Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our Yester-Day on the Ranch

6:45am Alarm Goes Off

7:00am Boots on headed to the barn to feed horses

7:20am Head back to the house

7:22am Brush Teeth/Straighten Hair/Breakfast

7:46am Restaurant Supply guy stops by to look at equipment

8:02am We decide his price was bad and we'll list it all on craigslist

8:03am It starts to rain

8:05am Load 2 horses up to go to the vet/troublshoot lights on the horse trailer

8:42am Head to the vet

9:15am Enter civilization

9:19am Arrive at Vet/Realize straightening hair was worthless

9:27am Leave horses/Head back to the ranch

10:00am Get call from flooring guy who can't find the house

10:13am Grown man crawls around on our floor trying to find the smell

10:27am He decides it's everywhere but will barter work for the pool table - SOLD!

10:42am Head into Corpus Christi in the rain

It all gets very city regular from there. You know - notorize that, sign this, scare employees by showing up at the restaurant.

The craziest thing is our mornings are pretty much like that everyday. Just substitute realtor/pest people/plumber for restaurant supply guy and flooring guy and switch Home Depot or H.E.B with the vet and that's our typical morning.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

That is Love

Today we accomplished our list of tasks. Not because we had a reasonable list of tasks but because we had some help. Sam and Jen and their plus ones drove all the way from Houston to visit and help us out. Thanks to them we got a screen door hung and dinner made while Joshua sold 2 of our horses. In return they are getting a 24 hour ranch experience.

on the farm

Don't they look the part?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fresh Perspective

So Joshua and I were talking and we're going to treat our new adventure a little like our European adventure. We're going to carry the camera around and give ourselves a really good documentation of this month of our life.

How does that sound internet?

Oh it's gonna be good. Tomorrow is fleas, realtors and visitors. You don't want to miss this.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our New Winter Home

When I was twelve and my family finally got cable I loved Nick at Night programming. We weren't allowed to watch MTV and there were only 10 other stations at that point so every night we would watch the Nick at Night line up. I'm probably the only person my age who knows anything about the original Get Smart. It was actually my favorite show when I was in junior high and I always wanted to be Agent Niney-Nine.

Fast forward 19 years and I find myself stuck in a Nick at Night episode not quite as bad as The Beverly Hillbillies but we definitely aren't spies. To catch you up we are temporarily relocating to a small town in Texas called Swinney Switch. Now please don't underestimate my use of the word "small." This town is a gas station and a bar.

Gas Station. Bar. Joshua's dad's house.

This is one of those places that doesn't have internet access. NO INTERNET! It's the kind of things you read about but you just don't think really exists. (Thank goodness for 3G cards)

The crazy thing is this is some people's dream. 20 acres of land + horses + cattle + diesel trucks + tractors + millions of stars

Unfortunately Joshua and I are only really enjoying the stars part of that equation. Every time I'm out in the barn feeding horses or watching Joshua on the tractor I can't help but sing the theme song from Green Acres. I hated that show but I'm understanding Eva Gibor's character more and more every day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Undeck the Halls!

Yesterday some friends brought us dinner and helped us put away our Christmas decorations.


I know! We're still 10 days out from the holiday but our life took an unexpected turn 2 weeks ago when Joshua's dad died suddenly. He'll fill you in later but we are now heading to Texas for a while and we really didn't want to come home in February to a trunk sticking up in the window with a pile of needles below it.

Thankfully the de-seasoning of our house took just under 30 minutes and I'm immeasurably thankful for Greg and Memry who helped make that possible. The speed in which it was accomplished made it impossible to be sad that we were having to do it.

On a more comical note I AM curious what our neighbors think about our Christmas tree sitting on the brush pile on the street. On January 1 that would be no big deal but a Christmas tree on the curb by December 15 is a bit curious.

More than likely they won't bat an eyelid because they have come to expect things just a little outside of normal from the Fykes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

His Soundtrack

Joshua neglected to set the alarm last night and so we started off embarrassingly a little later than normal today. We had also put off working out until this morning so that had to be done before showering and around 10am we were finally ready to begin the day.

Normally I am downstairs immediately headed to work way before Joshua. His morning routine is a little more drawn out and so I normally leave him in my dust. However, this morning I just wasn't feeling it so instead of heading straight to work I sat down at the piano and played around a bit. So while Joshua was ironing, dressing and getting the hair just right he was doing it to a soundtrack of classical music. When he was finished he came in the room and said, "I like this. Almost makes it worth getting up in the morning."

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Big 3-0

Saturday is the day my friends...and family. Tiff and I were just going through our "Things we want to do by 30" checklist and we've done almost all of them. Is it a big deal? I don't know, I've been trying to self-assess to see if I have any emotions about it (good or bad). I haven't come to any conclusions yet, but I'll let you know after the fact. It does make me think of this....

I've always laughed at this scene (all 37 times I've seen it), but I never could relate. I don't foresee me breaking down and crying. I'm actually excited about our 30's and what life holds in the next decade.

More than I'm going to miss my 20's, I'm going to miss my hair. Particularly the nice thick patch towards the front. If you noticed in the most recent pics Tiff put up, it's starting to go. I thought I was prepared for this too. Since I was in high school I've been bracing myself "You know it's going to happen, no big deal", well......I think it's a bigger deal than I anticipated. There've been many moans and groans standing in front of the mirror, a new haircut, new styling techniques.

It's inevitable, I'm dealing. Just no wise cracks about 30 and hair at the same time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It Has to Get Worse First

Last week a monumental feat was achieved for The FYK Group. We officially hired some office help. We have been talking about this forever and the reality is that we just got to a point where we HAD to get some help or you would never be able to find me under the piles on my desk or Joshua would be forced to kill me to hold up all those threats about if I lost the checkbook one more time.

I don't exactly know how to ask her to organize my desk yet but I'd say that will come right after learning all of our systems and how to quote at least one full episode of Friends with us. Either that or she will leave screaming one day never to return.

