Friday, July 28, 2006

I’m A Chicken

Okay, I’m getting pretty good at do-it-myself type projects, BUT there is one thing I need to do that I’m kind of chicken about. I need to replace my air filter(s). I know the one in the heating unit was replaced in November and if I have more than one, I’m not sure where #2 might be.

Anyway, I know there is an air filter somewhere around the heating unit, but I’m too afraid to open the door because there is a hole at the top of that closet – which is right below where we found the snake. I am terrified what I might find if I open that door, but I really do need to change the filter.

Part of me thinks that I possibly have a second air filter somewhere, but I have no clue where it is and have no clue how to find out. Any suggestions?

Just in case you're wondering

I am in the process of trying to add a custom header to my blog. I got some instructions from Karen, but I'm having a really tough time getting the picture to show up, so check back and hopefully I will have it figured out soon!

UDATE: I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! (But don't ask me how, I'm not exactly sure).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Weird Phone Call of the Day

As many of you know, I work for church and more often than I would like, I have to answer the phone. Working in a church, you get LOTS of weird phone calls. Here is today's winner:

Me: "[Name of the church], this is Stacey."

Lady: "I have a question, have you ever gone by the name Renaissance Women's Hospital?"

Me: "Uh, no we haven't."

Lady: "Really?"

Me: "Uh, yeah. Matter of fact, Renaissance Women's Hospital closed."

Lady (sounding disappointed): "Really?"

Me: "Yeah."

Lady: "Okay then. Thanks."

To my knowledge, we have not been birth'n no babies here, though if you saw our Toddler Hallway, you might question that fact. I'm not sure what possesed her to call and ask that question, because our phone numbers were no where close to each other and I would think the fact that we are a church would make it kind of obvious that we've never gone by the name of a women's hospital, but I guess you never know. ;o)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So Long Solitaire

This has become my new favorite computer game. It has now replaced Solitaire as my game of choice when I've reach creative block and need a break. It's awesome! You should give it a try! It's addictive.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What is YOUR Passion?

That was the question one of the guys asked one evening during his lesson last week at camp and it’s something (in addition to some other things) that I have been doing a lot of thinking about lately.

The speaker asked some campers to write down what their passion is. One of them wrote about their passion for running (they were obviously a passionate writer too). Another wrote about her love for God. And the whole time he’s reading their responses, I found myself trying to think about something I am just as passionate about and I could not think of one single thing.

When I was a child up through junior high, I was passionate about drawing and painting. When I was in high school, I was passionate about acting. I bet many of you are kind of surprised to know that I actually was very active in theater when I was in high school – both on stage and behind the scenes. I had a couple of leading roles and even received a few acting awards, but it was a passion that died when I started college. I guess it was more of hobby. For a while in my life, I was passionate about photography – thought I wanted to be a photographer, but then my world fell apart and by time I had picked up all the pieces, making a career of it no longer appealed to me.

I think what bothers me most is that I used to be passionate about serving others. I used to love to teach bible class. I never passed up a service opportunity. Not that these are now things that I have no desire to do, but I don’t seek them out like I used to.

So, I have had this question on the back of my mind for about a week now. What am I passionate about? I seem to have found myself in a place of…well, I can’t think of a word, but I’m just kind of unexcited, unmotivated about everything. I just get up and go through my day and just try to be content with the things I cannot change. But I’m bound and determined to find SOMETHING I’m passionate about. SOMETHING I can get excited about. I need to do something because I’m slowly becoming more pathetic than the stereotypical old maid with a thousand cats because, I can’t stand cats, which means that she at least has something to keep her company. I don’t even have that!!!

It’s something I’m praying about, amongst other things. I swear the older I get, the more complicated it gets.

So in the meantime, while I’m searching for my passion, I’d be curious to hear what your passions are. Maybe it will spark something. Couldn’t hurt.

