Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kicks, Jumps, and Twirls

Last night, I remarked that our laundry room looks like it belongs to an athlete. There were several sets of jerseys and shorts hanging to dry. The reason that it looks like an athlete lives here is because he does! I've said it before, but I am still amazed that Young Man is coordinated and athletic. I do hope that he inherited Mr. Engineer's knees along with his eyesight.

This spring, Young Man has joined the soccer team at his school. They play intramural games with other small private schools in the county. This is his first year on a soccer team and we are all very impressed. He plays defense because he really has that gift for stopping other players from scoring. I have been lucky enough to juggle my schedule until I could attend two of his games. On Tuesday, the team played their third match and tied it at 3-3. Today, they won 8-0!

He brings the same intensity to soccer that he brings to lacrosse. It is amazing to watch and more than a little surprising to people who know that he hasn't played soccer before.

Okay, so where are the twirls? Well, I needed to come down slowly after sewing all those costumes. One cannot just go cold turkey, you know. Young Man's cousin loves twirly skirts and dresses and it will be spring in her part of the country some day soon. It was time for a sundress!

Pattern: McCalls 5572

Fabric: A fun seersucker from JoAnns

Notes: Definitely not a beginner pattern, but it was not that difficult. I modified several things. Some were accidental (size 7 and up was supposed to have a 9-inch zipper, not a 7-inch) and some were on purpose. I detest hand sewing (it gives me tendonitis flares) so I add a bit of extra topstitching.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Head to Toes

More finished items! Today was also a soccer day, but those pictures (all 576 of them - eep) are still in the camera awaiting download and edit time.

Project: Noro Striped Scarf, by Jared

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, colors 234 and 47 (2 skeins each)

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)

Notes: It took me two tries to find a color scheme that I liked (and I'm still not too keen on that tan on grey section in the middle), but the final version is very nice. I suspect that my main problem was that I wasn't bold enough in my choices. I have some very nice Silk Garden in my stash that I didn't want to use, but it would have been wonderful in this project. I used a tubular cast on and cast off for this and I cast off while watching (and photographing) the last regular game of the last lacrosse season. It was quite the challenge to alternate working the tapestry needle and the camera. I perservered and the result pleases me. It also kept me warm during that chilly game and the even colder playoff game that night.

Project: Step Socks, by me

Yarn: Austermann Step

Needles: US1 (2.25 mm) dpns

Notes: I do love this yarn. My really local LYS had this colorway that I hadn't seen before and I thought how great it would look with jeans. I did a 10 x 2 x 2-twist x 2 pattern that was easy yet spiffed up the striped yarn. I think they might be a little short so they may end up being gifts for a friend or maybe I need to rip back the toes and add a few rows.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Knitting? Oh, Yes, We Have That!

I did promise finished objects and I aim to deliver. Today, this tale of woe and redemption is all about the babies. One of my nieces just had a baby and I had an urge to knit a hat and a sweater for her new daughter. I wandered through a LYS and found a new (to me) yarn called Jeannee and found a delightful shade of lavender. I don't really do pink (even though my phone is hot pink) and I detest yellow, so lavender seemed a good pick. I blogged earlier with the finished hat, but then ripped it back a bit and made it larger. Unfortunately, I didn't buy quite enough yarn for the hat and the sweater, so I went back and bought more. I finished the knitting and seaming in February, but didn't manage to get the buttons on until yesterday.

Project: Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater, by Carole Barenys

Yarn: Jeannee by Plymouth (Cotton/Acrylic blend)
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm)
Notes: This is an easy pattern, but do pay attention. I seem to recall that I had to rip back a few times when I lost track of where I was. Still, a little confusion is worth it to avoid those seams! This yarn is really nice to work with and the end result feels nice and soft.

The really funny thing about this project is that my estimation skills are just plain wonky. I not only bought enough yarn to finish the sweater, I realized that I had enough for another sweater and hat. So I made another hat and cast on for Trellis. Some of you may remember what happened next. Yes, I was again short on yarn and needed more. Sadly, the store seemed to be out. Weeks passed while I sewed costumes and the little sweater languished, neglected, in my craft room. Finally, I made another break for the LYS and they had more yarn! I bought two skeins. No more!

