Monday, July 31, 2006

Appointments.....and decisions(?)

After a quick step or two outside on the patio this morning......I returned to the coolness of the inside of our brick and stick to enjoy my French Roast coffee which was made with some freshly ground coffee beans. By 9:15, I opened the door for the tech specialist for Verizon to bring in his computer and run some tests on the reception that I was getting....or NOT getting...on my Verizon cell phone.

For the past three weeks, my phone has "changed service area" everytime I would walk from one room to another or from one end of the house to another......or even while I was just sitting watching the tellie. NOT the type of service I am paying for each month!!!! Well, "Christopher" was here for about 45 minutes.....and could not give any answers, as he could not duplicate the same problems that I have been having. Sooo, nothing changed with my "changing service"!!

Shortly after he left, I headed to STL to pick up two more samples of the possible stains and glazes for the cabinets. I didn't spend much time up there.......the heat was stifling.....almost unbearable to have to get out of the car which has a great a/c system. I was back in Farmington by 3:30 and spent a half hour looking at ceramic tiles for the kitchen flooring. BAck at TheHowserHouse, we are about 99% sure of the stain(less) for the cabs..........think it will be a natural maple that has a "shine" on it.

Prior to going to STL, I did stop at the Sherwin Williams store. I got a full refund on all of the paint I had purchased as the last gallon they gave us was just as imperfect as the ones we had purchased. The store owner has no idea what the problem is and said he had contacted the head office and called for an investigation of the problem. Perhaps some day we will know......???

This evening our contractor was here to discuss the demolition of the kitchen and the installation of the new cabinets and gas range. Along with lighting, new ceiling, flooring, and a change of the plumbing system location, removal of one wall, etc., etc. and we did some more measuring for accuracy. It IS going to be horrendous mess......with two more rooms torn up for 2-3 weeks later in August or early September. Not something to look forward to!!!

And so.....

Life is GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Missouri Misery......again!!!!

I will only briefly mention how horrific the heat/humidity is today....and for the next three days, so we are informed. The heat index tomorrow is to be 116 degrees!!!!! It rained this morning for some time....and then the sun emerged in its fullest fury and it then became almost impossible to breathe outside!!! DAMN!!!

Today was just one whereby we remained inside, relaxed a bit, and caught up on some administrative things in the form of bookkeeping, etc., etc. The paint in the living room is becoming a bigger problem........the "new" paint that Sherwin Williams gave us on Saturday DOES NOT WORK!!!!!! IT IS WORSE THAN THE FIRST BATCH!!!!!! It is guaranteed, however, it is only for the cost of the paint.....and not for the labor and the ruined walls that we are experiencing. I am just sick with this problem........and so, tomorrow it is back to the Sherwin Williams store to file my complaints.......and am thinking about going to small claims court with this problem. WHAT NEXT??????????????????

And "WHAT NEXT???" with the problem(s) in the Middle East????? Our administration must be changed!!!!!!!! First it is Iraq.....and now this "do nothing" in the Israel/Lebanon/Hezbelloah war...........

And even with ALL of the above....

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Finally....they are ordered!!!!

Well, like it or not, we have finalized....almost......the order for our kitchen cabinets........an on-going ordeal that has taken MUCH more time, energy, and dollars than I ever, ever expected!!!! I say "almost" because after I signed the contract and wrote a check for 50% of the costs, drove away, and then began to look at some cabinets that were in this store, I am not certain I like the wood color that I ordered. SOOOOOO, I am calling first thing on Monday to have them put a hold on the order until I return to ONCE AGAIN check out the color to make sure.

You know.....when you buy a car/truck you know that you will only have it for a few short years.....however, a purchase such as these cabinets will be for the rest of OUR lives....and I want to make damn sure I get as close to the kind that I want as financially possible.

The task now at hand is to find some table/bedside lamps for our new bedroom furniture. It SHOULD be delievered next week.......we opted to let them deliver it today. Started figuring the costs of renting a U-Haul, gas, etc., etc. and decided it was worth the few extra $$ to have Bassett Furniture deliver and set up the furniture in the room for us! Hopefully.....it will be soon so we can finally get moved into our new bedroom. I FIRMLY vetoed putting the old furniture back in the new room.......knowing full well that we would NEVER go out and get a new bedroom suite if we ever put that old stuff back in there.

Sooooo many more decisions to make during the next couple of weeks ......for the kitchen. Meeting with the contractor Monday night......need to firm up his bid, set the date for the demolition of the kitchen as it stands now.......moving appliances, flooring, electrician, removing one wall, etc., etc. UGH!!!!! Stage II of the project is about to get under way........and I WILL be better prepared this time!!

Spent quite some time with the Sherwin-Williams paint store manager this morning discussing and raising my voice about the terrible paint we got from him and used on our living room walls. He had ordered a new patch of base paint and mixed it for us....again....and we are to try it to see if covers better than the first three expensive gallons. This next group will be free if it works for us!!!!! I LOVE the color.......but, it doesn't go on smoothly or evenly or even the same color across the wall!!! Hoping it was just a bad batch of base paint!!!!!!!??????

Began to look for new drapes for the living room today, as well as lamps for that room also. A couple of new pieces of art will be needed for the walls.......but, that may take more time to study and think about.

Had to fight quite a storm while in STL late this afternoon...........no winds, but horrific lightning and HUGE quantities of rain!!!!!!!! Stood at the door of a store for 30 minutes before I even dared attempt to dash to the car.......lightning striking close-by and buckets and buckest of hard rain flooding the parking area.

Oh well............even with all of this.....

Life IS Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Moser anniversary weekend!!!

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NOW I can take a bite!!!!

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Best Friends (cousins)

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Hmmmmm........two complete days.....gone???

WOW........am I losing my mind......just where in the hell did the past two days go??? I can't even put a thought together about yesterday........???? I know that I made one trip to our wonderful, incredible mini-SuperCenter, the Walmart model for small town SuperCenters. And....everytime I am out there.....almost daily......I get a bit angry that they stock so much of such few items that I can never ever find exactly what I am looking for, or need. Soooo, what do I do??? I find myself buying what they have instead of what I want/need.

