Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Renovation Hell!

I am starting to rethink our decision to buy an older house and then renovate parts of it. When we bought this house we knew we wanted to renovate the master bath. That was all fine and good because our bathroom was something out of a bad Miami Vice episode. It was hideous.

Then my dear friend, Dion, came and made it worse by giving s some really great ideas of how we could utilize our space. This was bad because he gave Tom ideas. The worst best decision was to blow out the wall in the living room.

Don't get me wrong. I love that we did this but as I mentioned before, it was a freaking nightmare. I think our house is still dusty from that episode. Because the wall was plaster and concrete and some other nonsense, it caused a lot of dust. A lot of dust. It took us a week to clean it up. After that incident, I really wanted to kill someone.

But it really opened up the house and it will make a huge difference. So it was worth it, really. Unfortunately, our contractor pretty much left the both rooms undone because of other commitments and we have had to live without a living room and a finished media room for a month. Luckily, he is back. Unluckily, he is back.

He has yet to start on finishing the living room/media room. At the moment they are working on the master bathroom and the attic. The bathroom will likely take a few days and it sucks just having one bathroom. Last night, we slept in our room and had to cross the whole house to get to the guest bathroom. Let me tell you that waking up from a nice warm bed and walking down an icy hallway to an even icier bathroom is no fun.

We are having work done in the attic as well. I have no idea what the hell is going on up there, nor do I care. But this is causing me to live with an inordinate amount of banging, drilling, clanging that, frankly, harshes my mellow.

In the meantime, since our house is old, the power is going off and on because of the the equipment they are using. I can't have the house heater on because the dust gets into the vents. At one point it was so dusty, it set off the fire alarm. I am not happy about the dust because that just means I have to clean it up, once again. GRRRR

I can't have my space heater on because it will knock off the power so I am freezing and trying to work. Luckily, I can work with a lot of noise going on or else I would be more perturbed. Unluckily, I am freezing and that is making me perturbed.

I keep getting interrupted because the contractor thinks I should know every damn little detail of what is going on. I don't. Honestly, I don't care if the framing is done. I don't care less if he bought a new filter. I don't care less if he has to go buy more supplies. I don't care about it all. I just want the work done ASAP.

I am also asked questions about stuff I don't know about like should we add plywood in the attic in the corner blah blah blah. Honestly, I just zone out because frankly, I could care less. I wanted to say shove the plywood but I decided to be nice. I already made it clear that I clueless and not interested in making any decision but no listens. I keep getting asked questions while I am trying to work.

I know that when all is said and done, it will be worth it but right now as I sit freezing in my unfinished, noisy, freezing, messy house, I am not a happy camper.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

I Think I Caused an International Incident! Me, Obama and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria!

Okay, every so often I check the stats on my blog. Since my other blog, The Art of Random Willynillyness, actually makes me enough money to buy a few Starbucks a month, I spend more time there. This blog, lately, not so much. It's been tough keeping up the two blogs but I do love this one.

Anyway, I have a site that tracks my visitors and when I check the other blog's stats, I check for this one as well. The other day, I noticed quite a bit of traffic on this blog. Since only my husband, mother, mother in law and a handful of other family members and random strangers visit my site, I was intrigued.

I went into the stat counter and noticed an unusual number of visitors from Bulgaria. Yes Bulgaria. Here is a map of where Bulgaria is because I know some of you are like "Where the hell is Bulgaria?" I know you are. Admit it! Anyhow, I digress. So I see all this traffic from Bulgaria. I also see that it is coming from 3 websites in Bulgaria and all these visitors are visiting my White House Christmas card post.

Hmmm, that is super strange. So I decide I better visit these sites to what is up. What I discover is the websites are in Bulgarian. I also see my pictures on these sites. I am super duper curious now because I am wondering why my picture of the Christmas card sent to me by the Obama family is on Bulgarian websites.

I decide to visit Google Translate and see what is up. Now Google Translate is not that great but it did give me some clues. This is what I found out. Of course, I can be wrong because I can't really trust Google Translate but I am piecing this together.

It seems that the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, put a picture up on his Facebook page of the 2014 White House Christmas Card. He may have said that he got this card because he and President Obama are BFF's or something like that. (I am totally speculating here) He probably made it seem like he got a card because he is special. He may have even said it was personalized just for him. I don't know because I don't speak Bulgarian.

Well, then it seems that a few Bulgarians took issue with that and did some searching on the internets. Somehow, they came upon my website with my card from the president. I may or may not have said that I am the President's BFF as well but that is not the issue. This is not about me. Anyway, so these people found my picture and discovered that anyone can get a card from the president.

This is one translation. I took umbrage with this translation as it says even the common people get cards. WTH? I am not common people, whatever Google and Bulgarians! But yes I know I am one in a million of people who get Christmas cards from the Obamas. But at least I got one. I am up there with the PM of Bulgaria.

