Wednesday, December 11, 2013


So , just finished reading an article in the Washington Post about Obamacare.  And it talked about something I hadn't considered.

Yes, I've considered that next year my employer might decide to ditch its employees and send all of us to the exchanges.

I've considered the more likely option that our spouses will be ditched, sending them out to the exchanges.  And because the exchanges require the reporting of total family income (even if it's just one member of the family applying) my husband wouldn't qualify for a subsidy even though he only works part time.  Unless we got a divorce.  How completely insane is that?

SO not cool.

But then I read the Washington Post article.

It's about prescription drug coverage.  And how one measure of cost cutting could come in the form of requiring the patient to pay more of the cost of "expensive" or "name brand" drugs.   Now, we do that already.  From the article:

"As the details of the benefits offered by the new health-care plans become clear, patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases also are raising concerns...
The easiest way [for insurers] to identify a core group of people that is going to cost you a lot of money is to look at the medicines they need and the easiest way to make your plan less appealing is to put limitations on these products,” Boutin said."
 Four examples listed.  I have two of those.  RA has generics that are nice and cheap.  So that's easy.  But diabetes... that's another story.  There are no generic insulins out there.  Why?  Because the FDA has yet to set standards that allow companies to make generic biologics.  Even though patents on some insulins expired over a decade ago.

I wan never a fan of Obamacare.  I like the idea of open markets with HSAs and the patient/doctor driving the treatment.   But this socialized medicine insanity just makes me sick.

For the coming year, we'll be stable.  But when the employer mandate kicks in and the folks who coordinate our health insurance benefits look at the numbers, I shudder to think what kind of hole we'll find ourselves in.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hiking to Alabama

We headed off to the mountains last weekend, and ended up hiking all the way to Alabama!  (OK, so we actually started at a trailhead that's only 2.7 miles from the state line, but who's counting?)

 The Pinhoti is definitely a favorite trail, and considering it runs from Birmingham, Alabama to Ellijay, Georgia, there's plenty of it to explore.  This trip took us up Indian Mountain.  We ended up being there just after peak color, but it was still beautiful.


Spring Branch is probably a rollicking little creek in the spring, but pretty quiet when the leaves are falling.

(We've already decided we really need to do this section again during the spring or summer - I bet it looks completely different!)



As we took a break and ate lunch at the state line, we make one critical observation.  If Georgia ever wanted to invade Alabama (or vice-versa) the trek over Indian Mountain would be a significant limiting factor in terms of troop movement.  So from a pair of impartial on-site observers, we recommend Highway 278 or Highway 411 instead.  And if you'd like a more southerly route, Interstate 20 might be worth examining.

OK, so it's not likely that we'll see state invasions in our lifetime.

But there have been other invasions of a much more insidious and secretive nature.  Yes, lady and gentleman, I'm talking about ALIENS.

And we have PROOF.

And more proof - only aliens would do THIS to trees:

Alien activities!  The trees are lined up! WOAH!!  No human in their right mind would plant hundreds of pine trees in a straight...  Wait... what?  ::whisper whisper, murmur murmur::  Really?  ::mutter mutter::  REALLY?

OK, um.  Never mind.  [Aside: who knew folks go back and plant trees in straight lines on purpose?]


 It was cool and cloudy, but all in all it was a terrific day to be in the forest!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Operation Christmas Child - How to Build a Shoebox!

OK, I know I'm not the first person to blog about Operation Christmas Child, or to talk about how to find stuff for a shoebox, or how to pack it, or ..... you get the idea.

But darn it, it's a GREAT ministry for individuals (and churches) so I wanted both of my regular readers to know all about it!

I shop mostly at WalMart and Dollar General (DG has some amazingly inexpensive toys and clothing, too!)  *IF* you start a few weeks before Collection Week, you'll be able to find plastic shoeboxes at WalMart for less than a buck.  (I waited too late last year, and ended up having to spend more because they were completely out of the cheap shoebox sized boxes!)

Like this:
A lot of folks will take fun wrapping paper and line the box (or wrap the outside).  But instead, I take a bandanna and use that as a liner.  It's fun AND useful!
Then I go on my shopping spree.  I try really hard not to spend more than $15 a box (not counting the $7 donation for shipping - more about that later).  And you know what?  You can totally stuff a shoebox for that, or even less!
This is my box for a 5-9 year old boy.  Bandanna, socks and underwear. Crayons and pencils (with a sharpener and eraser) and a notebook.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washcloth.  Fun stuff like playdoh, a ball, a car, a top, a puzzle, a stuffed critter, and a glow stick.  I put the soap and toothpaste into a plastic zippie bag.

