Tanyuary

It’s my birthday.
Yay!
I celebrate the whole month. My family is spread hither and yon, and they are very busy. Inevitably one will pop up and say “Oh no I forgot your birthday, geez I am so sorry.” Not anymore!  I have the full 31 days of March, you haven’t missed it, THERE’S STILL TIME!  I was supposed to have been born in May, but hit  Eject and arrived in March instead.  I guess by my logic (which rarely jibes with the logic of others) I could celebrate my birthday right up to the end of May, but that would be greedy. My sister’s birthday is the day before (but three years after) mine, my Mom’s and Dad’s birthdays are end of the month, and there’s Saint Patrick’s in the middle… so many reasons to celebrate!

Also during March, I try to do every fun thing I can think of (within reason) and finish all the projects I have. I have tons of projects left to finish this year, so it’s going to take some doing and some real knuckling down to get them done. I don’t think it’s gonna happen, the pile is too big. Oh well, divide and conquer, set achievable goals, blahblahblah, other platitudes. I just have to make yet another list and set aside the stuff that goes later. I make tons of lists. Somebody said that lists are the sign of a disorganized mind. Maybe. Maybe lists are the sign of someone who doesn’t want to get all the way through her project and realize that thing X had to go in the middle to complete the circuit and now you have to disassemble the whole thing to get X in the spot. Maybe lists are the sign of a mind with a huge inventory. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about things said by people I don’t know.

I can set the gardening stuff aside for Earth Day (end of April) as it is still cold outside and trying to set up watering equipment in the snow is stupid.

I will do the cleaning first, then the construction, then finishing, and then the mechanicals. Cleaning gets all the superfluous shit out of the way; the garbage, dishes, laundry, donate-ables, tools, supplies, groceries, appliances, toys – all this will be put SOMEWHERE that is not in the middle of the floor, which is where I need to work.  Cleaning also includes the ripping out of things that will hinder construction – old carpet, padding, tacky strips near the walls, and the throwing away of wrecked furniture.

Then comes construction, which I have to split into three parts: Bedroom and Hallway, Stairwell, Livingroom. There is a fourth part – Guestroom but that is on hold ’til we get the first three settled. That is later.  Construction will include wall repair and painting, hardwood floor installation, and refinishing.  I will fix all the dings, nicks, chunks, claw marks, and holes – then paint the walls, ceilings and floors with primer/sealer in each of the three project areas.  Once dry, I will go back and paint each of the project areas with suitable colors.  I thought about including Pook on color choices, I really did.  He doesn’t like this part of doing (or really any part of doing) and has no usable short term memory.  I don’t want to hear “I have no memory of agreeing to this” once I have colors on the wall..so I’ll probably just pick a paint and cope when he complains.   Or I will have him come too and pick paint with me.  Ugh.  There is a painting snag in the Livingroom as we have a wall mounted Television.  I require assistance getting it down to paint behind it, so, I will just plasticwrap the thing and paint around it until such time as assistance is available.  I have small brushes and should be able to get in pretty close to the actual mount.  Once paint is dry then I will knock the nails out of, cut the boards for, and nail down the hardwood flooring in the Bedroom and Hallway and the Stairwell.  Bedroom and Hallway should be pretty straightforward, big rectangular room mostly rectangular hallway, I will extend the boards under the door to the guest room so I don’t have to worry about a threshold later.  There are a couple of tricky cuts around the bathroom doorway and in the hall closet – but they’re not so bad- 45°.  The bad part is the stairs.  I am afraid of em.  UGH.  I just have to DO them and stop worrying about how, once I start it will work itself out or it won’t.  I just have to believe it will.   Once the wood is all nailed down, then I have to sand it – rough up the finish on it greatly so I can seal it.  This already was someone’s hardwood floor and was reclaimed by Habitat for Humanity – which is why I have to knock the nails out of it. Every piece has three or four nails in it.  Double ugh.  I had already installed hardwood on the floor in the Livingroom, and roughed it up a little before sealing it with polyurethane – but I didn’t rough it enough – the sealant did not stick.  Once I am done sanding the Bedroom and Hallway and Stairs, then I must also sand the floor completely down in the Livingroom.  Throughout the paint and sealant process the cats must must must must MUST be contained somewhere – I think in the guest room for the duration of the painting and the staining and the sealing.  As the cats will be otherwise contained – I will be able to leave the front and back doors and all the windows wide open for ventilation.  I may use a chemical stripper on the Livingroom floor instead of a sander, as I don’t really want to take off that much wood, just the outer coatings.  Let it dry, sand a bit to even it out, replace the boards that have gone a bit wonky (provided I have leftovers), restain the lot, and then seal the whole works, top to bottom.  I have done this once, you can recoat it so long as you do it within 4 hours of the initial application.  It takes about an hour for each coat to dry and once it’s dry you can put on the next coat.  I want at least three.  Then, leave it alone for 24 – 48 hours – you can walk socky footed on it but no shoes – no furniture – not a damn thing until it is cured up or you’ll peel it like an orange and have to redo the whole fucking thing.  I’m not looking forward to Pook bitching about the chemical smell of the paint and stain and stripper and sealant.  I’m not looking forward to him ‘accidentally on purpose’ letting the cats out over and over while I am painting/working and having to chase them around to get them back to safety.  These things will happen.  Also he does not assist in the actual work of any of these projects.  He will feed me though, and bring me drinks.

