Friday, July 16, 2010

Mini-vacation

4:59. Cool. I declare the mini-vacation officially over (as I kick back with one last cup of coffee and the latest episode of Futurama) and the weekend officially on. Ben and Lori are napping and Rachel's upstairs on PBSKIDS.ORG.

What a fantastic vacation. As I've looked around in the past and wondered how I was ever going to get anything ever done. I came to the conclusion that you had to wait until your children were a little older and able to entertain themselves.

Ha:

"He might have hidden a clue in another painting. Ergo, I sent Bender out for a copy of 'The Last Supper.'"
"I'm back. Everybody at Kinkos was an idiot so I just brought the original."

Anyhow, yeah, ok, pausing Futurama. Can't watch that and type.

So I made a big long list of things I wanted to do on the vacation and the weekend. While I didn't get to all of them (and the weekend is only just beginning), I've already accomplished more than I expected to.

Last summer, we replaced the wood floor in our kitchen with tile. As we ripped out the old flooring, we tossed the pieces out the window. They made for a very large pile of wood, each piece having multiple nails sticking out of it. I had ripped and bagged some before, but there was still a lot left. Yesterday I ripped the rest and double-backed. Probably 2/3 of a 33-gallon bag full each time, 10 bags. So now, no more dangerous wood in the backyard.

Last weekend, I eliminated a large pile of dirt and weeds that had also been near the wood pile. That pile of dirt had been there for at least two summers, from when I dug up some grass the first summer we were here. I didn't have a wheelbarrow back then, so that had been the easiest thing to do. Thanks to the wheelbarrow my parents gave me for Christmas, I was able to relocate that pile to the unused garden space on the other side of the lawn. So now the area closest to the house is cleaner and safer than it's ever been. Even brought over the tiny playset for Ben. I am so much closer to my cave (a sheltered area under the deck where I'll be able to sit during rainstorms this fall. Or Monday).

When Ben was two months old, we went shopping at Ikea. I had found a bookcase on their website that I really liked and I thought would look good in the family room. I took a photo of the family room, redid the wall in the color we wanted to paint it, and then placed the bookcase (black) on the wall. It looked really good and Lori agreed. So one afternoon we went to Ikea which is not close to here. It was a long day and we had dinner there and spent too long just browsing. It's the only Ikea around here. In fact, it's the only Ikea not owned by Ikea. Just an interesting fact. We found the bookcases, found the tag for the white bookcase and no tag on the black one. We headed down to the warehouse, but by the time we got there, we had forgotten that we had the location of the white, not the black. (There had been some time inbetween.) It turned out to be three massive boxes. So we bought it with some Christmas money, got it out to the loading area, I went and got the car, we got the kids situated, and then we start wrestling the large boxes onto the cargo rails on top of the SUV. The boxes were heavy, we used all of our cables and then a bunch of Ikea's free yarn to secure it. Ikea was close to closing, we were one of the last cars there, and then it occurred to Lori that maybe we had the wrong one. We checked the boxes, sure enough, white and not black. It was one of those defeatest moments where we would not have even been able to get the boxes untied and back off the car before the store closed, and we had two children strapped into their seats in PJs doing remarkably well, so we just finished up, and started the journey home, hoping nothing would shift.

We decided to paint the shelves a dark chocolate that would look even better with the wall. 33 stinking pieces. Painted so well by Ikea that it took many coats to get it done. I don't know how long I was unable to park my car in the garage since it would be weeks between opportunities to pop down and get some painting down. Anyhow, the last coat went on yesterday and today I brought the last pieces inside and assembled the monster. From a distance, it looks fantastic, even with a bunch of clutter and furniture stacked in front of it (it's not yet secured to the wall). But up close, you can see that we need to do some touch-up and that the pieces don't exactly all go together well. Yes, it was a lot of work and I almost thought it wasn't going to go together. The pieces were so precisely cut that the addition of paint made them not fit together as well to the point that there's a lot of pressure on that thing pushing outwards. Hopefully it never explodes. In any case, it will soon become a built-in when I secure it to the wall. If we ever want another one, we'll make sure to order the right color (from the choices offered) and have it delivered (they had wanted like $75 to deliver the $200 bookcase) and possibly have it assembled for us. That was a struggle and a fight and at one point, I wanted to just chuck it. But now it's done.

I don't remember how long ago, but we bought Ben a ceiling fan because his room got stuffier than the other rooms and there's no AC in the house. But it was mounted on a light fixture mount, not a ceiling fan mount, so I never wanted Lori to run it on anything other than the lowest setting. What's worse, the mount wasn't straight, so there was a gap on one side between to the top of the decorative covering and the ceiling. This morning Corey came over and helped me remove the ceiling fan, destroy the light mount (literally, we had to break it into pieces to get it removed) and then installed a ceiling fan mount. If they ever knock the house down, the ceiling fan will still be connected and secure to that part of the ceiling. No more worries that it will come crashing down in the middle of the night. (Having seen the original mount, it turns out that that really wasn't something we needed to worry about, apparently.)

Yesterday I also took sandpaper to the flaking paint on the railings of the front porch. I need to repaint, but it's nice to have that started.

Oh, and I hit my goal weight and earned my Blizzard, and after tweeting about it, Dairy Queen congratulated me. I haven't gone and gotten it yet, but will soon.

And then I swept out the garage and backed my car in. There's still a number of things I want to get done beyond the normal, but I'm very happy with what was accomplished and very tired. Time to sit back and relax and drink some more coffee and watch some more TV and not think about the 261 emails that are waiting for me when I return on Monday. I was good. I all but stayed out of my work email (maybe answered two or three - not to anyone on my team) the entire time.
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