Productive and 1/2!

Saturday I created one of my infamous to-do lists. Infamous because I always set out to do waaaay more than can physically be done - and Mike gets all cheezed off because I never take into account the things that he needs/wants to do.

I had listed the following:
-Cement downstairs
-Closet rod
-Fix cedar chest
-Put in basement door
-Attic Doors
-Make basement lights work
-Get French Doors
-And Oil change for me

But knowing how these things usually go, I predicted that the first thing on the list would take all day. And that didn't turn out to be far from the truth.

Let me start at the beginning. In our basement we don't have a bulk head. I don't know why - I asked for one. Anyway, we have just a narrow, steep stairway leading up to a door to the outside. And when they poured the basement floor, they did not cement in this little space under the stairs. It was left just rocks and dirt. Mike explained that it was so that water could easily be pushed into the dirt, thus draining a wet basement if it ever got wet.

That made sense to me and we left it.

But after we created stairs from the house into the basement, Mike feared that the cats would use the space as an all natural litter box.... and he was right. So we decided to just cement it in.

That's a little history for you. Ok. So Back to Saturday. We headed off to the newly opened Lowes and picked up some cement - and I looked once again upon my french doors, which we couldn't purchase because of the rain. (It always rains when we buy concrete for some weird reason.)

But before we could even start mixing the concrete - we had to do something about the basement door to the outside. The door was currently screwed shut.

Again, let me explain. So we created the stairs from the basement into the house... but this made the house accessible from the unlockable outside door. You see, it's not just a regular door - it's just an old piece of wood on hinges without a knob or anything. So Mike put some foam insulation on the back of it, and then reinforced the whole thing with plywood and we hoped to add a locking knob to it. But we had some technical difficulties at the time and with time of the essence, Mike just put it up and screwed it shut.

Now back to saturday - we needed to get the wheelbarrow downstairs to mix concrete. So we unscrewed the door and took a chainsaw - yes a chainsaw - to the pieces of wood that were sticking out and preventing the door from fitting originally. That actually worked perfectly.

Then, on to the knob. Using a hole drilling drill attachment, we drilled both holes for the knob and - wouldn't you know - the insulated/plywooded door was too thick for it to work! Just by a CH. Frustrated, Mike took a jig saw to it and cut a recess where the knob could sit. And that seemed to work, except for one little problem - the knob was faulty! (hee hee, faulty knob - sounds like a new punk rock band.)

The thingy wouldn't spring back on its own after being opened. (You know, the little thingy on the side of the door that fits into the little hole thingy on the door jam. Whatever, shut up.) But it held and it locked so we said screw it! Plus, by now it was around 4pm... you see now how this little crap tends to take all day.

Anyway, finally we finally (finally finally!) got the wheelbarrow down stairs and mixed and poured the cement. That turned out to be the easy part. We just pried up a couple steps, and poured.

And it actually turned out pretty nice and level if I do say so myself. Anyway, by the time we finished this it was near to 6 and Mike really wanted to do that oil change for me. I begged him to put in my closet rod first, and he did, which was nice.

So then we cleared out the garage and brought in my truck. I went on a beer run while he changed my oil and, amazingly, when I got back, he asked me what else I wanted done to the truck while it was in. WELL! Boy did I have a list there. I was shocked that he asked. So then he preceded to fix my back window so it went up and down again and then, after dinner, he went back out to install my old speaker and amp. I was feeling really sick and went to bed and only learned the next day that he had been out there until 1am working on it.

I was so happy and amazed. It was like having another Christmas. Who cared that the whole list didn't get done - I got more than what I wanted.

Submitting to My Door-sires

I got in the car after work last night, feeling invigorated after just completing a project. I had just been given a free bag of clothes from my good friend Sylena and her daughter Trystan too, and boy was I feeling fine.

I got home and walked into the mud room with a handful of groceries and just stood there for a few minutes, staring at the two windows facing the street. Everything suddenly seemed very clear, and all the swirling thoughts in my head just drained. I had but one little desire... French doors.

I hopped online, wondering if I could even afford to make it happen. As usual, bone stock Andersons were up in the over-$2,000 range. But Lowes had 6' steel doors, primed for paint, and complete with those cool between-the-glass blinds for only $498. Totally in my price range. Add a screen for just $88 more.

I allowed myself to dream for just a minute... of a beautiful farmer's porch in spring. Opening the French doors and feeling the sun on my face as I brought out a glass of ice tea to enjoy on a comfy patio set....

And I felt really excited for the first time in weeks.

Not So Merry

What a Christmas. This has to be the most depressing and crazy holiday yet. Depressing because of the financial situation. We had no tree and barely any decor. At the last second on xmas eve I put up my little blue tinsel tree that usually goes to work in my office. The office had no decor this year, adding to my blue holiday mood and ongoing creative slump.

Mike and I went to Baltimore with my parents to visit my grandmother, which was nice. Although by the end I was about ready to strangulate my mother, who was really getting on my nerves visa-vi the "Extreme Annoyance Theorem"

definition: When you spend waaay too much time with someone and begin to get annoyed by everything they do and say.

We got back Christmas eve and headed out to a party. That should have cheered me up, but being around all the decor and presents, and being given a nice present when I couldn't provide one in return - that was difficult, but I was thankful at the same time, if that makes any sense.

I know this all has nothing to do with my house, per say. But it does. It really brings into focus all the undone projects, all the unfinished work, and of course all the money. My family, knowing all this, was very generous to us. However, I feel like I need to save all that for hard times ahead and for paying bills.

Knowing myself, though, I'll probably end up spending it. There's a million things I could put that money to. I'd like to buy the hardwood floors or a new mattress or a new fridge, or lumber for the farmer's porch.... but all those things would have to be partially financed, and I just can't do that right now. Not even partially.

There's a million little things I could spend it on - the stuff to finish the stairway and upstairs. A new dresser for Mike. New dinnerware. French doors. A new front door.

Or I could blow it all pointlessly on a new HDTV, clothes, car parts, a terabite of storage, shoes, polka dot luggage sets, or nick-nacs....mmmm, nick-nacs.

So once again I'm caught between what I know I should do and what I want to do.... but in this case, there's so many "wants to dos" that I should compare it more to being chased and tackled by an angry mob of "should dos" and "wants to dos"!

And all the while I think about all the goals I'm missing out on, worry about all the bills I used to handle with ease, and wonder if checks will come in on time.

Tacky Holiday Here We Come

The past week has been crazy - at least for me. Now is that magical time when I have to make all my xmas cards (yes make - I'm not buying them this year god damn it!), buy all my presents, attend all my xmas parties, have friends over, visit friends, visit family, decorate mi casa, and above all else, try to keep myself from going completely insane.

Luckily, I have Mike - who's been doing all sorts of stuff around the house without me having to nag or anything. It's been great. He's been down in the basement, wiring for more lights and light switches. He's been at it like crazy with the expanding foam and insulating foam tape, trying to keep out draftiness. And he even got us a new door for the entrance into the basement from inside the living room.

This saturday I really want to get a few things done upstairs. Like putting up my headboard and creating doors for the attic space. We already have all those materials. And now we can put up this new basement door. That'll be fun and exciting.

More Ups and Downs of Stairs

It's going to be a hard winter. Without elaborating too much - I got some really depressing news last week and money is going to be tight. I'm afraid our projects around the house will be even more delayed. First a very unproductive summer and now this.... *sigh*

But we did get some good news too - our basement has been a-oked by the town inspector. What a relief. A project three years in the making - finally and officially done. Hard to believe. And yesterday in celebration, we put the icing on the basement cake so to speak.

Stairs. We built stairs from our living room to the basement. We now have interior access to the basement. Again, what a relief.

Here's Mike destroying our former hall closet under our stairs to the 2nd floor.

And cutting the hole...

You can see where the little tiny harry-potter like closet was under the stairs - now we have to figure out what to do with the hole where the door used to be.

