Monday, August 27, 2012

It’s amazing how accustomed you become to things when you live in a work in progress.

For instance, we stopped putting toilet paper on the holder not long after Toby arrived in 2006. (He liked to shred the rolls.) We eventually graduated to setting the roll on top of the holder as he grew and his interest in TP did not. In May 2009, when I began tearing wallpaper off the bathroom walls and prepping the ceiling for the original Michaelangelo project the holder came down all together so that the beadboard could be repainted.

The holder went back up yesterday. More than once, I found myself turning this way or that to find the TP – instead of looking on the wall directly in front of me. (The mother did it, too, and it was a great source of comedy throughout the day.) But the holder is back up. New switchplates and the new chair rail are also in place. A pimped out plain old cabinet (sans doors) is back up and the mirror that covers the in-the-wall medicine cabinet over the sink is up again, too.

Even so, I didn’t get as far as I’d liked over the weekend thanks to both the mother and Mother Nature. As she usually does when a project is edging closer to the finish, the mother found yet a new project to tack onto the to-do’s. After being devastated that a pretty new cabinet just would NOT fit behind the toilet on a wall that runs between the shower and the sink, she thought of a way to jazz up the existing cabinet. “Could we put some beadboard panels along the sides?” she asked me on Friday. (We means me, of course.) Fortunately, I had a piece of scrap birch beadboard to accommodate the request. On Saturday, I fought the wind (gusting to 30 mph) to cut those panels. The mother than wanted to put some of the thin wood egg and dart molding (purchased for the bathroom but now designated for other projects since we bought the matching molding for that ceiling) along the new beadboard edges.

Even if we could spare it, it’s too thick, I said. Then, I remembered the NEW thin wood strip – still unpainted – that I had bought for the bathroom. It’s one of two I’d bought. The other, already painted black, is going to help me cover some bare spots in the ceiling in front of the gingerbread fretwork. When I brought the piece up and laid it onto the side of the cabinet, the mother was sold. She promptly painted it black. So cutting, sanding and installing beadboard panels and cutting and installing trim on the medicine cabinet was the bulk of Saturday.

While I had the saw set up once again yesterday to cut the chair rail, I had planned to also cut the quarter-round. I would just wait to install it until I finished the floor. That was the plan. But while I was testing the chair rail and making some final cuts, the sky began to blacken. And the wind, which was already pretty powerful, began throwing things from my temporary work station. Rather than rush through a mitering job, I began cleaning and picking things up. Meanwhile, the stormy activity continued.

It would be almost three hours before it actually rained. I could have gotten my boards cut.

Oh well. I guess it just wasn't meant. But, with a little more patience and a bit of luck maybe, just maybe, this thing can get done this weekend. THAT would be spectacular!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wrappin' Up

This day began with a beautiful orange and pink sunrise and it's winding down with a similar sunset. (The sky is becoming more beautiful by the second as I type this.)

It also represents the wrap on what's been quite the week. That's a lot of why I've been so quiet. There's a lot going on both at home and away.

The bathroom is really coming along. It's pretty exciting to watch it taking shape, little by little. The mother has been working like a fiend on touching up this, touching up that and digging for all the stuff that will soon adorn its walls. This weekend, I hope to install the new chair rail, work on repairing the floor and possibly even put up the tile around the tub surround. Once the floor is done, I can put down quarter-round.

I'm also going to see if Lawrence can return next Friday, make an adjustment to the new light that is in there above the mirror over the sink and also install the new ceiling light.

Little by little. So as soon as we get closer to a wrap, I'll put up some pictures. Maybe, if we can get a little farther this weekend, I might share a preview.

It will be incredible to bring this project – that began more than three years ago – to an end. Then, of course, it will be on to the kitchen!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Leaps and Bounds

I am sleepy, in need of a shower and totally exhausted. My hands, feet and back ache to an indescribable degree; my legs are covered in ladder bruises. I am, however, very happy.

That's because we've made major headway on the bathroom. Finally! After almost three years in idle mode, work on the bathroom got kicked into high gear starting on Thursday. As soon as I got home from work that afternoon, I jumped right in – and I stayed in an almost perpetual state of motion FOR DAYS.

There is still plenty of work to call it "done," but both paint and wallpaper are on the walls and one of two new light fixtures is in place. The egg and dart molding is up (YAY!) finally giving the faux tin ceiling a finished look. Like I said though, still plenty to go so I don't want to share photos until it gets a little closer to the finish line.

Ideally, by this weekend it will be VERY close to done and finished shortly thereafter. The satisfaction of getting this far this fast after waiting so D*MNED LONG … there just aren't words.
But it's back to the grind tomorrow after a four-day "weekend" so here's hoping that the natural high continues. I'm sure that effort will be buoyed by the fact that tomorrow I'll be heading to a Cards' game with friends. Tres excited!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Slow Going

I finished painting the scrap wallboard and started cutting and installing it. That was "the idea" I've alluded to: cover the bathroom walls (that I so miserably failed to skimcoat) with scrap wallboard left from other projects.

