MCG To Do List: DONE!

All the furniture has been painted. All the touch ups are finished. The room is cleaned.  My house is back to relative normal. Everything is in place and I am DONE!

This was quite the project and parts were more work than I anticipated, but it is completed. I couldn’t be happier as everything turned out beautifully, even the wanna be king bed, which is a shock.

I wasn’t entirely sure the idea of connecting two twins to make a king would work all that well. I got a kit that allowed you to essentially tie the two mattresses together that had a “bridge” of padding for the small gap. I didn’t think that would really be good enough, that and these aren’t the best mattresses, so I also got a puffy mattress pad to go over the whole thing.

I also decided that since this was getting painted, I wanted to make certain it was secure and I rigged a way to attache the headboards and footboards together so there is no chance of them moving. It looks amazing and is really comfy, so it worked. We’ll have to see how well it holds up over time, but I now have a killer set up for a guest room later on down the line.

MCG is going to paint after she gets here and not everything is going to stay in these positions, but my part is mostly done other than helping her paint when she’s ready.

Now, I get a few days to not work on house stuff. I’ll be taking BG back to school shopping instead, but, knowing her, we won’t take long and I’ll have plenty of time to just chill out and not move for a little while.

Crunch Time: Countdown To MCG

I’ll be scarce for a while. I’m in major prep mode for MCG’s move.

The last several days I’ve:

Finished prepping the furniture for paint.
Painted the closet (so frickin’ glad I did, it was so nasty!)
Painted the ceiling where we had water get in.
Shampooed the carpet (again, so happy as it looks way cleaner.)
Am in the process of painting all that furniture.

I still have probably another day’s worth of painting left to do, then I have to set up all that furniture in approximately the places MCG is going to want it. It isn’t critical that I get it right as we will be moving it again pretty much right away because she is going to paint the walls when she gets here.

We talked about having me paint before she got here, but she really loves that kind of thing (is going to school to be an interior designer), so I’m just getting things ready so that is all she has to do to get her space ready. It’s probably good she is so excited about doing that because I’m going to be flat out burned out by the time she gets here, though I’ll be offering whatever assistance she wants or needs.

Thankfully, I’ll be able to get all of this done and have a couple of days to just chill before we have to go get her. I’m going to need a break after all of this, especially if I have any hope at all of having the motivation to finish my room after she gets settled in.

Vacation, Visiting, And More Work

This last week has been packed so full, I’ve hardly had a second to sit down.

Hubby took the week off, in part because this was our week for our visitors and partly to help me get some things done. So even though he has technically been on vacation, there has been no vacationing involved.

We finally got to meet MCG and her family. Considering we were first supposed to do that in March of 2020 and MC and MCG have been dating for over 5 years now, it has been a long time coming. Seeing the two of them together finally has been adorable. Sadly, they only had a little over a day together before she had to go back home, so now they are struggling with this gap of almost a month before she gets to move here. After finally getting to see each other outside of a computer screen, they aren’t loving having to go back to that for a while.

It was awesome to get to spend time with MCG’s family. With my history of families and in-laws, I was understandably a nervous wreck before they got here. I was worried it would be hard to get along with them, even though I’ve talked to MCG’s mom several times through text and FB. That kind of communication is always different than actually being in person.

Thankfully, it went really well. We all got along great and I can see that how we interact in the future will continue along those lines. It makes life miserable when the in-laws don’t get along at all, so it makes me happy for MC and MCG’s sake. I think it is amazing that both sides are so willing to make things as good for our kids as we can, especially with how unique their meeting and relationship has been.

I did work my butt of to try and get a huge portion of my craft room done before the visit, but putting the floor in kicked my butt. I had to take some time to recover from that before digging into all my preparation for the visit, so that took a slight backseat at the beginning of the week. It has also shifted my priorities knowing I have things that I have to do to be ready for MCG to move in at the end of July.

One of my biggest priorities at this point is to get everything to a point where we can finally get the cats access to the basement again. I hated them in the bedroom and the move to the laundry room for the visit (so MCG’s future room wouldn’t look and smell like a giant litter box), is awful. I do not want them to be in all the mess or the paint. So after some discussion with Hubby, we bumped up getting the rest of the floor in place in the rest of the basement (realized how horrible the dust gets from cutting that stuff when I did the floor in my room).

Unfortunately, to do that floor, I had to completely clear out that room. I didn’t want to move any of the bigger pieces into my room (like the white cabinet and the dresser) until the floor trim was in place. Hubby helped me with that on Wednesday, at least the critical areas. I still have a couple of places that need the 1/4 round, but I somehow didn’t calculate that right and ran out. Thankfully they are in non-critical areas.

The last couple of days, Hubby and I worked to move almost everything into my room, even if it is in a temporary location, to clear out the other room we are going to put the floor in. My room now looks a little like a junk pile, but again, most of that is temporary. I’ll clean it all up better and organize it when I can get things back into that other room as well.