Almost done. We figured out the stair-math using the stair calculator from blocklayer.com - very quick and easy.
Mike figures out the laaast step.

All I Want for Chrismas Vol 2

You know, I had such fun in my last post, that I think it's high time I create this year's xmas list. After all, Santa needs plenty of time to check this thing twice!

Ok here we go:

1. New Bathroom: stand up shower American Standard Champion toilet, small vanity, stand up shower, mosaic tile, river stone floor tile

2. Kitchen: Fix drywall and repaint, new cabinets, new windows plus trim, new (Kenmore or LG) refridgerator - the new double door freezer bottom model

3. MudRoom: Flooring, new french doors, get rid of the old door, move exterior light, doorbell, and switches to new doors, new windows, fix drywall, paint, and reinstall wainscot, laundry cabinets, laundry closet doors, pendant lamp, recessed light trim, better dining set

4. Living Room: Fix drywall & repaint, flooring, trim all round, reinstall that one crooked window, new IKEA media center, Sony 32" HDTV, carpet pad, stairway going into the basement, closet light

5. Hallway/Stairway: new front entrance door, a little door for the under-stair closet, banister, stairway trim, top stair step, stairway track light with dimmer, flooring,

6. Guest Room: Closet organizer from Closetmaid, closet light, Closet doors, window trim, flooring, new wood door, fix drywall & repaint, get all the junk outta there

7. Office: Closet organizer, door to the attic crawl space, new office chair, better couches, railing for stairway overlook, ceiling fan, bigger area rug

8. Bedroom: new bed and mattress, new HDTV, more drawers for my Closetmaid set, new dresser for Mike, door for attic loft space,

9. Upstairs Bath: BUILD IT - frame it, electrify, insulate, drywall, paint, design, , pretty tile, skylight, Corner Jacuzzi tub for two, new vanity, stand up shower, American Standard Champion toilet

10. Garage: Drywall and paint, paint outside, Two garage doors, storage system with shelves, new wood stove and chimney, addition on back of garage - built, and whatever else Mike is dreaming of out there

11. House exterior: shingles for three sides, clapboards for the front, window boxes, green shutters, a new mailbox, lampposts, less gross plants and trees, flowering trees and other nice plantings, a shed, wrap around farmer's porch, chimney overlay, chimney cap, a bigger chimney with all accessories to vent wood stove, hammock, new driveway (ie, repour it)

12. Basement: finish it off with a bathroom (toilet, vanity, stand up shower), bedroom (twin bed, dresser, small closet), work room (shelving and storage), and rec room (comfy dark colored furniture and rug, pool table, air hockey, HDTV and storage unit). And I want my wood stove hooked up down therez.

This'll Be Fun!

Now this is cool. Last year on 12/13/06, I published a post called "All I Want for Christmas" featuring all the stuff I wanted to do on the house.

At this point, it's nearly a year later - so I'm going to go through and mark all the stuff we've accomplished! So we'll really be able to see the progress.

Ok - here goes. Here's the original post with everything we've done marked in RED:

The Ultimate Wish List, Never to be Obtained, But Here Goes
(House only, personal X-mas gifts not included.)

1. New Bathroom: Corner Jacuzzi tub for two, new vanity, stand up shower, American Standard Champion toilet, mosaic tile, river stone floor tile

2. Kitchen: New windows plus trim, under cabinet TV/Radio, Kenmore refridgerator - the new double door freezer bottom $2200 model

3. MudRoom: Flooring, new door, new windows with bay window box built, laundry cabinets, laundry closet doors, closet light wainscotting, cushy big blue IKEA chair, tiffany pendant lamp

4. Living Room: Flooring, trim all round, new IKEA media center, Sony 32" HDTV, carpet pad, switch and outlet plates, stairway going into the basement, closet light

5. Hallway/Stairway: finished drywall and paint, new front entrance door, ceiling fixtures, a little door for the under-stair closet, banister, stairway trim, top stair step, stairway track light with dimmer, flooring, runner rug

6. Guest Room: Closet organizer from Closetmaid, closet light, Closet doors, window trim, flooring, new wood door

7. Office: recessed lights dimmer, new desk and file cabinets from IKEA, built in library shelves, closet organizer from Closetmaid, closet light, closet doors, door to the attic crawl space, new office chair, flooring plus an area rug, more throw pillows, better couches, window trim, railing for stairway overlook

8. Bedroom: plywood - foam - and batting so I can make my headboard, bed risers, new HDTV, closet light, closet doors, more drawers for my Closetmaid set, curtain pulls installed, flooring, area rug, new dresser for Mike, red mattes for my picture frames, trim and moulding, finish work on above closet storage, new storage boxes, door for attic loft space, stain for the bedroom door, a door knob for the bedroom door

9. Upstairs Bath: BUILD IT - frame it, electrify, insulate, drywall, paint, design, stand up shower American Standard Champion toilet, small vanity, stand up shower, pretty tile, skylight

10. Garage: Drywall and paint, Two garage doors, storage system with shelves, new wood stove and chimney, addition on back of garage - built, and whatever else Mike is dreaming of out there

11. House exterior: shingles for three sides, clapboards for the front, window boxes, green shutters, a new mailbox, lampposts, more grass, less gross plants and trees, flowering trees and other nice plantings, a shed, wrap around farmer's porch, chimney overlay, chimney cap, a bigger chimney with all accessories to vent wood stove, hammock, new driveway (ie, repour it)

12. Basement: finish it off with a bathroom (toilet, vanity, stand up shower), bedroom (twin bed, dresser, small closet), work room (shelving and storage), and rec room (comfy dark colored furniture and rug, pool table, air hockey, HDTV and storage unit). And I want my wood stove hooked up down therez.

Where's My Stamp of Approval?

Supposedly, as I reported last time, the town inspector was out at our house looking at the basement on Monday. Now, I'm not sure how all of it works, but we haven't heard from the town, and we didn't see any APPROVED stamps on the basement anywhere. Maybe they mail us something? I have no clue.

Meanwhile, I started filling out the stoopid form for the farmer's porch permit this morning. Mike and I agreed that he needs to continue to handle it single handedly. Because I just can't take another conservation commission meeting with the Andersons. I don't have the constitution.

Of course, I have no clue when I'll be able to afford to put on the porch. So much to do... so little cash.

Good News and Spaz News

The good news is - Mike made it to the town hall today and talked to someone who was apparently quite nice and now the dude is coming out to the house on Monday to take a look at the basement and, hopefully, sign off on the permit that all is well and good and we can get on with our lives.

The spaz news is in regards to the farmer's porch. And again, there's good news and spaz news. The good news is that the nice person said she didn't think it would be a problem, and we could just draw out our plan on the house map. The spaz news is we need to fill out application forms again.

And Mike started arguing with me, "They're just going to tack it on to our current permit - we just fill out the form and it's $25 and it'll be all set."

But I know better. That means it's a whole new permit. And for it to be approved, it has to pass hands through all the departments - including conservation, who will say, "oh look at this, they're across the street from the river... DENIED."

And then we'll have to go through 500lbs of paperwork, again. Notify all the neighbors, again. Pay a buncha fees, again. Wait three weeks and then appear before the conservation commission, again. Have the Andersons stand up and speak against us, again. Cry, again.

This is what I was afraid of. Not that I even care about the paperwork or the notifications or even the fees or the three weeks or the conservation commission meeting. It's the Andersons. Them, I'm afraid of. They hate us for no reason and want to viciously shut down our projects just to spite us.

And that's why I call it good news and spaz news.

Woe Wednesday

I am not feeling so hot this afternoon. Urg. It's hard to function.

I just want to get home and shower. But my good friend just read my Mold Report and said, "I could imagine how desperate you felt and how disgusted you must be taking showers..." And that's true. I want to close my eyes and imagine myself in a beautiful bathroom.... too bad that's a little dangerous. I might end up washing my hair with shave gel or something.