Each wall has its own little oddities in making a decent cut.

I cut one piece backwards (way to go, idiot!) but even before doing that, it was obvious that I was going to be just a little bit shy on material. D*mn. Sucks that I'll need to buy a whole board when I really don't need that much. Luckily, it's not expensive (less than $12). It will just be a PITA to get home. And part of the beauty of using up my scrap was that well, I was using my scrap! As it is, I'll still have scrap, albeit in much smaller pieces.

I managed to get the first few strips up before dark Saturday. (I got a late start, thanks to a few sets of showers in the morning.) And Sunday? Well, it rained in the morning and looked liked it could most of the rest of the day.

By the time the sun popped out around 4, I passed on the chance to use up the few hours of daylight that were left. In other words, I was a slug on Sunday. But, I needed it. In fact, it was good that I'd gotten a few extra hours of sleep because early Monday morning, I got bounced out of bed by thunderstorms. Luckily, it was nothing severe.

So, I'll start slogging my way through the rest of the job a few hours at a time – until Friday – when I'm taking a vacation day. And then, on Saturday, Lawrence will be back on the scene. There's a lot to get done between now and then, so here's hoping.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Juggling Act

I’m at the point where there are just too many balls in the air.

Bathroom. Kitchen. Future plans. Work. Freelancing. Regular routine (laundry, shopping, paying bills, general house maintenance, car upkeep). And somewhere in there I need time to bathe, eat, sleep and maybe live for a few minutes.

And let’s not forget yard work. After begging off Saturday to work with Lawrence and then starting my own work on the bathroom – for which my idea WILL work, more on that later – and then spending Sunday fighting allergies and dealing with much of the above, mowing didn’t get done over the weekend. We’ve gotten a bit of rain in the past week and the weeds, which is the only thing that has thrived all summer, are taking over. And, it’s been about a month or so since I’ve even bothered to mow.

So I spent four plus hours yesterday paying for that. It was nice to walk outside this morning and see a neatly trimmed, albeit dead, lawn. Miraculously, though admittedly a bit achy, I am not in agony. I haven’t checked my biorhythm, but I’d be willing to bet I’m on a higher energy cycle. (I haven’t collapsed like a house of cards, so that’s my first clue.) I’m extremely grateful for this because otherwise I’d probably be in a heap somewhere! (Not a complaint; merely an observation.)

I’m luckier than most in that I am absolved from the bulk of housekeeping (outside laundry and trash). The mother takes care of that and she also takes care of Toby about 90 percent of the time. Even so, I still feel like I’m stuck in a giant taffy pull most days – and I’m the taffy! The silver lining is that it’s made getting a dog a lesser priority for now. Way too much chaos, especially for a creature that has probably been abused or neglected, to endure! I'm anxious though to get things calm enough to actively pursue a new furbaby.

To save my own sanity, I spent a little time on Sunday creating some greeting cards (an off-shoot of my scrapbooking hobby) and planning a few more with some birthdays coming. And later today, I’m taking the mother shopping. She hasn’t felt that great the past few weeks and so I’m taking her desire to actually go somewhere as a good sign.

Here’s hoping that the balls can stay in the air on their own for an afternoon.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Lawrence List

Lawrence will be here a little later today! I honestly don't remember the last project we did so it will be nice to have him back on board.

The forecast calls for a chance of storms but ideally, those will hold off until later in the evening by which time we'll be long done. I'm still trying to fine tune the to-do's for the day.

If it's not raining – and before it gets blistering hot – I want him to fix one of the scallops on the front of the house. (He put them up there; he can fix it.)

I'm going to have him take down the light fixture above the bathroom sink. And the mother wants him to put some dimmer switches in.

And I'm going to have him confirm if my wallboard idea, to get me out of skimcoating the POS walls in the bathroom again, is the epiphany I thought it was.

I also need him to confirm if the bit o' bling light fixture that the mother bought to put over the sink is going to fit once we put the egg and dart trim up. If it even fits, it's going to be tight.

I want him to put the cover back over the exhaust fan in the bathroom. I took it down to clean it and because the little plastic grooves that hold the flex pins in place are broken, I can't get it to go back up. I think a few screws will get it fastened.

Other stuff, I just need to pick his brain about. It should be a productive day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Sun, The Moon and All

Thursday was frustrating.

On again, off again assignments and work projects. (One of which annoyed the hell out of me but then was mercifully postponed.) A small assortment of technology-related issues. Timing that was literally shot to hell.

At home, the freelance work continued the trend. I spent more time looking for things to write than writing them. And for the living part of home, the to-dos are just overwhelming. Lack of sleep and my mounting frustration level finally took a toll: I fell asleep and managed about a 90-minute nap.

