Jan 31, 2009


Child's homework:

Note sent to teacher the following day:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Mrs. Smith

Jan 30, 2009

a deadly cup

6:00 AM Rustle through pantry to find something for breakfast. Observe the cupboards are bare, then remember that my last trip to the grocery store was approximately three weeks ago. Make mental note to man up and buy groceries soon. Find banana and call it breakfast.

10:00 AM Still hungry. Hit the drive-through window at Wendy's for a large chili and call it more breakfast.

10:45 AM Notice funny rumblings and vague churning sensation coming from my nether regions.

11:00 AM Realize that the thought "hurling might feel good" suddenly pops into my head in the middle of other thoughts. For example:

"Hi, I'm calling about our invoice which is 30 days overdue. When can we expect ~ it might be good to hurl ~ your check?"

"I wonder why this bank ~ it might feel good to hurl ~ statement doesn't balance"

11:05 AM: Hit the ladies room

11:15 AM: Hit the ladies room

11:45 AM: Hit the ladies room

12:05 PM: Hit the ladies room. Save time and energy by staying there. Determine there are precisely 3,284 little holes in the ceiling tiles of the ladies room.

2:30 PM: Bravely exit ladies room and collect bank deposit from desk. Announce I am going to bank to make deposit and shall not return

2:40 PM: Stop at gas station on way to bank. Inspect restroom.

2:50 PM: Make deposit. Count holes in ceiling tiles of bank restroom.

3:15 PM: Arrive home and set up camp in half bath downstairs. Catch up on reading six months' worth of magazines. Learn that Wii game consoles are predicted to be in short supply for Christmas giving.

4:00 PM to 6:15 PM Realize decor of downstairs half bath has been sadly neglected. Spend the next few hours in focused planning for new decor. Flip through old magazines for ideas.

6:45 PM Stare at junk crammed in bathroom vanity just beyond my reach. Realize vanity has apparently become something of a junk repository. Make plans for future decluttering project once it is safe to venture more than three inches from throne.

7:00 PM: Gingerly consume one-half can of tomato soup prepared by spouse.

7:05 PM: Marvel at how efficiently my digestive system processes tomato soup.

9:15 PM: Begin planning firebombing at the home of person responsible for cooking chili at the Wendy's on Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Calculate odds of doing hard time for the crime and determine there's not a jury on Earth that would convict me.

11:45 PM: Determine that I have successfully drained every ounce of fluid and food from my body, including fluid and food I haven't even consumed yet.

11:46 PM: Crawl in bed. Fall into instant exhausted sleep. Dream about shoving a perky kid with freckles and red pigtails into a boiling vat of bacteria-infested chili and holding her there until she dies a horrible and painful death.

Jan 26, 2009

taking Butt Ugly to a whole new level

Assuming the weatherman is accurate in his forecase of a rainless weekend with mild temperatures, the new carpet on our Butt Ugly Boat will be installed next Saturday. We wanted to get the messy work finished before the new carpet goes in so we spent the last two days ripping out the horrible carpet on the walls and removing the salon furniture which Jim will be reupholstering soon--as soon as we figure out what fabric we want him to use.

The salon as it looks today:

The salon we started with:

The master stateroom today:

What we started with:

The guestroom now:

...and before:
We have a lot--a lot--of work ahead of us.

Jan 23, 2009

What really caused that plane to crash into the Hudson River:

Here's your sign

To those Southerners who grit their tooth teeth in frustration because the rest of the country often makes jokes about us being morons, this video sent to me by my penpal Dewey might provide some insight:

People think Southerners are morons because, frankly, sometimes we are.

Jan 22, 2009

the 30th Point of Compatibility

Five years ago this week I had my first date with the first of three prospective husbands I purchased off eHarmony*.

*In case you live on another planet with no television, eHarmony is an online dating service that matches couples on the basis of 29 points of personal compatibility.

Bachelor #1's name was Don, and in the photo he provided of himself he looked pretty darn good: a tall, nice looking guy with thick brown hair and a nice smile. After we got to know each other a little via email and phone conversations we agreed there seemed to be potential so we arranged to meet in person.

Being the savvy, street-wise chick that I am, I chose a restaurant in his part of town and not mine and assured him it wasn't necessary to pick me up, that I'd meet him there. It was always good to have your own wheels in case your date turned out to be (choose all that apply) a schizophrenic serial killer / stalker / rapist / wierdo / boring.

