Sunday, April 15, 2007

A full week of birthday celebration!

In the troublemakers' corner at the family-owned restaurant we like to call the South Bethany Country Club, there is a multi-generational assortment of characters that rotates through there most Saturday mornings for a meal or just coffee and always to touch base with each other. This has been going on for 30 some-odd years or so. We've been through a lot together.
Several of these individuals - we're not cohesive enough to be called a group - like to remember and recognize each others' birthdays. And because my kids and I couldn't manage to get together on the actual day, we agreed on 10:00 AM on Saturday. That worked out well, since it put my family group and my friends in the same place at the same time, and for some, for the same purpose.
My dear friends put a lot of thought into the gifts they brought me. Not expensive gifts, not the generic oh-this-will-work-for-anyone gifts. They know me, they know what I like, they know what I need. I love them all.

I feel a little sad for people who think they are too grown-up to celebrate their birthdays.


There's always so much to do after a vacation. So, it was just work work work as usual. Except for Wednesday, which was my birthday. My very excellent boss brought doughnuts and everyone had signed one of those tastelessly hilarious cards for me. I love it.
This is not just any birthday, this one is one of those very round numbers. The first digit has a very round aspect, and the last digit is absolutely round. The best part of that is that now I qualify for a Senior Discount at almost every place in town - except those hardnoses that insist you must be 62 or even 65. Can you believe some even ask for ID - as if we Baby Boomers would lie!

My friend Alice and I have been treating each other to birthday dinners for several years now, and we always try to choose a place where we'll both enjoy the meal. This time we decided to go to Golden Corral, where one can be totally satisfied on a wide variety of excellent food. The only downside, if it is one, is that there are so many foods that look so good. If I took only a tablespoonful of each item that appealed to me, I would have had three heaping platesful. They should furnish wheelbarrows to roll people out to their cars. Thanks, Alice!


I know, it's been over a week since my last post. I didn't really think this blog was going to write itself, but I thought I could keep up better than this.
I'll try here to bring things up to date. That fifth day of vacation (Friday) I didn't get much done on the house. Thursday night I had picked up the Blue and Gold fundraiser stuff and hauled it home and crammed it in the second fridge, so Friday morning I got it all repackaged with names written on plastic grocery bags, loaded it into the car, and headed out to make deliveries.
Then my cellphone rang.
I got everything delivered, but then I went to pick up my son [this IS a blog, do I have to call him DS?] to take him to the doctor. He had started the day with a vision problem, which evolved into a severe headache with vomiting. Scared me--I've seen all those TV shows about brain tumors and strokes and macular degeneration, but I'm trying to be calm and cool and work on my knitting while I'm trying to hear through the door what the doctor is saying to him.
DDIL is being so cool - she went on to work like nothing abnormal was happening.
Apparently it was "just" a migraine headache. He's never had one before. Why now? He got his prescriptions filled and started feeling better, so we got to enjoy a lunch together at three in the afternoon.
I had to frog everything I had knit and reknit it later. I had so many mistakes.

I can't remember now what I did Saturday. I know I got some of the hall floor laid, because Sunday morning, while the rest of the world is in church, I got the hardest part of the whole thing finished. There is a reason they tell you to do the longest wall first. That goes triple when that longest wall has multiple doors and things in the way to keep you from having any leeway in lateral positioning while you've got the whole length pulled up at an angle to snap the new pieces in. It worked, though, so I'm pretty sure God still loves me. My whole family got to have Easter dinner at my "new" table in my "new" living room with the NEW floor.
The kids brought lasagna and salad and garlic bread and made my favorite cake in honor of my birthday (on Wednesday). Good thing there were no candles - I had no strength left after the floor episode.
How do you spell adorable grandson in blogese--DGS? He arrived in a cranky mood. Didn't want to sit in his highchair, didn't want to eat the bread his mom gave him (which is such a favorite with him she usually keeps it for last), just wanted to cry and say No No No. Then he took my fork and started eating lasagna out of my plate. We had so much fun with that, he forgot all about being a grouch.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

How I Spent My Easter Vacation, Day Five

I am blown away. I posted an item on OKCFreecycle Thursday night and had twenty-three responses by Friday evening. Said item was picked up Friday morning, making the recipient happy with the free item, and making me happy at recovering about 30 cubic feet of garage space.
Most of the day was taken up with errands and family stuff.
I got two courses of flooring laid, running from the living room down through the middle of the hallway. Measured and marked the cuts for the sides of the hallway.

