I have a backlog of posts for you someday but have been having some issues with the blog mechanics (namely being unable to post photos) and mostly having time to sort it out. I’m working on changing the hosting and getting things back up and running and will deluge you with updates about things that happened months ago. I can tell you are super excited.
I’ve been dying to plank the ceilings upstairs for a long time. I am not a fan of the old ceiling tile squares and to make matters worse, they are badly installed and the lines aren’t straight and there’s an inch gap on all sides which is wonky and used to allow dead bugs to fall down (before I caulked them). It is a Type A nightmare for sure. (And no, we are not surprised that something done in this house was poorly done).
Let’s take a moment though to talk about a little thing I call the “Project Spiral”… if you’ve ever done any sort of project, this may sound familiar. The situation in the yellow bedroom upstairs is a perfect example of the project spiral. I had a short term roommate for a couple months. It should have been fine but ended up being kind of weird and complicated. Regardless, she didn’t spend much time at the house and when she did, she spent most of that time shut in her room. When she moved in at the end of October, I moved out of that bedroom and into the “kid” bedroom figuring it is easier to displace myself for guests than a roommate. I love that little yellow bedroom. It gets great light and though it is tiny, there’s something very cozy about it. It has the old textured plaster walls but I painted it and put a new laminate floor and thought it was pretty great.
Righto. So the roommate moved out and I was having house guests coming so I thought I’d just clean the room, maybe rearrange furniture, swap out the dressers, and call it good. Of course I actually want to plank the ceilings and thought maybe this would be a good time- seeing as no one is living in this room or staying in this room. Plus it is a tiny space to try the planking in and very budget friendly. Maybe…
Around this time, I overreacted to the incredibly busy-ness of the last three weeks and scheduled myself at home. Every night. Because burn out, people, burn out. Work is insane. I had overscheduled my evenings for several weeks. And I needed home time more than anything else. So there I was, at home, in my paint sweats, and decided to paint this old Craigslist stool to turn it into a bedside table for the guest bedroom. A nice low key paint project that I could do in my living room, surrounded by dogs, while watching Fixer Upper. Hard to go wrong really. I paint the stool one night, wax it the following night, and then take it up to see how it fits into the bedroom.
I should mention that the bedroom is 10 feet by 7 feet (about the size of an average walk in closet). A full size bed takes up the entire width of the room. There’s not a lot of room to play with. But being the eternal optimist, of course I think I can rearrange things and find space that isn’t there. So I’m scooting the bed to put the newly painted stool turned bedside table (to hold the newly painted lamp). And I notice the walls look really dirty. You can see the outline of all the places the roommate had put up pictures. On closer inspection I realize it is soot. I knew she was burning candles up there– fine– and never opened the door– fine– but I wasn’t expecting this! Sigh. I decide to see if I can rotate the bed so I have to remove the mattress and box spring. When I do, I notice there are coffee spills on all sides of the bed– and coffee stains running down the wall where the bed was. Really?? We can’t wipe up coffee when we spill it all over the bed and wall?? I go downstairs and get some cleaner and rags and start scrubbing down everything.
It is while scrubbing down the walls I notice there is a bunch of adhesive gunk on the wall and in several spots it has actually pulled the paint off. What?? I mean, who glues stuff to the wall?? Particularly knowing you’re only going to be there a couple months? Now I’m just annoyed because I am going to have to repaint. On the other hand,, this room was originally painted with one gallon of unknown clearance yellow ($5 baby). Naturally there’s a bit left for touch up but not enough for repainting the whole room. Ugh. And touching up walls that have been covered in soot is not going to work.
And thus the spiral…
Paint a stool to use as a bedside table =>
Rearrange furniture =>
Find soot and coffee stains all over the walls =>
Scrub walls =>
Find adhesive and peeled paint on walls =>
Must repaint the walls…
and if I’m going to repaint, I might as well go ahead and plank the ceiling amiright? That also leads to upgrading the window trim and painting that too, and while I’m doing trim, I should probably swap out door trim too so it all matches…
The project spiral.
