Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snap Crackle Crunch

Even when my neighbors got new ceilings in the 1970's - new ceilings with GLITTER - I was never a fan of the blown-in popcorn ceiling. Solid glitter ceiling? Love. Plain popcorn? Hate.

And so it came to be that I purchased a home with popcorn ceilings and I knew they would be one of the first things I said buy-bye to. Unfortunately this process is sucktastic and no amount of precaution will prevent you from making your home a powdered doughnut. I opted to tackle the master bedroom first, since it is vacant as I await a new bed and prepare to refinish a dresser.

Armed with contractor paper (rolled on the floor) and my new garden sprayer, I got busy on Saturday morning just as the 1000 helpful YouTube videos and websites advised. I even wore my invisible man breathing mask and, just because they were available, my children's size infrared ski goggles. I felt that was appropriate since of course I was also blaring Nicki Minaj on the iPod.

[I keep trying to add more pictures and of course my HD camera settings are high so the interwebz is saying "too much! too much!" I will keep trying.]

The removal of the popcorn is tres' easy. You just pretty much spray and scrape. A note on the spraying - if you're turned off by dirt, like I am, you will get rid of your popcorn ceilings immediately. One spray and everything turns dirt brown, even though your ceiling looks white. Eww.

As I was scraping I was pretty conscientious of not damaging the underlying drywall (when I wasn't practicing Super Bass choreography) but inevitably there are areas of imperfection: this is why they spray ceilings to begin with. It's a great camouflage. Thankfully though most of my ceiling appears to have been floated with mud prior to spraying so I'm thinking, "Home free, bitches!" But I was wrong. I was so wrong.

Why? My water bath had also loosened the drywall tape at the wall-to-ceiling joint. This meant I had to remud/retape the entire room. I also have gone back and patched areas of concern and, last night, I went a little crazy with my new pole sander. As most know, despite the fact that I'm days away from turning 40, I love anything that sounds somewhat close to "pole dancer," so instead of dwelling on the discomfort in my upper traps, I just listened to some more Nicki Minaj. Do we see a pattern developing here?

What remains is a bit of a concern. What if I've not smoothed the ceilings well enough? What if my primer/paint job looks like shudoobie? My tight timeline will be thwarted, my furniture will remain in storage, and I'll have to reach out for professional assistance. If, however, this is successful, I will motor on with the rest of my 8' ceiling areas. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Warding Off The Funk

If you live with an Australian Shepherd, you live with fur. Lots and lots of shedding fur. Fur that tends to find its way to the hood vent of your stove, despite the fact that you clean daily and the vent is 6' taller than said canine.

This is acceptable, of course, because if you live with an Australian Shepherd you live with a dog that makes you smile for no other reason than just being himself. When I look down and see Geege Weave, I just think "Oh he's just being Miley," and either reach for the broom or the Swiffer.  [Note: I don't reference Maddie because she is a Jack Russell which means she's really a person and as such is excused from accountability.]

And now I have a new weapon in my one man war against Dog Dirt:  The Shark Steam Mop. In one of my Saturday ADD haze-induced shopping excursions to a local big box home improvement store, I happened to spot this item on the shelf at a reduced cost. I thought, "Wood laminate floors in heavy dog traffic areas + the added awesomeness of steam? Done and done!" I was even more excited when I thought, driving home, I'd add tea tree oil - maybe even Aveda Energizing Composition - to my steam for a full-on cleanliness overload but, alas, the instructions (yes, I read them) say emphatically DO NOT ADD SCENTED OIL OR ANYTHING TO THE CHAMBER. I am a rule follower, by nature, so I have avoided this temptation but I will say the overall result of the product is impressive.

I have used it twice, and though of course it initially sent both dogs running to the bedroom with its hissing and steaming, their natural curiosity is getting the better of them and now they like to watch from the corner. I give it a big thumbs up!

From a lecture perspective I'd also like to point out that people DO notice when your house is dirty, even though they say they don't. Are you listening college boys? It is never ok to have a grimy, grocery-store-feet bathtub or mold growing in your sink or toilet. Buy some Comet and a sponge. Use them. Weekly. OK, lecture over.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pillow Talk

Joseph Pilates was all about the way we sleep. In typical JP fashion, he was a bit extreme in his beliefs and of course had designed prototypes for beds that were a bit like hospital beds (or so I'm told), but one thing I know in 2011 is that mattresses will tell you when "it's time," but pillows are the windows to the soul. Work with me here. And before you go blaming your mattress for all that is wrong in the world, consider your pillow.

I have been sleeping with a memory foam pillow for several years. I am a back sleeper, for the most part (MSJ used to say I looked like Dracula when I was asleep), but not surprisingly I'm also a Princess With A Pea and if things aren't 100% right, I will turn into a rotisserie chicken and occasionally will throw a cow-kick here and there.

Lately my memory foam pillow has been slow on the uptake, so yesterday I bought a new fancy pillow and last night I slept like a baby. A baby Dracula!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


When I talk about having lived in Arkansas many people raise their eyebrows and act as if my life was akin to the movie "Winter's Bone." I always laugh quietly because most of these people are in Alabama but the simple fact is that life in Little Rock was really very good and I have fantastic memories of my friends there.

Probably one of my favorite times in Little Rock was living in Pinnacle Valley and taking our horses down to Two Rivers Park to hack the trails there. It was one of the few places where the footing wasn't full of stones! One of the plants that grew in abundance in this low-lying area (at the convergence of two rivers, but I bet you have already figured this out, right?) was horsetail. It was everywhere and I always thought it was so interesting and beautiful in its vertical "I'm not bamboo but you think I am" way.

In subsequent travels I've seen it used in really impressive ways, so I was rather gobsmacked when The Time Child brought me a handful last week. "I saw this when I was in LA and thought it was fabulous, then I got home and there was some in my Nanny's yard." I have done some initial research because of course it's looking a little ill, but my initial instincts to put it in a non-draining pot and keeping the soil really wet were correct. Hopefully it will take root and recover.

If anyone has tips, I'd appreciate hearing them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Is The Re-Launch

Day One. And so it begins. I have lamented for quite some time about the staleness of my writing and my lack of inspiration and motivation. I felt like I'd run out of things to say but what I've come to realize is that I feel like I've run out of NEW things to say. And how ridiculous is that? I ask myself. New things happen every day. 

Clouds fall out of the sky and wipe away the landscape, changing lives forever. The daily grind gets re-routed slightly when we move half a mile away, and suddenly places and establishments we've never discovered become regular fixtures. The inevitably temporary family you've built over the course of a year disbands, but instead of feeling melancholy you're gratified because you've lived just long enough to know that the way it would end was clear before it began: and you accepted this fate with grace and you lived.

It is selfish not to share a thought, but there are some that are best kept incubating before they're debuted. It's like starting seeds, then hardening them off a month or so later, and sharing the ready-to-thrive seedlings with people you know and love. A reversion to journaling has helped me in this discovery, and I am using Day One on both my iMac and my iPad to grow in this dimension of thought gathering and processing. 

Yes, I'm still ridiculously engaged in whipping my new house into shape. Yes, I would still love to look like Brad Pitt in "Troy." Yes, I could still sit and watch people for hours. So the truth is, I am inspired. And I am writing. And I am thankful to have endured this bump in the road but blessed at the same time to have made the discovery.