Sunday, August 19, 2012

A not quite so epic fail

(Note: This was a blog post that I found in my drafts.  For some reason it never posted even though I wrote it over a year ago.  Somehow I missed it, but I find that I really enjoyed it, so I decided to upload it just for fun.  I think the message is something I need to remind myself of periodically.)

As you may have noticed I didn't blog at all this weekend.  No recipes.  No message on spirituality.  I completely dropped the ball on my Grand Plan to blog every day for the summer.  I will not beat myself up over it.  I'll just keep moving on.  This weekend was busy.  I worked both Saturday and Sunday and then had to do all the things I formerly had always accomplished on the weekends like the weekly grocery shopping, trip to Target, spending time with my kids and spouse.  A busy, but pleasant weekend. 

Today starts the made countdown to the end of an era.  The final Harry Potter movie is released at midnight on Friday (or Thursday - however you want to view it).  We won't be seeing it until the 12:15 showing so it really will be Friday when we see it.  I'm dressing as Professor Sprout, although I still have to dye my witchy robes and finish making my hat.  My son is going as Random Hufflepuff Quidditch Fan Number 27.  My younger daughter is dressing as Gilderoy Lockhart, complete with a copy of Magical Me.  My older daughter and spouse are not dressing up.  The spouse doesn't get into the entire "dressing up for movies" thing and my oldest child says that she is "too sad to dress up."  I think she's being too melodramatic.  I do understand that she is sad.  She's grown up with Harry.  She was 8 when she read the first book and fell in love with the Wizarding World.  She has had a Harry Potter birthday almost every year since she turned 9 thanks to the release of a book or movie around her birthday.  She watched Mugglenet grow from a strange little blog to this large monstrosity.  She's read every book at least four times and watched ever movie at least ten times.  She has dressed as Tonks, Bellatrix, Hermione, Rita Skeeter (my favorite of all her costumes) and Random Ravenclaw Student Number 2 (her best friend went as Random Ravenclaw Student Number 1 and her sister as Random Ravenclaw Student Number 3).  Part of me truly understands how she is depressed and can't put energy into a costume, but the other part of me can't figure out for the life of me why she would pass up on this one last opportunity to be part of the excitement. 

So I didn't blog.  Sue me.  I can live with missing two days.  And I'll probably miss other days as well.  I'm ok with that.  At first I was a bit upset that I had let myself (mostly) and my readers (hey you three) down.  I was going to offer up some sort of penance.  I was going to lash myself with a cat-o-nine tails made of Red Heart Super Saver.  I was going to jab size 000 DPN's under my skin until I howled with pain.  But then I realized, that it was just a blog.  It wasn't the Harry Potter world ending.  It wasn't the last of a series of really fun movies.  It wasn't Voldemort swooping down to enslave Muggles.  It was just a blog.  Not an epic fail.  Just a couple thousand (if that) words on a computer screen.  It wasn't going to end wars or establish peace.  It was just a blog.

Busy few weeks

My Olympic challenge was to make a lace shawl in the 16 days that the Olympics were taking place.  And I did it with time to spare.  I also managed since my last post to finish my Clapotis which is very lovely and drapes nicely.  And I'm currently test knitting a pattern for a pair of socks for someone.  It's going well and shouldn't take me long. 

I'm settling well into my new creation station (which still doesn't have a name other than the old sun room or the new room place) except I'm having issues with Daughter Number One invading it and leaving her crap stuff all over my place.  She cleaned her room earlier this year so she could create it in and slowly all of her crap stuff is invading my space.  I don't mind so much that she creates in here, I just wish she would pick up her stuff and put it away when she is done so that when I get up and want to create I have somewhere to do that.  Meanwhile she is adding lots of new things to her Etsy shop that are fun and creative. I love that she is so creative.  I just don't love the mess she leaves behind.  It's my space yet I can't use it with her things all over the place. 

