Monday, March 29, 2010

T-Molding, Blinds, Drapes, and Hot-Tub Time Machine

I had a productive weekend - working my tail off in the living room/dining room. Friday, my blinds arrived. Because we got a nice tax refund coming back, I took it upon myself to replace the rest of the crappy blinds on the first floor (and also used a coupon where I got the 6th blind free - woo hoo!). Last weekend I removed three blinds on the backside of the house so Saturday morning I started installing new 2" white faux wood blinds.

The first two went swimmingly.

Then I got to the third one.

Or the Bababooey Price is Right Fail sound clip if you like that better.

Now, I've installed many a faux wood blind. This was my 11th one in this house. But I have never thought I had to measure the width in four different places. Generally, the bottom and the middle were enough to get the right blind size. Well, I'm here to tel you to measure the top!!! Good Lord, is that window miles away from square. It was more than a 1/2" narrower at the top. And this blind was nearly 60" so getting another one at nearly $70 was not an attractive option.

Thanks to a post on Apartment Therapy, I decided it was time shorten it myself. Ran out to Home Depot to get a good hack saw (because the one we had was the cheapest option and I'm done with cheap-ass hand tools) and a big clamp to keep all the slats and aluminum track from moving around.

Here it is before the sawing (I used a scrap of baseboard to have something for the clamp to anchor down to since the top is open with all the guts of the blind lift/tilt mechanisms):

My mid-sawing picture got totally corrupted (it's all weird - half the pic is neon yellow). So I don't have a photo of that. The whole process took maybe 15-20 minutes. Surprisingly easy. I only needed to trim down 5/8" so I just did one side. Figured I could shimmy it over a bit to make it look centered. Here is the end result:

Then we went to see a matinee ($8.50 versus $11) showing of Hot Tub Time Machine. I have to say, it was pretty good. Silly, but still funny. "Must be some kind of... hot tub time machine." I mean, if Chevy Chase is in it, it's gotta be good. There were lots of funny references too, even a reference to A Christmas Story little kid fight scene.

Got back home around 2:30pm and I continued the DIY hyper-productive day and removed and installed the three blinds on the windows at the front of the house. Capped it off with installing the drapery rods. Seriously, I was pooped at the end of Saturday.

And the night before I also installed the t-molding with lots of construction adhesive:

(Louie felt the need to be in nearly all my living room shots. HAM.)

The fun continued on Sunday but I don't pics to show you yet. I started on drapes for the room. Broke out the sewing machine that I bought over a year ago on Craigslist. I got two panels 75% done but now realize that I need to shorten the bottom because excess burlap does not drape well at the floor. It's too stiff. So my drapes will just "graze" the floor. The bummer is that means more sewing at the bottom. Oh well. And did you see that terribly ugly printed 60s chair in the the picture of the t-molding and the pictures of the front blinds? The horror of that print. That's my next project - reupholstering that bad boy. Got him for $30 off the List of Craig.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tax Credits...

Seem to be biting me in the ass. Anyone else's federal tax refund delayed from the original expected date? We were supposed to get ours last Friday. Now it's looking like maybe this Friday? I don't know. Last year it was pretty fast.

There is nothing worse than waiting for a delayed refund from the IRS. Along with my hypochondria, I also have the "immediately jump to worst case-scenario" disease where I imagine they are delaying it because they decided to audit me or something. I googled around about slow refunds for 2010, and it seems like maybe the energy credits or something are potentially triggering reviews and or delays. For sure the first-time home buyer credit is causing delay, but didn't have that; we had both an energy credit for a new patio door, the clean diesel vehicle credit, AND the new vehicle sales tax deduction. Top it off with a chunk of 1099 income I had when I was contracting. I can't help but think I have been flagged as "odd" or something, with all these non-mainstream items. I had 3 W-2's, unemployment, and 1099. Most complicated tax year yet (yes, we had a CPA handle it for us).

Anyone else e-file their taxes yet? Is it taking forever to get your refund? Our state refund was deposited in maybe 5 business days after it was filed (yay for California after last year's IOU fiasco). I've seen the federal refund take a while before, but the last time was maybe 5-7 years ago... Blurgh.

Oh, and some of you asked what the puppy ate and I don't know the answer. I am guessing it was a bug of some sort that bit him when he tried to eat it. Spider maybe. Also, the huzband did not get one of the jobs (the second round one). He is still waiting to hear about the other.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Interesting Morning

On the morning walk with the puppies we found that in an area where a sprinkler broke (so, damp soil area) this weird mass of yellow goop had sprouted overnight. The Husband wonders aloud if it's a mass of spider eggs and immediately I imagine just a horrific army of nasty spiders taking over the house. Ew! Turns out it's slime mold. Also sometimes referred to as "dog vomit" mold. Weird! And my co-worker has it too, in his yard. Combine all this rain with the heat wave and you get this lovely stuff. Sweet.

