Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome to the Hotter-than-You-Know-Where Education Buzz Life's A Carnival

Finally,  I have taken a brief break from painting, scaping and staining at the Denton Beach House to pull together this edition of the  Hotter-than-You-Know-Where Education Buzz Life's A Carnival.

I'm sure many of you have been following the Atlanta cheating scandal. Make sure you check out my post "Those Cheating Hearts" over at Technorati. Joanne Jacobs also comments on cheating here while Tim over at Assorted Stuff points out the Bigger Cheating Scandal.

Mamacita has lots to say over at Scheiss Weekly on whether we are overprotecting our children. And to that, my dears, I say, "Amen, sister!"

Check out why the best teachers make learning memorable over at Steve Spangler's blog.

Old Andrew over at Scenes From the Battlefield analyzes debating strategies
Darren from Right on the Left Coast talks about the new standards at Notre Dame for dealing with sexual harrassment on college campuses.

Necrotic Hijinks thinks that perhaps pyrotechnics provides the answer for engaging student learning.

New blogger ICE.Teacher has a light bulb moment and uses her improvisation skills from theater in her writing class.

With all the financial crunches and teacher layoffs, one of those online masters sites gives us a lists of Top 40 Job Sites for Teachers.

Let's Play Math is looking for some math quotes for her book. If you wanted to be counted on in, head on over there.

It was a dark and stormy night over at Joanne Jacobs' site. Make sure you see what that's all about by going over there.

Well, that's it for this carnival. If we haven't sweated ourselves into a puddle, the next carnival will appear here (I hope) on August 10.  Send your posts by August 6 using  this handy, dandy form

Monday, July 25, 2011

Painting, Staining & Complaining

[This article was first published as Home Remodeling Up 22 Percent on Technorati.]

Well, I’d like to report that I am surviving the renovations to the Denton beach house. Instead, I can honestly say that the score goes something like this–Denton Beach House 13–Richie 2.

I wonder how others are fairing in this home remodeling surge. According to the BuildFax Remodeling Index, remodeling is up 22 percent across the county as more and more homeowners opt to remodel their current homes, rather than purchasing new homes.
According to the Orange County Register, home remodeling is pretty much up in three out of four regions across the nation–up 21 percent in the West, 10 percent in the South and 9 percent in the Northeast. Only the Midwest showed a drop, down 11 percent.

Still, I find little comfort in those statistics. As I continue with my remodeling DIY journey, I have been forced to embrace the following truths…

#1… Despite my best attempts, I cannot paint a straight line. Now, don’t tell me about those nifty little tools they sell for $2.96 at the paint or home improvement stores. For me, they don’t work. For my BFF Jennifer, they don’t work. We apparently can’t see straight. Perhaps the root of this dates back to elementary school and my unwillingness (or inability) to stay within the lines.

#2… Oh, and forget about that blue tape. Are we the only ones who can’t get it to work correctly? By correctly I mean, yes, I can tape things up, but when I remove the tape, well, that’s a different story. I have yet to pull the tape without pulling off paint that I don’t want to pull off. And, again, it’s not just me either. Neither can my BFF or my daughter for that matter or her BFF either. I was going to ask our new buddy from the paint store about this little problem, but when we went in there yesterday, they told us he no longer worked there. I’m not sure if that’s true. There’s a part of me that believes he saw us coming and hid in the back.

#3… I don’t think I could ever fall back on being a painter as a secondary job choice. Hails bails, I don’t think I could even be hired as a painter’s apprentice. I think I would be lucky just to get a job stirring the paint. Still, there’s a secret part of me that would really relish being that person who names the paint. Who does that? Seriously. I could do that. Red Rush, Sierra Sunrise, Piggly Wiggly Pink.

#4… OK, so let’s forget about the paint. I am a little bit better at staining and not just the cabinets, but myself as well. I can’t tell you how many of those videos I watched over and over and over again. There’s not one smudge anywhere on those guys. But me? Well, let’s just say I had to throw away two sets of clothes.

#5… Home improvement stores stay in business because of people like me. People who make no fewer than three trips a day because we (a) forgot something (b) bought the wrong something (c) needed more of that something or (d) all of the above.

At the rate I’m going, I need another summer to recuperate from this summer.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

DIY Loser Update

This post was first published as DIY, The Denton Beach House and Losers on Technorati.

After six months, I finally stumbled upon my latest twist in life’s little turns. Blame it on my teensy-weensy brain that thought it was great idea to help my daughter buy a house instead of paying rent while she attended the University of North Texas.

It all seemed like a good idea at the time. With interest rates still low and a depressed housing market, why not scoop up a bargain and help stimulate the economy? As an added bonus, I could enter the world of Do It Yourselfers (heretofore uncharted territory) and launch into my next “Outside Looking In” project.

Let’s call this little endeavor, “The Denton Beach House.” (Those of you familiar with geography will see the irony in all of that because this house is nowhere near the beach. In fact, it's about 600 miles away, but by the time I'm through with it, I probably could have had a real beach house.)

I wonder if I can sue all those HGTV and DIY home improvement shows that make all these renovations look so darn tootin' easy. I want to know just where in the Sam Hill is Scott McGillivray when I need him? Or how about Ahmed and the yard crashers when we had to tear down the shanty shed? And, is it really too much to ask for a little bit of Ice, Ice, Baby! Come on Vanilla, I thought you were from around these parts.

Although I did get my BFF to help me with this latest endeavor, we almost had a Thelma & Louise moment last week. Driving off a cliff seemed less painful than our attempts to find tub faucets that fit.

After no less than five trips to home improvement stores, we finally found faucets that would fit the existing plumbing on our 1949 house. Along the way, we met some pretty nice, helpful people and some not-so-helpful people.

We also learned a lot more about plumbing than we really wanted to know. Things like faucet packages have letters of the alphabet denoting which faucets fit what types of threading.
Now that would have been a handy thing to know four trips earlier.

Our package, of course, was marked with an “L”

L, you know, as in "Loser."