Tuesday, June 29, 2010


That's what Todd and I have become!

Not really.

But we have become landlords.

Our darling Cheyenne house rented yesterday - a HUGE relief!  With the new house mortgage starting this month it was absolutely essential we get the Cheyenne house rented.  Otherwise, I joked to friends, the next time they saw me I'd be super thin from living on Ramen alone.

We think we have good renters, but we're still a little nervous.  Handing your home over to people you don't know is kind of disconcerting.  You hope they don't destroy it or do stupid things to it.

The renters are a young couple who are expecting a baby in August.  I think the girl is very excited and proud of her new home, which makes me feel better.  That and the fact she was already weeding the flowers last night - a day and a half before their move-in!  She's obviously motivated.

So, here's to our first foray into property management.

I hope our lil' home survives.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just LeDoux it

Last weekend, as I was heading back from the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters' conference in Sheridan, I decided to stop in Kaycee, Wyo., and take a peek at the new Chris LeDoux statue.

Chris LeDoux, for those who don't know, was a famous country singer and winner of the World's Bareback Championship in 1976.  He passed away a few years ago and was from ol' Kaycee.

There was a big memorial event for the unveiling and, I heard, Garth Brooks was even there.  Pretty cool.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Range rover

I can look past most of the things around the new house that need addressed: Carpet removal, the need to paint, a fully-concreted backyard...

But the thing that makes me absolutely crazy is:

The Fabulous 400.

It is a beast. And I find it to be anything but fabulous.  

I can see how back in its day it was probably a very progressive appliance.  It has a rotisserie.  That could be neat.  It folds up like a Transformer (It's a cutting board... No!  It's a trivet... No! It's a full oven and stove top in one!), which is creative.

But at the end of the day, it is simply the bane of my culinary existence.

When we first looked at the stove we had no idea how it worked.  Where in the world do you boil a pot of water, for example?  

After some tinkering we found you have to uncover the coils hidden neatly under the cutting board/trivet pull-out.  Oh, of course! (smacking head sarcastically)   

But that feature only gets in the way!  It's awkward to lean over.  And I hate having to go the extra step of pulling it out when I just want to quickly, say, heat a kettle of water for tea.  So, I leave it like this...

But the most pressing issue is it doesn't work.

Our first night in the house we made a frozen pizza in the large oven on the left.  And it worked - fabulously. 

The next night, wanting a home-cooked meal, I put a meat loaf in the same oven.  Everything was cooking nicely when out of nowhere the 400 started buzzing.  At first I thought it was a timer going off.  I fiddled with that for a bit, then realized the oven was no longer on and the meat loaf was cooking on the slowly fading heat I had initially set it to.  

It hasn't worked since.  

Fortunately, there is a second, smaller oven on the right.  But cookie sheets and other pans are too big to fit in there, so I've either had to not make something or find a creative pan to put it in.

We're going to replace the ol' Fab with a normal gas - not electric, which I hate - stove.  

But to add insult to injury, the ol' Fab is 40 inches wide!  Today, that size is reserved for commercial or professional grade stoves, which, as much as I would love that, I do not love the cost: $5,000, $10,000, $15,000!!

What we don't understand is, the kitchen is remodeled with new, nice cabinets that were built around the Fabulous 400.  Why, oh why, wouldn't you replace the stove with a normal one and build the new cabinets around that?  

It's mind boggling. 

Fabulous my foot...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The house.

It's all this is about because it's all we do, think about, work on...

When we got home from Wisconsin and Illinois last Monday, I went immediately to work the next day on an ag trip and Todd went to work ripping up carpet! 

When I came home that night there were beautiful hardwood floors gleaming at me from the upstairs guest room.  I was ECSTATIC!  Every square inch of this place is carpeted - minus the laundry room (yes, kitchen and bathrooms are covered too!) - and it just feels so heavy and outdated.  

The next night we tackled the upstairs master.  Only we took it a step further and decided to see what was hiding under the fake ceiling - you know, the kind made of cream colored tiles with gold glitter swirls through them?  We've temporarily shut the door on that room and have moved on until we can figure out the giant crack in the ceiling...

But, the real carpet kicker has been the dining room.  We have big area rugs for both the dining and living rooms which we've laid down to get out of the way.  But they've only gotten IN the way.  The dining room rug did nothing but get stuck to the carpet and bunch up around the table and chairs.  That, combined with our four old chairs, six new (old) chairs from Todd's mom's, every possible piece of paper, keys, and electronic cord we own tossed in, created a horrible chaos that made Todd and I want to scream.  

So, last night, we tackled the dining room.

Here's a before.  That clean rectangle?  That's where the rug was.  All the disgustingness around it is from tracking in and Rigby shedding his winter coat over everything.  We haven't bothered to vacuum, not even once, because we knew we'd be pulling the carpet out...

Another before from a different angle...

Pulling back the carpet.  I shudder to think what's living in the mat...

The moment, instant, Todd pulled back that giant chunk of dirty mat I felt me - and the house - take a big breath.  It's like you could feel the house breathing after being trapped beneath nasty carpet for all those years...  

After much work pulling out staples and tack strips THIS is what we have!

And get a load of this photo!  Doesn't it look like a glamorous ballroom?  Minus, of course, the window fan and tools on the window sill...

There are some issues that need addressed.  Like this...

And this...

And the approximately 135 holes left from the 135 screws Todd pulled out of the dining and entry way floors.  There are still nails in there, but we're going to talk to a professional about all that...

