Jun 30, 2008

...and they're off

Your wedding invitation is in the mail. TaaDaa, Hallelujah. Amen.

When you get yours you'll: (1) understand why it took me so dang long to get them ready to mail and (2) realize I have a screw loose that compels me to take a process that is already painstaking and detailed and turn it into a process that is even more painstaking and detailed. Not to mention complicated, time consuming and slightly nerve wracking. My motto: never do a project in four easy steps when you can do it in fifty-five complicated steps. And isn't creativity in a wedding invitation what really counts? No? Maybe it's just me then.

Anyway, it's all good. They are now out of my house and on their way to yours and they aren't the same ol' ordinary wedding invitation, plus they'll give you a hint of what we have planned for you on the big wedding day.

And now I'm off to work to see if I can get six days' work done in three. It's a short week this week thanks to the July 4th holiday, and Morley has decided we are not only going to take the weekend off, but we're going to start it on Thursday.

We. Are. Actually. Taking. A. Weekend. Off. I can't believe it. But just in case it comes true, I better get cracking.

Jun 28, 2008

The Best Things Anybody Ever Said to Me

Recently I stumbled across a blog written by a woman who lives in London and writes about her little girl and her man and the everyday things that go on inside their house. I love reading it because she has the best writing style and a wicked sense of humor, plus her life in England is so similar yet so different than mine here in Atlanta.

Recently she posted a list of the best things anyone ever said to her which I thought it was a nifty thing to think about. So I thought about it and came up with my own personal list, towit:

A Partial List of the Best Things Anybody Ever Said to Me:

"Benign" - the doctor who reviewed the test results of my biopsy that showed the wierd lumps in my girls were just clumps of coal or protein or something and not anything bad that might possibly kill me.

- also the doctor who a few weeks later reviewed the results of Morley's biopsy that showed the mega tumor was just a lump of misbehaving cells and not anything bad that might possibly kill him.

"Susan, I really do love you a lot" - My sister Loretta who always ends every phone call by telling me she loves me, but sometimes rings me right back just to say she really, really, really loves me.

"The worst decision I ever made in my life was to break up with you" - Ray Tipton, the object of my high school affections who dumped me for another girl during our Senior year and rendered me temporarily unable to breathe or sleep, calling thirty years later to see if I had forgiven him yet and asking me if I would go out with him again. (My answer by the way was hell, no no, thank you) He eventually married the other girl but divorced her 20 years later when she went to prison for a white collar crime. Karma for stealing my man? You be the judge.

"You're not like the other mothers" - Heather, in response to my inquiry about what the other moms were like who would be going on a mother-daughter cruise being planned.

"We agree to pay the Plaintiff $25.6 million dollars" - The US Department of Housing and Urban Development offering to settle the lawsuit my company filed against them for wrongfully terminating our contract and putting us out of business. The company was still kaput and my 500 employees had still lost their jobs, but it was vindicating as all heck to get that check. In case you are wondering, I got to keep just a tiny fraction of those millions but the vindication? All mine.

"I wish I had what you have" - My friend Carol several years ago after listening to me lament about the inferior quality of the suitors pursuing me at the time. It made me shut up and be grateful that I had choices.

"Here, take this Vega and give me the keys to that Pinto" - My dad in the early 1970's relieving me of the burden of driving the single most unreliable car ever produced by Detroit. I then happily spent the next three years driving the second most unreliable car ever produced by Detroit which consumed oil by the gallon but at least it started when it was supposed to.

...and the very best thing anybody ever said to me (so far):

"I can't wait to be married to you" - Morley the other night in the kitchen when I said something that made him laugh, and then his face suddently got all sincere and genuine and he blurted that out. Those sweet spontaneous thoughts of his always get to me.

Your assignment for today: what is the best thing anybody ever said to you? Give it some thought and you'll come away with a new attitude of gratitude, I promise.

Jun 27, 2008

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

With the wedding only 71 days away it has not escaped my notice that we have yet to mail invitations to any of the people we hope will attend. It isn't that I've forgotten about it, it's just that I honestly haven't had time. Point to Ponder: Exactly how nuts does your life have to get before you reach the point of not having time to invite people to your own wedding? I know, I know. Our life is insane. Or more precisely, I am insane.

