Don’t Try This at Home……..

When I first decided to write a blog I made a list of all the different things I could write about.  One of the ideas was the incident that happened on June 26, 2017.  I didn’t know when I was going to write about it but figured I would blog about it when there wasn’t anything else pressing on my mind.  And then this Saturday happened……..

June 26, 2017-  After work my sister and I were picking up a patio table and chairs she had found on Offer Up and then we were going to drive it across town to our other sister’s house.  No matter how many times we tried to reconfigure the table and chairs so they would fit in the back of my car, we could not get it to fit. So we then had to drive all the way back to her house to get her car and then drive back to the table and chairs.  We had just reached her house when I got a call from my son.  His voice was serious (very much unlike him) and urgent telling me there was a fire in the kitchen, he called the fire department and was outside with our dog.  WHAT?????  Of course the seven mile drive to my house was the longest drive ever!

I finally reached the cross street to my house but was blocked by a firefighter directing a huge firetruck.  I rolled down my window and politely asked the firefighter if the house was okay. To my relief he said yes (phew) but when I turned down my street there were two firetrucks in front of my house, ten good looking firefighters on my front lawn and huge fans blowing into the house.  Apparently, the cause of the fire was grease. My son had been watching a cooking show and became inspired to cook some chicken.  He heated up some grease, stepped away from the kitchen to change his shirt (because he was going to be cooking with grease), the grease became too hot and immediately turned into flames.  Thank goodness he was okay (just a little shaken up) and the fire was pretty contained but it did have to be extinguished by the good looking firemen.  See below:

Ugly. But would you ever guess that this would end up to close to $40,000 worth of repairs?!!!  Crazy!  The next day the insurance adjuster came out and gave her estimate which included new cupboards, new counter, new floor and new stove (obviously). Then she explained the restoration people would be assessing  work that needed to be done as well and would most likely be adding to her list and boy did they ever.  I decided to go with the restoration company Nationwide (my insurance company) endorses.  The following day the guy came out, he checked out the kitchen of course and then went through all the rooms.  He looked in my closet and saw soot (what??) and then took a paper towel and ran it across the top of the mirror above my dresser. Soot. He found soot everywhere!

Bottom line: except for one bedroom and both bathrooms my whole house would need to be repainted and EVERYTHING in my house would be taken out and cleaned individually and to expect to live in a hotel for a couple of weeks.  I thought this was a little ridiculous and shared with him that this seemed a little excessive since it was a small fire just at my stove.  He explained that this is why I have been paying insurance for the last 21 years, soot gets into the walls and he would not want us to be smelling smoke three months later.  Good gracious.  All of this made me very nervous but what could I do?

We literally did not have a working kitchen all summer long except for the three weeks we stayed in a hotel.  When I was researching extended stay hotels there was one that was nice and a little bit more expensive so I called the insurance adjuster and asked her about the budget for our hotel stay, her response? “You do what works for you and your family.”  So nice.  I guess Nationwide really is on my side.  So to shorten up this long story that still is not finished, everything was finally completed at the beginning of October!  Thank goodness for my sister who helped me pick out the cupboards, flooring, back splash and counter tops.  I definitely did an upgrade for very little money out of my pocket and I LOVE my kitchen!!!  See below:

Unfortunately I do need to change the paint color of the walls.  I was on vacation when I had to pick the wall color and it turned out to be a lot more yellow then I expected (ugh).

I am now hyper vigilante about fire and fires, so I thought it would be a good idea to get my chimney cleaned and checked since it had been a few years since I had it done.  At the end of November the chimney person cleaned out the fireplace and also found cracks in the fireplace box and chamber.  She explained that if you do not fill the cracks the heat from the fire will go into the cracks and start a fire in the walls.  Ugh.  She also quoted us $2000 to fix it.  My hot bf though researched it on Youtube and found a much cheaper way to do it yourself.  She also explained that those of us living in the Pacific Northwest should always have a chimney cap on top of our chimney.  When it rains the water goes into the chimney so then when you have a fire it creates steam and this steam is what causes the cracks in the fireplace.  Suffice to say I haven’t had a fire in my fireplace yet this year.

