Wednesday, April 09, 2014

What do YOU do with your spare time? Me? I'm into bitchy needlepoint...

Years ago, when I was working in my First Real Office Job after graduating from college, I had to travel a lot for work. I lived in California at the time, and worked in Chicago. (Lincolnshire, to be exact.) So every Sunday, I would drive from Carlsbad to LAX and fly to Chicago (through Denver...we used United, primarily), and then work in the office there from Monday through Thursday, and fly home Thursday afternoon. I would work from home Fridays, and then the whole thing would repeat starting Sunday again.

It was great when it came to collecting miles. 

But the whole sitting-in-an-airport-waiting-for-your-flight thing really sucked sometimes. Especially in winter months. Flying through Denver? Into Chicago? Yeah, not always fun in December, January, and February.

I needed something to do with all that spare time (flight delays were common and not entertaining), and I'm not sure where I got the idea, but I decided to do embroidery. On handkerchiefs, specifically. Little flowers, my initials, that sort of thing. Nothing amazing. In fact, I still have my first handkerchief I did back then (it was 1997)...it is a favorite because of how long it's lasted, but not because it looks super-pretty. The flowers on it look like a hot mess.

Anyway, I've got a friend that mentioned a while back that she heard Judi Dench had a hobby of making somewhat naughty needlepoint works for her costars when she's on set. Here's a HuffPo article about it

I loved that woman enough already, but that pushed her right over the edge into a favorite part of my heart that will live forever and ever, now. 

And it inspired me to do my own random, "naughty" needlepoint work. 

I don't know what to do with these. Maybe sell them in an Etsy shop, eventually. I dunno. But these specific ones are early samplings that I made that are throw-aways. Just testers of sorts. They're in my standard handwriting, and have little flowery designs on them that are traced from random places, or just freehanded.

It's a fun hobby. And soothing. Everyone should have a nice, soothing hobby that allows them to cuss at people in old-timey kinds of ways...

"I need more money and power...and less shit from you people."

"Reawaken - Rebirth - Renew - Reohshutup"

"Every day, I fall more and more in love with you. Well, not every day. Yesterday you were pretty annoying."


If anyone wants one, let me know. I can get them pretty customized, at this point, and if you have a suggestion for a phrase you think I should put into play, feel free to let me know!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Basement Remodel - Picking Some Details

We're at the stage in the basement remodel where we need to figure out some of the finish details. We figured out the flooring, and hopefully, that choice will stick at this point. We've got the cabinets underway, finally, which is comforting. We really should've gotten those started a couple weeks ago, so hopefully they'll be built swiftly and sturdily!

Things that don't seem like a big deal but kind of really are important are the hardest elements to decide on. Like the paint, and the tile, and the lighting. Yeah, we can always paint again if we don't like the color. And yeah, lights can be returned if they don't work for whatever reason. Even tile isn't permanent, for cryin' out loud. But don't be fooled...choosing paint can be stressful. Picking out tile can be fun at first, but then it just can get crazy with all the possibilities. 

And don't even get me started on lighting. I'm kind of obsessed with 3 things in the decorating world: clocks, mirrors, and lamps/lighting. If I could buy a new lamp every damned day, I would. No kidding.

Anyway, it's little things like that that make these details tough to decide on. 

We've been looking at tile here and there, but hadn't made any real decisions. Leo told me that we had some leftover tile from the bathroom project that was out in the garage, and when he started to bring it in, we realized just how much we had left over. I mean, LOTS. So we figure it only makes sense to use that leftover tile down in the basement...it's the practical and thrifty thing to do, dammit! Plus, it's good tile. We'll have to order a little bit to cover the whole space, but we're gonna save a bundle this way. YAY! 

This is a random pattern I pulled together yesterday with some of the tiles, just as an idea of what we could do:
I don't know if we'll stick to anything like that...we might just use the light gray, and then choose a fun glass mosaic tile to put somewhere as an accent. We'll see. But it's a nice start! And I'm super-excited about saving a little cash there. :D

We also went out this past weekend and got a few (um, like 7...) paint samples to slap up on the walls down there. We have a couple of different areas, so we'll be doing a couple of different colors in them. And of course, I like around 5 of the samples we picked, so I'm wondering how we can slap them all up without (a) infuriating our painter and (b) looking like we have a split paint personality issue, or something.

This is what they look like in the area closest to the window:
And this is what they look like over in the TV area, which has less access to natural light:
I just noticed that they don't look all that different in those pictures, based on their location in the room. But in person, they do. The one on the far right in both photos is the one we chose...for now. It's called "gale force", and it's a Sherwin Williams color. It's a dark blue that looks really great in the TV area, so that's where it will go. Here are a couple of shots of it on other walls in the TV area...

