Monday, January 27, 2014

Worth a thousand words: Cabin Edition

(Also, I cheated and just now posted a similiar picture-filled post from Christmas here. Mommy blogger fail.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spring Projects: The Stinky Room

(See some other house upgrades here and here.)

There is a large bedroom in the basement of our house that we have not-so-lovingly referred to since we moved in as 'the stinky room.' This moniker was decided upon based on the following criteria: the room smelled really bad.

Like the rest of the basement, the bedroom was finished, but only sort of. It's a strange hodge-podge of exterior walls (which are not framed or insulated) and interior walls, which don't have sheet rock or proper framing, either. Instead, they're basically made of some wood paneling painted white.

It's incredibly obnoxious that the former owners didn't just do the job right the first go 'round, but since they are deceased now, I'll cut them a break. We aren't interested in gutting the basement to start over at this point, (which is what really needs to happen) but we are interested in making it more livable.

We have never used the stinky room for anything other than storage and a rough sort of office space. MJ and Maddi lived in that room while that side of the family was house hunting/moving, but the broken bed they used has long since been gifted to a couple of newly weds. For a long time, the room looked basically like this (only usually it had a lot more crap in it):

A large space with a big closet, the room definitely had potential for something better, but oh boy, was it rough. That hideous blue cloud carpet was just sort of lying on the ground with a tiny bit of glue to hold it in place. It didn't have a carpet pad beneath it (why you would bother doing it this way is just beyond me) and it smelled like old people. There were random wires sticking out of the walls with old school plugs. It was far from the toy room Paddy and I were envisioning.

Luckily for me, I'm related to a pretty great electrician, and with a few chuckles and head shakes, he took care of the shoddy wiring problems.

I scrubbed out the gross window surrounds, wiped down the walls, and painted the entire room with a fresh coat of paint. (You can't really tell a difference in the color in these photos, but it's no longer stark white, but still light enough to stay bright even with those postage stamp sized windows.)

Paddy contacted a friend of his who has access to carpet remnants so we could change up the flooring without spending a bunch of cash. We didn't have a lot of choices about color since we needed a pretty big remnant, but we weren't picky. We were really happy that we ended up with a really high quality carpet (and pad, like civilized people) in a neutral brownish shade for a great price.

The best part was moving lots of the larger toys the kids got from Christmas out of their bedrooms and down into one organized space.

Turns out that the secret to happiness in family life is a toy room. The kids play in there without bothering me, and when I check on them it melts my heart to find them hiding together in the tent or playing/bossing/being bossed on the proper way to play babies. (I'll let you guess which kid is which in that scenario.) Mister's train set has been spread out on the floor of this room since we finished it, and he LOVES it.

This house is probably not our forever house, and we've found ourselves wondering about where it makes sense to upgrade, how much to spend, and what to leave for the next set of people who love this old mess to fix. Even though this room is still not finished properly, we know we'll use it, and we hope that future buyers will see a functional space that is clean, comfortable, and user-friendly until they decide to demo the entire basement.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Football, as it should be played.

Since the NFL Conference Championship games are next Sunday, I thought I'd take the opportunity to offer Commissioner Goodell my suggestion for the improvement of the game of football.

Let's back up a little bit. Paddy is a big fan of football, and I like watching it, too. When I was a lot younger, my little brother (Shout-out: Ashton! Hey! Oh!) taught me the basics using the framework of the original Ninetendo's TecmoBowl. Remember this?

Image from here

We played game after game, Ashton teaching me about downs and how to cheat by peeking at the other person's play choice-- when he wasn't too busy oogling the cartoon cheerleader still-frames that lit up the screen every time he scored. I later used that skill (cheating on plays, not looking at cheerleaders) to solidly beat my college friend Guillermo every time we played on my roommate's old gaming system.

College didn't do a whole lot to expand my knowledge of the game, since at the time my beloved Aggies were--how do I put this delicately?--not exactly the bowl-game winning program they are today. After we got married, though, Paddy was able to build upon my rudimentary knowledge of the game to create in me a football fan who at least most of the time understands what is going on in the game.

Armed with this history, I have developed a brilliant plan to improve the excitement factor in every football game we view. I submit to Commissioner Goodell (who I hear is really into taking suggestions from strangers) the following changes, illustrated for his convenience.

The change would involve altering some of the hardware of the game, as follows:

 A small platform would be anchored to the side of the uprights in each end zone. Also, a framework of bungees (not pictured) would be installed.

The improvement would also require the addition of one player position on each team. A member of Special Teams, the player might often find himself in this position during the game, relaxing on his perch.

The real excitement, however, comes each and every time the opposing team attempts a field goal or point after goal. Then, the new player (I lovingly refer to this position as "Keeper", but will defer to Comm. Goodell's judgement on the official title) springs into action, leaping from his platform in an energetic attempt to block the ball.

Image not to scale. Obviously.

Right? RIGHT?! Tell me this isn't brilliant! If the Keeper is able to successfully bat the ball out of the uprights, no good! When the football hits the turf, the ball is dead. The kicking team can recover the ball by catching it on the way down (interception-style) but not advance it (if they recover it in the end zone, it is not a touchdown, but will result in a fresh set of downs from the 20 yard line.) The defense can recover and advance the ball, recorded as a turnover against the kicking team. After the kick and block attempt, the keeper, who is bobbing gently in his bungee harness, is hoisted back up to the platform to either climb down and move to the other end zone or await his next opportunity to leap in to infamy.

I know, I know. It's awesome. I eagerly await response from the NFL legal offices. I'll accept payment in the form of SuperBowl tickets for my husband, fathers, and brothers. Oh, and a convenient Patriots loss next week as a signing bonus.

You're welcome.