Category Archives: home

A Burden Lifted

Song Lyric of the Day:

Oh, and once it held laughter / Once it held dreams … If there’s love in a house, it’s a palace for sure / But without love it ain’t nothin’ but a house

Tom Waits / “House Where Nobody Lives

If you’ve read here at all the last few years or you know me personally, then you know we moved out of our A-frame when I was pregnant with Coraline — about eight years and five months ago, to be precise. You also know we were not able to find buyers for it, so we ended up renting it out. Over and over and over. In between tenants we would try to sell the house. Of the five real estate agents we had in six years, only one got us to a contract, which the buyer then backed out of at the last minute. Turns out the sixth time — specifically the sixth real estate agent* in 8+ years — was the charm as WE FINALLY SOLD THE A-FRAME.

To say Rich and I were on pins and needles as we approached the late-August closing is an understatement. We didn’t tell anyone — at least I didn’t — because we were afraid to jinx things when it was looking so promising (if you know me, you also know I can be irrationally superstitious). A young couple with two little girls who call the A-frame “the treehouse” are now the new owners, and we couldn’t be happier. The house was bought by people who truly love it. There won’t be any more renters causing destruction and chaos and stress in our lives. (Not all our renters were bad — the first were great, in fact — but it turns out there are things professional background checks just cannot tell you.) There’s now a new family to love the house and make it their own, which made finally selling the house a genuinely happy occasion for all of us.

Now that the A-frame is sold, we are looking forward to investing in the house we live in, now our ONLY house, which is more of an adjustment than I’d expected. Turns out it’s a hard habit to break, saying the street name of your house so you know which one you’re talking about. Now when we start a list of house projects that need to be taken care of, it can simply be titled House Projects. It’s a good feeling.

Rich and I are looking forward to taking care of things that our house needs taken care of — like new eaves and gutters, a drainage issue in the backyard, and chimney repairs, to name a few — that we had to put off while all our attention (and money) was focused on the A-frame. I can’t quite put into words what it means to finally be able to start truly making our house a home, but I look forward to trying.

A-Frame Exterior

Farewell to a beloved home

*Again, a MILLION thanks to Brandon Hutchison of Hutch & Howard with Keller-Williams here in Knoxville. Brandon and his partner Rob Howard and their right-hand woman Carrie Mays pulled off what, after so many years, truly felt impossible.

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Filed under home, home improvement, home selling, homebuying, house, personal, real estate

Piecemeal Decorating: The Kids’ Star Wars Bathroom

Star Wars Song Lyric of the Day:

Well, I’m not dumb, but I can’t understand / How he can lift me in the air just by raising his hand / Oh, my Yoda / Yo-yo-yo-yo / Yoda yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda

“Weird Al” Yankovic / “Yoda

I love decorating our house. The problem is I can’t do a big project, like the whole upstairs living room or the basement, all at one time due to budgetary restrictions (as in we have no decorating budget). So I’ve taken to doing projects bit by bit. I scour the internet — OK, mostly Pinterest — looking for ideas for the rooms/spaces I want to tackle, then I start buying furniture or decor when our budget allows or when there’s a fantastic sale. Et voila: Piecemeal Decorating.

When Coraline decided she wanted her and Sebastian’s bedroom redone in a Star Wars theme, she quickly concluded that their bathroom should match, too. Until now, the hall bathroom the kids use has been known as the Old-Man Bathroom thanks to the walk-in tub in there. My initial half-assed attempt at decorating that bathroom was to hang up the black-and-white ’70s-era shower curtain my mom gave me and a matching zebra-striped bath mat. I remembered the shower curtain fondly from our days in Charlotte, so I was happy to discover Mom still had it. Coraline’s only comment about it at the time was, “Look at that. It’s boobs!” Which pretty much sums it up. And yes, I still have it. I will keep it forever. I mean, look at it. It’s awesome.

I like to think the pattern is called It Came From the Seventies.

As Coraline got a bit older, she gave me input on what she liked or didn’t like for her bathroom. We ended up buying a cute fabric owl-patterned shower curtain from Target and a little zigzag bath rug (also from Target) with colors that matched. We bought a toothbrush holder (one guess as to where it’s from) that says “Brush Your Teeth” in matching colors. And we painted the built-in cabinet a teal blue to match; it also broke up the monotony of the white cabinets against pale tile walls.

