Thursday, July 23, 2015

We're Goin' To The Zoo, The Zoo, The Zoo!

After all the renovation work I've been doing lately,
it was time for a break.

Since my younger nephew was in town,
we headed to the sweet li'l Santa Barbara Zoo.


Unlike the San Diego Zoo,
 its more well-known zoo neighbor to the south,
the Santa Barbara Zoo can be comfortably seen in one afternoon.

In a craaazy turn of events, it rained!
Water came from the sky!
Here, in SoCal, in JULY!!



Although the rain was welcome,
it was also confusing to some of our younger natives.

"What was THAT?!?"
The Girl heard one confused kid holler at the sound of thunder.


Fortunately, since not a one of us brought a rain coat,
the rain held for the afternoon.

We saw animals so cute that The Boy
literally thought until recently that they were
 a Japanese-created, fictional character in a game:


A woman next to us, upon seeing the Fennec Fox,
turned off her punctuation and turned on her caps-lock to shout,
"OMIGOD IT'S SO ADORABLE."

We visited some relatives...


We are family...
I got all my [brothers] with me...

... and rode a wee train.


There are plaques everywhere commemorating donors,
and this one cracked me up so much:


HA!  Ed Birch, I don't know if you're still with us or not,
but I'll bet you were a hoot!

After some obligatory Dippin' Dots,
I snapped a selfie us-ie,
and we headed out.


Once home, I found some old photos taken
at the same zoo, of The Boy...


... and The Girl.


Twenty years later,
and The Boy has the same smile,
and The Girl is still snapping photos.
 (Albeit with a slightly more sophisticated camera.)


***   ***   ***

A few days later, 
spending time with my nephew meant I was able to
fulfill a months-long dream.

Every day when I headed home from school/student teaching,
I would drive by Underwood Family Farms and see the cow trailers.



Man, that looks like fun, I'd think,
but how was I going to get a chance to ride the wild cows?
It would be creepy for me to go solo.



Hello.  I'm not a weirdo.
I just want to ride in the cows.

It turns out, all I needed was
this guy!



Yeah, he's as tall as I am, and technically a teen,
but he was game.



'Sup? Oh, nothing, just chillin' in a cow.

We also saw baby peeeegs so brand-new they still had
their umbilical cords...



Moooom, you're squishing me!

... and we got to brush and pet some pygmy goats.



It was a sweaty, but fun day, and
TRUE FACT:
the best selfies of all selfies are goat selfies.



This goat liked me so much she licked my arm.
Maybe it was my salty sweat, but
Totes Ma Goats, I swear we made a connection.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Cat Supervisors, Mystery Poop, And Other Adventures in Renovations

It was time.
I was going to take out the carpet in the laaaast room that still had it.

Why?
Well, let me tell you something about cats.
I have FIVE indoor cats...
... and whenever their tums are feeling a little upset?


They mew, "To the carpet!"
and head upstairs to the last remaining bit of 
non-easy-to-clean flooring.


Rocky, posing by one of the many, many barf stains
on the bedroom carpet.

Besides, my bedroom was so blah.
White walls; off-white carpet,
and a queen-sized bed with a noisy, janky frame.


I feel like I'm cheating with this dreary "before" picture,
but it's the only one I have.

So, while the Sweet Man was away,
I moved all the furniture out, make a solo trip to Ikea for a new bed,
bought some flooring and paint,
and tore up the carpet.


Gah, I'm sneezing just looking at those nasty things.

The cats, btw, decided to honor the demise of the carpet
with one last bit of barf.


You don't need a close-up, but it's the blob in the lower left corner.

The day after I got the carpeting out, 
The Girl showed up to help.


She was a DIY angel.


And she wasn't the only one to "help":
check out this time-lapse The Girl did while building the Ikea bed.
Crazy kitty Minnie (for whom this blog is named)
thought that since I had upgraded to a king-sized bed because the cats
were being bed hogs, The Girl obviously needed her help.


Seriously, watch it.  It's a hoot.

The results?


Soooo pretty!

Here's one with actual furniture in the room.


One of my favorite things we did was this window treatment.
Of course I found it on Pinterest.
The sun just makes the colors glow in the most wonderful way.



And speaking of windows...
y'all won't BELIEVE what I found on the roof when I crawled
out the window to wash the other side.

POOP!
ON THE ROOF!!!


"Poop!" I kept bleating.
"POOOOOP!!!"


I feel you, Angela.

"Why does it bother you so much?"
The Girl asked, sensibly.
"You deal with poop all the time."

Which is true -- I'm a mom, gardener, and a pet owner.

But this was different.

"It's mystery poop!" I said.
"MYSTERY POOP!"



But enough about the mystery poop.
What else did I do in the bedroom?

I hung my quilting masterwork on one wall.



All handmade.  It took me over two years.

I upgraded Minnie's bed from this...



... to this.



I tied the two together, so it wouldn't scootch around for her.


Rocky got a new bed, too,
since this cushy blanky had been lining a cardboard box.


All the other cats have been trying out the new bed, too.

Instead of using a worn quilt,
 I put a nice yellow rug from World Market at the end of the bed.


Jackie approves.

And watching over us all, the patron saint of special needs cats,


If you're not familiar with the one and only Lil Bub,
go check out her Instragram.




I luff her.

Did I get everything done before the Sweet Man got home?
Pretty much.



The Girl said, "I thought we'd have time to do yoga,"
while I confessed, "I thought we'd get to Pitch Perfect Two."
Neither of these happened, 
but despite our aches and pains and bruises...



(my knees)

... it was worth it.



***   ***   ***

Now!
For some actual tips,
for those planning to try a floor
made with Allure vinyl tile from Home Depot.

If you need to take just a skoosh off one area,
tile nippers work great.


Pick up one of these steel square jobbies to cut your ends,
preferably 8" x 12".
If you get one too big, it will be a pain;
too small, and it won't go all the way across.


To make your stencil/templates for cutting these tricky bits,
use the waxed paper that separates the pieces in the box.
They won't stick to the sticky edges!


Watch out for the little bits of clippings!
If a tiny piece like this gets under your piece,
it will show through more and more as time goes on and you step on it.
Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum,
and keep brushing your hand along where a panel will go, 
looking for and removing stray vinyl, pebbles, or staples.


When you're laying the floor,
put boxes all along where you're going to work
and pull from them as you go.

It took me a couple of jobs,
but I finally realized, duh,  it was a lot more work
to drag along one of the heavy boxes until it was empty.


Allure, weirdly, does not make transition strips to go with their flooring.
(Transition strips are those pieces of wood that go along the bottom
of a doorway, to transition from vinyl to tile or carpet or whatever.)

See the underside of a standard transition strip?



It's way too high for the Allure vinyl.
It just teeters about a half inch above the flooring.


So I break out the tile nippers...


... easily pull some of the tall bit off...


put a bead of strong glue along both outside edges...


... and set the now-shorter middle part in the prepared "channel"
between the two edges of flooring.
I weigh it down while it dries...




... and it ends up looking quite professional.


I'm not exaggerating, it took me about three hours to do
three transition strips.  They're tricky buggers.

THIS IS IMPORTANT.

If something bugs you, 
deal with it right away.

Otherwise, you'll just get sorta-used to it,
and it will irritate you for-ev-er.
Take care if it while you have momentum!


There was a little corner that didn't stay all the way stuck on the adhesive.
so I immediately pried it up,
added some strong glue, and weighed it down.


I hear some people actually use these weights for "fitness"?
Huh.

Last of all,
whatever you do when clearing out a room,
don't forget to pack up your cats.