I HATE their wine selection!!!!!!!!! And, they have heard that same sentence and emotion from me personally. To be BLUNT (and I am NOT the Governor of our Misery state).........their tiny selection here is the shits. Wish I knew who their "wine buyer" is.....and hopefully "was". He needs some input about the desires of some of the customers that shop there for their wine!!!!!
Oh well......

The positive thing about shopping their is the socialization of "long lost friends". I always see and visit with former students and friends that I never see anywhere else......and that is a GOOD thing. Although.......sometimes if I haven't seen these former students for several years, and then I run into them out there, it is a struggle to remember their names. I HATE that experience!!!!!

Today......well, it went quickly as I had to get things ready for a food visit with our son, Michael. And, as usual, we ate all afternoon.....and I am sitting here miserable, feeling much like I imagine a stuffed pheasant or pig feels........NOT GOOD!!!!!

The 1st Lady is home now after her week of visiting Dr. Jeni.....and then going on to her mother's for the rest of the week. Somehow during the first couple of days of her journey, she managed to lose....oops, "misplace".....her cell phone chargers!!!!! BOTH the regular charger AND her car charger!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sooooo, she now cannot use her cell phone until we purchase a new one!! UGH!!!!

We are going into STL in the morning to sign the contract on the purchase of the new kitchen cabinets!!!!! Sure hope we have made the correct decision because we will have to live with them for the rest of our lives.......DEFINITELY!!!! While there we will need to pick out the new sink, and then narrow down our choices on lighting, flooring, countertop, and appliances. Not to be a pleasant day ........I'm sure.

Tuesday I have to go back up there as we can then pick up our new furniture for the new bedroom as it has will arrive from the Bassett factory. Hard to believe.....after almost 35 years we will have a complete bedroom ensemble that goes together!!!!!! All three of the kids had wonderful new sets of bedroom furniture......and we took the left-overs and used ones. Guess it is finally OUR TURN!!!!

And so, with a challenging day ahead tomorrow.....I will close this, and as always....

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WOW...A day to be soooo proud.....!!!

As I brought my sagging, sleepy self to a half-way vertical position on the edge of the bed, I realized that I hadn't ground any French Roast coffee beans last night.....how COULD I have forgotten that important task???????? Alas......before I could take my wake-up shower massage, it was very necessary to hear that Braun Coffee Grinder make it's wonderful coffee cocaphony which would emit that wonderful fresh coffee bean aroma. And, as always, the grinder did the assigned job and before long the drip of the coffee evolved into a full carafe of the dark liquid that would soon become a part of my blood stream!!!

I didn't have much time to linger and loiter over the fresh steaming cup of coffee.......I took a quick trip out to the patio, checked to see if my lawn invading plants were dying more than they were yesterday and then it was time to get started up the highway to Rolla (of course, I put the remainder of the coffee in the thermos to accompany me on the trip). It only takes a few minutes more than two hours to run over to Rolla through the hills and valleys. Interestingly enough, as I drove through Potosi everywhere I looked there was large piles of debris from the storm this past week. And, in the rear of the county court house, there were the National Guard members distributing water and other food items for those who still do not have electricity.

How does one describe a former student who has experienced so much success in his vocation in such a brief amount of time??? I suppose the one word that sums it all up is......Outstanding! He was in my HS Band in Eldon and later married another band member.....he is a trumpeter and she was a percussionist. He went into the Navy.....and then they sent him to college....Tulane University in New Orleans. And from then on.......he has met with incredible success. He spent extra time in the Navy past his initial enlistment requirement and then upon leaving the military, he remained in the same job he had, only then/now he wears civilian clothes. He works in Washington, D.C. for the Navy in the field of .....well, I suppose it is called Nuclear Engineering.

We have kept in touch throughout the years.......as we share a common bond: we were both born on March 31......plus our interest in music....and our rapport which has always been strong and developed into close friendship. He is the proud father of four young daughters.......sure would hate to be in his shoes as they reach the teenage years!!!

We try to get together as often as we can, however, we both have our own obligations which makes it difficult to schedule any time together. I have visited him in D.C. several times and when he and his family return to Missouri for a holiday, we try to meet somewhere for lunch so we can visit. And, THAT is what we did today in Rolla.

He and I were in Applebee's for over three hours.....outlasting our server's work shift. Topic after topic was bounced around across the table and over the Margherita glasses.....until we were almost hoarse from our never-ending conversation. The time flew by and yet, we were not "caught up" with everything we needed to discuss......and so, it will be put on the back burner for the next time we are together, whenever and wherever that will be.

It is soooooo rewarding to continue the relationships with former students......those who were just young pre-teenagers when they first became a band member.....and now have become wonderful adults with families of their own. I suppose I have had a thousand students, probably many more than that, over the 30 years of teaching........and it is sooooo great to still be a part of their lives........and for them to still be a part of mine. WOW.....how fortunate I am!!!!!!!!!

And so, Kelly Powers ( and Heather)..........a big thanks to you both for our continuing relationship, for our friendship, and for making my Life much more meaningful and rewarding to me as an aging hulk!!!

LIFE IS GREAT .....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another test.....another trip

I had to be in Festus today for an ultra sound test. An interesting and relaxing type of "test"......enough said.

Afterwards I went on in to STL, went to the cabinet shop that we are working with on our prospective cabinet order. Saw the last stain sample and think we will remain with our initial choice.... I am ready to get these damn things ordered and get them here. It is a company from Canada, but it really doesn't matter, it will take about 4-6 weeks for them.

Did a bit more shopping at several different stores........mostly for decor items: draperies, art work, etc., etc. Always something........

Returned back down here around 4pm......and just kind of "hung out" and relaxed this evening. Nothing doing........am doing some reading......haven't done that for some time, and I have stacks of books that I have on my list to read.

