darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I'll be taking [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis to their rental car first thing tomorrow morning so that they can be off on the second half of their American adventure, and that will end a week in which long anticipation, high expectations, and reality converged better than anything I've ever experienced.

Put another way, I've been imagining their visit for ages, it was fabulous in my imagination, and the reality has been even better than than I'd hoped.

Here's a little picture from our day at the coast:

Mr Kis and Haystack Rock )
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
Whew! Just came home from the grocery store on Eleanor O with all three baskets filled, the most stuff I've ever carted by bike: lots of goodies to share with [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis over the coming week.

My front yard has been suitably barbered, the house is as tidy as it's gonna get, and I've painted my last for a while. There's a fresh set of cotton sheets, the duvet cover is on the clothesline being breezed, and I have a stack of little post-it notes ready to affix to cupboards and drawers so that my guests know where to find things, notably the tea.

I've emptied out a couple of drawers in the bedroom, set up a clothes rack, and fluffed up the pillows. I think Hotel Dark Em is ready for guests!
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
It's been true all my life and I don't see it changing at this late stage: I'll accomplish things for a deadline or for someone else that I'll let go for years when I'm my only audience.

[personal profile] kis has several times expressed a concern that I'm overdoing the home improvement for their visit (in three days! Eeeeee!!!), but it's a fantastic motivator, and I'm not doing anything that didn't desperately need doing.

It's the back end of a perfectly splendid September Saturday, and I'm happily tired (and prophylactically dosed on ibuprofen), having sawed, spackled, chiseled, pounded, painted and pruned things that have been left undone for as much as ten years. Several of them seemed too difficult or too complex for me to tackle, but with the Magic of External Motivation® I suddenly found simple, obvious solutions.

It's like getting a new house! I hardly know the place.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
Eeeee! After many months of waiting and anticipating, the day of [personal profile] kis's arrival in Stumptown is almost upon me.

Way back last winter, [personal profile] kis wrote to inquire whether it would be convenient for me if she and Mr Kis made a short side trip to Portland during a US visit centered principally around Yellowstone National Park.

I think they probably heard the squee all the way in Scotland, but I wrote back anyway and said yes, yes, and hell yes, and said they could have my house and I would move across the street to my sister's house and...

Well, we've been planning ever since and they'll be here on Tuesday night!

*scurries off to do a few more little things*
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Today my new door is due to arrive, and this evening I get my new mattress.

Door and mattress. I remember a day when I wouldn't have considered either of these things as exciting as I do today, but here's the thing. There's been a sheet of plywood screwed to the back door frame for weeks, and if I want to use my refurbished back yard--which I do--I have to go out the front door and around the house (through amazingly recurrent spiderwebs) carrying my computer, my iced beverage and my phone. Decency demands, incidentally, that I be dressed before I do this.

So by Saturday I hope to be able to rise from the supportive and yet yielding splendor of my memory-foam-enhanced bower, drop the coffee beans on the floor if I want to and be able to reach down and pick them up, and then, coffee drink in hand and possibly still wearing my bathrobe, exit privately to the umbrella'ed table next to the gently plashing rehabbed home-made water feature in my charming outdoor living space, and there be the Queen of All I Survey.

And not a moment too soon, either, because even more importantly, my lovely guests [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis will be able to enjoy the same during their visit, which is less than four weeks away! Eeeee!
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
There's something about working till 6:00 or 6:30 every day that makes doing hard manual labor in the evening afterwards seem pretty unappealing.

Which is my way of saying that I didn't get a damn thing done on the mudroom this week except some actual mud. )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
OMG it's almost done. The mudroom is scraped, stripped, scrubbed, de-epoxied, thoroughly cleaned (several times) and primed. Today, after a full week of "painting," I'm finally going to paint.

