Tales from College

Yes, I’m still doing the William Morris challenge, just behind on the actual blogging bit.

Today, for a change of pace I wanted to share a few experiences from my college days. Just for fun.

I have, during the 3.5 years I attended an out of state university, driven cross country 3 times.

The first was not a true cross country as I was at debate camp (I’ll hold and wait for the nerd jokes to be said….) in Arizona and my Dad picked me up there. So much stands out on that trip, like the fact my Dad is constitutionally unable to pass up an antique store. We were barely out of county when I insisted we not stop at yet another store. He drove on, grumpily, before turning around 5 miles later to go back. However, it was not an antique store, just a guy’s house next to the freeway with a lot of junk outside.

That was the trip when we stopped in Oklahoma City to stay with relatives and as I was eaten alive by mosquitoes and experienced the stickiness of humidity that only the Midwest offers, I called home to thank my Mom for raising me in California.

There are more stories from that trip like the America’s Most Wanted hotel, the Catfish Corner, stumbling upon a fresh crime scene and the strip clubs but still this trip is the second best in my experience. It was the summer of between freshman and sophomore year and I now had a car on campus!

The best cross trip experience, sorry Dad, was with my Mom the summer between junior and senior year. I remember waking her up at an ungodly hour somewhere around 4am the morning we left and that we took our first nap in Reno before driving the rest of the day and stopping outside of Salt Lake City. That first night in the hotel we went to the pool and everything was moving even though we’d stopped the car hours before.

Mom and I dropped down into Nebraska and Kansas (my home state) and had a lunch at a diner that served sweet tea and peanut butter ice cream. I sure there was food too but the ice cream stood out. Really, it was vanilla soft serve with a scoop of peanut butter from the can.

Again we stayed with friends in the Midwest, this time in Kansas City and again in Louisville. We saw the St. Louis arch on that drive and then a whole lot of redneck in West Virginia. Even though we drove that 3,000 miles in a car that had a major mechanical problem with the tire I didn’t know about the tire problem for six more months so it was stress free!

Of course, six months after driving all the way to Virginia in a death trap I was coming home to California, this time hauling the car from the first trip one which we refer to as the Frankenstein car.

This time Dad flew out and I picked him up in DC and a few days later we left for California in the Jeep, hauling a trashed Lexus. This was the worst trip of the three.

For starters, as soon as we pulled out of my apartment complex to drop off my key at the lease office it started to rain. Freezing rain which turned into sleet and snow and six hours later, when we finally exited the state, we were driving a whole 40 miles per hour.

I remember that first day Dad would say “I’m going to roll down your window, reach out, grab the moving windshield wiper and snap it to get the ice off. You can do it more than once if you need to.”

Yeah, right. Every time we stopped we’d knock 50 pounds of snow and ice off the car and tow vehicle before it piled back on a few miles later.

In Tennessee, we watched a black Jeep pass us, which wasn’t hard at our speed. Two miles later we slowed even further as the same Jeep was smashed into the ditch to our right, having been plowed down by an on-coming 18 wheeler crossing the median. We passed, ever so slowly and were thankful it had not been us!

The weather got progressively better as we headed west but there was one snafu. See, right before I packed up the last essentials in my apartment I had burned a CD from my friend Melissa: Phantom of the Opera. I was looking for some new music on my iPod and quickly synced my iPod before packing my desktop away in the Jeep. It wasn’t until I was on the road for a day that I realized the sync had wiped all of my music, leaving me with just the Phantom.

And, in a confined space for 5 days following finals with your father, one soundtrack does not a quick time passer make. Dad likes talk radio, sports and oldies. I.. do not. I remember getting him to let me play a CD of mine and when it was over, less than an hour later, he said how much he hated the music as a genre. We didn’t listen to much music after that.

In Texas, we saw a kick-up tornado on the pan handle and the police take down someone from their car in an on-coming lane. The later was more exciting as the police weaved across 4 lanes to slow and stop traffic, approached the vehicle and, guns drawn, yanked the driver onto the pavement.

By the time we were leaving Arizona I was ready to get home so we pushed through the night. Now I’m the one who was always awake with my Dad on car trips but he was dozing off at the wheel. Unfortunately, Dad was so tired of driving that we would stop every few hours so he could “rest his eyes.”

Dad snores so when he napped, I could not. Besides, the parking lot of McDonald’s in Bakersfield at 4am is not a safe, take a nap type place. Dad wasn’t comfortable letting me drive with the trailer hooked up and the Frankenstein car towing behind us so for hours at a time I’d sit in the dark of the Jeep listening to Phantom of the Opera blasting on my iPod to drown out the snoring, bored out of my mind.

