Monday, April 30, 2012

Day One in the Life of a Part-Time Copywriter

Day one of the new part-time schedule is off to a great start. I worked my last day at Virtucom (which may or may not be the same Virtucom Dr. Evil created in Austin Powers) on Thursday and then Chris and I headed out to Turning Stone in Vernon, NY for some dinner and to see Lewis Black. Both he and his opening comedian were really funny and we had a great time.

Even better was the next day when we got to sleep in and hang out and play games all day. Chris used a vacation day so we could have a nice little three-day weekend together. Since today was his first day back, I decided that technically it's my first day of my new schedule as well. Tomorrow is my first day with Type Partners. 9am start time. How do you like that? Seeing as I used to get up at 6:20am for my old job, I'm beyond thrilled.

I started off the day with a couple hours of much-needed cleaning. I dusted and vacuumed the main living spaces in the house, (effectively completing the first item on my list of weekly goals). Not only did I vacuum, but I sent Mr. Roomba under the couch while I used the dust buster to pick up little dust bunnies that he unearthed around the edges. That's three, count them, THREE types of vacuuming going on this morning. I also installed the motion detector for our security system and cleaned off Chris's desk and wiped it down and replaced everything. That glass top was so dusty and smudged it was scary. I picked up a few random pieces of furniture and decorative items and moved them down to the basement to the garage sale pile. I've decided if I don't have room for it right now, it's not worth keeping until I do. I've either got to find a place for it or find it a new home.

The most noticeable thing I did, however, was clean off the coffee table. I put everything away and gave it a good scrubbing.
Yes, the couch is oddly off center with the table and the rug. I never noticed that before now. lol

You may recall old pictures I've posted where it looked like this:
Yikes. Mess-o-rama.
And now it looks like this:

Yep, still don't have a spot for the dust buster. And Chris's blanket over the chair to keep the kitties away is oh-so glamorous.

Much better, no?

Over the little three-day weekend, I also continued working on my wall o' white picture frames. And it's about time I posted some in-progress pictures of that.

If you recall, the wall used to look like this:

The color was called creme brulee, but really it was just light yellow. I liked all the picture frames, but after seeing the house tour on I knew I wanted to copy their hallway of white frames. I even used the same wall color because it looked so fantastic. I painted the walls and the ceiling with Benjamin Moore's Moonshine in eggshell. I think painting the ceiling really helped to take the focus away from the ridiculously low ceiling upstairs.

After painting, I began assembling a collection of white frames. Most of the frames we already owned got a nice coat of white spray paint and the rest of the frames I found at Target, Michaels and Christmas Tree Shop. I still need more to complete the wall, but enough talk. Here's what I've got so far.

Once again, please excuse the mess. Cleaning off the dining room table is next on my list. And once I complete the wall, those frames will be off the guest room floor.

So obviously I haven't finished putting things in the frames yet. I'd really like to do a mix of things so it's not just all pictures. I did put up our homemade postcard with pictures from our trip to Mexico, as well as a print from Lisa's friends Jen and Lynn (it's the kitty cat near the bottom). The strange looking piece between that posed picture of Chris and I and the picture of me with my bridesmaids is one of the poems we had read at our wedding. I wrote it out by hand in a twisty design and really like how it turned out.

I've still got some smaller frames to fill in the spaces, but I really need to come up with a few more large frames for the upper portion. And I'd like to find a few little trinkets and things to fill in a couple of those spaces that I left intentionally.

Oh, and if you scroll back up, you'll see that I also painted that piece of trim next to the stairs white. I think it helps break up the mass of wood that is the stairs.

As for how I came up with this particular layout, I'm afraid I don't have any cute tips about newspaper templates or laying the frames on the floor. I'm not that much of a planner. Also, I started on this a couple weeks ago with the couple frames I had. You can see the beginning stages here:

Basically my method is to start with a couple of the larger frames and then add little ones around them. But if you scroll back up, you can see that the arrangement has changed as I added in more. So it's probably not the best strategy, but it works for my impatient self. If I waited until I had all the frames and made a template I would ... well, I wouldn't wait. I like to see it up there and live with it in stages while I tweak things.

Oh, and here's a close up of the new painted trim.

And here's the wall and ceiling right after I painted.

And this last picture is to help show the new paint color. The portion on the left is the ceiling with the paint. On the right is the old flat white ceiling color. The beam in the middle is at the top of the stairs and in this picture it's still the creme brulee color. But I've painted the entire hallway too. More pictures to come.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Free Time, Meet Lists

In honor of my new job and this next adventure in my life, I think I should set some goals for myself and my new free time so I don't spend all my spare time napping. Although I must admit that sounds spectacular right about now. Didn't have time to make coffee this morning. Yawn ...

