Things to Do While You Wait for Paint to Dry

I have been following Young House Love for quite some time. I am always impressed and inspired by the little and big things that John and Shelly do that slowly transform their house into their home. And since we moved into our own house just over a year ago, I have wanted to do the same.

I have big plans for the house. Actually it’s more like grand day dreams. Since we moved in we’ve done exactly zero home improvements and our décor style has been decidedly “this is what we moved in with and we haven’t been bothered to do, try or buy anything else”. I mean I would love to redo the master bathroom, as in totally rip out everything and start again but there really isn’t any kind of budget for doing that.

And I totally suck as the small things. For instance, I have decided that we really need more lighting in the lounge so last weekend I went shopping. I found myself in Mr Price trying to decide between a floor lamp versus a table lamp and table. When I did the quick mental arithmetic and realized that both options cost about the same, I got paralysed by indecision hence I still cannot curl up on the couch in the evenings and read a book.

But perhaps things are about to change.

Sometime last year He-Man’s Grampa had to move into an old age home so some of his possessions were given to his children and grandchildren. What came our way was this:

The "Before"

Actually we had a choice between two paintings and while I preferred the other one (purely from a subject matter point of view) this one is that one that made He-Man most think of Grampa.

The painting has hung in our bedroom on a nail that was left here by the previous owner and while I have come to appreciate the painting, I hated the frame. It was chipped and peeling and just way too much beige. I planned to get it reframed, hoping that the good and talented folk at the framing place would have some ideas of what to do to make more of the painting, but I just haven’t gotten round to it.

Then yesterday, inspiration struck. I was getting ready for the day (we were supposed to be attending a family picnic but He-Man was not feeling well) when it occurred to me that I could repaint the frame. And even better, I figured out what colours to go with. I impressed myself.

So, armed with some cash from He-Man’s wallet and his permission to repaint the frame I set off for Mica for some supplies.

He-Man helped me to remove the painting from the frame and then I got to painting. Then I waited for paint to dry. Then I painted again. Then I waited some more.

Something I did yesterday (while I waited for the paint to dry) was to finally organize my home décor ideas flip file. I made a pretty cover and created pages for each room in the house. Then I sorted out the few pictures I have saved and put them with the relevant rooms. Not a big deal but simply sorting that out helped to get new ideas flowing.

Then I painted and waited some more.

And herewith the results:

The "After"

Not perfect and I am sure when my mom gets to see this she will wrinkle her nose ever so slightly in the way she does when she notices that it’s not perfect. It was harder to do then I thought it would be Mom, I tried.

But boy am I thrilled that I actually did it. I took a first step in doing something definitive in the décor department that worked out pretty well.

The other thing that worked out pretty well was laundry, because when you’re waiting for paint to dry, you can get a lot of laundry done.

PS – I realise that photographically speaking, the’before’ photo looks better – as in it’s a better photograph. I blame the photographer.


Spa Good For Me

What a difference a day makes. Was it only yesterday when I could scoff at the notion of spending an entire day at the spa getting a facial, a massage, a manicure and a pedicure. And now, after a day spent doing just that, well, I get it.

This unexpected treat came along in the form of an invitation from a good friend to join her for a day at the spa. I was thrilled that she’d asked me to come along and really excited about spending my Saturday getting pampered.

But I was also nervous, having never had a spa day in my life before.

Like, for a start, what do you wear to the spa? Well, according to my friend, a tracksuit would do and if you’re getting a pedi, be sure to don a pair of slip slops so as not to ruin the paint job on the way out. Of course I don’t own a tracksuit so clearly I’m not cut out for this. No wait, I’ve got the slip slops, I’m good to go.

Of course what you wear is totally irrelevant because when you get there they give you other stuff to wear.

First there was the paper panty. I have a sneaky suspicion that I had it on back to front. But it was not uncomfortable and I think it protected my modesty during my pedicure so purpose served.

