Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Head for Southern Decorating?

I've said it time and time again, I love the south.  I love the weather, the food, the people and the odd quirky things they do like wearing camouflage to a wedding.  After 20 years, I think I know the folks in the south. (They don't know me that well, but I'm working on it.) Now, that said, let's turn our Southern eye to the photo above.  I found it on 'another site' heading an articled on 'Southern Decorating.'

Now, when I first saw this, I said to myself, that ain't Southern. The color scheme seems more coastal Florida than anywhere in the south (and no, Florida is not really 'The South.")  But more than that, the chair should be camouflaged and those flowers should be magnolia blossoms.  I won't even address the cracked white washed dresser and the rattan carpet.  (Though someone close to me says that the whitewashed dresser is very southern, I'm still not convinced.) 

Even if all that were actually something a tried and true southerner could ascribe to, there is one thing in that photo which grates on my adopted Southern nerves. It's that deer head - or rather, the embroidered deer head. (Nicely placed with the flowers partially obscuring the neck...why? I have no idea.) Ok, so it's possible that southern men (and many southern women) enjoy hunting and might thereby put a stuffed deer or deer head on their wall, why does that mean that ANY deer head is therefore Southern?  I've seen more deer heads on walls of hotels in the west than I've seen in the south, which might seem to state that the embroidered southern deer head above is, in fact, not southern at all.  It's merely some way for some Nawthenuh to put a pedigree to the design they have cobbled together. 

Cracked white washed dresser aside, we got a plaid couch (no camo!) and embroidered deer head.  No, not southern. At least by my Southern experience.  And that's mighty extensive, even if it's not GOB Certified.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

That Quick 'n' Simple Repair

Southerners are very adept at making repairs. I've pointed out many of these repairs and southern ingenuity in making repairs before in my writings and I'm always amazed at the displayed ability in the doing. Myself?  Not so much.

I do a lot around the house, don't get me wrong. If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know of the massive repair I've undertaken in the living room as just a sample.  I've got a long list of "Honey-Dos" that cover every end of the house and then some. Most take a lot of planning and more than a day or two in the completion.  But then I come upon one or two little jobs that I think, "Gee, this won't take long..."  and then I suffer. It's not my ability, it's the "didn't think this through" that gets to me.  

Case in point:  That picture up there.  See it?  It's a window in my laundry room, which used to be the garage and therefore has a high ceiling. The original owner (read: massive idiot) put in a hanging ceiling, much like you'd find in an office.  Two big 4 foot fluorescent light fixtures make the little laundry room nice and bright. But the previous owner (read: massive idiot) did only a half way job in closing it up.  This means that my cats love to get up in the drop ceiling by means of the folding table - to the dryer top - to the window sill - to the open end of the drop ceiling.  

Can't have that.  Time to close it up. I've got wood, I've got drywall and I've got drywall screws. It's about an hour's worth of work in total, so of course I think:
This won't take long!

It only takes a few minutes to cut the drywall and the small piece of wood I need and soon I've pulled up the ceiling tiles and am positioning the drywall for screwing it into place.  I've measured the drywall well but didn't take into account how the support (from the drop ceiling) would come into play.  The drywall pushes the support to the side.  I am careful to note this and quickly grab the support and move it back into posi -

This is the point at which almost the entire ceiling drops down on my head.  It turns out that neither of the big lights were properly installed (tied into the ceiling with eyes/hooks and steel wire) and the small movement of the support caused them to move just enough to fall through and since they were tied together, one pulled the other down.  It was loud and heavy when it hit my head and the laundry room was a disaster zone.  I cursed the previous owner (read: massive idiot) and then turned to cleaning up and fixing the dropped (literally) ceiling.

After a trip to the big hardware store, a small purchase of hooks, steel wire and a package of ceiling tiles, the lights were installed (and done properly, because I am not a massive idiot,) the drywall pieces blocked up the cat-access, and the ceiling tiles were in place.  Total time: about 6 hours.

If I had remembered that the previous owner (read: massive idiot) was, indeed, a massive idiot, I might have checked around up there in the drop ceiling more carefully, looking at the supports and layout, perhaps even cursing when I realized things were done poorly.  Instead, I had to clean the laundry room of broken glass and fallen lights.

I won't even go into the piece of the water heater which had to be replaced the next day, which, of course, took way longer than it should have.

