7.24.2014

Change of gears

I'm sorry I've been away.  Hailey suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on Sunday.  We've been utter wrecks.  I'll hopefully be back soon.  Thanks so much for reading along.


7.19.2014

Slow down Saturday but gearing up for floor completion.

Ah Saturdays.  It's always been my most favorite day of the week.  Many years ago, before Mike, I used to lollygag lazily all day, watch cooking shows on PBS for hours on end then make myself something ridiculous for dinner, like a frozen pizza.

These days Mike works on Saturdays so I consider it a work day for myself.  Although today, I opted to take it a bit easy.  It's been a busy week in these parts, what with getting Mike's office painted, then trying to tackle the rain barrel situation, plus all those little things I did the other day, oh and then working on the front doors.  Plus, yep, I'm pooped from Phish last night and Hailey waking Mike (us) up at 2:30 am and me at 7:30 am with tinkle emergencies.  I deserve a break, don't I?

I did swing by and see Twitchy today.  He's setting things out for me in the hopes I'll stop by!  Heh, kinda cute!  Plus he actually almost smiles at me now!  He was all excited to show me a bin with lots of brand new 1x4 pine pieces that he put out for me.  I should stock up on those just to have as stuff like that comes in handy.  Can't beat the price either.

He let me go all the way in back into the big shed where the guys were slicing and dicing pallets and wood so I could rifle through the bins in there.  One of the other guys recognizes me now too and he pointed me in the right direction.

If only I were a wee bit stronger, if only my lame ripped up "construction grade" garbage bag had held a smidge more, I'd be done collecting wood!  Ah rats!!

Doh!!  Soooo close, yet so far!!
I'll need to rip down some pieces somehow and wedge them into this unfortunate gap seen below on the right hand side.  Hm.  That will be interesting.


Tuesday will be the big floor day.  It's supposed to be a scorcher then too.

I'll visit Twitchy, grab a few more pieces, swing by Menards for floor underlayment, maybe rent the compressor and nail gun then too, pick up some poly.  I've decided to go sans stain (thanks Vannessia!).  The poly will deepen the wood and even out the tone all on its own.  I'll make some cool funky "grout" to fill in gaps thanks to my woodworking friend Scott, an idea both he and my friend Micah suggested to me (which I'll share later), and get this floor d.o.n.e. done.

I'd start on Monday but we have a big scary vet appointment that morning.  Last time we saw Dr. H, after considerable discussion, we decided to give Hailey a chest x-ray to see if the cancer has spread to her lungs.  This will help us see where we're at/decide if we should give her more chemo or plan, um, cry, otherwise.  I'd rather not give her more chemo because I worry it's doing other harm and we always have some kind of issue after each dose but then again, I'm also paranoid to stop.

That day will be torturous hell for her as she does not ever roll onto her back, not even for us ever (except two or three times in almost 12 years, unwittingly in her sleep which was sooooo cute), she hates people, and she hates going to the vet.  The regular vet would only do a chest x-ray if she was doped up, if that gives you any indication of Her Royal Squirminess.  It's torturous hell for us biding time, waiting for this appointment, speculating, worrying, and we're beyond terrified of receiving bad news that day.

Praying to the Puppy Gods on Monday, we will be.
Ahem.  In other news, later this next week I hope to have a super duper spiffy DIY done involving the television and errant messy wires, a zillion thanks to my friend Janette.  She rocks and I'm quadruple head-over-heels excited about it.

So stay tuned, my friends!  Lots of doing ahead and sharing will be bountiful!

Off to Phish show number two tonight, yay!!  Hope you're having a fantastic weekend!

7.18.2014

List Schmist.

Yeah, I went totally off-list today.  So much for having a list then, right?!  This project was on that secret mental list, though today, just so I could have the satisfaction of crossing it off, I wrote it on the actual list.  I know, I'm a dork.

The front door exterior.


It would not be my first choice of doors in general, overall, for a slew of reasons, but it's here and doors are expensive, so, I thought I'd paint it.  Since I needed to return the spray paint I picked up for our new patio chairs, I figured I'd pick up door paint in its place.

I asked Mike, who generally doesn't always have an opinion about house stuff, but does have a great inherent sense of design, what color he'd like for the front door.  It's his house too, though he has proffered many a time that I can do whatever I want.  I wanted to include him in this decision.

