Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catch-Up, Week 1

Where do I begin?

Jason is camped out on the couch with three+ hours of motorcycle races ahead of him, so I have some guilt-free time to come downstairs and update the ol' blog. But as I sit here I wonder how I should go about encapsulating the last two weeks? To be honest, I had to scroll through the photos I've taken just to remember some of it! I guess I'll just start chronologically and see what I come up with! [If you follow me on Twitter/Facebook some of this will not be new news, but some of it will.]

Monday morning, June 15th, Jason left for work, not to return until that Thursday. John, being ever considerate, found someplace else to stay while Jason was gone. So I had four whole days to myself, woo hoo! :) All I had to do was hang out at home on Monday and Tuesday while some guys came to do some work in our attic to make our home more energy-efficient. I planned to spend the time in the basement, getting my studio in order and hopefully crafting.

And then the guys came, and asked me to show them the basement. Huh? Why? Apparently we were having some work done in our basement, too, as well as some other non-attic stuff I didn't know about. HOLD THE PHONE. I called Jason's cell, but he was in a cell-free zone... but I did have an "in case of emergency" number. So my first task (which I should have done before Jason left) was to determine what constituted an emergency... like, workmen are trying to hack up the drywall in my studio kind of an emergency, or I just got in a car accident and I'm in the back of an ambulance kind of emergency? Turns out it was the latter. So no talking to Jason.

I was pretty stinkin' sure that Jason did not know about the hacking-out-the-drywall-in-my-studio plans, because if he had he probably would have mentioned it. So then I called the guy we'd arranged all this with to ask what the heck was up. Is this what we'd agreed on? Is this included in what we'd put the partial payment down on? And he assured me that it was. So without being able to talk to Jason, and being told that this was part of what we'd paid for, I let them start in the basement. [Did you hear the da-da-duhn music in the background just then?]

First they had to clear a path around the wall of the basement. I was in the midst of arranging things, so I had piles of things scattered here, there, and everywhere. All of my recently-sorted piles got re-piled and moved around and it will probably take me a month to get things sorted out again. I'm so not exaggerating; it's a bigger mess than it's ever been (it's true, Katie!). Then they kind-of-sort-of covered everything in plastic sheeting. And then they cut 40 six-inch holes in my ceiling.

Here's a small portion of what the ceiling looked like Monday night. Sorry for the crappy picture, but you get the idea. [In case you're wondering the point of this hole-making, the energy audit guy had brought in an infrared camera and it showed heat escaping through the joists here at the basement ceiling/ground level. So they cut the holes and sprayed spray foam up there to insulate it. I understood that was suggested after our energy audit, I just didn't know "we'd" agreed to do it.] I was kind of disappointed that there were exactly 40 holes, because 40 just sounds like a number I made up to mean "a lot," doesn't it? But I actually counted them and there were 40.

Long story slightly shorter: Jason didn't know about it either. It was a huge miscommunication and I am in charge of the planning of expensive things from now on. It was a total stressor and it's caused me lots and lots of extra work, plus it ended up being a lot more expensive than we'd thought. We are looking on the bright side that our house is now so incredibly energy-efficient and I was reminded that I need to be in charge of the details of our financial decisions. Also, I have freshly-painted ceilings in my entire basement and first floor because the paint they got to paint over the holes they patched up didn't match and left a big ugly line, so they had to paint the whole ceiling instead. Whoops for them, hooray for me!

Wednesday started out a LOT better, especially considering it was Jason's birthday and I didn't get to spend it with him (remember last year's birthday post to him? It all still applies, and then some :)). First, I got an awesome invitation that I couldn't believe and I started to figure out how to make it happen. [More on that later.] Then I headed into Alexandria to go to a party on a boat! The Avon Walk staff throws a party every year for the super-star fundraisers and the super-active people who go to a lot of events before the walk (how I get invited). Last year it was a wine-tasting (and I won a one-hour massage)! This year it was on a boat. It was great talking to everyone, plus I won not one but two shirts! I spent most of my time chatting away instead of looking at the sights, but it was great to see this sculpture, called The Awakening:

It used to be in a different location and my aunt Susan took me to see it a couple times. Then they moved it, much to her chagrin, so it was a happy surprise to see it on our tour. :) It's hard to tell from this angle, but it's a huge sculpture that looks like the man is "awakening" and climbing out of the ground. Really cool.

