Tag Archives: Renovation

The Virus and The Bread

Whew, I’m back.  If I ever hint that I am thinking about getting another puppy, hit me….hard.  My friend’s dog, The Virus (Mr. Pavlov’s affectionate nick name) was a trip and turned our home upside down for a while.  Toys that managed to survive the puppy stages of our (now mellow) Lab, were destroyed within seconds after meeting The Virus. 

One time during our dog sitting, I left our daughter with The Virus while I ran an errand.  She texted me A LOT during my brief time away.  The child has over 3,000 texts a month but seldom sends any my way.  I am text deprived and become a little too excited when I receive one.  If I had a tail it would wag uncontrollably and I just might slobber at the sound of a text.  When her number popped up on my phone I was about to wag and slobber but I knew something was up.  The first one read “When are you coming home?” 

I had just left.  She never requests me to return so soon.  Thankfully I wasn’t driving when the text came through.  I don’t text and drive – I’m old school and not that coordinated.  Texting aside, my phone really isn’t that car safe considering  it is all touch screen and I can’t “feel” the numbers when I attempt to dial.  I embody Helen Keller as I guess the location of the numbers and have been known to dial many wrong numbers.  It is most embarrassing at times especially when, after hearing a brief hello, I immediately begin the conversation with something like “Hey sexy, what time will you be home tonight?”  Awkward.

 After the initial  satisfaction of receiving a text from my cool girl dissipated, I replied, “I’m barely gone – why is everything ok?”

Her: “Yea, he’s just crazy. Come home soon!”

I was about to tell her to crate him when I got distracted by the bread that was on sale for .99cents.  We go through loaves and loaves of bread each week so .99cents was excitable.  It doesn’t take much to excite me people but you know you’re borderline pathetic when you palpitate over the price of bread.

Another text came through and before I could mount any excitement – which is actually a good thing because the endorphins from .99cent bread and a text would probably kill me on the spot – I noticed the single word “MOM!”

Then in rapid fire an avalanche of texts bombarded my technically advanced phone causing it to glitch and freeze momentarily.  Pictures followed.  My heart missed several beats.  My fingers cramped.  Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead.  I couldn’t keep up with queen text and I needed more bread!

The texts read “He dug up your potted plant to get a hidden toy lizard. Dirt is everywhere!” Wow, the toy lizard?  He saw it?  Tres, our youngest, buried that sucker a few years ago and no one ventured to remove it….until now.  The picture that followed contained the lizard and a pile of dirt all over my floor.  I wish I had the photos to post but in my haste, I deleted them.

“He ripped open a ton of stuffed animals, their stuffing is all over the floor and he is raping another.”  Stuffed animals?  I thought I had put those in places where he couldn’t reach.  Raping?  It was these next few pictures that caused my armpits to spring forth fountains of living water.

“He chewed the corner off of your woodwork.”  Really? The entire corner?  I had never had a dog chew off my woodwork corners…until now.

“He destroyed a baseball hat.”  I hope it wasn’t this year’s baseball hat!  I am cheap enough to make my dear son wear a mangled hat if it is at all functional. The photo quickly followed and it resembled the left overs from a flesh-eating beast .  It was ripped apart and had several teeth marks indentations. Near one of the indentations I made out the marking “2005″ Ahhh, I exhaled – until this time I had been unknowingly holding my breath.  It was a ball cap from our older son’s Dos, 2005 baseball season.  Younger Tres had been wearing the cap and left it in an accessible place for doggie teeth and death.

“He chewed the leashes.”  All of them?  Now how were we going to walk these furry beasts? I’d venture to say that our fatty helped him destroy the key item that made her physical activity possible.

“He shredded some of the boy’s toys.”  Hopefully it was the cheap, plastic McDonalds type!  The photos confirmed that most of the debris was from el’cheapo toys.  I never had a dog help with cleaning out toys…until now.

“He snacked on the bathroom garbage and you know what’s in that can!” Oh noooooo, that garbage can contains the remnants of Mother Nature’s monthly gift.  I bet he dined on my carpet.  He did.  I had the photos to prove it.

