Monthly Archives: June 2012

In the Garage

I would just like to paint a picture for all of you tonight. For the last two to three days, my nose and sinuses have been going haywire. I’ve had headaches and sneezes and congestion and have generally been laying low. I have also been blowing my nose like crazy so it’s very red and irritated. I decided to [finally] start on the second, hideous, kitchen drawer. I bought sandpaper last week sometime with intentions to get started that afternoon. There are a few different kinds of sandpaper that I was introduced to that day. There’s a fine sandpaper for finishing your projects, an “in-between-layers” paper, a medium grade paper, and lastly, a stripping paper. If you remember, the drawer was FULL of paint, glue, nails, cracks, screws, and grief. Naturally. I bought the heavy duty paper ($8 for three triangles to fit on my Black & Decker Mouse sander!!).
SO I decided tonight would be the perfect night to treat my nose to a little Vaseline, put on mismatched pajamas, crack open a Sam Adams Summer Ale, start a load of laundry, plug in the sander and give that drawer what’s coming to it. I pulled a little stool I have into the open half of the garage. The plan was to use the stool as a table to avoid sanding any part of my fingers or legs. The only outlet on that side of the garage is conveniently located in the ceiling. If memory serves, the former owner had a work area in the nook on that side. I have a tiny stool and the sander does not have that long of a cord. There is a built-in cabinet close to the outlet (6 plugs can fit in at once if I so choose to do that) so I opened up the door so that I could put the sander on one of the higher shelves if necessary.
sander setup
There I was all set up to restore the drawer when I realized I didn’t grab or locate my safely goggles. We all know I need them. I looked everywhere in the garage, every hook, every drawer and shelf, even a bowl with paint stuff in it. Nothing. Then the dog started barking. Inside the house. I let him outside and returned to the garage when I remembered that the last time I used them was when I was sawing a hole in the wall for the dog door. I found the goggles! On a shelf with the incomplete dog door, but that’s neither here nor there.

safety/beer goggles

Ready to sand!

I finally got to work and I got some of the paint off but a lot of it is under an ugly layer of glue and nails and screws. What I think is funny is that the former owner built the cabinets and drawers and shelves that are in the garage by hand and they’re great. He did a really nice job with them. I just don’t know why there had to be this much glue involved. As I was sanding my oldest son came to the garage and scared the hell out of me. I didn’t scream that time though. He wanted to tell me about a dream he had yesterday about the power going out. After he went back to bed I tried to grind off the rest of the glue but some of it is here to stay, folks. post-sanding
In addition, some of the drawer itself is also damaged so I think I’ll need some different wood clamps to get everything to stay in place properly as it dries. I definitely need to invest in some quality cabinetry at some point though. Don’t want anyone lamenting the cabinets I left them with down the line . . .


Burgers, Beer, and S’mores

Last night was the virgin voyage of our firepit. Finally! I now really want to make the firepit permanent. The boys didn’t get a chance to roast marshmallows on a recent camping trip and we had the bag laying around. The first thing I did when I got home was soak the bamboo skewers. I don’t know why I soaked three as I really don’t like marshmallows.
I made burgers for dinner, which I thought would be perfect for our outside plans for later. I topped them with avocado, peppered bacon, tomato, and pepperjack cheese. Yesterday morning my neighbors donated half of a huge watermelon to us because wouldn’t fit in their cooler for their weekend lake trip. Watermelon goes beautifully with a burger. As well as beer. I bought a Sam Adams Summer Ale and the kids got root beer.
We ate dinner at about 6:30 and at that time the sun’s still pretty high. I finally cut up some of the bigger branches from the bushes from the front yard to keep the fire going. The fire’s been built for about a month, I just didn’t have the chance to light it. I think I was waiting for someone to share it with too but who the hell matters more than my wonderful sons? I also moved the patio chairs over next to the pit and brought over a short table alongside the chairs so the boys could make their treats there.
So around 7:45 I brought out the graham crackers with little chocolate bars on them and the skewers and of course extra marshmallows. And a fourth beer (which is a lot for a toothpick like me). The boys came outside with me and we got ready for the fire! The kids went nuts when I lit the fire and it burned nicely. They got out of their chairs and ran around a little bit. Next time I will add larger firewood toward the beginning as it didn’t catch fire very well after I added it. This time it was okay because the boys needed to go to bed anyway but I am happy with the way it turned out. Only two marshmallows were lost to the flames. They get really soft when heated! The boys enjoyed their treat though. It’s good to have them home and it’s good to be their mother.
I can’t wait till the next time we have a firepit night. It’s too windy now and it has come to my attention that Arizona is under a “no burn order” right now. Soon. I have plenty of things left to burn up in this backyard.