He said dark green.  Not a color I might ordinarily choose by way of not being a big green fan, but he said for some reason he has always wanted a dark green front door.  Who am I to refuse?


I really don't know what's up with this door anyway.  It's not the original door but it's not a new door sooooo, either the flipper took it from another project/house/stole it and installed it here or picked it up in an alley somewhere.  I'm betting alley.  It's beat up and dirty with unremovable dirt.  Oh and I have scrubbed.  Many times.  Scrubby scrubby scrubby.  Nothing.  Nice, right?


It's not often I use brush-on oil based paint and despite all the years I've been painting things which has been a lot of years and a lot of painted things, I still suck at using oil based paints.


Yeah.  Needs a second coat, clearly, but because oil paints take so long to dry, it'll have to be another day.  And maybe another type of brush, maybe a small roller to get it even.  That's always my problem, getting the paint even.  I suck at brushing oil paint, heh.

After I put this paint on I realized oh, well, huh.  That puts a kink in my plan to stop by Twitchy's for more wood for the pantry floor.  Rats!

Maybe it was the fumes, maybe it's me, I dunno, but that's when the day veered off into crazy town territory.


We dislike the awkward, clunky, unwelcoming, pretty well unnecessary security door.  Uh oh, right?

Since I was painting the main door dark hunter green, having the white security door glaring in front of it defeats the whole purpose of painting the main door.  Yep.  I opted to paint the security door too.  Crazy town.

As the hinges are buried, I couldn't get just the door off to paint it.  Sigh.  Taking the whole door frame out to paint it was not an option for me today.  Nor will it ever be until we replace this door with something more friendly.



Staring at it from the inside, the thought of hand brushing the paint on all those itty bitty parts made my head hurt.  The thought of applying a second coat on all those itty bitty parts made me queasy.  After analyzing the door and all its parts, out came the screw gun and off came all the interior parts.

Thankfully I've toted a roll of brown kraft paper around with me all these years so I papered up the door from the inside, then headed out to spray paint it with the matching color spray paint I bought.


So ok yes, I did kinda sorta a little bit possibly premeditate doing this.  I didn't expect it'd be a train wreck though.  Despite cleaning the door, the paint went haywire.


And despite my best efforts, the spray paint went everywhere.


Ugh.  This sucks.  Ugh.  Ok.  Can't figure out why this is happening unless I needed to clean more thoroughly.  Ugh.  Sob.  Ok.  Let it dry, I thought, then come back.  Maybe the pitted areas will seal up.

In the mean time, the crazy town ship sailed again and I painted the front steps, off-list.  There's soooo much iron work that needs painting it's ridiculous but I figured if I could at least get the steps painted and if I can't get to any more of it, at least the steps will be protected through the winter.  And so now they are.

I did end up talking to a neighbor from across the street for a bit, or at least more so than I have in the past.  We affectionately call him Sweeper as he is out every day, several times a day, sweeping his sidewalk, neighboring sidewalks, and a large portion of the city street.  Every day.  Yes, even in winter.  With a little red plastic broom.

He's lived here for 30 years and keeps a close watch on the immediate area as he has family living in about three or four of the houses around him.  While we do ever so slightly get a kick out of and shake our heads at his OCD sweeping activities, we appreciate it and him and all he does by making his watchful presence well known.

He asks about Hailey when we see him as he saw me out front with her one day shortly after her surgery.  He was visibly painfully bewildered at her missing leg and is genuinely concerned for and worried about her well-being.  Long story short, we like our neighbors.

But back to the door.

Even after letting it dry, then a second then a third then a fourth then who knows how many more sprays, it still yielded this mottled look.  Soooo, I thought I'd convince myself the door wants to go for that hammered look and I will call it done.

After the second or third coat?  Can't remember now.
Lots of touch up to manage, but if I don't get to it in the next two weeks, it's not the end of the world.  We rarely see the front of our house and it's not too particularly horrible nor offensive to the neighbors.

If you look hard enough, you can see Hailey evaluating my handiwork.
No, I didn't paint the frames of the interior parts but the white isn't bothering me.  Yet.  I'm looking forward to shutting the front door and seeing how it looks from the sidewalk.

