In Sadness it’s ok to ask for Strength

30 Apr

This is my mother and the love of her life, Dan Belair. Which is exactly what he’s fighting for right now, his life. Dan suffered a major heart attack April 8th in Sitka, an island in SE, Alaska. The hospital couldn’t provide the care he needed so he and my mother were promptly Medi Vac’d to a prestigious hospital in Seattle, WA where they have been taking amazing care of him, although sadly, it’s being spent in the ICU. He’s struggled through the cardiology ICU, now he’s fighting in the medical/oncology ICU. And hey, nobody wants to be in any type of ICU. 
Throughout these weeks and any span of days given, he’s taken many steps forward followed by many back, and we’re not done walking. Dan has yet to be able to breathe without assistance and he can barely form words.

He’s battled two types of pneumonia and a systemic infection. He’s been heavily sedated or confusingly frustrated the majority of this battle and we’re praying that will all soon change. In these exhaustingly scary and emotional times the last thing I want my family to worry about are the day to day living expenses. My mom has been sleeping either in a chair or on the floor of the hospital during these fragile times and isn’t able to return to work, as she’s Dans voice when he can’t speak. Their life is in Sitka yet the care needed is here in Seattle. Being away from home is hard, and I promise they want nothing more than to go there, but he has this battle to fight, and needs help.

The cost of living on an island is more than most of you may know, given the methods of shipping required, so every dollar, EVERY dollar helps. ❤️This is a man who lives for music and sports, and engaging in conversations about them both. He is a large part of this small community, and his voice is truly missed.

Here is a link to his GoFundMe account. Please help if you can, or at the very least, send prayers and thoughts of wellness our way.

http://www.gofundme.com/danbelair

Climbing up the DIY Ladder

24 Mar

Editor’s note; if you haven’t, or have, read these 2 previous blogs, well you don’t have to now, per say, but I highly recommend just taking a quick glimpse at the pics. It’ll help string this whole project together. 

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/414

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/371

As I’ve mentioned previously, most likely a few times, our path to homeownership began with having little to (leaning heavily on this), no knowledge. The amount we’ve gained is immeasurable. Our tool collection has become quite impressive, considering we started out with, I’m sure, nothing more than a few screwdrivers, a hammer, maybe a couple of those picture hanger things and measuring tape, we’ve officially come a long way! And with every project, every new piece of the puzzle there’s almost always that one tool you don’t have so you buy it out of necessity, because you can’t use just any screw, saw, drill or nail gun and so on. Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. That’s not how it works with building. Sure, you can buy the cheap version first, thinking you’ll save some money, only to replace it later with the real deal, so spend the money now and thank me later. This cycle is vicious and necessary until one day, suddenly, you need a bigger tool box, a bigger garage, with peg board and shelving Oh My!

This wall/tear down/shelf building/closet project has been our biggest so far. I guess I should say James’ in the way of a start to finish, piece by piece, on his own, project. Tackling this closet, goes like this; tear down the unwanted, redirect two outlets and a switch, frame it out, drywall, mud, apply that wonderful knock down texture and install the door. Easy enough yeah? 😐

Stage 1 and 2, ✔️. I’ve basically become his assistant at this point on, hold the drywall while he cuts, hand him tools, find tools for him, ( I hear a lot of, “Babe, did you see where I put the..) and cleanup duty. Which is how I know where to locate almost anything since they are finally finding their way home!! So while I’m not needed I’m chilling. Guilty tv, writing, reading and the likes, but I get to watch him work.

Working his way around the electrical. Installing the drywall, cutting the pieces to fit the outlets just right. The way he seamlessly goes from one tool to the next, handling them with such confidence. Even when he just stands there, visualizing how he’s going to assemble the door, frame by frame, mapping it out in his head, and I gotta say, it’s sexy as fuck! 😋 And I’ve only heard a handful of curse words followed by, “nothing a little caulk and paint can’t fix.” That’s a comforting theory to have in the back of your head at all times. 

