Wreck

M texted me that he made it to Houston safely, but he had a wreck. I called him. Person did not stop at a stop sign.

I told him to call the police and Geico. He called the police, but apparently not the insurance company. The police told him to have his car placed in storage. What!? So he’s going to pay who knows how much money to get his car out of hock and towed (again) so he can get it repaired.

I was thinking I might need to take him the truck and fly back to Abilene tomorrow, but he is working 9 to 9 tomorrow. Maybe he will be working on Sunday too.

We’ll see.

He’s working till 9 pm tonight.

Ownership and Self

Ownership and sense of self… I think I have connected my mother’s things to my mother and held onto them to hold onto her. But she is always going to be part of my life, even if she has died. She is always going to be part of whom I am and how I am. I only hope that in some small way I can be more like her in terms of loving people and being open to getting to know folks.

I read a paper that said 50 to 60 years after you die, no one will remember you anyway, and I think that may be accurate, if you live to be an old person. If I live to be 70 and my grandkids are in their teens, they’ll live another 60 years and then they’ll be gone. It really shocks you into a sense of the ephemerality of this world when you have already lived 50 years and you think about all the people who will be forgotten when you die…. My Grampa Ben, my Great-Uncle Charles, Uncle Ward… None of my siblings or children met those people, knew them, and loved them. So they will leave the world, too.

And that is part, I think, of my need to hang on to possessions that belonged to family—to keep holding on to that family that is gone. In a real sense they don’t exist anymore.

We have given lots of things away this last three years, as we have moved, inherited goods, and moved some more. I am okay with having given those things away.

But I know that I have held on to many things simply because at one point I could not have afforded to replace them. And some of those things I may never use. … Or by the time I got around to using them they might not be usable.

Since I own all I need (and most of what I want) I really need to start thinking about paring down. What can I give away or get rid of that is just sitting around taking up space for no good reason? Yes, there are even some pieces of furniture I have that I kept because they reminded me of something when I was a girl. But I will always have those memories and I don’t really need that furniture.

I have also told myself that part of the issue is that I don’t know what the boys may/will want. Well, I asked Micah and I know what he wants. And I asked Elijah and he says he doesn’t want anything. I know that he might take some things eventually, but he doesn’t want anything. So I need to stop letting that idea enable me to hold onto items that I don’t need and that are filling up my space in a less-than-useful way.

Work and Working

Just some thoughts from the last couple of weeks.

How much time?
Three weeks ago I filled out a form for a higher education survey. It asked me how many hours I worked, besides teaching, in a week. I wrote 9-12, because that was how many I had done that week. For the last two weeks I’ve done 40+. And for the next two it will be like that as well.

It looked like I had less work than I actually do and I knew it at the time, but I am not particularly good about figuring out how much time something will take or how much time it does take unless I am purposefully taking note.

Tenure questions?
All along my boss has said I have plenty of publications for tenure. Now, though, as I begin creating my portfolio, he mentioned that I need more and I need to argue that the ones I have gotten in the last two and a half years are sufficient. This is stressing me out.

I have let the publications get slower because I have been trying to do my teaching at a higher level and that takes more time. Also, I’m having trouble doing the last formatting for my dissertation -> book (which is long overdue if I am going to do it).

Probably, also, I haven’t paid as much attention to getting published because he said I was good.

Now, that’s at issue.

In total I have one book, eleven journal articles, one chapter, seven reviews, and eleven creative pieces. Since I started here, though, it is two articles, one chapter, two reviews, and five creative pieces. The creative pieces won’t count at all. The reviews don’t count much. That leaves one chapter (not in my actual field) and two articles (in smaller, lesser known publications).

My boss was actually surprised to learn that they are both peer reviewed. He said I will need to mention that in my portfolio. Okay. I can do that.

Boss also asked about publication from a grant I received last year. I said I hadn’t published because I didn’t find what I expected to… He said I should try to get it published anyway. So, in addition to working on the conference paper and my portfolio, I will also have two articles to write. Where will I submit them? I don’t know. That’s also a problem.

