Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Is anyone still out there???

I have this fear that if I leave my blog for too long that I will lose any people who are regular readers...not that I could really tell that they are since no one will commit to being one of my followers.  Steve taunts me regularly for not having more followers so I quickly go to the stats page so he can see how many people have read this thing.  His next question is, "can you make any money from this thing?" and when I say no, he immediately loses interest.  We have had this same back and forth at least 4 times. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed time with family and friends.  My holiday was spent sequestered at the ranch for 5 nights without cable or Internet access, so needless to say, the cabin fever set in quickly.  Christmas Eve it rained cats and dogs which led to a major cold front (lows at night in the low 20's) and with only a window unit in the cabin, I remained bundled up all week.  Christmas Day we spent at Steve's parent's house on the property getting ready for lunch with his family.  Due to some latecomers, we ate about an hour late, but it was delicious, so I got over it.  (Besides, I was drinking hot coco and butterscotch liquor so all was good with me.) 

The rest of the time was spent eating, hunting, and making sausage.  Yes, you read that right....making sausage.  I killed a hog, Dale killed a doe and a huge hog, and a 15 year old girl killed the most beautiful chocolate fallow.  Steve bought a meat grinder at Bass Pro and he and Dale handled more meat than a hooker in Vegas.  I get nauseous around mass quantities of raw meat, so I'm sure you can picture how well I was doing.  Especially when Steve asked me to help package the hamburger meat and sausage links.  It all turned out tasty, so I guess it was worth it. 

By the last day, I was cranky, cold, tired (Steve and I shared a twin bed), and wanted to go home to civilization.  I'm sure everyone was ready for me to get home too since I was being so much fun.  Needless to say, I won't be making that trip again. 

The real kicker of this trip though was that right before we left Houston, Steve gave me an iPad for Christmas and then was ready to walk out the door.  I explained to him that you can not give me the greatest gift imaginable and then take me to a place without Internet for 6 days.  I made him sit here and watch me fumble through trying to download some books.  I ended up being able to get one book on it and during our time at the ranch, I finished the book I brought as well as the one on my iPad. 

I never thought of myself as a real "city girl" but I need my Internet damnit!  Well, all is right in the world, and we are headed to Florida at the end of the week so that will be fun. 

For a good laugh, here are some pictures of the sausage making.  It truly was a sausage-party.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ding Dong the House is Done! ...well, almost

All of our hard work is paying off.  After working all day today, Dale and I did a lap around the house and decided we were done.  As we were getting in our cars, I realized that part of the fascia board didn't get painted so he offered to stay and paint it really quick.  I was feeling so great about having it done and then remembered a few more things that need to be done.  I called Dale and we decided we will be there in the morning again as usual tomorrow.  Here are some new pics of our latest work:

All I have to do is put the burners on the stove now.
 All of the white painting is what I did yesterday.  Go ahead, be impressed.

Steve's hard work on the back yard.

Full Bathroom with the fixtures in place.

Shower.  It looks better in the pictures.  It will work though.

Master Bath with it's fixtures.

One of the last things I wanted Dale to do was install the doorbell.  The house came with the greatest doorbell.  It even has a mallet so you can play it (which I have done quite often).  After we figured out which wires attached where (they weren't colored so we couldn't just match them up), we found that every other time it plays it either doesn't play the first 2 tones or the last 2 tones. 

This is what we are left with.  Fail!

video

Take 2

video


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Watch Out...I might get a little deep on you.

Today I did a lot of painting. It was nice to have the monotonous task that didn't require much thought because aside from now having the skills and strength to fight off a Cobra Kai if needed, I also had a lot of time to think.

If you didn't understand the Cobra Kai reference, I would like you to do 2 things. First, slap yourself on the wrist. Shame on you! Second, watch this clip:



Now that we are all on the same page and have revisited one of the most powerful films of our time, I can share with you my thoughts from the day.

The other day at lunch, Dale and I were talking about Steve and he shared with me how much Steve's friendship has done for him and how Steve has had a positive influence on him. What a nice compliment! This isn't the first time I have heard this either. At our wedding, Steve's best man said that his grandmother asked him what was the biggest influence on his success and he said it was his friendship with Steve. In those speeches, you expect to hear how much they love you and a few funny stories, but Gary went straight to those flattering words. In my life, I would be humbled to hear something like that from one person, but to hear it several times is incredible. Now, I am not trying to put Steve on this pedestal of perfection, he is flawed just like the rest of us, but something I have noticed from him is how is makes a point of living by example and challenging others to be their better self. He has certainly done this for me.

