Friday, August 28, 2015

Less Dismal

I am happy to report that the bathroom cabinet project is looking less dismal.

Only a couple of hours after emailing Amazon customer service about my missing package, I got a response apologizing that they couldn't replace the items because there were none left in stock. They had issued a refund and gave me a link to another seller who had the items. Good job, Amazon. This is why I love you. :)

Then it was off to Sherwin Williams to test the love from their customer service. Cabinet door in hand, I showed the clerk the terrible finish resulting from the paint and roller that had been recommended to me. He confirmed that the ProClassic I'd originally asked about could not be tinted to black, so I looked at options for dark grey instead. Then I talked to another clerk who had recently painted a crib using ProClassic satin and a mohair roller with excellent results. Unbeknownst to me, the first clerk was already mixing the paint... in semi-gloss instead of satin. Ugh. A paint store is not a fast food drive-through where every customer has to be served in two minutes or less. Can I please have five minutes to try to make the right choice, lest I set myself up to waste another two or three hours sanding and repainting?

Ultimately, I decided to keep the semi-gloss as it might be a bit more durable for the frequent use and cleaning the cabinet will endure in a bathroom. The clerk gave me the paint at no charge. Not Amazon-level love, but quite acceptable.

Then I went to the grocery store. Though my purchase was almost exclusively vegetables and fruits, I did also buy spaghetti noodles and a frozen pizza. This apparently prompted the 50-ish female clerk to ask me, "How many kids do you have?" I replied very matter-of-factly, "None. I just eat like a 10-year-old." She was embarrassed. I thought it was hilarious. :D I snickered all the way out to the car.

When I got home, I discovered my missing package from Amazon sitting next to the garage door. O.o Maybe it was delivered to a neighbor by mistake, and it took them three days to bring it over? I emailed back to Amazon customer service so they can cancel the refund or charge my card again.

Then I hauled the cabinet down to the basement and spent an hour sanding it. I hate sanding... so afterwards, I consoled myself by eating the pizza. ;)

Now it's time for the second attempt at painting the cabinet...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dismal Failure is Looming

So... you remember that bathroom cabinet project I mentioned? The one that had an excellent chance of ending up a dismal failure?

Well, it got off to a good start with a partial assembly of the cabinet. Easy.
The piece on the table is upside down.

Step two: Primer. I had selected a primer that will stick to glossy surfaces and asked the clerk to tint the primer to go under black paint. The result was a light grey-almost-lavender color. I was expecting dark grey... but okay, I like purple. I'll give it a go.

The primer rolled on smoothly and easily with a foam roller.

Step three: Paint. I had researched the best paint for furniture and found many rave reviews of Sherwin Williams ProClassic. Wanting a very smooth, durable finish for my bathroom cabinet, I made a special trip to Sherwin Williams. The clerk told me that ProClassic cannot be tinted to dark colors and recommended All Surface Enamel. He also recommended a particular type of roller and said it would give me a very smooth finish.

Wrong. Very wrong.

The paint finish looks HORRIBLE. It was not user error. I am not a novice at painting. I've achieved good results many times with a $2 roller and Behr paint that cost half as much as Sherwin Williams. It was either the paint or the roller, or a combination of the two. The only solution is to sand the painted surfaces and start over. I hate sanding. HATE it!

I will be taking a cabinet door to Sherwin Williams and having a discussion with the manager.

Step four: Add trim pieces. I ordered some trim from Amazon. The tracking information states that the package was delivered Monday, but I haven't received it. :( I have ordered from Amazon numerous times, and I have never had a package go missing.

I hoped that making a claim with Amazon would be easy since I'm a Prime member... but I got an email response stating "We're unable to create a replacement. Please contact customer service."


I keep reminding myself that the most critical factor to home improvement success is tenacious determination. :P

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Successful Changes and Other Goings-On

The short version of this post is as follows:
Me, me, me, and me. My life, me, my life, me, and me. Me, more me, even more me, and but wait, there's more me. And oh, by the way, me. Me!

Yeah, this post is almost entirely about me. You might want to skip it... unless you're having a bout of insomnia; in which case, this post is electronic Ambien. :P

The long version (Don't say I didn't warn you.) is as follows:
I have been making some changes to my lifestyle over the last three months. I hadn't been very successful with small or gradual changes in the past, so I decided to try a more abrupt approach this time. Instead of weaning myself off something, I would go with a reverse Nike: just don't do it. This tactic is working surprisingly well for me.

I stopped eating fast food. This turned out to be easier than I expected, in part because of the summer heat. Get in the blazing hot oven car to go for food at lunchtime? I think not. No fast food is worth that kind of lunatic behavior. ;) And after work, I just want to go straight home to the blessed air conditioning - do not pass Go, do not collect Taco Bell.