You can see why this is the lowest ranked trip I’ve had.

But each time we’d make it to home or school and I’d forget the insanities that had followed. Which is probably why I’m considering making another cross country trip sometime soonish having blocked out the memories which are now 5 years old at the freshest.

So, future Kelly, or anyone attempting to emulate her insanity, I beg of you:

Fly. Don’t drive. In flight you can drink alcohol, mock people’s questionable taste in clothing, watch movies, go more than 40 miles per hour and, this is incredibly important, experience far fewer mosquitoes and strip clubs than on the open road.


The Other Bedroom

I mentioned that last weekend we moved Grandpa to a new room, hence the new bed inheritance in my guest room. Well, I finally have pictures to share!

Here’s the door to the hallway, the new hospital bed is on the left and the door to the bathroom is on the right:

PhotobucketHere’s a closer shot of the pictures & hats by the door:

Photobucketand more pictures between the bathroom and hallway:

PhotobucketThe other side of the room is pretty big, we added a table and chairs, dresser and there’s plenty of room for Grandpa’s recliner:

PhotobucketOver the table we hung the antlers and more family photos:

PhotobucketAnd the larger frames fit behind the recliner (but not over the bed in case they fall down).

PhotobucketThe largest frame has a picture of each family member kids, grand-kids and great grand-kids with labels for each person. It took me about 3 months to update the frame and I still had to use some old pictures:

PhotobucketAnd here’s me and Grandpa last week after his AA birthday party! He’s got the wide eyed look because he’s tired, not terrified.

PhotobucketI’ll be adding this shadow box to the room next, I found it for $1 and added the last 6 years worth of AA coins and some of Grandpa’s belt buckles:

PhotobucketSo glad that Grandpa is settled into his new space, nearly 3 years after Grandma passed away. Together they moved in to this assisted living home in 2007 and we’re grateful to have good staff watching over him still.

Day 5 & 6 William Morris Challenge

Well there was an almost absolute certainty I wouldn’t be blogging every day thoughout this challenge, if for no other reason than I’m easily bored. So here are two days of challenge material for ya! Read more about the whole challenge here.

Day 5: Garage – Origins

I’m assuming that the garage will play heavily in this 30 day challenge as it is one of my most utilized spaces but also very industrial. See, I don’t entertain in the garage often so it doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional.

Here are some areas I plan to tackle:

    • laundry area
    • gardening shelves
    • recycling corner
    • tools
    • screws, nails & misc storage
    • garden tools

This is what I see when I go out to the garage:

PhotobucketSo I’ve pretty much got the work cut out for me! Today I started with the nails, screws, hangers and such. I’ve used this a lot recently in rehanging pictures in the guest room and a quilt in the living room but I’m bad about putting things away.

PhotobucketI cleaned things up and got the loose pieces put away before moving on the the other side:

PhotobucketI also pulled out a whole stack of strawberry baskets which I can recycle at the co-op. I dusted the shelves and now this space is done!

Day 6: Bathroom Caddy

Then, Day 6 came along and I decided to clean out the caddy in my bathroom. It fits right by the bath so I have a bunch of bath soaps, gels, bombs, crystals and such on hand. Here’s what it was like before, with a few new items thrown on top:

PhotobucketWhile cleaning things out I decided to take the seals off everything so it would be easier to use. And the dogs got curious:

not quite sure about this

Those noses, they get into everything.

lemme smell it...

Here’s the after, not very dramatic I know but at least it’s clean and everything there is useful!

PhotobucketI’ll be back with more of the challenge and cleaning/decluttering soon. Again, I can’t promise daily updates but I will be working on this every day.

See Day 4’s task of cleaning out the kitchen utensils here.

Day 4: More Kitchen Cleaning

Welcome to Day 4 of the William Morris Challenge! Not sure who William Morris is and what this challenge is all about? Read more here.


Okay, it’s winter, it’s cold, it recently rained inside my house and I have ants. Really? Don’t those little idiots realize there is plenty of water outside and probably dead bugs to eat? Instead they’re inside finding containers with loose seals and making me mad.

So today I continued the William Morris challenge in the kitchen by going through my utensils. I’ve always kept these out on the counter for a few reasons. a) I only have 4 drawers in my kitchen and that space is valuable. Not going to use it for a bunch of bulky stuff. b) the deeper drawers are for pots and pans so I don’t have to hang them from my ceiling or other nonsense.

Because my utensils stay out, I had to find a better solution than jamming 50 things in one container and I found these cool teal containers at thrift stores over the past year. One is technically a vase but I don’t care.

