Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I have a feeling it’s a losing battle


             I posted a while ago on how my craft room/study has a life of its own. Well not much has changed I guess. There is still entirely too much stuff in there, but it is getting better organized.
            So a side note to set the stage here. One of my best friends Lyndsey and I have this thing, and this thing is IKEA. I will never forget the first time we went there. I had heard about IKEA but I had never experienced IKEA. And let me tell you it is an experience. And I will pass on the advice she gave me before we left. “Measure the space you want to fill and then measure it again. Go the first time and look and touch everything figure out what you like write it down, then make a second trip.” It’s good advice. The hardest thing about going into an IKEA is that you feel like a total failure coming out of there the first time. It is amazing what they can do with 1200 square feet that you can’t do with 12000. Coming out of there the first time I felt like I lived in a cardboard box, and a very unorganized one. It is hard to go in there and not want to buy the whole store but you really have to pace yourself and not get too excited. There really is an art to shopping there. This is also the point in the trip where Lyndsey gently reminds me that they engineered the room that way. They got to decide where the windows and the sink go. We unfortunately do not have that option. And I am sad to say that I am sure that the guys that built our house have never been to an IKEA. I am slowly forgiving the builders of my current residence and becoming less overwhelmed and a more scrupulous and systematic shopper.
All chewed to pieces. The picture is sideways
but you get the point.
            For some reason our trips always start out with Lyndsey wanting a chair. “I just have to pick up a chair.” She likes chairs. Last time it was a desk chair and now one for the living room. Of course I was on board immediately! We hadn’t seen each other since my wedding in October and what better way to reunite! We also brought along my other favorite Rotha. She’s great and added a good energy boost to the group and it gave me a chance to show off my veteran IKEA shopper skills to a newbie. This trip I had nothing in particular that I was looking for so I was along for the ride. Well about the time we got to the kitchen section an idea struck me. Why not find a skinny table/desk that I could put the sewing machine on. I have come to the conclusion and resolution that the craft room just needs to be a craft room, and not try to be an office too. With school winding down it’s getting easier to make that happen. I looked at every desk table and sideboard that they had. Then I saw it. It’s perfect. Skinny enough it doesn’t stick out from the wall too far; tall enough I can stand up and work at it, shelves for storage and two drawers. This sideboard has got to be one of the more perfect purchases I have ever made. I would have never thought that the way to open up my little craft room and get it organized would be to buy another large piece of furniture.
All clean and organized...For now anyway
             Now I am hopeful that for the moment I have one the battle but I am not na├»ve enough to think that the war is over. But I have changed my strategy. I have decided that it is just the craft room now. I have ended up doing most of my schoolwork in other places anyway so I think that if I just make it the craft/sewing room I might have a better handle on things. Of course this could just be trying to trick myself into thinking that I have a room organized and taken care of. I might just be kidding myself. But as of April 27th I will no longer have schoolwork and I will have a master’s degree so I might as well have some fun in that room.
            So after I found my awesome sideboard I then had to find a seat. Now the perfect choice was a barstool. Its very simple and just my style and for $15 it couldn’t be beat.
            We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We always do. But our evening wasn’t done. We had a birthday to celebrate; Lyndsey’s husband. And out to dinner we went. Now before I get to the next part please remember that my dogs lived a charmed life no matter what they tell anyone. On this particular night though they were not happy and decided to let me know about it. Along with a new sewing table I got some fabric, a salad spinner that I was particularly excited about, a railing system with some containers to hang for all of my sewing accoutrements, and some new sheets and a comforter. Well when I got home, I still had the sheets but they had been opened and slept on, the salad spinner DOA, and even the metal railing system was chewed along with almost all of the plastic containers. What really sent me over the edge was the fact that they chewed a hole in the fabric; right in the middle of a fold that was of course in the middle of the fabric. I lost it. I completely lost it, and thank goodness that Charlie wasn’t home. Naturally the only thing to do was channel that energy since there was no way that I was going to bed. At about 02:45 am I had finished putting together my barstool, sewing table and then got it organized. I enjoyed it for about 5 minutes then crashed in bed. The dogs slept in the living room, which was for the best really. We were still not on speaking terms.
            I’m happy to report that I am speaking to the dogs again. It took a few days to get over, but we worked through it. Plus the way that I look at it, it’s just a good reason to make another trip back to IKEA. I wonder what chair Lyndsey will find this time?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Best Thing in Camping Since Well Camping

