Monday, February 21, 2011

- Snow Day

I am currently surviving my first midwest snowstorm.  The biggest February snowstorm in these parts since 1967.  Minneapolis has declared a snow emergency for the record 8th time this season - which really only means something about what side of the street you can park on to allow for snow plows which is all blah blah blah to me because I have underground parking.  Anyways, it started snowing around 10AM yesterday...and it didn't stop.  It still hasn't stopped.

Last week temperatures here got almost as high as 50 and stayed that way for several days allowing a lot of snow to melt.  Emma and I actually found grass on our walks and I'm pretty sure she had totally forgotten what it was or what to do on it since she peed in the middle of the street instead of on the grass.  People got excited.  They started throwing the word "Spring" around.  Even people native to this area got caught up in the madness, and I feel like they should have known better.  Because people we live in Minneapolis...Old Man Winter might have taken a break, but he's going to rage on.  Probably until May.

But seriously, thank goodness the snow melted because we would be absolutely buried if it hadn't.  I have no idea where all of this snow would go.  The sidewalks in my complex were completely clear and now there are 3 foot high snow drifts stacked up from all the plows.

And let's just take a moment to really drive home the differences between MN and NC.  This much snow would have shut Raleigh down for at least a week.  This morning, while it was still snowing, I called the building hot line for General Mills and got this recording: "All Minneapolis branches are open for regularly scheduled business".  So I went to work - although I waited until like 9 because I didn't want to be in traffic and I wanted to give the plows as much time to do their thing as I could.  And I left at 3:30 to avoid being in any kind of traffic again.

To ease my Mother's worried mind - I did not have to go to work.  I received emails from my director and manager saying to only drive if I felt comfortable doing so, and both encouraged me to work from home.  But, I didn't bring my work computer home with me this weekend and there were things I needed to do in the lab.  Plus being there allowed for a really great impromptu meeting with my supervisor.  I'll just end this up by saying 2 things: I'm not sure, but I think that this snowfall beats out the 15 inches Wilmington got in Christmas 1989 to be the biggest snowfall I've ever witnessed, and I am awesome at my job...like really awesome.  Snow day or not.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

- You've Waited Long Enough

I am lacking wit today.

I don't really know how to tell you about how I made my headboard.  It seems boring and straightforward every way I've typed it up.

First, I got a piece of wood from the Home Depot.  It was a 42x60 inch piece of 3/4 inch birch plywood.

If you look closely you can see all the little x's.  That's how many buttons I was originally planning for.

I did some math.  To figure out where I wanted my buttons so that I could drill holes.
I am apparently bad at simple equations that involve the number 18.

Then I affixed the mounting hardware.  This is a french cleat designed to hold up to 200 lb.  My headboard probably only weighs like 40-50 lbs, but you can never be too safe.  Plus it's a flush mount.
 
I cut foam to size and wrapped everything in batting secured with staples.  Emma is not a fan of my staple gun.
 
When "upholstering" figuring out how to fold the corners will be the hardest part.  I literally just tried folding the two sides into each other a bunch of ways until I found something that I liked...then I tried to duplicate the same thing on the other corners.  There was no method to my madness.
At this point I thought I was almost done.  Just make some buttons and tuft this baby.

To make these 6 buttons nearly killed me.

This is a really good picture of buttons.  I wish my other pictures weren't so sucky. 

It doesn't matter that you can't read the instructions on the back of the package.  They make no sense and are basically LIES about how "easy" it is to make fabric covered buttons.

Making a headboard is messy.

Even if I told you how I made the buttons it wouldn't be helpful.  Because if you ever need to make the buttons, my way won't work for you, or any other method you find on google.  It's like your own personal Jesus - you gotta find what works for you.  It took me 2 hours to make the 20 buttons.

Tufting was also not easy.  I ended up having to secure the buttons with wire because every kind of thread that I tried broke.  Even the wire broke a few times.

Considering that I carried the piece of plywood and all of my supplies upstairs to my apartment all by myself, I figured I could get it up on the wall all by myself too.

You can see here that I decided to not waste my efforts tufing the lower part of the headboard that will be covered with pillows when the bed is made.  That, and my sanity couldn't handle any more buttons.

I bought a metal bedframe so I didn't need to buy a box spring, or other more expensive frame with a base, plus I prefer the look of a tailored bedskirt to that of a structural bed frame.  I got my mattress from Ikea.  It has a 90 day return policy but so far I love it.  Somehow I managed to hang the headboard at exactly the right height for the bed to slide right under...without actually measuring the height of the bed.  Because I hung everything before I even had my mattress.
All done.  I pretty much love it and it's exactly what I wanted.

