Friday, April 3, 2015

Fugly to Fabulous Air Vent

From day 1 this vent has bothered Nate and me. 
It's hideous. It's fugly (blogger wants me to believe that fugly is not a word....oh silly blogger).


We could see right inside the vent even if we flipped it around.  

I looked on the internet for prettier vent covers and found several.  However, spending $200 on a vent cover did NOT seem worth it.  So we made our own.  Here is how we did it....

First, here is a list of supplies:
Wood screws
Cloverleaf aluminum sheet
Wood molding
Flat phillips wood screws
Corner braces
spray paint

We purchased the aluminum sheet from

Corner braces

wood screws
We cut the aluminum sheet and made it smaller.  

Then we cut the trim for the outside.  
(Beer is a must for any project--add that to the supply list)

We used the fugly vent as guide.

Next, we screwed on the corner brackets.

Then we used a staple gun to put the aluminum sheet in place.

We didn't put screws in the inner corner holes
of the bracket because placing screws so close to 
the edge of the wood might cause splitting/cracking.

Almost done.

Now use my favorite item in the whole crafty-do-it-yourself world...

and there it is!

way better. :)

fugly to fabulous.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Why Run?

Why do I run?

Running isn't just exercise for me.  It's personal.

I run for my son, Jayden. I run to show him a healthy lifestyle. I run to show him what the human body is capable of.  I run to show him my strength.

I run for my parents.  I run to thank them for giving me life.

I run for my Nunno.  I run to honor him and what he did for our family. I run to continue on an active lifestyle that he lived.  

I run for my sister, Heidi and others who suffer from movement disorders.  I vow to not take my ability to move as I wish for granted.  

I run for my boyfriend, Nate.  I run because of his never-ending support and encouragement.  

I run for my sanity.  Running is my shrink.  Instead of unloading frustrations to a counselor, I unload mine on the pavement.  My sometimes bruised and shattered soul gets pieced back together stride by stride. 

I run because I'm pretty good at it.  Endurance has always been my strength.  If I have this god-given ability, then why in the world would I waste it? 

I run even harder for the haters.  The people who dislike me because of my beliefs.  The people who can't be happy for me because misery loves company.  The ex who only cares about himself and is failing miserably as a father.  The previous employers who are too money hungry to realize that quality does trump quantity.  The hatred and judgment is fuel for my fire.

I can't control everything in life.  I can't control who likes me.  I can't control others blurred perceptions of who I am.  I can't control unexpected health problems.  But when I'm running, I AM in control.  It's me versus the world and you better believe I'm winning that battle. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Are you familiar with Italian Attitude?

 No we don't.

Do you know a feisty Italian? Have you experienced this? It's ATTITUDE.  My Nunnie (my Italian grandmother) defined this.  I love my Nunnie with all my heart but dear God, she was sassy.  She pulled it off well.  She didn't put up with shit but she was classy and graceful.  

I did not inherit this trait.  In all honesty, I wish I had.  I'm over-emotional and super sappy.  Sounds lovely except for this particular breed of folk puts up with way too much.  I forgive easily and give too much.  But that's just who I am.  

My sister, however, DID inherit the feisty Italian trait.  Lord did she ever.  Along with a sailors mouth to go with it which I quickly picked up on (and THIS is why I was cussing in preschool, mom).  Currently, Heidi is not able to walk without a walker.  Of course it bums me out to see my sister having to use a walker but let me tell you, she's hauling ass with that thing.  Before Nate and I moved into our new home, I was living in Heidi's basement.  One night we were watching TV in the basement and Nate pointed out something.  We could hear walking from upstairs (as we always could) and he said to me "even though she's using a walker now, she's really getting around".  She does.  She has made the best of the situation and has gotten comfortable with using a walker.  

My mom usually takes Heidi to the grocery store but on Friday I joined them along with Jayden.  I was surprised to see how well she did using a grocery cart.  She leaves the walker in the car and uses the grocery cart for support.  I walked beside her or behind just in case she slipped.  When she had to make a sharp turn and the cart was more full of stuff I asked her if she needed help.  Nope.  She didn't need my help.  She's not steady but her innate stubbornness and her feisty Italian attitude keeps her strong.  Mentally AND physically. It's admirable and it makes me proud to be her sister.

And there's never a shortage of snarky comments.  "They're always trying to sell you more" she says to me as the deli boy asked if we are sure 1/2 lb of provolone is all we need.  LOL.  Keep the snarky comments coming, sis.  :)


(okay okay I have a TEENY bit of this in me)

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Answer We Never Wanted to Hear

By far the past 2 weeks have been the most stressful and emotional in my life. 

After many YEARS of watching my sister's health decline, we finally have an answer.  We have a diagnosis.  

Nothing would have prepared my family and I for the diagnosis.  

Chorea-acanthocytosis.  Chorea whatahhh?  My thoughts exactly.  2 weeks ago we got the tentative diagnosis and of course I went to the internet immediately for answers.  The answers hit me like a kick in the shin (always a soccer girl at heart).  As I quickly read the articles I pick up on key phrases that made my heart ache.  And they still do.  "No treatment". "No cure".   

To say that I've been emotional is probably the biggest understatement of the year (and it's only February).  How is this happening to my sister? To my family?  There are around 500 cases of this IN THE WORLD.  There are roughly 7,200,000,000 people in the world.  500 of them have this rare genetic disease.  I still can't wrap my head around that. 

For the past  2 weeks I've been selfishly wondering if I would inherit this disease.  After all my odds of getting this is the exact same as my sisters, 1 in 4.  I spent the last 2 weeks scared to death.  I have never felt so much anxiety.  And at the same time I felt shame.  How could I be thinking about myself right now?  I guess it was fear.  

Yesterday my mom had a phone call with a doctor that specializes in Chorea-acanthocytosis.  She confirmed the diagnosis over the phone.  I had talked myself out of believing this is what it was for the last 2 weeks and now I have to accept it.  I have never felt sadness like this before.  Sometimes it doesn't seem real.  

My mom asked the doctor about other members of the family since this is a genetic disease.  The doctor assured my mom that if I am perfectly healthy right now that there is nothing for me to worry about.  And Jayden will be fine as well. I feel a small sliver of relief.  But that is immediately smothered with the shock of the confirmed diagnosis.

Right now it's an internal battle.  I am overwhelmed with sadness and at the same time I'm telling myself to keep it together and enjoy the time we have with Heidi.  

Last saturday was my dad's 60th birthday.  Happy Birthday Vinny (you old man hehe)!  The entire family went to the WVU vs. Texas Tech basketball game in Morgantown.  We all had a great time.  Kevin and Nate took some great pictures of the family.  This is one of my favorites:

I'm sad. I'm mad. I'm confused. 
I'm a mess inside.  
But we will carry on as we always do and live in the moment.  What we have right now is the present.  The future is uncertain.  

For now I'll continue to ramble on to whomever wants to read my blogs.  You are my therapy.  
(You can bill me later). ;)