Sunday, August 31, 2008

Slight Change in Plans

We had a plan.  We had purchased the basics months ago.  We were ready to get to work.  And then I got a brilliant idea and everything changed.  The progress we have made so far won't go to waste, so that is the good news!

Mr. Monkeygirl is used to me changing my mind so I don't think this about face comes as a surprise to him.  So what changed?
  1. Wall Color - I had a vision for a bright, warm color on the walls.  I found a color called "Pale Butter" that was my final choice.  Until I went to buy the paint.  I ended up buying a color called "Golden Chime".  If I showed you the paint samples individually, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them.  Old color - yellow with a green tint.  New color - yellow with an orange tint.
  2. Desk Size - In a moment of panic, I decided to change the desk size.  Old plan - 10 foot long on one side with a 4 foot return- huge!!  New plan - 10 feet.  Still enormous and it saves us from having to have a custom countertop cut or - eeek! - trying to cut it ourselves.
  3. Desk Height - The original plan was to have a desk that was slightly higher than a normal desk.  Why?  Because we had a base that was 28" tall.  Now? The desk will be counter height.  This will allow me to either sit or stand and work.
  4. Desk Placement - In my vision, I would sit at my desk and get my inspiration from looking out the window.  Good thought.  The window does overlook the pool.  But the window also faces our neighbor's yard.  Picture a slightly smaller version of the junk yard on Sanford and Son and you kind of get the image I see every day.  So I decided to move the desk from under the window.  This move solves multiple issues - I don't have to mess with the windowsill height anymore, I get maximum space usage, and I don't have to look at the cr*p next door.
  5. Desk Base - I bought these great storage cubes from Michael's.  I was going to stack them for the base of my desk.  Only I discovered a problem or two. First, the cubes are only 14" deep and the countertop is 24" deep. Hmmm, this is a problem.  We thought of 200 ways to try to support this desk top my they all seemed kind of dodgy to me.  Solution?  I decided to buy kitchen base cabinets to support the desk top (which is going to be a kitchen counter top anyway).  I get the storage I need plus the height I want and it is solid!
So a lot has changed over the past few days but we are making progress.  The walls are painted, Mr. Monkeygirl is working on the ceiling, we bought the base cabinets and lights.  We are getting there and hopefully we will be finished in a week or two.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Skaterboy was robbed last night.  At gun point.  They only got his phone. He is shaken but physically fine.  But he is pissed off!  He wants to move away to some place "safe".  And I don't blame him one single bit.

At his age, he want his independence and freedom.  He thinks he has the right to be able to do whatever he wants.  As parent's we sometimes have to rein him back in. But last night wasn't one of those nights.  He wasn't roaming around the streets stirring things up.  He was at a local park.  Chillin' and skatin' with his friends.  It was just after sunset.  In my mind, he had every right to be there and should've had every reason to feel perfectly safe.  But not anymore.

This isn't the first time he has been a victim.  He has had 3 phones stolen from him. Two in the last six months. His safest refuge, his home, has been broken into. This is supposed to be a great area to live and raise a family.  But is it?  At his age, he should be thrilled to death to have the house to himself.  But he doesn't want to be alone.  I don't think he feels safe unless someone else is with him.

Even though I'm relatively new to this whole parenting gig, I wish I could go back in time and make things right.  What could we have done to make things better? Should we have fled to the west like everyone else?  I didn't want to do that.  It was the easy way out.  Moving was just giving up and letting the "bad" people win. I didn't want to teach him to be afraid of people who are different.  I wanted to show him that there are good people in the world, no matter what color their skin, how they dressed, or what their native language is.

But how do you look in the face of an innocent 4 year old and explain what robbed at gun point means?  No, Skaterboy isn't 4, but my nephew and niece were at my house last night when this all happened.  How do I explain to them what happened?  How do I convey the message that they need to stay close without scaring them to death?  I don't want them to be afraid.  But I worry about them if they aren't in my sight at all times.  

I wonder about the kids with the gun.  Do their parent's have any idea of where they are and what they are doing?  Do their parent's even care?  How can you call yourself a parent and not wonder where your kid just came up with 3 new cellphones?  Are there parent's out there who just turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior?  Don't ask, don't tell might be a motto for the military but it shouldn't apply to your own kids.  

We aren't perfect parents.  Mr M. and I have made our fair share of mistakes.  But we try to stay involved and aware of what is going on. Now that Skaterboy is out of school, we try to let him learn some life lesson on his own.  But we keep an eye on him to steer him back in the right direction when he starts to veer off course. Skaterboy isn't perfect, no teenage boy is, but overall he is a good kid with some awareness of right and wrong.  He knows the limits.  He knows when he is crossing the line.  He knows when to back off. Unfortunately, he now also knows what it is like to be a victim.    That is a harsh lesson in reality.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beaten but not Broken

I have been beaten down over the last couple of days.  Relatively simple things are causing me fits.  I spend all day slaving away at my PC and at the end of the day, I still have nothing to show.  I'm starting to panic.

What I need to do should be relatively simple.  It's just a form.  I've seen this form in my head for months and months.  It is not rocket science.  It should be easy to create.  

But, I can't just create any form - it has to be easy to follow, e-mailable, faxable, it can't be too long, it can't take too many steps to use it. Sounds easy - right?  But wait, we also decided that sending it as an attachment isn't something we want to do.  Still not rocket science material.  

I spent yesterday trying to determine how to use some existing software.  It didn't look that hard.  I was making progress.  I saved early and often.  I left the office feeling good.  

Karma was smiling on me today and the only meeting I had got cancelled.  I had the entire day to crank this one form out.  When I opened my masterpiece from yesterday, all of my work was gone.  Undaunted, I decided it was better to start over than whine about the missing data.  Besides, I had some new ideas that I wanted to try.  

I spent all morning working on the form.  I got it to a point where I was ready to print it to see what it looked like on paper.  I fired up my trusty printer and I got - you guessed it - nothing!  Still not flustered, I started over  - again!  By the time I got to quitting time, I had recreated yet another masterpiece.  I tried to send my masterpiece to myself before I left and once again - NOTHING! I wandered off to the gym to take out my frustration on the Beast.

