Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lowe's Lowe's Lowe's

Sorry I didn't get around to posting any pics last night. It was once again an eventful evening. I will try to do better.

Heather wanted to replace the ceiling fan in our bedroom. I may have already mentioned this yesterday, I don't know at this point. We had bought a fan at Home Depot Saturday, I think. Got it home and took the old one down, and the new fan wouldn't fit where we wanted it to. You see, whoever built our house was gracious enough to include these beams in the ceiling where the pitched parts meet. I measured the width of the beam, and we have 5 1/2 inches to work with. The fan base needs to fit in that space. Doesn't sound too complicated does it? Well guess again!

When the tree fell on the house, we had the good sense to have the beam in the kitchen removed. Now we'd like to take out the beams in the den and our bedroom. But I have a feeling that the ceilings underneath the beams do not match the ceilings outside of the beams. That would make things way to simple, and simplicity does not exist at our house.

So yesterday, I returned the fan to Home Depot, drove over to Lighting Plus and looked at their high-dollar merchandise that they obviously very proud of, and then went BACK to Lowe's for about the seventeenth time and bought what I thought was the same fan that we bought for the den, but in white.

I got home after work, and miraculously, Daddy had been able to fix the garage wall without have to rip out every piece of siding and start over. It just needs painting now. (Which again is not simple. Cabiness paint has our interior paint records on file, but cannot find the colors for the exterior. So I have to take some of the old siding over and have them match it. And of course I forgot to bring that with me again today. I also need to get more of the exterior trim to cover up the places on the back of the house where I knocked the trim paint off with the pressure washer.)

We brought in the new fan and started unpacking it. Nope. Won't work. The base was too wide on this one as well. So I didn't even finish taking it out of the box. I just closed it up and we went to get yet another one.

We had to make a detour because Daddy wanted to buy himself a new TV. It's pretty sweet. I think what hooked him was the fact that they had a fishing show playing and the bass was right up in his face. I knew at that point that he was sold. He said that he's going to have to be careful watching those cattle auctions on RFD because the picture looks so real he might actually get manure on him..... I know... funny. I tried to get him to see if SAM's would give him a better deal if he bought two, and he could give one to me, but that didn't go very far.

So after SAM's we headed BACK to Lowe's for the twenty-eighth time since Friday. And we looked, and we looked, and we had them open boxes so we could measure, and eventually we bought another fan. And it's not even white. It's something called brushed nickel. I like it. But at this point, I would like anthing. I think I would even be willing to hire Egyptian women to stand around the bed with big palm leaves. Anything to be done with this!

We did end the evening with big heaping plates of fried seafood from Wintzell's. Daddy made the comment that he had been eating oysters at Wintzell's for over 50 years. Probably longer than that since he was born in 1938, the same year Wintzell's opened for business in downtown Mobile.

When I left the house this morning, Daddy and Heather were about to open up the box and hang the fan. I got out of there fast. I'm afraid that if that one didn't work, I might throw it through the bedroom window out into the yard. And of course that would require additional repairs.

Mama made the comment night before last that we should go ahead and start on the deck remodel that I want to do, since Daddy is here to help us.

Obviously, she has lost her mind, or she wants me to lose mine.

UPDATE: Heather just called on her way home from Lowe's. The rod that came with the fan wasn't long enough to work with our pitched ceiling. I'm just glad that I'm at work.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tuscaloosa Airshow Info

Full Schedule for Tuscaloosa Air Show
For both Saturday (4/4) and Sunday (4/5)

9 a.m.: Gates open

10 a.m.: Airspace closes

10:45 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies

10:55 a.m.: Golden Knight Parachute jump

11:12 a.m.: Red Eagle Air Sports – Teaser routine (full show at 2:38 p.m.)
The two-member Red Eagle Air Sports team flies the Talon Eagle and the Red Eagle. The Red Eagle is a one-of-a-kind plane with a engine that exceeds 250 horsepower. It travels 180 miles per hour while flying level and can exceed 230 miles per hour during air show maneuvers. The roll rate of the plane is 360 degrees per second and the vertical climb is 1,500 feet. The Talon Eagle is one of five in the world and features an unusual double-swept wing and a powerful engine. The biplane travels 210 miles per hour in level flight and 250 during maneuvers. The roll rate is 400 degrees per second and vertical climb capability is 3,000 feet.

