Archive for June, 2012

Mother of the Bride, Chapter 18 (one year later)
June 28, 2012

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow~Author Unknown

When I look back on what we were doing one year ago last week, all I can do is wonder how on earth did we do it all? It was a real game of musical chairs with people coming and going, airport runs, moving from house to hotel, parties and luncheons, picking up this and that, going to appointments, day after day. Whew!

For instance, this was the list of things to do on the day prior to the wedding:

  • Becky arrives 7:51am (IAH) on continental 1677. Melissa pick up?
  • Bridesmaids luncheon at Briar Club. 11:00 am. Betty drive Mom/Betty.  Carol drive Shannon, Molly, Brittney, Melissa, Carol. Bring hostess gifts and pots!
  • Joyce L. arrives 12:50 (IAH) delta 1675. Kat to pick up?
  • Pick up programs from Speedy
  • Order sandwich tray from Pete’s.
  • Joyce S. 1:45
  • Sarah arrives 2:30 at Hobby. Shannon or Kat pick up?
  • Shannon/Kat pack overnight bag for Sat.
  • Lucas to kennel?
  • Rehearsal 5:30. Bring programs, checks for musicians/officiants, maps to Mary’s house and rehearsal “bouquets”
  • Rehearsal dinner 7:00 – ?
  • Bring guest book, pen, video display to Mary’s

Whew was right! But then came the wedding day, and yes, it, too, was a busy one, starting with a brunch, followed by beauty appointments for all the wedding party women, with a mad dash to the church to get ready, photographed and then…  the most magical ceremony with gorgeous music and a wonderful blend of the two faith traditions.

After that, we had such fun at the reception, dancing into the night. Everything was perfect, and we all rejoiced. Read what I wrote about it a year ago:

Then came a honeymoon to Scotland, followed by a move to Lexington, law school and “life”.

Fast forward to this year:

It took us almost ten months to narrow down the choices of wedding photos for our respective photo albums. We were overwhelmed by the thousands of wonderful photos from which to choose. But both albums came out great, and we’ll enjoy looking at them over and over again.

The last little mother of the bride lesson I learned came not long ago as I was clearing out “stuff”. I found a box with leftover wedding invitations and reply cards/envelopes. Of course I kept some for the “archives”, but the rest I recycled. Oops, I had stuck stamps on many of the envelopes, anticipating that we’d need them. Well, that was a waste! Note to other MOB’s: Stick the stamps on last.

And finally, there was the silly tradition concerning the top of the wedding cake. How was I going to get it to Virginia for them to eat on their first anniversary?

Well, we solved that problem by having Shannon come home for a quick visit this past week, while Kat has been working in Washington DC. Recalling the whirlwind of last year, we really enjoyed the leisurely pace of this one! As she returned to Lexington on Friday, she hand carried that piece of cake through security and tucked it under the seat. It arrived safely and was duly nibbled on their first anniversary,

I’ll admit that I felt a little bittersweet as Shannon headed back to Virginia this time. Why? I guess it’s because having her home and staying upstairs felt kind of like the olden days when she was living at home. But that will never be the case again! I know it’s a good thing; it’s the way life is intended to be.

What a blessing that both she and Kat are healthy, happy and working hard towards a bright future… That’s enough to make any mother grateful and proud! Happy Anniversary to you “oldyweds”; we love you very much!


The Lists
June 21, 2012

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. ~ 23rd Psalm

When I was a little girl, I never understood why we would say something like, “I shall not want the Lord, who is my Shepherd” in church. I mean, take away the semicolon, and basically that’s what it sounded like to me!

Of course eventually, I realized that the second sentence of the 23rd Psalm can be translated as “I am so blessed because I am not lacking for anything (thanks to the Lord, who is my Shepherd).”

At our house, we have a “need” list and a “want” list. Of course, the need list gets all the attention, and only after much frugality does the want list get indulged. For instance, plumbing repairs are needs. New sinks and faucet handles are wants.

