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Monday, July 30, 2012

Can You Hear the Creaking? That's Just Me ~

Peeps, I am too dang old to be doing this kind of work.  On Sunday, instead of taking Miss Diva swimming, Walker and I finished taking down all the paneled walls.  We removed all the nails and hauled the paneling outside.  Then Walker removed the nails from the trim, sanded each piece, and filled the nail holes with putty.  When the putty dried he sanded them again, then he brought all the trim pieces down to the basement for me to prime and paint. 

Meanwhile, Bro and the boys stopped by to pick up the weight bench and weights that we've been storing for them, also in the basement.  I helped them bring up the weights and bars.  Then I moved all the furniture to one side of the basement and cleaned the floor.  While the floor was drying, I took up each of the carpet tiles from the living room and brought them down to the basement.  While Walker slept, I laid the carpet squares in his man-cave downstairs.  Honestly, I would have loved nothing more than to haul that icky carpet out to the curb, but we have cement floors with peeling paint down there right now, so even icky carpet is an improvement. 

Walker's man cave in the basement, after I moved the carpet squares.  We took the far wall down after one of the many floods two years ago ~ Walker wants more drywall but I think that will be money down the drain, as we flood on a regular basis.  We're in negotiations.  =)

Walker had to go to work Sunday night, so I had the house to myself while I primed and painted all that trim.  While the first coat dried, I moved all the furniture back:  sofa, loveseat, china hutch, end tables, entertainment center, TV, dining table, four chairs, and four bar stools.  Did you know that if you put cardboard under the legs, even the heaviest furniture slides over carpet like sled runners on snow?  Walker didn't.  He still doesn't believe I moved all that furniture myself.  I am woman, hear me roar!  Yeah, right.  My legs are bruised and every muscle in my body hurts.  I know I will pay for this tomorrow ~

Two - thirds done ~ well, with the first coat, anyway!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Progress, Sort Of ~

My foyer coat closet, in transition

My foyer coat closet now, three coats of paint later and ready to be enclosed in new walls ~

My dining room, one week ago ~

My dining room right now.

Paint swatches - Walker wanted "some kind of beige" but I wanted color.  Then I realized the blue / green shade I chose is the same color as our bathroom, and the "green" shade I chose looks like baby poo brown on the wall.  Beige it is, the one on the lower right ~

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Under Construction, and a Visitor

My bunny friend is still MIA.  I have a feeling I won't be seeing him again. I'm choosing to believe he's in bunny rehab, courtesy of one of the neighbors.  Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Our living room is no longer much good for living.  Walker is still helping his sister get settled in her new condo, so every night after work I come home and dive into our project on my own.  I have been painting inside the closets, pulling up carpet and vinyl floor tile, and tearing out trim and the old, wood paneled walls.  I carefully remove all the nails from the wood and haul it outside, stacking it against the garage.  When Walker comes home he breaks the wood into smaller lengths, so the garbage guys will take it.  They won't pick up anything more than four feet long.  If we weren't in a drought, we could burn it all in our fire pit.  But no rain equals a burn ban these days, so the garbage guys get it all.

It's mid morning before I get to bed.  That part doesn't bother me, though, because it is still SO. Stinkin'.  HOT!  I've been sleeping through the bad part of the day.  It's so hot here, the swimming pools aren't even crowded.  People just do not want to leave their nice air conditioned homes.  Even Diva and I, who normally visit the pool every day, have only been going once or twice a week. 

Last night I got to work right on time and was just hitting the time clock when I noticed someone pulling into our parking lot.  There isn't a lot of activity in my office at that time of day, so I took notice.  I was absolutely thrilled to see my friend Cherie, whom I have not seen since last December, when she was diagnosed with cancer.  We've kept in contact on Facebook and through email, but it's not the same.  Cherie lives in a tiny town up north, but she was in town for a chemo treatment and she made a point of stopping by my office to give me a hug.  I was so, so happy to see her.  Cherie is such a beautiful person.  She has the most amazing attitude, and I truly believe it is helping her to fight her cancer.  And she's winning, Peeps!  Her tumors are shrinking, there are no new hot spots, and she has suffered so few side effects she gets to keep taking the chemo for a couple more months.  I hope and pray that she will be cancer free soon.  Truly, she is a walking miracle, a testament to her faith.  It was the very best gift of all to see her.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rabbit Tales