Mike has sworn to me that he'll go to the town hall soon (and by soon, I mean like I'm going to make him go this week or next) to get this whole basement permit thing taken care of. Meanwhile, speaking of the bathroom, I should probably start that process soon too.

Post halloween party I need to take care of finally finishing the upstairs, which I've been talking about forev's. It's just all the banister stuff that's going to be annoying. And I did just rack up more deepho charges with all my painting.

I really just want to lay down right now.

Before and After



Looks Like Wallpaper huh? Too awesome! It's our painting!

White Doors

Well, I just finished painting. But the real story of the night is the door. Remember how stupid and dark it made the hallway before? Well, while my 1st coat of paint was drying on the wall, I decided to just paint it in the same off-white color.

And oh my god what a difference! I almost love it too much to get rid of it. (almost.)

Hall of Fame

My hall is striped! Well... at least with tape. I had a busy Saturday and Mike had a busy Sunday, so we really weren't able to work together on it until Sunday night.

In that time, we managed to stripe tape one wall out of two. And it was actually easier then I imagined - I was thinking plumb lines and levels and drawing lines every which way... but Mike came up with a much easier solution.

Since I wanted my stripes to be tape width, (2") we simply placed three small pieces of tape at the top, middle, and bottom of the wall, lining one edge up with the adjoining wall. Then, we'd unroll a wall-length piece of tape, line up the top with the opposite edge of the guide tape, the middle with the middle, and bottom with the bottom. Then we'd just move the guide tape pieces to the opposite side of the newly stuck tape line to line up the next stripe with.

This method worked perfectly! We were pretty meticulous about lining everything up right and making sure the tape was smooth with no wrinkles to offset us. We were actually pretty surprised when we put the level up to a stripe halfway down the hall and found it to be dead-on straight!

Small is Tremendous

Ahhh, Wednesday. And I am crawling up the hump on my hands and knees, exhausted and looking forward to rolling down the other side while screaming, "wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee" at the top of my lungs.

Although I have been trying to keep my butt rolling with the momentum generated by last week's frantic Czech footage editing spree.

Monday I purchased a new light for the hallway and winter-time fertilizer for the lawn. Then I got home and cleaned the house. (Because it had fallen into shambles due to ast week's frantic Czech footage editing spree.) Meanwhile, Mike was kind enough to install the light for me.

Tuesday I brought my beautiful poster from Czech to be framed. At a cost of $WAYTOOMUCH. Seriously - I can't even tell Mike how much I spent and on what. I just have to smile and let him by the nerf bars for his 4wheeler. (That's probably not how you spell it - I just never spelled it before, but I'm imagining nerf balls.)

WAIT A MINUTE. It's freakin thursday isn't it? I just realized that. God damn it, I should already be rolling and screaming. Ok ok, let me get on that right now:


Back to Tuesday.

Then, when I got home on Tuesday, I attempted to install a fan control and dimmer switch in the upstairs. That didn't turn out so good. When wires aren't the right colors - I get highly confused. So Mike had to bail me out when he got home. (And he rightly pointed out, why are you installing a fan control when we don't have the fan yet and why are you installing a switch for a light we don't have yet?! My argument - we bought the switches, so why not get a jump on it?)

Wednesday - yesterday. I finally took the fertilizer out of my truck. But didn't apply it. In fact, I don't even know what I did last night - after my shower, it's all a blur. Must have been the shiraz.

Tonight - I want to fertilize.

And this weekend is going to be soo busy. But maybe if I have time on Sunday, I'll be able to stripe my hallway. We'll see. I have a 10% off coupon from the deep-Ho. And they just increased my credit line to $10,000.... those fools.

It's that time again...

Time once again for the biggest bash of the year - the 5th Annual Halloween party! This year unfortunately, I can't claim credit for the invite. It's all my good friend Becci - who took our house into Photoshop, gave it a moon, some clouds, and an eerie orange glow.

Another Bathroom Disaster

So Mike thought he was being really awesome last night - fixing the leaky bathroom faucet. Me? I was sure it would lead to disaster.

Why? Well - history, my friend, history. Every single time we open up a wall in this house, it's like one of those fake cans of peanut brittle. The minute you open it, the stupid thing blows up in your face and you break your nose and there's a mess of little unexpected things everywhere that you now have to clean up.

We take down walls - we discover old chimneys. We take down ceilings, we discover bat poo. We take down the kitchen and there's a big hole behind a clock. We take off floors, we discover wood rot.

It's just not a happy scene every time.

So Mike opens up the little access door behind the shower, and, sure enough there's a problem. One that I expected, but was not looking forward to staring right in the face. Home owner's worst nightmare - MOLD.

Like, put on your haz-mat suit and run for fresh air kinda sh*t.

"Just spray some bleach on it," Mike said as he wrestled with the pipes.
And I just shook my head and said, "It's too late for that, this bathroom just needs to be demolished."

For a brief moment I wanted to pick up that hammer so bad and destroy everything in a fit of mad bathroom-hating rage. Because I do so hate that bathroom anyway. And I want to rebuild it soooo bad it pains me whenever I go in there. But instead I held in my urge, went back into the living room and sat down.... imagining dollar signs all over the place.

If we demolished the bathroom, there would be no turning back and consequences would be financially dire - especially since this is our only bathroom.

Despite all the disaster's we've discovered in this house - we've never turned our back on them or walled them back up, or said, "eh, we'll tackle this later." We've always dived in, no matter what the cost or labor involved. So it pained me when Mike put the little access door back on.

Part of me really wanted him to say, "Well, we can't wait any longer. We need to do the bathroom." Because with one little push, I would have been all over that like hobos on a ham sandwich! It's always easier with Mike behind me, pushing me over the edge to get things done - especially when its urgent.

Maybe we should call this guy - 1966 Bathroom remodel. Forty so odd years ago... I think it's definitely high time for another remodel.

Just Czech-ing In...

We're back from Czech! Oh did we have an awesome time too... incredible. And believe me when I say, I think we're both rejuvenated from the trip. I mean, the whole summer has been a line of bad luck, injury, work-related madness and depression, lack of funds, and lack of inspiration.... But now I really feel like all that is behind us. (Except for lack of funds - because we had to buy about a million souvenirs of course!)

So now we need to get back to business. First on the to-do list is to get approval, or begin the process of getting approval, for the farmer's porch. Even though we wouldn't be able to build it until possibly spring, we need to either add it to our basement permit or get the basement permit signed off and start a new application. Because the basement is done and I'd like to move on to other projects and get that signed off. Mike has promised me that he'll handle it (because I just hate the permit process and the stress that goes along with it) - so it's just a matter of getting him to the town hall in the morning before work.

Secondly - we just a few more things to finish off upstairs, and then we can move on to the stairway/hallway. I don't know that I expect anything to be accomplished this weekend - I have a mile long list-o-stuff to do. But if I had my way, I would like my headboard put on the bed and the attic doors made. I don't think that's much to ask... so we'll see.

The annual bash of the year - Halloween party - is fast approaching too. So the race is on to wrap up a few of these little projects.

One Sixty in the WSJ!

Another blog moment - a reporter from the WSJ read my blog on our Demolition party and contacted me for an interview!

Read the article here!

And the blog that started it all? Read it here!

I'm always amazed that people that I don't know read this blog. I love all your comments. And I get so flattered when I see a link to my blog in someone else's blog or website.

You guys ROCK! Thank you!

Orange You Glad I Didn't Paint It Bananna?!

That has to be my weirdest blog title yet. Weird, but true.

Last weekend I finally painted the hallway! Exciting isn't it? I ended up painting two walls the same color as that beige in the office and two walls a old pumpkin orange color. I have to say, I was unsure about that as an accent color as I was rifling through paint swatches at the home depot.

When we bought the house, I loved how the sun set right through the front door, spilling beautiful orange light down the hallway. That's what inspired me in the first place. But of course, when it comes down to painting something orange you get a little bit nervous. Nothing rhymes with orange for a reason - it's a tough color.

