When Scattered Means Scatter-Your-Brain

This has been the most frustrating day.

I checked the weather several million times yesterday and this morning. Scattered showers - chance of rain 30%. 30% chance is not so great of a chance. So I figured at least some point during the day I'd be in the clear for more painting. Hopefully in the morning before my friend and co-party planner Amanda came over.

Mike put together the scaffolding for me this morning before he took off. He even got out the air hose and blew off a lot of the old paint so I wouldn't have to scrape. Awe. At 10am it was practically pretty out - the sun was shining through the partly clouds. Good temp. Not too hot with a nice warm sun and gentle breeze.


Too bad a sudden burst of exhaustion took over me. I felt like I couldn't even stand. I just wanted to sleep. How was that possible? It wasn't even 2 hours ago that I had gotten up! I laid down right after he left and slept for nearly 3 hours. How frustrating!

But around 1 I figured that maybe a good lunch would help get me going - plus I needed to go over to the deepHo and buy another paint brush, as I had retired my old one the day before. (She was a good old paint brush, but had painted at least 5 rooms and the garage - it was her time.)

The DeepHo was madness. I went to the grocery store. The grocery store was even more madness. I was still pretty pooped at this point and about ready to just give up on everything and go back home to bed.

Somehow I made it home, made some lunch, and actually felt much better. The problem - it was raining. I checked the weather radar on weather.com. Ok - the green stuff was moving through. All I had to do was wait it out. So I began painting the french doors. But the rain kept raining. I checked the radar again - nothing. But it was still misting out. I painted some of the window trim under the roof of the porch and waited.

It stopped raining every now and again, but everything was soaked. I couldn't paint wet stuff. So frustrating. Just enough wetness to make painting impossible. The french doors were taking forever to dry, so I decided to just throw in the towel.

Plus, I never got the call from my co-party planner. Double bummer. And so I took a shower and in a minute I'm going to do my nails like some princess girly girl and blow dry my hair. I hate leaving things in a half done mess!

Decisions Decisions

I happened to catch that deepHo commercial last night. You know, the woman paints her room to match her snazzy pink shoes for a party?

At the end of the spot I caught what I was looking for. It's that magical time when HD offers a rebate on paint. $5 off a gallon and $10 off 5 gallons, I believe.

So that kinda puts the nail in the should-i-get-paint coffin. Plus I have that $5 off $50 or more purchase coupon. Wow, double the savings, double the fun - double mint gum.

I hate gum. People stick it everywhere and I step in it or put my hand on it under a desk or a seat by chance. And then they chew it loudly while talking - or pop it. I find it just totally gross. What's the point? Get an altoid if you want fresh breath.

Ok - now that I got that outta my system.

I went out first thing this morning and bought five gallons of a very very very light almost white grey color and one gallon of green called "Patio Green" How ironic!

And then I spent today painting - honestly, I just finished up like an hour and a half ago. I'm exhausted! But the garage looks much improved. Of course I used the white for the body and trim, and the green for the side door, which was formerly that awful blue color that I nicknamed "Thompson Blue" after the previous owners of the home who seemed to love it so much.

I also painted the garage door - which I hadn't planned on doing since we're replacing it sooner or later. But it just looked so horrible. It was just a stain on a beautiful dress... well, not a beautiful dress. More like a comfy t-shirt that's been washed about a zillion times. Anyway, you still don't want a big 'ol stain on it that you can see from the main road. So I painted it. And that makes all the difference when you look at it from afar.

Now all that's left to do is the way-up-high portion of the garage that I can't reach with my famous little blue step stool. This part looks so horrible, it's worse than a stain. It's so bad, it defies all stupid metaphors. The problem - it's not made of wood. It seems like some sort of particle board and it's just falling apart, as you can well imagine. It can barely hold paint.

I primed it about a year ago and it's already back to its previous state of crapness. So, once again, I have to try to scrape all the crapness off of there and re-re paint. I'm not even going to bother with the primer this time because apparently, it doesn't do anything anyway.