Anyway, so I went looking for Borisov's Facebook page because that was where the brouhaha started. But I have to friend him in order to see his pictures. I mean, I could have tried to friend him but I thought better of it. I did not want to be rejected. I was surprised he did not have a public page thought. I mean he is the PM of Bulgaria.

I also noticed that the Bulgarian Government came to my blog and was poking around. Who it was, I will never know but there were quite a few visits. It is a little creepy when you can see who is on your blog. I am sure someone will be in trouble but it won't be me.

It's quite funny that these websites took my picture and sent people to my blog to show that anyone can get a card and that the Bulgarian PM is not so special. I also translated some of the comments on those sites and many of the Bulgarians commenting were mocking the PM. I felt bad for him. But if he did post the card and claim that it was special, then he has to deal with those repercussions.

It is fascinating how someone in Bulgaria found my picture and used it in an article dissing the PM of Bulgaria. I feel a little guilty but I did nothing wrong! That is my story and I am sticking to it!

I am still getting quite a few visits per day from Bulgaria. I am hoping the NSA doesn't notice because they might think I am up to something nefarious. Which I am not!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Plumbing Sucks

This past week, we had plumbing problems. What a pain.

But it's our fault because when we moved here, we have always had problems with the shower getting clogged. It finally broke on Monday.

I was washing clothes when I heard a gurgling sound from our guest bathroom. Then all hell broke loose. We dumped Drano down the showers and other drains and it must have loosened the clog and made it worse. By the end of the day, gunk was coming up in the tubs.

Luckily, it wasn't really ooky stuff but still gunk. We called a plumber but it was already dark and we knew if he came out, we would be charged a lot.

We decided to go to a hotel for the night since we could not use the bathrooms. Luckily, I had a gift card for the Marriott Town Suites. We packed some stuff and headed out.

The next morning, the plumbers came. They discovered a huge clog. No doubt from years of no one ever checking this stuff. The previous owners were a little hands off the house. And my hair falls off in droves. So years of gunk filling up the pipes finally stopped everything.

After snaking out the pipes the plumbers could not unclog the area. So they called the people who run the water in our town. The city and county don't. I think they contracted a private company. But that was a good thing because they came out with some fancy equipment and fixed our problem. They had a snake with a camera and a metal detector.

It took 4 guys plus our 2 plumbers and Tom to figure it all out. In the end, it was fixed. And it didn't cost an arm and a leg! Now we have clean pipes!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

I'll be honest. I am such a cynic. I look around the world and am often disappointed by the people in it. That is not to say I am bitter or hateful. I am actually one of the most optimistic people I know but I always doubtful of people's intentions. That's just how I am. It's not a bad thing. I actually find it is a good thing because I take everything with a grain of salt.

That also means I have very few idols. There are very few people I truly admire. And I am smart enough to know that the people who I do admire are not always perfect or truly good. But that does not stop me from admiring people for what they have done.

One of the people I truly admire is Martin Luther King Jr. He truly changed the world and died for what he believed. When I read his writings, they changed the way I thought. His writings opened up my heart and mind and made me rethink about what I felt strongly about and what I would die for. He was not perfect and many people always bring that up. But being great does not mean perfection. It means doing great things and believing in those things you do.

I always credit Dr. King for getting me into the University of Miami. When I had to write an essay, I chose MLK Jr. as the person I would like to be for 24 hours. I chose him not for what he did but because I could not imagine having so much faith and passion to change the world. I could not imagine giving up my life for a cause.

I wrote a post about it a few years ago. Here is the link.

On this MLK day, I urge you to go watch Selma. What a wonderful movie! It captures that passion and faith that I sometimes wish I had. It also made me sad because some of those same struggles are still around now. It is amazing how much things changed and how much they also stayed the same. It made me sad. Today, some of those same prejudices and evil are still around. Today, there are still people and institutions that practice bigotry. Even after his struggle, things remain.

I wish that was not true but it is. But things have come a long way yet there is still more to be done. So here we are in 2015. Yes, we have a black president but we still have black men being killed in the streets. We still have racism and hate. I want to have faith that will change. I really do. But the cynic in me always thinks that it might not. But luckily, decades ago this man with his faith took that first step and made a difference. If we all take a step, who knows what can change.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Gonzalez Sisters - Throwback Thursday

More pics of me and my sis. This is my sister in her Catholic school uniform. She was in school 2 years before me. I am not sure how old we were in this picture but we were damn cute.

I think I was playing with Play-Doh and that is why I have the knife in my hand. Otherwise, I am not sure why I have a knife in my hand and why I am winking with a knife in my hand. Hmmmm

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cancun Trip Recap

I have been trying to get back in the groove since our vacation to Cancun. When we got home, our house was a hot mess. Then we had a whole week off where Tom was off from work so I was slacking on the blogs. Then I had to catch up on my other blog and I was being lazy.

Anyway, we had a great trip in Mexico. It was a lot of fun. We got a great deal on this hotel because it was bought by the Dreams chain and remodeled. So when we saw the offer available we definitely had to get in on it because the price was right. We had actually made our travel arrangements in August.