Meeting some friends in Rolla, MO tomorrow for lunch. They were band students of mine back in the '80's in Eldon, but now live in the Washington D.C. area/Virginia. I always visit them when I am in Washington....at least we get together for dinner, etc., etc. Sad to say, it has been two years since I have been over there......time goes way toooooo fast. They are back in Missouri for a brief visit with families......so, we will meet about halfway between Eldon and here for lunch.

Sure this is just a terribly interesting post tonight.......my mind is not very active or thoughtful....and not a damn thing that was interesting to discuss occurred today. I could discuss a bit more of the ultra sound, but think it might have to be censored......hehehee!!!

Soooo, rather than bore you more than I already have done, I will just say.....

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Two days of.........

WOW.....was I ever pissed last night!!!!! I spent about 45 minutes putting together a thoughtful and very descriptive post about my day.......and, due to having installed some anti-virus software yesterday......this blogspot site decided to delete my post as I attempted to publish it....and there was NO way to recover it. It is a GREAT thing that I am living as a bachelor this week, because the 1st Lady would have been somewhat upset with my tantrum and verbage which turned this normally sedate and sagging hulk into a raving and ranting maniac!!!!!!!

To update about yesterday, the new paint on our living room which was "completed" day before yesterday, but the walls had some strange and very unsightly "sheen" to the terra cotta color, and it just gets worse with various strengths of lighting. I, under orders from my other half, painted a fourth coat on a couple of walls to see if more paint would help.......but, NO....it didn't. Soooo, I decided to take off the painters blue tape from the molding around the doors/windows and the baseboards. Well,.......the new paint began to peel around the edges......and looked and acted just like wallpaper!! ANOTHER BLOWUP by me.....actually the first one yesterday.

I gave up on the room after getting it cleaned up and a couple of pieces of furniture back in place. Then.....it was 5pm.......and I put together a couple of panini sandwiches, minus the grilling. Used some really great Roma tomatoes, mozarella cheese, fresh basil, olive oil drizzled over the entire contents and some toasted Tuscan country bread.......and LOTS of dark red medicine!!!!! My heart valves, blood vessels, and the aging gray matter needed some calming after the paint episode of the day.......and so the day ended quietly as I remained on the patio until the sun had set........and I meditated on the calm and quietness of the Tetons and the Big Horn Mts. in Wyoming.

MONDAY.......

Fr. Roast coffee on the patio enjoying the peace and quiet.....only the yellow finches to watch and enjoy. But........it was time soon to head to Farmington to the Sherwin-Williams paint store to complain and demand something be done about the quality of the three gallons ($120) of their paint that I had carefully put on our living room walls.......did I really need to be so careful??? Well.....thankfully for my blood pressure, the "main man" was sympathetic, interested, and thoughtful about what the problem is, but not so sure as to the resolution of the problem. So, he offered to come down to TheHowserHouse this afternoon to check it out. I readily agreed!!!

Back to our home on the hill and some puttering in the yard. I was checking to see if the ground ivy and violets that I had sprayed with some KILLING liquid yesterday had done the job. Hmmmm......well, not as quickly as I had hoped. There was some visual evidence that they might be dying, but......I am worried that these invaders into my grass will somehow recover their lives and continue to expand throughtout my lawn.

And then......the paint man arrived. He quickly admitted that the strange sheen on my walls after using FLAT paint was not good, and not what the paint should have done. Sooooo, he agreed to order a different batch of the paint base and I could then try it to see if works better. He also "toured" our new rooms and was amazed at the work that we had done and how it had completely made over the rooms that I had told him about......he loved the family/tv room.

After he left.....it was time to have a bite to eat.....and so I had some tortellini with spinach and ricotta cheese in the pasta bites. I used some Parmesan cheese sauce, added some fresh mushrooms to it, and then topped the entire dish with diced and salted Roma tomatoes. All of this was garnished with some of my wonderful fresh basil.......and guess what!!!! Several glasses of my dark red medicine to compliment the pasta!!

Tomorrow.....it is off to Festus for my appendages' ultra-sound exam. Hmmmm......sure am curious just how this will come about......hahaha!!! You may never know......

And so,.....

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

YEAH!!!!!! Weather to ENJOY!!!!!!

Hmmm.....you might think that my Life is based on the weather here in Misery......and I must admit that the weather DOES make living much better when it is nice! Yesterday.....well, that was quite a different story!!!!

I had driven up to Festus for my appointment with the urologist doctor and since it was my first visit with him, I arrived early to fill out the reams of paperwork that everyone must now complete before they can even meet a doctor. With the clipboard and pen in my hand, I began the task...and suddenly the lights went out in the entire building. We were plunged into darkness for a short period of time until the emergency lighting came on. In about a minute or two the electricity was back on.......and the reception room door opened and in came a lady in a wheelchair being pushed by a friend......and they were a bit shaken as they had been in the elevator which stopped between floors when the lights/electricity went out.

Well, for the next 30-40 minutes the lights continued to go out.......at least 12 times during that time period. When they were operating the TV, which was on, was giving all kinds of severe weather warnings and so we knew the problem with the lights. So......about an hour after my appointment was scheduled to begin, I finally was called to head down the hallway......and after a few "liquid" test samples, the normal BP/heart rate checks, and a few other minor items, it was into another room to wait(nothing new here.....ALL doctors seem to have the same procedure).

The exam by the Dr. went well.......and he seems to believe that everything that is inside me is all that is supposed to be there.....and no foreign entities are down there. However, he is still not through with the testing and so I return next Tuesday for an ultra-sound test, and then another appointment on Aug. 21st. I was impressed with the urologist.........and seemed to be sincerely interested in me as individual, and not just someone who had been referrred to him for him to check all of my......hmmmmm.......male appendages.

While I was inside the Medical Building, the rains had dropped quite a bit of liquid outside.....and when I returned to F'town.....well.........a HUGE storm had rushed across the top of the hill where TheHowserHouse/stick and brick/on wheels .......all spend their time. Limbs were down in the yards, twigs and leaves, and other debris had been blown everywhere!!!! Quite a wind storm, but nothing of any substantial damage....Thank God!!

