Saturday, February 27, 2010

I wonder

Hubby and I are trying so hard to figure out what to do with this room of our house. We call it the 'mudroom' because we use our side door as our main entrance, so it's where all the muddy shoes get dumped. But it's really just a useless room. We don't use it as a dining room because we are one of those couples who eat in front of the TV...sitting on the floor. We use it when we host the weekly poker game, but that is a rare occasion since I usually have to be in bed by 9p.m. on Tuesdays. I am planning on setting up a craft corner/bill station for small projects/daily household planning.
Anybody have any bright ideas?
(please forgive the I said, this room's main purpose is...well, unknown)
This is the room looking out the back slider (the kitchen is to the left).
This is the room looking out towards the front of the house (the kitchen is to the right).
On an unrelated note, Hubby is making a macaroni & cheese with bacon pizza tonight. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feelin' pretty good

It's Friday! Yes, there's still another day of work, but I'm getting used to it. I'm not all 'I don't want to get up' like I was with my last job, so that's a good sign. The longer drive to work (20-25 minutes compared to 10 minutes) actually gives me more time to wake up, drink my coffee, and get ready for the day. Sure, now I'm eating in the car, but I don't mind really.

It's also the last day of my online class. Today the final exam is released, too, but I am planning on studying all day after work tomorrow and taking my exam on Sunday, after I've had a full night's rest and can focus. Yes, it's just an online class and it's an 'open notes' type exam and there's really no way I could fail...but, I really want to see what I've learned since the class really did teach me a lot of stuff that I can use at work at the animal hospital.
And while I was downstairs printing out my last lesson (since that's where my printer is), I was poking around my studio and thinking about what I want to start working on once I'm making more of an effort to craft. Then I noticed some bits and baubles I had made out of the last batch of paper pulp I had made. I had forgotten that I took one and dipped it in a hard coat sealant. It had dried...since I'm pretty sure it was about a month ago when I actually dipped it! Anyway, I really liked the way it looked. Though in the picture it looks like kind of liked chewed up gum.
I put a length of black chenille yarn through it to tie it on like a necklace (since I'm not a jewelry maker and just used what I had on hand)...I think it's super cool! And it's paper!
I, as I think I said in my last post, am also thinking of going back to my super short hair style. I like my hair now, but it really only looks as it's supposed to right after i wash it. And it's just not logical to shower every morning at 4's just not! So I snapped a shot of how my hair is meant to look. It's the messy look. I think it's cute, but I also think I have transformed into a short hair kinda girl. A friend of mine commented that my short hair makes me seem more confident and assertive...and he was totally right. I don't know why, but I feel less awkward...probably because I am not thinking about how awful my hair looks!
And this is how I really like my hair.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's rainy day plan

It's been raining for the past 2 days and due to continue until, I think, Tuesday!
That makes me want to snuggle up in bed with the dog everyday when I get home. So that's what I've been doing.
Today, I had to nap a little so that I could manage to stay awake for Survivor.
But I swear, next week, I am taking advantage of getting home so early. I'm working out. I'm getting back into the studio. I'm going to start planning my veg beds for Spring. I'm going to TRY to plan dinners better, but I have to is not my passion. I made dinner tonight, which was very good, and I decided that I don't like planning or cooking. But some one's gotta do it, and since I'm home and Hubby works til 6-6:30 every's on me.
So, if all goes well, I'll soon have some new stuff to show and list on etsy.
Oh, and I'm thinking I don't like my 'longer' short hair cut's growing out a little too puffy and thick. I may have to get another hair cut. We'll see. I change my mind daily.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