I enjoy having someone new to answer the phones and my favorite thing is a new slot to file things into that doesn't have to be touched by me again...ever! Joshua thinks I only hired her to side with me during arguments but that isn't it at all. Just happens to be a nice perk.

Our life is going to get better. Right now teaching and running the business is a little overwhelming but it is going to get so much better.

Monday, November 16, 2009

They Didn't Quite Stink after 3 days

My parents decided that they didn't want to house "my piano" any longer and so last week they made the trek to Nashville with said piano in tow. Turns out that extra weight will add 2 hours to a 10 hour trip due to all the extra gas stops and such. That is just a tidbit for all you people out there thinking about hauling a piano across country. Add 20% to your trip time.

So now I have my piano in my spare/miscellaneous room and we got to spend almost a week with my parents. Normally it's great to see them come and then also great to see them go but this time it was just all round great to have them here.

We went and visited Evan's Mill in Smithville, TN and did little things around Nashville. Makes Joshua and I wish we could see them more than once or twice a year. We're going to have to go out and sell some more houses so we can fly to visit or fly them here more often.

Thanks for making the trip Mom and Dad.

Love, Josh and Tiff

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Man Cold

Joshua has had a sore throat for days and it might just be progressing into something a little more. Today begins the regimen of watching this video every morning just to make sure he isn't being overly dramatic about the whole thing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And that is why we have leather couches

Joshua and I left "Austin the dog" & Piccolo (my mom's dog) alone over night last week while we took our parents to Evin's Mill. We had a friendly neighbor-hi Josh and Megan!-let them out twice in the 24 hours that we were MIA, yet we still came home to a puddle of pee on one of our couch cushions. I'm sure it was our nervous dog thinking we had abandoned her forever but we cleaned it up and no one will be the wiser.

Well, I guess technically all my germ-a-phobe friends will read this but good luck trying to identify the cushion in question.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween: 1998 -vs- 2009

We'll let you guess which one is which.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Matter of Principal

It is currently 64 degrees in our house. This is the toastiest it has been in over a week. I was really hoping we would break the 65 mark today but unfortunately the sun stayed behind clouds most of the day.

Is our heater broken? No

Are we insane? I think the resounding answer is "the jury's still out on that one"

We have a Fykes Family Rule of no heat until Nov. 1. I know all of our Texas people are going "Please that is no big deal, its still 95 here." Well bottle that heat up and send it our way because this week we have lows in the 30s and highs in the 50s.

The biggest comment I get about this is "Just turn your heat on 63 to knock the edge off. You'll still be saving money." A lot of things we do in our life are because of their effect on our pocket book.

We play the grocery game and stockpile things when they go on sale because of our pocket book (and because it's fun).

We wash and re-use plastic bags because of our pocket book (and we like to cut down on waste).

We keep the heat on 69 in the winter and air on 79 in the summer because of our pocketbook (and partially the waste thing again).

However, this rule has nothing to do with our pocketbook. This is just a matter of principal. We live too comfortably and too often we let our comfort dictate too many of our decisions. So this is a decision we let the calendar decide. Every once in a while things need to be inconvenient and difficult so we can appreciate the things we have.

No I'm not about to go off about all the people who have less...but now that you mention it. We could be on the street without even a house to keep us out of the freezing temperatures we had a few nights ago.

(Stepping down and putting away soap box)

So anyway, we normally don't have real pain for this rule until the last week or two of October but this year we're having quite a cold October so we've been pushing through a lot of the month. This is our adjustment this year.

That big colorful thing is our quilt and the thing under it is our mattress. We are sleeping in our living room. We normally would just make a pallet but because we are going on night 5 with about 10 more days in the month we decided it was just easier to drag the mattress out there.

Turns out if you shut off the back of the house (thank goodness we decided to keep that door) the room with the windows stays warmer than the back of the house and if you add a fire you can almost sit with only 1 layer of clothes on.

It isn't easy and you have to layer up to go to the back of the house to use the restroom but it is a great exercise on what our bodies can take. You wouldn't believe the difference between 58 and 62.

Anyway, that's the weird thing the Fykes are doing right now - just thought I'd keep you updated.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Else Would It Be Called?

I was shopping in H&M with Sam (during a break from the sweat shop) and we noticed this song playing. Sam's first comment "This is annoying. Who is this?" Sounded to me to be a little like The Refreshments which was a band I loved in high school but with the use of the iPhone we discovered it was not.

The song was much below Sam's more distinguished musical pallet. Me? I can enjoy Top 40 just like the rest of the 15 year olds so it didn't bother me too much. Then the chorus broke out and we realized it was about Texas. Now there weren't any tears but we did both audibly say "ahhhhhh!" like we were looking at a puppy. And after we heard "the mexican food sucks north of here anyway" we basically just stood in the middle of the store and listened. We endured the rest of the verses and then at the mention of Blue Bell Sam said "I think my mom called H&M and asked them to play this song."

So...for your listening enjoyment. OHIO. Yeah that is what they called this song about Texas. Push through, enjoy the chorus and wait for the bridge. My new favorite section is when it sounds like one of the country bars I used to go two-stepping in during college.

I have this feeling you have to have left the state to really appreciate it but maybe not.

I HEART Texas!

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Playing Cars"

I was magically transported back to being 9 years old last night.

"How" you ask?

I'll tell you how - Austin (the boy)
*pay close attention, there are 2 Austins and 2 Joshs in this story. It's part of the fun of telling it.

It's an amazing thing being around a 9 year old boy, how eager they are to suck you into their imaginative, destructive ideas. We kept Austin the past two nights while his mom was traveling for work and last night we had some good times with my good friend Josh (Can you find the mysterious foot in the photo below?)

Anyway, so there we were last night: two Joshs and two Austins, and then Austin (the boy) decided that we should "play cars". The photos below only begin to describe the fun that was had by all. My favorite part was watching the other Josh play goalie, trying to keep cars from flying through the window - so glad Tiff wasn't home. Austin (the dog) of course was freaked out, had nothing to do with any of it and was quite relieved when it was over.

