Back on the Horse

I’ve been silent for a while and I apologize. not that anyone’s life was emptier for my lack of blog posting, but, I committed to myself to writing regularly and then I let it slide. True, I did have surgery and have made recovery from that my first priority, but if I’m honest with myself, writing wasn’t going to wear me out much.

The recover goes extremely well. It is weird to be limited in what I can do and lift. I’m not allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Which is SO easy to forget. I also need naps suddenly in the middle of the day. I chalk it up to healing and I’m lucky I work for an awesome company that lets me work from home so I can sleep when needed and work when I am awake.

On the home front, because I have limited energy and lifting capability, things are slow. But I’ve plugged away at small jobs in the office: replacing door knobs, measuring and cutting baseboard, etc. I’m ready to paint the baseboard and hopefully install it this weekend. I’ve had company for the last three weekends in a row and it just seemed rude to start that kind of project while they are here.

So I’ll just leave you with a few images of what we’ve been doing these past few weeks.

I picked up some shelving for either side of the fireplace in the family room. Just need to accessorize them.

Vicious dog keeping me company while I have to rest a lot.

My mentor and coach on the resting part. I don’t know what I would do without her example.

Snippets

I had surgery yesterday. The first time I’ve ever had surgery or even been admitted in a hospital. All is good and things went remarkably well. It was a long day so I’m left with all these little moments that were surprisingly funny.

I’m parking in the morning and it’s a very confusing system. At one point, I find myself driving the wrong way in a one-way section. My brother quips, “Oh good! Let’s all have surgery today!”

Me arguing with my Mom that it wasn’t the drugs talking when I thought it was so awesome to be taken from point A to point B in a comfortable bed. I’m totally off the drugs now and I still think it was the best way to go.

Requesting tuna noodle casserole as my “recovery” food. I asked about it enough that Mom finally said, “You’re just a little too excited about tuna noodle casserole.” She’s right.

Being asked by the anesthesiologist if I had any loose teeth. Surprised, I asked, “Why? What are you planning to do?”

Trying to show my brother my little laparoscopic incisions and he just turned and ran out of the room. I’ve never seen my line-backer brother move so fast.

I’m even more excited about the tapioca pudding. Mmmm. Tapioca pudding.

Weird Outlets

I started getting the measurements for the baseboard and figured, while I’m on the floor, I’ll swap out the outlets. This ended up not being as straight forward as it has been for me in other rooms so I thought I would share what I do when something doesn’t look like the youtube video.

All of the outlets in this room are cream and I want white. This is just an easy little update that I think, combined with other easy, little updates, adds up and leaves the impression of a home well cared for. I think this helps when selling the house. I’d rather do this a bit at a time than try to do it all at once when I decide to sell the house. Besides, I want to enjoy the pretty updates too and not just make them for a stranger.

I did my usual power off routine where I turn off the power at the circuit breaker but I still check every outlet with my voltage tester. I do this every time because I have a room with one outlet on a different breaker so I’m super careful about this.

As soon as I got the old outlet off, I saw that I didn’t recognize the configuration at all. I have the new outlet in my left hand and the old one to the right of it. The new ones have screws on the sides of the outlet but this old one had the wires going in the back of the outlet.

I stopped what I was doing and started watching youtube videos. Fortunately, I found one that sort of applied to my situation.

This was very helpful except my outlet didn’t quite match his. I had little slots in a different place but putting my screwdriver in there didn’t release the wires at all. I finally just got frustrated and cut the wires.

Once I had the old outlet out of there, I could easily, and quickly, replace it with the new one. The very next outlet though gave me pause again. This one, only had one set of wires for some reason. The other had two white and two black. This only had one of each.

OK. This must be one of those annoying outlets where one of them doesn’t work. But why would someone do that? I decided I’d figure out how to fix it later but would at least get this replaced now so I swapped it out with the new one.

The last outlet really confused me. This one had an extra wire. Now there were three white and three black. Why?

Another problem was that the outlet was giving me some hot readings. Enough, and consistently that I just wasn’t comfortable mucking about with it. I took a little video so you could see the reading I kept getting.

Because of this, I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t know what the extra wire was for or if I could just tuck it away. So I put the old outlet back and left it alone. This might be a good job for an electrician. I think when I have one here for this outlet, I’ll get the outlet with fewer wires fixed so both outlets work. It shouldn’t be an expensive job and it’s just worth it to have an expert do it right.

As usual, I was well supervised.

Building Up the Nerve

I’m getting up the nerve to do my baseboard installation myself. I don’t know why I’m so sure I can’t do this. It’s one of those projects that doesn’t look hard but people are always saying, “Oh, that is too difficult, you should pay someone to do it.”

Everything I look at makes it look simple. So maybe what others think is hard, is the part I’m comfortable with. I can’t help but think a lot of “helpful” folks are getting baseboard mixed up with crown molding (which does look a bit trickier because it has an angle back as well as an angle in the corners).

So I just keep watching these and look for the tricky part. I’m building up the nerve to try this tomorrow. It isn’t like I’d have to do the room over if I got it wrong.

