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.

 

 

Carnation In Black & White

Well, we have a nice new working shutoff for our waterline and no filter.

The no filter bothers me as I haven’t used water without a filter (a really heavy duty one no less) for over 22 years when I got a notice from the town I lived in that we had extremely high levels of a pesticide in our water and that we’d had those high levels for over a year. That was when I learned that there are ranges of what is acceptable in your water and times when they have to notify you when those levels are too high and that those points aren’t always soon enough for you to do something about it. Those regulations don’t always make since. I found out about those levels when OC was still a baby and realized I’d been drinking that water while I’d been pregnant and mixing their formula with that water for over a year.

So a filter is a absolute must in my house as I just don’t trust what comes in through my pipes.

The problem is that when we got our whole house filter, they pulled all the things from the water that I was looking for, specifically things like the pesticides. Now, almost all of those don’t work the same anymore. The only ones that really do are the under sink kinds, though I have no idea why there is such a difference. Considering the cost differences between the two, you’d think the whole house filters would do the better job, but that isn’t the case.

I had to do some research on what to get as a replacement as almost all of the under sink filters require their on faucet and my counter in the kitchen can’t handle another faucet. I did finally find one that just connects into the waterlines and goes directly to your existing faucet, but I had to get one for both the hot and the cold.

While those are going to do the job, I’m going to really miss not having to think about where I get the water in the house to drink. Cooking is kind of obvious as I would only ever use the kitchen faucet, but we have a waterline in the fridge too that isn’t being filtered. Our fridge has the filter option, but we don’t have a filter for it as it wasn’t needed. The filters for those aren’t as good as what I’d like, so I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about that one. As of right now, I’ve irritated the hell out of Hubby as I’ve locked out the water option forcing him to use the filter pitcher I got for MC to take to the dorm with him, but have temporarily stolen back.

My new filters won’t be here for another day or two and it is so weird having to stop and think about what I’m doing every time I go to use the water. I’m going to really miss the whole house filter, but it will also be nice to not have to worry about a repeat with another unit in the basement.

Well. Okay Then.

I cannot decide if someone really hates me and is sending some seriously evil curse vibes or I’ve got a massive number of lucky stars shining down on me. Maybe it is a bit of both. It kind of feels like I’m the cartoon character that just barely avoids getting hit by a bus because they tripped and fell into a mud puddle.

I had managed to get all the doors and door trim painted yesterday. It seemed to all go amazingly well. The doors covered beautifully and didn’t require too many layers. The trim was almost as good, but still came out looking nice.

Of course, to paint the doors I had to take them off their hinges so I could get to the edges. The problem came when I went to hang them back up. Both of the two new doors would get one or two of the hinges to line up, but the third simply would not no matter what I did or how I positioned them. I didn’t really pay attention when I took them off as to which ones went in which spots, but they should have all been identical. I did keep each door’s hinges separate, but not the individual ones for each door. These apparently needed to go back exactly how they came off.

After a really annoying game of musical hinges, I finally got both doors hung and the door nobs temporarily in place to make sure everything lined up and worked before I did anything else, but one of the doors is now catching the door frame at the top. It works, but not the way it really should. I’ll still need to fix that and paint the inside of the doors, which I can do with them hanging, but it was a huge relief to get that part done. Technically, I should be able to get inspected now.

The wild, cursed/lucky part of the day came about 30 minutes after I got done hanging the last door. If you look at the photo closely, you will see the 3rd door set up in the cat room. That’s were I painted that one as I didn’t have the space to lay it out in the new room and I wanted to get all 3 done at the same time.

I had been standing in that spot, painting that door and then getting it hung back up so close to where disaster hit that it isn’t even funny. Because right above where that door was chilling out waiting for the paint to dry is our whole house water filter. Or, that is where it was at the time I was painting. It’s no longer there because it broke off. The base shot off and slammed into the concrete floor and shattered. Because it is connected to the water line, you can guess what that also meant.

Water everywhere.

It was a huge mess and nearly everything in that room got wet.

It was completely awful, but I cannot help but look at all the things that could have gone wrong with it but didn’t. It could have happened later when we were all in bed asleep and not even known it broke and water would have flooded the basement, including doing major damage to my new space.

As it was, Hubby was working in his office on a major software upgrade for work and heard it. He doesn’t work often on weekends and definitely not that late, so it is such a freak thing that he heard it when it broke and was able to get downstairs and turn the water off right away. Because he was able to get to it immediately, we were able to avoid any water getting to the new walls. We were within inches, but we were able to stop it from getting too far.