Next was the boob tube. Which I donned as a skirt because apparently I don’t know what the words ‘boob tube’ mean. The nice lady who squeezed god knows what out my face, yes the one who gave me the facial, set me straight. The gown was the only thing I got right in the dress up part of the programme.

The facial was steamy and quite relaxing, apart from the afore-mentioned squeezing part and I came out shiny like the sun. Tomorrow I shall be radiant.

My only complaint, wait, let’s not call it a complaint, it makes me sound petty and entitled. Let me start again. If I were asked how they could possibly improve the massage experience (not that they need to but you know, if they felt like it) then I would suggest that letting me nap for twenty minutes afterward would be nice. Really nice.

I have only myself and my clumsiness to blame for getting my manicure messed up before I’d even left the spa. Luckily some clear nail varnish has diminished the damage and if I can avoid dishes and housework for a week or two my manicure should last a week or two.

And about my pedicure I can say this, I am cuckoo about the colour.

Would that I could schedule a regular spa day but there are those pesky ‘working for a living’ and ‘paying off a bond’ details getting in the way. However, it is nice to know what being a lady of leisure would entail should I ever get the opportunity to be one.

In the meantime I’m going to invest in a tracksuit, you know, because I want to be prepared.


Currently pretending it’s still Wednesday because that is when I wrote this and it was relevant then.

Currently googling how to kill my internet connection because it’s clearly trying to kill me with frustration but constantly dying on me. Uh, never mind Google.

Currently hoping that the Trojan people who make the condoms are not the same Trojan people who made my treadmill because a malfunctioning treadmill equals minor inconvenience but malfunctioning condom…

Currently contemplating sharing a little work related anecdote that probably won’t get me into trouble at work but my mom might be a little shocked.

Currently remembering that my mom doesn’t even know I have a blog. So, today I had to type the phrase “pull wire switch” and my first through was “guys have a switch for that?”

Currently grateful that the awesome pasta dish I made for dinner on Monday finally finished it’s run this evening. Day three spinach still tasty, day four spinach not.

Currently wondering how it is that I have typed the word ‘currently’ eight times in this post yet every single time I typed it, it came out as ‘currenlty’.

Run Tracy Run

And just when I thought that I’d have nothing to blog about this week, I drove past the local primary school and was reminded that South Africans are meant to register for the upcoming local elections. Now I’m not going to use this space to tell you who to put in charge or the nation but I am a strong believer in at least registering so that when elections do come around, I have the option of participating.

I can, however, use this space to indulge myself in imagining life in South Africa if I were left in charge for a while.

For starters I’d declare weekends to be a three day affair so that we can all stop dreading Mondays. Yip, that alone would probably get me elected.

Next up on my agenda would be the world of … Book Selling. I know, I know, I’m probably the only person who has this issue but dammit, if I’m going to be in charge then I might as well use my opportunity to fix the things that really, REALLY bother me.

Allow me to explain.

I’m an avid reader for science fiction and fantasy and and the most common feature of these genres are trilogies. My issue is not with trilogies, per se, but with the way they are sold. Just last week Exclusive Books were having a sale in the open area of the mall close to where I work. Great for Exclusive Books and great for me. While I was browsing, I came across a book by David and Leigh Eddings. I’ve read Eddings before and I’ve really enjoyed the books so I’m keen and happy to add some of them to my own collections. But of course the only books on sale were books three and four of the series.

So I bought a book on Black Adder instead.

I realise that it would be impractical to force publishers to publish trilogies all at once; that sometimes a first book is written as an only book and then when it’s successful or when the author realises that the story can be expanded and continued, that a second and third (and in Eddings’ case a fourth and fifth and sixth and  seventh and eighth and ninth and tenth) book follows.

But what I am proposing, and would put into legislation, is that when that second book comes out it has to be sold along with the first. And when the third book came along, it would have to be sold along with the first and second. You get the idea.