11:25 a.m.: Alabama Air National Guard KC-135 Flyby
The KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refueling craft that the United States Air Force has used for more than 50 years. The planes also provide refueling support for the Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft. The aircraft has four turbofans mounted under 35-degree swept wings, which power it to takeoffs at gross weights up to 322,500 pounds. A crewmember known as the boom operator is stationed at the rear of the plane and controls the boom – the KC-135’s primary fuel transfer method.

11:26 a.m.: Warbird Flight
Warbird is a term used for vintage military aircraft. P-51 Mustangs will be showcased at the Tuscaloosa show. The Mustang was among the best and most well-known fighters used by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Possessing excellent range and maneuverability, the P-51 operated primarily as a long-range escort fighter and also as a ground attack fighter-bomber. The Mustang was used in nearly every combat zone during WWII, and later in the Korean War.

11:36 a.m.: U.S. Air Force A-10A Thunderbolt II Demo
The Thunderbolt II can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23 mm. With a wingspan of 57 feet, 6 inches and weighing 29,000 pounds, the aircraft can reach 800 miles per hour. The planes are favored by the Air Force for their maneuverability at low air speeds and low altitude and their highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. The Thunderbolt II can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and can operate under 1,000 foot ceilings with 1.5-mile visibility. They are used against ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.

11:52 a.m.: Greg Koontz and The Alabama Boys – Flying Farmer Routine and Cartop Landing
Greg Koontz got his start in aerobatic flying in Ernie Moser’s Flying Circus, where he became known for his comedic performance and “World’s Smallest Airport” stunt, where he lands on a moving pickup truck. In the comedy show, Koontz climbs into the bleachers as “Farmer Clem Cleaver” who demands a flight lesson. He ends up “stealing” a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub with the crew in pursuit and eventually lands on the truck when “Grandpa” shoots a tire out. Until 2002, Koontz flew jet aircraft for a corporation in Alabama and performed airshows in his spare time. He owns a bed and breakfast with his wife in Ashville where he is an aerobatic flight instructor. The team flies Super Decathlon planes, which exceed 200 miles per hour.

12:07 p.m.: U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress Flyby (Saturday only)
Air Combat Command’s B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability. During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all the weapons dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for ocean surveillance, and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles of ocean surface. The plane cruises at 275 miles per hour and can reach 437 miles per hour.

12:12 p.m.: U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet East Coast Demonstration Team
The fighter and attack aircraft was first flown in 1995 and is used by the Navy for day and night strikes with precision-guided weapons, anti-air warfare, as a fighter escort, for close air support, suppression of enemy air defense, maritime strikes and reconnaissance missions, forward air control and air-to-air refueling .

12:25 p.m.: Gordo Sanders Roll Tide T-6
A former Lt. Col. in the Air National Guard and later a FedEx pilot, Gordo Sanders served in the 1990 Gulf War and was involved in search and destruction of SCUD missiles in Iraq. During his military career, he logged more than 1,500 hours and flew aircraft that exceeded 600 miles per hour. Sanders flies a T-6 Texan, the basic training planes used during World War II and has competed in competitions and flown in air shows across the Southern states.

12:35 p.m.: Mike Wiskus, Lucas Oil Pitts
Solo performer Michael Wiskus’ show has been described as smoky, loud and high-energy. Wiskus, from Minnesota, began flying at an early age and was the 2002 U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and a 2004 U.S. National Aerobatic team member. He has competed in air shows in Europe and Russia. His Web site describes the performance as “outrageous, high-performance, low-altitude, solo aerobatics smothered with smoke and noise”. Wiskus flies a one-of-a-kind Pitts S111B plane, an biplane that is a variation of the Pitts Special -- an aerobatic type of plane first used in the mid-40s and widely used in air shows of the 1960s and 1970s. Wiskus reaches speeds of more than 260 miles per hour.