Fast forward to December 9, 2017…………..

My very first childhood friend Colleen had a ornament exchange holiday party this Saturday.  After all these years we have remained friends, we don’t talk or see each other as often as we should but we still consider each other dearest friends.  I will say that Colleen’s house is absolutely beautiful!  It belongs in Sunset Magazine or some high end interior design magazine, its filled with white leather couches and ottomans, mirrored walls, french doors out to wonderful patios, simply elegant yet comfortable and homey.

I shared my fire/kitchen story with Colleen and she was surprised.  My sister was at the party as well and I filled her in about the fireplace.  The party was a lot of fun, good food and drink.  The next morning my sister called me and said Colleen had a fire at her house after the party!  OMG!  I spoke with Colleen and she explained that she put out the fire in her fireplace after the party with a little bit of water to make sure all the embers were out, then about 2am in the morning her whole mantel and walls were in flames.  She believes the fire started from inside the walls most likely due to cracks in her fireplace.  Ugh. My heart goes out to her.  The firefighters put out the fire, she now has a hole in her ceiling and her roof.  She has a long road ahead………

Don’t try this at home.  Don’t heat up grease too high and too fast.  Have your fireplace checked.

Be safe.

And the Elephants Trumpeted……

Trump. Grrrr… Last week Trump announced that the United States would be lifting the ban on the import of elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Currently African elephants are being killed by poachers at the rate of 100 a day. Crazy. That’s one elephant killed every fifteen minutes.  Several days later, typical Trump style he tweeted out that he would delay the ban until he reviewed all the facts with the Interior Department Secretary.  Unbelievably there are still people out there that want to hunt and kill these amazing and magnificent animals.  Their justification?  The money people pay to hunt elephants goes to conservation efforts, ….”The fact of the matter is, most of these hunting corporations or outfitters that do the safaris, are not even making it into the country where the animals exist. About two percent is actually making it to the local communities,” Roberts says (Adam Roberts, The Elephant Project). Cross your fingers that Trump makes the right decision and keeps the ban in place, so that the incredible elephants can roam and live in their native land without the fear of being hunted.

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Fun and interesting facts about elephants:

  • They love water
  • Average life span is 50 to 70 years old
  • They mourn the death of family members and other elephants.
  • They snore
  • They are capable of human-like emotions such as loss, grieving, crying, empathy, joy
  • They are not afraid of mice but are afraid of ants and bees
  • Female elephants stay with each other as a herd for a lifetime
  • They can recognize themselves in the mirror
  • Once a mother always a mother no matter the age of their offspring

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Elephant sanctuaries in the United States:

Tennessee-https://www.elephants.com/

California-https://www.pawsweb.org/seeing_the_elephants.html

 

I highly recommend this wonderful documentary about Echo the elephant and her family. Amazing. Touching. Informative-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4hWh8ejlwU

 

 

 

 

So good……….

Remember back in the day when we called the TV “boob tube?”  Or was that just the name we gave it at my house?  If it is, that’s kind of embarrassing!  TV watching has really changed since the boob tube days with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming channels I don’t know about. So in light of the name of this blog I am justsharing my favorite shows.  I hope you check some out and enjoy!

Netflix

  • Nurse Jackie (One of my all time favorites)
  • Californication (Don’t watch with children around)
  • Narcos
  • Shameless (Another one of my favorites)
  • Grace and Frankie (after I got past the first couple of episodes, I really liked it! Funny)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Not for everybody. Quirky, sweet, funny. Drew Barrymore who I like)
  • Bloodline
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Breaking Bad

Amazon Prime

  • Big Little Lies
  • Justified
  • The Wire
  • Transparent
  • Love You More (So funny. They just put out the pilot so far)

Hulu

  • The Path (Interesting. Its about a cult)
  • I Love You America (Sarah Silverman show)

 

P.S.-Maybe while you are binge watching, do some leg lifts and sit ups so you don’t feel guilty for watching TV all day.

