Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'll Give You a Winter Prediction: It's Gonna Be Cold, It's Gonna Be Gray. . .

There's a storm brewing outside. My normally overly bright house is nearly as dark as night, and it's just gonna get uglier as the day goes on. Or as Phil said on Groundhog Day:
"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."
So you know how I feel about winter. But serious, I'm trying really hard to embrace this entire season this go around. After all, it is nearly half my life, unless I want to move. And I ain't moving. Because nobody would buy this house after all the jacked up crap I've done to it, so we're in it for life.
So I'm embracing the word "snuggly". It's my new word. I've got some warm 'n fuzzy socks, the fireplace is firing, the hot chocolate mugs are accessible, blankets are everywhere, and I'm going to get over my totally strange aversion to long sleeve shirts.  It's all about tight things around my forearms.
It's strange. Seriously. Who else gives a poo if there's clothing around the forearms/wrists? Raise your hand. I'm the only one.  It just bugs me. It itches. Sleeves get wet when I do the dishes. And then I'm always pushing my shirt sleeves up and they get all stretched out and floppy and I have issues.
So anywho-- to the point at hand--
tell me these Snowman Kits from LL Bean aren't adorable. I dare ya.
Hello forced family fun! Total cuteness.  I wouldn't say $40 cute, but DIY cute, fo sho.
I was obsessed with making these for a few neighbs with little kids. I couldn't get it out of my head.
And I'm not going to pretend like these are profesh, or nearly as cute as the store bought ones, 'cause they ain't.
In fact, I suck at free-handing anything, and I should never try it again. Ever.
So I freely admit that I'm totally insecure about the quality of all these little pieces I made.
And then I remind myself that they're going to be out in freezing cold weather getting wet and hammered, so. . . ? Why am I so worried, ya know.
Man I hate it when I bare my insecurities.
Oh, it rhymes!  It's my first poem. Don't you judge me.
Now I just have to man up and actually deliver them. Maybe I could just attach a disclaimer to the little sacks:
-Likes to cut up lumber.
-Doesn't like to paint.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

There's Nothing Wrong with a Little Friendly Couples Competition.

There's a shake up going on in thee ole basement, also known as, the "Man Cave".

Basically, I'm just really sick of having embarrassing spaces down there, and I'm working hard on making everything down there a little less ghetto. There's a long story there, complete with more playroom makeover, the possibility of a small wet bar down there, and so on and so forth, but--

Enter in our computer sitch.

I'm ashamed to admit (but not ashamed enough to keep it a secret apparently) that we have 4 computers down there. Yeah. 4. And if we pull out the laptop, then there's 5. Instant family LAN party, people. You can find us once a weekend blowing each other away on Counter Strike. It brings us closer as a family.

Wow we are nerds, and I'm just now realizing just how much.

Anywho-- let's get to the point, here. Project! Two computers were sitting on a trashy folding table (hangs head in shame).

I says to the Jeffro, "Um, not loving this folding table here, hon."

Jeffro: "What did you expect from a folding table? Plus I'm not building another double computer desk. No way."

Did you. . . did you just hear that? Yeah. It was the sound of a challenge. Gauntlet thrown down.

Yeah. I will build this desk. It will happen. While the hubs is out of town so he can't say no. I'm sneaky that way. But I'm really just doing him a favor, aren't I? I mean, no to-do list for him, right?

Picked these plans from Ana White via Shanty 2 Chic. I am really digging the X legs, lately. This is my 3rd piece of furniture I've chosen/built with that look.

Now, I've said it a million times and I'm gonna say it once more: Jeffro and I. Peas and carrots. Carrots and peas. PB&J. BUT, we are complete opposites in thee quality workmanship perspective.

He, perfectionist. Me, sloppy.

 I actually tease about the competition of it all-- I actually just really wanted to impress him with trying my danged hardest to make this desk nice.

So, how'd I do? Eh. This is a pine desk. The base is made of 2x4. It definitely keeps the costs down which is a big bonus, but you can only expect so much.

I did run my 2x4s through the table saw to take off the rounded edge and sanded the shizzle out of them with a belt sander to smooth them out. I used pocket holes for all screws.

But that's the thing-- Jeffro would never use screws. He would spend the money on quality furniture hardware. And I wouldn't know the first thing about that.

Loving these fabulous legs, though.

One thing I do know well about Jeffro, is that he'd care about the quality of the top, and while I do like the look of a planked top (like the plans suggested), I just knew he wouldn't.

So I waited for him to come home and choose the material. See? Told you he'd know what he wanted. Nice, expensive piece of oak ply for the top with some oak moulding to finish off the edges.