Luckily, we still have the borrowed scaffolding we used to take the siding off the house. I'm hoping Mike has time to set it up for me tomorrow morning before he heads off to TJ's house. This way, I'll feel so much safer than being up on stupid ladders. (I'm not too balanced in general, nevermind an extra 6' in the air.)

Then, in the afternoon, I'll hopefully be getting a break for some much anticipated Halloween party planning! I can hardly believe it's nearly time to start putting together invitations again.

For those of you who haven't heard, our Halloween party is the end all be all must be there in costume event of the year! And, as always, I have a huge to-do list of stuff to do around the house before the party. Having the garage out of the way will be a huge relief.

Arbor Day Foundation!!

I'm just a post machine today, huh?

Not by design - I just had to post again about trees. Why? Well, after this morning's rant, I decided to go searching online for more information about trees. Why? I like trees, ok? You got a problem with that, punk?

Anyway, that's when the Arbor Day Foundation website popped up. I had never considered them a viable tree-resource before, but now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense. It's the one and only foundation for tree-lovers! (At least as far as I know.) What I did not know - they also sell trees. Not big trees, but little trees. Nevertheless, their tress are guaranteed to grow, and they even have a nifty tree finder that helps you select the right tree for your zip code, soil type, tree type, growth rate speed, sun exposure, and more.... pretty sweet, huh?

And here's the really cool part: become an Arbor Day Foundation member for one year for just $15 and receive 10 free trees! (type of your choosing) That's right - 10, 1' trees. Sure, they're not big, but they're free and guaranteed. After that, your membership gives you a discount on the purchase of other trees and shrubs - all available right on their website and varying in size up to about 3' - wow.

And get this - the member price for said trees & shrubs - like $6-8! So if I manage to kill them (and they are guaranteed, so the foundation would replace them if they died) I wouldn't be losing 10s of thousands of dollars.... or hundreds. You know, I tend to exaggerate.

So pending pay check next week, I'll join the Arbor Day Foundation and my trees will be shipped during the fall season - around Nov. I thought at first that might be too late to plant, but the foundation says trees can be planted successfully right up until the ground freezes. And I think they know what they're talking about - they're tree people.

I'm so excited! I can't wait to get a buncha little trees! Maybe if I succeed with the little trees, I can graduate up to the purchase of a big tree next spring!

It's the Plague!

Does anyone out there have problems with locusts? Not the bugs - the trees. I have several in my yard and we've had several that we've cut down over the years. I hate them. They're ugly, sparse trees with sharp spines on the branches.

And even if you cut them down - they'll pop up new trees from the old stump and roots!

With this summer being as busy as it has been, we've hardly had time for yard work. But this Sunday morning, I just had to take the locust problem into my own hands. Over the entire summer, new locust plants had sprung up everywhere! There were 5 or 6 in the side yard, one by the porch, one in the front yard, two or three on the hill in the back - the whole yard was practically under attack by these ugly spiny plants! They're all springing up from old root systems and stumps of trees that we cut down a year ago or more.

What can I do to stop them?! On Sunday I grabbed the clippers and just snipped 'em all off. But I know that's not a permanent solution. They're all just going to keep coming back.

Why do disgusting plants thrive while nice plants die in my yard? It's so frustrating. And to make matters worse, as I've said before, I'm no gardener. I can barely keep my cacti alive. We barely can keep our grass alive!

I can't wait to get some nice trees in the yard, because I do love trees and the shade really helps the grass grow. Unfortunately, I want to purchase older, bigger trees, and those are the expensive ones. I spec'd out one particular kind of flowering tree I like about a year ago at a nursery. A large 6' or taller tree was $350. And I want at least three of those. Gulp! That's crazy money.... and then what if it dies?!

We'll end up with locusts only - ew!

3 Day Weekend Allure

Nothing is more exciting in home improvement land then a 3 day weekend. The possibilities are just endless! What's even more exciting? An extra Friday off.... which I happen to have this week. My mind is already spinning - I don't know what to do with myself.

I've considered at first painting the garage - which I primed about 2 years ago and still haven't gotten around to actually painting. This would be relatively easy and inexpensive and it's something I could do all by myself.