So I bought more of the beige color and took the orange swatch home, still very unsure about it. But when I held up that little square in the hall - it was magic. And people can say "you can't tell a thing from a little square of color." But in this case I fell in love. It looked great against the beige. It looked great against the living room color (because you would see them both together down the hall.)

And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I was done painting beige, I ran back to the deepHo and bought the orange. And now I am so so happy with how it came out. But there is a problem.

Remember how I said the light comes through the front door into the hallway so beautifully? Well - that's only when the door is open, because right now we have a door with only 4 itty bitty windows at the top of it that don't let it squat. I want a door that has a big freakin hunk-a-chunk-a glass in the middle that lets in plenty of light. Privacy-Smivacy!

Unfortunately, those doors cost upwards of $1000. And I think that's preposterous. But you have to get fiberglass or some other non-wood material, or else it'll turn into what my door is now - a very beaten up, weathered, gross-to-touch old wood thing.

Maybe after x-mas. That's scary huh? But we'll be overseas two weeks - and then it's parties and weddings and etc etc when we get home and I know I'll have no time or money for anything other than ramen noodles. Just face it people - the year is already ovah!

I also need to invest in hall lights. All I have currently is a single light bulb hanging off a single wire. That plus the dark door adds up to two beautiful colors hidden in the dark. Aggravating.

Oh - and I'm also going to stripe the beige with a lighter off-white color. But my theory here (because I've had tape-pull problems in the past) is to let the paint fully cure for 30 days before I put tape on it. And then I'll tape it - paint it - second coat it - and peel it all in the same day. None of this waiting around for the glue to penetrate the wall and adhere to 5 layers of paint/joint compound/drywall/etc. I'm not taking that chance.

Coming Out of the Closet

Closet doors - another seemingly insignificant every day item that I now personally treasure. At the end of last week we installed our first pair upstairs in the office. Let me be the first to tell you, they're beautiful.

I'm normally a fan of the clean white painted trim and doors - but this cherry stained wood is so rich and elegant! Not to mention unique. I think our attention to detail on all these trim pieces is really going to make our house stand out. Yes it may be small, but it's gorgeous.

Mike refused to go white and cheap on the trim and doors - so we compromised. We could have wood like he wanted, but I got to pick the stain color. And really, it couldn't have turned out better.

Now I just can't wait to get the bedroom closet doors on. They're all stained - it's just a matter of putting them in.

Forcing It

Last night I got home from another one of "those days" just to find that Mike was having one of "those days" too. And we had a long conversation, complaining about this and that, bad luck, what-ifs, and the ever popular what-are-we-going-to-do-about-it.

Usually in these circumstances, I set myself in front of the TV and eat my way to some sort of mild satisfaction. But Mike was going to go in the garage and try to get work done, and I figured it might do me some good to do the same.

So I went up to the office and attempted to clean and re-work the furniture. It was actually pretty frustrating at first and I had the urge to just quit. Nothing was turning out very well. My bookshelf was just too tall and skinny for the space I was trying to put it in - but I really need it for my books and am not in a position to get a new one.

Then I had this amazing flash of genius. Tip it over. That's right. I had a tall skinny thing and I needed a long short thing. So I just laid the bookshelf on its side against the wall. It fit perfectly, and I could still put all my books in it - just all stacked on top of one another. Plus, now I had a nice skinny top shelf surface for pictures and nick-nacs and whatever.

That made me feel a hell of a lot better. And it got all the books out of the guest bedroom. I hope to force myself to do more tonight.

Your Name is Mud

Mud room. Ever since my friend finished the renovation on her dining room, I've been thinking about turning my mud room into a dining room. It adjoins the kitchen. It would work.

In fact, I've been thinking about it more and more since I calculated that I could in fact finish the floor in there with the leftover hardwood from the upstairs.

I know I know I know I know I know.

The cardinal rule I set for myself when I set out to finish my upstairs was, and I quote, "THOU SHALT NOT START A NEW PROJECT UNTIL THE UPSTAIRS HATH BEEN COMPLETED."

Me starting new projects usually results in lack of doneness everywhere, as opposed to lack of doneness just here and there.

But I just can't help thinking - we've got the hardwood. It's sitting right there in boxes, just screaming to be put down in that room. And I know it's not that easy, because we already have plans afoot for that room.

First, we'd have to rip out the double windows at the front and replace them with double french doors. Then we'd have to replace the other window in the room with a new window and get rid of the original single gross entry door at the side.

Then we'd have to relocated the doorbell and exterior light and all light switches next to the new door.

Then the drywall would have to be repaired, new wainscoting and chair rail trim installed, and everything would have to be primed and painted.

And even when that was all done, we'd have to purchase some slate tile and install around the new doorway (for your gross feet people) before the wood could be installed.

Not to mention that I've been tinkering with the idea of making the ceiling in there sloped.

You can see now how I get into trouble by starting these projects. I try and pass it off as some easy cheap weekend thing - and then it turns into a major gut-busting months-of-labor type of affair. I don't know why I get my kicks like that. It's sick, isn't it?

Too Down To Trim Up

Ok - I just wrote a huge thing about this and that and why I've been feeling down. But then I decided I don't really want to share today. And I deleted it.

Probably because a number of people have warned that it's dangerous and stupid to publish your thoughts online and made fun of bloggers to my face. Normally, I would whole-heartedly disagree.... but in current state of mind I'm a little bit sensitive to suggestion. Not that I share my blog with these people who would wonder "what's the point?"

To summarize - I've just been too bummed to do anything lately - for a multitude of reasons. And Mike has tried his damnedest to snap me out of it, but I can't help worrying about well, everything.

So despite having all the gear to finish the upstairs, it's been just sitting in the basement, some half stained, some unstained, some un-cut.

That all changed this Sunday. We put up the office window and base trim, wired the bedroom and office smoke detectors, and put a coat of stain of both sets of closet doors. Although we did also discover that we didn't have enough base trim to cover the room. It had been so long, we had just forgotten! Plus, we ran out of stain.

An office window.closet trim (door trim was already there)

notice the baseboard trim

see the smoke/carbon monoxide detector? now just one hole to fill - the office ceiling fan.

If we can finish the doors and install them this week - both upstairs rooms will be 99.9% done. The only remaining projects up there would be the attic crawl space doors, office ceiling fan, and the bedroom window trim.

And since we lifted the house, the bedroom windows went crooked. So they actually have to be physically taken out and put back in straight before we can trim them. (Our carpenter will have to handle that one.)

Next on the docket is the stairway/hallway. I'd like to finish it next the same way we finished the upstairs. That is: Buy everything needed to finish it and don't stop until it's done. That would include all materials for the banister and catwalk railing, lighting fixtures for the hallway, paint for the hallway, a couple light switches, and trim.

Not so bad right?

We probably won't be able to finish that until we get back from our vacation Oct 1st. And who knows what the money situation will be then - so I shouldn't say anything.

Frustrated Days and Chili Cheese Dogs

I never had a chili cheese dog in my entire life. Which is why Mike was so shocked when I told him I was making them for dinner. He said, "Are you kidding?" But it had been a frustrating couple days and I was feeling disappointed that he had to work late and couldn't finish staining and installing the upstairs trim.

I must admit, with the Nathan's hot dogs and the crock-pot chili and some shredded mexi-cheese.... I made a damn good chili cheese dog for a person totally unfamiliar with the art of sloppy-bad-for-you-foods. I'm always refusing to make Man-wiches, so I think that's partially the reason for Mike's shock.

Monday, I think, was the last day we did anything. Mike was unhappy on how the brushed on, then toweled off stain was turning out and got out his paint gun. And that worked quite well - until water in the air compressor air started spitting out.... (for we are without a separator) Water and oil based stain... not the friendliest of combinations. I haven't gone in the basement to see how it turned out. Mike tends to be dissatisfied with stuff I think is perfectly wonderful - so I never know.

