621: House, interrupted

Hubs and I are fixing up a foreclosure house we bought. I SAY “we,” but most of it is me. He helps when asked for the heavy stuff, or the stuff I cannot do by myself, but mostly, it’s me. He says that’s because I am in charge of the house – which, technically, is mostly true. Still – he lives here, too, and abdicating all responsibility for the stuff that needs doing is pretty annoying sometimes. Still, when I am working, I do admit to getting in my solo groove – I suppose because there isn’t any other alternative? And, getting it done myself does mean it is done to my standards, which might be the whole crux of the matter.

Over the months since we bought this house, we have had the roof replaced, the kitchen gutted and redone (new cabinets, kitchen appliances, flooring and ceiling), more flooring, a hot water heater, washer/dryer, more flooring, painted walls and ceilings and trim, bathroom caulking, painting, new doors, new locksets and deadbolts, more flooring. More trim. More painting.


Lighting fixtures, more walls, ceilings and trim painting. Curtains, drapes, sheers, rods, brackets. More painting. Salvaged kitchen cabinets that now are storage for a craft room that someone else might use as a bedroom or a nursery. Caulking, running trim, painting trim. Sweeping, hauling debris. Calling for repair, and more estimates. Running to the store for more materials. Again.

There’s always something else to be done: paint, hemming the window treatment curtains, straightening up, cleaning up, unpacking, sorting, putting away, not to mention the usual stuff, like a load of laundry, or repairing garments that have popped a seam, lost a button, or pulled loose a strap or snap.

If I sit down, I pretty rapidly become a cat’s bed, since one of the two resident felines claims my lap. Nothing gets done unless I do it.

If I sit down, nothing else gets done. It waits on me.

It is a darn good thing that this isn’t a contest with any sort of deadline.


603: Work, and more work

I go to work every day, even when I am ill, because it is harder to do all the preparation work beforehand than it’s worth it to be out sick, especially when I am actually sick. I have stopped going to the doctor and dentist on school holidays, though. Usually, if school is out, the doctors and dentists are also closed, anyway, and occasionally I NEED a day off when I actually am not sick – that is worth doing the prep work for.

Lately, I have been finishing my straight eight, and donning working clothes to put in another shift remodeling our newest purchase: a new-to-us, but not new house. We have gutted the kitchen in preparation for the installation of new cabinets, counter tops, trim, and appliances, and have installed the new flooring and painted. The new ceiling and lighting fixtures, and the floor molding, go in after the cabinets are installed.


Lately, we have been on our knees…not praying exactly, unless you count praying that this piece of flooring will install properly in line with the others already laid. It is a good time for reflection on the vicissitudes of life, when you are on your knees, praying or not. I heard once that being on your knees is the most powerful position you can assume – and I assume they were thinking of prayer. I do tend towards a less than pristine mindset, and being on your knees is good for lots of various things, including prayer. Nonetheless.

I think the next few days I will work on painting. I can do that standing up. I’ve been on my knees dealing with those stubborn flooring planks a little too much lately.

556: Hope


Every day, I hope.

I hope it will get better, that it won’t hurt so much.

I hope that I will be able to slow down and not be at everyone else’s beck and call.

I hope that I can say no. And mean it.

I hope that I can sleep until I want to get out of bed, instead of rolling out every morning before dawn because I have obligations to meet.

I hope that I make it through the next six weeks of no-money until I get paid again (a yearly problem, and January has thirty-one long, cold, and dark days).

I hope that Christmas will again just pass, without requiring from me efforts to be social that I just do not have the resources for.

I hope and I am chagrined that I still hope.

I hope that the house I currently am spending all my free time remodeling (paint smears in my hair and decorating both my forearms, random punctures, scratches, and broken nails) soon will become a respite and sanctuary – a place of peace and repose.

I hope that it will get better – that it won’t hurt quite so much.

I hope, even when it appears fruitless to hope.Hope-2-570x379

I hope.