A couple coats of Dark Walnut stain by moi, and 3 coats of poly by the both of us,

 and voila. No more folding table.

(Lights on, lights off. Neither is a good shot. This is the dark basement-- I do what I can. Plus, I should do something about those cords. But honestly it's not gonna happen.)

Doth it compare to Jeffro's double desk?

Pffft. Heck to the no. But why does everything have to be a competition, people?? Gosh.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm A Big Girl Now.

Am I the only one who starts, like, 5 different projects all at once? 'Cause that's what I've done.
So right now I'm dead center in 5 things. Nothing to show for my work but 5 messes, and I want to talk about all of them but don't want to show anyone the massive disasters I've made.
So that's where I'm at right now. Just so we all know.
Anyhow-- completely switching gears here--
I'm a big girl now!! I'm finally am not the last person left on earth to not own a smart phone. Finally. That was a really long and convoluted way to say I now own a smart phone.
And I'm as giddy as a schoolboy.
First off, I went with an iPhone for several reasons and for some odd reason I feel like sharing them right now:
-I already own plenty of apps
-I already know my way around one because of my iPad
And the biggest reason:
-I have lots of friends who love and swear by their Samsung, but I own three Samsung products and allow me to tell you a bit about them:
-My old Samsung phone: I'd love to throw it out the window. Run over it with my car. Back up, do it again. Add it to a flaming bag of dog shee and leave it on somebody's porch.
-My new Samsung blu-ray/wifi player: whoever invented it deserves to be hit over the head with one.
-My Samsung "Smart" TV. Eh, never mind. This post is already too long to get into that crap.
Aw, I'm just razzing you Samsung lovers. I'm sure the Galaxy is a great phone. Really. Just all their other products aren't.
So like the mature, respected, adult that I am,
I had phone covers picked out nearly a year ago. These were my choices (currently sporting the Nintendo 1.0 right now thankyouverymuch). I think the Wonka bar is my favorite, and yes, I'm 5 years old and these things make me happy and excited-like okay? Gosh.
And ohmyheck you should totally call and text me when you're around me because I have thee best ring and text tones ever! Bwahahaha it's so awesome. Quotes from "Clue" and "Austin Powers" (the clean ones swears), and sounds from Star Trek and Star Wars (general text tone currently set to be Chewy's roar)--
Oh, wait. Call me and listen unless you're my mother in law or that cousin I totally hate. Then, um, I haven't assigned you anything mean. . . at all. . . . . .
I am a nerd.
It's definitely time to move on and talk about my kitchen. Because I love switching it around since I spend 75% of my life in there. Barefoot and (not) pregnant!  That's how we like 'em.
So I did up the mantle. And I have a feeling decorating with leaves is sooo old lady-like, and I totally don't care. In fact, if Jeffro started calling me his old lady, I would laugh my bum off.
And of course I had to redo thee ole open cabinet.
I have not regretted opening up that cabinet, by the way. I highly recommend it. Show off your fun dishes, people. It's your chance. Hide the crappy stuff everywhere else.
I have owned these lemons and limes for about as long as I've owned my house, and they pop up from time to time because they make me happy,
and also because it's a family joke. My aunt came to visit years ago and was all, "So do you eat a lot of fish or something?"
Indeed, we do. And then we squeeze these plastic lemons all over the top.
And I just know I've mentioned before that I have a really bizarre straw fetish, and check these babies out:
Aspen straws!! Aren't they so cool and fall-ish? 
Anyhow, I had fun. Again. And I also have to completely ban myself from buying anymore dishes. I don't have one ounce of space left to store them. But that's a talk we should have for another time.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don't Even Know Who I Am Anymore.

