Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beer Descriptions

Last night, we hosted a party for Birdie's school. It was called "Saints and Suds" and the theme was craft beer. Home brewers, like Husband, gathered what they had brewed for general consumption. 

There was much consumption. 

Everyone was asked to give a brief description of what the different beers being provided tasted like-- think wine palette, but for beer. Replace "oaky" chardonnay with "malty" beer and you're getting the picture. 

As Husband was driving on Friday and I was in the passenger seat, he put me in charge. 

Y'all, he put me in charge of describing beer. 
On a Friday. 
In traffic. 
On an interstate. 
With the kids in the backseat screaming and some Barbie cartoon with the volume at an obnoxious level. 

I was punchy.

The list was as follows: 

Pumpkin Pie Ale: Fall called— they want their beer back. Clean and sweetly malty with just enough hop bitterness to balance. Grandma shared her secret special blend of pumpkin pie spices to finish off with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger that persist like a five year old kid wanting to go to Build-A-Bear. 5.8%

Cream Ale: Picture it: you’re wearing white socks to your knees and plaid shorts. It’s Saturday afternoon and the lawn beckons. Is the lawn beckoning or are the children screaming? Is there a difference? Medium - light bodied, smooth and curvy like Adele, gold in color (again, like Adele) and low in bitterness (maybe not like Adele), this Cream Ale “will set fire to the rain” and won’t disappoint. 5.1%

Brown Ale: Fruitcake doesn’t know dense. This is dense. Layers of malt, caramel, baking chocolate, and a hint of light-roast coffee give way to reveal a hop character that might just surprise more than Cousin Eddie in the drive-way. 6.1%

Belgian Triple: A guaranteed UBER ride home. Seriously. Find Dr. Cagle and deposit your keys to receive the almost promised headache. A palate of tropical fruit flavors and aromas reminiscent to a WSP concert, this triple is a nightmare dressed like a daydream. Wait, was Taylor Swift just quoted? 8.8%

American Pale Ale (APA): Typical representation of the West Coast IPA accentuated by a bombardment of surfers, rainbow flags, and hippies. This beer has a citrus overtone with hints of grapefruit. Well balanced with a malt backbone. It’ll cure what ails you. 6.4%

Double IPA: It is more flavorful than a Bollywood video and is the hoppiest of all the beers. What do hops taste like? Who cares… it has almost 10% alcohol. Leave your liver and your keys at the door before dipping into this one. Stop sipping when you start seeing double, or start dancing Bollywood style. 9.8%

Kolsch: This is what we like to call, “Making Wife Happy.” Conceived from love, unlike our children- who were conceived from rum, this Kolsch blurs the line between lagers and ales. Light, refreshing, and in every way what you will want if you… can’t get what you want. 5.1%

Like I said, I was punchy.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Starts Small

Babies don’t come out of the womb as adults. They don’t even start out as six pound babies. They come into existence as a mere cell and grow from there. 

Houses do not appear out of thin air. A brick has to be laid; a plan developed.

Canvases are not the masterpiece. It starts with paint on a stroke before anything changes. Colors are placed, brushes washed, time has to pass.  

An education, a Georgia pine, even the light of dawn— all these things start very, very small. 

Everything in life begins with a pinprick. 

Like the renovation of our pool— it started with something very, very small.

It was going to be simple. Really simple. It started with the color purple. Not the book, rather the actual color purple. Along the edges of the pool, the tile started to gather a purple dust and the pool had a hue that was not the beautiful blue we were used to. That hue was, in fact, purple. 

How does a pool turn purple? And better, how do you keep two daughters out of something that is, literally, a sea of their favorite color?

FYI— a pool turns purple because the stabilizing agent in chlorine tabs build up in the water. There is nothing that can be done except drain off 2/3 of the water, scrub the sides, and refill with fresh water before rebalancing the chemicals.

We thought we’d do it one better and pressure wash the sides. Maybe this will bring the beauty of the 1964 coping back into focus and eliminate the exterior oil based paint that the pool had been painted with a few years before we bought it. Exterior oil based paint will make a pool look beautiful for about two years… before the water becomes opaque and your feet disappear at the bottom. Think Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies talking about her Ce-Ment Pond and we are getting close. 

