Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our Preferred Travel Lodging

So Josh and I had hoped to spend more nights on people's couches than in hostels or hotels for our European trip.  That is turning out harder than expected but I thought it was still time to introduce all that don't know to couchsurfing.  

For the last 3 years this is how Josh and I have done most of our traveling and in college this is how I traveled before I had a profile or knew anything about it. Couchsurfing is a network of people who open their homes to fellow travels for no compensation other than good conversation. Here are the questions we often get asked about it

1. Are you crazy?

Isn't the awareness of your craziness the proof that you aren't? Either way we'll leave you to answer that one.

2. You actually let people stay at your house? Strangers?

Yes! We have travelers about once a month. Really, it is a great way to make the world small and get a flavor of travel without leaving Nashville. We have had France, Ireland, Denmark and many more countries on our couch (spare bedroom). How often can you have dinner with Danish reporters that just show up at your door?

3. You actually will go stay in someone else's home? Strangers?

Sure! Who knows a city better than people who live there. They know the cool things happening that weekend and they also know the cheesy tourist traps to skip. Plus, you get such a better feel for a city living in a neighborhood rather than in middle of a row of hotels.

4. Aren't you afraid of psycho killers?

You know our first couchsurfers helped me out with this question. Think about how much trouble it would be for them to set up a profile and have so many good feedbacks and then what makes me so special that they choose to kill me. I mean really, you have a better chance of the plane that carries you there crashing.

So this is how Josh and I hope to see Europe-with the help of locals. We are having trouble finding available couches but we are hoping our luck will change soon.

Making My Parents Proud

So...we had a slight issue with a restaurant receipt this month. Apparently we forgot to mark through the tip line at one of the to go places we ate at and someone decided to just add a tip for themselves. Maybe one or two dollars wouldn't have been noticed but they added 5.00 to a meal that cost 6.31.

How was this discovered? I try to check my receipts against charges on our account (this is the part where my dad smiles like a crazy person).

Once it was discovered we called the place to try to figure out what happened. The woman was NOT friendly or understanding and just told us over and over that her employees had never done that before. Even after faxing us the receipt with the bubbly writing and Josh telling her that was not his "architectural" handwriting she would not budge. 

She said she could do nothing. We said we were from out of town so we wouldn't ever be back in to use the "5.00 off a meal" she rudely offered as a "please shut up and leave me alone" after telling us she really didn't think we were owed anything. So we said, that is fine we just wanted you to be aware of the situation and then we did this (this is the part where my mother would be so proud).

The funny thing is if she had just been nice and apologetic we probably would have just eaten the 5.00 and done nothing. So...we are writing off the $5 as a business expense learning the value of customer service (no dad, we won't actually write it off).

Monday, April 28, 2008


You know what those are? Those are fully packed backpacks 1 week early.

Okay, maybe I got a little excited, they aren't fully packed but they are pretty darn close. Plus, even if they weren't-the energy it took me to drag them out in the yard tells me they are done even if we don't think so. My next step is to weigh them in because we are only allowed 25lb on our cheap European airline. Plus, lets be honest-do you really see me lugging any more than 25 lbs on my back for weeks?

I don't!

So we watched Rick Steve's travel DVD last night (it came with our railpasses) to get in the mood and Josh is now totally psyched to hit the road. He vacillates between freaking out about the work he has to get finished and being totally pumped about the trip.

I'm still pretty stuck on making sure we have everything taken care of so I'm not to the excited place yet. I'm constantly trying to make sure we have everything paid we need to pay (see Friday's post), that we have what we need (I fit 18 hotel shampoo/conditioners into 1 quart size plastic bag), and that we know what we are doing (I read this and this and this everyday). I'll join Josh being excited once we pass through security without that quart size bag busting and without losing our picnic set that has a rounded tipped knife in it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Most Proud Moment of the Week

Beside the whole movie thing on Sunday night and Monday morning this is my biggest achievement of the week:

I mailed my dad checks for our estimated tax payment that is due before we get back.

I have no idea why I find such joy in that one action but I think I'm just really proud that I even thought of it. I mean come on...paying taxes wasn't anywhere near my list of things to do for Europe.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Operation Bus Stop

So I wrote a few weeks back about our bus mission and yesterday we completed it.  It turned out that we weren't able to build a bench but I think we did something even better.  Nashville Transit System isn't that easy or accessible so we wanted to bless people who must or choose to take the buses to work everyday.  Most people in our group had never set foot on a bus before so it was a learning experience for them as well as an opportunity to help others.

We had 4 teams that went out and rode the buses buying everyone's fare who got on.  In the morning we handed out donuts and in the afternoon we handed out snacks.  This is a picture of one of our team members Rory (photo compliments of Carl Cartee)

More than just paying fares we also just talked to people.  And the funniest thing to me was, not only did they talk to us, they talked to each other which is not "bus normal".  Our group was glad that we did it and hope to do it again even if we just ride the bus and hand out donuts.  