Friday, April 6, 2007

How I Spent My Easter Vacation, Day Four

Thursday morning: Today I learned how to uninstall carpet. I laid in the floor and, using a nice wide Phillips screwdriver and a carpenter's hammer, pried up the metal edge trim at the doorway (Ha! this little hall has SIX doors) and peeked under it. I know, I should have used a prybar but I couldn't remember where I put it and the screwdriver was right there. I was gentle with him, he's okay. Behind the trim I found tackstrip. I pried that up and peeled the carpet back as far as the next two doors; carpeted bedroom on one side, vinyl covered bathroom floor directly opposite.
Do you have any idea how much dust can hide under a carpet in twenty-some-odd years? I went and found a red bandana to wear cowboy-style over my nose and mouth.
Pried up metal edge at bathroom door, found and cut seam tape at bedroom door.
Have I told you how much I love my new utility knife? It is very very sharp and the handle is a beautimous red, and today I learned how to change the blade. Didn't even nick myself!
After cutting loose the carpet at three more doors (bedroom, bedroom, linen closet) and removing all the tackstrip, I sat on my rear the rest of the morning pulling staples out of the floor.
I forgot to mention rolling up the carpet and pad and hauling it outside, which brought up memories of every movie I have ever seen with a body rolled up in a carpet. In reality, that would be way too heavy for one person to carry. Just in case you ever needed to know that.

After a well-deserved lunch break and much meditation I decided that I really must paint those baseboards in the hall BEFORE installing any more floor. So, without procrastination (Me, I said that!) I pulled out my last Magic Sponge and cleaned from floor to as high as I can reach, got my brush, my bucket of white trim paint, and my roll-around stool, and painted all the baseboards plus all the trim about halfway up.

Don't panic - I promise I will paint it all the way up, but I really need to finish the floor before I run out of vacation! The trim will probably need a second coat. I'll sand it a little and then do that. It won't be hard to cover that small area of floor and tape it securely.
I don't know yet what color I want to paint the hall; something light, some color that makes an easy transition between living room and bedrooms. Trim will be white throughout the house, eventually. The ugly green will be no more!

I am Woman! Hear me ROAR!

No, my knees are not naked. You are looking at The Most Important Tools for installation of a laminate floor; knee-pads, rubber hammer, tapping block, and do-rag.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

How I Spent My Easter Vacation, Day Three

Wednesday: After a trip to the hardware store for a new rubber hammer and a pair of knee-pads (Money well spent!) plus a few other errands, I am almost all the way across the living room - only two and nine-tenths more rows to the east wall. Here, however, is a critical point, where the hallway door interrupts the south wall. I really want the new flooring to flow into the hall, with no seam or threshhold at this door. I am terrified, but determined to proceed.

I weighed myself today. Another four pounds gone! Sweat equity, indeed.

How I Spent My Easter Vacation, Day Two

Tuesday: Up bright and early about ten o'clock, (I AM on vacation, remember?) had breakfast, got dressed, and went to work. Laid two rows of laminate before a lunch break, learned all kinds of difficult things about fitting pieces together. Made it about one-third of the way across the room before calling it a day. Decided I need a new rubber mallet because the crumbly head kept flying off. And leaving rubber crumbs everywhere.

How I Spent My Easter Vacation, Day One

I took the week off so I could install my floor. I figured I'd knock it out in about three days, buy/cut/install the trim in the next day or two, and have the weekend to relax and catch up on knitting and TV.
It is working out almost to plan -

Day One, Monday: (you didn't think I would start before a relaxing weekend, did you?) I went through the garage and the shed, gathering the tools I needed. Evaluated the situation, went to Home Depot (the place where I spend all my money now instead of in the usual places) intending to buy one 14.4 volt battery and a fine-toothed blade for the circular saw and a couple of fine-toothed blades for my ancient jigsaw.