I was wrong about Friday’s dental visit being the last one.  For some reason, every so often, the Novocaine doesn’t “take”.  Yesterday was one of those days.  My mouth got tingly, but as soon as the dentist started drilling I could feel it, and it did not feel good.  He had to stop working to give me more shots, then wait for them to work, so I only got one of the two remaining cavities filled before the next patient arrived.  His next open appointment isn’t for two more weeks.  I’m on the cancellation list, but at the moment, I’ve got a wait ahead of me.   Oh, and I had to skip the iced coffee.  After the second round of Novocaine, I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink anything without it dribbling all over my shirt.

Yesterday, I noticed a bunny hopping around my side yard.  We have a lot, and I mean, a LOT of bunnies in my neighborhood.  There are four that make my yard a regular play area. Diva calls them all “Thumper”, but I can tell them apart.   Anyway:  One of my favorites, the skinny bunny with the really long ears, showed up  yesterday with a long, wide gash in his right leg.  He’s not a big guy, and this gash looked to be about an inch wide and four or five inches long.  It looked like the skin was torn, and just hanging loose.  The flesh of his leg muscle was clearly visible.   I immediately called Animal Control, hoping they would be able to trap him and stitch him up.  At the very least, if they don’t do bunny rehab, maybe they could euthanize him.  I can’t imagine anything surviving an injury like that without intervention.  I would hate for him to get some wicked infection and die a slow, miserable death.  Well, the good news is, they do bunny rehab.  The bad news is, I have to catch him first.  Yep, ME.

What Animal Control told me to do is, get a laundry basket, a long string, and a stick.  And just like those old cartoons, make a trap with the stick propping up the laundry basket.  The trap should be baited with apple slices, and the string tied to the stick can be really long, so we don’t have to sit right there.  When the bunny goes for the apple slices, I am to pull the string, which drops the laundry basket, and traps the bunny.  Hopefully.  

So after I got off the phone and assembled all the necessary components for my bunny trap, I went out to the patio and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I haven't seen my furry friend since I made the phone call.  Not sure if he's hiding in his bunny den or if one of the other neighbors got him or if he's succumbed to his injuries.  Wherever he is, I hope he isn't suffering. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Knee Deep

I have my last in this series of dental appointments today. At least, I hope I do.  If things do not go well, I could still be looking at a root canal.  I have my fingers crossed.  I’ve promised myself an iced mocha from Mc Donald’s when the appointment is over.  I can count on one finger the number of times I have indulged in that little cup of deliciousness.  Dr Phil calls drinks like that melted milkshake, and I can see why.  The nutrition content is atrocious.  But I do not care.  It’s a once a year treat to reward myself after going  through all the scary stuff at the dentist office, and I will enjoy every frosty, sugar-and-caffeine filled sip.

We decided to go ahead  and replace our front door, budget be damned, sort of.  We are supposed to get a depreciation check from my homeowner’s insurance for the storm damage we incurred last year.  We completed the repairs, submitted our receipts, and are now waiting for the check to arrive.  Normally, I would not order the door until the check is in hand, but the current door is darn hard to close, and I’m sure we’re losing money with its draftiness.  A new door takes six to eight weeks to get here, because, of course, our doorframe is not standard and the new door must be custom built.  So I ordered it.  And if, for some reason, the insurance check doesn’t come, I’ll take the payment for the door from my savings.  It’s all good. 

Since I didn’t know the door would take so long to get here, I already started some of the other steps in this process:  I emptied the linen closet and painted it, then I got to work on the rest of the trim in the hallway.  This weekend, I hope to get the coat closet in the foyer painted.  I also want to get all the carpet taken up.  It’s a lot easier to paint the trim when the carpet is gone.  I don’t even have to tape it off, since the floor will have new covering and the walls are getting new color.  Gotta love that – taping is so tedious.  Of course, I’ll have to tape over the trim when I do the wall color, but I’ll worry about that when I get that far.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Slow Start

We've officially started our living room remodeling project.  Walker and I make a great team in a lot of areas, but home improvement is not one of those areas.  Walker's approach involves removing the old stuff in calculated sections, neatly rolling strips of flooring in perfectly proportioned strips that he will secure with three - always three - strips of duct tape, also spaced at perfect intervals.  He likes the trash to look nice sitting on the curb.  And it's all trash to Walker.  "Out with the old", in his mind, is "to the dump with the old".