Below is some more of the group but I saved it for last because my mom will die of embarrassment.  Yes mom, that is a sheet nailed up over our front window.  Look past that for just a moment to the beautiful people we are doing life with from our church who just met almost everyone who rides the Nolensville bus.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Tentative Plan

Many people have been asking us...where are we going in Europe? So to give my mom something tell her friends when they ask here is a quick rundown of our itinerary. If you have been before and want to give us some advise please comment to your hearts content, we have no reservations so we are 98% flexible.

LONDON for one day travel recovery
VERONA for a half day then hop a night train to Rome
ROME-3 days
PISA-half day
BOLOGNA-1/2 day
VENICE-3 days
Somewhere to Relax-one day
VIENNA-3 days
MUNICH-2 days
PRAGUE-3 days
REUTTE-2 days
Somewhere in Switzerland Mountains-3 days
NURMBERG-half day
BERLIN-3 days
PARIS-3 days
Back to England, maybe Bath-2 days
LONDON-5 days

We have the 5 days in London at the end so we have some flexibility in the middle. So if you see something we are missing let us know. We are 2 weeks and counting.

Monday, April 21, 2008


So this morning at 7AM I wrapped my crew and went to catch a little sleep. My hours and days and worries all culminated in a quite successful tent revival where the biggest problem was we couldn't find a megaphone. We had 270 extras come be a part of the 1930s revival so they all had to go through hair & wardrobe and the guys that refused to cut their hair were sent home. It was a really great night that really couldn't have gone smoother.

Joshua came out and was an extra so it was fun to have him out there. I can't get the picture off my phone but you should see him with slicked back 1930s hair. He really pulled it off well. And I'm going to have to say the funniest moment of the night was a recounting of a conversation Josh had with an extra sitting by him in the movie.

The guy next to Josh leaned over to him and said "Do you know Tiffany?"

Josh: "Which Tiffany?"

Extra Guy "The one with the glasses it seems like you guys are pretty close."

Josh: "Yeah I know Tiffany." end scene

That was it, no explaination just "Yeah I know Tiffany." Josh always just give the necessary information without embellishment so I guess he considered us being married as embellishment. Interesting.

Anyway, whenever you guys see the Billy Graham movie come out in theaters watch for Josh in the big tent revival scene and think of this week of my life that it consumed. Now I can get back to "producing" our Europe trip. We leave in 2 weeks...eek!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm Not Crazy

When we woke up this morning I told Josh that in the middle of the night I woke up because our house was shaking. He said that was ridiculous and I rationalized it away as I must have not fully woken up. Yeah, there was an earthquake in IL that shook our house.

Take that Joshua Fykes, your wife is NOT crazy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring is Sprung

DSC_0078 After a brief dip back into winter weather, the past couple days have started to really feel like spring. We've been taking breaks from work whenever possible to get outside and enjoy the sun. Naturally, Austin tags along.........with her ball. What better way to enjoy a bit of sun? What I love most is when she treats the ball like a trophy, some dead animal she has conquered, and proceeds to roll over it and thrash about on her back in it's vicinity. Yeah that ball is soooooo dead, and you are by far the toughest dog anywhere near the ball.

DSC_0082 DSC_0089

Austin has made a new friend, suprisingly. If you know Austin, you know she's got a bit of "only dog syndrome". Which is another way of saying she's a bit socially retarded and doesn't make friends easily. However, she met a terrier down the road a few weeks back and they hit it off. I think the secret to what makes their friendship work is the fact that "he" (I forgot his name-Jack I think) is restricted to his yard by an invisible fence. So they chase each other around the yard like they're running from a small child trying to pet them, but Austin can just step out of bounds whenever she wants to feel in control and kinda say "yeah that's right, I dare ya".

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nothing Pretty

Sorry guys our blog is being boring right now-we aren't really living up to the photos we were hoping for at the beginning. I have been sucked into movie world which is cool and completely frustrating at the same time. I bounce from computer, to set, to meeting, to computer, to the car, and finish up the night sitting at my computer sending out the emails for tomorrow at about 11:45 at night. But, in between all of that I get to sit at a table with all the "above the line" people and meet the heads of all the departments so I am NOT complaining. There isn't one person I knew on the crew when this started so everyone is a new contact which is worth so much more than the paycheck I'll get at the end of this.

