Monday, January 31, 2011

Now Available in a Mojo-Free Edition

Meh.  I am feckless.

I've figured out what we're doing about the desktops.  They'll be slab doors, 30"x96", birch hardboard which I'll stain white & varnish.  Cabinets?  No solution yet. 

I haven't wanted to bore you to tears, so blogging is slow for now.  It will pick up when I have wonderful exciting things to show you.  Someday.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I Love Paul

Paul had his initial appointment with the psychologist, and she needed to question him without me in the room, so I went outside and sat at the door so I could eavesdrop.  I don't leave my child alone with strangers, even if they have Ph.D's.  She got to the subject of school and asked him what he doesn't like about his school, and he gave her a few reasonable answers.  Then she asked him what he likes about school.

Paul: "I really like that everybody can go to my school."

Psych: "What do you mean?"

Paul: "You know - people used to have to go to different schools, and they had to use different drinking fountains.  I'm glad it isn't like that anymore, and everybody can go to my school."

Of course he completely missed what she was getting at, but I just melted a little bit listening to what a sweet heart he has.  What a good kid.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gig

So I sing now for this band. I'd tell you the name and give you the MySpace link, except we're considering finding a new name and all the songs on the page are still recordings of the previous singer, and you're all fans of ME anyway.  The old name was the one they used when they were a cover band, and since they want to focus on original songs they feel a new name may be in order. Band names are tricky, but I welcome your ideas.

And we may have our first gig.  It's really low-key, an art gallery in Santa Ana is having an open house and we'd play for around an hour.  But it's less than a month away and putting together an hour of music is actually a lot of work.  I think we can handle it, it just means putting together a set list and rehearsing the list only until we feel ready.

It's fun, this band thing.  It's challenging and gets me out of the house.  I don't really know how to describe the sound.  Vintage rock & roll with influences from folk, swing, blues & jazz.  I get to sing many different styles and intensity levels, and we have a LOT of harmony - Dave, the guitarist, sings as well and some of our stuff is downright lovely.  I occasionally get the chills in rehearsal.  Dave thought "The Chills" would be a cool band name, but we're not a beatnik band, baby!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Woot.

Sweet progress. Dan & I installed three wall cabinets yesterday that run the length of one of the dining room walls.  The remaining three should be installed today. They are just cookie-cutter in-stock cabinets from Home Despot, but the price was right and they actually look very nice. I'll customize them later with knobs and maybe a little paint special effects.  Here's a stock photo:


We got some really promising ideas for the desktop - apparently we can special-order laminate countertops in whatever depth we want, which is AWESOME because the stuff I thought would work from Ikea turned out to be the wrong dimensions. Yay!

I want a pattern, because the desktops will inevitably end up getting pencil marks & other smudges on them. So I'm leaning toward a subtle vintage pattern from Formica called VirrVarr:

 

I'll probably end up going with the first one. In the brochure the second print is much bluer, and I'm trying to keep the workspaces as neutral as possible. I'll add color with paint & accessories, and I  want the workspaces to visually retreat, not overwhelm the room. I want my grandmother's lovely table & chairs to be the focal point.

Against the third wall I will eventually have this armoire from Ikea, which will serve as a china, linen and sewing fabric cabinet:
 
 I know it's a lot of white, but I don't want to mix any more wood tones into the room. We already have a beautiful antique wood table & chairs, plus a different wood tone in the flooring. I think anything else large in a different wood tone would be too much. 

I still have no idea what color I'll paint the walls.  I plan on hanging whiteboards and making a custom Homasote bulletin board for the walls underneath the cabinets, so it remains to be seen how much of the actual walls will even show once I'm done with all of this.

Friday, January 14, 2011

@#%$&%$#!

What does it say about me that I really want to introduce all of my current statements with cursing?  I am a tired Mama.  I dropped out for this semester, it's an unnecessary class and I really have too many other irons in the fire just now.

This week I finally broke down and admitted that Paul needs the kind of help I just can't give him.  He saw a psychologist yesterday, after a particularly miserable day where he cried three times in class and his dear teacher finally asked me, "Have you considered that he might be ADD?"  The visit was actually encouraging.  She (the Dr.) thinks Paul's problem may be neurological and may stem from his prematurity (Some of you may not know that Paul was born 9 weeks early - it was awful, but Paul is awesome).  I've been wondering for a while if Paul's poor gross motor skills (can't ride a bike, can't hit a ball, etc.) might be a long-term effect from his birth, but I admit I had failed to tie the focus problem to that.  So we're waiting to see if our insurance company will approve further neurological testing.  Paul has really improved this year, but his difficulty in focusing on self-directed work is making him fall behind in school and is eating up our afternoons & evenings at home.

We're also searching for a physical discipline for the boys to pursue.  A non-aggressive martial art with an emphasis on self-control might be good.  We're also trying out a yoga class next week.  We'd love to get Paul & Dan a membership to a climbing gym, but the local one went out of business (damned recession) and the closest one now is 18 miles away and ridiculously expensive ($1200 a year for a family of three).  So $#@%.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Dogpile!

OHMYGOSH.  I am pleased to report that we have come to a consensus on the office design.  I don't love it, but it will work and I can move forward with it.  Phew!

HOWEVER, another layer of work has asserted itself.  Our walls are not drywalled - they are super-groovy 1971-era 1/8-inch-thick wooden paneling.  They have been painted though, so they look pretty nice.  I had been waffling about maybe eventually drywalling the house, one of those "in the future" ideas.  Then, Monday night, our neighbor's house burned down.  Everybody got out alive, with only minor injuries.  But the house burned down so quickly it was stunning.  I mean, that thing just burned and burned and burned.  And burned and burned.  And I looked inside my house, at those 1/8-inch thick panels, and my first thought was "tinder."

So Tuesday I bought three new smoke/fire alarms, replaced all the batteries in the existing alarms, and bought two additional fire extinguishers - one for each bedroom.  Drywall and new windows (the one in the boys room would be difficult for them to escape through in a fire, because it's too high) have rocketed to the top of the list.  Soooooooo, today I'm pulling paneling off the walls in the dining room/office.  Tomorrow Dan will help me cut and install our first sheets of drywall.  I will hire out the taping & mudding, because that seems like the sort of thing you need experience for.  Then priming, then cabinet installation.  I'll paint after the cabinets are installed, becasue I'm going to use a super non-toxic paint that has to be special-ordered AND I haven't even picked out the colors yet!  I think we'll be able to get the whole office put together for about $1200 (not including the drywall costs), but we may have to split that up over two months.  The cabinets will come first (because they're on sale this month) and we'll make do with the tables we have until next month when we can put together everybody's workspace.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Discouragement

It's inevitable that the moment of discouragement comes, particularly for someone like me whose mind is often a maelstrom of feelings.  Most of the time I have the tempest contained, but obstacles and failures sometimes knock it loose a bit and then I struggle.

Christmas is always difficult.  Add in unpacking a house, mild disagreements on how to organize and what new furniture we need (which currently means a stalemate and an office/dining room that looks awful and depressing), kids fighting, a failed vacation, technical difficulties and other seemingly endless demands on my time, and I have reached a point of discourage. 

How do you rally yourself?  I've given up several unhealthy self-comforts lately, so I need ideas.