Our New TV Mount from Dynamic Mounting

When Taylor and I moved into our new house, one of the first things we decided to DIY/accomplish was mounting "Big Carl" aka, Taylor's TV over the fireplace. The fireplace is about 5 feet tall so when we put our TV (with its stand) on top, we ended up watching TV with hurting necks. Taylor got to work doing what he does best and searching for a solution.

Our requirements were:

A) Hold our giant TV and move down to a normal viewing angle
B) Be able to come out over the width of our fireplace

Enter the Dynamic Mounting "Down and Out" Mount. After reading every review on the interwebs and making countless measurements, we ordered our kit and crossed our fingers that this would be our solution.

We ordered a separate piece that we ended up returning because our center channel speaker didn't have the correct holes to attach to it.  Kurt at Dynamic Mounting was great about returning the bracket and responded to our email very quickly. Awesome customer support!

Taylor's first step was to measure the spacing above the fireplace necessary for up and down movement with painters tape. The tape made it easy to mark on the wall without actually marking on the wall. (Something that would have been nice to know before being asked to make a measurement mark. Not that I am guilty of such offense.)

Next, more adjustments with the spacing as well as creating this handy template that mimicked the swing pattern of the bracket. (Basically, we were able to practice mounting the TV and make sure it cleared the fireplace without actually nailing anything into the wall and holding up the bracket for an extended period of time.)

Step three-ish was the actual drilling for the extra wall support brackets (we purchased these separately due to the wall stud locations above our fireplace). These allowed us to have our TV centered over the fireplace. This step was pretty easy, but be sure to have a level handy!

Once the support brackets were in place, we installed the mount and then adjusted the tension so that it would stay put while we placed the TV onto the mount. This is also when we had an honest discussion about my needing to join a gym. I will have you know though that I succeeded in lifting half of a TV over my head onto the mount (but just barely).

After removing the TV's base and then securing it to the mount, we were finished!

The actual force required to move the TV between its positions is quite reasonable thanks to the great design of the tension support and how much adjustability it offers.  The mount is very sturdy and well constructed and it's obvious that great care was taken in its design.

Our entire experience with Dynamic Mounting was wonderful. Like I said earlier, we had to return one part that wasn't a perfect fit for what we needed (through our own error) and the return was fast and painless. If we had another fireplace and another big TV to mount, we would absolutely make another purchase! Since we don't though, I figured we should just tell all our friends instead!


I guess it's about time..

Have I ever written here about my photography blog? If not, you can visit here. I opened up shop last summer while we were still living in New Jersey and practiced every time I could get the chance. While I would have loved to be able to afford a professional web designer, I made it work with what teeny tiny knowledge of web design I had. Once we moved, I knew that we were going to be in a constant state of transition and I wouldn't be able to keep the blog as updated as I would have liked so I chose to take it down with the intention of making a few tweaks over time while we got settled. That time turned into a few months!

So today I sat down to get it running again and quit making excuses. If I am going to grow my business, I have to be able to point somewhere to show off my work! I didn't want to get too crazy and upload everything I've shot over the past few months at once, so I figured I would take it slow over the next few weeks!

I have a really hard time believing that the five people who read this blog aren't my Facebook friends, but just in case, you can also like my Mary Verett Photography page here.


A New Year

Looking back over the past year, I am actually not that sad anymore. Every time I think of something hard we faced, I can't help but think of the support we had when we faced it. Our friends and family were right beside us with a hug or a kind word through every up and down throughout the year and that's the part I want to remember. 

In 2014, I hope to remember what is most important and to pursue it. Regardless of what the year brings, it is well with my soul. 


A Quick November Update

Since my last post, we haven't really been up to much except house shopping. Still. I'll hopefully have an update on that subject in a couple of weeks so stay tuned. (Suspense!) To say that lessons have been learned throughout this whole process is an understatement. I can only hope that the next time around we do this, I'll be so far removed from our current situation that I won't remember the frustrations. Lord. Have. Mercy.

Other than house shopping, we have have been doing normal Taylor and Mary things. We lead super exciting lives that involve Redbox, Papa Murphy's, and Tivo. Rinse and Repeat.

For Thanksgiving, we rented a plane and flew to Lubbock to see Taylor's family. (Being married to a guy who is an excellent pilot is a pretty sweet deal.) I was super helpful the entire time and definitely did NOT fall asleep.

Our time in Lubbock was so wonderful. We were treated to several Whitney meals and my world was changed with the addition of cranberries to our Thanksgiving stuffing. This year was the first in a few years that no one was subjected to a whipped cream explosion, which admittedly is a favorite tradition of mine. A few days before we arrived, Lubbock got quite a bit of snow which delayed the last bit of harvesting at the cotton farm. It turned out to be great timing because we ended up taking our Verett family christmas picture in the cotton field!

