Sunday, April 13, 2014

Carpe-ing The Heck Out Of This Diem.

Can we start this little talk with a quote?  Let's start with a quote.

This quote, right up there, has been the thought rolling around in thee ole noggin for the last month.  Let me tell you something--
It's been nine months since I started taking violin lessons. 
NINE MONTHS.  Nine Months.
Nine months is no time as far as learning something new like an instrument, and yet, nine months is a lot of practice time, too.
And how do I feel?  Still like the 60 year old who finally gets braces.  Dumb.  Kinda silly.  I get very discouraged.  This isn't coming easily to me, and I'm crazy disappointed. 
And how do I sound?  Gosh awful.  Screechy.  Still occasionally hitting a second string.  Notes are slightly off.  Dogs are howling.  Windows are breaking.  Children are crying "please just make it stop".
But the beautiful thing is. . . wait for it. . .
I'm nine months better than I was before.
Know how they say the best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. . . OR. . . now.  ?  
'S all I'm saying. 
To my everlasting disappointment, I didn't start violin 25 years ago.  If I had a time machine it'd be at the top of my list in advice for myself.  That, along with, "Oh please for the love don't curl your bangs that high."  Plus a few other things.
I can't tell you that I'll ever be great at violin-- I just can't.  But I can tell you that I will get better, because I won't quit.  Even though I'm embarrassed-- even though I refused to do the recital with all my teacher's other 20 years younger students because hello that's embarrassing and who is this old lady taking the stage? --
I won't quit, 'cause for some crazy odd reason, it's really, ree-hee-heally important to me.  I get crazy discouraged, but I still love it.  I still enjoy it.  Still.
Plus, I'm on a 5 year plan, and I'm moving on to the harp next, and I ree-hee-heally want to learn harp, but not until I'm proficient in violin, so as you can see, I've gotta work hard, here.
This hangs in my garage.

It's meant to be a pep talk for my ineptitude regarding all things building.  But it applies to pretty much everything in my life right now. 
If I had a dollar for every time someone said something along the lines of,
"I have always wanted to . . . ."
"I really wanna learn how to. . . "
"It's on my life list to. . . "
(Insert "learn to play the piano"  or "go back to school and get a different degree" or some other awesome goal)
well, I wouldn't have a ton of money, but I'd have enough for a dozen donuts or something equally as delicious.
It's funny, 'cause the same day I took my first violin lesson, a friend randomly told me they really wanted to learn piano and start taking lessons now as an adult. 
People-- if you wanna learn piano, take lessons.  You really will learn soooo fast as an adult.  Side note.  Sorry.
Well, obvs, as I just pointed out, 9 months have passed from that time.  9 months neither of us can get back.  9 months lost.  Or gained, depending on how you look at it.
Actually, I took a video of myself playing to show you.  I'm not going to show you.  I have my pride!   All I can hear are extra strings hit, occasional screeches, part I played wrong and every dynamic I missed, and I can only see how I'm moving my elbow too much and my hips look too spread and my butt's too big.
That's all I hear and see.  Still, I shall press on.  Maybe I'll gear up for a video no one wants to watch when I hit my year mark.  I only semi-promise.
I leave you now with one last thought, grasshoppah.
Start today.  We can always suck at whatever it is together.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Dweam Within A Dweam.

The one non-selling point of our home for the hubs,
was the backyard.  He was so crazy disappointed with our backyard.
It's just so dinky.  There's not even a point of showing you a picture.
So hold that thought--
did you get your tax return?  We did.  We get all crazy every year, and we take it, and we put it in savings.  It's so exciting.  Except this year, to my everlasting surpreese, the hubs is all,
"So what do we wanna do with our tax return this year?"
Like we've been all spendy in years past.  And we haven't.
Well, I wanna live my dweam.  The dweam within a dweam.  You know what I want.  I talk about it allllll the time.
It's time.  Let's carpe the heck out of this diem.  Let's give the backyard a little face lift.
And now I'm starting to dry heave.  You know,
I like to think of the backyard as an extra "room", if you will.  Untapped space to entertain.  Except the thing is,
if I had a room in my house we weren't using, the cost to decorate it is sooooo much less than the materials of the crap I've bought in the last week. 
I'm kinda sick about it, y'all.  I'm refinishing the deck with trex.  (Or a trex imposter but nobody cares).
This pallet of 16 footers-- I can't even talk about the price.  I'm freaking out.  
But it's too late!  We must press on!
(table and chair set I bought.  $299.  That I can swallow.)
So wish me luck.  I'm trying to get all this crazy crap finished while the hubs is at work.  Surprise him with a refinished deck 'n stuff.   I love surprises.  Can you see how concerned I am that he'll read this and ruin the surprise?
HEY JEFFRO!!!  I'm spending all your money while you're at work! 
See.  Not worried.  That's kind of sad isn't it?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moulding. Changing Lives.