So inexpensive!  Here's a breakdown (some of these were purchased in a pack which I then broke apart; the prices are for the individual item:
  • puzzle - $1
  • stuffed bear - $1
  • glow stick - .50
  • playdoh - .25
  • pencils - .50
  • car - .75
  • underwear - $1
  • socks - .75
  • bandanna - .50
  • shoebox. .97
  • scissors - $1.10
  • toothbrush - .75
  • toothpaste $1
  • soap - .50
  • washcloth - .50
  • notepad - .75
Oh... and the most important part.  A bag of hard candy and gum!
OCC has a great list of suggested items, along with some guidelines.  PAY ATTENTION to those.  No liquids at all.  No war items.  No used items.  No food other than hard candy and gum.

Then break out your best Tetris mojo and start packing.  It can be a challenge, but if you've shopped wisely it will all fit.
When you've got your packing done, go to the OCC webpage to donate for shipping and print out your labels.
If you do this online you can print out a label with a BARCODE!  They'll email you and tell you where your box is going!  How cool is that??!?!

You can also add a family picture or a note with your address.  Sometimes the children will send you a note in return.  That is also WAY cool.

Finally, take your stack of shoeboxes
 to the nearest collection center during National Collection Week, November 18-25. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Caveat Empor!

My mother-in-law is an amazing seamstress.  She doesn't make clothing, tho, but draperies and valances and pillows... and awesomely cute bags and purses, which she sells at a craft market once a month in Pensacola.  (I've bragged about her work here before!)

We were visiting a few weeks ago, and I fell in love with a messenger bag she'd created.  Well, I fell in love with the *style* - the fabric, not so much. ::grin::  So she said that if we could find fabric I liked, she'd make me one for Christmas.  Later that evening, we headed to her workshop and pored through her piles and piles of fabric.  I saw a couple of things I liked, but nothing really spoke to me.  So I went on an online shopping adventure, and found a fabric I adored at an online fabric wholesaler.  WOOT! 

Credit card in hand, I placed my order with abandon (I think the grand total was a whopping 15 bucks with shipping).  I waited anxiously for the material to arrive, and - voila - a few days later there lay a package on my front porch.  I eagerly pulled the fabric out... and...

Not at all what I was expecting.  At. All.  The print was HUGE - the flowers which in the online pictures looked to be an inch across were closer to 8 inches... way too big to be on a bag.  So it's in reserve in her shop, and I hope someday to find a use for it... pillows, maybe, or a valance?

So the moral of this story is - know what you're buying before you plunk down the money.  ::sigh::

I think I'll head to Fabric and Fringe this weekend!

Monday, August 26, 2013

How To Make It Rain Every Weekend

It's simple, really.  If you need it to rain in your neighborhood, plan an outdoor project that requires NO chance of rain at all.  You know, something like painting your front deck.  We purchased the Deck Over (a Behr product that smells absolutely horrible but does an amazing job on mistreated wood), the deck cleaner for our power washer, and the various disposable brushes and rollers right before the 4th of July.  Since then, it has rained Every. Single. Weekend. (Except for the one when we went out of town, and therefore couldn't have painted the deck anyway.)

 Can you tell it needs a little TLC??

So this weekend, finally, we had a forecast of decent weather.  Greg got out and power washed the deck on Friday, killing all the mold and mildew and other crap.  Then we replaced the handrails, stair treads and a few of the deck boards that were not salvagable.  Our grand plan was to paint it on Saturday!

But God has a sense of humor.  The forecast for Saturday had a 50% chance of rain.  We knew we didn't have anything that we could cover the deck with if it rained, so we decided to, once again, delay the project.

Sunday morning we headed off to church, while the local meteorologist mocked us soundly with "Zero percent chance of rain and low humidity - it's going to be a beautiful day!"  ::sigh::  There's no way we could finish that massive paint job in an afternoon.

Or so we thought....

