Author… Artist… Amateur Photographer… Book Reviewer… Mom
Author: TJ Fox
I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.
I was scheduled to get my vaccine today. I was originally set to get the Johnson & Johnson one, but after the CDC and FDA recommended a pause because of potential clotting issues, my state has canceled all J&J appointments.
So, I won’t be getting the one and done but, thankfully, I was able to get a different one scheduled for later this week so I’m not delayed too much. After seeing the news this morning, I’m not too upset that I have to get stabbed twice instead of just once.
On another positive news front, the roofers were out to inspect our roof yesterday to try and figure out why we had water come in. Turns out that the water we got wasn’t from rain, but from condensation in the duct work from high humidity settings freezing during our insanely cold snap that then melting and dripped onto our ceiling.
Apparently you should turn off your furnace humidifier when you are going to see below zero temps to avoid this. I did not know that was even a possibility.
So instead of worrying that we were going to have to need the roof replaced (apparently ours is still in really good shape, so not even a concern for the near future), I just have to repaint the ceiling. I will take a little paint over a new roof at this point.
Considering our insurance is going to fork over a few thousand dollars to replace both of our garage doors because of the mower fiasco, I’m grateful to not have to have a second claim right now.
While things feel a little crazy right now, it seems to be a good news kind of crazy. I’m good with that.
Almost everyone in this house will have gotten their first shot by the end of the week and I’m SO relieved! MC got his first on Friday though the university. BG has an appointment for Monday for her first and I go on Tuesday for my one and only. Hubby has an event at work towards the end of the month, but may try to get an appointment closer to home sooner than that.
All of this is awesome news for this house for a number of reasons. The first is that we are entering into what I call recital season for BG. She is starting multitude of events that happen around this time in preparation for her dance recital. All the extra rehearsals, costume days, pictures, and of course, the recital itself.
As stressed as I was doing the recital last year, it is a massive relief to know that we will all have our vaccines before the big event this year. And my girl doesn’t have to show what an incredibly strong willed person she is by being the only one willing to wear a mask on stage. I know she is thrilled by that. Masks will still be required off stage, same as last year, but she will actually feel comfortable ditching it for onstage this year.
Recital season also means my schedule just got really packed. While she can get herself to the majority of her classes and rehearsals, I’m tied to my computer so I can record the live streams so she can use the videos for practice. Considering she will be in the studio for herself at least 4 times a week, that is a lot of time I’m pulled away from my craft room. Things might get interesting on that progress front for a while.
The other big deal is that we will finally be safe to meet up with MC’s girl and her family. This one has been a LONG time coming as they were supposed to finally get to meet up so MC could take her to her prom last year, but of course Covid happened. We’ve had to be extra careful because MCG’s sister is extremely high risk and we all wanted to make sure she stayed safe so all plans got canceled and no effort had been made to make them up until now.
They will be coming this way on their way to their vacation in early summer so MC and MCG can spend at least a little time together. We get to steal her this fall as she’s coming here for college, but this gives them a little time to ease into that considering it will be the first time they have actually met in person. It’s about time after almost 5 years. I absolutely love how very different their high school sweethearts story is and that they finally get this chance.
While there will still be precautions taken, everything will be a whole lot less stressful once we all get those shots. With mine, I may still get sick as it is only 65% effective against preventing it, but it is 100% effective at keeping what you may get on the mild side and keeping you out of the hospital. I also only have to get the one, so I will be fully protected sooner.
As much as I despise needles, I’m actually pretty excited to get jabbed with this one.
Today was productive and I’m really pleased with these so far.
I have 2 cabinets as done as they can get before they are painted and mounted to the walls. Both have pieces that don’t get attached until they are on the wall, so those have to wait. I have the pieces cut for, them, though.
I’m just a little bit floored. These are all straight. They sit level. All the edges are within a light sanding tolerance and even that is only in a couple of places. I half expected these to be slightly off kilter as I had some issues with the drawers for the recessed space, but that isn’t the case with these. Possibly because I’m working with larger pieces and those not completely straight boards can be pulled into square a little easier than you could on the smaller drawers.
Whatever it is, seeing these go together so nicely is making me absolutely giddy.
Another trip to get the pieces for the cabinet I forgot to plan for is in order before I can start the next piece. The plan is to run out either tonight or tomorrow morning, so hopefully it doesn’t delay me too much.
Do you see how utterly nasty my walls are at the moment? Everything in my basement is covered in sawdust. I have a feeling I’ll be cleaning sawdust off of everything for years to come. I’m not even going to show you how horrible the recessed area looks right now.
It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t change things up, yet again. I don’t think I can get through this project without at least another dozen changes.
This time, it’s really just changing my order/process going forward. The first plan when I was getting ready to start the cabinets was to paint all the pieces first. I decided that there was too much material that would end up in the scrap pile for me to do that, so I shifted my plans to cut first, then paint.
