Slowly but surely we are inching our way toward the goal of "finishing" the house so we can refinance while interest rates are still low. This weekend we plan to turn our attention to the exterior, where we'll be focusing on digging a trench around the kitchen foundation so the exposed Arxx block can be bricked before the weather gets too cold. The guy we're hiring to do the bricking (aka the guy who built our front porch and "ruined" the kitchen fireplace) will be cleaning and repointing the exterior stone as well. 

Perking up those foundation areas will really help the curb appeal situation, I think. It's the little things, truly. Also, once the foundation beautification process is finished, we'll also be able to landscape! (Well, next spring anyway.) I've been itching to plant things for ages, but I fought the urge because my dear plants would just get dug up and trampled when we finally got around to working on this project. Imagine how much better this whole thing will look loaded up with evergreens and colorful perennials...

I also met with a tile guy this week to discuss our master bathroom. He's coming back this weekend to iron out the final details with Ez and hopefully get started tiling really soon! Excitingggg!

In the meantime, I am preparing for a very big adventure. Shortly after Thanksgiving my job is sending me to the Democratic Republic of Congo for two weeks to do some field reporting. I am a bundle of mostly excitement and a little bit of nervousness -- the Congo is dangerous, yes, but mainly I'm nervous about leaving Johnnie for that long. She's old enough now to be cognizant of our absence when one of us travels, and two weeks is a very long time to a two-year-old (and also to the parent who misses that two-year-old). However, this is an important opportunity that I've been waiting for since before she was born. So I am going. YOLO, y'all. 

While I'm busy making my packing list, ironing out our scope of work and getting lots of vaccinations in preparation for the trip, I realize this is going to make renovation goals on the home front a bit tougher. The burden of Johnnie-care will be on Ez while I'm gone, taking both of us away from hammering and nailing and whatnot during that time... But we'll adjust, as we do. 

Most importantly, I have less than four weeks to read this book before I go: 

If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that I wrote about this book back in 2009. Specifically, I wrote about how much I hated it. It was assigned in at least two of my literature courses in college, and I've tried twice to read in on my own. I have failed at every attempt, waving the white flag less than halfway through. With my own trip to the Heart of Darkness coming quickly, I feel I must get through this book, at the very least for my metaphorical survival; I have to conquer the Congo, lest the Congo conquer me.

Prayers appreciated on all fronts.


  1. Wow, that will be an interesting trip! I also had to read that book several times in a couple different classes! Sorry, can't help ya there.

  2. Seriously wow! What a trip that will be.

  3. Wow nice trip!

    About the book:

    Forget the book, rent "The African Queen" instead. (Bogart & Hepburn 1951)

  4. this is probably easier to read if 1,000 times more unpleasant. it is the truth about africa.



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