Monday, February 25, 2008

"Fire It Up"

When I was in Rome, smoke like this meant there was a new Pope (I think ... maybe it was black smoke that meant a new Pope??? Oh well, that actually has absolutely nothing to do with this post!). Well, here at the Johnston Chronicles, smoke means ... the stove is in!

Ron wants the blogging world to know HE TOOK THIS PHOTO and he actually named this post.

Ron, Pete, and Al got it installed. I think the worst was just getting it in place. Ron said it is H-E-A-V-Y. I'm glad I wasn't here.Fresh out of the packaging...It's a shame when as a mom you miss your child's first steps, first words, etc. I've heard moms talk about going to pick up their child at the babysitter and the sitter telling them about the first step... Well, look at this photo. It's not EXACTLY the same thing, but close. Graffiti Petey (Ron's ingenuity once again) was there for the stove's first fire. I wasn't home...sniff, sniff. (Actually I was out enjoying a delicious dinner at my friend, Shirley's, for a cooking light dinner. ) I'm sure Graffiti Petey and Ron took good care of this big first step.Ahh, I've been looking forward to this!

In other news at the Johnston Chronicles (I'm feeling a little like a reporter ... ) the roofers returned and started tearing off the old roof. They're only going to do a section at a time just incase we have another downpour.Look close and you can see where some of the shingles have been removed. I'm actually really sad to lose the shake roof... I've loved it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The room is shaping up

Pete and company finished painting the room Friday. (As you can see from this photo, Pete would probably be a graffiti artist if he was a bit younger! Pete painted an R, J, G, and L on the for each first name of the original family! Josh, he said the J had to double for both of us.) The color is "dried hydrangea" which is a light tan. I probably would have gone darker if we didn't have oak trim. This color is still in the beige/tan family, but is light enough for a contrast.

Once the painting was dry, the plastic covering the windows and hearth came down. He also put up the ceiling fan and got some of the plugs put in. Ron's been doing some touch-up painting today (where the plastic was) and putting up some trim. Here, you can see my latest painting I'm working on. I think I've decided it'll hang here once it's finished and framed. Here's the rose closer. It's not finished, but almost. I love it up against the tan wall...and the brick brings out the little bit of pink that's in the buds.

The floors have been AN ISSUE this week. I've been off work (President's Week - thank you George and Abe! were good guys!) and have spent the entire week running to floor stores, bringing home samples, calling my girlfriends for opinions...etc. Yesterday, we FINALLY finally decided on the wood floor. Hopefully, it'll be ordered tomorrow and will be in in about 1 1/2 weeks. The carpet was decided on earlier. Here it is next to the hearth.The carpet is by Shaw. The color is called "Conch Shell". I'm SO looking forward to having it all complete!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pete and Al paint primer that's the wrong color...

Pete posed after they were through painting primer.

He's not cold, he's just saving his hair...I think.

Yep, today was primer day. Pete decided to have it tinted the same color we were going to paint it. Well, the guy at the paint store...well, Pete thinks he had sniffed a little too much paint by the time he mixed the primer because it was absolutely NOT the right color. Oh well, it's just primer.

My first thought was that I had made a HUGE the color. It looks good completely painted, but I kept thinking it looked too 'orangy'. Al finally agreed that he didn't think it was the same color as we had painted as a sample. I sprinted into the garage, found the sample, and Pete splashed some on.... totally different. Even big boys play... Pete painted a big 'J' on the wall. Now he's really applying the primer...even though it's the wrong color.Uh-oh. Pete was yelling at Ron (even though Ron was at work) that he was fired. I guess Ron had told Pete to get 5 gallons... and they were running out. No problem. Al to the rescue. Notice the technique of 'tipping the bucket'? It worked, Ron's not fired, the room was covered in primer. Even if it is the wrong color.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lindsey

27 Years ago...

February 19, 1981, at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, Lindsey blessed us with her birth.

I cried and I cried...Ron and I had a daughter...a baby girl. Joshua and Gabrial had a baby sister.

I had had a feeling we were having a girl, but I wouldn’t let myself believe it too strong. My prayer was that this baby would be healthy... a boy or girl wasn’t as important as that, but I DID want and hope for a daughter.

