Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why we should start writing postcards again

Just a few discoveries and thoughts I had this weekend as I started to go through storage boxes in preparation of our next move.  By the end of number 5, the title of this post should make sense.
  1. First off, how the hell do we still have so much stuff?  Seriously, we got rid of a two car garage and motorhome garage full of stuff and I have not only gotten rid of stuff since we got to Alabama, but also we have not accumulated very many things since the move.  Well, Mom has, but even she has also gotten rid of a lot since the move. 
  2. As a kindergartner, Mik wanted to be a farmer when he grew up. No longer a something he wants to be (or at least not that I know of), but he did go on to be very involved in gardening at his grade school and he continues to be part of making the decisions on what we plant at home. 
  3. Apparently, taking on the lawn mowing last year was not the first time I had lawn chores.  Going away and leaving them undone like I have been doing this spring and will be doing this summer also not new.  A 1992 postcard my Mom sent me while I was in Illinois for the summer says that the weeds have started to grow in my playground and she guesses we will have to pull them again.
  4. In September 1999, Mom sent postcards from London saying she hopes to bring Mik someday (postcard to Mik) and that we should all come (postcard to me).  Interestingly, only months before (April 1999) Dad, her, and I did spend a long layover taking in some of the sites on our way to Poland.  Still have not gone as a whole family, but she did take Dad and Mik with when she went for work when I was in college and I got to go with when she went in 2008.
  5.  My god-mother sent me a postcard from the Town Square in Praque saying that some day I am sure you will visit Prague and sit in the Town Square as I do today (2001).  I certainly did not remember this postcard at the time, but I did in fact sit in the town square almost every day the week I spent in Prague in 2008.  It is even very likely the Prague postcard I mailed myself for my postmarked postcard collection was written while sitting in the Town Square. 
  6. Lastly, a significant portion of the storage boxes is the glass insulator collection. On one hand I think I really will one day do something with them while on the other hand I do not care if they are always stored like the pictures and family history boxes.  After all this is a collection that has been sitting in garages and storage areas for longer than I have been alive.  In fact, it was probably stored in my great-grandma’s garage in North Dakota longer than I’ve been alive.  Now I’ve had it almost seven years and it’s gone from North Dakota to a house in Arizona to a storage unit in Arizona to a garage in Arizona to a house in Alabama to a storage unit in Alabama to a garage in Alabama.  Basically, it has become one of those things I would want to pass down with the family photos and history stuff even though I don’t plan on having anyone to pass stuff down to.  At least if I did, I hope they will be more appreciated as heirlooms than the vacuum my dad called an heirloom that I should keep.  And, yeah, that vacuum is in fact stored in the garage and I will keep it as long as it works, but seriously it’s not an heirloom!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunrise Fishing

This morning I had Mom take me down to the boathouse to fish around 5:45 a.m. so I could try to catch a fish during the last hour of one of the excellent activity windows today.  I started with a black spinner and just fishing with the sunrise view listening to a rooster was good enough for me.

Around 6:30 a.m. I decided to switch to my last non-black spinner.  The second or third cast with it I ended up catching a bass.  I had not brought the basket down since I didn't really expect to catch anything as I have tried during the peak times five times over the past week.  Thus, I called Mom who initially thought I was just asking for her to come get me earlier than the 6:45 we had agreed on, but instead I needed her to bring the basket.

The bass is just barely the minimum 15 inches to keep, but we now have Easter dinner.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mom says I should move out when I sort of already did

This morning I was giving Mom a hard time about leaving things open in the fridge at the lake house.  It drives me nuts because she often never gets back to them and that has lead to our fridge at home often smelling bad, which I have so far avoided happening at the lake house.  Earlier I had also given her a hard time for using so more dishes in the less than a day she had been here than I had the whole week I have been here.  Since she seems to drive me nuts, she said I should move out.

My response was I tried, but she followed me.  That totally confused her and she asked where? I had to explain that I was the one that moved out to the lake house and she is the one that came up here on Thursday for a night that has now turned into being here the whole weekend.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When is it worth it to fight for accessibility?

Over the years Mik has had to deal with a variety of issues being able to get access to things.  For the most part we have worked to get him access to things such as having the city put in a cut out at the end of our block in Tucson so he could go to high school by himself.  However, there also have come times when it just was not worth it such as eventually giving up on getting reasonable accommodations at school and him finishing his last year of high school through the district's home bound program.

This past weekend I think we came across one of the toughest decisions on whether it is worth fighting for accessibility or not.  For one, it is probably one of the most reasonable requests we have ever wanted.  Not to mention I am pretty sure the law is extremely clear on it being on our side for something to be down about it.  However, the fact we even have to fight for it from the very beginning made me make the tough decision that it was not worth it.

So what did we ask for? A push button be installed on the common access door to a condo building in Alexandria, Virginia.

This past weekend we went to D.C. on our first condo hunting trip.  Sure, I never expected it to be our only one.  However, after going through about a dozen units in 6 buildings we not only found the neighborhood we wanted to live in, but a unit that really felt right.  It was particularly surprising because one of my big non-negotiables was a balcony and it didn't have one, but it had a very open living room and plenty of windows for sun so gardening was still something we could work out.  It was also the best for Mik to maneuver around throughout and it had was a two bedroom plus a den.

The only thing that concerned us was it was also the only building we looked at that didn't have a manned desk and/or doorman and it also lacked an automatic door, so Mik would not be able to independently get in and out of the building.  Thus, we made an offer on the unit with it being contingent on the condo building addressing the access issue by installing a push button.  In less than 24 hours we got a response that the condo was unwilling to install one.