My famous last words, “While we’re draining, why don’t we do a few updates?”

Husband didn’t say anything. Perhaps he didn’t hear me.

“Honey, while we have the majority of the water drained, why don’t we just paint it?”

Still… silence

“Husband? What do you think? We can pressure wash the walls and put on a better color. We were already talking about doing it this fall, why not now?”


Am I talking?



What I didn’t know was what I was asking. In my mind, a pressure washer, a roller, we call this job done in about two days.

But, if we’re painting…. wouldn’t new tiles look pretty? Husband could do that. And, well, that coping is really really outdated. How hard could it be to pry up concrete tiles that were placed some fifty years ago. Practically antiques, and as we all know— antiques are delicate. 

The silence was Husband thinking and using that calculator in his brain and running numbers. Our $125 project of draining and refilling the pool had become $1,250 with my first question and $12,500 with my second.

Because, as I have learned— my husband does not do one thing in this world half-way. It’s go big or go home with him. Nothing is small, nothing is simple, and nothing is not the very best when it comes to his handiwork. 

He was hesitant and decided to try and pull up four pieces of coping around the pool. If those came up easily, we could move forth with RENOVATION! {the other “R” word in this house} . The first piece- no problem. The second? Easy. I held my breath on the third, fingers crossed that the chisel would slip through like a knife in warm butter. Sure as the wind, it did. That fourth piece? Crumbled at the mere threat of a chisel and was instantly dust in that wind. 

He looked at me and said, “Let’s do it.” 

Well, the good news — we found the four easiest pieces of coping to pull up first. Two hammer drills, four chisels, six diamond bits (yeah, I’m hot— I know what those are… now) and a 40 yard roll-off dumpster later….. the demolition was complete. 

Finding help was a cinch. Ok, that’s a flat out lie. It’s not like I could sell it: Hey? You wanna come over and help us pick up concrete and throw it in the dumpster? No? Really? Are you sure? 

We ended up selling our daughters on it. For every ten pieces of concrete they picked up and put in the dumpster- they could get ONE Shopkin pack. 

“Mama, can we go to McDonald’s for lunch instead?” 

Seriously? {pause and remain dead pan. She has no idea what things cost…} Sure, if that’s what you want. We can make that happen, but you have to work really hard.

In the end, Birdie was helpful—  but not nearly as helpful as Bennie. Bennie, in her smocked dress and Nike tennis shoes, pulled her little pink wagon around to pick up chunks of concrete. She figured out how to hold the gate open, drag her little wagon to the dumpster and was a way too excited about throwing the trash in there. 

There’s more to this story— like how we drove to Hawkinsville on our way to Small Town because we needed to pick up 1800 pounds of concrete {Go Big Or Go Home} with three kids screaming in the back of the truck for five hours. That was fun.

Or, how Husband drove three hours up the road and back to pick up our coping and tile. Both of these trips saved us over $1000 in shipping- each. Imagine that…. no free shipping on 1800 pounds of concrete or 1500 pounds of travertine and stone tile.

It was at this point, Brother said, “You two are the biggest bunch of idiots I’ve ever seen.”

I wanted waterfalls. “Since we’re already doing all of this, let’s go ahead and put in some waterfalls on either side of the diving board.”

“Wife, every time you open your mouth— dollar bills fall out.”

“Like the water from the waterfalls we’re going to install?”

Silence. This, though…. was not the fun silence. This was the kind that meant I was NOT going to get my way. I didn’t push it. Who needs waterfalls when I could negotiate picking up concrete, laying pavers, and installing a sprinkler system? In the end, I got my water feature. 

Doesn’t it sound both cheap and easy to “pick up” concrete? Yeah… no. It’s not. Throw another zero on that budget.

The pool isn’t done. We had a golf tournament last week and I made Husband promise me that he would not try and work on the pool. Yesterday, he placed the last piece of coping in thin-set. The tiles need to be grouted. The pool has to be sandblasted— forget pressure washing. And then we will be able to put the epoxy-cement combo in the pool.

Technically, we have about eight days of work ahead of us before we can put water back in the pool, which should be somewhere between three weeks and two months. 

Go big or go home! REDUC… I mean, RENOVATION!