Wednesday, June 29, 2005


2:15 am.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

I finally emerge from my dream about playing basketball to realize that sound is NOT me showing off stunning dribbling ability, but is coming from the wall I share with the people on the other side of the duplex.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

Ah, no! Don't tell me I'm listening to middle of the night romance!!

I pile pillows over my head. She is quite large, to the point where she's disabled. That was not an image I wanted in my head.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

Then I realize the rhythm is not right for that.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

I had fallen asleep with my TV on, maybe the sound is too loud and they are banging on the wall to get my attention. So I turn off the TV.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

This is odd. I haven't heard much out of their side of the duplex. In fact, I found them to be oddly quiet. But quiet neighbors are a good thing, so I just thanked my lucky stars and kept unpacking.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

I wonder if someone is in need of help. Maybe she rolled on top of him and then died. He's trapped underneath a mountain of wife, desperately trying to get help.

Thump, thump, thump.


Thump, thump, thump.

I get up and put my ear to the wall. I can faintly hear the sounds of a baby whining. Then I realize what I'm hearing. Apparently the room on the other side of the wall is their baby boy's room. He's awake, lying in his crib and is kicking the wall. My maternal spidey sense tells me those whines are teething whines. He's the right age.

Finally, I hear the sounds of someone going to his aid.

I go back to bed and return to my hoop dreams, which is odd. I've never played basketball before.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Last night, I finished installing the washer and dryer, an activity that required more additions to my toolbox. Some friends helped me the other night with getting the washer level; a cute trick as there is a slope in the floor. Two boards of different thicknesses were called into service. And one of the boards is a decorative chatcke I had tole-painted years ago. Oh well, it's being of better service this way.

After getting it level, I needed to fashion a pipe leading from the laundry tub to the drain. This required my purchasing things that had unfamiliar names; at least to me. PVC (which I thought was an illegal drug), elbow joints, male and female connectors and P-trap. P-trap. Who comes up with these names?

Then there was the glue for the joints, which is a two-part process. There's a can of purple stuff and a can of white gooey stuff. When they are put together, a chemical process occurs and it makes PVC and the segments of the pipe all become one piece. At least that's how it was explained to me.

As the guy at the hardware store was telling me how to assemble all of this, he used the term "hacksaw". He apparently could tell from my expression that I don't have one and said a butcher knife would do as well. I decided I'd come this far, I'd go ahead and get a hacksaw. (and may I say, that name sounds quite brutal.)

He tried to get the lid off the glue to show me the applicator but couldn't. I pointed out that if he couldn't, I sure as heck wasn't going to be able to. He suggested I just use pliers. He saw the look on my face and went over and picked up a pair of cheap pliers and handed them to me, suggesting I get those as well, which I did.

He went on to explain how I cut the PVC, then use some fine sandpaper to rub on the edges. He asked if I had that and I mentioned I have an emory board. I got an eyeroll for that and he said, "yeah, that'll work."

After getting all of that, and two hoses for the water supply, I went home and starting assembling my first drain pipe. You know, basically a piece of cake. I did it in 20 minutes. I did manage to kick over the can of purple stuff. I think the fumes made me a little high. After washing the glue down the drain, I stood back and admired my work.

Then noticed that in our efforts to get the washer as level as possible, the dryer was next to the wall....and a foot in front of a pipe supporting the ceiling, blocking the door of the dryer.


Sunday, June 26, 2005


If you all recall what's contained in my toolbox, then it should come as no surprise what I use for a carpenter's pencil.

But today, I finally had to upgrade. I was putting up miniblinds, the ones that say "as simple as 1-2-3".

I open the box, had my "screwdriver" ready and start reading the directions.

"Step One: Drill the holes."


I looked at my shoe, looked at my butter knife and looked at the miniblinds. I sighed, grabbed my purse and went to the store to upgrade my tools.

