Archive for Around the House

I’ve Been Away Far Too Long

Here is it the second, no wait third week of February (already!) and I have been away from my writing for far too long.

Life’s just been a bundle of ups and downs recently, a little stormy with not a lot of sunshine on the horizon.  But sometimes that’s what happens, and that’s what life is.

 abstract-rainy-season-background-with-rain-drops-and-umbrellas_zJ9kGjD_ bad-weather_10035404-032114 abstract-rainy-season-background-with-rain-drops-and-colorful-umbrellas_f1f0bjvd

So today I proclaim I must have more sunshine in my life. For me that means I need to be writing and sharing my stories.  I’ll be letting you know what’s been going on in the Revelings world over the next few weeks.

yellow dandelions in the springSunflower backgroundyellow dandelions in the spring


I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day weekend.  Stay tuned for my post on the final pages of our Family Calendar.  It’s really a spectacular sight.  I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle, and getting some writing done.

See you soon!

ps- Images courtesy of Graphic Stock.

10 Things I Have Learned to do Around My House


There are times when my Travel Man cannot be home, and some little thing needs to be fixed around the house.  Of course, with Murphy’s Law waiting in the wings, nothing ever breaks when he’s home, just right after he leaves.  So when something of a minor proportion goes wrong around the house I try to fix it on my own. That means I may then be forced to learn a new skill out of necessity.  I have also been known to  place a phone call to a certain Travel Man that talks me through the fix over the phone.

You see we always have an ongoing honey-do list, but I try to keep it very short and sweet.  When my Travel Man is home I do not want him spending his days at home fixing things.  I want him to be able to spend his time with me.  I am selfish that way.

Since acquiring my title of Domestic Goddess, there are a few new things I have learned how to take care of around the house. This is my list of 10 new skills that I have acquired, learned and/or taught myself while my Travel Man has been on the road.  A good portion of the things on this list I would have previously left for the hubby to take care of or for the two of us to do together.

1. Cleaning the pool filter.  This is usually just a weekly thing, but I am able to keep it on track by myself.  We have an above ground pool, nicknamed “big bag of water” by my brother.

2. Maintaining the pool chemicals.  I can do this, but in the middle of a hot summer this one drives me nuts!  Oh how I loathe algae.

3. I learned how to use a roto-hammer to take up some flooring in our hallway.  I got the floor completely prepped so Travel  Man could come in and install the laminate flooring.  This one was exhausting!

4. Taking the car in for service.  I always felt like the service writer would take advantage of my lack of knowledge where the car is concerned.  I never liked doing this one, but now I just do.

5.  Cleaning the air filter on the air conditioner. Our filter is removable, and reusable. you just spray it off, let it air dry and replace. Voila!

6. Adjusting the sprinkler timers.  I have had to learn how to program two different controllers for our front and back yards.  Now I feel like I am an expert.

7. Replacing some drip nozzles on the lines out by our fruit trees.  This one was surprising quite easy.

8.  Repairing our thermostat.  You can read the details of that story here.  Travel Man was actually at home when this one happened. This was a must-fix critical situation!

9. Fixing our lawn mower. I learned how to clean out this little teensy-weensy carburetor jet.  You can read all of the details here.

10. I have learned how to light the charcoal grill.  It took me awhile to get past this one.  I would always just light the gas grill for a quick summer meal.  But now if I want a really great hamburger I definitely light the charcoal grill.  The flavor is so much better, and now I love to do this.

All of the things that I have learned to do on this list make it easier for Travel Man to be away from home.  He knows I’m not afraid (nowadays) to try to fix something I feel is within my “comfort zone”.  And you know it’s also a confidence builder for me.  I can still learn new skills, and be just a tad more self-sufficient when I need to be.  However, Travel Man and I do have an ongoing agreement that if there are any plumbing problems when he is on the road, I simply call our resident plumber!


Southern California in the Fall

Here in Southern California we have been in the middle of a quite a few 100 degree days.  May I remind you it is already the middle of October.  Now I realize that in one sense we are lucky to be basking in the glow of the sun.  But on the other hand it would be so nice just to have a bit of a breather from the heat, and get some cooler weather going here.

1-washington trip 059I have lived in Southern California for over 30 years, but I grew up in Northern Illinois.  So I have experienced the change of seasons, the dreaded winter blues, and the wonder of spring bringing everything back to life.  But today as I sit here sipping my iced tea, while the thermometer reads 97 I am a little jealous of all of you who are able to bask in the colors of fall.  Seeing the leaves change on the trees and the transformation from yellows to oranges to reds is a wonder of nature that will never cease to amaze me.  In order for me to see a real change of seasons I have to take a “Leafer Trip” with my favorite Travel Man.    You know,  we travel to where the leaves are changing just to take in the sights and colors all around us.  We have done a trip like this a couple of times, and have had good success seeing the trees and leaves in their full color glory.

Fall for most of the country also brings the chill in the air, the brisk and cool mornings, and the dusting off of the crock pots to make that first batch of soup. I definitely have an aversion to eating any soup while the temps are hovering in the 90’s.  It has to be just a bit cooler for me to enjoy a bowl of soup.  Here in California-ville we have to wait until closer to November to experience all things fall.  This is ok, but by that time you are staring at the calendar looking at how close it is to Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  So we do have a “fall” season in my opinion, it is just so much shorter.