I stopped drinking soda. I expected much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this one. I thought I'd be haunted by fizzy voices calling "Drink us! Drink us!" from the beverage cooler at work. To my great astonishment, breaking my soda habit was quite easy. I switched to flavored water and tea, and soon I didn't miss soda at all. (I still love you, Coke Zero; I just don't need you anymore.)

I started taking better care with my appearance - styling my hair, painting my nails, being consistent with skin care, putting some thought into clothes. I'm not trying to impress anyone (I work mostly with men, who wouldn't notice anyway); I just feel more confident when I make myself presentable. Complacency about my appearance was a sure sign that I was feeling depressed.

I started making healthier food choices. Firstly, eating more fruits and vegetables. This one has been pretty easy as I like veggies and fruits and they're simple to cook or eat raw. I have even started craving healthier foods when I'm hungry. French cut green beans are little green slivers of joy, and black-eyed peas are the legume of the gods.
with Snaps!  :D
Secondly, eating less sugar. I won't lie - this one has been tough. I am a sugar and carb fiend. I love cakes, pastries, waffles, croissants, muffins... all kinds of sweet baked goods, really. But I'm doing my best to stick to it, and I find myself craving sugary foods less often.

One unexpected effect has been that my perpetual nasal congestion has improved dramatically. I'm not sure if it's due to the sugar or to the milk that I would drink with sugary foods, but what a difference! I was taking a decongestant almost daily, but now I haven't needed one for a month or more. I had no idea my nose could serve any useful purpose other than holding my glasses up... but I can actually breathe through the thing! :o

I stopped recreational eating. This was made easy by (and timed to coincide with) starting Invisalign treatment to straighten my teeth. I can't eat while wearing the aligners, and I need to wear them 20-22 hours a day for a good result. Lunch at work involves walking with my little toiletries kit to the bathroom, taking the aligners out (which requires a bit of effort as they fit VERY tightly on my teeth), and cleaning them. After I eat, it's another trip to the bathroom to thoroughly brush my teeth and put the aligners back in. When I feel the urge to snack, I have to decide whether it's worth all that trouble. Usually it's not. Even for black-eyed peas.

In case anyone's curious about Invisalign... I've had my aligners for about 10 days now, and it's okay so far. My teeth ached slightly the first two or three days, but it was only discomfort, nothing I'd call pain. My tongue and the inside of my bottom lip did not fare so well. The bottom aligner cut into them painfully. :( I smoothed the edges with an emery board, and left the aligners out for a day so my mouth could heal. Those first few days, I was salivating like a Mastiff (okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad); thankfully, that subsided. I started to get a sore throat but that went away after I disinfected the aligners in a hydrogen peroxide solution. I'll move to the second set of aligners in a few days. Before I put them in, I'll file the edges and give them a soak, and hopefully avoid any problems.

I tried to stop sitting around on the sofa watching TV, but failed. I think it's partly due to the summer heat, which saps my energy and makes me reluctant to move. I run freakishly hot (the lab tech has to wear oven mitts when handling vials of my magma blood), and even with air conditioning, I start to overheat with the slightest exertion. But, hey, at least I'm sitting around eating green beans instead of cake. ;) I'll give the sofa-free lifestyle another go when the weather starts to cool down a bit.

And what about the realm of crafts and home improvement? Well, having finished my office armoire project, I'm now focusing on redoing the bathroom. My weekend plans include beginning a project which has an excellent chance of ending up a dismal failure: attempting to change a boring brown cabinet into something less boring and not at all brown. I suspect my plans are far grander than my skill in making them reality... but we'll see. For me, successful home improvement is less about skill and more about pure stubborn determination to make the stupid thing work. ;) Especially when I start the project with only a pile of boards, several baggies of little metal bits, and a couple of vague ideas.
Some assembly required.
The other pending home improvement project is more concrete. In fact, it's all concrete. I got my annual bonus at work last week, and as a special treat for myself, I'm going to buy a new driveway. :D (Just what every woman wants! Well, that plus power tools and Alchemy Gothic jewelry, of course.) The current driveway has so many vegetation-friendly cracks, I have to use the string trimmer on it. :P I also want to replace my narrow, oddly sized death trap of a front entry. I rarely use the front steps myself, but I always fear for the pizza delivery guy. I give him an extra tip as hazard pay for risking life and limb to bring dinner to my door.

I have several craft and sewing projects I want to work on after I finish the bathroom. I might try another round of The Daily Done for September. It's good motivation, and it feels great to accomplish even a little something each day.

Anyone else making changes in your life? Have you had more success with small gradual changes or with big abrupt ones?