Monday, July 24, 2006

SMC 2006

Well, I’m back and I survived another week at camp. Actually, despite the heat, it wasn’t that hard to survive. Yes, we did have temperatures well into the 100’s most of the week (it was 115 one day), and the A/C was broken in the mess hall/chapel for two days, but other than that, it was a really good week.

I had a great cabin of girls this year. They were all great – definitely the best cabin I have ever had. They were where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there and never gave us any trouble. I did have to go looking for a girl one night, but she just turned out to be clueless, but it only happened once. They did keep me awake a lot, but that wasn’t their fault, most of the bunks in our cabin squeaked every time someone moved.

My family group (not that same as my cabin group) was a little trying, but not too bad either. They seriously had a case of ADD. I just had a really hard time clicking with this family group – and that isn’t normally the case.

But this was the year for camp pranks. As I have learned from some other counselors this year, camp pranks are not acceptable at every camp, but they have traditionally been a part of ours. Anything destructive and hurtful has never been tolerated, but harmless ornery stuff has always been a part of the norm. My co-counselor is infamous on the girl’s side (and well, I’ve learned from the best and can always hold my own). I’m not necessarily involved in one every year because a good prank can’t be planned, but must present itself naturally – but I have been involved in enough that people get nervous when I disappear for too long.

This year just seemed to be the year to try to out-do every prank from the past. I have to give kudos to some of the senior boys. One night, they took the floating dock from the lake and moved it to a small fishing pond near by. What was even funnier was watching them try to put it back because they had to carry it up a very steep hill to get it back in the lake. Then there was the night they “stole” the extra fridge out of the canteen and put it in their cabin. As a payback, the counselors bought a chain and padlock and put on it so they couldn’t get to their stuff inside. The only problem was, some of the campers aren’t as creative and don’t really think their pranks through. We had a girl write on the walls of the girl’s showers with nail polish. She had to clean it up. I won’t even mention what some of the younger boys did in the boys bathhouse (it was disgusting).

We also had some lame pranks like duck taping the toilet sets closed with only a few pieces of duct tape or running underwear up the flag pole. Some girls tried shave creaming the girls showers (oh, give me a break!) and a few thought it would be funny to shoe polish everyone’s cars. I can’t say it was funny – it was lame and now my car needs to be washed because whatever they used to clean it off (yep, they got caught), left a really bad film on my windows.

Thursday night/Friday morning was probably when some would say it hit the fan. My cabin was primarily senior girls. They had been wanting to do something really good all week and Fran & I kept telling them to wait till Wednesday or Thursday so that the senior boys wouldn’t have time to come up with a retaliation plan. At first, we had something really good planned for them to do. Some male counselors were going to steal the refrigerator in the boys cabin and put it out on the floating dock. Then we were going to get posed pictures of the senior girls with the refrigerator to make it look like they stole it. Problem was, they male counselors could never get into their cabin on Thursday night to get the fridge b/c there was always someone in there. So I had to break the bad news to the girls. But because it was their last year, we gave them some water balloons and gave them permission to go play some harmless pranks. It was funny because they were all dressed in black and set to go, but they kept standing at our cabin door too afraid to leave because the nigh patrol was standing outside. Fran finally told them to go do what they were going to do and hurry up BECAUSE they had to be back in the cabin by 2:30 a.m. or we were going to lock them out. Actually, we would have let them back in, but we wanted them back for a really good reason (I’ll get to that later). In addition to the water balloons, they had plans to go do something in the boys bathhouse. I really thought they might be crossing the line by going to the boys bathhouse and warned them against it, but in all honesty – this group really wasn’t that slick and I didn’t think they would even make it over there without being caught. Yeah, I was wrong – well sort of, they made it over there, but the male counselors knew they were there and went behind them and cleaned up everything they did.