The philosopher decided, on the way home, to see how dry the wood was on the deck.  It had been incredibly waterlogged, and even though we didn't actually get rain on Saturday we'd've never been able to paint because of that.

Dry!  By golly, it was dry!

So in our complete insanity... I mean, desire to finish the project ... we donned our grubbies after lunch and started painting at 1pm. 

Have I mentioned how much this product stinks?  And that's it's about as thick as concete?

Yeah.  That.

 But we persevered, and if I do have to say so myself it looks darned good!

(Pardon me while I slather on the muscle rub now...)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

North Georgia Adventure

We just got back from a wonderfully relaxing trip to Ellijay (in the North Georgia Mountains).


It was a beautiful weekend, and surprisingly cool for Georgia in August.

This is where we stayed:

It was perched at the top of a ridge looking down into the valley below.  Although there were plenty of other cabins nearby, you couldn't see or hear anyone else at all. 

We went hiking on the Benton Mackaye Trail on Friday - the first good hike we've gotten since last fall.  (How quickly the time flies!)

And just to prove that we were actually there, here we are at Fall Branch Falls.

The falls weren't far from the trailhead, but we hiked on past them for about 5 miles, so all told it was around a 10 mile there-and-back hike from the Fall Branch Trailhead to Scoggin's Knob... with a 1800' elevation change in the process.  (Oh, my aching calves!!)

We saw an Ent looming over the trail - he didn't introduce himself, but I'm convinced it was a relative of Quickbeam.

Lots of beautiful mountain views, too.  I'm sure in the winter the vistas are even more gorgeous!

 And then we came across... this.

 We suspect gnomes.

And I have to give props to our little Ford Focus - it really was a trooper!  Our cabin - and the trailhead - were both deep in the woods on several miles of forest-service roads.  Like this:

No, that's not the trail.  That's the ROAD!  The road up the mountain to our cabin was even more alarming, very steep and gravelly and narrow.  Thank goodness we didn't meet any SUVs coming up or down!

We ate dinner in Cherry Log (that's the town, not the restaurant) at a place called the Pink Pig.  And we headed up to Blue Ridge to Mercier Orchards, where we picked up a bag of early apples and some fried apple pies.  YUM!

All in all it was a most excellent adventure - I read several books on the porch swing, the philosopher got some writing done, and we didn't answer the phone or check email at all!  So now, I suppose, I should go check that email and listen to voicemail and get on with the rest of my week!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Archival Visit

Last week I attended a meeting that included tours of the Georgia Archives and the National Archives at Atlanta.  You might find this tidbit interesting - Georgia is the only state where the regional National Archives is next door to the state archives.  Pretty cool, huh?
(picture from the Clayton County Information site)
The National Archives is the building on the left, and the Georgia Archives is on the right.

Here's a better picture of the state archives building - you'll note it's very shiny!
(picture from the State Archivists website)
As we were touring the state archives I thought several times, "Oh, I wish I had my camera!"  We got to see the preservation and conservation rooms, plus walk through some of the not-open-to-the-public vaults.  Yes I am a librarian, and yes I am a nerd, so this was totally filled with awesomeness!

Another interesting tidbit:  this building was constructed specifically as an archive.  It's got all sorts of protective stuff built in.  The way the foundation and the supporting walls were created, if there was a flood (even of Biblical proportions), the entire vault would pop up and FLOAT before it would be breached.  I have to go all Keanu Reeves on that and say "woah, duuuude!"

We left the state building, and moved across the courtyard to the National Archives.
(photo by yours truly)

So as you'll note in that last caption, *I* took this picture.  Yeah... I'd forgotten I had my iPad tucked into my bag.  ::sigh::  But at least I had it out for pictures during the next tour!

The main lobby of the National Archives at Atlanta...

 Again, we got to go behind the scenes (and when you're a librarian in a huge archive, that's the best place to be!)
The National Archives at Atlanta is the repository for all the original draft cards from World War I.  Over 24 million of them.  The archives director Rob Richards, above, shows us one of those cards.  Wow.  They've digitized them (with the help of, I think) but of course the originals were kept. 

The NAA's primary collection focus is federal records originating in or about the seven southeastern states.  And that includes the time before the American Revolution.
Some of these bound books are admiralty manifests and records from the port of Charleston pre-1776.  And a lot of them are from ships classified as sloops.  And you know what group of folks favored sloops at that time?  Pirates.  So we have PIRATE LOGS!  Arr, me hearties!!!!!!

