August 21, 2012

Too Long ... That Light is Elusive...

A while back I posted a topic labeled "Light at the End of the Tunnel"... apparently, the tunnel is longer than I thought.   Fourteen days since I last wrote.  Nearly a month since that tunnel post.  It is starting to make me sad!  Apparently, I must have more work to do on my time management!

Anyhoo...  in that tunnel post, I shared this photo and promised to be back to explain. 

And here I am!

That picture represents many days of purging my scrapbook stash, packaging it and pricing it for a fantabulous scrapbook and craft sale that a group of us got together and held. 

It was a blast!  Think of it... scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, stamping, art... all together in one location... and most of us had been employees of scrapbook stores.  Lots of deals, I tell you.  If I were a shopper, not a seller, it would have been like a kid in a candy store!

We even served refreshments!  Absolutely NOT your average garage sale! 

Believe it or not this was our first customer.

Yes, him.  Never would have thought someone like this would show up at a craft sale.  Actually, I don't know that he knew what he was doing there.  He literally walked around the circle of "stuff", picked something up off the center shelves that cost 50-cents, paid for it, and walked out.  I don't even think he stopped walking... it was like a fly-by-craft-buy!

Hangin' out at the cash-out stand... the shaded area!  :)

It was so well-received and we were successful enough that we decided to hold another at the end of September.  So... if you're in the area, let me know and I'll send you the deets! 

Anyhoo... just one more of the fun, scrapbook-related happenings that has been keeping me busy this year. 

I WILL be back with more...

August 7, 2012

The New Room...

Well, my blogging friends, here is part of what has been going on in my life.  This directly affects my fitness foibles on which I have been mostly silent of late.  I guess you could say that I have been pretending I'm a yo-yo, with my weight bouncing up and back down a couple of pounds for many  months.  Until recently, I wasn't too upset about it, but have finally recommitted (as of around March).

I have also decided I need to have a place at my home that is devoted to fitness.  We have a "spare" room in our basement, but for many years it has held... well... crap.  Lots of it.  Piled taller than me (which isn't a big deal as I only stand 5-foot, 1-inch).  Crap, crap, crap.  Like, so much crap!  How much crap, you ask?  Loads of crap! Like, the beginning of a Hoarder dysfunction.  (shakes head in embarrassment.)

Here are some pictures of our room o' crap.  Please excuse the mess.  (snicker)

Standing in the doorway

Counter clockwise, slightly, still from the doorway

All the way to the left of the doorway, and I've stepped inside the room slightly.

Okay, these pictures don't even reflect an area to the right of the first photo, which would have been the closet had this room ever been finished by the previous owners of this house, which is also piled full of crap.  This 'closet' area is really just the wood studs awaiting the drywall/sheet rock.  Oh... but the lovely previous owners did install the closet doors!  (Who does that?!)  You can see one at the right of the first picture.

As you can see, it's a horrible clutter of who-knows-what.  You can somewhat see that there is a weight bench.  No, really! There is!  Okay, look... in the first two photos, if you look really hard to the left, you can see some weights sticking off the end of the bar, and in the third photo you can see the bar on top of the bench, in front of the headboard.  See it?  There!  Yes, you've got it now.

At one point in time I was hoping to make this room a little workout area.  Instead, as you can see, it became a dropping point. 

Many months ago, The Hubs volunteered to go on a trip for his company to their national conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year.  After finding out the dates, I took some time off, completely committed to clearing out this room.  I wanted to do it when he wasn't home to try and get rid of things we didn't need AND because I tend to be a little more productive when The Hubs isn't around (shhhhh, don't tell him!)  I didn't tell him what I was going to do, so he hadn't a clue!  When I informed one of my friends of my plans, SHE took off the time as well, and very generously offered to help me out! 

