Displaced Yankee Chick in Texas

This blog chronicles my life as a displaced Yankee chick in Texas. I'm from the NY/NJ/PA area and quit my job 1.5 years ago to move to TX with DH and become a SAHM to our 3 kids (2 DDs and 1 DS). **Please note that names have been changed to protect the innocent.**

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rest In Peace Bruce

A week ago Tuesday my best friend called me unexpectedly during the day. She left a message for me to please call her so I did. I was expecting her to tell me some wonderful news, especially since she opened with "Are you sitting down?"

Unfortunately she did not have wonderful news, but rather heartbreaking news instead. A man named Bruce with whom DH worked had died. On a business trip. In China. He was out eating dinner with his company's Chinese representative and just slumped over from what I understand. DH's cousin, who was Bruce's best friend and co-VP of the company, had to go over that morning and tell Bruce's wife what had happened.

The past ten days we've been getting our information piecemeal from other relatives of DH's who also work for the company (it's a family owned business). Bruce's widow is living what is probably everyone's worst nightmare. Her 43 year old husband died unexpectedly halfway around the world. Either one or two autopsies were performed. The first was inconclusive, so either a second autopsy was performed, or they just guessed and listed "heart failure" as the cause of death. They needed a cause in order to file the insurance claim. We later learned that Bruce's widow won't have the benefit of having a stateside autopsy performed because the Chinese do not embalm. Bruce is being cremated in China and will then be shipped back here. The funeral will be mid next week.

I simply cannot imagine how awful it must be for his widow to not have the opportunity to have her questions about his death answered in a domestic autopsy. Nor can I imagine receiving a box of ashes and having to trust that they are those of my loved one. I am so accustomed to seeing open caskets at wakes that it gives me closure. Bruce's widow and their four children have been robbed of that. I'm so terribly sad about the entire situation.

DH will be attending the funeral next week and I am glad that he will be going to it. I'm happy to know that I married a man who cares enough to travel so far to pay his respects to the grieving family of a friend and coworker.

Rest in peace Bruce. We'll keep your wife and kids in our prayers.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Heaven on Earth

Ah, the sweet taste of Brooklyn. Not only am I a Yankee, but I’m a New Yorker. And like most New Yorkers, I learned at an early age the value of great take out food. My favorite Italian take out place has had a web presence since 2001. However, they recently redid their website and it is much improved. Not only that, now a larger portion of their menu is available online. I am in hog heaven! I cannot wait to for an excuse to order ravioli, lasagna, veal and mushrooms, and marinara sauce from Landi’s.

Just seeing the pictures on the home page made me homesick. Then it really hit me once I saw a picture of the blue storefront. Okay, I'll admit it -- I always wanted to marry one of the Landi boys so I could have total access to their food. While I should probably be embarrassed to admit that, if you tasted their food, I'm sure you'd agree. I’m salivating right now, just thinking about the succulent lasagna, the way the veal just melts in your mouth, and the ravioli. Oh, the ravioli. I haven’t found a ravioli yet that doesn’t fall apart while they’re cooking. Except for Landi’s ravioli. Plus, they carry both the larger round ravioli, which my parents prefer, and the smaller square ravioli, which are my favorites. Oh, to soak up the sauce with some perfect Italian bread… Mmmmmm. If only I could order their baked clams online. *drool*

Must. Find. Excuse. To order.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Paint, paint, and more paint

I finally finished painting the trim in the guest room. By the time I finished that, I decided that I should follow the advice given to me by the man who painted my last house. Jim told me that he always painted the trim first, then the walls, and finally, the ceiling. Now, I admit that I'm cutting corners, and time, and not painting the ceilings here. However, when I started painting B's room, the first item to see a paintbrush was the trim.

I painted the trim on Sunday, I think. Monday was cutting in the primer. Tuesday found me priming the walls, and today was the day to start putting some color on the walls.

I was, however, stymied in my attempts to finish the room today. DH is sick with his relapse of what ailed him for nearly all of February. He said he wanted to go to the doctor, but didn't want to go back to the GP he saw twice last month. So I found an internist courtesy of the Aetna website, and DH got an appointment for 11:30 this morning. We spent an hour and a half in the exam room, and I think DH got a decent examination. He had his lung output tested, before and after a breathing treatment; his pulse ox was taken; and they even did bloodwork. The diagnosis is not another viral infection, but bronchitis and sinus infection. We came away with four prescriptions (steroid, cough medicine, antibiotic, and allergy medication) and hope that we've located the physician we want to stick with. DH was shocked to learn that he had lost 14 pounds in the last three weeks. Not a bad diet, but not one that he'd recommend.

