All I Want For Christmas 4

The yearly tradition continues! Want to see what I wanted in 2008? Click Here What about 2007? Click here. What about 2006? Click here.

And now for 2009:

Ok here we go:

1. New Downstairs Bathroom: stand up shower American Standard Champion toilet, small vanity, stand up shower, mosaic tile, river stone floor tile

2. Kitchen: Fix drywall and repaint, new cabinets, new windows plus trim, new LG double french door, double freezer drawer refrigerator.

3. MudRoom: reinstall wainscot, laundry cabinets, laundry closet doors, dining set from IKEA - the white round table and the wickerish chairs, window trim, french door trim.

4. Living Room: Fix drywall & repaint, flooring, trim all round, reinstall that one crooked window, Sony 32" HDTV, carpet pad, re-arrange furniture, fireplace?

5. Hallway/Stairway: banister, stairway trim, top stair step, stairway track light with dimmer, octagonal window

6. Mikey's Room: fix closet light, install window bottoms

7. Office: Closet organizer, door to the attic crawl space, bigger area rug

8. Bedroom: new mattress, new HDTV, more drawers for my Closetmaid set, door for attic loft space, window and closet door trim

9. Upstairs Bath: BUILD IT - frame it, electrify, insulate, drywall, paint, design, , pretty tile, skylight, Corner Jacuzzi tub for two, new vanity, stand up shower, American Standard Champion toilet

10. Garage: Drywall and paint, Two garage doors, storage system with shelves, addition on back of garage - build

11. House exterior: new clapboard siding on the remaining 3 sides, trim out farmer's porch, window boxes, green shutters, lampposts, more nice plantings, a shed, chimney overlay, chimney cap, another chimney to vent wood stove, hammock, new driveway (ie, repour it)

12. Basement: finish it off with a bathroom (toilet, vanity, stand up shower), bedroom (twin bed, dresser, small closet), work room, and rec room (comfy dark colored furniture and rug, pool table, air hockey, HDTV and storage unit). And I want my wood stove hooked up down therez.

Not much I could check off this year, but hey, we're still making progress. The yello truck is fixed for real now - runs perfect and the dam check engine light is finally off. Meanwhile Mike got his transfer case and hopefully he'll be installing it next weekend if not this.

I'm itching to get this wood down in the living room!

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Oh Christmas Tree

Believe it or not, I was down one truck again this holiday long weekend. The yello 4Runner (#2) mysteriously crapped out on the way to the ATM machine on Black Friday. (No, I wasn't about to do any shopping.... in fact, that trip to the ATM was the one and only thing I had to do outside of the house all day.)

I was pretty depressed about the whole situation when I got back home.

So Saturday I called my mom on a whim to get myself back into the holiday spirit. I asked her if she would pick up Mikey and I and bring us down to Kmart to pick up a Christmas tree. (Yeah, I fell victim to their weekend sale, as advertised on TV!) She was free and agreed, although as soon as she arrived at my house, we began to wonder how this would work.

I mean, the woman drives a Honda Civic. So here we are, two women, a baby, and soon to be the proud new owners of a 7 1/2 foot artificial pre-lit Christmas tree... in a Honda Civic?! Oh boy. We had no clue how we were going to make that happen, but luckily, when we got to Kmart, we both liked the 6 1/2 foot tree better then the 7 1/2 foot tree.

Let me stop there for a second for a little tangent/disclaimer:
I am a Christmas person. I love the lights and the trees and the cards and the music and the giving and getting of perfect gifts for everyone. Oh, and did I mention grandma's cookie recipe? Love it. But when you get down to the real vs artificial tree debate - no contest.

And I love real trees... the going to the tree place, the selection of that perfect tree, and of course that delicious deciduous smell. But let's face it - (and I've spoken to this point before regarding the purchase of trees for planting) TREES ARE EXPENSIVE. That's fact numero uno. You go into that tree place with a boatload of cash and you come out with nothing left and a tree you're going to burn in the annual beach-christmas-tree-burning party in under a month.

An artificial tree pays for itself in two to three Christmas's depending on your artificial tree selection and of course whether or not you got it on sale like I did.

Then there are the environmental concerns... you know.... all those trees, wasted. And yes I know they're grown and harvested just for Christmas... but why not just grow them and then just leave them, I say. And though I love seeing those trees go up in a massive dry fireball of new year's joy, that annual beach-christmas-tree-burning party isn't the safest, most environmentally friendly thing either.

An artificial tree is forever... or at least a whole buncha Christmas's. And did I mention the pre-lit feature? So awesome. Think they look fake? Look again. Kmart had some excellent choices at a great value. (Too bad you guys missed the sale.)

Now returning us to me, my mom, my baby, and the Honda Civic... we had just picked out a lovely 6 1/2 foot tree along with a few other trinkets and were now headed back out to the car. Well, wouldn't you know, a 6 1/2 foot artificial Christmas tree box will not fit in a Honda Civic trunk. And just so you know, the back seats in said vehicle do not fold down individually for easy trunk expansion. They fold down as one. Not an option when you have a car seat smack dab in the middle of your back seat. And no, we didn't think to bring a bungee cord, strap, rope, or any other type of fastening device to allow us to hang the end of the box out of the trunk.

You should have seen me wrastling with this thing to get it in the front seat. I think my dad may have some choice words with me... I may have smudged the car in places trying to stuff the box in. But finally I was able to put the seat in the fully reclined position and lay in the box. I was even able to fasten the seat belt on it. And me? I sat in the back with the baby.

So the moral of this story is obvious - don't drive a Honda Civic. Cars are nice and all... but seriously people - how do you go to the dump? Or pickup free furniture on the side of the road on a whim? Or take off to IKEA and load up with flat packed items? And BJ's?! You'd never manage to cram a month's worth of bulk goods into a Honda Civic. It's just not possible. Plus how do you tow your boat, rv, or trailer? I could never do it, myself.

Despite the drama, arriving home and setting up/decorating that tree was the best therapy I could have bought for $107. We haven't had a Christmas tree in at least 2 years now - pathetic for a Christmas lover like myself - so setting up this new tree really felt like "the first Christmas" tree. Plus, Mikey seemed to enjoy it too....

And after all the excitement of Kmart, he napped long enough for me to unpack and put on all the ornaments and arrange the presents underneath. Take a look at the final result!

The only thing missing is a star or angel at the top. I have a beautiful harvest angel that I bought on one of those tree-less years, but it turned out to be too big for this cute little tree. Hopefully I'll find something good by the end of the season.

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