I immediately got a very good feeling about Don when we met that first time. He looked just like his photo--always a nice surprise when it comes to online dating--and as we chatted easily over dinner we discovered we really did have a lot in common.

Eventually our conversation turned to the attack of 9-11 and what we did that day, which is particularly handy information to have about your date. By knowing how they acted when the world was crazy, you get a good idea of how they would act if they get the gig as your Significant Other and down the road you find yourself in trouble and calling on them to save your ass.

I told my story first: there I was, all alone and trapped in Washington, walking the dark streets of an evacuated city with snipers on the rooftops and tanks in the streets, watching the Pentagon burn from my hotel window just three blocks from the White House, and flying home on the first plane out of DC when the airport eventually reopened. I told him how proud I was to be one of the thousands of Americans who flew that first day to show those terrorist cowards they didn't intimidate us one little bit.

And then I sang a few bars of God Bless America and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, then I sat back and took a sip of wine to await Don's story.

Here's what Don did on 9-11: left his office immediately, stopped for beer on the way home, got out all his guns and ammo, smoked a joint, and called his friend Bubba to come help him guard his house.

Me: "You're kidding".

Don: "No. Seriously."



Me: "You're joking, right?"

Don: "No."







Me: "Oh, my! Can it really be 7:45 already? Wa-a-a-y past my bedtime!"

And then I found my way to my car without any help from Rambo Don and went home to see if I had any messages from eHarmony Bachelor #2.

Jan 21, 2009


I recently joined a bloggers' group and our challenge for January was to write a new post every day for thirty days, with the suggested theme being "change".

I've wracked my brain to think of something to say for nineteen straight days, most of which was mind dullingly boring and none of which had anything to do with the topic of change. So today, on Day 20 of the 30 Day Challenge, I will talk about change. Here it is:

I'm not posting anything today for a change.

See you tomorrow.

Jan 20, 2009

Dad and Dr. King

I grew up in the boonies where everybody pretty much looked and acted like everybody else. Of course we saw bad things on the news and knew discrimination existed elsewhere in the world, but it just wasn't anything we ever saw first hand.

My first chance to know someone different than me came when a Catholic family moved to town and the new kids came to summer camp with us. We children accepted each other without a second thought but the Catholic mother was a nervous wreck about the prospects of her children spending a week camping in the woods with what she viewed as a bunch of snake handling, feet washing, tongue-speaking, Catholic-converting Baptist kids. She sent her kids off with strict orders not to attend devotions with us or participate in any feet washings or snake handlings--activities which were not on the agenda anyway since we weren't that kind of Baptist--so the first discriminatory thought I ever had in my life was that Catholic kids were nice but their mothers were totally wierd.

When I first learned about slavery in elementary school, I came home and asked my Dad if it was really true that in the olden times people owned other people. He said it was true that some people had but not anybody we were related to. He assured me that our ancestors were so poor that their jobs were to clean the slaves' houses while they were at work. Around our house any budding concept of genetic supremecy--white or otherwise--was pretty much nipped in the bud.

In my Dad's view of the world a person's value came not from the circumstances of birth--skin color, social standing, wealth--but from working hard and staying at it longer than anybody else, and from doing the right thing even when the "right thing" and the "easy thing" were two totally different things. In fact, the only discrimination my Dad ever exhibited was an utter distain for "deadbeats"--people who didn't work hard and expected other people to take care of them, with particular distain directed towards men who didn't take care of their families or pay their bills.

Martin Luther King's view of the world was much the same as Dad's, except instead of teaching his values to six kids like my father did, he taught an entire generation to forget about the obstacles, work hard, and stand up for what is right.

So speaking as my father's daughter and allegedly the decendant of a slaves' maid, I am impressed that Obama worked harder and stayed at it longer than anyone else.

And if my Dad were still around I think he would also be impressed that Obama overcame the odds to achieve something that only a handful of other people in history have ever achieved.

Except Dad would be having a conniption fit that we've elected a screamin' Liberal to the White House. I forgot to mention that Dad's value system placed Liberals somewhere on the list between "people who drive Ford products" and "deadbeats".

