This morning should have found me sipping coffee, watching the sun rise over the horizon, with long, lazy days ahead to enjoy the surf and leisurely walks on the beach. Then a couple of months ago my husband decided to shake things up a bit, and once again, the beach trip was canceled. I considered going on my own, for a much-needed respite from all the craziness. I do enjoy my own company, and I've spent time alone at the beach before. After thinking it through, though, I decided it would probably be best to wait awhile before returning to the place where we honeymooned and had such a great week together. Not so sure I would be strong enough to face those demons just yet.
I considered giving back the vacation days, and save the time off until later - when I was feeling better and more likely to enjoy myself doing something fun. Then I took a look at my To-Do List, and decided to take the days off anyhow, and challenge myself to get as much done around here as I possibly could. Not exactly a Staycation - as there will be little time for leisure or local fun, but technically, I'm on vacation (from work) and I'm staying home, so I suppose that qualifies as a Staycation.
The week started off with a bang. Whitney had a yard sale on Saturday, so Friday evening was spent in my attic, retrieving all manner of crap that had accumulated there over the years. It was a late night. Always fun, though... we find things that make us giggle that other folks just never *get*. I have fun with her no matter what we are doing . The yard sale on Saturday was fun too, and my mom sat outside and visited with us. All morning the aroma of smoke-pit barbecue from the Sunflower Festival teased us, and by the time we were finished, I was starving. After we packed up everything, I went down for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat, then stopped by to visit an old friend. It was a good day, and a quiet evening at home was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.
Since changing my work schedule back in April, I've been enjoying Sundays off. (I work M-F like normal people now!!) Since moving back to Statham, I've gotten back into the habit of a little snooze on Sunday afternoons, and fully intended to indulge in a nap yesterday, and begin tackling my list on Monday. Wouldn't you know it, the weather forecast called for rain Monday and Tuesday. I decided to postpone the nap and take advantage of the gorgeous afternoon, and get started on my outdoor projects.
Now my daddy is the best daddy ever (and in his younger days could have beat up your daddy any day...) and he's always willing to lend a hand. Thank you, Dad!! But sometimes I just get a stubborn streak and decide I'm going to do something my ownself. My mom always says "Your daddy will do it", or after the fact, "You know your daddy would have done that for you." I do so love A Man Who Can Do Things. But sometimes, I want to be A Girl Who Can Do Things. I fail about as many times as I succeed, but it's not because I don't try. Yesterday's project was repairing the entry ramp into my storage building. The support frame is still in good condition, but the boards themselves had rotted. I could hoist myself up into the building using only the top plank and pulling myself on the door frame, but stepping down was a bit precarious. Thank You Lord, I haven't blown out my knee or twisted my ankle trying to get in and out of the building. I'm just clumsy like that. Shut up.
We all know that I suck terribly at math - however - a few weekends ago I carefully measured the length of the ramp, as well as the width, and documented the measurements in my phone. One day last week, I went to the Home Depot and spent a good 30 minutes in the lumber aisle with my calculator (how did I ever function before my iPhone?). Who knew there were so many choices in lumber? I kinda felt like the most important consideration would be the thickness of the wood, so I chose a 2" thickness. I knew the ramp was 60" long, and the planks 27" wide. I decided to play it safe and go with a 28" wide cut. With calculator, pen and paper in hand, I first considered a 12" wide plank x 12' long. I figured .............
I almost slit my wrists right there in the Home Depot doing the math. No way I'm going to relive that here in my blog. There's not enough coffee in the neighborhood that can make that happen this early on a Monday. Just take my word for it. I figured it out, got the little guy to make the cuts for me and I was on my way.
Yesterday afternoon, armed with my 28", pressure-treated Yellawood planks, my pink Girl Tools, and my Bosch 18v cordless drill all loaded in my weathered wheelbarrow, I headed for the storage building. Can I just say that I Love My Power Drill!! I was a little worried about getting the old boards off, but I put that drill in Reverse and most of the screws backed out with very little effort. (And allow me to interject here that I was delighted to see that the screws I had purchased for the project were identical to the ones I was removing!! That was a good sign!) I won't even tell you how rotten the wood was. Well, okay, I'll tell you. One or two of the pieces just crumbled away from the screws, and let's just say the splinters would make for some dang good fire-starter wood. A few of the screws were stubborn, but I accidentally discovered that if you hammer them down and bend them a little, you can get them out Allen-wrench style. (Yes. When I grow up I want to be a carpenter.)
