Monday, April 19, 2010

"C" is for Compost

We got a flier in the mail last month announcing April 17-18 as free "dump" days in Tulsa.  Since we completed the landscaping project mentioned in this post last year, we had leftover rocks, along with a few pavers, bricks, and a very heavy table the previous owners left in the backyard.  A free dump day sounded like the perfect opportunity to get rid of all our junk, so we loaded up both SUVs and headed to north Tulsa.

Waiting in line at the landfill.  Although there were a hundred or so cars between us and the actual dump site, the whole process was very efficient.


This guy is going the wrong direction.  I think he forgot to dump his couch and smoking truck into the landfill.

Before we left the house looking for adventure at the landfill, I checked the city of Tulsa's website for the address and hours of operation, and I noticed a link to a Greenwaste site.  In addition to having four free dump days each year at the landfill, Tulsa residents can dispose of tree limbs, grass clippings, and leaves year round at no cost at Greenwaste.  Greenwaste also offers free wood chips for mulch and free wood for cutting firewood.  Did I mention it was free?!

Watching the worker move wood chips to the big pile

Loading our FREE mulch into the car.  This pile is huge, and there were probably 10 more at the site.

We'll be visiting Greenwaste again next weekend, so we can finish the flower beds at the house. 

Thanks, city of Tulsa.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"C" is for Carpet

Outdoor carpet, that is...we have grass! I know grass isn't normally something to get excited about, but for two years we've had nothing but mud and weeds growing in our backyard.  John and I decided this was not a do-it-yourself project, since we wanted the existing mud/weed mix completely removed, which would require equipment rental.   On Tuesday I called Tulsa Sod and Grass, Inc. (TSG), a locally-owned, family-operated business, and less than 24 hours later I had a mostly green but completely weedless yard.   I highly recommend TSG for your sod needs and Mark Volentine for residential installation.

Here are some before and after pics.

 Before: mud, weeds, and leaves
After: new fescue for the shaded area

Before: some brown bermuda grass and green weeds

After: almost green bermuda with a little fescue along the narrow part in the back where the house shades the yard.  It's going to look beautiful in a few weeks.

Looks like we'll be grilling burgers and enjoying the new scenery this weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"C" is for Crunk

Last weekend we took a spontaneous road trip to the great city of Allen, which is a suburb of Dallas for those non-Texans reading this post.  John enjoyed a mimosa while we were visiting with the Burnetts.  He insisted on a drink umbrella, but Lara gave him blueberries instead.


Monday, April 12, 2010

"C" is for Cabinets

Back in January a clothing rod collapsed in my closet.  I did the (un?)reasonable thing, which was to gut my entire closet and laundry room, to create more storage in the house.  We still need to add the finishing touches to the closet, so I'll save that for a future post, but we are completely finished with the laundry room.  Here's the transformation.

              Before                                                     After

My favorite thing to remove from this space was the rack supported by a wire that the previous owners had installed.  My favorite two things to add to this space were the clothing rod above the sink and the HUGE cabinets that go to the ceiling.  I have room to hang dry all of our clothes, both short and long, and we now have space for our household supplies (extra paper towels, cleaners, space heaters, shoe polish, etc.) and luggage.  I also added a clothing rod under the cabinets above the washer and dryer to keep extra hangers.  It's completely out of the way but the hangers are right there when I need them.

                  Before                                               After

A special thanks to my mom for the design ideas and for helping paint. If you need a recommendation for a carpenter, I highly suggest the one I used.  He did extremely customized work for a very reasonable price, and he was able to reuse all of the existing cabinets in the new layout.

Time to get some laundry done!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"C" is for Celebrity

As some of you already know, I volunteered with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" while the show was in Tulsa in January and February.  The Starkweather episode is set to air one month from today on Sunday, May 9 at 7pm CDT on ABC!  Since I was involved with several days of filming, I'm hoping to be on TV.  All of the volunteers wore blue shirts and white hats, so it might be difficult to pick me out, but I was wearing a bright yellow jacket under the blue shirt, so look for some yellow sleeves.  Obviously I'm not a celebrity, nor am I the star of the show, but this is probably the closest experience I'll ever have with Hollywood.

