Friday, August 28, 2015

Enough about my house. Back to me, dammit!

I haven't written anything personal out here in a while. I'm not looking back to figure out exactly when was the last time I did, but I just know that it's been quite a bit.

Things used to come easier, for some reason. To write about, I mean. Even my therapist is all, "Start out every day with just journaling 3 pages about how you're feeling..." And I'm sitting there all, "3 PAGES? Handwritten? She's a nut ball." But she swears it will come more and more naturally. I dunno.

I don't rant the way I used to. In fact, I actively work on not letting myself get to that point. Sarcasm, deflecting, defensiveness...those are all qualities I feel like became second nature to me. Fuck, they were more first nature, than anything else, really! But those actions are me reacting to a perceived loneliness, often brought about by a feeling of abandonment, or being ignored.

Being able to express that I'm feeling abandoned or ignored is really hard for me, because it makes me feel like I'm expressing a weakness at the same time. And appearing weak is NOT something I want to have happen. So much of the time, there's a post-reaction to my original reaction that makes me feel worse about myself, due to how I've treated those around me (usually my husband, of course!), and the spiral continues from there. Here's an example:

  • I'm expecting Leo to arrive home at a certain time. He doesn't arrive at that time, and eventually 30, 40, 45 minutes pass, and I start to worry. (Why I worry is beyond's not something I can work on yet. I'm getting there, but it's not a priority.) I begin to think that he must've gotten into an accident of some sort.
  • So I text or call him. He doesn't answer either way. Or, he does answer the phone call, but sounds annoyed.
  • I get angry. Next time we interact, I yell, or speak sarcastically about something, and say things like, "I don't care what we have for dinner. Obviously, everything is about YOU, since you don't care about me at all, so just fix whatever you want to eat. It's all about LEO."
  • And then I sit and seethe, and as I calm down, I start to wonder why I handled things the way I did. I think about how obnoxious it must be to live with a person who acts that way. I wonder why someone would want to live with a person who acts that way. I get mad at myself, and wish that I'd behaved like a rational person. And then I remember all the stuff my therapists and I have talked about over the past couple years, and start working backwards through the issue. Why did I get mad? Because I felt ignored. Why didn't I tell Leo that I felt ignored? Because it was too late, and the feeling of abandonment/being ignored went to the red zone, and so the wrath of that feeling was his "reward" for treating me like crap.
  • Later, I can talk to him about that feeling. And we usually clear the air.

This happens week after week. Sometimes, it's no biggy, and sometimes, it IS a biggy. Regardless, I don't like it.

That post-reaction to my initial reaction is frustrating to continue encountering, but I'm glad it's at least happening at this point in life. I think that even as recently as maybe 5 years ago, it might've been happening, but I didn't care as much. And it's been doing a lot of damage over the years! The swings between good and bad moods, attempts to control those's exhausting. And a person who's mentally and emotionally exhausted can't see clearly. Can't manage stress well. Can't manage relationships well.

I miss my rants, to be honest. I was so openly ANNOYED by things! Now, I almost wonder if I'm suppressing that annoyance. Writing about it was so cathartic, even though some people criticized it and told me it was toxic. I felt like, by letting it out, I was airing any level of toxicity associated with it. My mother died of cancer, and I think that a major source of that cancer was unexpressed annoyance, disappointments, and general irritation with shit in her life. She was a pretender...someone who always seemed to be ok with everything. Looking back on it, it was a tough example to have set for a kid. And then being a woman in the professional, the pretending that you have to do! As a waitress, as an executive assistant, as ANYTHING, we have to ignore any irritation and just push through with our activities. Maybe it's the same for a man...I don't know. I'm a chick, so I can only speak from my experience. But anyway, it taught me a way to behave that said "being weak and sad is wrong...being strong and easy-going is right!"

Now, I'm learning that being able to feel those emotions and feelings as they happen is ok. It goes against everything I'd taught myself/had experienced for most of my life. Like, for 38 years. That's some tough shit to shift!

Maybe 3 pages of journaling each day will get easier and easier. Right now, I'm lucky if I get 3 pages a week. So I'll explore writing out here again for a bit. See if it helps it come more naturally. Sometimes, it might be funny. Most times, it will likely just be me airing my therapeutic crap. (It's not bad, though, really. Therapy has saved my life in the past, and might be saving my marriage now. I can't say enough about how much a good therapist can effect your life in a beneficial way!)

So read along with, if you'd like. I don't mind. :)

Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Deck Project - Complete!

