Sunday, June 30, 2013

Exterior Beautification: Problem

So, as is the problem with having too big of a to do list, as I mentioned here, things have to be put in priority order. Already breaking my focus on attempting to get the interior of our house together...I've started working on the outside. I have a simple plan to make some improvements that will make a HUGE difference. Something about having only a few steps to complete in order to get to a project "complete" (or, at least to a "pleased" state) is so incredibly tempting.

Here is a picture of the house when we got it. It was winter when I took the picture, so I know that, even if I went outside now, and just snapped a picture of it as is, it would look loads better, because there is more GREEN visible.

I love our house. Always have. I love it now more, since it's more "ours" the longer we live in it. But, let's see what my list of four things will do to improving its curb appeal. I'll reveal my list of four things, as well as the updated picture ASAP! Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Photo-a-Day 2013 Challenge

One of the blogs I follow, The Idea Room, is hosting a Photo-a-Day Challenge. Since I'm working on getting some of my befores and afters completed to be posted on here, I thought I'd participate, so you'll have at least one post a day for July to entertain you and "reward" you for visiting. Feel free to participate! More information can be found by following this link.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Laundry Room: Problem Part 2

I didn't intend for this to be a three part post but, it's going to be. In yesterday's post, I showed you what I started with with the laundry room, as well as explained a little bit of the history as to why it had become such a mess. However, I neglected to show you the mess. In full disclosure, I give you- my mess:

It has been better than this, it has been worse than this...
It's becoming WAAAAY better than it has ever been at this very moment. It's likely that most of the things behind the door will remain the same. I like the way I have most of that organized, I just have to declutter and reshuffle a bit.

One of the main things that I'm doing that you won't be able to see is actually doing and catching up on our laundry. My living room is a veritable clean laundry pile at the moment. I'm hoping to put it all away in the next 24 hours.

I know there are a few organization/decor things that I won't be able to finish in the immediate future, but I'll just have to repost once I get around to completing them! :)

Looking forward to having this tidied up and functional! Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Laundry Room: Problem

The bane of my existence is...laundry.

Now, you would be correct in thinking that, if laundry is my biggest problem in life, I've got it pretty good. It isn't truly the biggest problem that I face, but it sure piles into giant mountains often enough that it seems that way.

I've never been great with laundry, but getting married turned my little laundry life upside down. I had done my now husband's laundry while we were dating, on occasion, and I continued to do my own while I was in college...but beginning to do both of our laundry at the same time was more challenging than I expected.

I could be remembering incorrectly, but I think I adjusted relatively well to the laundry of two, and didn't get behind too often. However, in the fall of 2007, we were robbed. I don't honestly know what most robberies are like. I only know that the cops who came to investigate and look over our apartment compared ours to what it looked like when drug dealers rob other drug dealers' houses. For the record, neither my husband nor I were, or ever have been, drug dealers. That being said, they pulled the cushions off our couch, they dug through our freezer, they upended all of our drawers and pawed through our clothes, they dug out boxes and bins from the dark recesses of our closets (they were pilfering our home for a long time). I have never felt so violated. They touched almost everything we owned, just to see what they could find that would turn a profit.
This was the beginning of my problems with laundry. I wanted to wash every. item. of clothes. that we had. I wanted to wash away the bad experience, the fear, the violation...but, we were packing up everything. We wanted out of that place as fast as we could. It was perhaps the most haphazard moving job of all time. We had people help us out in numerous ways, and I will forever be grateful. But, I've basically been behind on laundry ever since. Yep. Six-ish years. :sigh:

I figured that, if I could optimize our laundry room for function, as well as make it "pretty," perhaps I wouldn't begrudge every second I had to spend in there, or doing the things related to that room.

I do realize that I'm incredibly fortunate to have a laundry room, to have a washer and dryer, and to have enough clothes that I have a hard time keeping up with getting them clean. I really do. However, my inability to be more organized and disciplined in taking advantage of those blessings that I have frustrates me (and my hubby) to no end.

That is most of the "why." Now, I'll show you what I have to work with.

Here is the laundry room when we bought the house:

As you can see, it's a decent size, has lots of storage, and had lots of potential.

I painted it, using Behr's Opal Silk. It's a nice, tranquil color, and looks (for lack of a better word) "happy." Don't you agree?

Sorry about the lighting -- it's a little wacky. Hopefully you get the idea. 
Anyway, tune in next time to see what I've done with it since! I hope I have some progress pictures tucked away somewhere that I forgot about, but I'll definitely take one of where it is now and where it ends up, once it's there. Hoping to have it finished by the end of next week! Hip-hip-hooray for organization!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unscheduled Home Improvement: Solution

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we were in desperate need of a functioning kitchen faucet. As The Husband was going to be otherwise occupied, I consulted an extremely handy friend of ours, who said it would be easier to replace the entire faucet, rather than fool around trying to replace the washer. I did some online browsing, and found a faucet that was an improvement over the one we had, was in stock at our local hardware store, was a reasonable price, and had good reviews.

A day passed, and I was in all out pseudo pioneer woman mode. Obviously, it's not nearly as rough as the pioneers had it, but I had such a pile of dishes to catch up on already, and then no simple method to get them clean. So, I resorted to washing them in the bath tub.
This situation made me so thankful and appreciative for all of the modern comforts that we incredibly grateful.

But, a day or two of washing up things in the tub was enough for me. I swung by the hardware store with my son (who is freaking adorable, by the way, and loves the carts that look like cars -- he had a blast on our little trip), walked in and found the sink I had selected online, paid for it, and went home.