I don't think I can adequately describe how massive the vaults are in this place, but here's a picture I took from about *halfway* down the aisle.

And this was about halfway down the main corridor between the aisles.... and this is just one of the vaults.  They have four.

So it was a fantastic trip. I encourage you to hook up with a large group of librarians and finagle yourself a behind-the-scenes tour.  If you're nerdy like me, you definitely won't regret it!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Little Bit of Controversial Rumination

So... I'm not talking about gardens, or flowers, or hiking, or home improvement projects. Or even the most recent scrumptious meal the philosopher has created. I'm going to rant - just a little - about health care.

Back when Obamacare was about to get passed, I read an interesting article about Whole Foods Market and their approach to employee health care in the Wall Street Journal, written by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.   A couple of things caught my eye: they have two companion plans that most everyone uses: a high deductible catastrophic coverage plan plus a well-funded health savings account.  That forces employees to think hard about the choices they make when deciding on health care options.  (This article from the Harvard Business Review talks about their other health care initiatives that go along with these two main plans.)

I admit I was dubious about Obamacare, and it looks like my concerns are well-founded.  (But actually, I'm not going to rant about that, not directly, anyway.)  So I read this article today written by Walter Russell Mead, talking about the *wildly* variant pricing for the same procedures at hospitals around the country - or even hospitals in the same state!

Now, my two readers know that I have several chronic illnesses, and I do spend a good bit of time in doctors' offices and labs.  After I read the Mead article, I thought about the appointment I had this past Tuesday.  My primary care doc had referred me to a specialist due to an abnormal reading.  It turned out to be nothing - a common "blip" for women my age - but he wanted me to have a couple of baseline imaging tests done so if anything changes over the years we'll have a "normal-for-me" scan to make a comparison.

So, you might think that an HSA-plus-catastrophic-coverage plan would not be the way I'd want to go.  I benefit a lot from the free or almost free stuff I get through my conventional HMO.  Paying out-of-pocket for my several prescriptions (including insulin which doesn't have a generic equivalent - but that's a rant for another day, those darned biologics!!!) plus my every-three-month doctor visits would eat up an even well-funded HSA in a hurry.  But it would also make me think harder - and more importantly, ask my doctor more questions - about recommended tests.    Do I need both an echocardiogram AND an aortic ultrasound just to run a baseline for heart rhythms?  Do I need to see a specialist every three months for diabetes, or can my primary doc cover things unless something goes wrong?  Do I need to take a prescription drug if ibuprofen will do the same thing?

I already ask a lot of these questions, and have made decisions accordingly.  (yes, no, no)  But if I were paying out of pocket for prescriptions too, I might *also* ask: Do I need to go to a lab and pay $50 or more for an A1C test, or can I buy one of those new off-the-shelf versions for $20? Can I use a cheap glucometer, or are the name-brand ones that much better? 

So why don't more people ask these questions?  Certainly Obamacare isn't going to encourage folks to ask questions about cost.  If we give people more control over their medical dollars (with a fall-back plan for major events/issues) two things would happen.

1) People would know and understand more about their health and their health care.  They would talk to their doctor more and have more input into what happens.  And they would spend less.

2) Doctors and hospitals and labs would start to be competitive on pricing.  If someone can choose any doc they want, they're going to look for a good physician of course, but also someone who has reasonable office visit pricing. Think Angies's List, or Kudzu, or any of those other sites where people can review businesses and the service industries! We can't really use those sites now because we have to look for in-network docs, or docs affiliated with a particular hospital. If we could, we'd find a doc who got great reviews, and had pricing we're willing to pay.  If someone can choose where to buy their medicine or have labwork done, they're going to look for the lowest pricing (labs and medicines are the same wherever you go!)

All that would reduce costs.  And that would be a good thing, even if it meant that I had to kick in more dollars for my health care.  Because I think I agree with Walter Mead:

What’s becoming clearer and clearer is that the US health care system is more distorted, less transparent, more dysfunctional, and packed with more perverse incentives than most people realized. Right now, it’s about as far from a functioning market as it can be. If we fix health care, all our other policy problems get easier. If we don’t, we’re going to go totally broke in a few decades.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The "Making the Front Yard Less Scary" Project (and other news)

So what have we been up to?  Well, lots!  Not all good news, though.  The full time teaching position for the philosopher did not work out, alas.  But he has picked up two classes for the summer, and he's on the books for two classes in the fall, so we are certainly not as bad off as many people these days.  We still need to figure out where God is leading us, tho.  All we can do is wait and watch and pray.

