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Archive for January, 2015

This is the first thing I notice today. That's glue. On my paint.

This is the first thing I notice today. That’s glue. On my paint.

And that's more glue. One my paint.

And that’s more glue. On my paint.

But that's fine. It's a lovely day, I'll get lots done.

But that’s fine. It’s a lovely day, I’ll get lots done.

This is the roof. I have to put it together today.

This is the roof. I have to put it together today.

"Mark and paint the roof where they overhang on the sides." No. I know I'll screw it up. I'll paint that when I paint...

“Mark and paint the roof where they overhang on the sides.” No. I know I’ll screw it up. I’ll paint that when I paint…

THAT white spot red. And that won't be today.

THAT white spot red. And that won’t be today.

By the time I was finished with the roof, sailors for five miles were blushing.

By the time I was finished with the roof, sailors for five miles were blushing.

The I started noticing allllll the little muck-ups. Pro tip: DON'T DROP YOUR MDF A MILLION TIMES BECAUSE IT WILL DENT THE POINTY ENDS.

Then I started noticing allllll the little muck-ups. As if the glue on my paint wasn’t bad enough. Pro tip: DON’T DROP YOUR MDF A MILLION TIMES BECAUSE IT WILL DENT THE POINTY ENDS.

That doesn't look too bad, right?

That doesn’t look too bad, right?

Wrong. The opposite side sticks out more.

Wrong. The opposite side sticks out more.

Somehow, the tape failed and the roof slipped.

Somehow, the tape failed and the roof slipped.

That's supposed to be even, top to bottom, and it's not.

That’s supposed to be even, top to bottom, and it’s not.

Don't even get me started in here.

Don’t even get me started in here.

So! Moving on, I went to the gable roof.

So! Moving on, I went to the gable roof.

Yeah, that's a problem. I can have a pointed roof, or a mucked up edge that I can potentially fix or hide with shingles. I went with the shingles idea, but now I'm not so sure.

Yeah, that’s a problem. I can have a pointed roof, or a mucked up edge that I can potentially fix or hide with shingles. I went with the shingles idea, but now I’m not so sure.

These are what I THINK are all the parts to work on the bay window inserts. Let's just say it took me about wetting my pants four times and snatching pieces off before the glue caught to get them right.

These are what I THINK are all the parts to work on the bay window inserts. Let’s just say it took me about wetting my pants four times and snatching pieces off before the glue caught to get them right.

Because I have five windows and I started to doubt my sanity, or at least my ability to count.

Because I have five windows and I started to doubt my sanity, or at least my ability to count.

BUT LOOK! I have most of a tower!

BUT LOOK! I have most of a tower!

The back doesn't look like much, but you see that bracing bit? I was ready to murder someone when that kept falling during the roof install.

The back doesn’t look like much, but you see that bracing bit? I was ready to murder someone when that kept falling during the roof install.

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What’s this? Window frames? I have to paint thirty sets of window frames. I made a video that won’t play here, so I may post it to Facebook. I ended up painting one side and… had nowhere to put it. So I had to hold that POS and dry it with a blow dryer until I found a way to hold them and paint them.

I told you I was stabby.

I told you I was stabby.

And here’s where we’re gonna pause because I have to go get my taxes done tonight, and like… eat food before I die.

DOLLHOUSE TOTAL WORK HOURS: 39.5 

and counting.

Because those damned window frames are not gonna beat me today.

ETA:

This part drove me insane. The porch was off, so I had to splice a piece together.

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I actually did. This one part was just not going in right and a hammer was necessary, I tell you. I learned a few things today, too.

My favorite invention ever.

My favorite invention ever.

It’s an old plastic cup, stuck in a roll of duct tape. It holds my paint roller and doesn’t tip over. WIN

I learned that painting little parts before you can glue them in is tedious as hell, but necessary.

I learned that painting little parts before you can glue them in is tedious as hell, but necessary.

I learned that I really have to go into that room not flustered. I forgot to Kiltz one piece and went straight for the paint. Oops.

I learned that I really have to go into that room not flustered. I forgot to Kiltz one piece and went straight for the paint. Oops.

Mimi said, "Get your shit together, Mom."

Mimi said, “Get your shit together, Mom.”

Then these crazy bastards wanted me to draw straight lines.

Then these crazy bastards wanted me to draw straight lines.

I was glad I used a ruler and not their guide, because their guide was SO WRONG.

I was glad I used a ruler and not their guide, because their guide was SO WRONG.

It doesn't look like I did a damned thing, but I know I did.

It doesn’t look like I did a damned thing, but I know I did. Those bay windows were a bitch. which is where the hammer came in on that upper part of the top right.

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And that was where I left it. The roofs that I had to draw shingle lines on got flipped over and hit with the Kiltz. MiMi said she was tired, anyway, and we couldn’t see a blessed thing.

One last thing I learned is don’t go to a hobby shop for seventy-five “skinny sticks” at two-fifty a pop, when you can go to an office supply store and get one-thousand coffee stirers–same thing–for seven bucks. I need those to hand make all the wood floors.

I also learned I just might be nuts.

