Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Somebody, Make it Stop!

This week has been unreal at work.  I feel like I am trying to drink from the proverbial fire hydrant.  No matter what I do, it never gets done.  No matter how quickly I work, it isn't quick enough.  My inbox shows emails and requests coming in mostly two per minute nearly all day long (and after hours) now for three straight days.  I am hanging on to my sanity by a thread people-a tiny, wimpy thread.

I need chocolate, sunshine, and a good walk. 

Tomorrow I see my new cardiologist.  He will most assuredly tell me that I need to take a sabbatical.  Can doctor's write prescriptions for that?  Oh, how I wish.  All joking aside, I do hope that he has good, reassuring news that my ticker is ticking OK.  If it would just stop doing the tango, we'd be OK!

We are still trying to make our new place home.  It is mostly put together.  There are pockets of "stuff" that just need to disappear!  I'll get to it eventually, I suppose.  My evenings are hard to manage when I just want to kick my feet up and love on my wiggly boys.  Supper and homework, lunchboxes and laundry call my name over and over. 

It all gets done eventually.

B Charmer

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Not Unusual

I was scrolling through the photos on my phone in a desperate attempt to get the baby to calm.  He loves looking at photos on my phone.  It is almost like a sedative for fussy baby syndrome!  As we were looking along, I started thinking about what a stranger might think if they found my phone and began scrolling through my photo stream.  To me, the pictures are not all that unusual.  What do you think?

Why yes....this is a deer head boiling in an enormous pot on my stove.  You don't boil deer heads at your house?  Well, rest assured it was not included in the evening meal.  Although, we eat a great deal of venison at our house thanks to our hunter man! This picture is just one scene in the process that ends with a European buck mount. 

Little cars and canned goods...absolutely.  Baby thinks the best toys on the planet are things like olives and taxis.  I find the most unusual play things in the most unusual places...but for us that's pretty normal. 

There is an abundance of a certain curly redhead that seems to always need a haircut. 

Bazillions of fuzzy baby self portraits.

Lots of superheros.

A great deal of kitchen creations.  (This last picture was the beginning of the BEST homemade brownies-look at all that butter!)

And...many, many shots of our extended family that seem to always steal my seat.

So...not unusual, just the norm here at our place.  It always makes me grin to look at our life in still frames.

B Charmer.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Second-hand Savvy

Lately, I have so enjoyed browsing through antique shops.  I am finding there are quite a bit of shops in our area to choose from.  Some shops are spectacular and some not so much.  I have been helping my mother furnish a second home that her and my daddy are getting ready to move into for their new work.  We are hoping to do as much as we can on as little as possible.  It has been like treasure hunting to find items that will work correctly in this home that will also be stunning design elements. 

I find myself organizing our shopping themes lately, and I thought it would be good to make a list for all my bargain hunting friends.  I think when you are shopping for a large project, or a small one, it can be more successful to go about it with a mission in mind.  Without further adieu, here are my notes on being second-hand savvy!

1.  The Smell of Life. 
If you shop second-hand or antique markets, prepare yourself for many different aromas--dare I say odors.  I call this The Smell of Life. Try not to discount a shop that has an interesting scent.  Just remember that each shop contains items from many homes with many different scents.  You have grandma's attic combined with Hoarder Harry mixed with Eclectic Ellen that have all placed their items in the same shop for sale.  Grandma may have had a cat, while Ellen loved her bunnies.  Avoid things that might harbor the scents, that cannot be washed or refinished.  As long as your item can be thoroughly scrubbed, repainted, or refinished the smell of life should just be ignored.  It is hard sometimes.  Take a cup of coffee with you and keep it ever close to your nose!  It works, I promise. 
2.  Think about budget.

I find that certain items you want are perfectly great to get at a steal.  Other items it is OK to splurge a little.  Just give yourself a budget that you want to stay in.  If your doing a whole room or even a house as we are, think about it in vignettes.  For instance, we just purchased a pair of chairs along with a table and some lamps.  We decided to go far less on the table and put more buck in the lamps.  The lamps are showy and front and center.  We knew what we wanted to spend and that helped us narrow down many choices.  Sometimes less is far more.  A few extra bucks on knock-out lamps is better than 10 cheap nick-knacks that you will only have to dust. 
3.  Think about Quality.