On Thursday I cleaned the house, ran errands, worked on those aforementioned invite plans some more, and got straightened out at the chiropractor. I also finally got a photo of the geese who've been hanging around our neighborhood!

The babies are so big now that you almost can't tell them from the adults. Also, this is not my yard/house/car. Thank goodness. I hate goose poop. HATE. But they are cute waddling around in someone else's yard.

Jason came home on Thursday night and it was a mad dash to get him unpacked and then re-packed, because he was leaving again the next morning to drive to Georgia! His birthday present was a trip with his friends to a riding school on a track down there; his friend has a trailer so they loaded their bikes up and drove down together.

On Friday I drove up to Angela's Happy Stamper to take a class with Fred Mullett. I took the Elegant Mess class and it was quite fun. We spent too much time going over basic tasks (I don't need a 20-minute tutorial on how to turn a small piece of paper into a sticker using double-sided adhesive), but it was fun even if I didn't really learn anything of substance. For all my artsy friends (ie most of my blog readers), here are a few photos:

This is really thin Japanese paper that soaks up the Ranger Color Wash Dyes really well. I went to look at the package I bought so I could include the name of the paper on here, but all the writing on the package is in Japanese. :) He said it's used mainly to practice Japanese calligraphy if that helps. :) [Okay, I totally could not leave this hanging and did a Google search. It's called Washi, which, in Japanese, means "Japanese paper." Well, duh.]

We just sprayed different dyes in different areas using all sorts of masks and stencils. It was totally fun to just spray away with abandon and get all messy. I even had my neighbor take a photo of my hands so I could show Aimee 'cause she has the best messy-hands photo ever. My hands actually got A LOT messier than this, but by that point I didn't want to touch my camera. :)

After that dried we went back and added some Twinkling H2O's shimmery watercolors. We just splattered them on, or painted them onto rubber stamps and stamped with it (like the purple leaf below).

When it was all over we cut out small sections and pasted them onto pre-made cards. I want to do more of this fun messiness, but I will make other things than these cards, which I think are pretty (but kind of pretentious). I'm especially looking forward to making some of these sheets and then cutting out different shapes using my Silhouette!

When I got home I had a bit of awesome news waiting for me in my Inbox... my travel plans were coming together! When I wrote the Favorite {Photo} Friday post that night I was so happy I was jumping up and down, but I didn't want to jinx myself by talking about it until the plane tickets were booked. But they are now, so I can spill my excitement! :) Sweet Jilliene has been asking about it and now, dear lady, your wait is over! :)

Drumroll, please.... I'm going to CHA!!! Lori scored a floor pass and invited me to come down and spend the week with her since she lives in Orlando. So I e-mailed a few people "in the industry" and managed to score *myself* a floor pass, woo hoo! For those who don't know, the CHA--Craft and Hobby Association--trade shows are where all the top manufacturers debut all the new scrapbooking/crafting products they'll be releasing in the following months. ALL the Craft Goddesses (and Gods) are there. ALL the best manufacturers are there, showing the coolest new stuff before it's seen anywhere else. It's not open to the public. For as long as I've been crafting, I've wanted to go to CHA. And now I am!

As if that weren't cool enough, Lori was already signed up to take Donna's new class the weekend before CHA, and I got a spot in that class, too!

THEN, Lori mentioned that (OMG, I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy) TIM HOLTZ would be teaching a class about two hours away, but she thought it was already full. So I called up the store and talked to the nicest lady and guess what? Someone had *just called* to cancel two spots in the class. There was a wait list, I knew from the store blog, but apparently she didn't want to deal with calling people on the wait list so it was serendipitous that I called right at that moment. I know, I know, she should have called the people on the wait list first--but I didn't tell her what to do, and I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth! So we're signed up for that one, too! Stella took the class last month and loved it, so I'm super excited!