12:49 p.m.: Warbird Flight
The Yakovlev Yak-52 first flew in 1976, and is still being produced in Bacau, Romania. The planes were originally designed as a trainer for students who would later fly Soviet jet aircraft. Nanchang CJ-6 are Chinese aircraft designed and built in China for use by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as a basic trainer.

1:02 p.m.: Greg Koontz Decathalon Demo

1:24 p.m.: Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
The Aeroshell Aerobatic Team has performed across the country for more than 20 years. Pilots fly AT-6 Texans. Nicknamed “The Pilot Maker”, the planes were first used in 1938 as basic training plane for the United States Army Air Corps. They were flown by all World War II pilots who went on to fly fighter aircraft. The Texans are still used as basic training planes and light attack aircraft in 22 countries. The planes have wingspans of 42 feet and can reach 212 miles per hour. There are under-wing attachments for light bombs and rockets. The team is sponsored by Shell Aviation, the aviation division of Shell Oil.

1:44 p.m.: U.S. Army Golden Knights

2:20 p.m.: U.S. Air Force C-17 Demo

2:33 p.m.: Air Force Reserve Jet Car
From zero to 400 miles per hour in just eight seconds, The Air Force Reserve Jet Car always outraces the pilots who try go up against it – despite the head start from driver Bill Braack. The car is powered by a Westinghouse J-34 jet engine that develops 10,000 horsepower and 6,000 pounds of thrust. Made of aluminum and magnesium, the 26-foot long car weighs 2,300 pounds and uses 40 gallons of diesel fuel for each performance. Attached parachutes can bring the car to a stop in less than 2,000 feet. Mike Wiskus, of Lucas Oil Pitts, will attempt to beat the car in a race.

2:38 p.m.: Red Eagle Air Sports Full Show

3 p.m.: U.S. Navy Blue Angels C-130 Demo

3:15 p.m.: U.S. Navy Blue Angels

5 p.m.: Gates close

Bobby the Builder

I am about worn slap out.

We have had several projects at our house that have been needing to be done. But as busy as we always seem to be, the list never gets shorter... in fact it has been growing lately at an alarming pace!

So this weekend, Daddy (Bobby) came up, I brought out my checkbook, and we worked all weekend getting things done and redone. In fact, just because the weekend is over doesn't mean that the fun has stopped. Daddy is still here and will probably stay with us another couple of days in an attempt to finish up the projects we have started. God bless him.

Daddy got here Friday afternoon, much to the pleasure of Hershey. We had told her that Poppy was coming, and she had been excited for 3 days. He tends to spoil her more than just a little bit, and anybody who knows Hershey knows that she is definately a high maintenance little dog who thrives on attention from everybody.

We decided to hit Lowe's wide open before we went to eat. So we loaded up in the Volvo and prepared to go spend. We started looking at kitchen sinks and faucets. Our original plan was to get a new stainless sink. When the tree fell on the house, and the kitchen had to be redone, four years ago, the painters used our kitchen sink to wash out their paint rollers and brushes and ruined it. In the midst of arguing over everything else that needed to be done in the rebuild, we gave in on the sink and decided to replace it ourselves. So 4 years later, here we are.

Heather suddenly decided that she didn't want stainless steel anymore. She found these granite sinks that she loved. I wasn't so sure, but decided to just go with the flow. We picked out the faucets, but couldn't decide on a sink, so we decided to keep looking.

Basically, Friday's purchases ended up being a new fan and light for the den. And a few other small things we needed. Then we went to eat at Kobe, which took forever. So by the time we finished eating, there was no time for Home Depot.

Saturday morning, after ham and cheese croissants, we tackled hanging the new microwave over the new stove. Not bad at all. We got that done with no problems. So we decided to hang the fan in the den. No problem. Looked great! We were pleased.

So that was Saturday morning. After a lunch of some chili-dogs (on burned up buns because I forgot they were toasting under the broiler), we put up the new lights on the outside of the house. No problems. An easy job. And I got to use my new ladder, as well.