Last week was The Week!  I had my ideas on what I wanted to do, so when my friend arrived last Wednesday morning, we set to work.  First thing first... remove EVERYTHING from The Room.  This was an all day task.  Some things went straight out to the curb, while many things just got moved into our family/TV room for the moment.  Talk about a work out!  Cleaning out the work out room was probably the longest and hardest work out I've had in a long time!  Six hours of moving boxes and junk and stuff.  The heaviest stuff we moved?  A console TV.  Up 6 steps and back down two and then to the curb!  How proud am I?  Also about 16 sheets of drywall/sheet rock.  After about three, we got tired of carrying the heavy full-sheets, so my friend cut it in half while I trekked it up the steps and out to the curb.  Doing the math?  That's 24 trips up and down the steps.  The other major heavy item was a computer desk, in pieces, that was simply a bear.  After the drywall?  A bazillion more trips (I might be exaggerating a little) with pieces and strips and chunks of old paneling.  Some other things got moved out just because I knew they were things the kids had collected over the years and no longer really wanted.

Did I mention the heat and humidity of this day?  No?  Well, it was hot.  And humid.  'Nuf said.

Eventually, my curb looked like this.

Thank goodness for Craigslist.  Let me tell you, if you're in the States and have access to Craigslist, post a "free curbside pickup" post and your stuff will FLY!!!  No joke.

Here is the room once it was mostly cleared out.

See?  There's the weight bench!  The only item that never left the room!
So exhausted at this point!

At this point, we finished clearing the room and then set up the shelving that you can see to the left of the weight bench.  We cleared off the shelves that are up on the far left of the above photo and moved them to the far, blank wall (with paneling).  Then we pretty much called it a day. 

Believe it or not, I went and worked out after all of this.  I certainly got my fitness on last week!

The next day we went to Lowes and bought even more shelving, set that up and then started repacking items into smaller boxes that would fit on the shelves.  Here is where I also culled more stuff.  So many things in that room were actually EMPTY BOXES!  Needless to say, a lot of room was created by ridding ourselves of those.  And, it hurts to admit, more than 75% of the empty boxes were kept because they were The Hubs' collection.  He swears he has a use for them all so I stacked them up so he could decide if he really needed them or not.

After a second day of putting things back and a third day of really going through personal items and deciding what to keep (and a few hours spent looking through my old high school yearbooks, reminiscing), I was nearly done.  And the stuff on the curb was nearly gone!  Here is where the room stands now:

I'm standing in the doorway again, the same location as the very first picture up at the top of this post.  Those Dell boxes are empty.  Some of them have foam in them.  All of them came home with The Hubs because he could "use them".  I can't even say how long they've been sitting in the room.  Why are they still in the room? Because I felt he needed to SEE how many empty boxes he has... they won't be staying there for long.   The opposite wall has shelving.  Much of what's on those shelves will still be cleared out.  In fact, two of the shelves are all Partylite products from when I was a consultant for that company.

Looking counter clockwise, you can see a better view of the shelving.  What is most amazing to me is the FLOOR!  I can see the floor. And the treadmill is actually IN the workout room! The circular item to the right is a Papasan Chair and will be leaving with The Boy when he gets his first apartment (very soon, I hope).

And here we are looking all the way left from just inside the door of the room.  Weight bench and balance ball, the entire inventory of my fitness equipment (not including the Wii).  The bed headboard and foot board have been listed on Craigslist for sale.  No bites yet, so if any of you are nearby, it's for sale!  :)

Don't be blinded by the brain-breaking wallpaper on this wall.  It will be painted over (no I'm not taking it down first - there are reasons for this).  In the meantime, you can see the remaining items in The New Room - my treadmill and my weight bench.

But wait!  There's more!

And, here is my geek husband's tower of old computers.  And I call him a geek lovingly, trust me... having a computer smart person in the house is super handy!  But having over 15 PCs in various states of broken is not cool.  So not cool.  They are stacked here by the door leading out of this area of our basement a) to make it easier for him to NOT forget they exist and b) to make it easier for us to get them up the steps and OUT of the house as soon as he says he doesn't need them anymore.  And he's already done the research on where to take them, so hopefully this pile o' crap will be gone soon. 

But wait!  There's more!  Remember the "closet" area that really isn't a closet, but rather the framework for  the closet?  I bought shelves that fit between the studs so that we can use it for more organized added storage space.