A bargain is not a bargain if it is really just a piece of junk.  It is that simple.  So let's you find the cutest rocker for your baby's room.  However, the back is wobbly and there are some things missing here and there.  Think about what it will take to make it sturdy.  Take into account the time, supplies, and effort that give you the finished product.  Sometimes that bargain isn't really a bargain after all.  Get an ideal for paints or stains you might want to use and what they cost.  Take into account any hardware that you might be replacing.  If you have to repair the item, refinish it, and add new hardware, it might be better to look for new in the sale departments of home goods type stores.  Don't buy a piece of junk when you could get new for the same price. 

4.  Do a little research.

Take a bit of time to think about what items you want.  Do a quick internet search of what the items cost new.  You may value the heritage and quality of antique and feel good about spending more.  However, if you are solely after a bargain it is good to know what a new item of the same type would cost.  This way, you are not carried away by something you find, thinking you got a good deal.  A dresser at a box store might cost $150 that is new and ready to go.  The one in the antique shop might say $150 as well.  Now you know what to compare it to.  Is is quality? How much time do I want to invest to restore it if necessary? Is the price a good value?
5.  Don't be afraid to negotiate. 
In some shops negotiating does not work.  They are vendor based and cannot offer discounts without the vendor there to approve.  It doesn't hurt however to ask if you can leave a note for the vendor to consider your offer.  You never know what deal you might get.  However, be prepared that your item of choice might sale before you hear back.  If you love and really want it, you might just better snatch it while you can. If you can handle waiting and maybe loosing out...then wait it out!
6.  Have Fun!

Have fun.  Take time to stroll down memory lane as you will most certainly find an old wagon-wheel sofa that closely matches the one you always napped on at Grandma Gladys' house.  It is fun to discover tidbits of our past.  Remember you may not find a thing, but you can still have fun looking.
Happy Shopping!
B Charmer

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Work Day Fun

A throwback to something I use to do awhile back....

It would have been fun to wear this to work today!

And sipped my coffee from this mug while I toiled away at the computer.

If this were my tape dispenser, I would be more productive!

I would put some pretty fresh flowers in this happy vase.

And enjoy the flicker of girly candle.

If only I had my way, it would be a much more pleasant work day!

Thanks Anthropologie for a little afternoon break.

B Charmer

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Digging Out

We moved. Sigh....

The past week and a half have been a bit overwhelming.  Packing up a family and relocating even two miles away is a great, great deal of work.  I tried to stay upbeat and positive. I tried to stay warm.  I tried to stay out of the ER.

None of these things fully were accomplished.

We first got the news that my husband was being sent out on a work assignment in the neighboring state on the day we were to receive keys.  I knew then that a lot of things were going to be on me to get it all going and moving.  I was OK.  I could do this. 

The plan was sign papers on Thursday, keys on Friday, truck on Saturday.  It sort of panned out that way.  But Wednesday came first.  Wednesday kind of sent everything whirling.  I wasn't feeling super great Wednesday morning.  I have been having a few issues lately with my heart beating irregularly and being short of breath.  I have been tucking it away as simply stress related and was planning to make an appointment if things did not improve. 

Well, things did not improve.  I had a very bad spell at work.  I thought I could quietly leave for lunch and maybe run by the clinic to just make sure I was OK.  But, I ended up having to phone my husband.  He made the trek into the city and took me straight away to the ER at the closest hospital...which just happened to be a Heart Hospital. 

After all afternoon and a portion of the evening, I was eventually released and placed on a heart monitor.  I am fine for the time being.  I am to see a cardiologist on the 28th.  I fully expect him to say I need a solitary vacation on a tropical island where others are at my beck and call. Or.. maybe he can just say tell me to take it easy a bit.  Whatever the case, I am hopeful it is nothing but a case of being frazzled to the max.

But, the move must go on.  I left the hospital Wednesday evening.  I went to work Thursday, faxed a bazillion papers for the new place, went back to the hospital to have the holter monitor ripped off my chest, visited a dear friend who's mother was admitted at the same hospital, met my parents for dinner, and sent the boys on their way.  Then I crashed on the couch and slept for what seemed like the first time in a hundred years.  Never mind packing....not one box packed.  Ugh....