I cannot beeee-lieve the crap you guys talk me into.
The wall of windows?  This wall of windows?
Sigh.  I worked up the nerve to spend the dough, the time, and risk the hazard of framing them in.  All because some people said they couldn't believe "those windows weren't moulded since you love moulding so much. . . " blah blah blah.
Oh, I kid.  I'm glad for the push.  I think.  You know what's been holding me back, don't you?
Maybe this doesn't look like a very high ceiling-ed room.
 Well, it is, people.  It is. 

I've got this heavy mo-fo of a ladder, and it's a 16 footer, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get done what I need to get done.  But it's too late now--

'cause I spent a buttload on the materials.

Picked my favorite casing.  I find it to be so choice. This particular stuff is hard to find-- I can only find it at the depot, actually.  And occasionally at Lowe's. 
 Wanna know how much this venture's gonna cost?  Oohhhh.  Let's not talk about it.  Let's say we did and then don't.  If you don't add it up, then it means it didn't really cost that much.  That's the rule. 
Oh fine it's gonna cost me 200 big ones.  Happy now?  Gosh.
But it needed to be done. . . because you can see in the picture up there that the drywall window corner thingies were kinda popping out like they eventually do, so it's, you know, a need instead of a want.
What's done is done.
All the bottom windows are framed in.  And for fun, let's look at the room before any moulding:
So it's changed a lot.  Yessirree.  Now I have to get out the ladder and go to work on the top ones.  But I have to wait for my boy toy to be home long enough to hold the ladder for that. 
 Or catch me when I fall. 
Or just call 911 after I fall.
And you should know, you people who talked me into this, that as I'm falling, I'll be like all, "A curse be on you forever. . . " (fade out, thud.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Will EAT My Words. Eat.

Kay, promise to hear me out.  Promise.  Don't get all angry.
Pinky swear. 
Just be patient with me, okay?
A long time ago, I confessed that I found the furniture at Ikea ugly.
Put down that rock.  You promised you'd hear me out.  I'm not totally like, in love, with contemporary furniture, okay? 
 When I was an Ikea newb, and I visited my first in Houston, I expected, from all the hype, to head home with an entire house's worth of furniture and love every single piece of it.
Now.  Keep listening to me, okay?  I promise I try to be super open-minded.  Once I got over the initial disappointment, I actually really truly
like Ikea.  Like a lot.
I gave it another chance, and swedish meatballs and really long inexpensive curtains and fan-freaking-tastic customer service totally won me over.  I'm not saying I'll ever buy a couch there, neccesarily, (I might who knows) but generally it's a fun place to shop.
See?  I'm open-minded.  I don't hate stuff just because everyone else loves it.  That's just weird.  Why do people do that?
Second confession.
At one point, I also did not understand the crazed, willing to sit in line for 2 hours just to get a burger and fries at In 'N Out nonsense when it first came to this state.
I had lived in California prior and had tried In 'N Out, and while I do love me a good burger, I thought the fries were pretty sub par.
Now settle down--
I tried it again, (and again and again,)  and I really do like their burgers.  The fries are pretty good if they're hot.  They're not my fave, but pretty good when hot.
I'm just trying to make personal, unbiased decisions, here!
Now this one's gonna piss a lot of people off.  Let's still be friends.  Actually, I WANT you to tell me why I'm wrong.   We're planning a trip to California, and so this is a question that needs input while I plan.
(The shot heard round the world. . . dun dun dun. . . )
I don't understand Disneyland.
I can't believe I just admitted that.  I feel this huge, pressing weight off my shoulders. 
Now, don't send me hate mail, I do not HATE Disneyland.  Let me repeat, I'm NOT A HATER!
I just am. . . indifferent to Disneyland.  I remember going as a kid.  It was pretty fun.  Pretty fun.  I remember going to Disneyworld as a teenager with all my teenaged siblings and we were bored and went home by 5 pm.  
But, um, has anyone noticed that it's like freaking crazy expensive??  Like I can think of a LOT of things to do with that kind of moolah? 

And then you pay a lot to wait in line for an hour for a ride?