When she decided on Star Wars, I asked if she wanted classic or new Star Wars. Being a huge fan of Rey and Finn, you can guess which Star Wars era she chose; I, of course, had been hoping she’d choose classic, but it’s not my bathroom. I then took to the interwebs to find ideas and get her opinions on what I found. I started a Pinterest page for their bathroom on which I pinned a whopping two things. At least the Pinterest board I started for ideas for their bedroom has a lot more pins, thanks in large part to me showing Coraline how to pin things; I’d search for a particular item, and she’d run with it.

The first item we bought for the bathroom was the easiest to agree on: the shower curtain. We found this guy on Amazon.

Star Wars shower curtain

This even came with Star Wars-branded matching shower curtain rings.

I — surprisingly — found a lot of Star Wars-themed bath rugs online. I was partial to a Death Star one, but Cora put the kibosh on that. I soon found this BB-8 bath mat at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and she decided that was the one she wanted.

While picking up the rug at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I came across this BB-8 lotion dispenser, which we decided to use as a soap dispenser. It works well with the Creamy Luxe or Nourishing soaps we like at Bath & Body Works, although we can’t use the Exfoliating soaps in this as the micro beads will jam up the pump.

Next we started looking for bath towels. We agreed these towels from Target were cute, were new Star Wars-themed, and matched the shower curtain. We bought two, one for Coraline and one for Sebastian. We also bought a 4-pack of matching washcloths. We also chose this R2-D2 trash can and set it next to the vanity.

BB-8 and R2-D2 forever

Coraline’s new Star Wars shower curtain, bath mat, and towels.

Next up were hand towels. Again, so many websites had so many options, but we ended up choosing these BB-8 ones from Kohl’s.

We’re pretty happy with how the bathroom turned out. It’s still not completely done, though — it needs an updated vanity light, but that will have to wait a bit. I won’t get started on how much I want to take down the floor-to-ceiling tile walls and replace them with drywall someday.

Coraline and Sebastian’s newly Star Wars-decorated bathroom.

Even though I was happy with how the bathroom now looked, I still wanted a little something for the walls. I did a lot of Googling and found a Yoda graphic, which I printed on glossy photo paper and put in an empty IKEA Ribba frame i already had. We happened to have some Command strips in the house, too, which ended up working perfectly for hanging the frame on the tile wall. I also still might buy some cute Star Wars-themed bathroom prints on Etsy — there are so many neat ones to choose from.

Personal hygiene important it is

All told, it took us a few weeks, maybe between two and three months, to find and agree on everything we ended up buying for the kids’ bathroom. We spent less than $125 total by shopping on sale, taking advantage of free in-store pickups and free shipping, using coupons, and paying with store cards for an extra percentage off items purchased online or in-store.

And now you know how we piecemeal-decorated the kids’ bathroom. Gotta start small, right?

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Filed under decorating, home, piecemeal decorating

Quick Zone Organization

Song Lyric of the Day:

I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs / I crashed my car into the bridge / I don’t care, I love it / I don’t care

Icona Pop / “I Love It

I used to be super organized, like Monica Geller organized. I sorted mail as soon as I got it. I could see the top of my desk. Everything was neat, orderly, and in its place. Then I got older. I got busier. And now I’m mom to an energetic toddler (like there’s any other kind, right?) whose hobbies including following me everywhere. I even have a secret closet of shame (my home office closet), just like Monica. So in order to not go insane when the house gets too cluttered and disorganized, I’ve started tackling little zones one at a time. That way I can restore order and get organized without getting overwhelmed. I can also still keep an eye on Coraline (assuming Rich isn’t around or she just wants to “help” me) since I’m working on a small area. And since I’m tackling small areas, it doesn’t take a lot of time to get each spot tidied up. Over the last few months, I’ve organized some former wastelands of kitchen cabinets, the dining room buffet and china cabinet, and bookcases, among other areas. I can even see the top of my desk again! Which is nothing short of a miracle, believe me.

One of my more recent zone organization projects was this disaster of an open-front kitchen cabinet:


We did not use this space well at all.

The counter area directly underneath was also not much better.


See how the bread is shoved to the back wall? If it’s not, our dog Troubadour will eat that whole loaf.

I actually kind of liked the corner on the other end of the counter where our collection of Food Network Magazines lived. But then one day it all escaped being soaked by water by oh, a centimeter or so because the file boxes were directly next to the kitchen sink. They had to be moved after that.


The magazine collection lived in one of our appliance garages.

One night after we put Coraline to bed, I got motivated to finally tackle these trouble spots because they were not only eyesores, they weren’t terribly practical or making the best use of the space available.

