Monday, May 27, 2013

Plywood makes everything better

My brother came over today to help assess the damage.  "Jesus, this black shit is nasty" he said, after finding it on his son WHO NEVER WENT IN THE HOUSE.  I swabbed the Heir with GooGone and sighed with relief.  It's not just me.  I'm crazy, but NOT ABOUT THIS.

He said he'd help me cut plywood and stick it to the floor after taking his kids home.  I returned to Home Improvement store to buy sheets and sheets and sheets of plywood.

He managed to help me lay a few sheets on the black shit before getting a call from our grandmother's caretaker.  She fell out of her chair and was bleeding.  My folks are on vacation, which is why she fell.  It's something psychological- when Dad's out of town, she gets panicky.  I was on duty last time they went on vacation- except there were TWO grandmothers at the time, and one of them developed the pneumonia that ended up killing her.  Let's just say I was glad it was Brother's turn.  I don't have the emotional stability for that right now.

Viking Roommate is off doing something sculpture-related, so I'm sitting on my porch with Her Dogness, in a holding pattern.  The mere fact that the black shit is covered up, however temporarily, is easing my anxiety about this.

The hummingbird who has a nest on my porch has been buzzing my chair.  She is territorial about her porch.  Perhaps I will go buy her a feeder- set up a nice little restaurant for her and her kids.  Make friends with the crabby lil gal.

Yes.  This is a nice plan.  I will feed the bird.

Can open, worms everywhere.

All I wanted was a house without a discernible stink.

My cat is old, he does unspeakable things on the carpet.  My plan was to pull up the carpet, and do a paper-bag floor treatment on the concrete slab.  It would be seamless, it would be moppable, and it would be very very cheap.

I got the green light from the landlord (aka my mother).  I got the Friday and Tuesday surrounding Memorial Day weekend off from work.  I got Viking Roommate on board.

I bought polyurethane and rug cutting knives and funny Tyvek jumpsuits to contain all the airborne allergens.

We moved all the furniture out of the den and dining room, and stacked it up in the living room.

We started to tear up the carpet.

What the hell?  This isn't concrete.  These are... tiles?  And they're coming off?  No problem, I have one of those pushy tile remover thingies.  They popped off without a hitch.  Begone, ugly tiles.

The tar adhering them to the concrete?  Not so much.

Great.  Now the house stinks like tar.  How the hell do you remove tar?

Internet says boiling water and scraping.  It takes 20 minutes to to about a square foot, and it's not really coming off all the way.

Home Improvement Store sells the Viking a can of citrus-based stripper.  It works... kinda.  It liquefies the tar, and makes it somewhat easier to scrape off, but mostly smears it around, and the tar starts sinking further into the concrete.

I pull up random corners of carpet in other rooms, to see if the tile is maybe just in the den?

Nope.  It's all over the house.


New plan- lay plywood over the old tar garbage in the den, stick it to the old tar with new tar, and patch the cracks with wood putty.  Leave all the old tiles everywhere else, patch the cracks, and paper over the whole shebang.

Tomorrow, we dine in hell!

Monday, May 20, 2013

My navel is pretty deep, yo

So, hi.  What's up?  Tell me a story.

My story isn't very exciting lately.  My hair fantasies have been put on hold while money is re-assigned to various important pursuits.  I'm out of meds so I've been a scattered mess.  I've been very short with people lately.  I don't have enough left in me to be able to handle trivial inconveniences.

Mom says she's worried about me.  Good.  I'm worried about me, too.  I'm not very good at taking care of myself, apparently.

I got the green light to tear out the carpet in most of my house.  The idea nearly made me cry from relief.  Between the trapped allergens and the uncleanable animal-related filth, the carpet is a giant drain on finances and sanity.  I am replacing it with paper-bag flooring, which will be moppable.  Well, at least to a greater extent than carpet.  I wonder if my constant low-grade headache will go away.

I am going to try to finagle my way out of working on the Friday before Memorial Day and the Tuesday afterwards.  I think I can probably do what needs to be done in five days of feverish work.  I am mildly concerned about the financial aspect of it- PTO needs advanced notice, unless it's a sick day. This is technically healthcare-related- I'm always sick and cranky, removing the carpet will help alleviate that, right?  This is preventative medicine.  Surely my coworkers will understand how badly I need these two days.

There is a hummingbird nest in the jasmine on my porch.  The eggs have not hatched yet.  I cannot kill the jasmine (allergy, I hate it I hate it I hate it) until the wee birds have flown away.  It takes them at least 3 weeks to fledge.  I'm not sure how long the eggs have been there, but the momma bird is quite protective of them.  She's sitting out there now.

A friend tried to set me up with someone she met online.  This person lives several cities over, and the idea of it made me feel panicked.  I don't have any energy left for new people, and I don't have enough time in my day to even take care of myself.

I still don't have new work shoes.  I'm down to one wearable pair of pants.