Oh!  Ice machine is working again, finally, for now anyway, and since I have to dump the first batch, I'll revisit that DIY dyed art project again, see how that pans out.  I'm thinking of stitching some dimensional yarn elements into it when it's done too, a la macrame-ish, we'll see.

Off to scurry about and make dinner super early for eating on the fly.  Phish is in town starting tonight for a three night stint so that's our weekend!

7.15.2014

It's the little things. They add up!

You guessed, it's been a day of little things.  But, they do add up as I now have a smattering of X's instead of words on my list.  Plus, as a bonus, I did a few extra things not on my actual list, but on that secret mental list.

Feels good, I tell ya!

After a zippy quick tour with blow-in insulation estimate company number two, a jaunt to the p a r k with a fine furried one and a whirl around the yard with the mower that finally decided to start for me again, it was time to get shakin'.

Yes, I spelled it p a r k.  Hailey is smart.  She hears what I type.  I'm not crazy.

I apologize in advance for the crummy photos.  Took 'em with the phone, phone taking poo poo photos today.  :(

So here's the highlight reel!

Task one began by putting vinyl tiles under the kitchen sink.


I've seen the idea bandied about, can't remember where exactly, but thought it was a clever one since that area always is messy trouble.  Got some black vinyl tiles for a mere $0.59 each and went to work.  Super fast; sheesh, super easy.  Done in like what, ten minutes?  Why'd it take so long to get that project wiped off my list?!  Ah ha, vinyl tile, wipe, pun.


In the end, yes, it's dark and it makes the cabinet interior even darker, but I was concerned light tiles would stain and always look dirty no matter what I did.  Yick -- if I'm gonna clean, gosh darn it, it better be clean when I'm done with it.


Next up was the guest bath faucet.  I had to remove it as my plan was to add a rubber gasket between the faucet and the sink top to stop it from sliding all over the place every time I merely glanced at it.

Faucet, doesn't stay still.
Menards had this spiffy make-your-own-gasket rubber pack.  I wasn't able to find the exact gasket I was looking for, so this was a funky option.  Turns out it worked better than anticipated.  Not only did I use it on the faucet, I was able to bonus project cut a gasket for a jar that has a glass lid.  Nifty!

After tracing the original gasket, I cut out two circles.


I wiggled the first one on and since the faucet base is not round, I trimmed up the edges with scissors.  Easy peasy gaskety goodness.


Reassemble everything, tighten it all down, and hey!  The faucet doesn't slip around!  Neat!  As an added layer of no-more-slippy-slidey-please, I used that same white Locktite adhesive that went on the access panel and did a bitty makeshift caulk job.  A few hours later, and bingo, good to go.  X!

I did tidy up the excess glue after everything set, no worries.
Since I was in there, I touched up the paint.  Another X!

Wet paint!  Woo hoo!  X!
And, since I was upstairs and had painted that last wall in the master bedroom despite not wanting to because I want to rip apart that wall and install a pocket door to the bathroom, I opted to hang one of my most precious possessions.  I don't consider all that many things as "precious possessions" because, well, things are things and they can be replaced plus we all likely have too many things.  Except these tiles can't be replaced.  

There's that dresser I want to strip of paint.
Ok ok, I will admit to being sentimental about some belongings, all right.

I made these tiles when I was two years old and this assemblage hung in my grandparents' kitchen until my grandfather passed away.  I would look at it every time I visited.


I'm not sure who constructed this, I'll have to ask my mom, but every time I move this it gets personally hand packed and carried by me.  It's nice to see it again as it has been three years in packed hiding.

Last project for the day, or as of this writing anyway, was working on the area where I tore out that depressing leaning tower of handrail mess.

Waaaay old photo.
Several weeks back, I gave the affected parts a work-over with patch stuff, so today was about cleaning it up and wrapping it up.

First, the wall got a finish sanding and then ahhh, Summer Shower paint rained upon it.  Like that unfortunate hand rail never happened....


Feeling a wee bit perfectionist-ism because the flipper people did such a crap job of installing the wood here, I ended up slathering on a second goopy layer of Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty and gave it another round of sanding.  They don't kid about that rock hard characteristic.


A couple 'a coats of semi-gloss white and bam, like it never had those unsightly spindles impaling it.  X and X!