I both love and hate how doing something like this,
my new backsplash, makes me want to change everything up.
I'm crazy full of new ideas, and the biggest one is paint.
And that's the whole dealy-o right there!  Shouldn't paint be the easiest, cheaper-ish things one can do to one's home?  I have wanted to repaint my main floor for a couple years now. 
What's stopping me if it's easy-ish and cheap-ish?
18 foot ceilings.  I finally measured. 
I feel trapped by the very reason I bought my home: a big open floor plan with vaulted ceilings.  It's what I love about it, 'cept now I feel like I can't change my paint color any ole time I feel the urge.
And then after said backsplash,
I was like all, "I'm not letting high ceilings stop me from doing what I want!", you know, like all empowered 'n stuff,
and then I let the hubs know I was doing it, and he put his foot down right then and there.
"You are not painting these walls by yourself.  You are not painting the stairwell so you can fall and kill yourself. Forget it."
(not a direct quote)
So here we are again, at this impasse.  Like Cher, I felt impotent and out of control.
Just so we're clear, I've looked into scaffolding, those little mini cherry picker thingies you can rent (that's the technical term), and I've had a professional give me a quote (just in case you're like me and you always want to hear the actual numbers-- what people paid for their house, what they make, and other similarly socially "tacky" questions of the like, the quote was over $800 just to do this room, the stairwell, and the small, high entryway above what I couldn't do by myself).
I talked with the Daddy-o about scaffolding options, and it was like I could hear my mom in the background--
"Oh Mandi please, your paint color is just fine and can't you sit still for 5 seconds?"
Except I don't know that she really said that. But it sounds like something she might at least be thinking. In a nice way, though.
And I was dead set on picking out a creamy gray color.  And everyone's doing Grey Owl online and it looks fabulous in pictures, so I was just "sooo sure" it was all going to be totally perf in here,
And thank heavens I only picked up a sample of it and went nuts on a wall or two instead of the entire kitchen (side note, thank heavens you are not here in my home right at this moment because to the left of this pantry is this monster mess of chinese food.  It was like we were throwing ham fried rice everywhere).
Anyways, as I was saying, thank heavens for this small sample because I DO NOT LIKE THIS COLOR PEOPLE.  It is wrong wrong WRONG.
It is so wrong. I love it in The Lettered Cottage's house. I love it on the interwebs.  In my warm, very bright house, it has a strange blue-ish hue that does nothing for me.
Just believe me. Nothing. For me.
And you know what else? A friend said to me, "So, gray, huh? Are you just doing gray because it's so popular or is it because you truly love gray?"
I have no freakin' idea. I don't even know who I am anymore. 
Wait.  Wait-- yes I know who I am. Let me tell you who I am. In an annoyingly roundabout way.
I walked through a Parade of Homes home, and it was kind of my dream home.  Picture it--
Dark floors, lots and lots of white moulding, black touches here and there--
nothing but soothing blacks and whites with grays here and there.  The grays were nice, but it was all about the blacks and whites. Just like piano keys.
Gee, you've never heard that before. You're going to have a heart attack and die from that surprise. You wouldn't be more surprised if you woke up with your head stapled to the carpet then you are right now.

I told the Daddy-o that, during our scaffolding convo.  "I just really really like blacks and whites" I says. And he's all,

"Well I worry that style will go out and you'll regret your decisions",
and I'm like,
"But that's the thing it's really not in style. I just like it."

And the Daddy-o got all "oh wise one" on me and said,
"Well I guess that's your answer. You do what you like."

And. . .
I don't know what this means in regards to painting-- gray paint? White paint? Professional or scaffold rental?

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Don't Usually Do This. . .

Just a couple random things I really need to get out of the way:
1. I really, ree-hee-heally appreciate your opinion/thoughts/commiserations on thee ole plastic surgery overshare last time we were together.  Dang you guys have good advice.  Have ya considered starting your own Dear Abby?  Just a thought.
-Also, I considered a dozen times deleting that post so no one else could see those pictures.  I guess I'm leaving it up. I have nothing more to hide. Well, mostly. But I'm really glad those pictures are not at the top of this ole blog, as I'm sure everyone else is, too.
AND. . . switching topics. . . .
2. Verizon Wireless is on the top of my SH$% list. I wish someone would have warned me, and so I'm going to warn you right now:
"Free Tablet at Verizon".  JUST SAY NO.  Make like a tree, and leave. It is a ploy, a sham, unethical, and I now have zero respect towards or loyalty to Verizon for it. They're not free, they will let you in on the "setup fee" as you are signing on the dotted line, you are assured a 14 day return period,  BUT not told of the restock fee (that will be handily specified in small print below your signature) and it will be horrendous.
Don't do it! For shame, verizon. You just lost a loyal customer for hustling me. I'm sporting my Angry Brows.
Okay!  All done. Everyone's been warned.
Let's talk about something I doooo love. Namely, the best holiday in the whole world: Halloween.  Olive it. I know I go on and on and onandonandon about summer, but I really do love fall.
I just hate that winter always steals from fall around here. Winter, you dirty whore.
I don't usually do this, but I really wanted to do a Halloween-y vignette in my open cabinet you see here.
Honestly, I love changing this thing around. Heck right now I love changing everything around 'cause I'm at home a lot and it's fun to have things feel different-like.
So obvs I was really feeling the white with touches of red before and it was funsies,
but I was totes looking forward to making things spooky. Except these were the rules--
-can't buy anything. I deeply need to consider another spending cleanse because I'm out of control again but THAT'S not what we're here for today. I'm sticking to the subject.
Anyways, I dug up stuff.  Found these cool candles I totally forgot I had and spray painted 'em,
Oh, I did previously buy black dishes with Halloween in mind a long time ago, but that doesn't count okay. It just doesn't. Black dishes are soo cool! Shoulda gotten 'em a long time ago.
And I saw on the interwebs how you can add the vampire blood drip by using cornstarch and red food coloring, and I thought the kids would think that was all neat-o so I did that,
and they didn't turn out as well as the pics online but what ever really does for me?
And there we have it. The cookie jar is now "POISON!" and I say that in my most overdramatic tone everytime I can to embarrass my older boys, because it's in my job description. I have to live up to my potential.
Also, the spiderweb plate was done by the Jeffro. With a sharpie. Waste not, want not. Know what I'm sayin'.
Now raise your hand if you like candy corn. (Me!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Big, Flabby, Overhanging Overshare.