It was a pain and a whole lot of puzzle fitting to get everything out of that space, but that room got completely emptied and cleaned out. We even had some help from BG on that one, giving us just enough time to get the underlayment down as well. We are now in a position to start laying floor on Monday, giving me another couple of days to recover from crawling all over the floor again today.

We even got the carpet ordered for the stairs and that should get installed in a few weeks. I still have that area to trim out, but that is one of the last things I’m doing before allowing the cats down as I have to take off my temporary door at that point.

The main goal is to get the cats access soon, so I can stop and work on getting MCG’s room ready. I have a ceiling and a closet to paint and I’m painting all the furniture in that room as well. She wants to participate in the painting of her walls when she gets here, so that will happen later.

I’m so close to the end of this project. All that’s really left to finish out my room is building and installing the last 5 doors, building and installing the drawers, finishing out the trim on the upper cabinets, putting in the corner shelves, and doing the peg board sections around my jewelry bench area. I think. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.

I never expected this project to take nearly this long. The deeper into it I get, the more of a toll it is taking on my poor old body. I think most every major joint in my body would be happy to be in a brace because it hurts. It has definitely triggered one hell of an episode with my tendonitis in both arms, which is a whole lot of fun. I’m having to force myself to take more breaks to heal from all the work. So while I’m close, there are just so many things left to do that I’m probably looking at two months or better before I can finally say I’m done.

Happily, Hubby and I will get to relax for the next two days and attempt to enjoy a little bit of his vacation before I force him back to work helping me.

Rolling With The Changes

It seems as though we are just past the edge of several major shifts around here.

MC has gotten and started his first job. So many things prevented this from happening before, but he is finally getting out and getting a taste of the real world. Of all the jobs he could have chosen, he is working in a small fast food restaurant because he has a friend there. It is so weird having to make plans around his work schedule now. Him going off to work is making it feel way more like he is growing up and becoming an independent adult than his first year of college ever did.

Since we are all vaccinated, he is also starting to get back out and socialize. Again, it feel so weird as he was never that kind of kid in the first place, but he is finding his feet and that is an amazing thing to watch. He has shown in so many ways what a considerate, respectful person he is by making the choices he has and why.

I had expected the late nights of waiting for my kids to get home from wherever to have happened when they were still younger teenagers and not almost 20. It is an interesting shift to have something you expected not happen, get used to that, and then have to reshift when it does happen much later on down the line.

Hubby returned to the office for the first time since March of last year. It is so very different in the house with him not home. His work is doing some odd things with going back right now. They are supposed to return to a semi-in-person basis with 3 days in person and 2 as work from home, but his department doesn’t have the space for that yet as they have revamped the offices for more distancing permanently. So for them, they are doing a rotation with the smaller groupings, having them in the office for 4 days every 5 or 6 weeks, at least until they can work out something different. He won’t be going back to a pre-pandemic “normal” work schedule at all.

That will take a little adjusting, but we’d both prefer as much work from home as possible. He has an ugly commute and he is much more productive when he can avoid that. Not to mention how much better it is for the environment to not have to burn through all that gas. It also doesn’t make a lot of sense to house him with his “team” as most of the work he does is with a variety of other groups and not that specific team. The whole thing is a little odd and will definitely take some getting used to.

BG has been going to the school several days every week to work with her calculus teacher. Not once have my kids ever done any kind of summer school thing, so, again, it is so weird to have her take off for school when she would normally be jumping in the pool. She also opted to take the summer ballet class since she is going to be an assistant this next year. For the first time ever, she has a busy, fully booked summer.

Between the 3 of them there are large chunks of some days when I’m the only person in the house again. I’ve gotten so used to having everyone around almost all the time, that the quiet takes some getting used to.

On top of all of that, my mind is trying like crazy to start addressing some of the things I need to do to get prepared for MCG moving in with us in August. It is going to be so different having a new person in the house. Her being here has become a near constant topic around here. We are all looking forward to seeing how she reacts to our particular brand of crazy.

Even though this is only June, if I had to pick a theme for this year, it would definitely be change. Most of it is the good, growing kind of changes. Though they also bring hints of bigger, future changes I’m not quite ready to start considering too deeply. Like MC being ready to get married and move out, or BG heading off to college in a year (if she doesn’t choose to stay local).

Thankfully, I have a goofy, wonderful Hubby that likes to recreate some of his more romantic gestures, like getting me a rose for every day he will be gone, except times 3. He makes all those changes so much more bearable.

 

Too Many Projects

I have had so little time over the last several days to get work done on my room. Instead, I’ve had to focus on getting some things around the house taken care of that have been a bit neglected. And it seems that every time I turn around there is something else that needs my attention and time.