The cat boxes are normally just under where this fell, but were upstairs because I was painting and didn’t want the cats in the way. So many things could have happened if they’d been there. The mess alone would have been horrendous with the kitty litter and water combo. Then you have the chance that one of the cats had been in there at the time. I just don’t even want to think about it.

I’m now ridiculously grateful for all the headaches and delays I’ve had on this project because if I’d been even close to where I thought I’d be by now, the floor would have been down. While we did keep the water away from the walls, it still got into that space where flooring would have been and I’m not certain the water wouldn’t have done major damage to it. Even worse would have been having to pull up flooring AND take out cabinets to do it.

Then you add in the fact that I was standing right underneath that sucker just a short time before it broke is kind of terrifying. It came off with all the force of the water pressure in the line and it is hard plastic. I don’t even want to think what kind of damage it could have done.

So very many things could have happened with this. Yes, it was a horrible mess and a couple of cardboard boxes are probably ruined. Yes, we are going to have an ugly plumbing bill because we have to get someone out today to fix it all. Our main shut off is dripping (because of course it is!) and we can’t get our water back on full yet because of that and what is left of the broken filter needs to be removed entirely (which will require some pipe replacement). But… it could have been massively worse with so much damage. I’m going to be thanking those lucky stars profusely for a very long time.

 

Craft Room Project: A Whole Lotta Nope

Were you betting that I wouldn’t pass inspection? Well, you won that bet.

Why didn’t I pass?

Because I didn’t have the outlet overs, vent covers, doorknobs and main light fixture installed. You know, all those things I held off on because of the inspection since I wasn’t given even a clue what exactly they were inspecting.

Because of course the idiots that made this stupid appointment couldn’t check with me to see if those things were actually done before they made the frickin’ appointment in the first place and wasted even more of my time.

This means I’m STILL not done with these assholes. Since they were the ones to pull the permit, they have to make the appointment so I have to go through them when it is time to reinspect.

Ugh!

Thankfully, it is all mostly minor stuff, but stuff I’m not doing until I paint (I have no time constraints to get this done on someone else’s schedule, thank goodness!) so, while incredibly frustrating and annoying, nothing huge. All that just means that I’m working on cleaning up the walls and starting to paint today.

Oh, and that sound you hear? It is my head smacking into the wall repeatedly. Don’t worry. I’ll fix it if I manage to punch a hole through it. The wall. Not my head. That sucker is too damn hard for me to manage punching a hole through it.

Craft Room Project: Not Much, But…

It took me 2 days and two full coats of paint, including edging everything twice (because my sprayer never did work) and used almost every drop I had, but my ceiling is painted and my small lights are up.

This was a reminder that I’m used to painting walls that already have a decent coat of paint and it doesn’t take nearly as much paint because the walls don’t soak it up as much as when they are unpainted like this. I’m going to have to seriously consider getting another gallon of my wall color as I really don’t know if I’m going to have enough.

This doesn’t show a noticeable amount of progress, but it is a MASSIVE relief to have it done. Rolling a textured ceiling is kind of a nightmare and incredibly difficult to get covered completely.

It’s one more step checked off as done, though. Now I need to get the idiots to agree they are done for good and I can work on the next step. The walls!

Craft Room Project: Color Pallete

I realized that I hadn’t shared my specific color pallete for this project. I thought that since I’m getting started on painting today it would be a good day to do that.

The creamy white, which looks more white than the creamy color it shows here once is is on a larger surface and from a distance, is the color my cabinets are going to be. The sagey gray-green is going on the walls and the gray wood is the floor (again, the color is a little off and it really is a little more gray).

It was seeing this color and floor combination in a random photo that popped up on my FB feed a while ago that really kick started the more specific plans for this room. Until then, I didn’t have a direction I wanted to go, so hadn’t been making any kind of progress. It figures that what I needed to get it going was some color.

I’ll be covering and taping off the lights and spraying the ceiling today. It is going to be a straight up basic white to help keep the room bright. My goal is to get that done, get the small lights in place so they aren’t hanging anymore and then to start on any fixing/repairs that need to be done on the walls and doors today. How much I get done really depends on how many issues I find and how much work it is going to take to fix them.

