Sunday, June 30, 2019

England by the Numbers

First of all, a pool update. Turns out, Brentwood Water was doing some work on the water line without forewarning us. And yes, the water inside the house ended up being dirty too. It was touch and go while we were in London as we got messages from our garden girl and Steph AND the pool man about turning the water on and off. What a mess. Nobody knew someone else was messing with it. It's so hard to deal with things long distance. The pool situation was a definite stressor our first couple of days on our vacation! We're home now and the pool is up an running, but still dirt because, someone---a "little" to remain nameless---broke the pool cleaner! No telling when that will be replaced.

Anyway, on to our trip. Just a brief report by the numbers.  I always like to wear my Fitbit when traveling because I want to know how far I've traveled.

Steps: 127,386 divided by 9 days equals 14,154 steps per day.
Stairs: 363 flights for an average of 40 flights per day. There was lots of tube stairs climbing. This also includes inclines--not always flights of stairs.
Miles: 51.85 equals 5.76 miles per day.

We hit it hard. I kept up!! That's all I can say. And yes, I was exhausted. By the end of the week, I was done with the tubes. Up and down, so many times! But, that is the best way to get around. Still....a lot!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What I Buy Wednesday.

I don't really have time to post as we're getting ready to leave for England this afternoon. But, I just wanted to give you a quick update.

I didn't really buy anything this week, but we are having the new tile installed around the pool. Talk about money pits. I think we had about 3 good years when we first moved here in 1995. Since then, it's been one thing after another with the pool. Considering we completely re-did the pool about 15 year ago, you would think we wouldn't continue to have so many problems.

Wellll, we did not know that the entire pool would need to be drained to do the tilework. But okay, that will be another kazillion $$$$ worth of water. They completed the work and it looks pretty nice.
 Of course there is still clean up to be done. They started refilling the pool yesterday afternoon about 1 p.m. and it's been filling all night and today. It's now 4:30 and Butch went out to check the level. This is what he found:
Two hours ago the water was crystal clear. All of sudden, the water coming out of the hose is dirty. What the F***! You know what that means---another draining. OMGosh! What a hassle and ridiculous expense! 

Butch has had it with this pool---and I'm right there behind him! The rest of the water in our house is fine. We have no idea why, or how this could happen. No time to deal with it now! 

All I'm saying is if you plan to put a pool in, think twice---or twenty times before you do! You can take many nice vacations for what it costs!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Friday Funnies

It's Just My Nature!

...because, er, well, it just comes naturally.

Today, I was going in to the kitchen to refill my tea. The sun was shining in---a beautiful day. Then this caught my eye:
 Do you see it?
 How about now? Look close!
 Now you get it---right? Well, my thought was, "Oh, my, gosh! Someone brought me a plant!" Then I looked closer.
And then I realized it was a reflection of this. Oh, well, it made me happy for a half second. I'll take it!

It's just my nature!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What I Buy Wednesday!

Actually, this falls under the category of "Who Would Buy This?"

And the answer would be Nicky!

No explanation needed!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Some Days Are Just Like That!

Last Thursday, I had a lot going on. I left the house at exactly 8:35 a.m. I got to Starbucks--and as usual, the line was all the way out to the street. Still, when I pulled up to the window, it was only 8:44! That's the fastest I've ever gotten through Starbucks line--from my driveway to the pick up window---exactly 9 minutes!! That's a record for sure. I was feeling pretty good since I wasn't due at the doctor's until 9:30.

Right across the street from the doctor's office is Chic-Fil-A. Dare I try it? Yes the very same Chic-Fil-A that did me in a couple years ago. No way was I going inside. The drive thru is always crazy. Still, I got in the line knowing I easily had a half hour. Well, that went so smoothly. They have a different set up now. There is a person with an iPad in each line taking orders. No more waiting your turn to the speaker where people hold up the line by not knowing what they want to get. Anyway, I was in and out in no time. Those chicken bites on the mini rolls...what can I say...soooo good.

Now, I had a bit of a dilemma. I didn't have quite enough time to enjoy my breakfast in its entirety. So, I decided to go on to the doctor's to see if I might get in 15 minutes early. I brought my book, so I wasn't really concerned about the possible wait. After signing in, I barely sat down when they called me back. (I was having stitches removed from my extra large pore that I had closed. Now lest you think I'm that vain, well, I guess I am. I made the decision when I was on my sister's cruise in February. Three of them individually said something similar to: "hold still Barb, you have something on your nose!" Uh, no, that's my extra large crater mole that's caused by old age!) I was out of the office before it was even my appointment time!!

