Thursday, January 18, 2024

If you Give A Girl....

 If you give a girl a brand new trainee the week of Christmas, she'll probably think her boss was crazy. When she tells you to give her the tools to do it correctly, her bosses will object.  She will definitely give them hell, and get her way, and becasue of that her trainee will stay for the full three weeks of training. And by the end of the month, he will be ready and she can take some time off.

If you give a girl some time off, she will proabbly find things to do, since she only had two days off the entire month of December. And since, during the month of December, Oldest totaled his car (he's fine, but the air bags went off and that deemed it totaled), and has now incurred a car payment, he's discovered he may have to live with you forever. Embracing his new fated doom, he will decide to move his room into the basement where her craft and the husband's sports card room is. 

So, since the girl has time off, she will move all of her stuff out of the space, and build out some walls and closet space. There will be drywall, and dry wall mudding, and dust, and primer, and trim work, and paint. Lots of paint. And Oldest will love it all. The husband will love his new card room upstairs. The dog, who always refused to go downstairs, will love that she can see him now while he puts together a card order to go out. And the girl will love that everyone is happy, even though all her craft stuff is still yet to be organized.

If you give the girl enough time off to build out a room, she will proabbly work on laundry while she's in the basement, and she will discover why the laundry overflow keeps randomly overflowing into the newly finished laundy/bathroom. With another day off, she'll rig something ridiculous to keep it from getting everywhere, since there's no easy way to stop it from happening. When her husband sees the trash bag, funnel and hose combination that leaves not a trace of water on the floor, he will proclaim that that is the most redneck invention he's ever seen.

He will also proclaim her a genius.

By the fifth day off, the girl will realize why it's important to wear a mask while sanding drywall and trim boards as her sinuses flare up into the worst head cold imaginable. She will of course, suck it up and go to work on the 6th and 7th day, hauling mail in the snow, sleet, and frozen tundra, thus making her sicker, which is why, she will get two more days off. 

On that day off she will realize that if she takes enough cold medicne she can conquer the world. Or at least more laundry, and a small closet space for Youngest. And by the last day off she will attempt to get spell check installed on her new tablet.

And, if she's sucessful, she'll most likely want a cookie.



Edited to add: After several attempts and a deep dive on Google, spell check is not going to happen. You'll just have to disregard my fat fingers. Also, I totally ate two cookies anyway.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Week 48...

 I think it's fair to say that the lofty goals I had of blogging every week this year prooved to ambitious.  I had a good run, but it's best that I accept the failure and move forward for those of you who are still reading.

So let's see.... I've been swamped with the new route. Yes, it's holiday, and yes, more money comes with more work, I knew all of that.  What I didn't know is that the guy that fills in for my days off would be shipped over to Martha's Vineyard for the majority of the holiday season, leaving me to work nearly all of my days off.  Or that the project I started with the auxiliary route (while I was on the smaller route) would contiue on two months later, or that another carrier would despreately need help streamlining his route for the last month.  I also didn't realize the only memeber of management that knows how to properly pay me for all of this extra work is out on medical until mid December.  To date I'm owed aproximately 14 hours of over time. It is supposed to be fixed this paycheck but I don't have high hopes. It is the federal government after all. The hardest part if I'm being truthful, is entirely mental. I'm working much longer days and just not seeing any forward movement finacialy. Quite simply, as fast as it's coming in, it's going out.  I know there will be a tipping point when I can make some progress, but that hasn't happened as of yet, and it has left me feeling very frustrated and wondering if I made the right choice.  Which I know I did, I just don't feel it right now.

My trusty laptop's power cord stopped working, rendering me with yet another very expensive boat anchor to add to the pile. And while I could easily buy a new power cord, the mere fact that it was running so slow I felt like I was back on dail up, makes me think it's not even worth it.  Thankfully, I bought a new tablet for black Friday, to give as a gift to myself after Christmas the day before the cord crapped out. Oldest is home and has help sync the necessary things to it, but finding all my passwords and reloading all my personal websites has been kind of ridiculous. Things like even finding blogger so I could type up a post are now a half hour project. Lord knows if I'll even be able to access your stories or comments. But, I will say that this new tablet is a dream to run my crafty programs on, cutting down aggrivation and time considerably. So I'm still on track for all my Christmas crafts, regardless of the fact that I have no energy to do them.

