Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stephen's Stickley Sneak Peek

The sideboard. (Click pictures for larger view)
"Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established." ~ George Carlin
Once upon a time.....

there was a man who bought his very first home (although he did own an apartment in Europe, but that is beside the point.) He had his parents and his sister move into the home and they decided to sell some of their furniture. His sister put her formal dining room set into the oversized room and it looked very.... small, even with the table leaf in. When the man first came to spend a week in his new house, he loved the living room furniture and he loved the den furniture and he even liked the bedroom furniture in his room. (Probably because it had a memory foam topper and it worked wonders for his back that still had occasional episodes from his back surgery years ago after he twisted wrong on stage in Phantom of the Opera.... oh, dear... I'm rambling.)

While he liked the furniture and arrangement of the rooms, he longed to have one room that reflected his personality and taste in this house of merging families. So he visited the Stickley showroom at a local store and there he fell in love.... with a sideboard. He bought it, had it delivered and ..... it was good!

The table and china hutch.
Of course the beautiful sideboard was lonely in the large room with the much lighter and more traditional oak set, so the man bought a large mission style table and the china hutch to match. Of course, the people at Stickley had to make the other pieces so the man flew back to Europe without ever seeing his purchase in person. His sister found her oak set a very good new home where it would be loved and feel needed. Twelve weeks later the massive furniture arrived and the lonely sideboard was alone no longer... the echo in the room went away as well.

Look! I already filled it up!
The sister started putting her china and crystal in the beautiful hutch. She added the mother's delicate crystal and her depression glass cups and still it wasn't full. So she included an antique candy dish, a large stein from Germany and a purple cow. (I should probably get a picture and explain that last one.)

Today, the sister dusted the dining room in preparation for the man's upcoming visit. She quickly recognized one overlooked fact about the new Stickley pieces.... they have many wooden slits and slats with teeny-tiny spaces in between that gather dust easily; and her fingers are a bit too large to fit in these spaces. So it is very time consuming to clean... especially when the sister is a bit obsessive about it. But, she eventually had success.... yeaaaahhhh! (Picture green frog hands waving in the air.)

The upholstered seats... great on the behind! Posted by Picasa
I posted this primarily for "the man" as he has never seen any of the beautiful furniture he bought... except the sideboard. He will be here in three days... so I guess you could call this his "sneak peek"!

What do you think Stephen? (thumbs up ?)

(end of post)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Letter To Sophie

Mr. Rhett: "Frankly, Scarlett, I'm thinking about Sophie!" Posted by Picasa
"There is no 'cat language'. Painful as it is for us to admit, they don't need one." ~ Barbara Holland
Dearest Sophie,

It seems like years since I have seen your beautiful face on the computer. You life is so full and exciting with lizards to chase and such exciting places to see. I miss you! I saw that huge McCloud on your mom's blog. Please! Dearest Sophie! Be careful around him! One false step and he could stumble and crush your delicate toes! I would trade my sister Scarlett for you any day.... better yet, we could send our huge, hairy Willow to keep McCloud company and you could come here. You can share my playthings and my soft pillow. I would then be in heaven indeed!

Oh! No! Here comes my human lady! I don't want her to know I can type. I'll have to hypnotize her and make her think that she wrote this post herself! Wish me luck! And please get your mom to post your lovely pictures.

I adore you!


(Fade to black......"Rhett?! What are you......oh, I'm getting sleepy....sleepy." "Snap!!!" "Wow! Look at this! I wrote a post for the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week by Bad Kitty Cats Journal! Wonder when I did that? Oh, well... time for bed.")

(end of post)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another January Baby

1963 - First birthday, just after first haircut!
"Age doesn't matter, unless you're cheese." ~ John Paul Getty
I sat playing checkers with my great-uncle the day he was born. I wanted a sister desperately, but now I can see that this would have never worked out. We didn't know what we were going to get... no ultrasound pictures way back then. I saved all my allowance to buy a cute little stretchy sleeper and made sure to get it in a red and white stripe, so it would go with either a girl or a boy. And then he was here.... Stephen... all 10lb.8oz. of him. He was already the weight and length of a 3 to 6 month baby when he got here and that poor little newborn suit wouldn't snap and it scrunched his knees up.

