Today's Diva Words:  "This is the most fun I've had and still be conscious."
Popeye via Robert Altman

October 15, 2007

The weekend, she came and she went.  It was great to go to a community event on Friday night and not actually be working it.  It felt a little like I was skipping school.  I'll make up for it this Friday, however, because Grizzly Flats Bingo resumes and I am short a bunch of volunteers.  At this point, I have no callers (anyone reading this got some bingo calling experience and want to come up to the mountains to share it with some really bawdy, fun broads?), very few prizes (I have to go prize shopping at some point) and a whole lot of people jonsing for bingo since we have been on hiatus since July.

We have a great time and having done it last year, we have a lot of our own fun things to do with the calls.  For instance:

Caller:  "DATE NIGHT!!"

Players: "Ohhhhhh!!!!"

Caller:  "SIXTY-NINE!!  O-69!"

I-22 is "Two little ducks!!" and the caller and the person who moves the numbers stand side by side and curve one hand up by their forehead and lift up one foot to each turn into a duck."

We're stupid, but it's fun.  Of course, we can't afford anything like a light up board (we're very small time) and the little cages had balls that were too small for us old women to read, so we bought the real bingo balls and put them into a little trashcan with a flip top.  The callers just jam an arm down in there and fool around without looking and pull out a ball.  Then we have numbers 1-75 with a magnetic button on the back that we stick to the white board of the classroom under the appropriate B, I, N, G or O.  One caller pulls and calls the number and the other  Vanna Whites the magnetic numbers.  When a person bingo's, they have two prizes from which they can choose.  It's usually something like an Avon gift bag or a Walmart gift card or a hand-knitted scarf.  Then can also win a free set of cards for the next month or a $5 gift certificate for the snack bar.  One of my best friends runs the snack bar and she makes the best nachos ever, plus people bring in homemade brownies and such.  Cocoa and coffee are complimentary and we have bottled water and sodas for sale.  It's really a great night.  People can buy in and play every game for a total of $6 or they can buy cards with more faces for more.  We even have a guy who calls "real" bingo for the Lion's Club in town who makes the trek up the mountain to play with us because we're more fun.   I am so grateful to have a life with so much fun in it!

Oh and the best part??  We have a miniature of the leg lamp that was in the movie A Christmas Story.  The first person to get a straight bingo that night (even if straight bingo wasn't what the game demanded) wins the Leg for the month.  They take it home that night and when they bring it back (under threat of death if they don't bring it back), they will have personalized it in some way.  One person put a little Baby Cham deer on the base.  Another put a garter on her.  A few put pins on the shade.  One put Swarovski crystals on the deer's butt.  Some nights, it seems as though they are vying for rights to take home the lamp more than the bingo prizes.

I do wear my tiara (I'm the bingo floor manager) and sometimes, my glasses, even though it is night.  I pull them down onto the bridge of my nose and look over them.  I found a little room on my credit card and ordered myself a Pink Lady jacket for Halloween and since you know me well, you know I'll probably wear it all the damned time.

That's not me;
that's just the jacket

On Wednesday, I start training for the transcriptionist job.  I was sent the training agenda and it looks fairly intensive (yikes).  I don't think I'm going to make my goal of having everything done by Wednesday, but I will be really close to it.

I got the (accursed, as it turns out) fireplace finished.  What a completely pain in my ass, but it is done! What I thought would take 2-3 hours to do ended up taking 7-8.  I can tell you that there are 471 individual surfaces on the bricks to be painted on that fireplace and that's not counting the mortar in between.  The plan was to leave the mortar the original white of the fireplace, but that was before I understood how challenging it is to paint brick surfaces and get them reasonably straight.  That necessitated that I use some white primer to paint between nearly every brick to cover drips and red mishaps.  Regardless, here are the before and after photos (just to get you started).  Before and after photos of other areas of the house will follow within the next week or so as I get things finalized.


