Under Construction Daily

Monday, February 27, 2006

Making progress

Over the weekend I finally finished the curtains for the craft room (and even made one of the pillows)

Cool, eh? I know my mom will hate them; she doesn't like toile. As an aside, to hear the word "toile" properly pronounced, go here. This site will also provide TWO pronounciations of the word "shit." Not that I would ever ask my computer to say shit...

And on another front, teamwork in the garage led to the installation of the first set of shutters (just to make sure they're okay before investing in finishing the shutters for the other six windows). So here you go:

I think they look better in person.

So the title of this blog entry relates nicely to the home rennovation theme of this website but as usual I was reading Dooce.com and today's post got me to thinking about progress for women. She brings up the whole, "is it wrong for educated women to stay home to raise children" debate. Read her stuff, I won't try to paraphrase, but as a new mom it's an issue I think about a lot.

Pre-pregnancy Mr. H and I discussed him being a stay at home dad. He seemed to have all the maternal instinct in the family and for the first five years of our marriage he was the one who wanted children. When it came down to it (and after we bought a new house) having one of us stay home just didn't make financial sense so I knew from the beginning I would be going back to work.

At first, I assumed this was definitely the right choice. I have never been particularly fond of babies and couldn't imagine spending every day at home with one. Then baby was born and I spent 2.5 months at home with her, all day, every day and couldn't imagine going back to work and leaving her in daycare.

Before long, January 1 arrived and maternity leave was over. To be honest, going back to work wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. About 4 p.m. I want to give baby a hug but generally I drop her off in the morning and look forward to seeing her when I get home but during the day I'm busy with work.

Being a working mom is less convenient when it comes to breastfeeding. Pumping in my office three times a day works reasonably well but what's a girl to do when stuck traveling all day in a car with the bosses' bosses' boss? I spent two days stuck in a car with the equivalent of the company CEO going from meeting to meeting with nary a potty break. The boobs do not go 6 hours people! I couldn't come up with a tactful way to say, "can we be late to this next meeting? I really need to go milk myself."

But, travel days aside, work is okay. Until I start to think about it and feel guilty about not being home all day with the munchkin. Most of my friends who have kids have decided to stay at home nearly full time adding to the guilt. My sister in law (a working mom of two) assures me that she is a better parent because she's working. Different strokes for different folks.

So I guess my take on the whole feminism thing is that what all those NOW members fought for was the right for women to get an education and make their own choice. Stay at home, go to work, baby in daycare, stay at home dads, the options are endless and many women today can choose what's right for their family.

That's cool, I just wish I knew what was right for me.

Full time blogging works for Heather but I've seen the competition out there and unless Home Depot wants to sponsor this drivel, I think I'll go to work tomorrow.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Blogging lesson learned

So, if you start a post and then get distracted and write other posts and then go back to the original draft and post it, it'll show up on the date you started it, not the date you published.

Therefore, those (hundreds of dedicated readers) looking for my post of Four Things should scroll down to 2/15/06.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

What would you rather be doing?

The plan for today was to go to Mr. H's parent's house to watch the Daytona 500. The solitary reader may not realize (being a Californian and all) but NASCAR season has begun. I was personally trying to think of a way out of spending the entire day watching cars go in circles.

We woke up after about 2 hours of solid sleep (sick babies DO NOT SLEEP) and Mr. H announced that before heading out he wanted to get going on the project we discussed yesterday of moving some shrubs in the front yard and making a space for a patio set. It seemed like a great idea. Since I anticipated spending an hour or two on the shrub project before heading off to watch the race, I dressed the baby in her NASCAR bib featuring Carl Edwards. It wasn't good luck for Carl, he crashed.

So during the morning nap we pulled out our shovels and went to town digging out and transplanting shrubs and chainsawing the ones that were too big to move. That left us with a giant stump which required a few hours of pick ax and chainsaw action to remove. Then Mr. H, who as already explained does not half ass his work, cleaned the entire area and put the tools away and finally left for his parent's house with about 30 laps left in a 200 lap race. (It's 500 miles and apparently that translates to 200 laps).

Now we have a nicely cleared area for a patio. All we have left is moving a few more shrubs, laying a patio and perhaps, a picket fence.

Add this to the list of projects in progress...

Saturday, February 18, 2006



You can only nag so much....before you have to look in the mirror

So I've been nagging Mr. H pretty much since the day we moved in (August 2005 for the record) to make me some shutters for the NINE giant windows in the front room. Without shutters the house is a fishbowl.

He bought the wood, we ordered the hardware, a prototype got partially completed and then the whole thing stalled in favor of other projects (more on those later). So this is how our windows look right now: See what I mean? We eat in a fishbowl (ok, to be honest, we never eat at the table)

But still I've been nagging
and nagging
to no avail.

And then I decided it was time to look in the mirror.

I am queen of the unfinished project. Here's a partial list:
  1. curtains for the craft room (1/3 done)
  2. pillows for the craft room (supplies purchased)
  3. duvet cover (one side done)
  4. wedding gift from a 2004 wedding (ok, that's embarrassing) (half done)
  5. baby quilt for our baby (half done)
I'm hoping confessing to my solitary reader will increase my motivation to get this stuff done!

But maybe I'd rather just nag.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Unlike me, Mr. H never does a half ass job on any home project.

The ant invasion of our very small pantry was promptly squashed by 5, yes FIVE!, ant killer things. Watch out rouses in the attic!