Holiday shopping is nearly done.  The bathroom downstairs is done, and worth every penny.  As soon as I figure out how to upload pictures I'll share it with you all. 

And as soon as I figure out how to get spell check on this thing, I'll be able to craft a better post, hopefully with a bit more frequency.

Until then. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Week 43, Maybe?

 Geez.  

This not having a reliable computer thing is throwing me off my game.

Let's see....



I turned 49. Hubs and I went to breakfast, then to the outlet mall to start the Christmas shopping. Later we went to my parents for a family dinner. It was nice, small, and yummy. And while it is just a number, all subsequent birthdays will be celebrated as 49 and a bit.

I had one last day on my old mail route. I picked up many envelopes and treats along the way.  And while I knew this was the right move for me, it is truly bittersweet. Although I have seen many of them in Walmart, as promised. The new carrier is great and ironically grew up on the route I went to. It will just take some getting used to for everyone.

I started the new route the next day in torrential downpours. It's been 4 days now and it's almost exactly the way I want it to be set up. A few small tweaks next month and it will be all set for Holiday. I am struggling with balancing the house stuff since I'm working a longer day, but it will all work out in the end. The Libra in me is off balance right now and I just have to keep reminding myself that that's okay. I'm sure once the paycheck starts, I will feel better. Nothing worse than working harder and not seeing progress. This time of year is always tough for me regardless. First, it's my birthday, then Oldest's in two weeks, then we roll right into Thanksgiving and before we can blink, Christmas. 

But before I get too ahead of myself, I should go switch over the laundry.

Because while I may need everything else to slow down just a bit, the laundry never does.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Week 40?

Why do you want to do this to yourself?

Because if I can do this, I can do anything.


Oldest, despite his ADHD, once focused, is unstoppable.  

He toyed with working out and going to the gym like many teens in high school. Some things stuck with him, others did not. The food part was always a struggle for him, as it is for most of us.

About a year ago he started to train with a guy he met at the gym, who was, and is, considered one of the best natural body builders in the state. The training was short lived as that level of trainer is too expensive for a broke college kid. Through that connection though, he reconnected with an old friend who had also done some competitions, and the journey started. 

The workout started about a year ago. Regimented and extremely structured.

The food part started 6 months ago.  Every calorie counted.  Marcos, micros, fat grams.  Everything is weighed and portioned.  There would be no ice cream dates, no favorite restaurants, no pizza. 

Two months ago, the calorie restrictions started. The crankiness set in.  Hangry had a whole different meaning in this house. Down to about two percent body fat, he was hard to look at.  Hubs shot videos of his poses every day and sent them to his coach, every inch of his body scrutinized. I worried honestly. He thought I wasn't being supportive. I couldn't understand why he would do this to himself on purpose. And when it was all done, then he had to start the meticulous process of getting his metabolism back to his original "factory settings". It. Was. Crazy.

Because if I do this, I can do anything.

This past weekend I opted to take my holiday, forgo the much-needed double time I'd earn at work, and headed down for the competition. I may not like the journey he's been on, but I sure as hell was not going to be accused of being unsupportive, nor would I miss his debut on stage. Turns out, aside from the unnatural spray tans, it was far less weird and awkward than I thought it would be. 

He placed, 3rd and 5th in Classic Physique.


Anything indeed.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Week 39...

Dear Postal Customer,

I realize to some of you, I'm just the one that brings the bills, junk mail, and grocery flyer.  The one you'd wish would skip your house most days, except of course, when I have a package full of goodies for you. Feel free to scroll right past this post, I don't mind. 

But for the others, the ones who know me. Those I've chatted with by the box, that I've gotten ahead of your problems, before you even knew they existed, the ones that wave as I roll on by, this is for you. 

Six years ago, I made the incredibly tough decision to switch routes for health reasons, and I was not disappointed. Over the last six years, I've watched you get married and divorced, celebrate births, first days of school, move off to college, and return home.  I've watched you move out and on to new things and move your parents back home. I have watched you grieve and heal. I have celebrated every new furry friend and felt every loss as they crossed the rainbow bridge. The excited butt wiggles are the best part of the job and the hardest part to accept when they aren't greeting me at the door.

In truth, I never aspired to be killing it out there in my big white truck with flashing lights, like most of us I had other dreams, but rather fell into a twenty-year career that's helped me survive real life. Now with 2/3rds of my working years behind me, I've taken a lot of time to look at what I want the next 30 years to look like and to best do that, I need to take the opportunities as they arise. No, we didn't hit the lottery, and I can't retire early, but an opportunity to switch territory has presented itself and (after months of overthinking) I've decided to take it. Quite simply, it will allow me the ability to better take care of my family and retire when I hope to do so. 