Pattern: Trellis, by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff

Needles: US7 (4.5mm)

Yarn: Jeannee by Plymouth
Notes: Okay, for someone like me who hates seams, this pattern could have been a nightmare. For a tiny sweater (12 month size), there are miles of seams! Okay, I exaggerate, but I spent quite a bit of quality time with my tapestry needle. There also was the challenge of kitchnering cabled shoulders and a seed stitch collar. Don't forget that most favorite instruction that had me knitting the collar halves to fit the neck edge and then seaming. Ack! Still, I fell in love with this pattern when I first saw it and it was a nice challenge.

Can you guess the ending of today's tale? Yes, I have one skein that hasn't been touched. I could return it or I could get more...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It Was a Great Night of Lacrosse

The evening started off with new shorts and some intensive coaching by the head coach. It was still very hot, but the boys listened intently and proved later that they were paying attention. The parents were the only ones who got any shade for this first game. We were warm, but could only imagine what the boys were dealing with out in the sun.

Even with the heat, the boys showed lots of hustle. Young Man was on his game and showing his stuff with his new long pole. Defense was name of the game during this match. The opposing team was good, very good. Our boys just didn't let them get too close to the goal. The final score was 5-0, but that score really didn't tell how hard Young Man's team had to work for that score.

After the first game, the boys stripped off their soggy jerseys and the hoard wandered over to the parents' side of the field to forage. The parents are all experienced and were able to handle the hungry swarm. We had water, oranges (some of those 25 lbs. that Young Man had carried earlier), watermelon, grapes, granola bars, and chocolate filled Joe-Joes. The boys headed back to their side of the field ready for play.

It was a bit cooler for the second game, but our boys were still hot and tired. This opposing team was fresh and quite a bit bigger on average than the first team. There were some amazing plays including one where #13 came out of no where to scoop up a dropped ball and flip it into the goal. At the half, it was a tie game, 2-2. The third quarter was a battle of defense as no one scored.

The fourth quarter included even exciting plays and one that had all the parents shaking their heads as we didn't even see the boys gain possession after the face-off, yet they kept the ball moving to the goal until they scored. We watched one boy pour on the speed late in the game and we all wondered where he managed draw that from. With under five minutes to go in the game, our boys lead 4-3 and the parents were on their feet cheering. Still the heat and the intensity of playing two hard games was too much. The opposing team made two quick goals in the last two minutes and left the final score 4-5.

It was a great game to watch and all the boys could be proud of their effort. These two teams will face off again in about a month and both teams will be fresh for that match. It should be another exciting game.

Heads up: This next week will feature a parade of finished items!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Running Tired

It was a very long and exciting day. We started out with a trip to pick out frames for Mr. Engineer's new glasses (that's two pair, to be precise). The second stop was far more fun. We went to the Irvine Farmer's Market and came home with all sorts of lovely things including leeks, strawberries, and 25 lbs. of oranges. Young Man was thrilled to carry the oranges all the way to the van! All that speed and endurance training seems to be paying off.

After a quiet afternoon, Young Man and I went off to the lacrosse field. Mr. Engineer wasn't feeling well so he missed two very exciting games. I'll save the details for tomorrow, but there was one win and one loss that wasn't a loss at all.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Lists

1. I'm so glad that Teresa and Margene gave me this great idea.
2. You see, you just make a list instead of a post.
3. Genius, no?
4. Okay, so I am really happy that the wonderful people at the sports park have triumphed over the nasty thieves.
5. Yes, we will only have to drive 15 minutes to the field instead of 40+.
6. This is good because we will be really tired by the time we drive home.
7. Actually, Young Man will be the one who is really tired.
8. He has not one, but two games on Saturday evening.
9. Back-to-back games (5:30 and 7:00) should be interesting.
10. At least, it should have cooled off by 5:30.
11. Oh, any of you reading this in a climate where winter doesn't want to let go may not want to read #12.
12. It is supposed to reach 90°F (32°C) here tomorrow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Springing

Well, here where I live, Spring is sprung–weeks early, even. Our lilac bush looks like it will have flowers by this time next week instead of in the middle of May as usual. The dogwood trees, the magnolia trees–all the flowering trees are flowering. The daffodils and crocuses are, if anything, starting to fade. It may only be April 24th but it is very definitely Spring and, allergies notwithstanding, I’m happy to welcome the change of season. What I want to know, is:

Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?
Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?

