Thinking . . .

Home from the beach. Andy is driving himself to practice. We’ll homeschool next year but it’s mostly online and college classes. I’m out of a job.  Twenty four years and poof. Not even a gold watch. For me, doing something physical helps me sort out all the loud, unrelated noises in my head. So I started a couple of projects. (You didn’t seriously think I was going to say I began training for a 5K, did you?)

Feeling overwhelmed? Tackle painting the entryway with the 17 1/2′ ceiling. What could go wrong? I finished tonight with Mike and Andy’s help. (And, help from Lynda and Alan’s ginormous extension ladder.) Mostly, I used a very long telescoping pole and a normal sized ladder. Tonight was the way-up windows and around the ceiling. Andy and Mike served as crash pads.  (Wish I had worn my good overalls. 8) )

Andy took the picture while he was flopp20160719_205714ed on the
floor underneath me. I think I went up and down that ladder about 15 times tonight. Mike kept trying to put it at a steeper angle to see if I would notice. I noticed. Someone may have to carry me downstairs tomorrow morning. I also painted the inside of the front door, the upstairs hallway and the banister. I’m very happy with the results – much brighter and happier feeling.

But, an entry only takes so long. So I ordered this kit and tested it in the powder room. (If you’re interested, check their website and also check Amazon. I happened on an Amazon sale and got the kit for about $20 less.) Kind of cool.

It’s a multi-step process – a couple of 20160718_131252hours here wait many hours and start the next part.  My mom came over on Sunday to help me with the artistic aspect. I’m happy with my first attempt but, there is room for improvement.  I’ve started on the boys’ bathroom counter with a different technique. If I get it right, I’ll post step by step pictures. I hope I can figure it out because I’d love to do this in the kitchen . Eventually Mike will make concrete counters for the kitchen but until then, I’d love to get rid of the faux wood laminate.

And, as I do these projects I am working on what my next step as a semi-retired full-time mom will be. Hopefully, by the time I work through the kitchen counters my brain will be less cluttered and the path forward will be a little clearer.  If not, there are more projects here. Or . . . the bus stop is right across the street. I can start collecting neighbor kids to keep me happy. Or not. Anyway, I’m working on it.


How has it been six days????

I last posted about the demise of our bathroom. It sure doesn’t feel like so much time has passed, but . . . 
Mike, Tim, Ian and Andy (and even a few of Andy’s friends who really wanted him to finish his bathroom chores so he could ride bikes) have been working diligently.  By Saturday, most of the old drywall was torn out, all the fixtures (‘cept the nasty tub) were removed and Mike started the dry-walling.  Woo-hoo.  He and the boys tried to convince  me to go with an “open concept” bathroom.  (see picture)  One, I must watch WAY too much HGTV if they all even know what “open concept” is and two, HELL NO.  
I don’t have new pictures, but the discussion ended shortly after I shrieked “HELL NO.”  The drywall is up and Mike is putting the finishing touches on the seams and the tape and whatever else.  Then, it becomes my problem.  At least it’s easy to pick out primer.  I think I have a greenish-bluish paint for the walls.  Still thinking on the tile and debating if we can maybe afford glass shower doors.  While I think, I’ve been painting the base of our old sink, the medicine cabinet that hung over the toilet and an old light fixture shiny, shiny black.  WOW – they look really great.  Much more upscale than we could have afforded to buy.  I think the effort was worth the spray-paint-headache!  (We’ll see.)  
In other news, I went into the FAFSA (national financial aid database) to put in the boys’ information and our information.  Apparently, they are linked with our insurance companies (past and present) who are baffled when you enter information about twins.  Honestly?  Twins are that uncommon?  Go to the grocery store, you’ll find at least one set of twins.  I kept getting error messages about having too many kids in college.  Well, duh.  Finally worked through it, I think.  Now we have to see what each school offers and figure out if we can avoid student loans.  Ugh . . . the whole college thing makes my head explode.  
For Danny, right now, college makes sense.  He KNOWS what he wants to do and he is far ahead in his pursuit of doing it.  (engineering)  Ian and Tim are still “iffy” on what they want to do.  I do not want to push them into a four year school only to have them switch majors three or four times.  
For now the plan is for Ian and Tim to finish up their AA’s at the community college (now a ‘state’ college – go figure) they’ve been attending.  They both need another semester and possibly an extra class or two after.  Maybe then we can figure it all out.
Until then, I find myself reading articles like “Why Skipping College Was One of the Best Decisions of My Life” and Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and other “hot” college courses and Tuning In to Dropping Out and Today’s college degree is the equivalent of the 1950’s high school diploma.   I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Obviously, for the student focused on engineering, math or science, college makes sense.  I am wondering about the rest, though. 

