Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Very, Very, Very Fine House

My mother is nagging me to post pictures of the new house, so here goes:

This is the master bedroom. It's much larger than it appears in the picture. To the left is a huge window that looks onto the back porch and yard. To the right is the entrance into the...

...master bathroom. To the left of the mirror is a walk-in closet. Going around the room from the mirror to the right are a whirlpool tub, shower, toilet, linen closet, another sink and another walk-in closet. The other sink is directly opposite this one. This wallpaper makes me want to vomit. It will have to go soon.

Here's the kitchen. Everything stays but the refrigerator. That's fine with us.

And this is the eat-in area. The door you see to the right used to be the entry onto the back porch, but the previous owners glassed in the porch area and made it an office. There is an ongoing debate about what will happen to this area. (The porch, not the eat-in area). The pheasant wallpaper border makes me want to vomit.


Here's the dining room, taken from the living. Can you guess what this wallpaper makes me want to do? Nothing a little steamer can't take care of, though.

I hope my mother is happy.

You're all welcome to visit anytime.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

I have been on blogging hiatus for the last week because we were in Jackson shopping for a new house. The good news is that we were successful. We bought a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on 5.5 acres just a few miles east of Union. The house is beautiful, the land is beautiful, the whole area is beautiful.

The house is fourteen years old and was built by the couple from whom we purchased it. It's a single-story, split plan, meaning that the master bedroom is on one side of the house and the other two bedrooms are on the opposite side of the house. The details are amazing...crown molding in every room, a whirlpool tub in the enormous master bathroom, a door that shuts off the wing where the two "other" bedrooms are located, a full size laundry/utility room just off the kitchen. It isn't decorated to our taste, but there's nothing that needs to be addressed immediately. We can take all the time we need to remove the omnipresent wallpaper and repaint the walls.

And the land...oh, the land. Much of it is wooded. And there are areas of open grass, areas with small stands of trees that provide ample shade, and in the back is an area that's already fenced off for whatever menagerie Jay may choose.

But the real coup...when we went back to see it a second time the owner was out mowing the lawn on his John Deere riding mower. While talking to him, we found out that he and his wife are moving to a house on a tiny parcel of land, so I asked if he was going to have any use for his mower. He said that he had planned to give it to his son-in-law, but that if we really wanted it, he'd give it to us for a reasonable price. So we wrote it into our contract and they agreed. Joshua gets his John Deere tractor after all!

So it was a success, but not without its stressful moments. More details to follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Caller ID is the Devil

I abhor caller ID. We had it when we lived in Chicago, but when we moved to the 'burbs we made a conscious decision not to have it. I've noticed a distinct decline in telephone etiquette over the last five or so years, and I'm tempted to blame it on caller ID for several reasons.

First, a good portion of the people who call our home don't identify themselves when we answer the phone (obviously friends and close family don't because we recognize their voices). I think that's because most folks assume that everyone has caller ID and that I know who's calling before I even answer the phone. Callers to our home most often just say "Hi!" and wait for a response of recognition. Most of the time Jay and I just end up saying, "Hi. I assume that this is so-and-so." So far no one has really gotten the hint. My parents taught me that when I call someone I should ask for the person to whom I wish to speak, and when that person comes on the line I should identify myself. Somehow this no longer seems to be protocol.

Second, I'm amazed by the number of people who scroll through the phone numbers from which they have received calls and call those numbers back, whether or not the caller has left a message. When Jay and I returned from conference the other day, there was a message on the answering machine from a woman who wanted information about our church's yard sale this weekend. I called her back this morning and left a message on her cell phone, providing her with the number of the person she needed to call for information. Later in the morning, she called me back, "Hi! This is X. Someone from this number called me today so I was returning the phone call." I confirmed that she had called previously about the yard sale and reminded her that I had already left her a message on her cell phone. "Oh, right," she said. "I just saw a number I didn't recognize and wanted to make sure that I returned the call." This is not the first time this has happened. If I want you to call me back, I'll leave you a message and ask you to call me back! If I don't leave a message, then I don't want you to return my phone call! I don't understand what's so hard about that. Maybe it was a wrong number. Maybe I changed my mind (of course in this case I did leave a message, but that didn't stop her from calling me back). We were in a restaurant a few weeks ago and a woman sitting near us was scrolling through her missed calls and calling each person back: "Hi! This is X. Someone from this number called me."