Out here in the land of sun and surf, it can be difficult to tell when it is spring. We do have some clues. The children all get restless (at least the ones who aren't in year-round school). On our street we get flocks of green parrots that move from tree to tree as they bud. Something about our sycamore trees drives the parrots wild. They make a HUGE mess all over the sidewalks and cars. Otherwise, we seem to move directly from rainy, cloudy winter to hot, sunny summer.

I don't really notice a difference in the types of books that I read during this time of the year, but I do notice that I find it more difficult to stick to one book. I very much want to open the covers on several books lined up waiting for my attention. Still, I feel I need to finish up my book club book, The Gathering, and I am enjoying Team of Rivals. Oh, but Fly by Night is calling to me!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And The Wizard Says...

blog readability test

You see, we went off to see the wizard tonight, and well, this is the best I could come up with. The play was wonderful. The munchins (JK through 2nd grade) were adorable, Toto (a 3rd grader) was way too cute. Glinda and Dorothy were amazing. All the kids worked so hard on this. Even Young Man who hates the limelight did very well. He ended up near the front of the stage for one number and we were quite impressed with his dancing. All in all, it was a very nice night for the kids and their parents.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Meme - Spring Cleaning

From That's My Answer: Yesterday I scrubbed the floors, by hand, on my knees. I can’t wait to hire a cleaning service, as I’m a neat freak, but it seems that I have to be neat for my entire household — something that it’s starting to be nearly impossible with work, grad school, and oh, there’s this little thing called free time too.
When is the last time you cleaned your home? Would you ever hire a cleaning service?

How timely! I cleaned my house (okay, I didn't scrub floors) this weekend! The house was a disaster after a month of sewing. I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning my craft room and the drifts of fabric that had extended out into the family room. On Sunday I actually vacuumed and dusted while Mr. Engineer took Young Man out to shop for a new long pole. There is still more cleaning to be done, but the house looks much better.

As for cleaning services, we did have a housecleaner for a time when Young Man was a toddler. That was really nice. At this point we aren't keeping the house neat enough for a housecleaner! The drifts of Legos make it difficult to clean. Yes, yes, the yarn and fabric bits don't help either.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Game Goes On

Neither chill, nor darkness, nor copper thieves could stop the games this weekend. All the games that were scheduled at our local sports park were rescheduled to other fields at different times. The most challenging part of the rescheduling was moving night games to fields without lights. Our 8:30 p.m. game became a 6:30 p.m. game with a running clock and very short breaks. This means that the clock didn't stop during substitutions or for much of anything. Halftime was only about three minutes long because darkness came on quickly on a cloudy day.

Starting early meant that I was able to get some pictures (okay, over 200, I like to click). I even got shots of a few of our goals. The boys came on strong. The opposing team was good and had a very good defense. Still, our boys stayed patient and showed some excellent passing and teamwork. It was a joy to see. The final score was 5-2 and Young Man had another great game on defense. Afterwards we looked at how beat up his long pole is and Mr. Engineer took him to Monkey Sports to get a new one on Sunday. Something tells me that he will put it to good use next weekend.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Only the Skies are Cloudy

It is a cloudy Saturday, but we are all smiles in this house. All four of the modified costume pieces are finished and delivered in time for a dress rehearsal. It's so fun to surprise a harried director by delivering things before she expects them. Young Man even agreed to pose for photos and hammed it up a little.

We have evil trees (the trees also have leafy hats, but I didn't make those).

We have very cool Guardians of the Gate.

Of course we have flying monkeys!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Friday List

1. I was very happy wearing my new sweater that is covered in birds. That may sound gaudy, but I think it is nice. It is certainly not something I can wear every week, but it was a nice spring pickup.

2. Only four costume pieces needed updates after today's dress rehearsal. This made me extremely happy.

3. That three of the four pieces needed updates because they were "scratchy" makes me less happy because that is such a difficult thing to fix. I am adding linings to several things that were never intended to be lined. Two of these are purchased items and retrofitting linings has been tricky. I will succeed. Shoot, the biggest one (Glinda's dress) is already finished.

4. If I get to costuming right away in the morning, I will be able to drop all the updates off at the theater during the main cast dress rehearsal. Yay!

5. Tomorrow we return to lacrosse after a weekend off. This will be good.

6. Tomorrow we have to drive to south county for our game because some conscience-challenged people removed the copper wiring from the lighting system at the sports park. No lights = no night games. In fact, the entire park is closed while it is investigated and repaired. Is it cruel to hope that the thieves received some shocks during their actions? Nothing lethal, just a little therapy.