I think you can kind of see the difference in the paint, depending on the lighting, in that last photo there.

The other spaces will all be a color called "pencil point", which is a Behr color from Home Depot. It's not the darkest gray we picked out, and it's not the lightest gray we picked out...it's in between. It's pretty dark, but it will look great with the wallpaper going up on one wall, and with the tile choices. In the photo below, it's the color in the top row, in the middle:
It will be the color we repaint the office, too.

Since everything else will be painted white (white cabinets, white shelves, white moldings, white mantle), we're looking at the paint as being a good balance in the space.

New windows tomorrow, and maybe we can start the paint in the next week or so. We'll see!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Basement Remodel Update - WALLS! We have *walls*!

The last few weeks of remodeling have been pretty blah. Lots of waiting to hear back about the things we've chosen (cabinets are a bit over budget, but since we went under budget on the wainscoting, we can make it work; flooring is almost TWICE what we budgeted, so we have to find a new one we like, etc...), and rough-in stuff like plumbing and electrical crap that isn't super-exciting when it comes to photo updates.

But this week, they started the drywall install, since we passed our rough-in and insulation inspection last week. And now we have things like WALLS. ::happy dance::

Things don't look hugely different in the TV area. Here's where we started:

Since our main water supply line/shut-off valve is located in the wall where our TV will be, we needed to box it in with special framing and drywall. You can see the access built in to that shut-off valve in the following two shots:


Not much of a huge change there, but we did get the little pony wall built where we'll have a countertop/bar seating area for additional people watching TV, or for us to eat meals on and stuff. You can see a little bit of that in the photo above.

This is a shot of the new "hallway" entrance to the office and workout room. I would have preferred a curved doorway entrance, but that costs a bundle to do, apparently. So I was reasonable and agreed to the squared-off hallway instead. It's a fun architectural element that adds a little elegance to the space, I think. (I hope!)

Here's an area where there HAS BEEN a bunch of change. The new bar area. This is what it looked like at the end of last week, when all the framing and insulation was complete:

And here's what it looks like now that it's been drywalled:

Those things sticking out of the walls are shelf brackets that will hold our floating upper shelves in the bar area. They attached them to the studs before hanging the drywall, and next, they'll tile around them. 

Here's the full back area, now that it's been drywalled:

The left side of the room up there will be where we put our shuffleboard table. It's the perfect space for it!

One of the biggest changes in the overall space has been the former utility room, a.k.a. "The Man Room." It was a large space, and while Leo used it often for woodworking projects, and we stored a fair amount of stuff in there, it was mostly wasted space. And unsafe for woodworking because of the lack of ventilation. Here's what it used to look like:

We took out that big ol' water heater, and put in a tankless one. (We freaking LOVE those little things!) We also removed the work tables that were in there, and cleaned up all the wires headed to the electrical boards, and then put up new walls. This is the new entrance to the space:
This is what it looks like inside there right now:
Our deep freezer is back in that corner, and it won't be living there full time. The door on the right is one that is being re-used in the space. And all those wires are actually worlds better than the wires that used to be going on up in there!

They're mudding and taping the drywall today. I'm hoping that they will put in the new windows at the end of this week/beginning of next week, and that the primer will go up on the walls soon, too. Since we had a delay on the cabinets, we're a little behind in that regard. That might hold things up for a while, actually, so I'll update again as soon as I can. Keep your fingers crossed that everything continues to go smoothly from here!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Are you having trouble hearing lately? Maybe this will help!

So, I tend to not look at my blog stats very often. I don't have any real reason to. But blog stats are a newer feature offered within Blogger these days, so it's easier than it used to be, and every once in a while I check out how many people are reading, and where they came from, etc.

This recent search phrase is one of my faves EVAR: "can guys get ovarian cysts"

Someone actually looked that up, and then came to my blog to find the answer!!!

Ok, so in case anyone comes to this page searching for an answer to that specific question, first of all, I hope you are under the age of 12. And if you ARE under 12, then go outside and play, and get off the computer dammit! You're wasting your youth!!!

If you're OVER 12, well, I can't help you. Your parents obviously didn't love you enough to explain the basics about how your body works, and I'm assuming that if you need to search this kind of shit on Google, they not only didn't love you much, they are also kind of stupid and likely are complete dickheads. I'm guessing that info doesn't come as a big surprise, though. I mean, they are YOUR parents, after all!

I don't know if I want to be responsible for answering that question for anyone, though. So I'll leave you with this: if guys could get ovarian cysts, they would happen in their ears. So if you're having any trouble hearing at all, go to your doctor ASAP. Let them know that you want to make sure you don't have ovarian cysts in your ears, because you've heard that can be a painful condition. (OMG, the PAIN, you guys. So, sooo painful!) If your doctor looks at you like you're crazy, or laughs a bit, it's ok...that's just because they don't expect most guys to know about this condition, especially because men who go to their doctors for help with their hearing are few and far between.