I vow not to give up and to try again tomorrow.  When I was explaining my dilemma to Mr. MonkeyGirl he casually mentioned how the forms he uses at work were created and how they use them.  Did I ever tell you how much I love him?!! I think he might have completely solved my problems and hopefully I will have something to show for all my hard work by the time I leave the office tomorrow. If not, I have a lot of time this weekend to work on my resume!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Monkey Monday is missing this week.  Why?  Would you believe me if I told you:
  • A last minute call came in asking them to attend the Democratic National Convention?
  • Wanting to absorb ever minute of televised Olympic coverage, they TIVO'd every minute available.  If they don't sleep or eat, the estimated completion date is in 150 days?
  • Timmy got a little spunky and decided to form a union and they have all gone on strike?
  • Now that school started again, they are working together to solve this math problem - "If two monkeys will eat four bananas between them in five minutes, how many monkeys would eat forty bananas in ten minutes?
  • Avid blog readers, they are determined to steal the country CD from NV's neighbors so she can finish her sidewalk in peace and to help Ty'sMommy stop the tin punching insanity so they are on a covert mission?
  • After a weekend at the lake, eating and drinking with friends, MonkeyGirl kind of forgot it was Monday and she needed to schedule a photo shoot with this week's poster monkey?
Oh well, there is always next week!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Seize the day

I haven't always been MonkeyGirl.  I'm not talking about the nickname, but the person that MonkeyGirl represents.  There was a point in time in my life where the essence of MonkeyGirl all but disappeared.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment that I started to lose my essence.  Heck, I didn't even know that I was changing.  But I did.  In ways that I never dreamed that I would change.  I became the person that someone else wanted me to be instead of just being me.

Sometimes life kicks you in the gut.  A life changing event takes place that makes you wake up out of the fog.  You take a look around and you wonder "How the f*ck did I get here?"  It is a scary feeling at first.  But just like the morning fog lifting up off the horizon, things start to clear up.  You can't make out all of the details, but you aren't completely disoriented anymore.  Things start to look familiar, but yet, you still aren't sure where you are at.  In a blink of an eye, things completely clear.  The fog is gone.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the path you need to follow is right in front of you.  It was right there in front of you all along but you just couldn't see it.

At some point in my life with #1, I got lost in the fog.  I didn't see it happen.  I thought I was the same ol' MonkeyGirl and everyone else got stupid.  Or refused to grow up.  Or some other excuse that I made for their strange behavior.  Only later did I realize that it was ME that changed.  I lost my Monkeygirl-ness.  I let him lead me down the path into the dense fog.  I trusted him and he led me astray.

It was a freezing cold January day when I woke up out of my daze.  I was standing on the parking lot of a funeral home - alone.  I was grieving like everyone else on that day, yet why was I the only one without a shoulder to cry on?  Why was I the one that was shut out and shuffled to the end of the line like a casual acquaintance?  It wasn't a complete stranger's funeral, it was my father-in-law's, I had a right to mourn over the loss of a good man.  I tried to share my sorrow, offer my support, but I was just pushed away.  Ignored.  Forgotten.

It was at that point that I started to realize that I wasn't happy.  I started to see things in a completely different light.  It was like getting that first pair of glasses - you had no idea how much you had been missing until now. We tried, we really did, but in the end, it was time for #1 and I to go our separate ways.

Shortly after my divorce was final, I went on a trip with MonkeyMamma.  I had just put a contract on a house.  I was going to school full time.  I was working full time. I had reconnected with old friends that were once considered too "stupid" to be around.  There must be something about the fresh, clean air of the Northwest that clears the mind.  Or maybe it was just being relaxed and content.  Either way, it was on this trip that I made a decision.  I was going to live my life - my monkeygirl life - my way.  

I recall the exact moment that everything changed in my mind. I was standing at the foot of a waterfall.  Completely surrounded by the other tourists taking in the gorgeous view.  I had an option, take a few snapshots and move on to the next stop or take a hike up the trail to see the falls from the top.  I was scared to take the hike.  Both mentally and physically.  Physically, I was seriously out of shape.  I wasn't sure I could make it to the top.  Mentally, I was afraid to try.  What if I failed?  I started to think about all of the things I hadn't tried or done over the past several years because I was afraid.  Afraid of failing or afraid of being criticized.  I was suddenly very weary of being afraid.  What would happen if I tried it and I failed?  Nothing.  The earth wouldn't stop turning.

That day was a pivotal point in returning to my Monkeygirl life.  I had already taken the first steps towards normalcy by leaving #1.  The person I really was started to emerge from the fog. That summer day I decided that I was no longer going to live my life with regrets.  If I wanted to try something, I would try it.  If I wanted to go somewhere, I would go there.  

I've lived my life since #1 without regret.  I have climbed numerous waterfalls. I've ridden in a race car at 180 mph.  I've kayaked in the ocean and have had dolphins swim under my boat.  I've stood up and presented my ideas in meetings at work. I got the courage up to face my weight challenge and lost 50+ pounds. I got my belly button pierced well past the age where this is the norm.  I dared to leave the house in a bikini. I've ridden the Tower of Terror. I've taken hockey slap shots on Olympic ice.  I've spent time with family and friends whenever I have had the chance.  I put myself out here as a blogger. I've met new friends, tried new foods, seen new places, and stretched myself into the new and improved Monkeygirl.  I've reconnected with old friends and rediscovered the things that I used to love to do.  I might not try something more than once, but at least I tried it and have a valid reason to not "go there" again.

I offer this story up as a testament that it is ok to take a chance.  To do the things that you are afraid to do.  The earth will continue to spin.  And best of all, when you are old and gray, you will have some wonderful memories of all the things you have accomplished in your life.  A life with no regrets.  So go out and seize the day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who knew?

Sometimes the things you learn about your parents shock you.  After living your entire life with someone who knows you better than you know yourself, you would think that you would have the same insight into their world.  Today I learned things about Monkey Mamma that I never knew.

Who knew that she had a deep dark secret dream to be a biker chick?  I didn't. That came to a complete shock to me.  It is amazing that the same woman who constantly lectured me about the dangers of motorcycles wants to cruise along Route 66 on a big gleaming Hog.

Who knew that the very woman that we hid our newly inked tattoos from, has a dream of getting sleeved?  We weren't really always cold or shaving with dull razors, but the fear of "the lecture" made us hide our personal artwork.  Writhing flames up her arm?  What's next, a tramp stamp?

Who knew that beneath the teacher/seamstress/choir member exterior, there lies a woman who wants to wrap herself in leather chaps?  I've made some 'unique' wardrobe choices in my lifetime but even I didn't see this one coming.

Who knew that Monkey Mamma would opt only for a skull cap?  Is this coming from my mother who would tell us the 'horror' story about burning her leg on the muffler of her brother's motorcycle?  Everytime I got on a bike in college, I would think of that story.  I figured if she ever found out I was on a motorcycle, she would have a cow.  Never mind the fact that we never wore helmets - that would have sent her over the edge!

Who knew that my Monkey Mamma has a dream to roam free and let her hair down? Not me. But hey, if she wants to ride a Harley but doesn't think it is proper for a woman of her age, I have a small piece of advice that she would lovingly pass along to me.  Mamma, dare to dream!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monkey Monday

Say "Hello" to this week's poster monkey - Arnold.