I am not going very far, you will likely see me zipping around town as per usual. It just won't be me bring your medications or cards from your great niece. I won't be the one rerouting Aunt Edna's Christmas Card that never gets correctly addressed, or fixing what FedEx and Amazon misdeliver. I won't be your frontline for problems regarding the giant clusterf*ck that is the new and improved current postal forwarding system. I won't be the one alerting you to check on your neighbors, or making sure your son lets his little brother in the house after school no matter how annoyed he is with him. I can't help you find your lost dogs, well, maybe I can still do that, it depends on how far they wander. And while I cannot guarantee it, I have done certain things to ensure you're left in the best hands, and I will be only a few feet away from them in the office for any questions or issues that will arise. 

 I will miss you all more than you know. And I hope when you see me buzzing by, you wave like always, or even stop to chat. Because while it's no longer going to be me, I would love it to think that, over the last six years, in just those ten seconds a every day, I made a difference to you too.

(((HUGS)))

-J 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Week 38...

I'm blaming my absence on technical difficulties, along with my not paying the internet bill on time, and not promptly responding to emails. While I can pull emails up on my phone, the new way in which they appear is causing me to miss many of them and delete the others. I have actually been trying to get my computer functioning since 9am this morning.  It's now quarter to one. And truth be told, with life's distractions, I'm not even sure when or if this will post, but here goes.

The last three-ish weeks have been wet, dreary, and rain soaked. No one better be talking about a water ban this year, because we've had more than our fill.  Thankfully we are not in the hardest hit areas, nor did we get a direct hit from Hurricane Lee, but still, we've had more than our share.  As I sit typing away, we are expected to get another two inches throughout the day, much to my and the dog's dismay. 

The rain's made it a good day to sit on the phone for over an hour on hold with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.  It seems, that within his little trip to Jersey last month Youngest zipped through several lanes of the NJ turnpike in the cash only lanes. Unfortunately, there's no online option for "I'm too stupid to read the ginormous sign" and he was hit with not one, but FOUR penalty charges for his carelessness. An hour later I was able to get a nice person on the line who waved the charges and enabled him to pay just the fees. Needless to say, he's getting an ezpass for future travels and I'm getting myself a cookie for my hard work and patience.

And while some of you may say, it's not your job to sit on hold or handle anything for him, or he'll never learn if you don't stop doing those things, let me first say that you're right. But here's the thing. Since April of 2020, Youngest has planned eight suicide attempts. I do not know how many he has actually tried, but thus far, he's thankfully been unsuccessful. There have been many things I've stopped helping with, condoning, or facilitating in those three years. Much of his struggle has been his and his alone. And in January, when he came face to face with himself and hated everything he'd become, he knew it was time for a change. The first few months were excessively difficult. And then one day, it wasn't.  He started taking care of himself. Organizing his life. Changing direction.

He turned around and headed right back to where he was headed pre-covid, back to personal health and fitness.  He enrolled in a very expensive, but nationally accredited online course to become a personal trainer. He struggled for months with the curriculum.  He learns better in a classroom, with conversation and discussion.  Independant learning is tough for him. And this subject matter, antimony, physiology, kinesiology, is hard for anyone. Nevertheless, he kept going. I spent countless hours on the phone with the company, mainly for payment issues on their end, and for testing dates.  I did that for him because I could, and often I could resolve it for him faster that way. His first deadline to test for his certification was coming at the end of September, so we scheduled it for last week, knowing full well that 40% of students fail their first go around. Fully aware we didn't have the technical setup to take it online at home, I urged him to take it in person. Agreeing, he headed over to the local college 45 minutes away for his proctored exam, and I waited to hear.

He passed.

And in that moment, I was reminded of all the things he's been up against his whole life that no one ever thought he'd get through and did. His whole life has been a series of hills to climb, which he has done with us both cheering from the sidelines and leaning on us when he got too tired. And when he fell down that mountain it was equally as heartbreaking, and downright devastating for us all. And since picking himself up off the rocky gravel of the valley below, he's climbed small hills, steady inclines. But this was his first real summit to climb since, and he succeeded. 

