Saturday, June 21, 2008

Finally! She stops whining!!

After all the whining I did about the bad service we'd had lately, I'd like to take a moment to mention the good service we had.

After we had the leak located (which turned out to be an unneccesary $400... now we know), we decided to get a second quote on the repair work. Jack called Ernie's Plumbing Service, and their quote was quite a bit lower than the first place's, so Jack scheduled them for Friday morning at 8:30.

They were actually early!!!

Then, when there were problems with the valve that shuts off the water coming through the water heater, he replaced that and a bunch of piping, then didn't charge us for it.

He was done earlier than estimated so he took off some of the price.

Then he gave us the "membership" thing that people usually have to pay $85 for, for free - I guess now they come out and inspect the house yearly and let you know if there are any problems with the plumbing.

He also gave us a magnet for our fridge that gets us 10% off future services if we have it on our fridge.

And on top of that, Jack said he was incredibly friendly and professional.

Finally!!!

If you're in need of a plumber, this one is Juan (#200 - I don't know what that means but he wrote that on our magnet) at Ernie's Plumbing service - phone numbers 214-651-1155 and 972-423-1996.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

They did it!!!

The Celtics won the championship, which is great news for my family, because it means that my brother gets an NBA championship ring and my sister-in-law gets the next one.

Here are a few pictures from my Dad, who was there too, and my brother:





Here's the story of this one from my Dad:

"We were at the team party. Everyone was covered in champagne and beer and there had been so much screaming that nobody could talk (so they just screamed again). Shane and Cassandra were hanging back and watching when the president of the Boston Celtics came over to Shane and said 'Get up here on this stage' and as a proud papa, I positioned to take the picture while the whole room chanted 'Shane! Shane! Shane!' They handed him the trophy and I snapped the picture that said 'never underestimate what your kids can achieve.' Kevin Garnett was right: 'Anything is possible.'

As we were leaving, Ray Allen came over (all smiles for some reason) and shook Shane's and my hand and then Eddie House came over and hugged my little boy (some would say he's big now but these guys make him appear little once more) and we all headed out.

Quite a night."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

And speaking of crappy service...

Jack has been on the phone with DirecTV during the entire Celtics game, because our picture froze up during the first and second quarters and we missed a bunch of the game. This problem is not new. We've been on the phone with them several times before. We've had technicians out here twice. No solution, and as of now, no refunds on our bill.

I think it's time to switch to cable.

Happy Father's Day!!

Today in church John Mark (our pastor) was listing the things boys like to do with their dads and contrasting them to the things girls like to do with their dads.

The number one thing girls like doing with their dads, according to this list, is going to musicals and plays together.

How sweet - my dad spent the first 13 or so years of my life (give or take) taking me on "dates" to the Dallas Summer Musicals every year. Those dates are some of my favorite childhood memories. In fact, I was just telling a friend about how he and I would play Yahtzee on his phone while we waited for the plays to start and during intermission.

I always knew he was a "number one" dad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Roto Rooter = Crap

I should have known better; they've done this to us before.

They were scheduled for 12-2 this afternoon.

They called at 1:30.

"Mrs. Hornbuckle? Our technician is running an hour to an hour and a half late. Will that be okay?" the lady on the other end of the telephone asked, nonchalantly.

"No, that will not be okay. My husband has to leave for work at 3," I replied; no, I snapped.

"Well, what time does your husband get off work?"

"Well, he doesn't get off until about 7, but I'll be there by 5. Can they be there by 5?"

"Yes, they'll be there right at 5."

6:30 came. I called them back.

"I will no longer be needing your services," I told them. "I'll be calling someone else who actually can make a 2-hour window and give them my money, thanks."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A little "thank you" goes a long way

Marriage is a lot of work. Ask anybody. You have to think about the other person before you make any decisions. You have to compromise in arguments because you can't just break up anymore. You have to worry about whether the other is sick or hurt. You have to share money.

You have to...
...do chores.

It sucks, really. And I know, you have to do chores when you're single too, and one could argue that there are more chores to do yourself if you're not splitting chores with a spouse. But what you may not be considering if you're thinking that is that you can neglect the chores you don't really care about if you're living by yourself (or even with a roommate), but you can't neglect the chores that you don't care about when you're married.

Why? Because inevitably, the chores you don't care about will be the chores they do care about. It's some law of nature - Apathy's Law or something. Jack doesn't mind clutter on the end tables or dirty carpet or bathrooms. Those things drive me crazy. I don't mind leaving my clean laundry in the laundry room, on top of the dryer or hanging on the rack, but that drives Jack crazy. (Opposites attract?)

What Jack and I also have going for us on top of this normal Apathy Law is that we're both a little nuts. I'm overly upset by dust and smudgy windows (just ask anybody at my work; I brought in a bottle of Windex to clean mine and everyone else's office's windows because I couldn't look at them anymore), while Jack is completely OCD about the way towels are folded (he refolds them when I do it), dishes are done, and, here's the craziest of them all, toilet paper is taken out of the cabinet.

I must explain the last one, so please hold for this unnecessarily long interruption.

The first week Jack and I were married, I was getting acclimated to my new home and finding out what Jack had in the house. I once read in a book called "The Power of a Praying Wife" that part our jobs as wives is to keep harmony in the home, and sometimes that entails mundane tasks of making sure we have everything we need from day-to-day stocked.

"He may not notice if there are batteries in the house," it said, "but he will definitely notice if there are not."

As archaic as it may sound, I do believe that it should be my job as a wife to keep up with these kinds things, at least when I can, which is most of the time.