Even though Arnold doesn't like to admit it, he is the senior member of the Monkeygirl tribe.  Before Arnold joined the Monkeygirl tribe, he was an undercover chimp.  His final assignment for the Chimp Force was posing as a Kindergarden teacher to guard a prime witness for an upcoming trial.  It was on this assignment that Arnold was awarded the Medal of Valor.  When one of the baby chimps in his class was threatened by a hot desk lamp, Arnold thought only of protecting the innocent chimp and flung himself over the lamp saving the baby from any harm. Arnold suffered from a severe case of "molten stuffing" that ended his career as an undercover chimp.  After being released from the hospital, Arnold visited his former class to reassure them he was fine.  "It is not a tumor!" was the most often repeated phrase on that visit.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Step 2 and 3

Mr. Monkeygirl rocked this weekend!  He took me out Friday night (to a retirement party, but out is out!), he tasted tested my creations (brave man), and he joined me for trivia and has some good answers to contribute!  The icing on the cake?  While I was off cropping on Saturday, he finished up the demolition in my craft room.  

How much does he rock?  He removed the ceiling fan and the associated electrical wiring, disassembled the grid from the drop ceiling, and he took all of the demolition debris away.  He even cleaned up the floor!  Today, he patched all of the holes in the walls and on the ceiling.  There were holes every 12 inches around the whole perimeter of the room from the grid so he had a lot to patch.  

Hopefully, it will all be dry tomorrow when he gets home from work so he can start sanding.  I guess I need to make up my mind on the paint colors and we need to order the countertop so we can move on to the next project.

New Madrid Fault Cake

I've already admitted that I'm not real great in the kitchen.  I have had my share of kitchen disasters.  The first year I volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner, my entire family was nervous and had scoped out the open fast food chains close to my house.  Admittedly, when I was married to NumberOne, my dinner specialty was turkey dogs and tater tots, so they had a right to be nervous.

My baby sister took me in when I was going through the divorce from NumberOne, so I felt the pressure to pay her back in some small way.  It was getting close to her birthday, so I offered to bake her a cake of her choice.  She promptly told me that she wanted a Black Forest Cake.  I had no clue how to make an authentic Black Forest cake despite my German heritage.  Baby Sis reassured me that as long as it was chocolate and had cherries, it was close enough for her.  Plus, she knows my cooking skills so she probably didn't want to push my limited skill set.

During this time, I was not only working full-time but going to school full time too. I was very good at scheduling things out to make the most of my time.  My weekend plan included going to school for my Saturday class, running to Lowe's for a birthday gift for my dad, getting the supplies to make BabySis's cake, grab an anniversary gift for my parent's, bolt over to Mr. Monkeygirl's apartment to use his oven and cake pans and spend some time with him before I rushed off to the country to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. with my family.

I stopped by the grocery store and bought all of my baking supplies.  I ran across the street to Lowe's to buy Dad the pitchfork he wanted.  While I was there, I found a gorgeous Hibiscus plant for the MonkeyParent's anniversary.  I carted my finds out to the car.  That is when I realized that I had a problem.

In an effort to reduce my living expenses after the divorce, I need to get rid of the pick-up truck.  I had no use for a truck.  I didn't get custody of the dog.  I sold the boat.  It was just a big, bad memory hauler.  Plus, I could probably find a nice used car with lower payments.  What better way to celebrate your freedom, then to buy yourself a cute little convertible?  It met all the criteria - reliable, better gas mileage and the payments were a lot lower than the truck.  The only draw back, you ask?  This car had a trunk that was affectionately dubbed "the cooler". Seriously, the trunk in this car was tiny.  Even a small cooler wouldn't fit in this thing.  But the car was soo cool!

But I digress, so here I am standing in the parking lot with my pitchfork and giant flowering plant.  My baking supplies are tucked in the trunk.  I decide that the pitchfork needed to go in the trunk so it didn't puncture my interior.  I opened the trunk and find out that I just can't drop the pitchfork in.  I have to angle it just right.  I project the correct trajectory and angles (good thing I had just finished up my math courses) and make an attempt to wedge the pitchfork in the trunk.  

Poof!  A huge cloud of flour and sugar erupt in my trunk.  The entire trunk is now covered in a thin layer of flour.  Minor miscalculation on my part.  I neglected to think about the fact that the only way the pitchfork would fit was a direct hit with the tines of the fork directly into the newly purchased bag of flour and sugar in the trunk. No I have to figure out how to clean up the mess in my limited free time.

The pitchfork and plant end up in the back seat as I head over to Mr. Monkeygirl's to bake.  I used Grandma's famous chocolate cake recipe and create my own version of a black forest cake.  Basically, I just added a layer of cherry pie filling to the two layers of chocolate cake.  The cake was perfect.  It came out of the pans with ease.  The icing went on smoothly.  BabySis would be proud of me!

I loaded up all my stuff into the Spyder for my trip to the country.  I decided that the perfect cake needed to be inside the car.  I figured the passenger seat was the safest place to make the 100+ mile trip.  Carefully, the cake was strapped in for the trip.  I made it to the deep woods without incident.  I carefully unloaded everything out of the car and brought it inside.  I took one look at the cake and almost burst into tears.  The entire top half of the cake split open.  Everything shifted to the side.  I forgot to factor in a few things when transporting the cake.
  1. The seats in my Spyder had a natural pitch backwards so the cake sat at an angle for the entire trip.
  2. The layer of cherry pie filing in the middle acted just like a layer of molten lave and let everything shift and slide.
  3. Chocolate cake is just like the earth and as things below shift, giant crevasses will pop up in the layer above.
I was devastated.  The tale of the Great Flour Explosion sent everyone into fits of laughter.  We "fixed" the cake by piping the crevasses with whipped cream. Since we live near the New Madrid fault line, the cake has since been renamed in honor of the molten magma layer and the devastating affects of repeated tremors! It didn't look good, but it was de-lic-ious!

Following Directions to a t

Honey, I think I screwed up.
Whenever those words are uttered in our house, it is not generally a good thing. This means more work, another trip to the store, or a big check has to be written. Yesterday was one of those days.

I don't cook or bake very often, but every once in a while, I get motivated.  Mr. Monkeygirl and I were going to a Trivia night last night (I'll explain this in another post for those who have no clue what this is) so we were "required" to bring some kind of snack.  Earlier, we had both drooled over Ann's Cherry Mini-Cakes so I figured this was a good excuse to give them a shot.

I have to tell on myself.  I have a long history of baking disasters.  Patience isn't one of my better qualities.  Writing things down is for sissies.  Monkey Mamma probably has hundreds of embarrassing cooking stories to share.  The ones that stick out in my mind are the great Carrot Cake disaster, the 8-week Tuna casserole experiment, and the infamous, New Madrid fault cake.  I should be permanently banned from the kitchen.  To make matters worse, my baby sister is a genius in the kitchen.  So the pressure is on when I declare that I want to make something spectacular.  My family maps out their dining alternatives - just in case.

I copied the recipe word for word onto paper.  (I'm a slob in the kitchen and wouldn't dare take my Mac anywhere near me when I cook.) I prepared a list of ingredients that I didn't have on hand.  I voluntarily went to the grocery store on my day off.  I was ready.  