And after

It's much more bricky looking in person than it is in the photo.  Here, it looks like a brighter red than it is.  Still, in as small a room as my living room is, it's rather bold, so Eric and I both agreed that painting the beams the Fake Black Bean color would be a little too Beetlejuicey for our tastes.  Too much punch in one room tends to make a person drown in punch and since we are going for an overall feeling of nature tones, we decided to forego it.  I am still going to paint the beams in the kitchen since the cupboards will be that color.  By they way, the apparent discoloration on the lower, right side of the hearth is the result of the flash.  It's fine in person.

Today, I am going to put up the border and bears and trees in the kitchen, clean the house in general, do some laundry and maybe get started on the kitchen painting, which I am putting off in my head because I am so completely painted out.  It has to get done, so I'll likely just forge through.  I also plan to rearrange cage desk to accommodate the new transcription computer which should be here today or tomorrow.   Fortunately, I have an L shaped desk that seems like it will be big enough to hold both my own computer and the new one.  I just have to rearrange.

The kids are managing to keep their newly arranged rooms under control with continual reinforcement.  My hope is (hahaha) that if I stay all over them about it, eventually they might actually consider keeping things picked up.  I've been absolutely relentless about it and plan to continue doing so.  Consistency is all that works, that much I know.

By the way, folks...we had a Mercury Retrograde start on October 12th.  It will go direct again on November 17th.  During this time, connections are missed, communications are garbled or complicated and you'll drop or lose a lot of different things.  So far, I've barely felt it because it's retrograde in Scorpio, which is my rising sign (and Delena and Eric's sun sign) and it's an energy with which I'm very familiar.  Unfortunately, around the 24th, it's going to go into Libra and that is likely going to be tough.  Libra is an air sign and the backwards side of air signs makes me a little nuts, so I am lucky that the hatches of all I'm doing should be well battened down by then.  I might have to hide from the world between October 24 and November 11th (when Mercury goes forward and returns to Scorpio until it hits the place where it originally went retrograde on November 17th).  It's going to be Crazyland out there.  On the 17th, we should be back to normal.  Fortunately, this only happens three times a year.

Of course, it's during that time that I will be refinancing my house, so THAT should go well.  (I refuse to be paranoid about it, especially since we are finally using our VA endorsement and the rates for those loans are a hair over 5%...that would be blissy)

I'm off to paint beams and cupboards and put up borders, bears and trees.

Always, above all, remember to... particular!

Today's Diva Words:  "Oh, the Wonderfulness of Me!"
Peter Pan

October 13, 2007

This is one of those days where you just want to stand outside and stretch up your arms and feel it pour all over you; where you can really feel what a blessing it is to be alive.  We got some rain yesterday and so the smells of the mountain are really deep and rich.  The sky is bright blue and it's that crisp kind of fall snap where it's not too cold to be comfortable, but it's not t-shirt and shorts weather either.  The colors even seem brighter outside.

The day started with a flood.  Not a torrential one, by any means, but nothing to be laughed off either.  I got up at 5am to go pee and brush my teeth again.  For some reason, my old lady bladder won't make it all the way through the night any more, probably from all the water I drink, especially in the evening, and once I'm up and in the bathroom, I always want to brush the morning breath taste of ass out of my mouth.  That way, I have to edge of cool if Eric wants to get all smoochy in the morning.  Two and a half hours later, the boys came pounding on the door.  Mind you, I had big designs on sleeping in.  Delena has to get up at 5:45am to be on the bus by 6:15am and I am the one who gets her going, so I'm up pretty early every day.  The weekends are my respite to just flop around and sleep as long as I want to or until I just can't stand to be in the bed any more (usually 8-9am).  I stayed up until around midnight talking with Eric, soaking in the hot tub and giggling over dumb shit with him, then sailed away on a cloud of snooze while he watched his new favorite show, Meercat Manner, or as Joey puts it, "When meercats stop being nice and start being real."  I slept the WHOLE night through until the 5am bladder call (completely unheard of) and was in a really blissy sleep place when the boys launched into their panicked chatter about the table being under about 9 feet of water.  As it turned out, when I flushed, the handle did not return to its rightful place (our toilet is subject to such fits as these, which I never remember on the 5am pee) and that somehow caused water to start spewing out of the tank.  Our dining room table is directly below the bathroom and the water from upstairs that was dripping onto the floor quickly found its way down onto dripping on the table.  There were a few inches of water standing in the floor, plus everything (kids' school papers, etc) on the table was soaked and it was dripping like mad.  I grabbed a ton of towels and we started mopping.  I congratulated my bright and intrepid young'uns for having the brain steam to come screaming into our room and by then, Eric and I were up for the day, so it promptly got underway. 

