Friday, January 25, 2013

Boys "Toys" overtaking my home.

Due to the fact that my three daughters are grown up and away from home, I have been abandoned to the clutches of my husband and my son, who relish in both acting 14 at all times. It's like being trapped in a frat house where the boys never go home on weekends. In the past year while managing my mother's home and health I had to let some things "go." I could no longer get my panties in a wad over dishes left in the sink, library books in random locations all over the house and my personal favorite balled up socks taking up residence wherever the boy takes off his shoes. Then to this already minimalized house cleaning schedule, we added a remodel. Here is where I shake my head and wonder what was I thinking?
 This is the clutter that is starting to make me just a little "twitchie". Because really right now there is no "right place" for anything because it will soon be moved, boxed up and reassigned based on the chore of the day.
I have taken to decorating with all the "boy toys" needed to create a remodel.
 This is a LARGE compressor, so much bigger than the "pancake" compressor my husband got last year for Christmas. When the man in your life offers to take on a big project, it may be for the big toys he wants to play with.
 This is the stapler that sinks three inch staples into the floor when powered by the big boy compressor.

 So I've admitted that I have allowed my cleaning standards to relax over the last year, but I still don't like DUST. My kids learned at an early age that if they drew in the dust they would get assigned to clean it up. Until you write in it I can pretend it doesn't exist.

So instead of lamenting my current deconstruction, I'm having fun with it and finding "smiles" wherever I can.

These "smiles" aren't even in the deconstruction zone but the fine dust finds its way into the ducts and gets deposited whenever the heat goes on.

Updated pictures of how the hardwood is expanding across the room. Oh, and by the way, did you know you were supposed to clean your dyson vacuum every six months? Since you can take the vacuum out of the box and go to town with it, who reads the manual? None of this dust would probably bother me except I'm home sick laying on the couch watching each row of hardwood get hammered in while the dust settles into the pores of my face. The only time I move is when the couch has to be adjusted. We planned for me to be at work 12 hours a day so it would be like the "deconstruction fairies" were hard at work and it would be like magic. Stay tuned, next week we do the hallway.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Resolutions for 2013

Thanks for being patient as I came to grips with my areas of needed improvement. Due to the fact that considering the whole year at one time is far too many days for me, I'm instead going to choose a resolution for each month. Heads up my nutrition goals will be focused on in February because there are only 28 days.
Enough said, January for me was about organizing my thoughts, and making some decisions. With the loss of my mother last year and all the things requiring my attention to care for her estate, I found myself really struggling to make decisions. I didn't want to select dinner, dress myself (good thing I'm a nurse and wear the same thing to work everyday) or choose which toilet paper or toothpaste we needed. It was a real state of debillitation.
Enter January and these are the decisions I have contributed to this month. I hired a wardrobe consultant. Without my daughters at home, my husband and son allow me to leave the home looking like a butterfly has barfed on me. I'm not shy about color, but I'm not terribly selective either and cater to the theory if one color pallette is good then so is three.
I made decisions about a kitchen remodel. I was asked more questions to remodel my one kitchen then I remembered answering for 2 full house builds, both custom. I selected counter tops. This weekend I will select hardware and posts.
And we are changing up the flooring. My husband is a big help, here he is refinishing the hardwood entryway.

 This is the finished product. It will be ready for traffic in 2 weeks.
Now onto the other projects. We are removing the 16 year old carpet and replacing it with hardwood. I use the term "we" very loosely as I'm not lifting a finger. Mostly, I create the plan and encourage my husband to follow through. Chivalry is not dead at my home.

When I return from work tonight, there will be a few hardwood slats where there once was carpet. It will be like magic. When we get into the middle of the kitchen cabinets there will be wiring issues, and plumbing issues and painting issues. So stay tuned. And I feel really comfortable with saying I completed my January resolution. I did make decisions.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Your new digital camera can be a great teacher.

I've advanced my own photography to "manual mode". It should be more scarey than it is, but digital is so forgiving that it shortens the learning curve. Today, I took pictures in full sunlight and snow. I captured these two new visitors to my backyard.

 This young doe has been making a habit of wandering my pet free yard (the dog lives in the garage this time of year) and harvesting my weeds. We were recently visited with a large snow storm, so my garden weeds are more tempting than ever.
I had my camera set to manual mode at 1/40 sec and F 5.6. The little thingey on the bottom of my viewfinder that looks a little bit like a ruler with a "0" in the middle and "+" and "-" on the outsides had many hash marks in the positive side. That little thingey's name is the exposure indicator. I know because I looked it up in my user's manual. Had I taken a picture (through my kitchen window glass, mind you) at those settings it would have been blown out, and only capturing the very darkest portions of my picture. So what do you do when faced with too many hash marks to the positive? Slow down the speed and decrease the opening that allows light into your camera.
So my F-stop became 1/36 (see there really was a reason to study fractions in high school). When the aperture changes it changes your depth of field. As you can see in the picture the distant figure (the deer) is in focus, the tree branch (closer by nearly 30 feet) is out of focus.(The branch is "touching" the deers hind quarters.) Changing the F-stop allowed less light to enter my camera and create a picture. The histogram for this picture is balanced without "hotspots". (Those bright spots in a picture that store no data due to overexposure.)
With the F-stop changed down to 1/36 I also had to speed up the shutter speed. (It needs to open and close very quickly to prevent too much light into the exposure) I halved the speed to 1/80, not because I'm a genius but because that's when the "thingey" balanced. All the hash marks lined up over the zero and thus I took this picture in manual mode.
Now you go try it. Still scared? Use the scenic mode in your camera but pay attention to what the shutter speed is. (On my nikon, it's the number in the middle on the top just right of the battery indicator.) Then pay attention to the aperture. (The next number to the right, with "F" in front of it.) Knowing the exposure that your camera would choose, then go to manual and make adjustments up or down to experiment. Pretty soon, it will come more naturally. FYI; many times in reading the numbers in your control panel the 1/ is inferred. IE; a speed of 40, really means 1/40 of a second. An F-stop of 5.6 is really 1/5.6, that is why an F-stop of 36 is a smaller opening than a 5.6. Again, it's why you paid attention in High School algebra.
Make a resolution to take a "manual" picture every time you have your camera out.