Really I should get the stupid dissertation book formatted, printed, and sent in. That will be one more thing done. (But it’s hard, I whine.)

Foot Revelation

Today at the gym I was trying to do some exercises the trainer wanted done and I could not do them. When I walk, I put all my wait on the balls of my feet. I’ve had people tell me before that you are supposed to strike the heel when you walk, but I’ve never really done anything about it.

Today, though, I realized that the reason I couldn’t do the work is that I always put the pressure on the front of my feet–and maybe that is why the doctor said I have arthritis in my feet. The arthritis was bad enough this last summer that I couldn’t walk, so I went to the doctor to find out what the problem was. I thought I might have broken a bone, but it turned out to be arthritis.

When I asked the dr what arthritis was, just to give myself some breathing room, she basically explained it as exactly what happened with my jaw. So I’ve had arthritis since I was 16, at least. That actually makes sense to me. It explains why, even though I’ve given up nightshade foods, I still get aches in the joints. My allergy to nightshades gives me that, but so would arthritis.

Back to the gym:
So I was talking to my trainer and I said that in grade school, I remember being told I should not walk or stand like I did. Back then I would stand on the sides of my feet (the outside of them). That and the way I walked would wear out the shoes on the sides, while the rest of the shoe’s sole would look almost brand new. I can’t remember why I went to a doctor, but they said to quit doing that.

I am postulating, and I think I am correct, that sixth grade is when I started walking on the balls of my feet–instead of on the sides. So I’ve been misusing my feet for 40 years, not just the last three with the five-inch heels.

Maybe that’s why I was so likely to fall and sprain my ankle.

I need to start walking on my heels.

Thought for the day

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”
Ronald Reagan

Today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday today and I saw the quote as a comment on a Facebook post about that.

When I first saw the post, I was like, “What?! I forgot Reagan (my niece’s) birthday?”

Then I remembered she was born the day he died, not the day he was born. And, yes, she was named for him.

Weird

I was reading a book by Tawny Weber and the main character had the same first and and a similar last name as a character in another series. Then I realized both have the same name for ex-boyfriends too. Then I remembered that each of them fell in love with a Seal.

…Apparently Harlequin does some weird thing where they give you the name of a character and a situation and you write the novel and they publish it, even when another of their novels has the same character.

Now the two Edens are nothing alike, but still I think it’s weird. It’s weird enough when I know it’s going to happen–like when they publish the three books that won the start contest. But this was just odd.

I am oblivious!

At 3:45 (just after letting my 2 pm class go) I decided to walk to the Campus Center to buy colored pencils for class. I arrived at class at 3:58. The students were sitting there waiting for me.

Class started at 3:30. I did not realize that until about 15 minutes ago.

I need to set alarms on my phone.

Sweet Potato Casserole

All food items (or software, as Alton Brown puts it) needed:
4 c sweet potatoes
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
7 TBS butter
1/2 c milk
1/2 c chopped pecans
I originally found the recipe at allrecipes.com, but I made some minor changes.

4 c sweet potatoes, cubed (I did a few more)
1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBS butter, softened
1/2 c milk (I used coconut milk. Truly good stuff.)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Put potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium heat until tender; drain and mash. (I cannot remember how long. Not 30 minutes, though.)

In a large bowl, mix: sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, 4 TBS butter, milk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a baking dish. (They said 9×13. I think mine was a little larger.)

For the topping:
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flower
3 TBS butter, softened
1/2 c chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter till mixture is coarse. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle on top of sweet potatoes.

Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

recipe
receipt

48 Hours of Ice

I went shopping on Wednesday for food and we have plenty. Ron actually went to Sam’s on Thursday, to make sure we didn’t need anything.

We have added some things to our list of provisions to get next time we will be housebound, though.

These include:
actual potato chips
chocolate desserts (Though I did find and share my English mints.)
soda pop
apple juice (to make hot spiced drinks)
more variety of meal prep foods

School was canceled for Friday. (Since I don’t teach on Fridays this semester, that didn’t impact me much.)

