Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home Renovations with Mom....... and the dog.

My birthday will be here soon and I never ask for anything as I need nothing!  However this year I would like someone to give me a small animal, or anything that can swing a 2x4.  Please tie it to my belt.  When my mouth opens and says; "Wow!  What a lovely day to replace....... "  Whip out that 2x4 and just give me a good whack upside the head!

Hmmmmm, Saturday, feeling fried from the work week and the thermometer is well on it's way to 90 degrees with 90% humidity (and it's not raining) and my inside voice says..... Hey, what about that bathroom leak around the tub?
Abby is home, up early, 10:30 a.m. and making a stellar breakfast for champions;  toast.

Good Morning, I chirp!  Not letting on the plans for the day.

I run upstairs; comb my hair, brush my teeth and put a clean tee shirt on.  Abby meets me on the stairs and steps back; "Whoa, Mom where you going?"
Home Depot I announce.
She bursts into laughter and says;  "Whoa Mom, dream big!"
Hey, Princess put your rhinestone flip flops on cause you're going with me!
But MOM, I have a noon coffee date with Dan to go over lesson plans.
Well then we better hurry!  I'll be waiting in the truck!

Out the door and in the truck I debrief her.  Running from the parking lot and pushing our lumber cart I see the oldest Home Depot customer ...... ever!  I wonder if it will be me in 30 years;  hobbled and bent from years of working on your knees or over your head.  Using your head to hold up 4' x 8' piece of plywood while you fumble for your air hammer and 100 feet of compressor hose rapped around your neck.  Cramming your body into a crawl space meant for a mouse when you have the frame of NFL linebacker. With his neck fixed to one side, in a flannel shirt, original Levi's, untied work shoes, bent and shuffling along the edge of the parking lot, clutching his return of 6 screws.

Abby yells; MOM STOP, you cannot run over this guy.  As we pass he glances over;  I say Hi and offer him a ride!  We race past and he mumbles something while working his way to the entrance.
We crash the door, wave the Home Depot Greeter away and find exactly the shower doors I need and the invisible caulk.
Problem #1:  The tub doors I need are in the ethers of Home Depot!  Go to Depot defcon 2 with super sonic listening and I hear a guy talking in Home Depot tongues, one aisle over.  I bee line over.  Waiting patiently while he talks the talk on rain bucket shower heads and faucets to a young glassy eyed couple on their very first trip to the Depot.  Asking him if he is in charge of tub doors?  He is large with red hair and chubby tummy wearing his orange apron, plastered with pins and Depot awards.  He flashes a toothy grin and announces;  Ma'am I am the store manager.
I flash my pearly whites back and say;  Great! can you get a shower door down from the netherlands of the top shelf?
Well, No I can't but here comes Joe!  Great!
I grab Joe as two other couples grab for him I whisk him away to my aisle.
Abby is standing guard at the last B28 door on the rack!   ABBY I HAVE JOE!
"GET IT" I command Joe.  I leave Abby with Joe and the lumber cart while I run to the garden dept.    to buy a sprinkler and hose connector.  I run back and find her wandering and dragging the lumber cart (which only wants to go in circles once you have a full load) with the Home Depot glazed and confused stare.

Problem #2:  Not enough employees work on Saturday mornings!
Sorry it took me so long!  I forgot I had a tape measure clipped to my belt and I was stopped by too many old men asking;  "Hey, Do You Work Here?"  I directed them to aisle 6, aisle 9 and somewhere in the back of the store.  Let's get out of here!  We made it in half an hour!!  A record and promptly ran over the little old man still working his way to the entrance in the parking lot!  Sorry...... I just know I am going to end up like this guy!

We wrestle the glass doors up the staircase to the second floor bedroom.  Visions of showering by late afternoon dance in my head.

Off to dismantle the bathroom.........

By 1:00 p.m. I was on my way.  I had hung these door several ago and due to a problem reading directions printed in Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic and finally English I cut the side bars wrong and had been holding them together with Liquid Nails and Duct Tape.  Let's just suffice to say....... it leaked. It was a tiny little leak and there were so many other things wrong with the house this seemed like a small matter.  After a few years of telling myself;  Oh don't worry because right now you don't have a kitchen floor and who needs running water?   Well now I know my kitchen floor probably disintegrated from a tiny little drip.  And then there was the 
infestation of carpenter ants I battled three years ago and thought I won.  The buggers did more damage than I thought possible and now wonder why the tub isn't in the dining room.  Thought I had a couple loose tiles.  I pulled up one tile and just kept going........ 


By three o'clock I was drenched in sweat, carried every tool I owned into the bathroom and had a dog standing over me panting,  whadda ya doin' now?  Find a ball?   Why oh why can't he have thumbs and hand me a screwdriver?  