I’ve kept them on a white Ikea tray so it’s easy to move everything when the ants attack or it starts leaking water in the house.

PhotobucketBut now that Christmas is done and I’m moving around all my trays and such I decided to use this red tray from Target:


You can see that I’m grouping like items together so I know where to find a spatcula or whisk.

For the larger containers I use glass jars inside to help the utensils stand up straight (and not end up cross ways on the bottom):

PhotobucketThe short container here holds all the stuff that used to clutter up my silverware drawer like a can opener, potato peeler, pizza cutter, etc. This is just the right size:

PhotobucketI found much more here that I could give away. While I like having a variety of tools I had to admit that I don’t use some very often and others are falling apart. Why do spatulas melt and always look like someone has been chewing on them?

Oh well, here are the items which are going out:

PhotobucketAs well as some of the office stuff I pulled out to donate on Day 1 of the Challenge:

PhotobucketIt’s been good to clear some stuff out, even a little at a time. Yesterday I cleaned up the kitchen hutch/cabinet thingy and put away decorations on the top. See that post here.

Tomorrow is Saturday so I might open up the garage and tackle some of the spaces out there. Of course there’s a twin bed frame, mattress, sink, toilets, lights and couch in the middle of the garage so who knows how much room I’ll have to clean?!

Day 3: Uncluttering Decorations

It’s day 3 of the William Morris Challenge (details and day 1 decluttering here) and I’ve already had that sense that I should burn down my house and run away. You know, become a minimalist who lives in a shed on a beach. But then I remember that I like stuff, it’s just that I want my stuff to be pretty and function and make me happy (ooo pretty!) and not frustrated (dang dust!). So I put down the matches and poured a glass of wine, contemplating a less cluttered existance.

It’s a scary thing to be inside my head.

Anywho… this was the space I tackled today:

PhotobucketThis is the top of my cabinet in the dining area with a bunch of decorations and stuff that was leftover from Christmas that I just threw up there. Oh, that did not sound good…. anywho, I moved somethings out, put a few things below in the cabinets and rehung the picture in the corner so it’s level with the other one. Here’s the after:

PhotobucketI found this bread basket at Target and added the place mats to it since I hate french bread. Not that it’s not yummy, but I cannot buy it because it becomes hard as a rock or moldy before I can finish the loaf and thus, I hate it.

PhotobucketThe cabinet itself was pretty cluttered looking, probably because I stack snacks in there instead of putting them in the glass containers:

PhotobucketIgnore the angle, once again drunk camera. Or, if you assume the green tin that says HERBS has actual herbs in it, you can assume the camera has a contact high. Not that it does.

I like this cabinet. I even touched up the paint in the fall so it is pretty much “done” although I do need to fix the knobs and make the doors close better. So instead of worrying about that I just emptied the shelves, wiped down with a rag and restocked everything.

The glass jars with shelf stable food is great, definitely keeps my closed door pantry much more organized when there’s less stuff crammed in. And all the canned goods live outside in the pantry shelving Dad built me. Oh, and I can tell I didn’t dust the tops of these very well!

PhotobucketSo this space is both useful and pretty, per the William Morris quote. The bottom of the cabinet is pretty full, it holds all of my china, place mats and bowls. Pretty handy piece of furniture for the kitchen and it was only $20 plus paint.

Probably the last “project” I need to finish for this space is labels for the glass containers. Just in case idiots come to dinner and can’t figure out that there are whole and sliced almonds or cannot figure out what a lentil is. But that’s not so much a project for this challenge so I can wait on it.

Still not sure what I’m going to work on tomorrow and honestly, I probably won’t know until I open up a new post and look around the house until something annoys me enough to clean it up. That’s how I roll.

See yesterday’s post here : Decluttering the charging station and a headboard cubby

Day 2: Charging Station and Headboard Cubby

It’s Day 2 of the William Morris Challenge (for details click here) and it took me awhile to determine what I was going to declutter today. Mostly as I laid in bed and tried to get the energy and momentum to get the dogs off me so I could get up.

I decided to work on an area that gets a lot of use but not a lot of attention, my charging station:

PhotobucketI have this little area right inside the front door and it serves to charge my cell phone and bluetooth, hold the contents of my purse and corral clutter.

First step, as always, was to dump everything out. This was only possible because the dogs were outside and thus unable to steal my chapstick and eat it.

PhotobucketYeah… I found gift certificates, more business cards, 3-D glasses, eye glass cleaner, more lip gloss, random cords, a button, a rubber band… you get the idea.