ACU says that the students were out playing ice hockey.

Junior Noah Kitts took a great photo:
ACU image ice hockey snow day photo by Noah Kitts

I have walked the dog twice and put her in the backyard for about 3 minutes 2x. The ice is crazy and the roads are covered. Of course our road has people driving on it all the time, so it is not as bad as the others. And 8th is actually clear as long as you are only on the block before ours to the next main road. Odd that the South/North roads are mostly ice but that East/West is clear. I mean Amarillo and Meander are sheets of ice…

It’s the warmest it is going to get today. Well, it was supposed to be the warmest. But right now it is 19 degrees. It was supposed to be 20 but feel like 12.

I need to go walk the dog again.

We just went around the block again. Frozen ice is not fun to walk on and even the grass is frozen now, where there was sleet and snow yesterday.

It’s going to be 14 degrees in the morning when I normally go walk the dog. I am not going to go walk the dog at 5 am. There’s just no point of going out when it’s that cold and all we can do is go around the block. Hopefully later tomorrow it will get up to 46 (as expected) and the dog and I can do two or three miles. Since we have now missed TWO days this week, we should really go six, but I probably won’t. At least, not with the dog.

Steampunking Goggles

What if I took my goggles and got regular lenses put in them, so I could see out of them. I wonder how much that would cost. I like the idea.

Dr Who Weeping Angel Costume

early version of weeping angel Suanna ShDI spent a week spraying my dress (which is a summer style) and now it will be 30 degrees tomorrow.

I spent several days spraying the wings and they still are not done. In fact, the house smells like paint because I needed to add paint and I brought it inside to dry.

Ron helped me get the wings glued together and he also helped me–actually he did it–cut the place for the strap to go through. It’s going to work out very well, I think.

He also suggested using puff paint to make the wings more textured. It looks good, but after that I need to paint it with black enamel paint. This is a bit more involved than I expected; however, I do think that it will look amazing. Or at least, it has the potential to look amazing.

24-Hour Prayer

Church had 24-hour prayer sign up two weeks ago for last Sunday (Sept 22). I signed up for 5:30-7. Arrived at 5:15, stayed till 8, still hadn’t finished. (Of course, I did ask for two hours’ worth of prayer requests, but I was there for 2.45 hours.)

It was incredibly meaningful.

God and I talk more when I talk more. If that makes sense.

My Doll

I took my great-grandmother’s doll to be repaired in January. Eight months and seven hundred dollars later… I have a doll with
curled hair,
a ceramic pate, instead of the cardboard one that had replaced the original,
a doll dress of the appropriate type,
three mended fingers,
two legs which are not presently leaking sawdust,
and a $4 doll stand.

At some point, and I knew this before I took the doll in, my great-grandmother replaced the original hair (that had probably been pulled out by too much brushing) with a wig made from her own hair. As long as I have lived, that hair has been a long drape past her shoulders. However, it turns out that the doll was originally styled with curly hair, so the doll doctor curled her hair and sprayed it so that it looks more like the original, while still keeping my grandmother’s hair replacement.

The ceramic pate was replaced with a cardboard one at some point. The doll doctor thinks it was done in the 1950s, but I find it more likely to have been done when my grandmother still had her hair long, which would have been when Grama Bunny was young. (So perhaps the 1920s. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grampa Ben’s mother and Grama Rill [my step-great-grandfather and my great-grandmother] were the ones who fixed the hair.)

The doll doctor put a cute bow in the doll’s hair. However, she stuck a pin through the head to hold the bow on rather than pinning it with a bobby pin. The pin came out as soon as I unwrapped the doll.

The original dress turns out not to have been original at all, but instead a 1950s replacement—probably to rehabilitate the doll for the only granddaughter, my mother. It is made of an appropriate material, and the color and detail were well done, but they are for an adult doll and this doll was intended to be a child.

During the 1970s the doll factories, which were closed at the onset of WWII were purchased and someone bought all the fabrics and the doll patterns. While the fabrics from the pre-war era have all been purchased already, the pattern of the dress is now correct.

