A Remodeling Update: In Which Ms. Bean “Helps” & Other Important Things

It will come as no surprise to you, but it’s a mess around here.

Dining room with stuff from other rooms in it.

 Nothing is where it’s supposed to be.  Rooms that aren’t being remodeled have been turned into storage spaces for the stuff from rooms that are being remodeled.

Then with no clothes dryer, we’re using portable wooden racks, wedged into bedroom corners, to dry our clothes and towels and unmentionables… that are getting covered in a layer of dust before they dry, courtesy of the construction all over the house.

 Because the family room and the master suite are under construction, Zen-Den and I are living on the other side of the upstairs, each having taken up camp in a different guest bedroom.  At night we shout “good night” to each other like we’re the fricking Waltons: “Good night, Sue Mary Ellen… Good night, John-Boy.” 

Old microwave sitting on counter underneath spot where it fit, but new ones won’t.

 I officially hate microwaves.  Did you know that the manufacturers change the sizes of microwaves fairly often?  This means that the one we had built into the kitchen cabinets 9 years ago is now a size that is no longer available.

So we have to redesign the cabinets to accommodate the newer deeper microwaves.  I cannot *mutter* enough about this development.

 When the water is off for a few hours you immediately understand there’s one flush left in the toilet, right?  BUT what you might not remember is that there’ll be no water to wash your hands– and that you’ll need to have some hand wipes around.  IF you don’t have them around, then you’ll end up eating your lunch using a paper towel as you hold your sammie– then perhaps accidentally ingest some paper towel. 😖

Tools and such that are now on the floor hither and yon around the house.

 And finally, how is that I helped?  Well, as if there’s not enough destruction around here, I added to it when I went to close the bathroom door and the handle fell off into my hand.

Just. Like. That. I’m stuck outside the bathroom, holding the formerly useful handle in my hand, looking forlornly at the screws now at my feet.  Screws that happen to be about the same color as the carpeting, allowing them to blend perfectly with the carpet fibers, causing Ms. Bean to become FRAZZLED.

And on that cheery note, I’ll wish y’all a happy weekend.  Catch up with you later, kids. 

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 2 Of 2

[Continuing from Part 1 yesterday.]

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY already know, Zen-Den and I have been dithering around for years about:

What to do about our master bathroom?

It’s never been a good use of space, and I’ve never felt safe in it because the builder grade floor tiles get slippery when the room is humid, which is often because the builder grade exhaust system is pathetic.

Considering we like where we live in this large subdivision, one that caters to people of all ages– some neighbors retiring here to build their dream houses, other neighbors buying their starter house here, and everyone else in-between.

Like us.

And considering we like living in this small town that’s known for outdoor activities and casual dining, we’ve decided to stay where we are, remodeling what displeases us about this house, making it retirement-ready.

For later.

So, we talked with three remodeling companies about doing work around here, and decided to go with the company that remodeled our kitchen years ago.  Their workmanship and our style seem to be in sync.

• + • + •

Thus here’s what’s going on around Chez Bean this summer:

  • we’re having our master bathroom partially gutted, reconfigured, and modernized so that it’s safe [& pretty] for us as we age;  and
  • we’re having our laundry room reconfigured so that we’ll have a newer-style [larger] washer and dryer + usable storage space;  and
  • we’re redoing our family room fireplace tile and mantel + having the walls painted a neutral, timeless color;  plus while they’re here
  • we’re having our kitchen tweaked just a little bit to tidy up a few things.

And now, for a few “before” photos…

Small cabinet with sink over in corner where only Zen-Den could manage to use it.

• + •

Jetted garden tub that I hate, used as linen closet because there is no linen closet in this bathroom.

• + •

Larger cabinet with sink, and almost no storage, in another corner of bathroom. Technically not the builder’s fault that I’m messy by nature, but I think I’ll blame him anyhow for not giving me enough drawers.

• + •

Boring shower with absolutely no character that lacks an exhaust fan above it.

• + •

Small laundry room that doesn’t accommodate the larger side-by-side appliances that are now available.  Also dryer does not work, because it’s a poopy head.

• + •

Family room in which we pulled down the mantel last summer, then painted test colors on the wall intending to redo this mess ourselves. Obviously, we never did.