I remember a time, almost 16 years ago, when Joel and I were in New Orleans for his annual firm meeting. I love to stroll through the French Quarter and window shop, especially in the antique stores on Royal Street. Mostly, I like to look at items similar to ones we have and check out the prices!

In one of the stores, I was admiring the tall case clocks. I’ve always wanted a classic “grandfather clock”, and I have picked out the perfect spot for the one I hope to adopt someday. One of the store employees swooped over to escort me as I shopped; I still remember his name, which was Joe. Joe inquired about my interest in the clocks, but I told him I was just admiring them, because that was on my want list and not my need list.

So he asked me what was on my need list. We had recently moved into our current house which has an intimate dining room. Our former massive dining table (inherited from a dear cousin of Joel’s), is four feet square without leaves, but expands to sixteen feet by four feet when extended. It now sits in our gigantic living room as a game table, but we open it when we have a large dinner party, as we did just last week.

But our smaller dining room needed the perfect table. I told Joe that the number one item on my need list was an oval, dark oak table that would seat up to eight people. He said, “I have one to show you. It just came in, and is upstairs waiting to be processed.”

We took the ancient elevator up to the fourth floor, which was a holding space for new items. He pulled the table out and opened it up; it had gate legs that folded to seat six or eight, depending on their position. Supposedly it was a 19th century French country table. It was exactly what I was looking for.  I couldn’t believe it was so perfect.

Of course, I had to run this by Joel, and after he was finished with his business, we went back to the store to look at it. He concurred that it was just right, and Joe quoted us a price. Joel bargained with him, and they came to an agreement.

When you buy items in New Orleans to ship out of state, there is no sales tax. And when this store ships things to Houston, they wait until they have a truck load, which makes the delivery fee very reasonable (it was only $25, but of course this was 16 years ago).

So that is the story of our dining room table, which we still love. It was a need (I know, there are many other more pressing needs in the world, so I’m not trivializing here, but rather making a point) and not a want.

I sometimes think that I would still love to have a tall case clock. But I’m not holding my breath. Because I know that I can live without one, and I can truly say I shall not want. I am so grateful!

Monday, Monday
June 14, 2012

It was just one of those things~Cole Porter

Make that four of those things! Four small irksome incidences that separately, would have been easily handled, but when combined, made me want to throw up my hands in surrender. Just go back to bed and start over! Of course, it figures that all these things happened on a Monday…

I absolutely LOVE it when I go into the kitchen in the morning and discover that one of the cats has hurled up a hairball. Of course, they would never do it on the nice, easy to clean brick floor. No, it’s usually on the sofa, rug, once on my desk (thank goodness she avoided the keyboard!) or on one of the chair pads. This time, whoever was the culprit did it in their bean bag nest, which meant unzipping the cover and tossing it in the washing machine. Not a biggie, but certainly, not very appetizing first thing in the morning.

Then after taking care of the livestock, I booted up the ol’ computer to see what had  happened overnight. First check e-mails, and then Facebook. I thought I’d craft a pithy comment about cleaning up cat hurl first thing in the morning, but wait, something was wrong. I could see what friends had written, but couldn’t post anything. I kept getting an error message that said my updates and comments couldn’t be posted at the moment, but to try again later.

Argh. It was  frustrating, but not the end of the world. I kept thinking it would resolve itself, but it didn’t. Finally after the morning’s work, I decided to fiddle with the settings to see if I could figure out the problem. Nope. Fail. So I resorted to sending a message to their help desk, which prompted an automatic e-mail reply that wasn’t very helpful AT ALL.

To heck with Facebook.

Because it was Monday, I was doing the laundry, as usual. At 11:45, it was time for a lunch break. But wait! As I was sitting there eating my chicken salad, I could hear the kitchen sink drain making that same blooping noise it did a few weeks ago when it was backed up. (see last week’s post below) And dang it, when the washing machine cycle drained, the water once again filled both sides of the sink and sat there.

