I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


30 June 2009

Clean Floors Finally

I am so excited. It was amazing last night to what a difference a bit of sanding can make. I can’t wait to come home to a house that feels new, fresh, and clean after vacation. I haven’t had clean floors since I lived at my parents. How sad is that! Almost 10 years of icky floors. First it was nasty shag carpet, linoleum, then wood but it was in desperate need of refinishing so never felt clean. Here is a photo recap. The floors looked like this in the kitchen:

Nasty! And I am such a stellar painter that I managed to get black on them to compound the nastiness. The formal living and dinning room looked like this:

Not horrible but not good. Just never felt clean and as you can see in this close up they were ridged from water damage so not smooth either.

The entry was also very gross.

Upstairs was better but still not good. The casual living room looked like this

And the patch job from where I assume a wall divided the room into two was blaringly obvious

The master bedroom was probably in the best shape and initial glance not bad

But upon further inspection really not pretty.

So after a loooong weekend (thanks Justin for all the help!!) of tearing up linoleum (five layers in this entry)

And all the oak flooring downstairs (it was in bad condition and had pine underneath so the floor guy recommended refinishing the pine not oak. Who puts wood on top of wood!)

And pulling more nails than I ever imagined the floors were ready for the professionals. After just a few hours of sanding the change was amazing. Here is a close up of the wood:

Looks fresh, clean, and new. The formal living room downstairs

The entry was a huge improvement

And the upstairs casual living area looks great

As does the bedroom

I am super excited to see what is complete today when I get home from work!! It's definitely going to be worth sleeping on the sun porch for the rest of the week.

26 June 2009

Fathers Day Dinner at Jack Binions

Jack Binions at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs far exceed all expectations. It was perfect, we even had our own private dinning room. The service was amazing, the decor opulent, the food exceptional, the company superb. We had a great Father’s Day dinner. Of course my poor dad is the only one who was unhappy with his meal, isn’t that how it always works! To compensate the staff removed the cost of his meal and gave us a free bottle of wine. Score. Of course our start treatment probably stemmed from the fact that my wonderful little (middle) brother Erik is the manager!

Thanks Erik! Everyone that lives in this area should give it a try, you will not be disappointed. It really was not that expensive and a true dinning experience.

25 June 2009

Germany & Denmark in one week!

My passport arrived last night!! Huge relief as I was quite nervous. Even the express service was 2-3 weeks (I had less than 2). It’s weird to have a totally blank passport – not a single stamp! A clean travel slate or an excuse to start traveling again? I want to fill it up with stamps. (Something tells me the old passport will surface at some point.)

Its crunch time to book hotels, Euro rail passes, and plan itineraries. Anyone have any travel tips or places not to miss in Germany or Denmark. Main cities we plan to visit are Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, possibly Munich, Totengaren (Belgium), and Copenhagen.

24 June 2009

In Bloom

All the crazy rain showers might not be good for my tan but they are definitely great for my yard. It’s so fun to have a yard again, not just concrete! Oddly enough I will gladly spend all day out in the blazing sun mowing, pulling weeds, planting. Yet I pay someone to clean my house as I hate it that badly. So far I’ve only made minor cosmetic changes to the backyard as I am waiting on the landscaping (new tiers, new retaining walls, etc…). As of next week I will have a whole tier just for gardening! But since that isn’t done I had to improvise. I came up with this idea for herbs and lettuce

And amazingly they seem to be growing great. Then my wonderful mommy gave me this tomato plant

it already has some small green tomatoes. Can’t wait for them to ripen. The items I am the most proud of are probably the pepper and tomato plants I started from seed. Quite the green thumb I am!

Ok I might be exaggerating but I am excited that not only did the seeds sprout they seem to be coming along nicely. I started a bit late I know but better late than never, now I need the garden area to be complete so I can plant in the ground. Is it too late to plant a garden? I wonder if there are any items I could still plant or will I have to wait until next year? This lovely bush started blooming yesterday

It was planted by my grandpa years ago. It's actually very pretty so staying put along with his massive lavender trees that I love. The plants in the retaining wall are finally adding a punch of color to the patio

Soon the shoddy looking shed will be gone. It was my grandpa’s shed but its in horrible shape. I want to save the side boards to use somewhere else, maybe in a shed back near the woods. Any ideas?

23 June 2009

Heat Wave

It’s a full on tropical climate without the beauty of the ocean. It is 87 degrees (high expected is 94) today with a heat index of 105. Ugh! It seriously feels like a steam room outside. Sitting through CWS baseball is full out torture. Running outside seems near impossible. It was hot in Kuwait, real hot, like 140 degrees hot. But it was a dry heat and believe it or not I would take 140 over this humidity any day. This is the first summer I have been home in five years and its amazing how quickly you forget – I don’t remember humidity being this brutal. Usually high 80’s or low 90’s would be my favorite temperature but not so much at the moment. At least my skin feels soft. Makes me want to lounge by the pool in a bikini with a cool drink. I miss the C Club!

19 June 2009

New Camera – again!

My poor camera only lasted a few months – looks like cameras have an even shorter shelf life than passports! Somehow I ruined it Saturday (must have been the vodka & sugar free red bulls….) and it was going to cost $120+ to fix. As much as I loved the camera (thanks mom and dad) it was not economical. So I bought this camera

I hope I like it. They no longer make the exact model of my old camera and the closest version didn’t come in pink. This was the next closest and it came in pink. Is it bad I choose the camera based on color??? Possibly. I do get free camera classes with purchase so that is a bonus. Someday I will quit loosing/breaking cameras and carry larger purses so I can get a fancy schmancy camera. But for now this is perfect.

18 June 2009

CWS Weekend Recap

It’s Thursday – where did this week go! Last weekend was amazing and has me wishing it was starting again tonight. Visitors please come back! After picking Kimberly up from Eppley we headed straight to Blue for amazing sushi and martinis

But the fun was quickly halted as Kimberly was having numbness of her face (this actually started Thursday night but since she is so high speed and a combat vet she flew to Omaha anyway!) so a trip to the ER for a diagnosis was required.

After three plus hours in the ER it was determined she has Bells Palsy! Very scary but luckily she has a mild case and will hopefully have a full recovery very soon. After a quick stop for medication and drinks (the pharmacists cleared her to drink – sweet!)

happy hour at my house as a prelude to my parent’s party for the Mayor of CB and his wife (just to show you how small town CB is at times!).

With the highlight of the night being Rock Band! The “mature” (sounds better than older) crowd were rock stars! Their skills and concentration impressive.

We tried to show them up – my first Rock Band experience and I definitely wont be quitting my day job!

So much fun and the night was not complete without a final stop at Barleys. Too bad only two of us were able to rally enough for that adventure.

Saturday had an early start with the delivery of Jerry to Eppley. All sorrows were quickly forgotten upon arrival at Rosenblatt where we kicked off the College World Series

A full day of tailgating excitement

And a few hours at Starsky’s that led to pure craziness for part of the afternoon.

Kimberly and I were rooting for opposing teams – her team won.

I really wanted Virginia to go far this year. The head coach, Brian O’Connor, is from CB and a great guy. Unfortunately they lost last night (in the looongest game in baseball history that went into 4 extra innings!) by one point. Tragic for me but great for Kimberly as LSU has a good chance at the CWS 09 title. My camera broke Saturday so sadly that is the end of the photo recap (unless I find photos from Sunday my mom took). Hopefully it will be repaired tonight just in time for another weekend of CWS.