By 6 p.m. I was calling Butch and telling him to shower at him Mom's or be prepared to get hosed down in the driveway.  He never got the message and rolled in the house around 8 p.m.  He had two days of chaos and not eaten but I threw him in the truck and ran back to the Depot to look for tub surrounds.  
Poor guy was flat lined and we came home empty handed.  What to do?  I was about out of gas for the day.  Told him I would clean the place up and hand him a bucket to wash up with.  He had other ideas 
and ran to our other favorite store, Walmart.  Grabbed a fine plastic shower curtain and rod and tossed it up.  We all showered and hit the sheets by midnight.  

Getting up this morning I was hoping the tub brownies would have been busy all night but Nope, still a mess.  Make coffee, and jump back in.  

The kit was two doors and about 100 pieces and parts all vacuum sealed in plastic onto cardboard.  Who sits in a little room and thinks this is a good idea?  GRRRRRRR!!!!   
And because we live in this very old Victorian lady, nothing is straight or in alignment.  Of course tweaking had to be done.  I had a miter box and my rusty trusty hacksaw.  Measure twice, cut once and we will be showering by noon.  

Putting the sidebars, made of lightweight aluminum, in my miter box I begin to saw........ and saw and saw.  I kick into hyper saw and realize I am getting nowhere, fast.  What is up with this saw?  I grab the saw and run downstairs, the dog fast on my heels, to my coffee sipping husband sitting on the patio reading the paper in his bare feet.  Hey, did you use this?  I ask waving it over my head.  
Um, yeah but I just used the tips.  
For what?
Well I lost the key to the carbon die cast Master Lock on the dock box and I sawed it off.  But I only used the tip of the saw on the front and the back, I'm pretty sure I didn't use the middle.  

Ran in the house grabbed my wallet and back to the Depot to find a hacksaw.  Do you know how many hacksaw designs are out there?  My favorite, made in Sweden and a mere $39.00.  Nix that choice and go for the $14.99 made in the USA.  Cuts like butt-a!  Wow, what a difference!  

Get the side rails up and realize the jig set up at the factory leaves a big gap at the bottom.  Hey I have a new hacksaw and pretty sure I can take a smidge off the bottom.  But then Butch chimes in, a grinder would be much better.  So off to the studio we go carrying all the pieces with us.  Move the grinder to the table, find an extension cord and we commence grinding.  Lightly touching the aluminum side bar to the grinder is morphs into an "S" bend and crumbles.  Cursing profusely I shut the grinder off and hear my dear smiling husband say, No problem!  I can bend it back with a pair of pliers.  NO!  It will look like crap!  I dig in my Grandpa's ancient tool box and score a ball peen hammer!  Off to the vise and a woman's gentle touch and good as new.  Back to the miter box and hack saw!  45 minutes later the sidebars are up and tight! 

Slowly we progressed throughout the day.  By 3 p.m. we were caulked and can I just say I suck at caulk!  I googled this, watched YouTube videos and felt pretty confident I could caulk.  By the time I was done I had caulk in my hair, all over my hands, I consoled the dog who looked worried by scratching his ears inadvertently caulking his ears to his head, while sitting in the tub caulking the lower seam I sealed my legs together....... and then I tried to get up.  You squeeze the little lever and stuff squirts out the end. Run a bead, run your finger down the bead and how hard can it be?  To stop the ooze coming out the end my head said stop squeezing but it keeps squirting out the end.  I finally figured out I need to release the pressure on the back end and it would slowly ease up.  What a mess!  By the time I worked my way around the tub I was getting pretty good with a tube a caulk!   Look at that bead! 



Tomorrow we attempt to fix the floor! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Selling pots on the surface of the sun......

The packing and unpacking.........  studio is looking like a storage locker!

Sitting here on a Monday morning with a slight drizzle and positively freezing with 68 degrees registering on the thermometer..... Why?  
Keep reading.........

     After setting up at Home Grown Home Thrown, in Louisville, KY and needing to be hosed down in the high 90 degree heat.  My inside voice said: OMG, I paid to do this!  Leaving Ohio in the dark, early hours on Friday I flipped the heater on in the truck to take the chill off.  Six and half hours later I rolled onto the surface of the sun; an asphalt parking lot at the Deer Park Baptist Church and thought I had taken a wrong turn somewhere.  Stepping out of my air conditioned truck I heard the words from my young daughter at a past show echo through my head;  "Mom, it's so hot, there are wiener dogs exploding in the parking lot!" Linda ran over, welcomed me, handed me a name tag with instructions to "put this on".  Thanks, Linda because by 8 p.m. I had no idea what my name was.  While setting up I heard one potter mutter;  "I'm too effen' old for this crap!  I'm going home for an attitude adjustment and a shower!" And she was delightful when she returned! 

