Friday, May 17, 2013

Monologues of Doom

Look.  If you want to pity me over the sad, horribly difficult life I have, I think you have completely missed the memo.  My life is amazing.  I am doing amazing things every single day.  I am even impressing myself.  Please, if you wish to console me on the pathetic-ness that is my life, maybe you should just not talk to me.  Your pity will be met with confusion followed by my own pity for how dull your life must be followed by great irritation when you don't give up your pity party.

If you think you need to warn me about all of the awful things that might happen when I attempt to do something, you missed that memo as well.  I might ask for advice, and then, please give me what you know.  If I tell you about a project, your response should be, "Wow, that's awesome."  If you're not all that impressed you could say, "Oh, that's cool."  Or if you are really not interested you could say, "Huh.  Well, have fun."  Under no circumstances should you launch into a *monologue* about how incredibly difficult that will be.  I sorta kinda know already.  If it wasn't difficult, EVERYONE would be doing it.  However, it's not rocket science.  People have been building and designing and digging holes for centuries.  You should also avoid telling me how much you think it will cost.  I don't plan on doing it your way with the money and the hiring people.  I plan on doing it with my own hands.  Yes, even the hard stuff that is usually reserved for intelligent and strong men.  Again, if I have asked for advice or we are having an actual two way conversation to brainstorm possibilities and solutions and problems, please ring in to your heart's content.  But NO MONOLOGUES OF DOOM!

I know what you are going to say...  "Abby, people care and are concerned for you."  Yes, yes, I know.  That's why I offer these alternative responses.  I care for these people too.  If they don't want me to shoot daggers from my eyes into their skulls, they will maybe think about not treating me like a 5 year old who wants to build a mansion with diamonds and Barbie shovels.  For those who seem to repeatedly pity me (and I continually give second chances because I'm sure they are good people with kind intentions), I will not be able to give you an audience.  I have no room for pity parties.  If you pity because you think I need extra hands to help with projects, you are right...  so either put on your work boots and HELP me out, or shut up!

The vast majority of people in my life do not do these things, so please don't go all paranoid.  Most of you would be as disgusted by some of the comments (not all sexist, but frequently) and nay-saying I have to listen to.  I try to gently bring people around, but lately, I have given up on a couple of people and explained to them that I am actually a very intelligent strong woman.  I'm tired of it.  The pity party is the one that I REALLY do not understand.  My life is amazing.  This ranch is incredible.  The trees, the land, the pond, the plans, my house....  it's all fantastic.  How can there be pity? Wouldn't you be annoyed?!?!?  :-)

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fencing Triumph

Have you ever done something that you seriously never thought you could do?  I need to build a fence about 1200 feet long.  This requires about 130 posts mostly dug about 2 feet deep for a strong four foot fence.  I set my goals to a do-able 5 holes per day.  If I had help, maybe I could double that.  Today, with the help of one other woman friend, we set 28 posts.  We dug 28 holes, filled them with 1050 pounds of cement and trued 28 posts.  20 and 8.  14 times 2.  A LOT of posts!

We started at 7 AM.  We dug out 5 holes and cut 5 posts to 7 feet.  We took the posts to the holes.  We placed our bags of cement onto our child's red wagon.  We filled our blue Lowe's bucket with water.  She held the post true and I mixed 50 pounds of cement and dumped it into the post hole.  The 50 pound bags were perfect!  We did 4 or 5 posts at a time.  We took breaks between each set to cool down and drink more water.

28 posts!  This took 8 hours.  I am so completely exhausted.  I am also completely happy.  I am thrilled and inspired that we got so much done.  I would never have thought *I* could be 50% labor of 28 posts in one 8 hour day.  Soooooooooo incredible.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Paint saves the day

 The only real change here is paint.  The light fixture and blinds are gone.  I plan to make curtains for these two windows...  and eventually recover the furniture, but I'm just happy to have a brighter happier living room!

Thursday, May 02, 2013


I have more time than money.  Therefore, I frequently choose to do the job myself.  If there is something I cannot or absolutely choose not to do, I don't mind paying for the service.  In the case of my new kitchen, I managed to do everything myself.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to reroute the stove electrical outlet, but turns out the wiring was simply tacked to the underside of the house and the outlet itself is similar in principle to wiring a regular wall outlet.  I am also very good at looking at the supplies I have available and deciding how to get the most out of what is already here.  With all of this in mind, here is the tally for the cost of my new kitchen:
Bench:  FREE.  I used an over-the-fridge cabinet that was too big for my over-the-fridge space as the base.  I topped that with a piece of 1 inch plywood that came from a 1980's treadmill that we had to take apart because it was too heavy to move.
Pillows:  FREE.  I got three pillows from an organizing client who did not want to repair them.  I fixed them and recovered them with fabric that another friend gave me.
Shelving:  $57.  3 ten foot boards were purchased at Lowe's.
Brackets for shelving:  $8.  I bought 15 brackets at IKEA for 50 cents each.
Drawer pulls and handles:  FREE.  Another friend decided not to use them for her kitchen and gave them to me!
Tension rods for curtains:  $6.
Curtains:  FREE.  Made of fabric a friend was tossing out.
Pink bins:  $28.  This was a treat.  I didn't need these, but I decided to add more pink since I got the pink IKEA brackets.  Also they are handy for holding small things.  I have savory spices in one and sweet spices in another, for example.
Island cabinets:  FREE.  These were the cabinets that were the upper cabinets in the original design.
Island counter:  FREE.  I used plywood and trim scraps from the closet wall that I removed in my bedroom.
Island tile:  FREE.  A friend gave me 6 giant tiles (I used 2 in this).  Then I asked friends for bottle caps.  Mom sent me some cute colorful lizard tiles and the rest I filled in with broken pieces of tile.
Paint:  $2.  A friend gave me primer that they over-purchased.  I got wall paint from a client who was cleaning out all chemicals from the garage.  I purchased a gallon of trim paint, and it is the same paint I have used in the entire house, so I divided the cost.

For a grand total of $101!!!

The message here is this: If you want to spruce up a space, you don't have to spend a ton of money.  Your friends likely have things taking up space in their garages.  You can use and live with many things in your kitchen, like the appliances and cabinets.  Rearranging things can make a huge difference.  Think about what is wrong and consider as many solutions to those specific problems as you can.  Hopefully a few solutions to a few problems will match up and go with it!  My two big problems were the fridge and the stove.  They were free standing and both in front of a perfectly good window.  With my design, moving the fridge to its new home meant that the upper cabinet would no longer fit in that space.  So I had to solve that problem.  Putting the stove in an island let me use the upper cabinets and create much more usable kitchen space.  All spaces win.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Awesome Kitchen



What?  It looks twice as big?  You're amazed I installed a window on the left wall?  Yes, it looks and feels twice as big.  There is now seating for 6 to 9 people.  I increased storage space even though I took out that huge pantry on the right.  Storage space was created by using the entire length of upper cabinet space, moving the existing uppers to be my island base cabinets and adding a cabinet bench under the window.  That window was there.  It was covered up by the fridge previously.  And how about that fan in the before pic!!  It chopped at 5'9".  I removed it and added a small ceiling fan to the middle high beam - we now chop at 7'3".  The previous lights were HUGE fluorescents at 60 watts times 4 bulbs.  I installed 3 small 13 watt lights.  I did remove the blinds.  I prefer curtains that can be taken down and washed.  Blinds get dusty, and in the kitchen, the cooking grease and moisture makes a dirty paste on blinds.  Washable curtains replaced those blinds.