Quarterly update (part 3) — talking about the table and random other stuff

Okay, so what else has been going on?

  • Happy belated birthday to Amy, Mae, Tim, and Ethan! And happy birthday today to Isaac! We really had intended to send cards or something but my life is apparently insane and I can’t get anything done.
  • Congratulations to Dalton on those first steps! So exciting!
  • I’ve taken two classes now on how to use MS Access. I’m trying to learn a new way to keep track of all the information I manage at work and it’s being troublesome. It’s a whole new way of thinking about what I’m doing. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end, but it’s making me go around in circles while I try to figure it out.
  • I’ve donated platelets several times now. The last time went without a hitch and didn’t have any low-pressure problems. The time prior to that, however, was a failure because the pressure was so low I couldn’t even manage to get blood up to the machine to start.
  • On our way back from an appointment for Kay in Atlanta back in May, we stopped to help a woman and her daughter who were stuck on the side of the road with a shredded tire. We learned that we need to keep a better flashlight in the car, that we need a higher jack if we’re going to be able to help people who’ve lost their jack, and that we’d need a better tire iron to get those lug nuts off if they’ve lost that piece of equipment, too. Fortunately, a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped and he had all those things and was able to get the women back on the road again. But we were able to help them stay calm and we learned some valuable lessons for ourselves in the process. One of these days, we’ll figure out which jack to pick up — hopefully before we actually need it again.
  • When Mom and Dad were here, the project that we decided to work on was a skinny little table/shelf that goes behind the sofa and has outlets on it, making it easy to access an outlet, even though the sofa is blocking that whole wall. I got the idea from a blog online that I’m too lazy right now to go find. And we kind of adjusted the idea as we went anyway. When they were here, Dad showed Justin how to run the electric by taking an extension cord and splicing in an outlet. And we cut the wood and stained it. After they left, I sanded the wood and Justin polyurethane it a couple times to give it a nice sheen. I don’t have any in-progress photos and the pictures I have of it in place aren’t super, either. But this is what I’ve got.
Behold! Our table shelf thing.
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Behold! Our table shelf thing.

It’s just a little wider than the outlets, of which we’ve got two. One of them is a standard outlet. The other has USB charging slots. We had to order that one from Amazon because no where in town carried them in the nickle color we wanted.

USB charging at the outlet!
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USB charging at the outlet!

But a gift card from work and an Amazon order later and we’ve got ourselves a really spiffy outlet.

The rope lights are only temporary.
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The rope lights are only temporary.

We would like to have installed actual lights into the table, but they were really expensive, so we held off on that idea for now. In the mean time, we’ve got a rope light that we’d put up the stairs at the other house that didn’t have a home yet, and that’s filling in the gap for now. It’s a subtle light, but nice.

Back-lights behind the sofa
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Back-lights behind the sofa

The outlet that’s down behind the sofa has one outlet that’s controlled from a switch at the door and one that’s on all the time. So the outlets are plugged into one and the lights are plugged into the other and it works perfectly!

The table isn’t actually put together all the way yet. The long piece was really torqued and we were having trouble figuring out how to actually install the support beams that we cut in order to give it some structural support. We’d really like to do it right with sunken screws and everything, but we don’t have the money right now to buy the kreg jig we’d like in order to do it right. So for now, it’s tucked back behind the sofa, hopefully getting a little more straight the longer it’s there, and when we’ve got the money for the tool, we’ll take it back down and do the supports. And then when we’ve got more money again, we’ll add a lamp or up-wash lights or something.

For now, though, we’re really happy with how it turned out. I’ve actually got my computer plugged into it right now. And it’s actually stained darker than we would normally go, but it almost perfectly matches the sofa, so I’m tickled at how that worked out.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for paying for all the lumber! And for all the help on figuring out how to put it together!

And that pretty much rounds out the news that I’ve got for the moment. More than what I’ve mentioned and I feel like I’m complaining about my life, which is actually pretty good, I’m just irritated at parts of it at the moment (55 days) and that’s putting a huge grumpy gray cloud over everything. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a while again. I’m not exactly trying to be reclusive or anything. I’m just trying not to be a whiner at everybody. My life is good. I’m just cranky. But things will get better.

Stuff & Things

“Stuff & things” is a pretty general answer to the “What have you been up to?” question. In this case, it covers quite a lot.

