Monday, June 30, 2008

Road Trip, Part II

Made a second trip down to Leroy on Saturday - had to hold down the stand while hubby did a small show for the locals.

In the spirit of road trips, I opted to take an alternate (and technically more direct) route and see a bit more of the Texas countryside. After I got past the major suburbs of DFW, I headed down Highway 157 and went through Venus, Griffith, Maypearl (where I caught Hwy. 66), Files Valley, & Itasca. I missed a turn somewhere and ended up back on my normal I35W . Also passed the outskirts of Hillsboro, Chatt, Abbott, West (which I mentioned the other day), and Ross. While I was in Leroy, had to visit the truck stop in Elm Mott to do a bit of laundry for my boys.

A lovely summer thunderstorm blew through. I wasn't up on a hill will a vista view, but we watched the dark thunderheads roll over. The rain didn't start until the fireworks show ended, so that was a blessing. After that, my daughter and I trekked home, watching the heavenly fireworks in the eastern sky. It was nice to have a bit of rain to cool the temps and keep the threat of a burn ban as low as possible.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"I've Been Everywhere..."

Well, the Texas version of that song keeps rolling through my head, so I had to title my post that way. But I haven't really been everywhere.

Yesterday in North Texas was perfect for a road trip. The sun was shining while white puffy clouds dotted the sky, offering small pools of shade every so often, and the roads (at least the ones I drove on) were wide open. Here's a shout out to the small towns I passed through, any of which I would love to live in: Crandall, Gastonia, Kaufman, Kemp, Mabank, Eustace, Athens, Crescent Heights, Malakoff, Trinidad, Kerens, Powell, Corsicana, Silver City, Spring Hill, Dawson, Hubbard, Malone, Penelope, Birome, Hoen, Leroy, Tours, & West. These towns were of various populations, some a mere a cluster of homes along the highway, some a bit larger with bank, post office, and grocery store. Some we traveled right through, while we hit the outskirts of others.

As I watched trees and sky, wild grasses and crops roll by, I felt a keen longing for a such a place to call my own. Even the owners of the most ramshackle, run-down, rusted out single-wides we passed had my envy. They have something I do not - property out in the country. I've lived my life (mostly) within the confines of larger urban cities. I've always been an introvert, but at the risk of turning into a complete hermit, I long to be out in the wide open places, miles from the hustle and bustle of a big city. A small town with an old fashioned Main Street would suit me fine. Or better yet, a farm house on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. I want to watch the seasons - such as they are in Texas; I want to see a thunderstorm coming and going, rolling across the plains. I want simplicity.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Road trip...

Well, with the rising cost of gas prices, I'm going to be driving all over hell and half-acre... I mean, Texas, today. From Fort Worth to Athens, then on down to the fireworks stand in Leroy, I will have traversed the heart of Texas in 100 degree heat. My new car has great A/C and cruise control. Plus I can plug my iPod in and listen to my current audio book in surround sound. To be honest, it beats being in the office right now. As long as I have something to drink (and enough of it to last the entire trip) I'm good to go. I could even forgo the iPod and just listen to the silence if necessary. (There's always people and noise in my house, that silence is always a treat.)

So what's your favorite road trip?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Days of my life...

Well, I've got one child home from camp, the other off to camp this morning. Hubby and daughters are down in Leroy, putting the finishing touches on the ol' fireworks stand. Actually, I should say new stand. It's only our second year, and hubby expanded it to over twice the size. I had orange polka dots all over me last night from painting all the new parts. I'll be picking up the girls this evening and bringing them home while hubby stays behind to start selling. Tomorrow is the first day to sell fireworks for the 4th.

Saturday, I attended my first book-signing for the Love, Texas Style anthology in which I have a short story published. It was fun and exciting to share that with seven of the eleven authors. If you're interested in this collection of short romantic stories, visit The Wild Rose Press - you can buy an e-copy (PDF format) or an actual hold-in-your-hands book.

After the book signing, fellow anthology author Marty Tidwell and I headed to North Dallas for the annual Texas JAG Meet. What's this you ask? Well, every year the Texas fans of the TV show JAG get together for a wild weekend of JAG watching and JAG discussion. There's always food, sometimes alcohol, but always, always a good time. These women have come from all walks of life, some young, most middle-age, a few older, & several nationalities, to bond in friendship - all because of a TV show. And this doesn't just happen in Texas. There are annual meets in several other parts of the country. And while JAG is a predominant topic, and episodes run practically around the clock, we have become friends, and we do share all other aspects of our lives. Despite how crazy it might sound, it's pretty amazing that such a disparate group of women have formed these ties and become such good friends.