Yesterday, I started the chore of finally getting the new garage door painted. Unfortunately, it is stupidly hot and humid out and there is only shade on that side of the house until about noon, so I only have a few hours to work each day. All I was able to get done was a single coat of paint on the main parts of the door. The second coat will go on today, then I have to do the pain in the butt trim, which will almost definitely need two coats as well. I’m looking at at least a couple more days before it is finished.

The plan was to work on the garage in the morning and the basement in the afternoon, but the heat zapped me and I had no energy for much. It isn’t helping that I’ve reached a stage where I feel like a permanent sore muscle and every single thing aches every day.

I’m also trying really hard to not spend time focusing on the massive list of projects I have yet to get done, some of which I’m on a deadline for as they are in preparation for MCG moving in this fall. There are way too many and I really need to keep my focus and attention on the basement right now, but I’m starting to stress about getting it all done.

The low energy and the extra distractions have just been killing any progress on my room. I’ve gotten the touch ups done on the installed cabinets and painted all but one of the beadboard panels so they are ready to become doors. That’s pretty much it and it’s annoying me that I’m behind where I want to be.

I’m hoping I can be more productive today than I have been, but I’m not holding out much hope. The heat has already hit the miserable mark today and I haven’t even started working yet.

 

And The Lights Go Out

My car and house kind of look like a glitter bomb went off. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get glitter cleaned up? Spoiler… you don’t. That stuff never goes away. I think I’ll be finding random glitter bits still hanging out 20 years from now. I will probably cry some nostalgic tears when I do, though.

I’m glad the chaos is over. I’m glad to be done going through thousands of photos. No seriously. I think I took over 3000 photos between all the shows I got to watch, because they opened up all the shows to whoever wanted to go after our city lifted most of it’s restrictions right before recital started.

BG danced on stage 38 times over 3 days. Saturday, she was at the venue for 13+ hours. She was rightfully slap happy by the time we got home that night.

Yesterday, I was supposed to just chill and relax, but ended up spending the entire day weeding through all the photos I’d taken. BG insisted on helping so she could give her stamp of approval on all the photos I shared with others, making the process feel like it took 10 times longer than it should have. I adore my girl, but she is damn picky. It’s a good thing I had a lot to choose from.

Her help was awesome, though. I can’t tell you how many times we laughed ourselves into tears. When you are snapping photos, you capture a single spark of a moment in time. That is sometimes a very awkward one that, when seen in motion, would never have been noticed in any way as weird. I managed to catch a whole lot of amazingly hilarious, but probably utterly embarrassing photos of BG and many of her fellow dancers. I always try to be considerate and not embarrass anyone in the photos I share, but it makes for some serious entertainment when trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

There were several photos that I thought were “absolutely must get” ones that I managed to grab. I also got one that I’ve been hoping to get for years. One with BG and her teachers and the studio owner. BG isn’t dancing in it, but it will probably be one of my all time favorites just because of who is in it with her.

As always, my girl rocked it. It was an awesome recital. I was nearly sick with nerves when her ballet dance that she had a tiny solo part in started because I knew she was nervous about messing it up. Of course, she didn’t. She did amazing, but that is what us parents do. We worry that our kids succeed, especially in the things that are important to them. I’m so proud of my girl because she continues to exceed even her own expectations.

I’m also a little sad because I know there is only one more of these for her. Next year is going to be really emotional and so hard. I’ve tried my damnedest to try and savor every moment this last week.

I’m utterly exhausted and spent. It’s going to be at least another day before I have the energy to get back to work on my room because of it. I wouldn’t miss it for the world, though. This proud, happy, tired momma is going to spend this day absolutely crashed. Hopefully, I’ll be back to a semblance of normal tomorrow and get caught up on reading everyone’s blogs, though I know it will be with all of BG’s dance songs still running through my head.

 

That Is Disappointing

So I attempted to watch the live stream of the recital last night since we weren’t allowed to attend those shows. I am still sitting here today wondering how a studio that seems to pride themselves on the concept of “if you are going to do it, then do it the absolute best you can” can have streamed what I attempted to watch and call it good.

I understand that there are limitations due to available equipment, because the really good stuff is going to be expensive. They are already spending a lot just to put this on in the first place with all the costumes and the venue rental and all the little things I’m sure I’m not even aware of, so I don’t fault them for not using top of the line equipment. I do wonder why they didn’t make arrangements for the videographer they already use to handle recording the shows for them, but there may be reasons. Still, using a standard cell phone in a venue that size is far from the best choice, but again, working within a framework of what you can, I get it.

What I don’t get and what had me itching to yank that phone out of someone’s hands and work the damn thing myself was the utter lack of any attempt to get even remotely decent quality out of what was being streamed. They were too far away to get any details of who was on stage and didn’t zoom in so you were left with about 30 percent of the screen being actual stage with the rest being audience and the walls surrounding the stage. They never even made an attempt to zoom in closer. Sure, you probably would have lost some quality, but at least you would have been able to see what was going on on stage.