oh, no...Spring is coming

It was beautiful yesterday!
And rumor has it that it's going to be near 40 degrees today.
Most of the snow from the last storm is mostly melted away (except the spots that never see the sun.) The forecast is calling for rain/snow, though starting Tuesday and going straight on for a week! Today I'm thinking I'll get my lazy ass outdoors and turn my garden beds over a little since I never actually finished doing it this fall, and basically have just been dumping my veg scraps in and covering them as well as I could with whatever earth wasn't completely frozen. This is a practice I need to be careful of though since Moxie has been getting in there. When the snow was higher, she was able to just walk right over my tiny she's realized that she can just jump over if she was whatever snacks I have tossed in! This year: breaking down and getting a nice fence for the garden.
The warm(er) weather has gotten me excited about the yard. Sort of. I am eager to see which of our last year's perennials actually come back. I have started to think about which veggies will make the cut for this years garden. And, I am really curious how the grass will grow back this year. Right now, it doesn't look promising, but it's still just February.
I've also been thinking about the car project with my sister. Last time I was over to see Dad (and the car), everything was covering in about 6" of snow, the tarp was on the ground, and I had to dig it out of the snow to get it back on the car. But I had bungees this time and so now it should be secure enough to withstand the next windy day. But I want to actually get working on it. I want to look under the hood and take a stab at some mechanical tasks. I want to learn something about cars!
And, of course, with Spring coming, we will be able to open windows and let some fresh air in. That means more painting projects! As I stated before, we have a room that has not found its identity yet. We use our side door, mostly, so this is the room people walk into when the enter our home, greeted by a futon, the back of the fireplace and a mish-mash of 'what the hell is this room for?' It's really a great room in the summer though. There are two windows at the front end of the house, two at the side, and we had a big slider put in to replace the French door at the back of the house. In the summertime, it's the best place to sit and read or even take a nap (if you're into that sort of thing). But we have never touched. My sister painted it green when she lived here during our year on Nantucket, but we're thinking a nice yellow or other light color... Actually, there's a lot we'd like to do...the point is, the promise of Spring has got me doing nothing but thinking about all the things I want to do when it gets here!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good things today

Well, I'm enjoying a day off. This may be my last week before I go into 6-day workweeks again. (I'm not complaining...just saying, 'it's my day off')
I'm having a great day so far. I stayed in bed until I absolutely knew there was no chance of falling back asleep (that was at 6:30).
Here are the highlights:
1. free coffee and free breakfast! The computer at the bakery was not working so our gift card wouldn't go through, so we got our refills free (not the first time, and we'll try to pay next time, but they won't take our money). Laurie and Ian make their own bread and they had just pulled some ham and cheese breakfast calzone things out of the oven and Ian gave me food is so great...especially when it's delicious!
2. I made homemade miso soup again and it made the house smell yummy. Not as good as chocolate chip cookies, but way better for you.

3. took Moxie to the vet today. I know my dog is awesome, but it's even better when the doctor tells you so! I love when the vet is excited about your pet. I mean, they see animals all day, but when they make you feel like yours is the one they'll just feels nice. Moxie stood still to get weighed. She didn't budge when they gave her the shot. I hear at the place where I work that pugs are awful for check-ups and grooming. I have seen it, too..they wiggle constantly and a lot of them bite. They hate having their feet, ears, and mouths played with. But since the very first day we had Moxie, I have played with her ears and feet and mouth, so, though she'd rather I didn't do these things, she takes it. My favorite part of the exam was when the doctor rubbed her fur to check her coat and said, 'she's so soft! Do you bathe her?' When I said that I do but that I haven't in a few months, she said, 'your mommy takes such good care of you!' Then she got excited when Moxie gave her a little kiss. It really was the highlight of my day.
4. I found out the local brewery has a winter ale out and some leftover holiday brews. I love taking my growlers to the brewery and getting them refilled! so cool.
5. The reward of beer was for finishing the painting in the basement. Today I painted the trim (white) and I think that's it. Eventually I'd like to throw some plain 1x2 baseboards in and I'm thinking of some carpet tiles for that small portion of the floor, but that is later. After I've been working my full-time schedule for awhile.
6. After today's online class lesson, I just have next week...Wed/Friday lessons, then the 'exam'. I have actually learned a few new things and it really is making me more comfortable at work.
7. Except for a receipt from my furnace guy, I'm done with our tax worksheet and ready to send it off to the accountant. I hope we get some money back. Although, I hate spending large chunks of money at once on big purchases, we're thinking (since we've decided we'll be staying her for awhile) we might buy ourselves a new hot tub. We'll see...we're both still on the fence, actually.
8. For the rest of the day, I'm going to (study first, but then...) watch a movie and sew up the holes in every pair of my socks. Some crazy fun going down over here!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's here!!