Then we went to the other Lowe's to look at sinks again. They guy who helped us kept telling us that the single basin sinks were special order. Not a problem since we wanted a double basin. But he kept saying it over and over. Then I actually saw a single basin sink in the spot on the shelf where our double basin should have been. Of course I pointed this out, which confused the mess out of him. The he went on and on about how it was a mistake and how he could special order our sink and have it here within 4 days or so. He then told us that they provided installation for an additional charge. I replied that my dad was going to install it for us. Lowe's fella replied that my dad couldn't offer the warranty on the installation that Lowe's could. What????? No thanks, dude. We moved on.

Then we went to Home Depot and stayed forever! We needed siding to do some repairs on the garage wall, and we finally found what we needed. Then we looked at fans for our bedroom.

How is it that these home improvement stores hire these employees who are complete idiots when it comes to knowing anything at all about what they sell? The lady in the fan section was completely clueless to any questions that we asked. She kept running up and down the aisles muttering to herself about the new fans that they were about to start putting up for display. Then, when we made our decision, she pointed out that the fan we were getting was not a Hunter fan, but an EnergyStar. My dad pointed out that the EnergyStar logo on the box was letting us know that the fan was energy efficient that that the Hunter logo in the corner meant that it was a Hunter ceiling fan. She looked at him as though he had spoken Swahili.

Then we headed over to look at Home Depot's sinks. They were awful, and were higher than Lowe's. Heather had almost decided on one of them though, but I vetoed that vote and said I would drive back over to the first Lowe's. So once again, we left a store without a sink. But we did get another fan.

We headed home with our lumber and siding, and Heather volunteered to go back and get the sink. She was tired of looking and was ready to buy anything. At this point I had grown to really like the granite. We were just differing on which one to actually buy. Then one I liked had 2 different basin shapes and 2 different depths. The one Heather liked had identical basins. Mine was more expensive by about 50 bucks. So I figured she would come back with the one she wanted.

We got home and unloaded the truck, and Heather and Hershey went back to the store. Daddy and I started tearing the old siding from the outside of the garage. That's when we hit the first big obstacle. The wood underneath the siding was soaking wet. We have a moisture problem. We basically took the siding off the bottom part of the house, and then left it to dry. Daddy is probably out there right now trying to deal with what has hopefully dried out. So who knows what else is instore for us with the garage when I get home from work. (Yes, I blog at work.)

Heather and Hershey came back with the sink...my choice! They had also stopped and picked up some ribeyes and porkchops for the grill. So we stopped working, got cleaned up, did a little grilling, and just chilled out the rest of the night.

Let me share with you here, that our new microwave will cook a baked potato until it shrivels up like an old piece of leather. Heather set the thing on an hour and left it to cook! So we just had salad and asparagus with our steaks.

Sunday morning we went back to Lowe's for some plumbing items and then came home to install the sink. Second obstacle. Our countertops are evidently thicker than normal, and the brackets that came with the sink to hold it to the countertops were not big enough. That sink took over 6 hours and still another trip to Home Depot before it was finished. But oh my goodness, it does look good with our countertops! I'll post pics later on when I get a chance.

It was beginning to get a little dark when we decided to hand the bedroom fan. Third obstacle. The base of the fan wouldn't fit into the beam at the top of our bedroom ceiling. So after quite a bit of unsuccessfully trying to make it work, we packed it back up and I will be returning it at lunch and getting another one. I'll probably get the same one as in the den, only white. We can hang it this evening.

I think Daddy will get to go home by Wednesday evening. Then they head back up here this weekend for the Blue Angels.

Moral of the story: No rest for the weary. But if all you do is rest, then you end up waiting 4 years to replace your sink.

More later.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meatloaf... exciting stuff, huh?

This is gonna be dull. Thought I'd warn ya'll in advance. Just not a lot exciting going on right now.

By now, you should know that I have found a love for cooking, and that I like to try new things. It's fairly rare that we have things over and over. Unless you count meatloaf. We have it about once a week. I love it. It's one of my favorite meals.

But when it comes to my meatloaf, I'm a simple person. I rarely eat it anywhere but home, because a lot of people try to jazz it up with bell pepper and all sorts of things. I dated a girl one time that mixed so much ketchup in hers that it always ended up bright red. She liked it that way. That's how her Mama made it. But not me. I like it plain and simple. Some salt, peppers, a little onion, and a dash of Moore's. If I get crazy I may add an egg. (By the way, be careful with the egg. You know on the Food Network when they tell you to always crack your egg over a bowl instead of over your dish? Well pay attention to that. I once had 3 pounds of very lean ground beef in a bowl and when I cracked the egg it was green inside and I had to throw it all out and start over. The smell was atrocious too! And I had just bought the eggs at Publix! Who would've expected a bad one?)