A funny story about the actual taking of the picture for the card: I decided to run out really quick to grab a remote for my camera so that I wouldn't have to do the "press and run" and then subject everyone to 10 rapid fire pictures. Well. After braving black friday at Best Buy, we got all the way out to the farm to realize that the remote only worked about two feet from the camera. So we ditched that plan and thus ensued me pressing the shutter on the camera and having about 10 seconds to jump down off the truck it was sitting on and run a few feet into the field to stand with everyone else. We managed to get a few really great pictures though so it was worth it! (I returned the stupid remote by the way!)

For half a second, I thought about doing a Christmas card for us, but then I woke up to reality. I'm not even sure I could find my own address at this point in our moving journey.'ll have to wait until next year. Or another five years. I'll let you know.

Since we returned from Thanksgiving break, we have gotten back into our daily routines and figured out what a midwest winter feels like. Last year in New Jersey, we got quite a bit of snow, but it always melted the next day because the temperatures would jump back up above freezing. Here, we have only seen a tiny bit of ice, but several days of single digit temps with lots and lots of wind.

Since we aren't in a house yet and don't have any of our things, we aren't putting up a tree this year. On one hand it feels a little bah humbug, but on the other hand it doesn't because we're still at that age where Christmas is at our parent's house. So putting up a tree and decorations feels kind of silly if we're going to spend Christmas somewhere else. Ok, maybe that's just my way of justifying it to myself. Either way, it doesn't feel that weird to us.

I joked on Instagram that these were the extent of my Christmas decorations. Ha!

So now I think I'm all caught up with the happenings of the Veretts. Hopefully I'll be back soon with a house update!


Life in between

I think I've beat the "we don't have a place to live" horse dead about five times over already. But lucky for you, I'm still talking about it! Woohoo!

We are going on month two of temporary living. Certainly not our longest stretch in a hotel, but last time around we knew that once our certain number of days were up, we had a place to live waiting on us. 

Not this time. 

Will we buy a house? Will we rent an apartment? Who even knows. We're at the point in our house search where we have seen every house available on the market. So now we sit and wait for new houses to pop up. 

We put offers on two so far and have been outbid. The second (and my absolute very favorite that I cannot stop thinking about) was way overpriced and we weren't willing to give in. 

I say "we" when really I mean Taylor. I am such an emotional buyer that I would have given every penny they asked if it meant I got the house. Luckily I married the right guy.

Anyway, for now at least we are in an apartment. With a separate bedroom! And more than one place to sit! And I don't have to pay six dollars for laundry! 

The one thing I didn't realize in our recent move is that unlike the hotel, our apartment doesn't come with an endless supply of toilet paper. When did I come to this realization? Midnight. So lovely. 

The most frustrating (and giant first world problem) is that we have only warm weather clothes with us. Neither one of us can stand the thought of buying things we already own so we are holding out as long as possible and hoping the warm weather sticks around. The thought that really hurts the most is that I don't have my fall boots! How am I supposed to acknowledge that it's fall outside if I can't shove my pants into cute brown boots? Heartbreaking. 

We are starting to settle into a nice routine. (If you know Taylor you know that he isn't content until there's a routine set.) I decided to start getting up with Taylor so we can have breakfast together. (Cue the gags, I know.) Then he goes to work and I do things like watching 47 million YouTube videos of photoshop tutorials. (When else am I going to have literally nothing else to do with my time? Might as well use it wisely!) Then, Taylor comes home and we have a healthy dinner of sandwiches and we watch our nightly shows. We even brought our TiVo. It's so ridiculous, I know. BUT totally worth it to us goobers. How else would Taylor be able to watch Ellen every day? 

In jersey we had a four tuner TiVo but we have had to switch back to our old two tuner because of blah blah technology and cable requirements. I don't really know why, but Taylor has had to make some serious sacrifices on the shows he watches. (If only survivor had gotten the axe...)

Anyway. We are obviously ready to be somewhere more permanent, but are enjoying this rare moment in time in a tiny apartment with none of our junk and just the two of us. Life is never boring! 

P.S. I have really tried to get my parentheses use under control but I just have so many side notes to tell you! My apologies. 


Celebrating A Friend with Friends

This past weekend Taylor and I drove to Chicago to meet up with our college friends to celebrate the life of a great friend from USAFA. Some of us hadn't seen each other since graduation over THREE years ago! There have been weddings, deployments, and just recently a baby (!) since we all got together. Obviously being in the military means that at any given time, someone you know is deployed so we were so grateful that the seven of us were able to spend the weekend together.

