Archive for January, 2008

Dirty Hands

January 31, 2008

I fired my contractors.    After tearing out all of the paneling, ancient ceiling tile and old insulation in Monk’s basement retreat by myself, I had to call in the experts to cut a new, legally-to-code-for-emergency-egress window out of the foundation.


What a mess that was!  Concrete dust is mighty fine–and I don’t mean in a “Hey, check out that good-looking window installer” kind of way, either!  After they were finished, I insulated the ceiling (my neck still itches from being exposed to falling fiberglass) and prepped for the return of the contractors for the new drywall.   They did a nice job hanging it, but my first clue that they didn’t really want to do the finishing work was their initial plan to subcontract it.  My second clue was when they called me down to tell me that they thought I should just put moulding along all the corners because due to the [mumble, mumble, old stud wall, mumble] they would be impossible to get straight.  My third and decisive clue was the crappy job they did with the taping and first coat of mud.  Oh, yeah.  And the fact that they didn’t show up for four days in a row.



So I picked up Myron Ferguson’s DVD on hanging and taping drywall from the library, gathered my tools, and got to work.  When the guys finally showed up, I told them to pack their tool belts and move along.  (And they agreed to come and hang more drywall in the future for me if they didn’t have to do the finishing work!  A very agreeable firing, if I do say so myself!)    

It took me nearly six hours to cut down the first mudding to where it would be easy to manage.  I finally got to tape the inside vertical corners (not so bad) and hit the rest with coat number two.  I’ve done major drywall repair work in the past, but never an entire room virtually from scratch. 



I’ve always thought that drywall finishing had a very “sculptorly” quality.  You get in a groove and the feel of it takes over.  Sometimes I think I missed my calling.  I’ve always loved this kind of thing so much I could have been a girly remodeler or builder.

 The only thing I like better than mudding is laying wood floors.  I’ve already ordered some floating spurl maple for this room.  I won’t get the satisfaction of whacking them in with my 14 pound flooring hammer, but I hear that it’s pretty fun and satisfying to lay floating laminate, so I can’t wait! 



The Steering Wheel of Life

January 15, 2008

My two oldest children are in public high school after having been home schooled for 10 years. Being so close to Purdue University has a number of advantages, including one of the premiere First Robotics high school teams in the country.

Kiwi is putting her skills to use in the computer animation competition–and making quite a name for herself as an animator. Her prototype model vehicle dash board for the competition looks as good–if not better–than some of the early Alias work that was going on in the automotive industry when I worked at GM Design over a decade ago.

She can’t show off her work until the competition is underway, but it’s really amazing. It’s weird to think that the little baby I used to sneak into the Design Center (before security got really tight) is now doing her own creative automotive design.

All Grown Up and Needing a Nap

January 14, 2008

I’m not feeling very creative lately, but at the same time, I’d like to feel like I’m accomplishing something. The best I can do in the realm of quilting is making some nondescript quilted place mats. As far as cookery is concerned, nothing but an old reliable recipe will do.

I love Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian. One of my favorite recipes within is Grown-Up Granola. With plenty of grains, nuts, brans and dried fruits and other yummies, it’s irresistible. And I’ve made it so many times, it’s definitely reliable.


It even has its very own special roasting pan. Lucky recipe!

Finished Granola Crescent Dragonwagon Grown-Up

It appears that all of my Furry Ones are also lacking in creative motivation today.

Herbie Snoozing Sleeping Corgi Millie Snooze

Maybe I should set my sights on accomplishing a nap. It sure looks delicious.


January 5, 2008

It’s about frakkin’ time that I actually finished a quilt! It landed on the wall just this afternoon. The quilting on the blue fabric is a bit disappointing because it’s only visible when you have your nose pressed up against it. I really should have used a contrasting color to make all that time spent quilting it worthwhile.

It’s beginning to look a lot more like a quilter lives here, though! Onward . . . SEW!

Anybody want this last piece of homemade Christmas caramel? Anybody?

Oooh, sorry. Too late [nom, nom, nom, nom] !

It’s About Frakkin’ Time!

January 4, 2008

We, the Geeky Nerds of the Schmenkman household, are thrilled to spread the word that the release date for Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica has finally been announced.

We rarely watch regular TV, but we do have a tendency to stay awake for days on end watching entire seasons of certain shows on DVD. We didn’t get much sleep while watching the first two seasons of the new Battlestar Galactica. Wow. We’ve been going nuts waiting for season 3–especially since the original rumored release date of August, 2007 didn’t materialize. There was a two-day marathon on SciFi last summer which we were pretty geeked about–but they started out in the middle of the season (what the frak?!) so we stopped watching. HULU only has about six episodes available–from episode 16 up. I know that it’s available on Amazon Unbox, but I’m not so keen about that. And no Tivo here.

I love getting library patrons hooked on the series.   Just before Christmas a guy checked the first disc out, but pooh-poohed me when I encouraged him to take more. He was back early the next morning to make sure he had dibs on the remaining DVDs.

And while we’re chatting about TV, could somebody out there please give the writers what they want so that they can get back to work on the next season of AMC’s Mad Men?! The Other Mrs. Schmenkman turned me on to this show, and I downloaded it from iTunes the minute it became available. Great stuff! I now know that the reason my house is a mess is that I don’t have the appropriate peignoir to wear while cleaning it. Or maybe it’s because I don’t smoke.

Oh–one more thing and I’ll let you get back to quilting. If you haven’t seen How I Met Your Mother yet, send it to the top of your Netflix queue! It’s really funny and you just have to meet Robin Sparkles. See you at the mall!