And . . . for those of you who have made it all the way through my weird update . . . this is my 1700th post!

The quotes

The quotes
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I love when I actually accomplish what I set out to do. Usually, something happens and my plans get backed up and I get off track. Fortunately, nothing I do involves life/death kind of situations. Most of the angst is in my head. But, when a plan does come together, it’s such a good feeling.

Since the beginning of May we have: completely ripped out and replaced the bathroom in our bedroom; repainted bathroom, repainted all common living areas of the house; repainted all the trim and doors; ripped out old flooring in the entire house and refinished the floors; redone the kitchen; added a funky backsplash; added quotes to all the walls and put it all back together again. AND we’re still married and reasonably civil to each other. No children were lost in the process and the boys gained some valuable skills (which they won’t appreciate for at least another 15 years or so). Flip us all a fish. I’m so happy to have this chapter mostly behind us.

But, before I let it go completely, I’ll share the quotes I’ve written on the walls (since none of you ever bother to visit me anymore). In case you’re new here, I’m weird and my house reflects that. I like to laugh. I like for the people in my house to laugh and have fun. That’s my goal with the quotes. I get such a kick when new people come over and read the walls. It’s fun to see what different people laugh at. And, it’s a little worrisome when a rare visitor doesn’t crack even the slightest smile. Anyway, for you quote collectors:

Dining area quotes:

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. (GK Chesterton) – this is just funny.

If the Flintstones have taught us anything, it’s that pelicans can be used to mix cement. (Homer Simpson) – in case you’ve been wondering, like me, what pelicans are good for.

Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos. (doesn’t everyone say this?)

I am not a glutton – I am a food explorer. (Erma Bombeck) – I heart Erma.

Cogito ergo sum. (Descartes) Latin for “I think therefore I am.”

If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a monkey. (Bare Naked Ladies) – I’ve used this one before, but I still love it.

I’m not much, but I’m all I think about. (My friend, Julie.) – Truer words were never spoken. Go ahead, think about it.

It takes no more time to see the good side of life than the bad. (Jimmy Buffet) I agee with this wholeheartedly, despite what you might read here.

Nothing says “holdiay” like a cheese log. (Ellen Degeneres) I adore Ellen and everything she says makes me smile.

AMEN. (God?)

My favorite animal is steak. (Fran Lebowitz) In my best Homer Simpson voice, Mmmmmm steakkkkk.

Now, let’s move to the living room. When you first walk into the house, you see our giant clock and above it

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” (The Wizard of Oz) – I tried something different, but, strangely, Danny was upset about it, so I changed it back.

Moving clockwise through the room:

Spelling is a lossed art. (no clue, I just thought it was funny)

All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

Stultus est sicut stultus facit. (Forrest Gump) Latin for “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Thought is free. (Shakespeare – the Tempest)

You’re good enough, you’re smart enough and doggone it, people like you. (Stuart Smalley)

No good deed goes unpunished. (Wicked)

Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke it’s true… (Monty Python – Spamalot)

Few things are harder to put up with than a good example. (Mark Twain – paraphrased) –
This one is for me. I live with a man who eats more than five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, exercises religiously, gets enough sleep, likes other people and in general does everything I don’t do. I’m hoping if I see this quote enough times a day it will remind me how stupid it is to bitch about someone else’s good habits.

Everything’s OK until it isn’t. (random surfer) – the kids and I overheard this and all said at once “We have to put that on a wall!” Yes, they’ve been throroughly corrupted.

How much easier it is to be critical than correct. (Benjamin Disraeli)

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. (Yogi Berra)

You can speak your mind, but not on my time. (Billy Joel) – the timing just seemed right for this. I feel this way and the older boys also feel this way from their own direction.

Amo. Amas. Amat. (first Latin conjugation most people learn) Latin for: I love. You love. He/She/It Loves. Interestingly, you can do the whole conjugation to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. (Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant – go ahead, I’ll wait while you form a conga line – pronounce it however you like, it’s a dead language, no one will correct you – pass the margaritas!)