Even that wouldn’t have been horrid, but when you are doing any video or photography in a very dark area and with a very bright subject area like this, you are asking to have your subject get completely washed out if you don’t try to balance out the lighting. That is what the stream ended up as light night.

The first show was a little better. You could see vague outlines of the dancers on stage, but no details at all, not even enough to be able to tell what the costumes looked like, not even the color. At least on that one, you could see individual dancers. The second show was so much worse and you ended up with an undulating blob of white in the middle of the stage and only very vague outlines around the edges. You couldn’t even really tell if you had 2 lines of dancers or 6. It was absolutely useless.

I think what blows my mind the most is that they saw these things (if they were paying even the tiniest bit of attention) and still did the stream. From what I could tell, they never once made an effort to correct any of these issues.

I was so hugely disappointed. Sure, for me because I wanted the chance to see BG doing as many of her dances as I could, even if I wasn’t there in person. But I was more upset because BG was so excited when she found out that my cousin and MCG and her grandpa wanted to watch her live and now they won’t be able to.

I know that every single staff member of this studio goes above and beyond to put on this show every year and they always do an outstanding job of it, creating this amazing, unique experience for the dancers. This is most likely just one thing too many for them to handle and I do understand that. I am disappointed and will express that here to get that out, but I’m not going to rake them through the coals over it because I know this is just a little extra they attempted to offer that just didn’t work out.

I’m definitely disappointed and sad that everyone can’t watch, though. I kind of wish they hadn’t even tried to give that as an option because it sucks to look forward to something and not have it work out.

Let The Beautiful Chaos Begin

This afternoon begins the first of the three days of recital chaos.

It is the one day that is going to be the most odd as I won’t be able to be at the venue at all today other than dropping off and picking up. That isn’t something that has ever happened before. Even last year with all the restrictions on audience size, we were still able to be there for the final show so we were there when BG was done for the night and just took her home.

Today, though, because of how they have set up the shows, none of them are “hers” even though she dances in every one of them, so we don’t get to attend as they are still keeping the audience size down. It is going to be interesting to try and time everything so we can get there in time to pick her up, but not have to drive around forever waiting for her to be finished. There is zero parking around there that isn’t paid, so getting there and parking to wait isn’t going to be an option.

Even though that is kind of a pain, it isn’t the main reason I don’t love this arrangement. I hate that I can’t be there to watch my girl dance. Even though I will see the same routines in her designated show, I still want to see her every time she is on stage. I hated that part of last year, but it feels worse this year with this odd night where I can’t be there at all.

It is going to be interesting to see how many of these changes the studio adopts for their future seasons once all the restrictions are lifted and things go back to some semblance of normal. I do like the fact they started doing “ticketed” seats. They don’t charge for tickets, but you still have your seat and don’t have to battle the groups that are massive and save 2 or 3 whole rows even though the studio explicitly tells everyone that isn’t allowed.

Them breaking the recital into 5 shows instead of just 2 should also help with the crowds and parking a bit, though once the capacity restrictions are gone, that may no longer be the case. There are a whole lot of people that show up to watch that don’t have a dancer in the show. Some are parents from other shows that want to watch the other grades. Others are people that used to dance at the studio and their friends and family. With the current restrictions, those people aren’t allowed in to ensure all the dancers’ families are able to attend.

The plan for us for tonight is to take BG and drop her off at the door (she most likely isn’t even letting me help her haul her costumes this time), then leave to come back and pick her up when it is over. Thankfully, they are live streaming it this year, so I might still be able to see at least a couple of her dances from home.

It is going to be a LONG couple of days!

PSA: Phishing Scam Via Blog Contact

I’m sharing this for all my blogging friends even though I’m sure you all probably don’t need the heads up. There is a current phishing scam going on at the moment that seems to be directed at blogs. I don’t know if this is aimed at photo blogs or just blogs in general.

The gist is that you get contacted via your contact page (or maybe even email if you have that published) saying that you have material on your site that is in violation of someone’s copyright. I’ve now seen this phrased in a number of ways, but the base goal is the same. To try and get you to freak out enough to click on the link to see the image or material in question to verify their claim.

Because that is the other part of this. They don’t actually tell you what, specifically, you have posted that violates their copyright. They only post a link to a supposed body of work or catalogue, not a notation of your own post or page that contains the offending piece. They expect you to click that link to investigate their complaint.

What makes it easy to overlook that little detail is the fact that they throw out the threat of a lawsuit. They aren’t asking for removal of the violating content. They jump to legal threats right out of the gate. The latest emails I’ve seen go so far as to swear, under penalty of perjury, that all statements in the email are true in an attempt to sound more official and legal. Which is funny, because not a word of it is, in fact, true. Or legal.