Yard work was another possibility for Friday - but we kinda tackled that this past Sunday morning.

And then there's the fact that all my friends want to hang out. They all think I'm waaaay too overproductive and need to relax a bit. It's probably true. And honestly I wouldn't mind maybe one day for relaxing.... just so long as something gets done too. Best of both worlds.

I have to talk to Mike about the possibility of stairs. Stairs would be great. In fact, if we could get a jump on it this week - during the week - it would be super great. Maybe drill all the holes one night, next night cut the railing and attach the banister..... I don't know. I'm probably hoping for too much considering how busy busy this whole month has been.

Oh - and did I mention I got some home depot coupons in the mail?! Highly tempting stuff there people. Again, the possibilities are endless....

August = Ahhhh, Uuugh, Grrrr, Urg, Sh*t, Tired

The past few weeks have been nothing but pure unadulterated madness. And though I've said that many a time before, this is some kind of August super madness never before seen! I've been traveling for work, working early, working late, stressing out.... Meanwhile Mike's been taking guy's weekends, working mad side jobs, stressing out, going to dentist appointments, working for friends....

There have been disasters and emergencies too - just sprinkled in, you know, to keep me on my toes.

Here it is the 20th, and I've barely had time to count the minutes ticking by! Even now, I'm here working early, writing as I'm rendering, and dreaming of bad bad bad for me food. Not that it will help me get through this, another crazay day.

Back at home, everything lies in waste. The balusters haven't been attached to the stair railing. The bottom stair railing has not been started. Chad has not come over to give us an estimate on the roofing. And for once I can say that procrastination and lazyness have no part in the equation!

But last weekend being the tax free weekend - and me having several hours in between prepping for a little girls dinner party.... not little girls, little dinner party. Anyway, I had to make some sort of purchase to help out the economy. You know me, always thinking of the economy. =)

I would have liked to purchase all the roofing on tax free weekend, had I time to have planned ahead. But no dwelling on lack o' Chad for now, no time. So I purchased some wood blinds for the kitchen at Lowe's.

I was pleasantly surprised at the price - and they had my color and size in stock. I had decided, since the Lowes was in a brand new shopping plaza, I should shop around and see if any of the other stores had them for a lower price. Shockingly - no other store even had them. Not Target, Linens 'n Things, JC Penny.... at JC Penny you'd have to order them. Isn't that ridiculous? There was one lady ordering some blinds and I nearly told her to go over to Lowes. But, again, lack of time prevented it.

Now here's the really amazing thing - I went home and installed them myself and they turned out great. Normally, when I try and do anything I end up putting it together backwards or I have something upside down... it never seems to work out. But these are perfect.

That's my one story. I'm really hoping that things calm down and return to normal after this weekend.... I can't take much more of this.

Putting Him Back Together Again

Last Tuesday night Mike gave everything a second coat of stain.

Last Wednesday night, we set about installing it all. We had already pre-drilled, pre-fit, pre-everything everything on Sunday and had only taken it apart for staining purposes. Now was time to really put it all together.

And really that took no time at all - less than an hour I'd say. The only thing we couldn't do was to connect the balusters - Mike had left the correct size allen wrench at work.

Let me tell you I am so impressed with the railing. It's gorgeous and somehow, we managed to stain it nearly the exact same color as the hardwood floor. There's really only one word to describe it - WOW.



Getting a Railing

This past Sunday was just a phenomenal day. Everything went perfectly, despite Mike's pessimistic, "This-is-going-to-suck-i-hate-you" attitude.

The plan, if you remember, included purchasing all the stair railing stuff from Home Depot and installing as much of it as humanly possible in one Sunday. (With the deepHo card paid off and in the clear, I had no problem whatsoever making a purchase over 299 that I would be a year in the clear over.)

When we originally did the upstairs hardwood floors last year, we purchased some stair railing stuff. Three newels with trim, one baluster with trim, and the oak board that all would attach to. But we never got further than installing the oak board, cutting the holes for the newels, and staining the newels. (Newels by the way = posts.)

