home improvement

Same, same, but different

Yeah, so…. the world and stuff. Am I right?

Still working from home and really enjoying it. I find I’m so much more productive this way. Well, aside from the daily Zoom meetings which I feel are largely unnecessary. Many of my coworkers seem to socially benefit from them, so I suppose there is a benefit. It’s just not one I’m seeing.

I take some joy in being a touch subversive with my Zoom backgrounds.

Monday begins furlough time. I have to take at least one unpaid day off each pay period for the next year, or until I’ve taken all 26 furlough days – whichever happens first. So while not great, it could be so very much worse. (And I’ve no illusions that it could still get worse.)

The garden’s footprint has tripled in size, and I think that’s as far as I’m going to take it. It has expanded to include zucchini, yellow squash, Mexican grey squash, pumpkins, three varieties of tomato, three varieties of peppers, garlic, carrots, cantaloupe, watermelon, bunching onions, basil, and chick peas. Yeah…. I think that’s everything.

Still managing to work out six days a week. Running three days, and doing my old Power Half Hour DVDs from Beach Body three days. I’d been training for the Yellowstone Double Bison (back-to-back 5k and half marathon in early June) but that was cancelled earlier this week. I opted to defer to the virtual race version, so I’ll still get some swag plus a $75 credit toward a future race.

While I do miss many of the exercises that I was able to do at the gym, I don’t really miss being at the gym. I’ve got the space in my laundry room. I think I’d like to invest in an adjustable bench (incline/flat/decline) and some weights. I’m hoping that a bit further down the road I’ll be able to score a gonga deal at a yard sale or something as people start trying to clear out the workout gear they panic-bought at the start of all this. But now is not the time for that. Not yet.

My annual physical which had been rescheduled to a phone call was eventually cancelled. (Makes sense, how do you do a physical exam over the phone anyway?) I checked in with my doctor about my blood lab results from March and his response was “Nothing of concern.” So that’s that until in-person appointments can happen safely again.

My weight progress is still maddeningly slow. I credit this largely to getting lazy at times about my calorie logging. Being in the house – where all my food also happens to live – has also made me a bit more likely to snack than when I’m at work and the only food I have is what I brought with me for the day. And there’s the part where I’m not burning quite as many calories as I was before the world stopped. I’m floating between two and five pounds away from Ultimate Goal Weight, depending on the day.

It’s frustrating to be so close and not see marked movement in that direction. Some days I just want to call it “good enough” but I’ve come so far, it would be a shame to give up when I’m so close. I’ll get there. “The body will do what the body will do.” “The less you have to lose, the harder it is to lose.” “Trust the system.” These are all the things I say to friends in my r/loseit challenge team when they’re struggling. I need to take my own advice.

The thing that has ultimately been the most difficult for me in all this is being unable to play music with my friends. Oh, I’ve got a couple of different remote projects going on with different folks, and I’ve been making music on my own to help myself stay grounded. But it’s not the same as that energy that happens when you’re in the same room as other people, playing live. Or even better, at a venue playing music with friends for a bunch of people, everyone’s energy feeding off each other… It’s something special. And I miss it so very much.

This is the playlist I’m keeping of my “Quarantine” music.

Final Chantix thoughts, Housecleaning.

I really can’t express enough how glad I am to finally be finished with Chantix.  I was fortunate to not experience any negative side effects beyond a few really nasty dreams and three months without any truly restful sleep.  On a whim, I decided to check out my stress levels as recorded by my Garmin tracker and compare the two periods, and the difference is staggering.

This first image compares my stress levels on average Wednesdays.  On the left are my stress levels while I was on Chantix.  Levels on the right are about one week after finishing it.


And here are similar stats but from two different Sundays, which are largely spent hanging out on the couch with the cats.  Again the left is while on Chantix, the right is about a week after finishing.


So, yeah.  I’m not just imagining feeling better.  But it’s nice to have that visual proof as well.  And it certainly helps explain how “on edge” I felt for those three months.  While I’m sure some of that was simply from quitting smoking, I think the medication had a lot to do with it as well.

Also this past weekend I spent a lot of time cleaning up and rearranging my laundry room.  When I moved into the house almost two years ago, that was the “throw it in there and deal with it later” room.  I kept meaning to get around to reorganizing it but just kept… not.  To complicate matters when Wes was sick earlier this year, he apparently started peeing on the utility shelves in the corner.  Which I did not realize until it got warm and began to bake said pee into whatever was there.

