So: beast

I noticed that I had 666 comments as of today. And today was exactly the kind of day where all of the best laid plans get cast to the wind. All efforts are futile. Obstacles abound. The devil’s in the details.

Coincidence?

Doubtful.

(It’s just Monday.)

The weekend’s not to blame, although it was one of ups and downs. Ups since the bamboo floors have gone in and we can start installing trim and putting things back where they go. Weeds are gone. Lots of veggies need to be harvested. Magazines got read, though not enough to make a dent in the pile saved up. Downs because everyone was a bit crabby yesterday since trim work takes time and we really wanted to be done and move on to errands. George is very scared of the air compressor and other loud sounds so he needed lots of attention.

I had very strange dreams last night and woke up a lot. Sleeping was uncomfortable since my hands, wrists and back were sore. And I woke up very grouchy and still tired. But I chugged some caffeine, pushed through, and before work, I did a bunch of laundry, moved more stuff back to where it goes, took care of a bill, washed dishes, harvested some veggies for our lunches, folded the pile of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, tried to get back a feeling of normalcy.

our sweet Daisy looking like some kind of alien-beast (photo by James Scott)

Our bulldog Daisy playing ball, but looking like some kind of alien-beast in this action shot (photo by James Scott)

It didn’t work.

We’re moving at work too so everywhere things are not where they should be. I’ve been trying to make peace with the chaos—and the irritation of not being able to find something quickly in either place where I spend most of my time. That is, if even know where it is.

While many things went right at work today, one did not. I’m still sitting at my desk, waiting for something that was very simple and straightforward to be completed and shipped out. (just trying to be productive while I sit here an drive everyone crazy with my “are we done yet?” comments). So unfortunately, the DIY plans for tonight turned into Bruce taking care of it himself and hauling more heavy stuff by his lonesome. The Urban Farm will also have to wait until tomorrow morning unless I get the headlamp out, but I think I’ll have other inside stuff to do.

Tomorrow is also Guinness’ tooth extraction. Not sure how George is going to take Guinness’ absence, but we know from past experience that Godiva is a bit of a wreck when Guinness disappears for an extended period of time. Bruce has tried to help her by taking each dog somewhere by themselves quite frequently (they are all big fans of the dry cleaner, Home Depot, and Lowes). But she knows when something’s up. Even George has been wondering why the big boy gets special cheese treats twice a day.

I could use some quality dog snuggling time. Some ball throwing. Even if they end up eating half of my dinner.

So I’m ready for this day to be done. I’m ready to put my head on the pillow and wake up with a clean slate. I’ll go back to being sweet tomorrow, I promise.

Daisy (photo by Mike Nowland)

Sweet Daisy (photo by Mike Nowland)

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So: tired

Let me post some befores and afters:

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Lounge before

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Lounge after with Guinness photo bomb

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Hall before

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Hall after, trim to come later this week

Just a taste of what’s happened this weekend. Here’s another, this one as I tidy up after the installers:

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Bruce and I are exhausted and sore. George hates the sounds of the tools we use to install the trim so we have to take it slow and reassure him that everything’s ok. Poor July 4 dog!*

So much more needs to be done. But we can do more tomorrow evening.

*We rescued George last August. He injured himself on a chain link fence the rescue group guesses, probably as a result of fireworks. He’s physically fine, just scared of loud sounds.

So: bambooed

No longer are we living without flooring. Four bamboo dudes spent the greater part of a day laying flooring for four rooms plus the hall. It looks spectacular if you can see past the blue painters tape and lack of trim. I can.

I’ll show before and after tomorrow once the tape’s gone. The Gs are already impressed and ready to lie down on the new floors. But we need to stay off for 12 hours.

So our mattress is in the living room. We will sleep until we (or the Gs) wake. I suggested glamping on the patio since it’s so nice, but got vetoed. The Gs are too exhausted from their day outside to even think of their options. All are passed out in the office, snoring softly.

We had a great day outside. The entire front is up to Yard of the Month standards.

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The Urban Farm is ready for an am harvest of bok choi and mixed salad greens.

All of the boxes from the bamboo are in the recycling bin. It’s exciting to know that this floor is guaranteed for 30 years but will last even longer.

We are all ready for an early bedtime. The Gs are sleeping and the humans are not far behind.

So: down time

It’s been a tiring week. But tomorrow is the bamboo install and we’re ready.

We’ve still got a few bits of furniture to move in the am but for now, we’re calling it a night and relaxing. A little wine is in order. Then, in bed by 10 is the goal.

We’ve got to be up early because the bamboo dudes will be here by 9:30. Bruce and I are both looking forward to having the floors covered again. Going out to the garage for socks and underwear is getting old. Wearing shoes in the house even flip flops isn’t my preference. The Gs don’t seem to mind the bare cement and brick.