This had me thinking about all of the people in my life who have made me a better person. Obviously every person you come in contact with has an effect on you, but there are those certain individuals who stand out as constantly asking you to be your best self. When is the last time you told one of those people about the effect they have had on you? When is the last time you thanked them? People ask all the time, "What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?" Well, why wait for their funeral? Why not tell them now while they can know that they made a difference in this world?

A wonderful woman in the San Francisco office of Tom James shared that one of her goals is to be a blessing to every person she comes in contact with everyday. If you know who I am talking about, I'm sure you will agree that she succeeds. She is always armed with a bright smile, a sweet hello, and a compliment to make you feel special. It gets to the point where you start to wonder, "Is this girl for real?" and the more interaction I have with her, I believe more and more that she is. How hard would it be to be a blessing to every person you come in contact with? Just a smile and a simple gesture could change someone's day.

There is so much evil in the world, and I fear that through the news, television, movies, etc we are becoming cold and hardened toward mankind; be it because of fear, self preservation, or other personal reasons. I know I catch myself dropping my gaze so I don't make eye contact with a stranger or picking up my speed while walking so I won't have an encounter with someone, but who knows how I could effect someone's day if I took the time to acknowledge them. Most all of us have experienced the tragedy of losing someone we love, and if you remember back to that day, you can't help but notice that everyone around you is going on with their day to day lives while you are living one of the worst days of your life. How do you know if someone else is having one of the worst days of their lives and a warm smile might lift their spirits just a bit? Wouldn't that be worth the effort of forming a smile?

I am challenging myself as well as anyone reading this to set a goal of being a blessing on anyone you come in contact with today (or tomorrow if you are reading this at night....no easy-outs here!). I am betting that we will have a better day ourselves.

Alright, I know this didn't have anything to do with construction and maybe I should lay off the paint fumes for awhile, but I just thought I would share my thoughts during my Karate Kid training.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bring on the Vino!

So after working all last week on the house, taking a short break to throw a Christmas party, and then working at the house for the last 3 days, I am officially EXHAUSTED!  I got home today and my entire body ached.  Steve called on his way to the last appointment of his day and suggested I make myself a drink.  My husband is a GENIUS!  I poured myself a glass of wine and I already feel so much better.  Let's just hope I don't get carried away with this miracle drug and feel like crap in the morning.  (It's been known to happen once or twice before...)

The Christmas party was a good time.  We had great food, tacky outfits, and useless presents.  What else could you ask for in a party.  Oh yeah, there was plenty of booze too!  Here are some of the prom pictures I took at the party:

Christen and Kelly Beckham.  Kelly committed to his outfit all the way down to his hairstyle.  This brought me such joy.

Jennifer and Alex Homer.  Salt and Pepper as he referred to them.  I think he's more like Seasoned Salt.

John and Marie Weatherford.  This couple is amazingly funny and brought us camouflage stockings with our names on them so they got some extra brownie points from me.

I have no words to explain Steve's sweater.  The sad thing is that this was not bought as a joke.  He has 3 sweaters similar to this in his closet left from "when they were in style" aka....never.  Good Lord.

Joy and Kevin.  They get extra points for their authentic prom pose and Kevin's sweet stache.

Greg and Catherine.  She offered me her sweater as a hostess gift, I told her NO THANK YOU!!!

After buying her shawl, Christen realized it was actually a tree skirt.  So, we decorated her.

Seriously?!?!?

Very chic Alex.  If you look closely at the bottom left corner, you will see the chocolate treat I made for everyone.  Very Betty Crocker of me.

The winners of the prize possibly valued at $175,000 were the Weatherfords.  Although Kelly's outfit was my favorite of the night, both couples were asked to walk the catwalk for us and Kelly turned into Wilma the Wallflower and the people turned on him.  Turns out he didn't miss out on much though because the scratch offs weren't so lucky and the possible $175,000 was actually worth $0.00.  

Here are a few of the phenomenal gifts that were given:

The real question is, Who DOESN'T want an Ed Hardy wall clock of a koi fish?