I decide to pull off one ceiling tile to see what is underneath, fully aware that this is the point of no return. The tiles are very solidly glued to the original plaster ceiling. (Maybe I was secretly hoping to find old planked ceilings already there– alas old plaster ceilings covered with adhesive holds far less appeal for me). I see no reason to remove the ceiling tiles and will just glue and nail the planks over the existing ceiling tiles. Let’s call it extra insulation, shall we?
So I went to Home Depot after work on Thursday. I got sheets of luan board (very thin plywood often used as underlayment). A whopping $12 per 4×8 sheet. I need 3 sheets for this room but decided to get 4 since I know myself well enough to know I may need it. I asked the nice man at HD to cut it down into 8″ strips (the long way). He said they have a new minimum of 12″. Darn. I thought for a moment. I mean, I do have a table saw and could cut them down myself (other than the fact that I can’t transport a full 4×8 sheet in my CRV). Honestly I don’t want to. I ask the guy how wide his blade is (1/8″) so I ask him to cut the sheets down to 11 7/8 (so they will all be evenly sized) and I decide to just go for the wider plank look. Anything is going to be better than the ugly ceiling tiles.
Once I got home, I notice he cut the planks 11 5/8 instead of 7/8. Meh. What is done is done. I could cut these all in half at home– hmmm– I opt to just go with the wider boards.
Next Up: Actually planking the ceiling…
There I was, at home after being gone for a glorious long weekend, and trying to finish a sewing project that is supposed to be a gift for a bridal shower in two days (no pressure, right?).
There are times it sometimes feels like God is very far away. Or at least that my prayers are going unheard, unanswered. Last year around this same time, I had a couple very clear signs that God hears me – oh the prayers aren’t always answered the way I want, or when I want, but He hears and answers. And yet, like the people of Israel in the dessert, I grumble and complain and forget the marvels of the Lord. So he reminds me.
It is no secret that February (and winter in general) is hard for me. I’m sure I have some low grade Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and some high grade “I hate being cooped up” disorder. Add into that normal seasonal blahs, the fact that work has been insane and exhausting and you’ve got a perfect storm of tired, cranky, wants-to-hibernate-Reenie. Not awesome folks, not awesome at all. On Friday when I finally extricated myself from the office I was bone tired. Not just kind of glad it was Friday but exhausted to my core. I got home and actually said, out loud, to my dogs “We have got to get some flowers for this place.” The $1 potted primrose I bought on a whim at Home Depot last week wasn’t enough.
Saturday morning I roused myself, made coffee, and got Suzie out the door for a vet appointment. When I got home there was a box on my porch. Huh. I don’t
think I ordered anything. I opened it up and to my great surprise and delight there were two dozen gorgeous roses from a dear friend who thought I needed flowers to make February suck less. I actually teared up. I am so incredibly blessed to have friends who know and love me that well. What a gift. And the flowers are breathtaking!! They are going to make my life happier for at least the next week or two (maybe even until I get on a plane and head to visit some other sunshiney people in Phoenix for a long weekend).
That same night I went to a dinner auction with friends. At the end of the evening, we all took home flowers from the table. So exactly one day after I was majorly funked out and recognized my desperate need for flowers – God provided three gorgeous bouquets. Amazing. He hears. And this isn’t like one of those life changing “Please heal so and so of this terrible disease” prayers – the prayers I consider “important”. Nope, this was a little thing (and I didn’t even ask): flowers. And maybe, more importantly, what they symbolize for me: hope. And God’s abundant faithfulness.
So wherever you are and whatever little thing you need right now to give you that little push, ask God for it. He hears and provides with abundance! And then look around and take note of the things He provides – because it is incredible what we find when we take the time to notice the gifts He gives. And if He is nudging you to send flowers to someone, go for it – flowers are never a bad idea.
And in the answered prayers department: I’ve been praying for a small health issue for a young godson and it cleared up and they were able to cancel the surgery. Hooray! God is good!
Now if you could all join me in praying for a couple miraculous healings: a friend of mine undergoing chemo for his brain tumor and for a friend struggling with addiction and mental illness. Thank you!