Pre-4th of July is the craziest time of year for me. Even worse than a vacation or Christmas. It should settle down some now that the stand is up and running. But I'm the type of person who really likes order and routine in her life, and this time of year is rough. Since I know it's inevitable, I try to go in resigned, but God bless him, my husband gets wild ideas at the last minute that just completely throw life out of whack for days on end.

Well, once the girls are back home and life settles down, I'll get back to my kitchen cabinets. I'm determined to have my cabinets complete, and everything unpacked from the shed, by the time my husband comes home. Pray for me!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The storm clouds are gathering...

The title above is, among other things, a quote from the 90s TV show "Sports Night" - a brilliant, downright laugh-out-loud funny thirty minute comedy. It was the first TV show we bought on DVD and we have gotten our money's worth out of it. The whole family loves it and watches it, sometimes together, sometimes individually. It's not a sports show, it's a show about the people who do a sports show. And we quote it extensively among ourselves, eliciting yet more laughter.

The title was, as of Wednesday night, a portent. Here in North Texas, the storm clouds gathered overnight and, at about 6am Thursday, the storm began. Lots of wonderful rain - we don't want any burn bans come 4th of July - rumbly rolling thunder, and some brilliant, if minor, flashes of lightening. I lay in bed listening to the pattering, plopping, and splattering of the rain against the trees, bushes, and roofs, enjoying one of nature's symphonies, thanking God for his infinite wisdom in creating such a wonderful system.

The title is also, and most importantly, a warning. About a month ago, I posted about the End Times, specifically, the signs of the times. Things are happening just as the Bible, the inerrant Word of God, says. Not everything has happened yet, but the pieces are falling into place.

Last week, my Wednesday night Bible study class started the topic of the End Times, and this past Wednesday night Pastor Barry preached a riveting sermon on the Day of the Lord (listen here). The Day of Lord will happen after Jesus has gathered up believers, both those who have already died, and those who are still alive at the time. That means everyone else has chosen not to believe and/or accept that Jesus is who He says He is - our risen Savior.

There's still time, though. How much time is unknown. But we *are* living in the End Times. And we still have an opprtunity to find hope in Jesus. If you choose Jesus, you can watch the gathering storm clouds, but have no fear of the coming storm.

I know this isn't a favorite topic to some of my regular readers (the three of you), but it is my duty. If you knew a hurricane was coming, wouldn't you do your darndest to warn people and get them to evacuate?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Doing the happy dance...

I finally have running water!!! Yippee!!!

My dishwasher's running, the stove works, the disposal works, the sink drains, and there's no leaks.

Whew--it's been a year and a half since I had running water in my kitchen. Two since we've had a dishwasher.

Now it's time for me to get moving on the cabinets... I did work on them some last night. Just gotta keep the momentum going.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep, it's my birthday today. It's a biggie, more than 30, less than 50.

My momma sent me some lovely flowers, which I received yesterday.

My husband was going to buy me a $1700 laptop for my writing endeavors - wasn't that sweet? I said 'NO!'. Yes, I really did. I have a laptop that works just fine. It's still running Windows 98, but all I need is my word processing program to write. And I can think of much better things to do with$1700 - like pay off a credit card. Instead, I opted for a picture of my kids, a pedicure, and some new summer clothes.

The best gift is that the plumber is coming tomorrow and I should have a working kitchen - running water, working stove, working dishwasher, working ice maker. Yay!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer's begun...

Marked for me by the last day of school, not the official first day of summer.

Last day of school was Friday for my son.

Next comes church camp for the two youngest, although not the same week. First the middle child is off to Colorado for CIY (Christ in Youth), and then the following week the younger one is off to kid's camp (for the last year, since he's now officially a middle schooler at church).

In between, and in conjunction with that, hubby will be taking off to run a fireworks stand, so he'll be gone for about three weeks.

If you're looking for a really awesome fireworks show, my husband can't be beat. About three hours of almost non-stop fireworks. We'll have three shows: June 28 in Leroy, Texas; July 3, in Venus, Texas; and July 4 in Justin, Texas. If you want more info on any of these dates and locations, click here.

One last thing... since last Thursday, when I bought & downloaded the entire season (13 episodes) of Lifetime's Army Wives onto my iPod, I have watched all thirteen episodes. I was hooked. And the really sucky thing is I don't have cable, which translates to no Lifetime, and the season premiere of the second season aired last night after an explosive season one finale. I will now have to wait awhile to find out what happened. Sigh...

Well, this post has taken entirely too long to put up because I had to go create the fireworks web page, so I'm signing off after making no point what-so-ever except proving that I am a nut!

Friday, June 6, 2008

On blogging...

What to blog about...? As I was pondering the question, several topics came to mind. But as I considered each one, and then thought about the things covered in other blogs I read, I asked myself: What is the purpose of my particular blog?