DOLLHOUSE TOTAL WORK HOURS: 32

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But, Astrea….

The reporter from Horse and Hound looked so confused yesterday. Read that to say, I had a friend ask me….

“But, Astrea. What about your writing? All we hear about is your dollhouse and your dogs.”

Very true, but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing.

It means that while I’m leveling a floor, I’m thinking about asking so-and-so who her agent is. When I’m painting a ceiling, I’m wondering if so-and-so would mind if I asked about his relationship with a specific smallER, but very well known, publishing house to which he submitted directly. While I’m counting a thousand shingles, I’m wondering if book two has too many sub-plots. When I go buy dollhouse supplies and buy two books I really did not need, I’m wondering about the cover that said something like “…breathes new life into Urban Fantasy” and wondering who her agent is. (That book moved itself to the number one slot on the TBR because with a statement like that, I wanna know what she wrote.) While I’m choosing paint colors, I’m choosing which of my three, actually four, series I want to focus on next.

Vampires, and Dragons, and Bigfoot, and New Orleans cats, oh-my!

Considering I only started seriously going after this brass ring a few years back, I’m still young in this game. One of my friends wrote her first book back in the late nineties-ish and it was only just published a couple years ago. If I give up now, only what? Four years in? That would make me feel like a wuss. My market was saturated as hell just two years ago, now not quite so much. I’m not in a rush. I’m trying to back up and do this right.

The fact that I’m enjoying the hell out of myself building this dollhouse aside, it’s an avenue to free my mind to think and weigh my options. I used to do this with oil pastels, but winter’s cold and oil pastels, and me, don’t mix.

There’s no rush. Publishing isn’t going anywhere, and there are a lot more options today than there was even five years ago.

Now, about that wallpaper….

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Actually, it wasn’t really that bad. I had to make templates for the walls and floors while I could easily reach them, so when the time comes it’ll be easiER to accomplish those things. I had to dry fit every wall of the dollhouse.

The attic wall fell four times.

The attic wall fell four times while making templates.

That crazy little bend in the wall is on both floors.

That crazy little bend in the wall is on two floors, which is one of the main reasons I need templates.

Pile of templates.

Pile of templates.

So, I made forty billion templates and it was time to get to gluing. I pulled off the painters tape from the porches and ceilings….

This is going to annoy the living shit out of me.

This is going to annoy the living shit out of me.

Both porch ceilings and one floor bled under the painters tape, and I’m a crappy painter and got white paint over the other line. Luckily, they’re minor muck-ups and I can fix them later. It bugs me to hell and back that it happened. Fixing it is a must.

Then I stopped for a second to play with the dogs. MiMi was groomed Thursday. She’s so cute, and Lily adores her. I ran and got my new baby girl a rhinestone leash and collar. Hey, a girl’s gotta have jewels and I had been at the dollhouse for four hours.

Even Baby snuck in for a minute.

Even Baby snuck in for a minute.

So, then I took the whole thing back apart to where I last left it and glued it all together this time. I even got two lower bays and one extended bay floor installed. The bays worry me because I don’t know how I’m going to fit my hand in there to paper them, and there’s no way to make a template of the bays yet. None.

Done for today.

Done for today.

Oh, there was this:

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I painted it the wrong color and it’s the first thing I need to use in the morning. I got one coat done and it may need another. But! You may notice….

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I have no daylight left and I’m using lamps to see. Lamps that cast large shadows and I’m blind as a bat as it is. Sucks getting old.

It took about eight hours to get everything done today, but it was a lot of progress.

Things I learned today!

If you think you have enough of something, you don’t. Triple it.

Even though you spent hours labeling every part, double check it because you could still be wrong.

I have become the Tape Master. Do not question the copious amount of tape. Go with it.

If you think you’re using too much glue, you probably are.

Tacky glue actually has very little flavor, so it’s okay to twist that glue covered q-tip between your lips and tongue when you’re swiping up excess glue.

I’ll probably die of glue poisoning.

DOLLHOUSE TOTAL WORK HOURS: 26

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I only worked on the dollhouse for about an hour this past weekend, so we’ll skip an update on that and introduce you to a little black fuzzball dog.

There's a sweet little dog under all that hair.

There’s a sweet little dog under all that hair.

If you read my last blog, you can imagine I was a wreck for about a week. I severed the final ties I had to rescue and vowed to move on. Well, there was one little thing: a series of messages in my inbox. Someone I’d been speaking to off and on who had a Shih Tzu that really needed a home.

I was hesitant, reluctant to throw my heart out there one more time. Worried how Lily would react, worried how the Hubs would react. I fretted, I worried, I asked what felt like a million questions and finally told Hubs about the little dog–that she was three years old, so I wouldn’t have to raise a puppy–and he didn’t say no. I finally made plans to meet her this past Sunday. After all, I didn’t have to take her, I was just going to meet her.

When I walked in and saw this happy, rag-a-muffin little dog, I was done for. She’s rather over-protective of my lap, but other than that, she acts like she’s always been here and not little more than twenty-four hours. When it’s time to go outside, she gets in line with Baby and Lily and all three tromp to the back door. Today, she spent the afternoon at the vet, getting her shots and having a much needed trim. A groomer won’t see her until forty-eight hours after she’s had her shots, so today’s trim and wash was good enough for now. We’ll be able to see her eyes by the weekend. I predict instant death by cute.

