Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New House Paint

Four years ago a neighbor hit our house with his car. It ended up being kind of awesome, because we had been meaning to paint our house anyway.

Well the HOA started complaining that our house wasn't the correct color. Only instead of complaining immediately, when we could have done something about it, they didn't complain until three years later. Too late to go back to the contractor.

I had to freaking pay to have my house painted again.

To be fair, there was stucco damage we had wanted repaired anyway. And I don't know what the heck happened over the years, if it faded or what, but the paint definitely was the wrong color and an ugly green. So even though we weren't happy about it, the house does look so much better.

Utah Trip for Book Release Party

J's favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. He writes fantasy books. Massive fantasy books. High quality, massive fantasy books. A surprisingly high volume of these high quality, massive fantasy books. 

I used to be quite the reader when I was young, but nowadays the Internet keeps me distracted. So after a few requests, I finally started reading Brandon Sanderson so J had someone to discuss the books with.

I started reading the Acknowledgements, because sometimes authors say funny things in there. J glanced over my shoulder, did a little gasp, and said, "Kara Stewart! I know her!"

It ended up being an interesting coincidence. J had literally, just that day, put in his name to volunteer at the 2016 Comicon for Brandon Sanderson's booth. He was a little disheartened because he didn't think he stood a chance. Come to find out Kara is Brandon Sanderson's right hand woman. And also an old family friend. The two families go way back.

So J got to reconnect with an old friend and volunteer at Comicon and meet a super cool, brilliant man.

Also, Kara is one of the nicest, most authentic people ever. I kind of want her to be my bestie.

So we've been reading the Stormlight Archives series, and J informed me he wanted to go to Utah for the release party for Oathbringer, the third book.

So we took a road trip. We stopped in Vegas first.

We were passing all these casinos. I told J I have an irrational fear that he'll become a compulsive gambler and I'll have to deal with that.
J: Why do you fear that?
Me: It's not just that, I have all sorts of irrational fears. Like what if you were murdered, or got a girlfriend and decided you loved her more than me - 
J: Baby, I would never love my girlfriend more than you.
Me: -_-
J: smirky smirk
Me: I'm not paranoid enough that I need medication. It's just these random little fears. What if you get cancer and died, what would I do.
J: I get it, I have those fears too. Mostly about Tiny, but a little bit about you.

Tiny is our four pound chihuahua who worships the ground J walks on.

J and I love to tease each other, and that was a good one. I got a nice belly laugh out of that one.

We continued on to Utah.

I have two friends I went to high school with who are now living in Salt Lake.

It was so good to see these beautiful girls and catch up.

This is a necessary pointing photo for HP.

Utah is very beautiful. I don't think I captured it with this photo, but it amazed me the whole time we were there.

I was amazed at the sheer number of people that showed up to the release party. Even more amazing to me were the fans that dressed up. J and I were in charge of the game tables, and I had Pictionary. The words were from multiple different books across different series, and the majority of the people had no problems drawing or guessing. Brandon did a Q&A session and the huge room was packed. It must be such a high for him. He created these worlds and characters out of nothing and these people are passionate about it.

J, through the kindness of Kara, received his book early and spent as much time as he could reading it.

We drove back home in one day. I of course drove since J was reading. Since he had a good head start, we were thinking I would only have to drive a few hours.

J didn't finish reading until we were half an hour from home. He offered to take over but at that point I kind of wanted to be able to say I drove the whole ten hours home. Best. Wife. Ever. I'm still waiting for my medal.

On the way home I was in the left lane passing a semi, and the semi almost side-swiped me. It scared the crap out of me so I down shifted into fourth gear and floored it. And passed a cop going 95. Luckily I did not get pulled over. J thinks the cop saw what happened and knew I was just trying not to die.

To the people who drive in the left lane instead of using it as a passing lane: You, sir, are a dingleberry.

