Friday, January 24, 2014

A Week of Work, Canceled School, and Fumey Fumes

Things at our house have been a little nuttier than usual this week.  Maybe because we've all been high on paint fumes since Wednesday.  It started out with Monday being a holiday for David and Zuzu but not for me (Instead I had a very disappointing and lackluster conversation with my students about race.  They will talk their faces off about gender but feel "awkward" talking about race.).  So I scurried off to school and left the two of them to have a play day at home.

That afternoon we met with our financial advisor for a thrilling conversation about life insurance and retirement savings.  At least we had the meeting at Bread Co., where she bought me a hot tea and bought Zuzu a cookie (I had been debating breaking my financial fast so that we weren't those people sitting at Bread Co. without buying anything, but then I didn't have to!).

We left that meeting feeling flush with cash and ready to retire tomorrow, (testing, testing--is the sarcasm coming through okay?) and then the next day was Tuesday.  I wasn't feeling well because I have a cold that will not stop lingering, so I gave up and canceled class and made my students write and submit essays instead of coming to class.  This was really good for me because I rested and didn't talk to anyone and I think it helped my throat finally stop being so raw and phelgmy.  David went ahead and took Zuzu to daycare for a short day so I could get some work done at home, but I also managed to do some other very productive things like finally defeat a Candy Crush level that had been stumping me for weeks and catch up on Downton Abbey.  Also I did laundry.  Because my life is a jam-packed thrill-a-minute.

Wednesday things got whackadoodle.  David had to go to work early so I was home and trying to get myself and Zuzu together to leave when the painters arrived to paint our kitchen cabinets.  I chatted with the painters while Cooper barked his everloving head off and then Zuzu and I headed out.  I managed to get through a day of class without coughing incessantly (only intermittently!) and we all got home to a kitchen without cabinet doors and a fumey house.

I was kind of freaked out by the fumes, so I made Zuzu a quick dinner and then decided she should play upstairs where it wasn't so fumey (definitely not zero VOC primer on the cabinets).  So we hung out upstairs which was actually kind of fun.  I'd put some frozen soup in the crock pot for David and me but it wasn't heating up fast enough, so David decided to put it on the stove.  As it was warming up, I was putting Zuzu to bed and then David wandered downstairs because he wanted to move some electrical outlets around before the painters started on the basement paneling.  As I was rocking her, I realized that the delicious smell of potato soup that had been wafting upstairs (along with, I'm sure, brain-damaging paint fumes), there was a new smell.  Smokey...  Burning...

I put Zu in her crib and ran downstairs to find the pot of potato soup boiling on the stove.  The bottom of it was completely black and burned to the pot and the whole pot of soup tasted burnt.  I mean seriously, we're lucky the place didn't catch on fire.  Because putting soup on the burner on medium heat and then walking away is actually not a great idea. David was beside himself because he hates making mistakes like that but I thought it was no big deal because I do stupid stuff all the time.  So I had oatmeal for dinner.  And the house smelled like smoke and paint fumes.

Thursday was the last day of my January term class, which was a relief even though that class was actually pretty fun.  The last day of class is always a relief.  I collected portfolios and let my students go a few minutes early.  Because I'm super fun like that.  David's school was canceled because it was cold but he went to work anyway because one fact about elementary schools is that you get way more work done when students are not there!

We got home to see that progress had been made and all the kitchen cabinets were primed BUT half the doors had the backs of their doors painted the wrong color.  So David had to e-mail the painter dude, who was really nice about taking care of it, but I was still kind of freaking out.  Plus the whole house still was stinky.  I left David and Zu playing upstairs and went out to meet up with a couple friends for a late happy hour at my favorite nearby wine bar.

Today I was back at work to proctor and evaluate essay exams for students who are new enrollees for the spring semester, which is way more tiring than it sounds.  David's school was back in session.  The cabinet doors got taken to the painter shop where the painters promised to work on them over the weekend so as to not fall behind schedule.

And now we're home and the windows are all open because even though it's cold it's not single-digits cold.  Yes, the house is [more than a] little chilly, but at least I don't feel like we're sitting around watching each other's brain cells die.  The kitchen cabinets are all still door-less, which is actually kind of convenient for emptying the dishwasher.  It does make drawer opening tricky since the drawer faces have all been removed also.

The basement has its first coat of paint up and I am already loving the transformation!  I know some people cringe at the idea of painting old paneling (or maybe that's only my dad?), but the more we looked at it, all I could see was that it was in really bad shape--nicked and dinged and scratched and scraped, and I think we're going to be really happy with the white.  Of course the new paint is going to have me desperately wanting new flooring down there because one project leads to another and the next costs more than the last and that's the joy of home ownership, right?
Next week these projects should be finished up and I'll post before and after pics and let you know whether I have any regrets about doing my cabinets in two different colors.  (Assuming they do end up getting painted two different colors as we requested...).  And next week is the official start of my spring semester, when I get to try to convince a whole new group of students that I know what I'm talking about.


  1. I am pretty pumped to see your cabinets! So very YHL of you. Only more exciting because I KNOW you. Do you have a master list like them of all the projects you want to do?

    I find it very interesting that your students are fine talking about gender, but not as much about race. Kinda sad. Like we still have a long way to go, ya know? either that or they are less worried about offending the opposite gender, than they are someone of another race.

  2. I am ridiculously excited to see your kitchen. I'm really going to need some sort of illegal substance to drug my husband do I can trick him into painting ours. His dad made them by hand. They forced me to choose oak stain. They're effin orange, just like they promised they wouldn't be....white or black paint would be devine....

  3. I love your DIY (even contracted out!) projects. I really can't wait to see your basement paneling painted. I think it will look great.

  4. Don't mind me reading. I am only living vicariously through your DIY/home improvement projects