Where Was I?

I’m feeling bad for CJ, who looks forward to me writing every day, because yesterday was just too much. But I’m back, and I’ll have two today.

Trying to look cheerful.

Between meetings for both jobs, I had zero writing time, and you wouldn’t have wanted a fresh rendition of the hissy fit I threw when presented with the plans for the dark, blocked-off staircase and ugly flooring at the Pope house. It must have been a good fit I pitched, because now the plan is for a lovely open staircase that will bring in light!

The area of contention. They wanted to build the staircase in such a way that my tiny bathroom would only have 6’ ceilings

Later in the day, Kathleen and I selected different flooring for the main floor, because the team sadly found out that the floors in most of the rooms are too far gone to salvage. But I’m glad that the front reception office will have original floors using the good parts of the other floors. That will be nice.

Fixing brick.

We also picked a really nice metal ceiling, because I thought I was supposed to get the fake stuff. Turns out they wanted real metal. I also was a little annoyed at how long I spent picking stuff out, only to find out it was the wrong stuff. Not my day.

Fixing brick from the other side

Oh Quit Complaining

It’s not all bad, honestly. The house has been leveled, and that’s amazing!

Reinforced floor joists. They also added concrete footings. It’s steady.

And electrical work is going on! We’re just hoping the inspector likes it. He isn’t as fond of our exposed brick as we are, though we’re fixing it right up. Chris will get it all worked out. He is doing great with coordinating and schmoozing.

I will have outlets in my office!

Plus, Tina gave me these hilarious Valentine nails. She wouldn’t let me see them until she was finished. So cute! How could I stay annoyed, especially since I went straight from there to wine with friends!

Happy nails.

I’m human. I can lose it occasionally. The key is to get past it and get back to being kind. I can do that!

I'm on Fire in the Snow(ish)

It’s been interesting lately, but at least not bad, just interesting. Yesterday was another long, but productive, day at work. I enjoy those a lot, when I get to have ideas and help other people out. Plus, some of my favorite “drudgework” is coming up, so I’m all pleased. I am grateful every day to have work and a place where I’m appreciated. It was a long time coming.

See, I’m a person at Planview, even though that was a couple of job titles ago.

But, I had to leave a little early to go get the mammogram the doctor ordered yesterday. I wasn’t worried, since the 3D ones aren’t as awful as the other ones were, but as I was standing there, extremely awkwardly, I began to itch. Yoga breathing to the rescue, and I got through it, but wow, was I itchy.

Oh look, I had a rash.

Yep, I was covered in a rash, everywhere I had touched the machine (I kindly cropped the photo). All I can figure is that whatever disinfectant they use between patients (which is, of course, a very good thing) disagreed with me rather violently!

So, I ran off to the haircut place, where I had a nice glass of wine and was comforted by Dan, who also removed a ton of hair, with no disasters involved. I’m glad I finally found someone I like to do my hair, and that it is CLOSE to the house. Next time it will be a lot more fun, so stay tuned for late March.

Snowpocalypse!

It was really cold when we came back from having a Chinese dinner (chicken and broccoli, healthy and good with no rice!). Declan came over and chatted with us while we ate, which was a nice break. It is always so nice to catch up.

On the way home, little frozen rocks were spitting from the sky, I guess graupel. So, I was not surprised to see what passes for a “winter wonderland” around here when I woke up.

It was crunchy.

Better mark myself safe from Austin Snowpocalypse 2020! I think Cameron got a little bit more, from photos I saw (it will be long gone by the time I get there this evening). Be safe out there, Texans! Everyone up north, enjoy a chuckle on us!

This much snow is pretty. And once a year is often enough!

I Am So Proud of Our Friends and Family on This Renovation

Wow, the amount of work that’s gone into our office renovation project is immense. Anything to do with money can get my poor spouse upset, and things were getting to him. I am so grateful to Kathleen and Chris, who were also dealing with their own stressful “stuff,” for helping Lee and the team figure out a good way to move forward on our project to bring a very old house back to life. I feel like I owe them something!

This brick has been cleaned so you can see all its colors. Looks so good. What’s that on top? The air conditioning/heating unit!

Now our family and friends are part of the team, and getting stuff DONE. Chris and Cody are supporting each other and leading the charge, while they brought in Easton (Kathleen’s daughter’s boyfriend) and Randy (neighbor at the ranch). These guys are cleaning bricks like crazy , making the walls prettier every day.

Here’s the unit in my office, and one of the doors that we’re going to use for a desk.

This lets Cody concentrate on bringing in specialists, such as our friend Felix, whose team swooped in today and installed a new HVAC system that’s both energy efficient and minimally intrusive. Wow, that’s going to literally be cool!

Working on the tiny hole that goes from the outside unit to the inside one.

Interior decoration helps me get my balance back. I told you earlier how Kathleen and I spent a happy hour or two last night dreaming of rustic chandeliers for our offices (mine with bling, hers without). We also have been figuring out ways to re-use the doors we’ll have to replace by making them our new desks. She’s looking for something cool to set hers on. I’ll probably get something with drawers from IKEA. I need drawers.

Another crazy light fixture. Antlers and bling. I have no idea which of the possibilities I’ll actually get.

We found a giant mirror in the bathroom by my office, which we already know a place for in Lee’s office. When we get it cleaned a bit, we’ll show it to you.

Look at all the pretty shiplap in the empty bathroom. That’s way better than a lot of really dirty stuff.

Most important, though, is that our family, our friends, and the people we are working with are back to having FUN on this project, which is how it should be. I am so grateful to everyone who is pitching in and helping me and Lee.

Lee actually having fun with air conditioning stuff. Felix said to get his hands off his noodle. We laughed so much.

