This Hodgepodge Feels Like Home…

This time of the year always brings back memories of moving into our second new home.  We weren’t quite finished with our house, but, on November 9, 2007, Ed and I moved out of our home of 30 years, and into our second home.  It’s hard to believe almost nine years have passed since then.  I can still remember hauling boxes and furniture across the yard…  Yes, we moved right next door!

Thanks so much to our hostess, Joyce, for taking time to host this week’s Hodgepodge, especially since she’s getting ready to move, herself!  I appreciate you, Joyce, and best wishes with the move!

1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most ‘at home’?

I guess that would have to be our daughter’s house, located next door to us, which used to be our house until about nine years ago.  It’s only natural that I’d still feel ‘at home’ there, since Ed and I lived there for over 30 years, and raised our family in that house.

2. When did you last ‘hit a home run’ with something? Explain.

I’m going to say “surviving hurricane Matthew”.  We only lost our power for 21 hours, compared to many neighbors who were without electricity for several days.  Although we lost two large trees, we had no damage to either of the houses on our property.  Nine family members stayed together in our tiny, two bedroom, one bathroom home, for 3 days and 4 nights, and everyone got along well. God is good!

3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is ‘homemade’.

I have a large, ‘homemade’ sign hanging over the refrigerator that says “Kathy’s Diner”, and has a menu written on it.  I had this sign specially made for my kitchen whenever we built this house, and I love it.  It matches my red, white, and black Coca Cola decor.  Look closely, at the picture below, and you can see the sign over the refrigerator.

Coca cola Christmas kitchen...

4. ‘A man’s home is his castle’…which of the world’s ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why-

Mont Saint-Michel (France), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany), Glamis Castle (Scotland), Windsor Castle (England), Chateau de Chambord (France), Hampton Court Palace (England), Prague Castle (Prague), St. Michael’s Mount (England), Leeds Castle (England), and Swallow’s Nest (Ukraine)

I’m sure any one of these castles would be captivating, and fun to visit, but I don’t know anything about any of them, so I’ll take a pass on answering this one.

5. What’s a recent or upcoming plan or project that’s required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?

Hurricane Matthew has caused a couple of unplanned projects at our house.  First of all, we had to move two freezers and install a new screen door on our storage house (for ventilation).  Next, was the project of cutting up and removing the two trees that were blown down, which required some repair work to the chain saw. (Ed still has one tree left to cut) Last comes the project of shopping for a generator, so we’ll be prepared for the next big storm that blows our way!

6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not?

I think a little reading and math homework is valuable, because there’s not much time for practice during class. However, teachers need to be considerate and assign homework in moderation.

7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown.

I remember when ‘Dairy Queen’ first came to our tiny little town.  It was back in the 60’s, and it was a big deal to everyone!  I don’t know which I liked best–the hamburgers and french fries or the soft serve ice cream.  Our original Dairy Queen was a very small, barn-shaped building, with a red roof, and no inside seating.  Over the years, our Dairy Queen’ has been renovated two or three times, and the name has been changed.  These days, it’s a very nice D Q Grill-n-Chill, with inside [or outside] seating, and I still enjoy their hamburgers, french fries, and soft serve ice cream, on rare occasions.


photo courtesy of Google

There’s something else that’s special about our local DQ.  The owner, Zuber Malek is a wonderful person, who cares about, and gives back, to the community.  Local citizens have responded to his kindness and generosity by giving his DQ the honor of being a top fund raiser for The Children’s Miracle Network!  Below is a picture of the sign, showing this year’s grand total:13906971_10153903695795892_7909803460642953741_n


Yesterday, the ‘unthinkable’ happened to our daughter.  She flushed her toilet, then came back a while later to discover a disaster.  The toilet flapper didn’t close after the tank refilled, and, apparently, the drain was sluggish, and couldn’t handle the flow of water.  The two malfunctions became the ‘perfect storm’ for a flood. Water went all into their bedroom, into the dining room, and into the kitchen.  Water even ran out the back door and down the steps.  Did I mention our daughter has laminate flooring?  Laminate flooring and water do not make a good combination.  Within the matter of a few minutes, there was quite a mess to deal with.

By mid-evening, with the help of family, the kitchen and dining room had been disassembled, with cabinets and furniture removed.  All of the soggy laminate had been taken up, as well.  Hopefully, there will be no chance of rain in the forecast, because most of the kitchen cabinets are sitting on the front porch, and will be sitting there for a few days while the floor dries out.  Fun times!




Published in: on October 26, 2016 at 7:48 am  Comments (14)  
Tags: , , ,

A Special Day For A Special Lady…

Yesterday I mentioned that May is a busy month for our family due to several birthdays and an anniversary.  One of those birthdays belongs to my mother-in-law, Vivian.  She turned ninety-one on May 5.

100_2292 (2)

Vivian is more than a mother-in-law to me–she’s been like a second mother to me.  I met Ed at the ripe old age of fifteen, and not long after, I met his mom.  While Ed was serving in the army and I was still living at home finishing high school,  I spent many weekends with his parents at their house.  They felt like family to me long before we actually became family.  Their home was like a second home to me, and we’ve celebrated some great times in that house– holidays, birthdays, showers, even a family wedding!

