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.