The reality is that the link they provide that is supposedly proof of the copyrighted material is part of a phishing scam. More than one of the emails I’ve gotten like this come from known scammers, though I’m seeing they are starting to diversify and new email addresses are being used that haven’t ended up on warning lists yet.

This is a particularly aggravating issue for me as copyright violations, especially with regards to photography and art, are one of my biggest peeves. I don’t know if these idiots are just targeting photographers, but it is really infuriating. The first one I got irritated me. I thought it was a mistake that someone really lazy made because of the lack of citation of the violating material, so I just ignored it figuring they would realize they somehow contacted me by mistake and would correct it when they didn’t hear back from me. It wasn’t until I got another and I dug a little, that I realized what was going on.

So, heads up to my fellow bloggers. Just ignore those emails as they are just people being your typical asshole. That is unless you really do post copyrighted materials without permission (pretty much any photo or art or body of writing that doesn’t explicitly state it is free to use, even then, you should question it if it doesn’t come directly from the creator) . Then, you need to do some serious blog cleaning and self reflection because you’re probably the asshole in that case.

I’ve currently removed my contact page because this is starting to become a problem on my blog as I’m getting a lot of these lately. If someone really needs to talk to me, there is this awesome feature called a comment. It’s fun and useful and forces me into some human interaction, even if it is just through a computer.

Oh, and if you really aren’t an asshole and do have permission to share copyrighted material, be an awesome human and note the author/artist/photographer/whatever. Even better when you link back to their work so others can find them and worship them accordingly.

New Plan

Is it a surprise to anyone that I’ve had to change my plans for this week? Anyone?

Yeah, I didn’t think  so.

We got our garage door replaced yesterday. I had kind of forgotten that it would come unpainted, but remembered at the last minute and scrambled to go get the paint I needed. Guess what I’m working on now?

It isn’t my craft room.

I spent a chunk of my day yesterdday getting some much needed running done for BG and to get the paint. The rest was spent up and down a ladder getting everything caulked up. Which was so not fun as we found that some of the trim around this door isn’t in great shape as it has a few too many soft spots. It really probably needs to be replaced, but we aren’t doing that at this point.

It most likely isn’t the only trim on the house in such a state, which is laughable as we were told, repeatedly, while the house was being built that this type of trim wouldn’t rot even if you left it unpainted. I want to do bodily harm to the people that built my house over all the things that are messed up with it. The trim issue is only one tiny reason I feel that way. Seeing this yesterday is just one more drop in the ocean of frustrations we’ve had with our builder, even 17 years later.

I had planned to get a few things done in my craft room this week before the true chaos of recital hits toward the end, but this door is taking a whole lot more time that I anticipated. Because it has wood trim on the steel panels, I have to caulk every single edge and seam, and there are a lot, before I can paint. Just the bit I did yesterday, going up and down the ladder, has me feeling it today. I really don’t want to have to attempt to haul a thousand pounds of costumes and shoes around while even my teeth ache, so I’m only going to finish up the caulking today and call it done until after recital.

As much of a pain as it is and with the extra work, I’m glad to finally have the new door, even unpainted. I hated seeing that gouge every time I stepped outside. Unfortunately, now that we know what a major pain it is to do anything with these doors, I’m going to be a nervous wreck every time the neighbor has his yard mowed.

Pictures, Recital, Dance!

Recital week is always hectic. Last year and this year, a little more chaotic than usual because of adjustments made due to covid. Pictures were only allowed for individuals and only by appointment. No group photos were taken because of occupancy limits in the studio.

That also meant that their usual set up of a small dressing room for dancers in the studio was not allowed, making me get creative about how BG changed between her costumes. I hung a few sheets around the back end of my car to give her privacy, but it didn’t make it easy. Trying to swap out of a costume in a cramped back car seat is not an easy task, even more so when trying to keep things like hair and make up neat, but it was definitely hilarious to hear BG struggle through it with her grunts and commentary and complaints and her own hysterical laughter at how ridiculous it was.

The studio is continuing their extended 5 show dress rehearsal and 5 show recital again this year. So, again, BG will be dancing a ridiculous amount of numbers. They did break up dress rehearsal across 2 nights this year instead of one, but recital is still in one day. That means she will be doing 38 dances over the course of 3 days. 19 of those in a single day over about 12 or 13 hours.

Those dances cover tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, and hip hop. Some are just repeats of the same routine in the different shows, but that is still 9 different routines that she has to memorize. That is a lot of choreography to retain. That doesn’t even touch on the pieces of the dances that she has worked on with the little kids she assists throughout the week.

That number also includes one performance where BG gets a tiny, but noticeable spotlight, something this studio almost never does and the few times they do, it is ALWAYS a senior. There will be a brief point where she will be standing front and center, by herself, while every other dancer on stage has dropped to the ground. It only lasts a few counts and she only has a few steps that she is doing alone, but it so unusual and a point where everyone will absolutely be looking at her, that is is kind of stressful. Probably way more for me than for her, though. She’s just fine. I’m going to be the nervous one.

