Craft Supply Pack Rat

I’ve been both lazy and productive lately. After finishing my room, I started checking a few other things off my bigger to do list while taking some break days in between.

Finally, after months of it sitting unfinished and ugly, my garage door is completely painted. It no longer looks like we are under constant construction around here. That was a huge “need to get this done” item off my list. Most everything else is “do it when I feel like it” and doesn’t have the kind of time related pressure that the garage door was pushing.

I’ve started lining my recessed area drawers in felt, which looks awesome and does exactly what I want it to. I’ve also finally figured out what I’m going to be storing in a lot of those. All my jewelry pieces that I made, but never sold. I’ll eventually get around to listing them somewhere, but I like to keep things organized and those little drawers are perfect for that.

One of the side projects I got dragged into was helping BG come up with her Halloween costume plans. Because of course she is doing things that require she have more than one. Thankfully, all are relatively basic since she wants them for dance but still has to actually dance in them. Besides tossing around ideas, that didn’t need much work from me except for one. I’ll be posting more about what I worked on soon, but am holding off to not accidentally give it away before she gets to wear it.

Of course, I took more time off after that as I’m trying really hard not to burn myself out with too may things now that I finally have the time to sit and breathe. Sadly, my inner creative demon isn’t letting me rest for long.

Today I decided to start trying to go through my yarn and get it organized into the storage containers I bought for them. Turns out, I WAY underestimated the amount of yarn I have and I don’t have nearly enough containers. I’m probably going to need to slightly rethink how I want to store and organize what is left, which means I will need to get more and/or different containers.

Not that any of this entirely surprises me because that yarn isn’t the only thing I’m needing to get organize and have space for. I did build an entire room so that I had the space to play with all that stuff I have. I’m worried that even after I get that closet built that is supposed to hold all those other things that don’t go into my cabinets, it isn’t going to be enough to store everything.

I might have a teeny problem letting go of anything that is even remotely art or creative related. If I think I can use it in a project, even if I don’t know what that project my be, it sticks around and probably multiplies when I’m not looking. I seriously doubt I’ll be allowed to build an entire room just for storage. My Hubby just might find his patience and support limit if I try.

Reusing A Little Fun

Since we decided to no longer do the garage for Halloween and last year was a huge no go because of Covid, all of my decorations sat unused last year. What I had been using in the garage doesn’t translate all that well to general decorating and all the other pieces I used to put out are mostly old, faded, and not in all that great of shape.

I also wasn’t much in the mood to spend hours putting up a bunch of stuff I wasn’t all that jazzed about. I told the kids to go though stuff and do what they wanted with it. Considering MCG is huge on that kind of thing, I thought they’d have a blast with it. Apparently not as I still really don’t have anything up.

In an effort to kick start something, I started pulling everything out to see what I did still like and try and do something with it. We are still on the fence of even trying to open the door to trick-or-treaters this year. We got so few the last year I did the garage, it really doesn’t seem worth it, so I’m not putting a whole lot of effort into it all.

As I started pulling stuff out, a few things sparked an idea. I had SO much stuff I’d never really use as it was, but would be perfect if I put them together into a wreath for my front door.

I love the idea of wreaths, but have hesitated just because they would take up so much space to store and I really didn’t want to have to find more space for more stuff. Making one with all the stuff I already had on hand, seemed like a perfect idea. It didn’t bring in a bunch of new stuff I had to find room for later and it kept me from having to either toss it or donate it.

Halloween Wreath
Halloween Wreath

For a quick and dirty toss together project, it works. Mostly. Since we have a glass storm door, it gets a little squashed, but maybe that will keep it from falling off as I just have it on a sticky hook for now. There are tons of things I would have done differently if I’d made this with all new things, so the final look isn’t quite what I’d typically go with, but I still like it.

I think I might have to do something similar come Christmas as I have WAY too many things that never see the light of day that would make a really fun wreath, though I might need a better base frame that what this one has. I either have to figure out a way to build one, or cave and get one, which I’d rather not do. Still, it will be fun to try.

And yes, I got to play in my new room while I worked on this. It is officially christened with a crap ton of glitter thanks to that white ribbon. Glitter that I may now never see the end of.

Going With The Flow

I’ve been quiet on here lately. Mostly because I really haven’t had much to say, but also because my brain is in a weird place.

I’m having a lot of really good moments I want to squee about and not so good ones I want to whine about. When I think about coming here and posting, I manage to talk myself out of it for one reason or another. Instead, I’ll just focus on working on my doors when I can (it is stupidly hot in the garage and I can only get in an hour or two of work at a time) or I bury my nose in a book and get lost in a story all while doing a lot of navel gazing on the side.