FYI: the cheapest upholstered headboard I ever found was $450 and it wasn't as tall as I wanted it, plus it probably would have required a hefty shipping charge. I built mine for $220 and that includes the cost of plywood, foam, batting, material, buttons, a staple gun, upholstery needles, and mounting hardware.
Here's a peek at the rest of the room.  What color should I paint this dresser?  Right now I'm thinking navy.  What color should I paint the tops of the blue wire shelves?  Green like the end tables?  Keep them white?
This picture is crooked.
This one is too.  In real life, those shelves are crooked in that the one on the left is hung a smidgen higher than the one the right.

I will hang this on the wall.
The frame around the lime green flower was the first one I opened and something in the packaging or on the frame cut me, and cut me pretty bad.  It was the second cut I've gotten on my right index finger this week and caused me to bleed on my new white sheets.  The sheets that I reached for on Tuesday, and managed to hit their paper label just the right way to slice my finger.  That was the first cut.

The next time you see this room it will be COMPLETELY DONE.

Monday, February 14, 2011

- V Day

Sometimes my dreams come true - literally.  I don't mean in the cheesy way like "I dreamed I was successful and had everything I ever wanted" I mean: I dream something, and then it happens.  I don't think it's psychic so much as it is the ability for my subconscious to work out things and draw conclusions...while I'm sleeping.  My earliest memory of this happening was in the 3rd grade, and it did not end so well.

In my dream Joey was coming over to my house to play.  Joey was an actual classmate of mine, and probably one that I was crushing on at the time.  I seem to remember some 3rd grade style flirtation happening around this time.  So, dream Joey arrived at my house with his parents, who just happened to be Beetlejuice and his wife.  I must have just seen this movie.  Anyways as they were dropping him off they casually mentioned "Oh don't be concerned, but at 2:30 Joey will transform into a werewolf". 

My dream parents were all "Okay, sounds great" as they smiled and waved bye to Mr. and Mrs. Beetlejuice.  Joey was smiling at me and asked "Are you ready to play?".  Everyone in my dream was acting completely relaxed, like what had just been said was normal.  Except me, of course, who tried to say something like: "Um I don't really want to play with Joey any more on the account of him being a werewolf and all..."  But no one seemed to hear me and my mom just ushered us down the hallway to my room.  

I think Joey and I did play successfully for a little while.  I'm not sure what we would have played because in real life I didn't play with boys when I was in the 3rd grade and my room was a complete Barbie fortress.  Anyways, shortly thereafter the clock struck 2:30, and as soon as it did I looked over at Joey to see him transforming, right on time, and it was terribly terrifying.  For some reason my bed was in the center of the room, so I ran to the side away from Joey.  I'm not sure why I thought that would be safer because Joey clearly was hungry and as he growled at me blood trickled down the corners of his mouth...

I jerked awake in a fit of absolute terror but the image of Joey as a bloody werewolf chasing me around and around the bed was firmly burned into my memory.  At school the next day I wasn't exactly ready to see Joey and be all buddy buddy.  But, as luck would have it, it was Valentine's Day...so everyone was going around putting their valentines into the containers we'd made and decorated.  When Joey came to my desk I'm pretty sure I told him I didn't want anything from him and to please go away.  I was trying to be nice and act brave, but then I noticed that real Joey had red stains in the corner of his mouth.  Knowing what I know now, he probably had kool-aid for breakfast, but my 3rd grade mind interpreted this to mean that my dream was true, and Joey spent last night moonlighting as a werewolf.  Needless to say, I kind of caused a scene and while I don't remember the details of what exactly I said and did, I do know that I was sent to the hall and scolded for being so mean to my classmate.  My crush on Joey was nonexistent after that fateful day.  

So let's just say that my aversion to Valentine's Day has been around for a while...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

- Twenty-Eight

Twenty-seven was one of the best years of my life.  I became Dr. Laurie, got the job I wanted, fell in love, moved somewhere all bright and new, took some awesome trips, reclaimed my youth, and lost 15 lbs.  There were some dark twisty times as well, but I conquered them and came out a better version of myself.  I truly feel like I am the best at being me that I ever been; I am unapologetic about who I am and finally feel comfortable in my own skin.  I would never have tackled this year so aggressively without the amazingly overwhelming support and love of friends and family - if you think I don't miss each and every one of you so much it hurts, you are sadly mistaken.  It is bittersweet to be here facing my dreams without having you here.

I'm so excited for what twenty-eight has in store for me - I know that all of the greatest moments of my life are yet to come...and that I'm getting to them as fast as I can.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

- Birthday Week In Review

Last night I was sitting in the shower (don't judge me for being too tired to stand up while washing my hair) taking stock of all my bruises sustained during a headboard constuction that was more intense than I ever thought it would be...when I realized that I had a really great birthday week, without even trying.