7. I am going to try to think more charitable thoughts now.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Vocabulary

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

Yet again, my answer is, "It depends." If I think the word/phrase is close to something that I know, I will continue reading to see if the context makes it more clear. If the word/phrase is critical to the story, I will stop and look it up, but that is very unusual. More likely, it will come to me much later when I am near a computer or dictionary and then I will look it up to confirm my earlier suspicions. I rarely stop reading to look things up unless I am doing technical reading and want to make sure I understand every nuance. For recreational reading, I am far less likely to check.

In other news, check out the post totals! Yes, with this post (and with every other post this year) I set a new record for number of posts in a single year. This feels pretty good. And now, I am going to celebrate by kitchnering a sock toe and casting on for that last Trellis sleeve (yes, I went to the Yarn Lady and picked up more yarn).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Day is Dawning

Done. Finished. Complete. Those are my very favorite words. At 10:00 p.m. PDT, I finished the last costume modification. All the trees are finished, Glinda won't trip over her gown. I did it! Now if I can just get Young Man to pose for a few photos...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008


It is still costume central here. The first full dress rehearsal is on Friday. I have cut out all six trees and fully sewn two of them. I started adding fabric paint (squiggles, really) to simulate bark and then need to add some leaves at the wrists. Then I need to hem the Good Witch's dress so she doesn't trip. The director also wants a fur vest for the Cowardly Lion and one jacket needs some work. Then we will be FINISHED. It is hard to believe, but six Guardians, 19 monkeys, a Wicked Witch, a Tin Man, a Scarecrow, two Crows, the Munchkins, and six Poppies are ready to go. I still need to do something for Young Man to add to his citizen of Oz costume, but that can wait until the trees are finished. The performances are on Tuesday and Wednesday and, best of all, I don't have to go to JoAnns again! Don't get me wrong, I like JoAnns, but I am getting really tired of going there twice each weekend.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Curl Up With a Book Sunday

Today's book isn't your typical curling up book, but I have been in an odd mood lately. Once upon a time, I was an Engineering Manager. Compared to my predecessor in that position, I did pretty well. Of course, he left the bar pretty low. By my standards, I don't think I did very well. I did learn a lot in that position. That's what happens when you volunteer for something for which you aren't ready and know far less about than you realize. Unfortunately for the people who worked for me, I learned most of my lessons by doing things wrong. I don't think I ever repeated a mistake, but I sure made some doozies. I am still surprised when I pass some engineers in the hall and they are able to say a courteous greeting and pass by without spitting on me. Okay, so I probably wasn't that bad, but I know I could have been much better.

After leaving that position, I have actively avoided any managerial responsibility. The teams that I have lead were always small and the people in them the sort who needed very little leading and mostly needed me to run interference so that they could go along and do the jobs at which they were expert. Now I find that there are a great many teams who need good leaders and I feel that it is again time to step up and take more responsibility. It is also time to apply those lessons that I think I learned. To help me on this quest, I have been devouring management and communications books. Some are good, some mediocre, and some, well, a waste of paper. Today's book was pretty good.

The most recent management/leadership book that I finished was Winning, by Jack and Suzy Welch. This is an easy read for a management tome. The points are clear and illustrated by concrete examples. Obviously, Jack Welch's style isn't for everyone. I don't think I have the killer driver instinct that he has, but there are gems in there for all managers. One of the pitfalls that we had more of when I was last managing were people Jack terms "sliders." These are the folks who did some good work once or twice, but pretty much just show up for the paycheck now. I really don't want to be considered a slider. With all the staff changes that we have undergone in my company, there aren't many sliders around. Jack is spot on when he notes that they are poison to a team. Everyone in a team needs to contribute and needs to be committed to the team. Most of Jack's advice is for people a bit higher on the food chain than me, but that doesn't mean that I can't adopt some of the gems.

Next up I think will be a book on communications or maybe generational workplace issues.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Sky With Moon

No lacrosse for us this weekend. There is an out of town tournament for the 8th grade team and many others in the league, so all league games are rescheduled. This is all just as well because it is beastly hot and I am on the homestretch of costumes. Young Man paid me the highest compliments possible from a 10 year old. He said that the logo I put on one costume was "cool" and that he would even wear that costume. He has even said that he might allow himself to be photographed in the final costumes!

Friday, April 11, 2008

How Odd

Yellow is my least favorite color. I detest Yellow. Still...