My biggest "time suck" has been work.  I am not complaining.  I'm enjoying it and have been training for a potential new position.  (Everyone keep your fingers crossed.)  It's been fun learning new things and interacting with different people.  I'm hoping something becomes more permanent with this position in the next week or so.  I hate sitting on the fence waiting for something to happen.  I'm also not working in that department all the time, just sporadically so there are times when I feel like I am not getting anything accomplished as I will work there for two days and then get uprooted and thrown into a totally different department and lose the momentum I had a particular project.  By the time I get back there I have to back track to get things situated so I can go back to working on what I had been.  And there are projects that I know need to get done but because I am not there all the time to do them and the people who step into that department after me don't see me as an authority figure the notes that I leave are not being paid attention to so stuff just doesn't get done.

It's sort of like walking into your craft space and finding that other people have created in it and left it a mess.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moving in day!

After much toil, trial, tribulation, tears and tearing out of hair, I was able to finally deem the room done and move my "stuff" back in!  What a very exciting thing it was.  But before I actually moved anything into the room, I cleaned it out of all the plastic covering on the floor, the blue tape around the windows, the various ladders, tools and paint supplies.  I swept the floor very well and then I danced silly twirling dances with Boo (as the boy wouldn't join in such a wild rumpus).  I figured if I was going to have a clean open space that I would take advantage of it at least once for something fun and silly.

So I moved in the sewing machine, spinning wheel, ironing board, and my old desk.  I bought and assembled 2 sets of metal shelves and put all my stash (both fabric and fiber) as well as all my paper, rubberstamps, ink, and a few paper supplies.  I've decided to do the 6 month approach to anything else moving into the room.  Whatever I don't use in the next six months does not come back into the room.

The room.  That's what we keep calling it.  I don't really know what to call it.  I don't really care for "hobby room" because I envision it to be so much more.  It's not really the sun room  any longer as I did take out half the windows.  It still has quite a bit of light, but it isn't truly a sun room.  So if you have any good suggestions on what to call this room, leave your suggestions in the comments section.

My next task is to cut out curtains for this room.  It's all echoey and hollow-sounding and needs things to buffer the noise.  Curtains are in order and after that I'm not sure what.  I'm betting getting some soft furniture in here will help as well. 

In knitting news, I have new shoes.  Yes, this is a knitting related statement.  See?  They are Danskos if anyone is interested.  Yes, Dansko shoes with knitting on them.  As many people who have seen them in person have commented, "They are quite ... well ... ugly, but so very you."  They are pretty and shiny and have knitting on them.  I love them.  And you should too.  Even if on my feet alone.  I justified their expense because I needed new work shoes and the shoe repair place that I took my last pair of Danskos to lost my shoes.  Yes.  Lost my shoes.  How does one lose a pair of shoes that are connected together and in a plastic bag?  I'm quite upset and he has been ignoring my calls to find out where my shoes are.

But in the real knitting news, I've been working hard at the Ravellenic games.  These would be the aforementioned Ravelympics, but the United States Olympic Committee decided that we should cease and desist using anything that had "lympic" in it as they had a copyright on those syllables and that it degraded the work that "real" Olympians put forth.  Of course that irked the entire knitting community who took it upon themselves to enlighten the USOC about a few things.  The USOC gave a non-apology and then asked if we would like to donate knitted items for the US athletes to take to the Olympics.  Unfortunately the USOC failed to recognize that Ravelry is an international community and probably would not be interested, after being insulted, in donating knitted items to the Olympians.  Please note that we love the athletes.  We just aren't very fond of the USOC.  However, I am knitting while watching and am making a beautiful shawl by Heatherly Walker, known affectionately as Yarn Yenta, called Threnody.  It's a Knitty pattern and named after a character in D M Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo series (which is delightful and a fabulous read for older tweens and teens).  I'm making it from some very lovely Sweet Georgia Yarns Merino and silk blend in a sport weight (the package says DK, but it is much thinner than that but much thicker than fingering). The color is called Oxblood and I'm simply in love with it.  I have two more rows and the bind off and I'll be through knitting it.  I'm hoping to finish that and get it blocked today.  

So, leave me a name suggestion for a room that is used to create things.  There will be lots of sewing, knitting, spinning, and other crafts going on in here.  And if my previous plans for today pan out there will be curtain creating happening this afternoon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's done!!