Perhaps we could have worded it better in that there are other options like a remote or fob activated thing, but mainly Mik requires an automated door for long term independence, which is the whole point of moving to the D.C. area.  Putting up a fight is something I am quite sure we would win as it is clearly discrimination that is not allowed under the Fair Housing Act.  However, after our experience with the HOA here in Huntsville, I do not want to start messing with the association before even living there when they clearly did not even care to research the possibility of making a reasonable accommodation before saying they cannot do it (there is slight financial hardship reasoning to get out of such things, but even then I am pretty sure it is actually something that can require a special assessment that they could have at least taken some time to consider ).

Apparently, that was not the right condo for us.  There was another building we had been considering between when deciding to make an offer, but none of the current units totally felt right (we wanted like parts of each being one).  However, it is part of a complex with automated doors for entry to the building and one part also has a manned desk, so maybe a unit we really like will come up there.  By the way, I think only one other building we looked at did not have an automated door and we asked the front desk about it. They said they always have someone at the desk that could help and they even have an actual doorman in the evenings.  We did like that building, but the location just was not really right.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mom's Reliance on GPS

Nothing wrong with using GPS in general, but I have found it increasingly frustrating to be in the car with Mom and here telling me to look something up on GPS.  Sure we still use the car navigation to not miss the turn when going to the lake house, but when it is something we in general know where it is it drives me nuts to spend time looking it up on my phone than at least giving us a chance to find it. I guess I kind of get in Huntsville, but it isn't hard with almost everything on two roads.

This past week I especially got annoyed at her because we were back in Tucson and we (or at least I) know the area and seriously if you can't find El Charro downtown without GPS can you say you ever really lived in Tucson!

I guess I'm sort of nostalgic in finding our way as I remember learning my way around Tucson when I was seven and not only was Tucson new to us, but also our nanny.  We got lost a lot, but I guess I loved adventures (i.e. misadventures) back then, too.

Part of why Mom's GPS reliance drives me nuts is also that it's like she doesn't trust we will get there without it.  Sure it doesn't always work without GPS, but trust me sometimes we will get there without it even if we have to go in a circle (look up Explorer Blvd., Huntsville and you'll see how a wrong turn actually was just the very slight long way and not worth Mom's GPS freak out).

Back to this past week and Mom asking me to pull up GPS to get somewhere for the second time that day.  First off, I'll admit we kind of needed GPS in the first instance, but I still say we would have found the place without it because I already had said there's just one shopping center on the corner left to look and she just had to first stop and pull up GPS rather than investigate firsthand.  When she tried to do that again later to find El Charro I told her it's like the song Automatic sung by Miranda Lambert, which she wasn't familiar with, so I successfully distracted her by working on downloading it while also successfully directing her to El Charro.  We didn't even have a misadventure unless you count going almost all the way around the block to find the entrance to the parking lot.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Motorcycle Mickey and Our Disney Front Porch

About a week ago I found out that Kmart had an exclusive line of Disney outdoor products.  The motorcycle Mickey really caught my eye because of the HOA warning I got last year for having my scooter on the front porch.  They said it was because motorcycles are not allowed to be parked there, so I figured I might as well put an actual motorcycle on the front porch this year even though it is a miniature.

I also could not pass up on the solar powered Mickey lighthouse.  I was able to resist the Mickey and Minnie fountain, though I would not mind getting that eventually when we do get a condo if we do not already have too many things for our porch, which we might because we already had two Grumpy statues, a Mickey statue (I'm not attached to this, though), and the Grumpy planter that Mik choose online and also arrived today.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Turning a broken bowl into a work of art

Months ago Dad dropped one of the small plastic bowls and it broke exactly in half.  He brought it to show to me and I immediately decided to hold on to it to make something with it.  Around the same time we put in extra cabinets in the kitchen and I saved the leftover scrap from the counter top for the project.

Yesterday I finally got around to doing something with the bowl and counter top pieces.  I painted the edges of the counter scrap so it was all black using leftover paint from the penguin army project.  I then used a hot glue gun to attach the bowl pieces to the counter top scrap.

When Dad got home I asked him if he thought it would stay attached because when looking at some edges were clearly not touching the counter top.  He proceeded to grab one of the pieces and pull it off.  That clearly illustrated that it would not hold up to anything in the bowl, but that was already quite obvious and I merely was wondering if it was attached enough for its own weight, which they seem to be as long as someone doesn't pull on it!

After reattaching the piece Dad pulled off, I remembered I had some colored stones from an abandoned stepping stone project.  I glued those on to make it look like a flower is growing out of the bottom bowl.  At that point I was kind of wishing I had only put one half of the bowl on because the top bowl did not have enough counter top area above it to do a flower with the stones.

In searching around for other things to use to make something coming out of the top bowl, I found some wine corks and a bottle cap with an apple that got me thinking I could make an apple tree coming out of that bowl.  At first I was going to attach the bottle cap directly to one of the wine corks, but then I found the stash of used up tape rolls that I keep saving thinking I will make fun napkin rings some day.  I painted four of them green and glued them together to be the tree top and then glued the bottle cap in the middle.

The final decision came down to which of the two wine corks to use for the trunk.  One was a Kendall Jackson one, so it says KJ on one side.  The one I decided on, though, was the Black Opal one glued on with the Opal words facing out.  I mainly choose it because it was more porous and thus easier to stick on.  Also, the KJ would have been side ways whereas the Opal lettering is upright when the tree trunk.