Monthly Archives: October 2011

Piecing it Together

Today was a busy day. To start, last night I turned all the alarms in the house off so that no one – not even the dog – would wake up before 7. 7:15 was when the boys came up to visit me in my bed. They played as I drank excessive amounts of coffee and decided on what weird projects I would tackle on this my only day off this week. So as my sons holed up in their playroom, I set to work clearing off the computer table and wiping it and the armoire down before breaking out the furniture polish (for the first time since the purchase of said furniture) to make it shiny and loved again.
After that, I decided it would be a great idea to install hooks in the garage. The boys have a habit of either leaving their backpacks in the car on the floor or bringing their lunchboxes and backpacks in and dumping them on the floor or the couch before zipping off to the playroom. I’ve gotten them to bring their stuff in so they can start ther homework after a snack. Oddly, both of them get a folder of homework on Mondays that’s due on Friday. We try to get as much done on Monday and Tuesday as patience allows. Back to the project. As I untwisted the hooks from the board that the previous owner may or may not have glued to the wall, I was reminded of the mentality I hold onto even since buying the house. It’s still occuring to me that it’s now my dead bush under the front window or my bizarre paper towel dispenser attached to the wall of the garage. Or my ceramic tile that’s glued to the countertop next to the stove as a permanent spoon rest (come on!). And I’m still getting used to the fact that he’s not going to come back and have me put everything back the way it was. So after I removed the tiny hooks from the board, I traced holes from an old silver set of hooks I kept from a piece of furniture and pulled out my beloved drill to make pilot holes for the new little screws. As I drilled, that old familiar smell of warm wood and sawdust began to intoxicate me. I am thoroughly convinced that that’s why people get into the business or hobby. That smell. There is something very comforting about it. Almost as if what you’re building or destroying is right. Or will be better as soon as you’re finished with it. And so after I drilled the pilot hiles, I grabbed my favorite red magnetic screwdriver and screwed each hook in. Then I put each backpack in its place and showed the boys that this is now the home of their school-related belongings.
I also took the liberty of removing the odd plastic contraption that I’ve been hanging my keys on. It seems as though it was a plastic box for holding things but the problem was that it didn’t have a back and didn’t hold much of anything and only the top two corners out of the four total were attached to the wall. So it wiggled a lot and I feared that something would inevitably come up to attack my hand from the inside of the piece. Plus the hooks always screwed sround in the wrong direction and I like things to be neat and even. And stable. That old plastic box is now sitting in the trash. The hooks from project one became the new keyhooks until I can get my act together and get a nice shelf with hooks that I can pile mail and other papers on instead of put them away . . . Ooops I meant so if there’s anything I need to take with me for the day I can just keep it on the shelf until I leave.
And then I decided to cut my smaller dog’s hair. He’s a west highland terrier named Samson, Sam for short and affectionately “Hammy”. He will be five here in December and he has been to the groomers’ a few times in his life. But honestly, the groomers are a little too expensive for my taste and trimming his hair and talons gives us a chance to spend some quality time together. I always “groom” him on the kitchen floor because there’s no traction on the (currently) linoleum floor for him to use to escape. Plus it’s faster for me to just slide him wherever I may need him to go. After cutting and clipping and trimming him, I brushed him, clipped his claws, then combed him, and trimmed a little bit more. I was amazed at how much dirt and fur came off of this dog. Then again, we do live in the desert. I’m saving a bath for him until next week, as I want him to smell nice for the Halloween Party.
It was definitely time to vacuum the staircase. It’s been years since I cleaned a staircase. In fact, the last staircase I cleaned was in my great grandparents’s house. The carpet was a light green but it was so worn that there was no length to the carpeting to give the tiny red handheld Dirt Devil any resistance. And that was over ten years ago. For a long time, I assumed the light brown bits of fuzz all along the walls on the floor in my current living room and on the sliding glass door track were just parts of the new carpeting the previous owner had installed before we moved in that got ripped up when the dogs tore around the house. It was only after vacuuming each step and aggressively scrubbing at each with the brush attachment on the vacuum that I realized that all those coarse furballs were indeed created by all the single hairs my boxer sheds all over the place by rolling and running and being reprimanded by the terrier. The hairs were then eventually rounded into shapes and kicked off to the side in all the wild running around that goes on behind these closed doors. Solution: vacuum more frequently, brush the dog? and make sure that filter stays clean. I don’t need to blow a motor on a vacuum.
And lastly, before I get off to bed, a note about party planning: the guest list was much more difficult to write than I thought it would be. The list for my son’s birthday party was kind of a given. Family and the usual suspects made the list and he is very happy to have friends to his birthday party this year. But planning an in-between event that’s going to be interactive and very very fun was difficult to create a gurst list for. Then I began to realize how fortunate I am to have so many people in my life who I care about and that I want to invite into my home and spend time with. I have so many that not all of them will fit into my living room. Lucky me.
Now if I could only stop coming up with mini projects to complete before this Saturday night . . .