I can't tell you how happy I am that the workmen are finally out of my house.  Not because I didn't like them. They were clean (always sweeping up after themselves), courteous (knocking for us rather than just coming in the house), and efficient (they finished 2 days ahead of schedule despite the rain and electrical delays).  There is just something about having strangers in your house who make it uncomfortable to go get your morning Cheerios in your pajamas.  No traipsing through the house in just a towel because you left your clothes in the dryer at the other end of the house.  That feeling like you should be there in case they had any questions.  And the hammering at 7:30 in the morning was a horrible second alarm clock.

But they are done and out of here and now my work begins.  Yesterday I purchased the new fan and light units and bought the paint (Cinchilla).  Today I wrote the final check and moved my stuff into the room to start painting.  I got up on the ladder to blue tape the windows and realized I only had two feet of the 1" tape available.  So down off the ladder and yet another trip to Home Depot to give them more of my money.  Fortunately I only needed 1 roll of blue tape and a pack of daylight mini spiral lightbulbs.  Of course I have a feeling that Sunday, when Dan puts the ceiling fans in, that we will be back at the store for something.

This afternoon will be up and down the ladder while I get the top of the wall cut in.  Why is it I have three kids who are afraid of heights (stares up at the ceiling whistling).  OK, I don't like being up high either (see previous posts) but someone has to go up on the 9 foot ladder.  Having very short arms doesn't help, though because it means I have to climb up and down the ladder a bazillion times to do the entire room.  I wish I had one of the library ladders that are connected to rails and someone could just push me around the room as I needed to get to the next part.  That would be cool and fun and I would probably have three kids wanting to help then.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The tile is in.  Although I'm a bit confused about the walls.  They don't look "finished" to me.  I can still see some of the sheetrock and definitely can see the tape over the seams as well as the putty covering nail holes.  Is this right?  I can feel that there is some texturing to the walls, but it doesn't seem very thick and I'm concerned about painting or even priming over what is there.  But the floors look fantastic.  I'm in love with them so much.  I can't wait to have the baseboards installed and get in there to paint. 

Of course it is raining which means it could be a few days before we can get in there.  I don't know how long the weather is going to keep holding things up.  The contractor has been running an industrial fan in the room for the past few days while it has been raining so hopefully that will help things dry out quicker. Why do I have to keep waiting?

In knitting news I think I have decided to make Heatherly Walker's Threnody as my Olympic event project.  I've got some lovely Sweet Georgia Yarns' Merino Silk which is a heavier fingering/sport weight yarn.  The colorway is Oxblood.  Very nice pattern with a very nice yarn.  It will be gorgeous and fun.  I may even plan my fall wardrobe around this piece.  I guess I should start preparing by doing a gauge swatch and get the yarn wound. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Decisions decisions

Each time I think I have made the final decision concerning the room I find that there is yet one more decision to make.  What more does one need to decide on other than windows, texture, curtains, paint, and tile?  Oh yeah grout.  There are about 30 different shades of grout for tile. Five different shades of grey and white isn't always white.  I chose Dolorean Grey.  I'm half tempted to scribble OUTATIME in the grout somewhere just because I am weird that way. 

The next thing I had to decide on was lighting.  UGH. Isn't it enough that I decided on the white light switches?  Now you want me to actually pick out lighting to go with them?  I'm almost at that point where I don't care what goes in the room as long as it gets done.  But being the dutiful (read: Gemini) person that I am I took myself around and looked at lighting.  I am considering that the ugly combination ceiling fan and light fixture should be replaced with yet another set of ceiling fan and light fixtures only because that room doesn't stay the coolest in the summer.  Although who knows, now that it has all new insulation and the windows and doors are set correctly it might not be half bad, but I would hate to pick out some really cool lights and then later find that I wish I had chosen fans instead.  I really like that white lotus blossom light above, but I don't think it is going to be neither practical nor bright enough for the room.  This fan to the right is a bit more practical and has the look I'm sort of looking for.  I'm thinking of adding in some track lighting where my desk will be but haven't decided if I like this sort of track lighting or if I am going to go with a simple lamp on the desk. I suppose I should have thought of that when Dan was doing the electric wiring. 

In other news I have found that I can do some writing editing while sitting on the couch.  While not ideal it is working for now and it feels good to be writing again.  Ideas for my next book are twirling around in my head and I think I have the main plot worked out. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

Back to some real life blogging and trying not to think about how messy my house is.  Today's Ten on Tuesday (topic supplied by Carole at Carole Knits) is 10 Everyday Things that Make You Happy. 