On the same day, Mike put down some Summerguard fertilizer and he's been watering the heck out of the lawn every night trying to combat some of the browning. And it's worked! I can't help wishing I had some more seed, but I know I have to resist the temptation to fill in the gaps. It's way too hot right now to plant.

Hard to believe tomorrow is Friday. But I know Mike is working late again tonight. I'm rambling. I have the weirdest little feeling that nothing's going to get done over the weekend too. I've been too worried about bills I haven't even gotten yet. And now I've got myself wondering what's for dinner tonight too.

A Little Door'll Do Ya

So I've managed to calm down about Saturday. Mike was nice enough to give me half of his Sunday - which is usually "guys day" - to work some more on the upstairs.

First thing, we made a trip to the HD in Plymouth, since the one in Wareham was all out of the size bi-fold closet doors we needed - plus we needed more finish nails and some fertilizer. (Yes, our precious lawn is suffering.)

And - get this - I almost bought a fridge. Ok ok ok ok ok ok. So we were leaving HD and you know how they have all their closeouts right in the exit there.... and they had an LG, bottom freezer, french door, stainless steel, matte finish - the high performance fridge of my wildest dreams. ON CLOSEOUT! For $1500 something. I was dying. I was drooling. I was caressing. It had those super cool drawers in the fridge part. It had a cube size select ice maker in a pullout drawer in the freezer drawer which pulled out so super smoothly. Did I mention Closeout priced?!

I had to have stood there for at least 10 minutes mulling over it. I wanted to take the plunge - buy the thing. I wanted to so bad!! Mike was no help - he just kept telling me to do whatever I wanted. And I wanted the fridge! But I knew it was wrong... especially with everything else we're trying to accomplish right now. Not to mention the $500 in upstairs finishing materials I had just bought in the last two days. Not only that, but I didn't even know whether it would fit in my kitchen design. Or, even more importantly, if it would fit through the door to the house!

That's what tore it for me. I told myself, "we'll never even be able to squeeze it in." Never mind the fact that I shouldn't be spending money on impulse. But I think about it even now... wonder if it's still there. Just down the street from me right now. I know I made the right decision.

That was my frame of mind when we got back home. We installed the office bi-folds to test fit and that was the end of my half Sunday allotment. Mike was off on the boat and I decided to stay home and relax after that. It was nice.

I have to admit I went upstairs several times while Mike was gone, just to look at the closet doors. They make the room look so much more finished - even without trim. Now we just have to test fit the doors in the bedroom, take 'em off, stain 'em and put 'em back up again with all the trim.... which we need to put a second coat on, hopefully tonight.

Another Inturruption

How often has this happened to you - you're trying like hell to get work done around the house and everyone in the world keeps butting in on you and you can't get a thing done.

Let me tell you about my yesterday, and how absolutely frustrated Mike and I were. First off, we had to do a scrap metal run in the morning, which I knew would hold us up until about noon. And of course we hit traffic and didn't get home till about 12:30. But the second we got home, a guy stopped by to look at our boat, which is for sale on the front lawn. And he held up Mike until about 1:30.

At that time we were pretty hungry, having skipped breakfast, so we had lunch. Then we made our list for home depot and were really eager to get going. We were literally sitting in the truck when another guy stopped by about the boat. Once that guy left, we headed out. But 5 minutes on the way to the depot and a guy called about the boat - wanted to trade us for a truck and wouldn't take no for an answer, no matter how many times Mike said he wanted cash. So he was stuck on the phone with him allll the way to the store.

In the store, Mike got a call from his friend, who wanted to stop by our house. Leaving me to hobble down the aisles while he was yapping away.

We managed to get everything and get out of there. But once we got home, another person stopped by about the boat. Then, once he left and we were working, our neighbor called and wanted to invite us over for dinner. And then that guy with the truck called again, begging for Mike to just "look at it" before he said no.

Mike was so frustrated, he said fine. At this point it was around 6pm. We had cut a bunch of trim pieces and were ready to start staining.

And then the guy with the truck stopped by - Mike had to talk to him for a while, look at this stupid truck, and then finally sent him packing. And then our neighbor stopped by, just as we started staining. Which was ok, because he was just watching us and talking to us.

But then Mike's friend came by - drunk as a skunk and twice as annoying. We finished staining as fast as we could and I retreated back into the house. Mike now had to make a beer run and take care of his friend. And then our neighbor's son came over to hang with the guys. Then they went up to our neighbor's house for dinner. I stayed home - I was tired and annoyed.

It was the most impossible day ever! But at least we got most of the trim cut and first coated. Amazing that we got anything accomplished!

Doors Suck

So I think the bi-fold wood doors are going to run more like $70 a piece. That's not a set - that's a piece. Two closets times two doors equals $280. That's just crazy in my opinion. That's going to bring my "finish the upstairs" total into the $500's range, I'm sure. If not more.

I should just bit the bullet and go for broke. Have to take the plunge sooner or later. No use beating around the bush. What is today but yesterday's tomorrow.

Ok - now that all my sayings are out of the way.... I must admit I haven't told Mike any of my crazy Saturday schemes. And he's only agreed to put up the already stained trim and to cut and stain the window trim.... I don't know if that includes straightening the bedroom windows. But as I see it, it'll be easy for me to weasel my way into more.... I mean, we'll already be at the Home Depot getting window trim - so why not buy the doors, door trim, and the recessed light trim? And if we're already cutting and staining trim - why not cut and stain the door trim and the doors?!

That's evil girl power right there. I know its evil too. The whole Saturday will be gone before he even knows it. But I haven't pulled out the whip for weeks - so nobody out there can say anything. Plus, there is a lot I can do in terms of cutting and measuring to help out. Not like I'm not doing my part.

Are We There Yet?

It's time. Time to get back to work. And boy is that upstairs just screaming to be finished. We were sooo close before collapsing 500 yards from the finish line. So close I bet we could finish the entire thing in a weekend... we should have just a marathon Saturday and try to beat the clock - how fast can we finish the upstairs? Starting gun goes off at 7am - and we've got to be done by midnight.... that would be so cool. Mike probably wouldn't think so though, with me being less than 1/2 as helpful as I could normally be.

But really - to finish finish everything, there's only a few things left:

Install office trim (which has already been cut and stained - it's in the basement and ready to go)
Re-install 2 bedroom windows (they're crooked because of the house lift)
Install window trim on 4 windows (needs to be bought, cut and stained)
Eyeball trim for 2 recessed lights (takes two seconds)
Closet doors & trim for two closets (need to be bought & stained)
Trim & doors for 2 attic holes (need to be bought & stained)
Office railing (bought and installed)
Office ceiling fan

So minus the fact that everything needs to be stained - it's all totally dooable. Wow, I just mis-spelled Dooable. Sweet.

The cost for all this is another story - but I would guess about $300. The eyeballs are $25 each, the closet doors are probably at least $100 a set, so that's $250 there.... Hmmm, maybe more like $400. We have some trim in stock already. We'll see. It's a small price to pay to call the upstairs "done."

100% done. No "except for's." I get all giddy just thinking about it.

That's it - I'm going to try for it. Maybe if we can do just a little bit each day this week it could be done by Sat.....

Whip Crackin' is Backin' Action!

Hello world! I'm back and highly motivated! HIGHLY motivated. No, I'm still not ready to run, skip, jump, or other leg-type-activities. But I am in good spirits. And no, I haven't been drinking spirits... mmmm, spirits.

Back to the subject.

So, last week I devoted myself to a tedious planning task not to be undertaken by the faint of heart... or faint of butt. Because it requires a large amount of time on your butt. Since most of my time as of late has been of the butt-sitting variety - I decided it was high time. So, I got out my pencil (which is hard enough because I despise pencils. Stupid pencils.) and I got out my paper. And I got out my tape measure..... which I then broke. So I got out my other tape measure! And then I got out my laptop and went to work.