Miniscule Updates

Hello Dear Reader,
It seems as though underthisroof has fallen by the wayside as of late and for that I apologize. October is proving to be a very busy month for my friends and family, not to mention the upcoming birthday party of my son followed by Halloween. And I feel that it’s important to mention that the special cleaning and the diversion of my creative outlets is due to the first official party I’m throwing at my house: a Murder Mystery Halloween Party. I am thrilled and very excited to have people over and have a good time. I’ve got plans for decorations and everything and I’m relieved to finally have the space to host a party like this. In laying the foundation for the rest of the month, few noteworthy house projects have surfaced. I will, however, be happy to shed some light on the recent goings-on of my new little household.
To start, the shovel and I got to team up again in our quest to fill in the hole left by the “dwarf” lime tree (did you SEE that root ball??). Unfortunately, Max the Boxer from Down Below is continually and counterproductively digging at this same hole. I have a lot of dirt laying around in the backyard but somehow it’s still difficult to scrape enough of it together to fill in this hole without leaving patches of blue tarp showing up all over the place. Add to that that he’s a giant dog who can fling dirt into next week as he digs and you have one unhappy mom of the house. So for now the Tonka Truck is filling in as my babysitter — along with the large river stones that the previous owner had arranged in circles around each tree — until I devise a smarter way to get the damn dog to stop ruining all my hard work.
Now that that’s off my chest, the next order of business is that I finally bought a trashcan to keep in the backyard for composting purposes. I found a nice round black trashcan with a lid made by Rubbermaid at a fair price. Once I got it home and began to love it, I found it very difficult to justify the need to put holes in a perfectly good trashcan for compost. I knew I needed to just buckle down and do it and that I would be much happier when I did. So I did what I always do and that’s wait until I have a few moments that won’t nearly be enough time for the task that needs doing and begin a project that will push Important Stuff back. drilling I went to the garage and fitted the drill with a 3/4″ drill bit, turned the trashcan on its side and held it in place with my legs as I drilled holes into its side. And let me tell you it was way more gratifying than i thought it would be and it was quick work. I started with holes in the top two-thirds or so of the receptacle so that if I need more I can always add them. Now to collect some dry material as the basis of the compost . . .
The time for me to change my air filter again came and went. And I am a firm believer in the absolute fact that I will need to change that baby every single month. It gets completely loaded with fur and dirt. As does the vent that holds the filter in place. Who knew there was this much dust all over the place?? I would love to tell you that I straddled the banister of the stairs in an unladylike manner to change the filter more safely. The fact is that I again Daredevil Tippy-toed the steps, but it was much less terrifying than last time as I honestly believe that I did grow a little bit since the last post. The screws were easier to reach. I also then went around the house and dusted each airvent. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Perhaps the most interesting update is that I finally picked out some paint colors for the living space. While standing in the corner of the living room, the eye can behold the living room itself, the dining room, the kitchen, and the entryway in one sweep of the eyelashes. So naturally, to me, all the colors have to bounce and play off of eachother in order for me to focus on anything else in life. I picked up a deep red sample for the kitchen and I’m considering a brown-toned mini-tile backsplash. Or tiny silver metallic tiles. For the dining room, I chose a silver-gray and for the living room, and a nice buttery cream yellow sample. I love it. But the painting project isn’t slated until next year so I’ll just have to keep those colors in mind. Plus I want to put moulding up around said livingspace to contain the colors. There’s a pass-through above the wall that separates the dining room from thte kitchen and I don’t want the dining room color to hop over to the kitchen area.
I also awaoke to find unwelcome visitors this past Thursday morning while playing with my dog on the floor in the dining room. It appeared some ants were invited to a picnic on my floor and not by me. It took me a while to find where they were coming from. In trying to vacuum them up, it also came to my attention that my vacuum is on its way out. It won’t pick up too much even after I cleared the blockage caused by a small boys’ sock and the blockage caused by animal fur and a large disfigured staple. Go figure. When I was using the hose attachment of the vacuum to clean the track of the sliding glass door, I discovered that the ants were sneaking in through the dog door and creeping silently along the sliding glass door track, then infiltrating the carpeting under the family dining table. Clever little bastards. So I sucked them up with the vacuum and sprayed a choice bug killer outside the door to deter them. I don’t really have anything against ants, but these ones seemed to possess a vengeance. They were walking very fast and there were three different kinds. Sorry, I don’t need an Ant Superhighway through my living room.
I do, however, need rest. Good night.