Happily, my friend and chief guardian angel Carol called a couple of days ago and offered to help if I would take an afternoon off work. Yesterday was the day, so I ran around the office like a headless chicken all morning, then took off around 1 PM to meet Carol at my house. We dug in with a vengence and just about the time we started cranking out invitations a storm hit--a big, powerful electrical storm with torrential rain and very strong winds that had the big trees in the yard swaying at very worrisome angles. There were sirens going off and lightening strikes crashing all around, and it got dark and ominous, and the power flickered on and off several times...and then the power went off and stayed off.

Morley was downtown until late evening, so it was just Carol and me who sat waiting patiently for the lights to come back on. We waited, then waited some more, and then we lit a bunch of candles and waited some more. No power. So then we did the only reasonable thing we knew to do in those circumstances: we drove to the store to buy a bottle of wine so at least we could sip wine while we sat in the dark.

After Morley got home the three of us sat in the dark for awhile before we figured out that when the utility company tells you your power will be restored in 45 minutes, what they really mean is "sometime tomorrow". We gave up our vigil and went to bed around 11 PM, and the power came back on early this morning which apparently is precisely 45 minutes in Public Utility Company time.

Today we awoke after a not-so-restful sleep in a stuffy house in the deep South with no air conditioning, and after we drank a pot of coffee and got dressed, and after I put out a fire at the office (What? you think I can be out of the office without something falling out of the ceiling? Fat chance), we dove back into the invitations. Another storm rolled through but it wasn't as fierce as the one before so the power stayed on and the air conditioner cranked cool air, and by late afternoon we had all the invitations finished and ready to mail (insert clip of Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Hallelujah Chorus here).

The weight that lifted off my shoulders when we finished that last invitation was just indescribable, but there's more: we also went to the alterations lady to have my dress taken in so my girls won't fall out if I raise my arms above my head on the dance floor, plus we nailed down a couple of other things that needed nailing down.

And tomorrow Saint Carol will continue to pull my fanny out of the fire when we sit down and write the Mother of all Wedding To Do lists with timelines, and deadlines, and task assignments, and everything. If I wasn't marrying Morley, I might just marry Carol.

PS You don't think there's any kind of cosmic message in it storming the entire time we worked on wedding invitations do you? No? Okay, that's good to hear.

Jun 23, 2008

Inappropriate Attire at a Wedding

Can you believe that tacky tie the groom is wearing? Seriously. Some people just have no taste whatsoever.

Recovery (almost) Complete. No Casualties.

It is Monday morning and we're back home and ready to resume normal life. I don't have time for a lengthy update since I have approximately 5,000 emails to work through and a desk overflowing with work that stacked up in the last couple of weeks, but since my last post might imply a homicide was imminent I'll give you a quick status report.

The good news is we managed to survive the past week of post surgical recovery without killing each other. I confess it was touch and go at times, specifically at the times when Morley didn't feel well and nothing--nothing!--I could do or say made him feel better. Once or twice I had dark thoughts involving the boat anchor, 60 feet of water and Morley's neck (I didn't say that out loud, did I? No? Good).

Luckily, Saturday morning he woke up feeling better than he had all week, and even though he didn't have the stamina to last the entire day, it was definitely progress. Then yesterday he woke up feeling like his old self again and this time it did last all day long. And I put away the anchor and stopped thinking about what I'd order for my last meal before they strapped me to the electric chair.

Before we came home yesterday afternoon we wandered around the dock visiting friends and thanking them for feeding us and helping us get through the week, and in general giving them reassurance that it was once again safe for us to be alone and without police protection. And then we took the camera and went snooping around the new (old) butt ugly boat.

We haven't closed the deal yet but it won't be much longer and then the work will begin. The scope of renovation is nearly overwhelming--almost everything needs to be ripped out and/or replaced except the refrigerator and washer/dryer which are both almost brand new (this is very good news because appliances built for boats are generally very expensive). Even though there is a lot to do, the encouraging thing is we're getting such a good deal on the boat that we can indulge ourselves with the renovation and still end up with less invested than the boat is worth.

To give ourselves encouragement while the renovation is underway, we found photos of identical boats that have been updated. We saved them on our computer so any time we feel overwhelmed we'll take a look to remind ourselves of what we'll have when it's over.

Below are a series of photos that shows where we are now with the butt ugly boat (the "before" photos on top) and where we want to end up (the "after" photos below):

The salon:

The master stateroom:

Your room (the guest stateroom).

Don't worry that we'll pressure you to come visit before we achieve the "after". Ain't nobody going to be sleeping on the butt ugly boat in it's current state--there might be cooties. And even if there aren't really cooties, it looks like a cootie-friendly environment and you wouldn't sleep a wink thinking about it.

