Saturday, October 24, 2015

Starting Over Again, Again

Ok!!!  I'm looking at this blank "page" in the middle of my screen and suddenly, I got nuthin'!

I love to write, once I get started.  Getting started is intimidating.  Here goes...

Since "I quit my job." sounds so loser-ish, I have decided to say, as one of friends counseled me, "I am no longer working for someone else.." Work on my house had pretty much come to a standstill, before the big overtime push came.  And that push threatened to last for 6 months or more.  So I said, "No, thank you."

I worked out a week's notice, and amid handshakes, a couple of hugs and a few tears on my part, I drove off at the end of my shift on Friday. I unplugged my alarm clock and packed it away and put my wedding ring back on. I will now be doing art, writing and working on my house.

So, today, being Day #1, I began the slow process of sorting out my stuff and getting organized.  I started out putting all the tools I brought home from work away.  I had no idea I had taken so many tools to work.  I brought them home over 4 days, but never had time to do anything more with them, but pile them up in the kitchen. This led me to trying to make some sense of the garage, and the 'Toy Room'. (We call it the Toy Room because my husband collects toys and the lion's share of this room is his. At least in theory...)

The Garage isn't the little two-car affair most suburbanites have attached to the side of their house.  First of all, it's a good ways up from the house, 20 or 30 yards, maybe.  Second, it's 30' X 50' and slam packed with stuff. Half of this building also belongs to my husband. (Again, at least in theory...)  I have my "Studio" in there.  Wood working equipment, MIG welder, ceramic kiln, etc. And all kinds of... Well... Stuff.  Salvaged materials, odd parts, hardware... Stuff! And I do cool work in there.

I call it The Studio at Wannabee Manor. Over the next few weeks, I will begin to offer my work for sale on my Facebook page.  Please, check it out, and "Like" it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter Weather Floor Tile Vacation

On Sunday, Danny and I are checking on the weather for the coming week and quickly realized it was not going to be pretty. So I decided the best plan would be to just take the whole week off.  I called my supervisor first thing on Monday morning and asked for a week's vacation starting right away. He asked me if anything was wrong. I told I was just worried about the weather and that I had started tiling the dining room and I was really into it. He said OK, but I could almost hear him shaking his head.

Danny also took the day off. The weather hadn't started yet, so I sent him to town. While everyone else was scrambling for bread and milk, his mission was to get more mortar and grout. To be fair, he did bring home a gallon of milk and a dozen donuts, too.

Up until today I’ve been hunkered down here in the house, working on the dining room floor, and basically slacking off.  We had freezing rain on Monday.  Danny made it to work, all be it late, on Tuesday.  On Tuesday night, it snowed.  We tried to go out on Wednesday, but the road was a slickery mess.  The temperature never got above freezing on Wednesday or Thursday.

The design I conjured up for the dining room is kind of a crazy quilt in tile.  Unfortunately, this design has required quite a bit of tile cutting.  To be honest, cutting the tile isn’t my favorite part.  My tile saw is tiny and the blade is showing it’s age, so operating it is slow go.  It also sprays water back on the operator.  To protect myself from the constant spray of particle-laden water, I devised a stylish apron from a handle-tie garbage bag.  I just tie the opposite handles around my neck and the rest of the bag hangs down in front of my shirt.  I’m sure I should have provided a photo of this, but the mental picture is probably even more hilarious.

I’ve alternated between cutting the tile, laying the tile and grouting it for the better part of 4 days, with lots of breaks.  Tomorrow I should have the rest of it cut and laid, and on Sunday, I’ll grout the rest of it.  The WHOLE dining room won’t be finished, since I have the stairway and the wood stove alcove to finish before I can put tile in those places. It doesn’t seem like anything gets completely finished the first time around here.

We finally broke down and went to town today.  We were out of cat food and the laundry was seriously in need of washing.  I was starting to run out of big, fluffy socks.  The roads weren’t as bad as I had pictured them, we were still working against time.  The snow was scheduled to start falling anew around 4pm.  It’s 5:30 now.  We’re back home safe and sound.  I haven’t seen much of the predicted snow, but flurries, yet.  Who knows what we’ll wake up to tomorrow.

I should have this tile thing wrapped up by Sunday afternoon, so I’ll post pictures then.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Keeping Warm

We’ve moved into the house, but it’s not done! Not by a long shot….

I guess I should start back in November of 2013.  The house was closed in for the most part and I was anxious to cook the Thanksgiving Dinner.Thanksgiving was “my” holiday before we moved into the camper, and for some reason, people weren’t excited about having The Dinner in my camper….

So, I contacted a heat and air guy and he came over and let’s just say, it went badly.  He was talking a good 5 figures, which wasn’t even close to what I had in my head.  That’s when we started scrambling for an alternative.  We came up with wall mounted, blue-flame propane heaters.  The first 2 we bought were too small (10K BTU) and just plain crappy.  The blue-flame was actually orange.  Unfortunately I put far too much time into trying to make them work, so we couldn’t take them back.  Now, there are a pair of 20K blue-flame heaters in the house. One in the living room and one in the kitchen.  And I’m pretty satisfied with them.

Once we got our first two heaters, we had to have the propane swapped over from the camper to the house.  Getting a propane man to come and do work at one’s house in the middle of November isn’t as easy as snapping one’s fingers.  The tank we’d used in the camper was far too small, so after it was moved over to the house, we still had to wait and get a new tank.  By the time all this was accomplished, we’d eaten our Thanksgiving Dinner at Mommy & Daddy’s house.

Once the propane had been removed from the camper, we needed to go ahead and move into the house, so that’s what we did, on December 15th, 2013.  It wasn’t nearly the Balloons & Confetti Event that I thought it would be, after over 6 years of living in the camper.

The first 2 months of living in the house, we mostly froze.  Our heaters were too small, the weather was cold and cloudy, and I seriously underestimated how long it would take for all this concrete to warm up.  And most of the ceiling hadn’t been installed when we first moved in.  We spent our whole Christmas Break, putting up the ceiling.

Now, a year later, we’re mostly pretty snug.  The insulation, which goes on the outside of the house, in the form of Styrofoam between the block and the brick isn’t all installed, since the brick isn’t all done. There are still a few places around the ceiling that aren’t sealed up, but we’re doing it!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Hey.... Is anyone out there?

I'm going to try to start blogging again.  I've been trying to get past the thinking stage of getting my book written, and as a way to get going on that, I've been compiling my old blogs.

Am I going anywhere with this???

Well, I don't know.  My old blogs had so much of the day-to-day of getting my house built. Now we've been living in the house for over a year, and there's still so much to do.  And what's next anyway?  My vision has always been to write my book (about building my house) and do art.  Circumstances have dragged me into a different path.  And to be honest, it's not the path I want to take.  So, to continue the metaphor, I'm trying to find a cut-off or a switch-back that leads back in the direction I want to go.

Step one has to be to get back to writing.  Not just whining in my journal, really writing!!!

And then there's the Art part of this vision.  I gotta quit being so chicken-shit!!!!  I gotta do some work and get it out there.  Sadly, chicken-shit is quite comfortable.  I'm hoping by The "Holiday Shopping Season" this year, I'll have some cool stuff available and a venue to sell from.

If anybody's still out there, let me know.