Let’s talk about this drywall, in case you’ve never played with it. There’s the cutting and the resulting gypsum particles floating it’s fine ass as it likes, but oohhh no, that’s nothing. Next comes the mud. The application itself isn’t the worst but you can’t just scrape it on and be done, it has to dry and be sanded, (the sanding comes in handy if you’re a beginner bc it gives you room to fix what needs fixing.) It’s not just a one coat and done thing, there’s 2, maybe 3 rounds of this fun. Now that fucking dust, it settles on every damn thing. In ever corner. There’s no escaping it!! And the depths of which it travels! When the time comes for such an experience in your home, I’m sorry for your impending struggle, I offer this, only drape whatever furniture you plan on putting your feet up with that glass of wine, after you’re cleaned and showered yourself. Don’t waste your time trying to cover silly things as a bookshelf or entertainment center, it wont help. You must hide any utensils or cookware that reside the countertops, any. Tomorrow, well, cover that furniture back up! You may have to live with that horrible layer of dust for days, (unless you’re paying someone but then this blog would makes no sense) but hang in there! For every.thing.must.be.dusted! And I ain’t doing that shit more than once.
We survived the drywall and today it’s time to apply the knock down texture. The simplest breakdown, you’re shaking the hell out of the can while only pausing to spray and to scrape it down, repeat.

 

This is not like shaking a can of spray paint, it’s like arm day at the gym. 💪🏻Got it done, it dried we painted and all thats left is the door!! Well then the shelves but that’s not a worry.
We couldn’t buy a pre-hung door bc they’re all too big for the frame so James had to build it himself. Not the actual door, but the smallest they sell is still too wide for this frame. So he built in the door jamb, we had to trim about an inch off the width of the door, (thank you table saw) chisel in the grooves for door brackets, he ended up needing to shave a hair off the top as well. Door handle and catch and bam! (Hours, days and I guess a week or two later) It’s done!! (Minus the shelves)Fork ✔️

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

21 Mar

I’m loving this move/home/life changing decision more everyday. House aside, this is a beautiful city and it has been confirmed that we did, in fact, make a great choice landing here. Moving somewhere with blindfolds on can be both scary and exciting. I made a similar, I guess virtually the same, venture in September ’05 when a good friend and I decided it was time to leave ‘The Island‘ and head, well, South. Our destination was wide open. After a few months, a handful of states, family and friend visits, we settled on San Diego. Neither of us had ever been there and knew nobody, so instead of dipping our toes in the water, we jumped! Because what the fuck else do you do when it’s time to be a grown up again? Get a job and pay bills!☹️ It was the best decision I’d ever made, up until that point. Fast forward to my current crazy adventure – except this time the husband and I did a bit more research – I had replaced that truck full of a few totes and suitcases with a family and life I had built over the last 11 years. Instead of the unknown destination just being “South,” (growing up in Alaska that means the lower 48) it was now “Northwest”. The farther north we went the air just got clearer and fresher. The water from the tap, colder and tastier. The blues, the whites, the greens, you’ll never guess! Sharper! With every mile we knew we were making the right decision.

Before leaving that POD behind with all of our belongings, awaiting our beckoning, we wanted an estimate of what it would cost to have it shipped and for that they needed a zip code. James just picked one that he figured would be a close or possibly central enough location and well, what’d ya know?! Turns out that’s our fucking zip code!! And not just ours as in Olympia, ours as in, out of over 12 zip codes in the city it was specifically ours!!! Now thats some cool ass shit.

We have yet to do much city and outskirts exploring, spending the bulk of our time within a maybe 5 mile radius of our home, consisting mostly of the grocery store, Home Depot and walking the neighborhood with the dogs, but it is beautiful. We have a gate in our backyard that accesses a little pathway connecting us with surrounding cul de sac communities, a 20 minute walk to a beautiful big park, the streets are quiet and I love it, as do our fur babies. Then the birds. There’s a window over our kitchen sink that looks out to the backyard, and there’s our sliding glass doors opening to the back deck allowing us all to have the opportunity to watch our outdoors do as it likes. The house next to us has a handful of established bird feeders which, fortunately for us, means there’s already word in the hood that there’s access to food around these parts. My mother-in-law sent us this amazing bird feeder, (she’s a bird fan 👍🏻) and we were quick to add to it and I can’t tell you how often minutes just get lost watching the action in our backyard, this is all day action my friends. Zen. Lily has found a new obsession, because her current and never ending one with the cats just isn’t enough. Are you familiar with the movie ‘UP’ ,those dogs and their distraction word “squirrel!” That sums up Lily perfectly. We have been mimicking that for years joking about her attention span and how quickly she’d come to attention with the mere mention of the cats or their names. Well, we can no longer utter the word, she now knows it actually means just that, sadly, we have a few little fuckers that come and steal the bird feed and flare up her neurosis.

