Monday, January 14, 2013

MISSING: Charlie the Contractor!!

Daisy's exhausted from looking for Charlie . . .

Sing it with me, "Oh where, oh where has my little dog--er, contractor gone?  Oh where, oh where could he beeeee?"

December was quite a month around here.  November, too, for that matter.  We got the news that we're moving.  We were scared, then excited, then scared, then downright terrified when we realized just how much of a fixer-upper our home really is. 

With a To-Do list three miles long, we assessed the projects we could handle ourselves, then started hiring.  According to our realtor, granite counters are a MUST.  Granite installed--check.  According to our realtor and HGTV, neutral walls are a must.  Yellow kitchen now beige.  Green accent wall in bedroom now beige.  All clutter must be gone--still working on it.  One must focus on curb appeal.  The list went on and on and on . . .

Our house is a 70's-era architectural fantasy with insanely high, pointy ceilings and custom-everything.  Back in the day, it was built for a doctor who had deep enough pockets to afford bathroom sinks from Portugal.  Alas, with three kids in college, our pockets aren't deep enough for McDonald's!!!  If anyone happens to have a spare Portuguese sink that'll match the old one from the downstairs bath that needs replacing, but we can't find one the same size, please give me a call at 1-800-MY-HOUSE-IS-A-NIGHTMARE!!!! (Sorry for the grammar horror story of the last sentence.  Feel free to rework!!)

But I digress, back to the REALLY big projects like replacing the deck and drywall repair, we hired Charlie the contractor.  He's a likable enough guy and when he shows up, he does nice work.  Key words being--when he shows up.

Lovely view from our kitchen window . . .

The last time we've seen Charlie was when he stopped by asking for a check two days before Christmas.  With a half-finished deck and yard littered with construction debris, I gave him a little cash, but nowhere near what he's still owed.  It's now January 14th and our deck project has been frozen like a crime scene.  Every time the phone rings, I'm expecting the neighborhood association prez to be calling, asking when we anticipate the mess being gone.

I called Charlie last week.  Here's a recreation of our convo:

"Hi Charlie.  This is Laura Altom--remember me?  The one with the deck?"

"Oh, hey girl!  I was just thinkin' about you, but lost your number.  I haven't forgotten you.  We've just been REAL busy.  But, hey girl, now that I've got your number, we'll be right there."

A week has now passed.  Still no sign of him.  Prior to Christmas, he was at our house every day for two weeks.  Did he also forget the location?!?!

Even better news--after all the work we've done, we're now NOT moving.  Sigh . . .

Lucky for me, Charlie's just my contractor and not my Baby Daddy!!!!!!!   How about you?  Got any contractor nightmares to share?


Sunday, January 13, 2013


Let me start off with saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  I love you!

Birthdays can really be a mixed bag of emotions.  We can’t wait for them to happen when we are kids…Sweet 16…Legal age of 21…You’re considered a real adult at 25…After that, they’re hit or miss.

When it comes to books, I love seeing birthdays worked into the storyline.  It makes me feel more connected to the characters by adding that extra personal moment layer.  Babies are born in many of our stories, kids and teenagers have parties, but I don’t see too many adult birthdays in books.  That being said, I haven’t written any either!

My favorite birthday was the last one I spent with my grandmother before she died.  We all went to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.  She had cancer at the time although she didn't know it until a few months later.  You never would have known she was sick and when I think back to how far she had to walk from the car to the restaurant, I don’t know how she did it.  She enjoyed the ambiance as much as I did, and she was determined to have fun that day…giant margarita blender, beach music and all.  It was a day I'll never forget.

I would love to hear about your favorite birthday.

Amanda Renee 
Betting on Texas (March 2013)
Home to the Cowboy (August 2013)
Legacy of a Lone Star (Early 2014)