Got Wood?

I can’t remember if I told you all this before, but in the 8th Grade I won the Industrial Arts Award.  Yes, I deserved it.  And yes, I went to a co-ed school.  At my school, the boys and the girls had to take both wood shop and home economics.  I was okay at the home economics stuff (much better at the cooking and baking than I was at the sewing).  But I was really good at the wood shop stuff, both in theory and practical application.  Plus, I really enjoyed the class.  When you pulled my elephant’s trunk, that light came ON!  Every time.

Here is a picture of me receiving the Award for Excellence in Industrial Arts at my 8th grade graduation ceremony.  I am the one dressed like an Amish girl.  What you can not see (or hear, actually) is my dad in the bleachers proudly exclaiming, "That's my SON!" when the award was announced.

Here is a picture of me receiving the Award for Excellence in Industrial Arts at my 8th grade graduation ceremony. I am the one dressed like an Amish girl. What you can not see (or hear, actually) is my dad in the bleachers proudly exclaiming, “That’s my SON!” when the award was announced.

I guess you can say I have had a life-long admiration for quality woodworking and beautiful things created from quality wood.  Maybe it comes from me being born so close to all of those Redwood trees in California.  I find wood to be amazing.  Wood is very pleasing to my senses.  Whether rough or smooth, natural or stained, I love the feel of it.  I love to touch it.  I love the smell of it.  I love it in all forms… raw and freshly cut, finished, or even as sawdust.  The lines and the swirls in the grains of each piece of wood, as unique as snowflakes, are incredibly interesting and I love imagining the stories of how they came to be.  Hard wood, soft wood, dark wood, light wood… it is all good.  Wood is very, very sexy.

But even more amazing to me is someone who has the ability to manipulate wood into something more, something functional.  A person who can take a piece of wood and build something beautiful and strong is a true artist in my mind.

That is one of the reasons why I love everything about the show “This Old House.”  I started watching Norm Abram on “The New Yankee Workshop” back when Sheepdog and I first got married.  I was in awe of what he could do with pieces of wood in that magical barn.  “This Old House” was a companion show for me… it took it up a notch by delving in to building and renovating entire homes, but it also strayed from the actual woodworking and furniture making components that got me hooked in the first place.  Together, these shows and the people on them (Kevin O’Connor, Norm Abram, Rich Trethewey, Tom Silva, and Roger Cook), have helped foster and intensify my love of all things wood.

I have been playing my favorite game of “Million Dollar Listing” again by perusing the local real estate market.  During my birthday week I went with my dad to see an 8.5 acre property that was on the market for $1.875 million, after having been dropped down from $2.3 million (that made it a really good deal in my mind).  It was spectacular for so many reasons… the privacy, the wooded land, the gunite-salt water-infinity pool out back, the gorgeously refinished kitchen and bathrooms, but mainly because of all of the wood inside of the house.  There is no drywall in this home.  All of the walls are made of wood.  It felt like a mountain cabin in Colorado.  It seriously took my breath away and made me all tingly.

Wood.  On.  The.  Walls.  And notice how the inlayed starburst pattern mirrors the beams on the ceiling.  How does this NOT turn everyone on?

Wood. On. The. Walls. And notice how the inlayed starburst pattern on the floor mirrors the beams on the ceiling.  How does this NOT turn everyone on?  P.S.  There is no way I can afford this otherworldly home.

So now you will totally understand just how freaking excited I was when I found out recently that one of my fun college peeps actually knows Kevin O’Connor, the host of “This Old House.”  They went to high school together and are still good friends.  When I told him how cool I thought that was, he was like, “Seriously, you actually watch PBS?  He’s no Ty Pennington.”

Last week a package arrived for me in the mail.  When I opened it, I could not contain myself.  I was giggling and laughing and smiling and could not wait to put on my new t-shirt and read my very own signed copy of The Best Homes from “This Old House.”  I was ecstatic.  I was over the moon.  I was so excited.

I got wood.