And now I am off to attack the incredible backlog that's staring at me. More news and pix to follow.

Jun 21, 2008

Morley's Recovery and Info about my Bail

We are now in Day Five of Morley's post surgical recovery and even though things have gone exactly as the surgeon had predicted, they haven't gone exactly the way Morley had planned. His idea was that he'd be a teeny wee bit under the weather for a day or two, then miraculously bounce back to normal around Wednesday--you know, the SuperMorley effect. That didn't happen.

On Monday he was in the happy place thanks to morphine shots and pain killers. On Tuesday he was still cruising a little on the residual effects of all those meds, plus it was only Day Two and his attitude was good due to his expectation that a full and complete recovery would take place any minute.

And then came Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday.

Once it became clear that a spontaneous full recovery was not going to happen, he was not only no longer in the happy place, he took up full time residence in the dark and cranky place. He was in pain, out of sorts and ver-r-r-r-y testy, so on Wednesday we decided to come up to the boat in hopes that a pleasant atmosphere would put him in a better frame of mind. In hindsight that was maybe not the best decision. You try being cooped up with a grouchy patient in a one bedroom boat for three days and let's see how well you do. If you don't have a cranky patient handy, substitute a grizzy bear with its paw caught in a animal trap. Same thing.

He was just as grouchy and cranky as he'd been at home, just in a smaller space, so to keep my mind off murderous thoughts and homicidal fantasies, I stayed busy cleaning the cupboards in the bedroom and bathroom. Not only did I manage to stay (mostly) out of the line of fire, but in the process I raised the boat up in the water by a couple of inches by tossing out a bunch of crap that had found its way onboard over the years. My cleaning frenzy coupled with the liberal use of the phrase "whatever you say, dear" got us through the last three days without either of us ripping the head off the other. But just barely.

As I write this it is just after dawn on Saturday morning and we're sitting in the salon having coffee. Morley is reading a good book and watching the Science channel, and so far so good. He even called me "honey" and poured my coffee this morning. These are good signs that he's returning to his usual cheerful self.

But just in case, until we get thru this recovery process please keep a little cash handy because I might need it for bail money. Don't worry about me though--there's not a jury on Earth that would convict me. I'm just saying.

PS: After I finally got a chance to check my emails and saw people were worried about a tumor returning, it dawned on me that I'd never actually said what the surgery was for. It was a hernia--a big 'un.

Jun 16, 2008

Two quick items:

First, the update on Morley. He sailed through the surgery this morning and is now lying on the den sofa reading staring blankly at a magazine. He is in very little pain, or more precisely he is feeling no pain due to the fact that his going-away gift from the hospital was a shot of morphine and he's been snacking on hydrocodone ever since. Let's just say he's in a happy place tonight and we'll see how things go tomorrow.

And the other thing is this quiz I found on the internet that will score your performance as a husband or wife according to 1930's standards. Check out my score. And that's all I have to say about that.

Well, maybe I should say one more thing about that: I took it twice because I didn't like the first result and the second time around I cut myself some slack with some of the questions. For example, I couldn't honestly say I ever "give husband a shampoo or manicure", but I have been known to take a shower with him so I figure that counts (oops, that might be TMI. Sorry about that) (see earlier comment about blabbing everything I know on the internet).

By the way, Jim R would score 100% on that quiz--he spoils my sister rotten. I've always liked that about him.


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Surgery and a Bargain

Those two things--surgeries and bargains--are only slightly related, but since they're happening at the same time we'll just rock with it.

First the surgery. Morley is having one today, and if you aren't in the loop on this one it is because he wanted to keep it quiet. He worries that all these surgeries might make our clients think he's falling apart and it might be bad for business. I think he's worrying unnecessarily since we are still working ungodly hours and have more work than we can shake a stick at, but I went with the plan because that's just the kind of cooperative chick I am. And for those of you who think I blab everything I know on the internet....ha. I showed you I can keep a secret after all. Oh wait. It's Morley who thinks I blab everything on the internet. My bad.

We check in the hospital this morning and hopefully we'll be back home by dinner time, and then we lay around for a week. Actually Morley gets to lay around while my role is to hover about fetching orange juice and magazines and nagging him to do what the doctors say. Fortunately nagging is one of my life skills so the next week ought to be smooth sailing. Not.