On top of all that, we are still trying to get ready for Express and trying to finish up all of the architecture work before we leave the country. My scene will be finished on Monday at 5am so I'm sure I'll have plenty to share after that. Until then, maybe I can con Josh into taking the camera out so our blog will have something pretty to look at.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


041008 No, that's not an abstract painting Tiff and I are working on. That's the mess of solder that came out of the stained glass piece we posted a picture of in a previous post. Yeah not even a day after we soldered it up and it was so pretty and perfect......I broke it. Technically I didn't break it, the wind/mother nature broke it. It was propped up on our window sill in the office for us to admire, and we had some really beautiful weather recently, so I decided to open the windows. Now in my defense I had opened the window the piece was leaning on previously without incident, but this time it was quite windy outside and within 15 seconds of opening the window (about the exact time it took me to walk from the window back to my desk) a huge gust blew it over. Luckily the windows are right next to Tiff's desk and she (with her cat like reflexes) grabbed it before it could smash on the floor. In the process of her grabbing it a piece of glass still broke though. So I'm in the process of laboriously pulling all the solder out of the joints surrounding the broken piece and then cleaning it up, cutting a new piece and re-soldering. Needless to say its taking much longer to fix the piece than it did to make it the first time.

This incident did remind me of a very important feeling/lesson I haven't thought of since I was in a car accident several years ago. In the moments immediately following the sound of broken glass I felt such regret it was almost palpable. If only I could rewind the past 15 seconds of my life, go back to the split second when I decided not to move the glass from the window. Such small, quick decisions can have very real devistating consequences.


So to keep everything we have in one place I picked my favorite and most important blogs from myspace and reposted them here. You'll see them below. They are all almost a year old and I already enjoyed going back and reading them so know this is just as much for me as it is for you. Okay maybe more for me, than for you. :)

Myspace-May 18, 2007

Tonight I am finishing up the last full day I will spend in Haiti. I know all you people are thinking, why in the world are you in Haiti? Well my brother decided to spend a month here doing mission work the summer before grad school and I decided that it would be a good story to tell so I'm here filming him. We have spent the last few days on horseback giving out Bibles, candy, and soccer balls.

I'll regale you with stories when I am back in the States-I just figured it was worth showing you that while I am riding horseback everywhere, using an outhouse, and taking a shower out of a bucket I can log on to myspace and blog for you. Isn't it crazy?

Myspace-April 25, 2007

The Flood of 2007

So Monday night we had what will now be referred to as the "Flood of 2007". This is very different yet reminiscent of what we call "Flood of 2004." Now we didn't know most of you back then so you won't remember it. Basically, about a month after we moved into our house we were using the basement to store a lot of stuff while we demolished well, half our house. One day it decided to rain and didn't want to stop and about 3 days into the storm we went into our basement to discover water-knee high (not to worry anyone who is thinking about buying our house we got that fixed). There is really nothing like wading through water in the dead of winter trying to salvage your stuff.. That day also did include quite a bit of yelling because this was just the kind of thing we had never dealt with before plus stress can do that to Josh and I.

Here is how we deal with stress:

1. I begin to laugh hysterically

2. Josh gets mad at me for laughing

3. I get mad at him for getting mad at me

4. see above.

So that was "Flood of 2004." Enter "Flood of 2007." Josh and I were fixing dinner and of course it was just finished and we were about to sit down and eat. Josh went back to the back of our house-which is really only about 20 feet and you never lose sight of the kitchen, but back of the house just sounds better. He saw standing water in the bathroom and called me in to investigate. Neither of us could pinpoint a recent time when we had "clogged" the toilet so we couldn't figure out where the water had come from. In the process of trying to figure out the problem-the plumbing backed up all over the back of our house (yummmm).

Now this flood didn't involve as much yelling because I never once laughed hysterically, and we didn't lose any belongs so I would definitely say the "flood of 2007" was a better experience than the "flood of 2004" although I don't think I'm going to recommend either experience as something to put on your list of "Things to do before I die."

Myspace-March 19, 2007

Josh gave me the most interesting compliment tonight.  I was outside all day today working on a location shoot.  He said I came home smelling like sunshine.  I qualified it to make sure it wasn't sweat but he confirmed that it was in fact "sunshine."

He's my favorite husband!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thank you Al Gore for the internet

Okay so today I got to see one of my best friends in the world Sam. I sat at my desk in Nashville and she sat at her bookshelf in Maimi and we talked face to face. After my crazy day yesterday I needed that. I took a break from my hectic work (who knew putting together a 1930s tent revival in 7 days could be so stressful) and just talked to my friend-it was really nice. Plus, I've discovered that video iChat can replace the phone and I'm a huge fan of that. I don't like to sit on the phone and talk, and that is what makes me an awful long distance friend. Awful!

This is reason 8,435,878 that I love the internet. It makes me a better friend.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day of Happenings

So the last two days have been days of happenings. Yesterday Josh got word of a really great project that FYK Architecture pllc is going to be a part of. Yes we won't get paid, but sometimes it isn't about the money. We have been looking for a project that would give us some great design experience and low and behold here it is. So now when we are coming home on our plane from Europe not only will I be so excited about getting home and drinking a Dr. Pepper, but we'll also be stoked about starting this new project.