Now he's setting sights on new mountains, both big and small, with a renewed sense of empowerment and worthiness, with a knowingness of wanting to be here, present in his life.

So yeah, it's not my job to spend hours on hold. But if it levels out the ground so he can stand firmly and reset his mindset, I will gladly do it. 

Now if I can only figure out what I did with the internet bill.



Sunday, September 3, 2023

Week 35...

 Things that made me happy edition.

The malls I spent my time in as a kid look nothing like they did back them.  Brick and mortar stores and malls are vanishing faster than squeaky toys in a dog park, and in one case, one of them has been leveled to the ground.  In its place they are building an open-air shopping experience, which if we were in a warmer area would be great, but when the weather turns cold and dismal, it lacks a lot of appeal for me. Monday the Hubs and I went to check out what's been done so far since the leveling and I have to say, I'm kind of impressed.  No, I won't enjoy schlepping my things through snow and rain (I get enough of that at work), but the layout and mix of retail stores is quite good.  The restaurants range from low to high end, and the whole plaza is easily walkable unlike some of the other openair establishments done over the last few years. 

~~~~~~~

When I was little it was a huge treat for us to go to a local dairy farm a few towns over and get ice cream.  It was the best around, and with their expansion to our town 30 years ago, it has long become my kids favorite place to meet up with friends and wander downtown, sundaes in hand year round.  On Tuesday, after 60 years of being in business, they went on the auction block. The high bidder paid 1.7M, a bit over market value, but he just couldn't see it go to condo developers. Turns out, the winner is the owner of another long-established dairy farm in the area, where my kids went many times with their grandparents to indulged in chocolate milk and sweet treats in the summer. It's crazy how something so simple can make me so happy.  And if they take over the existing lease downtown as well, we just may take advantage of their delivery service for weekly glass bottles of chocolate milk.  It. Is. that. Good. 

~~~~~~~~~

The correct hose & attachment arrived for the toilet yesterday, free of charge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The heat and rain has subsided at least for a while. The windows in the house can be open all day. The nights are getting crisper.  

Fall is coming.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Week... I Have No Idea...



Me: So, when are you planning on doing that stuff you keep saying you'll do it while I'm on vacation?

Him: At some point.

Me: Because you're running out of days. 

Him: I know.  Best. Vacation. ever. 


In truth, it's been quite the week.  So, while he may not have trimmed the trees and done all the yardwork he planned and promised, he's been focused on other things, apparently making it the best vacation ever. 

Sunday, Oldest graduated with his Batchelor's in Site Civil Engineering. He's all moved home and we've successfully integrated for the third time in a month most of his things into the house. Kitchen stuff has all been washed up and stored in totes, while household products have been stuffed away for household use. There is no toilet paper shortage here folks, I can assure you, at least for the foreseeable future.

Monday, we planned his cookout to celebrate.  We kept it small because in May, if all goes to plan, he will be graduating again with his Masters. So, most of the day was spent cleaning, shopping and cooking.  Thankfully the humidity took a backseat, and we were able to host it outside and thanks to the citronella candles from his High School graduation, the mosquitos didn't bother us too much either. My sister had brought over Bonus Son's old dorm fridge that she had borrowed for my niece her freshman year, so we'd have somewhere to put Oldest's food, as he's training for an amateur body building competition in October and meal preps everything.

Tuesday the plumber came to see what needed to be done downstairs. The Hubs tried his best with him, but since it is my project, he could only relay a few things.  The biggest of issues would be permitting, as the ceilings are far too low down there.  An issue I already knew; I just wasn't sure of the work around. So, while I waited to hear back, I managed to find the mini fridge a home amongst the storage bins, and Oldest was able to clean it, making it ready for his food storage, so that was a win.

Wednesday quite literally nothing got done.  Hubs and Oldest sat in front of the TV and binged watched a series, and when I pulled in the drive from work, I heard "Quick, go unload the dishwasher so she'll think we did something today." We did take the dog to the vet for a follow up on her meds.  Her bloodwork came back perfect and provided there's no new issues, we don't have to bring her back for 6 months.

Thursday nothing got done either. Youngest came home from work to let me know he got a $1 raise at one of his jobs, which is great, and around 5pm I got a phone call that the plumber would be here at 8am to start the work. Wait, what?