Lucky for him, DH seems to have regained his appetite so we went out for lunch at Philly Connection, the local cheesesteak place. I laughed out loud when I saw that they actually carry TastyKakes. However, being the New Yorker, I prefer Drakes Cakes.

Having spent the better part of the late morning and early afternoon with DH, at the doctor and later getting his prescriptions filled, I didn't have much time to paint. Therefore I only had time to cut in with the blue paint. I hope tomorrow to finish painting her room. God willing, B will be back in her bedroom by the weekend.

Next week B has Spring Break. God help me. I suppose I'll try taking her to the movies at least twice. I'm sure she's interested in seeing Curious George and may want to see Eight Below. I’ll have to find out if my cousin’s kids liked it, because they saw EB yesterday.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

DH's viral infection, take 2

DH arrived home Friday night and we had a lovely talk about all sorts of boring things. Then he started coughing while I was in the bathroom taking my contact lenses out.

He came into the bathroom to relieve himself of all the phlegm he had just coughed up, and then puked. Apparently it took him by surprise. So now he's dealing with the same symptoms he suffered from for much of February -- and it the first week of March. UGH!

The little ones are still sick. S has a runny nose but A seems to be doing much better since going on antibiotics last week. Perhaps I'll have to take S in to be seen by our new pediatrician.

I'm fighting a wheezy cough. I suppose if I'm desperate enough I'll just dig out some Xopenex from A's bout with RSV last winter and take some hits off the nebulizer... Meanwhile, I'm preparing to paint B's room.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Paint paint everywhere

I started painting the guest room earlier this week. Tuesday I prepped the room and began cutting in around the corners. All was going fine until I impaled myself. I was standing on one foot stretching to reach a high spot, and when I put my left foot down, I felt searing pain. Lifting my foot up, I discovered a long thin piece of metal firmly implanted in the ball of my foot, just below the big toe. I pulled it out and hobbled and hopped down the stairs, hoping not to leave a bloody mess trailing me. Finally in the kitchen, I called out to DH while I doused my foot with hydrogen peroxide. DH determined that I stepped on a piece of broken paperclip. It hurt like a motherf***er. One bandaid with triple antibiotic ointment later I felt better.

Wednesday I finished the first coat of paint. While at Home Depot the other week, I decided to splurge and get the Wagner PaintMate Plus. This paint roller suctions paint from the can into a reservoir in the handle which distributes paint to the roller via a ratchet, much like a caulk gun. Painting goes a lot faster because you make so few stops to the paint can (or paint tray, as with a traditional roller). I ran out of paint just before I finished the room, so I decided to do a second coat on all the walls. I was afraid that the taupe color might bleed through the Water Garden color.

I finished the second coat on Thursday and started prepping B's room for paint. Since her room is a deep blood red and will be a very light blue, I need to prime. What fun! I started fighting a cold this week, no doubt brought on by the colds the little ones have and DH's 3 week long viral infection. I've tried to make myself useful this week while still taking it somewhat easy. That is why it has taken me three entire days to paint one room (not to mention the trim, which I still haven't painted).

Today I did manage to tape off the floors in the guest room so I can paint the trim. Perhaps I'll do that over the weekend. I also decided that I'd try to steam off some of the godawful wallpaper in A's bathroom. However, our wonderful steamer didn't work, so I need to use the powerful caustic cleaner to remove the hard water deposits in it.

And spending so much time in that bathroom helped me come to a few household realizations. First, there is no way I'm going to be able (nor do I now want) to remove all the damn wallpaper in the upstairs bathrooms. Second, the shower enclosure in A's bathroom is in such bad shape that I feel we have no choice but to remove it and go with a traditional shower curtain (and crescent rod, of course!). Third and finally, the people at Ace Hardware are wonderful and full of great information.

I'm accepting that I'm going to have to prime over the remainder of the wallpaper in A's bathroom with an oil-based primer with shellac; I'll likely just paint over the wallpaper in the girls' bathroom with this as well. I don't like it, but it'll be far easier to paint over the wallpaper than remove it. The shower enclosure is getting rusty in the corners, and the doors don't slide easily (and we've attempted to fix this), and the frame is all chewed up. The wonderful lady at Ace told me all about which primer to use in the bathroom. I'll be going back to her.

DH just arrived home from a few days away, so I must go.