Wednesday, July 18, 2007

So impressionable

Ask my former roommates, they'll tell you -- at times, I can be quite impressionable. If I regard someone highly, I'll often take his/her word as gospel. For instance, if he/she say leggings are cool, I'll say (and truly believe) leggings are cool. This very phenomenon happened to me last Friday when my coworker Amanda introduced me to Jordan Ferney's blog. Jordan's blog is full of pretty clothing, furniture, artwork and other nice things. After reading just a couple of her posts, my mind was made up: Jordan was the coolest girl ever and I would take her opinions to heart. I liked the stuff she posted so much, that I went out that very night and bought myself some new pretty things for my home.
For the rest of the weekend, I balanced my indulgence in pretty stuff with a bathtub's worth of ugly stuff. I tore out all the old, cracked, mildewy caulk on my tub and gave it some new life with a fresh bright white bead. I found instructions online at this site and this site, assembled my tools and then dove right in. The whole project was trickier than I thought and I'm not 100 percent pleased with the finished product. It took some serious elbow grease and sheer determination to remove some of the grimy old caulk. In addition to a putty knife, I enlisted the aid of a flathead screwdriver, utility knife (my utility knife is very pretty by the way, it has a flower design on it) and my hairdryer to remove the most stubborn bits of caulk. Once I was satisfied with the removal, I used rubbing alcohol to clean away any mildew and then propped a box fan up in the tub overnight to help speed up the moisture-wicking-away process. The next day, I applied the new caulk. I used painters tape to help mark off the edges of the tub and (fake) tile seam so that I'd have clean lines and then filled the tub with water as instructed by one of my online sites. I had barely gotten started with the caulk gun when I promptly sat in the water. boo. :( A bit soggy around the eges, I proceeded to apply the cualk and smooth the bead with a wet fingertip until I thought everything looked OK. Upon final inspection, I realized the width of the bead varied considerably around each side of the tub and I'm beginning to notice sections that could have been a little smoother. But still, for my first time, it's not so bad...and best of all, I did it myself!

Speaking of myself, here is a picture of me as a Simpson. You can turn yourself into a Simpson too at Warning: the site was super busy and super picky about the photo I used when I tried it, but just look at me, wasn't it all worth it?

One last thing - I've really got to hand it to the folks behind all of the marketing for the new Simpson's movie. They've put together one helluva campaign that's left quite the impression on me!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

My parents to the rescue!

When it rains, it pours. And right about the time I moved in to my lovely new home, a gigantic project landed on my desk at work. There was a brief face-off between the work project and home projects, but when the dust had settled, the work project emerged as the winner of all my time and energy. If I could squeeze in a spare hour, I spent it practicing my flute since I'd agreed to play for a friend's wedding and I didn't want to be the one that ruined her big day with sloppy musicianship. To further complicate things, I rubbed elbows (and ankles and calves) with the likes of Poison Ivy and paid for it...big time! The lower part of my right and left legs and my right forearm were engulfed in red, wrinkly, itchy blotches that refused to go away for two weeks. My favorite remedy for the itch -- scalding it with hot water. Mmm...hurts so good! Finally at the constant urging of coworkers, my parents, Chad, friends and anyone else who happened to catch a glimpse of my PI, I broke down, and visited the doctor who promptly prescribed a steroid pill. Within just a few days, I began to heal. A month later I'm still blotchy, but it isn't fire red anymore and no longer itches.

Poison Ivy

Since I was preoccupied with everything else in my life, my house continued not to be a home. Boxes were still planted squarely in the center of the dining room, my counter tops were littered with junk mail offers to consolidate my mortgage and my clothes were still in their suitcases. Just when all seemed hopeless, my mother swooped in and saved the day by offering me her homemaking services for an entire week! In just an hour at my place, she made more progress than I'd made in the entire time I'd been living there. While I'd been plagued by indecision and wouldn't put things away because I couldn't decide where their permanent home should be, my mom just starting putting things wherever they would fit. Any open closet or cupboard space was fair game. Her strategy - get things out of boxes and just put them somewhere. I could always reorganize later.

By the time her stay was done, my house (inside and out) had been transformed. Her only complaint was that she felt like a neglected spouse since I wasn't there very much. But that was precisely why I needed her help. Thanks, Mom!

My mom, fluffing a pillow.

Just two weeks after my mom's prolonged stay, we had a whirlwind Saturday filled with family, food and home improvement projects. I liken it to barn raising party. Many of the who's who in my family were there to help me whip my house into shape, Bob D. style, meaning get stuff done. Now.

My brother-in-law sprayed my lawn to eradicate pesky creeping charlie and other obnoxious weeds. My brother, sister and mother helped me get my feast of pulled pork sandwiches, green bean casserole, cheese and crackers, apples and dip, and other yummy foods ready and then helped in the yard. My uncle and his kids came by with a ladder so my dad could complete the one project he'd had his eye on ever since I moved in, tree-trimming. Whether he had a personal vendetta against the trees or had some other motivation, my dad just would not settle with clipping a few dead branches here and there. He set about attacking entire limbs, and with gusto. He hadn't brought his chainsaw, but he wasn't about to let that little oversight get him down. When he couldn't get one particular tree limb down with just a bow saw, he hauled his skill saw up to his perch and cut the branch that way. Dangerous? Yes. Successful? Yes, indeed.

My dad and his tree limb, just moments before the skill saw was called to duty.

My dad with his kill. Thank you, skill saw!

With tree limbs felled and my house in order, I now have time for...more home improvement projects! There's a bathtub to recaulk, wallpaper to remove, floors to refinish, curtains to hang and the list goes on. I'll get to these just as soon as I find out when my parents are free. :)