Friday, December 31, 2010

Forced renovation...Day 1

And so, the saga of the Great Flood of 2010 I shared with you yesterday, I've apparently had a leak from my dishwasher for years...all of the water has been leaking underneath the linoleum and rotting the floor...yesterday, work began to remove the old subfloor and mold and begin the process of drying out everything in the kitchen. I really need to say anything about the picture above...other than FREAKIN' NIGHTMARE?  Oh...and the one thing this photo can't share is the stench from the rotting, moldy, mildewy, musty...and every other adjective for SMELLY you can think of...stench...I swear the poor men that came to work on this mess had to walk out several times to get fresh air.

That photo was taken just as I had pulled everything out of the bottom cabinets but before I started putting everything into boxes...the dishwasher had been removed...and, yes, they found mold and, as the guy from the mitigation company described it "some sort of fungus"...great...

This photo was taken after the funky first two layers of floor were removed along with the completely rotten and moldy layer of plywood.  Thankfully they found that only 1/2 of the sub floor was damaged.  They left me with three huge fans, one dehumidifier and one "air scrubber" (not in this photo) that will remove mold spores from the air.  On tap for Friday is the removal of the bottom cabinets and the determination of whether or not there is enough damage to warrant the insurance company replacing the cabinets...fingers are crossed!

I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, this is's just a big deal for me right now.  Thanks for listening and letting me vent...

All the best,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forced renovation...starts today

You may have heard of a "forced evacuation" but never a forced renovation before...uhm...well a forced renovation occurs when you live in an old house and everything decides to fall apart all at the same time...yep, literally all at the same time.

I live in a modest older home...sort of a fixer upper that I just haven't started fixer upping yet.  Two weeks ago, I loaded my dishwasher, turned it on and went upstairs to take a shower.  I came down 30 minutes later and...water was everywhere AND continuing to flow like a river from the blasted dishwasher.  The motor had shut off but water continued to fill up the washer and was pouring into the room...of course, in a huge panic, I had no idea what to do but stand there and talk to myself...out loud..."Think...what do I do?  What do I do?  How do I turn this !#$% thing off?"...over and over again as water continued to fill up my kitchen floor...

Well, I finally figured out there was a water shut off valve underneath the sink so I took care of that but then had the lovely task of mopping up the James River that was flowing throughout the downstairs of my house...UGH...I promptly went to Lowe's and bought a new dishwasher which was delivered the next day.  When the installer pulled out the old one, his only words were "WHOA...DUDE!"...uhm...not a good sign.

Apparently, the dishwasher had been leaking for a long...I mean LONG...time...long, as in years.  It had never leaked on top of the floor...all of the water had been going underneath the washer itself and underneath the linoleum.  The sub floor is completely rotted and...a fresh crop of mold has gloriously begun to grow.

Enter my homeowner's insurance...Lord, they have been wonderful!  So helpful and understanding of how upsetting this entire mess is.  So...I've met with the insurance company's recommended contractor and a mitigation company.  They are coming in today to begin demolition...they will remove:
  • All free-standing "things" in the kitchen...fridge, washer, dryer, table, chairs and island
  • Old dishwasher
  • All built-in kitchen cabinets
  • Linoleum
  • Sub-floor
  • (And tear out dry wall if mold has started to grow behind the cabinets)
The bright side is that my insurance is taking care of the entire repair...and I'll be getting a much needed renovation of the kitchen.  I've already purchased the new dishwasher.  I'm going to go ahead and get a new stove...again, much needed since only burner works on the old one.  The only that I have to endure this...I will be kitchenless for quite some time...HOWEVER...there are people that are homeless...I have nothing to complain about...AT ALL!  

I am blessed.

Pictures to follow tomorrow!

All the best,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My first ever gift from a boy...

Today I experienced one of those "Awww" moments that take you way back into your that I will remember forever.  I've been fairly active on Facebook for quite some time but it has only been recently that I've reconnected with quite a few friends from elementary and high school.  It has been such a surprisingly warm hearted experience to hear from these people that are forever 6-year olds in my mind but, in reality, of course they are now adults.  To see these 6-year olds fast forward into their 40's has been amazing and shocking to my little brain.

Probably the most endearing conversation happened today...I heard from the first little boy that ever did anything nice for me...just because he wanted to...when we were in the 1st grade, knowing that jump rope was the rage on the playground, he gave me my very own jump rope as a Christmas gift.  I will never forget how happy and yet embarrassed I was...I didn't really know what to say or do.  It was so sweet and kind...I will simply never forget it.

The one constant question I've received from every single one of these school friends has been, "How's your mom?"  My mom was a very active 'Homeroom Mother"...she somehow made it to every single school holiday party (even though she never learned to drive and we lived over 5 miles away from the school)...showing up with cupcakes and smiles.  She was the 4-H Leader and was a big part of my schoolmates lives from 1st to 6th grade.  They all remember her and loved her...and they all are so sad to hear of her decline.  So am I...I miss that Jo a kid, I was always so proud of her...and I still am.