Everything was going well.  I was following the directions to the letter.  Butter melted - check.  Flour, sugar, almonds, salt - check.  Add the kirsch - check.  I started to get woozy.  In my opinion, kirsch has a horrible smell.  Kind of like turpentine or that Goof Off stuff Mr. Monkeygirl used on the walls last week.  Extra alcohol might not be required tonight.  I checked the directions again. The ingredients called for "4 tsp Kirsch (cherry brandy)".  That is what I added, right?  After all, I used my fancy measuring cup from Crate & Barrel.  See, the measuring cuplet says right there on the side in bright cheery, cherry red "4 tbsp".  Ohhhhhh, cr*p!  I was relying on the general rule of capital 'T' is for Tablespoon and lower case 't' is for teaspoon.  Curses, foiled by my fancy measuring cuplet!

Mr. Monkeygirl was consulted.  While we generally have a rule of thumb that more alcohol is a good thing, even we have our limits.  Since this was one of the very last steps, there was no salvaging the batter.  Being the big sweetheart that he is, Mr. M volunteered to run back to the store to purchase more almonds for me so I could start all over again.

Not wanting to waste the first batch of batter, I finished up the batch and poured it into a cake pan, cherries and all, and cooked it up.  It looked good.  Just before we left the house, I dropped the Kirsch Cake into a container.  Mr. Monkeygirl took a small piece that fell off and popped it into his mouth.  Waiting for his reaction, I watch his face go from pleasure to pain in about 1.2 seconds.  He starts coughing and sputtering. You know the kind of reaction you get from drinking a big 'ole shot of pure grain alcohol! I guess you can put in too much alcohol.

There is a happy ending to this story.  The second batch of mini-cakes turned out great.  They were awesome and every one raved about them all night long. If you ever have a chance, you need to make them, just follow the directions to the 't' -easpoon!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A tale of I & T

There are two feisty ladies that attend our regular monthly crop.  I don't really know their entire story but from all appearances, they have been friends for a very long time.  Their social calendar would put a debutant to shame.  They are always doing something, going somewhere, up to something! They are the matriarchs of our matriarchal group.  Everyone loves them!

The funny thing is that we all sit there working on our scrapbooks and we overhear bits of their conversations.  'T' will remind 'I' where they were in a particular picture. 'I' will remind 'T' that she promised to go to lunch after they were done.  They are cute.  They have fun.  They sometimes bicker with each other, but in a way that only really good friends can bicker and fight.  They remind us of ourselves.  On more than one occassion, Nik and I have commented to each other "you know that is us in about 30 years" and we laugh.  

Today, I had to crop by myself.  Generally, I try to convince Nik that the bricks will wait, but Mother Nature has been in an exceptionally good mood for the past week or so.  I didn't even ask (I'm saving my begging for times when the weather isn't so great).  Plus I knew that Nik had a date with Lawrence, bricks, and gingerbread molding.  Even though it isn't quite the same, I went all by my lonesome.

'I' & 'T' were up to their usual antics today.  Slowly enjoying their morning cup of coffee before they start working.  Catching up on each other's lives. Showing off their completed pages to each other for encouragement. 'I' giving 'T' a hard time because now in addition to their plans to crop, share some lunch, and then off to the mall for a little shopping, they also needed to squeeze in a trip to the local craft store since someone passed along a 40% off coupon to 'T'. One of the other regulars was also there without her usual sidekick and she looked over at me and said, "you know that is 'D' and I in a few years".  

I had to laugh because that was exactly what I was thinking.  So, Nik, enjoy your bricks this month without regret, we still have a long, long time to crop together!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've been neglectful

And I'm sorry.  I have been taking you for granted. And yet, you never complain. But my complete disregard for your needs was starting to show.  Not a word was ever spoken about how you felt slighted.  I want to make things right.

Today I will spend all day attending to your needs.  No matter what, I refuse to be distracted.  You have my undivided attention. My entire vacation day will be yours and yours alone.  Just you and me, until Mr. Monkeygirl comes home.  But don't worry, he won't mind the attention that I lavish on you.  He understands.

I was in a mood today.  Mr. Monkey girl says it was because I was bored.  I don't think I was that bored but I did spend my entire day off cleaning my house.  Not just the normal kind of cleaning, but the real cleaning.  You know the type of cleaning that you reserve for visiting dignitaries, your great-aunt Midge, or the type of cleaning you do if you are planning on selling your house.  And we don't even have company coming.  I didn't even clean this much in preparation for Skaterboy's graduation party.

I cleaned bathrooms, bedrooms, offices and dining rooms.  I cleaned the kitchen in ways I don't think I've ever attempted before.  For gosh sakes, I cleaned the inside of the dishwasher!  I scrubbed down the cabinets and de-popcorned our microwave.  I cleaned baseboards, floors, the tops of cabinets, and who knows what else.  I cleaned so much that even Skaterboy noticed.  Eighteen year old boys tend to live in their own world and ignore their parent's efforts, but he commented "Wow, it smells good in here!" as he breezed through the house.  

All of this effort has made me appreciate the effort that goes into keeping your house spic and span.  I promise not to neglect my abode like this again.  I'm going to take care of things before they need to be cleaned.  I'm hiring a cleaning lady!

And before you even ask - yes, I would be willing to come to your house and do the same but it is going to cost you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Conquering (my fear) of The Beast

I one of the lucky ones.  I don't have to pay for a gym membership.  I don't have to haul bricks 100 at a time to get a work-out like my Most Excellent Friend, Nik.  I don't have to devote an entire room in my house to fitness equipment, either. Fortunately for me, my employer thinks providing a fitness facility at work is a good idea.

The gym is literally about 100 steps away from my office.  It's on my way home. Heck, it's usually on my way to the car.  I have no excuse not to use it.  So about a couple of months ago, my WorkTwin and I decided to start working out together. We agreed on the days we would work out and made a pact to keep each other motivated.  We tried to be good.  But things kept getting in the way - vacations, rock star travel, Skaterboy begging for a car, etc.  When my twin brings her stuff, I forget mine and vice-versa.

I decided I need to get back into the gym so I have been very devoted (this week). Yesterday while I was logging my 5K on the treadmill, there was another woman in the corner using "the Beast".  I was half watching TV and kept glancing in her direction, completely in awe that she was able to stay on the machine.  

You see, one of the first days in the gym, WorkTwin was showing me how to use all of the equipment.  She did a really good job of demonstrating each machine until she got to the last one.  The Nautilus Treadclimber.  She climbed on and started 'er up.  Then she promptly fell off the back end of the machine.  In the spirit of the Olympic games, I give her a 8.5 for her dismount!  Ever since that day, we have both avoided that machine.  In fact, it seems that most people avoid that machine since I haven't seen anybody use it until yesterday.