I painstakingly measured my kitchen. And then I went to ikea.com. And thus commenced the hours and hours of drawing, erasing, adding, clicking on stuff, drawing some more, calculating, moving, erasing some more, getting another pencil, getting another piece of paper - etc etc. And by the end of the third day, I had created - KITCHEN! And it was good.

Why? Well, it is true that we have a kitchen. I found my cabinets for $200 at a yard sale - full set! More actually, then I ended up using. And I do like them - I like the color and all. But they are old.

And in the very near future - we are going to have to rip them all out anyway to fix the drywall in the kitchen, which got the biggest beating from the whole house-lift-basement. Sooooo, if we have to take them all out anyway - why not put back new ones? And in a coolio configuration designed by me instead of in a hap-hazard make 'em fit or else kind of former configuration? Capeesh?

The design is totally awesome and reflects the fact that I spent waaaay too much time on it. And really, it won't even be too expensive. I already have the countertop - which will still fit as long as we don't break it getting it out. And we already have an awesome granite sink and newish appliances. (Except for the fridge which is totally too expensive for words.)

Under all realistic conditions - none of this madness would even think about starting until after next year. There's too much other stuff to be accomplished. But I'm working on that too....

Down on My Knees - I mean, luck.

I've determined that I'm the luckiest unlucky person ever. Just when I thought things were going so perfectly - I had money for my new laptop, my good friend Justin was coming for a visit, I was going to Europe in Sept... just lucky lucky stuff. Something terrible had to happen.

Last month - I slipped on a wet floor, dislocated my left knee, had to go to the ER, was outta work, and now in physical therapy - all the while hobbling around on crutches, not being able to do anything fun. And that's the short version.

So that's the main reason I haven't blogged in a long time. It's been just a crappy summer. I've had a handful of fun times at friends' houses - but I can't go out to the bars or go to the beach, ride the motorcycle, go camping, take belly dancing classes, work on the house.... or even go for a short jog. I'd be happy with a non-hobbling walk at this point. Forget running. Makes me want to start balling again.

Mike meanwhile has finished the CarBQ. He bought a new boat and a new motorcycle. The boat is nice, the motorcycle is ok - though I don't really like cruisers. Now we've got to sell our old boat and motorcycle. The garage gets smaller by the day, it seems.

Of course, we haven't even been able to finish putting the trim upstairs. Or construct the stairway railing. I'm still content to at least see it most of the way done - but I'm getting sick of my office mess - books and milkcrates of stuff everywhere. But it's useless to put all that on the shelves just to take it all off again to put up the trim.

At this point, it's a struggle to even keep the house clean.

So that's the story ur-body. I miss writing to all of you. I hope all of you are having a great and productive summer.

Where Did She Go?

I've missed blogging, but there's been no new news! Everything's been on hold while Mike is working on this Car-B-Q thing. (Yes, CarBQ. Think BBQ under the hood of a teal toyota tercel.) Then this weekend is Laconia - I don't get to go this year. Next weekend we have a b-day party to go to. Weekend after that my friend Justin will be home from Japan for a visit. Weekend after that is the annual summer party.

So maybe around 7/14 we can get back to work... although my friend DosBequis b-day is on 7/11, so I may be partying that weekend too!

Stay tuned - I promise I'll get more work done soon!

My Undying Love for Grass

Well - the lawn is official. Mike mowed it for the first time last Thursday. And now even the bare spots are starting to fill in since our over-seeding a couple weeks ago. We have massive amounts of weeds - but they're green! So I'm happy.

We finished staining the office trim and the banister landing posts last week too, although we didn't really have time to put them up over the weekend. Hopefully we can get to that this week so I can finish getting the office back in order.

I have to admit - I'm pretty tired. It's been go go go for the last month - with the floors, weekend work, crazy work during the week, bdays, concerts, dance class.... I'm just exhausted. I finally had this Sunday off and I did nada all day. And I mean nada.

For once, I really don't want to do any work on the house. I just don't feel like it. I'm excited just to put out the trash tomorrow morning. And that's probably a good thing because I have to get the deepho paid off again.

It's such a strange feeling to be so lazy.

I know Mike wants to see if he can add the farmer's porch onto our current permit.... but this time I'm leaving that up to him.

Can I Step on It Now?!

Grass is a wonderful thing - and boy is it coming in now. We still have a lot of holes - and now a lot of weeds are coming up. But they're green weeds! When the lawn is high enough to be mowed, we'll put down some week control.
Here's the view from upstairs. You can really see the blank spots from here.

But from the side, it's harder to tell. Hopefully another week or so and the overseed we put on will start to grow. It's almost getting too hot now to seed. But at least our nights are still cool.

Here's the side yard, which actually looks better in person then in this pic. This we didn't hydroseed - it had grass.

A DeepHo Story

All of you know by now that I have mixed feelings about the Home Depot. I've had bad luck there, and I've had good luck there and I've complained about both.

This is a story about why Home Depot is taking over the world. Sad, but true.

Mike and I went to purchase landing posts for our stairs on Saturday. We were on Cape and decided to check out the selection at MidCape Home Center - figuring that they might have something we liked better than Depot in stock.

The dude in the store told us to go to building #9 out back because that's where the stair stuff was. So, we walked, in the drizzling rain, past 8 other buildings to #9.

Once there, we saw they had just one style of post and it was too short. The guy went back to his stock and, by chance, he happened to have some super long ones. We decided to just get them - I mean, we had already come all the way down here and made the guy check for these for god sakes. We felt bad.

He asked if we wanted oak or beech. Our treads are oak so we said oak. And he gave us the three posts and told us to bring them to the gatehouse. Poor Mike had to carry these three heavy 6ft long posts through the drizzly rain all the way past the 8 buildings to the gatehouse.

At the gatehouse, the attendant told us we had to bring them inside. So we brought them inside to the cashier. She looked at the boxes. Put on her glasses. Looked at the barcode. Asked us where we got them from and what they were. We told her. And then she told us that she didn't know what to do with them and to take them to customer service.

Mike again carried the boxes through the store to customer service. The lady there didn't know what to do with them either. She pointed us over to another customer service guy. Lucky for us, he knew what to do.

He started ringing up the posts and then asked us if we had wanted oak or beech. We said oak and told him that the guy in building #9 said they were oak. They weren't. They were beech. So customer service man called building #9 man to find out if they had any oak. They didn't have any, we'd have to order it.

Mike asked the price difference. It was $79 per post for beech and it would be $90 per post for oak. I thought that was outrageous for either, but having just been through allll that ridiculousness, I told the guy I had to get my project done and I'd take the beech.

And we were finally able to pay and get the hell outta there. Immediately I commented to Mike about how much of a pain that all was and how obvious it became that Home Depot would take over the world at this rate.

We went home, dropped off the posts, and headed to the Depot because we had to rent a hardwood floor stapler.

By chance, I said, "Let's look at their stair stuff."

Oh my god. They had everything. They had a variety of landing posts, banisters, trim pieces, balusters, and more. They had the exact same style as midcape - oak - the right size (actually a variety of sizes) and it was $50 a post. (Actually $49 a post.)

$50 a post! And it was there, I could pick it out myself, I could bring it up front and pay for it easily.

So for the same amount we spent at midcape - we got all three posts, long oak boards, landing post trim pieces, an iron baluster for test length, jig saw blades.... I can't even remember all the stuff we got.

Mike's going to return those other posts tomorrow. Can you believe that? I'm all for supporting the local businesses - and I hate the fact that the whole world is a Home Depot/Walmart/CVS plaza - but OH MY GOD!

Sleeping in My Room

Do you know how awesome it feels to sleep in your own room after living out of your guest room for over 2 months? You must - you're all housebloggers.

I think it was the most restful sleep I've had in a long time. But that could also be because I was exhausted!

Let me rewind a little.

Having to work last Sunday - I decided early on last week that Saturday was do-or-die-day for the wood floors upstairs. I was determined to sleep in my own room again. The problem - the banister... or lack thereof.