Love you, mom.  I'll always remember you the way you were when I was in 1st grade...the best Homeroom Mother ever.

All the best,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Given the luxury of having this entire week off, on top of the fact the weather has been snowy, today I focused on nesting and cleaning...Lord, this is awesome!  Cleaning out a closet beats a day at the office any day of the week!

I cleaned out the most disgusting closet ever and, boy, oh boy...was I ever rewarded! I discovered a long ago forgotten huge bag of things that once belonged to my grandmother.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered 2 beautiful, old handmade quilts.  One is almost 150 years old!  It scares me...I'm terrified I will destroy it because it seems to be very fragile.  More on that one in a later post.

The other one is not quite as old...probably around 75 to 80 years old and it's in good shape!  So...I wanted to find a cool way to use it and make sure it's a part of my's what I came up with:

I never use my dining room so I don't have to worry about spilling anything on it...yet it's still prominently displayed.  I'm so excited!!!

For those of you snowed-in up north, I hope you are safe and warm and nesting like me!

All the best, 

Monday, December 27, 2010

A conversation with Jo Ann

Yesterday my dad called me while visiting my mom...she was having a semi-lucid day without evidence of what seems to be her ever-present hallucinations.  Her voice sounded weak...that of an old woman...which is so hard for me to realize is what my mother is now.

We had a nice conversation and it almost felt like it was mom.  How was Christmas?  She understood why I couldn't be home due to the weather and actually preferred that I not put myself in harm's way.  How are my cats doing?  What about the one named Mazie Grace...could she see now?  (Mazie is blind.)  What about the two little ones I rescued back in the fall?  Had I found them homes yet?  Her memory was so amazing relative to how she has been in the past few weeks...out of all my cats she could remember one of their names and get so specific as to remember that she is blind...amazing.

It was so nice to have that conversation with really was a conversation this time...not some rambling jumble of conversational bits that made no least not until we got to the end of our phone call.  She had been fine and was clear as a bell...then she said "honey, you remember that man...the one that laughs so silly all the time?  He's in here all the time and knows your dad really well.  I don't think he has much sense.  Plus, he makes all of those weird faces...I think maybe there's something wrong with him.  He was talking to your dad and he really wants to get to know you better.  Now honey, you be careful...he says he wants to take you to dinner...he ain't quite right and I'm just not so sure about him, what with him laughin' and makin' them weird faces and all..."

I had no idea who she was talking dad took the phone from her and explained that there was no weird man (thank goodness...I certainly do not want to be having dinner with a weirdo..).  My mother was hallucinating...and when my dad said the 'hallucinating' word, I could hear my mother protesting in the background..."I KNOW I heard him say that, honey...I am NOT hallucinating...he's the one that makes all of them weird faces...and talks all the time..."

We have come to the realization that the hallucinations are with her constantly...she just covers them up at times. My prayer is that they do not frighten her.

Bless her heart.


Scenes from my house on Sunday...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Christmas has come and gone...

So hard to believe another Christmas has come and just seems to be over so quickly.  All that planning and organizing and working so very hard to get it all just right and...POOF! It's over.  This year was bitter sweet for me.  Since I didn't get to make it home, it really didn't feel like Christmas.  But, I so completely enjoyed being in my own house, watching TV, cooking soup in the crock pot, knitting, napping and waiting on the coming snow storm.  Lord, this was heavenly.  Part of me feels like this is the ghost of Christmas future coming to visit me a glimpse of what is yet to come.

As my parents are approaching the end of their lives, holidays for me will take on a new meaning.  Today helped me see that I will have a choice in the impact these memory-filled days impact me.  I can be lonely, living in the past and sad...OR...I can chose to relish the down time and replenish my I did today.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and made lots of memories with those you love.  But, I also hope you took some down time for yourself, to recharge your batteries and simply absorb the beauty of this season.

Thanks for stopping by Bob & Jo Ann's today!

All the best,

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Well, my trip home has been postponed due to the weather.  The car was packed and I was heading West when I called my dad.  He said it was pouring the snow and wasn't supposed to slow up until tomorrow.   I turned around and headed back to my home.  So...I've opted to wait a few days and then head home.

I'm a little sad...but also a little excited to be home, watch TV, knit and sleep!  I'm so excited...I don't know what to do first.  Usually, I'm always cleaning something or organizing things or, even worse...working.  But today is a day when I can just lay around and do nothing and have NO guilt!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with their family and making many memories!

All the best,

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Bob & Jo Ann!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Memories

Christmas Eve...oh the memories this day brings.  The big thing when I was a kid was getting all dressed up in my new Christmas dress and going to my grandmother's house for dinner and gift exchange on Christmas Eve.  It was the one night of the year that we did something out of the focused routine my dad see every night was dinner at 5:00 5:30, my dad would go into the living room to watch television...usually the Beverly Hillbilly's 6:00 the local news would come on and then 6:30 NBC Nightly News...regardless of what might be going on...this was THE routine every single night.