I enjoyed my breakfast in the parking lot with my book. Yum. I was playing bridge today, but there was to be no lunch, so this was my lunch too.

From there, I ran by Walgreen's to pick up my pictures. Then it was to Kroger's to pick up a few groceries. I got to the church where we were to play bridge by 10 a.m. The game wasn't starting until 10:30, so that gave me plenty of time to park, go in and figure out where I needed to be (we normally play at a country club--but the game moved to the church today) and to meet my partner, Lucy. I had never played with her before. I wandered around a bit and didn't see anyone. This is a huge church. Finally, I encountered a woman taking mail to the box. I asked her where the bridge group was meeting. She said there was no bridge group there. I insisted there was--just a temporary thing. She said, "well, I'm the secretary and I know everything that goes on here. I'm telling you, there's no bridge game here today!" I asked her the address of this church. She gave it to me and I left.

When the organizer of the game called me to see if I'd play with Lucy, she was the one who told me of the location change. When she said it was the United Methodist Church on Franklin Rd., I knew exactly where it was. The notes I had taken said to go around back to the lower level and go in the second door. I don't know why, but I jotted down the address. I'm so glad I did. When I got back to the car---where I had left my little paper---I discovered  I was at the wrong church!

Now I'm a bit panicky. I knew it. My day was just going too smoothly! It was too good to be true. Now it's 10:20 and I'm going to be late. I am NEVER late! If you want to know how I really feel about lateness, you can read my post from 2011.

My stress level is starting to rise. According to my GPS, I only have 5 miles and 10 minutes to go. That puts me there at exactly 10:30---no time to figure out the parking or where I need to be. You need to understand that when it comes to bridge, it starts exactly on time. 47 other people depend on it. One person cannot hold up the works. It puts pressure on my partner who I don't even know. Not a great way to start with someone new---no time to discuss how she plays and what conventions she uses. Worse yet, being late is not a good impression to make on a new person. Plus, she'll either have to sit out the first round or start with the director. Worse case, she would go home thinking I was not coming.

I'm really getting nervous. Then it happens. I hit the road work on Franklin road. Oh! My! Gosh! There was no way. I tried calling the director---I knew that was futile because since the game was starting, he would not be noticing his phone (all phones are on silent at bridge). Then on the off chance that the organizer might notice her phone, I called. Turns out that was her home phone. A gruff voice who was clearly awakened by my call said, "she's playing bridge and won't be home until 4:30!" Ooops, sorry teenage boy who clearly stayed up all night and is now sleeping all day!

There was only one thing to do and I did it. I took a deep breath. I tried to calm down. I finally got through the traffic but then, passed up the entrance to the church. Are you kidding me!!! There was no time for that. I turned around. Pulled in to the church parking lot and went around back. I had no idea where to go. Which door was the second door? Both were far apart. I picked one. As I approached, I saw that it was the early childhood education entrance. I knew that wasn't right and was sure the door would be locked. Well, surprisingly, it was open. I entered and started down the hall. when I heard, "there she is!" Nothing like calling attention to me in front of the entire room!! Everybody hates that person!!

I apologized profusely and sat down. With a real quick hello to my partner who I'm meeting for the first time, I picked up my cards and began. Lucy had me playing north--who is the score keeper and has a few organizational things to do prior to the game. I took another deep breath to calm down. The rest of the day was fine from there. Lucy and I didn't "place" but we were respectably in the middle. Not bad ---5th out of 12.

My plan was to meet Connie for our monthly pedicure after bridge. During the game, when I had a spare minute, I texted her to go ahead without me. I realized that with the location of this church, the road construction AND to top it off---the rain, I couldn't get there until probably 3:45. Now that puts us in rush hour traffic in Green Hills. That was a good call. We finished bridge at nearly 3. I didn't get home until 3:30. I was worn out. All that stress did me in. I just can't be late. And I prepare for every contingency so that I'm not. At least I thought so.

Sheesh! I guess some days are just like that!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

A Few Things

I have a few random pictures to share.

We were back in St. Louis a couple weeks ago.
 In St. Louis, Panera is Saint Louis Bread Company. Actually, Panera bought them years ago.
You can tell they have the same logo. Chrissy and I have found it's a perfect place to meet when I have limited time.

