Saturday, August 29, 2009

And Still More

Popcorn comes down
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
As I type, M and Bob, our handyman neighbor helping us with our home improvements, are crawling around under the house, escorted by Rex, trying to level the floor in preparation for putting down the bamboo. Suddenly, the four hours I spent on my hands and knees yesterday pulling carpeting staples doesn't seem so bad. (On a side note, it's amazing the amount of fine dust that had accumulated in the foam padding. Ugh. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at carpets the same way again, knowing what they're covering.)

I took the day off yesterday to finish the painting, and I'm happy to report that the color we chose for the bedroom is lovely. I've always been drawn to gray as a room color, but been afraid to try it lest if feel depressing in winter. This color has some pale blue to it as well as pale gray, so it feels very tranquil to me, a good bedroom color. I was nervous putting it on at first (it's the swatch in the picture directly below the tip of the dangling popcorn sheet)--it looked white going up but dried to color. I'm really happy (and relieved) with how the paint colors are turning out. I've had past experiences with choosing colors I imagined I'd like, but didn't spend the time to live with them before putting them on.

As the rolls of old flooring and empty boxes of new flooring are piling up on the patio, I'm realizing that I really didn't consider how much crap we were going to deal with once all of the improvements are done. And I'm also realizing that we'll have to clean everything all over again before bringing the furnishings back inside. I think I purposely didn't imagine all of the dust that would come up from redoing the floors. I know now that it's part of the process, but the idea of having to clean surfaces I just cleaned to paint is annoying.

As I'm finishing this post, Murray is out shopping for underlayment and Bob is trimming the bottoms of the metal door moldings so the new flooring can fit with a saw--sparks are flying and there's a terrible smell, eek!

The one unfortunate thing about the timing of our improvement tasks--I'm not able to get away this weekend either to meet Myla or to go to my 30th (gulp) high school reunion. It's a big reunion, covering 1977-1990 (it's a small school). There are a few people coming whom I'd like to see again. But Mom's going, so I hope I'll get a good update from her, with lots of pics.

On another wistful note, via Facebook, I saw photos of a former best friend's wedding that took place recently. And she was truly a BFF--for years we spoke on the phone almost every day, she stayed over almost every weekend, spent holidays with my family, not a social occasion went by that we didn't plan together. But it turned out we weren't the final F after all--the dynamics of our relationship changed, most poignantly after I got divorced since my ex- was (and still is) a dear friend of hers, and we fell out of touch entirely. I understand why we're not friends, but I miss her, and as I think I've whined about in the past, mourn the lack of a BFF in my life. I was glad to see her looking so lovely, and glad she was getting hitched to someone she's been with for a long time. I wonder if she misses me. Whenever I visit New York, she's one of the things I look for when I wander the streets…

This is my 499th post!

Friday, August 21, 2009

More of the Same

Bedroom paint swatches
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
In case you may have forgotten, as I had, since it's been a while: Painting is a messy and ache-inducing endeavor.

Not surprisingly, we underestimated the time it would take to prep and paint the living room, hall, and TV room. It's still not done. M and I had resolve to do a little something every day after work this week, but so far it's all we can do to come home, make dinner, and watch videos on M's laptop propped up on pillows on the deconstructed loveseat. Since our ancient boobtube is packed away in the PODS.

It's Friday and I've taken the day off to try to catch up, leaving the weekend free to clean the craft room walls and paint the bedroom. I still haven't found a color I love for the bedroom and time is running a little short. After that, the real work starts--pulling up the now paint-covered carpet and vinyl flooring and prepping for the bamboo. I'm really really excited about it, but I know it's going to be disruption at a whole new level. I'm just focusing on the mental picture I have of how beautiful it will be when it's done.

M did acquire something surprising and significant this week. In a scene reminiscent of the Season 2 finale of "Chuck" where Ellie and Captain Awesome are arguing over what they should buy to celebrate their anniversary, a new washer and dryer (him) or a flat-panel TV (her), M came home from a $5 ceiling popcorn run to Home Depot and thrust a stack of papers into my hand with an enigmatic "Gotcha a present." And in that moment the new flat panel TV I was anticipating somehow morphed without discussion or comparison shopping into a new LG washer and dryer combo, instigated perhaps by the fact that the free dryer our neighbor gave us nine years ago finally crapped out for no apparent reason (well, it spins but there's no heat) and the washing machine we bought for $50 from Sean ten years ago has never really recovered from the time a couple of months ago when the comforter stuck and strained the motor. There is nothing quite so panic-inducing as the prospect of having to go to a public laundromat, is there? My only concern is that for all its high-tech glory, the new washer won't be able to felt my projects like the top loader. But that's all moot now.

I do find it very cathartic to do the painting and being as active a participant in the upgrades as I can. It's like we're finally making the rental place we've lived in for nine years our home. It's a wonderful feeling. I'm starting to really enjoy inhabiting this place.


On a creative note, Rebecca and I went to see Chris Baty of NaNoWriMo fame speak at a local writers forum event last night. He's a wonderful presenter. It got me very fired up for November! I had nice conversations with other people there, too, one of them a woman who publishes a local literary journal. It was great being in a room with so much writerly creative energy. It reminded me that sometimes I think of myself as a writer and need to think of myself that way more often!