The banister landing posts has to be recessed and attached to the floor joists - not just the hard wood, so we knew we had to get them before anything could be accomplished. Now, if you haven't had a stair experience - I'd highly recommend it. Stairs are complicated, confusing, mathematical, expensive, and usually, very necessary. Ours are even more so because they lead into an upstairs room with a railing that theoretically should tie into the stair banister. And we have an unusually tall last step. (at the top that is)

Ok - so we were completely in the dark about how to work the banister. Over rail, between post, wood, iron, lose it into the ceiling, lose some tread space, tie it into the upstairs railing, how to tie in the railing with the hardwood floor...

We were confused enough about how to make it work - never mind making it look good. That was a complete enigma.

So Friday Mike went over to TJ's house (carpenter/contractor extrodinaire) to ask his advice. Together they came up with a plan, and Saturday Mike and I set about putting it into action.


Step1: We drove over to TJ's early in the AM with some of our hardwood pieces for him to cut and router. Cutting off the tongue & groove portion would leave us with a smooth edge to edge the stair hole with.

Step2: We picked up landing posts. We decided to go with a post to post system rather than over rail because it would be easier for us. (Long story about this to follow)

Step3: We picked up some oak boards to trim around the landing posts.

And there's more to this plan, but that's all we could afford to get at the time because we had to rent the hardwood stapler again too.

With all these errands, we couldn't start flooring until around 3 or 4pm. So, naturally, we were up till midnight flooring. And I had to get up at 5am for my shoot. Lovely. But it wasn't so bad - our neighbor's son came over and helped out. It went pretty quick once we got started. And here are the results:

Here's where the railing will be. With two oak landing posts, the oak board surrounding them, and next to the board, you can see a piece of wood flooring that goes in the opposite direction to the rest of the floor. That's so the tongues of the horizontal boards snap in and hold tight.

Here's the other side of the room. We stained the baseboard trim last night and haven't put it up yet.

Awe behold the beauty.

Having just barely finished the floor on Saturday night, we were in no condition to move furniture. And Sunday, I was exhausted from work.

Last night I didn't even think it was going to happen! Mike and I cut and stained the baseboard trim and the landing posts. And after that, I was ready to quit for the night. But as we were bringing laundry upstairs, Mike just decided that we should sleep in the bedroom that night. And we started moving stuff!

Around 11, we had all the office stuff back in the office - although not arranged. We just threw it all in there. And we had the bed and nightstands in the bedroom. Messy as everything still was, I was so happy to see it in place.

Trudging Thru the Mud

Here I am reporting live from the scene of yet another exploding logo. And wait... is that big booms & explosion SFX?! Oh my god - isn't that the coolest most awesome thing you've ever seen?!

Yeah right. I need more warm & fuzz in my life right now.

Anyway, so as you can tell, work has totally infiltrated my sanity.... if there was any there to begin with, it's gone now. I should start a second blog - but then our clients might get a hold of it and that would just suck. Because boy would I have a few choice words for a few choice individuals. As in, "NO MORE EXPLOSIONS!"

Back home... yeah, home - what's that? But seriously folks, the grass is coming in nicely. We put down some additional seed plus starter fertilizer to begin filling in the blank spaces.

We also got a cable splitter. Now, here's an issue I'd like to bring up. Those things are dam expensive! Way back when, when we did the wiring, we put cable, phone, and internet in every room... except the bathroom. The bathroom just got cable.

(Could you imagine me blogging from my bathtub?! I could add a web cam and make millions from idiots watching me blog naked live in my bathtub. Unfortunately for all of you, I'm not greedy and shameless enough.)

Back to the story - so we have eight cable cables that need cable hooked up to them. (Yes, I'm a video professional, leave me alone about the ridiculous girly techno babble..) Of course, Comcast doesn't do diddly but give you a two from one adapter and say, "All done!" So Mike and I went to the DeepHo after he gave me my cool new kitchen TV looking for a better splitter with 8 outputs.

And they had one! It was perfect, one in, eight out - amplified and ready to mount on the wall. The price for this little box no bigger than a Dove Ice Cream bar box - $130.

$130!!! Let's take a minute to examine that. That's outrageous. $130 just so I can watch TV in every room. I don't even have a TV in every room, but why spend $60 to have TV in three or four rooms just to spend $60 again later down the line?

I could have had my stairway banister all finished and my office floor done with $130. Which, by the way, needs to be spent/done this Saturday. I can't even tell you how frustrating that is. I've spoken to it before - these little things that end up costing big bucks.

But I bought it anyway. Needed to. I'll have to eventually. The price is never going to go down. (Famous last words.)

Meanwhile a debate has begun on the stairway - should the railing go over the poles or between them? I prefer the over and Mike prefers the in-between. We'll probably go with what he wants this time around. Even though it's f-ing ugly.

I want the metal balusters though - none of this all wood junk. It'll be too woody. I wouldn't mind if Mike would let me paint the wood. But wood on wood on wood is just too much wood.

And now back, to Summerfest2007. KABOOM!


Mike got me the coolest (yet, most belated) b-day gift evah!

It's a kitchen clock/tv/radio/DVD player/CD player/iPod player! Oooo! Total techno geek stuff right there. We installed it last night and I have high expectations for its future awesomeness.

Feels Like A Year

Remember how I had that mad-crazy last saturday plan? Well, that was foiled. My sister in-law is selling her house and needed Mike's home-improvement expertise on Saturday.

Which, actually worked out perfectly because I really shouldn't be buying more stuffx at the DeepHo until I pay off my bill next week! That's a conundrum isn't it? Paying off a credit card so you can buy more stuff on it and get yourself back in debt.... it's almost philosophical in its retardedness.

So my Saturday was spent on my ass. There was a Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends marathon on and one point - and I enjoyed that waaay too much.

On Sunday I had to shoot in NH and Mike was the one on his butt all day... probably watching the Power Block on Spike TV... followed by Man-Type movies.... and eating chips 'n cheez.

This week's going to be a complete loss too. Since I'll be shooting in Laconia next Saturday I decided, what the hell? Why don't we just go up there for the weekend and do some riding? Since we won't be up there for bike week. I wish we could camp, but the grass isn't strong and tall enough to drive the big 'ol truck over it to pick up the slide-in, which is at the back of the back yard.

What does all that mean - I've got to hoard more money so I can pay for room and food and fun and gas. *sigh*

It's always something.

Although I did get my plants in the mail! I got three pink flowering shrubberies, one lilac, and a bunch of little ground-cover-type purplie flowering things. (You can tell I'm sooo into gardening, right? Pshaw!) Yeah, I just plant 'em where I'd like 'em and if they live they live and if they die, I don't cry about it because I don't have the patience to deal with taking care of them. I just figure - these plants normally just grow in the wild allll on their own, right? So they should be able to fend for themselves in my yard.

Gardeners of the world are screaming at me and my laziness right now, I'm sure. My neighbor is an awesome gardener/farmer - I have to plant stuff when he's not looking so he doesn't see how many rules of gardening I'm breaking.

The Weekendless May

What a bummer of a week. I should be psyched - the grass is coming up, the office is painted, and it's been beautiful out.

But there's also bad news. I'll be working this Sunday, next Saturday, Sunday the-what-ever's-after-next-Sunday, and the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. And not just working working - like, out of the state working. I should be psyched about that too - it's a great opportunity and should be lotsa fun. (Can't elaborate any more, however. It's a little bit of a hush-hush operation for now at least.)

But this is the start of Spring!! Normally every weekend is jam-packed with places to go, people to see, and things to do. This Sunday, I'll be missing out on the blessing of the bikes, for example. =(

And Mike and I won't be able to go camping at Nickerson on Memorial Day weekend like last year.