I was so impressed with the lady's ability to stay on and stay upright that I started to talk to her about it after we were both done.  She raved about the workout (twice the workout in half the time), she offered her advice (hold on), she swore that I would be hooked (Hey Mikey! She likes it!).  Treadclimber lady said she could walk on The Beast even though she was a klutz.  Hey, I'm a klutz too and we walk at the same speed so I vowed to try it.

So tonight I gave The Beast a shot.  I wasn't sure if I could stay on, but I figured that since the center was virtually empty - it was now or never.  I climbed on and picked the "standard" workout.  Twenty minutes?  That should be a piece of cake! Speed?  Shoot, that is half the speed I walk at on the treadmill - easy, peasy!  The Beast soothed my nerves by sweetly reminding me to just follow along with his pretty cobalt blue screen.  "There's no need to run!  It's 2X the workout!", the Beast would remind me ever so often.  Run?  Heck, I can barely keep up at this "slow" speed, I'm certainly not going to run!  "Is your speed ok?", the Beast would sweetly ask (even though I swear the machine was laughing at me!)  Nooooo, it's not alright, I think my heart is going to explode. But I was bound and determined not to let the Beast win. "Only 3 minutes at maximum treadle.  It's just like taking a hike."  A hike?  It felt like I was scaling Mt. Everest.  I'm sweating. Not girly perspiration, but full on, hair dripping, mascara smearing, shirt soaking, SWEAT!  I need this 20 minutes to be over now!  

Just as I was nearing the end of my agony, the Beast coyly asked "Would you like to add five more minutes?"  Are you crazy?  Do I look like I'm having a good time? What kind of fool do you think I am?  I'm crazy, but that not that crazy.  Well, maybe 5 minutes wouldn't hurt.  It would feel good to know that I not only survived the Beast but even stayed on longer than I needed to.  After all, it's only 5 minutes.

In the end, I conquered the Beast.  It was a close battle but I narrowly escaped with a victory.  In the infamous words of the Terminator - "I'll be back!"  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I'm going back on my word.  I'm breaking my promise.  I was up for the challenge but I don't have to keep quiet any longer.  I can finally shout it out to the world (or at least the minute portion of the world that reads my blog) - we have a new blogger!

I would like to formally introduce SewWhat? to the blogisphere!  That means I'm breaking the promise that I made a few weeks ago.  When I started blogging, my mom was on vacation. Being the kind and supportive Monkey Momma that she is, she read my blog daily. This took a little dedication since she was on the road, without access to a true PC. But, she liked it!  She found it amusing!  She threatened me - er, I mean she gave me some motherly advice.  "Just don't write about me", she warned.  Oh man, she just took all the fun out of it!

Now, Monkey Mamma says that I inherit some of Monkey Daddy's traits.  One of those is the amount of time that I think about things before I decide to act upon them.  I think about things for-e-v-e-r before I make a decision.  It is usually the right decision, but I am not one to make a snap decision. It took me months of sleepless nights before I finally bit the bullet and started my own blog. Monkey Mamma, she doesn't dawdle - when she decides to do something, she goes for it.  So when did she officially start her blog? - while she was on her vacation.  Like, two days after I introduced my blog to everyone.  She was so committed to putting her plan into action, she started her blog from her cell phone!

If you have an extra minute of two, please check out her blog.  She is a crazy talented lady who takes on projects that I think are impossible (uh, hello, would you volunteer to sew costumes for a play with over 30 cast members?).  Stop by and make her feel welcome.  Make me proud, Monkey Mamma, make me proud!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

I just witnessed Michael Phelps break yet another world record on his way to some obscene number of gold medals. He flew through the pool to win gold (again) in the 200 meter Butterfly.  Have you ever swam the butterfly?  It looks so cool.  Some people make it look effortless.  Trust me, as someone who knows, it ain't so easy kids!

When one of my friends decided she wanted to join the swim team, she talked me into going with her.  No problem, I knew how to swim.  Kinda sorta.  I don't recall the specifics but I think we had to swim one lap of each of the four competitive strokes to make the team.  I only had one question.  What are "competitive" strokes?  I knew how to swim one way.  On my stomach.  

I got some quick coaching from my mom and my friend's mom and I headed for the pool. "Swing your arms in circles, kick your feet like a dolphin", they told me. Huh?  Butterflies are pretty flittery things.  That didn't seem light and fluttery, but they were adults so I trusted them and headed off to the pool trusting that they had a clue.

I have no idea what it looked like from the deck, but I'm sure it didn't look anything like it did in my mind.  If I remember right, I think the coach was laughing when I finished.  What's so funny?  I was awesome!  Ok, it had to be the most pathetic attempt at swimming the butterfly that anyone had ever seen. Maybe the coach felt sorry for me or maybe she saw some glimmer of the fluttering creature I was trying to so desperately imitate without completely drowning myself.  I made the team!  

I guess it was fate.  I actually was a decent butterflier.  It was my favorite race to swim and I won my fair share of medals throughout the years.  Once I hit high school, swimming wasn't as much fun as it was before.  I'm not sure why.  Since I went to an all-girls school, swim team practice was full of dripping wet cute boys in Speedos (not creepy when you are used to it).  I dated my fair share of the swim team, it should have been enough to keep me interested.  But I had much bigger and better things to do - you know - like driving around in my friend's Mustang yelling at boys on the street corners (sorry, Mom!).  After all, it is kind of hard to flirt with a boy when your face in constantly under water!

Despite my lack of devotion in high school, I actually qualified for some scholarship money in college.  These people must have spent too much time sniffing the chlorine - I wasn't that good (or so I thought).  In the end, I picked a college that didn't have a swim team or a pool for that matter.  I was tired of living my life in the pool.  Tired of having straw-like hair that occasionally turned green on it's own (every once in a while the unnatural shades were on purpose).  College was for partying, not for swimming (sorry again, Mom!)

So as I sit here on my couch, watching the Men's swim team completely shatter another World record in the 800 meter freestyle relay at the Olympics, I have to wonder what could have been...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Introducing Monkey Mondays

It all started with a song.  You know the kind of song that just catches your ear.  The ones that make you grab the volume knob and turn right.  It's the kind of song that makes me want to dance (and I have no rhythm - at all).  A catchy little tune that makes me smile, no matter how bad my day has been.

It all started with one song by a band with a silly name.  A band that has to have a good sense of humor.  Or an excellent sense of marketing.  The name sounds raunchy, but the music isn't.  Music that you could play for your Mom without making her blush (and that isn't easy for me to do).

A simple little tune by The Barenaked Ladies called "Another Postcard" became my anthem. I made everyone who couldn't escape listen to this song.  I'm not a huge BNL fan, but this song is catchy.  It makes me laugh.  Picturing all of the monkeys tickles my insides.  I bought the CD.  It was always in my car.  But that was all the further it went.  Until one fateful day.