 

Installing Recessed Outlets

I finally dragged myself to the hardware store to pick up some of the items I needed for all the little electrical finishing. Then I promptly bought half the wrong stuff.

Of course.

The world would end if I only had to make one trip to the hardware store for a project. End.

But I could do at least one project. After painting the family room wall, I still had to replace the outlet covers and I wanted all the outlets and covers to be white (instead of a random mix of ivory and white).

I found a recessed outlet that would be perfect to go behind a bookcase that will go on this wall. I never even knew these existed until I saw them in the store but how handy to have these behind furniture instead of the plug poking out.

You don’t need a lot for this little project. I had my favorite screwdriver, pliers, and my voltage tester.

The voltage tester tests for two different voltages. I admit, I’m not entirely sure which one is found where so I always test for both. One voltage is represented with a blue light, the other voltage is a green light. On my voltage tester, you just hold down the power button to switch between the two.

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Shut off the power at your electrical panel. Use the voltage tester even if you are pretty sure you got the power off to whatever you are working on. Electrics (or electriks if you are reading a steam punk book like I am) can be wired weird. I have one appliance in my kitchen on a different breaker than everything else in the room. So always test.

If you have a different voltage tester, be sure to read your instructions. Mine just needs to be pointed at the power source and it will flash red if it is live (as in you did not shut off the right thing). I just pointed this at my laptop and got a “hot” reading.

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Once you have verified the power is off, you can start pulling out wires. I was glad to see all the bits on the old outlet matched all the bits on the new outlet so it would be easy to swap out.

The screws don’t come all the way out, you just loosen them until you can unhook the wire from around the base of the screw.

I cannot emphasize enough how helpful it is to take pictures of the outlet and wires before you remove anything. No matter how careful I am, the wires get moved around a little so there is that, “Wait, was that on top or in the middle?” moment.

Hook the wires around the screw in the direction they are turned to be tightened so that they kind of grip the wire. It’s much easier than hooking it in the other direction.

Once it is all on, I turn the power back on first to make sure I did it right and everything works before I cram it all back in the wall. That is surprisingly hard.

Outlet changed! A little project that took about 20 minutes and it’s cheap! Standard outlets are less than $2, the face plates are less than $1, the recessed outlet did cost about $6 so it was the “expensive” part in this project.

Tricky projects, like this phone plug on the same wall, where there is no box in the wall for the face plate to screw into and the hole is so large, the screws don’t even have drywall to grip, have a pretty simple solution too…

Double sticky tape. Sometimes, you just don’t need to over think things.

The Best Memories are the Simple Ones

I grew up in Arizona but oddly, my favorite memories are around rain.

There was nothing more wonderful than getting out of school when it was raining and seeing my Mom there to pick us up. Even better, she would always have our dog, Trixie, who was beyond thrilled to see us. Getting picked up was a treat because we normally walked to and from school. Turning that corner and seeing our pickle green ’72 Chevy Blazer was like a surprise party. I don’t know why it was so exciting and fun. It must have been Mom acting excited to see us and making it an event but it still makes me smile when I think of rainy school days.

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I don’t have a picture of our old Blazer but this could be it! Picture courtesy to TenWheel.com

My other happy memory with rain also involves the Blazer. I guess that was a pretty important car in our lives.

My brothers had paper routes (back in the day when kids could still have them) and when it rained, we would all pile into the Blazer with the back tailgate down, the window up, serving as something of a cover from the rain, and three pairs of legs dangling over the edge of the tailgate. All three of us kids and Mom would do the paper route with music blasting. I remember happily singing (at the top of our lungs) CCR’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain.

To this day, even in our middle age, me and my brothers will hear this song, smile, and sing along. Sometimes at the top of our lungs.

I see parents freaking out about doing this and that for their kids and yet, it’s those simple things, that seem to make the nicest memories. I should have written this post for Mother’s Day since I realize now, she was the architect of those good moments.

Thanks Mom.

Office Flooring

Is in! It looks so nice and clean and so pretty with the blue.

Getting the flooring done is always a big milestone in a project like this. Not only does it change the look of EVERYTHING but so much has been on hold until that flooring went in. I can start putting things back which means a major reduction in crap that I took out. My goal is to get rid of at least half of the stuff and if it ends up being 3/4, even better!

Just some of the crap that came out of the office. There is actually more in the garage that came out of the family room last year that was overflow from the office and I refuse to put the overflow back in the family room.

I use my office a lot so it really needs to be a productive space for me. This little redo is probably going to have as much impact for me as redoing my kitchen.

In the meantime, I will keep going back in and admiring it over and over.

Continuing the same flooring through all the rooms is making the house look huge!

A Good Saturday

The nicest kind of Saturday, made up of lovely little things:

My roses are starting to bloom like crazy and smell heavenly! Of course, beautiful roses on the table features the unfortunate dust that is inevitable. I’m on the lookout for some cute everyday table clothes. They are much more practical than dusting daily.