After careful consideration (translation, trying to figure out what the heck I was looking at) I bought myself a Black & Decker PivotPlus. It's a three-position drill and screwdriver with a tape measure in the handle AND a headlight. Well, they don't call it a headlight. It's officially called an "integrated light". I also bought a cute little case containing various sizes of drills and screwdriver heads. After getting all set up to install miniblinds as simply as 1-2-3, I encountered a problem: there was no holder for the drill bits.

After carefully reading the instructions and looking at everything in the case two and sometimes three times, I went back to the store to ask about the part that is supposed to hold the drill bit. I instructed myself NOT to use words like "thingy and doo-dad."

The guy looked and looked at the tool. He tried various bits. THEN he got out the directions, read them and exclaimed, "Ah ha! Quick release collar. Quick release, that means it comes off so you can put the bit in."

I explained that this quick release collar didn't come off; the "quick release" is that you pull it back and it quickly releases the base of the screw heads.

I didn't tell him how that totally exhausted my database of tool knowledge. Generally, if I need a different size screw head, I get out a different butter knife.

We both gave up and I ended up buying a drill bit that was already in a base. Of course, that lead to a conversation about the bit size.

Him: What size do you need?

Me: (reading from directions I brought with me): 2/32.

Him: Hmmm, we don't have that. We have a 3/32 and a 5/64.

Me: Oh, look. Here's a 1/16.

Him: Ah, that might be too small. I'd go with the 3/32.

Me: It's the same.

Him: No, that 1/16 is smaller than the 2/32.

Me: Yeah....well, I'll take my chances.

So now, hours later, I've installed 7 out of 9 miniblinds. I'll have to deal with the ones in my daughter's room later. She has two windows the same size; but the only two blinds that are left are 31" wide and 37 1/2" wide respetively. Something tells me the guy who cut the blinds may be related to the guy who told me 1/16 is smaller than 2/32.

Oh, and I still used an old eyeliner for a carpenter's pencil. I've had enough change for one day.

Friday, June 24, 2005


I had mentioned my three friends who helped me with this move; Judy, Kathy and Wanda. I've known Kathy the longest and we've helped each other with other moves. In fact, she met her second husband, Bob, during one of our moves.

Kathy and I met when we were going through our divorces. We were both active in a singles group at one of the local churches that had a tradition of pitching in and helping members during times such as moving, etc. I didn't know Bob, had just seen him at events a couple of times; but on moving day, there he was, ready to help. He had moved a few months before that, right in the middle of dealing with a kidney stone. People he didn't know showed up to help, and his helping me out was his way of giving back.

I realized during the day that I often saw Kathy jumping into to Bob's Jeep to make runs to my new place. I didn't think they had known each other, and kind of smiled to myself, thinking I was watching something develop. Later, I walked into the kitchen at the new place and caught them in the middle of a kiss. Whoa! Developing fast. Their wedding was a little over a year later.

Anyway, I was very very very worried about moving my piano and was getting to be quite a pain in the neck about it. So much so that the guys would not let me accompany them when they moved it. Another friend was instructed to stay back at the house with me and make sure I didn't go hover over the guys moving it. As they left, Bob was the last one out of the door and he turned and said "Remember, Donna, it will only bounce once."

Sadly, Bob is no longer with us. He passed away about 7 years later from complications following surgery for lung cancer.

Yesterday, the movers were concerned about the piano and kept asking me about the number of stairs at the new place, and what kind of entrance, etc. I smiled, remembering Bob and assured them that they could handle it. I told them I wasn't concerned, after all, it will only bounce once."

I text messaged that to Kathy who was in an all-day training session. At another late dinner last night, she told me that reading that message made her laugh out loud during the training.