  • I worked 57 hours this week to try to get a project put together for Monday that I didn’t know was due Monday until Wednesday. And I’m not entirely finished, mostly because I need input from one of my coworkers who said he saved a file but I couldn’t find it and he was out of the office.
  • I got my permanent crown put on my back tooth and it went just fine. While I was there, I asked them to check on my filling, which they’d replaced a week before that, because I couldn’t floss between a couple teeth and it was hurting a lot and rubbing oddly. The rubbing was apparently what was causing the pain and the flossing problem was a bit of the sealant stuck in between my teeth. Now that the filling has been smoothed down a bit, everything feels just fine. And I can floss normally. Interestingly, to me, my new filling is the same color as my teeth, so even though I had all this work done to my teeth, they don’t look any different. In fact, they look better, because the silver filling is gone. It’s also textured like my teeth, instead of mostly flat like it was before. My teeth feel different to my tongue, but they look normal. It’s a little odd.
  • Justin and I are working on running again. I can run 20 minutes solid, but most days, I’m following the Couch to 5k program on my phone. I can run a mile in that 20 minutes, thankfully, but I’m not entirely sure how much further. And the scale is not showing much progress for me losing weight, but I haven’t been tracking my food much, so I’m not entirely surprised. Mostly, it feels good to be able to run at least a little bit again.
  • Spring has officially blossomed all over everything. There are boxes of tissues all over the house, and the trash cans are overflowing with crumpled up discards. I’ve given up on trying to wear my contacts for a while. I’ve gave upon makeup the last couple days, too, since I just rubbed it all off by the end of the day Thursday. We finally broke down and picked up a box of generic Claritin yesterday. Justin is feeling better today, but he hasn’t stepped outside of the house yet today, either. He refuses, on the basis that “there’s pollen out there.” Our street and the apartment complex are completely surrounded by pine trees. I hate pine trees.
  • On Fridays, we’ve been taking our running clothes when we head up to Bluffton for our chiropractic appointments and heading out to the beach to go running before we head home. It makes for a nice change of pace than running around the pond behind our building (0.2 mile each loop) and it’s a nice surface for running on. The added wonderful bonus is that there’s pretty much guaranteed to be wind blowing in off the water, meaning it’s blowing in fresh, clear air from the ocean and there’s not any pollen from all the dreadful trees. It’s quickly becoming a highlight of my week. Once it gets more busy at the beach, and the pollen settles back down, we’ll probably swap to running on a trail in the woods that we used to go running on when we lived in town.
  • This past Friday, it started raining heavily when we were running on the beach. It had been going really well up until then, but I don’t like running in the rain because I don’t like getting water in my eyes (I’d have been better if I’d brought my hat) and I don’t like getting chilled, and it was a chilly rain. And, weirdly, as soon as the rain started, Justin’s allergies kicked up. So we headed back home, and got stuck in traffic when a crash on the only bridge off the island reduced progress to a single lane during the home-going rush. It took us an hour to go what should have taken us 15 minutes.
  • I have not made any progress on the craft I want to make for the kids, for a variety of reasons, none of which are terribly good. I hope to have them done before Mom & Dad get here, though, so they can deliver them when they drive around. Of course, we’ll have to mail the ones to the TN Fritz kids.
  • I’m excited for Mom & Dad to visit! I have to figure out if there’s anything exciting happening in town that day.
  • Tomorrow is our seven year anniversary. We have no idea what we’d like to do to celebrate.
  • We finally bought the part that’s been missing from the bread maker for about 2 years. The little paddle attachment at the bottom got tossed out with a bad loaf of bread. Turns out, they’re only about $10 on Amazon. We’ve had a lot of bread in the last couple weeks. Deliciousness! And since our grocery budget is having to stretch pretty thin, it’s been a cheap way to do some meals.
  • I’ve donated platelets three times now and I’m scheduled to back again on April 18th. It turns out my platelets count is very high and they love having me come in. This last time, I asked to do whole blood at the end, since I’m O neg, and they actually said no. That they’d rather I just do platelets, since my count is so high and I can come in more frequently if I don’t do whole blood. They said they have enough people coming in to donate blood, but not enough for platelets.
  • I actually got an email from the Red Cross regarding my donation on the 27th of February saying that after finding out that there was enough supply locally, my donation was sent up to hospitals in Atlanta. I thought it was cool that they let me know that it had been sent out.
  • After my last donation, last Saturday (21 March), I ended up sleeping most of the day after getting home. It’s not the same type of tired after donating whole blood, but apparently I needed some sleep afterward. I felt fine the next day. As long as that’s the only side effect I get, and my platelets count doesn’t go down below 300k/mcL or something, I’ll keep doing platelets every three weeks or so.
  • There’s a Tractor Supply Co. on our way into Bluffon that opened a few months ago, I think. It’s like a smaller Farm ‘n’ Fleet, if I remember correctly — it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Farm ‘n’ Fleet. I’d heard that they had inexpensive rain boots and I wanted to check if I could find some that were either ankle-high or wide enough to fit over my calves. (Did I ever tell the story about getting stuck in a garden boot at Lowe’s?) They didn’t end up having any that fit great and were in our price range, but they did have a lot of fun other things that reminded us, once again, that we really wish we were country-living folk instead of apartment dwellers. They had a lot of tools and some cute shirts and things. And then they also had chicks. And baby ducks. And Justin just stood there by the ducks while I wandered around the store. It was like when he took me to the San Diego Safari Park and left me at the elephants for a while. Happiest I’ve seen him in ages.