While that’s curing, I will take the opportunity to strip and refinish my lower kitchen cupboards.  They’ve gotten dingy and dull, and it’s not washing off, so time to redo.  Also, the pressboard counters have swollen in some places on the edges, and I don’t have the dinero to upgrade at this time (oooh granite?), so I will use my multitool, raze bits off, and even them out again.  Then I will use sealant to ensure no more swelling happens.  Ugly but effective, and no one will know its there except me.  Strip, stain, seal, an hour to dry, and we’re done.

Additionally, I have an old victrola cupboard in the Diningroom that needs some love.  I don’t want to actually refinish it, but the veneer has buckled on top and flaked in front.  I won’t replace the veneer itself – just remove the buckled parts and stain dark the underlayment- then seal the hell out of it with polyurethane and let it dry.  Our kitchen table and chairs are en masse migrating to the basement; we have a new big Diningroom table and a bunch of wheelie chairs to go ’round it.  I like the set up for our gaming friends, but the chairs are covered with rough fabric that is so good for the office and so terrible around cat hair.  I will fashion slipcovers for the wheelie chairs, washable, wipeable, waterproof, and non-fur-gathering, with elastic around the edges for easy pop on/off for replacement.

Then I shall build a new couch for my Livingroom, it will be three trunks which will be useable for storage with cushions atop fashioned from crib mattresses and padding.  The arms will be blocky and have pull out drawers for storing the remotes and game console controllers and have space for phone chargers and extra batteries.  The inner arms and back will have pillows but not the outsides or the tops – that will all be wood painted black, as will the trunk boxes.  The pillows and cushions will be covered with heavy black vinyl, sewn in panels so they’ll be easily replaceable if they crack or get wrecked by cats.  It will be industrial and  indestructible and comfortable.  It will store board games and blankets and whatnots.  This I dig.  I have the plans all drawn up – I have the crib mattresses procured – I have the pillows – I just need to buy the wood and build it – but I need space.  I need to get all the other shit out of my garage and installed in the house so I can build it – and if I start at the beginning it will all get done right.

Finally the mechanicals – these I have to hire people for.  I need some electrical work, and some plumbing, and some AC repair done.  I’m going to try to trace back the electrical one more time – there is a bad outlet and light switch I have to change out – if that works then I don’t need an electrician for this, but for other things I do.  The AC repair – is after Earth Day because SNOW.  I might (MIGHT) just have to swap out a capacitor – if that works then I don’t need an AC repairman.  The plumbing I have outright given up on.  I need a plumber – and I need one badly.  The upstairs guest bathtub drain has come away from the bottom of the tub – is completely unusable as it dumps water through my kitchen ceiling.  I CANT fix it.  I tried and failed.  And cried.  I am not strong enough.  I am going to take off the utility panel in the back of the closet to see if I cant take out the pipe instead of trying to break loose the drain, but it’s doubtful.  My other tub has a crack in the sidewall.  I have it sealed over – but I need to have it fixed-fixed, its only useable as a shower for now.  I hate showers.  I can’t fix this either, I don’t have the industrial stuff needed to do it.  My backyard garden water spigot has a leak that screams out through the handle – it is a “freezeless” faucet – I don’t know how to fix it.  Though I am afraid to try, I will take it apart and look at it and see if there is something obvious.  Then there are myriad other things to repair – Replace all the screens with ones the cats haven’t ripped, fallen cupboard shelves, replace the stairwell light with a hanging fixture I can reach so I can change out the bulb, replace the bathroom fans with more powerful ones and with lights that work, replace all the smoke detectors, the safety beams on the garage door opener, the left light on the garage – oh that needs an electrician again.  Paint all the wooden trim outside and the front door.  Install a waterline, drain,  and an electrical outlet to the kitchen closet so I can run the Cat Genie in there (needs electrician, plumber, building permit, probably not going to happen).  Move the cable and television to the center wall in the Livingroom.  Replace all the vertical blinds with curtains.  Install motion sensitive switches:  (Kitchen, Garage, Basement, Bedroom, Computer room, Guestroom, Diningroom, Hallways…)