I take my shower before heading to the office and get dressed then look at the puppy. His jowls are like 3+ times normal size. His penchant for eating anything that moves, or looks like it had once moved, clearly bit him in the ass. Or, rather, the face. The Husband carted him off to the vet (the swollen face had me worried that it could spread to the throat - swollen foot I would have just tried Benedryl myself). He got a shot of Benedryl-type stuff and is apparently passed out, according to the Husband. You'd think he'd learn but I am not holding my breath. This is the same dog that last week was barking at a dead bee on the floor (must have bit him, too, so he was telling it off, postmortem). Hopefully he'll be back to his normal self tomorrow. Note that the pics below were taken before the bite (like an hour or so before, in fact).

And, by the way, he's still not fully house-trained. We're down to 1-2 accidents per week. He had a stretch of a whole week without one and then two in the last two days.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Chugging Along Over Here

The Husband had two interviews with two companies in the last two weeks. One of them, he had a second/final round interview last week and is supposed to hear the outcome this week. I am trying not to get my hopes up because I don't want to be disappointed when it doesn't happen.

The second round interview was for a position that had initially been posted 6 months ago. They kept the resumes for later and hired a referral. Another position opened up recently and they called the people that had applied 6 months ago, thinking, likely, few of them would still be available. They picked six of "the best fit" (why would be you pick the worst - I think it's a fair assumption that they didn't pick the 6 worst). None of them had jobs yet. NONE. That's how shitty the construction job market is right now. As Dooce would say, it is the Valedictorian of Shitty Job Markets. It is the Bush 43 of presidents.

The odd thing is they said they might have two positions open which is cool - hey better chances to get one of them, right? But then yesterday, they posted the position on CL. Now we are wondering (a) did they not like anyone they interviewed, (b) is this the posting for the second position, (c) are they curious to see who else is out there. Only scenario B gives me any hope. As for the other company, it seems they are not very organized. He got the interview via his brother who works there. From the sound of how things have been working there with hiring, it's a slow process - though they have made it sound like it was going to be a fast decision when The Husband interviewed.

I was hoping that by now I would have good job news to write about, but the only good job news, really, is that they extended the unemployment benefits for people second extension expired after February 28th (if you were following the news, there was one senator from Kentucky blocking the entire thing. Now, I'm all for trying not to add to government spending because it is ridiculous, has been sinc 2002, but it's rather arbitrary for, let's say me, who got laid off in February 2009 to be still eligible for 3rd and 4th extensions if I were still unemployed, yet my husband, laid off in April 2009, is not - the economy was just as crappy two months later. More crappy, in fact). So, at least we're not going to have to eat ramen and cancel cable TV to make the mortagage payments.

Friday, March 5, 2010

U-G-L-Y, You Ugly! You Ugly!

That's what you would say to the hope chest below. I got it via Craigslist for $50 and when I got it home I began to question whether I could really make this thing look good or it I have just wasted $50 in a Chinese-made pile of junk.

I bought it figuring most of it was solid wood but the reality is almost none of it is. But it is, at least, wood-veneered (though how thick the veneer is - I don't know - I'll bet it isn't much). It looks like even the cedar parts inside are actually just a thin layer of cedar glued down onto a composite wood.

Anyway, this thing took me about a month to refurbish. Part of the aggravation was that the ugly-ass plastic brass handles were screwed into the drawer fronts and then the fronts were nailed and glued to the box -- no access to the handle screws without ripping off the face. After ripping off the faces (handy dandy putty knife and hammer), unscrewing the old handles (some screw heads had glue covering them so I had to break out the lacquer thinner to remove it), nailing and gluing it back on (liquid nails), and finally patching the holes with wood filler, I was ready to paint.

Now, this is probably not ideal, but I didn't sand it much. I gave it a once-over with 220 grit on an orbital sander - I probably should have sanded it more and with 120 grit or something. But I figured it isn't going to get heavy use in the house. I also didn't prime but part of the reason I didn't was because I wanted to distress is a bit and didn't want the gray primer color to peek through.

I agonized over the fabric selection for the seat cushion. Seriously, days of scouring Etsy. Like, had dreams about different fabric patterns I had seen. I FINALLY picked an Amy Butler print: Dream Poppies in Forest, home decor weight. I then used the fabric to pick a paint color. The winner was Behr Asparagus which I love. It's a great fresh green color. I did four coats of paint (and added the fabulous Floetrol conditioner), then used a sanding block to take just a bit of paint off the hard edges and expose the dark wood stain below. Finally, I applied one coat polyurethane over the top (probably should have done two - but I grew impatient and weary of the painting monotony).

Last but not least was to add the "bling" - I recovered the seat (left the old fabric on) with a staple gun and screwed it back in place. Picked up four funky knobs from Anthropologie and here is the purty result:

The green looks a bit brighter/punchier in person. My low-tech point-and-shoot digital camera doesn't take the best photos. You know the "bigger" home decor/diy bloggers have digital SLRs with good lenses!

It wasn't as cheap of a project as I would have liked. I should have haggled on the chest, but I didn't realize, at the time, it was nearly 100% veneered so it seemed like a good deal.

Chest: $50
Quart of Behr Satin Paint: $12
Liquid Nails: $2
One Yard of Fabric: $11 (from an Etsy seller - including shipping)
Four Anthropologie Knobs: $32

All the other tools and stuff I used I had lying around the garage.

Total: $107