Chris inspired me to start work on a whole new novel for this year's NaNoWriMo, not just continue on my initial romance novel (though I do have to actually "continue" with it at some point). The best part? M wants to do NaNoWriMo too!! That is making me super stoked.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shark Attacked

Shark catch
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
He released the shark and the ray he caught. Sean and his neighbor caught rock crabs and a halibut, which they did not release, but divided up instead. M ate his share last night and proclaimed them "delicious."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Readying for the Next Round

County Fair Photobooth
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Happiness is…taking Friday, Monday, and Tuesday off. Yesterday was lovely. I was a slacker, I'll admit, but did some constructive puttering and made lunch for M, who came home for it, it was quite the domestic scene.

The week's highlight (since Myla has not yet arrived) was going to the County Fair on Thursday afternoon with M. It was our traditional visit. We lost money at the track. He ate his corndog, I had too much overpriced beer. We wandered through the Hall of Flowers (a dinosaur theme, surprised we didn't get any Creationist protesters…) and along the stalls of the livestock barns. The Budweiser Clydesdales were back and glorious and sleepy as ever. We rode on the Ferris wheel. New this year were the sheep dog trials, which usually don't happen til the Harvest Festival in the fall. The ewes were remarkably feisty. Felicia, Debbie, Dylan, and Gavin joined us in the evening to take in the Village People, which for some reason M didn't care to stay for. That was fun. They thanked the audience numerous times, which I thought was very nice. (I just sent The Cop and thank-you note for coming. The intertrons make it so easy!) We raced down the giant slide together, which was even more fun, and a little more exciting than I thought. (Sorry for all the screaming in the video.)

The PODS storage box was delivered yesterday, so no more excuses for putting off the packing up. It was quite the slick way they delivered it--a flatbed truck held the box, which was in a sort of motorized framework on wheels. The driver (a fine young specimen with interesting piercings) dropped the wheels, drove the truck out from underneath, then used the frame to maneuver the box into place in the driveway. He unchained the box, motored the frame up over the box and the back onto the street where he backed the truck into the frame, took up the wheels, and drove away. Took maybe ten minutes.

M is off fishing this morning and I'm writing with Rebecca at our favorite coffee shop to the strains of Edith Piaf, but we'll start in on the home-emptying this afternoon. I've been dreading it. Every object I cast my eye upon in the house lately has turned into a weight, literally and figuratively, something to be judged worthy of being schlepped around and then occupying space in our refurbished home.

I still need to choose a paint color for the bedroom. I'm thinking of one of the slightly peachy or pinky colors we rejected for the living room. Should I paint the inside of the closets throughout the house a pretty color? More work, I know.

In M news, he did qualify to be kept on the Mendocino DA's office list of candidates, but didn't place high enough for an interview for the current job opening, unfortunately. Oh well.

OK, time for some fiction.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Report

Flooring on the floor
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
A most uneventful week. Even for me, craver of peace and quiet, it was a little boring.

The most exciting news, a milestone in the home improvement process yesterday. Thanks to a tip from Maureen earlier in the week, we pulled the trigger on the bamboo flooring purchase yesterday. That oozing sound you heard at about 2:30 was my savings account draining away. But, it was a very worthy expenditure. The color is a little darker than I wanted, but the price is so very right. We cleaned out our local Costco, buying the one and only pallet of flooring they had. (I admit to enjoying the little ribbing exchange between the young men loading up our truck, how one was being shown how to "be a man" while they figured out how to make the boxes all fit. I'm not privy to that kind of banter very often.) We made a smaller run to our other local store today to pick up the rest. It was odd being in another Costco, almost an alternate universe--so much the same, and also so different.

Yes, it amazes me, these big box stores and their stock variety. At my last trip to Target, I bought a curling iron, lampshade, hummingbird feeder, wine, and a paper shredder. At Costco, not only did we pick up the flooring, but also yogurt and tickets to the King Tut exhibit at the de Young this fall. The power of mass retail and what they'll stock to get us consumers in the door. They have a display of coffins for sale at the "other" Costco store. A subtle nudge to gather ye consumer rosebuds while ye may? Or that Costco is there for that full circle of consumer life? Or that all the buying and stuff in the world really doesn't matter after all?

The dishwasher continues to leak, but uncannily like computers that suddenly have no more problems when the IT guy is on the way, is quite water tight when our handyman is around. Not sure what to make of that. He thinks it might be the machine itself, not any of the connectors. That would not be good.

Next on the home improvement task list: have the POD delivered and start to fill it up with our household crap in preparation for painting. Soon Chez Axcock will be in chaos, which makes me vaguely uncomfortable. So I'm practicing focusing on one step at a time. I reallyreally want the house done by the end of the month.

In other unrelated news, I actually do have an upcoming blogging goal. September 24 will mark five years of keeping Flying Triangle afloat and I'm just five posts away from the 500 mark. How nicely round those numbers are!

Time to pack the gym bag for tomorrow.