My other favorite part was seeing how quickly Austin (the boy) turned normal household furniture into:

Point of View shot of the course, car wreckage and all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Today We Only Got 8

Joshua and I are taking this intensive boot camp class on generating leads for our businesses. We are 4 weeks into our 8 week series and today I hit a wall. I can't imagine doing this for 4 more weeks. This is crazy.

Here's the scoop. We have to make contact with 20 people everyday and ask them if they know anyone looking to remodel or buy or sell real estate.

20 people.


Now hear me say - It Works! I have gotten 2 listings and I have 4 other meetings set up because of these calls but it's intense.

Week one we called everyone we knew. Week Two we finished off that list and started calling strangers in neighborhoods where I have sold a house. Week Three we moved on to For Sale By Owners and listings that had expired. And here we are on Week Four. We called everyone we know, everyone in the greater metro area that are FSBO or have a listing that expired. That leaves us with... Yeah that is exactly what I thought today. Short of just starting to call the phone book I don't know.

The one thing that saves us is that Joshua loves knocking on doors. He'll just get out in the neighborhoods where I have houses listed and he'll just knock around the houses meeting people. If we invited all these people to a party I'm sure they would be shocked to find Joshua was the one silent and content talking to no one. I think his genius at door knocking is because down at the core Joshua doesn't care what people think and that makes him awesome at walking up to doors and saying "Do you want to sell your house?" However, it is going to rain for the next few days so that puts the kabash on that activity. (sidenote: we've gotten 2 clients like this so props to Joshua)

So here we are trying to finish strong in Week Four. We are dead on for our numbers thus far but tonight I find myself 12 short. So here's the goal...I need to fill my last 12 contacts and that is where you come in. I know some of you are not in Nashville but I can help even if you're out of state. So Internet...Do you know anyone looking to buy or sell real estate or remodel their home? (answers that are no still count but if you have a referral that would be awesome as well - leave a comment either way).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Filling in the Blanks

September was a ridiculously busy month and as such the blog has been hurting for content. Here's the rub, when we're busy there is lots of stuff to talk about but no time to do it. And when we aren't busy I have time to write about the most mundane boring things that no one wants to read. Maybe in my life plan I should include someone to write our blog for us. No, no. Here's something better. I can hire someone to do my work and then I can write blogs about the things the people I have hired are doing. Hmmmm.....still working the kinks out on that idea.

Well here's the 2 highlights from the month.

1. I worked with my most down-to-earth, head screwed on right, yet youngest real estate client to date. She decided that she wanted a 15 year mortgage so that she would own her home flat out at the age of 37. I mean seriously, what an admirable choice. Last month I found her that house and in a few weeks she will begin her feat of paying it off. I love being a part of people's good life decisions. What I don't love is the photo the other agent used. I mean seriously are we selling a house or a tree because at this point I can't tell.

2. I was introduced to Rockingham, North Carolina by producing a GAC special on Bucky Covington (american idol contestant turned country music celebrity). After interviewing and driving with Bucky all over town I could now give the "celebrity tour" of Rockingham. I have no idea who would be on that tour but it probably wouldn't be a pretty group of people. No - just trust me. Now that I think about it you DON'T want to go on this tour.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My New Consulting Business

A couple of years ago I did this free thinking session trying to figure out what I love and what I excel at where the ultimate goal was to figure out what my dream job would be. At the end of that 3 hours I "discovered" my dream job is helping people start businesses.

Since then I've started 2 businesses for Team Fykes. However, two years later I accidentally got to do it for someone else and turns out I do love it and I'm fairly proficient at it.

My trip to New York City turned into a business consultation and business start up planning. It wasn't exactly the trip I had planned but honestly I really didn't have anything planned so why not help one of my best friends start a business?

I do need to work on the fee structure I charge but honestly I'm pretty excited about my payment.

You can get one for yourself or any of the other awesome things she makes here

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Currently Listening to:

the morning benders - waiting for a war

Monday, September 28, 2009

What Can You Do in 48 Hours?

I have 2 days home before I get on another plane. What to do?

  • Sew the panels for our Sukkah
  • Get one of my houses to closing even though everything has gone wrong
  • Show property and write another offer
  • Tie up all the loose ends of the production I just finished
  • See my husband
  • Have a small breakdown from all the stress
  • Get our dog healed
  • Get our house cleaned (minus my desk)
  • Pack

Once I get that finished I can start the oh so important task of catching up on all the TV I've missed. Should be a pretty full time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hilarious / Poignant

Thanks go to another blogger friend for turning me on to this.

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We Don't Even Have Time For Words This Week








Well maybe a few words to explain this one. This was the sunrise we saw just before we went to bed on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Currently listening to:

I haven't spun this one in a seemed appropriate given the hour of this post. Tiff and I have flip-flopped our sleep schedule to accommodate two all night shoots she has this week. It feels a bit like we have the world all to ourselves.

Sean Hayes - 3A.M.
Album: Big Black Hole and the Little Baby Star

Friday, September 18, 2009


Just had this dropped off at our door.


Should be a very different Friday night at the Fykes house.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The 615 Guild

First things first, I have to give props to Scott Lee for the awesome logo design above.

Isn't guild an interesting word? It has an air of mystery about it while also invoking importance and power. Or at least that's what we thought when we were brainstorming what to call our newest venture.

The 615 Guild is a group we've started with the purpose of business networking and referrals. We could have joined an existing group, but where's the fun in that? Or maybe Tiff just knew the spot of realtor would be filled in existing groups, so we decided "let's just make our own." We got together a few fellow business owner/friends and now four months later, we had our first "official" meeting this morning. As of now our group includes:

Patrick Baker - Life & Casualty Insurance
Melody Barker - Massage Therapist
Heather Cartee - Independent Senior Sales Director-Mary Kay
Tiffany Fykes - Realtor
Joshua Fykes - Architect
Scott Lee - Full Service Design

We're currently looking for a personal banker, mortgage banker, a chiropractor, general contractor and photographer. If you know anyone who might be interested, tell them to get in touch!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thrill of the Win

I get caught up in winning. I feel like I have grown up a little bit and I'm not quite as fiercely competitive as I once was. I can now play games on teams where the rest of the team is slacking and control myself to the point of not losing friends over the situation. However, every once in a while I just get caught up in it. It is why Vegas was borderline not fun for me. Too much losing and not enough winning.

