Archive for the ‘house’ Category

ADD is NOT Conducive to Productivity (and Organization!!!)

I think I have *finally* identified the reason for my inability to keep my house as clean and organized as I’d like.


Freakin’ ADD. 

I used to joke that I had “Adult On-Set ADD”.  Apparently, I may have had it all my life.  I thought ADD was just the inability to pay attention (for long periods of time).  Well, that’s a part of it.  You can hyper-focus on things as well!  Well, shit.  I hyper focus on cleaning/organizing to the point that nothing gets done.


So, I’m here to ask for your help.

My house has…lemme think…carry the 2, divide by 4…10 rooms; 7 closets;  and a bazillion piles o’ crap.  I need to list and prioritize what needs to be done.  I’ve done this a million times.  The problem?  I bounce from room to room and nothing gets fully completed (um…anyone remember my kitchen remodel?  Yeah, it’s still not done…AND I want to change some things…)

So…here’s the breakdown:

Living Room:  I want to paint it.  Currently it’s an ugly cream color…and paint is chipping, peeling and dirty.  And flat.  Flat paint is next to impossible to clean.  I want to paint the room Pewter from Benjamin Moore.  It’s a nice neutral color and still blends well with the color in my Dining Room (LR opens to DR…this would be so much easier to explain if I gave you a layout and pictures, wouldn’t it?).  The decor in my LR is mostly pink roses and coordinating accessories.  I’m not a “girly-girl”, but I do like floral decor.  Not overwhelming amounts of it.  I also have medium wood furniture and hardwood floors.  I love my hardwood floors, but they need some love.  The kind of love they need isn’t even in my dream budget, so I’m considering area rugs.

OMG I can’t even stay focused on THIS!

Dining Room:  Walls just need a little touch up and the window frames need painting.  I want to move some furniture around and hang artwork.  My walls are Dragonfly (smoky purple/lavendar) from Ralph Lauren (sorry folks, can’t find a pic right now).  All the trim, throughout the house, is white (except for my son’s room). 

Kitchen:  I love my Kitchen.  I just want it to flow a little better.  And add some artwork.  My kitchen is RED.  My cabinets are white (but somehow doesn’t look like a candy cane GO ME!).  The floor is black.  The counters are silver/faux stainless.  I want to move the fridge 90-degrees so I can do another 1.5 walls of wrap-around counters.  I like to cook, so I need lots of prep space.  I’d love an island, but the kitchen is not large enough for that (phooey).  I’d like to get a new back door and have it open the other way (currently opens right-to-left, so when open, covers two cabinets and the dishwasher.  If it opened the opposite way, would just open into the side of the fridge (once it’s moved).  I can deal with that.  I *still* need to change out the light fixture over the sink.  Currently it’s a really UGLY flourescent tube light.  I have a triple pendant light for that space, just haven’t done it yet (electricity is NOT my friend.  However, I will play with it if I *have* to).  Oh, and I still need to put 1/4-round along the floor.  And fix a threshold that I frogged when I originally did the kitchen.

Downstairs Bathroom:  DISASTER!  Needs a new floor.  Tile needs to be removed from teh walls.  I don’t even know if you can really call it tile.  It’s PLASTIC.  And the previous owners just painted over it.  UGLY.  I’d like to take that down (it’s chair rail height) and maybe put up beadboard with a chair rail cap.  Currently it’s yellow and navy blue.  I want to paint it black/white.  I’d like the walls to be white, but above the chair rail, I’d like to do some sort of frilly black stenciling.  Needs a new sink/faucet (I have a bead on the sink…just need to pick out a faucet) and a new floor.  UGLY ASS FLOOR.  My only concern with tearing up the floor is the possibility that the tiles are asbestos.  The house is just under 60 years old, so it’s prime construction for asbestos tile.  Joy!  Oh and should I mention that ALL the insulation is blown-in (again, possible asbestos containing) and has settled over the years so there is next to ZERO insulation in the walls?  Joy again!

Studio:  Believe it or not, this room isn’t too bad.  I’d like to sand and paint the doors (actually, I’d like to do that in most of the rooms in the house…and change out hardware, but with 17 doors in the house, this is a BIG, expensive project).  My conundrum in the Studio is the closet.  It’s about 8 feet long and 3 feet wide.  Not bad, but it’s ALL behind the wall (meaning you open the door and turn 90-degrees into the closet).  I’m trying to come up with the best way to utilize that space.  It needs to hold office supplies, school supplies, craft supplies and fabric.  I have some ideas, but there’s a lot of crap already stored in that closet that would need to find new homes (like Jake’s old table and chairs).