 

We’ve been downtown a handful of times. The capitol building overlooks a lake with a park and wrap around boardwalk. A weekly farmers market, cute ‘small business’ shops, restaurants and the like. I’m looking forward to springtime weather for the patios to open up and enjoy a brew with the four legged crew, we apparently moved here in the “off season.”

I’m well versed in the weather up here and I know that this kind of wet/rain is different. Those clouds, rain or not, are mostly just, there, and, as it did before it makes those blue sky days so amazingly majestic. I’ve missed having more than 1 type of weather 3/4 of the year -San Diego, 70 and sunny – is kinda it’s slogan. ☀️ One of my favorite weather days thus far I woke up to a light snowfall, then it turned into blue skies. Which changed to sleet, followed by rain, blue skies again, then, BAM! Downfall of big balls of hail, which lasted about 1 minute and quickly petered off resulting in light rain. This was all in a span of about 6 hours. Ahh, I’ve missed those “every type of weather” days. I know my honeymoon won’t last forever and some days or weeks or months the rain and gray may just get old for me again, much like it did those 17 years I spent SE Alaska. But I also know that on the clear blue sky days I’ll forget about all that rain and take a deep clean breath in and smile at how amazingly beautiful this place I now call home is.

Update; while editing this the local news just stated, “this is the rainiest winter in over 2 decades.” Well ain’t that some shit 😊🌧

A Salon Near You. Don’t Go Here

14 Mar

Another aspect of relocating that we women have to take into account, ok, some men I’m sure as well but I can’t speak for you. Beauty. I was with both my stylist and esthetician for most of my tenure in San Diego, so finding replacements, well, not that easy and oh so bittersweet. I’ve had 2 cuts since moving away, the first at a salon nearby the RV park we resided for a bit back in December, it was horrible, (the haircut not the park,) and after loathing my hair for months, I finally caved. To be honest I only let it last that long because most days Its comfy clothes or work clothes that are going to get dirty, so I let it slide, but a girl can only take so much. I was set to find someone near me that could get the job done. It’d be one thing if I could just put my hair in a ponytail and let it be. But damn it all to hell!! I can’t. Short hair. And there’s only so much a headband and hair clips can do with a bad cut. After much web searching and review reading I found one that stated, “I have short, fine hair and (I’ll call him Carl) gave me the best haircut in 15 years.”

Yay! That’s me! That’s what I need!! They also do waxing in the same salon, double yay (these brows are out of control!) Ok, let’s do this! Off to find me my replacement crew! 🤞🏻

Let’s start with the brow wax. There was no table or chair, or lamp over my brows for that matter, I sat in the shampoo sink. The wax was on the other side of a the wall so she’d go back and forth, and when she thought she was done and wanted me to look at my brows, I had to get up and walk to the other side of the wall to look in the mirror!!??? And when I pointed out she hadn’t even touched the brow canal that must always be clear, back the shampoo chair we go. No, just no.