When last I posted, I had shown y'all the pictures of the destruction of our former deck. Then life happened, and I basically left you hanging for a week. A little more than a week...whatever. :P
I'm sure it's not that big of a deal to you. But I like to think that it is. Because, at my core, I'm a blogger. And WE THRIVE ON ATTENTION, DONTCHA KNOW?
Anywho, on with the transformation! After the deck was torn off, I didn't take a lot of pictures. It was a mess in the backyard, and it was more important to me that the dogs were able to get out and do their business safely than it was for me to snap pictures. The framing went up relatively quickly, but the material we used for the new decking was temperamental and as it got more and more frigid, it was harder to get it installed. So it went a little slow for a bit in February. This was a shot I got on a relatively nice day, mid-project:

The plan was to have a screened in porch, thanks to the inspiration we got from Leo's parents' screened in porch on their home in South Bend, and from a trip we took to Branson last year with our friends, Lloyd and Alisha, where we spent a lot of time hanging out on the screened in porch at the condo we stayed at.

Unfortunately, with 3 relatively cray puppies, having a screen on the bottom of the framing seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. So we decided to do glass on the bottom, and screen on top.

Installing glass, and even screen, during the winter when it's less than 40 degrees out is difficult. In spite of it being a preferred time of year for our contractor to work (he likes it to be colder rather than hotter out, and I can't blame him!), the framing that holds the screen in kept breaking because it was too damned cold to put screws through. And the glass couldn't be installed until it was consistently over 50 degrees for a while, or some shit. Blah. The fun of a construction project in winter time!
The original design was a little loose when it came to the lower deck. And while Leo and I were away for some reason or another, the contractor took it upon himself to build these giant planter things on either side of the stairs. They were...unexpected. BUT, we had to have something, by code, to frame those stairs in. And the planters grew on us. So we kept them. Initially, they had started running the boards vertically, which looked very dated to me. I asked them to please run everything horizontally, and that worked much better, I think.

This shot, below, shows the path that lead to the lower deck from the side gate. It had been a flagstone path that was uneven and messy, and would no longer work. So we tore it out.
The new stairs were a little trouble to figure out. But once we got the design worked out, they went in very quickly.
From the inside, we replaced the original door on the right (which had been a single French door) with a slider. I also wanted to replace the window on the left with a slider...that was something Leo fought me on, for some reason. But, as we discovered in the demo that the window had been installed incorrectly by the previous owners, and had rotted out the frame underneath it, my door idea became more attractive. Yay!
We installed a storm door/patio door that has a doggy door in it, to make things easier for the dogs to come and go as they please, which is nice. 
And the old flagstone path was replaced with a cement pathway that matches up with the rest of the existing path to the side gate. It's so beautiful and awesome!
We were able to put in a doggy door inside as well! Good thing we have small dogs, because we couldn't go much larger than this due to the door location right next to it!
From the outside, this is the completed project:
A key to the finished deck was having storage access to the area below it. There's a small door on both sides that allows us to get under there to store patio chairs, umbrellas, and pool noodles out of season. So great!
Here's a shot of the finished deck from the inside:
And from the new door that used to be a window:
I took this picture before we got our couch put in out there...I had an old loveseat reupholstered with Sunbrella fabric. It fits perfectly out there!
So there it is! The new deck. You wanna come and see it, I know. I'm thinking July is going to be a fun month around this here house...

Monday, May 25, 2015

So, the deck project.

Back in way, way last year, or so, we painted our porch again, because it looked like shit. The year before, we had it patched up because bits of the deck were rotting and splintering and looking terrible, and we had it painted then, too.
Basically, someone fucked up and painted the porch with an oil-based paint at one point before we bought the place. And when you paint a porch with oil-based paint once, you paint it with oil-based paint EVERY FUCKING YEAR AFTER THAT. Unless you don't mind having a shitty looking porch. That's always an option, too. I never judge a house by it's painted porch, because I have lived through this bullshit, man. I know how much it sucks.
Anyway, we knew from the initial inspection on the house that the main bolts that connected the porch to the house were insufficient, and were bound to fail. At some point. Not sure when. The whole thing just got to the point where it seemed like a giant pile of kindling attached to the back of our house. So we made the decision to have it replaced this winter. This is what it used to look like:

 This is what it looked like after a particularly pretty snowfall in 2013:
We were tired of shoveling it, we were tired of painting it and constantly worrying about it falling off the house eventually, and we love hanging out on covered decks/screened-in porches when we get the chance, so we decided that's what we wanted to do. So we started that process up during a particularly lovely January 2015. WOOHOO!