            I have to admit I was expecting a total disaster. That’s how stuff like this usually goes for us. I am told that we aren’t the only people on the planet that these things happen to but I have yet to see the proof. But…this whole camper thing has turned out better than I could have ever hoped for. There was only one minor issue. Well a $138 issue.
All the stuff I had to get organized and packed in the
Camper. What a mess.
All packed up and ready to go 

Rain, rain, rain
            We managed to get to the campsite relatively easily. It rained most of the drive up there but we had kind of expected that to happen. And I say relatively easily except for a few minor hiccups. First Charlie realized that he had only brought one pair of shoes. Of course at a point where there was no turning back to get them from the house. Next was just the general nervousness of pulling a camper that could disintegrate at any moment with a truck that could very easily meet the same fate. There were a few times that I caught myself holding my breath. The highlight of the trip up though was the really awesome BBQ place we stopped at. So good. Once into Front Royal we stopped at a K-Mart and Charlie found some very charming camouflaged shoes. Problem one taken care of. After K-Mart we got to the park and got everything set up and without getting rained on. Well for that moment anyway. The park rangers were super nice and had us considering a career change almost immediately. They did however look at us a little strangely because well it is January and we were camping. Normally I would have looked at us strangely too.
            I can’t say enough about the campsites. They were so well maintained with gravel spots for the camper and around the campfire. This turned out to be one of the most important aspects of the whole trip.
Awesome campsites 
            After we set up house we got the pups fed and started a campfire. Well that lasted about 20 minutes. Then the rain came. Which honestly hadn’t bothered me that much, because it was cold and damp and we had a cozy camper to curl up in. Then it rained and rained and rained. It rained a lot. Good thing is that the camper keeps most of the water out. There are a few spots that leak but mostly just get saturated not a dripping leak. Thank goodness. So instead of letting it get us down we cooked dinner on our adorable stovetop. Chef Charlie whipped up some great hot dogs with peppers and onions. Now it doesn’t sound like much but to a mother of two very excited puppies who had been running around all afternoon it was the best meal ever! Plus while he worked I got to stretch my artistic abilities and color in my Peanuts coloring book. After dinner and a quick clean up we made the dreaded trip to the bathhouse. And let me just say the only reason it was dreaded was because it was pouring down rain, that and I had to take Seven with me. The bathhouses there are amazing. I mean nothing like the Hilton (not that I have been in one) but better than going in the woods in the pouring down rain. Which by the way I would have gladly done too, had there not been a choice. That is after all what I am used to. The best part about the bathhouse for me was 1. The hot shower and, 2. The fact that I could use my blow dryer after that hot shower. I have to admit there is something to be said for being able to take a shower and then get my hair dry afterwards while camping. I have a lot of hair so this is a big deal.
Favorite spot, curled up under the table.
Home sweet home
            So night one was rather uneventful. The next day the plan was to take the pups hiking. Well the place was totally saturated so we decided that we would stay out of the woods and hike on one of the gravel trails that the park had. So glad for that trail, the camper was getting a little cramped. After that a quick jaunt into town, and then up to Sky Meadow to walk around. Right. Well we made it to town, and then I noticed that the truck was smoking just a bit. At first I just thought that it was just steam since it was super cold, but on further inspection we noticed that the antifreeze was leaking. Well Charlie had had this problem fixed before. To make a long story a little shorter when he had it fixed it wasn’t done correctly. So to a mechanic we went along with our two wet smelly dogs. It didn’t take long to get it fixed and the dogs were relatively well behaved while we waited. In fact they were kind of the hit at the shop. So needless to say Sky Meadow was out by the time we got the truck taken care of. So it was an evening of puzzles, Yahtzee and some DVDs.
Thank goodness we made it home before all of this 
            The next morning brought a much-needed break from the rain so we ventured out to Sky Meadow. What a good-looking park. It was very well kept and if it hadn’t started raining again then we would have explored more. But the dogs were happy to get out and about and were sleepy the drive back. Our last evening was quiet and cold as the first real winter storm of the season was starting to roll in. Luckily we made it all the way back to Richmond mostly in just rain. And clean up wasn’t that bad much easier than having to clean up from our normal camping trips. I can’t wait for the next trip.