Here are some things I've learned, re-learned or proved to my complete satisfaction:
  • Liquid fabric softener, which is nearly as toxic in its own way as some of the other substances I've been working with all week, really does make latex paint slide right out of paintbrushes and rollers
  • Light-reading audiobooks and fun podfic make the job go faster, but surprisingly, serious non-fiction audiobooks work well too
  • Rockite is my new favorite thing
  • It always takes longer than you thought it would
  • Four ibuprofen just before bed are like a really good sleeping pill
  • Posting "before" photos really motivates one to get to the "after" photos
  • Once you are soaked with sweat, you can stop worrying about being sweaty

Okay. Paint! Pea green, deep navy blue, and cream. We'll see how it looks.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Not being the world's biggest fan of summer, I put off doing much on the mudroom today, even knowing that tomorrow is supposed to get even hotter OMG. I know that most of my fellow North Americans have had the heat longer than we have here in the rainy zone, so I'll restrict my weather bitching, since today was our first really hot day. But OMG I do dislike hot days.

An entire bucket of paint stripper did not avail to loosen the coating on the concrete foundation wall. I thought of going back to the hardware store for something even more toxic and horrible, but it was too hot. Toxic shit seems more toxic in the heat.

I did get some painting done before the afternoon got into the high 90s, but nothing picture-worthy.

Then I came in and spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME hard-resetting my damn phone. Grr. Windows Mobile operating system: I am done with you! It takes hours to get all the ringtones and text message alert tones and pictures attached to my contacts again, and hours to get all my apps re-loaded and set up, and I don't even remember which cooked ROM I flashed a year ago, but whatever. I'm getting an Evo as soon as I can.

And now there are mosquitos in the house going mmmmmmmmmmmm near my ears. Summer nights. Ptui.

No progress

Jul. 6th, 2010 08:59 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Project Empty)
It's all very well to pour on the steam, to scrub and scrape and sweep all day long getting ready to paint, but I forgot how much it hurts later on. My hands hurt, my hips hurt, my knees hurt. Waah!

Then I had to go to work today. I'm supposed to be on vacation--Friday the 2nd through Sunday the 11th, right? Ten solid, uninterrupted days. But no. They had a crisis, and none of us on the team have any backup, so in I went. The entire system is predicated on basically either everything going smoothly, or no one taking vacation.


And I really am, but between the pain and the work crisis, I made no progress on Project Mudroom today, and it's supposed to get super hot tomorrow. Boo. Hiss.

On the plus side, the paint should dry fast.


Jul. 5th, 2010 08:11 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Here's why I don't like "painting": because before any actual painting can take place, you can spend hours and hours just getting ready to paint, and it doesn't look like anything has really happened.

The results of seven hours' labor )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I've drunk two pots of coffee. I've been to the hardware store and to my sister's tool room and my basement. I have now assembled one great piece of podfic :D, several quarts of leftover interior and exterior house paint, most of a gallon of Kilz primer, a box of TSP, rubber gloves, a bucket, a scrub brush, a mop, a respirator, fresh filters for the respirator, concrete paint (tinted black), a cheap light fixture, brushes, rollers, rags and crappy paint-stained clothes.

I can't procrastinate any longer. Well, I can--it's what I'm doing right this minute--but I'm not gonna.

Wish me luck. I'm goin' in.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Ed finished his portion of the mudroom project today, and now it's my turn.

Besides paying the bill, I still have to solve these little problems. )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
Woo hoo! After a long and rainy season with a mudroom whose leaking roof actually gave a view of the sky, Ed the Contractor (also my bro-in-law) has begun the re-roofing project.

This has gone WAY beyond a few shingles and some flashing. )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
Recent fandom thrills and excitement have sidetracked me a bit, and my Fifteen Minutes For Kispexi project has been no minutes at all for a few days. I find myself in the same old mental trap that has always kept me from having the household environment I'd really like, to wit: The Projects Are Too Big.

The whole point of Project Empty was to take it in small, manageable slices. That was built into the name of this current project. Fifteen Minutes. Not The Whole Precious Weekend.

So. Deep breath. Instead of "the mudroom of roof-leaking doom OMG!!!!!!EdvardMunchface!!!!" I need slices. Thin slices that I can line up in advance and knock down as I have time.

For instance:
  • de-spiderweb the mudroom of roof-leaking doom
  • take rusty cans of paint from the mudroom of roof-leaking doom
  • mop floor in the MRoRLD
  • go to hardware store and buy new lock for the door of the MRoRLD
etc., etc. That way, maybe the actual leaking roof in the MRoRLD will become more approachable.

There are two other "of doom" type areas that need my attention: the Overgrown and Neglected Back Yard of Doom, and the Side Yard of Doom (also known as What Ruins The View From the Kitchen Window).

