Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Frat Party

OK, it's not a true frat party. There are no kegs. There are no drunk young women taking half their clothes off. At least not the last time I checked. I haven't heard a single, "Dude, watch this!" There isn't any loud and raucous music, either. Which translates into no visits from the cops.

Maybe it really doesn't seem like a frat party at all...

In reality, it has been deemed "Work on your vehicle in our garage weekend." Three vehicles, so far.

And what I do have is a house full of young men. Really, there's only two extra, but around here, that's a houseful. And what is it about the word 'houseful' that looks wrong on so many levels?

Spelling lessons later, perhaps.

What it means is someone is always thirsty, always hungry, and always in the bathroom. It makes life interesting for someone like me who has to pee every 30 seconds or so. Who would rather not have to cook on the weekends. Who NEVER keeps anything but water, iced tea, and milk as available beverages. I do have kool-aid, but they have to mix it themselves, which is clearly too much like work. I also have a lot of wine, but they are all underage and better not touch my stash of vino! They're more of a beer bunch, anyway.

It also means that after a long day of grease, banged up knuckles, and foul language, the bodies tend to fall wherever they come to a stop. Including the extra dog who is clearly comfortable with his slobbery mouth on a couch pillow thrown to the floor.

Nearly every clean blanket is now contaminated with manchild dirt and cat hair. Including the large one that must be washed at the laundromat. There are shirts, sweatshirts, dirty socks, and footwear all over. And half-filled glasses of milk. I'm surprised the cats haven't found those yet. I'm also wondering, with extra beds in the house, why the living room remains the place to crash. And why are the curtains all askew?

Don't be fooled though. Despite my observations, I'm loving every minute of it. Even if I will have to cook up a hot breakfast.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Latest in Dating Ideas

My heavy lifting work at the office is done for the day and I need a break. A quick check of the news will do. As usual, once I get past all the nightmarish headlines of the day, I can find the rare gem stories that brighten my day. I look forward to them to provide me with mood-lifting feelgoodedness (yes, today, that is a word), or LOL hilarity and stupidity that I can't, in my wildest dreams, relate to.

Today, I found the latter.

While scrolling through today's offerings, the headline, "6 Perfect Date Ideas," caught my eye. You can read it for yourself here. Trust me, after 23 years together, fresh dating ideas are a necessary thing. Sadly, many of our dates in recent years have involved dinner and grocery shopping, dinner and Home Depot, or the always popular dinner and coma.

The complete title after the jump said, "6 'perfect' date ideas from a man's perspective." That should have warned me off right there. Ok, ok. Yes, guys can come up with great ideas for dates. When we were dating and still living in WV, hubby once took me to the top of a mountain so we could watch the sun come up. Major points for that one!


The first suggestion... rather than going out for a meal, spend the day at the farmer's market picking out all the best organic goodies, then go home and cook dinner together. This guy is kidding right? My husband wouldn't know fresh romaine from a rutabaga. Nor would he eat it for that matter. And cooking together? Um, no. We are not compatible in the kitchen. And I don't like sharing my kitchen knives.

Another suggestion is to go swimming. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons. One, the river closest to us isn't known for being swimmer friendly. There are really nasty currents, lots of things under the surface to snag on, and, at times, it's really fast moving. There are, however, a few places off the river that are nice and calm, and quite popular with the water crowd. In other words, crammed with freakin' people. The local pools are also crammed with people, cutting down dramatically on the romance factor.

But the main problem? I have big issues with water. Specifically, water of unknown depth and unknown occupants. I'm absolutely certain that Jaws lives in every available body of water on the planet. Except swimming pools, because I'd be able to see him then. Hell, he'd probably find a way to come through the garden hose, just to scare the shit out of me. But oddly enough, I love to go water skiing and tubing.

But the suggestion that really made me laugh was to go jogging together. I nearly had a coronary just reading it, then had to pick my laughing self up off the floor. Neither of us are runners. Period. I've never been a runner because I can't seem to coordinate my breathing with the motion and tend to resemble a fish out of water. And hubby? After a hard day at work full of physical labor (the kind that would totally kill me), the last thing he wants to do, however late he gets home, is to go for a run. While he is physically as strong as an ox, something like this would make his body implode. He doesn't even like it when I park further than five spots deep in a parking lot. I'd park at the way end and walk if I had my way. And no, he won't go on walks with me. Apparently, I walk too fast. Even in heels I'm told to slow down.