Stairs:  Really?  Just needs a coat of paint (they’re basically IN the living room, but I don’t necessarily want to paint it the same color) and some wall art.  Would like a gallery wall, but the boy still runs his hands along the wall when going up or down the stairs *sigh*

Jake’s Room:  *I* want to paint it, but Jake is happy with it, so it stays.  Just need to paint the trim around the windows.  Need to re-arrange furniture and somehow incorporate bookcases for his out-of-control sports card collection.  Also need to figure out how to arrange his closet.  His room has a gable in it, so the closet slopes down toward the back.

Upstairs Bathroom:  This is the full bath.  I’d like a new tub-surround, as the one I have is stained, not sealed all that well.  And, well, UGLY.  The walls need some color (although, I DID checker the ceiling).  The vanity and medicine cabinet are both a dark wood, in a room that is white, light blue and chrome.  So, they need to be painted.  And, so does the window frame (surprise, surprise).

My Room:  The room itself is not too bad.  Needs some artwork, but I’m pretty happy with it (right now).  I need help with my closets.  Yep, I said “closets”.  As in plural.  I have your typical reach-in closet and a LARGE walk-in closet.  My walk-in closet is a gable.  It also has two “Alice-In-Wonderland” doors on either side of it.  One leads to the attic, the other leads to behind the wall storage.  The attic part of it creeps me out, so I’ve never been up there (when I opened that door, after I bought the house, there was a crucifix on a shelf; an empty, yet sealed glass jar; and crosses painted all over the shelves.  Kinda gave me pause, but the I found out the original owners had a son who became a priest.  However, fear of bugs and other creepy crawlies keeps me from exploring that potentially mamoth storage space.  I don’t do bugs.  Probably my only girlie-girl claim).  Since it is a gable, it has a pitched ceiling.  A very steeply pitched ceiling.  Which makes “furnishing” it difficult.  I’ve currently got one PAX unit from IKEA in there and want to get another.  There are book cases in there (full of, books, go figure).  It’s also become THE dumping ground for items with no home or stuff that needs to be dealt with.  I hate going in there, but it needs to be cleaned/organized before I give in to my inner pyromaniac.

The Basement:  Ugh.  3/4 is finished.  And 1/2 of that flooded last summer.  The carpet is dry, but STILL needs to be pulled up and replaced.  Can’t decide between re-carpeting the entire space or just pulling up the section that got wet and putting down some sort of laminate flooring.  1/2 of that space used to be my studio (and now you understand why I took over a perfectly good guest room) and of course, that’s the side that flooded.  The other side was my son’s playroom.  He’s a tad old for a playroom at this point, but it would still be a good rec room.  AND there’s been two ideas being bounced around for this space as well.  One:  an “apartment” for my brother, should he want to move in.  OR BACK to a studio/rec room.  But in order for me to bring the studio down, it would need a LOT of extra lighting and a door to keep nosey hands and pets OUT.

The Utility Room:  It’s what you’d think.  Dark, dank and ugly.  I’m not really THAT upset with it, but I’d like it to be more functional…and have more light.  Currently, you open the door and then have to walk all the way down to the back to turn on a light (26-feet).  I’d like to be able to flip a switch at the entrance and have the whole area light up.  Again, me and electricity are not good friends and it requires buying some lighting.  Probably shop lighting, but I seriously hate flourescent tubes.  It currently holds all my holiday decorations, the oil tank, the large freezer, washer & dryer, water heater, and litter boxes.  I’d like to put some sort of drying system over/around the dryer to get laundry off the floor (and away from cat temptation) and to have an area to air-dry items rather than trying to find a nail in the exposed beams.

There’s all kinds of other shit that needs to be done (landscaping, roof repair, etc.). 

But I don’t know where to start!!!!

So, my question to you, dear readers is this…

Where the hell do I start?!?!

02 – Things To Improve

Oy, this list could be QUITE long…

I need to improve my work-ethic.  It has nothing to do with my actual job and more to do with avoidance of what’s been going on in my personal life.  MUST.  STOP.

I need to improve my appearance.  That can be taken in a number of ways, and probably every way you’re thinking.  My weight, my hair (although, I just dyed it again), my clothing (I dress like a comfy slob)…maybe start wearing make-up again.  I’m working on it, just slowly…

I need to improve my energy levels.  I’m ALWAYS. EFFIN. TIRED.  I’ve started taking a vitamin (with Iron), but I think most of my problem is sleep.  Can’t fall asleep.  Can’t stay asleep.

I need to improve my finances.  Since my mother’s death, I don’t think I’ve paid a bill (at least, none that I actually had to write a check for, thank goodness for automatic withdrawals).  I need to get a better handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out.  Along those lines…

I need to improve my food purchases.  As in, STOP going out to eat.  Cook at home more.  I *like* to cook (I just don’t like to clean up afterward).  I *will* get better at this…

I need to improve my relationship with Jake.  Not that’s it’s bad, but it *has* been suffering since mom’s death.  To be honest, it probably started a while before that, but has certainly come to a head since.  I took the day off yesterday to work on plans for my mother’s Memorial Service, but I also made sure to schedule and spend some time with Jake.  We went out to breakfast together and did a little shopping.  It was nice. 🙂

I need to improve my “lack of faith”.  No, I’m not planning a “come to Jesus” revival.  I plan to start pulling out my craft books and reading them and starting to practice again.  I need to feel empowered again, and I’m the only one who can do that for me.