The 1st Lady left yesterday evening and will be gone for a week. She is spending this weekend at the Moser Estate.......caring for the two granddaughters...well, actually three(Rachel also is there)......as Dr. Jeni and Darrel are spending the weekend celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary in the city at a hotel, dining out, and........whatever. Then on Monday, the 1st Lady is going on up to Monroe City to spend the rest of the week with her mother and will return to F'town on Friday.

Me???? Well, I spent 95% of this BEAUTIFL day outside working in the yard.....which included spending almost 3 hours simply CLEANING the yard from yesterday's storm. I have no idea how many loaded wheel barrows it took to remove all of the storm's debris. Following that I finally had the chance to mow the rest of the lawn that I had not completed from earlier in the week.

Having not cooked for sometime.......I fixed one of my favorite easy meals; long grain rice topped with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots and then added some Roma tomatoes that I had salted a few hours earlier and they were quite juicy!! Then I garnished the entire dish with some wonderful Feta cheese and fresh basil which I picked from my herb garden. Of course........all of this was accompanied by my dark red medicine. THIS was a very healthy meal!!!!!!!!

And soooooo, tomorrow morning I plan to touch up the paint job on the living room walls. Following that.....well, I hope it get the room "cleaned up".......sooooo much painting stuff is everywhere and needs to be put away, IF I think we are finished for awhile.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY........and,

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Will it end TOMORROW????????????

Humidity and Heat........as we all know, the combination is absolutely miserable in the state Misery!!!! I really dread to see my utility bill with the constant a/c that we are using......but, what can you do???? Tomorrow is SUPPOSED to be cooler.......??? We'll see.....

I spent the morning, after my several cups of French Roast coffee, painting the dining area and the wide hallway ceilings. Lots of blue tape had to be applied first to the moldings around the doors and also to the ceiling light in the dining area. It is a very contemporary light and with most of it being brushed nickel and glass. We did have a beige color on the ceilings and the new white really brightens up the areas and makes it all look so fresh.

This afternoon I ran up to Farmington to pick up another gallon of the paint the 1st Lady is using for the living room.........there is not any place here in town that sells Sherwin-Williams paint........one of the negatives of living in a small town in the middle of the National Forest area.

This evening I installed the new drapery pole....which is really cool looking.....and put up the new drapes in the tv room. They are really great looking.....a casual look....and the darker gray and black drape really works for our gray walls!!!

Tomorrow morning I have to run up to Festus for my appointment with a urologist. Not certain what to expect............sure hoping there is not an invasive procedure....at least not while I am wide awake!!! I'll report back on this issue tomorrow evening.......

And so.......hopefully tonight will not be a repeat of last's nights storms.....but, nevertheless.....

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A WEATHER DAY.....all day and into tonight!!!!

AGAIN.......the horrific heat and humidity today!! And.....this evening, within the past hour, terrible storms blew by just northwest of here.....just a few miles away. The storms came from the NorthEast and went southwest.......really, really odd for Missouri. STL was hit very hard.....at the present moment, 10:10pm, over 300,000 people are without electricity, three buildings have collapsed, and one of the main bridges is totally blocked by three semi's that were blow over while crossing the bridge. They remained on the bridge, but are heavily damaged. There doesn't seem to be any injuries of any consequence, but with so many utilities our of commission, some may not be able to report, or get any assistance. The airport is closed as there has been damage to one of the main terminals and there is no electricity there, either. Sooooo, the end to a HOT day!!!!

We went into STL this morning for our appointment with the Kitchen and Bath company that we have decided to contract to build our cabinets. We spent 2.5 hours with the designer/rep. and made many decisions as to the "guts" of the cabinets, the arrangement of the various cabs., and other specifics. The only hold up is to allow a few days for a cab. door example with a new stain on cherry wood which has just become available with these cabinets to be shipped to the company in STL so that we can see it. Otherwise, we will go with the natural maple........

We made a stop at one of the Sam's Club stores.....and bought WAY tooooooo many items, but that is nothing new when we make a stop there!!! HAHAHA.....now, as usual, the problem becomes WHAT do we do with the LARGE quantities of some of the boxed items. HAHHAHA....I told the 1st Lady that we would just have to store them until our new cabinets and pantry are built!!!!

Gas has risen in the STL area to $3.07-3.09 a gallon......DAMN!!!!!!!!!!! Since it personally affects me, this issue angers me MUCH, MUCH more than many other issues in our country. HOWEVER........the narrow-minded bumpkin that lives in the White House DID veto the stem cell bill..........THAT DOES REALLY, REALLY UPSET ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have managed to stay away from politics in this little ramblin' blog concerning TheHowserHouse, but I am about to begin writing about my/our feelings about the way this country is regressing.......and going in the WRONG direction!!! How...repeat, HOW many of my/our freedoms do we have to relinquish in the name of "fighting the war on terror"????????? Well, I will close this for tonight, but my mind and my feelings will continue........

Even with all of the above........

Life is Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

And Misery in Missouri just gets worse!!!!

THIS has been the WORST day yet during this heat wave that we are experiencing........the heat index was 113 degrees at one point this afternoon, and might have been higher than that!! Everytime I stepped outside today, it was exactly like stepping into a sauna......with the exception that here I was fully dressed.....well,.......almost fully dressed. I wore as little outside today as I could legally get by with and not get the neighbors all hot and bothered.....and not from the temps......hahahah!! We did have a 15 minute HARD downpour at 6pm.....but all it did was to increased the amount of humidity this evening, and for tomorrow.

Today......well, I found myself preparing the living room for painting: moving some of the furniture out my way, laying huge sheets of thick plastic sheeting across the floor and what furniture remained(white leather sofa and grand piano). Then after a quick trip to pick up two gallons of Benjamin Moore "Decorator White" paint for the ceiling, I took the plunge and began to paint over my head...........seems like I am always over my head in some type of activity!!!

Actually........I was happily surprised at how easily the paint went on the textured ceiling(I did NOT sand the ceilings)!!!! I had already taped over the moldings around the windows, doors, baseboards, and other openings so it was not a time consuming task today. I gave the living room ceiling two coats of this great white paint.......our ceilings had been painted with a beige paint.....for years and years. So......WOW....it really looks clean and fresh!!!!