I don’t really like the dress. It is a dull color, but Dad and Steph both think the dress is pretty and it is the correct pattern, so I guess I will deal with that. The woman said that the dress would cost $175, but it was on the bill as $250. I can imagine a price increase and that, perhaps, when she was saying $175 she was thinking of her cost. However, that is an additional $75 that I wasn’t expecting.

The fingers don’t look amazing, but they don’t look bad either. And, in fact, on one hand they look better than I was expecting.

However, her eyebrows now are both bad. The doll doctor couldn’t pull out the one that was sunk into the doll’s head, so she pushed both in. But doing that shows three chips that I did not remember. At least one appears to have already been there based on the picture I have, but the chips, which are white, show up so much more now. What happened to the fixing of the eyebrow that she was supposed to do for that $425 original estimate? That money included the mink to replace the fur in the original eyebrows.

The eyelashes, both the one that was completely on and the one that was partially on, are missing. The doll doctor said she couldn’t put them on and get the eyes to close. So a simple glue-on did not happen and the doll’s eyes close, but there is no long sweep of lashes. I specifically told her that I wanted the eyelashes. If she wasn’t going to put them on, why didn’t she call and talk to me about them? It is possible the lashes are not original, but I am frustrated with their loss since they were there on my doll. (I am thinking about it and maybe she did talk to me when she first called. However, I thought I old her I wanted the eyelashes on. If I didn’t, I guess that disappointment is my fault.)

The worst part, however, is that the woman repaired the legs, but with glue and cloth, not with kid leather and not with stitches. –I told her that I would be willing to pay more for the kid leather approach to the repair, so had she done that I would have had (and anticipated) a higher bill. When I pulled the doll’s underthings down to show RG her legs, one of them was already broken again. It isn’t leaking yet, but it will be if the leg is moved any at all. Since the legs were the reason we had to quit playing with the doll, I am particularly perturbed by this.

This means that I need to go back to The Doll Hospital tomorrow, when the doll doctor is in. (She was not there today.)

If the doll can only be displayed, I will survive that, though I will not be happy, but I am appalled that the $425 to fix all the parts that she was supposed to fix left the eyebrows and eyelashes undone AND left me with an already broken leg.

What would be a reasonable amount for fixing the fingers, pate, and hair while messing up the eyebrows and eyelashes? I was thinking maybe she should give me back all the money except for the dress and maybe $50 for the curl and pate. But actually the eyelashes and eyebrows are more noticeable than the fingers. Of course, the problem with each was more noticeable when one was right and wrong but the brows just look horrible. And I miss the eyelashes.

The legs ARE improved, but they are not going to last at all if the first time I picked her up after getting her out of the store (and perhaps in the store, since I did not check them before I left) her right leg broke.

So what was done well? The dress, the fingers, the hair, and the pate.

The doll looks much different than she used to. I didn’t realize how much the curl and shorter dress would change her look.

And I was planning on going to the Houston Glass Show tomorrow, but now I will have to go to Spring to take the doll back and talk to the doctor. I am not very good about talking about things like this. I wish I could just send my sister.

25 Years Ago… How We Met

I looked up a calendar for dates… Then I looked up MS and it was from June 3 to July 10.

June 16, 1989
Ron and I met during Mission Seminar. He was getting six hours of electives done for his undergrad degree and I was back in Texas after my first year in the Rhetoric program at Purdue (and feeling like I had risen to the level of my incompetence). We were in Nelson dorm’s living room and Ted was the connection. Ron thought I had a crush on Ted and wanted to meet the girl who would…

I untied Ron’s shoe laces with my toes.

The three of us and another student (whose fiancee had died in Brazil during a mission trip that summer) went to Dairy Queen on Washington and 80 for Blizzards. We talked about Brazil the whole time.

Sometime during the week June 19-23
I sit with Ron during chapel because neither of us has anyone else to sit with.

Also during that week we get a little loopy and chase each other around UCC buildings with pens, attempting to mark on each other. Why? I don’t know. Pressure release?