1. Cereal and milk for breakfast.  I'm not even very picky about what kind of cereal.  I like everything from Shredded Wheat to Fruit Loops.  But the milk must be Fat Free.  Anything else just tastes like cream

2. Tea. Preferably black with caffeine.  Although a lovely herbal tea with mint or orange or berries or lemon is nice too. 

3.  Merino yarn.  Now for most people they wouldn't see this as an everyday thing, but in my family this is something that gets touched and worked on nearly a daily basis, so it fits well into this category.

4. Books. See number 3. Words are one of those things that just brings such delight in my life.  A good book truly makes me happy.

5. A kitten sitting on my lap.  I have a new kitten.  Her name is Katy.  Actually her full name is Katelyn Elisabeth and she gets called both Katy and Buffy.  She answers to neither, so it doesn't matter much what she gets called.  But she is small and black and purrs loudly and often and brings me great happiness when she is curled up on my lap sleeping (and not eating my yarn).

6.  My Dansko shoes.  I love my Danskos.  They are comfortable and keep my feet happy when I'm working.

7.  Birds at my bird feeder.  I enjoy seeing the different birds that visit my feeder each day.  Anything from little tufted titmouses (titmice?) to the common Brewer's blackbirds.  My Petereson's guide helps me identify some of the rarer birds.

8.  Seeing one of my friends game alerts on my cell phone.  Whether it is playing Words with Friends with JollyPyrate or Draw Something with my friend Erin.  It's a happy little chime that reminds me that I have friends and they are taking time out of their days to think about me.

9. Mail in my box.  There is nothing more heartwarming than opening the mail box (that real one out by the street that the postman drives to and delivers stamped envelopes) and finding a hand penned envelope addressed to me containing a little card or snippet of something cheery.

10. Someone doing the dishes without being asked.  Or any household chore actually.  A load of laundry or picking up the living room or sweeping the floor.  It's nice to have one less thing to worry about and know that someone else did it for me.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tile is easy

Who knew that picking out tile would be a thousand times easier than picking out paint?  I must be fair in saying that there are fewer choices of tile from which to choose, but still I only wavered between two different tiles rather than around twenty different color choices of paint.  I'm going with Marazzi twelve inch  Orizzonti Sunset ceramic tile.  It's a kind of reddish orangey sandy color with just enough grey in it that it will look nice with the color I picked out for the walls but not so stringent that if I decided to repaint I would be stuck with a particular color scheme.  Oh, did I not tell you? I picked out a color!  This is very exciting. 

(Drum roll please).  After viewing over one hundred different shades of grey (and I don't want to know what that book would be about) I finally settled on a color.  It's called Chinchilla.  Kind of like the fuzzy little woodland creature. Although not so fuzzy or little.  It's a twelve foot by twenty-one foot room with peaked ceilings.  I'm thinking at least two gallons of paint and lots of blue tape.  I'm thinking of having a painting party and inviting a few friends over and buying pizza and cold margaritas.

I've also found the type of shelving units that I want in the room  and they are the same ones (under a different name) that Home Depot sells for almost half again as much.  I found them at Target and I think they will meet the needs I have in the new hobby room.  Imagine these shelves filled with bins of fabric, yarn and paper crafting supplies rather than a Kitchen Aid mixer and paper towels  Although now that all my fabric and yarn are neatly contained in matching plastic totes I may not put them on the shelves and save the shelves for such things as bins of ... well, other things.  All my crafts do require tools and I'll need a bookshelf to put all my knitting, crochet, sewing, and writing books on.  I'm looking for a similar shorter cart to utilize as a combination ball winding and drying rack.  I like this one:

I must say that one of the really nice thing about this blog these days is that I know that Dan is reading it.  With his being at work and then my being at work our communication time is cut and I'm too visual of a person to try to explain things to him on the phone or via text.  Now that the room is starting to look more like a room and less like something from some bad home improvement show I'm feeling more optimistic about it all being finished.  Although I still want it all over with.  And like now!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

50+ Shades of Grey

I'm not talking about the book here, folks.  I'm talking about paint.  Yep.  I decided that I wanted to paint the room a nice light gray.  Something that would pair well with white, yellow, rosy reds, aquas, and pinks.  One would think this would be an easy task, right?  Oh you are so wrong!  I went to my local Home Depot and went home with twenty-six different shades of this pallid color.  One knows that one never selects a color for a room at the home improvement store.  You have to take it home and tape the sample to the wall and stare at it for a while.  Then when you think you have the right color you go back to the home improvement store and you get a two dollar can of test paint and spread it on a three foot section to see if you like it larger than the two inch square sample you started with. 