Following Dolita back to her house I became aware she was in the same shape I was as she drove over the curb while motoring home but then she had had a gin and tonic at dinner.  Arriving at the Dorhman Hostel I said a quick, Howdy to Gene and crawled up the stairs to shower before slamming my face onto a pillow in her lovely guest bedroom I passed out with visions of getting up and doing this again on Saturday.  Drinking gallons of water in the heat of Saturday, the question among potters for the day...... have you pee'd today?  Nope!  and besides I wearing jeans and the thought of someone finding me face down in the Deer Park Baptist Church bathroom swearing a blue streak while trying to get myself back into my sweat soaked jeans was not appealing; well at least it wasn't a port-a-potty. Saturday we broke down and headed for the showers........ 7 hours away for the traveling potter of Paine Falls.  Sales were down but I covered my expenses and made a few more than expected.  All in all I am happy I attended.  It was so good to see woodfired pots, see old friends, make new friends, have a great meal on Friday night and realize I needed to step up my game!  I love the long drive after a show going over my strategy and making a list of changes I need to address, immediately.  Why good potters can't sell pots and why so - so potters make a killing.   When the thermostat tops 95 degrees in the shade and you are selling pots on an asphalt parking lot, with not a tree in sight, who wants to buy pots and carry them around?  I didn't even want to be there!  I'm thinking the Louisville Clay Guild should sell cold beer to make money.

OH and LET me just rant here for a minute............ KEEP YOUR DOG AT HOME!  And to the idiot who brought his St. Bernard, there is special place in hell for you, wearing a fur coat.  I see this at every outdoor show I attend and am always amazed...... why, I don't know, you would think after 20 years of doing shows I would be over it but I'm not!   Ok I am stepping off my soapbox now....... 

I returned home for a couple days to spend a day gardening with Bee, throwing bowls and lanterns, loving the 70 degree, low humidity and sunny days of June.  By Friday moring I was recharged & packing for a return visit to Louisville for a garden show at friend, Dolita's.  On the road early Friday morning after tracking down Casa Blanca lilies for Dolita's garden I was headed south.  The skies grew dark as I approached Columbus.  Holy Noah's Ark!  I pulled off to find a Starbuck's and called Butch to check the radar.  Go home or keep going..... of course, keep going.  Adjusting my water wings I could feel the temps going up and I was back in the tropics.  Where the hell is the Cabana Boy?  

Arriving in the sultry heat and setting up in Dolita's garden we all remarked how it wasn't nearly as bad as last week.  True but heat is relative when you live in Northern Ohio.  We had a great dinner and retired to a great nights sleep.  Sometime after midnight I awoke to hard rain......... great.  Up at 6 am the next morning and YIKES...... steamy, overcast and a slight drizzle with a hint of mosquitos.  Gosh, I miss Louisiana......... NOT!

Amazed that folks came to the sale. Seems as though everyone who walked down the driveway, walked away with pots.  Wow!  It really was a good one day sale.   
The sale was over at 4 p.m.  By 3:30 p.m. the sun was out and heat shot up again...... heat index 106 degrees........ just kill me.   Packed and out the driveway by 5 p.m.  Air conditioner on high, full frontal arctic blast.  

Home at 12:30 a.m.  hit the showers by 12:45 and a cool bed with a warm body snoring next to me..... the dog.  Life is good.  I unpacked yesterday and I still have quite a few pots left and now wondering where do I put everything?  The studio is still loaded with pots to be picked up or delivered from the Dinnerware show and I just keep adding more to the mess.  This could be clean out the studio week!

Good to see the garden growing and I notice I must have planted the wrong beans in the frenzy of trying to get seeds in the ground this spring.  Thought I planted bush beans but alas they are runners.  

see those runners..... grrrr....

Good to see the shelves are full and the kilns are standing at the ready for firing 

garden luminaries ready to be fired......

But for now the canoe is calling and so are the fish........
summer is going to be gone before I know it..... 

Recap of the last few weeks.

We should all be more like the dog!  Just happy for a good day!

Since last blogging I have logged 1,645 miles, knitted two scarves, weeded a few gardens, sold a few pots at farmers markets, sold a lot of pots in Louisville, KY, packed and unpacked more times than I care to count, break down the dinnerware show in Cleveland and watched my gardens grow in hot, humid Ohio weather, especially the weeds.  This is more August exhaustion setting in, than early June, make me wonder what August holds. 

Feeling like I have run a gauntlet over the last few weeks I am ready to get my gardens weeded and big pots ready for Chicago.  Looking forward to time in the studio and redesigning my booth. 

First report on the gardens!  Wow!  What a spectacular year for roses! 

Last year the roses were great but this year they are amazing!  The icebergs have perfumed the backyard and the colors are just beautiful.  There is an old rose guy I listened too who said; "roses would rather drink than eat."  After so much rain this year I have to say he was right.  Other flowers blooming in the garden; scabiosa, japanese iris, lychnis, astilbes, yarrow (achillea, coronation), aruncus (dwarf and large), asclepias (soul mate & tuberosa).  The baptisia has come and gone along with the poppies and comfrey.

fairy roses mixed with the leucanthemum

Japanese Iris

Asclepias; soul mate

Scabiosa;  butterfly blue