Jan 19, 2009

Two Helpful Lists

List #1

Other things you can do with coffee filters:

  • Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
  • Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.
  • Protect China. Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.
  • Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
  • Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
  • Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
  • Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
  • Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
  • Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
  • Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.
  • Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.
  • Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.
  • Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them to absorb all the grease.
  • Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

List #2:

Things that are difficult to say when drunk:

1. Innovative
2. Preliminary
3. Proliferation
4. Cinnamon

Things that are very difficult to say when drunk:
1. Specificity
2. Anti-constitutionalist
3. Passive-aggressive disorder
4. Transubstantiate

Things that are downright impossible to say when drunk:
1. No thanks, I'm married.
2. Nope, no more booze for me!
3. Sorry, but you're not really my type.
4. Taco Bell? No thanks, I'm not hungry.
5. Good evening, officer. Isn't it lovely out tonight?
6. Oh, I couldn't! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
7. I'm not interested in fighting you.
8. Thank you, but I won't make any attempt to dance. I have no coordination and I'd hate to look like a fool!
9. Where is the nearest bathroom? I refuse to pee in this parking lot or on the side of the road.
10. I must be going home now, as I have to work in the morning.

Jan 18, 2009

Atlanta Boat Show 2009

We went to the Atlanta Boat Show yesterday. Since we're in the middle of renovating the BUB we thought it would be a good chance to get ideas on the newest trends in interior finishes and maybe score some bargains on the long list of electronics we need to update.

Normally the boat show is packed and the lines for the best exhibits are an hour long, but this year it was almost eerily empty. The biggest disappointment was there were no mega yachts or million dollar houseboats on display and there were even a few empty vendor booths. Unfortunately there was only one vendor selling electronics and he wasn't in a very generous mood so we didn't bring home any bargain electronics

But we did score a pair of $50 boat sneakers for $9.99.

Oh, and Shelby got a new hat:

...and we ran into our friends and fellow boaters Raif and Linda who are getting married on their boat this summer.

Plus we got to get up close and personal with Miss Geico. Even though we aren't really into boat racing, we recently watched a documentary about the engineering that goes into racing boats and Miss Geico was prominently featured since she is the fastest boat in the world. Seeing this thing in person was impressive--the boat is HUGE and obviously built for speed.

Not to mention it is very, very, very neon yellow.

Miss Geico's throttle man, Scott Begovich there was signing autographs. The documentary also spent a lot of time talking about Scott and how impossibly hard his job is, so meeting the best trottle guy in the universe was kinda cool. I always imagined boat racers would be weedy little guys so they'd fit in that tiny cockpit better but Scott is a BIG guy.

He asked to have his photo taken with me:

....and then he asked me if I had any advice so I gave him some pointers on fast boating based on my experience puttering around the lake in our diesel powered floating condominium. I also suggested some carpet and drapes and maybe a lamp or two to make Miss Geico a little more comfy inside:

He begged me for more decorating ideas but I told him I really needed to get going. Afterwards he rushed back to the table where he had been signing autographs and jotted down some of the tips I'd given him.

Or maybe he just wanted to go back to sitting beside the cute blonde in a bikini and her impressive hooters ability to keep the autograph line moving.

Jan 17, 2009


I was depressed last night. So I called Lifeline and got a call center in Pakistan.

I told them I was suicidal.

They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Jan 16, 2009

HotLanta? Not so much.

By the way, Morley has now experienced the coldest weather he's known since moving to America. I expect his whining and shivering to stop sometime in April.

Better make that July.

Jan 15, 2009


Atlantans are preparing for these temperatures much like we'd prepare for an imminent nuclear strike. In fact, a nuclear attack was what I thought the newscasters were talking about until I took a break from building our underground shelter long enough to listen. I thought their breaking news story "we're all going to die" was a little melodramatic though.

We're not all going to die--only the people who haven't bought enough bread, milk, and beer will.

Jan 14, 2009

English Tradition

Our marriage service at Banwell Castle in England is April 26th which means it is high time we get some things going on this side of the pond. You know, things like mailing invitations, making decisions about who is coming and what food will be served, firming up the ceremony details, figuring out what to wear...basically, pretty much everything.

You might assume that a planning a small wedding service would be a piece of cake after pulling off that shindig in September. But nay, you would be wrong.

American weddings and English weddings are two totally different cats. The customs and traditions are different, the legal processes are different, everything is different except the end result and English as the language of choice.