Well at the Youth Encouragement Services auction I won nothing I wanted. Do you see the term "I"? There was no "we" at this event there was only "I" and I wanted to win. However, not a single thing that I wanted to win went home with us. I really wanted the Southwest vouchers and bid $15 over their value but I was able to walk away. Luckily I didn't get sucked in because they went for about $150 over the value and then that wouldn't have made what comes next possible.

Just before the end of the auction they cut the starting bid on all remaining items left with no bids and let me just say when it comes to a deal and winning "I WILL WIN." I feel no shame in saying after that announcement I was the first one out the door.

So instead of a DVD set, a Kroger gift card and a Southwest Voucher we went home with about 20 things.

Including but not limited to:
Scuba lessons/certification for Joshua and I both
Business headshot for Joshua
2 oil changes
2 Christmas presents that shall remain nameless
Tickets to the Frist for clients
2 months membership to a gym

So #1 I got to win a LOT of stuff and #2 our money went to help kids and support a ministry we are involved in. Seems like a Win/Win to me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Europe take Note!

I love when international trips show up on our front doorstep. I know so many people think we are crazy for letting strangers stay at our house but it's an opportunity so many people are missing. We get to see American culture through another country's eyes. We get to learn about how other people live and what is important to them.

Enter Germany!

These couchsurfers experienced a "game night" at our house and they also came with us to church. When we asked them how that compared to German church they said it didn't. They also said if they had a church like that in Germany then they would actually go. So if anyone wants to start a Fellowship Bible Church in Germany let me know and I have 2 names for you.

On another note it is amazing their grasp of the English language. They played Taboo with us. TABOO! Could you imagine playing taboo in another language?

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT GERMANY: You have to have at least 6 years of two foreign languages to go to university. So they learn German, then six years of English and still have six years of something else. I wish my kid was going to spend 6 years learning 2 other languages.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Currently listening to:

Low Strung - Fix You
(the whole album is fantastic, amazing reinventions of great songs)

You still There?

It has been over a week since we blogged. This could be a record for us here at the "Outside of Normal" blog. Its not that we don't have anything to write about, it's actually quite the opposite. We have tons to tell you about but life keeps getting in the way.

Since we posted last we've had German couchsurfers, the last day to wear white pants has come and gone, we attended Youth Encouragement Services fundraiser dinner and took home half of the silent auction items, our community group got some new members and then today I watched Joshua be inducted into Rotary.

All of that comes with their own stories and hopefully this weekend I'll be able to write them all down for you. Until then I'll just deal with the huffs and puffs that happen when you stop by the site and the content hasn't changed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

All I want for Christmas

I'd rather it didn't look quite like a beer barrel but a rain barrel is the #1 thing on my list this year. How grown up is that?

Monday, August 31, 2009

All Done Cutting


Isn't it pretty? We laid out all the quilt blocks this weekend.

Next step: sewing

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are you sure it's not Halloween?

I don't know what's going on with the weather where you live but in Tennessee it's crazy. Lately I've felt the urge to double check the calendar just to make sure. Yep, still August.

In the last 30 days we have probably had 8 days of lows in the 50's & highs under 80 and we have 3 or 4 more coming next week. Like take a jacket when you leave the house cool and it's really starting to freak me out a bit.

I know everyone in Texas is thinking "awww, your diamond shoes are too small for your feet? I feel so sorry for you." No, no people don't hear me wrong. I'm not complaining I'm just saying what's going on this year? Maybe this is God's way of saying "see it's okay you had to cancel your Y membership you wouldn't have been swimming as often anyway because it's too cold."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For your viewing Pleasure

Joshua loves this band. And yesterday I came across this on a blog I read.

This is a fan video, not the official video so this guy just made this for the love of creating it. The illustrations remind me of my friend's art so maybe that's why I love it. Or maybe I love it just because of its awesomeness.

You decide.

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh the Shame!

So in yesterday's post you heard all about how Joshua serves at church. This is his 3rd year to work in the 2's and he is totally the pro now. They actually made him "Volunteer of the Month" which comes with a parking spot and ... well I think that's it, but still it was nice to know that no matter when we got there we were going to have a spot.

All the women who run the children's programs just think Joshua is the greatest. They tell him all the time how everyone was talking about how great he is, etc, etc. I can just hear it now "Joshua signed up again this year. I just can't believe he's hanging in this long. I mean, his wife doesn't even volunteer and yet he still does it."

Yeah, every time I wait to pick up Joshua one of the ladies walks by and says "You have the greatest husband. You know there is a place to serve with him. You could join us whenever you're ready." My response to that was "Sorry girls, I'm upstairs teaching in 4th grade wish I could help you out." However, this year because I've volunteered to run the tutoring program for one of the Youth Encouragement Centers I decided not to bite off more than I can chew. So I'm back to church every week and I pick Joshua up in his two year old room.

I think I've grown up quite a bit because I know they wonder how their "Volunteer of the Month" could be married to someone who doesn't serve with him - and here's where the grown up part comes in: I don't care.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Terrible 2's"

Last Saturday was promotion day which means a new year in the 2 year olds class at church. It just reminds me of the transformation that happens from age 2 to 3. Now I realize I haven't FULLY experienced this phase of a child's life since I only see them one hour a week. But working with the same age group year after year is quite telling. It's a bit like the movie Groundhog Day, living the same year of life over and over again.

Anyway, the start of a new year is always a shock. One week I'm working with kids who are mostly potty trained, talking like adults, running around and singing. The next week everyone promotes and I have these little guys that don't speak and are making all kinds of mess in their diapers. It feels a bit like life went backwards. But I also know how much they will grow in the next year.