I Hate that "carpet."  Capital H hate.
Nice!  What an accomplished day, right?  Oddly, even though I did a bunch of stuff, somehow it doesn't feel like a great deal got done.  Likely because I've got that pantry floor haunting me.  Or, maybe it will never feel like enough gets done.

But.  I will say, the list looks muuuch shorter now.  Huh, wonder if I could get those kitchen cabinets painted after all.....

Oh!  Rain!  Gotta run!

7.14.2014

The Unplanned List Addition Fixer Day.

Sometimes that just happens, something you weren't planning on doing or fixing suddenly will not be ignored any longer, needs doing and fixing.

Take for instance our rain barrel.  Dumb thing.

Yay, #motivationmonday.  Frown.

Yes, it seems the bad is outweighing the good on this darn water collection device.  Great in theory, this free rain barrel.  A monster headache in practice.  Or, at least I haven't quite figured out the dance with it yet.


So yeah, that's not cool, right?  Nope.  That was a couple of weeks ago and that's when our problems started with this thing.  Before this lovely day, I couldn't figure out why the rain barrel was always empty.  Until one day I was out back during a rain and noticed a hole in the side near the bottom.  A fabricated hole, not accidental.  ????  After plugging it up, we got this situation, too much water.

We have a flat roof so we have one gutter and one downspout off the back.  Naive little me didn't realize how quickly the barrel would fill up.  We don't have enough stuff to use the water on either so we end up with disasters like above.

In the end, that's not nearly as bad as the water that keeps seeping into the basement.  I thought my mini concrete patching attempt was going to help, and hopefully it did a little bit, but we've been getting so. much. rain. lately and our yard already has a drainage problem....

Before we had the rain barrel, I had the downspout redirected into the yard by about ten feet and we had zero problems.  As soon as this thing goes on, we have problems.

The original too-much-water set up we had.
So today, in an effort to fix it though it wasn't on my actual list but it was on my secret mental list, I researched online for downspout diverters not knowing they existed but was quite impressed to see a makey-uppy-idea in my head was a real thing, only to find how weirdly expensive they are and the type I wanted wasn't pick-upable locally.  Not willing to wait plus even the least expensive one was still more than I wanted to spend, I ran over to Menards to look at one they have.  (One of the more reasonably priced ones, but still, $28 plus $11 shipping?)

What a frustrating go of it at Menards today.  I just could not find anything.  Not really my fault though, as on occasion they group things together in ways that defy logic.  Luckily, the sales folk were in good moods and helpful.

Nice shot of my right toe.  Neat.
I unpack the diverter along with the dishwasher hose I picked up as it was about the only hose I could find that looked like it would fit.  Concern #1.  Our downspout is 3x4, but the out on the bottom of this gizmo is 2x3.  Hm.  Yes, concern #2.

The hose went on brilliantly and since it was so long, I cut it in half and crammed, crammed it into the other outlet hole hoping that by using the two outlet holes rather than capping one off with their lame cap that will fall right off if you blow on it, that that might help.  Maybe?  Concern #3.


Because I'm not sold that this thing is going to work, I didn't screw it to the house.  It was a mmmph-mmmph and a half to get the darn thingamabob onto the downspout though it sure does slip off easy.  Then the little 2x3 expanding extender piece I bought separately won't really stay on the bottom outlet though it's supposed to....concern #4-5.

After lots of wiggling, maneuvering, cramming, shoving, swearing, zip-tying, head shaking, and lick-and-sticking, it's assembled.  The 2x3 piece is draining into the original flex piece then into the original original ten foot flex pipe.  Concern #6-14.

What the....?  What nutty person devised this set up?
I can't say I'm terribly convinced this doohickey or my screwy rigged system is going to work, but we'll see.  I kept the packaging, just in case, though there's a note in there on screaming hot pink paper, "don't return this to the store!  Call us if you have issues!"  Hm, concern #4,806,032,764,542.

Considering the flow of water we get, it may blow the contraption and my hodgepodge line up to bits.  And if it does, I'll have to step up and get the more expensive parts.  Or shove this barrel into the alley and call it done.  


Once I see it working, and working the way it should, I'll secure everything better.  But until then, I will be concerned.  And very very doubtful.  Plus, since I have to drain a hefty portion away, at this juncture I'm wondering what's the point of this dumb barrel.