322: But mom, I want to HELP……

untitledI have regularly made banners and wall hangings as part of my drive for creative expression. I never really cottoned onto the fact (before now) that these creations were accomplished while I was at SCHOOL, and were not made in my personal living space, which is shared with felines. Multiple felines. Who have fatal curiosity – FAR worse than human children. The term laptop was originally coined to describe feline behavior when their person was engaged in any other task besides kitty loving. They cannot STAND it, not being the center of attention (similar to human children).

So. I have this seven-foot long, four-foot wide piece of fabric that I am painting spread on the largest work surface in my home, which happens to be the kitchen table. Serious miscalculation error number one. First, it is in the kitchen. This means that the assorted fur children are already disposed to be overly interested, because this is the FOOD ROOM. Duh, stupid kitty mommy-type person.

Second, I am PAINTING this banner, instead of appliqueing it, or using some other method which does not use liquid colorants. This virtually guarantees paw prints. Paw prints were NOT part of the original design for this banner, although I am rapidly revising my original plans……..



227: Running Into a Brick Wall

Our school is putting on a performance of Annie, the musical, in a few months. As the resident art teacher, you’d know that I would be asked to help out (read make) the sets for this play. One of the requested backdrops for various scenes is a brick wall for the orphanage that Annie lives in for a time, before she is rescued by Daddy Warbucks.

This is Morocco. They have fabric stores, but they are all in larger cities at least an hour’s drive away. And there is, of course, no budget for this play – it IS a school, remember??? So, where do I get fabric for the backdrops? I go to the local souk, the flea-cum-farmer’s-cum-yard-sale weekly event that is held here in Ifrane on Saturdays and Sundays. The bigger souk held in my own town of Azrou (which I’d rather go to because it is cheaper), is held on Tuesdays, and guess when our school, in its infinite wisdom, chose to hold its weekly faculty meetings in the afternoons after work, effectively preventing ANY of us from EVER being able to go to the souk there?

Anyhoo, I went to the souk I CAN go to, and purchased four white sheets, hoping that would be enough. Then we went to the auditorium where the play will be held, and I got to spread out the sheets on the floor to see if they would be enough – no. EACH one of the three backdrops required for this play will need four sheets – 12 sheets in all. So, I went to the souk again the next Saturday, and bought four more – all that were offered. It IS a flea market, and what’s there, is what’s there each week – no guarantees. This still leaves me four sheets short. I am short-sheeted, no pun intended.

I still got started on the work, though, since I hate to leave stuff until the last minute. That is why it is so annoying when someone brings me something in the morning that they tell me that they need by the afternoon – of the same day. DUDE. Did you not know for some time that you would need this, and you waited until the last possible minute to ask me to do it??? I’M BUSY – do it yourself. I have a previous committment. Not sure what this committment was, but I got one, and because of it, I am not gonna drop everything else to do this little job for you that you waited until the last minute to get to me. I did not give birth to you, so I have no vested interest in helping you out.

I have completed one sheet’s worth of brick wall, and have sewed on (by hand) the second width of wall, and started painting the bricks on it, too. Bricks are boring. I work on the computer until I get bored (I AM ADD, after all) and then I paint bricks until I get bored with that, then I go back to the computer. Slowly but surely, the brick wall is taking shape, and I am getting my papers graded at the same time. If I can only get the students not to “help” me paint, I might actually finish this brick wall on time.

208: The Return (yet again) of the Black Slime

a href=”https://dirtdaubber.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/stupid-006.jpg”>Anti-moisture, anti-mildew paint....right. Anti-moisture, anti-mildew paint….right. Sort of – we painted the mildewed walls of our Moroccan masonry-built apartment with moisture-resistant, mildew resistant paint. Well….I can claim a partial victory…sort of like Vietnam. The stuff is growing back: ding dong, dad gum it. AAAUUUURRRGGGGHHHHhhhhhhhh.