I am never going to get this all done before the end of March… unless I extend my project time ’til the end of May.  If I do – I will get to do some fun things too.  Maybe it’s not so greedy.

Valen Time

I really like Valentines day.
Most of the folks in my life hate it and expound verbosely how it is a made up holiday designed to make us buy diamonds and spend copious amounts of money to disappoint our loved one, or to make us feel inferior and desperately alone if we are sans loved one. I think of it as Happy Pooky Day where we can sit in front of the TV in our underpants and play with the kitties while watching some shlocky movie without having to feel guilty for telling the rest of the world we’re busy. I don’t need diamonds for that, or for anything, except maybe grinding down sharp edges. If there are presents, they are things I bought myself and say “LOOK WHAT YOU GOT ME!” to which he replies “I always pick just the right thing!”. Lately there aren’t presents; I am not really in a present state of mind.

This year we made an effort and went to lunch together at Which Wich. My husband went Vegan this year as part of his weightloss regime – trying to get healthy and be able to breathe while sleeping – so it is a bit difficult to find someplace to accomodate his new eating preferences. Which Wich seemed to be okay.

I got a 14″ sub which I was only able to eat a third of; It had ‘olive spread’ and black olives, turkey and avocado, horseradish mayo and garlic. It was delicious. I had a weird instance of swollen mouth/nose afterwards though. I am not allergic to anything save summertime sun and beestings, so it was Weird. I mentioned it when I dropped him back at work, but in the few minute drive from the sandwich shop to his office, it subsided, so we chalked it up to mutant genetics and drove home. I threw sandwich monster in the fridge and settled down for a long Friday sleep. [normally I stay up until Friday Night to sleep so I have the whole day, but I had gone a few days of not being able to sleep - so I took advantage of the afternoon as Valentines Nap] He came home and we started watching some horrible reality based cooking disaster show where the hosts all make the contestants try to cook insane shit and berate them endlessly for not living up to impossible standards, then go “off screen” and laugh at how badly these folks are doing…I’m not into them, mostly I want to hurl hot soup crockery at the hosts. Through the television. Pook has the whole friggin set of the shows on DVR. Lucky me.

I dozed off just before rage set in and awoke at some early time after sunrise on Saturday morning. I medicated my kitty (ear infection) and Pook woke up. We got dressed and went grocery shopping. The store was sorta but not really busy, we went to the HyVee near our house. It’s too expensive but its nearby, and it has a Vegan section we hadn’t explored yet. They say never go shopping when you’re hungry. I had a sickish/hungry feeling the whole time we were shopping and came home with a bunch of weird stuff Pook classifes as Not Food – he was going to cook lunch but I still had that monolithic sandwich. So I tried to eat some more of that, was able to eat about half of what was left. Still delicious, and the flavors had melded into something really better than yesterday. Again, I had the same weird face/nose swelling. I curled up on a chair in the livingroom while he turned the television to some reality show about mining gold in the mountains or oceans of Alaska and I fell asleep. He woke me later that evening up to go to his brothers house for dinner and games. I’d slept the whole day, I hadn’t even brought all the groceries in (it’s freezing outside everything was safe in the car).