With the exception of Craig and Angela, none of us had ever been to Chicago so we decided to do some exploring. At 9:30 at night. We drove into the city, parked our cars and managed to get to the Willis Tower Skydeck at 9:35. Five minutes after they stop letting people in. Luckily though the doorman spotted Baby Peter and decided to let us in. Then, we told them we were all military and they let us go up FO'FREE. Since it was dark inside of the building to allow for the best views of the Chicago city, our pictures were lacking in quality.

Sometimes when you're five weeks old, you just need a bottle and a diaper at the same time.

The ladies of the trip! I'm not sure who has the picture of us all looking at the camera. 

USAFA friends. I am so thankful for these wonderful guys. 

We were floating above the city! I only looked down for .5 seconds because I got so dizzy. 

I would like to mention that since it was so dark and we were having such a hard time taking pictures with our phones, we accidentally came up with a flash solution. Craig took the pic with his iPhone 5 (best quality pics) and two other people turned on their flashlights. 

On Friday night, we drove up from the south end of Chicago all the way to Evanston for Craig's sister, Monica's volleyball game. She plays for Northwestern! It was also her first time to meet Baby Peter! 

Angela let me borrow her NU shirt for the game so Craig and I ended up matching. Long ago I decided to embrace the short jokes and thought this picture was hilarious. 

We had such a great time just catching up with everyone and reminiscing about all the good times in college. Being with friends is the best way to get through the rough times in life and I am so thankful these are the ones we get to do that with. Life is so precious and so short. Pick up the phone and call the ones that are far away. Visit the ones you can, and always tell the people you love how much they mean to you.


Life updates!

So...blogging, huh? I'm pretty good at it.

I've missed this place so I felt like coming back for a bit. I don't feel like playing catch up so if you're curious to what's going on in our life, you should give us a call. 

To be honest, blogging isn't what it used to be for me. I still love telling stories and making people laugh (I really hope I've made you laugh), but I just can't put my finger on what makes me not want to update this anymore. 

Last year when our lives were flipped upside down, I didn't feel like being funny anymore. Making light of things felt like I was lying because in real life, I was still hurting and being angry. It's hard to explain without sounding melodramatic. But it's also hard to be funny when you're angry. It tends to come across as bitterness and being bitter can get uncomfortable really fast for people who are reading.

I spent a lot of time over the past year feeling angry and jealous that other people's lives seemed so simple compared to ours. When others complained, I got irrationally annoyed because "at least they still got to...etc". So many times life felt really unfair. Why couldn't my husband get to do those things? Why didn't we deserve to be carefree still? We were surrounded by loving and caring people all throughout the year, but I still felt lonely. Nobody could really understand what we were going through. 

This year, I've learned a lot about faith, marriage, and that I'm really selfish. (But that's an entirely different conversation. Also, my husband is the b dot c as he always says.) 

We made incredible friends who loved us when we needed it most. They supported us and helped us grow in so many ways. We have found so much comfort knowing that God orchestrated it all perfectly. 

This past month was really hard. Everything happened so quickly that it was really hard to process all of the changes and feelings we experienced. The retirement ceremony hit us both like a ton of bricks. We had been saying goodbye for a couple of weeks, but I think the ceremony made it really real. Hello emotional wreck.

August also brought the one year mark of when Taylor was first diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. We were so busy traveling that we both missed the actual day, but I think that helped protect my heart from dwelling and being sad all day. (Again with the drama, I know.) Instead, I was able to look over at Taylor a couple of days later and just think about how thankful I was to still have him by my side.

We were very fortunate that Taylor had some time off to travel between retirement and starting his new job. We got to travel (thanks to my dad's plane and Taylor's new medical certificate!) to College Station, Frost, and Lubbock to see people we love very much.

Now we are here in our new place trying to get our bearings and find a place to live. Just like last summer, we are living in a hotel and I am already used to people making my bed and bringing me fresh towels every day. I must say that it is not a bad way to make a transition. Also, free breakfast every morning. I may or may not have hoarded food so I wouldn't have to make lunch today. It might have been cereal.

Today was Taylor's first day at his new job which means it was also my first day to explore our new town by myself. I made it to the grocery store and spent the majority of my time there wondering where the heck everything was.

I'm hoping to connect quickly with people here, but I'm not really sure how to go about doing it. In the military, there is almost always a common thread between spouses and neighbors. So I am finding that I have serious social anxiety about making friends in the real world. What will we talk about? How will we communicate without using acronyms?

If I've learned anything over the past year, it's that this too shall pass. I may complain about being bored or lonely, but I've got great friends who text me and tell me what I need to do to forget about it. And they were right.

I can't promise that I'll ever post again on this blog, but I can promise that I fully intend to. :)


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