The resort itself was nice but because it has been remodeled, it is not as good as the resort we went to last year. There were issues and we knew about them because we were following the comments on TripAdvisor.

Luckily, we got upgraded to an oceanfront room with a balcony. But the room was just okay. The room had a loose electrical outlet. The lamps were in iffy shape and the remodel of the bathroom was shoddy at best. But the room was clean and comfortable.

There were issues with the rest of the hotel as well. One day it rained and there were leaks in the World Cafe Buffet area. There were a lot of shoddy remodel jobs in the common areas. Now that might sound horrible but it wasn't. While the resort was not up the Dreams standards, it was not bad for the price.

The food at most of the restaurants was pretty good. The resort had a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were several restaurants: French restaurant, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Surf & Turf, Moroccan restaurants. The resort also had a grill by the pool.

Our problem was that the resort allowed kids. Now I don't hate kids but when kids are present, it becomes a little louder and a little chaotic. There were two pools. One was too cold to be in because it wasn't heated. The other pool was filled with tons of people and kids.

Now I am not a beach girl. I prefer pools. But the beach at this resort was so freaking amazing that I never once went into the pool. Now you had to get up early in the morning to find chairs. But this is something we have learned when we go to resorts. Depending on the amount of guests, you sometimes have to go scope out your chairs in the morning and make it known that is your space.

We have it down to a science. We have an extra tote bag we pack. We have a book, sunscreen and sandals. Tom goes down early, gets towels and sets up or spot. Then we head out to breakfast. We leave everything that is not valuable there when we go to lunch and in the water.

Luckily, we found a spot on the beach away from almost everyone, near the bathrooms, near the bars and close enough to the beach. We were also in the shade! Since we have gotten old, we avoid the sun as much as possible. It was the perfect spot.

We also left the resort once to go shopping. But aside from that, we stayed put and enjoyed the food and the beach. It rained a few times and there was only one day when we could not really go into the water because the water was too rough. But the rest of the time, we had wonderfully lazy days.

Tom did some activities but I don't do activities. My activity was reading several Stephen King books and walking to the room and back to the beach. Overall, we had a great time. We would not go back to this particular hotel but we do love the Cancun area.

I will have a few more photos soon!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Viva Mexico!

On Christmas Day in Cancun, we woke up and, as usual, headed out to the balcony to look at the view. It was beautiful as usual but we noticed something across the water. Across the water was another resort and on top of the resort was the biggest flag I have ever seen. It was pretty amazing! I had to take a picture. When I shared it on social media, most people thought it was photoshopped. But it isn't. Look at the size of that flag!!!

I know I am slacking but I will have some more Cancan soon!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Back from Cancun and the House Remodel

We had a great vacation. Then when we got back, we were able to have a staycation. We watched a lot of movies, TV shows and hung around together and it has been great.

When we did get back, our house was in shambles with the renovations. Our contractor did not finish and we have to wait for two weeks for him to come back and do the detail work.

We do, however, love what he did. He cut through the living room wall. He also had to make sure that load bearing wall was supported. Then he took out the attic stairs in my room, added new flooring to match the old and then added stairs to the attic in the guest bedroom.

The problem is that when he cut through the wall, that created a lot of dust. And I do mean, A LOT of dust. Every room in our house was covered with a fine layer of dust. Luckily, we covered some of our things and took down the paintings and knick knacks in the living room.

But we had to vacuum every area of floor in the house. Then we had to Swiffer the floors and Swiffer Wet the floors. We had to vacuum all the blinds and carpets. We had to wash anything that was out like the bedding in the guest room. The only room that was saved was the Master Bedroom although there was some dust in there. Luckily, the closet was spared and the master bedroom was also spared.

The office was sort of clean because the door had been closed. But I had to dust there as well. And all our stuff from the living room and my room is in there as well. We spent 2-3 days cleaning up. Tom even had to go up into the attic and vacuum stuff up there because we have our winter clothes and other junk up there.

It was a nightmare because everyone knows how much I love cleaning. NOT. But at least the house was clean for the New Year. Our new year was great. I made my Prime Rib Roast and mashed potatoes. It was delish!

Our new TV room is not completed though. Floors need to be sealed. Our contractor still has to repaint. He needs to finish the bookshelves. Then we are also sealing the floors in the living room as well. Plus, now we have to figure out the configuration of the living room since the TV went away and we are bringing back our old sofa from the garage.

We were thinking that we would buy a new sectional sofa for the TV room so more than 2 people could watch TV. Then we decided that we would keep our chairs and not worry about others. This is our TV room so we will have comfy chairs for us and if others come over, they can pull in a chair or watch from the living room.

After the TV room is done (hopefully SOON), we are going into a remodel on the Master Bath. I am sure that will be hellish as well but there will not be so much dust because they do not have to cut walls. If I didn't hate our bathroom so much, I might rethink remodeling it but it is something that has to be done. We already picked out everything including vanity, mirror, faucets etc.

That was my new year. I will be posting pictures from Cancun sometime next week. So keep an eye out.