They put up this little board across the door to keep us from accidentally walking out into a 5 foot drop once they tore the actual deck off. Which I thought was decent of them.
Ironically, the guy doing the work was the guy who helped build the deck back in the 80's, when the house was built. On day one, I heard him out there saying, "Holy shit, man! What were you thinking?" to himself. It was pretty funny. He was an apprentice back then, and I guess that whoever he was working under wasn't a super-great teacher. Fortunately, since then, he's gained some mad building skills. (I hope...)
The front of the deck/porch had a big planter built into it. It was lovely, but dated. And having that thing torn out was almost as satisfying as a good orgasm.

Ok, let me be honest...almost ALL demo of old, outdated shit is as satisfying as a good orgasm! In case you were unaware.
Here are the lumps of leftover planter bits after all the wood was removed. They were frozen there. And looked so, sooo gross to me. Blech.
 Something fun we discovered was that a big window in our living room had been installed incorrectly, and the whole support beam under it was rotting! And had been a great environment for termites! YAY!

So, so fucking PRETTY. UGH.
Discoveries like that are NOT a satisfying part of demo. For a day, we were concerned that the damage continued around the corner there, along a very long length of our house, and I might've had lots more wine than usual that night. But it turned out ok.

That was demo. Tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll post about the rebuild. Because the new deck is so amazing. It deserves it's own post. Plus it's 5 p.m. now, and that means it's quittin' time! Later!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Powder Bath - (almost) COMPLETE!

Holy. cow. 

I knew it had been a while since I posted anything, and I needed to post an update about the powder bath remodel, at the very least. But I, um, hadn't realized that it had been THAT long since I last posted! Oops! I kept wanting to post the finished photos of the bath, but even still, it's not quite complete. 

The door is back on! The plumbing all works! The electrical outlet is replaced! 

But the art we bought for the space doesn't work at all. And I still have to find hooks for towels and a proper hand towel bar to put up. So it's just not DONE-done.

That said, it's done enough. So here are the before and after shots of the tiny space. Looks so much better!

These are pretty self-explanatory, but I've captioned them all the same, just in case additional info would be helpful at all. Click on the photos to embiggen. (Which is a real word. I swear.)
This is how it looks from the entrance. Note the change in the window, in particular. No more stained glass insert! Just a clean window with a nice pull down shade from JC Penney.

The vanity....OH how I LOVE that new vanity! The marble top! The shiny mirror panels! The clean undermount sink basin!!! 

This is the old air register in the room. It's tiny. But they had wallpapered it, all the same! I bought a special new one online, and I like it much, much more.

I didn't get a good "before" shot of the vanity/toilet before we tore the old vanity apart, so this is the best I could do, comparison-wise. It looks so much more pretty!
Next up, I'll be posting pics of the deck we ripped off the house, and replaced with a screened-in porch. It's a lovely new space, but it's also a big part of why we're living on a tighter budget these days! YIKES. Time to take a lil' break from big remodels around these here parts...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Jury Duty in JoCo, KS is a fucked up process

I'm "on call" for jury duty for the entire month of February.

This has happened 2 other times in the past...the last time was when my dad was still alive, I think, so it's been a while.

This whole system is a pretty fucked up way to do things, I think. How it works is that, between the 2nd and the 27th, I am on-call. Which means that every Friday, after 6 p.m., I call a phone number to find out whether or not I need to report to the court house on Monday morning.

Because of the not knowing whether I have jury duty or not the following week until 6 p.m. Friday night, I have to cancel/move all appointments I might have to another day/another month. Which sucks a lil' bit.

Also, I live in south Johnson County. There is a courthouse about 8 miles from me, in Olathe. However, for some reason, the courthouse I have to go to is in KCK (a.k.a. Kansas City, KS), which is almost 20 miles away from my house.

I don't get how jury thingies work, but both the Olathe location and the KCK location are US District Courts of Johnson County. So wouldn't it make more sense to have me report to the location that is less than 10 miles from my house? I think it would. But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, I am currently a self-employed (ha.), pretty-well-educated, childless, disability-free 41 year old woman. I guess they don't technically know this about me, but I am also middle of the road when it comes to politics, open-minded with regards to religion and all religion-related issues, and like to think that I'm pretty non-racist in most regards. I think Hitler was an evil human being. I think we are likely not alone in our universe. I love puppy snuggles.

These are all qualities that would make me a fantastic juror.

In spite of all that, I have never had to report any of the previous times that I've been on call. And I wonder if I'll have to report next week, or the week after that. If they aren't calling people like me to serve, then who the fuck is sitting on all the juries in JoCo, KS???