So, Friday comes, and I plan to be late for work. By 830 he's still not here so I head off, only to find out we're in mini count, a process that determines our pay for the next 6 months. Great. Hubs leaves around 930, still no plumber, to help my niece with a puzzle she'd been working on all summer.  Her plan was to frame it and hang it in her dorm when she went back, until she got to the end and realized the dog had eaten multiple pieces.  My mother bought a new puzzle, and being the puzzle guru that he is, headed over to see if they could just fill in what was missing. Which was great until they realized it was a completely different cut than the other puzzle. Frustrated, they took the old one apart and started on the new, they got about a third of it done before Hubs returned home. At 1030 Oldest calls to say that the plumber arrived, the faucet won't work with our set up, and that the doorknob to the basement door is broken. Yay. I finally get through the day, get home and find the plumbers are packing up because the water line has a metric fitting on it and I need to get a specialized part as per the instructions, so they can continue. Not reading the instructions, I agree, they pack up and leave.  When I finally dry out enough to function, did I mention it POURED rain all day? I read the instructions myself, where it says if the metric fitting is attached, simply cut it off, and use a 3/8" compression fitting, an item that is stock on any plumbing truck. *sigh* Setting that aside, we head out to meet Bonus Son for dinner to celebrate his 29th birthday. Dinner was good, quiet, and quick. And of course, he drops a bit of a bombshell when he says he's thinking about changing jobs/careers. Which is great that he's thinking of forward movement, but a bit of a shock since he's all about not rocking the boat, maintaining status quo, and flying under the radar.  We'll see, but it would be so incredibly sad if we're sitting at dinner with him next year and he's in the same place, the time for change is now, before he's in his 30's.

Saturday was less rainy and an easier day at work. The Hubs went back to my niece's to help with the puzzle for a few hours, returning about the same time I got out of work. We had planned to go downtown for a food crawl for our anniversary, twelve years! Crazy. Unfortunately, the entire town was also downtown for the waterfront festival, and while it was nice to enjoy that too, we had to park a literal mile away and walk. Three hours and five miles of walking later we get a text from my niece, there's only 20 pieces left! Can you help me flip it tonight? That girl had worked on it nonstop, how can you say no to that? After dropping him at home to take care of the dog's meds and such, I headed back over to flip it. They had only a few pieces left when I got there, and as my sister readied the camera for the final piece, it was missing.

Seriously.

Now the frame that my sister got wasn't going to work, and we headed back to the store, grabbed the right sized frame, parted ways and I went quickly into Walmart to grab a few things we were out of, which of course turned into a crap ton as everyone started texting me requests. I think it was 8pm by the time I took my shoes off.

Which brings me to today, where Hubs and I went grocery shopping again, he fixed the doorknob, and I've taken three naps. 

Tune in next week for far less excitement.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Week 33...

 Me (May 2023) : I will not buy anything big at Brimfield this year.  I'm definitely not buying another bank of PO boxes.  I don't need another project

Also Me: 

And so, the bank of PO boxes came home with me, as mentioned in my previous post in May. (Brimfield for those who don't know, is a massive flea market/antique show held three times a year in central Massachusetts) It sat in the garage for a while, until I scored a bunch of free mahogany off  Buy Nothing. Two weeks ago, I dragged it out from under a pile of stuff in the garage, removed the locks we didn't have keys for, cut the latches off and reinstalled them, then gave it a good coat of spray paint. 


Then I used some scrap plywood and encased the bank in a solid box.  The Hubs busted out the power washer over the weekend and washed all the wood down since it had been stored outside. Once it was dry, I added the planks of mahogany.  They are 1" thick, which I wouldn't normally do, but free is free...
Then the trim...

I remembered to save all the saw dust this time! (Pro tip: If you save the sawdust, mix it with some glue, you can use it like wood filler, plugging all the holes with a perfect match. 

After filling all the holes and sanding it forever, I gave it a good coating of linseed oil to bring out the natural colors and grains of the wood, then two coats of poly. That's when I realized that my original plan of hair pin legs wasn't going to fly.  This sucker weighs about 80 pounds. So, I turned my sights towards cast iron. I checked websites, Esty, Amazon. They all wanted WAY too much money, plus the size was odd, too narrow it becomes a tipping hazard, to wide, it will look weird. After searching I realized that an antique sewing machine base was the exact size I needed. And as it happened, someone was selling this one on Marketplace for cheap money. A quick coat of paint is all it needed...