The balusters I wanted were the black iron ones with the cool swirly designs in the middle, and we had purchased just one to check it out, see how it would look and attach - all that fun stuff. That first time around, I also grabbed a "How-to-Install-These-Things" info brochure.... which then sat aside like everything else for dam near a year.

But, if you remember, railings (or lack thereof throughout the house) were near the top of our new home insurance's list of Stuff To Be Fixed. So, with the card paid and the exterior work on hold, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to tackle this project.

First step - figure out what the heck we needed. Lucky for me, I had saved that "How-to-Install-These-Things" info brochure... And - amazingly - remembered where I had put it! But the brochure only provided some info - for the real deal, we went to the company's website where they had compete print out instructions. Very handy!

So the standard height for the railing had to be between 36" and 41" and the distance between the balusters on a straight run had to be 4" on center. On the stairs, there would be two balusters per stair. Ok cool.

We did some measuring and counting and ended up with a total of 46 balusters. Plus we needed top and bottom trim pieces for each baluster, several sections of railing (at 10', 7', and 3'), hardware to attach railing to newel, a rosette for where the railing meets the wall, some drill attachments, more oak board for our top landing, more stain, and, just for the fun of it, I figured we could get a simple pole-type railing for the basement stairs plus the little railing holder things while we were there.

Wow - does that seem like a lot to you? Because for some reason or another I was worried about making the 299 at the deepHo. HA! Do you know how much just one of those cool iron balusters with the swirly things on it costs?! Nearly $9 a piece. $9 times 46 of them. HAHAHAHAHAAHA! Plus all that other stuff.

Yup. It was around $800 for the whole shebang. Can you believe it? They should make discount packs of the balusters - who ever buys just one anyway?! If we didn't need a railing for the over-the-stairs balcony, the whole thing would have been much more cost effective. We would have only needed 19 balusters. Such is life. You don't think about these things when you're designing your upstairs. You say, "Oh I'll worry about that later."

Anyway - as I said, I was ok with the whole thing after just paying off the card. No sweat.

Back home, we got to work. Our plan was to fit and test and drill everything - then, take it all back apart for staining. It was a lot of work, but pretty much everything went smoothly.

We installed the newels, then measured and marked every 4" for balusters. Then we drilled a 5/8" hole on each mark and stuffed all the balusters in. (Tight fit!)

Next, we measured out and cut the right length of railing and repeated the same 4" measuring, marking, and drilling to match the baluster holes in the floor.Then, we pre-drilled and attached the railing to the newels and double checked the baluster fit. Everything looked great.

We repeated the process on the small 3' section, but added a rosette at one end that would attach to the wall.

It was late in the afternoon at this point and everything was looking great. So we took it all apart. The railings and newels came out, the oak bottom piece came out, and all the balusters were set aside. We brought all the wood downstairs and Mike gave everything a first coat of stain while I cleaned up all the saw dust and wood shavings upstairs.

Nothing else we could do until the stain dried anyway. Plus it would all need a second coat. But since everything is pre-drilled and ready to rock - we shouldn't have any problems getting it up and installed for real this week!

The actual stairs will present different challenges. And, unfortunately, since I spilled paint on them and let it set for a million days - it won't clean off. So we have to sand and refinish all the stair treads. What a pain. But once that's done, figuring out the baluster heights and cutting them shouldn't be so hard. The info brochure outlined a pretty cool method that even I thought I could figure out. Plus, we have a metal chop saw already, so cutting the iron is no big deal either.

I figure we could tackle all that in a day too.... who knows which day....

Rescheduled, Thank God

I'm not sure why - but the roofing date has gone from Oct to Aug.

Believe me, I'm not complaining in the least! I'm psyched, actually. Late Aug Chad will be able to do the roof. We're still waiting for him to come by and give us his estimate - but there's still plenty of time. No big deal.

If we do the roof in late Aug, that would leave September for siding - and that would be perfect! Absolutely perfect. Theoretically, we could be done and cleaned up by October, well in time for the Halloween party and well in time to protect from the cold weather.