I felt just terrible, hot and cold and achy, figured I’d caught a cold. I didn’t go, he caught a ride over there with one of our good gamer friends and I stayed home and dragged in all the groceries and put them away then fell asleep again. He came home – I vaguely remember because the horrible cooking thing came back on TV. He went eventually to bed and I shut the shit down. But – I had a vague feeling of doom. The kind where there is either something you forgot to do that will get you fired or burn down your house or will kill you and your family if you don’t catch it. I sat up a few hours waiting for the hammer to strike (this happens sometimes, had happened a few times earlier in the week making me miss literal days of sleep) but there was nothing – so I drifted off again.

I woke at sometime o’clock early sunday morning with a vague tummyache. I’d fallen asleep on the chair in the livingroom with pants on, sometimes the waistband can make my tummy muscles ache if I don’t take em off before I go to sleep. I remedied this at once, and got worse and worse and worse. I am not going to get real graphic except to say I managed to contain the disaster to the powder room and managed to scream Pook awake to go get me some medicine (he was neither happy nor gracious about it, but he went rather than unwillingly sympathetically vomit too). That was yesterday morning. That was the only point this whole weekend wherein I was actually awake, and I wished I was dead. I spent the day alternately ‘purging’ and imbibing pepto and ginger ale to put out the inferno in my tract. The rest of my sandwich is in the trash.

We didn’t game yesterday – which pisses me off, even though it’s totally my fault. It was my sandwich. I didn’t have any more ‘instances’ after 8 o’clock, stayed good thereafter so I came to work. I’m not tired, so that part is good. I’m still a bit queasy, but nothing like earlier. I still like Valentines, even though this one was a bust. Maybe we can try Valentines this afternoon instead. I’m willing to give it a do over.

Technically

I am a Tech. 

I fix things. 

Computer things, electrical things, furniture, plumbing, toys, books, clothes, carpets, cars, roofs, doors, windows… if I can fix it,it’s not really broken.  It’s like a puzzle I must compulsively solve.  I like to help other people fix things too, even if it’s not something I know how to do.  Either you know how and you’ll teach me, or neither of us know and we’ll learn by doing.  Both are good for me.  Learning new things, fixing things – I get lots of satisfaction.  The best is when I get something that has been discarded as broken, something I need, and make it functional again.  It gets to do the fun things it likes to do, rather than brokenly rot. I have to be careful or I will fill my house with broken but easily fixable things I need and run out of time necessary to actually fix them.  I had to sit down and make a project calendar in order to finish what I have, and make a rule: ‘No more in until what I have is done.’  What I have is almost done!

I also like to make things. 

I have busy hands when I am nervous or anxious.  I occupy them by weaving, drawing, knitting, sewing, painting, carving, sculpting, origami, beading… whatever I have around becomes my project.  I’ll take apart an old magazine and fold the pages into strips and make a basket suitable to hold pencils and pens, or an old desk calendar woven into an unlikely set of not very useful but very curious slippers.  Discarded wrapping paper saved from birthdays and Christmas become ornamental dragons and stars and cranes.  There isn’t much on my desk, most of this I give away or I’d drown in it.  I like the making, and for the most part (but not always) I am not really attached to the finished product.  I take pride in my work, but if you like it and say so, most likely I will give it to you.  I can always make another one.  Unless I need it, then I’d help you make one, or make a different one for you.  I have been hand making gifts for my family members lately.  I ask, “What do you want for Christmas”, or “for your birthday” if they say “nothing” (as often is the case) – then it becomes a challenge to make them something they’ll like.  I am not always successful.  Here too I have lists of makeables instead of supplies in case a ‘busy hands’ frenzy overtakes me.  I do have some art/crafting supplies, but mostly I’ll be going about my day, see an old shirt and think – I could make an excellent tote bag out of that, or ya know, that ugly sweater could be reknitted into an assload of cutie cat toys, and scrunchies, and washcloths, and off I go.

I am not a very good cook.  My cooking is not that bad – it won’t kill you right away.  I can follow a recipe and get passable results, but I haven’t got the art of grabbing a bit of this and a chunk of that and making something awesome.  It usually turns out gray and mushy and bland. Or grey and mushy and too salty.  I will still eat it, but you’ll probably order a pizza instead.  I wouldn’t blame you.  I think I need more practice, more experience actually cooking.  My husband is really picky and extremely critical about food, so much so that I straight up quit cooking and let him do it his own damn self.  He would call my description harsh.  I think I am dead on.  That said, I can bake pretty well, though I don’t bake often. My baked goods are indeed good.