Let me break in here and share a little story with ya'll. When Heather and I first started dating, she was going to cook supper for me one night. She knew of my love for meatloaf, so she decided to impress me with her own version. Back then, whenever Heather would cook anything, she'd open up the cabinet and just start grabbing things until she had a minimum of 7 random spices added to whatever dish she was making. This did not always have the desired results. In fact, that leads us back to that fateful first meatloaf.

So Heather had cooked that night, and it actually tasted good. I think I had seconds. Then we were going to watch a movie and chill out. Well about half way through the movie, I started feeling funny. The feeling progressed pretty quickly and before I knew it, I was puking my guts up in the toilet. I was sick as a dog! I stayed sick all night! And I don't think she had ever made meatloaf again.

But back to my story....

So this weekend I broke my own rule and tried a new meatloaf. I found it somewhere on the internet, and it called for sundried tomatoes. Sounded pretty good to me, because otherwise it was a simple recipe.

The recipe said to drain the oil out of the jar of tomatoes into a skillet, and then to cook a cup of chopped onions in that oil. Who knew that onions cooking in sundried tomato infused olive oil could smell so bad. It was almost as bad as the green egg. (Not really though....)

I kept moving forward with the recipe though. Even though I was concerned about ruining another bowl full of hamburger meat. I mixed everything together and ended up with so much that I had to make 2 loaves. As they baked, the smell got much better and even started smelling really good! When Heather came home she said it smelled incredible.

We sliced it up.

I could taste the aftertaste of the tomatoes, but just faintly. It grew on me. But not a whole lot. Heather asked if it was really a new recipe because she couldn't tell the difference. I could tell a difference for sure. She had lots of ketchup on hers and I think that masked the taste. We ate half of one and have another whole one and a half in the fridge. So we've got to learn to like it. It's not so bad with ketchup.

That jar of tomatoes was almost $6.00. I think I'll stick with what I know from now on.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fried Pies!

I know ya'll probably think that for somebody who is trying to lose weight on a low carb diet, I sure do eat a lot of stuff I'm not supposed to. Well, here I go again....

All my life I have loved fried apple pies. My grandmother used to make them all the time and they were one of Daddy's favorite things. Anytime we had any kind of gathering, whether holidays or church or family reunions or any other excuse to get together and eat, she always brought plates of fried pies. Mammaw made hers with lard, so they were greasy, and oh my goodness they were so good! She was known for those pies and she probably made thousands of them in her lifetime.

So let me just say that I did a really good thing when I married a girl who's Mama makes fried apple pies! Heather went down to Demopolis yesterday to visit and came back with a zip-lock bag full of happiness for your mouth. Or my mouth. I had 2 of them for supper. I knew they were coming because Heather drove her mother around Demopolis yesterday delivering pies to the sick, and I had looked forward to having some of them all day long. I'd show ya'll a picture, but somehow the pies disappeared before I got a chance to take one.

I called Heather's mom last night to thank her, and she has promised to teach me how to make them. I think that is a skill that needs to be passed on. I wish I had learned from my grandmother, but I had not discovered the joys of cooking back then. So Sue can teach me. And if you're nice to me I just might share!

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

May those who love us, love us.

And for those who don't love us,

May God turn their hearts.

And if he can not turn their hearts,

May he turn their ankles,

So we may know them by their limping.

May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How many crazy weekends can one have before actually going crazy?

Here we go again, ya'll. And this one is a doozy.

It has rained in Tuscaloosa all weekend. In fact, it must have started during the night last Thursday night, because when Heather left for work Friday morning at 5:30am, she announced the current weather conditions on her way out the door.