• + • + •

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 1 Of 2

WHEN I STARTED THIS blog years ago my intention was to write 80% about how we were updating our house + garden, then 20% about topics I was researching.  I thought this would be more of a design + information blog, rather than a lifestyle journal-ish blog.

Well, that idea fell apart, didn’t it?

Early on I discovered that:

  1. Even though I’m passionate about design, I don’t like writing about the involved decision-making process that goes on within all decorating +  remodeling projects.  I feel clunky and stressed when I try to write about design.
  2. Even though I enjoy photographing nature and signs and building exteriors, I end up swearing at my camera when I attempt to take pics of inside rooms.  I don’t have an eye for design photography, and my poor camera takes the brunt of my frustration.
  3. Even though I had some fun blog followers who were interested in our ongoing home improvement stories, they, to a one, stopped keeping blogs and drifted away from  the blogosphere.  I now have more wordy followers who groove on topics other than design.

So I had a little sit down chit-chat with myself to reassess what I was doing here, realizing that my most popular fun-to-write blog posts were personal, often about my observations regarding the wack-o-ness of people OR about small glimpses into the ordinariness of my daily life.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing about or photographing what we’re doing around the house.  No one cared, and I didn’t mind not writing about the angsty-ness and minutiae of design projects.

However…

[Part 2 will be tomorrow.]

• + • + •

• + • + •

Say What? Botox & The Fine Art Of Conversation

HERE’S A NEW-TO-ME PROBLEM…

I’m Botox-free, but have a micropeel at the skin care department of a doctor’s office every couple of months.  I started doing these peels about 15 years ago, on the advice of a doctor who told me they’d reduce my acne.

And they did.

Now I continue to have them because they keep my skin looking clear and healthy. Plus the peels kind of reduce wrinkles. Sort of.

I admit to being vain, to a point, so I’m not going to stop using them any time soon.

BUT HERE’S THE THING…

I’m beginning to interact with people in my real life who have availed themselves of the other services that this type of doctor’s practice provides.  That is to say lately various people who I know have wrinkle-free frozen faces that seem to be the result of using Botox.

I’m talking about people as young as their late 20s and as old as their late 60s whose faces suggest to me [or sometimes they tell me*] that Botox is part of their regular skin care routine.

To be clear here, I’m not writing this post to pass judgment on whether anyone who does this medically approved procedure is more, or less, beautiful because of it.

Do what you want, that’s cool by me.  Be pretty in your own way.

No, what I’m getting on about here is the fact that these people suddenly appear to be devoid of emotions.

AND IT’S THE DARNEDEST THING.

I’m an above average communicator with the ability to read people… if they give me something to read.  Yet I cannot, for certain, tell you if when speaking with these Botox-ed people if they understand what I’m saying, or asking.

There’s no emotion.  There’s no feedback.

And to be honest, as an introvert interacting with seemingly non-empathetic people who lack expressions, I feel more alone than usual.

And a little bit scared.

Because without some visual clue from a person about what’s going on within their mind, I’m left to parse their words to determine if what I said was, at least, heard– and then, possibly, understood.

I mean, suddenly I’m conversing with people who are most likely distracted, complicated, perhaps even not the clearest communicators to begin with– and now I have to guess what they’re feeling, too?

Groovy.  Just groovy.

* So are they confiding in me?  Or are they telling me I need Botox, but they don’t want to come out and say so?

Social Media: Rambling Thoughts About People Who Hate-Follow

It’s not that I’m a martyr to nice, but I don’t hate-follow anyone on social media.  It seems like more work than fun to me, but maybe I don’t know how to do it right.

I know it’s a thing to hate-follow other people.  I keep hearing about it from friends and family, sometimes in the context of harmless mischief, other times mentioned as, what I’d call, peremptory maliciousness.

They tell me who they follow, often a high school nemesis or a work frenemy or a disliked neighbor.

They tell me that doing this makes them feel good about themselves. That by keeping tabs on someone who they dislike, they come to understand themselves better &/or stay ahead of any trouble that might be brewing.

I don’t know if I totally buy into my friends and family’s reasoning behind the hate-following. To me their reasoning sounds more like rationalization about doing something kinda fun + almost amoral, than behavior contributing to a person’s good mental health.

But considering no one expects me to become a hate-follower, and no one seems to have upped his or her dosage of Zanax because of the hate-following, I figure what the heck?