But, is up with the whole KCK location thing? That really chaps my hide, and I'll be sending someone a strongly worded letter about it, if I do wind up having to drive up there, goddammit!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wallpaper-removal mojo is not to be underestimated.

Ah, the art of wallpaper removal. Such a fun past time. ::sigh::

Actually, I find it strangely gratifying. It's an immediate gratification process, so maybe that's what makes it tolerable, in small doses. I don't know. Everyone has their own way they think works best, but for me, the entire piece being removed needs to be soaked in the warm water/soap/whatever-magical-potion-you-prefer mixture, and then the paper needs to be removed from the bottom up. In this photo, you can see the result of my attempting to remove from the top down.
It took me 30 minutes of fighting with the paper before I finally walked away, took a break, ate some food, and stretched my hands out a bit. Prior to that patch, I had been working with much smaller sections around the window, and on the soffit over the vanity area. It had taken me about an hour, or so, to clear two walls of paper, so things had been going well. So when I hit this frustrating point, it really riled me up!

And here you can see the results of me realizing what made the previous two walls so easy to peel, because I had done them from the bottom up, and I was able to finish this small wall in less than 25 minutes once I figure out that "secret".

Whoever wallpapered this bathroom was serious about it. They were so serious, they even wallpapered the air vent cover, the switchplate cover, and the plug cover. It...was a little nutty.

And here we are! Back to bare walls again! WOOHOO!

This one looks like it's been extensively patched, for some reason. Maybe there's a small human plastered into that wall?

We had the issue of having to patch the floor in there after removing the old vanity that had apparently been there since the house was built in the 80's. Thankfully, our contractors are here working on a deck project we have going on right now, so they were able to get some guys in here supah-fast, and the floor was patched up faster than you can say "holy shit! the floor is whole again!"

Right now, we're letting the floor stain dry, and then I can finish sanding the walls, and hopefully get some primer on them this week. I'm so excited to get it all completed! It's going to be so much more pretty, you guys. Say goodbye to the 90's, little powder bathroom! You will be more up-to-date and transitional than you ever have been in your life!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Will we miss this wallpaper? No. No, we will not.

Our powder bathroom is a funny little thing. It's teensy. It's back in a corner of the house that people don't even notice unless it's pointed out to them, a lot of the time. It's decor is straight out the 90's, and has always reminded me a bit of the house I grew up in when my twin and I were in junior high, in Lake Arrowhead, CA. Kind of a rustic traditional type thing. It serves it's purpose well. But it has this GIANT vanity in it that makes no sense. And was apparently built into the room in spectacularly pain in the ass proportion. 

We've officially lived with it for, what? 4 years now? It's time for it to move on and say goodbye forevah.

For those who haven't had the opportunity to see this lovely little space, here are some before pics:
The toilet and the cute lil' window it sits below...
The monster vanity, and the outdated mirror wall above it.
Ahhh, wallpaper. I can see you want to be removed, my friend. No worries. It's a matter of time, now. You will be heading to wallpaper heaven vereh soon.
My favorite part of this wallpaper is that it shows every little scratch and scrape that happens to it. Such a fun quality!

Leo and I got started on Monday this week, pulling the doors off the cabinet, and taking all the hardware out of the room. That was easy, of course. And since we started another major reno on the house on Monday as well (that's another story for another post...), we have another Dumpster in our driveway right now. The vanity went in there today, as we tore it down piece by piece. WOO!

I forgot to get a picture of the pile of rubble that the vanity wound up being when we were done ripping it out, but suffice it to say, it was in a lot of bits. We salvaged the sink basin and the faucet, because they're both in great shape and can be donated. But the rest of it? The rest of it can SUCK MY BIG LEFT TOE. This is what the space looks like now:

Before we pulled it out 100%, I held on to my last hope that the hardwood floors somehow might continue underneath the damned thing. I bet Leo $5 that they did. We shook on it.

He won the bet.
HOWEVER, I was positive we could remove the huge mirror in one big piece, and Leo had no faith in that theory. And we DID it. One big piece. And even though we didn't make another bet on that one, I felt it was pretty much implied. So I said we're even, and since I'm a beautiful wife, I win at all the things in the end.

Which makes projects like this so much more fun!

The wallpaper will be next. Wish me luck, and send me big-pieces-of-wallpaper-coming-off-at-once vibes, if you would. Don't even talk to me about the floor. I haven't decided what we'll do there, yet. I have ideas...I'll share them maybe tomorrow or Friday. Let me know if you have any ideas...I'm open to suggestions.