There are three shelves... the first shelving unit holds more computer stuff.  The second shelving unit holds gaming stuff.  The third shelving unit... holds empty boxes. 

Yes, I'm serious.

That's a men's Huffy Blackthorn bike there.  Also up for sale on Craigslist.  Anyone interested?  Give me a shout!

Well, there you go.   This has been in the works for months and it took us about three days to get it done from start to near-finish.  I say near finish because I still have things I'd like to do. I'd like to get some foam flooring in to ease jumping around in there.  I also want to paint that nasty wallpapered wall.  And my friend is going to help me sew panels to "wall up" the areas of the closet that aren't doors... in other words, the other open areas.  But I'm good to go.  No excuses now!

Oh... except there's no power.  We'll have to run an extension cord.  But if that's all I have to be concerned about compared to where I started, I guess I'm a happy camper.  Anyone want to come over and be my fitness buddy now?

One giant leap toward fitness at home.  One even bigger jump toward Kai's clean sweep!

Back soon with more summertime adventures!  Promise!  :)

August 5, 2012

Free Gasoline...

Welcome to this month's edition of Storytelling Sunday.  It begins with this picture, which is actually the end of the story:

Now, let's get to the story...

One day, not too long ago (as evidenced by the date on the receipt), The Hubs and I had friends over on a Sunday afternoon.  This particular Sunday was also "National Ice Cream Day".  Now, I'm not one to ignore ice cream, especially a national holiday celebrating such a delectable treat.  So before we got too involved in our social time, one of our friends and I went out to get some sweet treats.

As we reentered the house, I heard a weird noise coming from the basement.  It sounded like my washing machine on spin cycle but Very Loud.  Did The Hubs start a load of laundry while I was gone?  I leaned forward, bracing myself on the stairwell railings, to listen more closely.  That's when I noticed the water coming out of the laundry room area into our family room.

I tore down the stairs, yelling for The Hubs to come.  Entering the laundry room, I am immediately in water up to my ankles.  Turning on the lights I see that the hot water heater has water pouring out of the bottom of it.  Stunned, I just point to it as The Hubs comes flying in.  He turns off the water main and we just stare at each other, dumbfounded. 

Another of our friends came downstairs to see what the issue was.  He showed us that there was a bypass water turn-off on the hot water heater, so we could still have cold water in the house.  I spent the next 30 minutes sweeping water toward out sump pump.  I must say, our basement must be graded well, for although there was a lot of water in the laundry room, very little got into our family room.  For that I am very thankful.

Well, we continued our afternoon social time with our friends, just with cold water and a lot of stress spinning in my head.  I mean, it's not as if I was saving up for a new hot water heater or anything. 

After our friends left, I went online to do some research.  Found the best buy at Lowes and so The Hubs and I decided to head over there the next day.  Besides, the Lowes website said "same day installation"!

(I'll skip over the part the next morning where The Hubs braved a cold shower.)

The next morning we headed to Lowes.  After discovering we couldn't purchase the one we had found online, we chose another, less expensive model.  This proved beneficial because of all the other things, including a permit to perform the work, we had to purchase to get the job done.  As The Hubs was finishing up the selection and details, I left the store and headed back to our local Giant Eagle to purchase Lowes gift cards.

"Why?" you ask.  "Why leave the store to buy gift cards only to come back and pay for the items with them?  Why not just pay for them?"  Ah... because if I'm going to buy a new water heater, I might as well get as many perks as possible. And for every $50 spent at our Giant Eagle, you earn 20-cents off your gas.  This is so very worth the 2 miles I had to drive to get the gift cards, and return to the store.

After paying for the hot water heater and all that came with it, we left the store to await the installer.  After only 3 hours, he arrived and it took him less than an hour to install our brand new hot water heater.  Aaaaah... hot water again.  Such a taken-for-granted luxury!

And a few days later?  I stopped at the gas station and got free gas!

Moral of the story?  If you're forced to buy a new hot water heater when you least had planned to do so, then drive the extra couple of miles to get gift cards so that you can at least get a tank (or more) of free gas. It's such a small thing.  But worth it.

Looking for more fun stories?  Visit here!


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