Onward to the cut. 😔 Here comes “Carl”! Who is also the owner of the salon, and he comes a roaring! I tell him I left my last stylist of over 8 years and his response is something along the lines of “Well, not to toot my own horn but, I’ve had clients for almost 40 years so it shouldn’t be a problem.” Bullet points of what I’d learned about him in those 45 mins; age, number of marriages/kids, marijuana stance, wife’s profession, also that she’s hot, I know how many pets/animals he has, DIY tips and how he feels about the homeless…. the list goes on, seriously, bc he didn’t stop talking the whole time!!! He did make an attemp and asked a few questions, I didn’t however get a chance to complete an answer bc he’d start with something else, which I didn’t really mind after the third or fourth attempt, hoping talking altogether would take a time out. I did come up in the conversation once or twice, about how lucky I was to have him cutting my hair. He was going to fix everything. (Yay!) Time to time he’d pause, lean on my chair, and talk about a thought that must’ve popped up in his head, looking at himself, in the mirror!!! And i will never understand why he lifted my chair up and down so damn much, with no use of shears most of the time!! At the end he stated that he was “My hero of the day,” and we can “Build on any criticism or issues we can change on my haircut the next visit.” Dude!! I’m here, in your chair, right now! Let’s start there!! He combed my hair so hard and flat to my head for the 40 mins or so that my forehead was sore for hours after I left!!!! 

I associate someone who refers to themselves as “Great”, or says such as, “Not to brag but,” to those that state, “I’m a great tipper.” It’s a warning sign. For all of us that know better in the industry, a “great tipper” is 10%-15%. Not the 20%-25% that great service actually deserves. At that point however, you can’t just say to that table “Get out,” or, in this instance, get up out of the chair and walk out. (Well maybe you could but I am not that callus.) 😫 Aaarrrgggghhhhhhh! How do I find someone that suits me, hell, I’ll settle for someone that won’t assault my scalp, without knowing a single person in the city for a referral? 

The search continues. 

..To the Other Side

10 Mar

Phase 2
So we accomplished the physically hardest part of this project, and don’t get me wrong, there’s more of that physical shit coming but it will be in smaller bits and pieces. Well, except moving the lumber and debris from the house and backyard into the truck, to the dump, and there will for sure be more than one of those trips. Ok, focus Desiree! Here’s where it starts to get tricky. The section of the wall we tore down housed one wall switch, two outlets and a cable jack. Well, those need to go somewhere and they need to go there through a new wall. Technicalities and a bit of brain scratching insert here. Thankfully the couple that we met when we moved here are warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable in the trades.  Those are the people you want to have around, and now is one of those times so I called in backup! Thank you Edward ❤

If you’re new to this blog or missed this past one, here’s a post that highlights said amazing new friends.

https://itzalllogical.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/the-first-of-oh-so-many-overnights/

Electrical is lost on me so when James was trying to figure out how to move
these ⬇️ outlets here ➡️ to come out to ⬇️…The Translation; (1) the wall we knocked down, (2) inside what will be the new pantry and (3) have their new home be on the new wall we’re replacing this door for. Got it? Yeah, me too. 🤔I’m thinking out loud, “Can’t you just run it along the floor inside the pantry, and use those insulated staple things?” That’s me trying to find the easy route and, as Dad is reading this he’s cringing, I just know it. After sleeping on it James says no, “If you’re going to do it, do it right now or you’ll have to fix it later”. And now I just know Dad read that with a smile on his face. This was Edwards idea/handywork for rerouting the electrical inside the wall with minimal damage for repair. 👍🏻The boys have their hands full dismantling the frame and there’s no room for me there. The only other piece of this project I can do right now is the kitchen tile. Little fun-not so fun- fact, whoever built this house laid the tile around the structures in the kitchen so anything we pull up will be a void of said tile. Yay for us 👍🏻, we don’t know where it came from, meaning matching it will prove to be a quite difficult task so it’s imperative that while pulling it up, I try not to break any. The most I’ve ever dealt with tile in my life is cursing at it b/c the fucking grout never seems to get clean, or when I took a sledgehammer to the kitchen and bathroom in our last house. The latter is my preferred method. Now I have to coddle these tiles and slowly tap them out. Just give them a little tap, tap-a-roo ! Well, those tiles were my bitches! I mean half broke, half survived, but it’s enough for us to replace the 3 that were cut into from the old frame and complete the line, as you can see maybe, and then run the new laminate flooring in the living room, (to match with the 2 rooms we’ve already completed) up to it and add the threshold.  Wow! The space really opened up! Now, time to finish that damn electrical! Because if I have to say electrical one more time 💪🏻!

James spent all day today working on that closet. A few, ok many, hours and 2 trips to the Depot later he got it done ✔️ Fork!