Dr. Ed M stopped us and took the pens away (so Ron was to one side and I was to the other, with Ed in the middle). He asked what we were doing. I said I was winning, grabbed a pen from Ed’s pocket and slashed a line down Ron’s hand.

What! Okay, we were definitely strange.

June 26-30, 1989
Ron and I had Dr. Gailyn V for a class. The class was too large for the room, so we had a U with students on both the out and inside. Ron was on the outside and I was on the inside. We were sitting somewhat catty corner to each other. Ron decided he would stare at me to make me paranoid, but all it did was make me giggle.

Yes, I do remember things I learned in that class besides that Ron makes me giggle.

July 1, 1989, probably
Ray and his girlfriend (fiancee by then?) invited me to a party and said I could invite two friends. I invited Sherry B (friend for years) and Ron. I don’t really know why. Guess I thought he was fun.

It turned out to be a surprise birthday party for me. Big surprise! My birthday is in March.

Ron stayed on the balcony talking to one of the girls on my hall he had a crush on. (He had a crush on two of them. Yes, I knew this.)

July 7, 1989, approximately
I told Ron I would visit him at work, but did not have a plan for it.

July 9, 1989
Dear friend came down to help other friends move their stuff back to Oklahoma. We went for a drive and he asked me to marry him. –We had never even kissed, which I found odd.

Ron called me at Sherry’s house to tell me he was leaving town Monday or Tuesday and if I planned on visiting him at work I should come that evening. We talked on the phone for three hours.

When I got off, Sherry said she didn’t know I knew Ron that well. I told her I didn’t know I knew him that well either.

Thoughts on Being in Abilene

So focused in Abilene on the need to be going and doing, on owning and having. I want “the perfect house” to make up for what I feel like I lost in moving—space, money (because we would have had two incomes).

However, I have gained things. I need to look at those.

One, Ron is able to work more for himself, try things out, do different things. He took City University. He learned a lot about Abilene.

Two, I am able to teach a variety of different classes and I am being pushed to grow in my teaching (iBooks and grad class, linguistics, Old English class this spring).

Three, I am connecting with some people, though not as deeply or often as I would like. The bunko group keeps me connected with Nancy. Being a newbie helped me develop a relationship with Karen. Mikee was an incredible encouragement to me when I was here without Ron particularly. In addition, we have met Neil and Melanie. She makes me smile and makes me grow. (I played pool volleyball for the first time ever. I am definitely not athletic and yet, I did it.)

How can I focus more on my work—this summer—while still feeling a change? Last summer I spent the summer recovering from teaching and being alone. I don’t think I have to recover this summer, but I do have a lot of things to do that I am not willing to or wanting to work on and that lack of desire is pushing me away from getting stuff done.

This morning I was thinking that I needed to go online and find some more fans in the “right” colors so I would have fans to match my different outfits. I don’t need more fans. The one I have (or really ones I have) are more than sufficient.

Ownership and sense of self… I think I have connected my mother’s things to my mother and held onto them to hold onto her. But she is always going to be part of my life, even if she has died. She is always going to be part of whom I am and how I am. I only hope that in some small way I can be more like her in terms of loving people and being open to getting to know folks.

I read a paper that said 50 to 60 years after you die, no one will remember you anyway, and I think that may be accurate, if you live to be an old person. If I live to be 70 and my grandkids are in their teens, they’ll live another 60 years and then they’ll be gone. It really shocks you into a sense of the ephemerality of this world when you have already lived 50 years and you think about all the people who will be forgotten when you die…. My Grampa Ben, my Great-Uncle Charles, Uncle Ward… None of my siblings or children met those people, knew them, and loved them. So they will leave the world, too.

And that is part, I think, of my need to hang on to possessions that belonged to family—to keep holding on to that family that is gone. In a real sense they don’t exist anymore.

We have given lots of things away this last two years, as we have moved, inherited goods, and moved some more. I am okay with having given those things away.

But I can think of my office and know that I have held on to many things simply because at one point I could not have afforded to replace them. And some of those things I may never use. … Or by the time I got around to using them they might not be usable.