Fell in love with a battery-powered jigsaw, and started adding up the costs of same, plus battery (everything is 18 volt now) and charger, plus the 14.4 volt battery, plus the blades, and found that I could buy a whole new kit of power tools with charger and two batteries, and the blades, for almost the same amount. I spent the afternoon reading the instruction manuals. I love tools.
No visible work done on Monday.

More on my Home Makeover

Before March was over, I spent another day up-and-down-the-ladder. It took me most of one day and two more trips to Home Depot, but I installed my ceiling fan all by myself! (I am on such an ego trip.)

April Fool!

My April Fool's Day gag was pretty ho-hum; everybody that saw my "super-size knitting needles" is pretty much accustomed to seeing me trying things that are "different" - so nobody really suspected that they were anything other than what I said they were. Or does that mean my gag worked really well?
Anyhoo, my new "needles" are actually a pair of Molechasers. The idea is to insert four D batteries in each and plant them in the ground. They vibrate and emit an obnoxious buzz about every 15 seconds (like those pagers everyone had before cellphones took over the world) and they are supposed to drive away those little critters that are destroying the lawns in my neighborhood. Hope it works.

By the way, I frogged the scarf. I was beginning to like it, but those needles were just too awkward to manipulate.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

my first posted picture

I have been doing a little knitting in between my home improvement stuff. I got some fat needles the other day and started a simple scarf. Let's see if I can figure out how to plug a picture in here. The pen is for scale.
Looks like this works okay. I'll add some more soon.

WIP: Living Room Makeover

My living room makeover started in late January. Most of the work is taking place on weekends, so progress is a little slow.

Before anything could happen, I had to empty the room. I gave away the seven-foot hide-a-bed and a largish side table, dismantled the entertainment system, moved the TV stand, bookshelf, exercise machine, and recliner into the middle of the room and draped them with old bedsheets for protection. No TV since January, except in my bedroom!

With the able help of my younger daughter, I stripped the cedar-shake paneling from the south wall and found that when we put that masterpiece up back in '79, we not only used finishing nails, we put a loop of glue behind each piece. That left a really interesting texture on the wall. We also ripped out the narrow baseboards, which were only on two walls anyway. Those would be a couple more long stories I won't go into just now.

In an amazing swap session, I gave away my big wooden dining room table and six matching chairs, plus two side chairs, and was given a smaller table (with two big leaves!) and six upholstered chairs with casters. My almost-new coffee table is now in the dining room, between the new Oyster White loveseat (still wrapped in plastic) and chair that I bought to replace the couch. All of that in the dining room leaves only a narrow path in which to maneuver. I have renamed the kitchen/dining room area "my single-wide."

February 2007:
A couple of nice young men came in and took down the disfunctional track light, scraped away the popcorn ceiling, patched the big hole where the chimney used to be, and hand-troweled texture onto the ceiling and the walls. Heavy on the south wall. Money well spent.

An electrician friend helped move the track light wire from its off-center position to the middle of the ceiling and install an outlet box with a support bar for a ceiling fan. Because I have a brave and brilliant and athletic daughter who is slender enough to crawl through my so-called attic, my electrician friend (who tried but could not fit his 6'4" body through that space) did not have to cut a BIG hole in my ceiling to do this. And now she knows how to install an outlet box with support bar. I patched the little hole (at the original wire position) and faked the texture with spackle.

March 2007:
I put two coats of latex enamel on the wood trim and on both sides of the closet door. Two coats of Kilz on the ceiling and one coat of Kilz (tinted for primer) on each wall, to restrain twenty-eight years of nicotine absorption. Two coats of ceiling white, one coat of Moody Blue on the north and west walls, two coats of Soft Serenity on the south and east walls.

That sounds so simple. Even peaceful. The words just don't bring up a mental picture of me *climbing up the ladder, painting three feet of ceiling/wall corner, climbing down the ladder, moving the ladder.*
Repeat from * to * about 96 times. Roller painting is, by comparison, a piece of cake.

Bonus: Between January and March, I lost ten pounds.