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.

Phase One: Furniture Refinish

Originally, when I made the decision to paint the furniture in the room MCG is getting, I did it because I didn’t want the lighter wood finish and the dressers were plain enough I didn’t think they’d look good in a darker stain. I realized today, that staining this probably would have never been an option.

This is the furniture that OC had when they were still here. I spent nearly a day getting just these pieces cleaned up after they left, so I should have known they weren’t in awesome condition, but you don’t quite realize how bad they actually are until you start really working on them. There are so many deep dings and gouges that even a deep sanding probably wouldn’t have gotten a third of them out.

The other day, when I had to get another tub of wood filler, they only had a larger one. I was a little worried that with as little as I had left of the cabinets in the basement that it was going to be way too much. Now, I’m worried I won’t have any left to use on those cabinets as this has already taken half the tub and this is just round one.

I had hoped that I’d be able to just do a light sanding and some minor touch ups and be able to paint today. Sadly, this will need another good sanding (not even remotely light) and most likely another round of filler in the worst areas that I missed. There were so many places, it was impossible to see if I actually got them all. It kind of feels like I painted these in wood filler.

Seeing these does not give me a lot of warm feelings about tackling repainting the closet. Thankfully, I don’t care much about how that actually looks, I just want it to look mostly clean and not gross.

It is slower going than I’d hoped (how many times have I made a statement like that now?), but, it is a start. I managed to get the room and these cleared out over the weekend, so it is ready to work on as soon as I’ve got these with at least one coat of paint.

Craft Room Project: The Cat Milestone

It took absolutely forever, but I reached another major milestone on this project.

The stairs are now fully trimmed out with all the major paint touch ups done (I’m sure there will be more before this is done). This includes the doorway to the basement. That means that my ugly, makeshift, temporary door is finally down and the cats again have full reign of the house. It also means their cat boxes are back in their little room and out of my laundry room.

Finally!!

This was a critical point for me. The stairs are completely ready for the new carpet to get installed, which happens next week. I now have to do the bulk of my remaining work in the garage to keep the mess and paint away from the cats, but most of what is left is on the smaller side, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

It also means that it’s time for me to take a brief break from working on my room so I can shift to working on getting the bedroom ready for MCG. That is going to be similar, but still different to what I’ve been doing.

I have to paint the ceiling to cover the water spots from our freaky cold weather condensation drips that happened over the winter. I have to clean out that closet and repaint it (OC decided at one point to draw on the walls in there when they still lived here and I never got around to painting over it). I’m also planning on painting all the furniture in that room and shampooing the carpet, again, since the cats were in there for a while.

None of those things should be all that horrendous or time consuming. Which is good as we are going to pick up MCG and bring here here in about a week and a half. Yay for deadlines!

Once she is moved in, I’ll be able to get back to my room. I still have a long list of things to do before that is fully finished, but I have a stable usable space right now. I’ll also have pretty much every solid deadline behind me and I can work again without any pressure.

There are a lot of changes coming our way with the arrival of MCG. It is going to be interesting, but I also think it is going to be a whole lot of fun having her here. And, of course, MC is bouncing off the walls impatient for her to get here. It’s hilarious to watch and tease him about. Sometimes it is an absolute blast to be an obnoxiously annoying parent.

 

Craft Room Project: Extended Floor Finished

You know I couldn’t stick with a plan. My life just doesn’t work that way.

Again, I rearranged my priorities and the things that needed to get done to fit those priorities. The cats getting access to the basement is still a priority, but the things I needed to get done for that to happen have changed up a little.

I realized that the mess of cutting the flooring was not something I wanted to attempt if the cats could get into the basement because that would end in disaster. That meant I had to finish the floor into the other room. Hubby very generously gave me his last vacation day and the two of us spent 12 hours getting that room done.

Flooring Done: View From Craft Studio
Flooring Done: View From Craft Studio

Originally, the floor stopped just at the wall between the two rooms. Now the second room is done. All that is left for the floor is to install the transition pieces where the floor stops and there won’t be trim or anything else for it to butt up against.

Flooring Done 2nd Room
Flooring Done 2nd Room

Even this, though, required a bit of a plan change. When we were cleaning the space to prep for installing, we realized that the floor dipped too much around the sump pump pit and that the pit came out of the recessed area into the room more than we realized so we couldn’t just go against that wall on that side (left side of the first image). We talked about several things as a fix to the issue, but I finally decided that I’m just going to build some low bookshelves that would sit in front of the concrete walls and would end at the floor edge.

The goal is that we don’t want to have to hire anyone else to come in and build more walls. We hadn’t intended to fully finish the rest of the basement, but do a sort of semi-finish that we could do on our own. The bookshelf solution allows us to keep to that plan. We may need someone to build the closet around the sump pit area, but that is all we want done.

Now that the floor is down in both rooms, the bulk of the mess is finally done. There are some things that will be messy, but a lot of that is going to shift to the garage. I have some painting I need to do on the rest of the trim pieces and boards I need to work with. I’ll be putting plastic down on this new floor to protect it so I can do that in all that open space.

Once the paint is done, it will leave putting the stair trim up and trimming out the upper door. I think that is the point I need to be to let the cats back down. There are still a lot of things left to do to finish off my room, but I’m pretty sure that most of that can be done if the cats are down there. Maybe.

I have to get to that point before I can work on MCG’s room, which is my next step. We will be helping her move in at the end of the month, so I’m on a deadline to get her space ready.

Sadly, I cannot shut my silly brain up. I keep coming up with ideas for all of these spaces and each new idea is that much more work. This is becoming the never ending project. At this rate, I just might get lucky to get into my room to actually work on something other than building it by Christmas.

If I’m lucky.

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.

 

Playing With Snowflakes

I’ve been wanting to play around with a better technique of getting really great shots of individual snowflakes and their crystalline structure. With the snow coming down like crazy and my front porch protected, I thought it’d be a great time to try to play.

Unfortunately, my first thought to capture the flakes individually didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. I’d taken a piece of glass outside and let it sit for a little while to try and acclimate to the temperatures, but either I didn’t let it sit long enough, or it pulled too much heat from my hands when I was trying to hold it out to capture the flakes because they melted too quickly for any of the individual flakes to last very long at all. I also noticed that they tended to break apart pretty quickly on that solid surface.

I’d had a towel with me to dry the glass off in between attempts and I noticed that any of the flakes that landed on the towel, and even my gloves, never really melted away or broke apart. I want to play with this idea more, but my battery died before I could explore it much and the few shots I got, while so much better, didn’t have great flakes to share.

This was the best from a too short play session. Sadly, I think the snow is now done for a while, so I’ll have to shift my focus to something else.

Maybe some more frozen bubbles if the weather decides to cooperate soon. It’s funny, MCG’s mom sent me a video of someone doing these asking me to do them sometime. I had a good laugh while pointing her to my photo albums that had the images of the ones I’ve done so far. I love the fact that I’m getting along so well with her as it looks more and more likely that she will become MC’s mother-in-law at some point in the next few years.

Makes life so much easier for everyone if I can manage to maintain that, but next year when MCG comes here for college will be a pretty hardcore test. I am really looking forward to having MCG here, though. Of course, so is MC. I’m pretty sure he is counting down the days.