I think Marie was offering herself as a gift.

Very appropriate.

Some accessories for her tree skirt.

It seemed appropriate that our token Brit got the Beatles glasses.  The Elvis coasters were just a bonus.

After Kathryn stole his bug zapper, John got this treasure.

OOOOHHH SNAP!  Sanjay stole the Ed Hardy clock!

Max's flask has a picture of an old lady on it that says, "Drinks well with others."  Something tells me a few of my friends will model for this flask in the future.  Just sayin....

Greg's body sprays are supposed to give him a six-pack.  Stay tuned for the "after" shots.

Well, there you have it.  Our first party was a success.  I was told by a co-worker that I did a great job as the first Mrs. Callaway.  I guess there will be others.  :)  She claims she meant the first party as Mrs. Callaway....yeah right.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Not exactly the Sistine Chapel

So the past 2 days, I have gone to the house and worked with Dale.  He is such a godsend.  He has had to redo all of the plumbing work that Marco did as well as help me with other tasks.  He has also started calling me boss, which you know I LOVE!  :)  The best part of having him around (besides the labor) is that he gives me little tips and tricks.  Turns out, I could fix some of what Marco did to the texture of the walls with just a sponge and some water.  I went to town and now the walls no longer look like they are fields of grain. 

Yesterday we spent the day repainting the inside.  Thank God Dale was there to help.  If I had to trim and roll everything, I would have been there all week...and it wouldn't have looked all that great.  Instead, I repainted the areas where Marco had re-textured (and then I smoothed out) with one coat, we went to lunch, and when we got back, he trimmed and I rolled.  We finished in 3 hours!  The walls look so much better!  They aren't perfect because of the way Marco and Polo rolled the texture, but it will do.  There were a few spots where I got carried away and the roller hit the ceiling, but it can be touched up.  Of course, these were the incidents that Dale mentioned to Steve.  Hit the ceiling 3 times and you never live it down.  Well, Mr. Perfect, let's not forget the spots you missed and will need to go back to touch up!

It has also been a lot of fun getting to know Dale better.  I can definitely see why he and Steve are so close.  They are pretty opposite in personality, so they complement each other well. 

Last night Steve and I cleaned up a little bit and grocery shopped for the Christmas party tonight.  Today I need to go find an ugly Christmas sweater, mop and dust the downstairs and then start the rib roast.  (I should probably get started instead of writing this...)  After we were done cleaning, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills came on.  I am such a fan of all of the Real Housewives Franchises (well, I don't really watch Atlanta that much...but it's always entertaining to see where Kim stands with Big Papa and what new wig she is wearing)!

Last night's episode was great!  In case you didn't watch, here's a little recap.  Camille Grammar had a dinner party with all of the girls and invited her friend/makeup artist and her medium (they created and produce the show Medium and it has based on her life).  She said several times how her medium gets very opinionated when she drinks, and she loves to drink, and that she also invited her because she provides good conversation.  Well, toward the end of dinner the medium was so drunk she pulled out this electronic cigarette and began puffing away at the dinner table.  It was the most insane/trashy thing I had ever seen.  Then she started telling the girls that she is not on the clock so they shouldn't be asking her about her "talents"....I thought that's why she was invited!  Finally, Camille tells the group that this lady can tell you if your husband is having an affair.  Hey Camille, how did that work out for you?  Did she tell you about Kelsey's girlfriend?  Just wondering...

This particular version of the show is like make believe to me because they are so ridiculously wealthy, no normal people have these same issues.  If you aren't a fan, I recommend it to serve as mindless entertainment as well as an ego boost when you realize how sane you are in comparison. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I haven't forgotten about you...

...I just haven't been working at the house.  Whoopsie!  Since our long day on Saturday, I haven't been able to bring myself to go down to the house to work.  Instead, I have slept in, dressed in cute clothes, did my hair, put on makeup (I feel like I haven't done any of those things since we bought this house), put in my Christmas CD, and got in the Christmas spirit.  I forgot how much I enjoy my Christmas CD!  There is something about Christmas music that instantly puts you in a good mood.  Try to be mad while listening to it...I dare you.  Leave it on in the car and I promise you will let others go in front of you in line at the store, you will hold the door open for the person behind you, you will let people cut in during rush hour, you'll just be more pleasant to be around.  My mom and I have a joke that when someone really makes us mad, no matter what time of year, we have to listen to Christmas music.  I should have pulled this sucker out a few weeks ago when I met Marco and Polo. 