And since I've never even been a guest at a wedding in England, I am at a cultural disadvantage when it comes planning one. In other words, I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

The only information I have about English weddings comes from being glued to the TV set watching this one:

...which is a little over the top for what we have in mind.

Ours will be a civil service, a low key ceremony nicely suited to people who have previously been at bat, nuptially speaking, and would like a little hoopla around their latest and greatest marriage but not so much hoopla as to pretend it is anybody's first rodeo. In short, a wedding with a sheepish attitude.

Since the whole point of going to England is to have a traditional English service, I'm relying heavily on the advice of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law along with whatever information I can glean off the internet about civil services other couples have had.

And that means just this one time I am using as an example:

...the civil service of Prince Charles the pig who cheated on Diana from Day One, and Camilla Parker Bowles the lying, cheating, conniving, two faced hussey who fooled around with Diana's husband behind her back the Duchess of Cornwall.

Dear God.

(Forgive me, Diana--I promise to kick Camilla right back to the curb as soon as her usefulness is over. PS I hear there's trouble in paradise between hubby and his new wife. Just thought you'd like to know.)

Anyway--and I can't believe I'm saying this--I used Camilla as a fashion guide and bought a cream color dress with a matching cream overcoat sort of like the one she's wearing in that photo, and Morley is wearing a morning suit sort of like Chuck's. Kidding, kidding. He's wearing a velour jogging suit and tennis shoes. Kidding again. He's wearing a dark suit. All terribly British, you know.

But I totally draw the line at wearing anything like that wierd thing she had on her head.

Wtf is that thing? Seriously. Is that supposed to be a hat, or did a quail crash land into the back of her head?

Or maybe it is a vortex of really bad marriage karma forming around Mrs. Chuck The Second--a little wedding gift sent from above by the late Mrs. Chuck The First.

Wearing a hat that resembles a peacock in heat attached to the back of your head is not a good look for you, Camilla. Or for anyone.


And so that's where Camilla's role as a fashion inspiration comes to an end.

Instead, I've chosen classic accessories that are elegant and understated, yet pay subtle tribute to my American roots:

God save Diana the Queen.

Jan 13, 2009

Judy Chop!

My neice Shea sent me this video--twice--because she thinks its hilarious. Actually, she reacted to this video in exactly the same way I reacted to the clip of Austrialians playing spoons, a two minute video that had me incapacitated for two days. Shea is firmly convinced we might be related to this feller.

And remember, kids: don't be judy choppin' when you're kung fu kickin'.

what cranks your tractor

Not that I embrace stereotypes or anything, but everything in this video is the gospel truth.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Jan 12, 2009

21 degrees in Atlanta

Our weather forecast for next weekend:

This global warming thing is a killer, man.

Jan 11, 2009

Done Deal

Saturday morning bright and early we trekked 45 minutes across town to pick up my bargain UK phone booth purchased off craigslist. It fit--with half a centimeter to spare--in my SUV and caused only minor physical injuries when we lugged it into the house.

In fact, I've almost already regained full feeling in my legs.

Here you see Muffin stretched out in front of my new phonebooth, obviously admiring how the rich splash of red adds just the right note of whimsy to the room and marveling at how cleverly it displays the priceless object d' art such as my Precious Moments collection.

Just kidding on the Precious Moments collection. I just put the junk in there that used to sit on the table that occupied that spot. Note to self: acquire some priceless object d'art to display in big red phonebooth.

And here you see Shelby and Morley engaged in a conversation about the newly installed big red phonebooth:

Shelby: Uh, dad, the hell? Whattsup with a phonebooth in the house?

Morley: Ask your mum. Now go fetch me another Excedrin and an ice pack.

Jan 10, 2009


So. Wednesday was my birthday. I turned fifty-freakin'-three which, I reminded myself, sucks but it sure beats never turning fifty three. It's all in how you look at it, a practice in rationalization that comes in handy as I age. My boobs sag like cannon balls in a gunny sack but at least I can stay out past 10 PM without asking for my parents' permission. Or, more accurately, I could stay out past 10 PM without permission if I could only stay awake that late.

Anyway, my beloved sister called me first thing to sing happy birthday and my friend Carol called next, and throughout the day I got birthday wishes from lots of family and friends.