I guess for now, date night will continue to be a trip to the store, fighting over power tools in the garage, or falling asleep on our respective couches because we're both too lazy to pick up the remote and find something good to watch.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Finally! Progress in the closet!!

Before I begin, I'd like to extend the warmest Mother's Day wishes to all the fantastic ladies out there! Kudos for a job well-done!!

And here we go...

It's been well over a month since I started visualizing and planning for my walk-in closet. I've been collecting treasures and bits and pieces that will all become part of the whole. And I know the speed at which I work; it's all or nothing. Needless to say, progress has been slow! Oddly enough, I still have to take care off all the other things in life, like working (so I can afford all my little treasures), feeding people, cleaning up after people, keeping said people in clean clothes, and when all goes well, sleeping a little bit.

But yesterday, it started coming together a little bit. After a little sweet talking to my brother, he agreed to come and help hubby move the office furniture out of my closet-to-be, down the skinny stairwell, around countless corners, and out to the garage for temporary storage. I really did have to do some sweet talking to both of them; when they moved it up there a few years ago, they told me they weren't going to move them again, and I agreed. Who is more delusional here? Me for agreeing never to move the offending pieces back out of the house, or them for thinking it would never happen? Seriously. They know me better than that.

And I didn't think to take any pictures of them working. Had I done so, I'm pretty sure the little conversation balloons would have magically appeared on their own. Full of colorful language. The desk is a monster. And weighs approximately the same as a Mack truck. The legs have to come off, the drawers have to come out, and it has to be tipped on end to make it around corners and down the stairwell. No easy feat. I'm pretty sure I owe my brother a batch of peanut butter cookies and my husband a steak dinner. But I now have room to work in there and the first of many projects is installed!

Dean helped here and there, cutting and sanding my reclaimed wood.
Because I wasn't as organized as I could have been - big surprise - cutting, sanding, and sealing the wood took several weeks. Partly because I still had to take care of other life chores and partly because I didn't have all the pieces ready to seal at the same time.

Proof that I really do everything in flip flops. I only coated my foot in polyurethane once.  It was a bitch to get it off, too. I didn't drag out the tool belt (yes, I actually have one), but my trusty tape measure followed me throughout the project.
Thank goodness for clamps. Everyone else bailed when I was ready to assemble.
Ready to assemble.
TA-DA!!! And there she is, with a small fraction of my clothes. I was dismayed to discover a wobble once all the pieces were attached and screwed in place. But it wasn't because I didn't measure right; I measured everything within spec to a gnat's ass. The old wood has some twists and bows. I can live with a bit of wobble, or put in some braces between the feet and uprights. 

All told, I have only about $30 in this for the casters and hanging rod. Not too bad since you can't buy a rolling clothes rack for anywhere near that. And that old wood looks absolutely beautiful with just a few coats of poly on it. I'm thinking I need to find an old glass door knob to install on the side so I have somewhere to put a hanger full of my belts. 

Now that I'm done with the first project, I'm really enthused to start the next. I picked up a 8-drawer dresser for Dean several years ago at a moving sale. I don't know what I was thinking at the time, as he doesn't know what the purpose of a dresser actually is. It's a very sturdy piece, but it's painted red, white, and blue. Not that I'm a painting professional, but the existing paint was poorly done. Every brush mark is visible and the paint has started to peel. I'll strip it down to the wood, give it a good sanding, and repaint with colors more suited to my taste. Maybe in a style such as this: 

I love this ombre finish, though the color is a little too bubble gum for me. 

I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today, I ponder...

I found myself stumbling down the steps this morning at the ungodly hour of 3:52 am. This I'm not pondering. It was at the request of my bladder, who has taken on it's own existence without me. It calls, I answer.