Tomorrow, which doesn’t always mean tomorrow, we pull up the cement board that was under the tiles and drywall my new pantry. Then there’s that stupid Knockdown texture, more paint, 😫 shelves, Hardie Board, tile, laminate flooring, a door… Do I really need to list it all off?! How long do you have?

One day at a time.

Break On Through…

10 Mar

When shopping for a new home there are many things to take into account, the 2 big ones, in order I believe. What’s Wrong? And. What can be improved? For us we were in agreement that, floors aside, our major project was to knock a wall down that serves no purpose whatsoever and open up the living room to the kitchen.  
The fact that it was not a load bearing wall was a huge bonus and now, after so many, many weeks, demo day has finally come. I can’t run from it any longer. Tearing down this structure, while it being the first thing we said we would do, still made me apprehensive. There’s electrical and cable in those walls somewhere. In my head I always psych myself out so I may have, maybe, drug my feet on this one. James tackles projects, like everything else, with confidence, something I do not possess, and after the first one or two times I push something back until “tomorrow” it’s no longer a question but more of a, “Ready because we’re doing this!” From him.
So we prep, cover furniture, lay some plastic and get out our tools. As with our past few demo ventures, James lets me take the first swings, and with the first many more flow freely, like a waterfall. I tread lightly to begin, knowing there’s hot wires in there, but once I find their freeway it’s an open road for me. Suddenly I’m in the demo zone. Another important tool to have at your disposal in these times, music. (Pandora Marilyn Manson is a great station, just saying.)

Lily was the first to show her curiosity. While I was on one side of the closet banging on the wall she was on the other side, trying to figure it out. In her defense, she’s always been pretty sure that everything has something to do with her, and must have the Lily stamp of approval.

Lily’s the most emotionally transparent of the family, and yes, we’re keeping her. We’ve broken through! Those little beady eyes are hers on the other side, still curious. Tear down that wall baby! It’s fun, and makes for easier cleanup when you can pull off nice big chunks of drywall instead of piles of crumbled bits. He pulled this baby off and hey, what’d ya know, we found a carbon footprint they left on this house. 🙂 

With little under my belt of the demo/construction/how to build shit circle of life, this, as far as framing goes, seems overkill and ridiculous. It’s a structure. Built for nothing more than to hold a few shelves. Below. It seems to be built strong enough to park a small car on top. I mean the best you could do with the space up there is maybe some faux plants. But then you’d have to climb up there every so often and at least dust them off. I’ve seen it up there. It is a dust collector, all alone, by itself, with no way for anything to ever visit. And dust is not that heavy. 
Our first house we bought we had a similar situation. Open up the walls between the kitchen and the living room. I sense a pattern of preference here, open spaces. 

(I would like to apologize that you had to bare witness to my poor attempt at using a fancy app to trick out my pictures. I don’t know how you people do it.)

We busted out a good 4 hours of demo today. Everybody who knows, knows that you always have to add at least an hour on after you call it quits for clean up duty and to put away the tools in their rightful homes, which make it there about as often as shopping carts get to their homes in the parking lot.

Bring out the big tools baby, because tomorrow, it’s on! As for tonight, my little wrist is tired from the repetitive hammering. Must.Save.Strength to lift my glass of wine. 🍷

Trails and Tribulations of DIY

6 Mar

I’m going to rewind a few weeks and then circle back around to now. 
Our first major task of this home was to lay new floors in the two bedrooms. (There’s a link below to that adventure if you’d like something to numb your brain other than another Trump tweet story.) Prepping meant tearing out the closet doors and tracks. We also had a beautiful 😉set of bifold doors in the dining room that was used to separate it from the closet area that housed the water heater, washer and dryer and, yeah, those had to go too. So we loaded up the truck and drove all 3 sets for donation to Habitat For Humanity, and, much to our surprise, they turned them down. Said they weren’t accepting any closet doors. Umm, its a donation dudes! Ok, cool, that was a waste of a trip. Back home they go to chill along side the house, covered with a tarp until our, inevitable, next run to the dump. 