Today I decided I still didn’t like that idea, so I’m changing it again. A big reason for that is I really wasn’t thrilled with the fact that I thought I was ready to paint, cleaned up all the dust, only to realize I’d forgotten to cut a piece. Then it was that I realized I still needed to sand everything, after cleaning up a second time.
So I said forget it. The cutting, sanding and building process will be a non-stop mess and I really don’t want to screw up the paint on the finished cabinets. That and the cabinets have to be set on the underlayment that covers the entire floor before I can mount them and I really don’t want a paint mess on that.
Instead, I plan to get everything built and ready to install before I do any painting. That way I can just paint all the cabinets at once. It will be a little harder because it means doing some edging, but I think it will be the better option overall.
There is a very real possibility as well that my messier parts will have to move to the garage soon as some of these get built because I’m going to run out of space to work.
Between the changes, a few mistakes I had to fix (I’m frustrating the hell out of myself with my scatter brain that makes me forget things I really shouldn’t), all I managed to get accomplished today was the base corner cabinet. Even that isn’t completely done as I still have the wall side to build, but I have to work that around the access opening and I ran out of time today.
For a really simple start to the cabinets, this turned out pretty decent so far. The fact that it sits square has me giddy. I’ll have to make a supply run before I can get started tomorrow because I somehow forgot even more than I thought I had yesterday.
Really, it would be more accurate to say it has been several days of “one of those days.”
I think I mentioned before that we’d had water come in one of the bedrooms from the roof. I finally got around to calling insurance about that and set that ball into motion. That was prompted because I needed to call them about ANOTHER issue.
That issue is thanks to the landscaper/mower that our neighbor hired to mow his lawn. Guy somehow managed to mow over the access for the water shut off, something that is covered by what looks like a mini manhole cover. A nice solid chunk of metal. Instead of it damaging the mower, the mower apparently managed to shattered that sucker.
The result was pieces went flying and one managed to slam into our garage door, leaving about a 3 1/2 inch gouge behind.
We have custom doors because our builder screwed up when framing the foundation and made the opening on one of them too small and a standard door wouldn’t fit. This is already a problem for replacement or fixing, but it turns out that these doors aren’t made any more so we can’t even get a replacement panel. These are metal with a foam core, so it isn’t like you can just patch that. We have to replace the entire door.
The custom design adds a massive cost (something we only paid a small difference for originally because the initial problem was the builder’s fault) and we are looking at a couple thousand dollar repair. All because some jackwad ran a riding mower over a metal manhole cover instead of going around it.
While there is a chance our insurance can get either the mower’s or the neighbor’s insurance to pay for this, I’m not optimistic. I doubt the mower has any kind of insurance (doesn’t look like he was from a company) and the neighbor is apparently having financial problems and is why he is finally bothering to fix up a property he has been renting out for the last 10 or so years. It’s probably going to come down to everyone putting the blame on someone else and no one taking responsibility. And that’s why our insurance company is involved.
I’m immensely grateful that neither of my kids were heading out to the car at the time or that no little kids were outside playing at the time because someone could have been killed. That isn’t an exaggeration. That chunk of metal is really heavy and could have done so much more than damaging our garage door. I’m shocked that the mower had the power to throw it as hard as it did.
I’m pretty sure it narrowly missed slamming into the back window of the kid’s car. Granted, that probably would have been a cheaper fix.
I have to talk to the adjuster and see what they are willing to cover or not on this. Considering we still have the issue with the roof to deal with and the cost for the rest of my materials for my basement, this is going to be a VERY costly year. Seems par for the course for us as our air conditioner went out just a few weeks after we had our windows replaced a couple of years ago.
Joys of home ownership.
On the craft room front. I have my stain color down. FINALLY!! The color in the photo is WAY off. This is a much cooler gray than what it looks like here.
The larger piece in the above photo is a floor piece. The smaller piece is my sample. I still have to do a top coat, but I’ll work that one out later. I think I’m going with a clear poly, so it shouldn’t change it much. Even if it does a little, it should still work.
Today, I started cutting the pieces for the lower, back wall cabinets.
Trying to get these much larger pieces cut has been a bit of a pain, but I pulled it off with a little help on the biggest pieces. So far, I have the pieces cut for the corner cabinet and the first shelving section.
I realized when cutting the pieces for the shelf that I somehow missed adding the pieces for the second section to my layout, so I goofed that one. Thankfully, they are all smaller pieces, so I’m just going to get a smaller sheet or two of plywood for those instead of dealing with another huge one.
For now, I’m going to work on painting what I have cut and getting those put together before I move on to the next segment.
I’ve lost count of the number of test samples I’ve done of various different processes, formulas and layers using combos of 5 different stain colors trying to get the stain color I want for my counters. This is just a portion of the ones I’ve done so far trying to get a color that works with the sample block of my flooring in the lower left of the photo.
And I’ve decided I’m going in the wrong direction. All of these are too dark and allow too much of the yellow tones in the wood to come through and I just don’t like any of them.