I need to improve my home.  It’s a disaster.  Cluttered, messy, dirty, broken.  So much to be done; and in typical DW form, I don’t know where to start, so I do…NOTHING.  Enter FlyLady.  And babysteps.  I’m working on creating, or more specifically, REcreating my Control Journal.  I’m even going to start with just hand-written notes!  *gasp*  I know!  ME…actually starting with a rough draft!  Will wonders never cease?

I need to improve my friendships.  Again, with my need to withdrawal when I’m overwhelmed, in pain, etc., I’ve let friendships twist.  I know most of them understand, but I still feel bad.  I need to initiate more and cancel less.

I should probably have discussed my plans to improve these, but it’s too much work to go back and do that now.  So, I will re-cap next month, to add-in what I’ve done to improve and then expand upon my list.  Eventually, we’ll see things drop off…at least, that’s the plan.

Grief Sucks

Jacob and I have been blown and battered around in this last year.

With his multiple surgeries to fix problems with his feet, that caused some isolation issues for him (he had barely any friends come to see him/play with him at all :-/).  My aunt (his primary [live-in] babysitter) died 2 WEEKS (to the day) before his birthday.   And my mom died 8 MONTHS (to the day) after my aunt.

Needless to day, his complete meltdown on Thursday was NOT unexpected (but clearly long overdue).  Obviously, I melted down right along with him.

I made it my mission to get him help (he literally asked for it.  Nearly begged).  At first, he just wanted to talk to me.  I have no issues with that, but with the grief we’re both feeling, I felt I was ill-equiped to help him the way I should.  So I enlisted the help of his school guidance counselor and have called an outside agency for counseling.  I feel like I waited too long (since my aunt died in February), but was told that most kids aren’t “ready” to discuss grief until many months later.  It’s quite possible he would have held on a few more months if my mom hadn’t just died.

Sucky, sucky year.

Our emotional well-being isn’t the only thing suffering.  I’ve now got physical symptoms, wrenched my back last week and could barely walk, so add that NO bereavement time and near crippling pain, I was a gimping wreck…home and at work…no wonder the kid lost it.  He was so afraid that I was going to get sick and die or leave him or just not be me. 😦

And I’m NOT me.  My house has gone to shit.  I’ve never been a “neat freak”, but I am an organizational junkie and WAS keeping the house fairly clean (if still cluttered).  I’ve lost weight, which needs to be done, but I haven’t been going about it in a healthy way (I’m just not hungry, so I don’t eat.  Yes, I know that’s a sign of depression as is the disasterous state of my house, which is why *I* will be getting help to.  I can’t help my son, if I’m not me.  And that’s just completely unacceptable).

Jacob has an appointment to start counseling on Wednesday (provided his father signs and faxes all the paperwork…sigh, custody crap is a pain in the ass).  I *think* I can start counseling at the same center, but want to get Jacob started first.

I will be calling my regular doctor to schedule a routine check up.  Start from the ground up.

I have been going to a chiropractor, since I threw my back out.  I can walk now, with almost no pain.  But going from sitting to standing  still causes me issues.

I’ve made a meal plan for today (just took something out of the freezer, but it’s a start).

Been trying to fill out the calendar with appointments and assignments.

Need to file some bills (to be paid/paid)

Laundry is caught up

I think we’ve both finally caught up with sleep (I pretty much slept the whole weekend, thank goodness he was with his dad…but even Jake has had sleeping issues.  So, even though I have ZERO time to take, we both stayed home today.  I probably should have done it last week, but I feel guilty taking the time off, even when it’s needed.  I’m an idiot.

There’s more that needs to be done.  Here.  Work and at my mother’s.

I’m not ready to go there yet.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be, but it has to be done.  So I will put on my big girl panties and deal.

I’m still scattered, and having a hard time figuring out where to start.  I’ve had that issue for a LONG time…but it has to stop.

I will make my lists, create my binders and put myself on autopilot until I can *think* again.

I’m happy that I’ve got Jake started down the right road. 

And for now, that has to be enough.



Last week, I went to throw a load of laundry in the dryer (with my BRAND NEW dryer balls, even!) and was met with silence.

OK…COULD mean that the switch wasn’t thrown all the way.  So, I turn it on and off like 4 times.  Crap. 

Hmmm…let’s check the breaker box.



Rather than piss myself off more, I hung my clothes all over my basement and went to bed.