 

I Was Reminded of Something………

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was sitting comfortably in a chair that was on display at Ikea.  I noticed an  older, tall, lanky gentleman pushing what I assumed to be his grandson in an Ikea shopping cart.  He looked over at me and we both took a second to register that we knew each other.  It was Dr. Ingle!!  One of my favorite professors from graduate school.  My memories of Dr. Ingle are:

  1. His raspy and labored voice.  I always thought he sounded like the male version of Carol Channing.
  2. On the first day of his class, the first thing he says to us was, “A week ago today I was surfing off the coast of China,” and he really had been!
  3. He taught the Leadership class and him and I and only one other person in the cohort shared a leadership strength that not many people in the cohort possessed.  It is called Woo.  Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport.  (Check out StrengthsFinder, its pretty interesting to find your individual strengths)

StrengthsFinder/gallupstrengthcenter.com/ https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/home/en-us/strengthsfinder

I was impressed that Dr. Ingle had remembered me because I graduated over four years ago and I was just one of the many students in his long career of teaching.  We chatted for a minute and he introduced me to his cute little grandson and his daughter.  Then he brought up Shenice (this isn’t her real name but for anonymity, I am using this name).

The story behind the story:

I met Shenice at work about a year and half ago, she was the friend of  my coworker in the next cube over.  We began chatting eventually because I would join them in their conversations about work, gossip, shopping, etc.  Shenice learned that I had earned a graduate degree in Public Administration.  One day she asked me about it and I explained to her what a great experience it was and encouraged her to apply.  She is the mother of two boys, works full time and has a supportive significant other (sounds familiar). So she applied and got accepted!  I was so excited for her.  I was excited that she would become friends with others in her cohort, she would get a trip to Washington DC and trip to either Seoul, South Korea or Vietnam (her choice) and that she would probably learn things about herself and more about the world around her (as I did).

She has now completed the first class. It was hard and she second guessed herself wondering if she could do it. She struggled writing the papers and struggled with understanding the material.  I get it.  During my first class I literally thought to myself, “What the f**k am I doing here?!”  My cohort was made up of people that worked for the mayor of their city, a nurse, a lawyer, a police officer, assistant deputy director of a county health department, a leader for charter schools in Portland and the list goes on!  What work was I doing at the time?  Literally, inputting UA results of parolees into a data base system.  I felt I was waaaaay over my head.  I thought maybe I was the program’s “project student.” The following Monday I called my professor and told him I didn’t think I could do it.  He assured me I was right where I was supposed to be and connected me to the “den mother” who was actually a man named Davis.  Davis’s position was to offer support to students when needed.  I received an email from Davis encouraging me to continue and that I was more then capable of completing the program just as everyone else.  His letter was so sweet and so supportive it brought me to tears!!

Back to Shenice. She struggled with the first class, I edited a couple of her papers, listened to her as she vented about the difficulty of the class and I empathized with her completely! Shenice is now in Dr. Ingle’s class which brings us back to Ikea………..

During my chat with Dr. Ingle he brought up Shenice, knowing that she also works for Multomah County parole/probation.  He talked about how she is struggling and feels like she is over her head.  He said he wants to give her all the support she needs and encouraged me to give her support as well.  We both agreed that she can do the program, she is smart, capable and has such leadership potential.  We parted with our hands in the air, saying “Let’s help her do this!”  I was touched by Dr. Ingle’s care and concern for Shenice and I was reminded that sometimes we may have an idea or goal that we want to reach and may feel like we can’t do it.  Life is too short not to do it.  Face our fears, take one baby step at a time and we may be surprised at the support and encouragement we receive from those around us and surprise ourselves with what we can do.  The student who was just doing a data entry job when she started the program ended up earning an achievement award for outstanding professional development.

It was a good reminder.

For more information on Portland State’s Executive Master’s of Public Administration program visit: https://www.pdx.edu/cps/executive-master-of-public-administration