for a dry spot indoors somewhere.

May 2, 2007

Russian Roulette

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:06 pm

We’ve played this game over and over the last few weeks. Storm after storm has come through. And tonight was our night.

Nick and I dropped the kids with their dad, went to dinner, and then to my knitting group. As soon as we got to the coffe shop, the skies let loose. As we drove home later, I got so nervous as I passed blocks with no power and house after house with tree branches down.

Tonight the Big Tree got hit by lightning. There was a burn mark on the base, and on a middle branch from what I assume to have been an arc. Half our tree was laying over the fence into the alley. I couldn’t get through and had to drive around the other alley entrance in order to get to our driveway.

I’m just thankful the tree fell away from the house. Nick has been wanting to get rid of the tree for the last year, and I’ve wanted to replace the chain-link fence with a wood fence ever since I moved into this house. Now maybe we’ll both get our wish.

Fortunately two of our neighbors down the way brought out their chain saws and helped us clear the branches from the alley and the ones that were hanging on the telephone wires. So from about 9:30 to about 11 pm, there were loud chainsaw noises coming from our back yard. I hope the other neighbors didn’t mind too much.

It’s too dark to take pictures. But come morning light, I will be taking some for insurance purposes. Got lots and lots of cleaning up to do now. We also lost part of the fence that separates the front yard from the side yard and hides the air conditioning unit. It blew right over.

All in all we were fairly lucky. ‘Tis only a flesh wound.

Update: I’m now not sure if it was lightning or just a rotted part of the tree. Nick and I assessed the area this morning, and hopefully no other branches were damaged in the storm. As you can see, the tree is BIG. We picked up all the branches and left some of the stumps to burn later next winter after they cure. We’ll move them later. The city is supposed to come out and pick up all the debris we piled up. Still pretty lucky.

  

April 16, 2007

Was it Saturday? Or no? Sunday? What day is it?

Filed under: Adventures,Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Married Life,Mom Life,Mr. Wonderful,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:23 am

We survived Friday night. Elle and I made it to the train station on time, met up with our traveling partners and made it to the AAC just in time. It was actually very scary. Once we turned from downtown, we could see the storm approaching fast. Deboarding the train, there was lightning all around. The security personnel at the AAC instructed is to not stop to scan tickets or go through security…JUST GET INSIDE. We later found out they evacuated over 3,000 people out of the Dallas Convention Center and down to the underground parking garage (just a mile away) when the tornado sirens went off. That must have been when they told us to get in our seats and not move. And when you’re in the 3rd tier nosebleeds, the thought of a tornado shearing the roof off just a few hundred feet from your head is not a pleasant scenario. I told Elle that if I pulled her down under me, not to freak out. And was trying my hardest not to panic myself.

Saturday, after cancelling soccer pictures because of extremely cold morning temps, and only 5 of 12 team members, we proceeded to a 2-1 victory over one of our more closely matched soccer rivals. The fields were muddy and slippery and are now completely torn up.

Then, with the kids off with their dad, Nick and I drove to Irving (~45 minutes) to Nick’s cousins house. For a late-Easter lunch. We arrived at the house, and didn’t notice any cars parked outside. I suddenly became very suspicious that something was amiss. After all, we were fashionably 20 minutes late already. Everyone else should be there. We circled the cul-de-sac and then came back. Ah, there was Auntie’s truck. And there was her husband, supervising Nick’s cousin cleaning the table and chairs. When I touched him on the shoulder, he turned around, looked at me, and asked “Why are you here? We’re not eating until tomorrow?” I turned around, and looked at Nick, giving him long look with eyebrow raised. “Um. Sorry?” was his response with shoulders shrugged. Last time he gets to contribute to the schedule without me confirming details. 😉 At least he was a day early and not a day late.

Saturday night we went over to a couple-friend’s house. A few other people were there and we had some rockin’ sangria and fajitas. I plan on getting the sangria recipe and sharing it at some point. It was delicious.

Sunday we trekked out to Irving again. This time people and food were there! Joy! We played Easter Bingo, and I won a kitchy lamb statuette and a pair of cat and dog bobble animals. They were cute. Nick had his low-rider toy car stolen (complete with the Low Rider tune and multi-cultural gangstas) at the last moment. He ended up with some Art Deco bunny that he later donated to one of his nieces as a self-defense object. Super exciting trips to Target and Kroger followed, and we closed out the weekend watching The Sopranos. So far this season, EVERYONE is pissing Tony off.

Oh, and my Kroger Fuel Center? It’ll be open next week. *Does happy dance* 10 cents off per gallon bay-bee!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

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