“He ripped apart my Abercrombie flipflops…we need to go shopping!” Hmmm, as traumatized, palpitating and sweaty as I was, I smelled an opportunistic rat.  By this time I was caught up in the sequential texts.  I waited for the photo.  I even began to talk to my phone.  Show me the photo, show me the photo.  I waited.  People took my bread.  I waited.  People asked me to hand them some bread (I was defensively blocking the bread shelf). I waited.  The bread supply dwindled.  I waited.  No photo.  No photo.  No photo….ever.

Texting paused, my mental faculties returned and seizing the moment, I texted “CRATE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Then, I scarfed up more bread and bolted for home.  

All was in order.  The tornado pathway of destruction?  Cleaned.  The virus?  Peacefully sleeping in his crate.  My daughter?  Looking haggard.  Taking a deep breath she said “I didn’t know a dog could tear it up so much – until now.  But you can reward me with shopping.” 

I gave her a loaf of bread.


It happens in a blink

Have you ever noticed that you can look at something over and over and over and over again in your home for YEARS with total peace until suddenly, one day, for no reason, out of the crystal blue sky something snaps in your head that screams “Yuck, that is ugly…what were you thinking or drinking when you did that” or “what an eye ripping out of the socket mess!” And usually once this mental pathway is triggered everything in your home becomes subject in a blink. 

Yes?  Well I had that very epiphany this week which lead to the tearing apart and remodeling and painting of BOTH bathrooms simultaneously, the garage (a.k.a. one of hubby’s many man rat piles) and our bedroom.  Oh, and did I mention that this was the week that school began?  Or that hubs and his friend have taken on a brick retaining wall building project that has overtaken our driveway and morphed it into a dangerous rock climbing expedition.  It also seems as if winter may come before they are done.  Did I also fail to mention that a mammoth tree fell in our yard and is decaying nicely?  Our yard would not be featured in Better Homes and Gardens and causes the demons of our yard perfect neighbors to twitch and convulse each time they drive by our unsightly spread.    

Before: The step and wall project

Before: the wall to be. Lovely! Better Homes and Gardens watch your back!

Before the work: The retaining wall bricks all neat and orderly.

We have so many projects going on. But what can I say.  I don’t have any control over these freak brain spasms or when they occur.  Surely if I did then I wouldn’t have decided to tear up our indoor life as well.  Creativity as it’s finest!  At least that’s what I tried to tell hubs when he emerged from his bathroom like a disoriented tourist whimpering “Did you really have to tear up both bathrooms at the same time?”   

Yes. I. Did.  in a blink!

Buffalo Farts

I, with the mandatory assistance of my young helpers, are embarking on a shed clean-out project and it is taking place on the HOTTEST days of the entire year.  Why?  Because when I get an idea I just have to move on it.  Plus, the tale-tale odor of death and decay along with killer African Bees (I’m sure of it) swarming the shed hinted to me that some TLC was in order.  

We have made some interesting finds…from old stuff we forgot we had to critters in various stages of anatomical decay.  It has proven to be quite the biological lesson.  My kids have become experts at sniffing out “death” and have been know to loudly shout “I smell death” as soon as they get that familiar whiff.  Although, shouting this sentence truly becomes awkward when the elderly are around. 

For the sake of those with weak stomachs I will not post the pix of the maggots having dinner ‘with’ the mouse.  But here are some more appropriate finds…..

The killer African Bees

The ‘rat pile’ mouse nest my husband fosters
Awww, now this little baby bunny we can deal with                                                                                                                                                                   

So after experiencing heat exhaustion and dehydration I had to make a trip to the local landscaping store.  The hubs thought it would be a great idea to lay down a rock floor in the shed to help with moisture and really show some shed TLC.  I was apprehensive when he told me the type of rock I wanted to ask for was called “Buffalo Farts.”  Buffalo Farts? [I echoed] and he absolutely assured me that this was indeed their proper name.  But still my gut was twisted…somehow I could not envision the landscaping business advertising Buffalo Farts to the manicured lawns of the rich and famous. I can just picture the conversation “Hey Bob those are really nice rocks you have there.  What are they called?”  Bob (having great difficulty): Buffalo Farts.  