I feel like I’m on the edge of a major shift in my life right now. Yes, a lot of that is because my youngest, BG, is going through her senior year. Some of it is because of how different things are now that MCG is here and some of the emotions that is dredging up with those changes. There are also the signs that I’m physically shifting into a different phase as well (yay being female, NOT).

Maybe it’s because there is just so much, I can’t separate it out into post sized pieces or decide which piece to focus on when there are so many. I’m just not finding many words lately. For now, I’m going to sit back and see where this part of the ride takes me and hopefully I’ll find my words again along the way.

Switching It Up

I have, yet again, moved my work area to a new location.

After putting in the last transition piece for the flooring, I am no longer really able to keep working in the basement when it comes to building. That means moving all the rest of my tools out of the area.

This is both an awesome thing and a kind of crappy thing.

The awesome part is that the mess is pretty much done in the basement. I won’t have any more sawdust to clean up down there and I don’t have to worry about it spreading to every single nook and cranny, of which I now have WAY too many. All the tools being out of the space allowed me to do some much needed cleaning and I was able to put the new cover on the couch so that it no longer looks like hell because of the cats. Granted, it still has to be covered in a drop cloth when not in use because of those same cats, but it is usable again.

The crappy part? It’s SO hot in the garage!

Yes, we are quickly approaching fall, but this year, we have stayed warmer for much longer than we’ve had the last several years. And the garage acts like a furnace on most days. This limits the amount of time I can work because there is only so much of that heat I can tolerate.

Still, I’m thrilled that the mess is now confined to the one space in the house that can really handle that kind of mess without being a massive pain. It may take me a little longer to finish than I’d hoped, but that seems to be in line with every single other bit of this project.

I have one of the 6 doors built and ready to paint (pretty sure I said 5 before, but I apparently can’t count) and another one is ready to be built, but I realized that one needs to be painted first because it has a clear plexiglass front. I still have all the pieces to cut for the remaining 4.

The drawer front panels have been glued and are ready to cut and trim out. I got my custom electrical cover cut, shaped and fitted the other day, so it is ready for paint and to be installed.

These should be the final pieces to finish off the main part of the room. I still have a few side projects that are part of this overall project, like the closet and refinishing the dresser, but those I am putting aside as later projects so that I can focus on doing something different creatively for a while after I finish this first part.

Slowly but surely, I’m chipping away at my final to do list.

Brief Project Break

The office swap and repaint is done.

I’m exhausted.

I started the whole thing on Saturday and just finished putting the last things away last night. That is a whole lot of painting and moving of furniture and shampooing of carpets in that time. I’m going to take a small break today and be lazy before I head back down to my room to try and finally finish that one off.

I would really, really like to be done with all of these huge projects for a while. It feels like I will have remodeled or repainted my entire house by the time I’m done with it all.

That said, the rooms look stunning (sorry, no photos this time). Hubby is thrilled with his new office space and my new den (still haven’t fully decided what to call that room) is absolutely wonderful. Considering the kids are starting to wander down to play video games on the TV in the living room now that MCG is in the room where the games used to live, I’m definitely going to need the quiet space to be able to go read.

Today, I’m going  to sit in the quiet of the house as it is the last day for a while that no one else is home and just be an absolute slug. And keep my fingers cross that my stupid brain doesn’t decide to use that time to come up with any other brilliant ideas.

Last First Day

Today is one of those life milestones that you can’t decide to be happy about or cry about, but always feels like a mess of both.

It is BG’s first day of her senior year.

Her last first day of school.

It is even harder because she is my baby. The last one to do this. You’d think it would be easier the 3rd time around, but it so isn’t.

It is already hard, but toss in the fact that she is also in person for the first time in a year and a half and the fact that doing online isn’t even a choice this year even though kids are being way more impacted by Delta than the first time around and it is also really stressful to see her drive off.

None of that stress is relieved by the fact that even though it is her first day of school, her schedule is still a ridiculous mess because our district cannot manage to actually figure out a decent process to get these kids in the classes they asked for without them having to jump through a million hoops and going round in circles with the counselors. They have two days of basically BS assemblies and activities before actual classes start, so she still has a tiny cushion, but there is every possibility that she will not get it smoothed out until much later in the week.

Senior year is always a big deal. BG has watched how chaotic and so far from normal for it has been for the last two years of seniors and she really wants this one to be normal, but it most likely isn’t going to be.