Though technically, our girls didn’t do anything that would get them in serious trouble, the problem came when they weren’t back by 2:30 a.m. Four of them were because they never left the girls bathhouse, but rest did not heed our warning. See, we knew that the boys were up to something and planned on executing their plan sometime after 3 a.m. Their plan was to set off some fire crackers and bird bombs. If you are unfamiliar with a bird bomb, they use them in down town areas with a serious bird problem to attempt to scare them away. It sounds like a really loud gun shot and can be heard for at least a mile away. We tried to talk them out of it because I knew it would NOT go over well, but they didn’t listen. At 5 a.m., we heard three loud rifle like sounds followed by some fire works which I guess it had girls screaming and crying all over the place. At 5:30, the director came knocking on our cabin door to see if all our girls were in the cabin – they weren’t. Just then they came walking down the hill. They had been sitting up on the picnic tables most of the night. What was funny was when he asked them for their names and one of my co-counselors daughters (who is only 14, but went with them), says in her proudest cheerleader type voice “Kelcy ____!” She was so proud that she got caught and the rest of us had to laugh b/c she is Frannie’s daughter!

We did have to clear up the fact that our girls were not involved in the bird bomb issue and I had to clear up with a dad that his daughter never left the girl’s bathhouse (though, he was still mad that we gave them permission to be out after curfew), but other than that, it all blew over pretty quickly. Hopefully the ones that are mad will cool off by next year.

Over all, it was a good year. Might be worth returning next year.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Another Year of SMC

Tomorrow, I leave for church camp. Once again, I will be guiding and shaping the young minds of teens. Hey, maybe this year I can avoid making anyone cry. Let's hope. Last year was not fun.

You would think knowing that I'm leaving tomorrow, I would be some what prepared. I'm not. I made a packing list a week ago (no idea how complete it is) and I've been piling up clothes that I need to take with me. I haven't really packed yet. I haven't even finished shopping - though I really only have 3 things left on my list and one of them is actually for the house. In all honestly, I should be stressed. Not only do I leave tomorrow and I'm not packed, but my house is mess. Seems like I can't keep the kitchen clean for anything. I probably need to clean the downstairs bathroom too. I have a hard time remembering that one b/c I rarely use it. Most of the time it's to wash my hands.

So as I sit here, I wonder what SMC 2006 will bring. I used to go to camp with all of these "expectations" of what might happen (camp romance maybe - yep never happens). Now that I'm far past the age of camp romances, my only hopes/expectations is that nothing major will happen - that it will be a relatively calm year with a few "classic" camp pranks. I know this probably doesn't sound like too much to ask, but in all honesty, this rarely happens. In years past, we've had anywhere from trips to the emergency room to calls being made to the police. I don't even like to think about some of the stuff I've had to deal with. I used to accuse our director of on purposely giving me the "dysfunctional" cabin. I don't think kids were as messed up now as they were when I was a camper. I never dreamed that the guy who was sent home because he had a shoe fetish and was stealing girls shoes when they weren't in their cabins would seem minor.

I'm praying for a good year. I'm praying to have a positive impact on my girls. I'm praying I don't get sick or die of heat stroke. I'm praying that my cabin is mouse free. I'm praying for the best year yet (though I'm not sure if that's possible without my old counseling buddy, Jill).

So I'm off. I'm sure I will have some story to share when I return in a week. Meanwhile, try not to miss me to much!

My Pirate Name

Went to McDonald's for lunch (quick and cheap). I got a Pirates of the Caribbean game piece. Got on line to enter it. My "crew" name was...Evil Mermaid Stacey. Hmmm... I can think of at least one person who read this blog that will have fun with that!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cow Appreciation Day

I got this in an email from Quail Spring Mall yesterday:

I'm not sure how well you can read this, but basically, Chick-fil-A will give a free combo meal of their choice to anyone who will come into the resturaunt tomorrow dressed from head to toe as a cow (look here for more details).

So here is what I'm proposing...I still have my Spring Sing cow costume and if I can collect at least $50, I will go to the Chick-fil-A at Quail Springs Mall tomorrow.