1968 - 1969: A budding chef
We had our ups and downs when he was young.... I say "young" because he was never really "small" or "little". Stephen always stood at least a foot taller than anyone else in his class. By the time he was twelve, he stretched up on past me. He loved to put a sack on his head and cook like a chef. Nowadays, he still cooks, loves to do gourmet items, but we have no chef hat.... hmmm... item to remember for Christmas present!

2006 - Tokyo production of Fidelio
When I left for college, we began to become better friends. Stephen actually missed me! As the years have progressed we have become closer and closer. He is talented (and high strung), hysterically funny (and high strung), opinionated (and high strung)..... and a very loving and loyal friend through the good and bad times. OH! Did I mention that he is high strung? I rate our mother as a type A personality and our father as a type B personality. I fall in there at a type A-, with rare bouts of B- and even more rare episodes of A+ type mixed in. Stephen, on the other hand, is an A+++++!!! In his business, this is a good thing!

2007 - The birthday boy! Posted by Picasa
In only 8 days he will be here and his mother and father and niece are excited. His sister is ecstatic!!! While we have to wish him a long distance... "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" today, we will celebrate

To my brother, Stephen.... I love you, be safe.... have a great performance... happy, happy birthday and ........

break a leg!

(end of post)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Extreme Garage Makeover Part 4: The Final Product (Garage Tek)

The floor, gray with an inset border of black.
"The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)
Finally, the last installment to the garage saga. They installed the floor made up of squares of skid resistant tiles put together like a giant puzzle. Just for looks, a border inset of black. It is so much safer than the concrete that was painted. Any amount of water made that floor like an ice skating rink and the paint bubbled up and peeled off terribly. While they were here they put up an additional overhead and brought a couple of accessories I ordered. So here is the final tour....

Down at the far end is my workbench. The cabinet to the left contains all the cat products such as canned food, shampoo... etc. The cabinet to the right is filled with bird food and small gardening supplies .... including my pumpkin seeds. A local carpet place gave us a remnant of indoor/outdoor carpet and we had it edged. It matches the floor well and we put it under the bench and all the cat facilities. I have some of the garden tools hanging on the wall there. The big blue container holds the cat litter and of course all the cat beds and the cat tree are available for them.

Far back wall.
The full size cabinet will house the cleaning supplies and those bulk paper products we all try to get at Sam's or Costco. The smaller ones have a variety of things inside. I hope to eventually get them divided into an auto supply area, electrical, sports, etc. They brought the 48" shelves for the very top and here I have the summer fans, coolers and a cat carrier for those pesky emergencies. Our two file cabinets fit nicely and the lawn mower nestles in by the crawl space access door.

Dad's work area.
This is my dad's corner. This workbench is very, very heavy. The pedestal has four locked drawers and the top is butcher block. The drawers there to the left belong to a roll around tool chest. Above the bench there are small and medium tilt out containers and a tool holder as well as a very bright (when on) work light. We have room for his table saw in the corner... but it is still at the old house right now. I see he put the paper towels on the shelves between his cabinets, but I will move them later. We have the fire extinguisher on the side wall there and a shelf with the plastic garbage bag bin. It is easy for my parents to simply reach over and get one without having to go down the steps. I think he is really going to like his work area!

A final overview Posted by Picasa
So here is the finished product.... an orderly garage... well, at least one with room to organize. Stephen will be here in a couple of weeks to see his planned masterpiece. I think he'll like it as much as we do!

PS: I used my new ladder and switched all the fans in the vaulted areas to the winter mode AND I finally got that pesky tag off the chandelier in the entry way. LOVE THIS LADDER!!! OH! And the senior citizen discounts start at 55.

(the end of the saga)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A New Senior Citizen

Sunflowers and roses to brighten the day! Posted by Picasa
"It is lovely, when I forget all birthdays, including my own, to find that somebody remembers me." ~ Ellen Glasgow (American Novelist, 1873-1945)
My birthday is always the same day of the week as Christmas Day and New Year's Day. It is nine days before my brother's birthday and one month before my dad's. I try to forget about it, but now they've made it a national holiday, although this year the observance isn't on the actual date. As the years relentlessly progress, each one seems to pass more quickly than the last and I try to simply treat the day as just another day. But my brother remembered and not five minutes after hanging up the phone after his call from Vienna, the doorbell rang and these beautiful sunflowers and roses arrived!