One would think that out of twenty-six shades one would find the right color.  One would be sorely mistaken if one actually thought that.  So, as it happens with home improvement projects, I ended up at Lowe's.  From there I brought back twenty-two more (and different) shades of grey.  Still there was something lacking.  I toddled on over to Sherwin Williams and brought home yet another handful of paint chips to try to find that perfect shade.  This just wasn't working (and the Sherwin Williams employee was not even the slightest bit amused with our references to the best selling vaguely literatured erotica trilogy). 

Where does that leave us?  Going to look at fabric, of course!  Isn't that they natural progression from paint chips?  I happen to fortunate to live in the same town as a mecca of fabric.  It's called A&E Pharmacy.  Now from the outside A&E Pharmacy looks like a run down small town barely hanging on pharmacy.  In fact when you step in the front door of A&E Pharmacy and see the baskets of make up leftover from the 1980's and the sun bleached pink flamingos in the window you might be tempted to turn around and run the other way.  But if you can get past the dusty packages of Crunch bars and the wilted greeting cards you will find a treasure trove of fabric.  Some of the most beautiful quilting fabrics all lined up in fabulous collections begging to be bought and sewn.  And that is where I start to find that perfect grey paint.

Shopping for fabric with me is not a job for the weak or faint-hearted.  I start with a shopping buggy (that's what we call them down here in the south - buggies - carts to those of you further north, although those of you in Great Britain probably know exactly what I am talking about).  I begin by throwing everything that catches my eye into the buggy and don't think about whether or not they go together.  I go on impulse.  Then when the buggy gets too heavy to push or too tall to see above the tower of fabric, I go through each one and decide if it is a yes, a maybe or something I'm not completely in love with.  If I don't find the right fabric I keep doing this.  I only had to go through two buggies of fabric before I found the piece that was going to help me choose the right color paint.  And this is it (along with a paint chip I found that brings together all the colors I like - kind of).  Here's the mill for those of you that are into that kind of thing (like I am):

I finally have the selection narrowed down from the collection above down to this:

This fabric is going to be the valance to these three windows:

I am so ready to stick a fork in this project and call it done.  I'm weary of all the boxes and "stuff" (I'm being kind here) stuffed in my dining room and spilling out into the rest of the house.  The floors are coated with sheetrock dust, fiberglass insulation straws and grime from going in and out of the new room.  I can't breathe in my house, I wake up stuffed with red itchy eyes, and the house smells of staleness.  I have no room in which to create and my desk is currently disassembled so Dan could get into the attic.

Maybe I need to run away and come home with everything is finished.  Sigh.  I guess I best stick around.  I mean there is tile to pick out and walls to paint.  Of course at this point I could just wallpaper the entire room with all the paint chips I've amassed. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Electric!

The one thing that scares me about home remodeling, in fact probably the only thing that scares me about home remodeling, is electricity  So what does my spouse want to do?  Yep Electric work.  He ran all the electric in the new room and then decided to install a box for said electricity in my new hobby room  Which of course meant I was somehow involved  I got the joy of standing on a ladder (I'm short for a reason - the universe knows I don't like heights) and reaching into a dark scary space in the attic (I have fairly rational fears about attics as should everyone - and besides I'm convinced there is a Dalek living in mine) and reach for an electric cord.  Ever since I was a child I have had a fear of being electrocuted.  Don't try to tell me that there is no way that I could be electrocuted by a wire that isn't connected to anything.  I mean, it could come in contact with some live wire up there and zap me into the next universe.  I wouldn't laugh if I were you.  Dan found a live cut wire just sitting in the attic today.  And a hidden junction box behind a wall in the garage that had poorly connected aluminium and copper wires just twisted together.  I am surprised my house hasn't burned to the ground yet!