But, on Christmas Eve, we ate on my Grandmother's fancy china and sat at her big dining room table and ate a weird jello salad with a gigantic glob of mayonnaise..(to this day, the thought of that mayo and jello combo makes me want to vomit!)...once dinner was over we would into the living room where I would distribute the wrapped packages and the unwrapping would begin...

I would give anything...literally anything for just one more Christmas Eve like that...I miss my grandmother...I miss the smell of Christmas in her house...I miss how much fun it was to have a list of people to buy gifts for...I really no longer have that.  Oh I am definitely Santa Claus for my parents...but they both are at the stage where the their wants and needs are minimal.  Most of the fun for me is picking out or making just the perfect gifts...I really don't have that anymore and it simply saddens me. is Christmas Eve and I will make the best of it...I'll be making the 4 hour drive home.  It's supposed to snow there and so we'll have a white Christmas...Dad and I will go see Mom later today and also tomorrow...and she, more than likely, will not really be cognizant that it's really Christmas.  It makes me sad but we'll do the best we can to bring some cheer to Mom and ourselves.

I wish you all a wonderful in which many warm and happy memories are made.

All the best,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Four Stages of Santa

The Four Stages of Santa:
1. You believe in Santa
2. You don’t believe in Santa
3. You are Santa
4. You look like Santa

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's almost time...

I love the old fashioned, traditional Santa Claus...reminds me of my Grandmother...this was the image of Santa Claus that she painted in my mind.  I was thinking back earlier today about how excited I would get about this time every year before Christmas back when I was little...I would give anything to find that excitement and sheer joy again...maybe one day I can find it.  

I hope your holiday plans are coming true just as you dreamed that they would.

Better's almost time for the big day!

All the best,

On the list for next year

Okay...this year has been a bit of bust in terms of my getting "into" the Christmas spirit...I just haven't managed to get very excited with everything going on...however...I'm making a big ol' promise to year will be THE year for Christmas for me...come hell or high water, I'm going to jingle bells and Ho Ho Ho myself until I feel it from my head to my toes...

And so...with that...I'm going to start a file of ALL the things I want to do next year...this one will be at the TOP of my list...I find this to be stunning...what do you think???

I found this on Not Martha...and think it is the coolest thing EVER...I love the all three versions...I definitely plan on giving it a try!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A special holiday gift for my dad

First of all...Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and Happy Kwanza...and happy merry everything else I may have missed!  The past month has been a bear...was in a car accident...thankfully nobody was hurt and...IT WASN'T MY FAULT!  LOL!  Some poor guy rear-ended me.  I was sitting still when I was hit from behind by a guy going 45 mph...UGH...

Then...just discovered that the sub flooring in my kitchen will need to be replaced...yes, all of it replaced along with the kitchen cabinets due to extensive water damage from a leaking dishwasher.  SIGH...

PLUS!  THERE'S MORE!  I have my wireless service with Verizon.  I participate in their cool "new every two" program.  It provides a new phone a $0 to minimal cost every two years.  My new free phone...a Droid...arrived on 11/26.  On 12/18, I managed to drop the phone from my back pocket into the toilet as I pulled up my pants! LOL...sorry for the visuals that probably just popped into your head's just too good of story to pass up.
It's a long story but...Verizon came through even though I did not have insurance on the phone.  I received my replacement last week...thankfully!

I tell you all of these stories to point out that I was walking around feeling all down in the dumps with all this crap going on...feeling sorry for myself.  And as I was whining on the phone with MetLife to open up my water damage claim, I realized that there are people without a place to live...and I have the audacity to sit here complaining?  My insurance is covering all of the repairs?  What's my issue?  Verizon replaced my phone...My car has been repaired after my accident...AM I SO SPOILED THAT I CAN'T SEE THAT I'M SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED???

So, now to update you on Bob & Jo Ann...there's really nothing new.  Mom now has mostly bad days...her hallucinations seem to be quite frightening.  At times she is violent in terms of throwing things, refusing to speak to my dad or just flat out not making any sense.  Dad just tries to deal with each day...he continues to show such strength and grace.  I'm trying to learn from his example. 

I'll be heading home for Christmas on Friday...I'm a little excited about the gift I have to give my dad.  I am so incredibly hopeful he will like it...the weekend before my dad closed the sale of our old house, Dad and I went over to the house for the last time.  It was a bright crisp fall day...I took about a million pics...I selected the very best ones and had large prints made.  I received them today...Lord, they are GORGEOUS!  THEN...I went shopping and found the most perfect rustic-looking frames EVER!!!  They are going to be perfect in my dad's new little house.  The shots are just from his old property...places that hold memories for us.  Here are the photos...
Old apple trees
Trees on the property
Pine tree that was "home' to a kitty I rescued
The driveway just as we got ready to leave for the last time
After I get them framed, I'll post more photos...I really think this will mean a lot to my dad...although the house I grew up in was freakishly small (right 850 square feet) for 4 people, it was my dad's Taj Mahal.  He loved this place and the 2 acres that went with it.  I hope these photos will help document it for him.

Will leave you all to go back to finishing up your holiday preparation or...just resting up for the big day.

Good wishes to you and your family!

Merry Christmas