The plan was that the Callaway house was going to be a Christmas-free zone this year.  We are going to the ranch for Christmas day, so we didn't really see the point in decorating.  Besides, I got rid of all of my decorations in the move, and from the looks of things, Steve has never owned many.  No matter how many people called me a Scrooge, it really didn't phase me.  That was until Steve volunteered our house for his office's Christmas party.  You can't throw a Christmas party without Christmas decorations! 

I knew Steve had what looked like a tree upstairs in one of the closets, so I started asking him about it...
me: What is your tree like?
Steve:  It's a nice tree.  It was expensive.
me:  It's in a pretty small box.  Is it better or worse than the tree I had?
Steve:  Your tree looked like it had an incurable disease.
me:  My tree was beautiful!  It was also $19.99 from Target, so let's keep it in perspective.
Steve:  My tree is nice.  There are even some ornaments and bows up there with it.  I also have a nativity scene.  Pull it down. 

The next day I collected all of the Christmas decorations and this is what I found:




Steve was convinced he could make it pretty.  Good luck!

I immediately texted Steve asking where the rest of the Christmas tree was.  I mean seriously?  We have 14ft ceilings, this 4ft tree was not going to cut it.  A tree this size is great for a room in a nursing home, a dorm room or studio apartment, to sit on a table in an office, or in a single wide trailer; NOT in a house with 14ft ceilings!  Also, I found out the tree was acquired from an "old friend", so that just adds to its beauty.  I thought he said it was expensive?!?!?!  And the bows...if you can even call them that.  What am I supposed to do with those?  I know I'm not what you would call "crafty", but I don't know if Martha Stuart could resurrect these things.  And let's not even start on that stocking.  It immediately found a nice home in the garbage.  Of course I didn't let this go easily....Steve has heard of his poor taste in Christmas decorations everyday for a week. 

Sunday night I leafed through the ads in the newspaper and saw that Michael's is having a Christmas Blowout!  Everything is 50-60% off.  Sold!  I went to Michael's yesterday, and once today, and did my best to decorate.  This is what I came up with:



 I am very happy with my cylinders and bowl full of ornaments (and am glad I got to use the cylinders from my wedding for something).  The tree is...well, the tree.  (Steve and I have an understanding that it will be moving in with the stocking that I relocated immediately after Christmas and I will be buying a new tree.)  I found plain stockings and took ornaments of an S and a K and sewed them onto the stockings....I'm clever, and found the cute little snowmen and trees.  The night of the party, we will have 2 tables in our living room, so most of this will be moved and used as simple centerpieces.  I know I'm not giving any interior decorators a run for their money, but I didn't want to decorate at all, so this is as good as it will get. 

This will be my first Christmas not using the stocking my Nanny made for me. 

She made these stockings for every member of the family and everyone would bring them wherever Christmas was so they could all hang together.  She stopped making them years ago though so there is no way Steve will get one.  As much as I love my stocking, my mom and I figured it was time for a new one that matched my husband's. 

At the Christmas party we are having an ugly Christmas sweater contest.  Any suggestions on where to find a good one?  I would really love to win this thing!  If Steve and I could looks as incredible as these two, I could die a happy girl.
Notice the goat in her lap.  She is my new hero.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

DIY

Yesterday I met Dale at the house at 9:00.  He had already been working for a little bit and I quickly jumped in pulling staples from the hardwoods so they will be prepped for refinishing.  Steve was duck hunting with a friend and wouldn't be to the house until noon.  You don't need to re-read that sentence, you read it right the first time; while his friend and his wife were slaving away, he was duck hunting.  I didn't know Dale was unaware of Steve's morning activities and when I told the avid hunter that Steve should be done duck hunting soon, he was speechless.  It just gave us more material to use against him so we'll take it. 