One of my co-workers thinks I should rent my costume out for $2/person and make some money off of it that way, but my way might bring in more money. ;0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Product Complaints

I have two recent product complaints. One doesn’t live up to it’s claims (surprise, surprise) and the other is just designed badly.

1) Veet Gel – You know, that stuff that is supposed to make shaving easier and keep you from having to do it as often. WRONG! It was slow to apply, a pain in the butt to remove, I still have still have stubble in spots, and no amount of soap or scented lotion has replaced the chemical smell. Plus, it takes almost an entire tube to cover my legs. Veet Gel gets a big two thumbs down in my book. I’ll just deal with having to shave every day.
2) Yoplait Yogurt – this is a common breakfast staple for me, but when I go to open my yogurt, it spits out at me and end up with yogurt on my clothes. And the last two mornings have been worse than most. I tried so hard to avoid being spit on this morning, but still failed. That’s 3 times in the last 4 days that I have ended up smelling like sour milk!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Before and Almost After

Okay, so here are some pictures of my recent projects. I have before and after of the kitchen, but I forgot to take before pictures of the living room. My mom keeps getting after me b/c I didn't take any pictures before I started any of this (when the cabinets and mantle were still brown). It's a work in progress. Excuse the mess. I've had several "projects" going lately and haven't completely cleaned up from all of them.

Anyway, here are where things stand so far. I still need to "decorate". I have a picture picked out for the kitchen that I haven't been able to purchase yet and I need to find some other stuff for both the kitchen and living room. When things are put away, it's still pretty plain. I guess 2006 will be the year for painting and 2007 will be the year for decorating. ;o)

Dining Room (that no "dining" ever takes place in) Before & After

Kitchen Before & After (I still want to put shelves up over the microwave for my cookbooks and replace the tile - but all in good time).

The Living Room Almost After (I still need to paint the rest of the wood trim white and put up a chair rail. For those wondering why I keep painting the wood white, well it was in awful shape and painting is easier than sanding and re-staining.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

And Yet another Day in the Life of…

Seriously, my life is one walking disaster after another. Let me explain.

Last week, I took a few days off, just because I could, and decided to spend my time painting my living room. This was not a task that I had wanted to take on myself because I knew it would take FOREVER to paint. But seeing that the only way it would ever get done, I decided to bite the bullet and just paint it myself. This actually turned out not to be as bad as I thought. I discovered a wonder thing…the power roller. I tried to rent one without success, but when I discovered that I could purchase one for $40, I made one of the greatest purchases EVER!!! I got the whole top half and the first coat of the bottom half painted in the first day with out incident. Day two was another story. Though they were the same brand and sheen, the red paint I was using on the bottom half was a lot runnier than the tan was. As I was beginning my second coat on Tuesday morning, some paint dripped between the tarp and the wall, so I laid the roller down on the tarp and ran to get a rag. When I returned, I discovered that paint had built up on the splatter shield and had run off the splatter shield AND off of the tarp and onto my carpet. I now have two big red spots in front of my fire place. When I tried to clean them up with Goof-Off, the spot turned out bigger and pink! So now I am faced with either purchasing a rug or possibly replacing my living room floors sooner than planned (yes, I know that a rug would be cheaper, but I’ve come across a really good deal on flooring, so if I can find what I want, I might just go ahead and replace the floor totally.)

By the way, I’ll try to post pictures of the “almost” completed room soon.

Okay, so fast forward to Sunday. We were having a class cookout Sunday night after church. I had gone to Sam’s bought everything we needed. I even had a system down for Sunday. There were only a few things I needed to do before that evening: 1) cut lettuce, tomato, and onion; 2) make ice cream; 3) meet Chad at the church to load ice chest, pop, and charcoal supplies in his car; 4) load my car.

I had the whole thing timed out. 2:00, cut lettuce, tomato, and onion. 2:45, start making ice cream. Ice cream is supposed to take 20-40 minutes to make. I was allotting myself an hour plus a few minutes to spare. Meet Chad at the church at 4:30 to load ice chest. Leave church a little early and run by the house to get the rest of the stuff for the cookout.