The best part is I get to watch and play while the woman who teaches with me is left to change the afore mentioned diapers - thanks class regulations!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First time in 2 years

What are we looking at?

That my friends is the first time my bangs have been pulled off my face in 2 years. (Technically, I did the same thing yesterday but I didn't have the foresight to photograph it) Also I think it's the first time in about 5 years that I've used hairspray since we're counting.

Kinda freaks me out every time I see myself in a mirror. When you're used to hair it feels like a lot of skin above your eyes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Joshua and I are all about the Pro/Con list lately. We have decided that too often we save the pro/con list only for large decisions. What about the small things in life? Don't they deserve a pro/con list as well?

Did we have a good "mini-vacation"?

PRO - Drove an amazing bridge between Kentucky and Indiana
CON - Discovered wooden roller coasters are more painful than fun now
PRO - Even if you have to walk around in your bathing suit, water parks are FUN
CON - Camping it what can only be described as the Holiday World parking lot
PRO - Unlimited soft drinks (and they actually had Dr. Pepper)
CON - Being a little stressed out about our dog dying of a heat stroke in the hot tent while we splash around in the water
PRO - The shows at the park sounding so lame we don't have to feel like we should stop in and see one of them
CON - Stupid work stuff blowing up during the 2 hours that my phone was in the locker
PRO - The park was the perfect size to see and do everything we wanted in one day
CON - That sinking feeling we got when the GPS said we were .2 miles from the park and we see NOTHING. Like we were going to have a National Lampoon's moment of arriving at this supposed amusement park and it was nothing more than a playground.

Verdict: The pros out weighed the cons.

See, now wasn't that fun?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mini Vacation

And when I say "mini" I'm not kidding. We left our house on Sunday afternoon and headed home from Indiana on Monday afternoon. However, no matter how miniscule the time away I think it was worth the trouble. Joshua on the other hand wouldn't shut up about how much stuff we had to pack for such a small trip. Turns out camping for one night involves just as much junk as camping for one week. On the upside we were able to test out our GPS on the open road and also test the "are we too old for roller coasters" question.

The GPS worked great but I think the answer to the second one is maybe.

We went to Holiday World in Santa Claus Indiana. This is the theme park that's advertised on TV every 20 minutes during the summer in Nashville. While you'll hear all about the free soft drinks you get, they fail to mention that the only roller coasters they have are of the wooden variety. We got on the first one pumped about life. And we loved it right up until you hit the bottom of the first drop which throws you right into a curve. I thought for a second my neck was going to separate from my spine. We got off the ride 80 seconds later feeling about twenty years older.

Did we ride the other 2 roller coasters? Of course! We didn't drive 3 hours for nothing. We just braced ourselves better and that cut the pain from a 9 to a 6.5.

After a quick lunch to make sure our dog wasn't having a heat stroke in our tent we hit the water park and that is where the whole trip was worth it. Turns out water roller coasters still make your stomach drop which is the sensation we love but without feeling like the next 45 seconds MIGHT kill you. We are now looking forward to a trip back to the Disneyworld of water parks....Schlitterbahn. Anyone interested in that trip we'll be planning it for summer 2010.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Found It!

Remember those pictures I promised you? Yeah they aren't going to happen. Seriously, what a horrible blog right?

We decided to pack the point and shoot for the trip to the amusement park but the problem with the point and shoot is that it's tiny. So tiny that when I said, "hey grab the camera and get a picture of me sitting at our camp fire with the brightly lit parking lot behind me" we weren't able to find it.

So tomorrow we can give you an excellent blog about the trip but you'll have to rely on the written word for pictures. And since they are my written words you're probably gonna be out of luck.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Joint Juice

I think I'm getting old. Or perhaps I should say, I think I'm starting to FEEL old. Two things have happened recently that prompt said "feeling".

1. After getting off a roller coaster, having not ridden one in 6+ years, my first words to Tiff were: "wow, do your joints hurt too?"

Apparently somewhere in the last six years my body lost the pliability necessary to ride roller-coasters and not feel like I just went through some sort of medieval torture known as the "bone rattler". Don't misunderstand, I still had a blast, they just aren't as pain free as they used to be.

2. My sleep has become much more delicate.

Let me expound. I used to be able to sleep through a category 5 hurricane without batting an eye. I once slept several hours past the time my alarm was set to go off....with the alarm blasting for those several hours. Thunderstorms - I called those "nap time". Now I find myself getting up half way through the night to use the restroom, waking up 30 minutes BEFORE the alarm even goes off, and after being asleep only an hour or two waking up suddenly. And I don't just mean wake up like "oh, that was a weird dream, let's see if I can roll over and pick it back up where we left off". NO, I mean "oh, let's get up and go jog a couple miles, fix some breakfast and then see if there's any wood that needs choppin" I'm not gonna lie, it's just a bit annoying, but hey this post is a product of just such an occurrence, and once we have a baby, no need for "IT'S YOUR TURN", I'll just be up anyway.

Feeding time? No problem, "how 'bout I knit you a blanky while I'm at it?"

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go get some laundry done.
Yeah we'll see who gets that worm now suckas!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We are bad friends this week

We promise to be better friends next week once our life calms just a bit. And just to make up for it we promise you camping stories and pictures of roller coasters.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Tricks

Austin (the dog) has always been very bad about asking for things. She never caught on to the concept of asking to go out. She just holds it until we let her out or she pees on the floor (to her/our credit that hasn't happened in years).

In the last 4 months we've been able to train her to tell us when she is out of water by scratching her bowl. She has it down pat and even when we are downstairs in the office we can hear her scratch her bowl above us and we fill it up for her.

In the process of learning this she now knows we are "trained" to answer her when she scratches. What does that mean? She scratches her toy when she wants to play, she scratches the rug when her ball rolls under and today she was scratching the tripod we have in the office. Why? I have no idea. I thought maybe it was in her way so I moved it. Then she just scratched it again. Maybe she is just lamenting the loss of production equipment in our basement.

