Monday, August 26, 2013

Tiling The Pantry (And Finally Beating My Procrastination)

Remember in my last post how I was kinda, sorta procrastinating? Remember how it all started? You know, because I was loath to begin the project of "tiling" my pantry? Well, my friends, I am happy to report that the job is finished. And the outcome is good.

I've actually done this project in a few closets in our home and my reluctance to start didn't have anything to do with the difficulty of the project. "Tiling" the shelves is a fairly simple affair in and of itself. It's emptying and culling through the 250 pounds of crap and then placing it back in that makes me want to do anything else. And I mean anything! I would rather listen to my children whine about boredom than empty, cull, and replace items in the pantry. I would rather play infinity games of Candyland--and you all know how I feel about Candyland. I would rather shave my legs with a vegetable peeler and then soak them in a bath of salt and lemon juice. I guess what I'm saying, is it's not my favorite thing.

But! It does make a difference in how things operate around here. It's so much easier to cook dinner when I can actually see what I have that isn't going to result in a a case of botulism. It's so much easier to find medications to heal my hypochondriacs preshus baybays when they are under the weather. It's so much easier for my beloved to find razors/soap/floss/good-lord-anything-at-all-damn-you-Y-chromosome when everything is labeled and in it's place.

One of the things that I loved about this house when we moved in was the abundance of closets. We had plenty of room to move in all our crap and the space for it to multiply--as it does when given the room. What I didn't love was that all the shelving was wire shelving. (#firstworldprobs, right?) I hated that things toppled over more easily and that if things spilled, they spilled through the shelves and onto the stuff below. (Syrup, I am looking at you.) So when I saw this idea featured on a blog I frequent (sometimes just for the pretty pictures and the fantasy of ever being that organized, because, yo, it ain't that way up in here, you know what I'm sayin'?) I thought it was a brilliant and inexpensive and totally doable solution. I mean, ideally, I'd have some sort of melamine or solid shelving, but given that my beloved has a million things on his To Do List already, I figured I could handle this one on my own and it wouldn't involve power tools or swearing. (Much.)

I headed to Ye Olde Big Box Hardware Store and bought the cheapest peel and stick tiles I could find. I didn't care what they looked like. My only criteria was that they had to have a smooth surface so that anything I placed on it would be stable. Then I cleared out 250 pounds of crap, culled through it, getting rid of anything that was past it's prime, and set to putting the tiles in. I started at the fronts of the shelves and put in as many full tiles as I could and then I worked on cutting the tiles to fill in the gaps. This is where it gets more tricky and time consuming. It's not really that hard and all told, the tiling for each closet/pantry only took about 45 minutes. But because the walls and shelves are not perfectly square, each cut tile has to be done individually--I couldn't just measure one gap and make identical cuts for all the cut tiles. Does that make sense? And the only tools I needed were a utility knife and a straight edge (I used a metal framing square).

So for all my fussing and moaning and procrastinating, I wound up with this:

Please don't judge the crappy photos. I took these with my phone to send to my mom and used them out of sheer laziness because I didn't want the hassle of starting all over with my good camera. Laziness, it's the new black! Or something!

Don't judge by what's on the floor. I wasn't done when I snapped these. That area is now clean and organized. With only a smidge--okay, a lot--of dog hair thrown in to keep things real.

I've used this method in the hall linen closet, the closet in our master bath, and the pantry and closet in our kitchen. That, combined with the shoe hangers, (which I used in all except the master bath closet) have made it much easier to store and find things in a hurry. Now my storage spaces are in good shape. You might even say they are Y Chromosome Proof.

Although that might be pushing things.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This Is What Procrastination Looks Like

*Decide that today is finally the day to work on lining the wire shelving with adhesive tiles in the pantry. It's been put off long enough.

*Set your mouth in a grim line of determination and set your mind to the task.

*Gather tools.

*Realize that utility knife blade is dull. Understand that dull blades lead to accidents and go on hunt for replacement blades.

*While hunting for replacement blades, trip over vacuum cord and decide that putting away the vacuum would be a good idea. Someone could get hurt.

*Notice while winding up vacuum cord that the Dumb Dog has distributed her hair everywhere yet again and decide that the downstairs could use a quick once over with the Dyson before putting it away.

*Start to vacuum.

*Stop vacuuming every 6 seconds to pick up a stray sock or shoe.

*Realize the futility of vacuuming without first having picked up the eleventy billion stray shoes and socks.

*Smack self in forehead.

*Mutter things about living with feral goats disguised as children.

*Pick up eleventy billion stray shoes, socks, hoodies, pens, pencils, coins, remotes, games controllers.

*Resume vacuuming.

*Finish vacuuming and put vacuum in closet.

*Notice that the Dumb Dog looks awfully warm and snuggly lying there in the sunshaft on the floor.

*Go over and lie down next to the dog.

*Talk to the dog in some weird form of baby talk that only dogs understand and rub her face.