THEN, I e-mailed the lovely Claudine to tell her that I'd see her at CHA and was so excited... and she suggested that I get in her class at CHA. So I made another phone call (or did I send an e-mail? Anway...) and someone helped me out again and BAM! Lori and I are both taking that one, too! (Lori was already taking it but now I am, too.)

THEN, I booked my plane tickets using points from our credit card, which I consider to be like a mild form of MAGIC. You're telling me that I can use virtual "points" to buy actual, real-life, *things*? I swear, I never believe it until I actually land in the city for which I bought the ticket.

So our week will be thus: I arrive in Orlando on Friday (July 24), and we'll immediately drive from the airport over to the beach town where Tim's class will be. We'll stay the day and night there, then go to Tim's class on Saturday, spend the night again, and then drive back to Orlando to go to Donna's class on Sunday. On Monday we'll go to Claudine's class at CHA. CHA will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then I fly back on Friday. (And then Saturday I fly out again to go visit my sister's family and go to my 15-year high school reunion, but that's another story for another time.) I'm SOOOOO excited!

The next week will have to wait 'til tomorrow, this is already sooooo long and I need to go spend some time with my Love! :)


Paulette said...

and if you thought the Avon walk was hard, just wait until you do CHA!!! My first was in California in 2002 & oh my goodness... Cameron have a blast I KNOW you will :o)))

Jennifer Stewart said...

WOWIE!! All the fun stuff you get to do!! So excited for you. :) Have a BLAST!


Gail Green said...

That's so awesome that you'll be living your dream going to CHA...taking classes with Tim and Claudine...and basking in the creative energy that is CHA. Please stop by the Tombow booth#335and say hi...I'll be demoing marker blending techniques. Check out my blog after July 1 for more

Gail Green

Gail Green

Ava's Mom said...

Sounds so fun and creative, I know you will have a blast! Enjoy, you deserve it!

jenwcom said...

all right! i'm officially JEALOUS! how much stinkin' fun are you going to have???? that is so exciting!

YAY YOU! and YAY lori for scoring the tickets. you guys are going to have a fabulous time!

i can't wait to hear all about it!

by the way, my 20 year reunion is a month away. i can't even believe it.

Anonymous said...

So happy for you guys! Please tell Lori I said hello!! Actually, I am wallowing in jealousy (LOL!)but still really happy for you guys because you two are going to have such a great adventure - can't wait to hear all about it! Miss you bunches!!:)


Jilliene Designs said...

Cameron! I'm so so so excited for you! Oh my goodness - that is big news and so amazing that everything fell into place! Holy cow - I think the universe REALLY wants you there, learning, hob nobbing, and getting more connected with the industry too. Another step on the journey. I'm so excited for you and cannot wait to see your photos b/c I know you will have great ones! Congratulations my friend!!

Anna-Marie Still said...

Everything fell into place so smoothly for you, it sounds like it was meant to be! What a wonderful Adventure you have in store! Enjoy!

cynthia said...

wow wow wow do have a smashing time!!!! look forward to hearing all about it girly. Loved the uber long post. Happy belated b-day to Jason.

Wisconsin Girl said...

So fun how everything fell together for you! Then you know it was all in the cards because all of the calls and effort you made resulted in one well planned out week! Sounds like fun. Hope you have a great time. Would love to hear more about what you had done in your house too, when you have some free time:)

Aimee said...

wow lady--- have a SUPER awesome time and soak up all the learning and fun...

you spread joy lady and THAT is why you have serendiptious happenings.

morningDove said...

how awesome is this. go, enjoy and come back refreshed and ready to explore all the new things you learn. CHA - just learned about that from attending Inspired. congrats on all the plans falling into place.