I miss it too Austin, but now we have lockboxes, real estate signs, and rolls and rolls of architectural plans. Get with it! This is our new life.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Starting to Paddle

This week is the official "Fykes Community Involvement Initiative." Last night we listened to our senator Bob Corker's telephone town hall meeting. If given the opportunity I was going to ask what he saw as a good first step for the health care crisis since within the first 3 minutes I heard him say he was vastly opposed to the current initiative so we didn't need to beat that issue to death. I was not going to go on and on about my hip ailment nor was I going to mention my age which seemed to be what most callers brought up. Funny what you say when you get your "moment" with someone important. Reminds me what this well known band was telling me one time about what people would tell them during meet and greets. You have one minute with this band whom you love and you tell them about how you almost missed the show because your dog threw up on you? And then you want to squeeze in between them for a picture? Nice.

Next stop of the night was our neighborhood association - community cares committee. I am now co-chair of the welcoming committee because as my mother always says if you have an idea you will be put in charge of it. No worries though I'm paired with a great teacher which means we will both be hard workers.

Thursday we attend a meeting about Nashville public transportation to try to be a part of that solution. I don't know how impactful we can really be at that one but darn if we aren't going to try.

We are all done sitting on a sinking ship just waving at the passerbys. Until we have kids we can do all these things and STILL have time to watch episodes of This American Life at night.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Party in the Back

This weekend Joshua and I played badminton as our Saturday exercise. I went outside to set everything up and noticed a lot of mosquitoes. So like a responsible adult I went back in and told Joshua we were going to need some bug spray. So I sprayed myself and then Joshua. And by "spray myself" I apparently mean that I just spun around with the bottle spraying the air aimlessly. Joshua had not a bite on him and this is my aftermath.

I adjusted the color to try to capture how much these buggers itch but it doesn't do it justice. In hind sight the stationary bike we are borrowing would have been a better choice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

4 Years of my Life

So I was in the band in high school. I played bells on the sideline. Its one of those things that consumes at least half of my really great memories from high school. At our school the band was just as good as our football team (better in 1997). Now don't get me wrong, you didn't earn "cool points" for being in the band but you didn't really lose them either. We had our fair share of homecoming queens that had to change into their band uniform at halftime.

Somehow I came across a link to one of our shows on facebook. Thought I'd share it with you.

Now this was my least favorite show from high school so don't bore yourself with watching it all but just skip ahead to 4:32 and hear my little solo of "Jesus loves me" that the percussion director added in there for me. It was an Arabian show so why Jesus loves me? I have no idea.

Then you can also skip to 4:54 and imagine the camera director saying "Piccollo girl, scoot over so we can loose that random girl behind you. Camera 2 can you get a better shot? THAT GIRL IS RUINING THIS SHOT." Yeah I'm in all kinds of other people's shots due to where I had to stand. Awesome!

Anyway, if you want to hear a show that I loved that would be the show my freshmen year. We basically won state with this show.

So what did you do in high school that none of your adult friends know anything about?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Makin Usselves Smawt

Joshua and I have started reading out loud to each other. We were watching John Adams and thought it was such an inviting image, John and Abigail sitting by the fire reading aloud to each other. Sounds like a past time that makes you smarter. Not like this summer reality television that will slowly simmer your brain. Now I'm not talking about the quality Fall Reality TV - this stuff is "More to Love" and "Help, I'm a celebrity get me out of here." This is trash and if you watch this stuff I'm sorry but we can't be friends. Now if you watch Survivor or Amazing Race pull up a chair.

Anyway, back to the not being stupid. At the same time that we made the decision to entertain ourselves like an 18th century intellectual couple, Newsweek came out with their 100 Best Books list. Well darn if we don't need to make sure we've read all of those. Perfect timing! To make sure each book we read is better than the last we are starting at the end. As appealing as Churchill's history of World War II sounded, we decide to skip ahead to the first novel The Color Purple.

Currently we are just shy of the halfway mark. If you aren't familiar with the book it is written as letters to God in broken English. So, instead of sounding smarter today after the hour we read last night, I sound uneducated and have to consciously insert prepositions. Because Joshua was only listening last night he has no issues today but I am really struggling. You just wouldn't believe how quickly those little things lift right out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Turnabouts Fair Play

Check out this article I found via @mproctor on twitter. (I know that sentence makes no sense to about half the people that read this).

If we are going to have churches that meet in movie theaters this seems only fair.

Honestly it is great from a sustainability standpoint and it is also great for preservation. Win, Win, plus its just cool!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Go Horns!

Tomorrow I go to the fabric store to buy fabric that will "hypothetically" become a quilt. Again, choosing colors FREAK me right on out so I will make Joshua come with me to help decide what's going in the quilt. You know he's going to love that.

Joshua knows if left to myself with this decision there is a chance I could turn into a mess in the middle of a very nice fabric store where some of his (or my) clients might be. So after mentally weighing the cost he'll decide it's actually a very smart business decision to join me.

Whatever! I need the moral support.

I think after a quick preliminary discussion a few days back we will be going with a nice orange color with blue accents. By no means will this be a Longhorn quilt but we miss being around a pleasant orange color so that is probably driving some of the decision. Hopefully they have enough options in the orange we are wanting and I can show you the spoils of the trip once we return.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This sale will make all the other sales jealous

So my first listing did the impossible. We had an almost full price contract within 3 days from a cash buyer and this cash buyer waived the biggest hinderance in getting deals closed right now: the appraisal.

I know this is not how all deals will go and the inspection still offered a few scary moments but overall it was a smooth process. Tomorrow it will close and that's only 20 days after it was listed. Just ridiculous.

Before you start thinking I'm all proud of myself I want to say this had more to do with the sellers than me. I can only do so much but these sellers listened on where to price the house and worked hard to make it show well. More than anything that is the part of this deal that I'm trying not to get used to.

Tomorrow I take that sign and plant it in front of a house in East Nashville. We'll see if the impossible can be done twice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Flashing Ad Update

As of this evening I am approved and have a certificate to receive my $500 VISA gift card. I have only to hold my breath and hope that nothing falls apart. There is a slight chance I could be DQed but hopefully everything goes great so you don't have to endure a tearful retraction of this post.