I will continue with the white paint on into the dining area and the WIDE hallway leading to the second bedroom and to our den/study and the bathroom. I just couldn't get to all of it today because of the stacked furniture in these two areas. AND.....the 1st Lady said she will paint the living room walls, so the room needs to be as vacant as it is now to allow her to get to the walls. She had to make a trip to Farmington to pick up the wall paint: Sherwin-Williams and the color has no particular name because we had them use their computer to copy the color of a picture we had.......however, it is a burnt orange/terra cotta color......or so we HOPE it is!!! HAHA......we will know more when we get it on the walls and probably it will take at least two coats to get the color we want.

This evening I had to be at the Board of Education meeting for a couple of hours at the Bd. Building. A very calm and laid back meeting tonight!!!

Tomorrow morning we head up to STL for our appointment with the guy in the cabinet shop that we have been haggling with. Sure do HOPE that tomorrow we can nail down exactly what we want and get the ideas across to him so that only one more trip will be necessary......the signing of the contract.

DAMN......but this aging of my body.....the evolution into the sagging hulk that I have become(and it is NOT pretty).......well, it does bother me. I am sooooo damned sore from painting over my head with a long pole and roller brush......just the different muscles that I use really sets my evolving body into screaming spasms of muscule pain!!! Hate it.......

But, nevertheless......

Life is GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

HOORAY ....HOORAY!!!!!! The Lappie is ALIVE!!!!

A BIG thanks to Dr. Brandon Hale for taking my sick and dying little lappie, giving it a needed transfusion by draining all of the wonderful stored information inside it, temporarily storing it in a secure place, and then re-energizing and recovering my lappie's Life by loading all of the programs that were inside it when it became mine.......and then transfusing the saved information back inside it......and voila .........it is working perfectly!!!!! How wonderful the little keys, which have my fingerprints all over them, feel........my fingers are rejoicing because they feel more natural on these keys........they are almost orgasmic with joy!!!!

Soooo, what else has happened with my day???? Well, it has been a day of attempting to remain cool (welllll, I'm ALWAYS "cool")........cool by temperature, that is. It has been VERY hot here, close to 100, and there is almost no breeze at anytime of the day. I know that this same horrific heat is all over the US......but doesn't one always think they are having the worse than anyone else???

This has been a day of thoughts, some planning for the days this week, and for the following weeks. Tomorrow is buy the burnt orange/terra cotta color paint for the living room walls, and also the white paint for the ceiling, which the 1st Lady informs me is the part of the room I will be painting (ceiling). I really don't give a damn what I have to paint......I just want to get this task completed to as close to perfection as possible!!!!!! I also have a Board of Education meeting tomorrow night and an appointment with a urologist for Friday morning. Still some more testing needed to see if it is a "growing problem" or a "going problem". I have also spent some time this afternoon getting back to my lappie and re-loading some of my own software onto it........things that didn't originally come with the lappie.

We do have an appointment in STL on Wednesday morning with a cabinet shop. Think we have arrived at a decision and will place an order for the damned kitchen cabinets within the week. Just want to nail down the exact costs.......as we have had bids from $8000 to $17,700 for the same small, small kitchen cabinets!!!!!!

I really did need to finish mowing the lawn this evening, however, it is just toooo damned hot. So, I watered the plants and tomatoes, sprayed for mosquitoes in the back yard/shrubs/plants/etc. and called it an evening for the outside work. "Wimp"....you say???? Well......perhaps so, however, at 63 years of age.........nothing I am called bothers me at all!!!! HAHAHA.......my skin is thick!!!!!

I look forward to the day in the very near future when our stick and brick will be totally finished and I can take TheHowserHouse (on wheels) and head out of this humid climate for dryer temps.!!!!

Soooo, with much joy and elation.......

Life IS GREAT.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

How do I look???

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Beauty and Bubbles!!

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Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gipson

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A BUSY weekend!!!!

From Friday thru Saturday night......my main focus was centered on the wedding of Andrew Gipson and Laura Shrewsbury. The 1st Lady and I went up to STL on Friday morning, did some shopping and purchased some drapes for the new family room, along with a new drapery pole, and then before we knew it, it was time to head over across the Mississippi to Waterloo, IL. This extremely clean and very neat town is the home of the bride and where the wedding church is located.

The rehearsal went well.......it was a beautiful church in which to have a wedding. And the rehearsal dinner given by Andrew's parents was good and enjoyable. We returned to F'town rather late......somewhere around midnight.

Saturday.....it was up and checking to see that we had all that was needed for the late afternoon event. Then.....because we had screwed up and didn't have the correct measurements for the window draperies...AND pole.....we had to go back out to West STL on Manchester.....the EXPO Decorating Center.....and exchange everything we had purchased the day before. LUCKILY, they had the correct sizes and we were soon on the highway back to Waterloo.

With the wedding at 3:30pm......it was necessary to be dressed by 1:30 for the pictures, or so we were informed. Andrew and the rest of us guys sat around for over an hour before the photographer told us to follow him OUTSIDE in the high 90 degree heat. He took some pics on the steps of the church and then it was a quick dash back inside to the a/c before our tuxes started dripping sweat.

The wedding was very, very nice......and it went off without any surprises!! The bride was beautiful.....radiant might even describe her look! AND THEN.......we sat around in the church having more pictures made for right at 2 hours!!!!! UGH!!!! But, such is the way of bridal photographers.......it is ALWAYS that way.

Then all of the bridal party entered the limo, sat back with some champagne and enjoyed the ride back to STL to the wedding reception location. With the pics taking soooo long, it wasn't quite the LONG ride around in the limo that was hoped for........but, it worked out perfectly anyway!!

The reception dinner and dance went without any problems and was a GRAND SUCCESS!!!!!! It was a really nice place for the reception, the dinner was soooooooo great, and the party afterwards was perfect!! So enjoyable and I believe the newly wedded couple enjoyed everything 100%!!!!