I had another Bob image came up later when they moved my dresser. It is very large and heavy and has not been moved since I moved in. Even though I've shoved a vacuum cleaner hose under it from time to time, it was obvious it didn't catch much if anything. It was quite scary back there. In that move years ago, a similar finding occurred when the guys moved my bed, which was a soft-sided waterbed. Again, heavy and hard to move. At the new place, I asked the guys to leave space between the bed and the wall so I would be able to vacuum back there. Bob said, "Yeah, like THAT's gonna happen." In fact, over the years, whenever I'm struggling to vacuum behind a particularly heavy piece of furniture, I hear him saying that. He was apparently right about the dresser.

Last night, I told Kathy that I don't think there will be the opportunity during this move for her to meet her next husband. She's OK with that.


No matter how old one gets, one should keep learning. Today, I learned:
  • During my life's journey, I've amassed a great deal of maple furniture
  • I'm not that crazy about maple furniture
  • I don't have enough room for all of this frikking maple furniture
  • My new home has been generously blessed with windows
  • My new home has NOT yet been generously blessed with window treatments
  • My new neighbor, whom I have not met, is a brunette
  • My new neighbor,whom I have not met, also has not been generously blessed with window treatments
  • Some people would say that my new neighbor has been generously blessed in other ways that are more important than window treatments
  • New technology and older homes don't always mix
  • Only one outlet in my new --older--home takes three pronged plugs
  • After logging off tonight, I hope I remember to plug the refrigerator back in.
  • It's a good idea to take the first shower in the new place when one is fully awake and not drop dead tired and operating on autopilot.
  • The hot water heater here works. Very well.
  • I have a teeny tiny garage
  • The car I borrowed from my ex (because my car died) is way too big and does not fit into the garage
  • Apparently, I need to review my divorce settlement.
  • One CAN be too tired to sleep.

Thursday, June 23, 2005



Is this the same guy?

Ex-KKK Leader Edgar Killen and This dancin' fool.


One thing about moving, it certainly makes you self-centered for awhile. At some point in time, we've all done it. Some of us move more than others. All of us have our favorite moving stories.

One of my favorite stories was one my daughter told. She was moving a twin bed across town when she was in college. She told me she loaded it into her Cavalier. I did not see how that was possible. She explained that she lowered the seat back from the trunk, lowered the front passenger seat, loaded the mattress and box springs in through the trunk and left the trunk opened. A friend drove the car while she leaned over the back of the the passenger seat to hold on to everything. She explained that basically, her a$$ was bouncing on the roof of the car as they drove through town with the mattress bouncing up and down at the end.

Things a parent doesn't want to know.

I had some last minute things to take care of this morning -- refrigerator, my bed and bathroom,etc. As I was loading things up, I realized I was feeling somewhat like a fleeing refuge. I was throwing things into a trashbag, trying to get things done as quickly as possible. It was almost like "Quick! The communists are coming! We have to catch the last helicopter out of Kirkwood. Hurry! Hurry!"

And now it's a case of hurry up and wait. And I just had a call from the phone company. They are at the new place and fortunately there is someone there to let them in. They are getting ready to hook me up over there, so I'll be losing my phone and DSL here soo

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Sometime back, I kept a Gratitude Journal. At the end of the day, I would think back over the day and identify at least three things that happened for which I was grateful. Sometimes that was easy. And sometimes it was more of a challenge than others. The exercise helped me to stay focused on the positive.

Many of us have the tendancy to focus on the negative when there is really so much good going on. It is much more beneficial to spend some time at the end of the day focusing on the positive instead of worrying and obsessing over things that have not gone as we'd hoped.

I remember several years ago, there was one particular day in which things kept going wrong. My day was capped off with a double dose of car trouble. My brakes went out AND I got a call that my transmission was also crap.

That evening, I was struggling with my gratitude journal. I had two things, but was really working hard to come up with #3.

My oldest daughter, then 17, pointed out that I had a good job and while I might not be able to pay for everything right away, it would help me make payments on the repairs.

Of course, #3 in the journal wasn't about the job, but about the wonderfully supportive daughters I have.