I’ve spoken of Fr. Jacques Philippe before and the profound impact he had on my life. Two years later, I still hear his words echoing in my head on a regular basis “Embrace the poverty.” We all have poverty in our lives and rather than running from it, we need to embrace it and let Jesus use it to transform us.
This year (okay the last couple years), I’ve been living in a home that is constantly under some kind of renovation. I want it to be Pinterest Perfect at all times. Clean, finished, decorated, cozy, lovely, and a place people want to be. Of course then I think about the places I am most comfortable to be, and not a single one of them is Pinterest Perfect. The places I most enjoy have mail on the counter, kids homework strewn where it doesn’t belong, slipcovers on the couch, dog hair in the corner, laundry out in the open — you get the point. I like to be in the places where real life is happening and people don’t have to be ashamed of that.
I’m not saying we should give up on housekeeping (though my house might make you think I have). I am saying that I am learning to embrace the mess in my life. I still cringe when someone comes through the door and I don’t have it together. When there is a box of home improvement disaster on the kitchen floor. Or that microwave I STILL haven’t installed. I don’t enjoy the mess, but I’m learning to embrace it as part of this life I’ve chosen. I chose the fixer upper, I choose constant improvement, I have an opportunity to embrace the mess, even if it makes me die a little on the inside. Deep breath. I am sometimes amazed when people tell me how much they love my house. They see the progress, the warmth, the comfortable side often while I am cringing about the imperfection.
When the shoe is on the other foot, I love my friends homes. I see the warmth, the reality, the generosity of the people there and never think to scoff at the imperfect nature of the things around me. In fact, I am honored when people tell me they don’t clean for me because they are that comfortable and feel that safe with me visiting. High praise indeed.
So day by day, little by little, I’m killing my inner perfectionist and learning to embrace the mess. Both in my home and in my heart. And embracing the mess, I am embracing my own need for a Savior. Someone loves me in the midst of my mess and gives me Himself. One who calls me to cast off my idea of perfection and embrace His call to holiness, to joy and peace and abundant life. Come Lord Jesus.
My most recent brush with The People of Craigslist seemed worth sharing. I have been wanting to get my mom a canary since her birthday, but they are terribly expensive from a pet store. In the past (many moons ago), there was a “canary guy” in metro Detroit that my aunt referred me to, but I have long since lost his information and maybe he isn’t even dealing canaries anymore.
There are very few times in my life where I flaunt the joys of being single, because frankly, I’d give anything to be married with a family of my own. But in the interest of embracing the joys in my particular situation, here’s today’s happy thought: I don’t have to end summer just because everyone else’s kids are back in school.
You may be ending your summer, and that is all well and good, but I’m going to hang onto it as long as I possibly can. And since Obedience School is the only schooling that will be happening in our household in the near future, we can just pretend fall isn’t barreling toward us at the speed of light. We are in happy denial and plan to live up summer until the bitter end (or until September 22nd since I’m told the first day of fall is Sept 23rd this year). Mmm hmm. That leaves me just a couple more weeks to summer it up big time.
End of Summer List (started a few weeks ago):
– Host Irish Park 2.0 – done!
– Plant a tree or bush over Maggie’s grave
– Take my water loving dogs to a lake, somewhere, somehow
– Finish painting the kitchen cabinet doors (I’m giving myself to the end of September for this one)
– Get an estimate to have someone else paint my outdoor trim (not saying I won’t end up doing it myself, but I’d like to know what I’m worth)
– Organize yard and garden stuff in the barn
– Install microwave
– Can peaches – done!
– Can salsa – done!
– Can tomatoes
– Pick raspberries (not in my yard)
– Cage new orchard trees (to protect from deer)
– Install farm gates – done!
– Re-hang gate near garage
– drink sangria on the deck
– Train Daisy how to fetch for real (as in bring the ball back and then drop it!)
– Munchkin camp out – done!
I’ve long thought we should start a series called #honestproject just to keep it real around here on the interwebs where perfection or at least showing perfection seems to be the thing to do. Sadly I’m really bad at the perfection thing (although I want to master it somehow) and I’m fairly good at the real, nitty, gritty messy parts of life.