Things were going well. I got a head start on cutting the L-T-O. I saved the onion for last because I hate cutting onion. I was making my last cut into the onion when I sliced my finger open on a knife. Hind site, I should have gone and gotten stitches, but that would have messed up my schedule, so I just cleaned it really good and put a lot of pressure on it with a bandage. I still had another onion to cut, but I decided I was done with knives for the day.

Next I started the ice cream. This actually is so much easier than it seems. Yes, it takes more steps than just running to the grocery store, but it’s not hard and it tastes so much better. I had borrowed Suzy’s ice cream maker so that I would be able to make two batches. I mixed everything up, poured the contents into both of the containers, and started the mixers. As far as I could tell, things were going fine, except it was taking a lot longer than I expected. Good thing I allotted myself an hour! A little after 4:00, my ice cream freezer had finished, but Suzy’s was still going. Her ice cream maker has a clear top, so I look close and realize that her dasher is moving. For those of you asking, “What is a dasher?” It’s the paddle in the middle of an ice cream maker that makes the ice cream. The dasher isn’t supposed to move, only the can. The fact that both were moving was a bad sign! So I turned it off and took off the lid. The ice cream had hardened around the edge but was still liquid in the middle. When I went to try to remover the dasher, ice cream splashed up in my face and all over my clothes (btw – I was already dressed for the evening at this point). So I clean myself off really quick and hit panic mode. I now have 15 minutes before I’m supposed to be up at the church, I’m covered in ice cream and I’ve got a big problem on my hands. I run upstairs to change and attempt to call Chad. I have NO SERVICE on my phone (my neighborhood has horrible cell reception). So I knock on Melissa’s door and ask her to call Chad for me and tell him I’m running late.

I ran back downstairs and grab a hard plastic spatula and begin scrapping the sides. Meanwhile, my roommate comes in to see if she can help. I had her continue scraping while I ran to the church. When I get back from the church, Melissa has gotten all the ice cream scrapped and ready to be hardened – then she looks at me and asks “did your spatula have a big chunk out of it before you started this?” Oh, you guessed it, there is now a big plastic chunk of while spatula somewhere in the vanilla ice cream! Here is my dilemma – do I toss out the ice cream or just tell people to eat carefully? If you were at the cookout and ate from the last batch of ice cream, you know the answer – you had to eat carefully. To my knowledge, no one ever found the spatula.

You would think that would be the end of the evening’s mishaps, but nooooooo! Chad and I had a little miscommunication, and I beat him to the park instead of him beating me and getting the grill started. So we got a late start as it was on the coals. But to make matters worse, we couldn’t get the coals to ash over fast enough. I have learned a few things about cooking with charcoal, but we’ll save that for later. It took several douses of lighter fluid and my freaking a few people out to get the coals anywhere near hot enough to start cooking. Finally after 7:00, we start putting burgers on the grill. Basically we were cooking about 4 at a time and thawing the rest out at a rapid speed. I was feeling the stress and obviously someone else noticed because all of a sudden I hear someone behind me asking “so how is it going over here?” It was my new best friend, Dusty. He offered to do the “Church of Christ” thing and take over the grill because that’s the “man’s job”. (Don’t get mad at him ladies, he was joking). I gladly turned my spatula over and then we were cooking. He is my new hero because by this point I smelled like sour milk, lighter fluid, smoke, and sweat and I was DONE! They got a pretty good system down: Dusty sacrificed his eyeballs and did the grilling, his roommate cracked the jokes, Nicole kept the grill loaded with fresh burgers, Melissa was in charge of the tray of cooked burgers and I just delighted in the fact that I could finally relax some.

The rest of the evening went fine – well until this morning when I had a dream there was a ghost in my house and I woke up totally freaked out, but other than that – it’s all good now. And I’m glad I only do this cookout once a year!!!!