Double ARGH! Before I called my favorite plumber again, I resolved to try to clear it myself with the plunger and/or the baking soda/vinegar recipe. Seriously grumpy by this time, I began to work on this latest problem, hoping that I could  fix it myself.

Focused on using the plunger in the sink, I happened to look up and noticed the cat (Trixie) on the table with her head in my bowl of chicken salad, just munching away! Triple ARGH!!!

I shouted at her and really gave her “the what for”! She bolted out of the room, away from my yelling and stomping, and Tucker gave chase. Good dog!! That will teach her.

So much for that lunch. Sigh. My day was seriously not going very well.

But wait! I succeeded in clearing the sink clog! After I got the drain going by using the plunger, I poured the baking soda/vinegar concoction down it and let it do its fizzy work. Rinse with hot water, and all was well. No more ominous blooping noises. Hooray for me!

And then I discovered that my Facebook account was working properly again! I have no idea what happened, but I’ll take it. Hooray for Facebook!

Add to that a new bowl of chicken salad and a clean bean bag cover, and well, we all lived happily ever after.

The End

Washday Blues
June 7, 2012

Anybody who has any doubt about the ingenuity or the resourcefulness of a plumber never got a bill from one. ~ George Meany

Faithful pewperson readers may recall my post from last summer after our kitchen sink backed up and we got some very bad news from our plumber: The cast iron pipe beneath our sink had corroded and crumbled. One 12 foot tunnel under our house, 3 weeks and $8000 later, we were finally back to normal.

When a major malfunction such as this happens, it can be devastating to one’s budget, and the reality of it makes one appreciate the ordinary pleasure of simply turning on the sink and having the water run and drain, or of running the dishwasher instead of having to hand wash things in the bathtub.

My formative years were spent in New Orleans, and in New Orleans, Monday is wash day. And so it is at my house. One recent Monday, the water draining from the washing machine made that earlier problematic kitchen sink gurgle. I puzzled over it, but wasn’t too concerned. Tucker, however, was agitated. It was as if he knew something was amiss. Did he smell it? Or hear it? Dogs just know. I should have taken a clue from him.

It was during the third load that the kitchen sink erupted into a nasty brew of waste water. I was so glad I was home! The backup spewed from the washing machine, as well, and I quickly stanched it with all the “dog towels”.

All I could think about was last year’s major plumbing fiasco and the price that we had had to pay. In the current vernacular, “I was all like, OMG!!”

What to do? I did some bailing to allow the washing cycle to finish. And then I tried using a plunger (no luck) and a recipe of baking soda, vinegar and hot water (no luck). Finally, I called in the cavalry… my ace plumber Mike Bates (Harvard Plumbing).

When I talked to him and described the situation, Mike was reassuring that this was not a big problem. Still, I fretted, and could not rest easy until I knew for sure.

I worried all evening and into the wee hours. What a waste of time and stress. Of course I’m writing this after the fact and now know that all is well, but still, I know I should not dwell upon irksome things such as this, because frankly, we’ve been through financial setbacks over the years, and you know what? We have always survived. And life has gone on.

Mike came to the rescue about lunchtime on Tuesday. After removing all the items beneath the kitchen sink, he proceeded to run his plumber’s snake into the pipe and successfully unclogged it with no complications. Then he cleaned up, put everything back and packed up. $167 was all it cost.

What a relief! All the anxieties that had been weighing on me were dissolved. Yes, I knew this was fixable, but I had worried that it was going to be another major cash drain… which happily was not the case. See above paragraph about worrying all for naught.

So I gratefully finished the wash, ran the dishwasher, then cooked dinner and served it on real plates instead of paper ones! What a blessing. How much we take for granted… I am so thankful for ordinary days.

I thought I might give Mike a website plug here, but all the plumber marketing pages want an e-mail and a password. Forget that.

He’s kind of old fashioned in many ways (he’s a solo practitioner and he doesn’t take credit cards) but I trust him implicitly. If you need a good plumber in Houston, Google Harvard Plumbing.

You will be pleased. Trust me.