Of course if you bought the first book the first time around, the bookseller will give you a full discount and you could donate the already read book to a library.

I know this is not the burning issue of our time; that crime and unemployment will always be the more important problems to solve but when I don’t buy books it’s bad for the economy (and that just then exacerbates the unemployment and crime problems). So it’s a small solution to an even smaller problem but every little thing counts.

Just like a vote, right?

Road to Nowhere

Q and A with blogger, and now jogger, TracyL.

It is estimated that there are 120 million blogs on the internet today and that number keeps rising. With that many blogs and bloggers in the world it’s no surprise that most bloggers remain anonymous, unfamous and read by no one but their significant others. Meet TracyL who, although her real name is Tracy, is still pretty anonymous, still unfamous and can barely get her boyfriend (who goes by the blog name of He Man) to read her blog.

Today she’s agreed to answer our questions about her new possession and obsession, her treadmill. We join TracyL in her study, a somewhat stuffy and cluttered room in her house where she and He Man spend most of their free time. (He Man is in the dining room, enjoying an impromptu LAN party with his friends.)

Andrea (the imaginary reporter): Thank you TracyL for taking this time to talk with us. I understand that the treadmill was meant to be a secret, why do you wish to talk about it now?

TracyL: Not really a secret Anthea but it was meant to be nobody’s business but mine. A certain blabber mouth went and spilled his guts to his mom and now the whole of Krugersdorp and large parts of Pretoria know about it. But of course they only know half the story and I wanted to set the record straight.

Andrea: Um, it’s Andrea.

TracyL: Sorry?

Andrea: My name, it’s Andrea.

TracyL: Andrea, okay.

Andrea: Okay great. So tell us about the treadmill, when and where you got it.

TracyL: We went shopping for it last Sunday and got it delivered the same day. We got what we thought was a really nice deal at the Pink Place.

Anthea: The Pink Place?

TracyL: Well they’re actually called something else Althea and if they hadn’t gone and bettered the deal four days later by offering something bigger for the same price I might have mentioned them by name.

Andrea: Andrea

TracyL: Right.

A: Why a treadmill though? They’re a bit on the expensive side, take up more space. Why not an elliptical trainer or join a gym and get to use all sorts of equipment?

T: One of my goals for this year is to exercise. Gym is expensive and impractical for me and I’ve yet to encounter a sports bra that can cope with the bopping up and down on an elliptical when I’m at full tilt. I like walking, I walk pretty fast actually. My neighbourhood isn’t always so safe and the weather can be a factor so with a treadmill I can walk as much as I like anytime I like.

A: Still, a treadmill, not a pretty addition to your lounge décor. What happened to playing table tennis on the Move?

T: That is still part of the plan but its’ not quite the workout that I was hoping it would be.

A: And you want to work out because?

T: Mostly I just want to get fit and have more energy. Believe it or not in my twenties I was quite the gym bunny, working out nearly six times a week and it felt great. I want that feeling back.

A: So you’re not exercising to lose weight?

T: I anticipate some weight loss hopefully but it isn’t my primary motivation.

A: So what is motivating you?

T: Short answer. Simon Baker.

A: And the long answer?

T: The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. I actually signed up for it after the treadmill arrived but the timing was so great and it gives me something work towards. I’ve put myself down for finishing 5.6 km in 60 minutes. The event takes place at the beginning of March so I’ve got a good few weeks to train.

T: Also, skinny vegetarians.

A: Skinny vegetarians?

T: Ja, the kind that thinks they know everything about nutrition, fitness and health because they are skinny. And vegetarian.

A: Tell me more about this skinny vegetarian.

T: Um, is this going to be published on the internet?

A: Yes.

T: Then I don’t personally know any skinny vegetarians.

T: I don’t work with any either.

T: Next question Athena.

A: Andrea, remember? Anyway, do you want to be a skinny vegetarian?

