Monday, February 7, 2011

Journey To The Queen City

On Friday morning, Steve, Sarah and I headed out for Charlotte, AKA The Queen City. Although it poured rain the entire trip and we were delayed (in the rain, at rush hour) for at least an hour outside of Charlotte due to an accident, there was least one “person” in the vehicle who was not stressed.

And that would be Snowy--whose wee little white doggie self is not the least bit spoiled. (And no, that is not his own personal neck pillow, but he does commandeer it quite a lot when he’s ready to launch into a bit of car snoozing.)

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Part of the purpose for our trip was to help Steve’s dad, Ken, celebrate his 80th birthday.

That celebration included the following wonderful things:

My mom-in-law’s Fabulous Should-Be-Famous Lasagna. (And I am not even kidding. It is amazing.)

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. . . a table decorated with a military theme. (Since Ken is a retired Air Force fighter pilot.)

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. . . and a magnificent chocolate birthday pie. (After spending four weeks eating no desserts, the pie tasted especially wonderful.)

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And just in case you’ve ever wondered if the making of dramatic faces is genetic? Well, here’s your answer to that. Ken is almost more dramatic if Steve—if that’s even possible.

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Although Steve does give him a run for his money.

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The two of them have decided to get rid of a home made airplane they’d worked on for several years back when Steve was in college. But first, they had to have one last picture with it.

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After the airplane picture taking was over, we moved on to the family picture taking.

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I also had to take some “family pictures of the family pictures” of Ken and Vernie from back in the day. I just love old pictures of young hearted folks.

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Our second reason for making the sojourn to Charlotte was so that I could speak at a ladies’ luncheon on Saturday. There were about 240 women from about fifteen churches in attendance and we had an absolute ball.

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I disappeared backstage for a while to go over my notes one last time and try to calm my nervous little self.

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Afterward I received so many hugs and words of encouragement from that sweet group of ladies. We cried and laughed together and just had a really lovely time. I’m blessed by these opportunities to get to share my music and my message. Plus, I got to meet one faithful blog reader (Hi, Linda!) and also sit with another faithful blog reader during lunch. (Hi, Karen!)

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The only tough part of the trip (well, other than the bazillion miles driven in the rain) was trying to get packed to go.

Because right now? Our bathroom looks like this.

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And also, my Official Plastic Drawers are out of place which discombobulates me terribly.

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Official Plastic Drawers, you ask? What in the world is that?

Well. Just because we are such a classy family in every sense of the word, for many years I have been repurposing the plastic storage units that I used after Sarah’s transplant to store her medical supplies. I now use them underneath our bathroom sinks in order to make finding stuff a bit easier. I realize that they are quite utilitarian and even quasi-ugly but hey, they work! And they’re cheap!

However, all of those plastic drawers were removed from the cabinet area when the counter top was being worked on and they are still stacked in the bedroom. And with everything else in the bathroom in a state of uproar, I can’t find a thing in the mornings when I’m getting dressed. Which is bad enough on a regular day, but trying to pack for a two day trip? Just about impossible.

And so I usually wander around the area for great lengths of time with a bemused, bewildered, befuddled look on my face—which I happen to do very well—until the light dawns (on what I was looking for) or else I get so overwhelmed I just go sit in a chair and rock back and forth until Steve comes to rescue me.

Have I ever mentioned I hate chaos?

But at any rate, Steve is making good progress on the bathroom and it could be partly operational again within a day or two. (Or so. Kind of. Maybe.)

FROM THE COMMENTS

Q. From Anon: OK, I HAVE to ask for clarification on one point: By putting 2% milk on par with fat-free ranch and diet crackers, are you saying that you would prefer something ABOVE 2%? Like whole milk?

If so, I gotta ask how it is - is it like melted ice cream? Or just a little richer than regular milk?
I buy fat-free soy milk but was raised on skim, and I'm honestly fascinated. I've tried 1% and 2% before, but whole sounds like a new world, you see.

A. Hmmm. I had to think about this for a minute or two but I guess I would have to say that yes, if whole milk were just as healthy as 1% or 2%, I would probably drink it. It is very full of lovely flavor but not at all like melted ice cream—nowhere that sweet.

I have started buying soy milk for Steve since he seems to have developed a bit of a lactose intolerance and actually I was surprised at how good that tastes—especially the vanilla or almond flavored soy milk.

Whoever knew milk could be complicated!

Q. Judy said, The bathroom looks absolutely gorgeous. The tile work is truly a work of art, Was it just placed on top of the formica countertop?

A. Judy, thanks for the compliment; we are lovin’ the counter!

Our counter guy was going to put it on top of our Formica but since the Formica was placed over particle board, he said that if there was ever a leak anywhere under the sink and the particle board got wet, it could swell to twice its size and could damage the tiles.

So he and Steve pulled off the particle board and Formica and replaced it with “backer board” which was actually quite inexpensive. Here’s a picture of the new counter top being created._DSC0221

So that’s the story on that!

And finally--in the next couple days I will be writing a post about the inspiring and heartbreaking story behind this picture. Stay tuned!

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9 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Random said...

Just so you know, I wholeheartedly support the use of Official Plastic Drawers for, well, everything!
(http://bit.ly/fSgX4N)
I actually find them much more convenient than regular drawers (well, not to mention less expensive, which is obviously a plus for those of us with less to spend), because they are clear and one can see whatever is inside them before opening them!

Redeemed1 said...

I love my plastic drawers and would be lost if they were not un my bathroom!

Oh - and whole milk is absolutely divine! My lactation consultant said it was very good for breastfeeding mothers (the baby needs the fat) so I switched and I love it.

Lesley said...

I think Sarah looks like Steve's mother..a lovely teenage version, of course.
You are so lucky to have a husband who is so talented in the 'fix the house up' arena.
I never thought of using plastic drawers. What a great idea! Where have I been?

Jenna said...

I love soy milk too- I very much recommend the chocolate and the coffee flavoured ones! Also I love your containers. In fact just looking at yours made my little old organization lovin' heart go pitter patter!

Anonymous said...

hmm... roses. thinking it must be for someone with
CF

mrs pam

lifebythecreek said...

Love the father/son face shots... and the collage that you created of Steve's dad. Love the bathroom, too.. it's going to be lovely! And that last ocean picture... I find myself itching to edit it with texture to give it that "watercolor" look. So beautiful.... I hate to know that there's sadness in there, too.

Karen C said...

Hi! back to you Becky! I certainly enjoyed your presentation and visiting with you and Sarah on Saturday -- definitely inspiring, and hope the trip back to Manteo was uneventful compared to the long drive from Manteo. Emily grabbed the Chicken Soup for the Soul book when she got home and read for quite a long time.

For the Smithellaneous readers who do not have the privilege of knowing Ken and Vernie (Steve's parents), they are wonderful people. As a female, I want to be like Vernie when I grow up ... she is beautiful and could pass for someone probably ten years younger (at least)!

jmckemie said...

Sounds like an absolutely wonderful all around trip.
And, the plastic containers - they are so useful.
Now...when are we going to get the recipe for that lasagna?

Lisa L said...

snowy and the neck pillow... swoooon:)