Uncle Tony took us to Favazza's on "the hill" for lunch. It was a beautiful day to sit outside. Aunt Marie was in the best mood! More like the Aunt Marie I've always known and love. I hope she continues to have these good, painfree days.
Butch makes my tea every morning---even when we're traveling! Usually we're in a hotel and he makes it there, or goes to the breakfast buffet and brings it back. On this trip, we were staying at Walt and Chris'. He brought me my tea while I was still in bed reading before he left for golf.  I take pictures like this to send to the girls to show them how thoughtful he is---about some things!
 On one of our trips home we saw the most gorgeous sunset.
 This was taken near our house.
This could be a picture for sure.
And then we came home to this. The irony of the "downed" tree is that there is another, that is deader than a doornail (wonder where that saying came from and what it means. I'll have to look it up.*) that is still standing. It's only a matter of time. And,  of course, both trees belong to the neighbor. But, as we've found out before, that doesn't matter. If it falls in your yard, it's your problem. I guess it's our problem too that this tree has crushed my knock out roses.

Sheesh, if it's not one thing, it's another.

*Okay, so I looked it up:
Door nails were long used to strengthen the door. The person building the door would hammer the nail all the way through the boards. On the other side, he would hammer the end flat, bending it so that the nail would be more secure. In doing so, the nail was rendered unusable for any other purpose. It would be difficult to remove and even more difficult to use again elsewhere. Thus, the bent nail was commonly called “dead” (not just to do with doors, but elsewhere where the nail was bent over and couldn’t be used again.)

Now we know.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

One Last Graduation

And that would be Elizabeth's.

We drove to Charlotte on Tuesday, stopping to geo-cache along the way. Just outside of Cookeville, there is an old (and newish) cemetery. Butch came upon this--so I had to see it too:
Thomas Stowers was the sole survivor of Custer's Last Stand at Little Big Horn. I didn't know there were any survivors at all. I love that someone placed an American flag in honor of his service!

We got to Charlotte around 3 in the afternoon. Sandy and Elizabeth came to our hotel for awhile before dinner. We went to the Waldhorn one last time for German food. We are definitely going to miss that. There just aren't that many German restaurants any where. Our favorite here in Nashville closed many years ago. Maybe we'll find another in Atlanta.

On Wednesday, we had brunch reservations at Cafe Monte. It was a French place. On to the graduation at St. Matthew's.
Elizabeth wasn't feeling all that well. She has a summer cold and was ready for it all to be over. I hated that for her. It's her big day and she couldn't even enjoy it.
 I cannot believe how grown up she is---nearly 14.

I am now the shortest in the family!
 I didn't notice how tall Elizabeth has gotten. She's passed her mom too!
 It's official---they are ALL graduates!

 The plan was that we would leave immediately after the Mass and ceremony. Most of the Lapps were heading to their new home in Atlanta. Sandy had agreed to stay behind so that Elizabeth could go to a party for one last time with her friends.

We all lucked out. There was no Mass! That's a first. I guess too many people complained about how much longer that made the whole graduation ceremony. Plus, the principal gave a very short speech--just how we like them! The whole thing only lasted 45 minutes. We took pictures and then we were off---ALL of us! Elizabeth decided that she was ready to just get on the road to their new home. 7 weeks in a hotel room was enough. I don't think she wanted to spend one more night there! Plus, she had spent Memorial weekend getting her new room in order. While she was back at school in Charlotte, Mitchell and Victoria kept sending her pictures of them hanging out (and messing up) her new room! Mitchell even slept in her new bed. Both of them sent photos of them lounging in her new chair. Siblings---picking on the baby!!

Sandy won't have much time in her new house as next week, she has to take Victoria for her college orientation. She's really ready to settle down and be done with all the long car rides. We're looking forward to seeing the new house after we come back from England. By then, Sandy will have everything organized and settled.

An exciting new time in all of their lives. I can't tell you how happy I am to have them so much closer. Now we can visit any time we want!!! And, Sandy can pop up here anytime she wants too!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Throwback Thursday

I got in the Enclave with Butch the other day and saw this:

Really? Nobody uses cd's anymore! I said something about it and he said, "well, this car still has a CD player." So what? It all has a USB port. We get all of our music from Spotify these days. You can listen to anything you want. In fact, I'm planning to get rid of ALL the 500 cd's we have in an effort to get rid of stuff! We just don't need them. We don't even own a CD player in the house. No need for them.

Actually, cd's do seem pretty recent to be on a "throwback Thursday" post, but they are pretty much obsolete these days.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Tuesday Thoughts About...