I got my new hat Tuesday. What do we think? Personally, I LOVE it!!
It's all soft and cute.

And more good news..
My new job seems to be getting a little more bearable. And I went from one day a week to 4, so I guess I must be doing okay. OR...maybe it's because no one else wants the hours they are giving me. Keep in mind that one of the reasons I left my coffee shop job was the 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls. Well, my schedule for next week: after working my vet job Mon/Tuesday all day, I work the new job Wed- Saturday 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. That's right...I'm the morning girl. Why would I do that to myself again? Well, because here are the pros:
1. getting out BEFORE NOON means the rest of the day off!
2. the first 2 and a half hours, all i do is stock shelves. No customers, just product.
3. #2 means just 3 and half hours of actually helping customers...not 8 hours of helping everyone all by myself.
4. working 6 days (yuck!) will at least get me the hours I need to get health insurance through my new job, which is a pretty kick-ass plan, apparently.

I'm still getting used to the early mornings again, but today was a good step forward.
After work, I studied a little, then worked out for an hour, then cleaned the kitchen and took out the trash, and now I need to figure out what's for dinner. I think this is the last week that I'll have two days off from work for awhile, but the short days will allow me plenty of time for other stuff.
Something I realized while working out today: in finding enough time in the day to do everything, I decided that I miss working out.
Wow, what a stupid and utterly boring post...
So, do you like my new hat? ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Home Improvements: before and afters

Here they are...Before and Afters. (Remember, the before shots were taken with a film camera and then scanned. I'm not great with the computer stuff, so the scanned shots are not very good as far as color representation, exposure, and that sort of thing.)
Before: '70's yellow, huge cabinet sink, '80's light fixture, and awkward metal shelf.
And, After: soothing blues and browns, new floor (I actually can't remember the original floor tiles), pedestal sink, and crisp white tiles.
Before: peel 'n' stick floor tiles to cover unfinished drywall and generic grey floor tiles (not in the picture), plus a fridge that is just too big for the tiny space.
And, after: More blue (after I finished the drywall), floor tiles that bring out the blue in the walls, compliment the not attractive cabinets (replacing the hardware is still on my list), and a new fridge that brings out the grey in the floor (this was a necessity after the old one broke).
Before: No ceiling fixture, and terrible flowery wallpaper. I hope I never have to take down wallpaper again...what a chore! Oh, and the previous owner left his metal mauve window blinds for us.
And, After: Lovely shade of greens, bamboo shades and I also used bamboo garden posts as trim around the ceiling, we had a fun ceiling fan/lights installed. Forgive the messy room, though, we spend little time in this room and tend to disregard it.
Our 'spare room' which became Hubby's studio:
Before: More wallpaper! THREE layers to be exact! We took down the flowery stuff to expose some stripy stuff, to expose some circus characters. The last layer has some plaster patching OVER it. A huge light fixture hung way too low. Our ceilings are fairly low, and this fixture should've been in a dining room, maybe...over a table.
And, after: Hubby painted in shades of blue and grey and made it his own creative space. At least most of the house has nice hardwood floors. No carpets to tear up.
We also had some issues with the yard...
A new septic had to be dug, so we were left with a less than attractive yard. I'm not sure what the yard looked like before being dug up, though, since it was February when we looked at the house and everything was covered in snow. We did know we'd have that terrible plywood shed to take care of eventually, though. It basically became a home for squirrels after they chewed through most of the walls within a couple years.
So, we got a new shed...
And, we had some grass put in most of the yard.

Last year we started planted flowers near my garden beds and Hubby's working at laying slate in his rock path. I am anxious to see what comes up this spring.