Getting the old faucet out was a nightmare. Lots of the bolts had rusted a bit, or corroded, and were very difficult to loosen, much less remove entirely. It took me close to an hour to get the lines detached, the sprayer out, and the faucet removed. I had an extreme amount of trouble with the base for the sprayer. The plastic "washer" that held it in would not budge, no matter how I tried to get it to.Fortunately, The Husband ended up coming home right when I was the most discouraged and frustrated, and he came to my aid! He had to grapple with it for quite some time as well, but he was victorious! Woohoo!

I then opened the new faucet (soooo shiny!), and followed the illustrated instructions to install it. I think it might have taken me half an hour total to get it in. The only difficulty was with the same part that had plagued me previously, the base to the sprayer. It was incredibly difficult to secure it alone. The Husband was around just long enough to help get me started, and then I was able to finally get it.

Once that part was in, the rest was pretty easy. Put this part here, connect this to this, move part A to align with part B, etc. and, VOILA! Our new faucet is installed and ready to go! Yee-haw!
It looks amazing and, most importantly, it works!

Because of the whole faucet fiasco, I was also given an opportunity to organize underneath the sink. I plan on installing a child lock later on this evening, but I laid down some contact paper, and put everything in a more functional place.

It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Unscheduled Home Improvement: Problem

I have a loooong list, as I previously mentioned, of home improvement daydreams that I'd like to accomplish. Occasionally, something happens to make a "want" a "must." Such a thing happened about two days ago. I came into the kitchen to do one thing or another, turned on the kitchen faucet, and nothing happened. No water came out. Instantly, I was seized by an irrational panic that our water had been shut off, and a mental reviewing of myself mailing our bill most recently. I knew I had paid the bill, so it couldn't be that. Breathe, Self...breathe. Just to double check, I turned on one of the faucets in the downstairs half bath, and water came out, just as it should. So, I asked The Husband if he knew that the sink wasn't working.
"Oh, yeah," he said. "I turned the water off because something on it broke, and water was shooting everywhere."
We tried a few things but nothing seemed to work. Upon closer inspection of the sink, we could see the hole where the plastic "washer" had broken...and assumed that's what was causing our domestic monsoon.

Have I mentioned that this week is the week of Backyard Bible Clubs for our church, or that my husband is the Associate Pastor, and over the Youth Group? Well, I'm mentioning it now. That meant, essentially, that I would be on my own for this project. The Husband was going to be very busy this week, and wasn't going to be readily available for renovation projects. I'm relatively handy, but this was beyond anything I had previously attempted. Could I fix it?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Endless To Dos

I am a to do list making fiend. I have been for as long as I can remember.
Similarly to my last post, even the manner in which I both write and complete my to do lists is flawed. It's a little bit of the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie thing again. I try to make a list of all the things I want to accomplish, and try to put them in priority order (I am improving in that, at least, thanks to my husband). However, I never seem to be able to write down just the things that I need to get done in a manageable time frame. It always starts off that way at first but, inevitably, I start almost daydreaming tasks...create an "if I had all the time in the world" sort of list, with no projected end date in sight. Obviously, that leaves me with a HUGE list of things I want to accomplish, preceded by things I have to accomplish; and, honestly, I think my excitement for the things I want to do so outweighs the things that I have to do, and my enthusiasm wanes enough for the things I have to do, that I lose momentum in doing them. This leads to discouragement that I haven't accomplished those things, leads to them being transferred to another to do list for an alternate day, and the cycle begins again.
I'm a mess, right? :)

This is what I'm attempting to change about myself. I'm taking the little victories in stride, and trying not to let my setbacks overcome me.

That is what my next several posts will be about -- reclaiming the messiest, most unorganized parts of my home, and taking it off that infernal to do list. Obviously, things will need to be done to maintain these changes, but as far as actually getting organized to begin with -- that's what I'll be documenting.

Stay tuned, and here's hoping there are a lot more checks on my list, and a lot less empty boxes! :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Non-Linear Brain

Have you ever been able to identify a flaw within yourself, but been unable, somehow, to change it?
If so, you are in good company.
I am a hot mess. I suppose I have always been this way; perhaps the introduction of a spouse, job, career "change," intense ministry, and a child into the mix just amplified my particular brand of crazy.

Let's just dive right in, shall we? Last night, it took me approximately an hour to retrieve the dogs' water bowl from outside. How long? AN HOUR. Why? Why would it possibly take any relatively normal human being that long to get the dogs' water? Oh, that's right, it wouldn't. So, why did it take ME almost an hour? Because my brain doesn't work in a linear fashion. I don't know how it works, but it's definitely NOT linear.

My son is a year old, and loves water. Normally, we keep the dogs' water bowl on the counter or something when he's around, so he doesn't splash and submerge himself, or anything within reach, in dog-slobber water. Yesterday, we opted to leave it on the back porch. I had forgotten it was there until after he went to bed. WAY after he went to bed. So, there I was, thinking that I needed to bring the water bowl in and refill it. When I thought of that, I remembered that I was going to have to fill it back up with water. When I thought of that, I remembered that the sink was full of dirty dishes that would need to be moved. When I thought of that,  I remembered the dirty dishes on the counter-top that would need to be washed in order to make room for anything coming out of the sink. When I thought of that, I remembered that I had to wash bottles so we could have some ready for today.
It is definitely some sort of dysfunctional retelling of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
So, basically, I started doing dishes, clearing off the counter-tops, and doing other minor things...all in order to fill the dogs' water bowl and put it in its place in the kitchen. Madness, I tell you.

So, I decided to create this blog in order to document my process, progress, and projects as I attempt to sift through my crazy, become more organized, more productive, and simplify my life. It ought to be fun!