But now this wire:

is now in the attic and connected to this box:

In other news, despite the rain the majority of the walls have been taped.  There is one wall left to do (the wall where we (ha! I say we like it's some royal we as if I am actually really doing anything with the electric aside from sticking my arm into scary places and grabbing fat bundles of wire) are doing the electric.  Hopefully by next weekend the guys will have the ceiling and walls textured and I can get on to painting.  Tune in tomorrow where I will be discussing my Fifty Shades of Grey.  (And fabric shopping at A&E Pharmacy.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moving right along

Inside walls
Despite the rain things are really starting to come together.  They finally finished framing and got the windows installed.  The outside sheeting has been put on and some of the siding.  Yesterday Dan was able to get into the room to get all the wiring run, but today is the "how to get the room wired day." They are also putting in the insulation and finishing up the outside siding.  Then there is taping and texturing and blowing in the ceiling. 

Outside walls
We've decided that we are going to do the flooring ourselves.  I guess that means we have to take one of those Home Depot courses so we can know what we are doing.  It will mean a huge savings in the budget and it will be good practice for when we want to put the new flooring in the kitchen and dining room area.  The good news in that is your getting to read all about the trials and tribulations of that experience. 

Meanwhile I am going stir crazy to create.  The knitting project I have on the needles, while relaxing and mindless, is not allowing my creativity to be used.  I have this desire to sew or do some big baking project or work on my book.  Even my computer has temporarily been packed as my desk is directly under the access to the attic and needed to be taken down. 

Look a wire thingy
I've been doing a bit of helping out.  Yesterday I had to look for wires coming through the wall.  It was quite fun except for standing on a rickety ladder with nothing to hold onto and having to hold my iPhone up with one hand so I could see when the feed was coming through.  I felt pretty proud of myself that I didn't fall off the ladder.  Although that would have made for a more interesting blog entry. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Starting over!

After a long period of dealing with insurance agents, contractors and pest control people we are finally starting fresh on the room.  We had several people come out and look the place over to give us bids on the room.  Out of the four contractors who came, one said it was too big of a job for him, one gave us a bid, one never even bothered to get back to us and the fourth contacted us a week after he said he would to give us a bid on the day we had the one contractor start the job.  It is kind of exciting to begin this project. 

We decided to ditch three of the windows in the room to allow for more wall space (ok, more storage space for all the yarn, fabric, and paper crafting that is going to go on in this room).  It will make the room a tad darker, but not so horridly so that it won't be liveable.  We are going to have ceramic tile laid on the floors and there will be new exterior siding.  I've chosen a slate blue-gray color for the outside siding.  It's not as blue as I had wanted, but it will do. 

For the inside walls I'm thinking of a light gray.  We've fought over several shades.  Some are too blue, some too brown, some too green, some too yellow, some too dark, some too light.  I keep reminding myself that it is just paint and if I don't like it I can easily repaint.  Perhaps I should go fabric shopping instead and find curtain material that I like. 

Yesterday's progress included tearing out an entire wall and putting up some new studs.  It was so weird to see my azalea bushes through the walls and then have everything boarded up again.  They got the remainder of the sheetrock down the insulation out (they used their hands and no shirts or face masks - ew!) Today they stripped off the popcorn ceiling and finished removing part of a wall.  There wasn't much they could do today as we are having torrential rains and thunderstorms.  Isn't the lovely yellow dumpster great?  I love having construction stuff all over my yard.

I keep reminding myself that this will be a fabulous creating space when it is done.  I just have to get through this.

Monday, June 18, 2012

We found brick!

One of the fun things about this project (trying to keep on the bright side here) is pulling out walls and making discoveries about how the room is built.  I've learned a few things such as why there was black paint striped along the walls (it's so that the white drywall doesn't show through the seams of paneling).  Today we decided to pull out a section of wall to see how it was constructed and we found our outside brick wall.  It's a bit funny to see and we found a pipe sticking out of the wall.  Not sure what it is for but we found it.  Fortunately the insect infestation seems to stop at the brick which is a very good thing (yet again my attempt at remaining positive).