In case you can't make it out, this is no old Singer base.  It reads, "Jordan Marsh, Boston Mass".  As in the iconic Jordan Marsh Department store that survived downtown for over 100 years.  The same one my Mom shopped for Easter dresses in as a little girl, and that I shopped in in college. The wheel still spins too. Any hoo...  four screws later and here we are....

It's serving as our mail center for now.  Each person has a mailbox, and one overflow box for stuff that needs to be filed. Later it will be a fantastic storage unit for my Cricut vinyl in the craft room, but for now it's found a home. The spare keys are glued into the broken locks and act as a handle for the door.  I don't like the white hang tags, so the hunt is on for some tin embossable ones that I can add our names/box numbers into. 

Perhaps, I will find the perfect key tags at the next Brimfield in September.


Sunday, August 13, 2023

Week 32...


 Youngest took off to Jersey for a few days. I don't ask many questions anymore.  I find when I do, I get shut down. When I don't, I get more details after the fact, which is better for both of us, because at that point I can't worry about it. I knew 6 Flaggs was planned, as well as Atlantic City and longboarding the boardwalks. So, when he returned home, the back window of his car meticulously hand painted with hot pink letting of  Girl's Trip! Buy Us A Drink! Venmo *****, I was curious.

Me: So, did you go with a girl, or did you meet up with some down there?

Him: Nope.  Just the boys.  We had wigs. Mine was purple. We made six bucks!

I haven't laughed that hard in three years. Because despite the fact that they could have made more than $6 had any of them shaved their full beards, this is the youngest I remember.  Always funny, always out of the box, always using the line like a jump rope.

This, in addition to his selling something this week that was a big part of his life for the last two years, at far less than what he wanted, makes me feel like while there is still a long way to go, that part of his learning curve is over. While I waited in the parking lot for the meet up to finalize the sale, this guy was popping around across the street.  