And in the meantime...

We can dig in the dirt!

No, seriously. That's what most of our front yard is.... dirt.  Well, dirt and gi-normous tree roots.


You didn't believe me, did you?  Dirt and roots.  (Wait, can you call Georgia red clay "dirt"?  Pleh!)

The trees are swamp poplars, and have thick waxy leaves almost like a magnolia.  Which means that three of the four seasons every year it's so shady under the trees that nothing will grow.  When we moved in there was this very untidy ring of wall stones (improperly used and executed) in a huge circle around the trees.  The circle was filled with... yeah ... mostly dead leaves and trash.  So just by clearing that mess out we made it better!

But this spring, I was filled with the ardent desire to look at something nicer every time I peered through my front windows.  So I proposed taking those dreadful, poorly used wall stone to ... actually make a wall!  (I know, shocking, right?)  It's hard to tell from the photo, but the yard is pretty sloped, so by building a retaining wall at the low end we could backfill, level things out (burying some of the worst root offenders at the same time) and make enough space to do a little bit of planting.


I started with this:

We brought the original "circle" in, because that low area in front of the wall should actually get enough southern sun to support grass.   The wall is four levels high, but only for about a quarter of the length.  I half-buried the bottom level, so I'm hoping it will withstand the weight of fill and water down the road!

A week or so later, I conned... I mean, I convinced the philosopher to go fetch dirt with me!  A load of fill and a load of topsoil later and we have this:

 Plus I added the edging all the way around.  And I *refused* to make it a circle.  (The philosopher has taken to calling it the front yard amoeba... I'm not sure how happy that makes me, but at least it isn't a circle!)

This past weekend, I took my grandma's hostas (which you can see stuffed into the big pots in the picture above) and divided them, putting some in the new bed right by the wall and leaving one in each of the pots.  (I also have lots of babies that I'm hoping to keep alive long enough to deliver to their new homes!)  

I also had a bunch of heucheras (coral bells) that I transplanted, creating a pretty shade bed!

 Our next step is to lay down landscape fabric over the rest of the amoeba's interior (now look - I'm doing it too!) and add a layer of mulch.  That will tidy up the roots, and if I can talk the philosopher into it, I want to add a bench for a nice peaceful shady spot!

This fall, when it's time to plant grass, we're going to go get another load of topsoil, a bag of Atlanta Blend fescue mix, and some erosion mats.  Then we'll see, this time next year, if our hard labors pay off!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The March wind doth blow....

Wow.  Looks like life (again) got in the way of blogging.  ::heh::  So, what's been going on since mid-February? 

The philosopher and I have been busy with projects, including finishing up the foyer project. (What?  You thought I was just joking when I said we'd finish during spring break?)

So, anyway, here's the final result:

Looks a little better than before, right?  And now we can even open the front door all the way!  (Yes, the door used to hit the newel post....)  Have I mentioned how proud I am of the philosopher and his DIY skills?

We also dug our second raised bed garden (or third, if you count the herb bed too) and just recently I got onions, sweet peas, and spinach planted.  This weekend, if the weather holds out, I'll be planting kale and lettuce!

Our back yard is pretty sloped, so we went with a long, narrow bed this time:

 Yummy yummy - can't wait until harvest time!

There's really no other interesting news.  The philosopher had a phone interview, and we're praying hard for an on-campus interview.  (The signs seem promising, but you never know.) 

So we wait more-or-less patiently for the signs of spring to start warming things up, and then the house projects will really start taking off.  This summer we're hoping to use a special paint on our decking to avoid the expense of having to redo the whole mess.  We've also got some more crown molding to rip down and reinstall properly, along with some more painting.

But spring always brings dreams of house projects, even though the summer heat saps the energy we need to do anything.  So who knows what will actually get done!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February Jobs Updates

Blessed Ash Wednesday!  Or as the philosopher likes to say, "Have a suitably penitential Lent!"