Such is Life in the South.  Normally without massive idiots, but ...well, welcome to my world.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Grocery Greetings

Not too long ago, the lovely Mrs. and myself were doing our weekly grocery shopping when one of those truly Southern things happened.  We were loading our things from the grocery cart onto the moving belt when a dear sweet older woman noticed something we had decided to purchase and remarked how good it was.  (It was a spiral ham, and she went on and on about how tasty and delicious it was.) We agreed, as we had purchased this brand of ham before and were looking forward to having it again.

At this point the queue moved forward and we finished placing groceries onto the belt.  Now, you'd think that this is where things would let off.  No, not in the South.  You see, in the south, there is some sort of unrecognized rule which says that once you've begun a conversation with someone - anyone - that you are now the closest of friends. AND in so being, are now designated to receive all those interesting things that close friends share with one another...the uninteresting things, too.

So, at this point the dear sweet old lady began to tell us about her dearly departed husband John, and his love of ham, and how he cooked it himself, in the oven in their little house which they bought when they got married some many decades ago and how he worked on the recipe time and time again and served it at every gathering and church service and did we go to the same church, she went to the little garden church just down the road where they two of them got married some untold decades ago when that nice pastor oh what was his name again I think it was Bob no maybe David oh my memory is just gone to pot ever since I started smoking pot with my husband in the 70s  and have you tried the glaze they give you in that package of ham it's really pretty good and...  At this point my wife and I can only stare with wide eyes and steal glances at the cashier in hopes that this entire thing is almost over. No such luck. 

Later, my curiosity got the better of me and I took the time to ask a few older southerners, (read: neighbor Bubba) what caused this to happen.  The response: that's the "Old South for ya." From what my research has found, in years past, people in the south weren't as connected as they are now.  And, even so, they knew everyone in their area. Knew and, most likely were related to, too! A chance meeting at the grocery store was more than a quick "hey there!" It was time to catch up, reconnect and exchange more than just 'pleasantries.'  Even with the advancing technology, it's nice that Southerners still keep in touch, even if it is with total strangers.  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Great Southern Outdoors

While the north is still shoveling out from under all that snow, the South is enjoying spring like weather with temperatures in the 60's and 70's and a light rain to keep things wet. ( I guess keeping things wet is important in the south.)

In the winter, we spend a lot of time indoors.  Even though the South is always portrayed as being a hot place, we get our share of cold days and on such cold days, we stay indoors. Thus with the coming spring, we look forward to doing things OUT of doors.  Well, most people do. 

When it comes to doing things out in the out of doors, I'm an indoor person. Oh don't misunderstand me.  I love to be out on a cool day, mowing the lawn, or relaxing in the lounge chair with a delicious beverage at hand, watching the squirrels do what ever it is that squirrels do.  Growing up I spent a lot of time even camping in the outdoors, hiking, climbing and watching the birds do whatever it is that birds do.  

The problem is the weather isn't like that all the time. Now, I'm not going to get into the big debate of whether there is a climate change or not, I'm just saying that in the winter, I hate being out in the cold.  (As a youngster, my brothers and I would build snowmen in our shirt sleeves. Go figure...)  But at the same time I hate being out in the heat.  Even as a youngster, I hated the heat.  

It probably is due somewhat to the fact that I am fair of skin, related to that most maligned of types: the red headed, freckled skinned ginger.  My whole family has red hair (ok, now it's grey, but when I was younger, it was red.  Trust me on this here...) Standing in the sun - heck, just looking at a picture of the sun could get me a major sunburn. It didn't take a rocket scientist to prove to me the connection of being outdoors and getting sunburns.  

It might work here in the south, with all that heavy vegetation to be out in the out of doors, moving from shady spot to shady spot, but I have to admit, I hate stepping out into the heavy humidity.  Most southerners live in this humidity and seem to be acclimated to it.  (It's probably something in their genes.) Me, I step out of the house, and I'm covered in enough moisture to add 5 pounds to my clothes and make my skin so slick that my pants are falling down.  Pretty soon I'm breathing like a long distance runner (and sweating like one, too) And that's only after 5 minutes.  No, not fun.  

So, along with the delightful 10 minutes of spring like weather, I enjoy that part of the south which is unsung. Air Conditioning. Sitting by the window with a cool beverage, watching the southerners do what ever it is that southerners do in this heat and humidity, I tip my hat and my glass to them.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Plastic Project - Intro

The winter has started melting away and with the coming spring there are not only flowers and fresh buds aplenty, but also a chilling amount of things to do around the abode.  Not only is the "Big Rebuild" still waiting on me, but the number of "Honey-do Projects" seems to grow with every passing year - both inside and outside.