Ed and I debated about how to celebrate his mom’s birthday.  She’s been living in an assisted living facility for almost three years.  We’ve noticed that she seems to have gotten more fragile during this past year.  I would have liked to have thrown a party in her honor, but wasn’t sure it would be in her best interest.  Crowds seem to confuse her somewhat.  Ed and I decided to take Vivian out to eat–and to take her to see her house.  It had been quite a long time since Vivian had been inside of her house, and Ed recently had a new roof put on it, which she hadn’t seen.

We decided to celebrate Vivian’s birthday one day early, so she would be available at the living facility, for visitors, on her actual birthday.  We also knew the local restaurants wouldn’t be as crowded on Saturday.  I knew we’d made a good decision to go on Saturday, when we arrived at the restaurant and Vivian commented about how noisy it was!  The Saturday crowd was tiny compared to what Sunday’s would be.

The highlight of the day came when we drove up to Vivian’s house and helped her go inside.  It was like watching a child on Christmas morning!  Although she had to pause and rest in between, she went into every room in her house!  She opened closets, cabinets, drawers, and the refrigerator.  She inspected pictures on the walls.  She tried to play her piano.  It was a sight to behold!  She didn’t seem to notice that the house has become a bit run-down or that Brad and Jennifer still have several boxes of their junk on the kitchen table waiting to be moved.  She only saw home!

We sat and talked, and yes, we even cried a bit.  We talked about the good times we’ve had in that old house, and we talked about how sad it is that she’s no longer able to live there.  Growing old is tough, and there aren’t always easy answers.  We just try to do the best that we can in our given situation.  Although it was bittersweet when we had to leave the house, at the end of the day, Ed and I knew we’d given Vivian the best birthday gift we could possibly have given her–a trip back home, even if it was only for a while.

Published in: on May 7, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,

Remembering “The Red Room”…

10-15-2011 11;40;22 AM13

I found this old photograph among my mother-in-law’s collection. It’s a picture of her, taken sometime in the mid-seventies. I apologize for the quality of the photo, but it was taken with a Polaroid camera, and didn’t stand the test of time very well.

In the photo, Ed’s mom has her hand on a set of spiral display shelves. The shelves were a gift to her from my brother and his wife, nearly forty years ago. Vivian had seen the shelves, while visiting their home, and greatly admired them. Eventually, the couple decided to give the shelves to Vivian. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled she was when they brought the shelves to her–all the way from their home in Florida!

From that day forward, the shelves have been used to hold various “what-nots”, as well as for hanging family Christmas stockings during the holidays.  For many years, the railing of the shelves also served as a hand rail for climbing up and down the den steps, as Ed’s mom grew older.  Today, they continue to stand in their place of honor!

The photo was taken in my MIL’s den, or what we commonly refer to as “the red room”. The room was originally a carport, but it was closed in and turned into a den around 1971, while Ed was away in the army.  It was decorated in Spanish decor of red, black, and white.  This decor was quite popular in the seventies.

When I first met Ed, in 1969, the den was still a carport. If you look closely, you may be able to see the steps, just to the right of Vivian. (The steps are covered in red carpeting, so they’re difficult to see.) I was sitting on those steps, watching Ed work on his car, the first time I ever met my future mother-in-law. She and I still remember that day, but I often wonder for how much longer we both will, as time continues to dim our memories.

I was a frequent visitor to the home of my future in-laws during their carport renovation process, often spending weekends there while Ed was away in the army.  I was with Vivian when she chose much of her decor, much of it purchased after Ed and I were married in 1972.  Vivian’s good friend, Maxine, made all of the cushions and pillows for the long seating area lining the brick wall of “the red room”.  Maxine’s husband, Paul, assisted Ed’s dad with much of the construction of “the red room”, as well.

Christmas 19832

Ed’s dad and Uncle “B”- enjoying Christmas in “the red room” 

The family has spent many happy hours in “the red room” throughout the years.  Ed and I held our rehearsal dinner in “the red room”, and Ed’s oldest brother held his wedding there, as well.  I remember many Saturday nights spent together in “the red room”, watching “Hee Haw” or late-night wrestling with Ed’s parents.

Of course, there were also lots of family Christmases in “the red room”, too!  There was always a huge Christmas tree, and we’d gather around it to open our gifts.  Ed’s dad would build a roaring fire in the fireplace, and many times we’d  have to open the outside door to cool the room off!  By the end of Christmas, Vivian’s red Christmas tapers, on the mantle, would usually be drooping from the heat of Grandpas’s fires!

10-15-2011 1;33;37 PM6

Happy grandchildren at Christmas – The spiral shelves are in the right of the photo, decorated for Christmas

2-25-2013 11;40;59 AM1

The grandchildren (older) playing a game of Monopoly in “the red room”

Over the years, but at different times, both of our (young adult) sons lived with Ed’s mom, following the death of her husband.  During this time, “the red room” was their domain, since Vivian’s house also has a second den located in the back of her home.   Vivian stayed in the back of the house, and gave the boys their privacy in “the red room.”  I’m sure, each son has their own memories of time spent in “the red room” while living with their Mema.

Time marches on, and “the red room” has now grown dark and silent.  Ed’s dad, and friends, Maxine and Paul, left this world several years ago, but their memories live on through us.  Vivian currently resides in an assisted living facility.  Both of our sons have married and moved on, as well.  I’m not quite sure what the future holds for “the red room”, but it sure does have a glorious past.

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 8:50 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,