I think we have come to an agreement on what we want to do with the room in terms of rebuilding (although there still seems to be some argument as to ownership of the room once it is built).  The room currently has six large (4'x4') windows and an exterior door.  We are planning on leaving the exterior door but cutting the windows back to three windows, putting one window in the upper right hand corner of the room and the other two windows starting at that corner and coming out towards the center of the yard side wall.  That will leave three perfectly good corners for putting in shelves, adding counters and arranging furniture (such as some comfy couches for inviting friends over to sit and knit or quilt or simply to chat).  Although, there is this argument of ownership.  I see the room as a perfect knitting, spinning and quilting space.  Mr. KCW sees it as a perfect brewing space.  I think it is far too large of a room for simply brewing and he would be better served using the current room which we call a hobby room, but could easily be converted into his perfect little brew spot. 

In the news of knitting I'm working on (yet again) the Clapotis by Kate Gilbert.  Hopefully this one will not have any mistakes so the dropped stitches will truly drop.  So far I am finding it very soothing as the rhythm is almost waltz-like.  I've finished 3 repeats of the straight section and I'm loving dropping stitches. This is helping me keep my calm in the evenings and isn't making me think too much (as I have to with my Pea Vine Shawl by Anne Hanson).  I'm working the Clapotis using Madeline Tosh Merino Light in the gorgeous shade of Ink (I think it's appropriate for me). Hopefully I'll post pictures soon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's perfectly safe

Yesterday we had another termite control company out to give us an estimate on treatment and re-infestation.  I could tell he was a high pressure salesman and was doing anything he could to seal the sale.  That's fine.  That's his job.  I work in retail and I know that we, too, are supposed to work for the sale.  He was going into his big spiel about how invasive they would be with the chemicals to keep our home safe and was talking in terms of gallons of termitacide per square foot.  This sounded fairly frightening and toxic to me.  Being the good consumer that I am I decided to ask an intelligent question.

"So ... What is the risk to humans and our pets with all these chemicals you are going to be spreading over our property and home?"

The answer?  "None.  You see (missy - and I swear there was the unsaid missy in his voice) termites are very small so they don't need to ingest a lot of this chemical in order to kill them.  We are bigger.  We would have to drink gallons of this stuff in order for it to do anything to us." (Now run along back to your kitchen and let us men-folk discuss this.)

Of course I don't believe that answer in the least because ants are pretty small, but the chemicals we use to get rid of them have a skull and cross bones on the packaging.  I did what every average person does when they need an answer and went to the Internet.  And what did I find?  That all termitacides are listed as possible carcinogens with the EPA.  You can rest assured that this little missy isn't going to be drinking gallons of the stuff and I'm going to be pretty careful around places that I know it is put.

I can think of so many different ways that he could have talked about the risks of termitacide other than "termites are tiny and we are big."  He could have acknowledged that termitacide has its risks but that they do everything in their power to limit the exposure of those chemicals to humans and their beloved pets.  That would have at least made him sound credible.  Fortunately, Mr. KCW didn't like this company's representative any better than I did and his bid was higher for less work.

In other news, it rained heavily again last night, but nowhere near the twenty-one inches that we had on Saturday.  The room remains dry.  This is good news.  At least there is a little good news.  Keep your fingers crossed for the insurance inspection today.  Hopefully we will find out that we actually have some sort of insect protection.   In the meantime I'm going to cook up some blueberry pancakes. 

My favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes:

Get in the car and go to Cracker Barrel.  Make sure to get a side of turkey sausage to go with them.  And skip the Main Blueberry syrup.  It's just corn syrup with some blueberries thrown in.  Just butter them so you can taste the fabulous blueberries.

My second favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes:

Make Krusteaz Complete pancakes and throw blueberries in them. (That's for days when you are short on time and don't want to pay $8 for blueberry pancakes)

My third favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes is my dad's recipe for pancakes to which I add blueberries.  He called them Hank Snow's Favorite Pancakes. (I have no idea if that claim is actually true. I don't even know if my dad ever met Hank Snow, but Hank Snow's name was evoked often in my house growing up.) 