I hope this helps! Good luck with those cysts, men.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oh GOD. The fat person is writing about being fat again. ::sigh::

I’ve wanted to write a blog post for a while about fat shaming, because it’s been so prevalent all over the place recently. Hell, it’s been prevalent for the last 40 years of my life (I am 40 years old, fyi), so I can see that it’s not just going to get better without a heck of a lot of work! It’s the last frontier, it seems like, for “acceptable” judgment of others.

People I know and love that have been blessed with a fabulous metabolism often make observations about overweight people that strike me as being offensive. Skinny comedians like Joel McHale make offhanded fat people comments that are meant to be funny, but just aren’t. People that I don’t know make comments about fat people basically not mattering in the grand scheme of things, and it makes me want to punch a wall and cry at the same time.

But then I go to watch a comedian like Patton Oswalt, who is known for being a bit overweight and not really doing much about it, and in fact making jokes at all of his shows, it seems like, about how some day he’ll be rolling out on stage in a scooter because he’ll just be too big to walk. And we laugh at that because the idea of it is funny to us.

But why is that ok with me? And then when someone like Joel McHale (who is in pretty great shape) makes fat jokes about other people, it’s super-offensive and not funny at all to me. Is it just because it’s the self-deprecating humor thing that makes it ok? That if we make fat jokes about ourselves, it’s alright, but if other people do (especially if they’re in what’s deemed to be “good” shape), then it’s not alright?

Why are we ok with that?

(Still, I don’t know how to stop liking Patton, and other comedians like Jim Gaffigan and Mindy Kaling, so I’m conflicted with that!)

What it comes down to for me is that the constant struggle that I’ve had with my weight all my life shouldn’t be fodder for other peoples’ discussions, or even their thoughts. It shouldn’t be a concern for anyone else. I don’t have to explain it to anyone, and it is my choice to discuss and explore the issue with my therapists (that’s right, there is more than 1 person I pay on a regular basis to try to help me with my body and mind balance) and my personal trainer.

The impetus for this post has been stuck in my brain since it occurred a couple of weeks ago. My gorgeous, wonderful, hardworking and awesome niece found herself face to face with an asshole, as will happen from time to time in this world. Apparently, he was rude, judgmental, and patronizing, and my niece was venting about the exchange she had with this jackass out on her Facebook wall. According to additional comments she made in the discussion that followed, the asshole in question was quite a bit overweight. I honestly wished (silently) that she hadn’t mentioned that fact, but just kept reading the comments to see if any other info about the exchange was shared. And then a friend of hers popped in to say that my niece shouldn’t worry about what the guy said, because the asshole lost his ability to have an opinion about anything about 170 pounds ago.

I try to stay out of discussions like that, especially with my niece involved, because I know that in the past, she’s felt bad about certain issues she’s brought up that I’ve commented on. But that just fired me up, and I jumped into the fray. I mentioned that what it came down to was that the asshole was an asshole regardless of his size. Had he been a ripped and fit asshole, would it have made the situation better?

And also, the idea that there are people out there that feel that overweight people simply don’t matter, and that their opinions are worthless because of their size? Even in the case of an asshole behaving badly, that just makes me so sad. The fat-shaming needs to stop.

Another friend of my niece agreed with me, but then the whole discussion ended pretty abruptly right there. Which kind of sucked. I felt badly about the possibility that I made my niece feel bad in any way, but I also honestly want her to consider the words that come out of her head a little more carefully. Not that it’s my position to “teach” her or anything...I guess I just hope to be a good influence, more than anything else.

I am considerably overweight right now. I struggle with it almost every minute of every goddammed day. I work out, I try to eat well, I drink more than I should, and I can’t stop thinking about what will “fix” me. Plastic surgery? Appetite suppressants? Yoga? Are my hormones off balance? Do I have a disease? Will hypnosis work to reset my brain? Should I lift more weight when I work out with my trainer? Should I walk for an hour and a half instead of just an hour 3 – 4 times a week? Should I eat more protein? More fiber? Will better and more sleep help? If I journal about my feelings, will that help me keep from eating and drinking them? If my mom and dad were still alive, would I be as big as I am? If I stop thinking about it so fucking often, will the weight start to slip off? How do I fucking STOP THINKING ABOUT IT?

This is what it’s like inside my brain on any given day. Those questions swirl around as I wake up, do the dishes, take a shower, buy tickets for baseball games, go to the movies, walk down the street in a city I’m visiting…always, always, always.