*Notice that with every stroke of your hand, enough fur flies off of dog to completely undo all the vacuuming you just did.

* Shake fist in the air.

*Pet dog again and tell her you wish she was hairless.

* Get up and notice that the kitchen table has not been wiped down after breakfast.

*Head to the sink and grab the dishrag.

*Notice a funky smell emanating from said rag.

*Bring rag closer to nose and inhale deeply.

*Reconfirm that rag is definitely funky.

*Shudder while trying not to gag.

*Get new rag from drawer and place on counter.

*Gather up dishrag, towels, and hand towel from downstairs bathroom and run them upstairs to the laundry.

*Switch out clothes from the washer to the dryer.

*Fold a load of clothes.

*Start a new load in the washer.

*Go around to every upstairs bedroom shutting off every overhead light, table lamp, and closet light.

*Shake fist in the air.

*Mutter things about living with children who have no sympathy for drowning polar bears.

*Head back downstairs.

*Notice that the spider who has taken up residence in the foyer has built, yet again overnight, a stunning tangle of webs from the chandelier to the stairs to the doorway to the entry table.

*Get vacuum back out of closet.

*Attempt to vacuum the spider's transport routes.

*Put vacuum away.

*Notice the mess in the living room that the two eldest children left when they were putting together their school supplies.

*Remember that these children swore they picked up after themselves.

*Shake fist in the air.

*Make mental note to go over what "picking up" means with two eldest children.

*Pet Dumb Dog who is now making circles around your legs and whining.

*Realize that Dumb Dog needs to go outside.

*Take Dumb Dog outside.

*While strolling with dog, notice that your Garden of Neglect has more tomatoes that need picking.

*Go inside and take dog off leash.

*Grab basket and head back outside to Garden of Neglect.

*Pick eleventy billion tomatoes.

*Smack self in forehead and ask yourself again the need for three tomato plants when only one person in the house eats tomatoes.

*Curse self for being greedy about tomatoes.

*Take tomatoes inside and wash them.

*Notice overabundance of tomatoes on counter.

*Decide to make salsa.

*Check fridge for jalapeƱo peppers and cilantro.

*Realize that not only are there no jalapeƱos or cilantro, there is no sour cream for dinner.

*Decide to start a grocery list.

*Grab a pen.

*Scribble with it in mad circles on the paper and realize that it doesn't work.

*Throw it away and try another.

*Repeat this process at least 8 more times.

*After writing grocery list, notice Post-It note on cupboard about thank you notes.

*Move thank you notes to a prominent spot in the kitchen so that they can get written in a timely manner.

*Laugh at yourself, because it's way past timely.

*Remind yourself that even a late thank you note is better than none at all.

*Say a little prayer that the receivers of the notes feel the same way.

*Notice your cell phone.

*Wonder if you have any lives in Candy Crush.

*Decide that it won't hurt anything to just check.

*Play 5 rounds of Candy Crush, check email, nose around on Facebook, admire photos on Instagram, check the weather forecast, see if you have any moves on Words with Friends, look at the kids' school websites for information on upcoming meetings.

*Notice that 45 minutes has passed since picking up the phone.

*Shake fist in the air.

*Curse self for falling into a black hole of time-suck.

*Realize you heard the dryer buzzer 15 minutes ago.

*Run upstairs and switch out laundry and fold a load.

*Come back downstairs and notice that the reusable grocery bags are still sitting next to the fridge where you put them a week ago.

*Gather up bags and take out to van.

*Open up van door and get knocked backwards by the funk.

*Go on a search and destroy mission for the source of the funk, even though you've done this for three days running with no success.

*Grab a few stray pieces of trash, an asthma inhaler, two pairs of sunglasses, a hoodie and an umbrella while you are on the search mission.

*Decide mission is futile and spray Febreeze around the car like a teenage boy applying Axe.

*Dispose of garbage.

*Put other random items where they belong.

*Walk by computer and decide to check a few blogs for inspiration for a project idea you have in mind.

*Get sucked into other people's creativity.

*Realize that 20 minutes has passed.

*Shake fist in air.

*Curse self for not only not being as creative as the people whose blogs you just read, but also for being weak-willed for stopping at the computer when you have a job to do.

*Wrinkle brow and wonder, what was that job I was supposed to do again?

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Longest Shortest Summer Ever

Well howdy there, stranger! How have you been? Me? I've been busy crazy holed up in my room with the door closed for the last two weeks trying to avoid my offspring fine, thanks for asking!