Sigh.  Keep your fingers crossed for us, would ya?

No word from Mike on his opinion of the office paint.  I suppose no news is good news?

Next task?  Figuring out dinner.  My favorite.  *cough*  Or maybe I'll go work on the guest bath faucet instead as it's loose on the sink.

By the way, today at midnight is the end of voting for my DIY pallet wood vertical blinds over in Instructables' pallet contest.  Might you take a moment and vote for me by clicking here?  Thank you!

7.12.2014

I'm working on it!

Boom!

Check.  Mark.  Crossing an item off my list!  Yesssss.

Mike's office is now painted, which hopefully he'll like.  I would have liked it better if he had painted it but, such is time and schedules and he hates to paint soo....


Ah, the real estate listing photo with their fancy fancy lens.  Yep, dog vomit yellow!  *shudder*

Mike said, "dark dark dark blue."  So I tried to oblige.  Twist my arm.  I was thrown off when he said dark as he's never been a dark paint color person.  Or so I thought.  Hey, maybe I've converted him!  That would be excellent.


Here's what I see now at the end of the hallway.  Ahhhhhhh.....sooooo much better.


Sorry, it was tough to get a good photo with the light pouring in from the windows.  It's nearly dry here, so it will still darken up a hair more.  My poor plants.

Nocturne Blue is the color.  It's a Home Depot color but I had it mixed at Menards.  I also broke one of my own recommendations and got cheapy roller covers, making much more work for myself as the paint spattered all over the trim.  Neat.  Yeah, I was thrilled.  Ah well.  It needed repainting anyway.  Sigh.


Vast improvement, yes?  I think so.  Yes, that's a Chia Pet.  Unopened.  Mike made a joke about wanting a Chia Pet for Christmas so I got him one but yet, it goes unopened, unloved, un-Chia-fluffied.  That's Samson in the frame, Mike's dog who we lost to a mean tumor a few years ago.  :(

Mike's office is right next to the library so there's oodles of dark color going on back there now.  Love it.  Love painting dark colors.  Love that this is now checked off the list too!  Yay!!!

Oh, I swung through Twitchy's place the other day, oh, heh, yesterday.  This time I was clever and brought one of the little wood pieces with me to show him what I was collecting.

A photo while I was waiting for him to finish his phone call.
Bingo, super smart!  He asked one of the guys to bring a bin up front and after digging through the whole entire thing, I came away with a bounty.

The bins I'm always sorting through. Pardon my finger in the top left corner.
At this point the floor is half covered, so hopefully I can gather another large pile's worth next week and start installing.  Which got me pondering installation.


Originally I thought maybe I'd glue the pieces down with Liquid Nails but that won't allow me to put some form of insulating layer under it which the more I think about it, it's the needed and right thing to do.  Sooo.  I'll swing by Home Depot and see if they have a small compressor and a nail gun, see how much they charge for that rental and go from there.


Too, I was pondering the stain idea.  I grabbed several of those itty bitty Varathane sample packets but the more I think about it and look at the way the pieces are coming together, I don't want to go hog wild with the stain.  I don't want to wash out the cool variations going on, so I'll have to see.  I do think it needs a slight smidge of evening out in tone and color but not too much or I'll destroy the whole point of collecting all these pieces.  Right?  Right.


What else did I do today?  Oh, I reported our buddy Jose to the BBB.  I'm so sick and tired of trying to reach this p.o.s. guy to no avail so he can fix the leak in our roof like he said he would, that he never fixed the first time by supposedly putting on a new roof.  Had it.  Don't cross me.  Or make me cross.  D o o m for ya if you do.

Still time left in the day.  Hm.  I will check my list.  Or, maybe I'll just pet Hailey for the next few hours until Mike is done with work.

By the way?  The other day, about golf?  Yeah, I sucked.  It was awful.  I was frustrated.  I almost cried.  But!  It was immensely fun to spend the time with Mike on an absolutely gorgeous day on a pretty course, even if he did almost throw me out of the golf cart several times.  He's a maniac.

7.09.2014

Time. The importance of design. And making a list, checking it twice.

If there's any one truth in the world, it's that there is just never enough time.  Right?

