Thursday, September 17, 2009

A year ago...

A year ago this coming Saturday (9/19/09) will be one year since my uncle (dad's brother) suddenly passed away.

There are some things in life that you don't ever think that you will forget about. I foresee this being one of those situations. It was a Friday morning and Francie and I were getting up early to travel for a weekend get-a-way with my parents and sister. While in the city, I was going to get to see my favorite baseball team play against their chief rivals. It was going to be one of those well deserved, do as little as possible, family vacations. It was also going to be an early celebration of my 30th birthday and my wife and sister had spent months planning the trip not to mention way too much money on the game tickets. However just before we were set to get up, I got a call saying that my uncle was going to the emergency room and that it did not look good.

Now for those that don't know that side of the family, this actually wasn't an unusual event for my uncle. He suffered for many years with multiple diseases, and on more occasions than you or I have fingers and toes he has been at the brink of death and then came back. This time was very different. This time he didn't pull out of it, nor would any human been able to. See my uncle, unknown to anyone, had abdominal aortic aneurysm. The aneurysm burst that Friday morning, and because of this, my uncle passed away in his house, while my aunt was trying to take care of him like she had done for so many years.

Because of my uncle's passing away, we did not make the trip to see my baseball team play. We instead stayed home and were with family. Through the help of many family members and friends I was able to sell the tickets. I was told by my aunt that I could go on to the game that she totally would understand. I didn't care anything about the game. It was just a game. I had lost my uncle. My dad had lost his brother. My grandmother had lost her son. My cousins had lost their father, and my aunt had lost the one that she loved for 35 years.

(A quick side note about my uncle and my aunt. They meet in the same building that I now work in. I walk through the area where they met for the first time nearly every day. It's ironic how life works out and things are so connected.)

The next several days passed so quickly, yet seemed to last forever. I vividly remember certain situations that occurring during the next week or so, wishing that in some ways I could forget them however thankful in other ways that I won’t. We have all moved on over the past year. My cousins went back to their homes in a city about 6 hours away. My aunt continued to live her life. My grandmother has had many ups and downs health wise. So has my dad. There have been many joyful events (buying a house, dad making it through surgery, etc). There have been other sad events (grandmother’s health, etc). However we are all still here and we all still love each other. However Saturday will bring back a lot of feelings for everyone.
So if you don’t mind please say a prayer for my family on Saturday. I don’t know how the day will go. I do know that it will be hard on the entire family, especially since we will not be together. May God bless each and every one of you who read this blog. I pray that you enjoy the time you have with your family, however long or short it may be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The House: Before and After...

Last night we hosted our first large group in our home. The life group we meet with on Sunday nights from church came to our house for dinner, games, and a devotional lesson. It was a great evening. In preparation, Jack and I cleaned and cleaned so today, as promised, I have pictures of the inside of our house: before and after the renovations! (Please excuse the picture layout. Inserting this many pictures through blogger was more challenging and time consuming than I expected.)
Keep in mind, all of the before pictures were taken before the previous owner was completely moved out so the furniture was moved out when they left.

Let's start with the utility room:

Notice the green paint, green vinyl valances, and unpainted wood paneling....


Now, it is a utility room so pardon the hangers and slight mess, but notice the beautiful tan and white paint, lovely new valance and new floor. There is also a new light fixture in here but you can't see that from this picture.

Now to the kitchen! Before:

There's that green paint again. And how about those saloon doors?

So the changes in here include painted cabinets, new hardware, new light fixtures (again not pictured), new floors, new window treatments, new blinds, and new paint.
Some of the biggest changes occurred in the living room. is the before:

The living room was originally two rooms: a den and formal living room. The formal living room was red with white carpet and a flowery border that was triple-glued (rrrrrgh)! The den was green (again) paneling and because of the fireplace the room was very narrow and offered few options for furniture set-up. So...we began to think about taking down the wall between the two rooms and creating one large living room for ourselves.