I'd cleaned the house the night before while having one of my wholly uncharacteristic phone conversations with a friend, so it looked pretty nice, which is rare as of late.  Since we started the renovation process, there's always crap laying around everywhere, which just drives me insane.  Mama does not thrive in clutter!!  I got it looking all nice and minimized and organized the crap so that it wasn't dominating the room.  I had a good smile after the flood was managed just seeing how nice everything looked.

Yesterday, since Delena missed the bus and I made the un-good-motherly decision to not drive her 45 minutes one way to school, I got her young butt busy helping with the painting.  She did such a fine job painting one whole side of the cupboard and an inside part of it as well.  She had to prime and do a few coats, so I know it was a pain for her, but she was just shining at it.  Plus, we got to chat while we were painting, which was nice.  I got the green parts of the kitchen done.  It is not, as Eric declared when he saw the can, "mental, institution green,", but is a lovely, sagey, softened green.  I was able to scrape off all of the wallpaper (my arms and oddly my legs) really feel it today.  My shoulders are particularly sore.  I'm totally taking the Dif crap back to The Home Depot and getting my money back because it really didn't do what I needed it to do.  The consensus amongst you folks is that liquid fabric softener is the way to go.  Regardless, I don't have any more wallpaper to remove. Delena will eventually do her bathroom wall, but I'll get the softener for her for that one.

Last night as I was cleaning, I got the stuff all put back where it belongs in the kitchen to see how it would look and it was just lovely.  That brings us to the wonderfulness of today after the flood.

Because our original plan was to yank down the drywall of the ceilings and expose that glorious hard wood that is up there, I didn't take much care when I was painting in the kitchen and had smeared a good bit of paint onto the ceiling edges.  Then, Eric monkeyed around with the drywall and found that because of the beams and how they were positioned, it was going to be next to impossible to pull down the drywall unless we bashed it out with a crowbar or something, which risks destroying the wood itself.  So we decided not to bother with that this renovation since we are under a time crunch.  This left me with a paint smeared ceiling in the kitchen.  Eric suggested that I paint the ceiling in that room only the same chocolate black color that the beams in the rest of the downstairs will be, but I thought it might make the kitchen look too dark and small.  Then Eric found a gallon of paint in the shed that, miracle of miracles, was the sweetest, most perfect match for the existing ceiling paint!  I primed that sucker (since the smears were darker than the ceiling) and painted over it and it's just perfect.  Sure, the repair right now is a little darker than the existing ceiling because it's not as dry and not as old, but I am confident that it will even out in time.  It's close enough that even wet, you have to really be looking to see it.

Next, I took a fat artists' brush and did the details in the kitchen, going over missed places and getting in crevices and such and I want to tell you, that fat artists' brush is my best friend.  I love it. I want to marry it.  I want to have its baby brushes.  My kitchen just looks so damned slick right now, I tell you.  I have a border called "Oaky Moss" or "Mossy Oak" or something like that to put up and it's a dead on match for my sagey, soften green, plus has fall oak leaves and, predictably, moss, along it.  I ordered and got yesterday these "wallies" to the left to put up in the kitchen.  They are prepasted and you just wet them and stick those suckers up.  Plus, on top of that, an online friend bought and is sending me those gorgeous harvest appliqués that I was dying so hard to have.  (Thanks!!)  They are here.  That should draw the woodsy and harvest theme together nicely through the kitchen and the living room and dining room.