It's definitely fun planning how it's going to ultimately look, but we've still got a long way to go!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wisconsin (and Illinois) wrap-up

Here's a wrap of our trip to Wisconsin and Illinois.

I'll just dive in...

...much like Rigby:  Todd was selling his boat to my dad who was planning to come to Wisconsin to pick it up.  Before he arrived, Todd wanted to make triple sure it ran ok, so we took it out for a ride.  He put Rigby in the boat and as he pulled away we heard **SPLASH** and there was Rigby swimming to shore!

Let's check the logic: The river is less scary than the boat...??


So, we discovered Rigby can swim - and that the boat doesn't sink...

Todd came back for me and another try for Riggs.  We forced him into the boat again and took off.  He did much better but was still pretty tense... 

Two discoveries in Wisconsin for me, well, four, after Rigby's swim and the boat working well, were pickled brussel sprouts and cheese curds.  The first I had never heard of and the second I had heard tons about, but had never tried.  The brussel sprouts are delicious!  They're used as garnishes in drinks like Old Fashioneds and I couldn't get enough!  

I have wanted to try cheese curds every time we've been in Wisconsin, but we haven't gotten around to it.  Todd and I picked this package up at the grocery store and let me tell you they're also a very yummy treat.  These were still slightly warm and, as I found out, the fresher they are the more they squeak on your teeth when you chew!  Yes, squeak.  It's kind of like the sound of tennis shoes on a gym floor, only nowhere near as loud. 

In fact, the back of the package says: 
"You can be fully confident that when you select our cheese curds that they will be the freshest and the squeakiest available anywhere!"  

We took my dad to a good ol' Wisconsin fish fry at this place.  Yes, it was meet the parents weekend (sans my mom who was getting ready for the family reunion), so my dad and Todd's mom got to meet!

All week in Wisconsin we packed...

And packed some more!  My days of packing and unpacking are just...endless.  We were in Wisconsin to help his mom downsize and take some things back.  My dad helping load the U-Haul while Rigby oversees the job...

Then it was down to Illinois for my family reunion!  We always have it at New Salem State Park, one of those living history places where people are dying yarn and chopping logs for cabins...

Some of the fam walking the Village...(note the guy chopping a log)

Todd and I toasting with lemonade at the Temperance tent...

The spread at the reunion!

Some of the crew.  By the way, it was like a sauna that day.  Literally.  I can never, ever, EVER live with that kind of humidity again.  I know what the good life is like and there's no going back!

Saying the prayer before digging in...

Todd competing in the "washers" tournament...

On our way home, Todd and I stopped by Chimney Rock outside Scottsbluff, Neb.  The 300 foot formation served as a landmark on the Oregon, Mormon and California Trails.  I'd never been before and really wanted to see it...

You couldn't drive right up to the base, but there was a dirt road that took you part way.  Todd hesitated because we had the U-Haul hitched to the back.  I told him if Conestoga wagons could make it this far, so could we...

On the way up there's a little cemetery.  Todd said this is where other people who had tried pulling U-Hauls up there were buried...  

This was the oldest grave we found.  Pretty neat...

We finally made it home about 9 p.m. after 2,700 miles on the road.  

I am so happy to be here.  Mess and all.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde

Todd and I are in Wisconsin!

And wow, does it take a long time to get here!

We left Casper at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning thinking we would get to his mom's around around 2 a.m.  At about 12:30 a.m. we realized this was a pipe dream and at the rate we were going we wouldn't pull in until probably 4:30 a.m.!

We began weighing our options.  We came prepared with camping equipment for my family reunion at the end of the week, so we started looking up campsites and state parks.  After a wild goose chase or two for parks that ended up being a lot farther off the interstate than what we hoped, we finally found one.

We pulled in around 2 a.m. and stopped dutifully at the entrance station to check rules and campsite prices.  We discovered there were no prices and one of the rules was no setting up camp after 11 p.m.

Huh.  That's not gonna work.

We made an executive decision: We're going to pull in anyway.

We were tired.  We weren't going to be there more than 3-4 hours.  We weren't even going to bother with setting up the tent.  We just needed a slot for some zzz's!

So...we slept and skipped.  I admit it.  And...I stand by it!  I own our rule-breaking decision!

Todd waking up in the truck.  Worst.  Sleep.  Ever.

Foggin' up the windows!  Just kidding.  Too tired for parkin'!  See Rigby peeking up there...?

My side of the truck.  Todd was all cramped after sleeping with the steering wheel in his lap.  I asked him why he didn't just turn and put his feet up in the middle of the seat.  His reply?  He's not a 12-year-old girl who can bend like Gumby.  I laughed - a lot...

Pulling out of our hiding place...

The coffee cup I had grand plans of using as a rinse cup for brushing my teeth!  Two things I CAN'T STAND: not brushing my teeth or washing my face before bed.  Neither of these things happened that night.  I was broken hearted when I figured out our toothpaste was in the truck bed.  We each chewed a piece of Orbitz mint-flavored gum instead...  UGH.

Approaching the entrance to the park...  Uh-oh!

I'm not sure if Todd is leaning back for me to get a photo, or if he's trying to not be visible as we pass by.  The office doesn't open until 8 a.m. and it was 6:30 a.m.  We skipped early to avoid our captors!  To bad we didn't have Beyonce and Jay Z's Bonnie and Clyde song playing...

See ya' Willow River...!

Nice knowin' ya!