There are, in addition, a couple of spots inside the house that aren't Of Doom, exactly, but that seem to bring out my most resistant avoider (mostly because they have to do with painting, and I hate painting, or because the proper correction is something I can't afford). These areas, too, must be susceptible of sub-dividing into quarter-hour increments.

So, back to the 15M4K project this evening after work.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
I spent my 15 Minutes For Kis today as planned, clearing off the side table in the kitchen where a lot of staple foodstuffs had taken up residence.

I'm not finished yet, because of course putting (or throwing) all that stuff away meant cleaning some other stuff. It's the Way of Decluttering. The hipbone's connected to the thigh bone, etc. Right now my kitchen's in an uproar. But that's what podfic is for--cleaning the kitchen.

So I'm downloading Queensguard right now. Yay podfic!

Next up: finish the table and then (aaauuuggghhh!!!) tackle the Old Trunk Full of Keepsakes that lives underneath it.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Oh, that wonderful feeling of decluttering!

Back when I was really on a roll with Project Empty, there was a feeling of power and mental cleanness that was damn near magical, and thanks to [personal profile] kis's projected visit in September, that feeling is back!

Whatever I decluttered completely during Project Empty has remained effortlessly clear and clean. Areas that I mostly decluttered have slowly regained some of their clutter. And the places I never cleared have proven to be like magnetic nodes of new-clutter accumulation.

It's as if one unused, unneeded, unreleased thing in a spot makes it the obvious place, the excuse, for another one, and another, and the moral of the story is: the only real decluttering is radical decluttering. Including--perhaps especially--in the hidden places behind doors and inside drawers.

Naturally, in my Fifteen Minutes for Kispexi project between now and September, I'm focusing on those spots first, and tonight I cleared one of them, a utility closet in my kitchen. As Project Empty died down last time, I stashed a few donation-bag items there, and a year and a half later, there they still were, along with everything I've meant to donate since, AND some paper bags. And rags.

Now it's all cleared out, and the Veterans are coming tomorrow to collect it. It really did only take about 15 minutes.

By the way, it's much easier to toss stuff now than it was the first go-round, because I've already done it, and I not only survived, but thrived, so there's not nearly as much angst and resistance.

Next up in 15M4K: The table of foodstuffs and cookbooks that I don't have room for in my kitchen cabinets. It's war, baby. Weird extracts and specialized cookbooks, prepare to be discarded.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
One of the greatest things that can happen in online fandom life is to discover even more common ground than fandom with someone, and make a real-life friend, one you enjoy meeting in person.

I had that experience with [personal profile] kis. We connected online in the Firefly fandom way back in 2003 (god! could it have been that long ago?). I met her in person for the first time at a 2005 con in London (where we had the most squeeingly great time), and got a personalized tour of Edinburgh a year later when I was back in the UK for non-fannish purposes. Met Mr Kis and "the Son and Heir", both delightful gentlemen, and brought home wonderful memories.

So now, [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis are coming to see me! They've planned a trip to the US centering around Jellystone Park, and because hey, coming-all-this-way, etc., they are going to fly first to Stumptown solely on the strength of my living here. Well, that, and Mt St Helens.

We have tons of plans involving volcano-climbing, bookstore-wandering, augite-hunting, beach-going, possibly bike-riding, friends-meeting, food-eating and generally good-time-having, before they rent a car and drive eastward into the Rockies to go see Old Faithful and fly home out of Denver.

The very-clever arrangement we've come up with is for them to take over my humble house while they're here. (I, meanwhile, will stay across the street at my sister's house. My house is way too small for three people.)

This is all going to happen in early September. Between now and then, I must put my house in order. I'm used to my house, but that's no reason to inflict it as it is on wonderful friends from lands far away, right?

Accordingly, I'm implementing 15M4K, Fifteen Minutes For Kis. I will spend (a minimum of) fifteen minutes every day making, doing, or fixing something about the house and grounds that will make their stay more enjoyable. Remodeling, it ain't. It's more of an extension of Project Empty.

First up: Prune the crazy kiwi vine that's threatening to tear down my porch. *goes outside with garden shears*

Okay, that's done. Next? The Secret Closet of Clutter.

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