I should go get dinner started. I’ve babbled on enough to make you all bored, I’m sure. :) Justin and Kay are both on their computers, playing games online with people, but not each other. I’m the only true introvert in the house and I’m waiting for my Nook to charge up enough that I can keep on reading everything ever written by Robert Asprin — I’m on book 12 of the M.Y.T.H. Inc. series. But they’re only about 100 – 150 pages each, so that isn’t much of an accomplishment, really.

And I’m babbling again instead of making rice. And dinner’s getting later and later. Time to go! Have a great day!

More reasons why I’m glad to have a garage

Because my garage looks like this right now.

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And my dining room looks like this.

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And my living room looks like this.

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And it doesn’t look like this.

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Now, granted, there are more pieces of wood in that photo than there are out in my garage right now. This has some of the pieces for the bed that we made and not just the bookshelves.

I’m adding a coat of polyurethane to the bookshelves that we built before Grandma Rose came to visit us last Christmas. We ran out of time and we weren’t really sure we wanted to coat them. But mostly, we really ran out of time. And we decided the next time we had them apart, we’d figure out if we wanted to poly them. Well, after trying to dust them for a while not coated, I decided that I wanted to coat them because they’d be MUCH easier to keep tidy that way. Plus, I think the wood would stay nicer. And hey! We had to take them apart. So I’m trying to get that done before I head out of town.

Most of the pieces in the recent photos have polyurethane on one side, but some have a coat on both. I need to finish coating the ones that are only halfway done and sand all of them with a fine grit sandpaper. I’m not sure yet if I can do that with the electric sander — it might be TOO powerful for this. So I’ll probably have to do all the sanding by hand, which is ANNOYING. And I have to make sure I have a good mask so I don’t inhale all sorts of polyurethane dust. And then I’ll coat them again, hopefully before I go to California, so they have a full week to sit before we put them back together again and put books on them.

Although, we might hold off a little longer before putting them together again because when we made them last year, we didn’t put ALL the shelves in. We left the top two off because they were going to go further, overhanging the guest bed in the room, and we couldn’t afford all that wood at that time. Now, the shelves would be smaller, the same size as all the rest of them, but we would still need to buy the wood, sand it three times, condition it, stain it, poly coat it, sand it again, and poly coat it one more time. And if the weather is nice and dry, we might be able to get all that done in a couple days. But we’ll talk it through once he’s back home again.

This is what those shelves look like when they’re all put together, by the way.

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Isn’t the paint on the walls in that room just AWFUL? She said it was supposed to be faux leather. Ugh. More reasons why I’m glad we moved! Did you see the beautiful red in the living room and dining room?

Also, if you were wondering, it’s been almost 30 days since we did our walk through with our landlady and we have NOT YET received our security deposit back or any letter saying anything about it. It’ll be 30 days on Monday. Anybody else NOT surprised?

 

Mid-March goal updates

It’s been about a month since I wrote about my goals, so how about an update on that?

First, a quick reminder that my goals by June 31st are:

  1. Pay at least $200/month extra toward our debts
  2. Sew at least 1 skirt and 1 shirt
  3. Be able to play 3 chords on my guitar
  4. Be able to run 1 mile contiguously
  5. Visit Chattanooga
  6. Grow 2 plants for food/spice
  7. Look into Lean/Six Sigma certification training
  8. Learn how to make better goals

And now a rundown on how those are going thus far:

  1. On track: Progress on paying off our debts is going fine. I haven’t got an actual update on the numbers right now, but I know that we’re making steady progress on paying these off and I’m happy about it.
  2. On track: I’ve got a skirt put together that needs finishing – I would like to top stich it with a double needle and I don’t have one. And I might tear it apart a little and do a better job along the waistline because it’s just not fitting quite right. I’ve got the fabric for the shirt that I’m making for Dad, but the pattern I have is the wrong size, so I’ll be taking that back and getting the right one. I should have the skirt done by the end of the weekend and I hope to have the shirt done by the time Justin and I catch up with Mom and Dad on their April Tour of Homes.
  3. COMPLETE: I am happy to say that I have exceeded this goal already! I can play 6 chords: C, G7, F, Am, Dm, & E7! I have my second lesson with Dad tonight and I’m very excited about it! I’m listing this goal as completed, but I’m certainly not going to stop working hard at this. I’m enjoying it far too much to stop now!
  4. At risk: Exercising regularly has been, so far, my biggest goal-progress failing and I haven’t shown any significant progress. I need to put more focused energy on this.
  5. COMPLETE: The Chattanooga visit was fantastic and we very much enjoyed the city. We’re still evaluating it (or, at least, I am) and weighing the options and everything. At this point, moving is such a long ways out that this is not a significant goal.
  6. On track: The parsley is still alive! And I’m going to look more into what would need to happen in order to grow strawberries.
  7. At risk: Dad sent me a great link about Six Sigma training, but I haven’t taken the time to read it yet, so I really need to sit down and do that. Mom also mentioned professional editing and I’m going to review again why I dismissed that as an option previously. This is the other goal that I really need to put some focus into but haven’t managed to do so just yet.
  8. Tabled: I think the way I’m working on the goals that I’ve set for myself is working out just fine, so I’m letting this one go for now. I’m very pleased with the progress that I’ve been able to make, so why fuss about it?