Now, I grew up in a household where a lot of things were passed down, recycled, or repurposed.  My mom taught me to shorten ruffled curtains from the top, making a loop of fabric instead of cutting them off, so they could be let back out an moved to another window, or another house, later on.  She cut down an old bedspread my aunt gave her, removing the faded streak from the top, and refitted it for my twin bed.  Old closet bifold doors got repainted and hinged together to make privacy screens.  When my uncle changed the carpet in his living room, he removed it in one large piece, so we could relocate it to the play area of our basement.   Et cetera.

So when I look at a project, I look for things that can be reused.  Just because something no longer fits our needs doesn't mean it's garbage, right?  The louvered closet doors that I want to replace because I hate how dusty they get might be just the ticket for someone else.  Our old copper colored door knobs might give someone's home just the right finishing touch.  So I have a "save" pile, which will be offered first to Habitat for Humanity, then, H4H doesn't want them, listed on Free Cycle.  Drives my sweetie nuts.  All he sees is a big pile of trash.

Right now, it's slow going.  We have to move out all of our furniture.  I do not know where it's going to go.  First choice was the garage, but it's so hot out there, I'm sure it would be bad for our wooden pieces.  We have to demo the paneled walls, saving the trim to be repainted and reinstalled on the finished drywall.  We have to paint inside the closets, because they have not been painted since the house was built in 1953.  I have to make another attempt at fixing the hole in the dining room ceiling, because the current patch is not exactly a seamless fit.  We have to remove the old carpet tiles.  Then we have to repaint all the trim on the walls, repaint the doors, repaint the ceiling, and, when the contractor is finished with the drywall, paint the new walls.  Then we get our new flooring, after which all the furniture will have to be moved back into the room.  I get worn out just thinking about it. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Miss Communication ~

Diva left me a voice mail yesterday, asking if I could take her swimming today at 12:30 pm.  I called her house, but her mom said she wasn't there - she was sleeping over at  my mom's house.  So I called over there to let Diva know that I was not available at 12:30, since I had a dentist appointment at two o'clock, but if I got done on time we could go swimming afterwards.

Today, I was getting out of the shower when I heard my front door open.  I wasn't dressed, so I hollered out, "Hello!" and my mom answered.  I tossed on a robe and went to see what they wanted - but my mom was alone.  She had already taken Diva back home, because Diva told her the first part of my message - I can't go swimming at 12:30 - but not the last part, about going after my appointment instead. Guess we need to work on Diva's communication skills.

On the plus side, I do not need a root canal, at least at the moment.  The two cavities on my right side have been filled.  Next week I get the left side done, and hopefully, that will be it for the year.  I hope, anyway.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Aw, Rats ~

Yesterday's physical therapy appointment went better than expected.  My evaluation showed that I have good flexibility, decent stability, good strength, and no obvious injuries to my knee area.  The swelling and pain I had earlier this spring was attributed to overdoing the exercise, wearing the wrong kind of shoes, and skipping the shoes all together when I did the elliptical and the Zumba.  Who knew?    The therapist gave me some strengthening exercises to do, but I don't have to go back.

Now today's appointment did not go as well.  Nope, not at all.  Including the broken molar, I have four stinkin' cavities.  I was going to tell the dentist, "If you find anymore someone is taking me for a margarita!"  Because really?  Dental care is something I'm usually pretty good at.  Not sure why I'm having so much trouble lately.  I think my recent addiction to Coke Zero is a contributing factor, so that has to change.  The hygienist  told me that all the cavities are under or next to old fillings, so her theory is those fillings are cracked, making it easy for decay to take hold.  At any rate, I have a couple more appointments added to my calendar, and I'm feeling pretty darn pouty about it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Goings On

This week is shaping up to be a busy one.  I have my first physical therapy appointment this afternoon, tomorrow I have a dental checkup, then on Thursday I'm back to the dentist to finally get my broken tooth fixed. The root canal is still pending.