To be honest, I had been watching Mickey Ferguson every morning, so I was aware of the approaching rain. And yet I did nothing to prepare for it. The cover was off of the charcoal grill and the charcoal and lighter fluid were out. The little gas grill that I bought last year because it was on sale (and mainly because it has speakers built into the base of it with an outlet to plug in an i-pod making it possible to cook and sing along with my favorite tunes simultaneously) was still out in the weather as well. So I jumped up out of bed and went out on the deck to cover up or bring in the things that didn't need to get wet.

What happened next is unclear. I was barefoot. I was in my boxers. The deck was wet. There was a wrought-iron chair involved somehow, I think. All I know for sure is that one minute I had a bag of charcoal in my hand and the next I was on all fours with my head in a wooden planter and covered in dirt.

I think some choice words were voiced at this point. I'll leave you to your own imaginations regarding that.

I got up, wiped off as much dirt as I could, and finished what I set out to do in getting things put up. Then I went inside to get a shower and get ready for work. My hand did hurt, and I had a cut on the side of it. And I realized that I had hit my right eye on that planter, and that it was attempting to swell a bit.

I shave in the shower. Much easier than at the sink. I have a fogless mirror mounted on the shower wall, and keep my razor and shave stuff in there as well. When I started to pick up my razor, I couldn't hold it in my fingers like I normally do. I had to shave left-handed. That was the real clue that I may have hurt myself.

So I finished getting ready and my eye was looking rough. I called Heather at work and told her I thought I had broken something in my hand. Then I called the office and gave them the same spill. When my doctor's office opened, I was sitting in the waiting room. After x-rays, the news was confirmed....broken finger. They wanted to put a cast on my hand to my wrist, but I talked them into a splint. Even that is driving me crazy at this point. But I have 2 more weeks to go.

Now on a normal weekend, this would not have been as big a deal. But we were driving to Opelika and Auburn this weekend for a wedding! I suppose I could have cancelled. But honestly, I was ready to put the new car out on the road and drive it, and we had waited too late to cancel the hotel reservation without a penalty. So onward we went!

The wedding was held at Auburn First United Methodist Church. It's an old church, and was absolutely beautiful. It was a very nice ceremony, despite the fact that it continued to pour down rain outside.

Then we went back to the Grand National Marriott for the reception. From there it was a night of great food, great drink, and great music. I got to catch up with a lot of old friends from college, and also with our regular tail-gate crew as well. The bride and groom left for the Atlanta airport around 11:30pm and the party wound down soon afterward. At least it did for me. I think some folks took cabs to the Supper Club and stayed out til 4am, but thank goodness for once I realized my age and I was greatful of that Sunday morning.

We wound up the Auburn visit with a Sunday lunch trip to Cheeburger Cheeburger. For some reason, Heather thought that she should order the One-Pounder Burger. If you actually finish one of those, you get your picture taken and hung on the wall. Boy, did she really want her picture on that wall! But needless to say, she did not even get close to finishing the burger. The patty hung way over the bun, and she basically cut off the excess meat and ate that, leaving what would normally be a very large hamburger for us to take home. In fact, there was so much left that we split her leftovers and had them for supper last night. We also had fries and homemade onion rings! Our bodies were in complete shock! I wanted a cremesicle shake, but I figured I'd better just settle down and stick with what I already had. No sense in getting too wild!!!

I hope this is a dull week. I don't know how much more I can handle.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birtday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday.

When I was growing up, birthdays were always a big deal at our house. Heather says that wasn't really the case with them, but with 6 kids in the house, I can kinda understand that. But there are just 2 of us kids in my family. So Mama always went all out. Birthdays were "your day." We each got to plan and go or do whatever we wanted for our birthdays. Mine was usually during Spring Break, so school wasn't a problem for planning my day. Sometimes my sister would have to have "her day" on the weekend though.

I must tell you that either on the actual day or somewhere close to it, I always celebrate my birthday with "pink pie." I never really liked birthday cake when I was little, but Mama made this pie that I loved. I think it has strawberry jello and evaporated milk and cool whip or something like that in it. The crust is Nilla wafers and the wafers stand up around the edge of the pie. Heather has told me to not even consider her making it for me, because she knows there is no way that her pie will be able to compete with Mama's.

