Monthly Archives: May 2012

I Guess You Had to Be There When . . .

    • I dropped the coffee carafe in the sink and it shattered all over the place. This was after I poured water into the coffee maker and set up a filter complete with coffee grounds in it.
    • The next to last light bulb on the light fixture above the dining table burned out. I am fairly certain I’ll need to purchase a ladder in order to replace those bulbs.
    • I found out that there is a space between the top frame of the front door jamb and the wall above the front door by dropping the only house key into it accidentally. The only other house key is locked in a fancy pad-box from the CIA From Hell that you need a remote control to open, which, naturally, I do not possess.
    • I found a leak under the bathroom sink.

On the other hand, I did manage to repair the first kitchen drawer. Bought wood glue at a hardware store for a couple bucks. Sorry team, I didn’t take any photos until phase one of Drawer Repair was complete; bear with me and my grand plan. The front of the drawer fell off because the edges of the wood that were holding the front on to the sides of the drawer began to pull away from the front of it and it eventually snapped off from our grubby fingers pulling the drawer open all the time.
So the first order of business was to glue those wooden pieces back on so that I could attach the front of the drawer to the sides. I tried at first to kind of hold the spare pieces of the front of the drawer in place to see if there was any way I was going to get it back on. Bits of the composite wood kept falling off and it became clear to me that I would need to remove the staples from the pieces that I had if I wanted there to be room for the glue. So I carefully pried those babies out with a small screwdriver lest the cheap drawer disintegrate in my hands.
As soon as I opened the wood glue I felt very reassured. My dad was a carpenter for most of my childhood and I had no idea that the scent of wood glue would put me at ease the way it did. After all, this type of task is in my blood, isn’t it? Sandpaper, staples, nails, classic rock, wood glue, a screwdriver, and swearing. I positioned the little wooded pieces that were snapped off and glued them down. I clamped each side and then I used a hammer to tap the particle board-like pieces closer together.

The groove you see is where the bottom panel of the drawer fits into.

Hah I just noticed you can see my dog in the background. He looks proud of me.
I believe in my heart that the clamps were what made this project successful. Without them, the glue would’ve ruined the fit that I needed. I left it clamped for a couple hours; the glue bottle only calls for 30 minutes, but I had to pick my children up. When I came home, it only took a little wiggling to get the front of the drawer to fit onto the drawer itself, which I then glued into place. I added a couple nails in each side to reinforce the drawer but I know it won’t last forever.
What I do know is that the second drawer will not be as cooperative.
This, readers, is a drawer of desperation. The previous owner clearly repaired it a few times. He didn’t remove the staples from the edges; there’s one at the top left of the drawer in the photo above. It looks like it broke in the same way as the drawer I just described.
There are chunks missing from the backing here. The original manufacturer’s screws are in place and then there are a couple he added after the fact. The drawer is coated in glue, nails, and paint. It looks like he nailed the front of the drawer in place a couple times but missed the adjoining walls so there are craters where I’m going to be attempting repairs:

What’s life without a few challenges? Hopefully I can just get it to stay together for me until I am ready to replace the cabinets down the line a bit. I also want to tile the floor and add cabinets and/or a bar. Also stay tuned this week for Amateur Leaky Faucet Repair. Fun.


Fifty Years is a Pretty Long Road

Dear House Blog Diary,
Sorry for my absence. Last week I was very busy getting ready for a surprise party that my sister and I opted to throw for our mother’s fiftieth birthday at the home of a friend of hers. SO last week a) I was busy and b) my wonderful mother is subscribed to this blog and if I told you all what I was up to, then we wouldn’t very well have a surprise. Of course she was onto us, but nonetheless appreciated our efforts.
If I could’ve, I would’ve told you all about sneaking to the party site and scheming about where people were going to hide and where food would be served. I would’ve told you all about hitting the party store and checking out rude silly favors and buying margarita salt. I also would have mentioned elusively getting our mitts on family photos and making a slideshow with them. I also would have been able to tell you about swiping mom’s cd collection and making a lengthy playlist with it.
What I really wanted to tell you about that I found though was some roots that are photographed. I told all of you that I grew up in my great grandparents’ house. I don’t know if I mentioned that that’s also where my mom and her two brothers essentially grew up. There is a massive collection of photographs that my mother keeps stashed away and a few of them date back to before she was born. Some are yellow, some are black and white, and some are stuck together. I saw horn-rimmed glasses, low t-strap heels, and lots of family poses; not necessarily the candid shots that I am so fond of for my own children.
Sifting through the albums and the boxes and envelopes of visuals, I began to see a journey that I forgot about. The fact is that my mom was just Debbie before she was my mom. She was a darling baby and a cute toddler and then she, just like other kids, sprouted up and then I noticed this glow in her teenage photos. Maybe it was really good lighting or maybe it was the thrill of being big enough to take on the unknown, but in those pictures she is so sure of herself. And then of course come the photos of her becoming “mom” — her dream — I don’t know who took each one, but someone captured that silence in which a mother realizes that she is fully capable of taking care of the newborn that so desperately depends on her. When fewer and fewer aspects of that transition cease to be foreign and grow to be basic.

Some pictures I know my father took, such as the one of my sister as a toddler asleep next to my mother in bed. Then there are several that my mother took of my father and us. My dad was really dorky when he had teeth. The underlying concept that I picked up was that at the end of the day, they were a family and that’s what was most important.
All the while the backdrop is my great grandparents and their house.
Family Christmas pictures fizzle out as my mother became the cameraman but at least in the pictures that us kids are posing for, we are huddled together, smiling, and in some cases helping eachother hold whatever prop mom needed a picture of with us. I realized that my mother bound us all together as children into a lasting connection called family. As an adult, I thought us children were just close and lucky enough to have personalities between us that get along naturally. I now understand that that closeness was fostered and nurtured throughout most of our lives and that her hands guided us together, for as much as we fought.
It is a concept that I am trying now to develop in my own children in hopes that they will continue to secretly be each other’s best friend for years to come. Thank you for that, mom. Happy Birthday.