The PT appointment today is an evaluation for my dodgy knee, which of course is not bothering me at the moment.  The therapist will let me know if I need follow up appointments.  I'm hoping, if I do, that there won't be too many of them.  I'll do whatever I need to so my knee doesn't keep acting up, but it's finally tolerable here, weather wise, so I hope I don't spend all my free time at the clinic.

Miss Diva decided to sign up for some summer school classes.  She thought that since she is of German lineage, she should learn to speak the language.  That started today as well.  So I won't be seeing my sidekick as often as I would like this summer, but I lost her to a good cause.  I love that she enjoys learning so much.  I hope she never loses that. 

I realized I haven't done a Spark post in a while, which is mainly because I have nothing to report.  My weight has been constant since the middle of May.  I haven't been actively working at it, but I'm thinking I need to start over when I get some of this other stuff knocked off the calendar.  Only problem is, I'm not sure when that will be.

Yesterday, Walker and I paid a visit to the Home Depot.  We picked up paint chips and carpet samples, and I took a look at some new entry doors.  Our old door is wood that swells in the summer, so much that it's hard to close.  Then in the winter it shrinks, so Walker has to add felt stripping to keep it from getting drafty. Since this new carpet is supposed to last 20 years, I want to fix whatever is a problem now, before it's installed.  That's the plan, anyway.  The budget may say differently.  Stay tuned......

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It Started with a Letter

Last week, I sent the following letter via email to several people at Home Depot, both locally and at their corporate headquarters.  I also sent several copies to executives at Milliken, a company that makes carpet tile:

To Whom it May Concern:

In  the fall of 2005, I purchased Milliken carpet tiles for use in my “kid bedroom”, as the kid in question was three years old and I figured between Play-Doh, nail polish, and the odd uncapped marker, it would be prudent to use a floor covering that could be replaced in sections.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to look so great.   But it did, and I ended up ordering a different color for my own bedroom.  A couple months later, we got around to redoing the living room.  I didn’t think the carpet tiles would be the best choice for this area, as the room is fairly large and we had a long hallway and the area around the front door to do as well.  The salesman at Home Depot assured us that not only was the carpet tile a great choice, it would hold up well to the traffic by the front door.  

The salesman was wrong.

When the carpet tile was delivered, we noticed right away that each piece curled up at the edges.  We called Home Depot but were told that it was just shipped with the cartons on their side, not flat as they should have been, and in the cold weather had molded that way.  We were assured that if we brought the carpet into the house (it was delivered to our garage) and let it sit for a couple days, it would flatten out.

Wrong again.

We wanted to send it back, but were told that since it was a special order, we were stuck. I told the person at Home Depot that I thought we got a bad run of carpet, since the other two colors we used didn’t look like this.  I was told, again, that I could not send it back.  Period.  So we cleared the room, mopped the plywood floor twice, waited overnight for the plywood to dry, ran the vacuum over it “just to be sure”, and proceeded to lay the carpet tile. 

It looked terrible.

Now, we had already used this product in two other rooms.  Those rooms looked great.  We didn’t think it was our technique, but we pulled it all up and started over.  It didn’t help.  We have a family friend who is very experienced at laying flooring of all kinds.  He agreed to come over and take a look.   First thing he said?  “You got a bad run of carpet!”  He loves Milliken carpet tile, by the way.  He said it was fast and easy to install, and a product that he had recommended many times.  But ours?  Not so much.   He checked the flooring underneath, he checked our cuts, he checked the measurements, he checked everything and advised us to replace it if we could afford to, and if not, to just tape it down.  He pointed out that we had significant shedding with this carpet, something we did not experience with the other rooms.

So I contacted Home Depot about the warranty.  They told me to contact the manufacturer.  I contacted Milliken, who advised me to deal with Home Depot for an exchange.  Home Depot reminded me that I was not eligible for an exchange since I ordered a color they do not carry in my local store.  Back to Milliken with no success.  We went back and forth a couple times, then I got cancer and my crappy looking carpet didn’t seem to matter.  Well, guess what?  I kicked cancer’s butt and now I’m back.   This carpet looks terrible.  It is matted, it sheds, oh, and that area by the front door that the salesman said would hold up to traffic?  Yeah.  He was so, so wrong about that.