Your Psyche is Yellow

You have a ton of energy - both physical and mental endurance.

You are rational and logical, and you can help almost anyone think clearly.

Optimistic and bright, you also have a secret side that's a little darker.

When you are too yellow: You will do anything to get your way, and no one will be the wiser

When you don't have enough yellow: you lack confidence, drive, and humor

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Writing Challenge

Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
Turn to page 123.
What is the first sentence on the page?
The last sentence on the page?
Now . . . connect them together….(And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)

Lee Scoresby sensed that the little community was glad to have a visitor, if only because he introduced a change of conversation. However, this visitor also introduced a mystery. He seemed to arrive as if by magic and knew much about the university and the work that went on there. Many wondered how he could be so well-versed in their obscure branch of theoretical psychorobotic physics when he had never before visited or corresponded with any of the scientists in residence. Dr. Zorbotsky cornered Lee and said, "I mean, no one had known him as a student or seen any of his previous work...."

- first and last sentences from The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman, and graciously loaned out by Young Man while he completed his homework.

Oooo! How fun! I really do look forward to Thursdays.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pick Myself Up, Dust Myself Off

Okay, I missed a day. I didn't mean to. Still, I don't have the good excuse that I had near the beginning of the year. There were no storms outside. Okay, there was a storm inside. The reason for not blogging was simple. We started our taxes last night and TurboTax is installed on my computer. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Actually, I don't mind doing taxes. Stop laughing. I really don't. I guess it is all those years of doing the books on the family farm or those two years of accounting in high school, but I rather enjoy figuring it all out and TurboTax makes even the daunting California 540 (relatively) painless.

The problem with the taxes last night was that I was not doing them. Mr. Engineer has decided that he needs to take a more active role in the family financial record keeping. He also couldn't wait until I finished the Oz costumes to get going. I will spare you the details, but it was a very challenging evening at Chez Engineer. We didn't even finish the income portion and no one touched the file tonight. It will all be finished before the 15th, but we might need more wine. We are also dangerously low on Thin Mints.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Three Random Things for Sunday

From That's My Answer with prompting from Teresa:

My mother has taught me that I must vacuum the house daily, I was not born in a barn and therefore must remember to shut the front door behind me, and that if I want nice skin I have to wash my face twice a day. What three random things has your mother taught you?

1. You can always go back to school.

2. Just because you don't have a pattern for something doesn't mean you can't make it (this one has been very dear to my heart and sewing machine lately).

3. Just because you don't react to poison ivy this year doesn't mean that you won't react next year.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

It's a Whole New Season

We are back into lacrosse for our first spring season. Unfortunately, the pictures this season will be few and far between. To enable as many players as possible to participate, all of our games save one this season will be night games. This way the boys who are in both baseball and lacrosse can play both sports. Young Man loves playing under the lights, but the camera doesn't. The boys did their warm up before it got dark.

They also got their brand new jerseys. Anyone want to guess how long they stay white?

The game itself was a whole new experience. This team is considered an elite team and we see why. The intensity is up many notches from the winter season. Even the parents who had boys on the local middle school club team noted that this was more intense. The coaches are really good and they had the boys running plays and making passes. Considering that the boys only had one practice before this game and less than half the team attended, we weren't really expecting much. About half the team played together over the winter season so the players really weren't even used to each other. For the first several minutes, the defense didn't even have anything to do! Our attack and midfielders kept the ball near the opposing team's goal. It did take a while for the boys to get together and score, but they managed to put up an early lead.
Still, the surprises were only beginning. Young Man surprised us all when he came on the field with his long pole playing midfield. Whoa! We didn't even know that they were going to play long stick middies! His very first play was to get on his man and force a turnover. Several parents looked up in surprise. Where did that little guy come from?! Young Man kept it up and ran on and off the field at his coaches' direction. All the players came together and played well enough to finish off their first game of the season with a 9-3 win! After the game, their coach brought them back to earth reminding them that they really need to practice their ball handling and passing. As one coach put it, "A pretty goal is one with an assist."
The next game is in two weeks. Between now and then, the boys have two speed and endurance training sessions and lots of time to practice on their own. This should be a very interesting season!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Costumes Make For a Very Dull Blog

I come home, I sew, I crash. Not much blog fodder there.

