Tuesday, August 26, 2014

We've come a long way baby: For Better or for Worse

There is a saying that makes its way around the internet:
The couples that are meant to be are the ones who go through everything meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger.

It's true in a way. But it doesn't really reflect the work that's involved in making the choices that get you there.

I have great respect for prior generations that walked into marriage with the assumption of 'this is for life'. For better or worse. The days when marriages lasted Fifty, Seventy-Five years.

It's interesting though, when one is getting married now, how the 'worse' is glazed over.
In reality though, it's how you handle the 'worse' that manages how long you get to have the 'better'.

My husband and I have had our share of mountain top experiences: A wedding, a first apartment, a first house, six children, personal victories, the joys that come when we see the product of our hard work.

We have also been through the heart break that only life's stresses can bring: moving, adding children to the family, carrying a child with a fatal diagnosis to term, and then burying the same child, massive weight gain, and the fall out that is brought on a family when it happens, chronic pain, finances, large family stresses, special needs, mental illness in the family, and more.

We have chosen though, that both the victories and the failures, the joys and the struggles are going to be seen through the same lens. The lens of 'For Better or Worse'.

That fuels how we make our choices, and inevitably, our outcome.
 We don't do it from a place of perfection. The journey still continues.

So, today, I wanted to pause and wish my husband a Happy Anniversary. I'm ready to tackle the next chapter.
Fourteen years and counting, but I'm in this with you for life.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

But Daddy Told Me To!

A walk down memory lane if you please.... 

The date is September 6th, 2007.

I had a five year old, and a three year old. Much less busy than now..... To be down to two would be considered a vacation in today's terms.

Let me set the scene: A mother sits, checking e-mail, a guilty pleasure. The baby naps, the eldest is occupied. Bliss.

Alas, her "Mommy Spidey-Sense" goes off! It has been 15 minutes since the last check in with her eldest son. The suspicious quiet raises her from her seat, knowing these things must be investigated.

She is heavily pregnant, and waddles her large self down the stairs, hoping that this trip will have been unneeded.

The Nintendo game has been abandoned. The living room is empty. The paint, last seen on the top of the entertainment unit, taller than a five year old has a right to climb, is missing.

Fear strikes the heart of the mother. She calls to him. Calls that go unanswered.

There is only one floor of the house left to investigate. The basement.

She reaches the bowels of the house, and can hardly take in the carnage she sees before her.
 Paint on every conceivable surface in the basement. 
The washer, dryer, the drywall was that waiting for it's installation.
The walls, TV, dressers, both front and back.
The melamine cupboards, the table, the futon, and the carpet.

 A lid to a large  Rubber Maid container had served as his palate.   Four colours of finger paint, masterfully mixed. 

Stunned, and speechless, she lasts views a few pieces of paper with foot prints on them, before her eyes rest on the culprit, covered heard to toe was covered in multi-coloured  finger paint. He was working on painting a small table. A masterpiece in his eyes.

Words fail, but she collects herself, before she asks him "What were you thinking??!!!" 

His claim in Response? "Daddy told me to paint the table".

A miracle occurs, and the boys life is saved by the mother's sudden impulse usher the boy up stairs, to set him in front of a movie.
She proceeds to call her grandmother, who chuckles and distracts her whilst she spends some time cleaning.
The boys seems to know what is good for him in that moment, and chooses to sit, angelic, in front of the TV.

 Many surfaces turned out okay, but 45 minutes of time spent cleaning was very tiring.

She returns to the main floor, satisfied a long last,  that she has done all that she can do to rid the basement of the pestilent paint.
.He however, is indignant. "What took you so long?"
When there is no response, he continues "Can I have a treat?"

Somehow he still, in his five year old confusion, looked legitimately put out that I was not happy to hop-to and get him is desired treat.
Nervy kid...... and yes..... In case you're wondering he lives to tell the tale. The Grandma who so lovingly gave him thus aforementioned paint as a gift lived also.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DIY Commercial Grade Bunk Beds

Living in a larger family has both its' perks and it's down falls.

Since we need products that will stand up under significant 'commercial' use, yet are living on a single income, we often find that my Dear Husband's knack for applying his Red Green type skills around the house often comes in handy.

So we have decided that we need to do the great bedroom switch around yet again, in order to better use our limited space.

So this will require that we get creative. Yet again.

This time, it will require the building of bunk beds. Cheaper than custom made, yet better than commercial quality. Score!

We started with 4 x 4's, and 2 x 6's and added joist hangers to the mix. This is beginning of the bottom bunk.

Next we add side supports and we added and installed slats in a 1 x 3" size. 'The Artist' was very happy to get in on the job, since it was hands on work, something he really enjoys. We also got to slide in proof to him of why we bother so much with Math class. See? Angles, measuring, counting and algebra are good for something!

Now, admittedly things were pretty sturdy, but sturdy won't cut it at our place. Next onto adding extra support for the base under the mattress. We need extra support, so this will stand up under the rigorous workload of large family living. We secured them in place with many screws, so that they will stay put!
There was a discussion briefly, about whether all this was necessary. Mark seemed unconvinced that he should have to go to the extra step. 
I did, though, have memories of my childhood, of a child on the top bunk having a pest underneath them, lifting the mattress through the bottom of the top bunk with their feet, because of the slat-type design. To the child that receives the top bunk, you're welcome. This design change is for you.

Once everything was well assembled, we ended up using some paint to 'pretty' things up. Two coats later and now we are ready for the mattresses and bedding. Not too shabby. 

This project has worked out really well. I know it's very simple in design, but we can add to it with decorative touches down the road when we are not as time pressed.

Just for curiosity's sake, I went online to do a price comparison, and see what we saved by dealing finding, and doing the work ourselves. I guess it's no surprise, but I had a hard time finding anything that was built this solid to be able to do an honest price comparison, with all the extra structural work we put into this, but as near as we could guess, we saved about $500. I'd say that was worth our time.