"You can't imagine so many monkeys in the daily mail
 And all of them coming anonymously so they leave no trail"

I started to get anonymous postcards.  Not just regular postcards, but postcards from overseas.  Stationary filled with Chimpanzees.  And everyone was addressed to me.  The postcards started to portray the lyrics of the song.  It was kind of freaking me out.  But at the same time, it was fun.  How many times do you look forward to picking your daily mail?

As a tribute to my monkey sending anonymous friend, I started my own monkey tribe.  I have gathered monkeys from far and wide.  Some tribe members have been given to me as a gift from friends.  Some were prizes.  But I love them all and they all "live" in my office.  It isn't your typical office decor, but it is a good icebreaker!

So I have decided to introduce everyone to the member of my tribe each week.

This Monday's monkey is Swinger.  You will undoubtedly recognize Swinger as he lives on my blog.  Swinger is a lover.  He is also a bit of a chicken and doesn't like heights. Swinger was a little embarrased when he was named "Sexiest Monkey in the Office" by Primate magazine (the companion magazine to People). Since winning the award, he has been hounded by the paparazzi, so he has hired Godzilla as his body guard.  Godzilla doesn't mind protecting Swinger as you can tell from the photo that graces my blog page.  Although, there have been a few times that 'Zilla forgets that he is a herbivore! 

Tune in next week for the next introduction.  Oh, yeah, and at the end of the tribe introductions, I might actually reveal my anonymous postcard sending friend!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Success! (cough, gasp, wheeze)

Mr. Monkeygirl was determined to get the gluey stuff off the wall today. He did it, with minimal effort on his part, and a whole lot of noxious fumes permeating our humble abode.  The stuff he used smells awful!  His miracle product of the day - something called "Goof Off".  I'm sure that it is not environmentally friendly based on the smell alone but it did work and made short work on the goop stuck on the wall.

He tried to minimize the "funk" by keeping the door closed and that didn't help.  He opened the windows. No, not much better.  We opened the doors.  Nope, it still stinks in here.  We all left the house for 5+ hours.  Still smells like a toxic lab in here.  I hope the smell is better at the other end of the house or I might have to sleep on the back porch with the mosquitoes!

We still have to remove the ceiling fan before we can disassemble the ceiling grid. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to tackle that project before we left the house.  That should be relatively easy and something that we can tackle after work one night this week.

We are making tiny baby steps towards our goal!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Step 1.5

After cleaning the pool and mowing the yard, Mr. Monkeygirl still had some energy so we started working on the demolition in the Craft Room.  We didn't finish because we ran into a couple of issues.
  1. The original owners owned stock in Gorilla Glue.  They had to because they used it everywhere.  I will attest to the holding power of the stuff. It really holds. For a long, long time.  The only problem is how do you get it off the wall if you ever change your mind.  In the grand scheme of things, the cork came off much easier than we thought it would.  Now we have to figure out how to get this gluey residue off the walls so we can paint.
  2. Contrary to it's name, the ceiling fan isn't attached to the ceiling.  The fan is braced and hung from the grid for the drop ceiling (ok, if you really want to be technical, I guess you could count that as part of the ceiling).  Until the fan is disconnected, we can't take down the grid.  We did remove most of the ceiling tiles.  The only ones that remain are the ones used to hold the blocking for the fan.
  3. A little wooden rack on the closet wall gave us more problems than we thought.  I have no idea what you could hang on this thing but I doubt it could be more than 2 hangers.  I'm not sure who installed this, but they definitely wanted to be sure it was sturdy.  They lag bolted this half ounce rack into the wall.  I guess we get to practice patching drywall again!
Since we needed to find something to remove the gluey stuff (it's a technical term!), we made the rounds to Home Depot and Lowe's.  On the agenda, look for paint samples, find something to remove the glue, look for countertops, look for new lighting, new pots for some plants, and dirt to fill the pots.

We found something that claims to remove the goo - we reserve the right to pass on our judgement until we try it.  Paint samples were found that may work out - I love that machine at Home Depot that reads your "inspiration piece" to find the color!  I need to look at the colors next to the furniture before I make a final decision.  Both stores had countertops that I liked at prices that aren't going to break the bank.  I think the prices were exactly $1 different between the two stores so it really will come down to which one looks prettier!  We also found some good lighting choices at Lowe's that will work for what I want.  Most importantly, we didn't forget the pots and dirt so it was a good trip.


(In a hushed whisper)  Don't get your hopes up or get too excited yet, but I just caught Mr. Monekygirl when he didn't know I was watching.  On his way down the hall, I just caught him stop in the doorway to my new office and look around.  Does this mean he is ready to begin the demolition?  We will have to see.

Oh man, he went outside to clean the pool.  Well, the day is still young!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Things I learned today

I took full advantage of my day off.  I spent a good portion of the day outside and I learned some interesting things.
  • New Guy likes to talk on the phone.  A lot.  Also, I don't think his phone works inside.  He is always outside.
  • The storms yesterday must have been really bad in this area. It looked bad on my way home but it never rained a drop. On me. Skaterboy said it poured at home. One neighbor spent his day cutting up huge limbs that just fell out of his tree this morning.  Another had to cover their roof with a tarp.  Hey dude, maybe the problem was caused by that tree branch that has been laying on your roof for the past 2 years?!
  • The people 3 doors down like hip-hop.  But apparently only one CD.  They played it over and over.  All day.  Well, at least until their parents got home.
  • The 3 dogs 2 doors down don't like hip-hop.  At all. And they wanted to let everyone know about it.
I need to hang outside more often to see what else I can learn.

One down, 11 to go!

A week ago, my new office looked like this...

Normally, it wasn't quite this messy (well, the mess was generally confined to the surfaces in the office and not in the middle of the floor)!  I took this picture after I cleaned out the closet so I could recall what it used to look like.

I was inspired to get moving on this project this morning.  I had already packed up and moved all of the boxes.  I needed to get the furniture out of the room so we could start the demolition.  I conned Skaterboy into helping me move the remaining furniture out of the room (access to a car is a powerful motivator!)

Now the room looks like this!

All in all it doesn't look too bad, but you can see the floor is really worn in the lower left hand side of the photo.  There is just a touch of the drop ceiling and the cork wall in this pic too.  While it wasn't intentional, I noticed that I happened to capture our lovely yellow toilet in both the before and after pictures.  Someday, that too will be replaced!

So many choices....

I'm not working today.  I'm not answering the bat phone.  I'm not going to log on to check e-mail.  The world will survive without me for one day.  The doors will still be open on Monday.  I deserve a break.