Luckily, most of these items have homes. A jar under the sink collects rubber bands, a box in the bathroom has all eye glass related stuff, a jar in the guest room holds random buttons.

I grabbed some generic surface cleaner and a rag to dust the charging station and got that cleaned up. The drawer now holds my gift certificates that need to be redeemed. The 3-D glasses are in with my movies until I decide to recycle them at the movie theater and I’ve added more to the stack o biz cards to enter online.

PhotobucketWhile I like this little area I started thinking about painting the charging station or labeling the organizer. But it doesn’t really need it, they look fine and I guess I’m just not “that” domestic gal who coordinates everything. I’ve got bigger projects to worry about!

And, because I can’t just do one area, I also tackled this cubby in my master bedroom headboard. Mostly because it also holds chargers and I needed to clean those up.

PhotobucketIgnore the weird angle, apparently my camera is drunk. These corn bags are awesome, a lifesaver for my back when it’s sore or tight and easy to heat in the microwave for 5 minutes. Plus it’s feed corn, not popcorn, so they’re reusable.

The little box with all the pins doesn’t fit in here very well so off I went to find a better container. Here’s what was inside the basket is misfit toy chargers:

PhotobucketAs you can tell it’s a huge mess of cables and chargers and I’m so glad to have it sorted! Bonus: I finally found the cords for my old handheld camera so I can download videos from Christmas time. Most of these cords went to the office where I have boxes for each electronic “thing” like my ipod, phone, audio, video camera, ipad… all that jazz.

As a result I was able to get this down to the essentials, a spare phone charger and the iPad/iPod charger, both of which fit in this small basket (which originally held a bath set gift I got for Christmas):

PhotobucketThe small blue container has travel stuff like ear phones, a compact charger and iPad converters. Easy to pack too!

Well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought once I got started – what are you working on making useful and beautiful in your home?

To get all the details see the Day 1 post here – office supplies & an Ikea Caddy

Scaffold Enabled Projects

Well, I finally got the much sought after scaffold! This is going to be great, a very useful tool to help me finally finish the ceiling work in the house.

I will need a few supplies such as:

  • masks so I don’t inhale all that dust
  • boxes to catch the majority of the popcorn texture crap
  • plastic sheeting to lay down
  • water bottles
  • ceiling paint, probably 5 gal to save $ – prefer the kind that goes on pink and dries off white

Here’s the list (you know I like lists, right?):

Hallway (Feb)

  • empty hallway (pictures and goodwill donations)
  • scrape popcorn texture (2 hour estimate)
  • tape and patch any problem areas
  • paint ceiling
  • touch up wall paint
  • rehang pictures

Master Bedroom (Feb)

  • empty room (bed, chair, headboard, nightstand, bookshelf, curtains)
  • remove all picture frames (use tape to note correct placement of nails to rehang)
  • lay down plastic cover on carpet
  • scrape popcorn texture (4 hour estimate)
  • tape and patch any problem areas
  • paint ceiling
  • remove baseboards
  • prime walls
  • paint walls
  • paint baseboards
  • install new baseboards
  • rehang picture frames

Guest Room (Mar)

  • remove mattress, rugs, small furniture
  • take down quilt, picture frames and memo boards
  • cover furniture with sheets/drop cloths
  • finish scraping ceiling (90% done, just a bit of touch up)
  • tape and patch any problem areas
  • paint ceiling
  • touch up wall paint and baseboards

Office (Mar)

  • remove chairs, electronics, pictures, everything atop bookshelves
  • drape furniture and bookshelves with sheets/drop cloths
  • finish scraping ceiling (75% done, lots of touch up)
  • tape and patch any problem areas
  • paint ceiling

And then, if I still have ceiling paint leftover and I haven’t cursed whoever put these textured ceilings in my house:

Living Room/Dining Area (Apr)

  • remove all furniture (shift to garage)
  • drape plastic sheeting over the carpet and floors
  • scrape ceiling in living room and dining area (12′ vaulted ceilings. fun times.)
  • tape and patch any problem areas
  • paint ceiling
  • touch up wall paint
  • touch up baseboard paint

Then and only then, when it’s all said and done can I finally finish:

  • hanging a new light in the living room
  • replacing the guest room fan (poss match office fan)
  • replacing the master bedroom fan (poss with fancy light)

Hopefully in the spring I’ll be able to find these lights with good prices and Dad can do the work in the attic before it gets too hot.

Yeah, it’s going to be a fun couple of months! Let’s not mention that I bought the new sink, light and toilet for the master bath and need to pick out a faucet, flooring and baseboards or possibly bead board….