I helped with clearing out the old house, handing out coffee to workers during blizzard-like conditions, organizing the food and supplies at the dining/rest center, painting and decorating Ryan's and Jared's new bedrooms, and cleaning the new house before the reveal.  I was also involved with filming clips for the "Braveheart March" and kick off just before demolition.  I even met the host of the show, Ty Pennington, and he complimented my snow boots!  John and my mom also volunteered.  It was a great experience, and I'm glad we were able to give some of our time for such a deserving family.

Packing the dining room

After our first shift during the ice storm

Ready to film the "Braveheart March." Lots of standing around and waiting followed by jogging and outrageous cheering.  Luckily the producers were happy after the second take.

As a side note, I do know the family that was given the new home, and I keep in contact with them regularly.  The Starkweathers rescued two dogs from the side of the road in rural Oklahoma, and John and I adopted them in 2008.



In addition to rescuing and fostering pets, the Starkweathers are involved with the Oklahoma Make-A-Wish-Foundation.  Ethan, their youngest son, has Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS).  PWS is a rare genetic chromosomal disorder, which causes low muscle tone, labored speech, trouble breathing, and because of a malfunctioning hypothalamus, a constant feeling of extreme hunger.  Ethan's wish to visit Disney World was granted in 2008 (news story here).  Since then, Ethan has become an Oklahoma Make-A-Wish Foundation ambassador, helping raise money for other children to go on trips.

The Starkweather Family

 Ethan, Amy, Toen, Jared, and Ryan

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma nominated the family for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  During filming of the show, a two-night auction raised more than $300,000 for the Oklahoma Make-A-Wish Foundation, the most a non-profit agency has raised in conjunction with an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project.

Starkweather's new home

Remember to set your DVR to record Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sunday evenings, and look for the Starkweather episode on May 9.  To read more about the Starkweathers and their new home visit the following links:

Simmons Homes: "Extreme Simmons" 
Simmons Homes: Facebook fan page
Tulsa World: "Tulsa 'Extreme Makeover' family expresses appreciation"

Don't forget the Kleenex!

Monday, April 5, 2010

"C" is for Continental

Over the past few years, I've traveled quite a bit for business and also some for pleasure.  The airline industry is notorious for poor customer service, so I wasn't surprised to find my suitcase looking like this when I returned from Grand Cayman last month.

The zipper was missing, and the pouch that previously only opened from the top now opened on three sides.  Awesome.  Just what I've always wanted.

The good news is that Continental customer service rep, David Ramsey, was picking up the leftover luggage from the baggage claim area when we discovered our new two-tone, easy-access bag.  Mr. Ramsey quickly processed our damage claim and offered a replacement bag or reimbursement for a new bag.  I opted for purchasing a new bag and found the Skyway Prolite 25" at eBags on clearance.  It's slightly smaller than the red 26" Samsonite, but a full Samsonite = overweight baggage fees.

I mailed my eBags receipt and a letter complimenting Mr. Ramsey's excellent customer service to the address provided on the claim form, and a couple weeks later my refund check arrived.    No follow-up phone call necessary, no nasty letters, nothing.  I was shocked.

Au revoir, American, United, and Delta.   
Bonjour, Continental!

Friday, April 2, 2010

"C" is for Car

I know three posts in five days is pushing it for a "weekly" blog, but this one just couldn't wait: we bought a new car!! 

Well, it's not exactly new, but it's new to me.  It's perfect for hauling my bike, purchases from Bed Bath and Beyond®, friends, groceries, the dogs...ANYTHING!  I'm looking forward to having more space on those long road trips to Texas too.

Now we need to sell our Ford Explorer or the "sorority-mobile" as John's friends like to call it.  It wasn't drivable about a week ago when I lost the second set of keys.  No worries though, John used to play Grand Theft Auto, so he knew how to hotwire it.

Any takers?

P.S. Just kidding on the hot wiring.
P.P.S. We found the keys.
P.P.P.S. The Explorer is still for sale.
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