Yeah, so Ash Wednesday is February 13 this year.  Tomorrow is the day of chocolates and roses (not that I usually get either - I prefer live plants and a home-cooked meal!)  But it's been a busy six weeks since my last post... holy moley!


The campus library where I work is *almost* done.  It's been two years in process, and now I'm just waiting for the computers to be installed.  Maybe even as soon as next week I'll be able to throw open the doors and welcome the students! 

This is what it looked like just before Christmas:

This is what it looks like now:

WOW!!!!!!!  Ok, yeah, I am super pumped and excited.  ::grin::

So what else is going on?  Well, a job has posted at a (local-ish) university where the philosopher would dearly love to work.  It's a great fit, teaching logic and critical thinking.  He's got someone on the inside singing his praises.  This someone also helped design the curriculum which prompted the need for this new position.  I know higher ed is a nightmare for jobs.  They're hard to find and harder to get.  Trust me, I know.  How many jobs have I seen the philosopher apply for, only to be rejected?  If he is meant to be a professor, this is it.  This is the job he need to have. It's a great Christian school and everything that can be is in his favor. 

So I'm praying, and praying hard.  Trying not to pray for our wills, but God's will.  But it can't be wrong to still hope (and pray, yes) that this really is where God wants him.  So if you're so inclined, would you pray with us?  That's my Lenten discipline this year - to pray, and pray hard, and pray focused - for the man I've been married to for nearly nineteen years and who remains the love of my life.  I'm praying for a job, and if that door closes I'm praying for peace, and guidance, and a renewed sense of purpose.

So Blessed Lent, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A December DIY Project

So, I've got lots of pictures from the work we did this break.  Those of you who've been to our house probably remember the wretched foyer.  You come in the front door, and are immediately forced into an up or down decision.  Down leads to the philosopher's study, and the laundry room, and storage, and the garage.  Up leads to the main floor of the house.  Both sets of stairs had cheap crappy carpet on them.  Like this:

 (looking down from the landing of the main floor)

You can see that the landing is really beat up.  What you *can't* see is how scratched and dinged the banister is.  Yuck.

So we stripped off the carpet, and ripped out the old, damaged hardwood.  We discovered the treads underneath the carpet were simply 2x10s.  Yeah.  Treads are supposed to be 11 inches deep.  ::sigh::

Over the course of two days I stained and polyurethaned all the new oak treads we purchased, and painted the new risers a lovely white to match the rest of our trim in the house.


The philosopher pulled out his sledgehammer and proceeded to dismantle the whole shebang, right down to the stringers!


Did I mention that this staircase is the only way to get to the basement without going out onto the back deck, walking around the outside of the house and coming in through the garage?  Yeah.  And did I mention that the storage room in the basement serves as our storage for most of our kitchen stuff?  Yeah.  And did I mention that the day we ripped out the stairs was cold and rainy?  So there was that.

But actually, we moved pretty quickly because we'd done so much prep in advance.  Just a few hours later we were here:

You'll notice the landing already looks better, right?  To give us a nice level floor we covered the old OSB with a sheet of luan plywood before topping it with a new laminate.

By bedtime we were finished - well, at least with the staircase. 

The banister?  Welllll...... that's another story.  It started when we removed the newel post and the half-newel and decided to sand them down and restain them.

Before                   and                  After

(If you look carefully at the after, doesn't the top look a little like the Eye of Sauron?  I hope that doesn't mean anything....)

And I have to say how proud I am of the philosopher.  We needed a stairnose to connect to the laminate for the down-stairs bit.  The stuff Pergo wanted to sell us was obscenely expensive, so G took a chunk of oak and routed a beautiful stairnose for the landing going down.  It looks better than the one we could have paid $60 bucks for!

If you zoom in, it's the bit right by G's arm, just at the edge.  So when you come up the stairs from the basement, you see this lovely bit that matches perfectly with the edges of all our new treads.  Yay for the philosopher handyman!

And here's a look up from the front door:


Erm... what?  A handrail, you ask? 

Well... that's yet another story.  We actually have the handrail installed, but no shoerail (the part that attaches to the whiteboard) and no balusters.  That's because the big box store didn't get our special order shoerail in time.  It's supposed to come in today, but there's a day of staining before it can be installed, then a day of polying the whole mess, then another day of installing the lovely white balusters.

So I'm thinking y'all will get another post with the "after" pics.

How does Spring Break sound???