He's (very) cranky to be out of the game for yet another week but glad to be getting it over with and being pain free. Its bugging him that he's having another surgery so soon after the Great Tumor Caper, but I tell him it's just one of those things--it's pretty much like buying a new car. At first all you need to do is change the oil and put more air in the tires every once in awhile, but eventually when you get a few miles on that baby you have to get a major tune up at the dealership. Let's just say if Morley was a car, he's ready for the 100,000 mile tune up where they change out the points, plugs, and brake shoes, and flush his radiator. Hypthothetically speaking.

And now, the deal on that bargain. Since Morley has been unable to do much physical labor around the house and is now forbidden to lift anything heavier than a fork for awhile, yesterday I decided to take care of one long-delayed chore myself: the dreaded and long-procrastinated mulch project in the back yard. We need mulch really, really bad since we are still under watering restrictions and my flowers stay thirsty most of the time.

It was hot as blazes yesterday but after I washed the mountain of laundry that had accumulated over the past couple of weeks, I headed off to my favorite Lowe's to buy an SUV full of cypress mulch. The ladies in the garden center know I'm an avid gardener, and while I was waiting in line to order 30 bags of cypress mulch one of them came up to me and asked what I was driving. When I said I was driving my SUV, she pulled me aside and offered me a deal: an entire 5 shelf rack of potted perennials for $10. They had already finished blooming which means weekend warrior gardeners won't buy them, but they were still good plants and needed a home.

Bummer. With our ridiculous work schedule plus Morley's surgery and recovery, the timing could not have been worse. As much as I love plants--and a bargain--I really, really don't have time for a major planting project. So I regretfully explained to her that although I would dearly love to take her up on the deal but due to being overloaded with work and surgeries it would be nuts--insane!--for me to take home a couple hundred plants right now.

Meet my new plants:

What? You think I'm crazy? Of COURSE I took the deal--$603 worth of plants for $10? No brainer. So I loaded up the SUV with lots and lots and lots of plants and now I just have to figure out how to get them in the ground without Morley's help on the business end of the shovel and/or tiller. (Loretta, I'll save some of the lilies for you--I think I got about 30 or 40 of them, plus multiple clematis so I'll save some of those for you too).

And now I have to run upstairs and get dressed to take His Royal Hind End to the hospital, but I'll leave you with some photos I made in the backyard yesterday when I was recovering from heat stroke after the major mulching project:

And here's a shot of Morley sitting on the bench by the pond watching me work:

It bugged him that he couldn't help me lift those bags of mulch but he did go behind me collecting up the plastic bags as I emptied them.

And here's a shot of Shelby reacting to the hot summer day with her ears folded back into their full teddy bear position for optimal cooling effect:

I'll post an update on His Royal Hind End's post surgical progress later tonight.

Jun 10, 2008

Cuteness x 3

Shea sent me this photo taken over the weekend---are Ryan and Leah just too dang cute for words or what?

And that sweet little thing peeking through Leah's stroller is Ned's and Catherine's daughter. (You may remember Ned and Catherine are known as Nate and Jill to everyone except the Dockins family).

Isn't she adorable? I'm not sure what name Ned and Catherine gave her when she was born, but I say her name is now "Lucy".

Jun 9, 2008

Weekend with the family

We had a GREAT time this weekend with Matt, Michelle, Tony, Kory and Heather. We swam and soaked in the (very) hot sun and I think we ate ourselves senseless while we were at it. Not only was it the first weekend we've spent at the boat all year, it was the first time we've gone swimming. So much fun, so little weekend.

Matt captained the boat on the final trip back to the dock and he did great. In fact, Morley was so impressed with him at the helm that we actually took a seat at the back of the cockpit and enjoyed being passengers for a change. We don't get to do that very often and it was a real luxury.

We fell totally in love with Matt last week and only because I like Tammy so much did I consent to giving him back after his visit came to an end--actually I was afraid that she might give me one of those infamous "whoopins" if I didn't give him back (Brad might have also gotten a little cranky if we hadn't returned his kid, but Brad doesn't scare me--let us not forget that I judo-flipped him on Mom's concrete patio back in childhood. But that's another story entirely).

Anyway, it was a wonderful time and thank you Mike for the use of the guest house, also known as "your boat". We crammed it full of tired kids who were very grateful for the nice comfy beds and air conditioning after a long day of sun and water.

...and finally, here's a video of Matt exiting the boat with style. I've never worked up the courage to do this myself:

Jun 7, 2008

The Butt Ugly Boat

If you read the prior post, you have been forewarned about how butt ugly the new boat is right now. But last night we crawled around the boat to take a closer look and of course I took my camera along.