I have the whole day to myself.  Mr. M is stuck at work forever today.  Skaterboy has yet to surface from under the covers  - it is way too early for that.  I can do whatever I want.  I was catching up on some reading and my fellow bloggers gave me some inspiration.  
  • Most Excellent Friend, Nik is also off today and grueling away with her faithful sidekick, Lawrence, doing something sweaty and constructive today.  Hmmm, maybe I should finish Step 1 of my DIY project and move the furniture out of the office so we can move on to step 2 - demo!  
  • Ty'sMommy is making me feel bad because she has a toddler, is making jewelry, quilts AND scrapbooks all before the parental units show up!  I promised my SIL a baby book for my Godson and I have all the stuff and I started it, but I wasn't happy with the second page, so I gave up.  I am such a perfectionist and I need to get over it!  Maybe I could work on the baby book before he goes to Kindergarden.  Or I could drag out the jewels and make the necklace I have been envisioning in my mind for the past few weeks.
  • Ann totally got robbed out of her right to the first shower this morning.  I think she should refuse to share her mouth watering creations with the shower robber for that one.  Those cherry cakelets make me drool every time I spy their little stems peeking at me.  I could bake today...wait that would require some effort.  Clothing appropriate for public viewing, a trip to the grocers, following directions, figuring out if I have cakelet pans (is that a word? Where would one begin to look for cakelet pans? I don't think cakelet pans are near the sticker or shoe aisle so I might get lost).
  • I do have all day with no plans and there was a new assignment on DPS this week that I can handle.  BabyNik is back in my possession and I have a nearly empty card tucked inside.
  • It is a glorious day for mid-summer here.  I have a pool.  I have no plans. One of my thinking buds at work commented on my lovely alabaster glow this week (or at least that is how I interpreted her comment).  I could drag out a boombox (that is so '80's) and go hang out by/in the pool for the rest of the day.
So many options, which one will I choose?  I'm not sure either but check back later to see if I accomplished anything at all!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So many words

Why reinvent the wheel?  My Most Excellent Friend, Nik, posted an entry about something that was near and dear to her heart - words.  Strange as this sounds for someone who has a blog, words have never been my obsession, but she has inspired me once again!

Nik was turned onto this great site called Wordle that allows you to create art called word clouds (doesn't that sound serene!) from either words that you enter yourself, or in this case, from the posts in my blog.  I was curious as a monkey so I gave it a whirl.  I have to say that I was pretty content with the results.

Some things it put together seemed very appropriate and accurately describes me:
  • see want color many - For anyone who knows me, I am not afraid of color.  It is on my walls  - asparagus green in my kitchen, campfire orange in my family room.  We even made an attempt at kelly green in Skaterboy's room but even that was a little too much for us so we backed off that color.  My closet in a virtual rainbow of colors from my shoulders to my toes.  
  • really complete office - Wow!  Wordle knows what I am looking for in my next DIY project!
  • walls around something - I guess most people have walls around something so this one isn't so profound, but it made me giggle when I say it together.
  • Mr space - Mr. Monkeygirl probably would interpret this as he needs more space since I have a tendency to spread out into open space.  Especially when I am sound asleep!  I see this as the combo as the fact that I am comfortable with him in my space- aww!
Nik made the comment that this was something that she would definitely include in one of her scrapbooks and I agree.  However, I may end up taking this one step further.  I have been looking for something unique and different to hang on the walls in my professional office.  This word cloud blown up might just be the thing that I was looking for.

At the very least, it will give people something to talk about!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A message....

... to the person who wants to remain nameless.  I am keeping my promise not to write about you.  The fear of retribution is too great - you know too many embarrassing stories about me that you would be more than willing to share with the world.

I will also promise to continue to talk to you on a regular basis and won't simply tell you to read my blog. If those words ever come out of my mouth, you have my permission to throw a shoe or something heavy in my general direction.  I know you are looking forward to more posts but I have to admit that I am just too tired tonight to post all of the blogs that are floating around in my head.  These ideas are really cool and I think you would enjoy them but they require some effort to find images that I know I have but can't put my hands on right now.

But you really have to work with me.  You have to stop inadvertently sending me messages that just beg to be blogged about.  You really need to stop giving me suggestions for things that I should include in my blog.  Bugging me about the fact that I haven't posted anything in a couple of days and asking when am I going to post something new is like adding fuel to the fire. You are really making it tough to keep my promise.

I have officially kept up my end of the promise in this post.  Technically, I haven't written anything about you (that is identifiable) so I should be safe.  Or at least I can only hope!  

Love you!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A complete waste of six seconds

This is kind of stupid, but I had to post this!

Not exactly what I had in mind when I came up with the name....

How much is that doggie in the window?

Come on, sing it with me, you know you want to!  (arf! arf!) The one with the waggley tail.  

Mr. Monkeygirl has been asking for a dog for a long, long time and I have been hesitant.  Don't get me wrong, I love dogs.  I grew up with a dog and as soon as I moved out of my parent's house, I got a dog of my own. At one point in time, I had two dogs in my home.  So, I can be classified as a dog person even though I haven't had a dog for awhile.

As much I proclaim to be a dog person, Mr. Monkeygirl puts me to shame.  I overheard a conversation he was having with his brothers at the dinner table and they were naming the dogs that they had as kids. 
     Brother 1: Do you remember King?
     Brother 2: Big King or Little King?
     Brother 3: What about Duke?
     Brother 2: Which one? Duke I, Duke II or Duke III?
     Brother 1: Duke III. What about Satan?
     Brother 3: Oh yeah, Satan!  Don't put him with Devil.  That would be big trouble!
And the conversation continued on, each one naming dog after dog.  I finally stopped them and asked them how many dogs they had when they were growing up?  They paused.  You could see them counting in their heads.  The final answer? Well over 100.  Now before anyone runs to the phone to call the Animal Protection people, Mr. Monkeygirl's family owned a kennel and a canine security service.  They had a reason to have so many dogs and many of them they considered pets.  I'm not sure that I would consider Shizen III trained attack dogs pets, but they did! 

Ever before we got married, Mr. Monkeygirl and his Skaterboy have been lobbying for a dog.  As I said, I love dogs, however I have some reservations about getting a dog again.  Number one, they both want a huge dog.  Generally, one that slobbers excessively.  Number two, they can't agree on what they want.  Number three, while we have decent sized yard, a good chunk of our yard is concrete and we don't have a fence.  Finally, and this is a very selfish reason, I finally got to the point where I could buy and wear black clothes without being covered in dog fur before I walked out the door.

This past weekend, Mr. Monkeygirl showed me a picture of a very cute dog that was up for adoption by Stray Rescue.  He is very cute.  They have a "Rent-A-Dog" program where you can take the dog home to see how things work out before you finalize the adoption.  This dog looks an awful lot like my favorite husky, Keeley.  A dog would make me get up and go for a walk every day.  Mr. Monkeygirl would be so happy and wouldn't complain so much when I travel....

Does anyone else see a dog in my future?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

12 Step Program

Mr. Monkeygirl and I are embarking on a 12 step program.  No, we do not suffer from any type of addiction that would make for great rumors!  We are getting ready to tackle our latest DIY project.  We have attempted some projects in the past with some pretty good results.  Anyone who visited our house after we first moved in couldn't possible forget the family room with the faux wood beams on the ceiling, the faux brick fireplace completely surrounded by lava rock, smokey glass mirrors and dark wood paneling.  Top this all off with lovely pinky-rose carpeting.  It was a living tribute to the early seventies!  It took a huge amount of work, but we were able to change the room around completely with ceramic tile on the fireplace, Pergo on the floors and a bold color choice for the walls - Campfire by Behr.