I removed a shelf from the open-front cabinet to make room for the rest of our cookbooks, several or which were stored in a cabinet (which I also later organized).


Cookbooks within reach

I then moved our magazine collection to underneath the cookbooks, where they wouldn’t be in any danger of getting soaked by water. I also finally tackled the pile of clutter (mostly my doing, I admit) that was growing by the day.


Now I can look at this area of the kitchen without wanting to scream.

Voila!: A couple of zones organized, and it took less than an hour. Now I just need to work on not re-cluttering that counter space …


Filed under home, home improvement, home organization, organization

The Home Library

Song Lyric of the Day:

Build a story in my head / It was love before we met / Happy, with my idea with you
Rich and I finally decided to start sharing pics of our new house. We held off on doing so since we were superstitious that our A-frame wouldn’t sell. Well, months later with nary a nibble on the A-frame we’ve pretty much decided screw that, and here we are.
When we moved into our new house about six months ago, my dad commented that it would take Coraline about 40 years to read through all the books we had. See, moving day was when my and Rich’s love of books bit us in the ass — there were countless boxes packed full of books all over the place. Well, we’ve only added to our collection since then, trading in used books for new titles at McKay, buying new ones at Borders or Barnes & Noble, or receiving books as gifts (always a win-win situation). Fortunately, our new house has built-in bookcases, something I used to fantasize about having. Of course, once I had them, I started obsessively thinking about how to arrange and organize our books. Would I move the fiction hardcovers out of my office? Put my children’s books downstairs? Mix nonfiction with reference? What should take the shelves of honor in the living room? So many decisions, so many damn books. (See, this is what happens when you are either 1) a librarian or 2) spent years working in retail bookstores like I did). First, I had to make heads or tails of the stacks of book boxes everywhere.

Far end of the living room.
More boxes in the dining room. Not pictured: the book boxes all over the rest of the house, including the ones that filled Coraline’s then-empty room.
Then I had to decide which bookcases would house which books. I ultimately decided that the bookcases with the taller adjustable shelves, at the dining room end of the living room, would house oversized art, home decorating, and home improvement books. The bookcases flanking the TV cabinet with shorter, adjustable shelves would be home to nonfiction, trade paperback fiction, young adult, and children’s picture books. Hardcover fiction would stay in my office, while art instruction/technique books would move down to Rich’s office. These decisions came after I changed my mind about 50 times, including rearranging everything and bugging Rich for his opinion I don’t know how many times. Before I could start organizing books, however, I had to clear the shelves of all the stuff we’d thrown on them when we first unpacked; that process alone took days.
The bookcases flanking the TV cabinet.
Caleb slinks by the still-in-the-works bookcase organization project in my office on his way to the sunroom.
The bookcases at the dining room end of the living room; the right bookcase is the one I started on first.

Closeup of my first efforts at organizing the art books.

First pass on the art books, with coffee table and home improvement books on the bottom shelves; these books ultimately all ended up on the left bookcase.

Regardless of Rich’s suggestions, I alphabetized the children’s books instead of arranging them based on size. Him making such a crazy suggestion shows that he 1) doesn’t know me at all or 2) knows me pretty damn well and that such a suggestion would drive me crazy. Which it did.

My finished children’s book bookcases, with young adult on the left, picture books on the right. Keep in mind all of Coraline’s books are still in her room.

Closeup of the picture books. That’s Coraline’s nursery video monitor on the second shelf.

The fiction hardcover books in my office. I’m still not done sorthing them.

The bookcases to the left of the TV cabinet. The bottom shelves on each side are still in the works and hold currently unsorted books.
Now you have some (undoubtedly) scary insight into how I get when I go on an organizational bender, particularly how I deal with sorting books. Want to know what’s really scary? I still have a whole bookcase on the dining room end to fill. Bwahahahaha!

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Filed under books, home, home organization, organization, personal

Done Went and Bought a House

Song Lyric of the Day:

Ahh home, let me come home / Home is wherever I’m with you / Ahh home, let me go ho-oh-ome / Home is wherever I’m with you

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros / “Home

The spouse and I bought a new house recently. I’ve resisted saying anything about it because, as people who know me well can attest, I’m a very superstitious person. I wanted to wait until everything was in place and papers were signed before talking about it. Because if I’d said anything before everything was in place, the house would’ve disappeared into thin air. Seriously.