My first hint that not everyone remembered my birthday came after lunch when my coworkers presented me with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to me (albeit in the key of "N"--you'll never see a barbershop quartet comprised of engineering types), and they gave me a birthday card they had circulated around the office for everyone to sign.

As I read the card my eyes were drawn to one particular entry: the one that was signed "oooops!". And that was my first clue that my husband had forgotten my birthday.

When I arrived home after work he looked like this, an expression not unlike the one prisoners have as they are led away to the electric chair.

He was so apologetic and remorseful about forgetting my birthday that I decided not to kill him after all. I ate the festive dinner of microwaved lasagne that he prepared all by himself with his own two hands, and I resisted the temptation to make him feel any worse than he already did--if such a thing was even possible. After dinner was over I gave him a wimpy goodnight kiss accompanied by a feeble "that's okay, honey" and went to bed.

The next day I worked from home on some year-end accounting stuff, and at 5:00 on the nose I heard my husband come in the back door. Normally I would rush to greet him with a kiss, but this time I stayed at my desk working because not only was I in the middle of a tricky calculation, but I was also in the middle of dishing out some apathetic treatment towards forgetful husbands.

After I finished the calculation I was working on I moseyed into the kitchen to greet him. And there he stood beside a bouquet of flowers as big as a Buick and a stash of gifts, each of which he had carefully and thoughtfully chosen (versus his normal selection process which revolves around whatever merchandise the store has displayed closest to the door).

And he gave me the sweetest birthday card ever produced by mankind then took me out for a wonderful dinner during which he said the nicest, sweetest things and made me feel like a million bucks.

And so I forgave him completely for forgetting my birthday and even secretly hoped he forgets again next year.

Jan 9, 2009

Big Red Stray Neuron

Sometimes you see something and for reasons unknown you just want it. A few months back I saw this in a magazine:

...a big red replica of an English phone booth, except it has glass shelves inside instead of a telephone. And I coveted it real bad. I don't know why, but I did.

Even though I coveted the big red phone booth I didn't give any serious thought to buying one because they are way too expensive. And besides, they're really big and I wasn't sure what I would do with it if I had one. Only a moron would buy something so big and so red if they don't know what to do with it.

Hey! Look what I got:

A big red replica of an English phone booth.

I bought it for $250 off craigslist.org from an interior designer whose client never took delivery of it. I'm picking it up on Saturday.

Jan 8, 2009

Cracking under the pressure

I have absolutely no earthly idea why, but this short video from Australia strikes me as one of the funniest things I've ever seen. The first time I watched it I laughed until I cried, and then I watched it again and laughed until I cried even harder.

It's entirely possible it isn't all that funny to anybody but me and I might be cracking under the pressure of...work, mental illness, global warming, whatever.

Most likely, it strikes me as so funny because it looks like something my brothers would do to each other, or they would have done to my nephew Kevin before Kevin bulked up like a WWF wrestler and became a PoPo (at which point the chances of Kevin being the victim of their practical jokes fell like a rock).

Anyway, watch it. And please tell me you think it's funny. I need some reassurance that I'm not losing it.

Jan 7, 2009

Dock 5 Band Jam

I took my video camera along when we had the Dock 5 Band Jam last week (what a surprise, eh?) (Sorry. I can't help myself when it comes to carrying cameras around. They're attached to me like appendages).

Anyway, since I just happened to videotape the band I thought you might like to see what it looks like when a bunch of middle age people get together and make some groovy music. Check this out:

The band sounded awesome, especially considering they had never played together before. And they sounded that great all night. I think they need to give up their day jobs and go on tour. Maybe. Or not.

Anyway, it was so much fun and the music was so great that it was totally worth it to be exhausted and sore over every inch of my body the next day.

PS The little rap at the beginning of the song refers to the Atlanta Falcons being in the playoffs.

PPS They lost.

Jan 6, 2009

Carpet Projection

I was playing around with some interior photos of the Butt Ugly Boat yesterday, and while this isn't the finest work I've ever done in manipulating a photo, I took a quick swipe at it just to get an idea of how the new carpet is going to look.

Here's what the salon looks like now:

Behold the carpet resplendent in all its ugly glory: stains galore, discoloration, fading, and worst of all, dreary blue. Or maybe the stains are the worst of all since we don't know exactly what caused them. Either way, yechhhh! And gross!