I mean if nothing else, these friends and family do seem to have some fun, juicy stories to share about people– and you know me, I always love a good story, regardless of how someone learns about it.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

• Do you hate-follow anyone on social media? If so, how’s that working out for you? Details, please.

• Alternately, do you know anyone who hate-follows on social media? If so, do they have good stories to tell because of it? Or is it warping their brain to the dark side?

• Even more intriguing, do you think anyone is hate-following you? Hmmm?

Chatting Whilst Moving Wicker Furniture Up Stairs

“I’m probably maybe going to stain the porch floor again next summer.”

Zen-Den said this.

We were moving our wicker furniture into the screened-in porch, setting it up for warm weather.  This is the furniture that we’d put into the basement last fall when Riley, the neighbor dog introduced himself to us.

While I’m accustomed to the way lawyers speak, obfuscating to not commit themselves to anything specific, the above sentence was unique.

Even by husband lawyer-speak standards.

His lack of enthusiasm about what might need to be done made me laugh out loud.

 • • •

“Could you get anymore vague and non-committal?”

I said this, lamenting that he was being so indecisive.

To which, I kid you not, he stopped in place while we were carrying furniture up the stairs.  He needed to contemplate if there was a way of making even less of a verbal pledge about doing something.

At an unspecified later date.

Next year.

Leaving me standing there on the bottom step, holding up the back end of the wicker loveseat while wondering why I never learn that snarky comments get me into the most awkward situations.

Honestly… 🙄

{ Images via Sweet Clip Art }

The Tale Of Getting Our Held Mail Upon Return From Vacay

I DID NOT START THIS.  I want to be clear on this point.

I inherited this feud from some women who used to live on this street when all the houses were new, and the street wasn’t finished yet.  Women who moved to the midwest from big sophisticated cities.

Women who had never dealt with a small town misogynistic resentful male postal clerk who grumbled loudly about doing his job, poorly.

For reasons never fully explained to me they hated him, and being who they were, they launched a letter-writing + email-sending campaign to get him fired.  They found the names of everyone in the U.S. Postal Service who might be influential enough to get this resentful male postal clerk axed from his job– and set about trying to make it so.

Their campaign, organized and relentless as it was, did not work.

THEN they moved away leaving me the only woman on this street who knows what they did– and still suffers for it because he remembers which part of our street was out to get him.

The block I live on.

# # #

# # #

SO KNOWING WHAT I KNOW, I went over to our local post office branch to get our mail that had been held while we were on vacation.

As usual he was the only clerk working behind the counter and I had to stand in a long line.  No big deal.  Totally expected.

What I did not expect, however, was our resentful male postal clerk getting into a prolonged shouting match with a male customer who was trying to decide which box to use to send something somewhere.

Our resentful male postal clerk had strong opinions on what this customer guy should be doing– and the customer guy was. not. buying. it. at. all.

I found this tense conversation fascinating because this is my first experience with our resentful male postal clerk turning vicious on a man.

He’s branched out.  [pun intended]

# # #

# # #

EVENTUALLY I GET TO THE COUNTER.  With a sense of foreboding I hand my driver’s license to our resentful male postal clerk, and I wait for the inevitable hateful glare.

The snarl.

The shout.

“Greenwood Street, huh?”

But this time, my gentle readers, I was ready.  I put on what might be my best dramatic performance ever, playing the part of a contrite suburbanite.  When he squinted his eyes and glared at me, I slouched, I looked down at the floor, and I hung my head in shame for living on the street that I do.

Oddly, this performance seemed to light a fire under his heretofore slow-moving butt and he went into the back of the post office branch to retrieve my mail.  Lickety-split-like.  Without whining.

# # #

# # #

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.  As if this story could get more exciting and amazing, when our resentful male postal clerk returned from the back with our mail, that included 31 catalogues + many letters, he had it in an official U.S. Post Office rectangular white plastic toter that he handed to me.

This is unprecedented.

Never before has this resentful male postal clerk NOT dumped all of our mail on the counter for me to grasp, as best I can, in my arms.  He has previously enjoyed making me look like a klutz as I scramble to not drop anything while skedaddling out of his post office branch.

But this time, he was, for him, in his own way, almost kind to me.

And I gotta tell ‘ya, I find this a bit disturbing.  It’s just not normal– like he’s playing some new game with me that I have yet to figure out.