Home Improvement: Day 2

Though I'm sure Hubby would rather I hadn't, I started painting this morning. It was almost 9 a.m. so I thought that was late enough. To be honest, I didn't remember painting being such a loud task. He's still in bed, anyway, so it couldn't have been that loud, right? I just get so excited to have something to do, and even more so when it elevates our tolerance for this house.
Don't get me wrong, this house isn't the crap-shack I oft claim it to be. It's just hard to deal with the inflated housing prices in this area. When I look back at our options when we were buying, it makes my head spin. We looked at houses that had missing windows/doors; houses with holes in walls from renters or other domestic issues; and houses with living rooms the size of standard bathrooms. And these were still around $220,000!! We had no choice but to pay more for a house that wasn't exactly falling apart. So we got this beauty...with just minor issues. Cosmetic mostly, but in every room. And that is why I'm still chipping away at projects. I was also fortunate in meeting tradesmen in my coffee shop job and have gotten some deals on electricians and such.
Oh, the painting...
Here's the wall after the spackle, sanding (still not super smooth, but much better), and a layer of primer.

And after the first layer of paint.

Here's a close up of the comparison of the paint against the white. It's not really as 'institution green' as it looks in the picture. The lighting in the basement isn't great.
Don't forget, this was the starting point!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Home Improvement: Day 1

Well, actually...
as I said before, Hubby and I have done a lot of work on our house in the (almost) 6 years we've had it. I am still working on 'before and after' shots of what we've done already, but since we didn't have a digital camera until just last year, I have to track down, scan, and then post the before pictures.

I had the whole day off to myself today. After morning coffee with Hubby before he drove off to work, I took a trip into town to get some spackle for the basement wall. It's just a small wall, so I took a chance and got just one can. Besides, I had said that we still have plenty of 'free' projects to do around the house, and then immediately had to go out and spend money. I figure $10 for a home improvement project is pretty damn good, though! And, it was only that 'expensive' because I bought a new paint roller (couldn't remember, but we DID already have a new one), and a tray liner (which we also already had).
I've never used spackle before. In fact, I almost just bought drywall joint compound because it comes in a big bucket, even when you buy the smaller bucket, and I figured I'd be sure to have enough. But then I figured it's best to do the job right. I always make fun of Hubby for using a paring knife to cut bread and say, 'a job is easiest when you use the right tools' I took my own advice. It made me want cake when I opened it though. To me, it looked like a can of delicious frosting!
I used the entire can. (I finished to whole wall and realized there was a smaller portion of wall facing the main wall. I mean, I knew it was there, but didn't realize it was textured. It was smaller and not as pitted as the larger wall, so I used up what I had to fill in the major flaws, figuring I could sand away the rest. Also, it's not as visible and with paint it may not be noticeable to potential buyers.)
So here's a close up of the textured 'pitted' look.
And what I started something out of some horror movie involving an abandoned building, I know!
After a layer of spackle, it looks better (trust me), but now it's ready to be primed and painted.
Now the color? I have about 8 or so cans of paint in my basement from our original re-do's. Since it's basically the wall at the end of a hallway, at the bottom of a flight of stairs, I'm thinking a light neutral. My 'gym' room is a very pale green hue called Chardonnay. But I also have a slightly darker color but along the same lines called Chatham Green, which is what we used in our bedroom. Oh, and then there's a really light blue that Hubby used for his studio...I'll probably go with the Chardonnay, even though it is the same color used in the room if you were to go through the door in the picture above. It's a basement, though...would anyone even notice? Would that be a bad choice? Should I just go with white since I'm going to have to repaint the whole stairwell, eventually, too? Oh,'s just paint for the basement!!

And, yes, I did wear a mask and goggles when I sanded the wall! Though, I'm not sure why my mask is all sunken in and looking like a duck bill!
So after that, I got all the dust out of my hair and sat down to study for a bit. And now...I'm enjoying sitting still while I blog a little before moving on to the oh, so exciting task of paying bills.
I wanted to start painting tonight, but I am not sure. I have to be at work at 5:30am tomorrow, and so will be out by noon so that will give me a good portion of tomorrow to continue my work downstairs.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of 'Boring Things Old People Do On Their Days Home From Work'!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

projects and purchases

First off, I finally had an okay day at my new job last night. I was allowed to train on the register because the predicted snow storm was keeping most people away from shopping. I was also giving the 'helmsing' duty for an hour...I walk around the store helping customers and telling the other people putting product out what needs to be done. A strange job for someone only on their 5th shift. Their weren't many customers to help, and the slow day made for a fairly clean store and not much to report. I was also, apparently, given a task that was deemed a 'surprise' to one of my co-workers: pulling product. Look at a pile of boxes, see what needs to be put out, put product out. Yeah...advanced stuff, indeed. I guess once I'm there awhile, people will stop treating me like a newborn. I've said it before, I'm sure: it's a grocery store...not f*ing brain surgery!