The Nut House

My friend Hannah invited my sons and I to her house for dinner on Sunday night. We tried to get together a few times in the months prior but we finally got our acts together this week. She has a son around my son’s age and we have lots to talk about. I promised to bring ice cream cones.
GPS is very helpful but it doesn’t tell you what to look for, landmarks, etc. Doesn’t tell you what color a house is or that there may be a giant pot hole after the speed bump that you didn’t see coming. Maybe part of it is the user, but every time I drive to a place I’ve never been to, I inevitably make a u-turn. After I navigated my way around the roundabout, we passed five or six houses with fences and front yards. As the GPS narrator was saying, “Your destination is on your right”, we were parking in front of a brown house with a friendly yellow door. A sign hung next to the door which read, “The Nut House”. I figured this was it. It takes me a while to park close enough to the curb. After we parked and made our way up the sidewalk and stairs, I could hear Hannah laughing in the backyard. For some reason I am terrified that I’ll go to the wrong house by accident and the owners will be angry with me for doing so. But upon hearing the mirth from the backyard, I knew we were where we were supposed to be. I knocked, forgetting our hostess’s instructions to just try the door or let ourselves in to the gate. Hannah came round the side of the house, smiling, still wearing her apron from cooking dinner. She pulled the rock that was keeping the gate shut to the side and let us into her backyard. She introduced herself to the boys and we went around the house. Hannah has a few plants that are beginning to grow through and over and around the chain link fence. I love that look. As we made our way to the backyard, I noticed plants growing all over the place. Hannah has a nice patio off the sliding glass door of her home.
There are a few chairs that she inherited from a friend and a round patio table with chairs.
Seated outside were her husband and a friend of hers and lastly her son, who we were told was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sons so that they could play together. Introductions were made and we guests were led into the house.
Our hostess showed the boys where the bathroom is and they pretty much stayed outside playing for the rest of the night, save for when it was dinnertime. I loved her concrete floors; I have dreamed about such floors for my own home. The walls are white and house plants climbed up the walls and toward the ceiling. Family photos line one wall and the rest are graced with beloved original artwork from very talented friends and relatives. Each one had a story. I loved them all. I have prints up in my home and one or two originals. Maybe it’s time to jump back on the bandwagon.
Hannah’s kitchen and living room have exposed beams at the ceiling and lucky her there’s a skylight in the kitchen where more plants grow and perch. I love a good exposed beam. I’ve thought several times about adding beams to my own ceilings. All of Hannah’s floors are tile, that I noticed, except for the concrete floors mentioned. I also want to tile my own house, as I have a sincere hatred for carpeting. She made me a drink — a white rum and orange juice; delicious — and pulled out marinated chicken to saute while we caught up. As dinner was baking, we took a little tour around the backyard.
Stretching out behind the house is Hannah’s long backyard. Three steps take you up to the yard. There is a playset with a slide and monkey bars for little boy hands and feet off to the right and to the left is a fenced-in garden. She pointed out a relic from her and her husband’s past; a slice of a tree stump that her husband brought home from work and sealed. It served as a backdrop for their wedding and is now an icon of love and commitment on display over the food that they grow. I loved that as Hannah showed us around the yard, she mentioned little plans that she had for the plants that went awry. As we made our way toward the back of the yard, she showed me a table under their mesquite tree where they play dominoes together as a family sometimes. She shared dreams of an outdoor bar. We passed an area off to the side which is her son’s personal play area. There were cinder blocks and sticks and dirt and planks of wood laying around. I shared that I played with the exact same things as a kid: reebar (sp), dirt, wood, and rocks. Yeah I had toys but I remember the tamarack trees and tile samples and searching for horned toads in the weeds more than anything else. It’s a great backyard for a little boy.
Dinner was delicious. She topped the chicken with avocado, cheese, and tomatoes. She also made a great salad with strawberries, feta cheese, and almond pieces. Oh and don’t forget corn on the cob. For dessert she made a cake with orange cream frosting which my sons devoured.
After dinner we sat around the table socializing for a couple hours till we got too cold and one of my sons fell asleep. Hannah’s son lent us a jacket for my oldest and Hannah grabbed a blanket for my youngest. He eventually fell asleep and yes it was hell getting them into the car.
When I left her house that night I left a place that felt a little like home to me. And I would be happy to go back. I left a place that I’d want my home to be like.