T: No. Because first of all I am never giving up bacon, even if the bacon on my lunchtime pizza did taste a bit funny. And I’ve actually been skinny once and it was not a good look for me, made me look ten years older than I am.

A: Okay. So what comes after the JP Morgan, the Comrades?

T: No. Possibly I’ll look around for another 5 km race or maybe even a 10 km if I’m feeling really fit by then but that is as far as my running ambitions go. The closest I’m going to get to participating in the comrades is watching the race from start to finish from the comfort of my couch.

A: Well TracyL we wish you all the best. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

T: You are welcome Shelly, it was great talking with you.


T: You sure? Because you look like a Shelly.

A: Dammit! It’s Anthea, A N T H E A, Anthea.

T: I thought you said it was Andrea. You should call your mom and check with her, I’m sure she’ll know.

Shelly Andrea is an imaginary person who is happy to ask the questions you think you have the clever answers to. She lives inside TracyL’s head.

Speaker for the Week*

Angel Ornament
And this was just part of the wrapping

(* My apologies to Orson Scott Card – I just got through reading “Speaker for the Dead” and I was stumped for a title)

First week back at work and this is how it went –

The yays

  • Got to work on time every day.
  • Managed to leave work on time too so no overtime (so far).
  • Found an xmas pressie lurking in my desk drawer – I am so spoiled and what a beautiful gift it is.
  • Resolved a simmering conflict with a co-worker. Had a nice chat and a hot chocolate and now it’s all sorted and I feel so much better. I think she does too.
  • Encouraged someone I like and admire to be more ambitions, to apply for a serious promotion. In truth she had been thinking of applying but my little talk convinced her to go for it. I will be holding thumbs for her.
  • Took along yoghurt and muesli to work every day for breakfast. I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that eating breakfast is making a positive difference to work my day.
  • And on the subject of food – when I said that for dinner I was going to the kitchen to make magic happen, I totally did just that. He Man** and the lack of leftovers*** will confirm that.
  • Nobody missed me, they managed along just fine without me.

The nays

  • That xmas pressie – well I got it on Monday, opened it on Tuesday and only thanked the giver on Wednesday.
  • Five is way to early in the morning to get out of bed.
  • While I was away no one updated the dress code to allow for slippers in the workplace. Or pajamas.
  • Had my first little road rage outburst for the year. The holiday is over folks and traffic is back to normal.
  • Nobody missed me, they managed along just fine without me.

You know, I wasn’t expecting the yays to carry it, but there it is. Yay?

** He Man – it’s what we’re calling him now apparently (thanks Kyknoord)

*** He Man and the Lack of Leftovers – awesome band name or way past my bedtime?

Done. Mostly

So, work tomorrow.

I am sort of, kind of looking forward to it in that maybe we will revert to some kind of routine around here which will include things like regular showers, reasonable bedtimes and re-instated communications. Because we are the couple that can spend the entire day together in the same room and the only conversations we have are along the lines of “how is your game going” when there has been silence for more than five hours and “would you like something to eat” because it’s been ten hours since our last conversation.

In preparation for tomorrow I have already set the alarm. I have also picked out my outfit for tomorrow and tried it on to make sure it still fits. Yes, Christmas was that delicious.

I’ve been slacking on the exercise front but in order to make up for it, a la the Maggie Method, I have done an hour and a half of PS3 Move Table Tennis (it counts in my book). I have also cleared out my browser cache. This was necessary because I have been making use of the work laptop for surfing and I don’t want IT finding out about the questionable sites I read and making suggestions to management. I have also removed all photos and draft blog posts that were saved to the hard drive of aforementioned laptop because I don’t want to get fired.

I have made sure my car battery is charged so that tomorrow morning the car will start first time. Yes it has been that long since I drove my car.

I have done a load of washing and tidied the kitchen and then spent some time in my garden enjoying the sunshine.

I am ready for tomorrow.

Oh, and when I say “I have” I really mean “I still have to”.