Kitty (with her little tongue out) that wants to be a part of everything but is distracted for a while by a straw. Don’t worry, she killed it.

A nosy robin who stood at the door and stared in for several minutes. This is him finally walking off when I moved to take a picture. Oscar, who barks at everything in the backyard, slept through it all.

I keep going into the office to admire it. The floor will be going in Wednesday. Frankie wants to know when he’ll have his room back.

This weekend will be little chores for the office. Replacing outlets with white ones, updating the light switch, door hardware, and window blinds. Small successful projects. The kind I like.

Disappointing Misogynists since 1987

There’s something about my appearance that betrays my personality. This may be a good thing. This may be like nature’s way of helping me set a trap for unwitting victims friends. But it also creates awkward situations as I have to explain, or demonstrate, that I’m not just who they think I am.

I don’t know if it’s my dimples, brown eyes, or red curly hair but people have a tendency to look at me and see a soft, pliable, doormat. It’s true that I’m a relatively gentle, nice, empathetic person. I’m also no fool who can be a typical fiery redhead, especially in the defense of others.

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So sweet looking, and such a pill in real life.

The first time I realized people perceived me very differently than how I actually am was a Psychology class in college. The professor tagged us with commands of how others were supposed to treat us. We couldn’t see our own tags, so the exercise was to see how we altered our behaviors based on how we were treated. The professor tagged me with “ask my opinion” because he believed that I would become self conscious. Instead, I LOVED it! I couldn’t wait to give my opinion about everything and be queen bee.

What the professor didn’t count on (and he confessed I reacted differently than he thought I would) is that I’m actually a pretty opinionated and very strong person. If I seem reserved, it is often me holding back so that I don’t just steam-roller everyone.

My experiences with online dating has really amplified this disconnect. Every once in a while I like to dabble in the online dating because I’ve actually met some really nice people. They didn’t turn into lifelong mates, but who cares? Dating a nice guy for a while isn’t too bad and I’m happily single so I’m OK if things don’t end in marriage.

However, the few exceptions aside, online dating is generally not a great solution for me because I seem to attract men that you may have last seen on America’s Most Wanted.

Recently, I was “liked” and “winked at” by a man who looked like he came from Hollywood central casting for the part of “murderer.” It wasn’t the sleeve tats, the tattoo around his neck, or even the undershirt he wore in his profile picture (you know, the best picture you have to attract people to your profile). I don’t have a problem with any of those. In fact, in the name of research, I looked through a lot of pictures of Joe Manganiello but he doesn’t have any tattoos. To be thorough, I looked at a LOT of pictures but still no tattoos.

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NOT the profile picture of my wanna-be boyfriend

So clearly, the undershirt can look just fine on someone (to be fair, they look fine on guys with Joe’s physique, just like hip-hugger skinny jeans look fine on super-models, not me). However, my guy also had the most threatening, dead-eye stare I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just that picture either. He had more pictures in his profile and in each one, including the one with the jaunty baseball hat at a game, he had the exact same, dead-eye glower. The word sniper kept popping into my head. I don’t dare share his picture here with you because I would just rather not make anyone that scary-looking angry. I did share his picture with a friend who immediately agreed. It didn’t help that he mentioned that he missed the company of a woman. It wasn’t the company of a good woman he missed, just a woman.

My favorite was the man who reached out to me with a shirtless profile picture in what I think he believed was a sexy, come-hither pose in his favorite recliner. It might have been kind of sexy if I found men 20 years older than me, with bigger breasts than mine, sexy. In case you think I’m being mean, I should mention that he was very specific about the size of breasts he wanted on his woman so he brought up the subject first.

What really captured my attention about his profile is that immediately below that picture, he specified that he wants a woman who knows how to dress for the occasion. I don’t know what the occasion is and what his expectation would be but I’m guessing he’s OK with casual since he didn’t even put on a shirt for his profile picture. If I was still on the fence, the requirement that his ideal woman be reserved and be able to turn him on in an instant, pretty much sealed the deal.

Dude, I’m not the woman for you. I’m not going to sit around and wait until you feel like being turned on and I’ll dress however I want for occasions.

These are only a couple of responses I’ve gotten. Most of the time they ask for someone who will comply, take care of them, and “be their companion.”

I don’t know what it is about me that makes them think I’d apply for the job description they are providing. Do I really have to “warn” them that I have strong opinions, I’m a feminist and get angry when I see double standards, and I’m very independent, I don’t need anything from them?

Actually, I avoid interacting with them. Except that one guy that said he couldn’t believe someone as cute as me was so liberal. When I read his profile, that wanted another submissive, conservative woman, I told him to back. away. slowly.

I don’t fool everyone every time. I did have the father of a friend meet me and immediately told my friend that while I was nice, that I was shouldn’t be crossed. I loved him a little bit.

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Sweet smile with a pair of axes in the background. I should be using this as the online dating profile picture.

So here’s to the 3D woman who is gentle, likes to knit and read, and who will crush you like a bug if you like to oppress or hurt others. Only the best need apply.