During the trip, likely due to my use of the word, J called me a dingleberry. I asked if he knew what it was. He said, "You know, a cranberry that" and started to move his wrists like maracas. I asked if he thought it was a musical berry. Yes. Yes he did.


There was a WooCon in Seattle. Since J is a web developer, he tries to go to those things when it makes sense. And I like to tag along to check things out.

Cody and Raquel were there too.

They do not throw around fish at the fish market. It's a lie.

I posted this photo on Facebook and my friend said she thought my nose was bleeding. That is an unfortunate color line up. I was just friggin freezing the whole time.

The condo we rented was pretty sweet and cheaper than a hotel.

This is the view from the living room window.

The condo had a sky lounge, which would have been amazing if it wasn't rainy/cloudy the whole time.

I had about eight hot chocolates.

 My umbrella did this a couple times. It's an appropriate piece of art. I learned why the locals wear raincoats with hoods. Because umbrellas will betray you. Also you might poke someone's eye out on the narrow sidewalks.

There were a couple areas where the streets had a very steep slope. Luckily not too many or I would have been in trouble. I barely made it up this one street.

We were in a shop and J started laughing out loud. I asked him why and he said this soap reminded him of my Mom. 

We went to the aquarium. The octopuses and otters were our favorite.

We checked out the Space Needle. It was, of course, raining.

Ran out for breakfast. "It's just a quick trip, he don't need the umbrella." Don't let Seattle trick you into a false sense of security. Just because it wasn't raining when we left didn't mean it wasn't going to pour as soon as we were a block away.

Kerry Park 

Overall it was a pretty good trip.

Discussion Between Old Married People

I know it's the day before Thanksgiving, but I've already been planning for Christmas. I freaking love Christmas.

I will just whisper "Christmaaaaaaaaas" and J will whisper it back because he has embraced my weirdness.

When I was a kid they only had one style of house lights. The old fashioned, colored, large bulbs. For nostalgic reasons, I had looked for those lights in years past but they didn't have them. Then once they did have them, they were dang expensive. So we got some of those LED lights that have got the job done.

Then Costco came out with super cheap lights. J knew of my love for the old lights and wanted to buy them. I told him no. Not only am I cheap, but I have perfectly good working lights and I don't need to buy new things when I don't need them. So we were in Costco discussing it, going back and forth.

The thing I love about J is that he is logical. It's pretty seldom that we both dig in our heels. We will debate the pros and cons, each present a side, and then someone agrees with the one that cared the most.

So after our discussion, we were both quiet for a moment. Then J grinned really big and said, "Yes! Thank you! We will get them!" and started putting the lights in the cart. I was surprised, because I had just made up my mind to give in but hadn't yet said anything.

He told me, "You sighed your little sigh of defeat that means you've given up."

I didn't even realize I did that. I kind of love that J notices these things about me that I don't notice myself.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Koala Lovey

My sister Shanna has a new baby. When I was wandering the aisles of the Internet, I found:

A Koala Lovey!! Shanna grew up loving Koalas and I thought this would be too cute.

So I made one for her little William.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

J's Carnival Birthday Party

As his birthday approached, J has been complaining about being old (eye roll so hard I sprain my eye).

I decided to throw him a surprise carnival birthday party. Because what better way to feel like a kid again than playing games?

He totally suspected. I told him I was making the games for my sister's boys' school. He was suspicious. When I had to buy food for over 30 people, he started asking questions.

None of your business J.

I combed Pinterest looking for ideas. When I was at Kristi's house helping her build a sofa table (blog here) and Jett was over playing with his cars, she made him a track for his cars.

Ummm, that's a pretty brilliant car racing game. I took the wood home so I could nail it together.

It was big trash pick up time in her neighborhood. One neighbor had a pretty big pile so I was going through, looking for boxes and wood. The neighbor came out and asked what I was looking for. I told him I was making carnival games. 

He gave me a cart:

And cornhole!!

Along with a bunch of other random stuff.