The 1st Lady and I returned to F'town around 1AM, which made for a quick night in a horizontal position!!!! I was up at 6:30AM this morning as we had made plans to visit Michael for the morning. Had a good visit with him and then returned mid-afternoon.

Both the 1st Lady and I CRASHED for a couple of hours!!! I was soooo tired that I couldn't even make any sense of what I was doing......except to lay on that sofa and get some sleep. Later this evening I got most of the TALL grass mowed and trimmed......the rest to be done tomorrow evening. The ungodly HEAT today made mowing a bit of a chore, so after I lost about a gallon of moisture from my heated body.....I called it a day and put the mower away for the night.

My body is now telling me that it needs to be put to bed for a few hours......soooo....I will follow the instructions it is giving me......quickly!!! But, as I always say:

Life is GREAT!!!! And I hope it is for all of you, also

CONGRATS ANDY & LAURA!!!!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

AHHHH....the walls are feeling happy!!!!

HOT.....HUMID.....RAIN!!!!! Oh yeah.......I forgot to mention that SE Missouri is much like the tropics at this time of the year.....and today was NO exception. The comfort index registered at 105 degrees......dripping with moisture, and to make matters worse, it RAINED this afternoon!!! UGH.....why am I not in Wyoming...high up in the Big Horn Mts......trying to not break my arm again????? MY STICK AND BRICK.....that's the answer!!!!

Oh yeah.......we painted the walls with a primer today. As we inspected them after painting, we found one wall that still needs more sanding......those nasty little bumps and ridges are still evident, especially with the paint on !! But.....we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.....HOORAY!!!!!

The rest of the day........???? Well, the painting job took almost all of the afternoon, and then the rains came and even with the cool, cool of the a/c, it took a lot of time for the walls to dry. AND......my new-found allergy to paint resurfaced this afternoon.......and my head was pounding with every heart beat, so I had to spend some of the time in the wonderful hot/humid air on the patio just to clear my head from time to time.

I did talk with my best friend.......who has one day and a wake-up before he ties the knot with a really great young lady!!! Tomorrow evening is the rehearsal over in Waterloo, Illinois....and so the 1st Lady and I will head to STL in the morning for some drapery shopping and then hook up with the groom during the day before we head down to Waterloo for the 6pm rehearsal and dinner afterwards. I do need to get a "toast" speech together.........should I embarrass him.....or should I just be nice and humorous???? Hmmmmm.........which will it be??? Which best reflects my personality in situations like this????? HEHEHEEE!!!

And so, I am playing "old man" tonight and turning in early. I hardly slept at all last night because my screaming bodily muscles were sooooo damned angry with me for abusing them soooooo harshly yesterday during the hours upon hours of sanding the walls. And.....they haven't given up on letting me know their feelings........they are still screaming loudly!!!

But, with this long awaited wedding weekend beginning tomorrow, I need to get my aging body some rest..........a sagging hulk of me is NOT a good visual for standing beside the groom at the alter as the Best Man. Sooooo.......

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

ANOTHER day of wall-working.....

Yep......I was back on the ladder today with my dust-filtering face mask on to scare off any door-to-door salesmen. I was a bit on the late side this morning, but after a couple of cups of my Fr. Roast coffee, I felt the urge to get my errands completed so that I could climb up on that wonderful ladder and attempt to finish the sanding task today!

Getting a later start than I had hoped for, I was turning green by 12:30 this afternoon. Yep....the dust from the textured "sand-in-the-paint" that we are removing from all of the walls in the living room and dining area soon covered my face and hair.....and I am certain that I would not have been recognized had someone come inside the house. And so........I continued to use the sander until a few minutes after 8pm tonight!!!!!! I had a couple of small breaks as Sue and Dave, our last night dinner hosts, came over to make us take a break.....bringing some of their wonderful dessert goodies that they had fixed last night for after our dinner. After a few minutes of chatter, we finished the cake, they departed for their home, and we returned to our dusty task.

THEN......a former student, who is now a band director in North STL, dropped by to visit for about 15 minutes. Well.......I guess I didn't look as bad as I thought because he did recognize me and remained to talk.

FINALLY, shortly after 8pm, we/I finished the sanding.....and then I spent about 30 minutes cleaning the two rooms. I did a better than average job of sealing off the other rooms with plastic sheeting and tape and so the cleaning was not as difficult as I had expected it would be. SURE glad to get this task finished.......and now: IT IS TIME TO PAINT!!!!!!

Sooo, I will soon retire to my horizontal position after I take a couple of pain killers for my aching/screaming shoulders and arms. I am certain visions of paint brushes will dance through my head all night!!!!! But.....it is the final step to getting some of our house put back in order.....and soooo,

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wall working......UGH!

What a "tropical" day it has been here.........a bit of sunshine and immediately followed by clouds, rain, and then more bits of sun. The humidity and the upper 80's have made for some very unpleasant weather around here.....even tho the rain was really needed!!!!

Soooo, after some planning this morning, the 1st Lady and I decided to go to work on the living room walls with two electric sanders. Soooo, to say the least, the dust was flying and settling everywhere that was not sealed off by plastic sheeting. I had the large attic fan going all day and the front and back doors wide open to help get the dust sucked up and out of the house, BUT......as you may know, there is STILL dust laying and floating around the house!!

We did make progress, finishing the two remaining living room walls.........all, or at least MOST, of the god-awful sand textured walls are as smooth as they will get!! Now....the evening discussion is how far we want to continue with this extra project.....into the wide "hallway....which it is not a hallway" and into the area we have used as a dining area, or just paint them a different color. Oh my.......another decision to make by morning.....!!!!! I am just wanting to get this part of the house complete......with paint and furniture returned to once again have a living room!!!!