Since I own all I need (and most of what I want) I really need to start thinking about paring down. What can I give away or get rid of that is just sitting around taking up space for no good reason? Yes, there are even some pieces of furniture I have that I kept because they reminded me of something when I was a girl. But I will always have those memories and I don’t really need that furniture.

I have also told myself that part of the issue is that I don’t know what the boys may/will want. Well, I asked Micah and I know what he wants. And I asked Elijah and he says he doesn’t want anything. I know that he might take some things eventually, but he doesn’t want anything. So I need to stop letting that idea enable me to hold onto items that I don’t need and that are filling up my space in a less-than-useful way.

God, I need your help. I need your focus and guidance to figure out what I need to be concentrating on and I need your grace to get my work done and let go of the physical possessions that are unimportant—both to my family and to my life.

God, I also need your help to integrate my life into Abilene, to become a part of Abilene. Please give Ron more contacts and people to be in touch with. Please help us to reach out, to plan to spend time with, and to make the successful effort to develop some relationships as a couple.

Finally, God, please help me to think about and concentrate on you more. I tend to leave you on the periphery and say it is because I am busy. But really it is because I am so focused on myself. One of the things I hoped Abilene would give me/us was a stronger relationship with you, because it seemed that it happened that way before. But really both of us have drifted farther away from a relationship with you rather than into one. Give me grace, strength, and focus to see that you are the eternal, you are what will last, and help me to invest my treasures of time and money more in you and your work and your will than in my ephemeral interests.

God, thank you for my wonderful experience at Houston Community College. Thank you for my getting to know Linda at Houston Baptist. Thank you for the teaching experience, writing experience, and presentation experience I have gained in the last five years.

God, you are creator god, maker of heaven and earth, ruler of the stars in the sky and you call them by name—you are amazing God! indescribable, miraculous, loving, focused on me, on my family…

Thank you for that.

Serenity is 9

I can’t believe my beagle is nine years old. It doesn’t seem that long ago we got her. But it must have been. I found the first post when we got her in May of 2004.

She’s mostly recovered from the attack of the dog when she ran away the night I came home from the AP Reading 3 weeks ago. However, the hole in the back leg had dirt in it when I let her inside. (Today was her second day out.)

I am going to have to give her a bath, which she will not like.

Not Work Related Summer Meme

1. What is your favorite part of summer?

2. What’s your favorite quintessentially summer food? Least favorite?

3. Best beverage to beat the summer heat:

4. Least favorite/most annoying thing related to summer?

5. Pick one: the lake /the beach. Why?

6. Most amusing summer vacation trip you’ve ever taken?

7. Most ridiculous/cringe-inducing/blush-provoking summer outfit you have seen? (Bonus points if you yourself were wearing it!)

8. Your absolute dream summer afternoon would be:

Things for the House

Okay, some things are a bigger priority than others. I don’t have to spend all my money at once.

First priorities:
Blinds
We need blinds for the front rooms. We’ll need eight sets, I think. Something for the front door as well. Do we need them for the den, too? Maybe. Especially since anyone driving down the alley can see into the house.

Motion sensing lights
We need these for both the front and the back of the house. Since I’ll be there by myself, I really think these are essential. Even if I don’t even know where to get them or how to put them in.

Guess I need to talk to the handyman and see if he can do those.

Important things:

Wood floor
Wood floors in the living room. Where would the wood floors end? Probably right where the carpet ends now going toward the offices and the kitchen. The other direction I don’t know where the carpet ends. Perhaps at the wall that the hall closet is on? How could we make it end well there?

Island
kitchen island woodThe kitchen in the house is black. (R and I think it might be French Black, the black with a lot of green in it.) It has raised panel outsides on the cabinets and the handles appear to be silver or brushed nickel. Hard to tell from the pictures and I don’t remember.

Do we want a kitchen island that is wood or black?