Friday was work, picking up keys, and beginning the journey of downsizing...again.  I walked around our new place as it was clean, empty, and ready for our noisy family.  I thought of all the things that have transpired to get us to this point.  Soon these barren walls would feel the warmth of my crazy boys and our chaos.  Soon, this too would be home. 

I started the one million trips back and forth loading and unloading.  It got rather cold.  So cold in fact, it actually snowed the next day (after hours of rain).  Snow in South Carolina happens maybe once a year--maybe.  This year, it happened on moving day. 

The husband finally made it home from his trip.  Together, he and I moved everything.  It took at least 742 trips.  Something about moving basically around the corner  kept us from doing the sane thing of packing in boxes and doing it the normal way. We actually did not have one. single. box.  STUPID! stupid. stupid! Well, I must say I do keep most things in baskets and bins so that counts somewhat.  But still, a big box that held a bunch of baskets would have been really good to have had.

But now....It is FINISHED....sort of.  Our new place looks like a scene out of a college dorm or maybe the after effects of a powerful storm.  Piles and stacks of stuff everywhere. It is embarrassing and ridiculous.  And, I can't seem to to get it all put away fast enough.  My one year old thinks it is great entertainment to sort and pilfer non-stop. I nearly died in horror when I came home yesterday evening and found a note from the pest control folks for suggestions to reduce pest issues.  No piles, no cardboard, no stuff on the floor.  I really was not expecting pest control this quickly after moving in.  Hopefully he knew this was move-in chaos and not just the world's worst housekeeper.

 My resolution this year was simplicity and moving has really REALLY made it clear that I need to rehearse those words in my head over and over and over.  We simply just do not need so many things.  I ridded ourselves of much when we left home.  But...much is still needed to vacate.  I am looking forward to releasing more.  It will be good to travel light.  Very good. 

Here is home....before we arrived!

I hope to get back on track with B Charmer as soon as I can find my laptop....just kidding... I know exactly where it is, but I do have to create a space to write.  That is very high on my list of priorities...after making sure I am not the poster lady for what not to do for the pest control folks! 

Thanks to those of you that are joining me at One Freckled Egg.  Post number two is up and ready.  Please feel comfortable getting in on the discussion! 

On now to find one pair of matching socks....

B Charmer

Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm Doing It!

Do you ever have those moments when your faith, heart, and head all seem to be leading you down the same path?  Well, for a good while now, I have had a singular thought that just seems to keep crashing in unexpectedly through my days. 

So many sweet friends, family, and anonymous blog readers have asked me to consider writing a book, study, or devotional that touches on the life of us gals.  I have mulled over it and felt enormous writer's block on the topic.  It is like a giant dream that I can't seem to shake, but can't seem to get moving. 

Then, I decided...I'm just going to DO IT.  I am going to write my heart and share the journey that God has been taking me on for quite sometime.  If you have read  B Charmer for any length of time, it is no secret that Faith is a huge force in my life.  I hold degrees in Biblical Studies and International Ministries. I have read volumes of books and love to write. I have traveled and worked with faith-based organizations all around the world.  I have always wanted to write my story.   It is time I just DO IT! 

But How?

This is where I have been stuck for some time.  This is where I need YOUR help.  I have launched a new site called One Freckled Egg.  You will find a page tab at the top of this blog that will always be available for linking.  On this site, I am going to begin a devotional study on some things that I think hit home to all women everywhere trying to live out our purpose in life.  I am inviting you to join with me in this scripture-based study and to be a part of something that has been very tender on my heart.  By participating and leaving your comments on the study, you will help me finally put wheels to something I have longed to do so long.  I have a goal of writing 100 Days of Purpose.  After I complete the 100 days, I will see where the road goes next.  I would love to have you be a part of the journey.  If you are blogger, feel free to share the site on your blog so that we can form a community of women from all over the world studying and sharing to live out our purpose as Women of Christ! 

I am excited and hopeful.  I am beginning my faith journey of living out one of God's purposes for me by writing my story. Let the adventure begin!

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