Final Variety Pack for 2016: Part Two.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ah ha, part two!  To go with part one.  I'mma lookin' at my lengthy list of things here I want to include; hm, lengthy but I think I can get it all in here and not go for a three-parter.

Ok, diving right that back security door closer was giving me some lip again.  Why I can't get this darn thing right, I just do not know.  But, fine, one chilly day I had enough.  Again.

Then I discovered this.  Huh?  Ugh.  Sigh.
The piece attached to the wall was all kitty-whompa bent, a screw was backing out, and I'm sure twenty other things were wrong.  What I did?  I moved the door frame end part to a alternate previously drilled hole.  There are about four hundred holes in this metal door frame.  Not all mine.

Banged the bent part straight-ish-er, re-sank that loosening screw, and all seems righter with the world.  The door nearly closes all the way on its own now too, which wow, shocker!  Nearly.  Maybe someday we'll replace all the darn doors, who knows.  Let's keep hope alive.

Mmk, all better now.  For a couple months anyway, before it goes out of whack again.
While I was in the vicinity of the back door, I made a quite sad show of installing an awning we purchased, one a' these.*  They look better online.  Ahem.

Because it was so lightweight I assumed I'd have a fair shot at it, gimpy arm and all.  Well no.  I was highly incorrect.  You know what they say about assuming.

Assembly was a pain in the a** as it just would.not.stay.together.  It was missing a critical screw so I improvised from my stash; did not help.  Arm too dysfunctional at that moment in time still, really needed Mike's help.

At one point I thought I was close, gonna get it, yeah Yeah!, when the thing drooped limply onto my head, I growled, shifted to save it when it fell to the ground into two or more pieces.  Swearing ensued, at the thing and my arm.  Poor Finny, patiently peering out the back door all sad eyed, "poor Mommy."

Grrrr.  Floppy flimsy thing.
Mopped the schmeared hair off my face, sweat off my brow.  Peered around, made sure no neighbors were laughing hysterically.  Sinking, I gave up.  Which only served to irk me immensely as I'm bad at taking no for an answer.

So, it's in the way in the garage until warmer weather and that second pair of hands are around to help.  Sigh.  Extra sigh as the back door area is coated in snow, what I was hoping to avoid by getting that floppy plastic mess installed.  Ah well.

Moving on.

Oh, I discovered this spiffy dusk to dawn LED* over 'dere at my second home.

Cool product!  Empty packaging!  Cool.
Put it out front.

Sure, odd bright photo of the fixture I don't like, why not.
We're skilled at forgetting, meaning forgetting to turn the front porch light on as well as off.  This solved our dilemma instantly.  Now we feel our front is more secure all lit up at night, without having to lift a finger.

Way secure I should say as this sixty-watter is one heck of a damn bright bulb.  Very blue too, just fyi, bluer than I anticipated.  It's fine, it does the job spot on.

Ah.  Those fantastic drawers, right?  Yes.  So stellar.  I can't even begin....That Mike says we at long last have a functional kitchen, the highest compliment in the land, tells you all you need to know.  He sure knows how to melt my wee heart.

But sadly, the huge gigantic ugly plastic wrap thingie we got at the restaurant supply store did not fit in a drawer as planned.  Ok, so I drew the drawers without measuring it.  Doh.  My bad.  Whatev's, not the end of the world.

Huge gigantic ugly plastic wrap thingie.
It sitting out looking all unattractive, yes, that was the end of the world.  Yay for leftover birch plywood, I made a box to cover it, much like a tissue box cover.  I know, I am weird.

Measuring and making it up as I went along. Wisest course of action?  Maybe not.
But!  I did get to use my new compressor and nail gun!  Yay!  Whooie that was fun!!  Though every other sentence in the directions for it says "explosion warning!," or "careful, explosion!"  Wow, talk about hm.
Stained it with some of the same PureColor Ink Blot stain because I'm a dork.  I will say, shoulda dropped the front lower, the top opening back a tad.  All in all, it works though.  What a highly functioning corner now!
Oh, yes, the gimpy arm business?  It seems to be improving but ohhhmG is it taking forever and far too long.  Every day I do these darn PT exercises and every day I wonder "is this even working?!"  Too slow to notice I suppose.  Sigh.  I am one heck of a slow healer it seems.

Regardless, point being I spend an inordinate of time in the doorway of my office, using the frame to stretch.  Or on the floor glancing around, aka causing trouble by noticing things.

Having stared at it a bazillion times now, it hit me that the one small strip of white, the underside of the soffit in my office was stunting the room, making it feel smaller.

So bam, painted it out and now the walls recede completely, feeling larger, less stunty.  I then painted out the slanted wall section over by the basement stair as well, as it being white looked disjointed.

Before.  Yes, very very light blue, it's tough to see, I know.
Then I painted the plastic surround of the Nest.