I think, since it won’t exactly match, we should go with the wood. Then it’s not supposed to match; it’s just supposed to work there well. And their table, which looks fine in there, is not black and is a wood…

Laundry
Sears appears to carry (online at least) the most stackable washer and dryer combinations. I like the Kenmore’s but wish they were silver.

Dishwasher
Also need a dishwasher. If we put it back in where it was and add in a pantry where the fridge is now and move the fridge over, then the fridge isn’t right next to the dishwasher, which is not energy efficient.

Door to offices
We do want a door put back in to the offices. We want one door there. I would prefer a wooden door. It could be an inside door or a pretty door, maybe one with a window at the top? Perhaps we could match the front door? Would we want that?

twincityfireplace.com craftsman insertFireplace door
The fireplace has obviously got issues with popping embers. (The floor is burnt.) What if I put in a cool craftsman style fireplace door? Found one: Pleasant Hearth Glass Fireplace Door Easton Black. The one I like is $349.00 in all three sizes. The site tells how to measure. They won’t fit if the opening is too small or too large. But it looks like my fireplace isn’t too large. Might want to get one for the office too.

Less important things:

Shelves
I would like to add shelves in under and over the counter instead of where the kitchen desk area is now. We could put the appliances that are nicer looking there. I think that might work well. Put the heavier ones higher up and the lighter ones lower down. Maybe even put in a lazy-susan.

Pantry
Pantry. Either put it on one side of the refrigerator or put it in on the other side of the room.

On the other side of the room I would make it as deep as the counters all the way up with doors that open. We could put in a six foot pantry. Basically standard cabinets appear to be 24 inches deep and 36 inches high. So if we put in a 6 ft wide x 2 ft deep x 8 ft high = 96 feet of space. That would be nice. It would still leave a little bit of space at the wall for the light fixtures.

Things to think about

Doors
Do I want doors there? Well, there is a door there, to the den. Do I want a door to the kitchen? That doesn’t really make a lot of sense, to cut off the pathway… Except that it would be nice to be able to close off the laundry room if you were in the front of the house and not hear it. I’ll have to think about that.

Hearth
The hearth on the living room fireplace matches the brick in the office fireplace, but not the brick in the living room fireplace. What else could we put there instead? Could we paint it? What color?

Make sure you have chosen a color that will withstand changes in decor, as removing the paint is difficult and time consuming once the brick is painted.
How to Paint a Fireplace Hearth | eHow.com

It doesn’t look like I should paint. Paint is hard to remove and dates easily.

What if I just extended the fireplace hearth and put wood underneath it? So the fireplace hearth is wider (so the floor won’t burn any more!) and then underneath that sticking out part is wood. Would that work? How wide should it be?

InspectorsJournal
I have been using the rule of fireboxes level with the floor must have at least an 13″ hearth extension to a non-combustible material and those above floor level must be at least 18″. I saw that documented 5 or 6 years ago.

I was looking through the Code Check Complete book and found a totally different rule for hearth extensions. On page 47, it says 16″ minimum hearth extension if firebox opening is less than 6 sq ft.
20″ minimum hearth extension if firebox opening is greater than 6 sq ft.

The difference being the rule I have been using deals with height of the firebox to determine depth of hearth extension whereas the Code Check documentation has it determined by sq ft opening of the firebox.

A nice marble or granite slab, with wood underneath, would look good. Could I find one that “goes” with the brick without being totally ugly? Maybe not. Obviously that’s not a priority.

Problems with furniture

Where am I going to put my china cabinet? Mom’s really goes with the style of the house better, but I’m not taking Mom’s china cabinet without Dad offering it. And I’m not sure where I can put mine. Perhaps move the fridge over and put the china cabinet there? I don’t want the moisture of the dishwasher getting to it, either, though. I may have to think about this.

R wants to take our old refrigerator. Where would we put it? I don’t want it in the utility room, at least not where the washer and dryer are now. However, if it would fit on the wall next to the bathroom wall, either where the mirror is now or facing like the stackable washer and dryer… It is NOT going into the room and then blocking the door like the washer and dryer do. Yeah, it’s only a few inches, but that’s too many.