And as I sit here writing this, I just realized that I’ve got a huge problem I need to try and solve. I have no way to block my cats from this room unless I lock them in another room again, which they did NOT appreciate. When I go to paint the cabinets and to some extent the walls, they are going to need to be out of there until the paint dries. I don’t want cat fur embedded in my paint and I REALLY don’t want to have to figure out how to get paint off a cat.

It is my hope that I can get the painting done so that I can start on the floor by the end of the weekend. I’m apparently going to have to spend some of that time brainstorming what to do with the furry monsters.

Watercolor Edges

I have SO much to do and get before I can dig in and get started on painting my room. There is a lot more clean up that is going to need to be done than I realized yesterday.

I’d been fully prepared to to whatever touch ups needed to be done on the drywall and maybe a little on the new trim around the doors, but what I ended up with? It’s kind of a disaster.

The new doors had a couple of decent sized nicks in it that I’m going to need to fill and/or sand down. They aren’t huge or horrific, but they really shouldn’t be there if they are brand new doors. With that and all the scuffs (which are easily covered in paint, but still), they kind of look like they came out of the returns/scratch and dent section.

The door they moved, they did the one thing I REALLY didn’t want them to do and that is put up the old trim. I know for a fact that is nearly impossible to remove old trim without doing major damage or out right breaking it. A couple of pieces, they did break and had to replace. The others are just a huge mess with small chunks missing, some large, uneven cracks or gouges.

Guess which side of the door they installed the nice, clean, new trim? It wasn’t on the finished room side. They put the absolute worst trim pieces on the craft room side of the door. Yeah, there were a whole lot of brains going on there.

I was just going to try and repair it, but I decided I’m not. I’m not wasting hours and hours of time just to have it still look like I repaired it. Been there and done that when my house was built and I hated it. Not doing it again. That means I have to pull off the old trim, hope I don’t do more damage to the actual door frame (which has a few problems of its own) or to the new dry wall and replace it with new. Seeing how many new holes are in that trim, they nailed it up tight, so that is going to be interesting.

Now that I’m about ready to paint, I realized there are things I need that I don’t have. Because I want to spray as much of this as I can, I’m going to need to block areas that shouldn’t get painted, including the brand new opening that no longer has a door.

I also desperately need a new ladder. Our existing one is really not safe any more because it is so wobbly. With the plastic sheeting, trim, and all kinds of other little things, I’ve got a massive list of stuff I need to go get.

My plan is to give my neck another day to finish loosening up and spend that day doing whatever running I need to do to get those things picked up. If I can get everything I need today, I should be able to at least prep for painting the ceiling tomorrow.

Even with all of that occupying my brain, today has been so amazingly peaceful. I was able to sleep knowing I didn’t have to be up early only to have those people not show up when they said. I don’t have to worry about what kind of mess I might have to clean up in my bathroom. I no longer have ugly paper and plastic on my wood entry floor or on my carpet (which they didn’t remove, BG and I did when I realized it later in the afternoon yestereday). It is also phenomenally wonderful to not have to sit around my own house with a mask on all day.

I have so much work ahead of me, but I’m so excited to get started.

 

Out Of Commission

Oh, the joys of coughing! In the past, I’ve had my abs get messed up from all the coughing. I’ve either torn or strained a muscle in my back (while I was 8 months pregnant no less) that made it nearly impossible to move without tears. I’ve been just utterly worn out from it. But I’ve NEVER jacked my neck up. Until now.

I’ve felt better and had more range of motion after a car wreck. So, I’m going to be over here trying not to cry or move my head even a fraction of an inch and hope like hell the guy shows up and gets done and out of here really quickly today.

Then I’m going to enjoy that today is a brand new day with a whole lot to look forward to because the infected boil poisoning this country has been removed. Finally.

Craft Room Project: STILL Not Done

The start of this day had me seriously wondering if I was going to need bail money and a lawyer because murder was sounding pretty good. (Okay, no. I’m not REALLY that vicious, but the thought did cross my mind)

As is par for the course with this company, the electrician didn’t show up at the time I was told and was about a hour past that. He shows up, sans mask, that he didn’t put on for most of the day. At one point, I’m close to him and talking to him about the lights, wearing MY mask, and he has the nuts to back up a step and ask ME if I have Covid. Are you seriously shitting me?

He takes one look at the lights I have and runs into the first cluster of the day.

Why?

Because the guy that did all the wiring (not the actual electrician) put boxes in for the new fixtures and those boxes don’t work with those fixtures. Even though I provided him with the fixture and told him that I thought they were supposed to be installed directly into the drywall and didn’t need a box. But, nope. He said that a box was required, so he installed them anyway.