Heather did make me a key-lime pie though. On the top, in green gel-icing, were the words "Happy Birtday Derek." She made a picture, and that's when she realized she had left off the "h". I'll have to post the picture later on today. The pie was really very good, and she made it from a low-carb recipe. I've had some the past 2 nights.

I didn't have any really significant plans for my day this year. Heather had to work yesterday and today, so there was not time for going out or anything like that. I did however decide to take an early day at work and head to Birmingham to shop for my present.

I drove it home. It's a Volvo. Here's a picture, although this really isn't mine. Mine is black with tan leather everywhere. I absolutely love it, and I think I look pretty good in it too.

I got home about 20 minutes before Heather. I sat out in the car and checked out all the gadgets that I couldn't play with while I was driving. Then when Heather got home, we went to Shoe Station so that she could get some shoes to go with the dress she bought for this wedding we have to go to this weekend in Auburn. Even Hershey got to go along for the ride. Maybe I can get Heather to drive to Auburn and I can keep figuring out the car.

When we got home, I had 6 voice messages from Happy Birthday wishers. Then I logged on to the Facebook, and had 45 messages on there! So it was a good day indeed.

Happy Birtday to Me!

Monday, March 9, 2009


I bought a new range at lunch today. Here's a picture. Now we can eat again.

Wild and Wacked Out Weekend

Well, I don't even know where to being with this one. It was definately not your typical weekend for the Reeves'. But then again, nothing for us is normal, so maybe it actually was a typical weekend for the Reeves'.

Friday was an absolutely gorgeous day, and I had Spring Fever something fierce. So when I got home from work, I decided it would be a good night to cook outside on the grill. Heather made up a pile of burgers, and I cooked them. I had stopped on the way home at Publix to pick a couple of things, but of course forgot the charcoal. I rummaged through the utility room until I found 2 bags that when combined, gave me just enough to make do with. Halfway through the burgers, that old charcoal gave out on me. I had a pack of conecuh sausage (because if I am going to the trouble of lighting the charcoal, then I am cooking some conecuh sausage) that seemed to take forever on the lukewarm coals, but eventually everything got done. Heather made a new cole slaw that is low carb and probably some of the best I have ever had. I'll include the recipe at the bottom of this post.

So Friday was fairly calm.

Saturday morning we slept late. I had a meeting scheduled at the house with a friend of ours to get an answer to a couple of questions concerning the tax return I am doing for her, and while she was there, the Fed-Ex man delivered my new printer from Dell. After K left, I spent the next few hours trying to set up the wireless connection between the printer and my laptop. I never got finished with that.

Heather works with a girl at UAB who she has gotten to be friends with, and who had invited us to their house for dinner and karaoke. Now let me just take a minute here and say that I have done my share of karaoke in the past. Actually, Katie Benefield and I were quite the entertainers at Harry's Bar back in the day. But that has been the extent of my karaoke....bar singing, if you catch my drift. Well, Rachael and Ricky are not bar people, which is of course, just fine. I'm just saying that singing without a little liquid courage was something that I was not recently familiar with.

Back in high school, at dear old Jackson Academy, I sang in a barbershop quartet. We called ourselves "The Jackson Four." (Get it? Like the Jackson Five?) We wore white pants with red and white striped shirts and straw hats. I guess we were good. We sang all over the place, and we actually won a couple of national competitions. But that was over 20 years ago.

So Heather and I drove up to Oak Grove and had dinner with Ricky and Rachael. About half way there, I went over a railroad track that I should have slowed down for. It didn't look rough, but there was a dip in the pavement just on the other side of it. I hit it at about 45mph and thought I had knocked the bottom out of the car! My head actually hit the car roof. I had a stadium cup full of diet coke in the console, and it flew out and landed upside down, covering us with coke and soaking everything in the console.

Ricky cooked for us, and it was absolutely outstanding! We had a shrimp and andouille sausage pasta dish with "Olive Garden" salad and big pieces of crusty bread. So much for the low-carb. I thought my body might go into shock right there at the table! It was all sooooo good! Strawberry cupcakes were for dessert! I thought I had died and gone to Heaven.

Until after dinner. Then they fired up the karaoke. And nobody would take no for an answer. I think I did ok though. After the first couple of songs, I got over myself and actually had a good time. We all took turns singing and joining in to help each other out. In fact, we sang until nearly midnight, which with the clocks springing forward, put us getting home around 2am!

