Johnny Cash recites Cremation of Sam McGee

I have something of  a taste for the macabre and this particular recitation of Cremation of Sam McGee with Johnny Cash as the perfomer is nothing short of perfection. I memorized this particular poem for recitation to creep out Mrs. Wiley, my second grade teacher, because she made us memorize a “long poem” to recite in front of the class.

This year the winter turned bitterly cold earlier than usual and stayed there for longer than expected and my arthritis flared up fiercely. I’d been complaining about the water heater since we moved into the house and the poor thing finally gave up the ghost and we had to replace it back in the March time frame. When I took my first “post new water heater shower,” it was like heaven and all I could think is “Since I left Peachtree down in Tennesee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

Kitchen? Smitchen!

At this point, all we’re waiting on is the counter tops. They are going to be two weeks late and $1400 over estimate and we didn’t change anything in our build to account for nearly double the estimate in actual cost. I can only assume that in this case “estimate” meant “I dunno. Tell them what we tell everyone.”

The issue has already been dealt with on this end, but we’re still at the point where all we can do is wait for them to actually manufacture our counters and then install them. So here I sit, in a half renovated kitchen, typing on my phone as I update. It’s a privileged person’s problem, I know. I have a half-renovated kitchen. I have a phone. Some people don’t have either.

It’s not that I’m not grateful for what I have. It’s just that I want the chaos of renovation to be done.

The kitchen update summary

The kitchen remodeling projects are trucking along at top speed. Since Monday, we’ve gotten can lights installed and the old tile taken out. It’s not the most exciting part of the work being done, but necessary.

The new drywall is up and ready for skim coat tomorrow and paint soon after. I think we’re going white, which makes me very happy. I’m oh so fond of a white and cobalt blue kitchen and white walls are the first step. Monday or Tuesday of next week the new floors will be laid.

The cabinets are confirmed to deliver on Thursday April 9th, right as originally scheduled. Things get exciting after that. Cabinets hang and then they come out to measure and make templates for the new counter top. The house originally had beige laminate, but we’re upgrading and I can hardly wait to see it in place.


Monday March 31 was Aunt Net’s funeral.

I didn’t really ever get to say goodbye. In my family, we don’t say goodbye. It’s “bad luck” to say goodbye. We say see you later, or toodles, and we make bunny ears at each other. At least Maman and I do. I don’t know if my sisters know the secret sign for all is well and I’ll see you again soon.

By the time Aunt Net’s cancer had become really advanced, she’d pushed me away and refused all offers of visits. She said she didn’t want me to remember her that way and she made me say toodles, like it was just another phone call.

But it wasn’t. It was the most gut-wrenching, horrible thing I’d ever done because I knew it was really goodbye. Aunt Net wouldn’t take my calls after that and told Maman to tell me that everything was fine and not to worry, but I knew it wasn’t.

How can it possibly be “fine” when your life is ending because your own body has betrayed you and is eating away your vitality from the inside? How can it be “fine” when it’s so bad that you don’t want anyone to see you “that way?”

So this is what I’m stuck with – a lack of closure because I needed to say goodbye to her and yet she needed me not to for some reason that I’m not sure I’ll ever understand because to me love means that sometimes you have nothing more you can do but hold someone’s hand.

And when you offer you offer your hand and it’s pushed away? Well, it leaves a whole lot of empty to work through before it feels right and I’m not sure I’ve got enough time left on this earth even if I live to be 115 to work through it all or that it will ever really feel right. And this is the place I’m at a year later: stuck hand that was rejected and toodles when it should have been goodbye.

Without walls

Google "auto awesome" put this panoramic together.
Google “auto awesome” put this panoramic together.

This is how my kitchen and dining area looks without walls. I’m so very happy with how this is coming along.

The “auto awesome” makes’ AJ look odd, but it’s a great representation of what my new open floor plan is going to look like when it’s finished. The run is long enough that have to keep a small post in the center, but that works out just fine because code says we have to run power to the island (marked in duct tape on the tile section) anyway.

More pictures (including the pre “awesome” pictures) at:

how I spent my Saturday

We went from this:

Looking into the kitchen: Before
Looking into the kitchen: Before

To this:

Looking into the kitchen: After
Looking into the kitchen: After

Remodeling Stage 1 (Demo) is complete. No injuries on the job site, unless you count my completely gutted kitchen. Beigelandia is history.

For those who are interested, more documentary pictures can be found here:

The New Job

I don’t normally talk about my job in public forums. It’s a sort of rule with me. I’m breaking the rule for the moment because it’s part of the theme of the week, but also because I really love my job.

Weds March 26 – 3:00 PM – Interview for what becomes my current job
Thurs March 27 – job offer for the job I interviewed for on Wednesday

Changing jobs is stressful, whether it’s by choice or not. Interviewing, while not officially on the Holmes and Rahe scale is stressful by merit of being part of that process. By this point in the week last year, I’d already racked up 20 points for a change in residence and 25 points for a change in living conditions (due to living in a semi-construction zone), 47 points for dismissal from work, and 63 points for the death of a close family member. At 155 points, that’s at the point where there’s moderate risk of stress actually impacting your health.

When you add them all up and put them on the average internet stress survey, it tends to put you in the “at risk” category and recommend counseling or stress management assistance. I could have used it by then, but I was too numb to realize it at the time.

Of the things that happened during this stressful week last year, interviewing for and getting this job was one of the most positive (the house being the other despite my trepidation).

The interview was extremely hard. I went into it doing everything I knew how to do to avoid revealing that on the inside I was a total mess. I wanted to sit on the floor in the middle of the new place and rock until things didn’t hurt anymore, but there just wasn’t any time for it. I would have had to delay my interview for that, and despite everything else I was so excited for the opportunity this particular interview that I didn’t want to do anything that might jeopardize my chances.

As hard as it was to keep it together, I’m glad I didn’t put the interview off. I was so much more excited about the position by the time I left that I did something I’ve never done before: as I was being escorted out after the interview time, I flat-out told the boss that I really wanted the job, loved the idea of it, and that I really wanted to join their team. I also let them know that I had some really great interviews coming up in the next few days, but I was super excited and this was my first choice.

I was afraid I fan-girled it. Too enthusiastic. Tripping over myself to try to make a good impression and ultimately falling on my face. I consoled myself with the idea that I had six interviews lined up over the next two weeks and certainly something good would come through if this particular opportunity didn’t work out.

I got the offer the next day and accepted it immediately.  I’ve been extremely happy that I did.

It’s not always an easy job to love. I help facilitate items through our new product introduction area. The work is interesting and fulfilling, at least to me, but very often items land on my desk not just “hot” or “on fire” but complete infernos because they’re either pushing deadlines or people forgot to get me involved in the process earlier. I’m getting people cued in to add me earlier, but due to the nature of the area I work in, there are always going to be time constraints and logistical challenges.

I have great coworkers. Management in my department is very responsive to suggestions and are always looking for opportunities to improve. Best of all, I’m being given some exciting opportunities to develop and take my career to the next level.

It’s challenging sometimes, especially when things are flaming out all around me, but also extremely rewarding when things finally come together. The worst day here is far and away better than the best day at my previous job.