...fancy dinners. Back in the day, we went to so many black tie affairs. Heck, my whole life revolved around fund raising back then. In 1994, I even won a national award for "fund raising executives" in Nashville. Those parties were fun....then! Now, not so much. Used to be we were happy to dance the night away. Now, we're just ready to leave after the speakers. Ummm, even they can get too long---and usually do.

Well, last night, it wasn't exactly a black tie affair, but we had to go to the "President's Dinner." And when I say "had to", I mean we really had no choice. Butch is on the board of TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center). This dinner was to honor the president of TPAC who is retiring.

Here's our take on it. The cocktail hour was fine. We met a guy from St. Louis, so that was fun. Our dinner companions were engaging too. Turns out we had the "Catholic thing" in common. Nashville is a small Catholic community compared to what we're used to. The dinner was lousy---baked chicken--which I absolutely hate. It had no flavor and needed salt in the worst way---none on the table. It was served on a bed of corn---which could have been good had there been some salt. There was a flimsy salad--and by that I mean, little lettuce, one cherry tomato and 4 blueberries. No rolls. NO ROLLS! I have never been to a dinner where they didn't serve any bread. For dessert, we got 1/3 slice of cake. Really small. Too bad since that was the best thing. Basically, the whole thing seemed pretty cheap. Just not good.

After dinner, the speeches started up. The outgoing president was fabulous, made a huge impact in Nashville, yada yada yada---we get it! Then the entertainment started. Now I LOVE theater, but it just got too darn long. The whole affair was 3 and a half hours--on a Monday night!! I asked Butch if we are just old now. We both decided that had it been a Friday or Saturday night it would have been better---not really more fun, but at least we wouldn't have to get up the next morning for work. Oh wait, we don't have to get up for work! That's right, we're retired!

I guess we're just old then.

One last graduation today and we're done for 4 more years!!!

I've had it with boring speeches!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Victoria's Graduation

We had a  whirlwind trip to Charlotte for Victoria's graduation. There was almost an hour's worth of speeches. Can you spell "b*o*r*i*n*g!" Anyway, since there were only 400 students, the actual "name calling" only took about 45 minutes. At the very beginning, the dean of students asked very politely for everyone to hold their applause until the end---citing many reasons to hold off. Really, I was impressed with all he said and how he approached it. I was certain people would comply. I was so wrong!

Anyhooo, it didn't matter one bit. As soon as the--very--first--person--was called, the hooting and hollering started and never stopped. That aggravates the hell out of me. I'm a rule follower. When it came to Victoria's name, Mitchell and Elizabeth yelled for her. I shot them a nasty look. Afterwards, they said that they did it because if they didn't, then it looked sad for Victoria. I suppose.

The fun really began after the ceremony. We went to Del Frisco's for an incredible steak dinner. Picture taking before:

I asked for a picture when we got inside as we don't have many pictures of just the two fo us. Then I remembered, Butch hates doing pictures in restaurants. Still, he humored me, but not without complaint.

After our fill of steak and more than a half dozen delicious sides, we went back to the hotel Sandy and the girls have been living in for the last 7 weeks (they are ready to be gone). Victoria opened her presents and we had cake from Dessert Designs---which---
 Butch was not so happy to have to carry through the airport---not to mention it weight at least 10 lbs! All that butter!! Of course, Sandy would never have expected us to do it, but we decided to fly long after she ordered it.
It did get slightly dented on one side, but not too bad. As it turned out, they made the wrong cake. It wasn't what Sandy requested. She ordered the almond cream cheese pound cake with a raspberry filling. Dessert Designs is the premier cake baker of Nashville. We've gotten all of our wedding and special occasion cakes from them. Anyway, the cake they sent was really good, but had nuts. It was a disappointment since when you spend a hundred dollars for a cake, you expect it to be phenomenal! All ended well when Sandy called the next day to let DD know of their mistake. They fully refunded her money. Suddenly, the "wrong" cake didn't taste so bad!!

We have Elizabeth's graduation this week. We'll leave on Tuesday---driving this time (and geo-caching along the way)---and come home after the ceremony on Wednesday. Then we're done with graduations for 4 more years!! Only three left after that!

We might not like graduations, but we are definitely proud grandparents!! And, boy, were we when it came to Victoria! She received the Charlotte Catholic High School Scholastic Award for high honors all year! Sorry, I just couldn't NOT brag a little!! You know, grandparents and all.