Those 600 pound people that allowed their journey with their weight loss to be filmed and put on TV for, I don’t know…entertainment purposes? Educational purposes? Why the fuck would they do it? WHY? People look at them and have even MORE reason to judge them and others like them. They see them making poor food choices, and trying to take an “easy” way out with some sort of surgery so they can get to a more acceptable 200 -300 pounds, at which point they will continue to be judged for being overweight. And the cycle will never end for them.

It never ends for ANY of us. I judge myself enough for everyone, dammit. We all do. And be careful about lying to yourself about that fact. The self-doubt…it is human. It is totally normal, and it’s what keeps most of us from being total assholes 100% of the time.

I’m not saying that we should all be overweight and be happy with it.

I’m not saying that it’s easy to quit judging, and so we should all just stop doing it.

I’m just saying that it takes effort. It all takes effort. I am fucking exhausted by the effort it takes for my attempts at being a better person to be successful. And I often fail. It’s on me to get back up after those failures and to recognize them for what they are, and to not let them get the better of me.


But, dammit, I’m not going to stop trying.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why do I take this shit so seriously?

These decisions shouldn't be so hard, people. But I take them very seriously, for some reason. 

Maybe it's because the lights we chose for our bathroom remodel wound up being kind of disappointing. I don't know.

Anyway, I've been looking for lights for the new basement space for the last few weeks. I've decided several times on different options in that time. I wish I could put up around 7 lights, and have them all go together with the design in the space, and with each other, and to magically cost our budgeted amount.

Since we don't live in Crazy Land, though, I had to decide on 1 pendant light for the bar area, 1 light for over the game table, 1 light for over the couch in the TV area, and 2 sconces for the fireplace wall. 

I ordered them today. THERE WILL BE NO TURNING BACK! 

Unless, of course, I change my mind when they get here, and I send them back. Eh-em. 

Here are the lights I picked...
This will go over the game table...I love the circles. This will look great with the wainscoting we selected.
This is the pendant for the bar area. Matches the game table light, since they'll be in the same part of the basement as each other.
These are the sconces I chose for the fireplace wall. It's going to look so pretty!
This one...I'm still not sure about. I love it to pieces. But the color in the picture is questionable...it's just supposed to be a frosted glass shade, but it looks flesh toned, or almost pinkish in the picture. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. It will be over the couch in the TV area. Crossing fingers that it works!
Picking out details like this helps this early part of the process be less boring, I think. They finished the framing this week, and the electricians are here today and likely early next week running all the lines and setting up the cans for the recessed lights, and apparently we'll get drywall started next week...that should be a bit more fun. But right now, it's just dirty and messy and I CAN'T WAIT TO SIT IN MY NEW BASEMENT AAUUUGGGHHHH! SO EXCITED!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Termites can go suck it.

Pretty soon after we moved into our house back in 2011, we discovered a termite issue. The whole house is just wood. Wood on wood on more wood. And apparently, the way the foundation in the garage butts up against the wall in the dining room somehow created a very hospitable environment for the buggars. They moved in, and tore some shit UP.

We knew this. We were aware there might be issues in the future, even though we eradicated the issue as soon as we discovered them. 

And that future is HERE, muthafuckas. DAMMIT.

There are two support beams that cross each other in the basement. For some reason, Leo was feeling one of them when the demo was completed, and found some damage on it. So when the framers came in, they checked it out even further, and found that just about the entire beam had been chewed up. The termites had started at the top, and then burrowed in to the center of the beam, and chewed it up from inside for quite a distance.

Lovely. 
Sad support beam!
Thankful that we discovered the issue, but I still have no idea how much that little detour cost us. Can't wait to find out! ::gag::
They had to build a temporary support wall while they fixed up the beam issue. Just terrifying to think about what we've had stacked on top of that rotten beam all this time!
I hate to think about the scary business. So instead, I'm focusing on the fun changes that are happening. YAY!

Building in some new architectural details begins with the framing. I showed our contractor this photo when we were discussing the project, prior to his design being pulled together:

I didn't know if there was any way to do something similar, but said it would be neat if we could work it into the design somehow. After the initial budget came back with a CRAZY high number, we talked about ways we could cut it down, and the curved doorway was one of the changes that was suggested. It's cheaper to just have a square doorway, so that's the way we went instead.

We've got a little hallway where the office and workout room entrances are, so that's where the detail will go...

I'm pretty excited about it! Plus, maybe it's helping to hold the rest of the house up. :/

Stupid termites.

This week is a less than exciting one around here again. HVAC is here today. Electrical and stuff will probably be happening, too. So it might be quiet on the blog front for a little bit. We'll see. Other stuff IS going on in my life, so I suppose I could talk about that...

But right now? It's treadmill time. Yaaaayyyyy...