Be careful his bowtie is really a camera. (Paul Simon) – I have always loved the Simon and Garfunkel song “America” and this line sums up how I tend to view the world. If it gets boring, I make stuff up.

Happy is the house that shelters a friend. (anon) – it’s kind of oogy, but it’s true.

Doh! (Homer Simpson)

All of the following is above my computer:

Again, last night I dreamed the dream called “Laundry.” (James Merrill) This is a real poem. It’s not the one I would write about laundry, but it’s pretty good.

A boy’s best friend is his mother. (the movie, Psycho) – I have to say, this cracked me up beyond reason.

Semper Fidelis. (Marines) Always Faithful. It applies to pretty much everything, doesn’t it?

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11:17 PM (UTC -4)

It’s Done

It’s done
Monday, July 7, 2008

The kitchen is done.

See? I’m actually using the kitchen to make food. Fun stuff. The sealer really made a big difference on the mosaic. I’m glad I waited and followed the instructions (for once.) See the shiny stainless hood? Whew! I never thought it would be finished.

Here’s the other side of the kitchen. You won’t be seeing my kitchen featured any more after these pictures. Maybe I’ll start leaving the house again and having new and interesting things to tell you about. Who knows?

The past couple of nights I’ve been working on putting my quotes back up on the wall.

This is the long wall of the kitchen – I’m only doing the eating area of the kitchen. This wall has one of my favorite new quotes: “The poets have be mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” I saw it in someone’s signature line on a message board and it’s been cracking me up ever since. The rest of the family just thinks I’m weird.

This is the other side of our eating area. It seems HUGE with no table or chairs. (I’ll list all the quotes I use when I’m all done.)

Believe it or not, I actually sketched this onto the wall spelled correctly. It’s not funny when it’s spelled right. Luckily I caught myself before I painted.

OK – off to finish painting words all over my living room. And THEN, I’m as done as I can be. (Until we redo the living room floors.)

I’m going to be sore confused when this chaos ends. What did I used to do? What will I do? Stay tuned.

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09:28 PM (UTC -4)

I should be painting

I should be painting
Wednesday, July 2, 2008

But, I’m waiting for the kids to go to bed before I start. Something about them crashing through the house while I’m on a step stool paiting crown molding is a little too similar to that scene in The Omen when Damien knocks his mom over the railing. Sure, I don’t have a 30 foot drop, but a broken arm would be inconvenient. Plus, it’s an excuse to sit here and blab for a little bit while I watch “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Blab One: Outside of my kitchen window is a shelf attached to the porch wall. It’s ugly. It’s been ugly since the day we bought the house. It’s just white laminate but something stained a big portion of it nasty yellow and NOTHING gets it clean. The shelf is on my favorite wall of our porch. The wall where the kids and I painted a mural one summer while we listened to Harry Potter #5 for the first time. It was a fun time. I spend a lot of time standing at that window. After I long night of grouting last weekend, I was inspired to “improve” the shelf. Here’s the picture. I used the Acrylpro Tile Adhesive to cover the shelf and got the box of teeny-tiny shells we had from the beach and proceeded to create my own mini-beach shelf. I don’t think it will be a big selling-point if we ever sell the house, but I love it. I get a little bit of beach every time I look out the kitchen window. (Sorry for the giant weirdly sized pictures. Our mouse is acting up.)

Blab Two: Olympic Trials. I love the Olympics. I love the trials, the stories about the athletes, everything. But I have to file an official complaint. As an official-dirty-old-woman, I’m launching a protest over the new full-body swimming things the men are wearing this year. It’s just wrong. It’s like putting the gymnasts in caftans – but weirder. Sure, I get the speed thing, but I just want my gorgeous swimmer-body fix without weird clothing. I’ve filed an official complaint with my friend Kate – her kids are the only ones we know who swim competitively so I figure she’s got connections.

Blab Three: It’s time for fireworks. I just don’t get it. In a five-house radius there are enough explosives to take out a small country. Mike, the boys, the neighbor men and boys are in a frenzy for Friday night. I like the bbq. I like hanging out with the neighbors. I hate the explosions and the noise and the stinky smell after. And, then there’s poor old Scout. She’s terrified of the noise. I should probably dig out the baby sling and get ready to carry the poor girl around for the next week or so. It gets worse every year. Do they make ear-plugs for dogs?

