Bracing Insight from the Diary of A Normal Girl

All my life I was taught and encouraged to keep a journal.  I took that counsel to heart knowing that one day, if it didn't inspire a nation, my diary would at least inspire my daughter or granddaughter as she worked her way through struggles just like my own.

In spite of the problems with this: including the fact that I don't have a daughter and even if I manage to have a granddaughter someday, she will be too busy colonizing another galaxy or fighting off the sentient robots to read my journals, there is one more major problem:  These journals are filled with completely useless, ridiculous nonsense.  I've read it.  It is mind numbing.  It is boring and tedious.  Someone should have slapped me upside the head.  Who would ever want to read that drivel??

YOU, THAT'S WHO.

Because I spent years of my life filling those journals with my deepest, most heartfelt and secret emotions and I am not going to let it go to waste.  Lets take a look at one of my earliest journal entries, shall we?  (Some punctuation and spelling mistakes have been corrected to aid with comprehension.)



April 17, 1988

I'm 10 now. I turned 10 sixteen days ago. Through March we had roadshow rehersal on the 30 and 31 of March. Last Tuesday we bought a new Toyota Corrola from my grandparents.  It's really nice.  I found out how to make the back seat go forward and make it stay down.  Faralee and G.B. know too, but know one else! Dance show was on April 8, 1988, and it was a good one.  I left my ballet shoes there, but I have them back now. We got the Gremlin lisensd and we got it inspectid. It's noisy, the Corrolla is very quiet. We named all our cars.

The Subberbans name is "Godzilla".
The Nova's name is "Little Red Riding Hood".
The Corrola's name is "The Limo".
The Gremlins name is "Gismo".



There you have it.  This is only my 3rd  journal entry ever (the 2nd is one line long and reads: "I'm in thired grade now and I'm eight and 2/1.) and what I thought was worth sharing was not anything about my family or the town I lived in, but the names of our cars. You're welcome, posterity!  May this information change your lives for the better!

Besides that, this is actually a pretty newsy entry for me.  Just wait until I hit middle school.  You're going to want to gouge your eyes out. Can't wait!

More Toys for Bots

Thanks for coming to the toy review on my blog.  Today we are looking at a brand new toy that has just hit the market, the very cool X-Robot!

 
Also known as the X-5 Robot, it comes loaded with all kinds of built in features.  Lets take a look at them.  Come on!


Woah, woah woah.  Slow down.  Left AND right?  Forward AND backward?  What kind of out-of-this world, futuristic space toy is this?  How much do they really think kids can handle?  FOUR DIRECTIONS?    I don't know.  One Direction seems to be working pretty well for that funky boy band and all their loyal fans.  Adding 3 more directions might just make some poor kid's head explode.  

But wait, there's more.  It ALSO dances to the sound of gun fire.  Just like One Direction would in an Old West Saloon.  I'm not sure anyone can handle this much Super-Dazzle.   It is hard to Grow Up in Happiness when you have to dance away from bullets.  

On the other hand surely there are still places where a kid can go to watch real Robots dance to the exciting sounds of real gun fire these days.  A place they can go close to home to see the artillery boogie without being overstimulated by all the different directions that they would be exposed to with this toy.  Buyer beware.  It may not be a good fit for all kids.

The Pillow Predicament

Here is the thing about me.  I didn't handle remodeling very well.  (Actually, I don't handle a LOT of stuff very well.  I often wonder how it is possible that I was raised so well by such good parents and still managed to grow up into such a nut case.  Anyone else with me?  Am I the only one who feels completely insane half of the time?)

It drove me crazy, for instance, that since none of the rooms we were living in were really "Done" yet, we couldn't really decorate them yet. This has been the case for almost the entire time we lived here.  I was ready to decorate, darn it, but we still had to replace joists and rerun wiring and probably pull down wallpaper and paint and redo all the plumbing and I JUST WANTED TO DECORATE ALREADY.

So I coped with it in the usual way.  I bought throw pillows. You would have done the same.  It was too soon to buy art, or furniture, or fabric for curtains, But throw pillows are timeless and go with everything and so I told myself it was ok to buy them and buy them I did.  For 10 years I have been buying pillows and putting them in bags in the attic until the time arrived to finally use them.

Well.

I guess you could say that the time has arrived.  There is nothing stopping me now.  Lets pull out those throw pillows!

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So.

Hmm.

Thats a lot of pillows.  It is possible that I have more than I need.  It is even more possible that I don't even like half of the these anymore.  Pillow Therapy is still in its infancy.  Naturally there are some kinks that will need to be worked out.  But I am on the home stretch of the remodel and I am still alive and who do I have to thank for it if not the pillows?

So it is ok if I give most of them away.  Right?  RIGHT? I saved the ones I love, and the ones I love saved me.  What else matters?