And here, in all it's butt ugly glory, is a photo of our new butt ugly boat which is soon to be rechristened "Seas the Moment 2":

And just in case the photo above doesn't convey the true ugliness of the real thing, here's that photo again of another identical boat that has been updated and redecorated:

Big difference, huh. Do the words "dark and cave-like" seem to apply? Yeah, I think so too. But all that dark blue carpet and upholstery and everything else that's dark and gloomy is gonna get ripped out and carried to the dumpster about ten minutes after we close on this baby.

And here's a shot of the not-so elegant master stateroom. It's gonna get stripped down to the bare bones too:

And here is a photo of Matt inspecting the dark blue interior. He hates dark blue too. Even if he didn't hate it before, he hates it now. He OD'd on dark blue while touring the butt ugly boat.

PS Isn't Matt handsome?

And here's Matt driving the Seas The Moment--he did great. He captained that boat like he'd been doing it for years. I think we've converted him into a boater and an engineer this week.

Jun 5, 2008

Retirement Planning, Step One

Yesterday we took the first step in our long range retirement plan: we bought a boat we can live aboard for a year or two while we decide where we want to live on land.

Granted, this is a crazy time for us to be thinking about buying boats or retiring since we are already half crazy with all work and no play, but sometimes you have to strike when the iron is hot. Or in this case, when the good deals fall in your lap. So we did just that and we bought a boat.

I have loved this boat from afar since the first time I saw it--it sits two slips down from ours--but I always assumed it was out of my league, or more specifically out of our budget. Who knew? I was wrong. Our dockmate hardly ever used it (I've only seen it leave the dock twice in four years) and last week he suddenly decided he wanted to get out of boating, and he wanted to get out in a hurry. He's a commercial airline pilot and those guys are a little edgy these days worrying about their own job security and retirement plans.

So he put a "for sale" sign on it last Saturday and by Wednesday night we had it under contract. I don't want to jinx anything until the deal is done, but let's just say we got exactly the boat we wanted at the price we are willing--make that "estatic"--to pay.

This has happened pretty quickly so I don't have a photo of the actual boat to show you but here is a photo of an identical boat I found on the internet:

Love those classic lines. This baby has three staterooms (one of which we plan to convert to an office), a pilot house plus a flybridge--meaning you can drive the boat from inside or outside--plus two full baths (one with a bathtub!), a full galley you can actually cook in, a washer/dryer, icemaker, trash compactor, tender (dingy) to get to shore, plus a lot of other stuff. Best of all, it is a "blue water" boat built for cruising long distances in salt water, and its tanks hold 400 gallons of diesel fuel which will only cost us about a bazillion dollars to fill up.

To give you an idea of what these things look like inside, I found photos on the internet of other boats exactly like ours that have been updated and redecorated: Disclaimer: please note that at the moment our boat looks nothing--nothing!--like these photos. The one we bought needs updating--a LOT of updating. Lots and lots and lots of updating. It has dark blue carpet and flowery upholstery, and bedspreads that are at least ten years old, and there is awful artwork on the walls everywhere, and there is way too much stuff sitting around. Frankly, she is butt ugly at the moment but butt ugly does not scare me one bit. In fact butt ugly is my fav because you can buy a lot of butt ugly boat for the same price you'd pay for a tricked out smaller boat, and ugly can be fixed.

But just to show you how cool these boats look when they've been de-uglied, look at these photos. These are the same model, just updated and decorated. This is what we'll be shooting for as we start ripping into our renovation plan that will take us the next couple of years to complete:

I've always wanted a mega size martini glass for my coffee table. Well, I haven't always wanted one, but now that I've seen this one, I want one now.

And here's what the salon can look like once you tear out the dark blue carpet and flowery upholstery:

And that last boat photo has a piano in it. I want one of those too. Neither of us can actually play a piano but the thought of having one sitting on a boat is cool. Well, we might take a pass on the piano, but I just might have to find one of those cool wood engravings of a tall ship.

This weekend we're going to the lake to look over our new vessel, and I'll be sure to take my camera. Photos of the actual boat--to be named Seas the Moment 2--to follow.

Jun 3, 2008

Politics, Tennessee Style

Bradley turned me on to this: two East Tennesseans talking politics--they call themselves Red State Update. Is it just me or does this remind anybody of Roger and Brad sitting on Mom's patio? (Minus the Budweisers, of course).

By the way, be forewarned that if you go to their YouTube or MySpace page (here) you'll spend the next couple of hours watching all their videos. You can't watch just one, serious.

Hillary Wins Pennsylvania