Lindsey never knew ‘quiet’...she had two rambunctious brothers who wanted to play...wanted to hold her...and didn’t care to slow down and play quieter just because she might want to sleep. Gabe threw Tonka trucks in her bassinet - actually hitting her a time or two. He just wanted her to have some fun too. Joshua was more of her protector at that time, after all, he was a grown up 4 3/4 years old!
I loved those days...I remember rocking Lindsey while I nursed her and sang to her...watching the boys play. They would hang on the rocking chair and watch their sister and sometimes we would all sing to her. “Lovely, lovely little Lindsey, lovely little Lindsey, we love you...” that’s what we’d sing. I wonder if they remember that?Lindsey has always been independent...strong willed in a very quiet manner...a deep thinker...a lover of animals...a serious student...driven...calm... compassionate...a lover of Christ...dedicated...a teacher in many forms...

I remember when she introduced me to her ‘friend’ Donnie. I remember telling my friend, Mickie, that THAT’S the kind of guy I’d love for her to marry. She did. We feel blessed.
Now Lindsey is in the midst of a health battle. She remains strong willed, driven, calm, a teacher, a lover of Christ...depending on Him as she always has. She tells me not to worry, but to continue praying. I do...I am...I pray for her continually. She’s my baby girl...always has been, always will be. I want all God’s blessings showered on her and Donnie. Today, her 27th birthday, doesn’t make me think about her more, I don’t know if that’s possible, but it just sparked me to write it all down, to try to put a small fraction of it into words.

I love you, Lindsey... I pray this 27th year brings you more blessings than we can even hope or imagine.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You absolutely MUST try this...if you love chocolate!

Wednesday at school, one of my students, Macey, came in with a mini chocolate cake and told me it was an early Valentine's Day gift.

I thanked her... I hugged her.

Skip forward an hour and a half to recess.

I decided to take a bite ... and then another ... and then another ... all the while wanting to screech at the top of my lungs, "OH MY GOSH!"

This cake is incredible. I ate almost the whole thing. I took a tiny bit of it to finish at lunch. Well, I let my buddy, Jake, take a bite. She promptly asked for another bite at the same time as she was GRABBING IT OUT OF MY HANDS. Then my buddy, Lynne, took a bite. So much for me finishing the cake.

Then I was hounding poor little Macey to ask her mom to send me the recipe. I think I reminded her 4,568 times on Wednesday. Thursday morning she walked in and I just looked at her and said, "WELL????" No recipe. Her mom was out of town. RATS.

Yesterday she walked in. "WELL?" I screamed. She had forgotten, BUT her mom was home. I gave Macey the phone and she called her mom on her cell phone while she was shopping to tell her that Mrs. Johnston was having a FIT for the recipe.

I got on the phone and her mom told me it was "the most clicked chocolate cake recipe." She told me how to find it... which I promptly have done. I'm actually getting ready to make it and try to control myself to only eat one piece a day.

How's that for a sales pitch? Here it is for all you chocolate lovers...and if you're not a chocolate lover, you will be after you eat this cake. Just click HERE! You can thank me after you've gained a few pounds - which will probably be the day after you make it.

Postscript: The recipe calls for baking this in 2 10" cake pans. I only have 9" pans, so I used 3 9" pans...which was perfect. Plus, it only baked about 50-55 minutes. I decided NOT to hop on the scales this morning since, well, I'll just say the cake is incredibly delicious!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A lot was accomplished today!

This is where the new stove will sit!

I don't know if you can tell that there is a little 'lip' on the edge. Colin finished it all today. I can't believe how fast he did it all!
Now for those with a discerning eye... you may be thinking, 'Wait a minute! The front of the hearth already was 3 bricks high yesterday!" And if you were thinking that, you just go right ahead because you're correct.

Ron was home...was in there with Colin as he was laying bricks, and MY GUY had a discerning eye and noticed a broken brick right smack in the front. He pointed it out...Colin asked him what he would like him to do, and Ron told him to pull the bricks out and re-do it... which he did.
Here, Colin is building a little ledge.
Besides the hearth being completed today, Kyle was over with another Kyle and they painted the outside of the addition. It already had primer on, but this is the real stuff!This is the 'other Kyle'.... not Pete's Kyle, just Kyle! Kyle must have been 'our Kyle's' assistant. Of course, Kyle is Pete's assistant... forget it. It makes me nervous when guys are up on ladders. This isn't that high, but still, I want to yell at Kyle to 'turn around and hold on!' He probably would have laughed at me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The hearth is being built!

Ron met Colin at 9 a.m. to let him in...I came home about 4 p.m. and saw this....

He should easily finish it tomorrow....

Pete came over and said he's planning on painting the outside of the house tomorrow...

Al will finish texturing Monday...

It'll then be ready to paint the inside...then put up the trim...
then the carpet...

Like Ron said, we can see the end in sight!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A lot of mud, a lot of heat...and a coat of primer

This thing is HOT.