But ok, I get that I am a landscaping ignoramus so Buffalo Farts it is.  I confidently walked up to the counter in my sweat pouring state and declared “I need a half ton of Buffalo Farts.”  As awkward as this may sound, the real humiliation came with the extremely long pause, followed by the quizzical looks, and ultimately the deep belly laughter from big burly, tanned men.  Big burly, tanned men who attempted to repeat my statement but were unable due to their fits of hysterics.  So the moment turned into a prolonged comical session of partially spoken sentences – “A half ton…..A half ton of Buff…..Buffalo Far….half ton of Buffalo Farts” followed by more hysteria while I stood in fake confidence.  Once they regained their composure and questioned the ignoramus they determined that what I actually required was #3 gravel.  Yes, #3 gravel has a nice ring to it and I can totally see Bob (fictional guy from my imagined conversation above) proudly proclaiming “Well, thank-you it is #3 gravel.”  

Buffalo Farts or #3 gravel…same thing yet solid proof that “A good name is more desirable than great riches” Proverbs 21.

More than I can chew

Remodeling, reorganization, and redoing seems like a constant theme of our life.  Possibly because we bought a really outdated home for a bargain price. At that time we believed the remodeling challenges were worth the deal considering we were getting prime reality in a prime location…surely we were up for the undertaking…right?  Laugh, laugh, laugh at us!  We had never owned a “fixer upper” and we were totally naive to what it would actually take to get this home where it needed to be.  I can still recall us (ok, primarily me) walking through the house saying “we can fix this, and change that, and do this” like it was easy or something.  I had big vision and this visionary ability got the sellers their much-needed sell and bought us a lot of work.  When I mean outdated, think everything needed for a home to function….windows, roof, furnace, siding, air conditioning, carpet, floors, paint, kitchen, bathrooms, EVERYTHING [ doe, rae, me $$$).  But our budget didn’t cover everything and we refused to go into big debt.  Thus, it has been a process and we are winding down on our list.  Could we actually be almost done???  Big sigh.

So this leads us to our most recent project — daughter’s room.  It is the third largest of our four bedrooms.  We painted it when we moved in but now that she is a teen, she has been wanting to re-think the look considering it hasn’t been touched since her earlier years and her nasty chihuahua decided to pee all over the carpet.  Gross.  We are heavy into the process and I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed.  Not because it is difficult or anything.  I know difficult, I lived difficult during our 6 month kitchen remodel when my promised 3-4 days without a functioning kitchen turned into 12 weeks!!  I was cooking our meals on hot plates in the garage and it was not a pretty sight.  We became proficient at eating on styrofoam and plastic and finding a somewhat clean place to eat where the dry wall dust had not invaded (if that’s even possible).  That experience tested the fiber of my being and I perfected my glare which I routinely utilized to bore holes into the back of the heads of the lying contractors!

So this minor remodel is mild in comparison.  However, I am overwhelmed and I think it has to do with focus.  She has an idea in mind and is very, very good at communicating her need [demands] but when we enter IKEA it is like all logical, organized brain matter evacuates and a jumbletron of randomness enters.  I even had a list, complete with measurements, dimensions and drawings to help keep my focus on the task at hand but it turned into mush too.  Have you ever been there?  I see this, she sees that…oh wouldn’t this look nice here or that there?  Do we need this?  How about that?  Look at that design!  How did they do that room?  This would be nice to do.  And all functioning practicality is lost and replaced with overwhelming fatigue and confusion.  It is during these times of  futility that I plop onto one of the chairs, or on the bed totally wishing for this design to be our finished room project.  It is there that we sit and discuss life as we wait for the cameras to being rolling one of the famous IKEA commercials.

I give designers A LOT of applause.  Let’s make it a standing ovation!  How they do it, I’ll never know but I do know that if we could afford one, I’d be dialing them instead of blogging about it right now!  We should be done with the major room stuff in a week and then the world of accessories will be left.   Focus, focus, focus!!