This is such a HUGE problem because those boxes are mounted to the joists in the ceiling and wrapped in drywall. It isn’t an easy thing to change without potentially doing major damage to drywall that is already sprayed with texture for the ceiling.

Let me tell you I was absolutely fucking livid. I made it VERY clear I was unhappy. The scenarios of what would be required to fix it that were running through my head were not pretty.

We talked options. The electrician talked to the main guy at the company. At one point, the main guy said we may just have to go with some LED’s that they had on hand. I pretty much said hell no. I did a shit ton of work to make sure my lighting, one of the most important aspects of this space, was done exactly right. I wasn’t going to half ass it because of someone else’s incompetence.

I provided these lights way ahead of time. It isn’t my fault that your guys didn’t actually take the time to pull these out of their boxes or look at their installation instructions. I don’t think the main guy was too jazzed with me, and I overheard a couple of things while the electrician was on the phone that let me know he thought the fault was mine. Yeah, not happening.

It took some figuring out, but they decided to cut the boxes out to be able to install these the way they were supposed to. Grudgingly, but they did it. The lights are hanging in the photo because that is how I told them to leave them since I still have to paint and they have temperature adjustments on them I need to make (not 100% sure how warm or cool I want them) and I don’t want to keep popping them in and out.

When the guys showed up to do the doors, it brought up another couple of things that pissed me the hell off today. Crawling in on the heals of the lighting issue, that was not a good thing at all.

First was when the guy told me that he has the doors, but they didn’t get door knobs.

Why, you ask?

Because they didn’t know what I’d want.

Um… are you shitting me?

I was not once, in this entire 2 month nightmare asked what kind of hardware or knobs I wanted on the new doors. I just assumed they do the same thing with them that they did with the doors and go with what we already had. Apparently not. It is also apparent that actually asking me what I wanted and presenting choices or telling me I needed to get my own was too much for them.

Did I mention that the hardware for the doors is actually in my bid and is something that I’m supposed to be paying for?

It is then brought up, in a weird side way like he was trying to confirm it, that I’d be moving the existing door myself.

No. No fucking way. Not happening.

Moving the door is something I’d talked to this guy about several times throughout this whole thing, so he KNEW it was something they were supposed to be doing so why in the hell was he trying to pawn it off on me? He even jokingly said that if I could build the cabinets I should have no problem moving the door.

I again, quite bluntly, said they were supposed to be moving the door. Again, it got done rather grudgingly.

Because of the amount of time it took to cut out the lighting boxes, the electrician didn’t get finished today and will be back to set the electrical outlets in place tomorrow. I mean that is ALL he apparently has left and there are, what? 6? 7? It would have taken him maybe another half an hour, but no. I have to be up early for him to show up late and have yet another asshole in my house that apparently thinks the masks are stupid.

He said he was done with the light fixtures, but when I went down there after he left, he hadn’t done the closet.

And I can’t find that fixture. I set it out with the others when he showed up. We even dug through the trash bag that was left behind and it is nowhere to be found. I’m pretty sure the guy thought it was one of their temporary fixtures and took it with him. It was just the crappy bare bulb fixture that was in place before I put up my new light, but it was ours and it was supposed to get installed. So, yes. I’m pissed about that, too.

I also apparently don’t get paint ready trim on the doors either, but I no longer give one single crap. At this point, I’d rather do it myself and make sure it is done right than have them here even a single day more. I’ll be filling holes and caulking and cleaning that all up on my own before I paint.

I was told when I spoke to the main guy the other day that they would go through my “punch list” of things that needed to be done or fixed up, like any drywall issues, but I’m thinking that isn’t going to happen either. The electrician will most likely come out and do his little thing and be gone and I won’t see anyone from this company again.

No, I’m not joking about any of this and it isn’t some horror book I’m working on (still missing the dead body, though that was a close call today), though I really wish I could have come up with a plot line this screwed up, but I seriously doubt I’d get any positive reviews because it would be so utterly unbelievable. Seriously! You cannot make up how shitty this has all been.

You know the ONE thing that has consistently happened on time? Getting an invoice in my email. This mess isn’t even done yet, and they didn’t even hesitate to send off the last one.

In an attempt to find something positive in all of this, there isn’t much other than knowing that they SHOULD be done tomorrow and I won’t ever have to deal with these incompetent assholes again.