They’ll enjoy their day outside tomorrow. So will I.

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Sow: Welcome to Mayvember

I’m amazed that I can actually type after this evening’s smooth edge and trim removal. Bang bang bang with the hammer on the crowbar. For a couple of hours. My wrists are still vibrating. The good news is that there is officially no more trim or smooth edge to be removed. Tomorrow morning when it’s light, I’ll re-vacuum the floor with the shop vac and then the regular vacuum in that back bedroom to get up any remaining 47-year old dust and grime.

Tomorrow night will be about moving furniture out of the lounge and our mattress on the floor will relocate to the living room. We just need to make sure everything is ready for the bamboo dudes. Saturday everyone—Bruce, the Gs, me—will be outside. Except for the bamboo dudes.

I’ll be weeding the award-winning front yard because I’m a little embarrassed by the quantity and quality of extra plants in the beds. Maybe there will also be time to lie in the sun and take a nap or read a couple of magazines. It would be nice to relax a little bit and enjoy the patio.

That is, IF IT GETS WARM EVER AGAIN. Our crazy North Texas weather has sent the temperatures plummeting. Right now it’s 43°F (that’s 6°C), there’s a 40% chance of rain, big gusts of wind, and the temperature will drop to 40*F.

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Welcome to Mayvember                    (Image courtesy of WeatherBug)

The local news has dubbed this storm Mayvember (get it: May + November) because it is just like our late fall weather tonight. I’m a little worried about the Urban Farm, mostly because I saw three good sized baby tomatoes that weren’t there yesterday along with the bounty of blossoms. The plants are almost as tall as the tomatoes cages. They are beautiful and look like the harvest could be awesome.

We’ve also got snow peas now. It’s like everything is suddenly happening. And that’s why I’m stressed.

So Bruce and I covered everything with frost cloth. Those frost cloths are certainly getting a lot of use, unfortunately. We’ll just have to hope for the best (and no freeze) and for warmer days ahead.

PS: Guinness seems a lot better. The swelling on his mouth is down and he actually let me have a peek at the tooth. The antibiotics are working. I may need some of his giant anti-inflamatories tomorrow!

So: spring cleaning

Tonight I came home to the cabinets in the lounge partially ripped out, all of the stuff in the cabinets packed up, and lots of loud noises. Time to help demo and then clean up the mess!

George wasn’t very happy. He’s the only G still getting used to high pitched wail of power tools. He hid behind me and carried a toy around for a while. He’s ok now (passed out on the sofa next to Bruce).

The other two could care less. Godiva has heard power tools from pretty much day 1 as a 8 week old pup. Guinness doesn’t love the sounds but he realizes it will stop after about 6 hours. Besides, he’s trying to set a good example for George.

Thanks to two unexpected windfalls, a flooring sale, bulk trash pick up, and an excellent installer looking to build his new business, we have the perfect storm to complete our flooring plan much faster than originally planned. We were planning to do a few rooms at a time–not any more.

So between now and May 4 we must demo, pack, move furniture, purge and plan. And even previously made plans need to get changed. It certainly takes spring cleaning to a whole new level.

The before of the cabinet with the floor demo–notice the bricks (new cabinet and bamboo coming soon!):

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So: floored

making progress

making progress

After waking up this morning and actually being able to move fine, although a little stiffly, I knew today would mean more progress in our office reno. The carpet’s been gone about a month so today we installed the carbonized bamboo. Last weekend Bruce ripped down the paneling after we both realized that if we didn’t take it down, we’d want to later. Only going to do this room once!

Bruce the installer

Bruce the installer with Godiva photo bomb

Bruce used to install flooring with his cousin Joe when he was in high school and university so this is not a new DIY thing for us. For example, we installed bamboo in our master bedroom in our last house and I swear we’ve tiled at least 4 bathrooms together.

Bamboo just takes time, effort, knowledge, and a very colorful vocabulary of profanity available on demand (like when boards fall on your hand, you rub off one of the blisters gained during sodding, you get a big bamboo splinter wedged in your right middle finger, you make a whole pile of glue squirt up between the boards, etc.).

another view of progress

another view of progress: the lonely computer

All in it took us 6 hours to carry large boxes of boards (about 50 lbs. a pop), carry huge vats of glue, cut boards, apply glue, hook the boards together (they’re tongue and groove so they snap together), swear, wipe off glue, swear, bang boards together, find tools, cut more boards, cut trim so the boards fit under it, etc. I’m sure there’s more to talk about, but after waking up tired from sodding this morning, you’d better believe that I’m exhausted now.

