Archive | January, 2012

At least your mother didn’t name you Lenora Nell

28 Jan

We have a large, on-going house project again.  Walls.  Walls always take a long time.  So, while you wait, here’s a peek into my family life.  I noticed on this blog that there are a number of posts about Steve McQueen’s family but many fewer of mine.  That’s because Stevie’s family visits more because his uncles are also here.  So we see his grandma and his aunts a lot more than I see mine.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t see my spectacular family at all!  In fact, we’re looking at an Enderiffic spring coming up this year.  I am eagerly anticipating the Spring Garage Sale extravaganza.  Pining even.

I digress.  Here’s the scoop.  WAY back in September, for labor day, my family got together in little old Cataract WI for my Aunt Lori’s 50th birthday.  Lori is my mom’s little sister and what you need to know about her is that she loves the Packers (who doesn’t?) and is hysterical.

Steve and I drove down to Cataract for the day.  The party was actually on a side road that was conveniently unnamed so we drove back and forth through the city of Cataract five times before we finally found the place we needed to turn.  And each time we drove through the city, we passed Lori’s house.  And each time we passed I was convinced she’d see our MN license plate and figure out something was up.  But she didn’t and when we finally got to the house where the party was, Steve and I awkwardly stood around chatting with a bunch of Lori’s friends whom we had met the first time that day.

After a while, the family got there and we started goofing around.

That’s my cousin, Adam, above there.  He’s such a nice guy and a good sport when I say, “Adam, stand there like those are your horns.”  He didn’t even correct the horns part.  And notice that Packers t-shirt.  Like mother, like son.

At some point after the guests had arrived, it started to poor rain which was unfortunate as the chicken and fish was being fried out in the yard.

They ended up setting up a tarp over the deep fryers.  Looking back, probably not the best idea we’ve ever had but the food was good.

Finally, after about an hour of raining and waiting, Lori came through the door.

Surprised?  Yes.  Totally and utterly happy and excited about her party? Um…  A good sport?  Always.  (And notice that shirt.  It was even a Saturday so not even a game day.)

The rest of the night was spent eating and chatting and playing with a tiny dog that looked like a pint sized German Shepherd and was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

I love that picture of my dad.  I have a similar one of Steve’s dad that I like a lot.  They’re both looking off the the right.  Their right, my left.  Only in the picture of Steve’s dad, he looks like the captain of a ship.  Both our dads are named Tom, by the way.  Isn’t that crazy?

I love the picture of my grandma talking to my little cousin Brian.  I like when older people and kids interact.

I also love my mom’s haircut.

At some point, Lori opened her presents.  She had a wide variety of things, including these “saggy boobs” from a friend of hers:

I hope you wanted this picture all over the internet Aunt Lori.  Now a Google search for “saggy boobs” will return a picture of you.

But the piece de resistance was the gift from my mom, sisters and I.  At least I think so.  You see, Aunt Lori’s given name is Lenora Nell, after her grandmothers Eleanora and Anelia.  Aunt Lori always complains about this name while my mom and her sisters reminisce about their childhood woes, saying, “At least your mother didn’t name you Lenora Nell.  Try growing up with a name like Le-Noooooooor-Ah.”  And we all laugh, because she’s funny and has great voices when she wants to be dramatic about something.

But that is what inspired our gift:

I love her face in the first picture.  A genuine laugh.

So that was how we enjoyed our day before labor day…celebrating a woman who has labored away for 50 years with a name like Lenora Nell.

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I’m sorry, so sorry…for my long absence. But here are our walls!

22 Jan


Holy Blog.  I haven’t posted since October.  Yikes.  I’m sorry.  I have lots of excuses…one of which you will see here today.  But the bulk of the story is that we started tearing down wallpaper in our family room and then hosted thanksgiving and then traveled for Christmas and then went to Mexico and amidst all that I had the end of the semester and a huge project at work.  Whew.  But we’re back now and I am ready to share some things with you.  We’ve been working on the house some and I’ve been working on a new project, Project Amanda, some.  And you’ll get to hear all about it.  But today, today you will hear about walls.