Then it got to be too dark to photograph because Chicago winter, dark at like noon, thank you.  But I got them eventually.

Yep.  Uh huh.  Much much way better.
And yep.  Mm hm.
Heh, now I don't have to look at the displeasing off-white plastic around the fancy thing, yay!
Yes.  Happiness thanks to the Magic of Paint.  Thumbs up.

Right, the Nest!*  Yes.  I have not been paying attention to our utility bills but while I was working, the monthly email reports showed how it helped with the overly hot summer/AC on way more often than usual/kept our bill from being obscene.  And it was true, non-obscene electric bills.  Nice!!

The heat?  I haven't checked mainly because I'm home all the time now.  The Nest has an auto-away so when my phone leaves the premises, the heat goes into hibernation until I return.  But I'm home so, not a lot of benefit is happenin' right about now.  I inquired about cycling; my query went unacknowledged.

But the internet crapped out one day and then weirdly, so did the Nest.  I was so hard at work drafting I hadn't noticed except that my lil' hands were freezing solid and I was soooo cold.  After some finagling, the heat was running but it would not connect to the internet.  Then it stopped working again.

Needless to say, this was all happening on literally the coldest day of the season-so-far where we were near then below zero.  Mm hm, because me.

Got the heat running again but still no internet connection; turns out the battery was near dead.  Somehow.  Huh?!  So I tweeted Nest Support who gave me a great tip:  pop the thing off and outlet charge it for an hour with a micro USB cord.*

So I did, for over an hour actually, and it still said low battery.  Tweet again.  You must call, they say. Brrrrr, mmk.

Stuck on hold for nearly forty five minutes to have the nice guy tell me to pop the thing off the wall (again which I had done at least six times that day), read something, pop it back on.  Suddenly it has a charge and it connects.

Figures.  Because I called.  I have not since touched the thing and will henceforth only handle it via app or website.  Crazy.  It had been perfectly inconspicuous until that point and now perfectly fine since.  So weird, right?

Ah technology.  Mike still gives me the eyerolls over it, thinks it's spying on us, thinks it's ridiculous, but, you can't beat a free-to-us attempt at saving cash and the environment.

Speaking of warmth, my beloved has now three times, Three!!, count 'em thhhhuuu-ree, said let's open up the woodburning fireplace.  WhaaaaAAaaat???  Who are you?!  (We watch the HD yule log on demand continuously instead, yearning, burning firewood scented candles.  I know.)

It's hidden behind that bump out, as viewed from my desk.  Aw, our stockings hung with care on our "mantel."
And yes, I'm wondering if he's feeling ok to have volunteered this idea unprompted.  Three times.  On three separate occasions even.  I fear for his well-being.

I mean, holy crap can of worms (have you read about our flipper?!)....But it would be amazing to have, no doubt.  Such a rare feature in the city (we're still touchy, ok?), everyone wants one.

We shall see.  "Next year project," he gestures at it.  *eyebrow raise*

Got a handy tip for you that I originally saw via Bob Vila but now can't track down the link.  Got a water stain on your ceiling?  We did.  Try this handy idea first before whipping out the paint.  Works like a charm.  Though I upped the ratio as like everything in this house, it was stubborn.

Oh you have just GOT to see how my awesomest-hairstylist-ever Anna upcycled the wine gift bag....

Oh.  My.  God.  Right?!  Hahahaha, SO adorable!!  I want to come back as Anna's dog someday.  
Oh, our Christmas cards this year?  After toiling and hemming and hawing and online searching for concepts (as such, they went out quite late this year), I came across this darn super cute idea and then proceeded to totally rip it off.  Well, I mean, ok, not completely, obviously, but was highly inspired by it shall we say.

A photo card.  I have never sent a photo card.  But a certain someone (not Finn) insisted.  I'm a camera avoider.  Humph.  Seriously, these LED's in the kitchen, too warm, messin' with my photos, man.
So then this year's cookie batch?  As always, I am required to provide chocolate chip.  And my mom's butter cookie recipe with preserves in the middle.  No, I have not shared her recipe because I am heartless and cruel.  I made Apple Butter Snickerdoodles which were nummy and then for the first time ever, gingerbread.

Every year Mike asks for gingerbread, every year I say babe, no cookie cutter.  Bam, he gifts a cookie cutter* this year, ha!  So cute and so clever!  Therefore, hence with, "German Gingerdogs."

Okey dokey, that's it, the final Variety Pack of the year!  Wow!  Sniffle.  I'm tearing up!  Well.  All righty then!  Off to make a cheesecake, then chocolate cream pie, then Christmas breakfast.  Have a great holiday weekend!

*The awning, dusk to dawn LED, Nest, micro USB, and cookie cutter are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see "boring stuff" for more info.

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