She also has a challenging year of classes ahead of her if she can end up with all the classes she asked for. Even though she had a hellacious time in calculus last year, her summer going over it one on one with her teacher convinced her to take the second one. That alone will be extremely hard, but she has a couple of other college level classes she is taking as well.

I’m so proud of her for not letting the rough patch trip her up. I’m proud of her for getting back into it and reaching for more. With school and all she will be doing with dance this year, it is going to be her hardest one yet. I know she is more than capable. I still worry. That’s kind of my job.

Yes, she will still get that first day of college, but that is different. The end of high school is the end of an entire, huge phase of her life, so having her go off today for her last first day is full of joy and sadness and worry and pride.

Today I’ll be hiding out in my room, working on my drawers and trying to just let the day wash over me.

Craft Room Project: Getting To Play A Bit

I took a couple of days to shift my focus in my new space to doing a little decorating. From the time this project started, I had been tossing around different ideas and plans for what I wanted on the walls that weren’t going to have cabinets on them. I’d been itching to get those done the second the walls were completely painted, but just couldn’t work in the time until now.

Let me tell you, it was WAY harder to pick which photos I wanted to print and hang on the walls. There are so many I’ve taken over the years that I love that it was extremely hard to narrow it down. And when I say narrow down, I still printed over a dozen to put in frames.

I was a little surprised at a few of the ones I chose to print, though. I’ve definitely had some favorites over the years, so some were obvious choices. Some of the others? Not so obvious.

The one above is kind of a surprise. It was when I took it and how much I liked it because, in general, it isn’t a great photo. It is actually a bit of a mistake as I had all my settings wrong on my camera. It is over exposed and slightly out of focus, but those are the things that give it such an interesting feel. I’m actually a little lucky I was able to hang it on the wall at all because BG kept threatening to steal it as it is one of her favorites. Again, surprising because of what it is.

The stairs going to the basement are now lined in photos and the wall where I’m putting the dresser that still needs to be finished has both photos and a painting I did hanging on it.

My plan is to hang a few more of my pieces on a couple of other walls, but I ran out of what I needed to get those hung up. I also have a couple of smaller frames that will sit on my shelves in the corner that I plan to put photos of the kids when I can get around to printing more.

Having all these walls covered in my photos and art has brought my space another huge step towards being completely finished. It now feels so warm and cozy. The stair area looks so much more inviting now as well.

I’d like to get or build a little table for the landing at some point to finish that space off, but that is a much later future project. One that I may be lucky to get to, especially if I can’t figure out why my table saw is suddenly not cutting right. *sigh*

I’m now, finally, working on building my drawers. It would be absolutely amazing if that process went smoothly, but, you know me and my superpower. That probably won’t happen.

At least I can be frustrated in a gorgeous space!

 

I Knew, But…

I was wary of putting any piece of finishing off my room on hold, knowing it might be hard to get back the motivation and drive to finish, but I thought I’d still be able to pull it off. It is proving WAY harder than I anticipated.

It probably doesn’t help that I have so many things I still need and want to do that aren’t yet another endless piece to working on my room. It also doesn’t help that one of the things that needs to get finished off are these stupid transition pieces on the floor and they are proving to be just as big of a pain in the ass as almost every other single thing I’ve done in the space.

When I went to attach my first one I realized that it doesn’t actually work well with our floor as our floor is too tall. I never expected that. Because of that, it doesn’t snap into the piece that you bolt to the floor. I’m now having to try and get creative and find another way to make it work. I’m definitely going to have a love hate relationship with this flooring by the time it is all said and done.

I did manage to get the final wonky floor piece cut and installed. It was in a weird place around a door frame. The first one I did was off and I ended up with a small gap in an awkward place that wouldn’t get covered by trim, so I had to do it differently. I’d put it off and avoided it like crazy, but I couldn’t avoid it as it had to be done before the transitions. Shockingly, it went in pretty easily. Maybe it was all the rest of the flooring mess I had to deal with since I first attempted that piece that made it easier?

I didn’t do much more today than figure out the transitions were going to be a nightmare and cut that final floor piece. I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to start anything else. I really do need to finish those transitions before I can finish my doors and drawers because I need to move all the rest of my tools up to the garage for that and I can’t do that until those pieces are in.

Hopefully, I’m just in a mood today and tomorrow will be better.

Checking Off That To Do List

The last several days have been hectic. There have been so many different things I’ve been dealing with or trying to get done, it has been a kind of musical chairs of tasks and trying to shift everything in a way to actually get any of it done.