Blab Four: Dammit, they’re going to bed. I have to get back to painting. One more night of boring painting and I get to start putting new quotes back on the wall. If you have a favorite, add it to the comments.

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08:58 PM (UTC -4)


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I’m back! Hello, internet. I’ve missed you. My family (who has been subjected to me these past nine days) has also missed you. We don’t have our network, but I’ll take what I can get. This picture is what the sky looks like right before lightening strikes your house. Beware.

So … what did you miss? Well, you missed a really great episode of PMS House. During which, swollen mom was once again flummoxed (as she shoved olives into her face washing them down with V-8 and Diet Coke – drinks known for their low sodium) as to why she was gaining weight and being so grumpy and her predictable husband was equally flummoxed.

The boys holding up cue cards that screamed “She’s possessed, Dad, SAVE YOURSELF!” didn’t work. Even Andy and Tim’s inspired card with the illuminated “666” didn’t ring through for Mike. Ahhhh …. it was a good fight. I’m hoping Mike finally understands that there are times when he DOES breathe too loudly and it upsets me. (Have you ever seen a howler monkey? That’s what I look like at least one week a month.) And, yes, we feel bad for our kids too. I only hope they’ll take these experiences into their future relationships and use them wisely.

The remodel is wearing us down. The kitchen is mostly done. The grout is done and I spent all of audio Harry Potter #4 & #6 scraping each piece of broken plate with a razor blade. I no longer have a right hand, I have a claw. I moved on to painting trim in the rest of the house and last night did touch-up grouting on the plates. In just five more days, I can seal the back splash and call it good. I have to say, it’s been a labor of love. I love, love, love how the back splash turned out. I love walking into my kitchen. I love being in my kitchen. I can’t believe something that started off so badly turned out so well. Now, we just wait and see how it all wears, huh? For now, though I can’t help but thinking “Fuck you, Chase Bank.” $3100.00. Without you.

We have no kitchen table. It’s weird. We’re really not eat-in-the-living-room people. Well, we weren’t. Now we are. We have a big empty space that I’ve filled up with crap that has been cluttering all the other rooms. AND, while I was on the phone with the lovely Edna from AT&T today hooking up my new modem, Andy and his friends used every clean blanket and sheet to make a fort in the mess that was our dining room. If you’re 4 ft tall, it’s a pretty cool fort. (Look at me being Zen!) Just laundry, just laundry, just laundry.

It’s worth it. Our bedroom is finally clear of boxes and boxes and boxes of books. The game closet is cleaned out – goodbye Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders! The living room is still a disaster. The floors are gross, but I’m concentrating on what I CAN fix. I’ve been painting trim and will start adding new quotes to the walls tomorrow. Bit by bit, it’s starting to feel like home again. Sort of.

More tomorrow. I will attempt to explain the AT&T version of overnight mail, I might also discuss how badly Chase wants us to refinance our house (*I kid you not*) and maybe even some beach pictures, as that’s where we’re headed tomorrow morning.

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01:59 AM (UTC -4)

Race for Alpha Dog-ness

Race for Alpha Dog-ness
Thursday, June 19, 2008

I’ve said it before, I do not understand men/boys. I just don’t. Things that to me seem simple and straightforward become competitions for them. With the kitchen just about finished, Mike decided it was time to rip up the living room floor so that we can work in there over the weekend. This is our last big project and I’m looking forward to getting my house back, so I was happy. And, then, they started.

The boys have already ripped up every other floor in the house. It was loud, but it wasn’t violent and it didn’t involve shouting. Last night, it was a whole new ballgame. I found myself in the kitchen dreaming of having my own apartment. Honestly, how can you win at ripping out a floor? How can you lose? How do you turn it into combat? I’m not sure how you do this, but I promise you, it can be done.

Once the floors were all ripped up, I heard Mike and the boys, suddenly friends again, putting the furniture back into the living room so they could watch man-tv (Gladiators, I think).

Now, by this point, I was totally stressed out from the shouting and smashing and swinging of large pieces of Pergo. I’ll never get how men can just let it go like nothing ever happened. I feel like Jane Goodall sometimes, watching from the fringes and making notes but never really figuring it out. I heard them all sit down and settle in to watch their show and I snuck a peek around the corner. Love the furniture arrangement, huh? It’s a man-cave. I am living in a house with a man-cave as its centerpiece. How did this happen? I fell asleep last night dreaming of floral wallpaper and lacy pillows and clean white couches.