So in this spirit, I took a look in the bathroom cabinet, wondering if I needed to buy toilet paper the next time I was at Target. What I saw made me laugh out loud.

Jack had the cabinet stocked front to back, left to right, and top to bottom with toilet paper. I should have known. I should have expected it from my little Aggie cadet. He's a planner, I shouldn't have been surprised.

Fast forward to about two months later. We're at Jack's best man's house, visiting with him (Dave) and his wife, Dena. I started telling the story about finding the toilet paper, and Jack starts to say "that reminds me..."

Seeing what was coming, I stopped him.

"DON'T SAY IT!" I commanded. "I can deal with you not letting me fold towels, or re-folding them when I do it. I can deal with you not letting me do your laundry because you want it done a certain way. I can even deal with you putting off cleaning things because you don't have time to do it completely and perfectly right. But I will not let you tell me how to take toilet paper out of the cabinet!!!"

He still tried.

"But Mandy, you're supposed to take all of the toilet paper from the first level, then go down to the second level."

Levels!? I have to think about levels when I'm taking out toilet paper!? No. I will not. The crazy has gone too far.

ANYWAY, what I was trying to talk about in a very very indirect way, is that Jack has his chores and I have mine. My chores include cooking dinner every night, cleaning the bathrooms, floors, and carpets, dusting, doing my own laundry, and cleaning up my clutter. Jack's chores include making the bed (well, the last one up is supposed to make the bed, but he's pretty much always the last one up, which is good because he also does that a certain way!! Surprised?), doing the dishes from the night before, cleaning up his clutter, doing his laundry, paying the bills, and mowing the lawn.

This system works pretty well. Obviously there are days that one or both of us don't get our chores done because we're too busy, too tired from work, or just feel like being lazy that day, but there aren't many days that I come home and don't think "My husband is so wonderful!" when I see the perfectly made bed or the clean kitchen. I love coming home to that!

The other day, I loved coming home even more. For on top of the perfectly made bed was a note that read:

Thank you for everything you do for me! Thank you for the hot meals when I get home. Thank you for helping clean around the house. Thank you for listening when I have a bad day. You make my life a joy to live!!

-Your Loving Husband

I probably don't have to tell you that I've read that note more than once since then. And after I got it, I wanted to cook him dinner even more. Please don't forget this. Your spouse thrives on this kind of encouragement. I can't think of a close friend that I haven't told about this note, and I come home and read it every day.

My neighbor, Nick Seibert, leaves his wife and daughters a little note every day when he goes to work, and the girls talk about it. They don't take long for him to write, and they probably don't say much, but having something in writing means everything, especially to those whose love language is words of affirmation or gifts.

My friend, Angela, left us a 4-page note on our refrigerator magnet-pad when she left today, thanking us for the visit, like she does every single time she comes. Jack liked it so much that he called me and told me about it while I was at work.

I see married friends of mine, like Amanda and Brandon or Rachel and Matthew, writing on each others' Facebook walls with little "I love yous" or "You're beautiful" or, one of my favorites, from Matthew to Rachel [Yep, I'm a Facebook stalker. So is everybody else]:

"Hey wha'doya say we just fall in love? I'm available this Tuesday so why don't you get back to me and let me know what you think. Fair enough?"

It made her smile. It matters.

Don't forget to let the most important person in your life know that you appreciate them. All it takes is a sticky note, or a text message, or even a wall post. They'll remember it.
--

Editor's note: I feel compelled to leave an example of the notes my brother leaves for his wife to see, since I'm giving examples of "love notes"

[On the refrigerator]
Dear Cassandra,
I wish we had avocados.
Shane

and later...

Dear Avocados,
I wish you were guacamole.
Love,
Shane

She wondered why the avocados got a "Love, Shane" and she didn't...
...but he still got guacamole.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Locks of Love

This weekend was a fun one - the Seibert girls and I cut our hair for locks of love (http://www.locksoflove.org/). I had told Aubree that I would cut mine with her after the wedding, so this was the weekend!

I was just reading about what they do with the hair, and I was surprised that it isn't just used to make a generic wig. They're all custom-made, fitted to the kid's head, and then suctioned on so they can swim, shower, and play without worrying about losing them, which is pretty cool!

Why We Are Needed [From the Locks of Love website]

There are several problems facing children who suffer long-term medical hair loss. Most wigs sold by retailers are made to fit adult heads, and are much too big for children to wear. They often require the use of tape or glue to keep them from falling off, and these adhesives can burn or irritate the scalp. Often, the styles of adult wigs are not age-appropriate and synthetic wigs can mat and frizz with excessive styling.

The hair prosthetics Locks of Love provides are custom-made from donated ponytails for each child’s head. They retail between $3,500 to $6,000. The hairpiece forms a vacuum seal, like a suction cup, and does not require the use of tape or glue. Only the wearer of the hairpiece may remove it, by breaking the vacuum seal at the temples. Children can dismiss insecurities about classmates pulling off their hairpiece, or losing it at recess. They can swim, shower and do gymnastics – in short, they can be kids again. Each hairpiece is made from real human hair, and arrives long, so the recipient may style it to fit their face.

Before




After

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Ice Breaker's Raspberry Iced Tea "mints"

I bought them because I was curious, and if you’re wondering, they do taste a lot like Raspberry Iced Tea, but it’s such an out-of-place taste in a mint that it’s a little like kissing your cousin… kind of uncomfortable even if you like it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I have been trying to update jackandmandy.com, but Front Page doesn't seem to be accepting the password anymore. I don't know why. I am working on it.