I found a cute hat on etsy last week and have been thinking about it since. And then the proprietors contacted me about some book pages (long story...). And then I looked at the hat again, and decided that it really would look cute on me and for $9 I would be silly not to buy it.
So I did: I blocked out her face, though now it seems silly since she had posted it on etsy already...whatever. Isn't it adorable, though!!?

And I started my basement project yesterday morning before work. It turns out to be a bit more labor intensive than I had originally anticipated. I was just going to sand the walls smooth, then paint. But once I got the sander and started the job, I found that the wall is not just textured but also 'pitted'. Sanding will make it smoother and fix the patch job a bit, but it won't fill in the millions of speckly holes. So, the new plan is to get some spackle or something to fill in the holes, then sand, then paint. Which means, my 'zero dollar fix up' will now be the cost of a bucket of spackle. At least it's basically just the one small wall. And, 'yes', that is what we've been living with for almost 6 years! You can guess how often we are 'hanging out' in the basement!
I have some pictures I took of the improvements we've done to the bath and kitchen, but I have to find and scan the old ones for comparison...that may never actually happen.

And lastly, I have this ridiculous picture of my Moxie. She, for whatever reason, fell asleep while refusing to lay her head down. It's just short of sleeping while standing!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

House vs. Home

Everybody knows I'm waiting for spring to start a classic car restoration with my sister.
In the meantime, it's all I talk about. (I will be blogging about it as it happens, but am blogging now just randomly to keep it bobbing around the blog-o-sphere...

Now, get ready for something new...but not exciting or probably even interesting. I started this blog as a way to promote my Etsy shop, but it's really just become a place for me to hang out, get stuff off my chest, and a way to kill time when it's not enough time for more intense tasks. Pardon me while I also construct ridiculously awful sentences.

I am also taking an online course in Veterinary Assisting. It's basically a course explaining a lot of what I see happening at work, as I aid mostly by restraining cats and dogs during exams, shots, ear cleaning, etc. It's helping me get a better idea of what happens after the blood and urine samples are taken...fascinating! I'm also doing a little independent study of the basic anatomy and inner workings of animals by studying a veterinary terminology textbook. This one's more intense as it's basically like ready a biology text for fun. Which it, I mean...but also not a quick read.

But I'm looking for more. And I think I realized what that is. We've been doing minor repairs on our house since we moved in. We have done quite a bit to make our house a lovely home that Hubby is finally happy to live in. So that's my cue to want to move. But do I want to move? Or, is it just that when I go to work and look at pictures of a co-workers home improvements it makes me want that again. Those little things to spruce up your house to make it your home...not just that major purchase you made 6 years earlier when you had to move out of your apartment?
There are a lot of things I'd like to change about our house that only moving could remedy. Well, actually, our neighbors moving would fix one problem (the loud neighbors). But we have always had intentions of moving into a house within walking distance to town, coffee, and beach.
We looked at a house yesterday with all of those qualities. And, by Cape Cod real estate standards, it was cheap. But it needs a lot of work, so I got that giddy 'moving in and tearing the place apart' high and wanted to buy it.
Then, we had two days to think about it. And typical of our hashing things out...we flip-flop as we discuss it, each of us seeming to be on opposite sides every time. Or, we're both leaning one way, but then talk ourselves back the's terrible.
The house would be a great little fixer-upper for someone with a little more financial security...or, someone without a dog and in need of a fenced in yard. Yes, I know, fences can be put in, but this yard is an utter mess and it wouldn't be a quick fix.
So, after the last two days of wanting to buy a new house for (mostly) the wrong reasons, it dawned on me: if all I really want are some home improvement projects to keep me busy til spring, all I need to do is get out my list! If Hubby is happy here with all the sweat equity we've already put in, then I'm happy to keep on fixin' her up. It would be silly to move to a house close to a busy road where he'll get annoyed and the dog will never not be on edge due to the traffic noise, just so I am not bothered by neighbors who are less than courteous at times.
But just when we think we've talked ourselves out of it, we seem to reel ourselves back into the discussion. The main thing is that it is a cheaper house so we could lower our mortgage, so I guess we will look into re-financing first. Our house will be tough to sell and I just don't want to dig ourselves a big ol' deep hole.