I don't get it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ready for the big AC

Annual Conference starts tomorrow.

This will be my third Annual Conference, but my first as clergy. I'm looking forward to it, but I know that it will be a very different experience this year.

The first and most significant difference is that I will finally be attending clergy session rather than laity session. I'm attending because a) I'm a local pastor, b) the clergy session will be voting on whether or not to welcome me as a Probationary Member of the conference and, c) then voting on whether or not to grant me family leave. I've always wondered what else goes on clergy session. I'm about to find out!

The second major difference is that Joshua will be with me. That should prove to be interesting and entertaining.

The third major difference is that I will no longer get to hang out with the cool kids. I've always attended as the Lay Member from Broadway and thus spent a great deal of time with Greg. As a result, I've also gotten to spend time with other awesome folks. Since Joshua's bedtime is way early and I'd rather shove forks in my eyes than wake him up, I'll be hanging out in my own room while the sun's still out.

I'll also be commissioned as a Probationary Elder on Tuesday night. My dad's coming up for that, and supposedly some folks from my congregation. I'm really looking forward to that, except that it's combined with the ordination service, so it could last until two in the morning. We'll see.

The Pheasant Run Resort would like me to pay for wireless service, so I'm not sure how well I'll be keeping this up to date. (As a side note: We're staying at a La Quinta in Jackson when we go in a few weeks for $80/night. They have free wireless. There's something wrong with this picture).

See you later!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

If You Have Five Minutes to Kill

Got this little ditty over at Anna's.

It's celebrity face recognition software. Just upload your photo and it will tell you which celebrities you most resemble. My first shot yielded "No Matches," which I find odd since I've had perfect strangers approach me on the street to tell me that I resemble Ally Sheedy.

My second try yielded the following:
Condoleeza Rice
Sigourney Weaver
Ruth Rendell
Princess Diana
Christy Turlington
Gwyneth Paltrow
Natalie Imbruglia
Britney Spears
James Doohan (ironically, Jay had the same match)
Naomi Watts

Just for the sake of another data point, I tried another and got:
Juliette Lewis
Sharon Stone
Geena Davis
Jamie Cullum
Angela Lansbury (greeaat)
Toni Morrison
Kemal Ataturk (the founder of the Turkish republic. Lovely)
Helen Clark (Prime Minister of New Zealand)
Evander Holyfield (as though my ego weren't bruised enough with Kemal Ataturk)
Melanie Griffith

The two pictures weren't all that different. I'm not sure I'm buying what they're selling.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New to the Blogosphere

Our friends Tiffany and Josh have finally joined the blogosphere, so feel free to hop on over and welcome them. And in case you're wondering, the "Josh" half of Tiffany and Josh would be the person for whom my child is named. You can probably guess that we like them a lot.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rebuilding

So, when I checked my blog this morning it was completely intact. When I came home from the training I had to attend today and my mommy/baby picnic with Joshua, half of the template had been erased.

Hmm.

I'm working on rebuilding it now. If I previously linked to you and it doesn't appear now, it will soon.

What a pain.

Update: So it didn't take as long as I thought to rebuild, but it did blow the only free evening I have this week. Jay suggested I save the template in case this happens again. Is he a genius or what?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Nothing Runs Like a Deere

When we first moved to Chicago we purchased a great little book called Quick Escapes from Chicago. We've done pretty well by it so far, using it to plan our anniversary getaways to Door County, WI and Galena, IL. We called on it once again this year as we needed an interesting daytrip so that we could continue our anniversary travel custom with the little guy in tow. This year it led us to Grand Detour, IL (pronounced "Grandy Toor" by the locals) and the home of the John Deere Historic Site.

Turns out that John Deere had nothing to do with painting tractors green, but was a blacksmith from Vermont who patented the first self-scouring plow, allowing the East Coast farmers who had moved to the midwest to plow the rich soil without having to stop every few feet to wipe the dirt off of the plow. This is what the first self-scouring plows looked like.

And we even got a blacksmith demo, which was someone's favorite part of the tour.