Anyway, as I hit the bottom of the steps and turn, I realize the porch light is on. It's a motion light and shouldn't be on. Unless there's a cat waiting patiently to come in. I looked out, expecting to see Smalls or Kaos tapping a paw, waiting for someone to let their kingliness in. Instead, I was met with the sloppy sideways grin of Taz. And I pondered why in the world my dog was outside at 3:52 am. Unattended. He did not have an answer for me, despite being asked three time on his way to his room. I was too tired to ask again, and went back to bed.

Fast-forward to roughly 5:45 am, and hubby's alarm going off. My first lucid though was, "Why in the hell is it so damn cold in here?" I had curled as tightly as possible into the available blankets. Then I realized I was breathing cat hair. At some point, I had even pulled their blanket over myself. Yuck. Now I realize the window is open. Why is the window opened. Clearly, I didn't open it. Nor did I notice at 3:52 am that it was open. Had I had a hot flash that didn't wake me up? I guess it could happen. Had I turned the bedroom into an inferno that woke hubby up? Very well possible, according to him. At any rate, I was shivering cold. And when I get cold, I have to pee. So much for sleeping.

Then, while standing on the porch waiting for the dog to pee, I was gazing out over the gardens. And the weeds. And mentally giving myself a tongue-lashing for not having them all clean and pretty yet. Then I noticed it. Catnip. Every damn where. WHY did I think it would be a good idea to plant that crap. Yes, the cats enjoy it immensely. But it's a friggin weed. And by the looks of it, it has choked out one of red hot poker plants. That shit has got to go.

But I also noticed something good when I was outside. My bugleweed is looking wonderful, and is spreading nicely. It even has some early blooms on it. Ahhh, lovely enough to forget about the catnip. For now.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mistress of Poor Planning and Improper Footwear

Yep, that is me. Quite often, actually. It's fortunate that I can accept this about myself and move on.

I decided today would be a great day to wear the first skirt of the spring season. I love maxi shirts, summer dresses, and maxi dresses. They hide my somewhat chubby legs and work beautifully with flip flops or heels. What I failed to do was check the forecast before getting dressed. I picked one of my favorite skirts; it's a denim-colored maxi, embellished with embroidery and some beading. The only shirt I could find to match was a sleeveless summer sweater, so I added a light sweater for my arms. Good thing I did.

The forecast indicates a high temp in the mid-70's, but I have my doubts. It's still only 59. It's also very cloudy with a decent chance of thunder storms. And the wind is blowing. Just the perfect day for a skirt! Thank goodness the skirt isn't blessed with an abundance of fabric, otherwise the wind would have it up around my ears.

But I'm still rocking the look because - hello - I shaved my legs and painted my toenails! Just don't look at my legs too long; I don't want to be held responsible for snow blindness.

Of course, I'm wearing flip flops. It is springtime after all. But my feet are freezing. As we speak, the heater under my desk is blowing.

My family tells me often that I'm always wearing shoes that are completely improper for the task at hand. Like flip flops when it's cold. Flip flops when I'm in the garage using power tools. Flip flops when we are climbing around rock piles looking for landscape possibilities. Flip flops while splitting firewood. Heels when we head off on an impromptu shopping trip that will last hours. Flip flop heels to walk the dog.

In my defense, I've never injured my feet, never lost any toes, though I have had a few splinters while shoveling tons of wood chips, and I did manage to dribble polyurethane all over my left foot while working on my closet project the other day. It took me awhile to clean it off and stop my toes from sticking together. Small details really. And the wood is looking marvelous, so it was totally worth it. And hours in heels while shopping? Come on, I'm a professional woman and can rock the heels all day long! I just wear flats the next day.

So for today, I will stay indoors with my heater on. And I will look awesome while doing so!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Projects Past

Before I begin, I'd like to thank Enchanted Seashells and this post for inspiring my post today.

I've had to learn over the years to entertain myself. Having a husband in construction means he works long hours, sometimes out of town, and I'm left to my own devices. So, I've developed hobbies. One of my favorite activities is turning the old into something new again. I could spend days rummaging through thrift shops. I often wander my own house looking for something that needs new life. I scrounge through the scrap bins at work, looked for tossed out items that still have life in them. Basically, I drive my husband crazy because I have "stuff" stashed everywhere that is on it's way to a new and purposeful life. And, at any given time, I have numerous projects in some state of rehab. Some get done quickly, others get put on the back burner to be finished...eventually. As we speak, I've overtaken his garage to build a clothes rack out of reclaimed lumber I ferried home last summer. And I have the ingredients for four more projects crammed into my shed outside. As those are finished, there will be pictures posted. But for now, here are some of my favorite projects from the past.