Bathroom, too

Bathroom, too

*sigh* After all this work. OK. I messaged my dad in the US (handyman extraordinaire) and asked him how to moisture-proof a mansory structure so it did not condensate so badly on the walls. He’s got 70+ years of experience doing that sort of thing, and is still getting around and about with alacrity and agility. I should be so lucky!

Other than periodically attacking it with bleach solution, I am pretty well just stumped.

197: Unwelcome “Welcome Back”

Here at our little International School in Morocco, we have just concluded our two-week “winter” break (God FORBID anybody mention Christmas) and yesterday was our first day back at school.

When I arrived bright and early at 8:00 am, I went directly to my classroom to deposit my things and to get started on the day’s backlog of work which always is awaiting me. I never get caught up, I just make a little progress each day in reducing the stack before the new day’s load is deposited on top. Hence the stack remains about the same height, all the time.

When my key turned in the lock and the door swung open, I stopped short, arms full of bags, and gaped at the sight of a totally trashed room. *&^*$%$#^%$^(*(_)((*^$##$^&(*)(*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually that was not what I said. I actually said several things, none of them nice. Then I grumbled a lot of other things under my breath as I waded in and put my bags down, and surveyed the damage. I knew what had happened. On the Friday before we left on the winter break, our school had scheduled a winter festival for the students during the last two hours of the day. Various activities were planned to introduce the children to the festivities of the season (Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid, Kwanzaa, etc.). I was present that Friday morning, but had no scheduled classes until the afternoon. Since my scheduled classes were during the planned time of the concluding festival, and since all my students were involved in the festival activities, I knew that my scheduled classes would not meet.

So, I finished my morning work, and requested permission to go and see the doctors at the University clinic to get medications for my sinus infection/bronchial cough, and refills on my nasal steroid spray in preparation for our week’s vacation trip to Portugal, which would begin the next day, the first day of our two-week vacation (Saturday). I did not return to school that afternoon. BIG mistake.

In my absence, SOMEbody decided that they needed some art supplies from my classroom for the festival decorations/preparations/activities/whatever. They asked for, and got, my room unlocked. And they made free with the supplies that were there (bad enough) BUT they ALSO neglected to clean up the mess they created while using up my supplies that I ordered last year to see me through this year’s worth of Art classes. Insult to injury. MAJOR insult.

I found dried paint on the painting trays, dried paint in the brushes that they did not clean after they painted with them, dried paint in containers they did not clean after they poured paint into them, paper shreds EVERYWHERE, scissors scattered about, glue bottles unclosed and sitting at various locations around the room – each of every one of the nine worktables was COVERED with mess and trash and discarded, ruined pieces of whatever was left. Plus the sink was filled with brushes that had not been cleaned, and rimmed with dried paint that was poured down the sink and not rinsed away, so that the sink was clogged (AGAIN). There was dried paint on the table tops, the walls and the floor that had NOT been cleaned away (easily) when the spills were wet, and would now have to be laboriously chipped away to be removed. I was missing both staplers, my tape dispenser (never mind the TAPE) and about eight pairs of scissors. And I found the used, empty paper core of the 3 inch wide tape that I had purchased with my *own* money, because our school stocks only the narrow tape. ()*&^^%$#@#^%*&_)()*&^#$$.

More insult: several student projects that my advanced class had completed were destroyed (or at least damaged), and even MORE insult: they had appropriated several pieces of my OWN work-in-progress. I had been working (in my spare time when the students were working) on two life-size, papier-mache sculptures of people. The adult figure person had a leg and an arm broken, and the other, a matching child figure, had both arms amputated. (*)&(&%$$#$@@#&^(*(*&%$#$*^&&*&^%^&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I was PISSED. OFF-FA-FA. (JeffDunham.com)
Crap. Dookey, poop, cah-cah, shart, scat, copralite, feces, doo-doo, hellfire and damnation, shirts, shoes and neckties. DARN!! And various other epithets.

Nothing to do but clean up, repair what could be repaired and compose a really nasty e-mail to faculty and staff, raising such a stink over it that whoever the guilty party (ies) were, they darn sure would think twice about doing such a thing again.