Not to mention the loss of countless hours of work around the house. Saturdays are going to be super stressful. That is, if I don't have to travel on Saturdays. I'll be getting the details today at 1pm. This Saturday, as an example, I have to get up early for a hair appointment. (Shut up, and let me be girly for an hour and a half please!) Meanwhile, Mike's got to haul a load of scrap metal to the junk yard for cash. When we both get home, we have to run to the deepho, rent the stapler, and try like hell to do the office floor by end of the day.

For now, I hope this crazy schedule is only for May. I'm going to cry if it cuts into June and July. I'm already missing Laconia this year because of a stupid dance recital we're shooting 6/16. We always go up last weekend of the week - and I was really looking forward to it being just the two of us this year. Plus I wanted to get a new leather jacket at Weirs Beach.

Anyway - nothing I can do about it. It's just - why can't all this stuff happen in Fall, Winter, or Early Spring?!

Princess $7

Last night I took absolute joy in just standing in the office. It's just something about dim light and warm colors that makes me comfy. (I have dimmers on almost all the ceiling fixtures in the house - from the recessed to the tracks to the pendants.)

About a month ago I found a killer small chandelier at Walmart for $7. Mike wired it in for me last night while I put the pendants back up.

Now this is officially the princess sitting room. It is so royally awesome. The chandelier is perfect. The pendants look killer.

All I need now is the floor and the furniture. Too bad I have to wait until Saturday.

The Fumes Have Definately Gone to My Head

I think I have paint particles embedded in my brain at this point. My lungs have been repainted several times now. I could probably take them out, turn them inside out, and sell them as modern art. But that would be disgusting and weird. You probably think I'm disgusting and weird for even suggesting it.... and you'd be right. But that's beside the point.

As you've probably already guessed - I spent Saturday and Sunday painting my butt off.... Hmmm, actually I wish. Friday was another waste. Mike got a call from his friend JP who said, "I got a free 30 pack, wanna help me drink it?" And like any self respecting male - that was an offer he just could not refuse. But Saturday and Sunday were all paint.


I purchased a gallon of Glidden PVC white drywall primer at the home depot. (You guys already know this - see previous post a few posts down.) Well, Friday night I decided to take it upon myself to finish priming.

Turns out, all primers are not created equal. And this junk, this sh*t I bought at the deepHo was probably the worst of 'em all. To put it nicely, it was like painting with milk. No coverage whatsoever.

The walls were previously painted pink, plus there were areas that were newly sanded and mudded, and areas that were single or double coat primed with BunkerHill brand. So the whole room was a giant mixed bag. And let me tell you, this stupid stuff failed on every surface.

It did not cover over pink,
Just barely made it lighter.
It did not cover over mud,
And did not make white brighter.

I tried to paint it really thick,
Across the longest wall,
Hoping it would really stick
But it did not help at all.

And though I thought a gallon can
Would definitely do
I discovered man oh man!
It barely lasted halfway through!

After that and much complaint
I'd finally had my fill.
We decided on the better paint
And bought some BunkerHill.

The End

(Didn't I tell you the fumes went to my head?) So let that be a lesson to you all - don't cheap out on primer.

A coat of BunkerHill later near the end of the day on Saturday:

The office was all primed! The stairway/hallway was all primed! (That's my kitty The Fidge at the bottom of the steps.) Sunday I spend the day painting while Mike was out riding. Although he was nice enough to paint the sketchy slant over the stairs for me when he got home.

In this pic the color looks way pinker than it actually is. I think that's just the morning sun and my laziness in not adjusting the camera white balance.The actual color is more of a warm beige/vanilla latte with milk.

And the other wall is a muted pink called "Princess Stephanie." Very appropriate, no?

One More Snag

I um.... have a confession. There was no painting or any other work done last night. And this time, it's me messing up my own schedule.

We had a little Thirsty Thirsday party at work yesterday... and all us girls started drinking at around 3.... started dancing around 4.... were on the floor around 6.... and chugging water by 8 so we could get home. Crazy office madness.

So forget everything I said yesterday - forget all schedules. I'm not even going to try and set a goal for this weekend... we'll just have to see what develops.

Paint and Never Ending Supplies

Our neighbors were over on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. For primer, touch ups, and more touch ups to the upstairs officina, which severely changed my upstairs schedule. Monday, I purchased paint thinking that all the priming would be done.... nope. The guys made their touch ups and we were plumb outta primer. So when they finished sanding the touch ups on Tuesday, they couldn't prime them.

I was so frustrated yesterday about my fast rising deepho bill that I just sat on the couch like a frumpy lump all night, mad cause I couldn't get any work done.

Of course, it doesn't make it any easier that my neighbors prefer Bunker Hill primer. Which I can only get at the local Town Paint. Which is only open 9-5, which is when I work. And it's too far to go to on my lunch break.

So today, I could only purchase a gallon of deepho brand primer on lunch break (because of course there's a deepho 5secs from work) and not the usual cost effective 5 gallon bucket. Oh well, I have to tell myself, I've wasted $9 on worse.

I'm hoping that Mike will get home on time tonight so we can paint. (I have issues working the pole, but he's great at it.... and stop thinking that, you sickos!) Once we slap another coat of primer all the way around the office, we can get to painting the colors.

If we can manage to get alllll the painting done tonight and tomorrow, we can rent the nailer on Saturday and get that floor down. And then we have to buy all the trim boards. Ahhhh! Money money money. I need to pay my deepho card off again before I buy a sh*t load of wood. Sunday is Mike's riding day, anyway.... so we'll see how money flows next week.


Now that my horrific freak out of terror is over, I can get back to business. Can't believe it's been nearly a week since I updated you guys. Ok, here we go.

Friday Nick Mitchell was over to grade, loam, and hydroseed. That night, Mike and I had a bday party in Providence to go to, so I didn't even get to see the yard until Saturday. But when I did, boy was I impressed! It looks beautiful! I can already tell that once the grass comes up, it'll be like living in one of those Cape Cod Life "Most Gorgeous Lawns" articles. How novel!

Here is the front lawn. And It looks pretty much the same, since we had it graded when we did the house lifting.

Of course, to keep the whole thing watered, we've got el crazy sprinkler chain going on. Lucky for us, our neighbor let us borrow a couple of sprinkler heads and some hose. We already had two 50 footers, but bought 2 more plus 4 sprinkler heads. Our other neighbor even contributed an additional head because we were short just one.

You would think that all those would keep every inch of the lawn moist and happy - no way. There's still a couple missed areas that we have to hit with a hose & sprayer. I hate to go around purchasing a million dollars worth of watering equipment, but you know - I would hate even more for my $2400 grass not to grow.

The back yard is the most spectacular transformation. On the right side is Trogdor, the Oil Burninator. (aka, our old oil tank that we turned into an enclosed burn pit for brush and branches - see the handle on the front? It opens upward.)

Anyway, behind Trogdor used to be a hugeoungous pile of stumps. And I'm not exaggerating here - we had probably 10 REALLY big knarly stumps piled there.

Thursday night, when we knew Nick was coming, we loaded all the stumps into Mike's truck. I should have gotten a picture because it looked so weird - the dodge bed, overflowing with knarly snarly stumps. Saturday we took 'em to the dump - and finally got a dump sticker... geez, only been three freakin' years. (In our town, since we have trash pickup, we can take stuff like stumps to the dump for free with a sticker - too cool! We were previously paying to get rid of stuff like that.)

I have never - ever - seen that corner of the backyard look so nice and flat and nice.... That's been the worst looking part of the entire yard! That and the way back section next to the camper - that's normally where we park our trailer, skid steere, lawn tractor, and racing lawn tractor - yes yes, I know. Racing lawn tractor. That's another story. I'm so glad I told Mike to move all that junk. I figured - as long as the guys are here, we should have them do as much as they can. And I am soooo happy with the result.

Here's the other side of the backyard. Looking good. Now I'm all antsy to get the privacy fence that I want to separate the gravel driveway (seen here just a little in the lower left) from the backyard. I can't wait.

Here's the side of the garage, newly primed. And there's the gravel.