I had taken a half day at work on Friday and wasn’t sure what to do with myself when the bug to do something about that room finally bit.  Mostly because it’s not air conditioned and those damn shelves were making the whole house smell like cat pee as the room heated up during the day.  So I cleared off and disinfected the shelves, then pulled back the rug so I could move the shelves out and clean behind them.  That was when I discovered that Wes had also peed on the rugs.  A lot.*  So those went out to the dumpster – because ew – and Project: Organize The Shelves suddenly became Project: Reorganize The Laundry Room And Mop All The Things, which took pretty much all afternoon and evening.

So here’s the fun part: before and after pictures!



Most of the boxes on those bottom two shelves in the “after” photo are empty.  They’re just filling space to hopefully keep Wes from trying to pee there again.  Over the weekend, I also ended up taking 47 pounds of paper (those boxes on the left side of “before”) to be shredded.  The room already feels way better, and no longer reeks of cat pee.

I still have to organize the tool table, which is located behind the door and is not pictured. Most of that stuff will likely go into the white cabinets in the photos, which I also cleared out of a bunch of junk that was left by the previous homeowners. Also not pictured is the massive box of “donation” stuff which has been sitting in there since I unpacked after the move, waiting for me to re-pack it into smaller, more manageable boxes and get it out of the house.  And I’d like to move a bunch of drums and stuff from the music room onto those corner shelves.  But those are maybe projects for this weekend.

*None of your stuff got peed on, Daphna.  I checked.

Making my bed room better

What?!? Two posts in the same week?

So I’ve been looking for a proper, nice bed frame or headboard for a while now.  Last week I scored an amazing headboard on Craigslist.  It came from the Grand Californian hotel at Disneyland.  (It also came with a plain queen sized metal frame and four throw pillows from the hotel.  Not sure what I’m going to do with those just yet.  Here’s an image search showing the headboard and pillows in their former natural habitat.)

Knowing I’d have to tear apart my room to get the headboard attached to the wall, I figured now was as good a time as any to get some painting done in there as well.  I’ve been struggling with exactly what colors I wanted to use, but getting this piece helped me make a decision.  But more on that later.

First off, here’s what the room looked like before I did much.  (Just removed the clutter from atop my dresser and book shelf.)  My apologies for the haphazard state of the bedclothes.


Once the book shelf, night stand, and dresser were moved out and the bed relocated to the opposite corner of the room it was time to locate the wall studs, attach the cleat to the wall, and test for fit.  This took far longer than I would have liked, but I was really paranoid about messing up and missing a stud somewhere.


Next up, move the headboard out of the way and prep the walls themselves.  This included wiping down the baseboards, applying painter’s tape as appropriate, and removing electrical covers.  Here’s a (crappy) panoramic shot I took of that stage.


I then proceeded to paint the two walls of the “bed corner” a lovely, dark green.  Took three coats, but I’m super happy with the result.  Here’s the room restored (minus dresser-top and book shelf clutter) with just the room light on.


And here it is with the bed lights lit.  The lights don’t actually have switches, so I’ve plugged them into a remote control system for easy switching on and off.  I’d kind of like to try putting some flicker-flame bulbs into those fixtures, but I don’t think it would be terribly practical for reading.  Though it sure would look cool.


I have to say it’s a definite improvement.  I also got to remove the lamp from my nightstand, making more room for whatever I happen to be reading at the time.  And then there’s the added benefit of said lamp no longer being something (else) I have to worry about the cats trying to knock over in the night.

The other two walls haven’t been painted yet.  I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with that today.  Plus, I want to give the green at least a couple of days to fully set before putting painter’s tape on it.  But when I do get to them, those walls will be a nice blue similar in tone to the green.  Yes, the room will be rather dark.  I like it that way.  Especially when I get a migraine.

I actually chose the blue first for the “non-bed” walls, and was trying to find a complimenting blue for the “bed” walls without finding anything I really liked.  Then I decided to try green for the other color, which I think was a good call.  Hopefully the blue paint will be a smaller project – at least as far as prep work goes – since I’ll only have to move the dresser, take down a few pieces of art, and throw a drop cloth over the foot of the bed before taping and painting.

So, yeah.  I’m very tired and very, very sore.  I suspect I will sleep rather well tonight.  As always, thanks for reading.