“I can’t believe you never had any green army men?”
“I just don’t understand the appeal.”
“But they were the perfect toy, you could get like a thousand of them for a dollar.”
“So what? Then you just have a thousand little green pieces of plastic. What’s the point?”
“They’re an ARMY!?!?”
One of my favorite Sumi pictures to date. I call it: Attitudinal.
For starters… bookshelves? What bookshelves? I don’t even read.
While we haven’t actually abandoned the bookshelves, as promised we did not work on them last night and instead played around with the one thing in the world that might actually keep me from finishing them: a Wii. I would not be exaggerating to say that the ability of this tiny white box to capture the intricacy of human movement with enough detail to put a spin on a bowling ball is mind boggling and would only be surpassed in it’s glory by a bookshelf that stained itself. (Ya hear that bookshelves? Step up your game!)
That being said, it is not the Wii’s fault that we aren’t working on the bookshelves tonight. That honor goes to the pesky utility and mortgage companies and their insistence that we “pay for services rendered” or some such nonsense that is woefully lacking in words like Wii, Wii Sports, Wii Tennis, or Wii Bowling. As such, we (Wii!) were forced to work and didn’t have time for staining. I will not acknowledge here whether or not we had time for Wii (Weeeeeeeeee Wii!). Let’s just say it turns out that even virtual tennis can give you tennis elbow.
Meanwhile, I am so inundated with beautiful, adorable pictures of Sumi that I am forced to desperately fight the urge to just post them all right now instead of rationing them for my own selfish blogging reasons. Selfishness aside, I AM going to ration them, but I will go ahead and give you my favorite one today:
Ain’t she bee-you-tea-ful?
It's The Husband's birthday and I promised him two things. First that there would be no mention of the fiendish bookshelves today and second that I would spend time with him. So today i'm going to keep it short and just post the first picture from a very successful photo session with the always adorable Sumi. There's more where this came from.
“I have an idea.”
“We’ll finish this one tonight…”
“…and then just take two pictures of it.”
“Norm Abrams never did his own staining on The New Yankee Workshop.”
“No. Why do you think he was so happy?”
“Only one more bookcase to go.”
“No. I refuse.”
“Oh come on. We can do it.”
“If we don’t stop now, we’re getting a divorce.”
“But will you stain the bookcase first?”
“Why do they even sell this stuff (stain)?”
“There should be someone whose job it is to stand by the stain and keep you from buying it.”
“They should just take your ten dollars and send you on your way. That way you still lose ten dollars, but you save all this time.”
“Can’t we just pretend this never happened? We’ll delete all the posts about it and if anyone mentions it, we’ll just be like, “Bookcases? What bookcases? I don’t even read. You must have been on someone else’s site.””
“Hey, do you know what time it was when you finished the last coat?”
“Hey, uh, you suck.”
“You know, I’m starting to get the impression that you’re the one that sucks.”
“I’ll buy you three iPhones if we can stop this right now.”
“I hate stain and wood and woodworking.”
“You also seem to hate yourself as you’ve condemned yourself to this.”
“Us, honey, I hate us.”
“Who’s stupid idea was this anyway?”
“It was your idea!”
“Nuh uh. I refuse to take responsibility for this.”
“Well it sure as hell wasn’t my idea.”
“We’re going to have to have a word with these cats about their crazy ideas.”
“With the amount of time and effort that this is taking to finish the “right way,” I can’t help but think we would have been better off spending a thousand dollars a Pottery Barn.”
“You know, they may not be as nice as Pottery Barn ones and they make be taking a ton of time and effort, but… Oh God. I can’t think of a “but.””
Today was horrible. Today was painful. Today was an exercise in the futility of man’s struggle for order in a world full of chaos. Today, the bookshelves won. Well…perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic, but you see, the thing I hate about woodworking – the thing I’ve always hated about woodworking – is prepping. I love designing a project, deciding on and acquiring the materials, sawing, and assembling: all the fun stuff. All the stuff that feels the most productive and shows the greatest amount of visible progress. It’s the other stuff, working your way through several grits of sandpaper and puttying and conditioning and re-sanding that makes me want to gouge out my eye with a putty knife.
Certainly it’s possible to avoid most or all of the sanding and conditioning that the wood needs in order to achieve a nice finish and it’s not like we haven’t cut corners before (with gusto). It’s just that this time, with the Internet as our witness, we felt we ought to do it right. So we sanded, and then we sanded some more and when we were done with that we puttied the knots and holes, then we sanded again. Then we conditioned, then we sanded, then we cursed the gods of woodworking and vowed never to build another thing as long as we lived, then we sanded.
We put in a full days work on two, admittedly, large bookshelves and what do we have to show for it? Two large bookshelves, still unfinished. Granted, they are now all but guaranteed to be the most beautifully finished bookshelves this side of a Pottery Barn catalog, but still, it looks like we haven’t touched them today although it feels like I’ve ruptured something vital in my bicep.