We tore down the wallpaper in our family room.  We had modest expectations for this room based on the wallpaper removal process from our upstairs bathroom (which we did eventually finish and which I will show you a picture of soon, I promise).  Anyway, given that our family room is probably 9 times the size of that bathroom, we expected the room to take nine times as long.

Ha.

Ha.

Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Oh, my sides ache from the humor of it all.  Us in our naivete started this project in bits and pieces…pulling off loose pieces of the wallpaper…back in September.  Then in October started working in earnest to have it done by Thanksgiving.  We figured if we put in a few hours every week, we’d be done by then.  I’ll save you all the grueling details but suffice it to say that Steve and I worked four about 60 combined man hours removing paper and glue from the walls.  Then, my parents came up and we all worked for about 40 combined man hours doing the same thing.  After that, most of the glue was removed so we moved on to the other steps which totaled at about 40 combined man hours for Steve and I.  It was…a process.

Incidentally, Steve started removing wallpaper in the kitchen today.  It’s older wallpaper so the glue is not as strong so it’s much less strenuous.  I say this so that anyone thinking about buying a house in the near future will not be totally scared away by wallpaper.  Just plan on lots of time.

So, without further ado, here’s some picks of the process.  First, a reminder of what this room looked like when we first moved in (Steve also removed that cabinet in the corner but you’ll see that later.  Also, I didn’t edit any of these photos so they may look off color or a little wonky.):

These next few are from after paper and glue removal.  I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture before the glue was removed but just imagine the image you are seeing with giant lines and patches of brownish-yellow glue crusted all over the walls.  (These photos constitute about 105 man hours of work).

(Bee-tee-dubs, when we removed that cabinet, we found no less than four different types of wallpaper back there.  Apparently this room has been redone more than once.  I know I have a picture of that but cannot for the life of me remember where it is.  I will post it for you as soon as I find it.  Some of the wallpaper is really spectacular.)

Next, after we let the walls dry for a few days, we had to put up a layer of clear, watery paint called Guardz.  It creates a new facing on the walls so that the spackle that we had to put up doesn’t sink into all the areas where the original wallpaper facing was stripped off by our scraping.  I don’t really have pictures of that step either since it doesn’t change how the room looks.  It’s just that when you tapped on the spots where the drywall facing was stripped off, it was hard.  Quite an interesting product.

After we put up Guardz, we had to spackle and sand every hole, every tear, every divet.  Steve also taped and spread the corners of the room as they didn’t join together correctly.  He also filled 5 holes in the wall with new drywall.  We spackled and sanded everything twice, then washed the walls again.  When all was said and done, we were left with this:

After all our spackling, we put up another layer of Guardz to seal the spackle so the paint didn’t sink in.  Then we primed and painted.  To give you an idea of how busy we were, I didn’t even take pictures after we finished our walls.  The next series of pictures I have is from the warm fall day in between priming and painting when Steve and I spent an entire afternoon raking and bagging the leaves from our gigantic yard.  Then Thanksgiving.

I didn’t even realize this until today when I came to write this post and was all, “Where in tarnations are my pictures?” and “Hot damn!”  So I took some.  The AFTER:

Sorry for the streamers and stuff.  They were decorations from Thanksgiving but we just left them up because we like them.  And for the ugly chair and the screwy light.  The chair is going to be redone and the light normally points down.  I just needed the light for another picture.  Also, boy is our house messy.  I blame laziness and Stevie Wonder and I both being involved in our own house projects this weekend.

Steve Harvey can still see some imperfections in the wall and it bothers him because he is a perfectionist.  But I think they look so good and I am so proud to have accomplished that room I can’t even describe it.  I feel like knocking on all our neighbors doors and saying, “Please come and look at my walls.  They’re so smooth and cool and nice to look at.”  That’s what she said.