Then today we met with the MTA COO and worked out what our community group is going to be able to do. We report back to the group tonight so I don't want to spoil it for anyone early. Then while we were at lunch I got a call from a producer in town who is line producing the Billy Graham film that is shooting this month in Nashville. So that is what I'll be working on for the next week-producing a tent revival scene for a "real" movie.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Smiley Weather

So this weekend was full and fun. Here's the Top Ten in no particular order:

1. We had couchsurfers. They were domestic but still new people none the less. Also the guy's mom lives in Paris and might let us use her apartment while she is gone-score!

2. We went to the theater and saw 21. Don't bother if you've seen the preview you've seen the movie

3. Had dinner twice with the Smiths-yep we like them that much

4. It finally stopped raining and I got to wear short sleeves

5. Found a shirt in my closet that would work as the missing element to my Europe packing

6. Bought the rest of our remaining Europe supplies at Walmart, Target and REI

7. Had lunch with our long lost Barclays-we've never had 2 hours go by so quick in a Ruby Tuesdays

8. Walked our neighborhood in our packed Europe backpacks and found out we haven't over packed. That's a good thing because we are taking like 10 things each so we didn't know what we would leave out if we have to.

9. Ran into a potential remodel client we met with on Friday in the "real world." I don't know this for sure but I believe that ups the chances of us getting the project. I'm going to start formal research on that and become rich and famous on my findings.

10. Went to church where Josh worked in the nursery-no great stories this week but it did have him wondering what a miniature Felton/Fykes would act like

Friday, April 4, 2008

This Week is Done

So this week ended my sewing class. Please note I am using the word class loosely because for me some things have to be true to make something a class.

1. The teacher must teach 
2. The teacher must be able to answer question 8 out of 10 times especially if they deal in the most basic knowledge of the subject "taught" 
3. At the end I feel like I learned something

I think that she would say she qualified for number 1-I say she tried but that is not her spiritual gift, number 2 was not the case and number 3-not so much either.

 (Also, just to note-I'm pushing these requirements with the English class I teach every Tuesday night but my students don't have to pay to come to class so their standards should be a little lower, right?) 

I used the class time as sewing accountability which is why I really took the class to begin with so it really was okay. But if you ask me it was kind of funny to go out in the hall outside my class and call my mom to ask her a sewing question but whisper so the "teacher" didn't hear me. Regardless, I have a couple of finished projects. I've already shown you the apron.

This is the money pouch that Josh and I are going to use in our backpack. I know that if I don't have a specific place for our extra money we are going to get back to the states with Euros in all the different pockets of our backpacks.

On a completely separate note it has been raining for days and it just cracks us up when Austin comes back in. She doesn't like to be wet, nor does she likes pictures so this is the best we can do. Happy April Showers to All!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Another Thing With The Hands

In our spare time we are now feverishly working towards an arts festival our church puts together each year called Express.


We should have a total of about 9-10 new completed pieces that we designed for the event. Just another thing to throw in the mix of stuff we're working to get done before we leave the country. This is one of the pieces nailed up ready for Tiff to start soldering together. Tiff and I both design, then Tiff traces, I cut & copper foil, then she solders (must be a woman's touch, 'cause I can never get a joint to smooth out like she can)

I thought I would share our other "hand"y craft. It's a bit of a family tradition, Tiff's grandfather did stained glass as a hobby and did some fairly ambitious pieces in his day. We inherited all the paraphernalia and a pretty good stash of glass because we wanted to learn the craft. So here we are. We do it as a hobby mostly, we have yet to receive payment for any of our time or work, but maybe after Express that won't be a true statement anymore.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Installment 2: Salem

So you've seen the downstairs, lets do the upstairs now.


 When we got the house this is what it looked like from the front door.  This is the "formal" living room and the dining room.  On the other side of the wall is the den and kitchen.  


This picture is in mid tear out because I got so excited about the idea of swinging a sledgehammer into our walls that I forgot to take a picture before we started.  Just FYI the novelty of tearing holes in your walls runs out about six to eight swings in.  So lucky for us, we had plenty of friends who would come take their 8 swings and eventually we had torn out all the walls in our house.

Joshua framed the new walls we wanted to make while architectural work was slow.  Then, praise God his work picked back up and this time around we got to hire people to hang dry wall, do the trim and even paint.  So in our last house the things that took us literally 15 months of our life working almost everyday after work was completed in about 2 1/2 months.  So here is the finished product.


We'll eventually have stuff on the shelves and I have a friend that is going to make us an art piece to hang over the fireplace. We are letting those decisions breath just a little bit since all the other choices had to be GO! GO! GO!