While I was asleep, something amazing happened. IT RAINED! Before I fell asleep, the occasional rain drop would grace my window. The sky promised so much more with its multiple shades of gray and yet all we could muster was a spritz. Seriously? And then I fell asleep.

I peered out the window at around 7:45 p.m. and the sky had a green overcast. Yikes! But when I walked in the kitchen and looked out that window, I was greeted by this.

This photo doesn't begin to do it justice and I couldn't really capture a nicely framed shot without being inundated by power lines. I think you see enough though to get the idea that it was a pretty spectacular sunset.

Everything was WET! It must have been a really steady rain -- and I slept right through it. I was amazed to see just how drenched everything was. It was even sprinkling a bit when I shot this. No watering of shrubs required. Color me grateful!

Once the night had officially claimed the sky, I got another surprise: the full moon. Because we actually HAD gotten rain, I thought that cloud cover would likely win out and there would be absolutely no way that the moon would be visible. I walked outside to have a look.
SURPRISE! Look who was about to join the party!

I quickly ran back in to get the camera.

I spent the next 20 minutes outside exercising the index finger on the dial to adjust aperture, speed and focus. I would later learn that during this same time, I also was serving as a mosquito smorgasbord. Those d*mned little buggers! The rain and the cooled air brought them back out of hiding.

Again, this image doesn't quite capture the image I was treated to but you get the idea. If only I could learn to get the camera to accurately depict what my eyes see!

During the time that I basked in the moonlight (and served as a mobile blood bank for the mosquito population) the moon shed its inhibitions and came from behind the tree. That allowed me to capture this.

The evening's visuals, coupled with the much needed rainful, were a nice ending to what was a less than nice day. We truly can find good in almost every day if we choose to look.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Letting Go

I never did hear anything from the people who have/had Wego. Why would you post something to find a home for an animal and then never bother to respond to someone?

It's cruel. It's rude. But that's the way it is. Let's just say the next time I see something with that group's name, I'll likely ignore it.

I'm sure it won't be the last time I'm disappointed in the search for a furbaby. The truth of the matter is that I probably am not ready for a dog this second anyway. The mother has been sick and the house is chaotic with all the things that need to be done. The bottom line: I've got time. If it happens this year, great. If not, that's OK, too.

The most important thing though is that my heart is completely open to the idea. And the truth there is I don't think that it has been. Every time I look at this blog, there is Ozzie in the right-hand sidebar. If you weren't a regular reader of the blog or someone who knows me outside of it, you'd never have imagined that Ozzie wasn't alive. In all these months, I've never changed it. I did for Tigger when we lost him a few years ago. But for Oz, I did not.

I changed that last night. It was painful. It was difficult. But, it was right. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Repeat Wasn’t on the List

Yesterday, after working at the office for five hours and then for about three hours from home freelancing, I added a DIY tour of duty to the mix.

It wasn’t the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had. However, after looking at my multipage to-do list, it’s necessary. (At least it is if I hope to finish the kitchen and bathroom sometime before I am too old to walk through either of them.) So as soon as I wrapped up the last of yesterday’s work that I get paid for, I hopped on the slave labor bandwagon.

A while back, I had skimcoated the bathroom walls. Last night, I sanded them. If you’ve never sanded drywall before, lucky you. If you have, you know what a pain it is and how the subsequent clean-up is even worse! (By the time I was done, I looked like I was auditioning to be Caspar or else had been dumped into a vat of flour. And the bathroom itself didn’t look any better despite my best efforts to tape up plastic to minimize the dust. In fact, I think it took longer to clean it all up than it did to sand.)

In the light of day, I am acknowledging two things.

1. Our bathroom walls are horrible. (What they really need is to just be knocked down. That, however, isn’t happening.) I knew that when I started this little adventure. I thought I could make it work by skimcoating. I no longer believe this is a viable option.

2. I SUCK at skimcoating. Seriously. This is not a job I am just BAD or INEPT at. The good news is that I found that I am not alone and that it’s possible I can learn to be better at it. (Thank you, Sarah, at The Ugly Duckling House, a blog I was lucky enough to stumble across while seeking advice, if not the “miserable company” that misery loves.)

I do NOT, however, wish to do the whole skimcoating ordeal again. A repeat of that job just wasn’t on my list. And, as the day has worn on, I had an epiphany, or at least what I hope is one. If the solution works, it will not only resolve the bathroom wall situation, but also mean

* I don’t have to paint the bathroom walls themselves.

* I don’t have to redo the entire skimcoating – just a little bit here and there.

* I don’t have to buy drywall and worry about the walls shouldering that extra weight.

*I don’t have to buy anything as I can potentially use some materials that are just sitting around and for which I don’t have any plans. (And I’d get my full money’s worth from them!)

Wish me luck. If this works, it would be terrific! It also would be one of the only things to go right at This D*mn House in a while. I’ll keep you posted.