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PROJECT DARKSTONE: Day 445

Here is the latest in the Wonderful World of Kitchens and What-not!

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Is it weird that every time I look at that picture I'm not really sure if it is my hand holding the faucet, or if it is Richards?

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That is right folks!  We have a sink!  I was so excited the first thing I did was fill it up with dirty dishes!  I have never been so happy to wash dishes in my life.  

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It was a good thing we got the sink working because Richard also hooked up the oven.  Behold, the maiden voyage of our new oven!

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I tried to get pictures as soon as they came out of the oven, but some vacuum faces sucked some up before I got a chance.

Wanna take a guess whether my new counter tops are clean or not?

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Of course not.  I guess maybe I should have taken a better picture of the stove at this point, but all I was really thinking about were the cookies.

Oh, but that is not all.  More sinks!

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No more washing our hands in the bathtub for us!  There is now a sink, and a hook to hang a hand towel on and a medicine cabinet/mirror.  It is so fancy.

All of this happened last Saturday, and I was too buy washing dishes and baking to tell you about it.  And then today Richard did this:

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Which is a sink on the island.  I don't know why I didn't zoom out a little so you could actually see some more of the kitchen.  Forgive me.  And we'll talk to you later.  Peace!

Vacation

Back in January we went on a vacation.  We were tired of being cold, so we planned to go to St. George, which was supposed to be like 3 degrees warmer than here.  We would be there 3 days, and two nights.

I told the boys to pack a bag, listing the things they would need:

2 pairs of pajamas
3 or 4 pair of underwear
3 pair of socks
3 pair of pants
3 shirts
and 2 pullups for Colin


Pretty straightforward. I also warned them that it would be cold and they needed to be prepared. They happily ran off to pack and proudly brought their bags back out to me in no time.  Before we left I went through their bags to make sure they had what they needed.  You know.  Just on the off chance that maybe they were missing something. Just in case. 

The Contents of Harrison's Bag:
2 pair of socks, and several additional socks that had no mates.
2 pair of shorts
2 T-shirts, one of which belongs to Colin
1 pajama shirt, belonging to Colin
1 sweater
11 pair of underwear

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The Contents of Colin's Bag:
6 pullups
1 pair of underwear
1 pair of socks
1 T-shirt
1 pair of pajamas

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When I saw what they had packed I had to start writing it down but before long I was giggling so hard I could barely dictate it to my phone.  And so instead of repacking for them like I had intended, I just packed ANOTHER bag, with all the things they were missing.  I had considered just letting them live with the repercussions of their actions, but sheesh, Colin is only 5.  And I know my children.  Not having a shirt to wear if some stain type situation had happened to the only one they had with them would have led to a Full Metal Meltdown.

When we got to the Hotel the boys found some drawers in the TV Table next to the mini fridge and gleefully dumped their bags into a drawer each.  All was well.

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(someone isn't too happy about taking turns.)

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All was well, that is, until the next morning when it was time to get dressed.  I was still lazing about in bed (I think it was all of 7:15 am at this point) listening to my little boys' conversation.

"I only have one underwear!  I forgot to get more!" Colin said in dismay.
"I have a lot of underwear." declared Harrison proudly.  "You can use some of mine."
"Thanks!  But that is my shirt, Harrison!  It is too small for you!"
More rummaging ensued and Harrison said "Oh no.  I only have shorts to wear."
"I don't have any pants at all!" said Colin.

I was snickering into my pillow at this point.  It was all happening just as I had foreseen.  And when Harrison said, "Wow!  We are really bad at packing!"  I burst out into a loud, "HA HA HA!" and then they jumped on me.  Vindication!  We don't get a lot of emotional validation as mothers.  Sometimes a little vindication is the best you are going to get.

And because I ALSO packed them the extra stuff they needed, we had us a real swell time.

See?

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Do you see that happy skip of Harrison's?  That is a boy in his element.  He would happily climb on rocks and explore caves ALL DAY LONG.

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I don't know what this place is, but I totally want to build a village like this in my backyard.

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Colin took that picture.  And I think maybe upside down really works for us.  

Thanks for stopping by!

PROJECT DARKSTONE: Day 434

And then there was this!

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The countertop guy attached all the sinks, and the oven was delivered and so maybe on Saturday when Richard has time he can hook up the water to all the sinks, and hook up the dishwasher and the oven and then we will have a functional kitchen!  No storage, but still!

And for any of you in the market for ovens, I would recommend checking Best Buy.  I looked for used Stainless steel gas ranges on KSL, but there was only one, and they were selling it for $850.  I found this Whirlpool range at Best Buy for $450.00.  We got our microwave there too, and both prices were cheaper than we found them for at Home Depot and Walmart.  Who knew?