Now we have a large living room and 18 people sat comfortably around last night during our life group meeting. As you can see, we also have new carpet, paint, window treatments, and light fixtures in this room too.
Guest bedroom and guest bathroom. Before:

The guest bathroom had gold lantern light fixtures that cast a yellow light all over the room, not to mention that they were hung low in mirror. Furthermore, there was no shower in the guest bathroom, just the (wonderful) jacuzzi tub. The guest bedroom was fine. The biggest problem with it was a ceiling fan that was improperly hung and no carpet. (Jack and I like carpet...don't judge us.)


In the guest bathroom, we changed light fixtures, added a vent/light fixture, added the shower and marble around the jacuzzi tub, painted, and put in a new toilet. In the guest bedroom, we painted, added carpet, and changed the light fixture.

Finally, our bedroom and bathroom. Before:

Our bedroom had wall paper and no carpet. Our bathroom was green (again) and the shower tiles were falling off the walls. We ended up having to take the shower completely out and re-doing the entire thing. That was one of the largest projects we tackled.

In our bedroom we added carpet, painted (after stripping wallpaper), changed the light fixture, and bought new bedroom furniture (which I love!). In the bathroom, we painted and completely gutted and changed out the shower. We put in marble instead of tile. Hopefully it will serve us well for years to come.
There are other rooms in the house not pictured here (the dining room, office, garage, and outside storage building) but these are the ones that are 1. clean and 2. the most changed. This project took up a large part of our summer and we are very thankful to our wonderful family who helped us with all the work and also friends and family who helped us move.
We feel truly blessed to be in our home. It is great for us and we have learned alot from the renovations (as you may have read if you keep up with this blog). Thanks for your prayers and support!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dear Jacuzzi Tub...

Dear Jacuzzi tub,

Thank you for coming into my life. When we first viewed what is now our home, our realtor showed you to us with some enthusiasm. While I knew your capabilities, I was only mildly impressed. We really weren't looking for a home with a Jacuzzi tub. None of the other homes we had seen had a Jacuzzi tub. It was not a deal-maker or breaker for us. No offense, but your presence in our home was merely icing on the cake. But now, oh now, I know the value that you add to our home. When I have had a long, very stressful, restless week, I begin to day dream about you. Turning on some music, pouring just the right temperature of water in you, and allowing you to work your magic, you can relax at least some of my stress away. Yes, you have your weaknesses. You are a little short, but then so am I. And you more than make up for your lack of length in your wonderful depth and many jets that shower me in powerful massaging bubbles at the push of a button and turn of a dial. Yes, Jacuzzi tub, you are truly one of the blessings in my life.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcome to the start of school!!!

Our loyal fans may be wondering where the heck we have been!!! It's over two weeks since we last posted!!! It's amazing the earth hasn't split open and swallowed all of us whole!!

I can best sum up where we have been in just a six short sentence. But first a story...

I was mowing the other day for dad (who by the way is recovering nicely), and I got a call on my cell phone. I didn't fully recognise the number (aka it wasn't a number that I had pre-programmed into my phone), however did think that the number looked familiar. So I turned off the mower and answered the phone. It was the nursing home that my grandmother is now staying in. It took several minutes of me saying "Hello!?!" to get someone to talk to me. It was Granny and the first words out of her mouth was, "You are alive!"

My response, and also my response to those who may be wondering where we have been, was....


Seriously.....that was my response! :) I love my Granny, but one of the things that is weird is that some of our family members are having trouble realizing that for the rest of our natural lives come August , SCHOOL STARTS!! and with school starting, our lives get extremely crazy. However, things are starting to slow down a bit, so hopefully I'll be able to go visit Granny more often in the next several weeks.

Hope everyone else is doing well.


P.S. The phone conversation with Granny was good and we got to talk for a few minutes (I wasn't nearly as straight forward as I immediately was :)). I did get a chance to visit her a few days later, and it was good to see her.