And yet it's worth it to millions of Americans every year.  It's magical to many people.  Just not me.
Apparently I need to be dumped.
Don't dump me.
Why is that?  Am I broken?  Actually I should say, are we broken?  My husband (and my family, for that matter) share the same feelings.  It's fun.  It's not a thousand dollars fun.  It's not my dream come true.  It's not "amazing".  Heck let's save up for a cruise or something instead.

So.  Like I said, I'm planning a trip to California, and while we're in California, it makes sense to take the kids to Disneyland for the one (and maybe only??) time.  Why is it fun?  Tell me why it's magical to you!  Why is it worth the money I could spend on a pergola in the backyard? 

Help a girl out.  Let's still be friends.  If we do go, and it's my kids' favorite thing ever, I will eat my words.  Eat them.  Right here.  Promise.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You're Doing It Wrong.

I hunted all over the house for my journal, because I had some crazy ideas I just had to jot down right then or I might explode. 
Couldn't find it anywhere.  I nearly shat my pants.  Sound like an overreaction?  It's 'snot.  Promise.
I was convinced I'd left it at church and it was already a new internet meme.  The titles be all,
"Crazy mom's journal.  You can't make this crap up."
"Psycho lady leaves diary behind.  Craziest sh#$ you've read in years."
People, I'd said it before 'n I'll say it again:
I love my journal.  And I write everything in it.  Please don't read it.  I'll hate you forever.  When I'm dead you people can read it.  But know that I wasn't crazy.  I was just excited about a lot of weird things.
I found it.  Phew.  Gotta keep a better eye on that thing. 
So I have a point, here.  The point is---
I am a huge nerd.  Also, though,
get yourself a journal.  I'm serious.  It's so very choice. 
I'll bet you already have a journal.  And you feel guilty because you wrote in it once on your son's 4th birthday 17 years ago and never picked it up again----
this is where I tell you something important:
You're doing it wrong.
No one should feel guilty that they didn't write down every little detail of their child's life.  Or every birthday or special moment or word or whatever.  Stop feeling guilty. 
And you know what?  Detailed, every day, dry "Today I went to work and did ______ and _____ and we had ______ for dinner and . . . "  well, sometimes that's fun to do, and some days you do wanna remember every detail, and for the rest of the days,
fuggedaboutit.  Ain't nobody got time for that.
You know what crap's in my journal?
*Page 1 might've been my shopping list.
*Page 2 might be a drawing of some pi-ece de crap I want to build.
*Page 3 might be notes I took at church.
*Page 126 might be the party I planned.
*Page 127 might be something I was upset about.
--It's like a random smorgasbord of my brain, really.
You know what other crap I keep in my journal?
* A dream journal.  People, keep a dream journal.  It's so fun.  Dreams are crazy awesome.  It's like you get to live another life while you're sleeping, with zero consequences of your actions when you wake up.  It's amazing.
*Gratitude list.  I'm not a cheese, but I love it.
And guess what?
The Daddy-o keeps a journal just like mine.  He loves it just as much.
One page he's planning a built-in for the kitchen (kind of like spice shelves but cooler and fancier with fancy oil 'n vinegar bottles 'n stuff.)
And the very next page,
he's taking notes for church.  Or something else.  Whatever else.  That's the point--
If you're a planner, plan. In your journal.
Artist, make art. In your journal.
If you're a list maker, list and check off in your journal.  Those things give a great indication of who you are and what you're up to.
If you write down the funny stuff your kids say, write it in your journal. 
(Example: conversation at dinner couple nights ago:
"Daddy seriously let you guys watch 'Predator' with him while I was gone?  Are you kidding me??  He's dead meat."
Johnny: "Don't kill Daddy!  I like him." )
All I know is, I don't want to forget little nuggets like that one.  'S all I'm saying.  Journal nerds, unite.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Because One Can Never Have Too Many Pictures.