How did we end up buying a new house? Rich started the ball rolling back in September while I was in Toronto (my fault for leaving the country, I suppose). We’d already been talking about how 2010 would likely be the Year of the Baby (which it is), which, combined with our desire for a housing situation change, made the idea of a new house more appealing. Rich was initially set on buying a house in Old North Knoxville, which is where he started looking while I was away. I was fine with that, even though it would’ve put us further away from family and work. Our friends have a fabulous, large, beautiful house down there and that’s the kind of house we hoped to find. Alas, people who already live in those fabulous, large, beautiful houses in Old North Knoxville don’t move very often. So the only houses for sale we encountered were much smaller than our current house, needed a lot of work, had sacrificial altars in the basements that could double as horror-movie sets, were thisclose to the street, and didn’t have backyards. Or any combination thereof.

We then started looking all over Knoxville and the surrounding area. We fell in a love a couple of times, although in hindsight we both realized it’s a really good thing we’re not made of money because we would’ve ended up with serious buyer’s remorse. Where did we end up? West Knoxville; I will say it’s not Farragut. And after looking all over for months and months, we finally found the house that truly is perfect for us. Everyone in our family loves it, and we’ll be more centrally located for all of our family, too, which will come in very handy once Miss Bundle arrives. The dogs also like it, although Caleb has some issues with the hardwood floors upstairs. Not surprising considering this is the same dog who won’t set foot in our current house’s kitchen because of the parquet floors.

I’ll post some pics of the new house as soon as we sell our beloved A-frame. Superstition and all, you know. In the meantime, I will share that it doesn’t look like this:

Or this:Or even this: Like our beloved A-frame, it’s a bit atypical (although no more spiral stairs – squee!), older, and a little different. Just like us.

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Filed under home, house, personal

My Happy for the Day: "Home"

I can’t remember the first time I heard Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros‘ “Home,” but it was fairly recently. I’m pretty sure it was on a TV show or a commercial — I’d heard it and liked it but had no idea who sang the song. It was catchy — complete with whistling — and had this comforting, almost retro feel, like the best way to do the song justice would be to listen to it on vinyl. And how could I forget the way the song began, with the drawling “Alabama, Arkansas / I do love my ma and pa …”? Then the other day my sis-in-law, K, told us we just had to hear this CD her friend gave her: “I’m skipping right to my favorite track, number six.” Mystery solved! And thus my fascination with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros was born. The video is pitch-perfect in that its home-movie feel perfectly complements the folksiness of the song. And, like the song, it leaves me feeling happy.

[Her:] Alabama, Arkansas /
I do love my ma and pa / Not the way that I do love you.

[Him:] Holy, Moley, me, oh my / You’re the apple of my eye / Girl I’ve never loved one like you.

[Her:] Man oh man you’re my best friend / I scream it to the nothingness / There ain’t nothing that I need.

[Him:] Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie / Chocolate candy, Jesus Christ / Ain’t nothing please me more than you.

[Both:] Ahh Home. Let me come home / Home is wherever I’m with you / Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome / Home is wherever I’m with you / La, la, la, la, take me home / Mother, I’m coming home.

[Him:] I’ll follow you into the park / Through the jungle through the dark / Girl I never loved one like you.

[Her:] Moats and boats and waterfalls / Alley-ways and pay phone calls / I’ve been everywhere with you.

[Him:] We laugh until we think we’ll die / Barefoot on a summer night / Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you

[Her:] And in the streets you run afree / Like it’s only you and me / Geeze, you’re something to see.

[Both:] Ahh Home. Let me go home / Home is wherever I’m with you / Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome / Home is wherever I’m with you / La, la, la, la, take me home / Daddy, I’m coming home.

Him: Jade
Her: Alexander
Him: Do you remember that day you fell outta my window?
Her: I sure do, you came jumping out after me.
Him: Well, you fell on the concrete, nearly broke your ass, you were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you out to the hospital, you remember that?
Her: Yes I do.
Him: Well there’s something I never told you about that night.
Her: What didn’t you tell me?
Him: While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you, and I never told you til just now.

[Both:] Ahh Home. Let me go home / Home is wherever I’m with you / Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome / Home is where I’m alone with you.

[Him:] Home. Let me come home / Home is wherever I’m with you.

[Her:] Ahh home. Yes I am ho-oh-ome / Home is when I’m alone with you.