The studio is also live streaming this year so family and friends that wouldn’t normally get to see this amazing event will get that chance, so there is some added pressure knowing that there may be a whole lot more people watching than previous years.

I look at all of this and am, yet again, amazed. A huge part of that is BG’s ability to pull all of that off and do it well in the process. I’m also a little in awe at the fact that she gets to do this and has this phenomenal experience with this studio. I’ve always thought that what they do is pretty unique, but when you see all the pieces as they start to come together: the routines, the costumes, the backdrops, the programs, all the pieces you’d expect to see in a professional stage performance, it really drives home how lucky all these kids are to get this experience.

There will be another day or two of calm before the storm that is recital. Even that calm is deceptive because part of that time is going to be spent packing up and organizing all those costumes, shoes, accessories, and “might need just in case” things always get packed.

It also includes an emergency shopping trip this morning to get a desperately needed adjustment for one of those costumes that we didn’t realize we needed until she went for pictures yesterday (and not the first year I’ve had to do a last minute run like that).

Come late Saturday night, my car will be covered in glitter, I will be sad and relieved that another year of dance is done, and BG will be utterly exhausted but still bouncing around on an adrenaline high and unable to sit still and won’t go to bed until hours after we get home.

I will also be doing my damnedest to avoid thinking about the fact that this year is the next to last one ever. I will try not to cry when I see the seniors tear up and start hugging on each other at the end of their final performance of the night, knowing that next year I’m going to be a basket case when that is BG.

I will also be constantly reminding myself that it’s okay to put the camera down every once in a while. I don’t need every single step recorded. It’s okay to miss a shot in exchange for watching the whole stage (though I adore watching BG’s face through the camera lens as she dances).

There are always performances that I look forward to the most, but this year it seems like it is every single one. Unlike last year that had all kind of snags and costumes that failed to arrive on time, everything fell into place beautifully this year. The costumes are stunning (that doesn’t always happen) and the dances are even better.

It is all going to be amazing and worth all the stress and chaos and exhaustion. It always is.

Just Enjoying

There has been no work done on my craft room the last few days. There were things that desperately needed to get done and Hubby wanted to spoil me a bit, so I took a bit of a break.

Hubby and I both had our 2nd vaccine shot scheduled for Thursday morning, so I suggested he just take the day off so we could go car shopping for MC. We have managed to hold off as long as possible on actually buying another car, but both of our kids are most likely going to be working over the summer and them having to try and share or have one of us take them and drop them off was going to be awful. We might be able to get away with it over the summer if we really twisted ourselves in knots, but there would be absolutely no choice come fall when they were both back in school, in person, so we decided to at least start looking.

We lucked out and found a pretty awesome deal on an 8 year old car that was in near pristine condition and relatively low miles for the age, so MC got his first car on Thursday. One he no longer has to share with BG and there is no longer any need to attempt to coordinate who gets the car and who is getting driven where. It is kind of a relief for everyone. BG is ecstatic that she actually gets to drive to dance again and MC is being quietly happy.

Yesterday, I heard back from BG’s school about her AP calculus class. This has been something of a problem this last semester. I’ve been in talks with a district superintendent at the school about the program they moved her to for second semester that turned out to be something of a disaster. After a lot of phone calls and one very unhappy superintendent (yes, the program ended up being that problematic), we finally have the problems resolved and BG will get to sort of redo second semester with her old calculus teacher on a one on basis over the summer to get her credit and not have this impact her GPA.

I may complain that our school district hasn’t been the best about a lot of things over the years, sometimes even downright crappy enough to earn the tag phrase of “a bunch of drunken monkeys” from me, but they have bent over backwards and gone above and beyond to fix this issue for BG even though part of the problem fell squarely on her shoulders. Even with her part in this, I’m so relieved to see that our district isn’t willing to accept such a low level of quality when it comes to the educational programs they offer and are more than willing to help BG through this.

She is lucky that her previous teacher absolutely adored her and was willing to take the time this summer to work with her. She is lucky she has this chance to fix things. This has been a harsh lesson for her with regards to learning to ask for help when you need it, but she has learned that she has enough anxiety issues that things will snowball on her if she doesn’t. So after much stress and worry, things are worked out and she is going to get through one of the most hellacious parts of her entire school experience with only some emotional and self confidence bruises.

Hubby also took off yesterday so he could spend the day spoiling me. Mother’s day on Sunday is for the kids. He wanted a day for himself so he picked Friday. I’ve now gotten breakfast in bed two days in a row. Yesterday we went and got me some flowers for my pots and some for the flower beds. Flowers that I’ll be out planting today.

He also converted a nook in our bedroom to a mini, private movie theater. He moved our big TV, DVD player and sound system and we spent the night just watching movies that we wanted to watch that the kids weren’t interested in. It was so nice and relaxing and cozy.