And here's what the salon will look like after the awful blue carpet is gone:

Two words: mo bettah. Except....YIKES!!! Look at that creepy sofa! It's horrible!

That sofa is ridiculously butt ugly but it didn't bug me this much when the awful carpet was still there. Now it sticks out like a sore thumb. And those blue chairs? They look like office furniture from the 1980's and they are really blue--not quite as dreary blue as the carpet, but still. They gotta go. Apparently the BUB is like a big onion of ugly--when you peel away one layer, there are more layers of butt ugly underneath.

Speaking of layers of ugly, here's a photo Morley took when we were at the fuel dock this weekend:

There's blue--and we're talking bright! blue!--all over the outside and it bugs the bejeebers out of him. He already has a bead on replacing the blue canvas and blue bumpers with a more modern black, and when we have the boat pulled this winter to take care of some maintenance issues, he's having the bottom painted black while he's at it.

Slowly but surely we're peeling away the layers of our ugly onion.

Jan 5, 2009

The Butt Ugly Boat - Progress Report

If you don't know about our Butt Ugly Boat,
affectionally known as BUB, start here.

So far our efforts (and budget) on renovating the BUB have focused on things you can't see--things like new battery banks and chargers, light switches that actually work, new hardware on the cabinets, new electrical service lines and various pumps. Oh, and we have cleaned and oiled a lot of teak. A lot of teak. A lot.

All those unglamorous but necessary items didn't do much to change how the boat looks, which of course is Butt Ugly. But now we're ready to begin the fun stuff --the cosmetics--and the obvious place to begin is getting rid of the gawd awful blue carpet.

One of the biggest factors in choosing new carpet is coordinating the carpet to the color of the existing headliner (ceiling). The headliner fabric is good quality and in perfect condition but is a slightly funky shade of khaki. We originally thought about replacing it but then we visualized what a pain in the ass it would be to recover the entire ceiling. And then we visualized the exhorbitant cost of replacing the entire ceiling. And then we decided to learn to love our ceiling instead of replacing it. Love you long time, funky khaki color.

So before we headed out carpet shopping Saturday morning, Morley found a discreet place behind a valance and cut out a piece of the headliner fabric to take with us, then we headed for Dalton, Georgia where most of the carpet in the universe comes from. We found a carpet store with one million square feet of display area (literally!) and within 30 minutes we found exactly what we had in mind. This one:

The one on top is the new carpet we'll have installed next week. It is a very durable, stain resistant carpet with just a hint of pattern so it won't show stains as easily as a solid carpet would. I put it beside a carpet sample that's similar to the current gawd awful blue carpet (minus the mysterious stains) to give you an idea of how much the lighter color will brighten up the joint.

And here's a close up of the new carpet with the fabrics we've picked out for the sofas and trim panels. The swatch with the creases in it is the headliner fabric and the two bottom swatches are the fabrics for the new upholstery. They look and feel like ultra suede but they're actually cotton microfiber so they're stain resistant, washable and very durable.

PS. Have you noticed how often the words "durable" and "stain resistant" come up in conversations related to the BUB? Go figure.

Anyway, once the new carpet gets in we'll move on to removing the wierd fuzzy fabric that lines the interior of all the closets and the insets around the portholes, and we'll replace it with a marine grade vinyl. After that we'll tackle installation of a new teak floor in the pilot house that Morley has his heart set on.

Our goal is to have all of this work done by March when the weather warms up and boating season begins again, so we have our weekends cut out for us for awhile. The funny thing is that if we had a "to do" list this long at home it would be a bummer to even think about it, but we are excited about tackling our mega "to do" list on the boat. It just goes to show that everything truly is better on water.

I'll keep you posted on our progress--or you could just come visit and see for yourself. Bring teak oil and some rags when you come.

Jan 4, 2009

Band Jam

Our dock neighbors Dennis and Max live just a couple of minutes away from the marina. Not only does their house have a spectacular view of the lake, it also has a separate building that's a big garage on the first floor and what will someday be a music room/guest house on the second floor.

But on Friday night, the guest house was the scene of a music jam as we pulled together all our musically inclined friends for the ultimate garage band--a "middle aged rave" as I called it.

Here's Ron: in real life he's a hot shot electrician in Colorado but we know him as a seriously talented bass player. Geez, was he good.