I don't promise that what I'm gonna talk about right now isn't gonna gross you out. Don't promise that this'll make you like me better. I don't promise I'll even have a point. And I definitely don't promise that there will be a moral to this story.

I just wanna talk.  Apparently I want to get it all out there.  In an overshare kind of way.

I visited a plastic surgeon for a consultation last week.  Oh, also, this will not be an argument on whether or not plastic surgery is or is not okay.  That's definitely not what this is about.

Anyway-- I visited a plastic surgeon.  And I still have blue marker lines and dots that won't scrub off all over my stomach. 

People, my stomach is a mess. 4 kids later, and it's just a big blob of extra skin.  I guess, I don't know-- I guess I wanted to know if something could be done that was relatively minor to fix the problem.  A friend teased me,

"You were hoping for some magic cream weren't you?  Or 'take two of these and call me in the morning', weren't you?"

Yeah. Pretty much.

So I stood in front of that very nice doctor while he drew marker all over my stomach and discussed options, and I have never in my life felt so. . . uncomfortable. Self Conscious. Nude. Weak. Vulnerable.  It was not cool, man.  Not cool at all.  

And then I realized that besides myself and my husband, no one has ever seen my mess of a stomach, until this doctor, and I wanted to keep it that way forever.

I have no freaking idea why I'm doing this. I'm gonna show you my stomach. So I went from a total of 3 people ever seeing it, and now I'm potentially showing the whole world.  I'm getting nervous and anxious just typing about it.

For me, this is like the monster in the closet.  The thing under the bed.  For some reason it embarrasses me and makes me feel bad and sad and kinda broken-like.

And apparently all I have the guts to do right now is show you from the side.  You know what I realized when I was thinking about this all week?

I have felt guilty and ashamed that I did something wrong, like maybe, if I would have like, not eaten like a giant pig when I was pregnant and maybe worked out some more then this wouldn't have happened. I could have avoided it.

Okay.  That's over.  I'm throwing that out the window. I don't need to feel guilty over something that stupid.

Oh heck.  Should I show you from the front? 

Oh wow.  It looks even worse in this picture than when I stare at it in the mirror.  Can't even say how many times I've gathered that skin up and hid it with my hands and pretended like it wasn't there. The doctor even did that and was like "If we could just make this go away. . .the skin around it is fine. . ."

Yeah, I know. I say that almost daily.  Just in case you were wondering, this would take a "mini" tummy tuck (although I don't see why it classifies as mini since as you can see the cut would be hip to hip), at least one long incision, probably more like 3, and $4,000 to repair.

My daughter saw my stomach with it's blue marker, and said "What happened to your stomach, mom?"

And so I explained.  The doctor drew the lines. My skin is the way it is because I had you guys. And she said,
"I hope that never happens to me."

"Which part? The marker or my skin?"

"Your skin.  I don't want that to happen to my stomach."

She's five. She knows not what she says. She didn't intend to be the least bit mean.

Okay at this point I'm trying not to cry. Never mind I failed.  But you know what?  I'm over it.  I accept it. 

That was a total lie.

 I'm not over it, and I don't accept it.  But I'm going to try to accept it, from here on out.

This is not where I give you this big shpill about how these are my war wounds and my kids were worth it blah blah blah, even though they were and are worth it.  I'm not proud of my scars.  I'm just working toward being okay with it.

And you know what? While I'm at it, I'll work towards being okay with every single last part of me.

Maybe you think I'm ungrateful.  I do too, actually.  But honestly I thank God every morning that I wake up healthy and able to work on a daily basis.  I know this, this up there, is vanity. I do. Nobody really cares about my stomach. I thought my husband cared. I told him I'd get a mini tummy tuck if he wanted me to, and he was like, "What? For me? Why would you do that for me? I have never cared."