Sunday was non-eventful until the afternoon. I spent a hella lot of time on the phone with Dell. That printer is still not working wirelessly. They are now sending a replacement printer because evidently the wireless card is faulty. Why in the world can't I have something simple for once?

I had picked up some shrimp to do for supper. I seasoned it up really good and let it sit for a while in the fridge, and we were wrapping them in bacon when I noticed a bright light shining through the oven door. Early in the week, the oven had caught on fire, and I put it out with baking soda. We weren't so lucky this time.

At this point I need to stop and clarify that we do not have a dirty oven. That is not why it caught on fire, I don't think.

But yesterday, the thing was burning again! This time, I couldn't get it put out. I turned off the oven and it kept burning. It was this white sizzling fire that was moving along the bottom element. I was concerned that it would reach the back of the oven and then we were going to be in a mess. Heather already had the phone book out and was going to call the fire department, but I told her to wait. She said she couldn't find their number anyway. I guess she has never heard of 911.

The fire eventually stopped, but the oven is kaput. And that's fine. My dad suggested weighing the cost of fixing it instead of buying a new one, but Heather said no. She wants a new one. So I guess tomorrow when she is off, we will be at Lowe's or Home Depot or Sears shopping for appliances. We were already looking at microwaves. We'll just add a stove to the list.

And that's our weekend in a nutshell. Nuthouse may be more like it.

Here's the Coleslaw Recipe:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Splenda brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon plus one pinch salt
1 lb cabbage, shredded

Mix all cole slaw dressing ingredients together, and then mix them into the cabbage. Balance the lemon juice and sweetener to your own taste.

Nutritional Information: This makes about 7 servings of 1 cup each. Each serving has 4 grams effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, and 145 calories.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I have hit the diet trail full force this week. I'm watching the carbs, and I have made it to the gym at lunch to run/walk on the treadmill. I am determined to run the Mayor's 5-K at the end of April.

So when I got up this morning, I was starving. I turned on the coffee pot and Juan Valdez saved my life when I got out of the shower. After a couple of cups, I thought I might actually make it without eating the entire jar of pre-salmonella peanut butter.

I grabbed a couple of Adkin's shakes on my way out the door and headed to the office. When I got here and went to put them in the fridge, I noticed that some thoughtful non-dieting person had brought 2 boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for everyone to enjoy. They weren't just the plain glazed ones either. I'm talking chocolate covered, creme-filled, cinnamon dusted, candy sprinkled and basically whatever else Krispy Kreme was making this morning.

So far so good. I have resisted. Maybe everybody else will eat them before I cave in.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Night's TV

I have become an outcast in my office. Last night Heather informed me that there was nothing on TV at 7, and that I should find something for us to watch. I scrolled through the channel guide, and of course I saw that The Bachelor was on for 3 hours, but seeing as how we have not watched one single episode all season, I just kept on looking. In all honesty, I can't really remember what we watched, except that at 8pm we did catch Two and a Half Men, and at some point we watched the Dog Show on whatever channel was showing it.

So when I got to the office this morning, folks started asking me how I felt about this whole Bachelor debacle. You'd think I had sprouted an extra nose on my face when I responded that I didn't watch it. I mean, come on people.... who in the world watches that crap when a rerun of the Dog Show is on? Not me. But evidently I am in the minority. Go figure.....

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Morning Excitement

Here's a first for me. I got to the office this morning after having been in Auburn last week to find the usual pile of things on my desk, and my email in-box filled to capacity. I figured that I'd have plenty to do to make the day fly by. At 8:15 we went in for our usual Monday morning management meeting in the Finance Director's office. Things were moving along normally, until we were interrupted by the news that some idiot had phoned in a BOMB THREAT and that we had to get out of the buildings immediately! So I grabbed my jacket and stood with everyone else outside in the biting wind for 45 minutes until the police gave us the "all clear" to reenter the building. I guess they didn't find anything.

Since the municipal court is on the first floor of our building, it makes me wonder what exactly is on the docket for today. Maybe somebody was trying to keep from going to jail.....