I walked Dale through the house showing him the "work" that had been done and asked him if it would be difficult to move the bathroom counter that was placed improperly because it had already been secured.  When he looked at the plumbing and turned the sink on, he noticed it was leaking.  Immediately, I got a pit in my stomach realizing how much plumbing Marco and Polo did and because this was the easiest of the plumbing projects, I was nervous about the quality of the others.  Dale then went to check the plumbing on the tub.  I had to leave the room....this could be a disaster.  He only let the water run for a short period and noticed a leak immediately.  The water was leaking under the brand new tub!  Best case scenario, Dale could fix the plumbing through the access in the wall, worst case, the entire tub and some of the tiles would need to be pulled so he could access the drain easier.  I was so mad!  I specifically asked Marco multiple times if he knew how to do this work because I had a plumber coming and we could wait for him.  He told me he knew how to do the bathroom but didn't feel comfortable doing the kitchen sink.  I thought he was being honest but now looking back I think he wanted to do the bathroom himself so he could rush through the job and didn't want to do the kitchen because it wasn't holding up any projects.  UGH!

We took an inventory of the materials he would need to fix these 2 things and went for the first Home Depot run of the day.  It is so different going with Dale.  When the employees approach me to see if I need help, I can honestly say, no.  He knows exactly what to get and we are in and out of there in 10 minutes.  I didn't know that was possible. 

We headed back to the house and he spent the next 3 hours repairing the tub.  Apparently the pipe was in pretty bad shape and Marco's solution was to put a new pipe inside of it and glue it together.  I can't believe that didn't work!  Dale had to chisel the edges of the pipe by hand because of his limited access and even used a blow torch at some point.  I kept myself busy pulling staples so I wouldn't get in the way.  As Dale was finishing up, Steve showed up ready to work.  He started removing the door latch plates from each door frame, because approximately 15 coats of paint had been applied to them, using an electric screwdriver.  I wanted to help but was only equipped with a regular screw driver and my brute strength.  I'll give you one guess who removed more of them....  :)

The guys went to take the trash trailer to the dump (finally!) and I made run #2 to Home Depot.  This trip took much longer than the previous one, but I choose to believe it is because I had a longer list.  I got back to the house and the guys were already back, with the full trailer.  Fail!  Apparently the dump closed at 12. 

After we worked for a little while more, we decided to call it a day and took Dale to one of Steve's client's properties on Galveston Bay to go fishing.  Steve immediately caught 4 keepers in a row....how annoying.  Dale and I didn't even get a bite.  Then Dale caught several keepers while I still didn't get a bite....what is that all about??!!  I was skeptical about going because there was a cold front coming through and I didn't want to be cold.  What I didn't consider were the 30mph winds that came along with the front.  One minute we are standing on the dock (which is still in less than stellar shape since Ike) fishing in slight winds and then less than an hour later we are having to stand 4 feet back from the edge because waves were crashing over the dock, adding weights to our lines only to be able to cast them about 10 feet, and struggling to stand up.  The funny thing is, we started catching more fish in this weather.  I finally got a keeper and Steve and Dale each got 1 more.  We called it quits just in time because the wind continued to get worse.  10 keeper trout in an hour and a half isn't bad though. 

I was able to snap this picture of Dale just before the wave hit him.  haha...

Dale and I made plans to work on the house more this week.  I think we will be able to get most of the work done ourselves and will just need someone to come in to finish the floors.  Looks like I will be painting this week.  Can't wait! 

When we got home, Steve started cleaning the ducks he killed in the kitchen.  I have decided that our next house MUST have an outdoor cleaning area for his fish and birds.  As much as I love finding feathers and fish scales around the kitchen, I would prefer them stay outside.  I was intrigued while watching him clean them and helped out with a few by pulling feathers.  I'll check that experience off the list but don't think I need to do it again. 

On a side note, my good friend Amanda had her baby girl today!  Welcome to the world Collins Cleland!  I can't wait to meet you at the end of next month!!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And now, what you've all been waiting for...

While working at the house yesterday, I had a visit from the neighbor on the other side.  She was dropping off some information she thought I might need.  It was for high-tech, video surveillance systems.  Really?!?!  You do realize this is a 1,400 sq ft house built in the 60's, not a multi-million dollar mansion full of valuables?  Glad to know the neighbors aren't paranoid.  The neighbor with the boat in her yard told me that the people on the street are a little crazy about security and they have all kinds of neighborhood watch groups.  I'd say they are doing a pretty good job since they called the cops on our day laborers who returned to collect the "treasures" we gave them while cleaning out the house.  Thanks but no thanks nice neighbor-lady, I think we'll skip the cameras for now.