A few months ago we decided that the office needed a renovation.  Both Mr. Monkeygirl and I shared the office, plus Skaterboy camped out there often.  It wasn't working for us to share the space.  I am a scrapbooker and I have a lot of supplies and didn't have anywhere to put them (or work on my projects) without having to move all kinds of things around.  Add in Mr. Monkeygirl's stuff plus a gaggle of Skaterboy's friends camped out in the room most of the time and you can quickly see why we had issues.

After some persuasive arguments on my part, I was able to convince Mr. Monkeygirl that we should convert the spare bedroom (nobody ever uses it anyway) into one office and convert the remaining room into a craft room for me. Somehow, Mr. M was able to persuade me that his office should be finished first and then he would work on my room. In a complete moment of weakness, I let him have his way.  His was the easy one and we quickly had the room finished. That was months ago and we still haven't made any progress on my office/craft room.

That was until today.  While the forecast called for a warm sunny day, I woke up to gloom and doom and storms rolling through the area this morning.  Since I had planned to do something outside today, this unexpected rain gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get started on my room.  You see, Mr. Monkeygirl had been bringing home boxes for me for weeks and I never did anything with them. Until today.

In our own spin on a 12 step program, we have developed 12 steps that we need to complete in order to call this project completed.
  1. Pack the remaining junk and move the furniture.  This room was wall-to-wall furniture at one point in time.  We had 3 desks, 2 filing cabinets, 2 tall bookcases and a rolling craft cart in the room.  Over the last few months we have been able to rid the room of some excess furniture.  One desk was literally falling apart so we disassembled it and chucked it in the trash.  The desk that belonged to Skaterboy didn't make it back into his room after his renovation project, so it ended up in my space.  This desk was nice but didn't have much space for crafting, so it was donated to the church garage sale earlier this summer.
  2. Demolition!  The original owner's of this house loved the '70's.  This room has a drop ceiling and fluorescent lighting.  Top that off with a wall covered with cork and mirror tiles (more smokey glass but this time without the 'veins' of gold) and brown shag carpeting in the closet.  All of this needs to go to make way for my dream room.  Of course, this won't be easy because the favored method for installing anything in this house was Liquid Nails.  I have to admit that it does make things stick but it makes removing anything a tad bit difficult.
  3. Repair walls/ceiling.  Did I mention that the original owner must have owned stock in Liquid Nails?  We will definitely have to repair or replace a portion of the walls after we remove the cork and mirrors.  Who knows what the ceiling will look like after we disassemble the drop ceilings?  Let's hope they didn't use Liquid Nails to hang the ceiling grid.  Hopefully, we will only have to fill in the holes from the hooks in the ceiling.  Keep your fingers crossed.
  4. Paint!  The ceiling, the walls, the inside of the closet, the trim - it all needs to be painted.  I haven't exactly picked out the final paint color yet but I'm leaning toward a bright, sunny color.  I have been inspired by my dinnerware for other color schemes in my house, so I doubt this room will be any different.  Stay tuned for the final decisions!
  5. Install Lighting.  My dream room includes plenty of direct lighting over my work surface.  I had my eye on some really neat pendent lighting but Mr. Monkeygirl warned me that none of our rooms have ceiling lighting that is controlled by the light switches.  Plus, given some of the weird switches that we found in this house, we weren't really sure how the current lights were run in the drop ceiling.  A quick recon mission revealed that they actually wired the lights correctly, so I can get the lighting that I want!
  6. Refinish Hardwood Floors.  We are blessed to own a home that has hardwood floors in every bedroom.  The floor in the office has seen better days and needs to be revived before we can call it completed.  Teenage boys are really rough on the floors so this room is one of the worst for wear.  Mr. M found some miracle product that he used on his office floor that did an awesome job of bringing back his floors without having to resort to sanding them done and starting over from scratch.  Hopefully, it will work in my room as well.
  7. Assemble Cubes.  No, I'm not trying to recreate Dilbert in my office!  I found these great storage cubes at my local Michael's that fit my needs exactly. Even better, Michael's was running a 50% off one item coupon sale around Mother's Day.  I gathered all the coupons I could find and repeatedly hit my local store buying one cube at a time.  Mr. M bought the remaining cubes for me for Mother's Day and I have been patiently waiting to use them ever since.  The cubes will be used as the base for my new work space.
  8. Install Countertop.  No matter how much you have, you never seem to have enough space to scrapbook.  I plan on solving that by installing a countertop that runs all the way across the back wall of my space.  Plus, I plan on turning the corner and running the countertop up to the edge of the closet.  That should give me about 12 + feet of space to work!  The shorter span is slated to be the 'electronics' area.  I should have plenty of room for my laptop, a printer and my Wacom Graphics tablet.  If you don't know, a graphics tablet is a very cool way to edit your photos with a pen instead of a mouse.  It is the coolest thing but it is a little difficult to use in your lap.
  9. Install Closet Organizers.  I know that I should have plenty of room with my cubes but if you know me at all, you know that I have a lot of scrapbooking supplies. (I even 'had' to buy a bigger car to go to Crop Camp!)  I know that there will be some things that just won't fit into the cubes or that I don't want to have at my side at all times.  The closet organizer will help me keep things organized so that I can find them when I need them.
  10. Unpack.  This seems kind of silly, but it will probably be one of the hardest parts of the project.  Did I mention that I have a lot of stuff?  I have things stashed in various places in the house depending on the frequency of use. I'm sure that I will get in my step count for the day when I decide to unpack since a majority of my belongings are stored in the basement right now.
  11. Organize.  One of the biggest perks of this project is that I will be able to get everything out of boxes and bags.  I made a major effort last fall to organize my supplies and it helped immensely.  I found things I forgot I had and was able to get rid of things that I will never, ever use.  The bonus, my scrapbooking totes now weigh about half of what they used to.  My ultimate goal, to only bring things to a crop that I will be using that day.  Oh, and to try to limit the stuff I bring to one trip from the car!
  12. Create!  I can't wait to decorate the space and start working on some projects that I have started but never finished (like the baby album for my newest nephew).  It will also be really nice to make a piece of jewelry and be able to see the exact colors of the beads that I'm using!  
So the challenge is on.  Mr Monkeygirl is going on a guy's trip to a NASCAR race next month.  I gave him my "permission" to go - IF he finished my space before he leaves.  For avid DIY'ers, this is a ridiculous amount of time, but we aren't rabid fans of DIY and we try to find every reason to procrastinate.  We have a deadline, we are working towards a common goal - to get what we want (I want my space, he wants me to stop whining about it).

Step one is almost complete.  So I have one thing to say to all my brain sharing friends - RENEGADE?