| 09.27.2005 | pardon our dust

Pardon the dust, folks. We've been busy the past few weeks doing some home improvement. Now that the dust has settled, we're getting back into the swing of things.

The first step was getting a "handy man" in to build the work bench in the garage I'd been talking about for, oh, 2 years or so. I think Marla finally tired of hearing me talk about it.

I felt dirty paying a guy to come to my house, use my tools and my drawings to build it but, hey, it's done! I guess that's what counts. The handy man, who shall remain nameless, sure took his time. What I thought was a solid afternoon of work took him 3 days, which he spread out over 5. It was a sign of things to come...

His next task was to take care of a few minor things in the house and move the vent in the dining room down a few inches to make room for the crown molding. This all needed to be done in short order before the painters arrived. After showing up 4 hours late one afternoon to get started, he left with the vent moved down but gaping holes in the wall. He promised to return the next day to patch the drywall and the come the day after that to take care of the texturing before the painters arrived.

Our handy man didn't show up for the next two days and didn't return phone calls. I took care of the remainder of the job myself and, if I don't say so myself, did a better job than he would have. He finally showed up - with no excuses - the day before the painters arrived and had the audacity to complain that he'd taken the whole day off to finish the job and now had nothign to do.

"Fine. Put up my crown molding, then," was the suggestion. He spent a whole day doing nothing and ended up taking the molding home with him, supposedly to finish cutting all of the angles at home.

He didn't show up for 5 more days.

Meanwhile, the painters came and went in that time, which was quite an adventure. The only room in the house not to be painted was Henry's. It was our little island oasis where we spent the day playing. The rest of the house was like something from E.T. Entire rooms were wrapped in plastic and quarantined. I had to gingerly peel the plastic off of our beds at night so we could sleep and then carefuly reassemble things in the morning. (Though the garage was full of boxes of stuff from the house you can see that Henry seemed perfectly happy to play and sleep there.)

Unlike our giant loser of a handy man, the painters were excellent and arrived exactly when they said they would and did an all around great job. If you're looking for a referral in the Orange County area let us know.

I spent all of last weekend replacing every receptacle, switch and plate in the house with shiny new white ones and hanging up pictures. We still have a few

You'd think I'd be upset that the handy man had made off with my crown molding, wouldn't you? But, no, I was actually pretty happy. He'd left his nice ladder, an air compressor and a nail gun. I was hoping he'd never come back but, alas, he did call one day and wanted to swing by and get his tools and return the molding (which he hadn't touched).

When he arrived, he had the nerve to ask Marla for $25 for the little bit of work he'd done hacking holes in our wall. She gave him the Evil Eye and he scampered off. Good riddance.

@ 9:45 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.12.2005 | susan komen race for the cure

I recently accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the Komen Orange County Race for the CureĀ® on September 25, 2005 in the fight against breast cancer.

1 in 7 women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime and the more money we raise, the more the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation can give back to fund vital breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs in our own community.

Please join me in the fight by pledging in support of my participation in the Race or contributing generously to Komen Orange County. Your tax-deductible contribution will fund innovative outreach and awareness programs for medically underserved communities in Orange County and national breast cancer research.

It is fast and easy to support this great cause- you can make a donation online by simply clicking on the link to my personal donation page. If you would prefer there is also a downloadable form to send in donations through the mail.

Whatever you can give will make a difference in the lives of many. I truly appreciate your generosity and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you so much for your time and support in the fight against breast cancer.

Click here to donate to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on my behalf.

Love, Marla

@ 9:53 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.08.2005 | playdate with cousin bailey

Henry and his young cousin Bailey had nearly identical due dates but, as we all know Henry Owen arrived 5 weeks early while Bailey arrived right on time (more or less).

It was amazing to me to see just how close they were with respect to height, weight and developmentally when we went back home to visit. This short collection of photos shows just how close. Henry was so tiny when he was born but now seems just about right for his age.

In addition to the new pictures we have a new "first" to report: Henry is now mobile.

He's been struggling to inch forward for over a week now, hampered by his fingers constantly being in his mouth. It's tough to crawl one-handed, ya know?

Tonight, though, the light bulb went off. He pulled those fingers out and crawled with purpose toward Emma's Huggy Buggy and LeapPad books. It was, to be sure, not the speedy crawl of a seasoned professional but more like the frantic scrambling of a soldier under fire on the beaches of Normandy.

The first documented evidence I can find of Emma crawling on our website is from January of 2003. She was booking it, as you can see, so I'm guessing she'd been practicing for at least a few weeks by then. We'll try and get a movie of Henry-boy this weekend.

@ 9:44 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 09.04.2005 | marietta national cemetery (in ir)

Uh, what? Pictures that aren't of sweet Emma and Henry? Yes, 'tis true. While we were vacationing I took a few pictures of things that weren't my progeny. Shocking, I know.

I had visited the Marietta Confederate Cemetery a few years ago (here are the pictures) and wanted to do something similar this trip.

So, while Emma, Henry, Marla and Granma were off visiting with cousins Bailey and Erin I took a drive up to the Marietta National Cemetery to see what I could find.

Unfortunately I went at high noon rather than waiting for better light. Rather than heading home empty-handed I decided to haul out the IR filter and see what I could do.

I've experimented with IR before and always liked the results. (See O'Niell Regional Park in Infrared and Skypark Circle in IR for examples.)

You'll either love these or hate these. I think they add a kind of spooky "otherworldliness." (Is that even a word?) There are a few normal shots scattered throughout so you can see what the scene really looked like.

Let me know what you think! (And fear not, I have lots more of Emma and Henry coming up soon.)

@ 2:22 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)