Anyway, I don't know exactly how much extra time I'll have each week since my hours and the days that I work will vary from week to week. So I may have to update this list if I have more or less free time than I expect. But for now, here's what I hope to accomplish each week.

Weekly Goals
  • Clean the main living areas (dust, mop floors/vacuum, put away junk, etc).
  • Go grocery shopping at least once to make trips easier and more manageable (and also allow me to buy fresh food more often)
  • Make real dinners (Hamburer Helper doesn't count) at least three nights
  • Try one new recipe every week (blog about it)
  • Make significant progress on at least one item on my project list (and blog about it)
  • Work on my own writing at least three times
  • Complete at least one Dguides task (editing, writing, etc.)
  • Keep up on laundry, dishes and kitty litter boxes as needed
  • Run on the treadmill at least once
So that's what I've come up with for now. Obviously it will change depending on the season. Mowing the lawn and weeding the garden beds will probably creep up on the list in summer. Snowblowing the driveway as needed in the winter, although Chris is wayyyy better at this than me ;-). lol

I'm glad that this list feels completely manageable though. I'm hoping that by not making any of the goals too strict or too specific, I should be able to meet each one with success and feel motivated to take it a step further. I'll be sure to post about it along the way.

As for specific goals for the house, I've definitely been planning out my to do list for this summer. I've got a lot I would like to accomplish, so let's just take a look at what's on my plate for DIY endeavors.

Summer To Do List
  • Finish spray painting the picture frames white and hang them on the stairway wall
  • Switch out the light fixtures in the upstairs hall
  • Remove clothes from my closet, paint and add storage (maybe add a closet door)
  • Paint the backplates on all the glass door knobs in the house with ORB
  • Swap the three brass door knobs for the glass ones I bought on eBay
  • Go through the rest of the boxes in the basement
  • Have a garage sale
  • Paint the basement floor and possibly the walls
  • Create a kitty litter box area to prevent litter from getting tracked everywhere
  • Create efficient storage in the basement
  • Finish organizing book cases in the spare room
  • Add latches to the cabinet door in the spare room
I have plenty more things that I'm dying to do, but I'm trying to focus on what needs to be addressed the most. The basement is really a top priority since we always move the litter boxes down there in winter, so that needs to be totally finished by the end of summer. The cats made a mess of things over the last couple years and I need to get everything up off the floor and in proper storage containers before I can let them back down there. So while it's probably the least glamorous item on my project list, it's the most important, so I'm going to focus on it. And organizing the extra shelves and closet in the spare room are sort of related to organizing the basment. The hallway makeover and the doorknobs are something fun I threw in there to make some really significant visual impact without taking up a lot of time.

There are a few other small projects I may tackle if I just need a break from the basement this summer, like caulking the gaps around the trim throughout the house, switching out the dingy backplates on the outlets, etc. And I would absolutely love to get to work on that half bath upstairs, but I'm determined to wait until after the basement is done since that's more important and has a deadline.

Hopefully putting all this in writing will help to keep me on task and focused. I considered adding "No more than 2 naps a week" to the top list, but I figured I'd leave the negatives out of it. Besides, if I do get everything else accomplished that week, what's the harm in getting a little extra R&R so I can stay up later with Chris and play games? ;-)

My New Job: No, I Will Not Become a Professional Napper

I know it's been a little while since my last post. Things have been changing quickly in my life (hence the subject of this post) and I've just been trying to keep up with the transition. But I wanted to officially announce that I have been offered a new copywriting position at a new company in East Syracuse! I'm very excited to be working with graphic designers and to have the opportunity to put a little more creativity into my work. And my favorite part about this new endeavor? It's part time. :-)

That's right. I'll actually have time to have a life again! No more giving up weekends to run errands and clean the house. We're hoping that with all the extra free time I'll have, I'll be able to tackle all the chores and projects around the house, run errands and hopefully work on my own writing and a lot more, all while Chris is at work. So when Chris is home, we should just be able to play games and enjoy ourselves. We'll see how it works out. That's a best-case scenario, of course. Well, add in nap time and it's a best-case scenario. haha But even if I can't get everything done that I want to on my days off, it should still make a significant difference in our happiness levels and just overall well being. (Think planning dinners and cooking more, keeping the house clean, playing with kitties, etc.) Who knows,  I may even start running on the treadmill on mornings I have off.

Anything is possible.

So this Thursday is my last day at Virtucom, the company that Dr. Evil forgot. lol jk We're celebrating by heading out to Turning Stone to see Lewis Black that night (Chris actually bought the tickets as my birthday present this year) and then we'll have a nice three-day weekend to relax before starting my new job next week. Now to just get through my last four days as a full-time employee ...