My room is completely finished except for the last 5 doors and building the drawers. I’ve spent the last several days working on another project with a deadline, but I’ve done it in that space. Can I tell you how utterly blissful it is to actually work in there now? I have almost everything moved in and put where I want it outside of what will need to go in the closet (I’m counting that as a separate project from the room itself as it still needs to be finished out with shelves).

Just being able to work and find what I needed in a place I knew it was without having to dig through bins to find it or shuffle things all over the place because there wasn’t room for everything was the most wonderful feeling. I have a feeling I’m going to be living in my new room for the foreseeable future. I won’t be posting more photos until I have it entirely done, doors and drawers and all, but it is everything I’d hoped for and more.

That project I’ve been working on is making another massive pile of masks. BG will be needing a bunch since she will be in person at school this year (which is a whole other rant/post as online isn’t even being discussed as an option right now even though the situation is more dire for the younger group now than it was a year ago) and she will be at her dance studio for at least a couple more days a week this year. I also wanted to get another one or two for myself and one to give to MCG with the school logo on it like I did for MC since she will be doing student ambassador things as part of her scholarship. In all I’ve made another 36 masks. It took me several days, but that was me having to work around all the other things that needed to get done.

My new stove finally got delivered yesterday. After all the craziness and headaches and complications, it was a ridiculously easy and problem free event. It showed up in perfect condition. No dents. No issues with hooking it up. No issues hauling off the old one. The damn thing works. And it looks really nice. It was such a relief to finally have that stress over and done with.

Now, I just have to relearn how to cook. It may seem like a joke, but it also kind of isn’t. An electric cook top is different than gas in several ways and I have to learn how to make adjustments in how I cook to work with those differences. I also have to learn the temperature settings for each burner. Not only are they different than gas, but they are different than any other electric I’ve used in the past (well over 17 years ago).

Then I have to get used to the new oven. Each oven cooks a little differently. Most are close enough that it doesn’t really matter, but everyone that spends any time cooking at all learns the little quirks of how their ovens work and how to cook to make use of those quirks. I have no clue what kinds of quirks I’m going to run into. AND I have to learn it for 2 because this is a double oven (which I cannot wait to play around with when I need to bake a cake or do huge batches of cookies or thanksgiving dinner!!) and each one is most likely going to be just a little different. I did see in my owner’s manual that there is the ability to tweak your oven temp settings if you think it cooks “too hot” or “a little cool” so you can fit it a bit better to what you are used to, which was really interesting to discover.

Just having that done has been such a weight off. I’m so done with all the BS that went with this. I’ll  take the learning curve and a few slightly overdone, crispy fried eggs until I can get it all figured out, even if it kind of sucks to feel like I can’t cook well right now.

Yesterday, I also started my massive senior photo project for BG. She very much loved how I did things with MC, where I did several shoots throughout the year. She really likes the idea of having a bunch of seasonal photos as part of her final package, so we will be doing a lot of both casual outdoor shots and nicer, studio style shots. We did an initial round of studio style shots yesterday, getting us off to a very good start. So much so, I’m worried about having enough space for them all on my computer by the time it is done.

While I had my backdrop and lighting set up, I offered to do a shoot with MC and MCG. They never got their prom because of Covid, which means they never got prom photos. Hell, with they way they met and how their relationship has progressed, they’ve only really had one kind of crappy snapshot of them together at all. So, they both got all prettied up in their prom finery and we did some really fun shots of them. Finally!

I still have to go through all the photos from both shoots and do some editing, but I think I got quite a few really good ones. It was awesome to get those checked off my list.

This week kicks off back to school for MC and MCG. Things are going to get simultaneously really busy, but also really quiet at the same time. It’s only another week and BG will be off as well. It is all going to be so strange. I’ve had BG home for a year and a half and MC was mostly home for that same year and a half. There are even going to be weeks when Hubby has to go work in the office again and those days are going to be complete silence around here.

I guess it’s good in a way that even though I’ve checked so much off that to do list that the list is still massive and I’m going to have plenty of things to keep me occupied.

My Superpower

I’m pretty sure after the last several months that my super power is being able to get into unique, problematic, complicated, and convoluted situations when things really should be simple and straight forward. I’d much rather have my husband’s superpower of being able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

My lovely stove situation? You knew I couldn’t possibly be done, right?

Our electrician comes out today to unhook our old stove and connect that wire into an outlet so we can plug in our new stove. He asked about the specs of the new stove, just to make sure he installs the correct outlet set up. I pull up the specs from the vendor’s website and lo and behold! The stove I picked out? It’s not standard!!