 

How did I do on my goals for last week?

I started on this post over the weekend to show how I’d done on my goals for last week. I was going to post it on Monday, along with an updated list for this coming week.

And then I woke up on Monday and fought against a panic attack all day long. Huge amounts of anxiety and paranoia and issues. Wanna know how much fun that was at work? It was ZERO fun. Fortunately, I have an awesome husband and once I got home, my evening was delightfully relaxing. And I didn’t touch my computer all evening.

Here we are on Tuesday now, and I guess it’s not too late to post this information. It’s just not quite as timely as I’d hoped.

So, how did I do on my goals for last week?

  • Pull out the items for Craigslist and eBay that we were going to sell and get them looking nice, take pictures, figure out how much they’re worth, and get them listed.
    • Things posted:
      • Glass bowls from the wedding that we never found a reason to use
      • Screen door that we never used and I’m not entirely sure where it actually came from in the first place
      • Tennis racquet that I never used because, of the racquet games, I prefer racquetball
      • Old TV that’s been sitting in a corner because we don’t need three TVs. We hardly use two.
      • Old TV and stand that we don’t want to use anymore. The stand’s just been taking up space and we really only use one TV and the other one is better.
    • Things not yet posted because they’re in the attic and we didn’t get up there:
      • Jars from the wedding that have been in box since the day of the wedding
      • Castle building set that I’ve never seen outside of the box
    • Sadly, no bites from anyone interested in buying anything yet.
  • Review budgets for February and make sure we’re sticking to them.
    • So far so good!!
  • Look up the information about gored skirts again and work out the details on how to create a pattern for that.
    • I got distracted by looking up patterns and fabric for a flannel shirt for Dad, so I didn’t do the skirt, but I have made progress on the shirt.
    • Also, I made a little pin cushion just for fun
  • Pull out the guitar, re-learn how to tune the strings, and read though the book I bought about how to learn how to play.
    • Tuned the strings and practiced out of the book for a while
    • Started setting up a time to do Skype lessons with Dad
  • Go walking/do aerobics or yoga/go for a bike ride a couple times this week.
    • This one was a big fat failure. I can do better!
  • Ask Justin if he needs/wants  my help with the Chattanooga planning.
    • Nope, he’s good.
  • Figure out what plant to grow – I’ve got parsley already, if I can keep it alive. What else do I want to grow? Basil? Oregano? Strawberries?
    • Yeah, I’m still not sure about this one.
  • Remember to water the parsley.
    • The parsley will live to see another week!
  • Look up what goes into Lean/Six Sigma training.
    • I did nothing on this one at all.
  • Go to the library and look up books on goal planning (also pick up books on gardening and sewing)
    • And I never made it close to the library

Looking at this coming week, I’m not going to make very many goals for myself because we’re going to be out of town. (Any robbers interested in the house, our neighbors have dogs and they keep an eye on our house very well because it’s attached to their own and they use our parking spaces!) And in order to work a 4 day week two weeks in a row, I have to put in long hours the next couple days.

That said, this is what I’m looking at this week:

  • Contact people back if they email about the things on Craigslist
  • Don’t spend crazy lots of money in Chattanooga
  • Figure out a pattern and fabric for the shirt for Dad
  • Have a guitar lesson with Dad on Thursday
  • Walk as much as possible, whenever possible
  • Explore Chattanooga and see if it’s somewhere we’d like to eventually move. And have a whole heck of a lot of fun while we’re at it; enjoy each other’s company while we’re driving, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the changing of the weather, and just enjoy the ever-living snot out of the whole weekend.

And then there’s things like packing and doing laundry and finishing the project for Mom and sending that back to her, working 40 hours (minimum) and getting a new tire on the car before we drive 6 hours each way on a bald tire.

Thankfully, the anxiety that plagued me yesterday hasn’t been a problem today. And that’s great because something is going on with people at work and everybody’s already a little bit on edge.

If you don’t hear from me again in a couple days, it’s because I’m working like crazy and then enjoying myself like crazy! I’ll try to come back from Chattanooga with loads and loads of photos! (Because they’re the souvenir that’s FREE!)