OK, now one would think that was just too much goodness for the day, right?  But nooooo, here comes more.  I gingerly and wincingly went over to the fireplace to get out my fireplace red-barn paint and see if I was going to need to primer the white bricks before I painted over them.  This, of course, demanded a sample brick.  I cracked open my can of paint for the first time and it was positively rosey, which is FINE if you're painting roses, but I did NOT want a mauve fireplace!  I stirred it up, which did not improve its disposition much, but when I painted the first sample brick, it was the most beautiful brick color you ever put your poor brick-colored paint eyeballs on.  I literally sighed.  It was just precious.  This, of course, demanded that I paint another sample brick because the first one I chose was the smoothest one and naturally, I needed to try a rougher one.  Now, I have two coats of un-primered barn red paint on four bricks and they look just absolutely splendiferous.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I think a couple of angels might have wept quietly in the background.  I am leaving the mortar between the bricks white, which poses a bit of delicate painting required, but I'm up for the challenge.  I don't expect that bitch to take me longer than 2-3 hours to finish.  Two coats and it should be perfect.

After a LOT of deliberation, we decided to forego the much desired gaping maw fireplace and leave that godforsaken reject of the 1980's fireplace insert in there.  Although there is a damper, we don't want to risk losing a great deal of heat up the chimney and as anyone who has ever done it knows, once you break out a fireplace insert, there just ain't no going back.  You can't unring that bell.

But wait!  It gets better!  His Lord and Majesty decreed that today was the charmed day when we would actually haul the storage bins from the family room (there were many, many storage bins, I mean don't even get me started) and put them into the new shed he built, which, I might add, is nothing short of a work of art.  Our county has codes for how big an out building can be without requiring a permit, 10x12' interior space, but it does not restrict the height, so he built that bitch up 12 feet or so and painted it green so that it blends right in with the trees in our back yard (in the way back, not the fenced back).  He, Delena and I just spent almost 2 hours hauling out bins from the family room and from the Witchy Shed, which has now reverted from "Former Witchy, Currently Shit Storage" Shed to "Witchy Shed" again.  It is no longer Shit Shorte nee Witchy Shed!  I have a whole wall lined with shelves with my Witchy books and all my herbs out there and my eleventy jillion candle holders and little statues and thingiemabobs and I'm just blissy happy.  The harvest decorations are still out there because I have to finish painting the fireplace and have it dry before we can set up Halloween Town on the Hearth (the only place in the house big enough to hold it).  That also presses me to get the fireplace done today.

I was going to do the boys' ceiling today (painting it blue and putting on cloud decals), but the decals have not yet come (over 3 weeks from ebay *frown*) and Dylan has a friend over and I'd rather invest my time into re-straightening the house (lost in the fray of moving bins) and painting the fireplace. 

Eric is not sure he's into painting the beams that chocolate black (Fake Black Bean) anywhere but in the kitchen and although I do think it would look cool, I'm also considering the time crunch and thinking it can wait until another time.  Right now, I'm looking at seeing if I even want to do anything in the family room, painting the boys' ceiling, supervising Delena painting her beam and her bathroom wall, finishing up the kitchen, painting the bathroom and calling it a day.  That should have me finished by Tuesday if I really jam and leave me with a day of rest before starting the new job on Wednesday.  I am nothing if not flexible (bendy even!).

I know you're all positive riveted by me droning on and on about the redecorating (zzzz, wake up!!).  I have gotten so many good hints and suggestions from all of you and I can't begin to tell you how much that helped!  It's great to feel the end of the road coming up and to feel as though I can walk away from the project with a job well done.  It was quite an undertaking, more even than I thought it would be.  It does, however, seem as though it was harder to repaint my bathroom in my old house than it was to redo almost the entire house here.  I think part of that is that I'm in better health and physically I am much stronger. I could really feel that today when I was packing those bins way out to the back to that storage shed. 

So now I am off to put the roast and potatoes on to cook and then start painting that gawgeous fireplace.  We're almost to photo time, folks!  If I stay on this time table, that's how I'll spend Tuesday, taking and posting photos.  Wish me luck!


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