There will be no craft room work again today because of said flower planting. There will be no work tomorrow, either. Both because of Mother’s day and because I’ll be spending a chunk of that day with my car turned into a dressing room for quick costume changes so BG can get her dance pictures done. While it may be a bit of chaos, it is always such a fun day.

I will only have a couple of work days next week because it is recital week and a HUGE chunk of my time will be dedicated to either prepping for recital, taking BG to and from her shows (the ones we don’t get to attend), or attending her shows. Again, tons of chaos and stress, but also an absolutely amazing time. Considering this is her second to last year for dance, I’m going to be enjoying every single second of that chaos.

It has been a really amazing couple of days. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy a few more.

Well… Okay Then

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.

Fauci Ouchie Time and Recital Season

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.

 

It’s Been A Day

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.

Garage Door Gouge
Garage Door Gouge

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.

Final Stain Color Sample
Final Stain Color Sample

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.

Set Up For Cutting Cabinet Materials
Set Up For Cutting Cabinet Materials

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.

Birthday #2 for An Unexpected Turn

Today is the 2nd anniversary of me clicking that publish button for An Unexpected Turn.

I cannot believe it has been two years. I STILL cannot believe I actually wrote a book. You’d think that after two years, it would have finally sunk in and settled into a solid fact in my head, but it really hasn’t.

If you want to help me celebrate, feel free to go grab yourself a copy or tell someone else about it!

Color Series: Green Day 1 (Happy Spring!)

I chose green for my next color. Mostly because I’m hoping I start seeing a lot more of it soon since we are now at the beginning of spring.

I’m definitely hoping that spring brings with it some new growth and positive change. I definitely need some of that at the moment.

We discovered some water spots on the upstairs ceiling last night. Enough that it was obvious we had quite a bit of water get in through the roof (most likely) in the last storm. We’ve had the occasional spot here and there, always after a heavy snow and then melt, and were told this is common that when that snow freezes, it pushes back up into the shingles and then comes in under them when it melts. These new spots are not that.

At this point, I have no clue what this means. If this is just going to be a minor repair or something more major like a whole new roof. Either way, it isn’t going to be fun and I’m not looking forward to the expense.

I went out this morning to have a look and took some pictures. There isn’t anything obvious, so I’m leaning towards a repair, but I also saw some potential problems, again, on our chimney. You have no idea how tempted I’m am to just have someone rip that sucker down to the ground and rebuild it. It has been a problem since day one and I’m so sick of it causing problems.

So, in an effort to find some positive, I’m going to kick off this green series and hope for the best.

For anyone that wants to play along, my only suggestions (suggestions, not rules!) are:

The color is the dominate focus in the image as opposed to a small spot in a lot of other colors.

Drop a comment so I can follow along on your color journey.

That’s it! I hope you play along and have some fun!

Color Series

Yesterday, my cousin inspired me when she posted something that prompted her friends to post a photo with a certain color. It was one of those things where, if you participate, you were given a color to pass on to others kind of thing. It got me thinking and I decided I wanted to do a series of posts based on color themes.

I’ve been struggling to come up with photos to share lately because my time has been so heavily focus on the basement that I haven’t had much time to step out with my camera. That and we are still on the edge of spring, so the colors haven’t started popping yet.

After thinking about it, I’ve decided I want to keep it in the same vein I normally share photos, with one photo a day. So I’ll be posting a color of the week with a new photo each day that fits that color theme. The majority of photos will most likely be older photos, but I’ll try to throw in a new one here and there.

The concept just sounded really interesting and fun when I started thinking about it. I thought it would be even more fun if I could manage to get some of my photographer friends (or even non-photographers if they want to play along!) to join in and see if they could come up with a week’s worth of photos based on a color prompt.

I think I’ll post my first one either Saturday or Sunday. If you want to play along, I’ll post some suggestions (I’m not a huge fan of rules, so we’ll just go with suggestions) with the first color post of each week.

I’m also going to take color suggestions. What should my first color be? Be as specific or as generic as you want, ie: purple vs. lavender, and I’ll see if I can pull off a week of photos with that color.

First Storm Of The Season

Last night we got our first thunderstorm of the season and it was a weird one.

As usual, we get all kinds of wind and a little lightning. The weird part is that this line of storms was really narrow. We got a downpour and some hail, which lasted less than 5 minutes and then it was gone. While weird, I didn’t think much of it until Hubby pointed out that the houses behind us had piles of what looked like snow at the base of all the downspouts.

We haven’t had snow for a while and we hit nearly 80 yesterday. Turns out, it wasn’t snow.

We got enough hail in that less than 5 minutes, of which the hail portion lasted maybe one minute, to create rather large piles of slightly larger than pea sized hail that ran down and out the downspouts off the roof. The fact that they are all still there this morning is kind of shocking.