[Her:] Alabama, Arkansas / I do love my ma and pa … / Moats and boats and waterfalls / Alley-ways and pay phone calls …

[Both:] Ahh Home. Let me go home / Home is wherever I’m with you / Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome / Home is where I’m alone with you …

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Filed under home, music, music video, my happy for the day

An Audition, Appliances, Santa, & Christmas Prep

Song Lyric of the Day:

I’ll be your answer, I’ll be your wish / I’ll be your fantasy, your favorite dish / From the back to the middle and around again / I’m gonna be there til the end / 100% pure love

Crystal Waters / “100% Pure Love

Pattie On the Spot
My audition Thursday evening went well. We’ll see how well if I get the part or not. But at least I had fun; this was definitely the most creative I’ve had to be at an audition so far. In addition to the usual stating your name, stats, etc. for the camera, I had to take part in an “emotional symphony,” wherein the casting director was the conductor. Each time he pointed at those of us in the lineup (mine was with two other women), we had to make a face conveying an emotion. You had to convey a different emotion each time, and the “conducting” got faster as we went along. The really creative part was after that, when we did the “Praise Desk” scenario. The opposite of a complaint desk, I had to rave about a real or imagined product to “sell” the casting director on it. Me being me, I remembered the Meowlingual and came up with the Cat Chat Meow Translator for Women©. I went on and on about how it revolutionized my life and completely transformed my relationships with my cats, taking our understanding to a deeper level. I detailed what each of my cats said, and ended by saying how I looked forward to buying my husband the Bark Blaster for Men©. Lucky me that I can pull stuff like that out of my ass in less than five minutes, eh?

The Good, the Bad, the Dishwasher
Our new dishwasher was installed on Friday afternoon, during my glorious PTO time off work. My joy at my fancy new appliance was short-lived, however, when the installation technician tested it (as he was supposed to) and discovered a pin-size hole in the drain hose that leaked water everywhere. Turned out his earlier observation that the hose seemed to have been packed in an unusual manner was right. So we now have a shiny new dishwasher that we can’t use until the new drain hose arrives and is installed. Our new fridge was delivered late Saturday afternoon. That appliance fared much better in that it’s usable. Well, most of it, anyway. We just need the water connection fixed and hooked up so we can use the in-door water and ice functions. But we have a fridge inside the house again, so that’s something.

The Accidental Parade
Over the years, Rich and I have discovered our uncanny talent for wandering into parades. We’ll just be plugging along with whatever plans we had in place, and — BAM! — there’s a parade going on in the same place we end up. Such was the case Friday night when we headed downtown, as planned, to take enjoy First Friday. Not only did we enjoy hopping from art gallery to art gallery, we also ended up watching the Christmas parade proceed down Gay Street. It just about killed me that I didn’t have my camera with me, particularly when people dressed as presents (people! dressed as PRESENTS!!!) walked right in front of me. Another highlight was the Young-Williams Animal Shelter’s Spay Shuttle (did I mention I did not have my camera?). Que sera, sera, though. We ended our date night with a nice meal at Mirage, the Moroccan restaurant on Gay Street which is the place to go in Knoxville to enjoy belly dancers and hookah. Probably the only one, come to think of it.

It’s Finally Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
After locating our AWOL Christmas lights in the garage, Rich and I were finally able to finish decorating the tree and the house for the holidays. This meant the usual disinterest on Snoops’ part, curiosity on all of the cats’ parts, and sheer excitement on Caleb’s part. As those of you who know Caleb are aware, Little Man is quite fond of the holidays because Christmas means presents. Specifically, Christmas means presents for him. Presents he gets to open himself. Which is why now I’ve got a 65-pound dog who jumps excitedly when he sees me holding a roll of wrapping paper, tissue paper, or gift bags (he’s figured it all out). He’s also doing his best to sneak into the guest room whenever he can. Why? Because that’s where Mommy hides the presents, of course.

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Filed under acting, Christmas, home, pets

At Least Now We Can Catch It

Song Lyric of the Day:

Here we have our dust-free dining set / We guarantee it won’t collect a speck

Pedro the Lion
/ “Progress

10:11PM.Our refrigerator died last Wednesday. We’ve been living like pioneers since then. Granted, we’re very lucky that Rich’s awesome parents gave us a fridge and a freezer when we moved into this house. They reside, side by side, in the garage, put to the most use when we’re hosting a big get-together or I’ve got a stash of Girl Scout Samoa cookies to freeze (reminds me — I need to defrost one of the four boxes I still have). For the last several days, they’ve been put to their best use to date, stepping up to serve as a collective backup fridge, keeping frozen meats from going bad and our years-old condiment collection as ageless as ever.

While I was at my last acting class Saturday morning, Rich was at Best Buy getting us a good deal on a new fridge and taking the initiative to go ahead and buy a new, matching dishwasher as a preemptive strike. Which I think was a good call on his part, since the fridge was who knows how old and came with the house, the same as the dishwasher.