And surprised once again, that I actually can type. No promises tomorrow though. After two days in a row of hard physical  labor, I’m a bit of a mess. My arms are scratched from carrying boards. My wrists are sore. Even my fingers are tired. But I did not break a single nail (shocker!). That is only important since I am traveling next week — to see clients, go to a conference, attend an awards dinner, and to see my pal/sorority sister Laura (she writes Ps, Qs, and Ws). I thought it would be nice to have pretty nails for a change especially since I’ll be dressing a bit up for the awards dinner.

the finished product

the finished product

But it was worth it today, wasn’t it? The floor looks beautiful, doesn’t it? But I know it’s hard to get past the walls and the unstained desk and cabinet, not to mention the lack of furniture.

So next up: sanding and staining the desk and cabinets, painting the walls, adding another shelf above the computer. We are hoping to do some of this tomorrow, but it will depend on Bruce’s knees, our overall soreness, and how late the Gs let us sleep in.

So: new beginnings part 2

So I promised earlier this month that March, the month of my birth, would be a month of new beginnings. Of change.

Well, it’s certainly delivering in the project arena. And that’s just fine with me.

It’s like I’m physically waking up from the (short) winter’s hibernation. And as sick as it is, I’ve been enjoying the sore hands. The tight back. A few bruises here and there. Dirt under the nails and coloring my skin. Sound sleep from a weekend of manual labor. Finding red paint in my hair and orange paint on the back of my arm. Even liking the twinges from too many squats. My left buttock has never been so toned. And my body feels alive.

Last weekend we painted. Poured some concrete. Installed hinges. Planted stuff. Grouted. I can’t even remember what all else. We still have lots to do with the laundry room/office/bathroom project. But we’re chipping away at all that bit by bit because it’s the catalyst to the biggest project of all.

You see this spring, we are going to start getting rid of the stinky, dirt trapping carpet throughout the Mortroski Mid-century and put down bamboo flooring (you wouldn’t expect anything less from a tree-hugger like me). First room is the office. And, like the office, we will do most of it ourselves, saving only the really tricky room, the family room aka “the lounge”, for the professionals.

Here’s why: in the 1960s apparently exterior brick was a popular flooring choice here in Dallas. I’m thinking the mason who installed it must have enjoyed liquid breakfasts and lunches. We have seen it  uncarpeted when the big hole under the house needed to be dug to ensure that we continued to have indoor plumbing. It is not pretty nor even. I can’t imagine that someone thought it was a good design choice since it looks like they just decided that the middle of the house was a good place to get rid of the leftover bricks. It will be nice to have it covered with a dog-friendly, easily cleaned flooring choice.

We have hardwood in one room right now: the kitchen. Note to anyone that has large dogs that drink water enthusiastically: hardwood is not a good choice for the feeding/watering area. So we will also be tiling the kitchen sometime between now and 2015. A shame really, but truly the floor the previous owners selected is not a good choice for animals, my somewhat sloppy cooking and washing up skills, and North Texas weather (we have a door to the backyard and hardwood is not the best for muddy paws).

Some might think, “Poor Julie!” But don’t feel sorry for me at all. I’ve enjoyed learning a plethora of new skills ever since becoming a first time homeowner back when I was 27. Who knew that I, a bookworm who paid little attention to her dad’s piddling around in his workshop,  would ever helm a tile saw? I have in several of our homes now and I am not afraid. I am not scared of cutting flooring. I am an amazing taper. I can dig great holes. I have used a jackhammer. I can drill. And while I am still somewhat apprehensive about the nailer, I’ll use it. I just make sure to have the protective eyewear on because I had a friend with a construction worker boyfriend and he shot a nail from a nailer through his eye. His misfortune ended up ok (a short hospital stay with lots of tests, workman’s comp, and a week off with no loss of eyesight). I benefited greatly by accompanying his girlfriend to see Rod Stewart using his ticket. Score!

Speaking of new beginnings,  Bruce found me a great gift this past weekend: a dual action composter. You fill one side and then let it do its thing and while it’s doing that, you fill the other side. It’s in about a million parts in its box right now, but once we get it together, we can get our own free compost/recycling system going. In Toronto we had garbage, a green bin (compostables), and recycling. While our home compost system won’t be able to reclaim as much as the Toronto system, we will be able to reduce our trash considerably AND more importantly, create our own compost for the urban farm.

I’m really excited to get it up and running. It’s going to go in the part of the yard where we have the plum and peach trees which is very close to the raised beds/stock tanks. I just need to get the inside bin to collect the peels, shells, scraps, etc.

It’s kind of like this one in case you’re wondering:

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Hopefully it’s not as complicated to assemble as it looks. We should save it for Friday as a fun date night!