So here is the official breakdown:

I ended up spending $70.12 for different products I had to buy/try out.

I have already received a $10 Exxon gift card and then I will also be getting the $500 Visa card.

If my math is correct that is a 439.88 return on the 5 or 6 hours I spent doing this. I'd say $73/hour isn't too shabby. Plus I know my credit score, I have 25 downloaded songs in my iTunes, I've learned a little German and I have some killer tights.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And that is why we don't have a coffee table

Our dog hates getting a bath. My mom's dog loves a bath. She gets all excited and tail wagging when my mom mentions the word bath. We've been reduced to spelling out B-A-T-H so that our dog doesn't pee on the floor from fright. And now I'm pretty sure she knows how to spell it. We'll probably start calling it C-L-E-A-N time.

The most tragic part of Austin hating baths is that she has this really nice skin condition that requires her to be bathed every 5 days. Not every month like regular dogs. So at the Fykes house every 5 days we lure our dog outside so she can pee on the sidewalk instead of our hardwoods once she realizes what is about to commence. Then after the most HORRIBLE experience of her life where she is put under warm water in our bathtub she is deemed clean and then the most HYSTERICAL thing happens.

She rubs on every rug surface in our house completely oblivious of furniture. She runs full speed throwing her body on the ground, rubbing, running to the next rug, throwing her body down and repeating the process. I don't know if she is trying to get her old smell off the rug or give it her fresh clean scent but its just the funniest thing to watch her run back and forth between the rugs in the living and dining room and then all of a sudden she'll remember there is a rug in the office downstairs and off she clicks down the stairs.

Almost makes it worth having to endure her tortorous stares after we've set her in the bathtub.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Car Dancing

One of the many things I love about Tiff is her car dancing. I myself am not prone to bust a move while driving, but Tiff frequently can be caught groovin' down the road. Now this isn't just regular dancing, no, she's always inventing new moves based on the tempo or style of the song.

For instance, the other night on the way back home we were listening to some hip-hop something and she started bobbing her head. Then out of nowhere she started throwing her whole body into it and came up with this half body twist, half karate chop. It was equal parts amazing and hilarious.

Friday, July 3, 2009

You Do What?

Since I started teaching piano at 14 I have had the most random jobs. And not random jobs one at a time, 5 random jobs at once.

My soiree with The Company led me to believe that "normal" people have two jobs at most. They work for their company and then they freelance on the side for themselves but its the same kind of work that they do for their company. No sane, self respecting adult has 5 different jobs at once.

We are sharing our life stories at community group and after I was done someone said "you have had the most jobs of anyone I've ever known." The thing they didn't know was I just hit the highlights. Just to be thorough lets make a list:

  1. Piano Teacher - 6 years in highschool and college
  2. Manager at Blockbuster - in college so I could watch all the movies I needed to to see for school for free
  3. Substitute Teacher - I'd go sleep in my car during my off period because 7:00 was just too early for me
  4. High School JV Basketball Coach - Just one season
  5. Knitting Instructor - 2 years
  6. Worked at a Yarn Store - 2 years
  7. Selling Scarves I made in boutiques - Faith Hill bought one of my scarves
  8. Online Bookseller - still have some books listed now
  9. Office Manager for FYK Architecture - I specialized in client relations for a man who only has 200 words to use everyday.

While doing most of those things I was also doing my video production work either for myself or for The Company.

My goal for 2009-2010 is to revive the tax return that includes at least fifteen 1099s and ZERO W-2s. This blog isn't called "Normal" right? What do you expect?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Little Competition

The Middle Tennessee AIA chapter held a design competition to spruce up their diggs at Cummins Station. The design is confined to the entry and hallway (no interior). We weren't allowed to remove or demolish anything existing, only add. So here's my stab at it:




FYI - All the text/logo were requirements of the competition.

Monday, June 29, 2009


In celebration of acing the LEED AP exam, we decided to road trip around the Nashville area in search of bad examples of energy and environmental design.

First up we stopped to document our lovely mass transit system. As you can see from the sign attached to the telephone pole, this is a "bus stop." You might also notice there is no bench, or covering. Needless to say, I've never seen anyone at said stop (other than this motley crue).

Mass Transit

Next up we stopped at one of the local recycling centers. I have to say Nashville overall does a pretty good job with recycling, however this center being moved probably means some people won't participate any longer.

Megan the friendly ghost says "boo!"


Ever driven by a totally empty parking lot at night that looks like a football field? Yeah us too. LEED calls this Light Pollution / Energy consumption, we call it our band cover art.

Light Pollution

Can you say URBAN SPRAWL? Note the sign: "14th fastest growing" Who puts that they were 14th on a sign? Also I would like to note that we left south Nashville at 9pm and returned back from our trip to the 'burbs after 10pm.

Urban Sprawl

Although we weren't cruising around in a fuel efficient vehicle, we were definitely an HOV. Yay for carpooling and good friends!


Friday, June 26, 2009

You Know You Want It

This my friends could be yours for the small price of $149,900.

This is my first listing at 446 Westcrest Dr. It is the perfect home for someone who just wants to move in their stuff and then sit down and watch TV.

Isn't it the cutest? I'm having an open house on Sunday so maybe I'll have it sold before you hear back from me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Those flashing ads that promise you a free TV

Well I read a blog that says those things are legit. Of course not all of them are but this woman makes thousands of dollars a year completing these online offers. It sounds ridiculous right? Feels a little like that woman who fed her family on sweepstakes back in the 50's. I don't even want to try to explain it to you, so you can read all about it at Money Saving Methods.

A friend and I decided last week we are giving it a try. We spent about 4 hours filling out and signing up for stuff online. I am getting trail German language course, some green tea pills, 25 music downloads, some magazines and coffee. Then if I followed all the rules and jumped through all the hoops correctly at the end of it I'll end up with a $500 Visa gift card.