Here lately, I have been noticing that I have returned to focusing on the negative. It does seem that this move of mine seems to be governed by Murphy's Law. I've been dealing with an insane workload, and there have been issues with both my mother's and my sister's health. My sister was going to spend a few days with me helping me get the new place ready, but her health issues changed that.

I am supposed to be off work for the rest of the week, starting today, but 6:00 AM found me at the office finishing up some things that needed attention before leaving. I purposefully wore jeans so I would get kicked out if I stayed too long. Fortunately, I was home by 9:00 a.m. and working at the final stages of packing. I had issues during the day with utility companies, a misunderstanding with the moving company, and an attorney at work who apparently ignored my reminder e-mails that I was going to be gone.

Then there was the coup de gras. Today, the day before the move and two weeks before vacation to New York, my car crapped out on me during a run to Goodwill.

It's a belt. I keep remembering horror stories told by people in the past about expensive belt repairs. In obsessing about all of this, I am seeing the NYC vacation going bye-bye. Hopefully not.

Tonight is a good time to pull out the gratitude journal and start focusing on the positive. The journal itself is packed away somewhere, but that won't stop me from looking back over the day to find the positive.

And tonight, that is a very easy task. I have been blessed to have three wonderful friends in my life. In alphabetical order, they are Judy, Kathy and Wanda. When I put out the call for help (an e-mail, actually), they were there to do what needed to be done. Ironically, two of them work for the utility I discussed today in an earlier post. It ended up being a round-robin kind of situation. Judy picked me up at the service station and helped me take a carload of boxes to the new place. We then put boxes into closets to give the movers room to move furniture tomorrow.

Then she had to leave and Wanda arrived. We worked on the kitchen. As we finished loading up her car, Kathy pulled in. We got her loaded up and made a run over to the new place. After Wanda's car was unloaded, she had to leave and Kathy and I made a final run at the basement and then went to my ex's to pick up a car for me to use until mine is fixed.

She joined me at a local restaurant where I had a very late dinner. While there, I found out that she still had to work on a PowerPoint presentation for a client that is due tomorrow morning. And here she was helping me out.

And, as long as I'm making entries in the Gratitude Journal, it's only right that I include my ex, as I'm borrowing one of his cars until mine is healthy again.

I WILL get through this, things WILL go well, and tomorrow night I will be sleeping in my new home.

I have no idea which car I'll be driving, though.


All is better. Since the order did not go through on the website, SBC was able to expedite things and get me set up for tomorrow. I still have to wait until the 30th for DSL. When I was getting my phone service on the 28th, they told me it will take two business days after the phone is turned on; and that would be the 30th.

NOW, they are telling me that the DSL takes up to 5 business days after the phone is hooked up, which takes us to the 30th.

What's so special about the 30th?


I'm currently on hold with a major utility, which I won't name. I'll just use their initials, SBC. A couple of weeks ago, I had called them to arrange switching my telephone and DSL service to my new location.

As I was on hold, I kept hearing the message that all of that can be done on their website. So, I went to the website and signed up to have that done. Licketsplit. Piece of cake. Ain't the internet great.

I had originally planned on having the utilities switched tomorrow. With my sister helping out, I could be two places at once. However, she's not able to be here, so I want to change everything to Friday.

As I was on hold with the above-mentioned SBC, I again heard the recording advising me about using their website. In this event, I chose not to.

As it ends up, they do NOT have me scheduled for any change of service. The individual I spoke with, Debbie, advised me she had just gotten off the phone with someone else who had set up new service through the website, and no one has shown up. The order on the website didn't go through.

Well......they won't be able to get my phone going at the new place until next week, I need to be there AND to get the DSL installed will take another two days. And I have to be there.

I referred her to her statement about the website problems. I am now holding while she chases down a supervisor to see if something can be expedited. She said the supervisors seem to be unusually busy.

Gee, wonder why.

In the meantime, as I hold, I am constantly reassured that my call is important to them; and that many services can be handled through their website.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


So, with Brain surgery through your nose would that mean that if someone wanted to ask for your opinion on something, they could legitimately say, "Let me pick your nose"?