Next I carefully laid all the pieces onto the frame, to make sure they would fit. I had about 1" of frame left over at the bottom (which really irked me, because while I seriously suck at math, I do know that 10 x 6 = 60, and my planks were SUPPOSED to be 6" wide, and the ramp was 60" long. See why I hate math?). I considered leaving tiny spaces between the planks. There are all kinds of mysteries involved with construction, and I was thinking that maybe the wood might "expand" in the heat or something - and maybe there was a reason that I should leave a tiny crack between them. But then I thought better of that. I knew that if one tiny crack was 0.5 cm wider than another one, I'd never be able to sleep again. I like symmetry. I decided to just go with keeping the planks "square" (yes, I used a T-square thingy) and take my chances with not leaving any cracks. One by one, the planks went down. The wood offered more resistance than I expected, and upon drilling the first screw, I thought I had ripped my thumb off. (Bilateral thumb surgery in the past has left me with weakness.) I quickly learned to put some weight on the end of the drill, which relieved the stress considerably. Forty screws later, both my hands were throbbing, my back was breaking, I was covered in sweat... but.. by crackie.. I had built my ramp!! I have before and after pictures for your enjoyment. Looking at the after picture, I'm a little distressed that the planks aren't perfectly centered. There's more of a hang-over on the left side than the right side. It has been difficult, but I am managing to accept it, and not unscrew all ten planks and start over.
|LOCK N LOAD, BABY!!|
|MY GIRL TOOLS|
My other project for the afternoon was to clear away two seasons' worth of leaves that had accumulated against the end of my house, underneath the tiny porch, and in my hosta garden. (Calling it a hosta garden is a stretch. There are four or five plants. But they are really beautiful, and could be the beginning of a nice hosta garden.) The blower wasn't quite strong enough to blow away the wet mess, so a little elbow grease was required to clear out the packed in, composted pile of leaves. Finally I got it all raked up and delivered to the gully across the street. The blower worked quite nicely to clear the area of the remaining debris. It looks unbelievably clean and tidy out there now. To my dismay, I didn't have enough bags of pine bark to cover the rest of my "hosta garden", and will have to grab a few more bags when I'm out.
So, Day 1 of my Staycation goes down in the books as very productive. I still have some more outside work to do, and I'm looking forward to the end of the week when the weather is supposed to be nice again.
So instead of sipping coffee on the beach watching the sun rise over the ocean, I'm sitting at home in the office, writing a blog about what I have done so far, and what else I plan to do this week. I have two clinics from last week to transcribe this morning, then will be up and about the task at hand. There's another clinic on Wednesday that I'll transcribe either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, and that will be all of my "paid" work for the week. Wednesday I have several appointments, and a lunch date with Danette, so that day probably won't be very productive as far as my to-do list goes.
Okay, so I know you are dying to know how I plan to spend the rest of the Staycation. Here is the list that I've been compiling on my clipboard for weeks now:
- Rake/blow leaves, clean out hosta garden, put down fresh pine bark nuggets. Done!
- Repair ramp to storage building Done!
- Clean off front porch Done!
- Assemble kitchen cart Done!
- Hang curtain rod and curtain in office Done!
- Transfer data from old laptop to new laptop
- Paint hall bath
- Install vinyl flooring in hall bath (I might have to wave the white flag and call my daddy on this one)
- Line drawers/cabinets in hall bath
- Paint kitchen
- Clean tile grout in kitchen
- Organize laundry room cabinets/shelves
- Unpack remaining boxes
- Re-structure/organize craft room
- Back-yard/shed cleanup (Landfill!)
A week? ....sigh.... I may have been a little over-ambitious and optimistic with my goals. I think I have enough to keep me busy through several Staycations!