It all started with this picture.
This picture of my middle child just melts my stone cold heart.  I said to myself a year ago,
"Self, this picture must be hung somewhere."
I'd also like to add that I feel extreme guilt that this middle child gets so lost in the mix.  Or as Olivia Wilde tweeted,
"Happy middle child day!  Go hug yours if you can remember where you put her!"
Or him.
It does make me feel a teensy bit better that when I decided to do ginormous pictures of my kids, like you're about to see, that said middle child has quadruple the beloved pictures over the other, less ignored kids.
I was a middle child.  I turned out okay.  Ish.
Anyway!  So the idea was to put up some heeeee-uge pictures of my little butt munches up the stairwell because 1. the stairwell is boring and 2. the stairwell is seriously dinged up and we should hide some of the dings.
Also, the Daddy-o lent me his brand spankin' new air compressor-less nailgun:
And we all know I had to try that out on something.  Yes, people!  A nailgun that's battery operated!  The world has finally become a better place!  And I did like it.  It's a tad bit on the heavy side, but we can definitely look past that, can't we?  It's like working and lifting weights all at the same time.  2 birds with one stone.
These may not look huge in this picture, but they are.
They're 20x30's, and I picked them up at Sam's Club, since that was by far the best price.  $8 for that size, thanks for asking.
I had this crazy awesome idea that I would use all my scraps of moulding in the garage and build these fabulously huge, ornate, and unique frames for each picture--
then I came to my senses. I don't keep scraps that long.  That's why they're scraps.  Plus hello I'm holding a 20 pound tool 10 feet over the stairs to attach these frames, hello.
And here they are with absolutely no regard to the ancient art of spacing! 
I hate it when I do that.  I figure no one will notice because they'll be distracted by the ginormous noggins.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm Alive. And In Perfect Hibernation.

Just so everyone knows, I have 3 projects I'm pretty derned excited about.
2 of them are fairly huge, and one is kinda huge.
Oh, let's put this in "Aerobics Speak", shall we?
2 projects are on "High Effort", and one is "Medium Effort", with an occasional dip into "Low Effort".  Man, I loved Hooked On Aerobics. 
since I'm already rambling, I'll also take the opportunity to say that Jeffro has mostly banished the Medium Effort project.
But if "Princess Bride" taught us anything, then we know that there's a big difference between "mostly dead, and all dead".  And this project is only mostly dead. So, lots of hope.
So why am I not right on top of said projects?  I live in a frozen wasteland.  I'm hibernating. 
Seriously-- I can't even handle working out in my garage right now.  It was exactly the same way last year.  Basically, aside from helping other people out on their projects, "Jaws" and "Severus" have seen zero action from me.  And if I were to, say, chop off a finger out there, aside from spurting blood, I swear it'd take me a long time to notice, it's that cold.
So while I'm freezing doing nothing, let's talk about something warm and happy.
Let's talk about the Lakehouse!  Yes, lets! 
Some of you geniuses noticed that I never mentioned the 4th and final bedroom.  The master bedroom.   Man, you're a bunch of whippersnappers.
Just to refresh everyones memory,
Room #1.

Also known as, "The Luggage Room".

Room # Deux.
The "Pirate Ship Revenge" room.  As named by Moi.
Oh my heck my son looks so small I'm going to cry. . . (voice rising to high pitch squeal, fans face)
Room 3.
Sailboat room.  (Was that what I was calling it?)
Okay.  Do you feel refreshed?  Are y'all ready for the Master?
This is my favorite part:
The grass hut in the corner.  I feel this sudden need to get out my coconut bikini and my grass skirt and hula.

Yep.  It's Hawaiian themed.
Isn't it cute?  Taking you around the room, here. . .

Have I mentioned that every room has it's own vanity?  I love that.  Somewhere to get your hair done without hogging one of the bathrooms.
I seriously love all the grass roofs.
And there you have it!  The master boudoir.  I guess all that's left is for them to pimp out the bathrooms.  Although,
after the cruise and the ropes course,

I did hear the Daddy-o mention he wanted to build one up there.  This is your official challenge, Daddy-o.  The gauntlet hath been thrown.

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Like a Carnival Commercial.

Got a question for ya:

what's the best trip you've ever taken in the history of ever?  I really wanna know.

'Cause here's my thing--

I've mentioned it before, but I'm kind of the Grinch at Christmas time.  I hate hate getting stocking "fillers", or just "stuff".  Stuff so my kids just have "something" to open.  Plus I have to wrap it and I hate to wrap as bad as painting.

And we all know that's pretty big hatred.

So last year, I said to myself,


let's do a family vacation instead of just 'stuff'."

And so we did.  And it was good.  All 26 of us boarded a plane and hopped on a cruise ship.

 Also, I only have like, 2, maybe 3, pictures of me that aren't photo bombed.



now I am totally hooked on not buying "stuff" anymore.
The wheels are spinning (and the hamster's dead) about Christmas for this year.  Its never too early, people!  What we could do instead of just getting "stuff"?  

So again, I ask:

What's the best trip you ever took?  And heck, it needn't be a trip.  It could be something else that we could "do".  Anything with a lasting memory.  I'm thinking.  Pondering. 

By the way, there was 24 hour ice cream. I calculated that there was 232 ice cream cones partaken of last week.  Sick.