Now if you thought the whole Walgreens/CVS stuff was difficult this stuff will make your head spin. The short story is we created a spreadsheet and are tracking everything we signed up for so we know which items we want to keep and which ones we will send back at the end of the trial period.

So here is the current status: Our first of three tier items have qualified. I have downloaded 3 of my 25 songs and our coffee ships tomorrow. I'll let you know how it progresses.

Also any help on choosing my song downloads would be greatly appreciated: so far its Patty Griffin and Katie Herzig & Matthew Perryman.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What happend to 90-95?

Today the heat just exploded on us. We haven't broken the 90 degree mark this year and now everyone in the city is sweating out 96 degrees. I know all my Texas people are going to say "what a hard life," but our weather comes with it's own summer headaches - like dying in tornadoes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


If you grew up in the 90's and haven't seen this check it out. Zach Morris on Jimmy Fallon. No really Zach Morris!

Check it out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The remains of a Lawn Party....

This weekend was filled with party prep and party time. I did squeeze in the sale of my first property as well. Overall, I would say a very successful weekend.

The party was a blast and although the weather called for a 60% chance of rain, we didn't see one drop. I think when Joshua and I did the count we had about 40 people participate which was a very manageable number. I was very glad all the invitations we sent weren't accepted because I don't know what we would have done with everyone.

This was the most mentioned item on the serving tables.

Lawn Party- Shuttlecock Toothpick Holder

I was talking to my mom and she suggested we put the toothpicks in something. I don't have a toothpick holder, or a small plate, or anything like that so what am I going to do at 11pm the night before? My plan was to decorate the tables with shuttlecocks and they have holes so this is what I came up with. Nothing really profound and it was a pain to execute, but now everyone thinks I'm brilliant so I guess it was worth it.

The only downside of the party was I didn't get a chance to game it up due to all the mingling, so last night Joshua and I went out in the backyard and played badminton. People...badminton is awesome. You should come over and try it. Plus, because our court is on a slope you get some unexpected exercise trying to get from one side to the other.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Wednesday

If this doesn't make you want to dance in your office I don't know if there is any hope for you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I want to...

...take better photographs
...enjoy being alone like I used to when I was younger
...make a quilt continually focused on things that really matter
...enjoy completing things as much as I enjoy starting them fluent in Spanish somewhere new this year able to eat whenever I want like I could in college
...memorize one scripture verse a month
...find a way to get free ice cream from the grocery store a good friend outside more
...sell the Miller's house in less than a month
...not be sore

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the Bush

In the Bush

This weekend was consumed by one task: stain the deck.

Since we bought the house, our deck has been a bright orange color. It grew on us to the point we finally stopped noticing it really. It did blend in well with the bright orangey tones of the brick. But after living with it for two years, and after it started looking like it had stuff growing on it we knew it was time to get after it with some brushes and elbow grease. Of course we had to pick a color first. Of all the decisions Tiff and I have faced during the course of our marriage thus far, choosing colors takes the cake. Nothing else can put us into a quandary like having to agree on what color something should be. We both tend to just look at each other like "how will we ever conquer this monumental hurdle in our lives?"

Well, now it's all done.

We're both sore in many places, I have scrapes and bruises from fighting through the holly bushes (see pic above) and you should have seen the contortions my wife had to master to paint under the bench.

We're still wrestling through wether we "love" it, but if you ask me it doesn't really matter. After we've both invested 10 hours of our life, like it or not, the color is staying.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Busy and a Blog

Turns out those two don't mix. This is how you know I'm not natural born writer. I don't fall asleep at night thinking of the most wonderful blogs for you people.

I do think I need to start making some time for the creative part of my mind. Lately it has only been used for marketing and business ventures. Honestly though, I think it's just as happy to have work as the logical side of my brain so it isn't complaining yet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Off the Mark

Forecast today - 90 and sunny

Currently it is raining, the sun has completely disappeared and the wind is blowing so hard it is actually raining sideways. I'd say weather folks were off just a smidge.

I'm just glad I made it home a little early on the scooter, otherwise, I'd have been the person you see somewhere along the road cowering under a tree shivering.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Out of our Misery

I bought a purse this week. Technically, I re-bought the purse I originally bought a few months ago. I found it at a Target in TX and decided to just put me and my friends out of our misery of looking for a purse that I both liked and could afford. So without further ado, the first purse I have bought in at least 6 years.

Now I just need a wallet because my tiny wallet gets lost and looks ridiculous in a purse this size.

Friday, May 29, 2009


In the spring and the fall Joshua and I usually set a date for when the air conditioner or the heater can come on. Until that date we just have to bear with whatever happens. This year we decided June 1 is the first air conditioned day of the summer and so for the last few weeks we've been pushing through some really warm afternoons. Yesterday I decided that our life would be so much better if we would get a box fan.

Hands down best decision of the week!

The last few days I've been wearing sun dresses in the house to keep cool and I just had to go put on pants, socks and cover my shoulders. It is literally 4 degrees cooler in our house today than yesterday. To be fair it is cloudy but the temperature is exactly the same.

One little box fan in the window and I am shivering. I can't believe it. I thought it would be bearable but I never knew how much difference it would make. At this rate we might push back our AC date to June 15 just for good measure.

Tonight we won't have to eat our dinner in the basement and the dog is no longer forced to lay spread eagle on the hardwoods to get cool.

Moral of this story: a)I am an idiot for not doing this sooner b) everyone go run out and buy a box fan and turn off your AC - its amazing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What If...

What if you were planning a cross country roadtrip? What would you want to see here in our great America?

Lets say you had some friends who were going to go from Nashville, TN to the Grand Canyon. What should they make sure to see in between?

Currently said friends only have "antelope canyon" on the list so help us out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

End of an era

It's official. The last Felton is now married off.

Oddly enough, each of the Felton children married their high school sweetheart. Some of them took a brief (or not so brief) interlude but in the end they ended up right where they started. I'm sure there's a sociology/psychology lesson in that somewhere. are some highlights from their big day.



Ty with Bridesmaids

Wedding Party

Exit from Wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Ty Felton