Never enough time to spend with your loved ones, the ones you work so hard at your job for.  Your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, the ones you care about.  Oy goodness, definitely without a doubt never enough time in the world to spend with your dog.  Or your cat, or your preferred animal companion(s).

Never enough time to get things done.  Never enough time to see and do and go to all the places you'd like to.  All those cool summertime things maybe, fairs, markets, festivals you wish you could get to.  Not enough hours in the day.  Your list is long; the days are numbered.  So many plans, so little time.

Sometimes that lack of time puts things into perspective.  Points out what's truly important in your life.  Helps you focus and mete out your time in such a way that makes you happy.  Or happier.  Or less pissy.  It's a tough thing to do, to find that perfect balance.  I wish I had the magical answer to all your (and my) time questions.

I do think it's important to appreciate your physical habitats as much as you can, if you will, for lack of a less weird term; home and/or work both, at minimum, if your work space is at all possible.  To be able to customize them as you see fit into something that makes you feel good and function well.  It makes the general overall time constraint thing less of a hovering struggle.

Much like paint in its small way, design as a larger whole is very important.  It feeds you in ways you can't put your finger on, ways you can't put to words.  It touches our daily lives literally everywhere whether we notice it or not, affects us all in good ways and bad, sets our mood, our attitudes, affects what we do and don't do.  Which is why good design is so vital.

I see I'm getting all waxy gooey poetic, gobbly philosophical on you in my time contraint-ed times.  Lemme just pull myself outta that sticky sinkhole tar puddle right now, eh, oooph....

Making my list for July, checking it twice.  It's tough to whittle it down to "reasonable."  I can't tell if the things I scribbled down are enough, too much, or not enough.  It becomes a battle of what's most essential to get done, this thing or that.  What will bother me more if it's not done?  (All of it.  Ahem.)  I guess we'll have to see, won't we?!  Tick tock, tick tock.

My handy dandy binder of all things house.  First page is now List.
Stopped by Twitchy's place to deliver the brownies and to check in, see if he saved any wood for me, if there was anything useful in the sidewalk bins.  Turns out he didn't save anything, but hey, it's understandable.  His job is not to collect wood for me.  I did show him photos of the pallet wood blinds; he was unmoved.

I keep asking for little plywood squares, searching for them in the front bins...digging.....forlornly searching........Twitchy told me that those were a one shot deal from a phone book printing company.  Hm.  Rats.  Ugh.  After some enlightenment about his alderman, his new bank loan, and a few other arbitrary topics, I collected some more pieces of 1x that were interesting and took off, saying see ya in a few days.

On my drive home, I was trying to figure out that pantry floor, aw crap, what to do, how do I want it to be, what am I gonna do..... Thinking how important it is to remain flexible when designing or working on a project, especially one that is low budget or in this case, no budget!  What if I can't get any more plywood?  Should I buy a sheet and cut it down?  Kinda defeats the purpose of highly-varied, worn, nail-riddled coolness, now doesn't it there pal?  And free.

Hm.  What to do.  What to do.  What to do.

As it turns out, when I got home and was poking through the pieces I have laid out, most of them are actually 1x.  Huh.  Duh.

Wow.  Loooooong way to go there, buddy.
Oh yeah, there are those mahogany pieces that are so spiffy.  Some of them have words burnt into them too.  Mmm hm, very cool, right?  What to do with those?  I dunno.

But this revelation reaaalllyyy opens the door for me on what I pick up at Twitchy's.  Whew.  That will speed up the wood collection and I can pick up the pace towards doneness.  Yes.  Good.

Getting that floor that plagues me finished would be a nice, nice accomplishment, making the rest of my list (and all the things that didn't make it onto the list but are looming in the back of my head) not as much of a mental weight.

Or so I'm trying to convince myself of anyway.  cough

Heh, I did put "paint kitchen cabinets" on my list.  Clearly cuckoo crazy person wishful overambitious talk, but ya know, it's good to have goals, right?  You get 100% of what you don't ask for.

Speaking of which, all our appointments for blow-in insulation estimates and Abt got moved to next week as Mike decided to enact his birthday Week of Mike Decree.  I-want-to-go-have-some-fun-on-my-day-off birthday week stuff, so those appointments are all next week now.

We're golfing tomorrow.  Sooo rusty I am.  Yikes!  Let's home I don't end up head first stuck in a pond.