Now the fast forward ⏩

Storage is a much needed addition inside this house. The closets are small and shelving is a must. It’s really hard to unpack boxes (I’ve had to reiterate to James) when there’s no where to unpack them to. This is of course, my territory. We added a shelf to the bottom of both closets, essentially making it 2 shelves,  I guess 3 if you count the floor. And I do and will utilize it as such. Regardless of numbers this produced an instant, needed change and I’m a fan of making the most of the space given. Now comes the walls in the rooms and how to utilize their space in the best possible way, again, my territory. I’ve always wanted corner shelves, and for whatever reason, it’s so hard to find reasonably sized and priced ones. I mean really! Almost every corner in a house is easily wasted space! At this point I am adamant about finding one. Google, Google, click, click. I’m unimpressed. DIY Google, Google, click, click. Ding! James, this could work. 

https://www.lowes.com/creative-ideas/woodworking-and-crafts/corner-shelves/project,

He’s instantly on board. Check the list of materials and search to make sure we can buy them at our local Lowe’s and well, the door size in this tutorial is no longer available in stock, yes they can be a special order, but by then no money is saved, only spent. 💡James’ thought, “Let me measure those bifold doors we have outside.” Check!! It’s a match! So thank you Habitat for turning our doors away, (imaginary tip of the hat 🎩,) we are instead up-cycling. Our material list has shrunk.Several coats of paint and days later, (everything takes longer to dry out up here, everything!) its time to assemble.  Now to measure off and cut the triangles. In the tutorial it calls for 1 inch blue painters tape, well we have about 3-4 rolls of blue tape all around here and not a one is 1 inch, so we used masking tape, because we have it. Of course its pretty much the same damn color of the painted wood we’re cutting. There is a reason for the blue my friends! James cuts the first and I’m up next. Ummm, slight differential between the color lines aside, my jigsaw skills are dismal. Now kids, safety first. When working with power tools, protective eyewear is a must. I mean, it’s stated in every single handbook and on every supplies list on every project. So here I am, cutting my lines. The first one was ok, like, James went in and shaved off a bit for me, ok 🙂 Then I’m coming in on my second, and well damnit if the sawdust didn’t suddenly amplify. . Eyes full of sawdust are now rinsed out and irritated, I am done cutting. I can clearly use some practice, but for this project, it’s on you babe. You can guess who’s is who’s 😔I mean, my lines painting, ace! Cutting, needs work. Next step. Build. We have our 4 shelves and our 2 doors. Need to attach the dowel on the one door to screw the other into. We glue the dowel on, drill the pilot holes and proceed to drill in the wood screws. First one, breaks off. WTF? Second one, breaks. Third, yep. Seriously!! Ok. We’d changed drill bits, drills, speeds. Finally figure out, wood screws cant handle the hammer drill. Trial and error doesn’t skip this project. Time to bring out the grinder!!You may have everything on the “supplies needed” list, but there is ALWAYS something else. After years and oh so many projects, its nice to have tools to sometimes pick up that slack or ‘oops’ that is bound to happen. And that bounty adds up after every ‘oops’ you’ve made before. We’ve fixed our current oops and its time to move on. I start drilling new pilot holes, and dagnamnit! I break off the drill bit. Aahh! That bounty we’ve built up has yet again come in handy as we had another drill bit the same size and thank you my Sanity Saint! If James would’ve had to go to the depot there’s a good chance Id’ve broke down in tears. I’m my own worst enemy and quick to blame myself. Sigh of relief. Game back on! Get the right drill setting and screw the doors together as intended. Shelving time. Measure distance. Level and screw. Minimal mishaps, only on the first bottom shelves (the ones I cut) so it’s ok, nothing a little caulk or paint won’t fix. By the end I’d happily (oh hell I did) pat myself on the back with how quick and comfortable I was with the power drill. Repetitive teaching, works for children and me alike. Alas, shelf. 1 of 2 is complete. And by golly this one is fucking awesome by my standards! 

Click on these links to read about aforementioned shitty floor installation and an abundance of painting. 
Home owners or aspirers welcome.

Settling In

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/319

Forks And Ladders

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/336