Friday Fill In:
1. Tonight I saw Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
2. "Maggie Don't Two-Step" makes me wanna dance!
3. Splitting a few appetizers between friends is a great way to cut calories and try new things.
4. The mom of one of Young Man's lacrosse teammates is someone I'd like to get to know better.
5. The smell of tangerine blossoms reminds me so much of springtime!
6. The restaurant we ate at tonight didn't have decent beer, but they had a drinkable merlot and that made it all better.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep, tomorrow my plans include sewing and a lacrosse game, and Sunday, I want to shop at a CAbI party!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Lit-Ra-Chur

- When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
- Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

When I think of literature, I think of the books that Barnes & Noble includes in their Classics line. I know that there are other works of fine literature that are not in that line, but that is what comes to mind. Most of these books only hit my nightstand when they are chosen for our Classics month (February), but I do have a few lined up to read on my own. Jane Austen books are literature in my definition and I definitely read those for pleasure. Tolstoy? Hmmm. Maybe not. That goes on the someday list, but I don't really know when someday will arrive.

Sandy gave me a link that explains why I sometimes think that I might be invisible:
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Flying Monkey Edition

These are six flying monkey vest kits and one completed flying monkey hat. Only 2 more flying monkeys need to be cut out and then 11 vests for the non-flying monkeys. First I need more (!) fabric. I am particularly happy that I found the pattern I used last year for red and white knights that I can now use for guardians of the gate.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Things You'd Fix in Your Home (if you had the time and money)

Ack! Only 10? Our house was purchased, um, 17 1/2 years ago as a fixer upper with lots of potential. Well, the potential is still there. Some things have been fixed. More things need to be fixed.

1. New carpet in living room. This stuff was old when we moved in and it is still on the floor! We once had a cat who could hide in the middle of the living room floor. She was the same color and pattern as the carpet.

2. Tile or wood in the entry way and family room. That carpet is even nastier than the living room. The problem here is two-fold. First, we haven't finished painting the family room (stop laughing, I am quite aware of how long ago it was that I posted that photo of the ladder in that room where I was going to finish the mudding and patching). Second, we can't agree on which to put in. We really don't want carpet in the entry. The problem is that Mr. Engineer and now Young Man both like to sit on the living room floor and read the paper or do homework with the papers on the entry floor. It is our only step. Hardwood or tile will not be nearly as comfortable as carpet.

3. New kitchen cabinets. Again, more than one problem here. The current cabinets are original 1968 vintage and were never cared for before we arrived. The hassle of clearing out the kitchen for the rework is only a small problem. The bigger problems are (again) picking a style and resigning ourselves to the fact that we will need custom cabinets or we won't be happy. We also like the current layout.

4. New front door. We actually know which one we want for this one! We just need to order it, paint it (another decision, oh, no!) and install it.

5. New cabinets and vanities in both bathrooms. I suppose I could count this as two separate items, but I won't. One of our fears with this one has been put to rest. We were afraid to find out what was behind our cabinets. We feared that termites had eaten out the studs. When Mr. Engineer broke a pipe in the wall changing our shower head, we found that the walls are sound!

6. New flooring in both bathrooms (more decisions).

7. New cooktop. This goes along with the new cabinets. What is truly pathetic is that the new cooktop is already in the house. It is stored under our bed. The problem is that it is smaller than the current cooktop so installing it means new counters and that means new cabinets (see item 3 for that can of worms).

8. New oven. Again with the kitchen! Once again, we can't decide what we want and the choices that seem clever are so expensive. If we had done this 10 years ago we wouldn't have to worry about the oven door falling off every time we open it.

9. New patio furniture in the back yard. This one sounds so simple. All we have to do is go buy something, right? Right. Let us go to the biggie, the main event, the thing above all things that we want to fix, item 10.

10. New sun room!!! We were really going to do this. We had the styles and colors and builder all picked and had even signed a contract when we went to check on permits. Six months before we made up our minds our city had changed the codes. All enclosed areas have to be set back at least 20 feet from the back fence and total enclosed area of home cannot exceed 39% of the lot size. That would leave us with a room two feet deep and eight feet wide (and we still might not squeeze it in the percentage allotment. I know that this code change was made in response to the people who build non-residential additions and then rent them out. I know it is a measure to prevent overcrowding. I don't care! I still want my sun room! We will probably have to go with just a patio cover (that can be closer to the back wall). It's a poor second. For now, the back patio is completely bare and Young Man uses it to run down lacrosse balls as he uses the side wall as a backstop.