Next day, after work, I take the back off my dryer (where the cord connects) and see THIS

Don’t know if you can see it or not, but the damn terminal strip is MELTED.  The ONLY wire left connected was the neutral/ground.  Holy CRAP!  Good thing it just MELTED and didn’t catch fire.

From previous experience (plug blew once before, but didn’t MELT), I knew I could probably fix it.  It was just a matter of finding the part.  Which I did!  Here.

So, I ordered the part and got it yesterday.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come with the little disconnect tabs that I needed and I figured I should err on the side of caution and buy YET ANOTHER !&%&*$&% power cord.

I am happy to report that my dryer is currently drying a load of clothes and will get ANOTHER load in a few minutes.

I love when I can thumb my nose at “weak woman-itis”.

I am not just a woman, I am a CAPABLE woman and a GODDESS!!!

*cue lightening bolts*

Hurricane Irene

Many of you knew my aunt, Inny (a nickname my son created when he couldn’t say “Ginny”).

Her *real* name was Irene.  So, when I heard Hurricane Irene was coming, I had to giggle.

See, my aunt died back in February and I’ve been waiting for a spiritual visit.  You know, dream-walking or finding something of hers in a seriously silly spot.  I never imagined she’d bear down on the east coast like an angry witch!

However, I wasn’t all that concerned.  Yes, she [the hurricane] was powerful but I wasn’t afraid she’d do too much damage.

Besides, I had coconut juniors, Inny’s favorite, and I was willing to offer them to the bitchy goddess in a beg for leniency.

I did what most people did; got rid of all the potential flying debris in my yard, taped up windows and tried my best to tarp and caulk a window in my basement that I thought was the culprit of my indoor pool.

Irene bore down on us and blew us about a bit.  Dumped a lot of rain, but left my house blissfully alone (thank you Tastykake!)

Or so I’d thought.

I *did* get more water in my basement and in areas that don’t normally “flood”.  Nothing major, but my carpet had JUST dried out from the last storm, damnit!

I had a call into my insurance company because of the previous water intake, but wasn’t getting to excited about help.  To be honest, I was anxious about NOT getting help.

I’m an engineer.  I make good money.  But I’m also a single mom who’s had quite a few financial attacks in the last year or two (Jake’s surgeries, a water heater that needed replacing, a chimney that needed re-pointing and the death of my aunt).  The idea of trying to fix damage from Hurricane Irene had me VERY anxious.  I haven’t slept since Hurricane Irene.  Seriously.  And sleep is my best friend (deserting bitch!)

Yesterday, the adjustor and his team showed up to walk around and through my disgustingly dirty/messy house (hey!  I clean on weekends and Irene knocked out my power for a bit, so nothing got vacuumed).

While outside, he looked at my tarped basement window and told me water taken-on from ground level wasn’t covered.

My heart dropped.  Shit.

While we went into the basement to check out damage, his team went up on my roof.

I showed him the wet (now dry) carpeting and told him I just threw out a bunch of stuff (which I did) because it was wet and smelled AWFUL.  While measuring it all and writing it up, he found water stains on my drop ceiling tiles.


Magically, my water damage was now covered because it was coming from above!

I was floored. (bwahahaha, no pun intended, didn’t catch that until the read-through)

We go upstairs and I fend off the cats so he could cut a piece of my carpeting to take as a sample and then go into my [messy] office to show him pics I had taken of my gutter damage (which CAUSED the water damage in the basement).

Apparently, my retarded, acrobatic pictures were exactly what he needed (they showed that the gutters had pulled away and pulled some of my siding away as well…BINGO, that’s where the water came in).

His assistant (who so happened to be his son) came in to show me damage to my roof.

Um, WHAT?!

I have wind damage, missing shingles, brittle shingles, and my chimney has cracking along the roof line.


At this point, I’m about ready to just curl in a ball and start keening.

I turn to the adjustor to ask a question and he tells me I’m getting a new roof.

I don’t know how I did it, but I held it together until they left the house (they weren’t even to their cars yet) and I started bawling.


A huge weight lifted.  I think, subconsciously, I was extremely worried about my roof.  I know every time I was outside, I’d look at it (what I could see of it) and silently pray it would keep holding.  I knew it was about 8 years old when I bought the house and that it had FOUR layers of shingles in spots, but I don’t think I REALLY grasped it all.

And I know, I’m a grown-ass woman with a freakin’ engineering degree, I should have known better.  Or at least done some mental calculations about weight ratios and surface area vs. wind gusts (and we get some SERIOUS gusts in my area), but it was something that was monetarily out of my league and it never occured to me to turn to my homeowners’ insurance.

I’m glad I listened to my friends.

So, LONG story short, I asked for help and I got it, in spades.

I’m still a little leary because nothing’s been written up yet and I still have to get estimates and crap, but someone finally took pity on me and sent me a boon.

Thanks, Inny.

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