This year will see the addition of an important project and one that I've been planing for some time. This particular project I have nicknamed "The Plastic Project." I can just feel the excitement as you all wonder what on earth this project can be!  

My father in law owned several acres out in the Arkansas wilderness. (No, I'm not digressing again, stick with me here...) He understood that you needed things kept sealed up to keep the moisture out. His main item for this task was a five pound coffee can with a plastic lid.  He had so many of these spread across his house, barn and sheds that when he passed they thought of putting his ashes in one. The man understood the Southern Humidity Index and it's effect on tools and hardware.  

I don't drink that much coffee but I also need to put my hardware and tools into something that will keep the moisture out.   What I do have, is a bunch of plastic containers.  Over the past year or so, I've collected together a large number of empty plastic jars, boxes and, yes, coffee cans for the express purpose of sealing up my hardware and  junk  sundries in the shed to protect them from the onslaught of southern weather.  (Hence the name, Plastic Project.) 

Over more than a few blog posts, I'm going to show how I will use these to seal up my junk important stuff.  I will also point out where one might also find and collect the needed containers for such a project.  Like the above.  The Local Charity Thrift Store.  In this case, you can see all manner of plastic storage made for food, or whatever.  Cheap, too.

So, if you've got a  place like mine, messed up and full of moisture.  Follow along as I organize and plasticize my junk  important stuff.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

TV or Not TV

Several times, early in the morning, on my way to work, I've come across this truck.  The multitudes of equipment are recognizable to me as those myriad of cables and supports and extraneous things needed to film a TV Show. I've never really given it much thought until I had to make a trip into the back area of the ground floor of our building.  

I turned the corner and there was a sign: 

Now, this could easily have been pointing to a matched pair of earrings, or perhaps a nice china tea set (yeah, right...) but since it was pointing to the back elevator (and no jewelry to be found) it could only mean a set as in film set.  Where they film things.  Like TV Shows.  AND, since there just happens to be a popular TV Show being filmed right here in Nashville, it didn't take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that the above show was being shot right there in our building. I asked around, and apparently they shoot in our building on a regular basis. (I'm real wide awake at work, it seems!) 

All this time, I'd been in the same building with famous people.  Ok, so it's not as close as the day I met Snowbird, but it's still pretty exciting.  In my  gossipy research I discovered that  they also have shot across the street at the Hermitage Hotel both inside and out.  (No, you won't see me in the background of any of those shots.  Security is pretty tough.)

It's just a  bit of exra fun, here in the Mid South. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Snow and Ice In the South

Today's blog is a bit late.  I'd planned on finalizing a nice post when I got up, but then they closed our office due to the impending snow.  And snow it did!  At least 2 inches on our estate, more in some places and less in others. 

It always amazes me to see snow.  Oh wait, I hear you, "Marv, you grew up in Colorado, surely you've seen enough snow in your life for it to be less important!"  to which I respond, "Don't call me Shirley!" (I'll wait while you get that joke.) 

What I mean is that snow in the SOUTH always surprises me, even when they predict it.  It sort of takes me back to my childhood, waking up, looking out at the snow, and knowing that they won't be closing school anytime soon. Snow in Colorado is not as big a deal as it is in the South. 

Snow in the south starts out as rain.  Then it gets cold, so the rain freezes.  Then it snows.  So, we end up with this frozen icy under layer that makes everything slick.  This means no driving, careful walking and most assuredly, no dancing out on the sidewalks.  

Growing up in a snowy clime means I know snow. Me and snow, we're old adversaries.  I have 2 winter coats, 2 pair of gloves and mittens (made just for snow) along with both rain boots and snow boots to which I attach a set of walking treads. I have a collection of warm woolen and cotton sweaters and special thermal underwear all designed to keep me warm in the snow. 

Even with all that gear, I loathe the snow.  I see that white shite (see what I did there?) and I just know what it's going to take.  I have to put on layers.  Undergarments, heavy clothes, and a sweater to start. When it's time to go out, I have my heavy coat, scarf, wool hat, put the hood up on the coat and then I have to sit down and put on the boots, add the treads and carefully head to the door. (Careful not to scratch the floor with my metal treads!) 

Outside, there's shoveling the walk and then putting down the salt.  Whew.  Now, the car. While it warms up, I de-snow the car, scrape the windows (that can take for-freaking-ever!) and check the headlights.  After all that, I'm ready for a nap! AND that's why I hate seeing snow of any kind.  

Weather notwithstanding, the south is a nice place to live...when it's not snowing....or sleeting....or raining.