Even weirder? It has an amp rating that our guy had never seen in a stove and would require a whole new wire and breaker. Even then, he wasn’t certain that there was an outlet that would work with that amp level. The norm for most stoves is 40. 50 isn’t unheard of, but not exactly common. This one? Over 60.

In talking with the guy, he said that if it actually ran at that, when you ran all the different parts of your stove at the same time, you’d probably start tripping your breaker.

No where in any of the reviews I read did I run across tripping breakers or issues with electrical or hook up as a problem. When we bought our unit, the salesperson only talked about the different types of hook up we might have and the type of cord needed to make it work with those hook ups, none of which were outside of any kind of a normal range.

We spent a lot of time discussing options and different scenarios. This guy was absolutely floored by the situation as he’d never seen anything like it (shockingly, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard those words from someone’s mouth that was here to do work on some thing or another) even though he’s been doing this kind of thing for years.

I even got on the phone with the vendor and they pulled up the owner’s manual to see if there was anything in there that indicated we needed to do something as extensive as it was looking like we needed to do to get this to work. Everything pointed to standard cords and outlets. She even said that they’d never heard of any issues and didn’t know about this needing something specific for hook up even though the amps were clearly stated on the specs page on their website.

We finally settled on just installing an outlet on our current line, getting the new stove delivered and keeping our fingers crossed. With as many reviews as I’ve combed through and the experience of the salesperson (this is not a brand new model and has been out for several years) with all the sales of this unit, it is apparently not a major problem or it would have come up somewhere.

Our electrician had to run out and get the box he needed to convert this to an outlet. He came back and got it all fixed for us in no time after more than an hour of just trying to figure out what we needed to do. He, completely on his own without any prompting at all, also grabbed the necessary cord to turn our existing stove to a plug instead of a hardwire so we could at least use the oven until the new stove gets here on Sunday. And he didn’t charge us to do it.

I was absolutely blown away. We’d never worked with this company before and didn’t know what to expect on service, but they could get to us in a reasonable amount of time, so we crossed our fingers and hoped they’d at least be decent. They are SO much better that just decent.

While this was yet another totally messed up day in a long string of totally messed up days. This guy brightened it considerably. And earned all future business and a totally loyal customer because he was awesome. We have a few things we still need done in the basement, so that isn’t just a sparkly comment without substance.

I’m also extremely impressed with how well our salesperson has handled all of this and helped out. So, even in this chaos there are some silver linings.

As of right now, I have a working oven to get me through until Sunday when the new stove is supposed to be delivered.

But… I’m so disappointed in my superpower. I could have really used the sleep one. Or one that allowed me to snap my fingers and have my house be clean instantly. No. I had to get the power to find unique chaos in the most basic situations.

404 Error: Brain Cannot Be Found

With this stove debacle going on, I’ve had to really try and get creative on meals since I don’t want to eat out for days on end. We spent dinner last night (frozen pizza, which is another I don’t want to live on for days) discussing meal options for the next several days, which is extremely complicated when I only have access to an oven and not a cook top.

Do you have any idea how much you use your stove top without really thinking about it?

After lots of discussions and twisting our brains as we realize that meal after meal still has some part that has to be prepped on the stove, we come up with a few to get us through. Hubby goes to the store so we have what we need to make it happen.

We are set, at least for a bit.

When I went to ask about which of those things we want for dinner I was smacked upside the head with how utterly brainless I actually am.

One of the meals I’d planned still required me to use my stove top, which no longer works now that the gas is disconnected. I’m not aware of any way to boil eggs without it, so that meal is out.

Then with a sinking feeling and wanting to crawl back into bed and not get out until I have a working stove again, I realized that every single one of those meals I planned requires use of the oven. The oven that will, barring any more surprises, be disconnected tomorrow.

Why was I just thinking about needing to get by until we could reschedule delivery of the new stove? Apparently I’m not the only one that this little fact slipped past the logic processing section of their brain because no one else caught it either.

If everything goes well, which, really, we know has about the same odds of me winning the lottery, we should be able to schedule delivery for Friday. Saturday at the latest. So, it won’t be too many eating out nights, but more than I’d hoped we’d have to do.

But that is if everything goes smoothly. Ha! Right.

And There’s The Other Shoe

This whole thing really is hitting that “laugh or cry” button something fierce.

We had our plumber out to cap our gas line today. They were awesome. In and out, no problem.

Except…

They pulled out the stove and we discovered that we are hardwired in. This is a no go for the delivery guys. We now have to hire an electrician to turn that wire into an outlet.

That noise is the sound of my brains splattering on the wall after smashing my head into it one too many times.

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.