Thank you Stephen!! They are gorgeous... and they look really good with your new dining room furniture! I guess it is OK to be reminded of my birthday... especially this one.... since, now I can get the senior citizen pricing at a LOT of restaurants! I'm bracing myself for the onslaught of AARP literature!

(end of post)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Garage Extreme Makeover - Part 3...The Overheads and A New Toy

The overhead storage system -- making
use of the space above the garage doors.
"Only in America - do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage" ~ Unknown
The garage has ceilings that are at least 12 foot high.... all that wasted space. So, as part of the makeover, four overhead 4' x 4' units were hung from the support beams. They each hold up to 250 pounds. (Yes, I did put all those things up there myself.)

I have one with boxes of Nyssa's textbooks that she wants to sell on the internet. There are boxes of craft paints for the Gallery Glass window kits and boxes of old, old music for my brother and a perfectly good microwave. (Not everything in our storage is "junk".) I have put the nice chrome bookshelf up there for Nyssa to take with her next year and we will put the empty tool boxes as well. These also have removable brackets that hold the long extension poles or even long pieces of lumber. And the best thing? You can't even see them when the garage doors are up!

Two single point hoists.
The other overhead storage includes two single point hoists... one for Nyssa's bike (and after she takes it, perhaps a wheelbarrow) and the other for my new toy.....

.... my super Gorilla extension, step and "any way in between ladder". When the fellows were putting up the overhead units they used these types of ladders and I needed one to put up the stuff in the garage. I also need it to try and reach the ceiling fans for light bulb changing and the seasonal change of direction. It is fabulous andd feels so secure... even when the step ladder is fully extended to 12 foot.

Hmm.... does excitement over a heavy duty ladder mean that I have become really boring? Don't answer that!

(One final installment to go.....end for now)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Garage Extreme Makeover...Part 2.. De-Stuffing or Now The Real Work Begins

Ten days post wall unit installation.
(Click pictures for larger view)
"Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life." ~ Immanuel Kant (German Philosopher. 1724-1804)
The next step in the garage renovation was.... organization! I had to get as much "stuff" up off the floor as possible. So I started with the cat items... food, grooming supplies, bowls, towels, toys, treats.... these went in one cabinet at the far end of the garage. Next to that was the gardening cabinet with all sorts of seeds including pumpkin seeds, hand tools, rooting powder and fertilizer. In these cabinets down the back wall I put cleaning supplies, auto supplies, my boxes of nails and screws and smaller items that will eventually go elsewhere but needed to be up off the floor. As you can see, I had to put some things on top of the cabinets, but only until the 48" shelves arrived to go across the top.

Near wall next to kitchen... with the new steps!!
This is such a great system... fluid and easily changeable. The shelves and hooks and tool holders can be moved up or down and slide to any position on the slatted wall. Here we put a hat rack just outside the door, a shelf for the recycle bin, and an inline tool holder for a shovel and my rolly cart. I also kept part of the stackable bins for potatoes and onions and such.

Far end of the garage. My space.
Cabinets with cat items and gardening items. A bench goes here too.
These hook things are really very cool... I can hang anything! Weed eaters, edgers, grass seeders... even a step ladder.... though this has now migrated to the second floor. I got tired of hauling it up the stairs to change the air filters or hang a picture. That's what happens when you are 5'5". Besides I got a new ladder... (more about that later).

Closer view of the far end to show the slatted walls.
Even though I put a lot in the cabinets and on the walls, it still looks as if there is a lot of stuff. Two filing cabinets remained where I moved them until the floor went down. One shelf unit needed the wall attachments and the workbench and tool chest for my dad weren't ready yet, so some things had to stay on the floor.

Dad's workbench area Posted by Picasa
This corner is where my dad's work bench will be. The bench in this picture is actually mine and will be moved to the far wall when his gets here. There are tilt out bins and a tool holder on the wall and the work light is great. We still have room for his table saw as well. I think he is going to really like this!

Next time I will show you the overhead storage racks.... I really love these things!!!

(more to come... end for now)