I never was a trendsetter

So all the cool blogs I read (all three of them) have been tagging one another about Four Things. Now, I'm not cool enough to have been tagged and at this point the Four Things concept is getting stale in the blogging world but I figured the solitary reader might still enjoy so here goes:

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Fabric store sales clerk. First long term job (I'm not counting the holiday stints at the Christmas tree farm before I was legally old enough for a worker permit or the Christmas job at a packing and shipping store--which reminds me, someday I'll share the story of my interview for that job)
  2. House painter for Student Works Painting. No, I wasn't one of those high acheiving student managers getting real career experience, I was the actual house painter. Actually a good skill that has come in handy many times (but somehow, as Mr. H can attest, I am still the messiest painter known to human kind. I always paint my hair and body as much as the walls)
  3. Cook for a college fraternity. For a whole academic year I cooked four nights a week for the 15 or so guys that lived in the frat house. Only had to order emergency pizza once
  4. Customer service rep for a company that tests transformer oil. I bet you've never heard of that industry.

Four movies I can watch over and over:

I'm just not that into movies so, in staying with the website theme I will list four ill conceived homeowner projects I have helped with:

  1. Grouting terra cotta tile that wasn't fully sealed (grout REALLY sticks to terra cotta)
  2. Installing a cast iron tub in a bathroom that was too small for the tub (advanced pregnancy prevented my full participation in this fiasco)
  3. Removing a perfectly good picket fence we later had to re-install
  4. Changing all the door hardware in the house before painting and before realizing we'd also have to change all the hinges which would then not fit properly

Four places I have lived

  1. Escondido, California, raised (not born)
  2. Davis, California
  3. Adelboden, Switzerland (for three months)
  4. Sacramento, California (three different locations so far)

Four TV shows I (currently) love

  1. Grey's Anatomy
  2. West Wing
  3. Alias
  4. Trading Spaces (oh to have cable and be able to watch regularly)

Show I am currently (as in right this exact moment) watching:

  1. This Old House Hour

Four (international) places I’ve vacationed

  1. Pune, India
  2. Wackersdorf, Germany
  3. Cuernavaca, Mexico
  4. Bangkok, Thailand

Four of my favorite dishes (Now I love food as much as the next person but again, I will modify)

Four foods that go well with home rennovation:

  1. Beer
  2. Pizza
  3. Del Taco (there's one in the Lowe's parking lot)
  4. Starbucks (there's one in every Home Depot parking lot)

Four sites I visit daily

  1. Yay Toast
  2. Dooce
  3. Google
  4. UC Davis (every weekday)

Four places I'd rather be right now:

Actually, I'm pretty satisfied. After two days in Bakersfield I'm sitting in my own bed holding my adorable, sleeping baby. What could be better? Instead,

Four more projects I realized I have in progress or REALLY* need to start:

  1. Painting the nightstand Mr. H made me for my birthday
  2. Helping Mr. H fill in the trench in the backyard
  3. Complete kitchen remodel*
  4. 2005 Tax Return*

Four people I am tagging:

Nobody since everyone's already done this...

Sick Day and thus Some Blog History

Apparently Portland was a bit much for the baby because now she is sick. She doesn't really seem sick but has a fever of 102. Day care took her when she was hacking up a lung and could barely breathe through her stuffy nose (when her parents had to go to work and thus, with much guilt, abandoned her at day care) but no way will they take her with a fever. I don't really get it but I guess fever means contagious. It takes a while to sort out how things work in the world of parenthood.

Here she is enjoying her sick day with a nap on the couch, medical record card conveniently close. For the paranoid out there, she has no idea how to roll over and I am just an arm's length away!

But I digress.

Since I'll now be spending the morning at home until the doctor's appointment, Mr. H suggested I get the oil changed in the car.

That sounds productive.

As a person who has literally never taken a sick day in my life (if you don't count naternity leave and the one day I took for gum surgery) I plan to enjoy my few hours of unexpected freedom. If baby is asleep, I plan to catch up on all the blogging that has been rattling around in my head.

So, some history.

I didn't know anything about blogs or bloggers or blogging or anything until my friend "sactownkid" started a blog. And she had a link to Dooce which I started reading daily and was promptly hooked.

I caught myself going through my day thinking how various events would sound written up on my very own blog. Like the time I mocked the frozen pizza instructions for reminding consumers, "don't eat while frozen" and proceeded to bake the pizza with the cardboard underneath (for the record that's pretty much like cooking a turkey with the bag of guts still inside).

My life seemed to be shaping up into serious blogger material (or is that materiel?).

I starting reading all these mommy blogs and thought, "hey, I'm a new mom, I could be a mommy blogger" but I realized I could never be nearly as good as what I was already reading. Check out the monthy newsletter archives on Dooce. I seriously start crying everytime I read them.

After spending some time thinking about what my blogger niche might be, I realized that Mr. H and I are unusually addicted to do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and my solitary reader might enjoy a home repair diary to remind her why she really likes living in an apartment.

So there you go. Under Construction Daily was born (and I particularly like that the acronym is UCD, a favorite university of mine). Don't think I didn't plan that!

Sick baby is awake. Off to get the oil changed.

Portland Trailblazers

So this weekend involved no home repair projects whatsoever. We went to Portland. I consider us trailblazers because we took the baby (before her 4 month birthday). First airplane ride, second hotel stay, first trip to a zoo, you get the idea. I won't bore you (my solitary blog reader) with the photos but check this out.
Do you see the similarity? Our baby and a rhino, roly poly creatures with 2 horns on their head.

And speaking of critters, I'm pretty sure we have a rat/mouse in the attic. (a rouse? a mat?) Mr. H got out of the shower and swore he heard something then I heard it too. My fingers are crossed that it was really the birds on the roof. Maybe it was an auditory illusion that the sound was from the attic.

Clearly time for another trip to the hardware store.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Big Tool

Not as dirty as it sounds (unlike all the spam I get). This really is a big tool. A professional grade chipper as in, "is that your partner there in the chipper?" kind of chipper. You can chip for 2 hours for $86. What a bargain.

And to think some people spend their weekends at the mall.