And this is his brother Rick. These days he owns his own home renovation company but back in his younger days he was one of the drummers for Earth Wind and Fire.

Here's Dennis on the drums. He's a responsible kind of guy who owns a window company but in another era he was the drummer for a band that was pretty hot stuff down here in the South. Dennis is a killer drummer. Killer.

Here's Ron and Chat playing a hot riff. Chat is still a professional musician, by the way.

And here's our friend Steve. In real life he and his wife own a company that puts on races for historic race cars, but Friday night he was hitting some hot licks on the bass.

Here's Chat doing some vocals. His wife Peggy (behind him taking a photo of me taking a photo of her) plays the flute professionally. Who knew a flute could sound so good with rock music?

And here's my husband. In real life he's a responsible mechanical engineer, but on Friday night he was...ummm, a responsible mechanical engineer.

Actually, he wasn't too shabby if I say so myself.

But once the band's break was over they made him go back to his seat so they could get down to making serious music.

PS. We're such rock stars that virtually everyone in these photos--including yours truly--barely got off the sofa the following day. We were napping like Seniors in an old folks home after staying up past our bedtimes the night before. We are a pathetic bunch of old fogies, aren't we?

PSS Unlike some people, I did not wear my pajamas all day.

Jan 1, 2009


One day last summer when I was sitting on the dock in shorts and a tee shirt sipping a cold one and trying to stay cool in the summer heat, my dock friend Ann came up to me to ask if I would be the photographer at her son's wedding.

Her son Randy and his darling fiance Rita are a young couple in love and are as sweet and nice as any two people you could ever hope to meet. They were planning their wedding on shoestring budget and couldn't swing the expense of a professional photographer.

Since I have a reputation for constantly shoving my camera in peoples' faces, Ann figured I could make myself useful for a change. And because I definitely wanted to help Randy and Rita, and because a wedding date two days after Christmas sounded like a long time away, I said okay.

So two days after Christmas I loaded up my camera bag and headed off to the church to take their wedding photos. As I made the one hour drive from the marina to the church I was cool as a cucumber as I made a mental list of all the shots I wanted to take and counted how many spare batteries I had in my bag. And then about five miles from the church I had an ephinany:

"What the hell was I thinking?!? I'm not a professional photographer."


I'm just an annoyingly persistent amateur armed with an overly elaborate and ridiculously complex point-and-shoot camera with tons of bells and whistles I haven't figured out yet.

The ephinany was immediately followed by a serious case of the heebie jeebies, the technical term for which being "performance anxiety". I could clearly envision the day sixty years hence when Randy and Rita's grandchildren would beg to see their wedding photos, and Randy and Rita would sadly shake their heads and explain they don't have any wedding photos because their mother's dumb ass friend screwed it up. And a tear would run down Rita's cheek. And Randy would mutter my name followed by a swear word and wish for the ten thousandth time that they'd hired a real photographer to capture the most important day of their lives.

I was about to screw up the happiest day of Randy and Rita's life.

And what was so wierd was this was not the first wedding I had photographed. I did Heather's friend Shannon's wedding a couple of years ago and never broke a sweat. But I had a bad feeling about this one and it scared the bejeebers out of me.

Since the wedding was in an hour it was too late for me to back out or find a professional photographer, so I sucked it up and said a quick prayer that I wouldn't screw it up too badly. And for the next three hours I snapped a million photos and used every setting on my camera I could think of and fervently hoped for the best.

After the wedding was over I came back to the boat and put my camera away without even looking at what was on it. I was too scared to look. Seriously, I have rarely been as nervous about anything as I was when I thought about looking at those photos.

After letting them lay there unseen in my camera for a week, I finally put my big girl panties on this morning and put the memory card into my laptop to see how bad the photos were. And praise be, they aren't bad. Not the caliber you'd get from a professional photographer who actually knew what they were doing and who used professional camera gear, but not bad.

These photos are the raw version--unaltered, untweaked "straight from the camera"--so I still need to do some retouching with PhotoShop to sharpen up some details, boost the color and contrast here and there, edit out ceiling light fixtures and other background distractions, and do some cropping to make them more interesting. But all in all, they aren't bad.

You have no idea how relieved I am that I won't have to talk Randy and Rita into having another wedding so I can reshoot their photos.