So here’s the deal:  my time on this planet is precious and I will not waste any more of it bouncing between Home Depot and Milliken while y’all hope I get frustrated and give up.  I am sending one copy of this letter to Home Depot, and one to Milliken.  Y’all can go to lunch and figure out what you want to do to resolve this and let me know.  The stuff was supposed to have a ten year warranty so let me know what I need to do to claim it. 

Meanwhile, in two weeks, I will post a copy of this letter and any replies, or lack thereof, on my blog.  I will invite my blogger buddies to link to it, or copy it to their own blogs if they wish. It will take over cyberspace.  Everyone on the planet will hear this tale.   So, you know, you could come out looking like the heroes of customer service.  Or you could end up being the goats.  Your choice. 

Oh - and so you know?  The carpet in the two bedrooms still looks great.  We just got a bad run for the living room.  And I really, really wish you had worked with me when I first got it. 

As I said, I sent this via email.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much.  I thought I might get ignored, or maybe someone would send us a Home Depot gift card with a couple hundred bucks on it.  Happily, I was very wrong.  By nine the next morning, I had two phone calls and three emails from Home Depot.  I had an email from Milliken, too, but they wanted all kinds of information I did not have on hand, such as the original purchase order number and the names of everyone I spoke to in 2005.  I have the receipts, somewhere, but I decided to start by calling Home Depot back.  I spoke with the manager of our local store, and I am very happy to report that I received a sincere apology and I will be getting new carpet for our living room, courtesy of Home Depot.  They are even going to pay for the installation.  Home Depot gets an A+ for customer service this time around.  It's going to benefit them a bit, too, as Walker decided to fess up that he hates our current color scheme and would really like to paint the walls, ceiling, and trim before we get the new carpet installed.  I shouldn't be surprised - he did the same thing with the bathroom when we had the new tub liner installed.  Funny thing is, when I asked him what he'd like to do with the living room, he said, as he always does, "Whatever you like, honey, is fine with me."  Which, apparently, isn't quite true, as I'm the one who chose the current decor.  Sigh.  At any rate, I'll be posting progress pictures as we go, and all our supplies will be purchased at Home Depot.  Because we love them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Heat Advisory

I think the heat has gotten to me.  I went to my dentist appointment yesterday feeling pretty icky but attributing it to white coat fever.  Problem is, when I left the dentist I still felt icky.  Clearly it was more than just nerves.

Now, the appointment:  it appears that my tooth cracked a while back, schmutz got into the crack, caused a cavity, and weakened the tooth, which is why it broke last week.  The dentist says the decay is deep enough that I may need a root canal, but since it doesn’t hurt it’s iffy.  They are so busy I can’t get the work done until the end of next week. 

So I went home, still queasy and feeling a bit shaky and decided to go back to bed for a while.  The joy of working nights, right?  Only, when I got up a couple hours later I was worse.  I felt shaky and, I don't know, kind of fuzzy in the head, almost like I'd been drinking, which I had not.  Dr. Walker’s diagnosis?   I did too much over the weekend, and most of it outdoors.   On Saturday I cut the grass, cleaned up the patio, cleaned the house, did five loads of laundry, got groceries, and rearranged a couple pieces of furniture in the living room.  On Sunday, I helped my friend Becca move house.  She went from a second floor apartment on one  end of town to a second floor apartment on the other end of town.  We hauled boxes, bags, clothes, and small furniture pieces up and down stairs from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon.  Then all the helpers came back to my house for a cookout.  I drank a ton of water both days, but I do believe Walker may be right on this one.  I think I had too much heat.  My body is used to sitting at a desk in an air conditioned office.  I’ll probably have to take it easy for a day or two. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

White Coat Fever

I broke a molar last week. It doesn't hurt, and my dentist was out of town all week, so I made an appointment for today to have it looked at.  I love my dentist.  He's great, the staff is great, the clinic itself is nice.  And yet.  I woke up two hours earlier that I wanted to this morning, stomach churning with nerves.  WHY?  Why? Why? Why?  I'm comfortable with the processes and the people, I should not have anxiety about this appointment.

My doctor calls this "white coat fever".  He says many folks get anxious before a trip to the doctor - any doctor.  I hate it, though.  I hate the physical feelings, and the emotional part isn't much better.  I like to think of myself as a tough chick.  Kind of hard to do when I really just want to hide in my closet until my appointment passes, LOL. Okay, I'm done stalling.  Cross your fingers that I don't need a crown ~