So 'the point?', you ask...I've decided to start some projects around the house. Starting with a big 'spring' clean of the basement and attic to get ready for a yard sale this spring/summer. That will clear out the basement for the scrubbing of the century. Some sanding and painting. Then, new floors in the 'mudroom' (our multi-purpose room that has never served a purpose) and possible floors in the finished rooms in the basement. I'm actually excited to start.
It won't be as exciting for you...but I will try to post before and afters.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I try to keep my blog somewhat light-hearted. The occasional personal 'oh, whoa is me' post is the exception. And I try not to get too personal or political or opinionated.
But today, I was scanning the TV channels (I've been in bed all day -sick- and wanted to ease myself back into the world of the living) when I saw Tyra Banks was having a show about how people can be judgemental. I could only watch enough to see these four 20-30 somethings saying they thought a woman with a blue wig, short 'baby doll' dress, Betty Paige tee-shirt, and tall lace up black patent leather boots was a 'devil worshiper', dominatrix, and would probably get their kids hook on drugs if they should be left alone with her. Now I admit to that initial fear of some youths who are covered in their black hoodies, exposing just enough skin for you to know they are all tattooed. But until I actually spoke with someone, or saw them doing something terrible, I would try not to judge them. And if I did, and I was wrong, I would apologize profusely.
But these people just kept saying she should be in the circus. And that she should not have children (which she does). And they kept harping on her blue hair. And maybe she should 'take up painting' if she wants to express herself (she said she is a writer). Why can she not wear a blue wig if this makes her happy? How does blue hair have anything to do with anything other than ...well, the color of her hair?!
I couldn't watch any more. I understand that it is hard not to judge at first sight, but we are at a place in time where people express themselves in many ways. And your way of dressing or wearing your hair can be just as plausible a way of expressing yourself artistically as if you were to just draw a picture of it.
I'm basically just writing this post to get out my frustrations.
What makes a judgemental girls pointy-toed, stiletto slouch boots okay, but she is against another for wearing a bulkier black pair of boots? Because big black boots are 'so 1990' and we're back to the slouchy '80's styles?
There is enough judgement in the 'work-a-day' world, why can't we let loose and express ourselves on our own time?
Had I a blue wig, I would wear it right now!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

snow, again

Just when I thought it was just going to be cold, and that maybe the snowy season had ended...more snow. Here's why I think it snowed: I was thinking of going to Dad's to clean out the car. Doh!

It's probably a blessing in disguise, though. I started to feel a bit of a sore throat coming on during work Monday. I bought some medicine and have been taking it to try to keep this cold from getting worse. This, too, came at an okay time I suppose since I am not scheduled to work again until Saturday. That gives me several days to get better.
Today I have a lunch meeting for my vet job. And I have a lesson for study, which I have already skimmed. And then I am planning on resting.

I want to take some time to go through the house with a pad of paper and note all chores for each room. What I mean, is: if I were to put my house on the market tomorrow, what eye-sores should be addressed? I have let things pile up. Mostly it is because the weather doesn't really permit me to do what I need to, painting (ventilation) and major clean-up (think yard sale). But, if I have a list ready, when the time an unseasonably warm day off...then maybe I can cross something off the list before Spring rolls around? Then, of course, there's the matter of all the recyclables and returnables taking over the basement. All they need is a trip into town and that problem is solved...that would require me to get off the computer and stop being lazy (and, right now, sick).
Basically, we bought this house with the assumption that it is our first house and we don't want to stay here. We have a neighborhood in mind where we would like to live, and someday, we'll make it happen. In the meantime, I feel like my stuff is just taking over and I need to think about what it will be like when we move. I don't want a big hassle in the end, if I can streamline now!
But, alas, here I sit, drugged up on cold medicine, waiting to go to a meeting I will likely have trouble focusing on.
There's always tomorrow...or Friday...