Since I have meandered into things I am bad at, I also sort of fail at ceramics.  I can sculpt with clay, but I haven’t the arm/hand strength for the potters wheel.  My cups and bowls are sad, deformed, and lopsided.  I try to fix them up a bit with outsized handles and spouts – so they lean to a more whimsical bent.  I like them, but I’ve gotten more than a few raised eyebrows at my Seussian pottery.  I also probably just need more practice here, more time at the wheel.  Possibly also need mushy-er clay.  It’s something to think about.

I used to be good at housekeeping, but I have gotten lax and angry about it.  I blame my husband, and my cats, but I mostly blame myself.  It is a question of motivation; it’s difficult to spend a hours/days fixing something that gets SO thoroughly trashed in minute.  Ugh.  Also difficult when you’re the only one interested in upkeep.  Double Ugh. Imma stop here but I could whine about this shit for days.  Should spend that time instead scrubbing the damn floor.  Again.

I have a yard and garden that I fight with my Mom about.  She wants to do my yard and gardenwork.  By do it, I mean she wants to put permanent berry bushes in my vegetable plot, get rid of the rabbit fencing, and mow the rest down.  She has her own garden, and her own yard, her yard is way bigger and her garden way smaller, but she’s obsessed with mine.  I like berries, don’t get me wrong, berries are good – but I don’t use that many berries, I don’t eat much jam, and letting them stay out there and get eaten by birds is just as bad as not weeding.  She is really very set in how things SHOULD be done and WHEN they should be done, and if you’re not doing it that way then you’re clearly a lazy idiot and get the hell out of the way.  I’d rather have vegetables, but I am not that great a weeder, and halfway through the season she will lose her shit and rip everything out of my garden, weeds, plants, onions, catnip whatever.  Crazy.  Last year I put in my garden without her and she was bewildered.  It’s hard work, tilling and planting, doing it alone is unthinkable.  She came after, pulling out last years shed stalks and flowers and branches and whatnot from my yard/flowerbeds and put it all into my garbage bin.  I wasn’t home, didn’t see it happen.  I only found out when I got the big fine from the city for putting yard waste into the municipal trash.  I also got a warning that my compost heap was too close to the house, which is a fire hazard.  Compost heap?  My trash bin was sealed shut with a big blaze orange sticker and an additional blaze orange flag was stuck into a huge refuse pile heaped against the garage wall.  I sat with my charcoal grill that day and had a tidy little fire fed with roots and sticks and woven knots of leaves and twigs until both the compost heap and trash bin were clear.  I kept the fire little and fed it bit by bit so as not to make a hazard of myself.  It’s amazing how little ash all that made.  The ash went back into the garden, and I had a talk with Mom about fines and boundaries.  She offered to pay, but no no, that’s not the point – I will pay the fine, but just don’t, okay?  Let me do it.  I love you, let me do it.  I am sure I will wake up to her at the back door with a shovel and a rake and an exasperated look on her face this Spring.  Maybe I can have the garden done before that.  I am going to experiment making seed tape out of toilet paper, to try to space out my seeds better.  I feel awful when I have to thin out the vegetables, why should they have to die for my inadequacy?  The vegetables want to live!  Also it ‘should’ help me make straight rows.  My rows have a bit of wiggle going on if you know what I mean.  I want them to be straight, but usually they aren’t. I also want to paper and mulch between the rows so I don’t have weedpocalypsemania like last year.  I tried once but the newspapers blew around too much.  Imma experiment with a gluestick  making long rows and multiple layers of newspaper so it doesn’t blow around so easily.    Though, the neighbors do find it a little amusing to see me chasing paper through the yards. Maybe I can seed some slow release fertilizer in between the plys?  Too ambitious?   It would weigh it down a little more and save me a step in the blazing heat of Summer.  I got a bunch of automatic watering equipment to set up too.  I am hoping for no weeding, no watering, all vegetables.  It is good to have goals.  I also have a tomato bed along the side of the Garage, outside the garden proper.  Tomatoes don’t need rabbit fencing, rabbits don’t eat tomatoes.  Tomatoes are HUGE plants that will take up much much space in your garden if you let them.  I put them outside, they’re easier to manage.