So I have now added 2 different stain colors and have started the whole process over again.
Wood stain is really kind of horrible. First, you don’t have these nice swatches spread out in rainbow fashion for you to choose from like you do with paint. With wood stain, that is almost an impossible thing to do because different types of wood take stain differently. Even the same type of wood can present a wide range of colors using the same stain because wood isn’t uniform and stain soaks in, showing the various shades and lines of the grain, instead of just sitting on top like paint.
The other really obnoxious part about stain? Or one of them anyway. Manufacturers only provide the smaller containers of stain in the most basic, common colors. The slightly different or less common colors only come in the larger cans, which aren’t cheap at all, so buying a bunch to run tests to get the right color can end up costing a decent chunk of change and leave you with a bunch of stain you will never end up using making it not only expensive, but wasteful as well.
That doesn’t even go into all the other pieces to the puzzle, like how the color will change when you add your top coat or varnish to the mix or how obnoxious clean up is depending on the type of stain. Oh, and the smell. Holy hell, the smell!! I’ve already made my vent fan installation well worth the expense just because of the stain alone.
So, as much as I really wanted to get started on the paint-and-wait dance with my cabinets, I’m still messing with stain today. The good news is, my first test of my new colors seems to look like it is going in the direction I want it to, much better than all the other colors I’ve messed with so far combined. Fingers and toes crossed that it dries as nicely as it went on and that my sealant doesn’t change up the color too much.
I got my first round of cabinet materials hauled home today. I’m still messing with the stain color because I cannot seem to even get close to the color I want, but I’ll need to put it all aside to start the paint-and-wait dance on the new stuff tomorrow.
While I was waiting on one of my test coats to dry, I got to thinking about the future value of this space. Now, I have zero intention of leaving this house until someone hauls my immobile carcass out the door or when I simply cannot safely handle the steps anymore (and I’ve seriously thought about solutions to that specific problem as well), but it is still something I think about and try to take into consideration when I do any projects that change the house. We’ve done a couple of things over the years that will somewhat limit options for future owners, so adding something so different has been a little uncomfortable for me.
This project is such a specialized space, someone looking to buy this house may be put off by a space that doesn’t work for their needs, which may limit potential interest. It dawned on me today, though, that with a little work, someone could turn that space into a second kitchen, an elaborate bar area, or take it a step further and turn the basement into an apartment/mother-in-law’s space kind of thing.
Basically, I just realized that even though it is a rather specialized space that only a kindred spirit would light up over having, it is still a space that non-kindreds could find appealing if they are willing to do a little work. The realization that I may not be limiting that pool as much as I thought makes me feel a little bit better about making such a unique addition to the house.
This last week has been one long, drawn out headache.
I have had to make so many tweaks and adjustments to my plans to make everything work and then have to turn around and do something different again, because I realize I either did it wrong or that I was doing my damnedest to make something that should be easy, excruciatingly hard. All just to get the designs on paper so I could work up a materials list.
After several more days of putting together the impossible puzzle of each single piece of cabinet into a layout that could tell me how much of each type of material I needed, I managed to put together a materials list. It was MASSIVE.
I was so stressed and discouraged because I had zero clue how I was going to get all of it home. After talking with Hubby and doing even more shifting of plans and measuring vehicles, researching delivery options or renting another truck, we finally had a plan that would work.
We head out to get the first round (because of course there was no way all I needed was at a single store or was able to get in a single trip), and the very first item on my list crumbled all my plans to dust.
This is an example of plans on paper vs. reality are very different. The idea of a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of 3/4 inch plywood isn’t all that daunting. Reality is that it is massive and heavy and unwieldy in the extreme. Especially if you aren’t a body builder. Even with plans to have the store do some initial cuts to make it possible for me to get it all home didn’t seem very realistic and I immediately dreaded the thought of having to work with it all on my own or even with a little help from Hubby was too much.
We got a handful of other things on my list, but abandoned those pieces so I could go home and try and rework my plans. Again.
We’d seen some smaller “project panel” sheets of the same material and thought I’d be able to go that route. By the time I finished replanning all the pieces, I realized that was yet another impossible option. I’d need more than what was available in the entire city and it would cost more than double what I’d spend if I’d just gotten the bigger sheets. Considering this is already expensive, I really wasn’t willing to go there.
I’m now back to the original plan, but still not sure how I’m going to be able to pull it all off. Those sheets are crazy heavy and I need 15 of those suckers.
The current plan is to go back on Monday when it isn’t crazy busy so I don’t feel bad about monopolizing an employee’s time to cut all those sheets down and either rent a truck or arrange to have them delivered. I haven’t a clue where I’m going to put it all when it gets here or how exactly I’m going to manage to get them all cut down to the sizes and pieces I need.
I’m so frustrated that all of this has taken so long and that I’m STILL not starting on these cabinets. Especially because the bulk of this will still have to be painted before I can do anything.