PS: I have some additional photos of the renovation over on the Hermit Haus Redevelopment blog, if you want to see more.

Well Past My Limit

I hit my limit on Wednesday. Today I surpassed it.

Work continued to annoy, mainly from being out of the loop when hard work was supposed to be done as a team. We worked it out.

Glad I had my squishy thing today.

And. We had been waiting to close on our Villa Park property all week. Ever so many weird delays occurred.

I was sad and disheveled.

I had hoped for a quiet day in the Cameron office today, but nope. While I was in Austin, all sorts of…things happened on our Pope Residence project, but no one had told me.

They also broke this light fixture.

Blah blah. Who cares. At some point I just started crying as Kathleen talked to me. I just wanted to flee. I couldn’t take any more bad news.

The bathroom window looks out on the yard now. The scary laundry room is gone.

I didn’t. Breathing occurred, and I sat through all my meetings, politely said how I felt, and did my work for all my jobs.

There the laundry room isn’t.

We actually got the closing on that house done, though our real estate agent, Carol, had to drive up to Cameron to bring the papers and our friend Liz had to rush through all the papers. Whew.

Carol and Sierra rest during their brief stop in Cameron for the closing.

I just decided to go with the flow. It worked. Sometimes that’s all you can do!

Yep. That’s an incredible number of papers for sellers.

The sight of all the work going on at the Pope Residence, along with thoughts of chandeliers for our offices helped. And some wine.

Nothing relaxes me more than decorating houses, so tonight Kathleen and I looked for chandeliers for our offices. Which one do you like best?

I’m sure things will settle down soon. I’m sure being out of the loop won’t be permanent. Challenges are part of life!

The Earth Is Trying to Tell Me Something

When the big picture is overwhelming, which lately is most of the time, I often have a tendency to wallow, playing possible scenarios out in my head (entire US Senate revolts!), and other less-than-helpful activities.

I’m really glad that I am able to put myself into situations that will snap me right on out of it, thanks to arranging for my life to have regular POPS of nature here, there and everywhere. That lets Mother Earth politely poke me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, I’m still here, as are all my minions, and we want you to breathe and be one of us.

For example, this morning, I was stressing a bit about having to go get blood drawn, and in a rush. But, when I opened the garage door to leave, I was greeted by the sight of the front “yard” of the guy across the street. Now, this poor area is the least “kempt” of the tiny yards in the NorthCat Villas. Everything is quite overgrown, and I believe that much of the vegetation is volunteer.

Neighbor jungle.

Still, it is full of color and texture, and the sight of the yellow flowers and nandina berries truly made an impression that our planet is pretty darned clever. That reminded me that even my messy mind can make beautiful things, too.

Then, as I attempted to hurry my way to the clinic, I had to stop and admire the deer who were casually noshing in the fancy HOA plantings. They reminded me that they are clever and reslient, and so maybe I should take that as a goal for myself. Thanks, Nature.

Hey. It’s breakfast time.

And finally, when work had me more than a little annoyed about things beyond my control. I had just 25 minutes between meetings, so I went out and zoomed around the courtyard for a while. A coworker asked me to slow down and I said, “No.” As I zoomed, I heard the hawks a lot. Then a sweet sound crept into my consciousness. Where was it?

Back to singing.

The next time I came around I saw a very chilly mockingbird just “talking” to herself. There was all sorts of chirping, chortling, and the occasional longer stretch of song. After a few laps, I stopped and thanked her. She looked at me, fluffed her feathers and got back to singing.

I’ve decided this was the Earth’s way of telling me to not let all those negative Nellies and distractions interfere with my personal song. I just wish that same Billy Joel song would STOP playing in my head.

Off to hours and hours of meetings!

Life Goes On: Raptor Edition

Thanks for bearing with my rant yesterday. Today I got some good perspective as soon as I parked my car on the top floor of the parking garage (so it could get washed).

I opened the door and immediately heard a loud screech. Right next to my car was the elevator tower, where a red-shouldered hawk was watching me and letting me know about it.

Hey, human! Why are you up here?

Hooray, I thought, our little work green area has enticed the hawks back! They seem to be checking out their old nest and getting ready to raise more babies.

Jen and I enjoyed watching the pair for a while this morning. I was just so happy to see the urban wildlife supported by our corporate buildings. It reminds me that Nature will find a way, given time and a bit of luck.

We’re back!

I’ll hold on to this as my friends and I do our best to promote love, peace, and harmony with the world around us.

Ups and Downs of Small-Town Businesses

Now that I think Pickle and Vlassic are over their foam-eating issues, I can return to other topics. One that has especially interested me is how people in and around Cameron feel about the customer service mentality in the area. I may have mentioned that a couple days ago, Lee wrote a blog post about why Cameron has such a hard time keeping restaurants open.

Lee’s photo of the former Sonic, now up for sale.

Usually, our blog posts and Facebook business page posts get between 100-200 views/hits each. Not this one. The Facebook one has 2500 views and 14 shares. Mandi said the one on her page also got lots of shares. The website stats look hilarious. There were 1500 hits that day, which made the previous week look totally flat.

So, yeah, Lee’s thoughts on this topic struck a nerve. I’ve been hanging around Cameron for just nine years now, but I’ve seen so many places open and close right up. One has done it at least four times (I’m not naming names, just noting facts). When I talked to a former cafe owner, she said people would just walk off their jobs or not show up because they didn’t feel like it. Turnover was huge. Just a week or two ago we went to a local place where only the cashier had showed up, so she was trying to wait tables. It didn’t go well.

Continue reading “Ups and Downs of Small-Town Businesses”