PROJECT DARKSTONE: Day 430

I have zero time for words, so this is all I have for you.  You will have to interpret it for yourselves.

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PROJECT DARKSTONE: Day 414

I'm not dead yet.  I'm still kicking around over here.  And we will not be able to close the book on Project Darkstone until the city has done their final inspection and declared our house COMPLETED.
Not much has happened since we last checked in with you, so here is what we have:

A New Shelf in the Laundry Room

It started like this.

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Purely functional.  Shelves like these are really easy to build.  All I had to do was find the studs, choose my height and then make sure I screwed the support boards up level before screwing the plywood on top.20160307_135134

And then all it took was a board screwed to the front to give it a more finished look.

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Heck, I may even go so far as to fill the screw holes and then paint or stain it.  I just might!

Moving on to the master bathroom:

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Shelves like these are all over pinterest and I had to get in on the action.

All it takes is some black pipe, a cap and a flange screwed together to make your supports, screwed into the wall using drywall anchors.

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Then I got a board from my back yard, cut it to length, and set it on top.  I think this wood was one of the original floor joists from my house.

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I didn't sand it, or stain it or anything.  That is the fun of reclaimed wood.  Its fine just as it is.

I also made this using black pipe:

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But I used the wood from the vanity for the little shelf.  It turns out it is really handy to have somewhere to set your cell phone while you are on the toilet.  You can buy these for around $40.00 on etsy, but it was really easy to make.  Black pipe isn't cheap though, and it still cost me about $18.00, just for the parts.

Last of all, we have the stair rail.

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I could have cleaned the tools off the stairs before I took this picture I suppose.  But why?

Lani the Builder also finished off the newel posts with all the necessary trim pieces and it looks beautiful!

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Oh, I also pulled up the rest of the paper that was laid down to protect the floors during painting.  And as quick as I could pull out my camera to take a picture, my kids had left some toys in the middle of it.

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But gosh it is pretty, isn't it?

PROJECT DARKSTONE: Day 394

THIS HAPPENED.

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I asked Colin to make a face to show how he felt about the new banister.  I feel the same!

PROJECT DARKSTONE: Day 393

A few items worth of note:

I made this vanity:

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Using plans from Ana White.  A year ago I got it into my head that I wanted to build the bathroom vanity.  I'm ambitious like that.  As time progressed and as I got busier, I started to think it was a bad idea.  But I had already told the builder that I was going to make it so the cabinet maker wouldn't have to (his price was $800) and I didn't want to deal with telling him that I had got too lazy.  So, after putting it off as long as possible, I just did it.

I finally got the walls painted in my bathroom too and tried to put the vanity in the space designed for it, but it was too big.

Boo.

So I got out the belt sander, sanded some off until it would fit, then stained it and pushed it into place.

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You know how that scientific phenomena goes: Nature abhors a vacuum and clutter abhors a surface.  We really need to figure out somewhere to put our tools, but right now most of them are on our bathroom vanity.  I haven't built the drawers for it yet, because we've still got to put the sink in and run the plumbing to it and I'd like to build the drawers to fit AFTER that part is done.

We're going for kind of an industrial look in here, and I thought these bulkhead lights would be cool as vanity lights.  Plus, they are only $16.00 a piece from Home Depot.  Win-win!

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Last night Richard installed the toilet.  He kept saying, "As soon as you are done painting, I can just plop that toilet right in there." or "It should only take me a minute to plop that toilet right down." or "I can't wait to plop that toilet in!"

And when the time was right, that is exactly what he did:

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And here is the shower, if you care:

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Here are some more light fixtures for the light fixture lover in you.  If simplicity is your thing, then maybe this light fixture is your thing as well.

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(I know it isn't hanging straight.  I just installed it today and I'm confident that given time, gravity will do its thing and straighten it out.)

The light fixture, without the bulb, is only $14.99.  14.99!  I paid $13.00 for the light bulb, but it is an LED, so it ought to be worth it.  BUT, on 1000bulbs.com, you can get a 5" silver bowl light bulb like that one (non LED) for $6.99.  A five inch bulb in there could turn that into a serious pendant light.  It is a Globe Electric Mini Pendant, if you are interested.

And last of all, these:

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I found these lights at a yard sale for $5.00 a piece.  3 of them, actually.  But I wasn't really into the copper and brass.  So I spray painted them silver. Big surprise.  The underside, however, was kind of this cool brushed gold, and I thought it might look awesome with silver on top and gold underneath, so I left the underside alone.

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And guess what?  I love it. These are my favorite thing in the house right now, so I give them two thumbs way up!

In other news, I washed dishes in the bathtub today.  It was easier than I thought it would be.  Like washing in a giant sink.  And the tub has only been used once, so I figure there isn't any gross people residue in the tub to contaminate the dishes, right?