This is some good SWAG

Now this is some good SWAG.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Girl Power: Fail

I have always been the kind of girl who wanted to do the stuff, instead of sitting idly by and watching someone else do it for me.  As a toddler I’m sure I petulantly said, “Do byself!” more than I said, “Mama.” (Sorry, Mom).  As a teenager I excelled in both Home Economics and Industrial Arts classes; I even earned the Shop (I.A.) Award at my 8th Grade Graduation ceremony. “That’s my SON!” yelled my dad, his chest swelling with pride.  I know how to sew a button, drive a stick shift, change out a toilet flapper, orienteer myself out of the woods, and cook a medium-rare petite filet on a gas grill that I lit all by myself even if the starter does not work.

Now don’t go thinking that I am some angry feminist who does not need no ma-an around to help me survive.  I just like the security of knowing that I could do these things if ever I need to.  I have no desire to cut my ma-an off at the boy parts to show how strong I am.  That would be a dumb power play and, I think, the mark of an underconfident, weak woman.  I respect and value Sheepdog and his contributions very much.  I think that Sheepdog and I make an excellent team because we respect each other and we have walked a mile in each other’s shoes (well, as much as that is even possible) and we both work together to run this family.

The problem with our current roles is that we have been in them for a while, so my survival skills are now a little stale.  I haven’t been the breadwinner in this family since we were first married and I worked full-time and Sheepdog was in law school.  I would most likely not succeed in an office environment at this point in my life (Um, so you’re saying that I should not take a little siesta after I watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey on my computer.  This company is lame.  Take this job and shove it!), nor would Sheepdog last being a full-time stay-at-home-dad who has to sacrifice regular workouts for sick kids and cross-country travels for SpongeBob SquarePants (truth be told, SpongeBob is awesome and we both watch that show if it happens to be on), but you understand what I’m saying.  Unless you keep practicing all of your skills, you may lose them.

As you know, the past few days have been filled with E.R. visits, pediatric orthopedic surgeons and Wee Walker Boot applications.  It has also been filled with the cold-that-will-not-go-away, a kitchen knife accident (I actually have a lot of these – I think my knives hate me) and a broken dishwasher, thanks to good old Mr. Murphy and his stupid Law.

Fortunately, the home improvement stores were having Memorial Day sales this past weekend, so we got a new dishwasher for a great price.  Delivery was scheduled for Wednesday.  On Tuesday the robot lady called and informed me that our delivery time was to be between 8 and 10 PM.  Odd, but I can’t exactly question a robot and I know we’ll be home then, so I pulse uno para “si.”  Sheepdog says that it is a good plan, because he can disconnect the old dishwasher when he gets home on Wednesday night.  Don’tcha know that the delivery guys call me the next morning, after Sheepdog has left for work (that is decidedly not near our house, by the by), and tell me that the robot lady has a screw loose and she actually meant AM.  So they’ll be by within the hour and could I be ready to accept delivery of the new dishwasher and give them the old one for free pickup?  Ever the “Do byself!” Girl, I again respond in the affirmative, and proceed to get my dishwasher disconnecting groove on.

Do I cut the red wire or the blue wire? Do a good job. Do a good job. Do a good job.

Long story short, even though I have Sheepdog on the speaker phone for tech support and I send him a picture of a new problem every two minutes from my phone, I do not manage to disconnect the dishwasher by the time the delivery guys ring my front doorbell.  I do, however, manage to almost flood the kitchen (which is directly above our fancy media room, mind you), seriously scratch up the wood floor in a spot that I look at every single day and it will quickly drive me mad and require a complete refurbishing of all of the wood floors on the first level, and also turn off both of our hot water heaters which later required Sheepdog to relight the pilot because no one was getting hot water for their evening showers.

Sheepdog then comes home after a full day of work, uninstalls the dishwasher, installs the new one, diagnoses and fixes the above-mentioned hot water issue, and then does about two hours more of work on his computer before bed.  I think I heard him make a couple of Tim Taylor Tool Time self-satisfied grunts throughout the night, but I did not comment at all because they were completely justified.  In my self-pitying rut, I threw in the towel about making a nutritious dinner, ordered pizza and picked up a giant bottle of wine.

Girl Power: Fail.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a crap load of This Old House episodes to catch up on, so that I may continue to be worthy of that Shop Award.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…