Here are the most recent pictures of the house.  There are some things I am happy with, and some need some help, which you will be able to see.  All in all, I refer to this album as, "Really?!?  Really?!?" 
The front of the house looks a little better.  I got all of the wandering jew out of the potters (before you call me a racist, I didn't name the plant.), trimmed the sago palms, Marco and Polo painted the front and replaced the fascia boards.  They also redid the ceiling of the carport.  This was some of their best work.  I will be finishing the planters and pressure washing in the near future.

I long for the day that I don't have a trash trailer and a toilet in the carport.  Notice the absence of the "Great Wall of Oppression".  Thanks Stevie.

The white on the walls are Marco's attempts to correct the drywall problems.  He did a nice job on the floor tile though.  We still need to replace the bar.

The dining area with the new light fixture.  Notice, more "repairs".

The living room with some more "repairs".  Also please note the evenness of the wall paint.  Glad to know we can't see roller marks or anything.  (It looks MUCH worse in person, trust me on that one!)  Obviously, all of the hardwoods are getting refinished.

The hall.  Just need to clean the doors and touch up a few places.

Bedroom #1 is actually in good shape.  Except however, for that nice line of paint going down the middle of the room.  Thanks for that guys.  Guess we need to refinish the floors in this room too.  Really?!?
Bedroom #2 is also in decent shape.

Don't even know where to start on this bathroom.  Please take notice of the proximity of the cabinet to the toilet.  No fatties can rent here.  Also, notice the baseboard to the left of the cabinet that we marked with tape.  There is a good 1 1/2" gap between the baseboard and the cabinet.  In case you were wondering, yes, the cabinet does in fact overlap the baseboards on the other side so it does not sit flush against the wall.  Really?!?

New shower doesn't look so bad......wait for the close-up.

This is the small wall where he painted over wallpaper and applied no texture so it didn't match the rest of the house.  This is his idea of applying texture.  He did such a great job, he got texture all over my new shower tiles, the tile floor, the baseboard, just about everywhere but on the wall properly.  Also, check out the door hinge.  Don't be jealous of that drippy paint look....even though we do have it all over the house.  REALLY!?!?!

Master Bedroom is in good shape.  We just need to remove the fan.  We only asked for that to happen about 10 times, but I can see how the point didn't get made.  No biggie...that's my fault.  I won't show you the closet where the strategy was just to spray EVERYTHING with primer.  It's like a big white snowball.  Very chic right now.

Master Bath is ok except that there is WAY too much texture on the walls. I asked for the least amount of texture possible and it looks like grass on the walls.  Oh well.  At least the tile looks good.  I didn't zoom in but the brand new sink has pant, texture, and liquid nails all over it.  I think they charged extra for that.

Thanks for the presents guys!  I always wanted 6 dirty buckets of paint.  One of them even has paintbrushes floating in it.  Also, thanks for the white grass.  Green grass is so last year.  REALLY!?!?!

Do you like the way the new door frame fits.  We put this tape up, it never moved, and he was ready to paint.  REALLY?!?!?!?!?! 

I'm glad he redid the white area because the corner looks AWESOME!

The runny goopy look in the corners is also very popular this year.  You guys better get to work on your houses if you don't have this feature.

The infamous outlet that I showed Marco asking if he thought this looked good.  To which he said no.  I'm so glad he patched the bottom though and left the rest.  I think right after we talked about this is when we agreed we should part ways.  REALLY!?!

The corner looks like a mouse got ahold of it.

I particularly like this picture because it shows not only the great job done on the walls, but also the accuracy and care with which our brand new baseboards were installed.  Their attention to detail is unparalled. 

I told him he needed to fill in the 1/2" between the tile and the walls because the gap was not ok.  This was his solution.  If you look closely you will see he took a glob of grout and put it in the right corner of the hole leaving the rest alone.  There are 3 other areas like this that didn't get any attention. The wall in the picture is pretty impressive also.  REALLY!?!?!?!

I hope these pictures proved I'm not overreacting.  UGH!

If you live in the Houston area and like what you see, I will give you the number of Marco and Polo.  They are awesome and always do EXACTLY what you ask them to do.