Our good friends, Sue and Dave, called late this afternoon and said that they wanted us to come out for dinner.....so, with dust everywhere.....we accepted!!!! And what a Chef is Sue!!!!! Wine and appetizers were ready and waiting when we arrived........and then a delicious dinner was served which included a wonderful green salad with mangoes and onions, scallops sauteed in butter and wrapped in proscuitto, and then a baked pasta dish which included crab meat covered in a cream sauce!!! WOW........did I ever eat TOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!!! My favorite???? The incredible scallops!!!!!

Since the two of them and the 1st Lady and I have all been traveling alot in the past 5 weeks, we had much to discuss!! They had been to Florida for two weeks and returned through Chicago for a few days there. Of course we had been to Florida in early June, followed by our recent 11 day trip up to the Special Olympic National Summer Games in Ames, Iowa. And, as usual.....our talks led to future trips for all of us......as we plan to leave as soon as the house is completely finished and we also are to be in Orlando for 8 days the last week of September. We still have reservations to be in Nevada the second week of November for a Cedar Creek Rally.....which will mean some time spent either on the way there or on the return.....in Las Vegas. I am still planning on being in Wyoming to trout fish in October.......!!!! And, of course.....we will be in Texas and in Arizona for the winter months.......YEAH!!!

Sooooo, Life goes on......and, of course....

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Long time, No post......

Well.....we DID return to TheHowserHouse/stick and brick yesterday evening. We departed Ames, Iowa, about mid-morning on Saturday, however, we only drove about half-way and stayed overnight with the 1st Lady's mother. Her mother has been experiencing more health problems, so we decided to spend some time with her before heading on south to home.

Our week in Ames was WONDERFUL!!!!! I know that I have written and expressed my views about the Special Olympics National Summer Games.....but I could write more and more about the atmosphere there and how it made me feel to be part of this unique experience. As I said before......it HAS changed my Life a great deal......and it has opened my eyes to the incredible people who are our "Special Citizens", not only of just our country, but also of the entire world. Did I mention that there was a delegation from China there to observe how the Games were run and administered as China will host the World Special Olympics in Shanghai next year??

Today was a busy one for me. I took my very ill lappie out to the school tech guru and left it with him to attempt to cure it of it's ills......I HOPE!!! Then I had to dash to Farmington to get a haircut......I have a VERY important wedding to participate in this coming weekend......and then dashed home, change clothes and drove to STL for an appointment in Clayton. Finally, after spending an hour sitting in heavy, stalled traffic during the evening rush hour, I returned back down here around 7:30pm.

Tomorrow.....well, it is back to trying to finish sanding the living room walls to get rid of that damned sand/textured paint so I/we can get the room painted with a flat finish. Then.....perhaps we can begin to put that room back together once again.......???? I HOPE!!

My tomato plants are loaded with growing tomatoes!!!!!!! And.....my basil bush is growing soooo much I doubt that I can use all of it......and the rest of my herb garden seems to be progressing quite well!!!! Perhaps I can set up a roadside stand to sell fresh basil??????? HAHA!!!! SURE I will make tons of money doing that!!!!!

Soooo, even tho "home is where the heart is"......I do not feel that way. I need to be traveling down the road, around the curve, over the next hill, and discovering new sights, new sounds, new aromas, and new restaurants. Soooooonnnnn, I hope!!!!

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

With our Gold Medalist at the Special Olympic statue

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The 1st Lady among the garden flowers

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Time to relax in the Gardens.....

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Jo Dee Messina sings....

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An Unforgettable Week......

A memorable Closing Ceremonies tonight.........and it reminded me of just how much this week here at the Special Olympics has really changed me. The love.....the acceptable diversity....and the togetherness among ALL people of all races and disabilities......well, it was so incredible that I feel like my life has changed this week!!! There is no way of describing this week in words that can give any of you a real feeling of what has gone on here in Ames over the past 6 days. I can only say that everyone should spend some time at a Special Olympic event such as this......or even on the state level. I can only encourage you to seek out an experience like this.......get involved and work with those who do have the disabilities like the thousands of wonderful people who were here to participate in these National Games. You will never ever be the same again!!!

This morning after breakfast......well, let me just say that the service and staffing here this morning was 100% improved. Why the 5 days before today was so unacceptable I do not know.....except for what I have written about this week. Why did it take an email to the corporate headquarters yesterday before the staffing and service improved enough to be what the quality should have been all along???? Someone was letting the "ball drop".

After breakfast, we all went to the Reiman Gardens here on the ISU campus.....and it was a beautiful two hours as we wandered through the many flowers, shrubs, and wonderful landscaping of the Gardens. It is just beautiful.......and if you ever are in Ames, or even just passing through, plan to spend a couple of hours in this gorgeous setting.

We had a late lunch at "Aunt Maude's"......and it was an incredible meal!!!!! Probably the best meal of the entire week!!! Most of the limited lunch menu was contemporary cuisine and each meal that was ordered had a beautiful presentation......and the flavors and textures were just as great!! And the price........quite nice as the five of us ate for less than $60 and that included my glass of Pinot Grigio. When in Ames........be sure and eat at Aunt Maude's on west Main Street. You will not be sorry for the experience.

The afternoon was spent by the 1st Lady and I wandering down the Main Street and enjoying the shops and small boutiques that are doing a really good business......even "old fashioned" shoe shops that actually measure your feet prior to bringing out the shoes for you to try on. It was a fun afternoon.

We returned to the hotel and before long it was time to leave for the Closing Ceremonies, of which I have discussed above. The MC was Kurt Warner.....and the entertainment was by Jo Dee Messina, the CW singer. We returned to the hotel and then enjoyed a beer and some appetizers prior to returning to the room. We will leave tomorrow for Missouri and the unfinished remodeling project at home.

After a week such as this one.......

Life IS GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Special Olympics National Games....

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A GOLDEN Jump!!!!!

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Justin with the baton during the 3rd leg of the 4x100 Relay

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CONGRATS on your GOLD MEDAL!!!

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Justin and his PROUD Parents!!