Monday, June 20, 2005


I supposed Mt. Sterling's mayor was last in line when the small town celebrations were handed out. Collinsville got the Horseradish Festival; Metropolis, Illinois has the Superman Celebration; Norris City, Illinois has Mules Days. But poor Mt. Sterling. They are stuck with the annual Testicle Festival.

I used to live in Ridgeway, Illinois which had Popcorn Days, complete with a Popcorn Parade and a Popcorn Ball, at which they would crown the Popcorn Queen. Monroe County, Illinois would annually crown their Pork Queen.

What activities, one wonders, is involved with a Testicle Festival? What would they call the royalty crowned at such an event? Testicle Queen? That would work in Miami's South Beach; but not in smalltown, Illinois. And who would want to compete to be Testicle King? And on what would the judging be based? Kinda scary.

But as bad as Mt. Sterling's Testicle Festival may be, the Mayor of Byron, IL must have arrived even later. Every October, they celebrate their annual Turkey Testicle Festival.


Sunday, June 19, 2005


*emerges from the depths of the closet and catches sight of herself in the mirror; an impossibly huge smile plastered across her face*

*removes coat hanger from her mouth*

Ahhh.....wondered where that went.

While going through closets, drawers and {shudder!} the basement has been somewhat torturous, I have mined some treasures along the way.
  • A note written to me by my youngest daughter when she was 7, complaining that her best friend was "a big fat snot".
  • Long ago photographs of the girls; Jenni, age 3 in dance class, woefully out of step; Meghan with chocolate cake from her first birthday smeared all over her sleepy face.
  • A photograph of me with college friends, taken after several of us had gotten married; all of us with embarrassing '70's hair.
  • A card from my ex-husband, stating his wish that we remain friends
  • A card from a friend that I received about 10 years ago to bolster me during a down time. That card has magically re-appeared over the years during times of stress.
  • A letter from another college friend containing the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me, which is really interesting since he and I were never romantically involved.
  • My girls with my sister's children; all between ages of 3 and 7; dirty, sweaty, sleepy and happy after a day of playing hard at Grandma and Grandpa's.
  • The last letter I received from a high school friend before she died of breast cancer.
  • My oldest daughter's writings about our trip to Colorado several years ago, containing notes of all the places she saw God on that trip.

It got me to thinking about the digital age in which we now live. Photographs are kept on CD's or hard drives and e-mailed to family and friends. Or we view them through websites. We stay in touch with one another through e-mail, text-messages and IM's. Some of us keep journals on websites. Will this mean our future will be more clutter-free?

If this is the case, then in the future, where will we unearth the treasures from our past? Where will we find long forgotten love letters and photographs to remind us of the times when we were young, in love and had horrible hairstyles? How will the spirit and memory of a departed friend unexpectedly arise from the depths of a drawer? Will we find treasures documenting the progression of our children from their whiney, self-centered complaints to their eloquent expressions of the wonderment of God?

I think we may be missing out by having all of our treasures stored in RAM.

And I don't honestly think my drawers will ever be clutter-free.

Creating a blog

Why? I'm in the midst of moving and apparently felt a great need for yet another diversion. I had heard about this website from a friend who said it was fairly easy, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'll probably be tinkering with the set up of it for awhile, and then I'll get interested in something else and this will sit in the back of the cyber closet, collecting dust.

During the very easy process of setting this up, I did feel as though I was also getting an eye exam. There is a place where you have to enter the letters just as they appear. But the letters don't appear normally. They are somewhat skewed and apparently, I got a couple of them wrong, because it took me a number of tries for my entry to be accepted.

For those of you wondering why I chose "Slyeyes", it's because "Donna" and any and all variations of my name have already been taken.

OK, I'm going to post this and then get to work cleaning my closet in preparation for moving. If you don't see me back here anytime soon, send help.