1-1/2 c. flour (just regular all-purpose - nothing fancy here, although I like unbleached)
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 T sugar
(Sift all those things together)
Blend together 1-1/4 c milk and 1 egg.
Mix your dry and your wet and then mix in 3 T melted butter or shortening. (My dad always used shortening, I use butter.)

Pour about 1/4 c of batter on a hot griddle then add a generous handful of blueberries right before flipping the first time.  The blueberries will most likely split open when you flip your pancakes, but that's ok.  I use frozen blueberries and run them under some warm water prior to cooking the pancakes.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Damage

I finally got around to sending pictures from my phone to my e-mail so I could put them on my computer so I could share them with you.  (Aren't you just so excited?)  So in case you have never seen a house that has been eaten from the inside out by termites, the picture on the right is what it looks like.  Not very pretty.  And this is one of the better parts. 

About the only thing that is usable from the entire room are the windows and the doors.  As far as we can tell the roof structure is still in good condition and isn't infested.  We'll find out as we dig into it.  but all the walls, siding, insulation and weather barrier is completely shot. 

Here's a picture of where we have started the demolition process.

For now the plan is to get down to where we can start over.  We are thinking about moving one of the windows down to the end you are currently looking at.  That will give us windows on all three sides.  We'll have to see, though.  Essentially we have a 12'x21' space that we get to play with.

I'll post more later as we get moving on this venture.  For now I get to go talk to another contractor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Floods and bugs and tears

Hi.  I'm not sure what to say about being disconnected for over six months.  I had all these fabulous intentions at the beginning of the year to write on my blog more frequently, but now it's mid-year and this is my first post.  (Bows flamboyantly.)  So, hi.

I'm not going to spend an hour catching you up on everything that has happened in my life since my last post.  Suffice to say it wasn't anything too thrilling or I would have posted about it.  So why the post now? Simply because I feel like I'm drowning and this is the safest way to pour out that stress.  See the picture of Noah's steadfast little ark?  That's what was floating through Pensacola this past weekend.  In a 24 hour period our little city had between 17 and 21 inches of rain.  From a sit around the house and read and knit standpoint it was fabulous.  From a "holy shit my house is flooding" standpoint, not so much.  To be honest we only got about 3 inches of water in one rarely used room in our house.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn't that big of a deal.  Although cleaning everything up wasn't and I did have to make a "large item pick up request" from my local garbage service to take all the icky sodden ruined books (yes I lost quite a few books), fabric (nothing too special), clothes intended for Goodwill (which also went under water), and boxes that formerly held homebrew beer (rest assured all the beer was saved as was the majority of the yarn). 

It doesn't sound too bad, right?  Wrong!  In the course of cleaning the room we noticed some odd-looking sawdust around one of the window sills.  After the use of a crow bar and a little muscle we discovered that this "sawdust" was actually residue from termites!  The entire room is being eaten away from the inside out.  It's horrid and sickening and I just want to cry.  Today we are having a specialist come out and inspect the house to see how invasive the little  fuckers buggers are.  I'm hoping against all hope that they are confined to this one room.  In the meantime I'm fearing that they are in every joist and beam in my house and at any moment the house will collapse on top of me and bury me and my lovely stash. 

We also have a carpenter due out today to look at the damage and give us a quote on what it will take to fix things (if indeed things can be fixed).  And of course we have filed an insurance claim, but neither of us can find our insurance policy to verify if we actually have termite protection.  Most likely we don't as most home owner's policies consider termite control part of home maintenance and will only cover things if the house has collapsed or in imminent concern for collapse (see previous paragraph about my not-so-irrational fear). 

Now in the perfect cheerful optimistic world I could look at this and see the silver lining such as:
1. Ta-da! You get a brand new creating space with electric outlets that work on every wall!
2. You've got the opportunity to remake your house the way you want it!
3. You get to start over from scratch!
4. You've been wanting to purge and reclaim space, so here's your chance!

Yeah, no.  None of those things help at all.  All I can see is all of our savings (and then some) being swooped away into the pockets of other people while I am up to my neck drowning in all the stuff that was salvaged from the spare room (or as we say in our house the Spare Oom).  Even though the waters have subsided, I still feel like that ark is towering over me with its closely guarded collection of animals.  Meanwhile in other news, rain is forecast for today.