When I left work on Friday, December 20th, it was to be ten days until I returned to work. In between, I had nine days of no work, and almost no travel. Judging from the conversations of my co-workers, most of them travel for the holidays, beit an hour drive into Wisconsin, or across country.
I’m happy to report I don’t have to travel for the holidays. Unless I’m leaving to go to a state I’ve never been to before, then I don’t want to go anywhere. In fact, I did so little traveling for the holidays that, after returning home from my in-laws’ on Christmas Eve, I went a full five days without getting into a car. It’s not that I didn’t go anywhere – I ventured to the gas station on Xmas Day, then to a pizza shop on Friday, then made a quick dash to this local grocery store for aluminum foil – but all those trips were purely of the walking sort. My streak was finally broken this morning, Monday, December 30th, when I hopped into my carpooler’s vehicle.
So, apart from mundane errands, what does a person do with nine days off of work, including six days (21st, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th) of no car travel? Glad you asked.
I made some more headway on Isla’s room. First, Jennifer and I hung this shelf:
We hung it crooked the first time, which is immensely frustrating, because it’s nearly impossible to correct a shelf that’s a half inch from being level. I drilled a new hole (sufficiently far from the first one), then had to spackle the first hole, sand, re-spackle, re-sand, then paint. Then, at last, the shelf was ready to be hung.
Speaking of shelf frustrations…I hung this shelf in Owen’s room for, like, the fifth time:
The shelf is from IKEA so, needless to say, it’s a complete pain in the ass. The shelf kept pulling away from the wall. I always screwed one side of the shelf into a stud, but the shelf is less than a foot across and, let’s face it, studs are not that close together. So one side was always anchored into nothing more than sheetrock. I devised what I’ll call “Plan E” this time: L-brackets! Look closely and you’ll see the shelf is now bracketed to the wall. I pulled out leftover paint and brushed a coat onto the brackets so they’re not that obvious. Let’s see how well this holds. “Plan F” will consist of sawing a shelf-sized hole into the wall and wedging the shelf into the hole so that it’s only protruding about an inch.
I also lathered a few coats of polurethane on Isla’s door frame:
Sorry the frame is so dark, but when I took the picture, there was this brilliant light entering her room from this enormous ball of supercharged plasma not more than eight light-minutes from the window. Anyway, trust me, the frame is now poly’d. Also, see that piece of wood and those screws sitting on the floor to the left of her door? Those are the reducer (a threshold that seques from the hallway’s carpeting to her room’s wood flooring) and the parts for the door latch, respectively, which I installed later, after the planet turned away from that ball of plasma.
Jennifer and I hung her door last night, too. She still lacks a doorknob, though, but at least now we can close the door when she’s sleeping to give her more quietness.
I built and painted this book shelf for Isla’s room, too:
The wood and screws were leftovers from previous projects, and the paint, as you can probably tell, is leftover from painting the room’s trim. I actually ran out of paint but, thanks to my skillful arrangement of dolls, you can’t tell from this photo. Regardless, how awesome is this? A free wood book shelf! My nerdy kids hand-selected the books to place on the shelf (Isla actually owns approximately quadruple the number of books you see here, but most will remain in the toy room for now.)
And as long as we’re discussing cost-effective handiwork, now’s a good time to show you that I built this:
Yep, now Owen has a pencil holder, named Osz, on his desk.
And, as long as the polyurethane was out and about, I slathered a couple coats on some Xmas ornaments from yesteryear. Jennifer creates an Xmas ornament from a cross-section of each year’s tree. Here’s an example:
The one you see here is the newest one – this slice of wood is all that remains from 2012’s tree. Anyway, it’s got polurethane on it, so hopefully it will last for years to come.
In the woodworking department, I also made significant headway on a gnome house for Isla’s room. I don’t have a picture to show you here, ’cause there’s not much to see yet. But here’s the deal: You know those access panels to get to the plumbing behind tubs? Well, our access panel happens to be in Isla’s room. So, I figured, why not cut a hole in it and build a little house behind it? Jennifer ordered a really cool gnome door, and I’m cutting a hole to the matching size. Behind this door will be a carpeted, full lit, 12×12 gnome house. I hope she appreciates how awesome her room is going to be. But, since she’s a kid, she probably won’t.
Jennifer ordered this 8×10 of our daughter at Minnehaha Falls this past autumn, and Owen’s third grade pictures arrived, so we framed them. I had to unearth the frame for Isla’s picture from our basement (where we have a surprising smattering of dry goods). The frame for Owen’s picture was already in the dining room, ’cause it had his second grade photo in it. It was just leaning agains the wall, though, so this week, I took the opportunity to hang them on the wall. Like Isla’s shelf (see above), I initialy hung her picture incorrectly. Thankfully, I fixed it, and now there’s an extra hole in the wall (but at least this time, it’s covered by the frame).
I also kept up with snow shoveling, washed lots of dishes, imported some videos from digital tape onto an external harddrive, and worked on my model car, as you can see here:
Also in this photo, you can see Owen working on one of his Xmas gifts, which is amazing, because most of his gifts this year came with a label that read “Mom & Dad: This is mostly for you to ‘help’ with!”
Jennifer and I also managed to watch episodes of Six Feet Under, Grimm, and Breaking Bad.
I read this book:
And this book: