Pictures as Promised

installing a motion sensor light

Just like he said he would, my dad came home from jury duty and installed a new motion-sensor light in my backyard laundry area. It’s wonderful. When I walk around the corner the lights automatically come on for me and I no longer have to blindly swipe through the cobwebs to find the plug for the existing fluorescent light that plugs into a power strip that connects to an extension cord that runs from inside the house somewhere. I know it sounds Mickey Mouse. It is.

As you may remember, I’m living in my grandpa’s old place and everything has been rigged by him. He was the master inventor and also the original MacGyver. Well, not really but sometimes I wonder. Most of his inventions are very handy but sometimes they leave me scratching my head. Really, Grandpa? You strung a wire from here all the way to there and never worried about fire hazards? But hey, who has Christmas lights in their pantry? I do!

As my dad was futzing around with the wires on the motion-sensor light, he let out a familiar frustrated sigh. When I asked him what was wrong, he didn’t even have to answer. We both chorused the same phrase we always say over any project we do around this house.

“Nothing is as easy as it seems.”

It’s almost a formula for the jobs my dad sets out to do here. He’ll look at something, declare it an easy fix he can do in an afternoon and then head off to the hardware store for parts. Then he comes home and starts working. Right away he finds out the part he bought is the wrong part and back to the hardware store he goes. Half the time the hardware store people give him the wrong advice and the other half of the time it’s just the house’s fault for being old and incompatible with everything new. In the end he always manages to fix everything in the nick of time before he has to go back out on the road but everything always takes longer than he anticipated and he’s always late going back to work. His dispatcher hates me, I’m sure. I should probably bake him some cookies.

handy dad "Nothing's ever easy."

mint floor

Here is the floor my dad painted for me. I was going to take before photos of the water-damaged plywood because it was so awful I thought it might make a good background if I ever needed some stock art for a grunge/punk design job. True, I don’t have very many grunge/punk clients, but you never know. It’s always good to have a big library of background images on hand.

But then my dad surprised me and painted it while I was gone. I had told my mom that painting the floor was on my big important list of things to do. I was actually thinking of painting it something like this but I was procrastinating because the floor was in such bad shape. I knew it was going to take me forever to get it clean enough to paint. So I casually had mentioned to my mom that if my dad wanted to paint the first coat, I wouldn’t mind a bit.

clashy

Of course my mom took my casual request as something that must be done right away for their favorite paying renter and had my dad do it the minute he got home. So I’m not going to complain at all about the color or for not giving me a warning first. It’s cleaner and now I can send guests off to the restroom without having to apologize for the floor that might give them leprosy. Eventually I think I’m just going to put some groovy 70’s linoleum in there. The stenciled-floor idea is really fun and I’d love to do that someday but I know I’m not going to get to it. I have do other things, like work so I can keep paying my rent to my favorite landlords. Maybe I’ll let Bug go crazy with some pink paint.

Bug's Bathroom

She seems to be in charge of the rest of the decor.

What I really want to get rid of are those hanging-chain light fixtures. But they are not on my big important list of things to do. I’m sure if I fixed them then I’d want to change the counter and put in new faucets too and before you know it I’d be blowing so much money on this place I’d be stuck here forever. For now I am getting along just fine with my mint-green floor and my avocado-green tub.

coooookies

Mostly because I am still on cloud nine over my oven.

lemon bar du jour

I’ve found that one can put up with a lot of things when one is surrounded by family one loves and an oven that bakes tasty treats. And yes, I did send my Dad off with a great big bag of cookies and homemade dinners that he can eat on the road. He earned them!

Oventabulous!

just a little excited

Houston (and everywhere else too), I have an oven!!!!

It is so great. It is the best thing EVER.

You know the best way to make someone bake tasty treats? Take their oven away for half a year. It worked like a charm on me. I never knew I used an oven so much until I didn’t have one.

It was so exciting to have one again that I was baking in that thing less than three hours after it was installed. I’d probably have baked sooner but I wasn’t in town yet. I was still out at the beach for our weekly visit with Toby. But you can bet I hightailed it out of Orange County as fast as I could so I could get home and put this hunk of 1970’s junk to work. I was soooo very happy.

My Dad is here this weekend and in less than two days he has installed my oven, painted my bathroom floor mint green (that actually clashes terribly with the avocado green tub but is a zillion times better than the water-damaged press-board that used to be there), fixed the one spot in my yard that Holly was escaping from AND taken the cover off my swamp cooler so I can be cool as a cucumber once summer gets here.

Tomorrow if he has time after jury duty (he’s a busy guy) he might even install a motion sensor light in my backyard so I can do laundry in the dark without having to plug an extension cord in. Is my Dad awesome or what? He blows me away with his selflessness and this is just how he is. He’s always like that. He’ll give you the shirt off his back and then ask if you’d like his shoes too.

sparkling it up

Anyway, back to my best-thing-ever oven. I do not care one bit that it’s an old hand-me-down from my mom’s trailer on the other side of town. It is a thing of beauty in my eyes. And it works!!! That’s all I care about! So I shined it up…

NEW working oven!

(I’m just a wee bit excited with the Fonzie thumbs.)

lemon bars!

…and put it to use making lemon bars of course! (I seem to have forgotten the “s” in my recipe. Oh well.)

The cherry on top of this whole first-day-of-baking after not being able to bake for five months was that I finally got to use the hand-me-down Kitchen Aid that Bethany gave me back around New Years. I know! Do I score when it comes to hand-me-downs or what?!! It even came with stickers! Bethany got a new one for Christmas and mailed me her old one. You know that postage was a whopper.

Sadly, when I got it I had to leave it in the box and hide it in the back corner of Bug’s room. It didn’t fit on my counter and I knew that I couldn’t really use it for anything until I got the oven fixed, which seemed it like wouldn’t happen until the tenth of Never the way we were going around and around trying to find a thermal couple that didn’t exist.

Well the tenth of never did come! And baking with a Kitchen Aid is about a thousand times better than I even expected. The ease! No wonder all you crazy foodie people love baking so much! It’s easy when you have a handy dandy mixer machine that does all the hard work for you. I had no idea!

makings

So I mixed and I whirred and twirled that Kitchen Aid like I was a musician and it was my guitar. And then I texted Bethany excitedly, of course, and took about a thousand pictures. If you ever want to know why there is flour in the buttons on my camera, now you’ll know why. But don’t worry, I blew a bunch of compressed air on it afterwards and I think it’s still as good as new—I hope. What can I say? I use my equipment.

pop it in the oven

Then I popped those lemon bars in the oven and went outside to enjoy the sunset with the neighborhood kids.

twilight clouds

There were these really cool lenticular clouds out that looked amazing at twilight. I tried to capture it on the camera but unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to take a photo of them without all the distracting houses and trees in the way. Distracting cat-fairies riding by on tricycles are great though.

drive-by fairy

all done

And then the lemon bars were done! They were so tasty. Except I got a little over-zealous with my backyard lemons and added an extra tablespoon of zest that wasn’t in the recipe. Ooops. All the kids in the neighborhood have been reporting with puckered lips that the lemon bars are way way way too sour, which leaves way too many lemon bars for all the adults who are so annoyingly watching their calorie intake. Watching calories can be so tiresome. Thankfully, I have had company over in the last few days and I’m happy to report that I only have about four lemon bars left in my fridge taunting me. Tomorrow I’ll have to take a glamour shot of one so I can share the taunting with you. It’s only fair.

towel racks!

I’m happy to report that I have baked lemon bars, roasted cauliflower and cooked a Sunday roast (actually my mom cooked it but I still got to take credit for it). And! As if that wasn’t enough good news I now have towel bars, something my kitchen was sorely lacking.

Life is good. It’s oventabulous.