Now, let’s talk pictures. Just as I was about to write this post, it occurred to me that I ought to run out and snap a picture or two of the offending units for posterity’s sake. I grabbed my camera and walked out into the garage to take the picture. This is when I encountered two problems. First, it’s been incredibly hot and humid in Florida since…well, since the last ice age and so the camera immediately fogged up. Second, in order to take a picture I had to stand still long enough for the mosquitoes to find me. That being said, these pictures are kind of crap, but I did sacrifice a pint of blood and the delicate mechanics of my beloved camera to get them so, you know, you’re welcome.
Well, technically not so much bookshelves as, um, lumber, but still, you can see where we’re going with this. So today, after gathering all of the assorted lumber and setting up our work fan…
which we would only later realize is actually an extremely effective and wholly terrifying spider launcher, we set to work. The idea was to miter the ends of the large boards that make up the frame of the bookcase. The Husband took some measurements (being very careful since we hadn’t bought any extra wood and a mistake would require a whole new trip to the hardware store) and marked the cut line; then he started the first cut. Then he stopped the first cut.
Notice anything wrong with that picture? How about a closer look?
The line on the left is where he was supposed to cut. The gash on the right is what will make the homicide “justifiable” when I go to trial. That, my friends is what is popularly known as a “miss.” For my purposes, however, I’ll refer to it as either a “trip to the hardware store” or “twenty dollars” or a “#&^$%*ing #$&*@^.” At this point we decided to sit around for a minute and figure out what to do next. Do we go to the store now? Do we go later? Do we try to figure out how to aim the circular saw? And that’s when it hit me: we need a bigger saw.
That’s much better. Surely, with this saw, we could simply point it’s tremendous blade at the wood and the fear alone would cause the wood to split where we wanted it to.
Yes. That’s a plan. So we made a cut.
And we made some more cuts.
And we made a lot of cuts.
And then we decided we should give this some more thought. Miter cuts are highly overrated. Besides, when did we get too fancy for good, old fashioned, butt joints, anyway? Sure, they have a ridiculous name, but they get the job done! And, also, who’s stupid idea was this and how will they pay?
A fair while later, after some hard liquor, we decided that mitering corners mean the terrorists win, and we were able to make some headway before abandoning ship to score free dinner at my parents house. If we recover from our steak and mashed potato binge, we’ll continue tomorrow. If not, well, bookshelves are highly overrated.
A minor detail we forgot about when building the new bed was what the hell to do with the old box springs. Do we toss them out? Donate them? Store them for some unknown future application? Build mattress Stonehenge? Try to pass them off as some sort of kooky modern art installation? Would anyone believe they represent the inner spring in all of us, boxed in by the man and trying to break free? I didn’t think so either.
Note the new fullness of his face. Also note his neck roll, chest roll, shoulder roll, elbow roll, and thigh roll. The cat can eat. I imagine it won’t be long before his rolls start to develop rolls. But what of his belly you ask? Surely the lusciousness of the belly warrants a picture as well. But, of course.
I would like to point out that this is no ordinary flappy cat belly, but rather a toned and tight rapid growth belly that, thanks to improved nutrition is now covered in the softest downy kitten belly hair and feels like the equivalent of a bowl of pudding covered in velvet…but in a way that wouldn’t make you vomit.
The problem with… I was going to say, the problem with doing projects, but I just realized how silly that would be. It’s not about the projects. It’s about me and my serious mental deficiencies. So, rather, the problem with me is that once I start a project, I immediately start coming up with new projects to follow it with. Last year, for example, I decided it was time to paint our bedroom and by the time we finished all the various projects that lead to, it was two months later and we had revamped almost our entire house.
Yet somehow, the other day when I decided it was high time we put a footboard on our bed, I managed to forget my previous trip down the slippery slope of do-it-yourselfdom and now find myself once again going for a slide. Surely, now would be the perfect time to build those bookshelves I’ve been wanting for the family room. Not that I don’t already have bookshelves in the family room, but they’re…I don’t know, not shelf-y enough. The point is I need them and they’ll be beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I simply cannot stand them having to share space with the hideous eyesore that is the orange cat’s cage and I’ve decided we need to build him a proper enclosure in a spare bedroom so he’ll be out of the way. Now, I’m not actually saying that I have an unoccupied room that I can just go converting into the evil orange cat’s personal little bachelor pad or anything, so now I also have to clear out and declutter a room. Which, incidentally, reminds me that I’ve been meaning to finish the picture wall in the bedroom and should probably acquire some new frames to work on that as well. And so on.
The only good part about this is that the last time The Husband and I did so many projects, I didn’t have the blog yet. Now that I do, I’ll get to post pictures of the works in progress and regale you all with the many colorful and expletive filled stories of our adventures in carpentry and interior design. Aren’t you thrilled? I thought so. This should be fun!