60,000 BTU's of heat are being pumped into the new room ... and since it runs on diesel, well, our house is - well, it smells like a hot truckstop parking lot. No need to turn the heat on around here.

You might wonder why in the world we have this 60,000 BTU powerhouse? It is drying the drywall mud - and it's working!

Tomorrow, Al will sand some more, and then apply some more mud.

Thursday... Colin comes to start building the hearth. YEAH!

I didn't want you to get the wrong idea and think the cleaning lady had visited our house. (Even though the only 'cleaning lady' around here is me!) You know how corners can be...well, this one has all the 'stuff'. You can also see a different angle from the 60,000 BTU heater.
A coat of primer also went on the outside of the addition today. Pete had it tinted, so it looks pretty normal. Actually, the color it's tinted isn't exactly the same color as the house ...but it's close - and it's only primer.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Just incase you see one of these while you're out antique shopping....

Look at this!

I absolutely love it. It belongs to Marvin ... and it's an antique match holder.

I think Marvin said it had been in his family. I doubt if I'll find one just like it, but I'm definitely going to be on the lookout. If you see one, would you let me know?

It would be perfect for our new hearth.

So...NOW my guy is sympathetic!

Ron spent part of today taking down the rest of the old wallpaper in what used to be the dining room. Al had taken down some of it earlier.

Ron says NOW he understands why Al didn't take down the rest...

AND he is NOW sympathetic to me during a rather stressful time in the beginning of our remodeling.

I rest my case.

Ron used a steamer to remove the paper. Al hung the door yesterday. Only the deadbolt is in for now...until they paint...which should be this week!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What a little man!

Jack is growing up!

Look at this little guy! 4 months old...15 pounds. Look at that little plaid shirt all tucked in ... and he even has his belt on!

Wait a minute! Is he actually standing there all by himself? "Of course I was standing there by myself!" Jack replied.
Oh geez, don't you just want to kiss that little head...and smell that sweet drool?"Oh my gosh," thought Jack, "some adults are absolutely ridiculous about young guys like me!"

Taping is in progress...

Actually, the taping might be finished. Now that I'm sitting up here looking at these photos, I'm trying to remember if it was all taped... um?
Both of these photos are taken from the same spot. I'm back in the back corner, pretty much where the door to outside will be. Our largest dilemma at this moment is the hearth and the wall behind the wood stove. Man-made stone is all the rage now, but I think I'm leaning toward brick. I love brick, have always loved brick. Maybe it's because I'm a GRITS. (Girl Raised In The South) Everything is brick down there and here, well, you don't see a lot of it.

Our woodstove is dark brown enamel, so we have to be careful that the color (brick, stone?) complements the stove. A masonry guy is suppose to come by this weekend to give us a bid. I've called several others, but haven't heard back.
Lots of changes... maybe in a month it'll all be finished?

Monday, February 04, 2008


Sheetrocking started today. It should be finished tomorrow.

Inspectors will have to come out again and inspect to make sure it's nailed on correctly! I had no idea so many inspections were required!

In this first photo, you can see a little of the pipe where the wood stove will go.

In this second photo, you can see how the window is covered. I didn't know they did it that way either. I just assumed they measured the sheetrock, cut it, then hung it around the window.

I know you should never assume anything!

Once this is complete, I guess it'll take a while.... Pete says you tape, then let it dry... put the mud on, let it dry. Sand it.... not really sure, but it's quite a few steps.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Gabe, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

You may have heard of the book by Judith Viorst called "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". On the other hand, maybe you have never heard of it. Well, it exists. It's about a little boy, Alexander, and as you may guess, not a very good day.

Gabe's experience last week reminded me of this book.

It started when he "ran to the office for a second." He just needed to run in ... the parking lot was full... so he pulled into a handicapped spot.... ching, ching.... $275

Now Gabe is like a 'bull in the China closet' with cell phones. I have no idea how many he has gone through. His latest one, he got insurance on. Fortunately he had it when he broke the phone in a good natured scuffle with some of his buddies. ching, ching ... $50.

Well, day before yesterday, with his new replacement phone in his pocket, he walked past his desk and .... well, you know I'm going to say he broke it, but HOW? Well, his phone was in his pocket and it hit the desk JUST RIGHT. ching, ching... $100. (If he gets another phone...he can only use the insurance twice...) (I think he said it'll work as long as it's plugged in...he broke the base.)

Apparently, he and Emily had come home from somewhere (?), Gabe was emptying the car, dropped Emily's digital was dark... uh - oh...

Came out later, started the car, took off........ and ran over and broke Emily's camera.

I think I have all this correct.......

Thus the title of this post.