A couple summers ago, the owners of a local gas station retired and sold off everything they'd accumulated over the years. After the sale ended, I was invited down to rummage. These are a few of the things I came home with. Just look at all that potential!

A little cleaning, a little paint with no pattern whatsoever, and I have a porch full of pots. The great thing is they are portable and their locations changes every year. My favorite is the mop bucket. Don't mind the blue ribbon. That was a failed experiment of a way to keep the dogs from bailing off the porch THROUGH the flower beds. I don't want to put the money into anything permanent for that because the porch is on the rehab list and will be torn out and rebuilt. But that's another story. 

We have a wood stove and occasionally some rather large pieces make their way home with my guys. Last year, we decided to open up this side of the porch for easier access to the yard. But alas, we had no lumber to build steps. This was my solution. As my husband would rather I not operate the chainsaw for craft projects, I enlisted my oldest son. He cut ginormous slabs and notched them to fit together. I left them unfinished to dry and they are ready to be sealed this year. I love the natural look, but if I don't seal them they will eventually fall apart and become firewood. Now if only my husband had let me sand off that old fence wood he used to close that side of the porch. Maybe this year. 

I found this old glass jar languishing on a back shelf at the thrift store. I believe I paid about $.25 for it. It's large, like about a gallon. I have no idea what it was in its former life, but it is pretty. The glass on two sides is textured, though you can't see that in this picture. About all you CAN see is the dust. Eventually, as I root more cuttings, I will add them in to fill in the space. And by the looks of it, I need to spend an afternoon cleaning my plants. Dust. One of the nasty byproducts of living in farm country and having a wood stove. 

I found this unfortunate little stool at the thrift store for $7. Scarred wood and the ugliest vinyl covering. 


Just 24 hours later, it has been transformed! A good sanding followed by a new coat of varnish, and a $.25 pillow case from the same thrift store, in colors that happen to coordinate in my living room. It usually sits near the aquarium and has become a favorite perch for the cats to stalk the fish. 

And now I'm off to work on current projects. Because I just can't get enough!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Of Biceps and Bleach: My Awful Bathroom

I may have mentioned in the past that I hate my bathroom. If not, let me just say, I hate my bathroom. For those in need of clarification, I. HATE. MY. BATHROOM.

Yes, it's an old farm house, so bathrooms weren't architectural beauties back then. They merely had to be functional. So my bathroom is functional, and that's about it. Only it's not entirely functional. There is no exhaust fan. None. There is a window, but we'll get to that in a minute.

I'm totally in the minority in my house when it comes to showers. I'm the "get in, get it done, get out" type. Maybe once a month I will just stand in the hot water for a bit. Seriously. I get peeved if I have to stand in there long enough to shave my legs.

My guys, however, would stay in there all day of the hot water held out. Literally. I've gone in after one of their showers and walked into a man-made weather system, complete with precipitation. Water literally drips off the ceiling. Back to the window. Do you know what happens to wooden windows with that much humidity in the room? They swell. What happens when a window swells? That's right, they don't open. So the sage advice of opening a window when you don't have a fan doesn't work for me.

So little by little, drip by drip, cloud by cloud, my bathroom dies a slow and painful death. The stranglehold of mold and mildew begins.  Until I go in with bucket, scrubbies, bleach, and gloves and do battle. It's ugly work. It stinks. When I'm done, I'm usually hallucinating. All because I refuse to let my bathroom look like this.

In good news, a miracle happened and the window dried out enough to open. But I'm going to have to post an armed guard in there to prevent folks from closing it again. I'd like to keep it open until the snow flies next winter. 

And that's what my afternoon is going to be today. If you don't hear from me again, I'll be stretched out in the tub talking to unicorns and smoking a piece of carpet. Wait, I don't have any carpet...