Our summer was a combination of long days laced with cries of "I'm hungry!" and whines of "I'm bored" intertwined with frenzied days of travel and go-here-do-this-have-fun-dammit! (Hence the title of this post.) It seems we just finished the manic final days of school and now here we are starting them all up again. But in between, we crammed stuff in there, man. We crammed like a BOSS. To wit:

*My children were out of school for two days before heading over to my folks' house for a week of VBS, visiting, eating ice cream, swimming, fishing, and, according to my ever-hungry-never-full offspring, absolutely starved by my mother who would not let them raid the pantry willy-nilly as they are wont to do here. (My mom fears she is a mean grandma. I tell her no, I'm just a lazy mother too tired to fight with my children. They have me way outnumbered. Never mind that they have her outnumbered, too. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

*At the same time 3 of my children were at my folks' home, my eldest son and my beloved were in Canada, fishing, hiking, avoiding stumps that look like bears (no lie--three different times they mistook the same stump for a bear such was their wish/fear of seeing a bear. That stump/bear came to be known as Stumpy the "bear.") and checking out the ER of a Canadian hospital just for grins. Oh, and maybe to get stitches in a thumb because, as my son learned, knives are sharp.

*While my children and my beloved were gone, I painted my kitchen. Why yes, it seems I did just paint the kitchen a couple of years ago. But, now that the family room is painted (the color has grown on me. It's grown on me so much that I painted the kitchen the same color. Who knew that "Tattered Sail/Not Tattered Sail/Lavender Swine/Who Knows What Color This Is" would look so good? Now, I must share that the kitchen is not actually completely painted. My beloved told me he would paint the wee crevices above the upper cabinets with his special painting device he used last time we painted. I also left the area behind the fridge for him for two reasons: 1) I am a delicate flower and moving the fridge by myself seemed too overwhelming, and 2) I was afraid I would scratch the hardwood floors and then be given the stinkeye by my beloved. So now, my kitchen is totally painted. Um, if you don't you know, actually look above the cabinets or behind the fridge. Chances are very good that it will get painted. Sometime in 2017 when my husband gets to it on his very long To Do List and he actually has a day or two strung together that doesn't require his attention somewhere else. Until then, I'm pretending. Yellow? I don't see any yellow! Have you been to the eye doctor lately? I'm concerned for your vision.

*My eldest daughter spent 8 days in Guatemala with other students from her school's Spanish department. If we are Facebook friends, perhaps you will remember my request for prayers and good thoughts as she spent the first 3 days sick with the stomach flu and I spent the first 3 days alternately praying for her, answering her frantic texts, and being wracked with guilt for not letting her come home. It ultimately turned out just fine--just like I kept calmly telling her in my texts and just like my Sane Brain kept telling me over the very loud, very scary protests of my Insane Brain. She had a marvelous trip--ziplining at a coffee plantation, hiking up an active volcano, going to a black sand beach, working with kids at an after school program, visiting a local market, climbing pyramids, and trying not to die from being much to close to a poisonous snake. And, oh yes! Speaking and improving her Spanish.

*My family came in from my hometown and Chicago and Texas for the 4th of July. There was no burn ban in place this year, so we spent a great amount of time blowing things up to celebrate our country's independence. We also ate. A lot. And laughed. A lot. And just all around crammed as much enjoyment and togetherness as we could into a couple of days. Oh! And the Dreaded Owls never made an appearance. Will wonders never cease?

*My sweet mother-in-law left the bonds of this Earth to meet her Lord in Heaven and we spent a few days with my beloved's family celebrating her life--talking, laughing, looking through photos, crying, hugging, and remembering the countless ways she loved us all.

*We spent waaaay too many hours in a car together driving to, around, and from Florida. But, along the way, we got to see my sweet Aunt Bonnie, my beloved connected with a buddy, we had a weird little yodeling contest with the people in a truck next to us in a traffic jam, we saw a shark, we saw dolphins, we met up with my folks at a rented house and spent a wonderful week with them, swimming, eating, laughing, walking the beach, and playing approximately 827 games of SCAT.

*We celebrated three birthdays. Mary turned 9, Sean turned 12, and Maggie turned 17. I'm not sure how this is possible, given that I'm only 18 myself. Mary went to her first concert--with her big sister--and had a blast. Sean received a cell phone as his right of passage. And Maggie got a job. So you know, all is good in the 'hood.

*We returned from vacation to the windup to back-to-school. There was school shopping and more school shopping and meet the teacher and registration and orientation and so much paperwork that I'm sure several trees were harmed in the making of this school year.

*The kids started school on the 14th. On the 16th, I had one sick kid--two days in and his immune system went Holy Schnikes! Look at all these people! Look at all these germy surfaces! I know, I really feel the need to battle these. Oh! And I know what else sounds fun: Let me battle this virus while I'm already battling the allergens already in your body. Ready, Set, BOOM! Aaaaaaand he was down for the count. The same day, my eldest son, you know the one with the smart phone attached to his body permanent-like? He missed the bus. Let me say it again: Third day. Phone that not only does fancy things, it also shows the time to the minute, attached to body. Bus missed.

It was at that point in the program friends, that I knew. I might have had the Longest Shortest summer ever, but that was just a lead up to what may become the Longest Longest School Year ever.