The only downside is that the fridge can’t be delivered until Saturday (dishwasher’s coming Friday so it can be installed), so in the meantime we have to make trips to the garage anytime we want, oh, food or beverages. Have I mentioned it’s been freezing cold every night since the fridge died? We have to bundle up like we’re heading to Siberia just to get a glass of OJ. It’s actually been so cold at night that I just resorted to leaving bottles of water sitting right outside the back door; may as well take advantage of Mother Nature’s refrigeration system.

We do have our trusty old Coleman cooler (thanks again, Papa Doug!) sitting in the fridge’s spot in the kitchen to hold some standbys, like milk and juice and dessert wine (the situation has driven us to think about drinking). Snoops is obsessed with the small, food-holding box and is constantly checking it to see if we happened to leave it unlocked so she can whip herself up a sandwich and a nice, ice bag-chilled glass of wine. She’s almost as obsessed with our newly dead fridge’s temporary spot on the back deck. Which just might do the trick and get our new neighbors to crack and put up a fence first. Really, if water bottles and a months-old pumpkin AND a dead fridge don’t motivate them, I don’t know what will. Fingers crossed!

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There’s No Place Like Home

Song Lyric of the Day:

I’m Leaving Las Vegas / Lights so bright / Palm sweat, blackjack / On a Saturday night / Leaving Las Vegas

Sheryl Crow / “Leaving Las Vegas”

While at Mandalay Bay, we had a nice lunch at the House of Blues. We hit a few more hotel casinos, and ended up at Paris Las Vegas to go up on the Eiffel Tower, a half-size replica of the original in France. While up there, I got some great shots of The Strip all lit up, including a couple of shots of the Bellagio’s fountain show. We met up with Dan again and went to The Harley Davidson Cafe for a late dinner. Then it was back to the hotel for the night.

When I last updated, I was still in Vegas. Brent, Dan, and I were getting ready to go see “La Femme,” the French cabaret show at my hotel, the MGM Grand. I’m happy to report it was very tastefully done and I actually enjoyed it. Of course, the guys enjoyed it. Nice choreography and kicky French music to boot. There was even a very attractive male magician thrown in for good measure, as well as a group called “The Quiddlers,” who did a hilarious routine involving Michael Jackson and his late pet chimp, Bubbles. Sounds outdated, I know, but it was classic–one of those “you had to be there” things. The show lasted about an hour and twenty minutes total, during which time we each consumed some tasty cocktails. After, we walked right over to a hotel bar to come up with a game plan for the next day. Long story short, I drank a Cosmopolitan on top of the drink I’d had at the show, all on a relatively empty stomach. Bada bing, bada boom, next thing I know, I’m in my hotel room being fed Saltines to try and make the room stop spinning. After the guys made sure I was safely ensconced in my room, they headed home, and I watched the end of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” before falling into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Tuesday morning, Dan drove Brent and I up to Hoover Dam. Tickets were half off because the elevator down to the power plant wasn’t working. So while I got some great photos up top, I didn’t get the chance to see the inner workings of the dam. Brent and I ended up getting a souvenir photo, which entitled us to some free buttons that say “Hoover Dam Proud American.” Very patriotic.

Once Brent and I were dropped off on The Strip, we were off to explore more hotel casinos. Over the next several hours, we hit Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Luxor Las Vegas, and Excalibur Hotel/Casino, which were connected by a tram. Very handy, what with Brent’s foot being fractured.

We set off early in the morning so I could get a few more things done before I had to catch my flight. Basically, the only thing we ended up having time to do was ride the Manhattan Express Roller Coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. It was a blast and really kicked our butts. After that, it was off to the airport for the long journey home.

I slept a couple of hours on the flight to Charlotte, made the connecting flight to Newport News, and passed out again once on that plane. Once I deplaned, I called Rich to let him know I was there. Then I called Brent to let him and Dan know I got home safe. Time to start planning the next trip out there to do some of the things I didn’t have time for this time around…

It was wonderful seeing my handsome hubby’s face after 6 days away, and even more wonderful getting that first big hug welcoming me home. After some delirious recapping on my part, we got my luggage and headed home. A little more delirious recapping, and then it was time to get to bed (since it was 1:30AM at this point) and get some sleep before going to work Thursday morning.

Dreamless sleep with my husband at my side, my own pillow under my head, and my cat, Yum Yum, in my lap.

It’s great to be home.

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