In the good old days, fall would be signified by the kids heading back to school, much shorter days, probably some sort of sports for the winter season and the dreaded Santa Ana winds.  These are the winds that kickup over the mountains, and bring lots of heat a dust, a very southwestern event.  These days we don’t have anyone left in school or sports, but my ode to fall is my ash tree in the backyard.   The leaves change colors on that tree to a nice golden yellow. Once the leaves are gone on that tree it’s officially fall here for me.

Can YOU fix a Thermostat? I did!

thermostatLast August my baby boy got married here at home in our back yard.  You can read all about the wedding here.  It was a lovely summer day and pretty hot too. I remember we were so glad when the sun went down.  It was such a fun night of partying and just having some fun. 
My house was not only hosting the wedding ceremony, we were also the “get ready” station for the wedding party, etc. This included my grandson, Evan, who was the ring bearer.  The household was a little tense to say the least. We spent the morning cleaning, decorating, and making sure all the details were in order for a wonderful wedding day.  
Then came the time for the boys,  including Evan, to get their best duds on to be ready for the ceremony.  This caused a bit of a stir for Evan because he was already hot, tired and sweaty and did not want to put on his shirt with a bow tie.  His Uncle Bryan ended up carrying him down the hallway kicking and screaming to the bedrooms to get dressed. That’s when a little fiasco happened.  In the midst of his little tantrum while being carried down the hallway he kicked the thermostat right off of the wall and the batteries went flying!!  We have one of those thermostats that can be popped off of the wall easily for programming.
I momentarily panicked, took a breath, and then calmness came over me.  I had a house full of people, it was hot outside and we need the air conditioner running for the day.  The thermostat was not going to fail us.  I found the batteries rolling around on the floor, picked up the thermostat and put everything back together and back on the wall mount.  I set the AC to come back on and nothing happened.  Gulp, another small moment of panic.  Then I did what I suppose any of us might do in this situation.  I took the thermostat off of the wall again,  and noticed that one of the batteries was a little loose.  I proceeded to the kitchen and got out our gigantic roll of foil (Travel Man uses this for his grilling).  Then I tore off a small piece of foil, folded it up, and stuck it in between the battery and the housing of the thermostat.  I was totally focused on fixing this situation.  The thermostat then went back on the wall and voila! the AC was up and running once again.  I’m not really certain if this was the safest thing to do, but I did it and it worked.
Now a few things I need to mention here.  Travel Man (my wonderful hubby) was running around the backyard like a chicken with his head cut off  so I never told him all of this happened with the thermostat that day.  In fact I don’t think I told him the entire story until somewhere around Christmas time.  It was a stressful day for us, and I wasn’t going to add to his stress factor, especially since I was able to get the thing fixed.  The other mention is that my Mom was quite emotional that day.  We had just lost my Dad, her grandson was getting married, and it just really got the best of her.  But, my five minutes of  finessing (which seemed like 5 hours in the scheme of things) the thermostat completely entertained her and made her laugh and smile that day.  I’m glad I could do that for her.
This is one of those stories that will go down in the family history books in the “Remember When” chapter.  We had quite a few wonderful moments on that wonderful wedding day, but for me this one was the most stressful and most successful at the same time.  And you know as I’m writing this I’m thinking that all of my own family members might not have heard this story.   That’s ok though, I always want things to stay positive for everyone!
When is the last time you had a family “moment”that you considered one for the history books?   

My Phone Cover got a Little Ugly

Earlier this year I ordered two new phone covers for my iPhone from Vistaprint. I wanted to have one cover with a picture of my grand-kids on it.  The cool thing about these covers is you pick your layout design and then add your photos  into the template that you have selected.  


The second cover that I ordered had a picture of my “Renee’s Revelings” logo. I think I must have gotten  a buy one get one at a discount or something to that effect.


Of course the first cover I used on my phone was the one with the picture of the grand-kiddies.  Evan loved it, he thought it was cool that I could have pictures of him and Madison with me on the outside of my phone at all times.

Now for my dilemma, a few weeks ago the pictures on the cover with the grand-kiddies started to get rubbed off of the back.  It was a little frustrating and the cover looked a little creepy with the way the pictures had rubbed off.  I had a fleeting thought that I should email Vistaprint, and see how they would be willing to help a dissatisfied Customer.  But I did not email them right away.  I procrastinated and waited another week to send an email to Vistaprint’s customer service.


So very late one night a week or so ago, I sent an email to the customer service department explaining how disappointed I was with the phone cover. Without hesitating the next morning I woke up to an email from Vistaprint letting me know that they were sending out a replacement cover that same day.  The new phone cover arrived for me in the mail the day before yesterday, and I’m a very happy camper.


Now that’s what I call taking care of your Customers.  It so refreshing to deal with a company that puts their Customers needs first, and takes care of business with absolutely no questions asked.  I would highly recommend using Vistaprint for your home office needs, or if you just want to have a cool phone cover or some fun business cards.

Have you had a great Customer Service experience recently?


This is by no means a paid endorsement for Vistaprint.  I just wanted to pass along some positive information on a company that does things the right way.  All photos in this post taken by the author.


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