If you didn't know that this is my birthday week then you don't really know me that well.  Otherwise you'd already be asking me what I have planned - because pretty much every year since I turned 21 I've made a big deal about my birthday.  I figure it's the one time of the year that you can be shamlessly self-centered and generally celebrate the whole month of February.  My idea of a celebration typically involves massive amounts of shopping and partying because "It's my birthday, so I probably deserve this".  Consequently in March I eat ramen and am lame because I can't afford to do much else.  That explains why I've only ever had one actual "spring break", but it was awesome and included 13 days in Tahoe and a new digital camera.  I took this picture.
I put a Keep Tahoe Blue sticker on my car and bought a tee shirt with a silhouette of a snowboarder on the back, because I left that trip with the sole intention of learning to snowboard, and I still haven't.  It's totally on the list of things I will give myself this year, because I figure I shouldn't let all this snow go to waste.  Plus a lot of snowboarders are cute.  And I look pretty cute in a tobaggon.  The hat not the sled, because I'm from the south and that's what we call them down there. 
  
Anyways, this year is a bit different.  I knew it would be and I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for that.  The partying and celebration is considerably more low key seeing as how geography saw it appropriate to make NC and MN pretty far from each other and I've lost a large contigency of birthday supporters.  Plus, I don't know if MN is quite ready for what I usually bring to the table - it's probably better to ease them in.

So, this week I didn't plan anything special.  Luckily, sometimes great weeks happen to awesome people.

Monday: Baby G made his grand entrance and I am completely thrilled for Jaclyn and Matt.  My heart has literally swelled and sometimes I feel like I could explode with happiness, especially when they refer to me as "Aunt Lau Lau".  In the quiet moments during the day that I'm not consumed with work I am constantly thinking of them and their new family.  Despite how much I dislike that I cannot be there with them, and that I have to wait to meet my new favorite person until the end of the month, this is definitely the highlight of my week and even month.  I'm also really excited that we share a birthday week and I feel really lucky to have this kind of connection with him, you know, since we're not technically related and all. 

Thinking about this on my way into the Home Depot, which I can now find all by myself without Google Maps, I am all teary and stuff which I hope gets passed off as more "I'm freezing to death because it's -15 outside" rather than "I'm more emotional than the lady that just had a baby".  I leave the Home Depot with plywood, a saw, paint, sandpaper and a french cleat.  I am totally stoked about these purchases.  

Tuesday:  I got my name on my office at work.  This may not seem like much, but for someone who has been waiting to start their career for years, it is pretty monumental to see.  I'm reminded just how hard I worked to get here, and how hard I'm willing to work to prove myself.

I complain about the weather for the first time.  Consistently negative temperatures are really not so fun.  I feel like Minnesota is missing the fact that it's my birthday week but then I look at the weather and realize that there's a major warm up coming this weekend and that on my actual birthday temperatures will be really close to 40 degrees.  That's so toasty I probably won't need to wear a coat or even turn on my heat.  I'll probably sweat in anything more than a tee shirt and jean shorts.   
 
Wednesday: I receive my first compliment at work from my manager about how "impressive" my performance has been.  Consequently, I feel like complete rockstar.  Never has it been more obvious that I am exactly where I need to be.  Even if it is really far away from a squishy adorable baby...

Thursday: I finish my headboard and mount it on the wall.  I need to get my mattress and I might need to adjust the height a bit, but overall it looks AWESOME.  To stick with the baby-theme, it was a complete labor of love.  One that will get it's very own post.   There is also the beginning of a guest room taking shape and for extra credit I busted out some paint and attacked my table and lamps.  Table = awesome.  Lamps = OMG that is way more orange than I wanted, what was I thinking with Citrus blast and why oh why did I get a quart rather than a sample jar?

Friday: I attend an NC State alum - Minnesota section meeting.  I talk to old friends and meet some new ones.  My accent doesn't feel weird, and neither does the fact that eat a million hushpuppies.  I have about 12 hours of 27 left...

Friday, February 4, 2011

- A Few Things

#1 - Google Maps: I found Parkdale Dr.  It was kind of where you said it would be, but mostly not.  You have to take the Park Place Rd. exit and then that will spit you out on Parkdale.  I figured that out when I went back to the Home Depot the next day to exchange my tape measure and inadvertently looked up at a street sign hanging by a light.  This is not an apology as you were still wrong, misleading and have yet to redeem yourself in any significant way.

#2 - This is what my kitchen looks like:
It is done.

#3 - This is what my living room looks like:
I have a great idea for that wall space above the couch...
That's special agent Dana Scully.  On the X-Files she's always like "Let me in, I'm a medical doctor" and it makes me wonder if I should say things like "Trust me, I'm an academic doctor".  That box below the shelf is also the LAST box...it's full of CD's that I've yet to sort alphabetically and put into the boxes under the coffee table.
I can't wait to paint the base of the table red, so there's some more contrast...and of course, those lamps.  JEEZ that yellow color is killing me, but not at a level that surpasses my laziness.  I'm buying paint this weekend so I can work on it after work next week.

#4 - I am craving biscuits and gravy.  All day, every day.

#5 - I am going to make a headboard this weekend.  I'm hoping I'm able to execute the mental design I've created, but knowing me, the process will be nothing short of interesante.