Hailstones
Hailstones

Craft Room Project: Recessed Area Design

I never realized how incredibly difficult it would be to design cabinet interiors when you are starting at square one and can do anything you want within the confines of the space you have to work with, so that whole process is going a bit slower than I’d like.

I did have a realization, though. The very first piece that needs to be done is the recessed area that is going to go above my jewelry bench. There will be no way to work on that if I have other cabinets in place, at least not easily because the cabinets would be in the way.

One of the problems with that space is that the final measurements didn’t actually come out as I’d planned and the pieces I’d planned to put there wouldn’t work because they were too deep and would hang out of the space, so the entire design had to be reworked. I spent days looking at all kinds of things, storage boxes and organizers along with all the stuff I needed to find homes for, trying to give me an idea of what direction I wanted to take it.

I think I have finally settled on a plan. It isn’t anything at all like the original, which was just open shelves that would hold existing storage boxes and bins. Now, it is going to end up looking more like an apothecary cabinet instead, something I’ve always really loved the idea of.

Recessed Area Design Layout
Recessed Area Design Layout

This plan works in a few of my existing, but smaller, storage boxes (ones that were supposed to go into a shelf space that has since been removed from the plans), some of my newer fabric sided bins, and a couple of different sized new drawer areas that will be used as a combination of storage for existing stuff and as working “project boxes” where I can keep the various different pieces of current projects contained and stored when I’m not actively working.

Grey Fabric Sided Storage Bin
Grey Fabric Sided Storage Bin

The design also leaves the upper section open as a shelf. I haven’t decided exactly how I want to use that space, but it has to be for things I don’t need often.

There were a couple of issues with this space that made it a challenge to design. One is that it is above my jewelry bench, which is one of the deeper countertops, making my ability to reach this space interesting. I could most likely grab the drawers while standing on the ground easily enough, but anything above that is going to need a step ladder (so much fun being short!) That makes accessing some of these places inconvenient.

The other issue is how messy this area is going to get. Anytime I work on a piece of jewelry that requires polishing or grinding, a ton of really nasty black dust gets kicked out everywhere, so all of those places really need to be enclosed as best as I can to keep the dust out. That is the biggest reasons why the drawers work best in that space. I might even have to seriously considering doing something like adding a large roller blind or something similar that I can drop over the area when I’m doing those kinds of projects to help cut down on that and the open space at the top would give me the room to go that route.

There are still a couple of details I need to work out, like what kind of pulls I’m going to need for the drawers and some of the finer measurement details to make it all fit exactly the way it should, but I’m pretty sure this is the final design.

Now I just have to pull off actually building it!

I think it’s finally time for a materials run.

Bright Center

Yesterday, I got the new filters installed, which made me happy. It made me even happier that they were the easiest plumbing project I’ve ever done. I had them both in and working in about 20 minutes.

I learned in my research yesterday that I can use the same underlayment I’m going to use for my floor under my cabinets to protect them from any moisture that might seep through the concrete. That means I don’t need an additional material that I don’t already have since I have enough to cover the entire space.

Craft Room Overview Layout
Craft Room Overview Layout

One adjustment to my cabinet plans that I’d been tossing around was to change my plans for the the “L” section that came back into the room (lower 36 x 72 section pictured above). The original plan was to have this built with a base cabinet and counter top like the rest of the space. Since this is in the middle of the room and sits in the open space to the rest of the basement, I was concerned that it might interfere with moving things around either in the basement or in and out of the storage space under the stairs since it narrowed down the space.

I finally decided that the best option is to make that section into a large, moveable work table instead. I’ll lose some cabinet space, but it makes the space a lot more versatile. This way we can move the table out of the way if we need to and open the area up for anything larger to get through the space (like the couch that is currently in the basement).

My concern about doing that was matching the table height to the counter height so that I had a consistent workspace all around. The solution is to get the table built first and then build the cabinets to match that height. I can do that since I’m building these cabinets from scratch and they won’t have to be standard, which they weren’t going to be anyway.

I then also had to actually build a table base. I already have the top, but no real place to start to build the base. If I was going to do a table, I’d want decent looking legs and not just square blocks. I found a place that makes the entire base in a kit form and you can customize it with the kind of legs you want, the measurements of the overhang and the table top size it needs to fit. After a lot of debate over the cost and eliminating any potential options I had here, I decided to go that route and have a base on the way.

It will take a bit to get here, so that gives me time to go through the rest of my plans to see if any other adjustments are going to need to be made. With the problem solved of what I need to do for the cabinets against the concrete and the decision on the table made, that is the last piece I need to resolve before I actually start getting all the wood I need to start building.

That and I still have to decide if I need to do something to level out the concrete before I can do any of those things.

I also have my inspection scheduled for tomorrow morning, so all fingers and toes are getting crossed that I actually pass this time.