I left the vet with her under my arm and a little rabies tag in my hand. It has a number, but this number has a name.

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Memory is her name, though the nickname Mimi gets me lots of nose kisses.

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A148095

Last Friday morning there were ninety-seven dogs at the local animal shelter. Thursday night, there had been ninety-eight. That missing dog didn’t have a name, but he had a number.

I never met this dog, but my husband had. It was he who called me, the first week of December, worried because a stray dog that had been hanging around the canal had been picked up by animal control. He was a good boy, an American Bulldog, and spotty-white, just like Lily. Happy to meet everyone, loved attention, and he was deaf as a post. It would take some work to bring a dog we knew nothing about into our house, much less one that was stone deaf. He loved people, but what if he didn’t care for other dogs? We had Lily and Baby to think about, too. There were a lot of “what if’s.”

I made a call to animal control and reached them before the dog was even checked in. I was so flustered I could barely remember the name of the street he was picked up on, and they needed that to confirm if they had him or not. They did, and he was still in transit. They’d have to hold him for five days–a “stray hold”–and he might be available for adoption at that time. Might.

“Here’s my name, here’s my number. Don’t let anything happen to him.”

20150113_164114[1]Later that evening, I found his picture on their web site. Intake number A148095; American Bulldog, age unknown. They had taken the picture while he was still in the truck, head hung low and sad. I wrote that number down.

On the fifth day, I went to animal control in person and gave the desk attendant his number. They looked him up and saw my name and number there, but there was also a note. His owner had called and would be coming to get him. Thank gods, he had an owner and he could go home to his family.

I turned to leave and something nagged at me, so I turned back and said, “You have my name and number. Don’t let anything happen to him.”

I’d hit refresh every day on his intake photo just to check–just in case–and he would still be there. Maybe his owner was waiting on payday? You do have to pay a fine if they pick up your pet, and the economy does suck right now. Admittedly a whole lot naively, I gave the owner the benefit of the doubt and went on thinking he would come get his dog. I closed his intake tab.

Weeks later, I received a message on Facebook from someone who works at the shelter. Was I still interested in the bulldog? The “owner” decided he really wasn’t the “owner” after all, and the dog was still there. I was floored. And the “what if’s” struck again.

I told the girl to give me a couple of days to talk to some deaf dog rescues on resources for guys like him, and I’d get back to her. After all, they had dogs in the shelter that had been there since July, so there was time. Time for us to figure it out, find him a home, or bring him home. I spoke to one very nice lady in particular who worked with deaf dogs, who ended up sending me a follow up email that asked, “What happened to the dog? He’s not in their system anymore.”

His tab that I had just reopened two days ago and refreshed over and over was right in front of me. I hit refresh, his picture disappeared, and there was only this message:

“This animal is no longer in the shelter system.”

It had been less than forty-eight hours.

I didn’t save his picture, but I didn’t need to. I can still see his face.

I’m so sorry, buddy. I’m sorry they didn’t call me. I’m sorry the “what if’s” got in the way.  I’m sorry we were too late.

I’m sorry you left this world a number.

 

 

 

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INTJ and Self-Esteem

Lily is a dear friend and one of the most well spoken/written(?) women I’ve ever met. Her second paragraph in this blog struck home with me so deeply that I simply had to share her words and hit reblog.

“INTJs derive self-esteem from essentially two places: being good at things and achieving things. When neither of those are happening at a particular point in time then an INTJ essentially has no self-esteem, because they have nothing from which to draw positive feelings about their greater self.”

Why do you think I’m building a dollhouse, love? Oh, yes, it’s a distraction, but that’s actually oversimplifying the matter.

The writing gig is pretty well sucking–everyone loves your writing, but no one can sell your genre, so they’ll pass for now, and you languish in a sea of chocolate covered pretzels and bad take-out. This dollhouse of mine is part of what I call being “in search of happy.” My brain, when in search of happy, can lead me to do crazy things that I probably shouldn’t–like get a new puppy.

So, I’m building a dollhouse to try and distract a mind that’s starving for a sense of achievement–looking for that thing done well, and, in my case, safely. Dollhouses don’t poop on the floor during potty training, and I don’t have to share my pretzels.

Go visit Lily’s blog.

*munch*

Lily White LeFevre

Friday at the office, I had another of those eerie INTJ conversations with the only other INTJ I know in non-internet space, a male colleague and work friend (who, in addition to being an INTJ, is, also like me, afflicted with self-diagnosed and highly functioning ADD). You know, the kind of talk where one of us starts describing our state of mind and the thought processes that led to it, and the other says “change the nouns and you are describing my brain right now.” We were talking about how right now, in our work and the sort of work that goes into your personal life (chores, hobbies, etc.), we’re battling anxiety and depression that are caused, in part, by the feeling of spinning wheels – of not accomplishing anything.

INTJs derive self-esteem from essentially two places: being good at things and achieving things. When neither of those are happening…

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