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Justin with the 1st Lady and the OLD Man

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Justin showing his pins to his niece

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GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YEAH!!!! Justin won the Gold in his division of the Long Jump this afternoon!!!!!!!!! With 13 family members screaming and yelling, along with many, many other Missouri spectators, Justin's third jump of 4.3 meters won the gold for him...and Missouri!!! Exciting???? Hell yes, it was exciting. And, I don't think there was a dry eye in the family contingent......or at least I couldn't see any because of the tears rolling down my face. He had worked sooooo hard and this was his last chance to get a gold.......and he did it!! This was a moment that I will never forget.......one of the things that a person never forgets......EVER!

It started off with not having any coffee in the room this morning.....and so I ran down and brought some back up to the room to have while I checked out the news and emails as the others readied themselves for the day at the track. Breakfast was hurried with no time for coffee on the patio......as we had to be at the track by 8:30 this morning. The Relay team ran this morning and the guys didn't get a medal even though they ran really, really well. Just three better teams than they were this morning.

The 1st Lady and I caught a ride back to the GrandStay Suites later in the morning and got the truck for the remainder of the day. We returned rather quickly as Justin's long jump was to begin at 1pm.......which it didn't! It was finally 1:30 when the jumps began and then they progressed quickly.....and as I stated above, it was exciting and emotional!!! Worth WAY MORE than what the trip and week here in Ames, Iowa, have cost.........there is NO way you can put any kind of dollar amount on a day like today.

After the Awards Ceremonies, the 1st Lady and I decided to go get a bite or two to eat at the Dutch Pastry......a place we have been eyeballing since we arrived last weekend. Well, it was excellent. We purchased two "Dutch Letters"......had no idea what these were when we read the signs outside the shop. They are pastries filled with an almond filling and very, very flaky and yet a bit crusty, and covered with some sugar. DELICIOUS!!!! We picked them up, I bought a coffee, and we headed to one of the city parks where our great nephew was working on his skate board techniques at a skate board area that was really well designed and an outstanding facility to use for free by anyone!! We watched him enjoying himself and showing us what he could do......and it was a very pleasant place in the cool green park to eat and relax......far, far away from the maddening crowds of thousands at the Olympic venues.

While there I received a cell phone call from the manager of the GrandStay Residential Suites here in Ames, Iowa. This morning, my frustrations got the better of me with lack of complete services at the breakfast room, lack of the provided (or supposed to be...) coffee in our kitchen, lack of the proper number of towels delivered to our room, and the under staffing of the entire hotel.......and so I wrote to Customer Support at the provided email address on their website and sent an email enumerating my concerns and complaints to what I assume was the corporate offices. Hence......the phone call.......

And.....our conversation continued for close to 10 minutes as the manager explained to me the ongoing problems with ill staff, no coffee cups in the breakfast room off of the lobby, etc., etc., etc. I accepted his apologies as I do understand that there can be difficulties operating a hotel......however, we are paying a large sum for these rooms and these services should be provided with no problems OR interruptions. As all of you realize, I travel extensively both across the country and around the world....OFTEN......and so I have experienced many, many hotels and what they have to offer. Last year alone, I spent a total of just over 10 weeks in various hotels, so I do have experience at knowing just what services are to be provided when I book a room(s). This is a nice facility.......but the little glitches must be worked out and resolved if the people who stay here are to become repeat customers. As I have always told my students, "Excuses are for losers........Solutions are for those who will succeed"!! Would I stay here again???? On this question, the jury is still out. (Clean towels were delivered in the proper quantity today, however........the ONLY coffee left for our coffee maker was....DECAF!!!! UGH!!!!)

And so, without being negative on a GRAND DAY......a GOLD DAY......as always....

Life is GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!! CONGRATS, JUSTIN!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Placing 5th on the 5th!!

A relaxing morning here at the GrandStay Suites.......a good breakfast on the main floor in the "breakfast room" consisting of some very good waffles, English Muffins, juice, coffee, and fresh fruit. After eating I took my coffee out onto the back patio beside the pool and enjoyed the incredibly wonderful morning.......62 degrees with a wonderful breeze out of the north....accompanied by deep blue skies!!

All too soon it was time to back up the backpack with the day's necessities for the Games....and head to the track and field competition. Justin, our nephew, was in the 400 meter race......and finished 5th in his division on the National level!! He was not as happy as he should have been, but with all 13 of his family members here cheering him when it was over....he soon realized that he had done his best, and THAT is the important thing!!! We attended the medal ceremony and it was good to see him on the stand accepting his award ribbon.......!

We returned to the hotel during the afternoon, refreshed ourselves even though it really hasn't been HOT today.....and then the 1st Lady and I went over to Border's Books and enjoyed a bit of reading and enjoying the quiet atmosphere while sipping a cappuccino!! From there we drove through the city center and stopped in at a kitchen cabinet shop and spent some time inspecting the cabinets which they sold.

We then returned to the hotel and before long, the entire group left for dinner. We went to the Dublin Bay Pub......and it turned out to be a great choice!!!! The beer was good, the food was excellent (be sure and order the onion rings), and the service was almost perfect!!! I ordered the Shepherd's Pie.....and was it ever a GREAT choice!!!! It was a huge bowl of steaming hot meat, veggies, in a beef gravy topped with mashed potatoes that had been broiled....and all of it encased in a wonderful pastry shell and then baked. YUM!!!!! SOOO GOOD!!!!

Back to the hotel.....and some down time this evening. As I have written, we are in a two bedroom suite which also has a living room and kitchen.....and there is room to spread out and not step on each other since the 1st Lady's sister and husband are sharing this suite with us. As there are two tellies, we can each watch our favorites......without having to share....hahaha!!

Tomorrow is an early morning as Justin's relay race is at 8:45AM.....and then after lunch he competes in the Long Jump. Sooooo, enjoy the pictures below of Justin and his big day!!!! And with him doing sooooo well.......

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Early bird sisters grab the front row seats!!!

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High fives for Justin as he heads for the start of the race

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Justin going "full steam"!!!

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Justin receiving the 5th place award!!

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The 1st Lady and Justin at the Special Olympics

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4th of July Lasagna Dinner for EVERYONE!

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Justin giving it all he has!!!

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A BIG smile after the relay was finished!!!!

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