He's a good man, that Jeffro.  I guess all I'm saying is it's my turn to learn not to care.
Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Well I'm Not A Plumber.

So I called the Daddy-o, and I was all,
"Hey Daddy-o, um, remember how I said I was going to be all independent this year?"
Daddy-o: "Um, yeah.  You're an 'adult', right?"
"Right.  So on that note. . . I decided to replace my kitchen faucet, and the Lowe's guy on youtube says it's, and I quote, 'one of the easiest upgrades you can make to a house', and I'm ABOUT READY TO TEAR MY HAIR OUT."
Note to self: the hot water doesn't really fully turn off, we own waaaay too many cleaners, and there's a spilled bottle of blue dishwasher crap down there.
You know, switching out a faucet could be easy.  Would be easy.  Should be easy.  Except you're trying to do it all in this disgusting, dank, cramped space and you're dropping crescent wrenches on your head.
And these weird little things sticking out from the bottom of the sink under there?  Their sole purpose is to gouge you in the head. 
I was like a contortionist under there trying to get to everything.  I was on my haunches, I was on my side, I was on my back, and I just kept thinking about this quote from Clue over and over:
"Oh my.  Nobody can get into that position."
(Sure they can.  I'll show you.)
Or from Tangled:
"You should know, that this is the strangest thing I have ever done!"
I swear, the video showed this quick changeroo of faucets like it was this 10 minute project, and I swear, I started at 9 am and was doing final tightenings at 5pm. Keeping in mind that I did take many swear/throw tools/go to Lowe's for new hoses/utter frustration breaks. Right now I cannot think of a project more frustrating then this one.  I really can't.
It's like an alien.  It's like those metal squidees on The Matrix. 
Once, Jeffro replaced both our master bath faucets, and it took him the entire day.  And I remember thinking,
"Sheesh, man.  What is taking so long?"
Words. Eaten.
I went white again.  I have white appliances and a white sink.  It makes sense.  It gives me a feeling of control in a world full of chaos.  Plus they're half the price of metal ones, and that seals the deal.
Just so we're clear, I hope to never, ever ever ever do a plumbing project again.  Because they suck.
Dang it man, I had to clean my sink and my window for this picture. Not that you can tell. But the things I do for this blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Everybody's Doing It.

I can't say this is a universal truth or anything,
but it is my experience that a kitchen backsplash gets really old really quick.
Well, at least loud backsplashs like mine.  My good friend did a similiarish one too and told me she was sick of it after a month.
Here, stare at my bum for a minute while we talk.
Oh, GAH, I am sooo not ready to get back to hoodie weather.  I wear them day and night all winter.  I'm cold-blooded.  Ask my kids.
So, I was kind of over this backsplash a couple years ago.  And I feel guilty about it.  Except I don't all at the same time since they were clearanced to .99 so hello I spent a total of what, like $15? 
And then,
to add fuel to the fire and pour salt in the wound, when I was working on our "other" house (stiillll thankful I just have my house to worry about, sidenote),  I paid to have subway tile put in during the kitchen reno.
It was like I was jealous.  Oddly jealous. 
But I had no idea subway tiles were so cheap!  Did you know they were so cheap?  I didn't know they were so cheap.  And everyone's doing it!  And I still like it.
And so out came the hammers and the spackle knives and the prybars, and within two hours of hammering and sweeping and vacuuming up dust, the kitchen looked like this. 
Don't talk about my maple cabinets like I'm not here! Honestly, and I don't care what the masses say, I like maple. I do. They're staying for a while. Indefinitely. I have no idea what I'd even change them to right now-- I really don't.  Don't say to paint them white, because my husband might punch someone in the face.
I'd like to thank my great AWESOME neighbor buddy who remembered that I said I was starting this little project and showed up, without being asked, with her own tools.  Who even does that kind of awesomeness?  I started on one end and she started on the other and we worked our way in until we were bumping butts and finished with that corner.
Obvs, I had to skim coat the entire area and let that dry,
and then I got to work.  I was freaking determined to make sure my kitchen wasn't torn apart while I took my sweet time-- got this shiz done in one day.  Start to finish.  Which is kind of cheating on drying time and why don't you tell on me.
It's like a whole new kitchen, and I love it.  You know how monochromatic I am, so I'm thinking this is more me.  Subway tile's actually easier than the mosaics, so virtual high five.

 And um, I hope the hubs likes it too.  Was it strategic that I got it all done before he came home?