I felt bad. The cart and corn hole were pretty awesome. I have been looking for a good corn hole deal; those boards are $80. He told me he needed to get rid of the stuff. His garage was packed full, so I decided I would help him out. 

I just had to add legs to corn hole.

Clamped on the outside to make it easier drilling the hole.

And then I made myself some bean bags and I was set. The corn hole game is a bit warped, which made me feel less bad about taking it for free. But no one at the party noticed.

I really wanted a top canopy for the cart. My brilliant sister Kristi came to the rescue again.

I got this piece of foam from the neighbor guy. I was originally thinking I would cut holes and make a game. But Kristi cut it in half, secured it to the cart....

...and we had a canopy.

I went to Lowe's and bought cheap plumbing for the rings for my ring toss game.

Kristi helped me tape them together.

Then I drank a bunch of soda and built a box to hold the bottles.

I knew I wanted to make a frisbee toss game.

At the same time I started nailing the race track together.

You can see the race track and my partially finished frisbee challenge game. 

To get the frisbee challenge game to stand up, I made it a stand and connected it with rope.

I pulled the tape covered rope through with pliers.

Then I moved onto my ball toss game. 

I used a plastic pallet the neighbor gave me and some dollar store containers. I started out using bolts.

Yeah that wasn't going to work. Hellooooo holes way too big.

So I switched to zip ties. This carnival wasn't going for class, it was going for cheap, mmmkay? 

I tried to make a nerf game. I borrowed this clothes rack from my sister and had PVC pipe in the garage that would slide across the top piece. I cut pieces of PVC pipe, connected a piece of wood to the PVC pipe and threaded it through. The wood was too heavy to spin. I tried thinner wood. It still wasn't working. Luckily my sister had a nerf game I could borrow and I gave up on trying to built this.

And then as if she hadn't helped me enough, she helped me with the ping pong game.

It was a lot of work, but on Saturday I was ready.

The ring toss

The ball toss

The frisbee challenge

Corn hole

Ping pong toss

The car race (which is held up by another random thing the neighbor guy gave me, after Kristi took it apart to fit the size I needed).

The can knock down and the nerf game (which was later moved away from the window...good call Dad)

And my super fabulous cart that held the chips and popcorn.

Another thing I am proud of, is I made the cupcakes by myself.

I had to google what oil to use because the box just says "oil" it doesn't say which kind.

Then I had to google how far to fill the cupcake cups.

Not to brag, but I got some compliments and several people took some home. Not too shabby for someone who doesn't kitchen.

I made vanilla (first batch, in case I screwed up it was my least favorite), chocolate, and confetti (we only had vanilla left over).

Cheese and cracker platter

Fruit and fruit dip

We also grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. If anyone is curious, we've finally found the correct amount of food. 24 hamburgers, 24 hotdogs, big Costco package of strawberries, one honeydew melon, eight apples, four packages of raspberries, double serving of fruit dip, chips, cheese and cracker platter,  whole Costco case of water and 15 cans of soda. Feeds 34 people.

That fruit dip is a jar of marshmallow whip and a package of cream cheese. Make sure the cream cheese is room temperature and mix together. Everyone was raving about it. I probably could have tripled it instead of just doubled. 

The party was a lot of fun. My feet hurt so bad by the end of the day.

I had tested the can knock down before hand, adding sand. My nephews were laughing at my "weak" attempts (I posted it to snapchat). I decided it was too heavy and took the sand out. They wanted to add it back in. Made it more difficult, so the guys were flexing their muscles.

And then it was truly a carnival game, doing weird things like only knocking out one bottom can.

There was also impromptu Jenga in the front room. And Xbox in J's game room.

It was a good party. But I am so relieved it's over. I'm trying to decide what to do with my free time.

One thing I am proud of is how little money I spent building the games. I had a lot of the items. I did buy a few things, but mostly it was repurposed, borrowed, or provided by Kristi's neighbor.