I will feel better once my immediate surroundings no longer make me physically ill.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


So, I decided that I needed more interesting plumage, and that I'd like my first stop to be white.  I was really blonde as a child, and I have been successful in making some of my hairs white before.

Granted, they were a little bit lavender here, but still.  They were super pale.  This was when I was 30?  I think?
Now, I'm not about to dump a bunch of peroxide and bleach on my head without doing some SCIENCE to find out where the line between "hair" and "rubbery pile of mess" should be drawn.

Fortunately, I have a (creepy, according to my best friend who was VERY squicked out that I do this) habit of collecting the ponytails from major haircuts.  
The fact that I own this, apparently, is creepy as hell.  I think it would be creepier if I was collecting OTHER people's ponytails.

Well, I saved the ponytail from my haircut in February, and decided that this was the optimal test subject to find out how much juice and time it would take to make my head icy.

I interrupt this narrative to interject a bit of hair history.

Now, last June I dyed my (virgin) hair with Manic Panic; Purple Haze and Raven.  It stained it a bit, and then washed out.  My hair was not prebleached, but the Raven (which is actually really dark turquoise) gave the back of my head a bit of a greenish cast for a very long time.
Exhibit B:  Purplish in the front, greenish in the back.
I had forgotten about this little haircolor adventure when I used this particular ponytail as my test subject.  I put little snippets of hair on bits of duct tape, mixed up different concentrations of bleach/peroxide, slapped it onto the samples, and let it sit in baggies for 50 minutes.  Upon washing and drying my science project, I discovered that the green dye was far more stubborn than anyone could have ever predicted.

Control, 10vol, 20vol, 30vol.  
Huh.  That was unexpected.

I bleached the samples again.  They stayed green, but now had a bit of a crispy feel to them, so I doused them in coconut oil and then conditioner.

That's downright seaweedy.
It's even weirder backlit.
I'm reasonably sure that none of the hair left on my head has ever seen the dye brush- it's pretty short.  Still, I'm disappointed that white-white seems to be out of my reach without absolutely destroying my hair.  I can probably get to really pale ginger, and that's it.

Today was my Younger Nephew's first birthday party.  After watching him smear cake on himself, I sat with Elder Nephew (who is almost 3) to play a little Haircolor Roulette.

Me:  "What color should my hair be?"
Him:  "Black!"
Me:  "Black?  Black hair is pretty, but don't you think I should have a bright color?"
Him:  >slightly confused look<
Me:  "It can be any color of the rainbow.  What color should my hair be?"
Him:  "Purple!"

The Heir has spoken.  And you can put purple on top of pale ginger.  I'll probably add some fuchsia, red, and bright orange somewhere, to give it a bit of interest.  Flamey, I think.  Maybe my temples.

Mom is coming over tomorrow for Mother's Day.  I am going to get her to help me abuse the shit out of my hair, and then we are going to have dinner.  I think I'll be ginger for a little while before trying color- maybe it'll suit me.  

If nothing ever changed, we'd have no butterflies.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The blackest of thumbs

So, I can kill plants really really well.  The only plants I can keep alive are succulents, because they seem to like neglect.  

In a fit of insanity, I decided I was going to grow food plants for the rabbits in my care.  They like things like basil and parsley, and I figured I could handle such a thing.

I have killed many many herbs, usually because I forget to water them.  Enter the SUB IRRIGATED PLANTER.

I drink an unhealthy amount of diet soda, so I switched to 2 liters for a while to gather materials.

My first attempt was a basil plant that the rabbits had eaten down to the nubs.
Sad, sad, sad.
So far, so good.  They have grown a few new leaves since being plopped into their soda bottles, so I am optimistic.
Pretty good for benign neglect.

Here's how it's done.

Get a 14 oz can of something and use it as a guide to make the cutting line on your soda bottle.
Like my photo studio?
Cut some V shaped vent holes in the top of the bottle (will be the dirt-holding part).


 Slice that sucker in half.

 Add a wick.  Mine's made of polyester batting material, because that's what I had.  Seems to work.
Cheap, too.

 Get some starter plants from Home Depot or Lowe's or Trader Joe's or something.  You could use seeds, but I'm way lazy about this.  If you use seeds, use potting mix instead of potting soil- it's more absorbent, and will allow the wicks to work better.
I need to divide these, but I didn't have any potting mix.

 Set your little plants in the sun.  Add water to the water reservoirs.  Refill the bases when the wick isn't touching the water anymore.  I went about a week and a half before having to refill the basils.
Damn, that's cute.
There are plans online for SIPs made from 5 gallon buckets and 18 gallon Rubbermaid totes, but I'm starting small, to see if I can keep herbs alive before I make much more of an investment.  So far, so good.  I'll keep ya posted.

Hate the "planted this thing in the recycling" look?  These things fit nicely into decorative containers.  LAZY GARDEN.