Well, my mother tells me she is able to keep up with my life by what I post. (Because I'm such a bad daughter and I don't call, write, or email as often as I should - she's in Oregon, we're in Texas.) So part of the purpose has become to keep my mom up-to-date on family doings.

My original purpose was to establish a web presence. As an aspiring author, establishing a web site and blog seemed almost to be a must there for a while. So I followed the herd and created one and have tried to faithfullly ramble at least twice a week (another recommendation - blog regularly).

Another perk of blogging is that one can expound on any subject that interests him or her. One may impart some previously unknown but interesting information to readers, get on a soap box and rant about some perceived injustice, run the risk of making them think you're crazy , or totally alienating them, or any combination thereof. I think I lean toward making people think I'm totally crazy. ;)

I've determined that my purpose is as follows:

a) Keep Mom apprised of the family here in Texas in between emails and phone calls (letter, what's a letter?)
b) Maintain my little space of the Internet where I can wax poetic or rant freely or bemoan the challenges that life throws at me
c) Confirm to my family and friends that I am indeed out there
d) Share a little of the varied things that interest me

b through d are not in any particular order, although c may happen because of b and d!

As for today, I've been extraordinarily productive ~ getting quite a few tedious office tasks completed - you know, like going through the pile of vehicle related paperwork, sorting by vehicle, and then filing in the correct place. Creating a new file for the new car and calling the insurance company. Cleaning out all my in boxes. (I have four.)

Okay, I won't bore you silly any longer, but I hope your day is as productive as mine.

As for the next blog topic, there's just no telling.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday, dear Mommmmm........



We never should have bought that truck.

Buying the truck was a mistake.

I hate this truck.

These are phrases uttered repeatedly by my husband over the last several months. And we've only had the thing for three months.

As I mentioned in my last couple of posts, the truck is in the shop again. The dealership called this morning and said we're looking at $2700 and they weren't even sure if that would completely fix what's wrong with it.

We paid $4300 (that did include tax, title, and licensing)for the thing. So between the last time it was in the shop, and this amount, if we pay it, we'll have almost bought the sucker twice.

Hubby wants to take our two malfunctioning vehicles to CarMax and trade them in for something else. Apparently as long as you can drive them on the lot, they don't care. But I'm not so sure we're going to get what he's expecting out of them.

Gosh, I hate cars. Can't live with them, can't live without them. It appears that only brand new cars are reliable enough, at least after our recent experiences. Because unless you're a mechanic, you can't trust a used car or a used car dealer to sell you something worthy. And I don't want to pay new car prices any more.


On another note: I HAVE COUNTER TOPS!!!!! And are they beautiful!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Famine to feast... And other miscellany

Okay, so last Thursday I bemoaned a bad day, knowing it was going to be a bad day before it even began. Mainly because of money, but there were several other unrelated factors that contributed.

So Friday comes and the money issues are solved in a big way. We have a new client and an influx of cash. We also have two other potential clients just waiting to be signed up. One's almost a sure thing, just a matter of time.

Which means within the next two to three months, we'll need to hire a third technician. The main problem is that our current office space is at max capacity.

Friday night hubby and I take two of three kids out to eat to celebrate. On the way home, I exit one exit early to look at the available office space I pass on a daily basis as I take my oldest to school. We pull into the parking lot and peek in the windows. A few minutes later a woman walks up. "Would you like to look inside? I own the building."

Well, yeah. We end up looking in all the available office spaces (three of them). After chatting about cost and size and utilities, we find out we share a major client: Tarrant County lawyers. And because of her other business, she could probably drive more clients to us.

Hmm... Definitely a God thing.

Counter top people come today. My husband has our cabinets level front to back, left to right, and diagonal. So hopefully by the end of the day, I will have beautiful counters. We still need a plumber to come hook up the sink and the gas to the stove. But we're several steps closer. Finally. Then it'll be up to me to finish the cabinets and paint the walls and trim. After that, install flooring and trim... We're on the downhill slide now. Woo hoo!

Last Wednesday as I was driving home from church, the 'check engine' light came on in my truck. On Saturday, we took it to the dealership. It costs $90 just to diagnose the problem. I told you it was the tranny. But the tranny guy doesn't work on Saturday. So sometime today, we should know something. But it's still going to cost somewhere around $700. They'll take it apart for free to tell us what's wrong with it, but it'll cost $700 to put it back together. That doesn't include whatever parts are necessary to actually fix it. Sigh...

Do you ever have those moments, when after some serious soul searching, prayer, Bible reading, sermon listening, or whatever, you think that maybe, just maybe, you need to make a significant change in your life?

Yep, that's where I'm at. Debating, considering, thinking. Not so much arguing with myself about making the change. Just *how* and when.

I'm tired of being too busy.