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12:17 PM (UTC -4)

What’s new in the kitchen?

What’s new in the kitchen?
Thursday, June 19, 2008

Well, all of the broken plates are stuck on the walls. Finally! Tonight we grout. Here are a couple of pictures of the ugly kitchen window. Now it’s still ugly, but colorful. And, here is a picture of our cool faucet. I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. I do.

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12:09 PM (UTC -4)

One thing at a time

One thing at a time
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This is what I keep telling myself. Just do one thing at a time and eventually it will all get done. This is harder than it sounds. My brain is not wired to focus on just one thing and it’s a struggle. Yesterday was a nice birthday. Andy presented me with the coconut guy he made. If we ever get the house put back together, coconut guy will have a prominent place on my desk. Mike and all the boys made me a gooey chocolate cake (breakfast of champions) and the older boys presented me with three of my favorite movies – Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen.

I made soap yesterday afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to make soap and it was nice to get back into it. (Rosemary Mint, Lemongrass Sage and Pink Grapefruit in case you were wondering) And, last night, I settled in with my little tv, Rosemary’s Baby and my broken plates. The end is in sight. If I were to get off my butt and get to work, I could finish the tiles this afternoon and start grouting tonight. I’m including some pictures of where things stand right now.

My goal is to get the backsplash completely done by Thursday. THEN we can start more family fun by ripping up the living room floor and staining that! It should actually go pretty quickly. But, I’ve thought that about every project so far . . . Once the floor is done, we can put the house back together – get the boxes and boxes of books out of our bedroom, stop using a giant box as a coffee table, you know, the basics. Then all I have to do is paint the white trim throughout the house and put the words back up on the wall.

And, now you’re up-to-date on our exciting summer. I’m going to grab Andy and take him for a haircut. For reasons unknown, he hacked off a chunk of hair in the front last night. With the rest of his hair long, he now looks a little to much like my third grade school picture for my comfort. Goodbye surfer boy.

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12:23 PM (UTC -4)

Progress of sorts

Progress of sorts
Friday, June 13, 2008

Well, I just jumped in with my cut up fingers (smashing plates is seriously sharp business!) and started on the backsplash. This was not my initial plan, but when I realized that full-sized wall templates, once covered in broken glass, were bigger than my floor-space allowed I decided just do it and see what happened. Planning isn’t really my forte. So, I figured I’d get to work on the two little walls I had ready and see what happened. I just stuck the tiles up, no grout or anything yet. I’m really pleased with it so far – it’s kind of quirky and weird, like the rest of the house. I love the colors – I’m such a goober – as I was putting up the thousandth piece of tile last night in my unfinished kitchen I was already daydreaming about repainting. I think it’s a form of mental illness.

Danny and his friend-who-is-a-girl went to Wet N’ Wild today. We timed it so I could drop him off and be at IKEA when it opened. I got the right things – FINALLY. I think I might start a little business as an IKEA tour-guide. On the way home, I hit a couple of thrift stores and picked up more dishes. Then I went to the grocery store for some food. I ignored the rule about going to the grocery store when you’re hungry. It’s never pretty. I spent some time – I was alone don’t you know – browsing the various bbq sauces. Imagine my joy and delight when I found the one pictured! I haven’t even tasted the sauce and I’m a loyal customer just for the name. I think you all should buy it too!

OK – back to my broken plates . . . stay tuned for updates.

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07:16 PM (UTC -4)

Because you’re dying to hear about my stupid kitchen . . .
Thursday, June 12, 2008

I think I figured out this mosaic backsplash thing. I’m kind of excited about it, even though it will most likely take me until I’m 50 to figure it out. (In case you’re not keeping track – I turn 43 this coming Monday, the 16th! I”m sure most of you have this on your calendars, but for anyone new . . .)

Here is the first “short” wall of the kitchen backsplash laid out on cardboard. I’m a goober, but I love the idea of smashing plates only to make “new” plates on my wall.

And, here is the drawer I was talking about last night. It’s so clean and organized and it holds more that two of my old cabinets used to hold. I keep opening it just to look.

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02:21 AM (UTC -4)