While they are prevalent here, I rarely see foxes, let alone long enough or close enough to get a picture. 

~~~~~~~

Oldest had his senior showcase at the college this week.  An entire year of research, planning, and execution all on exhibit for two hours. Being Civil/Site engineers, he and his team theoretically built a prep high school dormitory and education building for UMass Amherst. The projects across the board were super interesting.  The Biomedical engineers had wearable sensors that alert parents if a child is at risk of drowning at the beach or pool, wearable sleeves that stop the tremors of Parkinsons, and glasses that collect data for the visually impaired and deliver it to them via speech controls.  It even had facial recognition that could identify a known person coming into the room or approaching them.  Another project was an app that monitored labor contractions to determine if labor was progressing at a normal rate, or if they were at risk for preterm labor, and when/if to seek emergency services. The mechanical engineers had everything from automated trailer hitchers, to self-loading/unloading refrigerated pallets for shipping, to robotic assisting dogs for the elderly.  Seriously interesting stuff. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After being a minimal summer weekend warrior for the last 17 years, my neighbor has finally moved in full time next door.  To say that we are all concerned is an understatement.  She seems to have good and bad days, the bad days involve multiple car accidents. Currently her bumper's held up with duct tape and she has no side view mirrors. After talking with some of the other neighbors, she's struggling with letting go of things (her house is packed with her parents and grandparents' furniture), as well as struggling with basic tasks. So, her trash isn't going out, and the lawn's not getting mowed.  Thankfully while other neighbors have, we haven't seen an influx of mice, but the wildlife is definitely moving in.  


Chippy here has clearly taken residence under the flower beds (there is a den sized mound on our side of the fence) along the driveway. Since there's no exit hole on our side, I can only deduct that he burrowed in from her jungle of a back yard. He's cute, but he needs to stay away from the car hoods and electrical systems. Then it's game on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our favorite garden shop had a sale for tax free weekend. I grabbed some sweet potato vines to spruce up the window boxes. I've already seen hummingbirds hovering for their tiny purple flowers. Fingers crossed they will give some color through October. I hate spending money on annuals because they die off in just a few short months. We found a gorgeous hibiscus for $25, not realizing that it needs to come inside for the winter unlike our others. 


So, while Hubs went golfing, I returned to the store and got a new pot for it, an even larger pot for the rain lilies, a rain chain of tiny umbrellas, and some bulbs that I've secretly planted and will give Hubs the tags for Christmas so he can anticipate the new lilies that will come up next spring. I really shouldn't be left unsupervised when there's a 50% and more off sale.  Just sayin'.

I also bought the $1100 toilet for the basement bathroom. It should be here on Wednesday. And so as not to leave y'all with that sickening feeling that I feel every time I think about spending $1100 on a toilet, I'll leave you with the colors of August from our yard.

Our Hibiscus that does winter over.

Our Rose Of Sharon (which apparently is also a hardy hibiscus variety)

The last of the new lilies

The phlox is still going strong, this one's a late bloomer

Our only Tiger Lily, it's 4 feet high

Alstroemeria.

And one gratuitous picture of the girl's newest hiding space. I guess she though when I went through all the to be filed mail that we keep in that basket, it was for her. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Weeks 30 & 31...

I'm elbow deep in projects here, literally, as the latest one landed me flat on my butt and bleeding in the hydrangea. 

But enough about that.

A while back I found a trunk for Youngest to restore that would eventually house all his keepsakes from childhood. After a bit of searching, I came across the deals of deals on Marketplace and for $20 came home with this beauty...


It was in remarkable shape.  Unlike the trunks I usually grab, this had the original key with working lock, a copy of the Boston Herald from New Year's Eve 1939 in the bottom, and the last transfer tag from when it was shipped, with a portage cost of a whopping $1.50.
Wanting to be able to save as much as I could, I happened to find that the case for the screen protectors at the dollar store was just the right size.  The trunk sat for quite a while, as I've had quite a bit of things come up, and not enough money honestly. As I picked away at it, Youngest got more and more interested, choosing stain colors, insisting on cedar lining the inside, and deciding to line the lid with the old newspaper. Truthfully it killed me to have to strip off the near perfect paper lining that was already inside the trunk but that is the only way to get rid of the mildew smell, so it had to go. I'll spare you the progress photos, mainly because my computer isn't cooperating and I can't find them at the moment, but here's the gist....
After painstakingly removing the oil cloth, we went with dark honey on the bands and light honey stain on the plywood box. Then I taped off all the metal work and sprayed it all a hammered black texture. Youngest decided it needed something special, so I went back and gold leafed the lock and clasps, as well as the end caps for the new handles.  The secret to replacing the handles by the way, is to use a belt.  This black/brown reversible one was donated from The Hubs collection, and Youngest decided that brown was the way to go. I also got a black chain to secure the key to the trunk as that's just not a thing you can get at the hardware store if it gets lost.
We also did some gold leaf in the deep cracks and crevices because that's where the good memories are. We hung the transfer tag from the handle in it's protective case with some craft twine, and I also found some old trinket dog tags we made at the amusement park when he was little with his name and address, so we hung that too. He insisted that it be lined with cedar, and since the lid gets too heavy when wood lined, we opted to line the top with the 1939 newspaper. Fun Fact: The Boston Herald is still in existence, someone left one in the Post Office today, a daily paper costs $4.50 today. We selected some of the more fun articles to highlight, stocks of course since Youngest has an extensive stock portfolio, the "drug of the year" article, a rental advertisement for Becon Hill Apts. starting at $35 and up (currently $3,200 and up), and an obituary for Abe Lincoln's cousin, she was 84.






Youngest insisted we not cover the staining on the paper, as it's part of the history.  I should mention we also added casters to the bottom for convivence of moving it around.  We went with antique brass in keeping with the theme. The one thing that was missing from the trunk was the tray and as luck would have it, I scored some free mahogany from my Buy Nothing group here in town.

I took the smaller, wider pieces, and after a lot of sanding, some pressure washing, and a bit of stain, I crafted a tray to display all of his awards and metals...
The tray is quite dark, but Youngest doesn't seem to mind. There's still room to add metals as getting back into Spartan Races is something he wants to do.  I added a clear piece of plexi to the tray and filled it to the brim with personalized scrapbooks, Scout stuff, karate belts, wrestling gear, Championship sweatshirts, Trophies, his cap and gown, awards, diploma, stuff from his father, you name it it's in there. Truthfully, there's still more, but I'm hoping to reconfigure some things and get it all in there.

Twenty-One years of life in one portable, albeit insanely heavy, container. 

It sits next to his bed.  

He loves it.

I love that he embraced my crafty craziness, and we made it as unique and amazing as he is. 


Ed Note: As per his request, I sent the seller the finished pictures so he could show his grandmother.  She was thrilled, and said it looked just as she remembered from her childhood, as it was her father's.  We're estimating the trunk is 90-100 years old, and worth every second of my time to give it a new life.

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